October 2006 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

My First Mobile Phone! (24th October 2006)

Phil had prompted me to get a mobile phone a while before and sent a handset to me. I think it arrived on 2006-10-16. It was a fairly scuffed up clamshell Motorola but my dad has a couple of handsets he doesn’t use any more. I picked the Sharp because it doesn’t have any fiddly flippy-up bits and the antenna is internal.

My parents got me a Vodafone SIM card and I put £20 of credit on it. Hopefully that will keep me going for a long time since I only intend using it for work and emergencies. Credit doesn’t expire, which is nice.

Visited Fliss (2006-10-18 to 2006-10-20) (24th October 2006)

Friday Night to Saturday Morning

Arrived at her mum’s house at about 19:00. Chatted with them both for quite a while; her mum had ordered a new computer to replace her laptop. Left and went to the bedsit Fliss lives at.

We started cooking some food as soon as we got there and went upstairs. I put the fruit I brought over into the fridge and Fliss started playing World of Warcraft. She had gotten to level 40 and could now ride horses. One had firey hooves, eyes and breath.

After eating I think we watched TV until we fell asleep. During the night, I was woken up by Fliss screaming. At first I thought she had just woken from a vivid nightmare and was disoriented, but I soon saw she’d been stung below her right shoulder. Then I noticed the wasp, which was still flying around the room! I grabbed a pair of my jeans and waited until it landed on a surface to squish it.

Soon after that Fliss noticed another wasp was flying around and while I persued it round the room I noticed another. Fliss got so scared that she ran out of the room, then asked for her bag. I passed it to her and when she opened it one of the wasps flew out! I opened the door and luckily it flew straight past me back into the room while Fliss legged it to the bathroom, locking the door behind her.

I closed the bedroom door to keep the wasps contained and started to stalk them. After a lot of cat-and-mouse (or is that man-and-wasp?) I managed to swipe one onto the floor where I squashed it under the jeans. After checking it was dead I wrapped it up in a tissue and put it in the bin.

Fliss returned from the bathroom a while later but there was no sign of the third wasp. We waited for what seemed like an age but there was nothing, not even a faint buzz. So we went back to bed and I fell asleep.

Not sure how much later on, but I was woken up by Fliss shaking me and screaming it was back! I leapt up off the bed, grabbed my jeans, the whole time shouting “Where is it? Where is it?!” “It’s by the light, above you!” came the reply. I looked up and the wasp was heading straight for me, barely and arm’s length away. I instinctively swiped it with the jeans and made contact but didn’t see where it went.

Again, we waited around for a long time but there was no hint it was still alive. So again, I went back to sleep...and was once more woken by Fliss shouting that there was a wasp! She hadn’t seen it but had heard it buzzing in the far corner of the room. I went to that corner to try and find it but couldn’t. Fliss saw it on the window and made this clear, so I went over to it and squashed it against the net curtain. It fell onto the windowsil, so I squashed it some more before wrapping it in a tissue. I thought I felt it wriggle a bit so I applied pressure and got a soft pop! in return.

We slept in for a long time after that!

Saturday to Sunday Morning

I made Fliss a cup of tea and a cup of instant hot chocolate for myself. I also brought up some bowls so we could eat breakfast. We each had Corn Flakes and watched some television. Fliss started playing World of Warcraft again so I read some more of CSS Mastery.

While making our dinner (chicken pies with vegetables) I got talking to Cloe and Lewis, two of the other housemates. Cloe had moved in a couple of weeks earlier but Lewis had brought a lot of food and things to take up. One of his arms was in a sling, so I helped carry up some bags, their speakers and their video player.

After eating Fliss showed me some videos people had made from footage recorded in World of Warcraft and then voiced over. Some of the pieces were really well produced and very funny! They ranged from footage of a guild attacking a massive boss dragon thing to spoof music videos. She also showed me a South Park episode about the addictiveness of MMOPRGs.


We slept in for a really long time on Sunday. Eventually we got up. I made both myself and Fliss a cup of hot chocolate, although I couldn’t get it to froth up nicely. I had a bowl of cereal and Fliss had a pair of cake bars. She started playing World of Warcraft again, so I decided to get all my things ready to leave for her mum’s later on.

We left Fliss’ place around 18:45 and reached her mum’s a few minutes later. My dad rang Fliss saying he’d be about ten minutes late. Fliss’ mum had received some parts for her new computer and was showing them to me when my dad arrived. He explained that their dinner took longer than they planned. I was grateful to a lift from them at all!

Parents gone to Channel Islands (24th October 2006)

Apprently the ferry ride was quite “bumpy” but they made it on one piece. They left at about 03:15 on 2006-10-23 and I stayed up to see them off.

There are a few chores I have to do whilst they are away, such as looking after my mum’s guinea pigs and sponging up any water which leaks into the garage. It rained heavily last night but I didn’t notice any in there.

Weblog Backlog! (4th October 2006)

I’ve gotten back into my old habit of spending so much time working on actual projects that I forget all about keeping Project Cerbera updated! Amusingly, this means the frequency of updates on Project Cerbera is inversely proportional to the number of projects Cerbera is working on.

I’ve got lots of things to work on right now, this entry is just a quick recap of the things I’ve missed out since the previous blog entry in September.

New Home Network (4th October 2006)

Since getting the new computer we’ve had a home network set up by a local freelance computer helper blokey. My dad ran the Ethernet lead lead through the house between the two.

The blokey supplied a firewire card for the AMD computer but didn’t install it’s drivers, relying on the ones Windows XP chose. After getting system freezes and a bluescreen error the next day we called him out again.

The network still doesn’t work properly. The upstairs computer doesn’t list the downstairs computer. WinRAR files are very reluctant to transfer between them. Normally takes several tries, sometimes resorting to randomly opening and closing network setup dialogs until they eventually see each other.

I think we need to get the computer blokey to sort out what he’s set up. He seems to really know his stuff but if I left a job in this ramshackle a state, I’d frankly be ashamed. I’m sure part of the problem is a less than optimal implementation of networking in Windows XP but I can’t believe every network fails 90% of the time. The internet connection routes between the two computers perfectly.

Myriad Islands (2006-09-09 to present) (4th October 2006)

I started finalising design of illSTA in the Myriad Islands Railway topic back in August. After hours and hours of Messenger conversations and 60 forum messages later, we’ve mostly settled on designs for illSTA. We’ve also settled on the routes for an underground freeway tunnel network like a more refined version of the system in GTA 3.

There are some technical issues to be looked into before we’ll know for sure if this can be made a reality in GTASA:

If the answer to any of the above is ‘no’ then illSTA and the underground tunnel network won’t be possible in GTA San Andreas. It will have to wait until GTA4, assuming it’s possible in that. And assuming Rockstar Games permit modding of GTA4, which is by no means a certainty.

CFG Studio Rewrite (2006-10-04 to present) (4th October 2006)

I’m doing an almost total rewrite of CFG Studio so it will support all the text data formats in GTA3, GTAVC and GTASA. Read the forum topic for details. I’ll probably turn the CFG Studio page on Project Cerbera into a section with both changelog and roadmap pages.

New Computer (4th October 2006)

The power supply on our old Pentium 100 PC retired after a decade of dutiful service dopwnstairs, so my parents bought a brand new computer from Evesham. That’s where the old one came from and where our newer AMD 1400 (upstairs) came from.

When it arrived, it didn’t work. I don’t mean it didn’t run a particular game quite as perfectly as I’d want, or it didn’t support a particular format of DVD. It was completely dead. The power light wasn’t even turned on.

So we ran the technical support and the Indian operator slowly guided us through the things we’d already tried. It was like a sketch from The IT Crowd. I’m quoting it here but I’m not sure what the best markup for dialogue is.

Support:Are you absolutely sure it is plugged in, Mr Millard?
Me:Yes, I am absolutely sure.
Support:Can you check the plug for me again, please?
Me:OK…right, I’ve checked both ends and it’s definitely plugged in.
Support:Sorry, I don’t understand…?
Me:It is connected at both ends.
Support:I’m sorry, what are you saying?
Me:One end of the cable is plugged into the wall. The other end is plugged into the computer. It is definitely plugged in.

So eventually they realised we weren’t idiots and sent an engineer to us. A Polish guy not much older than me...in fact, unnervingly similar to a more stylish Eastern European version of me. He opened it up and decided to replace the motherboard and the power supply because he hadn’t seen that design of motherboard before. He got it working and realised in was an Intel motherboard, which he seemed very impressed by.

Visited Fliss (2006-07-27 to 2006-09-29) (4th October 2006)

She spent most of the time playing World of Warcraft. I spent most of the time watching, making her cups of tea and cooking meals. Kinda sucked from my perspective but the game is very impressive technologically.

Because I leave at 19:00 on Friday, I’ve started to associate leaving Fliss’ mum’s house with the end credits of a behind-the-scenes programme about the new series of Doctor Who, being shown on BBC Three.