2013 — 11 March: Monday

There's a fine1 dusting of snow, with a few more bits of the stuff blowing around out there. Much as promised, in fact. I shall sup my cup before I decide my next move. (I have a parcel — an overdue Xmas present — that needs to get into the clutches of Brenda's de-livery system before the week gets much older. Otherwise it's in danger of turning into a birthday present.)

Still, at least I no longer have a bank appointment to drag myself along to.

Somehow, and I...

... still wonder from time to time exactly how, it is now 64 months to the day since Christa died. I'm looking at a photo of her smiling at me as I type. Not as good as the real thing, but it will have to do :-)


An old "Cectic" comic (by Rudis Muiznieks at cectic.com) still cuts to the heart of things:


The artist is cool about people re-using these...

By the way...

... if anyone wants a fine Epson hi-def projector I know someone who'd love to hear from you. And I can vouch for his bona fides having known him for (what, Mike?) about quarter of a century now... (Link.)

As an early lemonses lumbers into range, it's -1C out there, and slightly greater numbers of white flakes are blowing around. Not enticing in the slightest. I shall have to dis-inter my warmest anorak from the high-entropy environment that is Junior's room at this rate. Still, the fresh air won't do me any harm. Will it?

Textpad v Sublime

I'm a keen (and long-time) user of the former. Junior "long ago" defected to the latter. Verity Stob has an amusing shoot-out between them here. I'm sticking with the one I know. A good text editor is to be treasured.

In my post-prandial web browsing, I look forward to seeing what Andrew Niccol manages to make of Stephenie Meyer's "The Host".2 Should be interesting.

Two (quite long) phone calls...

... have confirmed that my psychic talent for breaking untested software has yet to let me down. My latest victim is the Nationwide online banking system. Having been nearly buried under a torrent of snailmail from them detailing customer numbers, PIN codes, registration for telephone banking, registration for online banking, current account details, savings account details, and (for all I know) personal services from Thailand, I thought it was time to take their system out for a spin. I'd already lobbed some cash into it by direct transfer, recall, lest they started paying all my direct debits before IBM caught on to the new repository for my monthly pittance from them.

The first assault course / challenge was to find a way of getting through to a human who could explain where my Card Reader is. You need one to login if you haven't already set up 'memorable data', and — since I have no memory of having done that (nor been made the suggestion that it would have been a Smart Thing) during my recent visit to one of their splendid branches — I was left wondering how to proceed.

"That's very odd, sir. It should have been with you by now. Aah, here it is... 'in production'."

Our wide-ranging discussion (phone call #1) eventually established that I could just as easily use dear Mama's Card Reader (from Barclays). So that was my next move.

Nip upstairs, unearth said device, return to BlackBeast, point web browser at the Nationwide's online banking bit, knock politely on its door... Quoth the online system: You no longer have an account that has Card Reader security. To continue using this service, you will need to re-register to setup login details.

Oh, mummy, tell me it ain't so. Dead before the first dance? Phone call #2 coming up.

"That's very odd, sir. It's never happened before. We've just moved over to a new system. Your branch was one of the first to be authorised and allowed to use 'Rapid Registration'. So, when your previous account..."
Stop right there. This is a new account. I've never had a previous account with you.
Long pause which, I'm prepared to swear in court, conveyed total disbelief. Amiable chatter resumed.

Long story short: I've just re-registered. Can expect a new set of PINs etc. Should still receive a Card Reader. And this time I do have 'memorable data' (providing I can remember it) as I entered it myself. And I've already received a confirmatory email. And complained about how very hard it was to decipher the PINs as printed very very very faintly on pull-off tabs. We parted as friends.



1  "Fine" has many meanings; "welcome" isn't one of them, this morning.
2  Although I got my copy of "The Host" back in July 2009, I gave up my initial attempt to read it. But I figured if Mr Niccol deemed it worth adapting maybe I should take another crack at it after all. I'm now nearly half way through and I'm pleased to see it's nowhere near as naff as I'd thought. (In fact, I've just admitted as much to niece #1.)