2013 — 11 December: Wednesday

And still they come rolling in... software "updates", I mean. If it's not my Thunderbird email client, it's my Firefox web browser. But, wonder of wonders, the latest build (11.0.9600.16476 / 11.0.2 if you please) of Microspit's flagship web browser actually both loads (as before) and runs (not as before) without me having to force it to run in Administrator mode. How cool is that?

The WD Live TV HD media streamer got into the act, too, moving on to a whole new version. I took the precaution of opting out of its (default is 'on') online "improvement program" (sic) as, under the covers, they more honestly call it "user tracking" and, having seen the recent uproar about the unsmart / impolite behaviour of the LG Smart TV, I don't think I want me any of that. After all, it already has access to the subset of files I keep on my Synology NAS. Which also had an update yesterday. I suppose I should fire up VirtualBox next and let my virtual Linux Mint 15 system pick up its patches too.

Or make some pre-dentist breakfast. I hope the heavy mist has dispersed1 by the time I set off.


And — of course — there was a new release of VirtualBox and its little helpers before I could get as far as the Minty patches. It's nearly time I wasn't here.

Good job I know the drill by now :-)

Well, that's...

... another 49.1 miles on the car and £750 off the bank account. And a 7-day course of Metronidazole only for use2 if his deep drilling wakes a Balrog or causes any kind of bacterial flare-up in the next day or so. I rather hope this is it, as he went ahead and finished off the root filling during today's session. Saves me a third trip.

Nice to see a £200 Winter Fuel Payment popping into the same account. Ev'ry little helps, as dear ol' Dad used to say. Tediously often.

My odd memory...

... was nagging me. Having only recently noted, and commented on, the demise, within Microspit, of the use of their cretinous "Rank and Yank" performance appraisals I felt sure I'd once had something to say to dear Mama about these. Come back in Time:

Back to the Lab tomorrow, partly to change the tickertape heading on my external Java Home Page (now that Christmas is over) and partly to refresh, once again, the level of software downloadable from our site. The programmer concerned is one of those dedicated types (read "propellor-head") who will have been putting the intervening six days to good use, and who tried hard to persuade me to update his code just before it was time to catch my bus last week. I told him, with as much Christmas cheer as I could put into my voice, to wait...

I also have to finish my "self-assessment" — the latest piece of bureaucratic nonsense to emanate from Corporate HQ (direct from Mr G, it seems) wherein every IBMer worldwide gets to comment on what they think of about half a dozen of their peers, to assist each IBMer's manager in "rating" the performance of us all. Or, as Tiny Tim might have put it, you praise me and I'll stick my knife into you while telling you I'm going to praise you. And the buffoon who thought this up thinks it promotes effective teamwork (since the reward system depends on you outdoing your fellow workers, the teamwork is in direct opposition to the need to make yourself appear to shine by comparison with your peers). Honestly, a child of six could see the flaws, but no-one in Personnel seems to be prepared to admit the existence of any!

Date: 29 December 1996

I also learned today that the latest version of my Firefox web browser disables all Java plug-ins by default. Plug-ins are now a "legacy" technology, it seems. Oh, my. (Link.)

If one seeks evidence...

... that the UK's supreme court is capable of bizarrely stupid decision-making, then look no further. I remain very sceptical that the Scientology church is a place of meeting for religious worship. It was bad enough reading about L Ron Hubbard and his earlier Dianetics in my 1985 collection of Volume 1 of the John W Campbell letters, trust me. Thetans rule, it seems. Un-bloody-believable. I don't mind people writing crappy SF. I don't mind people reading crappy SF. But to turn crappy SF into a religion...?

Recall this?

Seventy-five billion years ago, the intergalactic alien tyrant Xenu exiled manifold individuals to Earth in special craft — which looked exactly like DC-8s. Hubbard provides sketches. These beings were then imprisoned in mountains, before being blown up with hydrogen bombs and brainwashed with a huge 3D film. Their traumatised spirits — "Body Thetans" — then clustered around human bodies and continue to do so to this very day, and can only be removed using advanced Scientology. Xenu? Currently held captive in a mountain by a forcefield.

Marina Hyde in The Guardian



1  Otherwise I will have to rediscover where the Yaris hides its fog light switch.
2  Having now read what Mr Wikipedia has to say about adverse side-effects (and more) I expect I shall be sticking, as usual, to hot salt-water mouthwashes. And, in extremis, perhaps an aspirin or two. I don't like pain (or "dental discomfort" as it's known nowadays) but I also like to avoid meds as much as I can.