Rumors of Hulu's Subscription Plans
You can use Tuner Free MCE to get (rudimentary) integration between Media Center and Hulu. It's not great, but it's better then using a web browser from 10ft away.
Later School Start For Teenagers Brings Drop In Absenteeism
Actually, I've worked several jobs where working life did run to that timetable, so that people didn't get caught up in the morning rush caused by every job insisting that you should be sitting at your desk by 9am for no particular reason. It led to people not being exhausted by the time they got into the office because they'd been force to stand on the train with their head in somebody's armpit.
Later School Start For Teenagers Brings Drop In Absenteeism
My brother recently finished secondary school in the UK, and for several years before he left the school had an automated system that would send a text message to my parents if he missed registration for any lesson, and request a response. If one wasn't received, then it moved onto making voice calls to secondary contacts.
It has a bit of a big brother feel to it, but it does mean that the parents can't claim that they didn't know it was happening.
Bill Gates Responds To Apple iPad
You can have that. Mobile safari supports the local storage extensions to HTML being developed by WhatWG, which is designed for exactly the purpose you described.
Download some forms when you have a connection, go offline and fill them in, and then synchronise when you get back. You can see it working with Google Mail and Reader, as well as quite a few other pieces of software, already.
Game Development In a Post-Agile World
One of key principles of agile is that you always have deliverable software, which plays right into needing to deliver working software at certain milestones.
A well run agile project will be delivering software every couple of weeks though, which also means that every couple of weeks you can hand something to the money men, and to play testers. They can then actually play the game, and pick up any major flaws much earlier in the process, making it feasible to actually do something about it.
I don't know if they were using agile, but one of the best examples of this sort of adaptation I've heard of in the context of games is Mirror's Edge, which originally was going to be a fairly generic first person shooter. At some point in development they realised that the leaping off buildings bits were much more fun, and refocused the game on them.
NZ School Goes Open Source Amid Microsoft Mandate
The point isn't about licensing, its about knowing whether or not the software you're downloading is going to install a keylogger, or start datamining your home directory.
With the Linux model of having a central software repository for your distribution, you can be fairly safe in knowing that isn't going to happen. If it does happen, they can push a security release to the repository, and fix the problem.
The Windows/Mac OS model of downloading arbitrary executables from the Internet however relies entirely on you trusting the owner of a website not to screw you over. This is dealt with to an extent by virus scanners, but they are a band aid to prevent the worst problems, rather then a solution.
Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business"
You sir, have won the thread.
Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business"
terdons, which actually have a long, and exciting courtship ritual, involving lots of mas...
Music While Programming?
Here in Europe, at least we have doors that can be closed :)
Sadly every office I've worked at in the UK has been a big open plan floor, with very little private, quiet space.
The area I'm currently in has people who play music through speakers, a football table, people using speakerphones, and the general noise of approximately 40 people nearby.
Without headphones, I would never get anything done, despite the fact I prefer to work without music.
Data-Sifting For Timely Intelligence Still an Elusive Goal
Hey, we could start one off, by supporting a few choice characters. I'm sure that'll go down just fine.
A Look At the Safety of Google Public DNS
This also helps in situations where your ISP is highjacking responses stating that a domain doesn't exist, and rerouting them to a search engine.
It's all very well having that happen for HTTP requests, but it can cause havoc with things like e-mail.
Best PC DVR Software, For Any Platform?
Media Browser solves a lot of the problems with playing downloaded video, providing a far better interface for browsing things then the default Media Centre one. I had the same problem with the almost unusable video browser in MCE 7, but now that I'm using Media Browser I'm a lot happier.
I've still not found anything to do music nicely, but I'm not really bothered about that personally, since I stream that to an AirTunes base station from iTunes.
Man Arrested For RuneScape MMORPG Online Robbery
It is possible they sold the ISK online, converting it into hard cash.
MythTV 0.22 Released
And that is the crux of the matter really. I spent a long time messing around MythTV, and various frontends for it, but in the end I just installed Windows 7, and used MCE, which has been faultless since I did so.
It also has the benefit of working as a really, really, powerful games console.
Time Warner Cable Modems Expose Users
Leaving the admin interfaces exposed is fairly common practice for ISPs, since it allows them to reflash and do maintenance on routers they are responsible for.
The good ones have the competence to limit that access to the IP range that maintenance will be happening from though.
The Sad State of the Mobile Web
I don't think this is actually an issue though.
Most of the people I know who have phones using keypads and a 2-inch screen don't use them for browsing the web, and have no intention to do so.
If I'm building a mobile web application, I'm going to target the touch screen devices, because those are what people who actually use mobile phones to browse the web are using.
The Sad State of the Mobile Web
Modern smartphones can handle just about anything you throw at them. The UI is the problem, since what works on a 22" widescreen monitor, with a keyboard and mouse, doesn't work on a 9" touchscreen.
We're not going to see alternative mobile UIs going away any time soon, and that in my opinion is a good thing. The desktop version will work if you really want all the features that it comes with, but it's not going to be the optimal way of using things.
Native mobile applications are also a big factor here, and are often a far better choice so long as you have the man power (or money) to produce them, since they give you a far more targetted UI, which can integrate with a phone's hardware features to provide something even smoother.
Affordably Aggregating ISP Connections?
There aren't that many of them - certainly most of the web applications I've seen are checking for a session cookie, not checking what IP address you're coming from.
It's been requested a couple of times, but quite quickly disabled, because people coming in through proxies which use bonded lines aren't as rare as you might think, and people would keep getting their session dropped.
Why the FBI Director Doesn't Bank Online
Thus I'm not at all surprised that a non-technical member of the intelligence/law community could fall for a phishing e-mail.
The question is, why is someone that "non-technical" in charge of cybercrime for the FBI? I'm not asking that he be able to crack his way into anyone's computer, but it would be nice if he had a little awareness of these things.
Scientists Decry "Horrifying" UK Border Test Plan
As someone who has lived in London, and still spends 5 days a week there at work, a big part of the environment that draws people here is the mixture of different cultures, and the way they blend together into new things.
I got bored the last couple of days, and redesigned my website, as well as shifting it from Blosxom to Movable Type, because I was annoyed by the lack of support for XML-RPC.
[Update: You probably want to use a real browser to view it... the CSS layout is a little (understatement!) crappy under IE.]
Yes, it was a little longer than it should have been maybe :P
Anyways... things that have happened over the last how ever long.
About a month ago now, I was laid off from my job, because we lost just over £400,000 of funding due to the new government system, which meant losing our online centre, and about a third of our staff, including me.
Which has led to a very much up and down period for me - a lot of my purpose in life comes from doing a job I feel worthwhile doing, which isn't happening at the moment, so my sleep cycle is screwed beyond regognition, and I'm not really doing much. Thankfully though, there's been a fair bit of up in the mix this time round (last time I was unemployed was... unpleasant).
A couple of days after losing my job, I was told about an ad for someone to do the supporting people side of the job I was doing, instead of the supporting the computers people use side I had been doing and moving away from, which I applied for, and have an interview for on Friday.
I have to say, I think it was probably a good thing to move on - I'd just about decided that while I love it as a hobby, I can't really maintain computers as a job - I just lost my passion for it in either place (which thankfully is back now :D). What I do love as a job is making a difference to people, which I hope I'll be able to do in the job I'm interviewing for, since it sounds similar to what I was doing before.
I'm also going to go stay with my best friend in Manchester for a few days next week, getting to sample the student life, and more importantly spend time with the person I feel most comfortable talking to about me, instead of the bullshit I talk about with most people - last night, at about 5am, I was lying awake, feeling lonely, so I sent her a text message (SMS to the USians?) asking for a hug, expecting to get a reply in the morning, and really just needing to feel like somebody cared. A few seconds later, she rang me, and we talked about nothing much for the next hour or so :)
As you may have guessed, I'm looking forward to spending time with her, since despite the fact it's been less than a month since I last saw her, it still sucks :P
Church stuff is going nicely, I'm sorting out the visuals for an event we're running in the main church building in April (we usually run the main youth event in the dingy little hall, this time round we're in the main building, and taking over the usual evening service) - so I'm gonna have a couple of 8x12 screens to play with on either side, and a third standard size screen if it's needed. I also love the building... it's an old style church, complete with bell tower, and is just a really comfortable atmosphere.
I am kinda apprehensive about the home group I help lead though, since we've got someone joining tomorrow, and I'm not too good with new people :S
And I think that is where I end my ramblings for today.
More /. Personals Stuff :P
Update on me... sometime soon... plenty to say, just havn't got round to journalling it yet.
Anyway - I just saw the "She thinks Tux is cute, click here to meet her now!" ad for /. personals.
Why is thinking Tux is cute so special? Every woman I've ever met thinks Tux is cute. It's built into the brain of women to find cuteness in him!
What I want (and incidently have right now :P) is a woman who not only think Tux is cute, but has an idea of what he represents, and preferably thinks of it as more than "that other operating system".
And since I'm on a rant anyway... I've given up on article comments most of the time now, because they seem to have been *completely* overrun by trolls.
And why does PyCon feel the need to define the maximum width, height, and *area* for their sponser's logos to be displayed... I don't think I've ever seen an image size defined first as a maximum of 10800 pixels in area, and then given maximum width and height.
Rant over. You can all go home now :P
Tech Support Fun
Well, I've spent a large chunk of this afternoon on the phone to our ISP's tech support department, and finally managed to get pushed up to first level support, after only a day of trying.
A month or so ago, our ISP (Redstone Communications... avoid them like the plague, we're on a 1 year contract) decided to install DSBL based blacklisting without telling any of their customers about it. Since then, we've had e-mails bouncing from people, the biggest set being our satellite offices around the city, who use Yahoo's SMTP servers to send their e-mails. We've also had reports of bounced e-mails from funders, which is a major problem to us.
So I rang tech support, and asked for anything sent to safe.org.uk to be whitelisted. The first two levels didn't understand what a whitelist is, or why we'd need one. Third level then went on to claim that whitelisting e-mails to our domain alone, would cause all their customers to receive more spam, and anyway, the software they use doesn't allow you to change the DSBL list.
Why whitelisting involves changing DSBL's listing is beyond me, or how they picked commercial spam filtering software which doesn't allow whitelisting (God forbid I ever need to e-mail their postmaster address).
I've now finally hit first level, who after I convinced them that the fact it hasn't been a problem in the month they've been running it for people, doesn't make it not a problem now that they have a paying customer on the phone telling them it's a problem. I think when I mentioned that we were paying for a service which wasn't doing what we needed it to in a "so we might stop" voice, they figured they should do something.
So now first level are looking into whether their software really doesn't support whitelisting, or if they just couldn't be bothered to read the manual earlier.
Update, 16:27 - I received a reply from their tech support via. e-mail, which effectively said "this incident shouldn't happen now, just put up with the fact we're deleting e-mails that may or may not matter". I also checked the feature list for Mailshield, the software they said they use - included in the feature list is... whitelisting. It actually looks like nice software if it's being used by people who know what it can do.
This is going to be an all over the place journal, since I don't think I quite have things in a tidy line, but I wanted to get this out into words before I go to bed.
While talking with a friend on MSN this evening, I was suddenly hit with this:
Jon... I know I shouldn't say this, but... *Pauses.* I love you.
Which was... to say the least... quite a surprise.
However I'm now stuck in a bit of situation... I know that I feel a strong caring for her, a closeness, but at the same time, I can't say that what I feel is love - because I don't know what love actually is.
Strangely... or more likely not so strangely, something (I believe his name may be God), it's a subject I've been talking about recently.
Everything seems to be going so quickly though... a week ago, I was on the edge of talking enough painkillers to ensure I wouldn't wake up in the morning, and now... it's like someone beat me round the head with a stick, which has rearranged my brain cells. I feel... happy... really happy - I was walking through the park near my house tonight, looking at the stars, and just being amazed at the fact that they were put there by a God that loves me, so that I could look up at them and be amazed.
I really believe that this is meant to be happening how it is, and that I'm meant to be with [plays the random names game, and chooses Jaedyn, the name of her D&D character], but I also know that it was God who put this in an e-mail sent to me the other night, for this very moment:
don't make any decisions without waiting a day or two to see how you feel
so in a huge break from character for me, I'm going to actually take some advice, and do just that... I can tell you right now, it's one of the hardest things I've done in my life (and I've done some hard things psychlogically), but I also know, deep inside, that it's what I need to do.
I realised I havn't done a geek entry recently... mainly because I havn't been particularly geeky :P
Anyway, after getting bored of jumping through hoops to make things work under Debian (it'll still be my OS of choice on servers though), I bit the bullet and installed Fedora Core 1 on my laptop last night, which went off completely without a hitch other than having to turn down the resolution for the installer, because my laptop panel couldn't cope with it.
So, after a success there, I decided to kill off my bodged together Debian install on my main workstation (it was running 2.6.0-test4 or something like that, and would slow to a crawl if I asked it to do anything more than sit around and lounge in the sun).
- AMD AthlonXP 1400
- 256mb DDR RAM (soon to be upgraded)
- 1 60gb Seagate hard disk
- 1 20gb Maxtor hard disk
- GeForce2 MX400 graphics card (AGP)
- S3 Savage 4 graphics card (PCI)
- BT848 Video capture card
- 3com 3c590 network card
- Onboard 6 channel sound
- The usual gubbins
The install went fairly smoothly, with no problems while installing... from what I could see, it was much like a Red Hat install, but with Fedora Core written on it.
The first problem hit when I tried to boot the first time... grub would crash complaining that the boot partition didn't exist. Turns out that I was booting from the second hard disk in the bios, so it had flipped round the controller numbers when installing grub... a quick change of boot device sorted that one out.
It then proceeded to boot (not displaying the new X based graphical boot sequence), but couldn't get the network card to work... I ignored that for now, and let it finish booting, at which point I was uncerimoniously dumped to the "X couldn't start, what do you want to do" screen that the Gnome login screen throws up if it can't start X. No surprise there really though... I don't think I've ever seen a distro that can handle a dual-head display on different graphics cards right. Turns out that this time it was trying to use the nvidia driver (the unaccelerated one before everything thinks "oooooo") to run my S3 card. For some reason the S3 took offense to that.
Changed around my XF86Config a bit, and rebooted, and graphics worked fine... in fact, better than fine - it's fabulous having anti-aliased fonts installed from the begining. I'd never got round to doing them on Debian, but I'm loving them now I have them.
So I moved onto the issue of networking... tried the usuals, and whatever I did, I couldn't get it to throw out any packets to the network... eventually I bit the bullet and (shock! horror!) tried Red Hat's bug tracker. Turns out the kudzu hardware detection software has issues with the 3c59x driver which powers my network card... disabling it gave me back my internet connection. I also thought for a bit that it had messed up my second display. I then proceeded to plug the monitor back into the display, after remembering that I'd knocked it out trying a different network cable.
Sound was auto-detected, as was my TV card, USB 2, and Logitech webcam. I might try slapping the PCI holder I have for an Intel wireless network card later and see if it can do anything with that as well, although my hopes aren't too high, since I spent a while trying to get it working a few weeks ago, and it seemed that no one could the things to work.
Overall, I'm very impressed... just need to find a source which lets me install MP3 support, and everything should be working, after a single evening's work.
Edit, 02:56, 13/12 - Realised I hadn't added the obligatory screenshot, taken just now, with the accelerated Nvidia drivers installed, and a nice wallpaper from Deviantart.
New Linkin Park DVD
[Watches his fan count plummet as he mentions Linkin Park]
OK... now I've weeded out the unbelivers (nah... feel free to say what you want about them :P), it's time for my completely unscientific thoughts on said DVD/CD combo.
First up - terrific value for money is had here, you get their 1:11 DVD filmed over two nights of the US tour they did earlier this year and a 12 track CD, with a different assortment of tracks recorded on the same nights.
Sound quality is, as ever, technically excellent, although I'd have preferred some more mics pointed in the direction of the crowd to get that "live" feeling to the album, but that's more of a personal preference thing.
As a band, their live performance is stunning... they've made enough subtle changes to the tracks to keep them interesting for those us (yes... me) who've already bought them twice on Hybrid Theory and Reanimation. Physical use of the stage keeps things interesting, on their set which looks like it was ripped straight from some anime, complete with cell shaded look.
Individually, most of them seem to be completely nuts :P Mr. Hahn is a poser, plain and simple, and appears to be proud of the fact. But then watching him perform shows everyone why he has the right... not only can he throw records around some decks with the best of them, he does it with a style most "club" DJs lack.
Mike Shinoda shows his usual prowess with the rap-type bits, he's not the best I've heard, but he comes close to it, and definately has more energy in what he does than most artists... you can tell it comes from the heart, rather than an attempt to sound "gangsta".
A brief interlude now... I've got the DVD playing on my other monitor, and just saw the bit where Lars Ulrich (drummer from Metallica, who they were supporting) run onto the stage in a weird hat and a giant pair of green hands, have a short scrap with Chester, and then leave again, while the rest of the band looks on in disbelief :P
Which leads nicely onto Chester... I know I've seen comments that some people find him whiney here, I guess that's your choice. Personally I think he is what makes Linkin Park, Linkin Park, instead of another nu-metal band with nowhere to go. This is nowhere near the best I've heard his voice... but that's not the point as far as I'm concerned.
The point is the fact he so obviously means what's coming out... I swear that man is on the edge of breaking down with every track. One of the highlights is Place for my Head, which is the last track they played... opening with a hugely disturbing, in-human scream from Chester... seriously, it's like an animal that's just step in a bear trap or something. Then later on in that track there's a shot of him just crouched there, on a stage, in front of thousands of people, seemingly unaware of the fact they're there.
The rest of the band... I wish I could say more about them, but I other than that they sound excellent, there's really not much constructive I can say, since it's not something I really know a whole heap about.
Thanks to everyone who commented on my last entry - especially Sol, for her ever wise comments on the subject... you cleared things up nicely for me :)
Sooo... the ramblings of today, another swiftly copied posting.
Things seem to be getting better for me the last few months... I now have a job that I love doing, which seems to have brought the ammount of stress in my life right down, since it forces me to have contact with people every day.
But the last few weeks everything seems to have plummeted off the side of a cliff... it suddenly hit me how pointless my life seemed. Sure, I do a job which makes a difference to people, but I don't do anything that makes a difference to me.
I'm still the same lonely, under-confident, useless person I was 6 months ago. It's just that now I get to be lonely, under-confident, and useless against a different backdrop - one where if I screw up, it's not just me that gets screwed over, it's other people as well.
At work today, I was trying to keep track of what 3 different people were doing at the same time, and gave 2 of them the wrong assignment to do for the course their going through... and assignment they hadn't done the work for.
Afterwards, the person I work with on this course had a go at me for not paying enough attention to things, which was probably accurate. Anyone else would have written it off as a mistake, and got on with their lives.
Not me... I've been throwing it around my head all day, convincing myself that I can't do my job, and that I should just give up now.
Except I know that isn't true - I was trying to take 3 people through different stages of a course that we're running for the first time, and having difficulty using because it isn't suited to our clients. If I'm realistic, I can look back, and I can say that I have helped take 14 people from not knowing how to turn on a computer, to being able to use Word to a fairly advanced level, in 4 weeks, without any real training for the job.
The biggest joke in my head is the fact that part of what we do with clients is confidence building. I just feel like a fraud for even being in the room when we do those bits, carefully trying to hide the fact I hate myself.
Back to the point... I know I can get through this, a series of events over the past week or so has convinced me of that now. I just need to survive long enough for that to happen.
Anyway, enough rambling.
By the way... anyone have any advice on smoothly moving a 600,000 post forum to a new install... we need to do an upgrade from phpBB 2.0.2 to 2.0.6, with a bunch of new hacks, which I figured would be easier to do by moving the database across, than by trying to hack in all the changes around our modified code.
Just another post I just made.
Ok, you may or may not care, but this seems as gooder place as any to write this all down, and it might help someone else. These two facts are now going to lead to me writing down the experiences of tonight.
Starting from this afternoon, just before I finished work. One of the people I work with had made some stupid comment about me, as she tends to for a lot of people, which I took hugely personally, and fumed about all the way home. I'm not sure why, but it just simmered all afternoon, and by about 5pm I had resorted to ignoring anyone who tried to talk to me.
The problem was that I had a cell leader's meeting tonight (I lead a youth cell at my church), which would involve a big bunch of people shouting and being rowdy, and generally not something I was looking forward to. But I went anyway.
I then got there to find only 1 other person there (apart from the 3 leaders), and in the end there was only 4 others, me, and the 3 leaders, so it was quite cosy (compared to the usual 16ish). We had dinner, which I actually managed to enjoy the chatter over.
After that, we moved into the other room to start the meeting properly, which is basically done as a usual cell meeting, just involving the leaders - it works well, since we learn new stuff from the leaders, and also get to have a cell meeting as people, instead of leaders (which can be kinda distancing sometimes).
We started off with a bit from Revelation (chapter 21?) about how God's gonna come and clean up the planet in general, and sort everything out... but in a slightly more inspirational way than that, after which we all wrote down our thoughts on what it would be like - it was revealing for me, if not overly pleasant (it's what triggered my post on sub-concious SIing on main).
We then went over the times in our lives when we first realised that God could be relied on to provide hope... leaving me in the situation of wondering how you tell a room full of cell leaders that you I'm not too sure of it now. It did turn around though, when I was reminded of the first time I went away with the church youth, and had an amazing time.
And then we prayed for people in turn - that's when the evening [b]really[/b] got interesting... you could feel a buzz in the room which can only be explained as God. A couple of people got prayed for, and then it was my turn, where I gave my carefully rehersed request for people to pray that I'd see more positives, and not let them get overwhelmed by the negatives.
So people prayed for me, and then one of them said how they'd seen an image of everything around me being black, but there were little pinpricks of white light shining through, so small that if you turned to look at them, it didn't seem they were there. They then went on to explain the blackness as a backdrop for light to be seen on - which I think is a stunning way of putting it... I kinda realised that while I do feel bad a lot of the time, the times I feel good it's not just a faint fuzzy feeling... I feel [b]really[/b] good.
Having heard that, I was already thinking how amazing it was, when my youth leader came out with something that quite frankly, knocked me over (not literally). He said that he felt that God was saying that I had a message to talk about, and that I should be patient, because soon I'll find the right person to talk to about it.
The strange thing is, I'd been thinking on the way there (and more to the point since Saturday night) about talking to him about how I'm feeling about things, my SI, and everything else. And then without me mentioning anything, I get a message that I should wait for a while, until I find the right person.
To be honest, right now things are just getting really weird for me... how am I meant to know who this right person is? After everything that's happened over the past few days, I've got no doubt in my mind that I'll find them if God's told me I will, but I am really scared right now.
I'm scared of people's reaction when they do find out... logically, I know that they'll be caring, and won't judge me for it all. But my other side won't let me believe that... my other side keeps telling me that they'll just hate me even more than they already do.
Anyway, time for bed me-thinks.
Long journal on an eventful weekend. (I hate subjects!)
I just posted this to a support board I'm resident (quite literally) at, and thought I'd post it here as well to get a different perspective on things (people tend to be hesitant to criticise, which I think is just as, if not more, valuable than being supportive).
CAUTION - if you have problems with talk of prayer, God, and other stuff like that, you probably want to leave now.
I think I've just had my belief that God is out there reaffirmed. Or more acurately, last night I did. Sooooo...
Saturday, I was meant to be in London, but didn't go in the end because I'd been up all night Friday feeling crap, to the point of very nearly ODing - the only thing that stopped me was the fear that it wouldn't work and I'd have to explain to people, or that it would work, but no one would care.
So I'd been sat at home all day, feeling crap, and guilty for not going to London, because I was meant to be seeing a friend of mine do a bungee jump. At [checks] 4:13 I got an e-mail from a friend asking if I was going to Big Story, a big church event in Southampton aimed at young people, which is always excellent. I've had bad experiences though, disassociating, and generally feeling bad, but I decided to go - mainly so I could see some people having been hiding in my room for a week or so.
I got there shortly before it started, and only Chris was there from my church, but I did speak to someone from work for a while. And then the show kicked off with a different band to usual (who were excellent by the way). I got into it for a while, and then started to disassociate just before the talk.
From there, things started getting strange for me - the talk was on the subject of God picking people who don't think that they're good enough for the job (Gideon was the example used for those who are interested), and afterwards the guy running the night said that they wanted to pray for anyone with low self-esteem, which he then went on and did. By this point I was already feeling a bit shaken up by God, and was stood praying by myself, trying to work up the courage to get prayed for by someone - I think as a way of stalling, I asked God for a sign.
A little later someone came over and asked if he could pray for me - I wasn't making any signals that I wanted to be prayed for, he just came over because he thought he should pray for me.
We prayed for a while, just about purpose and God having plans, when the person from work I'd been speaking to came up to the front, and said that she'd seen an image of a plaster, and that she thought that it was relevant to someone. Enter stage left, one sign from God.
So I bit the bullet and explained my SI to the person praying for me, who while he looked a bit shocked, took it well, and started praying about that... at which point I just felt completely flooded with God - I burst into tears, and started shaking, and about from the odd word, stood there, in the middle of everyone, crying for what I guess must have been at least half an hour.
After that, Chris came up to me, and asked if I was ok. The only answer I could think of was "I don't know", which is fairly usual for me at a Big Story - Chris had certainly heard it before, and knew well enough that an answer like that meant I could do with going somewhere less full of people.
So we went out to one of the corridors, and sat on a sofa, where I just sat, and starred into space for a while. After a bit, he asked me if I wanted to talk... so I thought for a while, and then started the only place I really knew - the night before when I'd been on the edge of killing myself. I got about 6 words out, and then started crying again, and didn't stop for what I guess must have been about 15 minutes, hugging Chris.
Eventually I stopped, and during that time the person who'd been praying for me earlier had seen me, gone again, and come back with some tissues.
Being Chris, he did the only thing he could do, and asked if they could pray for me again... so they prayed for me, and I cried a bit more. After praying for a while, Chris told me that he didn't think that God wanted me to just survive, but that he wanted me to rise above everything, and to enjoy life.
During that time, the event had finished, and since neither of us had a way home planned (we usually blag a lift of someone afterwards), I asked if he was ok walking home so that we could talk.
That's probably the longest walk I've ever had (and I've got lost in the New Forest for 6 hours before) - I explained to him how I feel... that I'm constantly lonely, but being around people just makes me feel more alone. How I can't talk to people about how I feel. The hopelessness of fighting through today, so that tomorrow can be the same.
And he listened - and more importantly admitted that he didn't know how it felt, or how to help. He even asked if there was anything that he could do to help, so I told him just to check up on me every now and then, and that if I say I'm "ok", then I'm probably not because ok isn't a state I'm ever in.
Eventually we got to my house, where we said goodbye, and I went in and explained everything to the friend I was meant to be in London with (I'd spoken to her on the phone earlier, but not really explained why I hadn't come).
And today - for the first time in as long as I can remember - I felt... peaceful. Sure, there were moments when I got depressed again, I didn't expect everything to go away over night, but there were moments when I could be happy just being.
I'm still a little scared... all of a sudden all the feelings I've kept carefully locked away inside so that no one knows that I'm not ok are outside. People who I've been telling I'm not great, but I'll be ok now know that I wasn't ok... I wasn't even nearly ok.
Somehow though, it's good to know that people care... the main reason I don't talk to people about how I feel is the belief inside me that they just wouldn't care if I did. They'd listen, and look sympathetic, but then they'd go home and forget about it.
Now I know they do care - I've seen a friend cry about it, and another forget about the fact I left them in the middle of London. I just need to remember that.
Sorry if this has been long and rambly, but I wanted to have this written down somewhere, so that I can go back to it later and remember it all. If you've read this far - thanks
Guess it's time to journal again.
No, I'm not dead just yet, just not been around the office much, which is where a lot of my journalling gets done from.
Firstly - my job rocks, I got to spend today filming people doing mock interviews, which is easily the best bit of the courses we run... most of the candidates start of the course under-confident, and unenthusiastic because of long periods of being turned down for jobs.
By this point (last few days of week 4) they're all doing job interviews in front of an audience and video camera which would put most people to shame. Just seeing people confident about the skills they have, and able to see how they'd be an asset to the jobs is stunning.
So what if I've got a backlog of work at the office - it's worth it to see this happen.
Is still a bit of a bitch. Tonight's cell was on the subject of trust, which is a big thing for me - as highlighted by the fact I deftly stayed quiet about almost everything I feel on the subject. I don't trust people, and that's just life for me. There are times I wish I could, but for some reason I can barely be open enough with people to tell them any more than "I'm tired".
On a positive side though, out of the blue I received an e-mail this afternoon from a friend I'd lost touch with, who had been reading my old journal entries - the e-mail was on the subject of my "losing touch with people" entry. If you're reading this, I am going to reply, I just havn't got round to it yet.
Journaliser is slowly (very slowly) developing, however I've been asked if I'd help develop BlogIM instead, which is a blog type system which can be sent instant messages, which will then be posted as entries. Nifty stuff, which needs a web frontend for the things you can't do as easily through MSN.
I'm not sure what I'll do right now, since I've put a lot of time into Journaliser, however working with an existing code base should allow me to work on the more interesting bits, instead of dwelling on low-level stuff (although the form engine I've developed for Andromeda is looking good now - it loads XML based form definitions, with validation rules and other nice stuff).
To fill in some time this evening, I did a design for a new website for my church, which has been on my todo list for about 6 months now - here, partly as an excuse to try out Macromedia's Contribute, which seems to be some very nice stuff. It allows me to design page templates, which can then be used to create pages on the site by other people using a stripped down version of Dreamweaver, which is limited to only being able to edit marked blocks (so people can't mess up the navigation for example), and only being able to apply standard XHTML and CSS classes to text, so they can't insert the obligatory 76pt pink text everyone seems to need.
If you take a look at the mockup, the children's events page, and parts of the youth events page were created in Contribute as an experiment.
Well, enough from me, I'm going to bed.
Christmas Present Ideas
Anyone short of people to give Christmas presents to, you could send a few new load balancers to the people at Learn Direct's data centre, since they're site is painfully slow at the moment.
Journaliser is my current pet project, which will eventually be a (smaller) Live Journal style site.
I'm aware that there are loads already, but it's more a real site to develop a framework I'm doing for, then something I expect to get big.
Anyway - I just did (another) design for it, which I think may make it to the final site, so go take a look at it: http://www.jellybob.co.uk/~jon/journaliser/.
Fight for your jobs!
So, who thought that an article on whether IT matters wouldn't cause a storm on /.
All of a sudden all the die hard sysadmins fight for their jobs, despite the realisation that in the scheme of things they matter about as much as a janitor these days - without them, all businesses would fall apart, but they aren't thought of as something that matters. Or at least not until "the internet" breaks, at which point they should have been there yesterday, in readiness for said breakage.
I'm not bitter.
Mood swings are my current thing to piss me off. I'd really like to be able to stay in a happy mood, instead of defaulting back to depressed the moment the thing that was causing happy was happening.
This evening has been really bad for that - I've had a crappy day at work, trying to sort out kit for presentations at our funder's day tomorrow. We've only got one projector, because the other one was left out at the course we're running despite me asking them to bring it back with them tonight.
I got home, and rang around to find out who was driving it there (I don't have a car), since everyone was in a meeting this afternoon, to be greeted by answering machines all round, and then went to my cell group.
Which despite my misgivings about wanting to be there, was *really, really good*. People were really open for once, with everyone sharing something they wanted praying for, and then being prayed for (I know, it doesn't sound like progress, but my cell is made up of an age range between 15 and 20, with 3 people dealing with depression). We're also arranging to have a (possibly free) "team building" day to try and get some friendships developed... there are perks to having someone who works at an outdoor activity centre in your cell ;)
It was also encouraging to see our resident not-yet-christian not only being willing to have people pray for her, but also praying for other people. If anyone wants to do some praying for a random teenager on the other side of the world, there's one here who could use some prayer.
After cell, I came home to... being depressed again. Just blank really, no feelings. I'd been feeling good, and in the time it took to get a lift up the road (about 5 minutes), I was back to my normal self... don't most people feel good for longer than that after a good time?
Then I spoke to one of the friends I havn't spoken to in ages on MSN for a while... she's one of my closest friends, who I can always talk to as myself, rather than the "happy me" most people get, and it was really good. Eventually we got round to discussing how we should set up a freak commune on a tropical islands, with sand castles, coconut trees, and... dinosaurs.
And then I finished talking to her, and went back to this state which I've been in for about an hour now.
Incidently, I sent a text message to the person organising the thing tomorrow, assuming he'd pick it up tomorrow morning, just checking what was happening. I got one back saying he'd gone into work and picked the stuff up this evening.
It's always good to be kept informed about things... if I hadn't checked tonight, I'd have ended up going into work (about 20 minutes out of the way to where I need to be tomorrow by bike), to find the stuff was already at the hotel we're doing the event in.
Sometimes I wonder why I bother putting any effort into this job.
Of course then I hear someone else got a job using skills they wouldn't have learnt if it wasn't for us, and I remember why.
Is surprisingly good at the moment, although completely exhausting at the same time.
For the first time I'm being a support tutor for IT section of the month long employment preparation course we run, and I'm having a great time. Nothing can quite come close to knowing at the end of the day you've made a difference for someone.
The only problem is not really having time for any other work, so my todo list for things that need doing when I get back to a normal schedule is growing by the day. I'm also deeply disappointed I'm going to miss Thursday's session because I get to setup projectors and run the presentations for a fund raising day. I know it needs doing, but I'd rather be teaching people the basics of IT, than sucking up to people with fat checkbooks thanks.
Anyway - time to go to bed.
Oh the irony
Do I sense a bit of self parody in Nat Friedman's logo for his website?
I spent this evening watching Equilibrium, which has some of the most impressive gun fight scenes I've seen in a film - usually I get bored after a while, but they manage to keep them fluid and interesting by blending them with kung fu style moves.
It's also an interesting adaptation of the storyline of Farenheit 451 - if you havn't read it, go do that now.
The bit of the story that really hit me was the use of drugs to surpress emotion in an attempt to end violence, by getting rid of negative feelings. However surpressing them, also causes the good things to be surpressed as well, resulting in a world where everyone is in a state of blankness (apart from the main characters, who seem to be let off the "no feelings" law so long as they make the film interesting).
So - would it be worth it? No more pain, no more unhappiness.
No. There are days when I think, maybe, it might be worth it. Just after thinking that though, I tend to realise that when I feel good, I tend to feel really good.
Anyway, enough ramblings - I'm gonna go fill in some time.
I give up.
Why am I bothering to fight anymore?
Yes, I'm a sad, sad motherfucker, with nowhere to go when I feel like shit but a bunch of people I've never met, and I barely know beyond what they've decided to post to a website.
Having been thinking for a while about work, I think things are looking up - for the past couple of months I've been completely unmotivated about work, and finally worked out why.
At the moment my job is almost exclusively sysadmin/tech support, which while I love computers and networking, it doesn't really challenge me in any way, so at the end of the day I go home feeling like I havn't really achieved anything.
However the thing that keeps me going here is the people - working in the online centre most of the time, I'm constantly in contact with clients. Despite my griping at times (most days I can't really get much done, because I'm always being asked for help with things), it's the bit of the job I love doing.
So, this morning I talked things through with my team coordinator, and hopefully I should be more involved with the training side of things in the future. It was starting to go that way a little already, because I'm going to be involved with the IT training side of an employment course we started this week.
Turns out my TC was thinking about putting more of that into my job anyway, with me being more involved with one to one client support, instead of just the impromptu people who need some help, and who have worked out that I can usually get obscure things sorted quicker than the trainers.
Anyway, gotta go help someone.