Saturday 26th August, 2006
A Webchat utilities script for irssi. Is likely to be very buggy.

CGI:IRC tends to provide the IP of the originating HTTP connection in hex in the username field. This script checks to see whether the username is of the form expected and, if so, converts it to a decimal IP and reverse-resolves it where possible. It provides the following features:

It requires Net::DNS. In addition, please note that at this time the script makes a lookup every time a request is made; there is not yet any caching of DNS responses.

If the connection is being bounced through a proxy then the proxy IP will show up and not the originating IP. There is also no guarantee that an eight-digit hexadecimal ident comes from CGI:IRC, or is the actual IP. Any data produced by this script should be taken only as guidance.

posted by Rob Mitchelmore, 16:28 (anchor)
Monday 21st August, 2006
You Are The Sky, Part 2 is now online. It is probably best to read part 1 before part 2.

posted by Rob Mitchelmore, 15:29 (anchor)
Sunday 20th August, 2006
Once upon a time there was a hemulen who worked in a pleasure-ground, which doesn't necessarily mean having a lot of fun. The hemulen's job was to punch holes in tickets, so that people wouldn't have fun more than once, and such a job is quite enough to make anyone sad if you have to do it all your life.

— Tove Jansson, Tales from Moominvalley

Tove Jansson's illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, The Hunting of the Snark and The Hobbit.

posted by Rob Mitchelmore, 03:57 (anchor)
Monday 14th August, 2006
Currency conversion script for irssi. Knocked up in about two hours last night, so may be buggy yet. It fetches the daily XML feed from the European Central Bank (feed is here) every twelve hours.

To find the list of currencies supported, use the /curlist command. To convert a currency use /cur <amount> <from> <to>.

Let me know if you find any problems.

posted by Rob Mitchelmore, 14:15 (anchor)
Thursday 10th August, 2006
"Soldier, as you sit astride Viellantif
Durendal abides inside your sheath; soon you shall grace the day."

— Van der Graaf Generator - Ronceveaux

"When I shall stand in this great clash of hosts
I'll strike a thousand and then seven hundred strokes,
Blood-red the steel of Durendal shall run."

The Song of Roland 85 (tr. Dorothy L. Sayers)

"You shouldn't ask yourself such worthless questions. Aim higher. Try this: why am I here? Why do I exist, and what is my purpose in this universe?

(Answers: 'Cause you are. 'Cause you do. 'Cause I got a shotgun, and you ain't got one.)

Notably Unstable,

— Bungie - Marathon (Blaspheme Quarantine, Terminal 2)

The Song of Roland is an epic hero-poem in Anglo-Norman (more specifically, it is a chanson de geste, or song of deeds), which according to Dorothy L Sayers probably took the shape in which we now have it in the late eleventh century. It tells the story of the betrayal of Count Roland to the Saracens by Ganelon, of the resulting Battle of Roncevaux Pass, of the death of Roland and of Emperor Charlemagne's subsequent revenge for his death.

This poem has been referred to in many places; two examples that point out something interesting - possibly about human nature in general - can be found in Bungie's Mac game "Marathon" (now downloadable from and in the track "Meurglys III" by Van der Graaf Generator.

In Marathon, the player's character appears at the beginning of the game on a space-ship, with little or no memory of his life up until this point. Upon this ship are three artificial intelligences - the first, Leela, is sane and motherly; the second, Durandal, is insane and treacherous; the third, Tycho, is initially entirely missing. Durendal shares a name with Roland's sword.

In an inversion of the situation in Roland, Durandal adopts the player as his tool or his champion, or indeed as his sword. So whose sword is Durandal?

Meurglys III is a song about a guitar called Meurglys III, which in turn shares its name with Ganelon's sword:

"Then said Marsile: 'One thing alone remains:
There's no good bond where there is no good faith;
Give me your oath Count Roland to betray.'
Ganelon replies: 'It shall be as you say.'
Upon the relics of his good sword Murgleys
He sware the treason and sware his faith away."

Roland 46 (tr. Dorothy L. Sayers with a slight modification)

By contrast to Ganelon's treachery, his sword's namesake is spoken of as something trustworthy:

"Meurglys III, he's my friend,
The only one that I can trust
To let it be without pretence:
There's no-one else.

It's killing me but in the end
There's no-one else I know is true
There's none in all the masks of men,
There's nothing else but my guitar
I suppose he'll have to do."

— Van der Graaf Generator - Meurglys III

So - allowing for the fact that in general whether the sword or computer or instrument's trustworthiness, or "goodness", is a projection of its wielder's or its user's or its player's - what does it say about someone's view of themselves that they name their treacherous (albeit fictional) computer after the good man's sword, or their trustworthy guitar after the traitor's?

posted by Rob Mitchelmore, 23:00 (anchor)
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