“Our logic is full of holes...
I can see the bubbles.”
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void* Randomness ( )
/* How are you gentlemen? All your James Joyce are belong to us! */
/* October 31, 2002 */
/* "Good King Wenceslas looked out..."

Happy Hallowe'en, or wherever the accursed apostrophe is supposed to go...

We've just been a-wandering around the village (I'm back on the Island for the moment), doing the kinda anti-hallowe'en thing, singing Christmas Carols and leaping on Trick-or-Treat-ers...

"Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was..."

It's not seasonal, but since when has that mattered? It was fun, if slightly mournful in an odd way, and it was festive. Jingle bells down Galley Lane with two of the group wearing Hallowe'en masks...

I'm very tired now. */
/* October 25, 2002 */
/* I think I may be becoming unwillingly addicted to Bear In The Big Blue House. It's just so gloriously.... itself. Take a girt big blue toy dollshouse type thing (but full size), add some unique touches, and insert the following characters:

  • Bear
    Bear is large, shaggy, and enthusiastic. Has a habit of sniffing at the camera and looking vaguely confused. Very expressive eyebrows. Can sing and dance well. There are occasions when all one can see of him is his nose....

  • Tutter
    Tutter is a hyperactive, maniacal, blue mouse. Determined. Goes head-on at everything - most terrifying mouse ever.

  • Treelo
    Equally maniacal green lemur. Rolls his 'r's, and indeed any other letter he can get hold of - his speech is incomprehensible. Which is good in a green lemur. Just the way I like them.

  • Pip and Pop
    Twin - purple - otters. Equally maniacal.

  • Ojo
    A brown bear - the quietest of the lot, I think. Very imaginative. Apparently "Although not related to Bear, she has a special relationship with him since they are from the same species."

And, well... there's Luna, the moon, who is a kinda gospel-type singer... and there's the frankly disturbing Shadow girl, whom I feel sure must be some kind of benevolent spook....

For example. A mouse attempting to get eggs into his mousehole by catapulting them with a spoon - of course, they crack, or rather splat - and it is suggested to him that there's a better way of doing it. This better way ends up consisting of using a cheese-grater propped up against the egg-box to roll the eggs down in a bowling-esque fashion into the hole.

And whatever it was, the fucking thing just twanged again. */
/* October 23, 2002 */
/* I don't know what it is that's going "twang" in yonder dark living room, but whatever it is, it just did it again.

Allow me to explain. Charlie, the dim, damp, large, and deeply (and wetly) loving male cat has brought something in and let it go, it is thought. Daisy (other, intelligent, ancient, female cat) has been doing a bloodhound impersonation around the floor, and there are the noises. Yesterday there was a twanging noise in the afternoon - but not just any old twanging noise, the rich resonant ruler-on-a-desk twang. Short but exuding - personality, I suppose. Then there were rustling noises, late last night - and now, another oscillation.

Unless, somehow, he's brought in a swordfish trapped between two bricks, I fail to see quite what is twanging with such vigour; I would sample it and post the sample up here for your edification, delight, and suggestions, if I could only predict when the bloody thing would perform... You'll have to live with a text rendition, I'm afraid:

THUD THUD Thud thud thud thudthudthudthudthudthudududdd

Which I realise leaves something to be desired.

But now I must to bed, because I have Maths twice tomorrow morning at 8:30. Which is just inhumane. */
/* October 21, 2002 */
/* Today, George W Bush announced his War on Snacking; he is expected soon to announce his War On Whatever The Fuck We Like Calling It Whatever The Fuck We Like To Call It.

Shake in terror, humanity. A rending of hair and a wailing of - wails, I suppose. A gnashing of teeth and a boom in the dentistry trade.

Be afraid. */
/* October 19, 2002 */
/* "Enter Lady Macbeth, with a seperate End User License Agreement" - Twelve Banquos

It needed to be said. */
/* October 17, 2002 */
/* I've solved the non-blocking sockets problem. Sod 'em. I'm using blocking listen sockets and many, many threads. Non-blocking client sockets seem to work OK though.

I've also been looking at Aspect Oriented Programming; as far as I understand it, this has another set of strands, somewhat akin to the inheritance-based object heirarchy, running at right angles to it and defining interactions between objects in a similar way to the way objects/classes themselves are defined.

Delphi has already, in some ways, begun this. What I have in mind is the TPersistent.Assign() method, to copy the contents of an object to another - but this is too decentralised in some ways. The Assign() functionality is still smeared liberally over descendants of TPersistent; death by a thousand virtual methods.

As regards this diary itself, it's been in techie mode for some time now, but at least it's doing something useful, rather than just me hating myself publically. That smacks of egotism - as if my rants were worth anything. These may, however, be so.

We shall see. */
/* October 14, 2002 */
/* "We discount as naughty the use of tricks such as Unchecked_Conversion to get at the details of private types."

Techieness follows.

I'm trying to write an ircd - an Internet Relay Chat server program - in the language Ada. Ada (for those who are not in know) is a language of the vaguely Pascalian family. And all is well and good.

What isn't all well and good is that non-blocking listen sockets don't seem to. Just don't, at all.

For the non-techies: a socket is a kind of virtual plug on a computer, which can be virtually connected to another socket on another computer. To fetch a web page, for example, your web browser creates a socket, connects it to another socket on the computer that has the web page you want to access on it, and sends a request for that page down the connection; at which point, the server sends back the page down the connection.

Non-blocking sockets are sockets that don't wait if there's nothing for them to do; if you tell a blocking socket to read data and there isn't any, it will just wait and wait until there is some data to read. A non-blocking socket would just say "there isn't any". I need a non-blocking socket.

A "listening" socket is one that can be connected to. To create a connection between a listening socket and a computer trying to get at that listening socket, the listening computer, the server, needs to "accept" that connection. A non-blocking socket should, by rights, return "there isn't any connection" if you try to accept a connection on it; a blocking socket should wait.

So, armed with this theory I created a Create_Server_Socket procedure in Ada, which created, initially, a blocking listening socket, which you could then accept connections on. This worked as planned; and I could make a connection with telnet, and send data down it. But it wouldn't work for the situation I wanted, where I needed to have several listening sockets and check them in turn. I couldn't wait for there to be a connection on one before checking the other; it's more a case of "nobody clamouring for my attention on 6667, check 6668, no peace for the wicked". So I enabled non-blocking mode on the sockets, according to the manual. Then I ran it.

It ran fine up till it tried to accept a connection, whereupon "accept" blocked. It should have just said "nothing here"; but it stopped and waited. So I tried to connect to it with telnet, and it made the connection, but stayed stopped; that is to say that the bit of the program after the "accept" never got run.

I don't know why not. It ought have done, as far as I can see.

On the other hand, I've only been doing Ada for four days now... I don't know what all the syntax does. Love the apostrophes (attributes) though :)

That was all my day that wasn't in college. */
/* October 9, 2002 */
/* Well.... it's coming on to autumn again, that time when birds stop singing in the trees and teenagers stop bonking in the hedges and both flee from the waning light of the sun to warmer climates and softer pillows...

And it came to pass, for reasons that are just too complicated to explain, that Rob decided to resurrect his blog; not solely to bitch about the high school I used to go to, and which I will probably be sat on if I dare to mention its holy name, but for other reasons too.

This school have objected to me putting the Great Bulletin Scam online. They disliked being satirised; they disliked being spoofed. Why? What have they got to hide? What have they got wrong? People tend to ask at this point, have you ever been parodied?

To which the answer is: "Of course." I have been repeatedly taken the piss out of, and still am; it's a vital means of ego-control, without which one can become an arrogant shit very, very quickly. Which, coincidentally, is precisely my opinion of vast chunks of the so-called infrastructure of this school.

It's a pity, really, that one cannot get a divorce from such; I had much rather never receive any communication from them, officially, again. I don't want them in my life.

I hope they are as ashamed of me as I am of them.

So cheeseyfantasies is down for the moment. I know that my ISP and my family up here are behind me on this, so I hope they'll contact us. Please ;)

If I were in the mood, I would fight this; but Ben's still in their clutches, so I'm being effectively blackmailed into not putting up a fight - and apart from anything else, I'm just far too tired to fight. Because, having sorted out my head to a certain extent - albeit with serious regrets - I am now confused again. But at least it's only confusion.

Raise your espressos, and wish me luck... I may even remember to write in here in future....

No time now for contrition
The time for that's long past
My walls are thin as tissue
And if I talk I'll crack the glass...
So I only think on how it might have been,
locked in silent monologue, in silent scream
Anyway, I'm much too tired to speak
and, as the waves crash on the bleak
stones of the tower, I start to freak....
...and find that I am overcome...
-- Peter Hammill

return 0;

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