I Hate Going To The Cinema

I have frequented the cinema quite a few times recently and it's reminded me of how much I fucking hate it. Don't get me wrong, I love the experience of watching films on the big screen, but the rest of the experience is bloody awful.

Let's start with the price. It's robbery in any light, day or otherwise. I also despise people kicking the back of my chair, accidental or otherwise. They is no redemption for these people they are going straight to hell.

Then there's people arriving late. It niggles me we people arrive when the previews are showing but arriving after the film has started really pisses me off. There should be a row of really uncomfortable stools by the door where these people have to sit. As the film started last night 2 girls came in, stood in the isle next to me, blocking my view of the left side of the screen, pondering where to sit like it was a difficult algebra equation. These annoying latecomers shouldn't be allowed the disrupt the film for those of us who have the decency to arrive on time.

10 Signs A Geek Is In Love With You

1. You have your own login on his computer.

2. Instead of lovenotes you get sent xkcd links.

3. Any arguments you have are solved by Google.

4. He's milled, soldered or embossed your name into something.

5. You are more likely to discuss what you've seen on the internet than on TV.

6. If you say you want anything, he'll say he'll build you one.

7. He lets you blog on his website (ahem).

8. He's drawn a comic strip starring you.

9. You've been converted to Linux.

10. All your base are belong to him.

It's How I Was Raised...(What as an idiot?)

It's how I was raised...a little phrase encompassing a notion used almost as much as religion as a thinly veiled explanation of prejudicial views.

My mum wore ridiculously high heels all through my childhood. She's suffering for it now. I told her she would. I wear sensible M&S shoes and my feet are just fine. I don't try and stuff my essentially rombus ended feet into triangular ended shoes because quite frankly it's ridiculous. My Dad smoked 80 a day for most of his life and now wheezes and coughs to pass the time.

Great parent eh? Well Yes. Aside from the shoes and a sometimes dodgy dress sense my mother taught me to regard people of all colours, sexes and sexualities equally. Aside from the smoking by father taught me the importance of learning, of questioning and understanding.

God damn crappy software

As a developer I know that software crashes occasionally. I accept these things and move on. Some things, though, are just too god damn annoying to let it pass without rage.

Here is a list of software that has ruined my life this week

Firefox 3.0.4 on Linux:

  • Crashing randomly, even when backgrounded.
  • Can't open many pages that I could before without javascrit errors.
  • Gmail, google search and google images are all now defaulted to plain old HTML
  • flash has stopped working, both free and non-free.
  • Java makes firefox hang, and needs -9 killing

The Manchester Congestion Charge - My 5 Quid’s Worth

Well everyone else has had a whinge. Now its my turn.

So, if we vote yes, we'll get £3 billion pound investment, more trams, more buses, better service and we'll live in a utopian public transport paradise - will we balls! GM Transport managed to spend £250,000 installing a bus stop in Eccles, yes a, one, singular. At that rate we'll get fuck all. If we do vote yes, I predict at least half of the money will go on red tape and senior management bounses.

I get to work by bus and I am voting no. There's just some annoying things about bus travel that the plan doesn't cover like, how to stop people being fucking idiots and gathering around the door at the front of the bus when there are loads of seats and making it difficult for everyone to get off. Or how to stop people which colds and germs coughing and spluttering all over you. Another thing - smelly people - I'd be more inclined to vote yes if the unwashed weren't allowed on.

The X Factor - That's entertainment?

Being away from the usual abode on Saturday night, I was forced to watch the X Factor. Actually thats wrong - I was forced to endure the X Factor. What a big pile of poo.

As I never watch it I thought maybe I had judged too quickly, maybe they were great singers, maybe here was the new Tina Turner or Freddie Mercury....er no. Slightly above average pub singers. So here's what I thought of them.

The Jamelia-a-like - Probably the best one cos I can't remember anything about her. Bland.

The Spanish one - Her body was the different shade of orange to her face.

The Baby Headed one - Surely he's not a man but some giant mutant baby? If you see him run away lest the mother appears.

Life Through a Digital Camera Lens

Whilst at a recent gig it suddenly struck me just how attached the 'yoof' of today are to their camera phones and digital cameras. In fact, it truly concerns me that a whole generation is missing out on living in the moment purely so that can 'capture' that perfect moment and upload it to facebook. It seems that human memory of an event is no longer sufficient and only the pictures stored on the memory card will do.

A group of youngsters in front of me seemed more concerned about getting pictures of themselves enjoying the gig, rather than actually just enjoying the gig! I must admit this did niggle me. Especially when they thrust a digital camera into my face in the middle of my favourite song and asked to take the regulatory group shot.

I make more sense when I sleep

okay, so anyone that knows me or my partner Lucy will know I do wacky stuff in my sleep. I like to spend a large portion of the night talking nonsense, or occasionally making complete sense.
I also appear to like arguing with people in my sleep, possibly acting out the kind of arguments you can't have in the workplace.

I am going to start recording this oddness in the hope that it will all mean something, or it triggers a memory of what I was dreaming about at the time.

Here is a log of some of the things I have apparently (I don't know if it is true!) said in my sleep...

"I don't know, do you know? so you don't know and I don't know. We don't know" etc for about 10 minutes.....

The Untapped (and Open) Source of Great Men

It seems to me there's lots of women outthere trying to find the perfect man and whinging because he does not exist. I can't help but think these women are looking in the wrong places. So I am here to promote and stand up for the greatest untapped source of good men - geeks.

As lots of you know I have my geek. I love him very much and I don't think anyone could have made me happier. I've never really understood why women are attracted to 'bad boys'. For some women it seems sexy = acting like a knob, not for me. I like nice men.

So why geeks? Well first and foremost they'll be so grateful you've taken an interest that they will treat you like a queen. If he says he'll call at 8, he'll call at 8. Afterall it's in his PDA with an alarm reminder.

Android on Kaiser hacking

I have been messing around with getting Linux to boot on the HTC Kaiser, with the end goal of ditching windows. Presented is the LED hack. I am suffering from NIH syndrome on this one, but still cool.

EDIT: I got some emails asking how I got Android on there...
XDA-developers tells you what you need to know. Other non-Kaiser HTC devices should check the XDA developers Wiki

EDIT2: The phone works in Kaiser! Nice work premy!

How?

In a nutshell-> An LED on the phone keyboard is flashed on and off at high speed by incoming serial data.
The serial code that is normally used to talk to a hardware UART is horribly hacked to pipe all serial communications out through the fn led on the keyboard. This is then read by an LDR that is connected to an AVR ADC port. The ADC port then polls the LDR waiting for it to go over a defined threshold. For each 8 bits of on-off flash sequences form the phone, the AVR will combine and put them into a register ready for reading.
The PC then reads the data through USB from the AVR using Dick Streefland's usbtiny software USB stack.

In fact, the whole hardware is based on my OSIF board, with a couple of extra headers soldered on and some small code to parse for the flash sequence.

Why?
Because it's coooool.
In all seriousness I needed to get that data out of the device somehow. Copying log entries by hand is a pain.

Where are the pictures?
Okay, Okay.


Yes, this is running Google Android :)

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Pimp My Ride UK - Make It So

One could blog about the ridiculousness of Pimp My Ride UK indefinitely - the strange hair dos of the mechanics, the bad acting, Westwood - but seeing as the good lady wife has already had a bash at this (Bazmond's Blog) I'd like to suggest ideas how to improve the show rather than ridicule it.

At the beginning of every episode Westwood states how he is going to "pimp UK style" but they're not are they? They are just aping the American style which we have neither the flare nor the enthusiasm to pull off. We should embrace our britishness, and here's how.

Uefa Cup Final – They Came, They Saw, They Shit All Over Our City

So the match was lost, an army sized force is needed to clean up the city and a Zenit St Petersburg fan was stabbed. In the immortal words of Arnold J Rimmer – well I can’t say I’m surprised.

I admit I don’t like football, I agree with my boyfriend who states that football is so popular because its simplicity means the lowest common denominator can understand it. Clearly the type of denominator that will stab someone when their team loses. I really do try to have an open mind about football but time and time again I original feelings about it are proved correct.

Take the litter. One could be forgiven when getting off the bus this morning that you had arrived at the gates off a rubbish tip, not Manchester city centre. It was totally disgusting and due to the amount of beer spilt on the now extremely sticky Market Street, I fear resembled the T1000 when exposed to liquid nitrogen whilst I walked to work.

Time for a Change

I’m tired, my feet hurt and I’m in work. I need some magic medicine. In my case it’s sausage butties. Nothing else can get me out of my doldrums and get me through the day. So butty and fruit juice in hand (well we all have to make some concessions to health) I head to the till and pay with a crisp tenner, freshly out of the coinshitter (for all those Charlie Brooker readers) and in doing so clean the poor canteen lady out of all of her £1s and 50ps. In my current place of work the canteen staff never complain when you pay with notes, something of a novelty, but it just adds to my guilt when I leave them changeless.

Ubuntu on HP V6000 (V6032EA)

I just purchased a new laptop, a HP V6032EA and came across quite a few issues while setting it up.

To install from Live CD
The Live Cd will lock up without some intervention.
Put in the live CD and when prompted for a boot option, press F6. Add the kernel option "noapic" and boot.

You will need to enter this option once the install is finished
On the boot menu, press "e", move down to the line that starts "kernel" and press "e" again. Appent the line with the "noapic" option. We will make this more permanent later

Getting the wireless working

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Eau de Z-list

Celebrity perfumes really get up my nose.

I read something the other day about how Kate Moss was keen to create a 'signature scent'. Do they really think we are dumb enough to believe that Kate Moss is sat in a lab adding a smidge of lavendar and a pinch of musk to her lovingly created concoction? The most she probably does is have a quick whiff before it's shipped out to the shops. If the perfume makers were creating her true smell, it would probably smell of shampoo, lenor and the inevitable stale fags and booze - nice.

But its not about the smell at end of the day is it? Put Kate Moss's face on anything and it's likely to sell - expect the Kate Moss urinal later this year. Though why Jade Goody's perfume sold so well is still beyond me.

The Cult of the Stupid Pretty Girl

We all have favourite things, I love books. In fact it verges on the obsessive. I get a thrill when I enter a bookshop which I suspect other women get in shoe shops. I rearrange my furniture in the hope of finding space for another bookshelf. Books are quite frankly brilliant and can take you anywhere and let you do anything. This year alone I've travelled to another world in search of a fallen star, journeyed into untapped realms of the mind, delved into quantum physics, walked the mean streets with a private dectective and had an adventure with a scarecrow. Yes, all this from a book!

eBay extras... extra lols

I just got an email from eBay inviting me to earn points by spending money by buying.

Their generous offer was for 5 points per £1 you spend. "Fair enough", I thought I will sign up and see what I could earn.

Well... it turns out that they are pretty crazy bands for the points. I have to earn 10000 points to get a T-shirt or a £5 web cam. 10000 points? I nearly fell off my chair with laughter. I laughed and laughed for all of a minute until the anger set in. They want me to spend £2000 in 53 days in order to get enough points to buy a T-shirt? Are they taking the piss? What kind of incentive scheme makes you spend the best part of 2 months wages to get a sodding T-shirt? ... Deep breaths ...

VW Passat Comfort Control Module harness repair

If you own a VW Passat, and also have some funky things happening with your electronics you probably have something wrong with your Comfort Control Module (CCM), or at the very least, the wiring harness.

If your Passat has these symptoms, in part or in full, you are almost certainly in for a rough time.

  • Remote keyfob not working
  • No electric windows
  • No interior lights
  • Funky clicking noises coming from the passenger seat (RHD)
  • General strange things going on with your electrics

All of these things are controlled by a box called the Comfort Control Module (CCM) that sits in a box under the passenger floor panel (RHD). This box hold all of the key electronics that control all of the above functions. Unfortunately for us Passat drivers, there is a bloody awful problem with water getting into the foot well of that car, and ruining your fancy control electronics.

If you have, or suspect you have water coming into the car, I would highly recommend you follow this excellent guide to cleaning out the drainage holes by Ewan

After you have followed this guide, and you have removed the source of the problem, you will need to check all of your wiring, and also your CCM.

So how do you do it? I will try and give you a head start. I wasn't really prepared for what would be involved in this, and took some photos as a reminder to me... I always forget where all of those screws go.

As it turns out it wasn't too painful.

Things you will need

  • A philips head screwdriver
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • A soldering iron/cable joining kit
  • (Optional) A multimeter
  • (Optional) A VAG-COM KKL cable and a registered VAG-COM software
  • patience
  • A strong arm and a indifference to blood, sweat and tears
  • Caffeine. Tea/coffee. Whatever is your poison

EDIT:- I removed the clip connections and soldered them while trying to figure out a different issue. It is much cleaner and I have more faith in this arrangement


Step 1 - removing the panels

The CCM is under the carpet in the passenger foot well. You need to remove a couple of pieces of trim to gain access to this.

The first thing to remove is the plastic trimming at the front of the door.

First up is the panel on the left of the foot well, in front of the door. This is held in with one screw and covered by a plastic cap. Use a small blade to pop the cap off, and then remove the screw.
This panel also has some clips onto the chassis, so more brute force is needed.
This foot plate is clipped into the chassis, and comes off with a reasonable amount of force. Use a flat headed screwdriver to gently prize it up from the front of the car backwards. I started from the underside of the panel (the floor) and pushed upwards with the screw driver.
This piece of trim runs the whole length of the car, but you should only need to unclip it as far as the seatbelt.
Last in this section is the clip that hold the carpet to the floor. Although there are 2 of these, I found I only needed to remove the one closest to the door.

Step 2 - lift the carpet

The carpet is very thick, and will require a lot of force to lift it up. You will not be able to lift it all the way over to get easy access, as the whole carpet is in one huge piece. Believe me, you don't want to remove the dash to get it up... it is not worth it.
As you can see from mine, there is rather a lot of water in there. Get a cloth and mop it up. I also ran a fan heater in the car for a few hours to get the wetness out of the carpet. This makes it easier to get though the next bit without getting wet.

Step 3 - remove the CCM

You should see a large black box with a bundle of wires going into it. Put your hand in, and pull the black box out. It is not attached to anything, so it comes out easily enough.
The module is inside of this plastic box. As you can see from the photo, the box has clips on one end. Use your flat headed screwdriver to pop these open. Inside you will see the module. The wires go into two large connectors that are plugged into the CCM.
Remove the CCM from the enclosure by flexing the plastic clips away from the base of the module. be careful not to snap them off. Be gentle.
There are push clips at the top and bottom of the connector. Push these and remove the connectors. Slide the rubber seal upwards to remove the harness from the enclosure.
You should now have the harness and box separated.

Step 4 - Clean and dry the CCM

You will need to check the CCM printed circuit board (PCB) for water damage. Removal is similar to the larger enclosure. Use the flat screwdriver to pop open the clips. There are 2 at each end.
Now you should have your CCM PCB out. Be careful not to touch the sensitive electronics, as this may cause it to never work again.
Look over it for water damage. If your board look really corroded, you may be out of luck. You can replace this with a second user one, but this is beyond the scope of this guide. If you need another one, you will need to get some additional help form the vw forums. You will need a VAG-COM cable, and a license to program your new module. Luckily mine was clean.
Put it somewhere nice and warm for a couple of hours.

Step 5 - Look over your wiring harness

As you can see, my wiring harness was a goner. The water had soaked into the binding, and it had come off in huge sections.
You will see some wires are wrapped in a black tape. This is where they are factory joined to the main harness. This is where they fail. Carefully remove the wrapping from the cable from the twin connectors backwards.

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Tea Dance at the Trafford Centre

Met my mate at the Trafford Centre last night, and while I was waiting I was watching the OAPs at the tea dance that is hosted there every Tuesday. I think it's great - kudos to them for getting out there and keeping active (we could all take a leaf out of their books!). My new hero is the old gal in the yellow top dancing by herself, doing her own moves in her own little world. She was brilliant, dancing her socks off and not giving a toss who was looking.

Whilst I was watching them, there were a few teenagers watching to and I am afriad to say laughing. Bunch of small minded pricks. I've never really been a stout believer in respecting someone just because they have managed to live a long time but rather I believe they should earn respect on how they have lived their life, and getting out there and having a good time when others your age for starting to give up cetainly wins my respect. What's to laugh at? I'd like to ask these teenagers. The dancing? The fact that they are old? Laughing at someone because they are old is as bad as laughing at someone because of their colour or sexual orientation. What makes me laugh is the teenagers doing the laughing will be old themselves one day!

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