I think that I shall never see / A directory lovely as a tree
I think that I shall never see / A directory lovely as a tree

This is from Arz Fine Foods. Their logo is a tree. On this receipt, they’ve got a tree alright, but no-one expected an MS-DOS directory tree. I think, as we sort of say in Scotland, that someone made an arz of this …

(I’m not hating on Arz, btw. They have an epic selection of foods, including fresh Sukkari dates.)

This is why we still have real calculators…

gnome-calculator fail

This is about scientific notation, and how Gnome Calculator still doesn’t do it correctly.

So I was checking a simple calculation today, and couldn’t find a proper calculator, so I reached for gnome-calculator on the desktop. That was a mistake.

It seems to think that


comes to


which is not correct. It would, if I’d  typed it as:


You can only get the right answer (1333.333…) if you type


so it’s clear that gnome-calculator isn’t apply the right exponentiation operator precedence when you hit ‘×10y’. It would have been so much better if gnome-calculator supported ‘E’ scientific notation (1.333E21 for 1.333×10²¹).

A bug is filed, but I don’t think I trust it any more. I’m looking at having a proper calculator again, or maybe invest in one of the delightful tiny HP clones from SwissMicros.com.

HP 49G

Almost forgot that I had a barely-used HP 49G in the cupboard. It was barely used because the thing eats AAA batteries. Who knew that Dollarama would have a pair of NiMH AAAs for only $2?

Update, 2021: Use galculator instead. It does the right thing, and supports RPN like a calculator should. You don’t need to remember any precedence rules when you have The Truth.

Mesmerizing, isn’t it?

This is my profile on Microsoft’s new social thing, socl:

Every link produces no content, and the name looks suspiciously like “sod” if over-kerned. Well, at least it’ll make Google+ feel busy.

I can’t seem to do anything; creating a post gives me this:


Put me out to pasture, my conference swag skills are failing.

I picked this up at Solar Power International:

I thought I was picking up a USB memory stick, as I’d nabbed one in the same form factor before. Break off the backing card at the hinge, and you’ve got a nice tiny data store like the Kingmax ones I used to use.

On plugging it into my Mac, a couple of icons bipped on my dock, then Skype opened. Wat? More importantly, there was no storage to be seen, so once my virus fears had subsided a bit, I was determined to find out what this pointless piece of plastic was doing.

The stick identified itself to the system as an Apple keyboard (USB ID 05ac:020b), and spits out the following characters (captured by cat and xxd on my Raspberry Pi):

0000000: 1b72 1b5b 317e 1b5b 3477 7777 2e62 757a  .r.[1~.[4www.buz
0000010: 7a63 6172 642e 7573 2f73 6365 2d32 3230  zcard.us/sce-220
0000020: 0a                                       .

After reading about evil USB dongles, it seems that the Ctrl-R keypress it’s sending is the Windows “Open Browser” command, and then opens the url www.buzzcard.us/sce-220. This link redirects to www.plugyourbrand.com/gosolar_sce/index.html?u=220, which appears to do some Flash/JS stuff which I don’t want to understand.

The funny thing is, the card has the perfectly respectable www.GoSolarCalifornia.ca.gov (well, respectable if you consider a US .gov website as such) link printed on it. Even printing a card with a QR code linking to that address would be less opaque.

(This is not a link to goatse, honest.)

As is, a bunch of plastic was wasted in vain just to save people typing an URL. We’re all going to die, and it really is your fault …

best fail whale


(nicked from)

Flattr doesn’t work for me

So my six month experiment with Flattr has come to an end. In short, my revenue was a measly €0.42 for €2/month payment. Not worth it.

Flattr was just too much hassle. I’d want it to be able to add pages from an RSS feed, but instead, every page had to be added manually. It wouldn’t even spider your sites to index content. You had to go to the site to find new things to read (I’ve never found a Flattr badge in the wild), and it is really difficult to filter by language and keywords. Worst of all, you have to remember to click on at least one thing a month, otherwise your payment would disappear down a black hole.

Here’s my payment/revenue breakdown:

Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
Flattr earnings -> revenue
Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
Flattr earnings -> revenue
Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
Flattr earnings -> revenue
Means -> Monthly Flattr amount
PayPal -> means

And here’s what was actually clicked:

Period Thing Clicks Revenue
2010-05 We Saw a Chicken … 1 €0.20
2010-05 Numpty’s Progress 1 €0.13
2010-09 Numpty’s Progress 1 €0.09

My blogs might be a bit, um, niche, but I’d expected to have at least broken even.

failing to sail away

I just can’t get the B-part of Sail Away Ladies down, so the ladies will have to stay on land for now.

Categorised as banjo Tagged ,

I hate Sony

While I like my Cybershot P100, I can’t believe that Sony would make the Memory Stick Pro incompatible with older Memory Stick readers. It’s bad enough that Sony had to created their own expensive, proprietary memory card format (which does exactly what better than CF or SD?), but to make it incompatible between revisions of itself is beyond inexcusable.

Y’see, I scored a cheapo Lexar multi card reader from CWO the other week because it was quite small and takes both CF and MS. I discovered this evening, when it failed to read my MS Pro cards (in the adaptor) but happily read my mum’s plain MS card, that the two formats are gratuitously incompatible. Um, hello, earth to Sony R&D …

failing to excel

The MS Excel spreadsheet function for square root is called SQRT. The MS Excel VBA macro function for square root is called SQR.

So a function you’ve tried out in your spreadsheet won’t work as a macro. What a bunch of shambling morons.

death of a dongle, again

That’s the second SMC 2862W-G USB Wireless-G dongle that’s given up on me. They’ve both run okay for a while, then overheated, and given up. From then on, they’ll only work for a few minutes, then stop. The folks at Sonaggi must be getting tired of me bringing them back.