Sometime it’s the simple ones…

The box art of Windows 1.0, the first version ...

Working in tech support – or being a “geek on hire” – has its moment. Some problems are a nightmare, or you just get blamed for stuff that’s not your fault because… well, you’re the IT guy and you should be able to fix Windows.

Then you get the occasional easy one. Like this:

*phone rings*

Me: Hey, Vlad. WHat have you broken this time?

Vlad: Nothing. Well. When I boot the PC up it stops and asks me about boot devices and stuff. I get past that and into Windows and try to open a web browser. Everything flickers and flashes. It’s just unusable.

Me: OK… here’s a theory. Grab the keyboard on each side.

Vlad: Yeeees….

Me: And tug it, gently, towards you. About an inch.

Vlad: Erm. OK. …. …. …. It’s stopped flashing!

Me: The desk you’re on’s really small isn’t it?

Vlad: How did you know?

Me: You had the keyboard crushed under the monitor so it was pressing on the function keys.

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The situation in Thailand

Suvarnabhumi International Airport near Bangko...

I’ve spent some time in Thailand over the last couple of years and really like the country. I like the people, the food, the culture, the hustle, the bustle, the films… but their politics is something else. The current situation as I write exemplifies this.

A couple of years ago, as a result of protests and threatened legal action, the then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra stepped down and ran out of the country. Despite a huge pile of allegations of fraud and other financial misdealings, he was deemed suitable by the English FA to own and run a football club so he bought Manchester City and settled down in the UK.

That situation has now changed and some new reports say that he’s now no longer allowed back into the UK as he was found guilty in absentia in the Thai courts. Regardless, the government that took over in Thailand was voted in and is currently headed by Thaksin’s brother-in-law. Not ideal, given that Thaksin’s wife was also found guilty of corruption.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has caused more civil unrest. The party say they were voted in legally. The challengers say that they bought that vote by bribing many of the poorer people up and down the country – of which there are many tens of thousands. Either way, the solution to the problem appears to be the same as it was only a couple of years ago – storm the capital and bring the country to a grinding halt.

Not long after I left Thailand the first time I received a couple of emails from a guy I met while I was travelling. He’d been watching TV when all the channels went dead, to be replaced by something written in Thai that he couldn’t read. Tanks rolled through the streets of Bangkok and a fairly peaceful coup took place. An interim government was set up and barely 18 months later, we’re back where we were only with more protests.

While I was in Malaysia recently, I wanted to get the train up into Thailand but that was scuppered as most train stations in souther Thailand (along with three provincial airports) had been hit and closed by protesters. Nothing particularly violent, but enough to collapse a huge proportion of the infrastructure. Everything was uncertain as regards when transport would start running again to the point where the otherwise excellent Malaysian train system would happily sell you a ticket north… and then ask you to hop off the train at Butterworth and offer a refund for the remainder of the trip.

But now it seems things have reached a head with the taking of Bangkok’s major Suvarnabhumi Airport. Tourists and other travellers are stranded, food and water supplies are running out, air conditioning has been shut off and all the TVs in the lounges have been retuned to a gardening channel so that nobody knows what’s going on.

One thing makes me wonder – was Thailand ever really going to be better off as a democracy? Their king is still widely revered as a near god-like figure, not just an inherited position and the people do listen to him. Perhaps the people of Bhutan have something to learn from this given that they are a brand new democracy also.

Sometimes you wonder if it would be better to leave things as they once were. I’m not saying democracy is a bad thing – nor any other form of government rule – more that trying to change a whole country’s philosophy and structure. It’s too late now, though.

Hopefully, one day, Thailand will settle down into something resembling stability. It’s a wonderful country, but there’s always someone who’ll try and take advantage of any system. For Thailand’s sake, I hope they get it all resolved sooner rather than later – and not just because I can’t wait for my next visit.

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Coffee ‘n’ sugar

Coffee sugar

I don’t like coffee. I love the smell, will eat coffee cake and – although they’re not my favourite by any stretch – I’ll even eat coffee creams. However, it’s not a drink I enjoy.

To whit, another in my extremely limited series of culinary hints and tips:

How to make a cup of coffee in a shared kitchen

1) Use a fucking dry teaspoon. It only takes a second to wipe it on your trousers or whatever. Anything on it will be dropped in scalding water shortly so don’t worry about bogies you’ve wiped on your thigh. Nobody will catch a cold. But make sure the damn thing is dry.

2) Just to be on the safe side – sugar in the cup first. Note: sugar first. Not coffee.

3) A separate step for this as it seems to be beyond the grasp of most coffee drinkers despite following on so closely from rule 2. Coffee second. That’s “second”. As in after the sugar.

Stir, return to desk, enjoy.

By following these simple steps you’ll eliminate the incredibly annoying problem of dropping dollops of coffee powder into the fucking sugar and therefore stopping them ending up in my fucking cup of fucking tea. You cunts.

Failing that, just drink tea and fuck coffee.

Yes, I’ve had a bad day and a fucking worse cup of tea.

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Holy drumming hell!

Vectorized drum kit picture

The guy in the following video is cool as fuck for two reasons:

1) He’s made his own drum kit for Guitar Hero III

2) He’s fucking awesome at it as well.

I tried this track on “easy” at Andy‘s some time ago (it’s DragonForce‘s Through The Fire and Flames) and it’s hard as nails. Seriously. No normal human being should be able to play this. Even using the actual controller sold with the game. Never mind a cardboard box stuffed with switches and coated in coloured stickers.

He’s not absolutely perfect – you can hear him start to miss notes around the 6-minute mark (it’s a long song) but who can blame him? Simply fucking awesome.

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Are you a member of the BNP?

Or, more accurately, were you two years ago?

Then I know where you live(d). As, potentially, does every person in the UK. Including those who’ve been bullied, intimidated, threatened and physically harmed by you and those underage cunts in Combat 18. And now you’re asking for police protection? Suck my cock you racist bastards. I hope you all burn in hell once your homes have been fire-bombed.

As for those of you who bought a family membership and included your children in your blilnkered views… you make me sick.

Anyone want the list so they can find out who near them is a pathetic, small-penised, scared, reprehensible piece of shit on the sole of humanity? Take your pick: text format, spreadsheet, SQL data. The BNP‘s membership list from 2 years ago. I don’t give a fuck if anyone on it gets hate mail. They fucking deserve it.

Cunts. The lot of them.

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