Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

The strange and deluded ramblings of a rather odd person. Hello Dude - It's Me

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These pages are all my own work. Unfortunately that may be a terrible admission. In these pages are various writings of mine, from the first part of my life story, to poems, to mad ramblings without excuse. Below the links to the articles is my blog. Not to be confused with the Techie Blog, this is random ramblings from life.

Rambling Rumination

Diving or Drowning Part I. The first part of my Autohagiography... up to the point where I first take ecstacy. The tale of how a polite, well mannered middle-class child became such a ruffian.....

Diving or Drowning Part II. The second part of my life story - the further fall....

Life in Romania. An article about living in Romania. This follows two visits in 2004 and 2005 to visit my wifes parents. Life is very different in Romania than it is here in Britain.

A Random Assortment. A short collection of my poetry. There's one or two gems buried in here.

HumanOS v1.3. Subtitled baby crocodiles, computers and the human personality. This is an article that compares the human mind to a computer operating system. It touches on artifical intelligence and the ages old Nature versus Nurture debate.

Christian Meditation. A short piece on Christian meditation - exploring living Spirituality with God.

Imagine Paradise. No its not about a large network of computers, its actually about Christian Community..... and why we bother.

The first is an article on the spiritual power of symbols and sacraments. The second one, is on what sort of truth we can expect to find in the bible - with a brief section providing one possible reconciliation between modern science and Genesis. They should both be understandable by 'beginners' to the subjects.

Quick 'n' Dirty HTML. Need to get a webpage up quick and never done any HTML before ? This article will get you up to speed with the basics, using a TABLE for layout. Not for those who want nice, standards compliant, XHTML and CSS...

Voidspace Story. My cyberpunk short story. Lovely imagery but very short *sigh*. Come and play in the Void !

Beginners Guide to Atlantis. My beginners guide for new players of Atlantis - the computer 'Play-by-eMail' game. Very useful if you`ve just started to play.

Stardust the Movie

emoticon:fuzzy Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors. He conjures up phantasmagorical worlds that explore both the murky and the wondrous aspects of the human psyche.

Movies usually manage to ruin books, luckily I haven't read Stardust and the trailer makes it look superb. Laughing

The movie is due in August. It has a 'star-studded' cast (no pun intended), including Ricky Gervais of all people. From the trailer he looks well cast. Smile

I rarely go to the cinema, but I might have to make an exception for this one...

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-25 21:53:27 | |
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The Future Has Arrived

emoticon:carrot I guess you already knew this, but the future has arrived. Cool

Want to buy some nano-chemicals?

Products available include nanotubes, fullerenes, nanodiamonds, ceramics, nano-metals, quantuum dots and self-assembling molecules...

Free pocket time-projection lamp or swiss watch with every order!

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-25 13:19:28 | |
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Romanian Recipes on Delia's Website

emoticon:objects I've always been very proud of my wife Delia, and especially her cooking. (Those of you who have visited us will know what I mean.)

She now has her own website, with some traditional Romanian recipes:

In case you hadn't guessed, the website name is a tribute to that other cooking Delia: Delia Smith . Smile

There's still more work to be done on the site, more recipes and photos and so on, but it's a good start.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-23 23:16:36 | |
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Virginmedia Hates its Customers (and their website sucks rocks)

emoticon:black_hat Or at least has sufficient disdain for them that it doesn't feel the need to respond to questions, queries and complaints... The odd thing is, that this disdain even extends to ignoring requests for help about upgrading a service.

NTL broadband became Virgin media recently (don't ask me who bought whom). NTL have always had a bad reputation for customer service, and it is reassuring that Virgin media are continuing this fine corporate tradition. Despite this I have been reluctant to transfer away. NTL (as they were) are one of the few broadband providers in the UK who can run intarwebz pipes to your door without requiring a phone line. This means that you can satisfy your insatiable passion for lolcats [1] without paying for a landline you don't want.

On top of this, their 'unlimited' service really means unlimited. Various internet providers (particularly mobile internet) offer 'unlimited' services - but the not-so-small-print specifies that this is 'unlimited so long as you don't use more than X'... Has the word 'unlimited' changed meaning behind my back, or are they just lying?

Anyways... back to the point. I recently wanted to widen my pipes, I can has moar internetz. Unfortunately, upgrading via the website requires umpteen versions of different NTL account numbers. The only support number they list is one of those 0845 numbers that cost a fortune to phone from a mobile (see previous comment about not wanting / having a landline) so I used their 'contact us' webform. After what felt like eighteen clicks I finally got to an email form where I could ask a question. The only options I could select were disconnection query / complaint / moving house. I hadn't intended to make a complaint, but by this time it felt kind of appropriate anyway, so I selected this option (informing them that it wasn't really a complaint) and asked for help upgrading my account.

I bet you can guess what happened next. Yup, you got it, nothing. Actually I did get a confirmation email telling me that they would eventually respond. But they didn't. A few days later I went through the same process, but by now it was a complaint. Same confirmation email and same lack of a response. sigh So there you have it: don't bother complaining to virginmedia through their webform because they don't reply and they don't care.

Eventually I gave up (this was a few weeks ago) and did manage to dig out my NTL numbers and upgraded the service. This was supposed to get me access to several freebies, which are probably not worth the having but I thought I would login and have a look. I logged in and tried to access them, but it just dumped me back to a page asking me to login. I then tried to access my webmail account (I never use their account - but hey), and it asked me for a password and informed me that the standard one (which worked elsewhere) was wrong. So I used the 'forgotten my password' feature - which promptly informed me that it had emailed my password... to the account I was trying to access. Now if only I could figure out my password I would be able to look at it! doh

Their website has lots of other usability issues, it had me going round in bizarre circles several times. What's worse is that they seem to have dropped (at least I can't find it) the 'service page' which tells you when any planned maintenance, or other outages, are likely to happen. Now when my pipes suck instead of blow, I don't know whether it is intended or just because Virginmedia sucks...

Thanks fore listening to my rant. Razz

[1]And yes... I've read them all.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-21 15:05:16 | |
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Breaking Language Barriers

emoticon:judge In the last ten or fifteen years Britain has seen a great deal of inwards migration. Of course this is not the first time, even in recent history, but every generation thinks that they are the first... Wink

The pattern of immigration has been changing though. Even five years ago there were a huge number of asylum seekers from oppressed and war torn countries: Iraq, Iran and Somalia [1] for example. Currently we are seeing a great deal of economic migrants from Eastern Europe, particularly from the new EU countries like Poland. I can't imagine why (of all places) Polish workers would want to come to Northampton, but very welcome they are. Smile

Delia helps teach English as a second language, as part of the 'New to UK' scheme run by the Jesus Centre. She has just been employed part time by them, to help launch a new initiate seeing how we can best serve the new communities in Northampton.

  • There are 7 million people in the UK whose first language is not English.

  • EAL (English as an Additional Language) is YAA (Yet Another Acronym) adopted by 'A Fresh Start' when referring to teaching English to learners under the age of 16. The term used for post-16 education is ESOL.

  • Potential ESOL learners fall into 4 broad categories:

    1. Settled communities (esp. Chinese); these groups can be difficult to reach, mainly due to irregular working timetables;
    2. Refugees:
      1. Asylum seekers (they usually face housing problems, culture shock, after-effects of trauma, difficulties in understanding the new system);
      2. Settled refugees;
    3. Migrant workers (mainly from Europe; their primary aim is to work and to learn/improve their English; they have no intention to settle long-term in the UK);
    4. Partners/spouses of students from all over the world who are settled for a short period, but have no time or money to follow intensive EFL courses.
[1]Northampton has a very established Somali community.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-21 14:10:58 | |
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Chinese in Northampton

emoticon:target Sorry, this isn't an entry containing incisive social commentary about the Asian community in middle-England, but it is about Chinese restaurants - well, one in particular really.

Chicken Chow-Mein from The China House

Yesterday, Delia and I had a rare takeaway. Ironically, the reason that Delia didn't cook is that she was writing up some of her recipes! As you probably know, I am firmly of the opinion that the internet should know everything, and we fancied Chinese, so we fired up the trusty old search engine to see what our options are. Razz

Why do small businesses, like restaurants, not have an internet presence? It boggles my mind. I guess that setting up a website can seem like a minefield to those uninitiated in the black arts of the intarwebz; but for a mere few hundred pounds just about any restaurant could have been the only choice when I (and hordes of my lazy generation who follow in my wake) search online.

Luckily we still had a flier for a restaurant that we wanted to try. In the interest of making the internet ever richer and more opinionated, here is a summary of our experience. Rolling Eyes

The lucky restaurant under review is The China House, 19 Spencer Bridge Road, Northampton [1]. We ordered by telephone which was painless and quick. They warned us that the order could take up to 45 minutes to deliver, in fact it arrived in more like 20. Prices are reasonable, with two main dishes and two starters costing us only just over ten pounds (which is the minimum for delivery).

The pancake rolls and samosas were tasty and crispy, very nice.

The chicken chow-mein was a large portion, and also very good. Pretty standard fare, but what can I say - good stuff. (I think I need some practise at this, I feel like I should be using more florid hyperbole.)

The barbecue spare ribs were a mistake though. Half of them were very fatty including one that was little more than a lump of fat on the bone. There were two that were nice big chunks of tasty meat, but not a pleasant dish for a carnivore like me. sigh

There we go, that's my first ever restaurant review. Aren't you lucky. Laughing

[1]You can phone them on 01604-753888 or 01604-592641, open 7 days a week until midnight they claim. No website to link to of course...

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-21 14:07:48 | |
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