|An experiment about PINs
I want to try an experiment.
Imagine you're calling an automated phone system to set up an account. The phone system asks you to make up your own PIN code to control access to the account, and to press the # key when done.
Did you think of a number? Good. Hold that in your head. I'm not going to ask you for it, but I do want to ask you a few questions about the number you chose under the cut, as an anonymous poll. (Meaning that even I can't see who answered what, for security.) If you haven't thought of the PIN code you would use in this hypothetical situation, do so now.
I explain why I'm doing this in another cut inside the cut below!
( And here are the questions )
I've been meaning to post this for a while. I made another mashup! I already posted this one on Twitter a while ago when I released it, but didn't post it here. Oops.
This one is called (You Drive Me) Crazier Than Life (direct download link) and is a mashup of these two songs:
- Larger Than Life, by the Backstreet Boys
- (You Drive Me) Crazy, by Britney Spears
Thanks to a friend of mine for the suggestion to make this mashup and for the ideas for what to do with the mashup while I was making it!
As always, feedback is very much appreciated. :D
So, you may remember that two years ago, Valve transferred my games from an old Steam account to my current one, in what disappointingly appeared to be a one-off.
Just to make sure, however, four days ago I asked Steam Support for an update on what would happen nowadays for people that were in my position.
( These are my three contributions to the Support ticket. )The main question I asked in this ticket was this (emphasis added):
If someone else were in the same situation as I was two years ago, having had a legal name change (with evidence in the form of legally-recognised documentation such as a deed poll or statutory declaration), a username which was clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record, would Valve be willing to change the account name upon the submission of such evidence? (For the purposes of this question, 'change the account name' may also include creation of a new account and all licences registered on the old account transferred to the new one, as that was how my own ticket was resolved.)
Now, I realise that this is a pretty narrow field. This was intentional in order to increase the chances that they might be receptive. I do realise that there are trans* people out there who don't meet these criteria. Policy changes always have to start somewhere, though, and I understand the issues involved. I figured that if any policy change at all had been made, this narrow definition would fit inside it.
Today, they responded. (In fact, it was Walter who responded; the same person who replied in the other ticket to assist me with transferring the games.)
So, what was their answer?
4 Message by Support Tech Walter on Thu, 16th May 2013 8:26 pm
We have not changed any policies regarding account names. As mentioned in your original ticket, this is for security reasons.
While we understand this is a frustration for you, we have this in place by design. There are no plans to change this at this time, however I have passed your comments on to the appropriate people.
Disappointing, to say the least. There is still no reasoning given for not being able to change account names, besides the very vague "this is for security reasons". (To be fair, I didn't actually ask for an explanation in this ticket, but still.)
I'm really disappointed by Valve right now. :(
It's been a while since I've written anything here (excluding the mashups and status update) and I'm kind of wanting to get back into writing stuff. Only thing is, I don't know what to write.
So, consider this an AMA (Ask Me Anything)! I saw kaberett doing this and thought it was a great idea. Basically, feel free to ask me anything in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. If you want to know more about me, or if you have requests for things I should write, or even if you just want to say hello, here's the place to do it! Anon commenting is enabled on Dreamwidth (though IPs are logged), so if you need to go anonymous, feel free to do so. (If you're watching me on LJ, you'll need to click the link just below this post where it says this has been crossposted if you want to go anonymous - otherwise feel free to ask on either LJ or DW.)
Looking forward to answering your comments. <3
So I decided I quite liked doing the last mashup, and I decided to make a new one. This one is called Disturbia Night (direct download link) and mashes up these two songs:
- Night Is Young, by Nelly Furtado,
- Disturbia, by Rihanna
"Disturbia" is about mental anguish - I liken it to suffering from depression - and its lyrics reflect that, even though it's a pop song (and this mashup is even more poppy). In addition, the juxtaposition of the two songs makes it sound like the person suffering from depression is being told that they can just stop suffering by merely wanting to do so. Of course, this doesn't actually work.
Let me know what you think!
(Don't worry, btw - I'm not intending for this to become a journal of mashups. I've found that I do like making them, but this is still my journal first and foremost, not a collection of links.)
I have my amateur radio callsign now! It's MM6PRG. To break that down:
- M: This is a UK callsign. The letter G is also used in some UK callsigns that were issued a long time ago.
- M: This indicates that I'm in Scotland. This part changes depending on where I'm transmitting from in the UK. If I'm in England, I don't use anything at all for this bit, so I'd just be M6PRG.
- 6: Combined with the first "M", this indicates that the callsign is a Foundation-licence callsign. Apart from M6, a Foundation licence is also indicated by M3 for older Foundation licences. (To my knowledge there are no Foundation callsigns beginning with "G", as the Foundation certification wasn't around then.)
- PRG: These three letters identify the particular callsign within the given prefix (M6, M3, etc). You can either choose these letters yourself, or get the next available one alphabetically. I chose mine as a reference to the fact that I'm a programmer.
I'm looking forward to working the bands. :D
So I made a mashup!
I started working on this a couple of days ago, and I just released it today. It's called "Girl Look At That Gangnam Style" and mashes up these two songs:
- Gangnam Style, by PSY
- Sexy And I Know It, by LMFAO (the song that inspired this xkcd comic)
I think that the finished result
(direct download link
) sounds pretty good, myself. What do you guys think?
Well now, it's been a while since I wrote a Dreamwidth post. Sorry about that! I'm very much still alive and kicking. Being in Scotland isn't the reason I haven't been updating; I've had Internet access just fine. I'm not entirely sure why I haven't been updating, really. I do have some news, though.
The first piece of big news: I'm engaged now!
I've been seeing cxcvi (Stella) for a long time, and helping her a lot through some really tough times. While I don't want to talk too much about that - privacy and triggers being the main reasons why - I can say that we're looking to move into a place of our own, and things are progressing on that front. Slowly, but they're progressing.
In any case, Stella proposed to me on December 21st, 2012, and I said yes. :) No wedding plans have been made yet, though, and it might be a while before we do them - getting somewhere to live together has been problematic so far, through no fault of our own. :/
I've basically resigned myself to being up here in Scotland, though. It's been about half a year since I've had to move up here and while there's plenty of reasons not to be up here, there are also some good reasons to stay. Rent is a lot cheaper, for one thing, which bodes well for finding somewhere together. I really would prefer to be down in England, but unfortunately that's starting to appear like it might not be an option. :(
As such, I've been settling down here a bit. I'm starting to get involved in amateur radio, and have been going to the meetings of my local amateur radio group, GM0AYR. I passed my Foundation exam recently and will be getting my M6 callsign soon, which I'm pretty excited about! (Well, it'll be MM6 for me since I'm going to be operating in Scotland, but that second M changes depending on your current region. M6 indicates England.)
I think that's most of what I want to say for now. Hopefully I won't take quite so long to make my next post here. :)
...fantastic. YouTube are pushing for people to use their full name on YouTube, which shows up in place of their username. I just got a prompt suggesting I do that.
I've posted about this matter in the past, though this is slightly different, because at the moment (and hopefully this'll be the case always), YouTube aren't forcing people to use their real name. You can decide whether to use your full name on YouTube, or to continue using your username. (Though it should be said that YouTube ask you to justify continuing to use your username if you want to go that way, which really rubs me the wrong way.)
It is nice that they offer a choice, somewhat. But when I said that they're pushing it, I mean that the UI is such that you're fairly likely to go through with it if you don't read carefully. And as I say, the fact that you have to justify your reasons for continuing to use your username is just... eugh. It gives you a choice of 6 buttons IIRC, and one of them is a button saying "I'm not sure, I'll decide later", but that sounds like they still expect a justification later.
There's also a slight annoyance because it makes it harder to tell who's who for me, but that's basically protesting change because it's change, and I'm sure I can get used to it. I'm much more concerned about what I've written above.
What are your thoughts?
Well, it's probably about time I update you all on the housing situation and what's been going on!
Two weeks ago, on September 2nd, I saw the house I lived in for the last time. We (that is, my Mum and I) drove up to Scotland to stay with my grandfather in Uddingston, close to Glasgow - the house we were to move into wasn't ready yet. My Mum left the next day to go back to East Grinstead to sort out the final bits with furniture moving and so on.
I stayed with my grandfather until my Mum and Dad arrived on the 6th (IIRC), and then the next day we travelled up to the Isle of Skye to visit my grandmother, aunt, and a few other relatives. I've been staying here since then.
Tomorrow - or more accurately today (the 16th), we're going back down to Uddingston again as it's closest to where the house actually is. The next day, we'll be visiting the house and I'll get to see it in person for the first time. The day after *that* is the 18th, when we finally move in.
Hopefully, I'll be staying there for about 3 months or so, maybe less. I've been able, via kaberett, to find some people (who are friends of theirs) who I would very much like to live with, and that might be able to happen in January. Of course, in the meantime I'd need to make trips down there to see various places, etc. Not sure of any details yet.
So... I think that's about everything right now.
Tonight will be the last time I ever sleep in this house again.
Tomorrow, I move up to Scotland with my parents. (To be more precise, I move up to live with my grandparents while they finish off the rest of the stuff that needs to happen, and then they move up to also live with them until the new house they bought becomes available, which should be in about 2 weeks or so.)
Right now, my mind doesn't really believe this is happening. I'm lying in my room like always right now, typing on my laptop like it was a typical night. And yet...
...and yet this bed will not be slept on any more. Ever.
Not by me, at least.
Somebody else will be using my room. It won't be my room any more.
It's not the same as when I moved to Reading for a year. I knew I had this house as a backup then. This house that I've lived in for over half my life. It's always been there.
I do have housing plans in the making, but those most likely won't come to fruition until January.
In the meantime, I think I need to say goodbye to this house.
To aid you in finding a co-op partner, all current owners of Portal 2 will receive a Steam coupon for 75% off a copy of Portal 2, which can be given away to other Steam users. Check your Inventory for details!
-- Valve at the Portal 2 store page on Steam
I own Portal 2, so I have a voucher for 75% off. If anybody here doesn't have it and would like it, let me know. (Total price $5.00 / £3.75) The voucher is only good until August 30th, though.
Guys, this is a seriously good deal. Portal 2 is an excellent game.
I've given the coupon to shanaqui
! Hope you enjoy it. :)
A strange and somewhat unsettling thing happened today at the train station. One of the station attendants clocked me as transgender and mentioned it.
It's a pretty rude thing to do, but as it turns out, the attendant is also trans, though she's not out yet and as such was presenting male. She was wondering if I was going to a trans panel which is apparently taking place at the destination I was going to. I'm not, though now I'm intrigued.
Since she's not out, I'm obviously not going to give any details, though we did exchange names and she gave me her usernames. I'll be getting in touch - and I don't mind it nearly as much as I would have done had she not immediately said she was trans herself. (Which was actually a pretty brave thing to do considering we were outside at a public place. I hope she's safe.)
I've meant to post to Dreamwidth about this for some time now, but I've kept forgetting, even though it's really quite important. However, recent events have made it more important to post.
For some time now, my parents have been letting me know about their plans to move up to Scotland. I've known this for months, and although my parents are very happy to have me come up with them, I don't really think I want to. To that end, I've been trying to find a place to go, a friend to move in with. I know of people who would be willing to live with me, though my crappy organisational skills are making it difficult to get things together.
Anyway, on June 22nd, my parents put the house on the market, and for a few weeks we'd been having viewings of the house from people, which have meant I've had to be out of the house, along with Mum, while they happen. (My parents feel that the fewer people in the house, the better any impressions will be because the estate agent can show them round.)
Well, no longer. My parents accepted an offer on the house last week on
June July 14th, which means the purchasing process has begun. As long as everything goes to plan for everybody involved in the transactions, we'll be moving out of this house on August 31st, which is about 5-6 weeks from now.
My parents haven't found a house where they want to live yet and they won't be able to find and purchase one in that timeframe, so they'll be finding somewhere to rent in the meanwhile - which will include space for me in case I decide to/have to go with them.
I have a few reasons for not wanting to move with them, though. Some are practical, such as the fact that the GIC is in London, and would no longer be as easy to reach. There are others, however.
Pretty much my entire extended family live up in Scotland; it's only my nuclear family that live here in England. (And even my brother now lives up in Scotland.) That's obviously the reason that my parents want to move up to Scotland in particular, but as for me... I've been in England since I was 4. I grew up here. I've lived pretty much my whole life here.
Of course, I expect my parents must have felt much the same way when they had to move down to England at approximately the age of 32 - which isn't too far off from my own age. I hadn't realised the closeness of our ages until I came to writing about when my parents moved down and did the calculations for myself, at which point I rewrote this paragraph. Certainly helps me appreciate how they must have felt at the time, that's for sure.
Anyway, because of living down here for the past 26 years, I've had little contact with my extended family up in Scotland. We've seen each other a fair bit on special occasions and so forth, but not regularly by any means. As such, I'm used to that, and to be honest, I think I prefer it this way now. I'm actually kind of scared of the idea of having more family close to me; I've had enough difficulties with my nuclear family. That isn't to say that my extended family aren't wonderful people, because they are - but I'm not sure it's something I could cope with easily.
I've found it difficult to talk to my parents about the stuff in that last paragraph, because, well, what's my extended family is their nuclear family, and I'm not sure how they'd take that.
I'd say more, but I've already put this entry off long enough. I'd intended to post it on the 14th, but no such luck. This needs to be posted, though.
Hugs and advice would be appreciated!
[edit: Fixing an incorrect month.]
I just got bitten by a particularly nasty bug in an two-years-old WIDCOMM Bluetooth driver installer.
It offered to upgrade the older version that I already had. I let it do so, and it started uninstalling the previous version. All well and good. Except that I noticed it was deleting its own files, which was causing the install to not be able to proceed, or so I thought.
I had put the installer files in a directory called "bluetooth" in the root of the C: drive, and it was trying to delete everything in that directory. It couldn't delete all the files, of course, because some were in use by that very installer.
It seemed very ill-behaved for it to be deleting stuff just because a directory was called 'bluetooth', but in the interests of getting the thing installed, I ended the process, put it into a new directory, 'bluetooth-install', and started again. The same thing happened.
By now this was odd. Maybe it was deleting everything that had the word "bluetooth" in it? That was *extremely* ill-behaved. But what the hell. I stopped it again, put it in a new directory called 'sheep' (first thing I could think of), then started once more.
This time it didn't delete itself, but the process was still taking an inordinately long time. So I used the Resource Monitor in Windows 7 to check what it was doing with the hard drive. It turned out that for some reason it was scanning through the whole hard disk, presumably to find old versions of the Bluetooth software.
I was not comfortable with this at all, and a nasty thought was lurking in the back of my mind. I stopped the process again, and fired up Cygwin - a Linux-like environment I often use in Windows - to see what I could investigate.
Or, at least, I tried to. Turned out Windows was unable to find the program, and would I like to browse to find it?
Crap. Crap crap crap.
A brief look later confirmed my fears. It had been deleting every file it had come across. File paths which I had only moments ago seen it accessing in Resource Monitor were now gone.
Okay, so maybe they weren't deleted, just... hidden? Somehow? Even though I had the option set to display hidden files? I rebooted into my real Linux environment and checked.
Nope, definitely gone. :(
I had about 8GB of space free before this happened. Now I have 39GB free, and a ton of stuff I use a lot is now gone. Worse, I don't yet know exactly what's missing. I'll try to find that out when I can.
Small mercies, though: The drive is a 500GB drive and that 31GB of missing data only represents about 7% of what was on the drive. But still, 7% is a lot of stuff to suddenly go missing. :(
It turns out that I'm not the only one who's had this problem. It's a bug with the version of the installer I was trying to use - which I was using for a specific reason, namely that it was the version supplied for my laptop. (Earlier I had installed a previous version of the software for various reasons, not quite realising that I actually had a newer version in place. To be fair, it *did* warn me that I had a newer version, but I couldn't remember installing it on this installation of Windows. But even this wasn't the actual problem - everything would still have been just fine had it not been for the bug in that updater.)
So, yeah. A bit distraught now. I'm going to go cool off a bit and then try to find out exactly what's missing. It could take a while.
I received a response to my email:
Sadly we cannot provide any form of compensation for your laptop, the laptop was out of warranty when it was first sent back when you paid the sub order you are requesting a refund for, as the repair has not been successful and is warranted for 3 months from the date of correction, which we will happily do.
While we do apologise for the inconvenience, and understand it is frustrating, we simply cannot refund any monies.
I'm honestly not sure what they're trying to say here. I wonder if the email was even read fully.
I just sent the following email to PC Specialist's complaints department:
( Cut for being a rather long email. )Some of you may be wondering why I haven't asked for a new replacement laptop. The reason I haven't done so is because I basically already *have* been getting new laptops. In fact, it's precisely because they're new laptops that's the reason for new faults cropping up that weren't there before.
To put it simply, the "laptop chassis" is basically the entire laptop, minus several components such as the CPU and the hard drive. When PC Specialist was replacing the laptop chassis, it was basically the same as taking a new laptop and just putting my old CPU and hard drive in there. (It's a bit more involved than that, but that's the main gist of it.) So, instead, I'm asking for monetary compensation, as well as a refund of the repairs I had done at the start of this saga - because it was for the same issue as a previous return which I had done before the warranty ran out, and which turned out not to actually fix the problem.
I've had this proof-read by a number of people, and I'm happy with it now, so I've sent it. We'll see what happens!
Well, I have the laptop back... again.
They keyboard issue turned out to be not directly to do with the keyboard, because when they put a new keyboard in it still exhibited the same problem, so they did the same as before - transferred everything to a new chassis. They also fitted a Bluetooth/wifi card so I can now use Bluetooth.
Unfortunately... I'm finding that the new chassis has *other* problems now too - both of which are actually worse than the problems I sent it in for before.
- The battery isn't charging, at all. The laptop will happily use power from the battery, and it'll operate off the mains power instead when I plug it in, but it won't charge the battery at all when it's plugged in.
- The laptop isn't keeping time when switched off. Every time the laptop is switched on, it'll be set to the same time as it was when it was last switched off. That makes it sound like a CMOS battery problem, but I'm not sure what the first problem would be due to.
I emailed PC Specialist (the company I got the laptop from) about these problems and they say it's going to have to come back again
. That makes this the third time I have to send it back to the manufacturer in less than a month. The first time wasn't their fault (the memory slots probably just got worn down from use), but the second time and (upcoming) third time definitely are their fault - their testing procedures didn't pick these problems up, when they really should have done.
I'm thinking of asking for some sort of compensation for this, but I'm no good at this sort of thing, and I'm also not sure what I should ask for. What do you think? Is it something I should be asking for compensation for?
[edit: Just realised it doesn't really make sense to say the slots got worn down from use; it's not that I've been putting RAM in and out or anything. Hmm.]
I've got good news, bad news, and good news.
The first good news is that my laptop arrived back yesterday, and in fact I'm typing this entry with it. Yay!
The bad news is that it came back with a number of faults. Boo!
The second good news is that I've contacted the manufacturer again and they immediately agreed that it needs to go back with urgent priority and be fixed at no cost to me. Yay!
A bit of backstory: one of the things I needed done on the laptop was the fitting of a new motherboard, because one of the RAM slots wasn't holding its chip tightly enough and this was causing random BSODs and freezes. Because of the way laptops work, it's actually just far easier to get a new chassis (laptop case) from the actual laptop maker with a motherboard already fitted. (The alternative is basically disassembling the entire laptop then reassembling it after putting a new motherboard in place. Obviously, that's not an easy task.)
I'm fine with having a new chassis. In fact, it's quite nice because my old one was getting a bit worn anyway, so I have no problem with this.
Unfortunately, however, they made a couple of mistakes when putting all my old stuff into the new chassis. Firstly, they forgot to include the internal Bluetooth device I had ordered in the original laptop. Secondly, four keys on the keyboard aren't working: Page Up, Page Down, End, and the backslash/pipe key. I use all of these keys a lot, so it's fairly bad to not have them. (I do have workarounds for the time being so I can "press" them by using other keystrokes instead, but obviously that shouldn't be necessary.)
It's possible that there may also be an issue with the Ethernet interface but I haven't tested this properly yet. I suspect it's not a problem, though.
Anyway, I rang today and they said they'd take it back (collecting it tomorrow) and put it on an urgent priority to get fixed, at no cost to me. I was impressed at the professionalism that they handled the call. I do like my manufacturer :) (for those wondering, it's PC Specialist).
(I'll admit I wasn't quite so impressed yesterday when I called the first time, had to wait 20-25 minutes on hold, and then getting (I believe) blown off by a tech who deliberately hung up on me in order to burn through his quota. I can say, however, that that was an exception - most of my dealings with PC Specialist have been awesome. I could also just be misreading what happened in the call, but it seemed fairly blatant to me.)
Anyway, yeah. Laptop will be collected again tomorrow and hopefully be back in a few days after that with the problems fixed and no new problems arising!
Just a quick note - I'm going to be without my laptop starting from Star Wars day (May the 4th...), as I need to return it for various reasons. I will try to get my other computer working during this time but I can't guarantee anything!
I don't know how long it's going to be, but last time I had to return it, it was gone just over a month - so it may take a while, unfortunately.
If you don't see me much after Friday, that's why!