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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A sabbatical (from Greek sabbatikos) is a prolonged hiatus, typically 2 months plus, in the career of an individual taken in order to fulfill some goal.
It's been about a half a month already since you last heard from me (no news with that last post either... yet!), and another 3 weeks till my exams are over. Fingers crossed, I'll have somehow achieved a Masters Degree!!

Till then, or whenever I get back here, you can see the odd funny video, image, link, song over on my Tumblr page: darran.tumblr.com



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

20 pixels

So this is the story:
1. I got this Private Message yesterday from one of the Moderators (name removed) on the Scouting Ireland Chat Forum:

Hey Ablaze

Sorry to inform you that your signature can only have 1 image in it at a time. Can you please change it at your earliest convenience.

Thank you

Mod Squad Very Happy
Here is the signature they were talking about.

My usual signature is the ABLAZE that changes each letter on a new page load, and because of the Jamboree I added a countdown timer to the Big Day. (It's going to be great... apparently!)
2. So I replied:
Hi <--->,
From the Site rules:

# Maximum image width: 400 pixels
# Maximum image height: 200 pixels

Note: The maximum image file size, width and height are determined from the combined number of images in the signature.

The two images in my signature are 420 x 134. I know that it is 20 pixels too wide, but after a bit of looking at a few of the other members signatures, I thought that wouldn't be a problem. Plus 20 pixels is a very small size.

Let me know if you still have a problem.

Yours in Scouting,
3. I got this reply back later back (including a misspelling of my name):
Hi Darren

Thanks for the correction, I must admit I didnt look into before I pm'd you, we are currently asking all members to correct their sigs if they are not within the limits so if you could please make it so it fits within the rules.

4. They admit they didn't even know the rules until I looked them up! They were asking me to correct my signature without knowing what to correct it to! So I replied again:
You really want me to change it because it is 20 pixels too wide?
20 pixels is this wide:

5. And I got this:

Rules are rules im afraid, I know it may only look tiny but if you wouldnt mind.

6. At this point I'm getting kinda annoyed. This was never mentioned before, and it was not as easy as just resizing the images, I couldn't! I sent this off:
Hi <--->,

I actually would mind. I cannot change the image as both pictures are generated on page load on another website. The countdown timer wouldn't work otherwise.

I kinda like it. In just over 4 months it will be gone!

7. I got this reply today:

Your signature is in breach of forum rules, I have spoken to other moderators regarding this issue and we have all agreed that your signature should be changed to comply with Site Rules. Please see below quotes from the site rules regarding signatures and moderators decisions. If you do not comply with these rules the Admin team can change your signature so it does comply. If you have any issues with this you can contact any of the Mod Squad or Admin Team.

2) Images, Links and Signatures
[[Text from Site rules already quoted above]]

Thanks again
Mod Squad
I am kinda pissed now, this moderator reminds me far too much of Meitheal Staff.
They already know my name, as they have called me by it before.
They also know I know the site rules, I have quoted them already for their benefit (which they admitted they didn't look at before they questioned me)

So now I've just decided to make a new signature. 400 by 200 pixels! Hope they are Happy.

Maybe that's how you've found this website? Am I over-reacting? Why not leave a comment?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

travel thoughts

Here are some thought and observations from my recent trip to Sweden:

  • It is impossible to hear announcements on board. They always seem to have 4 stewards working, usually 2 native English speakers and 2 non-native. The non-native English speakers will do all the talking into the PA system making it nearly impossible to understand their thick eastern European or Russian (I'm certain it was Russian, he looked like he was with the KGB!)
  • If you dress up like a pilot you get free food. Wear a white shirt with epaulets and a ID badge. Sit either in the 1st row or the emergency exits in the middle. Introduce yourself as you board the plane. Always say your new. Then when it comes time for the food trolley to come around, order something to drink and eat and offer to pay with not enough money. They guy I was sitting next to ordered a cappuccino (€2.95) and a slice of pizza (€4) and offered to pay with a fiver. He got his meal for free! Altho he did spill the cappuccino all over his shirt and had to go change! :-)
  • They love flight change emails. These are emails they send to inform you that they will be leaving 30 minutes earlier than when you booked the flight. I've received seven so far (I got another one this morning), I even got one an hour before boarding my flight! I wonder when it will stop.
Dublin Airport:
  • The Secret Door. When flying out to Dublin on a domestic flight to somewhere in the Republic of Ireland, there is another door to security you can go through. This will cut at least 5 minutes or 10 at busy times queuing up to go through security. It is just to the left of the main queue, manned by one person who will check your boarding card. Handy to know!

  • Texts aren't cheap. It was my first outing with my MAXroam sim. I put a message on my Irish mobile number, if people needed me, try me on my MAXroam number. The thing was everyone knew I was going away, no one needed to ring me! I do communicate a lot through texts on the other hand. On my Vodafone sim it was €0.29 to send a text, and it was €0.08 more expensive to send it on my MAXroam sim.
    • Saying all this I could have saved about €0.04/min to receive or anything from €0.09-0.20/min to make a call.
  • It didn't work out too well for me in Sweden. The Vodafone Group are over there making sure they keep costs down for their users. I'm sure in another country the pros would outweigh the cons. I really need to find a dual sim phone for trips!
Get a MAXroam SIM and Enjoy Global calls at local prices

10000bc review

Another friend has found himself blogging lately, kinda. Conor has guest posters (Ian and Taidy so far) doing a few reviews over on ConorDeeJayPeeSee.KOOM!

I really liked Ian's review of 10,000 BC:

So anyway one of the pikeys kill a CG mammoth by accident and wins the turd in a jar and all his other pikey buddies hug him in a, way too merry for it to be straight, fashion.

Next step Conor, install LouderVoice!

Monday, April 07, 2008

south park

Ya gotta love South Park. They are taking digital distribution to the next level. They have their entire catalogue of episodes going back 12 seasons available to watch online on their South Park Studio website (and none of this outside the US Region crap either!).

I just watched their latest episode, Canada on Strike. The Canadians want some of that Internet Money, similar situation to the writers strike, so Cartman and co make a video that becomes a huge internet hit. When they go to collect their millions of "theoretical dollars" from the hit, they meet a load of other internet memes; numa numa and tron guy as well as the Star Wars kid!

What I didn't know was the song Butters put online was already up there! See the videos below:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

oldest blog in the world

I was looking at my new blog roll on the right and noticed the last blog to be updated was Donncha's Holy Shmoly! 38 Years ago, in 1970!

Does this make it the oldest blog in the world? Or that blogger isn't picking up the date correctly?!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

roll call

I've finally gotten around to putting a Blog Roll/Bloglines/Reading List on my side bar. Not many people on it at the moment, but I'm not going to just add all the 230 odd feeds I've subscribed to.

As they are updated and I deem them interesting enough to share (and admit to reading) I'll add them. It's quite easy with Google Reader, I just add the feed to a new folder and by magic, it gets updated on my blog!

I've started with those people I know have put me on their blog roll and will add the rest as they are updated. If you want your blog on the list, chances are I'm already reading your blog and I'll add it when you update, or if you can't wait, send me an email or comment.