Is it “Identity Theft” when people simply lie?

To my home address:



ircas-complaint copy

HELP: Where can I get about 20 cardboard boxes, suitable for filing/archive, approx A4 x 30cm or a bit bigger ?

Am doing some tidying up and want to bung some stuff in the loft.

Stackable would be good.

Craig: “Are you a libertarian or something, because I’m not sensing any clear political philosophy behind your position?”

Alec: “No, I’m not a libertarian. I’m from the Internet. I’m here to help.


The Contents of the Nine-Foot Stairwell Bookcase

On the theory that sharing your taste in reading material can only be a good thing:

I will post an annotated version of this sometime soonish.

All the cookbooks, astronomy, maps and outsize are in the other bookcase, though.

And then there are some boxes.

New DSL modem / Vigor 120 – 18.23Mbps down, 1.00Mbps up

Really, the upload annoys me. I must have a good line, so something is capping that at precisely 1.00Mbps. It’s repeatable. Bloody nuisance.

Also I have now got to work out how to rebuild my home DMZ.

Formerly I bridged two ethernet ports together on my firewall to make a flat internet-facing network, and one port connected to the internet-facing servers (Tor) while the other port went into my DSL router. The combined bridge interface held the public IP address for the firewall and was nominated as the “WAN” interface.

However: now the firewall is the primary internet-facing device, and the primary interface is a PPPoE link into the DSL modem.

I have no idea how I am (whether I could) bridge a point-to-point PPPoE interface with an ethernet one, and if so what do I do about the IP address?

Experimentation needed, advice welcome.

If you ever need to keep a cat away from your laptop for 3+ hours, get one of these

SnuggleSafe Microwave Wireless Heatpad with Fleece Cover

There’s an entire theory of physics that can be extrapolated from one of these – a few minutes in the microwave and they have a near gravitational attraction for cats, moreso that the Apple-branded buttwarmers more typically found in geek homes.

And in the winter you can lose the cover and use it in human beds. Generally the thermal feline-stickation can last for up to six hours.

Watch “Instructograph Morse Code Trainer Demo – 1947” on YouTube

Mine’s an earlier version with clockwork drive and a sounder key.

Instagrams from a Geek BBQ, /ht @joannageary @petermacrobert # includes sharpies and morse telegraphy

Barbecue Chez Muffett over Sat/Sun; the meat was grilled, gin was sipped, wine was quaffed and jamjars were decorated, and pictures taken, these by @joannageary and @petermacrobert

Probably more to come once I’ve badgered the other attendees…

Back to three espresso machines Chez Muffett /ht @shortblue @surevine

I had my first decent espresso with Whit Diffie in Caffe Verona back in around 1993; a couple of years later – after researching on USENET – I bought a Zassenhaus hand-grinder and a Krups Espresso Novo 2000+ (model 988) to experiment with everything up-to and including roasting my own beans.

The two devices worked well in complement, the Z able to produce any quality of grind that I required – and I viewed the Krups a little sentimentally, so much so that it got a plug in the Crack 5.0 credits file in 1996:

crack v5.0 was completed under the influence of the following sensual
experiences: pulp: different class; radiohead: pablo honey, the bends;
blur: parklife, the great escape; oasis: what’s the story; ocean
colour scene: moseley shoals (probably the best album of the lot); all
about eve: scarlet and other stories; pink floyd: various; sisters of
mercy: floodland; sting: ten summoners tales; glenmorangie; laphroaig;
smws cask 40.4; west oxfordshire cotswolds; marks and spencer 100%
cotton socks; linux versions 0.96 through 2.0.24; emacs, and a krups
espresso novo 2000+ coffee maker.

After a few years of use – and trying to be kind to it – by around 1998 the Krups started leaking water from behind and I thought that the pump seals had perished, putting it into the uneconomic-to-fix category; a shame because I expected better of a German machine.

So I boxed it and put it in the loft.

In 1999 I moved house and came to Hartley Wintney; around 2007 I bought a Nespresso for home – which then was relocated to my desk at work when I bought a nicer one for home, one with a steam wand. The former returned to my home when I left Sun in 2009.

A few days ago I had a conversation with Stuart Murdoch about cleaning the group head on his Gaggia with a blind filter, a process I view slightly dubiously for a home device but which involves deliberately overpressuring the machine with a blanking plate to force gunk back up the overflow (“backflushing”).

And then, cleaning house yesterday, I rediscovered the Krups – and it struck me that the weeping from the back of the cabinet was also consistent with it backflushing itself due to congestion – rather than terminal pump leakage; so I stripped and cleaned everything that was removable, reassembled it, and fed some water into it.

Nothing happened. Hardly any flow, even. But removing the brewhead showed chalk dusk.


Strip off the brewhead again and fill with descaler in double volumes.


Nothing happens for 30 seconds except for the 15 bar pump manfully throbbing away, and then there’s a trickle, and then a thin stream, and then WOOMPH a fount of steam and acid, and it’s pouring again. A couple more cycles, some more cleaning and reassembly, and a machine that’s been idle for 13+ years springs back to life.

I ran some rice and then some leftover Lavazza beans through the Z to clear that, and then ground some nice beans to have as a ristretto. Worked well.

It’s early days yet but I’m evidently not the only one to like the Novo, so it might even be possible to get spares should that become necessary.

For the moment, though, it’s nostalgia in a cup; and the Novo will drink only filtered water from now on.

2x pheasants pot-roasting – house smells lovely. Will post pictures later.

Now to take out the rubbish. Needs coffee.