bohemiancoast: (Default)
So. HP decided that they wouldn't bother to release a printer driver for my printer (Business Inkjet 1100) for Snow Leopard. The printer is fine, still churning out average quality, low cost prints. The alternative open source driver is utter pants; will not duplex, returns no printer information, and finally failed to print landscape in my crunch just before Easter.

So, I'm searching for a new printer. I would, for obvious reasons, prefer not to buy HP again; I believe that not updating printer drivers for your sturdy printers is a Mortal Sin, particularly when I'm buying hundreds of pounds worth of your OUTRAGEOUSLY PRICED INK each year. And remember, boys and girls, this is one of the lowest cost inkjets ever.

So, I want auto duplex, and WiFi; both essential. It must work with Mac 10.6. I have a slight preference for not an all-in-one, as my elderly but high quality scanner still works well and besides, we have another all-in-one (high quality, 'medium' running costs (ie high), CD printing). I certainly don't want fax any more than I want an integral mangle; what *are* these printer manufacturers on?

Low running costs are essential. The difference between 5p and 10p per page for b&w with spot colour would represent £100 on the cost of 100 copies of a 20-page fanzine. So it needs to have high-yield cartridges (only twice the price of fresh human blood, but to be fair, much less likely to clog your print heads), and it needs to not do FUCKING STUPID SELF CLEANING ROUTINES that steal all your ink. Obviously, as I'm intending to print fanzines on it, it needs to be reasonably durable.

I am tentatively coming to the conclusion that the only printer on the market that fits the bill is the HP Officejet 8000 Pro. But I am happy to be proved wrong if you know better. And gosh I'm annoyed.
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probably a less exciting post than you would think from the title.

A month or so ago there was a little flurry about the number of bondage items at the Eastercon. I pointed out that the issue wasn't that the number of panels, it was the lack of relevance to SF/fantasy. I suggested that it would be quite wrong to have that many knitting items, and gave the example of a sock knitting workshop as the sort of specialised event that would be quite inappropriate to have at the Eastercon.

I then was informed first that there are in fact as many knitting items as bondage items, and second that there will be a sock knitting workshop at Eastercon. I expressed some surprise at this and was told that items of this kind were there because con members had volunteered them.

Today I was reading, on another site, a thread about knitting at the Eastercon. In that thread a knitter explained that she had been approached to do a sock knitting workshop, but had declined -- and she was glad that the committee had found somebody else.

Sock knitting -- like the specialist bondage ties they're having workshops on -- is not a beginner skill; this isn't a 'have a go and try out something new' workshop, it's a specialist workshop for established knitters to develop their skills.

How many SF/fantasy items do you think you will find at a knitting convention? (There might well be one -- a knit a dalek/tardis/clanger type thing, which the Eastercon is also having and which I think is entirely appropriate).

You know, there is scarcely any fannish programme, fan history programme or fanzine programme at this convention. I've talked to fans who are equally concerned about areas of SF/fantasy that they are interested in and that are under-represented. And yet we have dozens, perhaps hundreds of items on topics that have no relevance to SF other than that 'fans like to do them'. And yet, the same committee members who are ignoring swathes of the core of the hobby are going to considerable lengths to develop programming relating to non-SF hobbies.

We need to take some action here, chaps. This group of people have asked to run the Eastercon again in 2012; some of them are influential in the 2014 Worldcon bid (I should stress that I have no concerns about programme for that convention). This isn't a 'general way for geeks to hang out with agreeable company and do interesting geeky things', it's the National SF convention. We should ensure that it is so; that it reflects, in an ecumenical way, the broad SF/fantasy interests of the membership, and that the non-SF items represent an interesting alternative to the main events rather than the main activity.
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If you like Popcap's casual games, you might like to buy some today -- they are donating 100% of sales to Haiti relief.

http://www.popcap.com/promos/haiti/
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We went to see Avatar at the BFI IMAX. I really enjoyed it; I had a fantastic time, and am now thinking about what I did and did not like.

spoilers for a movie that has been rather meanly called 'Dances with Smurfs'  )
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OK, I've cooked mine now for tonight. For future reference, how would you make a perfect tomato sauce for homemade pizza? The pizza will probably also have mozzarella, perhaps some other cheese, mushrooms and pepperoni. Italians particularly welcome.
bohemiancoast: (santapassion)
OK, the Giant Printing Presses of Doom are churning out our 2009 Christmas card. Would you like one? Comment -- and if you suspect we might not know your current address, do let me know that too. Comments screened natch.

Next stage, the Simon-Hoggart-irritating Round Robin Letter.
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Shaun Keaveny on BBC 6Music will be interviewing Eoin Colfer about the new Hitchhiker books sometime in the next hour.
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Having a bucket of fun. Fun larking about with the family and not worrying about scores, fun learning to drum, and then fun sitting quietly obsessing over exact bass riffs and so on.

I thought vocals were dodgy at first. It seemed entirely wrong that I could sing a Beatles song which I am not remotely familiar with, and score five stars on Expert the first time out. But it turns out, after a couple of hours of play on vocals, that I have top ten global scores (on Wii) on four or five different tracks, none of which I've sung more than three times. So I think it's just that it is calibrated so easy that anyone who can actually sing cleans up. (Songs with a single melody line are much easier for me than the harmony songs; turns out I've been singing one of the harmony lines all these years! Who knew?)
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If anyone's interested in these (you will need a child aged 11-17 to gain admission) the tickets went on sale this morning. Luckily they admit 9 & 10 year olds if accompanied by an older sibling, otherwise I'd have very disappointed children.
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Marianne is much better, has been sprung with only pills to take. Looks like we're going to head out to Towersey -- except probably not camping.
bohemiancoast: (ilovenhs)
I know this is preaching to the converted. But I think I need to say:

On Monday I thought Marianne's sore throat might be worse and she needed to see a doctor, so I rang and got an appointment for the same morning. They prescribed antibiotics and painkillers.

Monday night she was in pain so I phoned NHS Direct, spoke to first a call handler, then a nurse, and was then referred to primary out of hours care. A doctor rang me back about 15 minutes later and, after a phone consultation, made an appointment for her at the out of hours service half an hour after that. She was seen by the doctor and prescribed a different antibiotic.

Yesterday evening I realised she'd need to see a doctor again, so made an appointment for this morning (timed to fit in with our now-aborted trip). They phoned the hospital to say she would be coming; she was seen more or less immediately and admitted to the children's ward there.

Ways in which the service could be improved: I honestly can't think of any, apart from perhaps a private room and a bunch of roses.

Total charge to us: £0. Even her prescriptions are free as she's a child (adults with income have to pay £7.20 each for them up to a cap of about £100 a year). And it's not just the money. I can worry that my child is sick, and I do not have to worry about what is and is not included in my insurance, or which doctors and services and hospitals I can use.

Remember the words of Joe Hill: Don't Mourn. Organize.
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Forehead slapping moment; I realise from the Metro that Economy Gastronomy (which I've not yet watched) is the work of Allegra McEvedy, the chef 1/3 of the partnership that founded Leon. Leon is the one local amenity I really, really miss from the office I used to work in; if I can't manage to take lunch with me I would rather buy it there than anywhere else.
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I was in Germany, in a place called Bevergern (which is near Hörstel, which in turn is twinned with Waltham Abbey), playing and dancing with the Chingford Morris in the gaps between bands at Castellans Folksommer. We stayed in a wondrous and bizarre holiday home. We drank a considerable quantity of German beer, danced in a variety of towns locally, ate several very large ice creams, and had a generally fine time.
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Happy birthday darling [livejournal.com profile] frostfox! Now tell me three things.

1. How long is your foot from toe to the back of the heel?
2. How much is it round the ball of your foot?
3. How much round your leg just a tad above the ankle?

Thank you!

Disturbed

Jul. 9th, 2009 07:58 am
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I'm really angry about this story on BoingBoing, which takes an awful industrial accident and plays it for laughs. (Its antecedent is a BBC story which is very careful to keep on the right side of the line). For some reason I've got no comment link on the story, so I'm commenting here.

One of the concerns of Rita Donaghy, whose report into fatalities in the construction industry was published yesterday, is that the public trivialises workplace injury and death. Normally my view is that this isn't generally so; but sometimes I wonder.
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One and Other remains compelling, but I was delighted to discover that my personal plan for an hour on the plinth -- English traditional music played on the melodeon -- had been delivered in fine style by the bagman of Aldford Morris on the very first day. Patrick Purves is the chap's name. He is the brother of journalist Libby Purves, who wrote the whole thing up for the Times. One of the nicest and best articles in the national press about melodeon ever I think. "Can he keep it up for an hour?" "Only thing that stops him is closing time".

Birthday

Jun. 30th, 2009 09:16 am
bohemiancoast: (Default)
Thanks, belatedly, to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I spent the evening in a rapturously enjoyable family activity; we downloaded last year's questions from the Junior Mathematical Olympiad and worked through the easy (short form) questions A1-10; M could do most of them (slowly) with either no hints or tiny hints, but is horrendously stuck on A9 and desperate to do it without being helped. I have told her to sleep on it and if she's still stuck today I'll give her a hint. J needed substantial help with all of them (but he's only 8 and this competition is up to Year 8, ie 13) but really seemed to enjoy solving the problems after being given Big Hints. This was triggered by M's silver in the Junior Maths Challenge; she'd need to pick up both her problem solving and her pace to get an Olympiad invite next year because the top silver score was 71 and the Olympiad cut-off was 100. None of the JMO questions is difficult; it appears to be primarily designed to ease children in gently to the idea of writing out problem solutions.


And then, just as I was thinking of coming on and thanking everyone for my birthday, I was suddenly horribly ill. Very strange. So I'm taking today as sick leave (but BlackBerrying furiously as my work is insanely busy at present).
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Who out here has an academic gown they could bring to plokta.con? We need it by 11am Saturday.
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Some people have started adding this journal to their subscribe lists. I'm only here for the land grab at the moment. And, as it's just failed to import my LJ, it's likely to stay that way. It did manage to get the icon. Whoop de doo.
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As [livejournal.com profile] drplokta says, please let us know if you're coming to <plokta.con> but haven't got round to joining us.

We're also twittering; follow @ploktacon and tag #plokta to find out what we're up to.

The con is 23-25 May in Sunningdale Park, Sunningdale, Berks (a train ride out of Waterloo, quite close to Heathrow), and our guests are Diana Wynne Jones on Saturday and Paul Cornell on Sunday.
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