Sinclair C5

Can modern incarnation of C5 succeed? (BBC)

I'm easily old enough to remember the original 3-wheeled washing-machine-motor-powered death-trap, the only safety aid a flag flapping above on a flexible whip shaft, but didn't see one for real until years later, in a museum.

I view the name Sinclair with fondness. I owned a ZX81 (with 16K wobbly RAM Pack, a Spectrum 48K and thermal printer, and an almost-totally-impractical in-ear radio. I still want a red-LED RPN calculator, bug-ridden as I know it to be.

Though modern cars are far safer than during the 1980s, the roads are fuller and the drivers less-attentive than ever. So I confidently predict that Betteridge's Law of Headlines applies here.

The answer to the question the headline poses: No, no more-so than ever.

Poo bag

No, not an insult. Why, when it's absolutely necessary to have a bag for collecting poo, there isn't one? Why, when it doesn't matter, is one's pocket full of the things, often bags sliding languidly to the floor when rummaging for keys, cards, cash…?

No social faux-pas here though whatever the circumstances, it's never particularly awkward; there are many dog owners out there with a similar sense of responsibility.

To avoid the embarrassment, the angst of returning to the scene of an 'incident' there has to be a better way of remembering allied to a better, more discreet method of poo bag concealed carry.

Pinboard fail

Well, 3 weeks after paying for a bookmark tagging and page archiving account, I'm no closer to having the site owner fix the issues I've mentioned.

It's the first time tagging made sense to me, thus disappointing that the failures are increasing in scope, tested across a range of operating systems, browsers and apps.

Archiving hasn't started yet despite multiple promises, full-text search is thus impossible, new tags require multiple refreshes to show up and so bundling is problematic, simple searches fail to find bookmarks visible on the same page! I could go on, but the bottom line is when the site owner repeatedly fails to respond and fails to fix the issues I highlight, I complain about, why should I invest more time in the service? thus easily fails to gain Baz's seal of approval.

I might have to make my own, though it won't reach the promise of Pinboard's feature set. Here's something I put together some time ago; it's generated from a CSV file, no databases to introduce complexity.


Today, a day of nerdy firsts: I had my first-ever Telnet session, and very tentatively started to play in my first-ever MUD. Bear in mind I've been on the Internet since March 1997; that's twenty years! It's interesting to note that both Telnet and the MUD precede my arrival in the slow lane of the Information Superhighway.

But first, these snippets from Wikipedia:

"Telnet is a protocol used on the Internet or local area networks to provide a bidirectional interactive text-oriented communication facility using a virtual terminal connection."


"A MUD (originally Multi-User Dungeon, with later variants Multi-User Dimension and Multi-User Domain), is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat."

Telnet, first mentioned in RFC#15 in 1969, is almost as old as I, predating the World Wide Web by an easy twenty years! The Colossal Cave Adventure first appeared in 1975, is itself no spring chicken!

Me: I played a few text-only adventure games starting in the early 1980s, but all were stand-alone single-user relying purely on the imagination of the programmer(s) and the user (me!) My all-time favourites: The Hobbit, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and Zork (a game I never finished.)

You may have seen the game I ran with in an thread, a flavour of which is available through the transcript here. A very enjoyable, diverting few months.

So there it is. Thanks very much indeed to @papierzeit on the network for posting your server details and allowing me to have a go! I'll be back.

Sharing imaginations, it's amazing!


Some of our work numbers are regularly targeted, plagued by unsolicited callers wanting to talk about a recent motor vehicle accident. I've been spared, luckily. Until today.

A colleague politely hung up on one… and then my phone rang.


"Hello, this is [unintelligible name, company name] calling about your accident."


"What's the name of the company?"


"Hello, this is [unintelligible name, company name] calling about your accident."

Me, rather louder than I intended to:

"Listen: go fuck yourself."

And then I replaced the handset, carefully, aware of an unaccountable increase in the hubbub, the level of mirth around me.

As a spectacle, not much, I'm mindful of being in work. I've done better…

Some time ago (I may already have written about this) I was unlucky enough to pick up at home; someone telling me my router has a virus. Yeah.

I began by insulting him, calling him a parasite, the usual insults I usually keep to myself when my family is with me. Interestingly, it went a bit downhill towards the end as he traded insults with me.

Here goes.


"Listen, your name really isn't 'Mike' is it."


"No, you couldn't pronounce my name."


"Go on then, I've a few Asian friends who aren't bottom-feeding parasites like you, go on, give me a try."


"[Utterly fucking unintelligible name.]"


"Ok, 'Mike, you got me th"

And then I replaced the handset, carefully, aware of an evening of the score, a stalemate.



I have a theory: that Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was close when wondering that, if the secret of the universe was ever found, it would be replaced by something even more improbable.

It happened, someone found it, or at least the secret of the bit over which humanity believes they have a loose measure of control. Why else would our world be changed daily beyond our understanding upon awakening‽

Douglas Adams:

"If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat."

Prompted by @der_jeff:

"Has the world come to an end yet?"


In the hurry to leave the house for this morning's school run and journey to work I forgot my lunch, I forgot cash (the cash my wife got for me yesterday evening) and…

Having nothing edible in my desk drawer for the first time in weeks I'm sat here now looking at a vending machine 'Hot chicken soup', and wondering if its calorific value will be adequate to sustain me for the next 5 hours.

Hey, a bonus, this time it's actually not heated water with bits of green stuff floating on the surface layer of micro-froth.

(sips slowly, smacks lips, mmmm…)


Ah… I remember the days when getting home and having one meant chomping on a nice, brown biscuit sandwiching a buttercream filling: the Bourbon Cream.

Nowadays I see and hear an amber-coloured liquid sloshed carefully into a thistle-shaped glass, with an ice cube lovingly plopped on top. Things are very different now.


I've been messing about with computers since 1981, on the internet since 1997 (yes, even that is 20 years!) and so it was a surprise to find, by chance, a bookmarking service that made sense to me. Tags: I know what they are, but the things never clicked until a week-and-a-half-ago. I've used GTD (Getting Things Done) in various forms in a personal and to a lesser degree work capacity, but this is different. has been around since, I think, 2009. It has a mature, sensible interface; maybe one that takes a time to master, but it works well. Apart from when it doesn't.

I signed up for an Archive account, one that costs a yearly fee of USD$25 and entitles the user to practically- unlimited, searchable, taggable bookmark storage. The Archive account is an extension of the Basic and gives full text search within the pages the Pinboard system crawls then archives. Sounds impressive.

I say 'sounds' as I've not yet had the opportunity to test the full-text bit. It simply didn't work for me and another new signup. After a week of no response to my 2 emails, several tweets, it emerged that Pinboard's hard drive was full. Oops, what bad timing!

Ok, the support could easily have been better, but the site owner has generously offered a small extension for the trouble I've had.

The good news, I spent time checking that the bookmarks could be exported in non-proprietary formats and, crucially, reimported. And I've spent time tagging like crazy.

And here are the fruits of my labours, a bit of a mess for now, but eminently usable:


There's no doubt in my mind that I'm no longer the invincible fourteen year old my sense of self has identified with for the past few decades. I had the first inkling over 11 years ago, simply waking then walking downstairs. This latest indication that I must re-evaluate 'me' though, it simply shouldn't have happened.

Crushing plastic bottles to fit more into the recycling bin is something I have an unnatural pride in. Start from the neck, flatten going down the sides, fold over the base, throw into the IKEA 'Sortera' box. Yesterday evening though, I felt a twinge in my left thumb, but carried on regardless. Perhaps being fortified by a glass of 'Buffalo Trace' Kentucky whiskey emboldened me to simply work through the mild discomfort?

This morning though, in the cold light of day (well dark, it's not even dawn here yet) I find myself needing a painkiller or two.

Getting old(er) Baz.