Archive for March, 2009



However, while I know I am drnuk (The reason being 1. I feel goodwill towards all my fellow man instead of 2. loathing thereunto) and 2. my brain appears to be on the fritz on a whole bundle of fronts, which is somewhat of a pain, but never mind because I figure I can cope with such given a nice cup of coffee and an FPS or two to take my brain of the subject while I rehydrate it and flush out the poison ampersand afformentioned blown fuses/.

However while the above all is good, and I am pleased for everybody.

And I know this’ll kill me in’t morning, but ‘s all good, and I’m cheerful, drunk and short-circuiting in what’s not the worst possible way, so there we go.

‘s all. G’night. O, anmd since my carefuul finger-picking of the keys is probably a little bit to the left or right or something, apologies for the typos. Whoof.

Tea praps not cofffee or I’ll be up all night witch would be of the craxy.

G’night, presenmtyl/

Four One More Years!

Now with semi-random emboldening, to clarify what’s important in amongst all these words…

Well, since I’ve not yet had any frantic e-mails or letters or ‘phone calls of retraction, I guess now is as reasonable a time as any to leak some breaking news out into the public domain: UWA Aberystwyth would like to offer me a place on the Library and Information Studies course as a Masters student, starting on the 28th of September, 2009. Plus, on the basis of my having started as an undergraduate around the 28th of September 2003, and having graduated from UWA three years later, they’d like to give me 10% off my tuition fees, which is very nice of them!

All things considered, this is a Good Thing, since it means I’ll get not only a professional qualification that (as I understand it) will allow me to get membership of CILIP – dead handy, that is – but also a spiffy new degree, which will not only make me look like a well-rounded, clever sort of person, but which should also net me a little more cash, long-term.

Not only that, but in the event that I actually finish and get the thing, I’ll be one of a comparatively small number of people who hold not only a degree from UWA, but also a degree from AU. Yes, I think that is a really interesting fact. I’ll wheel it out at parties in the event people look like they’re getting bored of hearing about the development of MARC formatting*.

Jen is currently in town, which is awesome. Brief trip to pub yesterday, which included entertaining reminiscences about Apocalypse Wow! and other ghosts. Since I’m about to be returning to studenthood [terrifying thought, except I’ll be able to stop paying tax and that], I find this heartening – I think Jen is the first person I met during my Fresher’s Week that I’m still in any kind of contact with outside of Facecoke, and that dun’t really count as contact. It was good, because the thought of going back to University as a student type was making me feel properly old, and while talking about t’Old Days didn’t exactly stop me feeling old, it at least made me more cheerful about the whole thing.

Plus, y’know, Jen’s awesome, so it’s nice to have her back in town :-)

Good news all round, pretty much!

Have fun!

You really don’t have to read this bit if you don’t want to. I can’t think why you’d not want to, but if you really don’t, you can shove off now.

*this is, in fact, really interesting. See, back in the 1960s electronic data storage was really expensive and any computerised library records had to be stored in fixed-length fields, which not only limited search capabilities, but also caused costly wastage when you had an author with a four-character surname being stored in a fixed-length ten-character field. So, on the one hand, you had some fields that, for certain items, weren’t long enough, but couldn’t be extended, and on the other hand, you had some that were too long, but couldn’t be shortened.

Sometimes this would happen within one record, and it really crippled the potential value of the emerging computer as an alternative method of record management (the standard at the time, of course, being the traditional 3×5 inch catalogue card, which also had limited capacity and couldn’t be relied upon to get regular updates unless someone remembered to check all the cross-references from one card to another – which was time consuming even for small collections.

The problem they had was that there wasn’t any way to vary the length of a data field, because you had to tell the computer that the Author Surname field started at character #20, and ended at character #30 – it was the only way the machine knew what order the data lived in, and nobody could think of a way round that (of course, the majority of librarians had little understanding of computers, and the computer engineers rarely thought of libraries as being a market for computers, since the established members of each profession looked on the other as the very anathema of what they stood for – a view which remains surprisingly common to this day, in spite of all the advances made in the past twenty-odd years).

Now about this time the Library of Congress had appointed a new committee which was supposed to be looking at their surplus of 3×5 cards. (Especially in the US, these cards were still pretty cutting edge – as late as 1900 most American libraries still had their catalogues printed in book form only, which made them amazingly hard to update – by comparison, the index cards were a dream come true, except that they took up too much room.

The committee, therefore, was looking at two solutions to the card storage problem: 1) Rent a big warehouse to store some of the cards, or 2) Rent a floor in a big warehouse to store some of the cards**. The LC was feeling pretty good about itself, around this time, because of course it wasn’t long since the 1956 Committee on Catalogue Code Revision had presented its findings (themselves a revision of the fairly shoddy 1946 rules), so they weren’t in the market to change the way cataloguing was done. However, it was at about this time that — Oi! You little bugger, I saw you open that new tab! Hey! O, now you come back here! Honestly, I was right in the middle of my story!***

*sigh* Bye, then…

**Some things change very, very slowly, it appears…

***Cite me!

[All humour aside, that is honestly a really interesting story. I’d be happy to finish it sometime. And kudos to Keith Trickey for clueing me in on it.

Still no post!

Bloody GPO. I was holding off posting myself until my letter arrived, but still no dice. Updates as and when, I suppose, but don’t hold your breath – I’m still waiting for something I ordered as a Christmas gift to turn up, four months later…

Still, never mind. I remain totally exhausted, but I think I’ve worked out why: it takes until 20:00 for me to actually wake up.

Lately, for one reason or another, I’ve not been getting enough sleep, and I’ve been getting progressively tired. No real change there, I guess, I tend to default to a pattern of going to sleep with the World Service around 01:00 and waking to Today at a quarter to eightish. Naturally that leaves me pretty wrecked, so I sleep in on Saturdays.

Since Christmas I’ve spent a lot of Saturdays busy, so I’m not catching up on as much sleep as I’d like and, thinking logically, I keep determining to Get An Early Night. Indeed I’ve spent whole days just barely keeping my eyes open and thinking fondly of how I’ll bundle myself up under the duvet, turn the radio on really quietly and be asleep by 10.

I think this all through the day, and when I get home and sit down I can barely muster the energy to keep awake until the tea’s brewed and the internet connection’s woken up. ‘Never mind 10,’ I think to myself ‘I’ll go to bed in a minute and be crashed out well before 9.’

Trouble is as soon as it gets to 20:00 or so, I wake right up and find it really hard to get to sleep until about 01:00. It’s vexing, but it has led me to develop an unhappy ability to force myself out of bed more or less regardless of how tired I am, at the point when the alarm goes off.

Last night this morning I was finally asleep somewhere after two, so I’ll admit to going through my usual swearing-at-the-alarm-clock routine with slightly more volume than usual, before I chucked off the duvet & walked the two paces to my phone in order to turn it off.

Or, I would have done. Somehow I’d managed to stand without my legs actually being awake, because they just folded up under me and dumped me on the floor. It’s a really weird sensation, I’ve never had it before. My brain, though muzzy, was functioning fine, but I couldn’t get my legs to respond for an alarming five seconds.

The moral of the story? I should get a teasmade. However, I want one of those rather less than I’d like anything on my Amazon Wishlist, what I am patiently (and, I’ll admit, somewhat haphazardly) constructing ahead of my birthday in a couple of week’s time…

In other news, while I’m in no way a Playstation fan (because, one: games work o dear God so, so much better on PCs than on grotty little consoles with their stupidly limited button supply, and, two: the best console I’ve run into thus far was the Gamecube, because all bar one of my favourite console games were built for that alone), there’s a really interesting analysis of what Sony did & didn’t screw up with the beleaguered PS3 over at Downwards Compatible, what I’ve been picking up by RSS since Shamus Young mentioned it. Both nice interestin’ sites, although, of course, you all know Shamus from his awesome D&D Campaign and the webcomic that Started It All, DM of the Rings.

Incidentally, I went home this lunchtime, in between starting to draft this post, and finishing it up. Still no bloody post. Gah.