davidn: (prince)
The new Windows 7 effect of windows fading out and falling slightly away from you puts a whole new spin on sending emails from Outlook. Now, when you hit the Send button, you get a direct visual representation of the message tumbling out of your grasp and through the unknown ether, knowing that you're powerless to get it back if you've accidentally sent everyone a personal note or copy and pasted in an observation that your client wears silly shoes.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about - though this might be more a question for the people who read this on LJ rather than anywhere else. I just remembered that in the PS Final Fantasy games (which were, of course, the first encounter with the series that I had), where your movement on the playfield was periodically interrupted by random battles with completely invisible enemies, I subconsciously developed a habit to try to avoid them. Instead of just running to where I was aiming for, I would always run a short distance for about a second, then let go of the direction to pause for a tiny amount of time, then start again, inserting little pauses between bursts of movement. I remember I read a speed FAQ for FF9 (where you got a special award for completing the game in under twelve hours) that recommended this out of nowhere, which makes me think that I wasn't alone - is this a habit that other people also got into?

I'm not sure whether it actually had any effect on the game, or whether it was an illusion born from taking slightly more time to move anywhere, therefore making the gaps between the battles seem longer. I know that as soon as I took advantage of snapshot saves in FF6 and found that the time to the next battle was a predetermined number of steps from the last one, I stopped bothering with it for that game immediately.
davidn: (Jam)
Bear with me a moment - are there any commonly-used pairs of nouns where the first noun is used as an adjective or descriptor for the second, where that second word can equally be used as an adjective for the first?

Yes, I know, this needs an example - I was just walking upstairs with one of the mountains of junk that tend to accumulate on my desk, and I saw "Oyster mushrooms" on an unusually comprehensible supermarket receipt. I misread it as "Mushroom oysters" at first and wondered when we had become posh enough gits to have those in our shopping, but after looking again, I wondered if such a thing as a mushroom oyster existed (they don't) and whether there were any of these word pairs that made sense either way around.

Apparently there is such a thing as a "cloud mushroom", sort of, but its actual name is one of the least appetizing things ever, so that barely misses out.
davidn: (Jam)
(22:44:38) MichaelTheFish: I was more glad than ever that I had my own washing machine then, of course.
(22:45:05) MichaelTheFish: Because you've got to get penguin saliva in to soak after about five minutes, or you're never going to get it out.
(22:45:16) DXN: Really? How interesting.
(23:10:00) DXN: Well, I'm going to bed - see you! <-- Good? Unnecessary?

What, by your own standards and made-up etiquette that we've had to invent over our lives for Internet situations, is the cut-off point of the time since the last message for which it's unnecessary, as opposed to rudely abrupt, to announce your disappearance before going offline from an instant message conversation? I've never been sure.
davidn: (Jam)
Coders, help me out by confessing so that I'm reassured I'm not the only one...

If you're working on a project that has a significant compile time (say, five minutes or so), and you set it going and then realize that you've forgotten to change one thing that you want to get in... do you stop it, or do you - as I do - seize the opportunity to prove your superiority, leave the compile running, zoom to the file in question, and race the computer to make the change and save the file before the build grabs it?
davidn: (ace)
I hadn't realized that it was P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Pancake Day (or if you're American, the decidedly less appetizing-sounding Fat Tuesday) until mid-afternoon yesterday, so I brought out the griddle again and demonstrated that there are some things that I can make in the kitchen without an actual adult's help.



I think my mobile phone can make even a picture of pancakes unappetizing. Nevertheless, this is the same recipe as last time, with more milk added so that the batter just distributed itself over a wider area.

Here's a question - do you spread your jam/butter/whatever you like on the first-cooked smooth side of the pancake, or on the underside so that it soaks into all the little holes?
davidn: (Jam)
That last post got quite a response. Here's something far more mundane.

In which order are the three main items arranged in your cutlery drawer?

Or if you don't have a say in the matter due to not living by yourself, in which order did they come to mind first or which order should they come in? Blame whoever you like.

I'm inspired to ask because after the weekend in New York and not having to remember our entirely arbitrary order of spoons-forks-knives for only four days, my mind reverted to the (clearly much better) knives-forks-spoons order that my parents had got me used to and I put all the items at the ends in the wrong compartments without thinking about it.

You can elaborate further on your own situation if you want, but bear in mind that people might think you're even more boring than I am.



I've just noticed that I never drew any conclusion from the last question post - basically the rules of that card game are entirely variable, but they seem to be fairly standardized within general regions or schools. 10 is always burn - that's the only certainty you have.
davidn: (prince)
It looks rather like this, but less Windowsy
A few years before the senior honours project that would ensure that I never wanted to see another pack of cards ever again, we used to constantly play a card game that I always knew as Shed in the sixth year common room. The aim of the game is to shed three layers of cards - in hand, face up and face down - and take it in turns with other players to build up a pile of cards (building a shed, I suppose) in the middle of the table, increasing the size and value of it gradually while trying to avoid getting into a situation where you're unable to play and therefore have to be the one to pick up the pile. Certain cards, called powercards, could be played no matter what the pile's current value was and had special effects such as reducing the required value of the pile to 2 or reversing the order of play.

What's most interesting about the game is its heavily memetic nature - when I went to university the next year, it seemed that everybody I met knew the game (though never under the same name), but despite always sticking to that set of core rules, every single school group had its own unique idea of just how many powercards there were, the values to which they were assigned and the effect of each one. To be able to play it with any new group of people, we had to first agree on a cobbled-together combination of the rules that we'd brought from our own respective territories, which we would then bring back and introduce when we went back to visit home again, thus spreading individual rules gradually throughout the world. I'm trying to dance around the uncanny similarity of this to how Triple Triad worked, but that had exactly the same idea.

The Wikipedia article on it lists a variety of weird and wonderful effects and conditions, some of which I'm familiar with through picking them up from other students from across the country. But my "home" Inverurie Academy powercards were as follows:

2 - The value of the pile returns to 2
7 - Transparent card, takes the value of the first non-7 card below it
10 - Burn the shed! The cards in the pile are taken out of the game
Ace - Nominate the next player to put down a card, and play continues from them

I'm interested to know just how many variants are represented by my Friends list. What were your rules?
davidn: (Jam)
Among the really enjoyable bits of writing the new versions of our system for various clients at work, I've somehow landed myself with the task of trawling through a giant 800-line-long colour-coded Excel list and accompanying 36-page 100MB PDF with handwritten notes scrawled across it to attempt to decipher the changes that one of the divisions need to their immense tree of locations. Even ignoring the unintentionally ironic cases like "Quallity Control", I think that the writer of the spreadsheet was going as mad as I was near the end - I felt a compulsion to look over my shoulder before clicking on one called "Heaving Oil Pumper Tankage". I suspect it was meant to be "Heavy" but he got distracted and accidentally made it even more Freudian than the name already was.

I began to suspect that they were making things up when they started throwing in names like "Dehexenizer" and "Wet Gas Scrubber", but fairly late on there was also one labelled "Tank Farm", which put an image in my mind of someone pouring a sack of grain into a trough and a herd of little M4 Shermans trundling frantically over and pushing each other out the way in the rush to snort it up through their barrels. It was at about that moment that I realized I had been looking at the location tree for six straight hours and needed to go and get some fresh air.

Here, by the way, are the collected responses from the question that I posted a few days ago. The replies were in general less definite than my own preference, which made collecting them together a little more difficult than I had imagined, but if I didn't make some sort of effort, then I would have just asked everyone what they wear in bed and it would be weird.



I was actually very surprised when I went through the posts and tried to sort them into two general areas (preference for nothing/minimal against wearing real sort of nightclothing), because even though I thought there was no pattern when they came in, you can tell from that quick Excel job that there's a definite split in the replies - though it may possibly be bias in my categorizing as I skimmed through them. (I was also surprised that so few people wanted to respond anonymously - perhaps I overcompensated for my perceived strangeness of the question.)

In general, from the wider descriptions in the replies, I think that women just tend to feel the cold more. Whether there's any biological reason for this is something I really can't tell you.
davidn: (Jam)
It was quite a morning yesterday - I stepped out the door to go to work, realized it was raining rather heavily than I had imagined and decided to go back to get an umbrella. But I was spotted on the way up the stairs by the man who fixed our ceiling, his assistant and the superintendent, who caught me in their conversation and shared their hilarious anecdotes about laminate flooring for about half an hour before an opportunity for escape presented itself. By then I had decided not to bother with the train and just worked from home instead.

And I think it's once again time to open a question that came up between me and Whitney up to whoever reads this. I've been tweaking words around in this post for a while, because this might be something of an awkward one, but here goes in the best way I could find to phrase it anyway...

What do you wear while you're sleeping?

The original question was about whether there was an obvious difference in males and females preferring to wear something while asleep - anonymous comments are allowed and indeed strongly encouraged, though you'd have to also indicate your gender. Hitting me on the head with your handbag and stalking off is not encouraged, but honestly expected.
davidn: (rabbit)
Thanks to everyone who responded to the questions in my last entry, we have 22 different opinions (including mine) of peanut butter from the world over. [livejournal.com profile] pami_zee seemed particularly enthusiastic about this and produced a Chi-whatever-you-call-it report which I didn't understand at all - I just sat gaping at it like Bernard Black doing his taxes.

I have compiled an alternative summary (with great difficulty - have you any idea how terrible OpenOffice's graph feature is?) in the commonly accepted bar graph form.


The number of responses is too small to draw any certain conclusions, but that won't stop me from doing it anyway. From the non-American side, responses were fairly mixed, but there was almost a convincing opinion against it (I am counting [livejournal.com profile] diarytypething's sabotage attempt as a dislike, as I'm fairly sure it's legitimate to call it that if peanuts cause your insides to detonate). The most interesting part was the second bar in the graph, which you can't see as it isn't there - no Americans admitted to disliking peanut butter at all. Though again there was an awkward one here, as [livejournal.com profile] kjorteo said he only liked one type of it, and I was previously unaware of there being multiple varieties of the substance.

I'm no longer sure what the conversation with Whitney was that inspired all this in the first place, but I feel I must have proved something. Maybe just that I've got a bit more time these days.
davidn: (bald)
As you're on this page and don't have much else better to do anyway, I'd appreciate it if you (yes, you) would take a second to answer these. Just to confirm if there's any correlation.

A. Do you like peanut butter?
B. Are you American?

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