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Archives for October 2008

 

A Hitch Hikers guide to the ocean

Or how to sail around the world on someone eles's boat.

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Topics will include:

Where and when to find a boat.
What it costs
World Weather patterns
Life on board a yacht.
People you’ll meet.
Things you’ll see.

I Tom (Oceanhippie, Order of the Ditch, order of the Golden Dragon) be giving a presentation on the 18th November at 7:00 pm about my travels with a definatle slant on how to do it yourself. What to bring what to expect, how to got about it costs etc. It will be FAB I promice.

There will be tails of Islands, oceans, rastas, kitten smuggling, volcanoes, testicles swinging in the breeze, insanity of a ships captain, boobies*, nakedness, baking, waterfalls.

Warning - may contain gratuatious photos, videos etc. some educational value and if your very lucky nudity*.

Now the location is not likely to be a suprise to anyone who knows me well, you can probalby guess it. If your a member of Joe Public, then you'll need to contact me oceanhippie at yahoo.com its not that your not welcome, its just I need to know numbers of outsiders.

* - Not those kind of boobies!

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Wed 29th October 2008

 

Achiveing great things

I have achieved great things, those of you who've accidentally been reading this since the interesting? bits about ocean travel dried up may have noticed some ranting. modern western life does that to people.

The Rants were targeted at the Volvo Ocean Race website and NTL (aka Virgin).

However:

Not only is my telephone now working, its on the right number too. Anyone who’s ever phoned NTL will agree that this is an achievement of god like proportions, it only took about a month.

Not only that I managed, to get every bit of the Volvo Ocean Race website not only to work, but to work on Linux on my tinny little eee pc. Ok so the video’s only worked in one browser, and just the once before they stopped again, but work they did. I even got Race Viewer to work on the eee too. Only that’s stopped again. On both windows and linux.

As an aside to my hi tech even a geek takes 10 days to get it to work rant about the VOR site I have to take my hat off to Mark Chisnell, who writes the daily 10 ZULU reports. His sense of humour and warnings about technical content make it accessible to not just sailors like me but help the non sailors follow the weird concepts like why the fleet is heading south of west down the coast of Brazil whilst Cape Town is more like east.

It makes perfect sense to me already but I’m sure he’s helping laymen with his links to wikipedia. I particularly like the way he links to youtube videos to explain terms, or illustrate metaphors. Links to Jonny Cash and Pulp Fiction and 18ft skiff Videos on youtube. I think this is what HTML was supposed to be.

Thank you Mark thanks to following links I find my self member of the order of the Golden Dragon (sail across the Date Line) and order of the Ditch (been the through the Panama canal) which I'd never heard of before.


Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Tue 28th October 2008

 

Volvo Ocean Race

vorMap.jpg
Screen Shot of Map

Here's a map of the current location of the Volvo Ocean race yachts for those like me who can't get the official one to work.

Well, I'm not entirely happy with the Volvo Ocean Race Website. Let Me list:

  • Video's won't go full screen.
  • Video's won't play on linux, quite likly macs as well.
  • Race Viewer doesn't work It did now it doesn't.
  • Menu, the menu at the top requires such delecate mouse work its like one of those wire buzzer games you get a fete's.
  • Virtual Spectator doesn't work for me. It shows now land no sea not lat no long. Its about as usefull as a chocolate fireguard, does work for some people but not me. My PC will play Doom 3 and Far Cry quite happily but not VS. Rating possibly unique to my PC but I doubt it.

Ok so you must have latest Java so I upgraded it ant lo it worked, that is untill it didn't any more on either of my PC's The rollover menu at the top is awfull, the videos are Windows Only and unhappy in Firefix/Opera. I've speant ages loading Java, Virtual Spectator etc and I'm a geek. I still can't get a map of where the Yachts are.

A working cross platform (linux mac compatible) map of where the VOR boats are is here OK so its not very good, it relies on VOR's deckman feed but don't knock it. Its better than nothing.

Please note this has no permission from VOR, and is primaraly for my own benefit, I can now enjoy the VOR without their website.

OK If you want to stick a map of the current VOR's positions on your own website/blog. Here's some code. Note require's PHP.

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Tue 21st October 2008 | volvoDisplay.php

 

Virgin / NTL's weakness

Ok so its not much of a weakness. But I'm absoluty certain that the absolutly useless NTL call centre arne't allowed to hang up. So long as you have suficienet skype credit they won't hang up.

The'll repeat them selves over and over again, they'll put you on hold. Everyhting they can think of you but they won't hang up. It turned into a battle of wills only when I rasied there engineer on the other line and he told me to hang up on them did I finally quit.

Tom

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Wed 15th October 2008

 

NTL and now Vodafone and volvo abuse.

vor start eric.jpg
Start of the Volvo Ocean Race

NTL set an enginner arround today, to fix our phone. We know there was nothing wrong this end and NTL had done something at the customer services end. He poked he fiddled, and spent an hour or so on the phone to various people before he was able to establish that no, the wiring wot he was sent out for was fine, but that customer services were to blame. Think he might have been argueing with a call centre in India.

In short its still not working.  Thats several months of wrong number and 2 weeks of none at all.

He left his test thingy here. He left me his mobile, nice man, however I couldn't call him to tell him cos my mobile's out of credit. Can I top it up, can I bollocks to add insult to injury vodafone have somehow wrecked my online setup. Removing my bank accounts and debit card. To ring up and harange them requires credit. Wot I don't have. cos I can't top up.

 Modern telecomunications is a wreck.

Hangovers from this and disapointment with the Volvo Ocean race website, which is ok. Seen worse, but led me to be a little unfair about it. I'm really happy with my new linux eee pc its cute tiny and now equiped with ubuntu eee. Its loverly. Its played every movie I've looked at out with out trouble, execpt the volvo ocean race. The frustration overflowed when the helecopter totally missed the start to film the spinny radar of a frigate. Arrrgh!

Grumpy emails ensued. Dear VOR, sorry I was too rude. A nice modern webiste, cross browser and sytem would be nice. User input? Comments, able to ratee videos to sort the F1 style dull interviews from the storming southern ocean action would be nice. It should be web 2.0 tastic darling. Yours is fine but I'd hoped for more. The reason I gvve up following the last volvo was it wouldn't run in firefox and opera. This works now (just).

 Apparently there's a virual volvo you can enter your self. Stll havn't found it though. Or when/if the'll be any real tv coverage.

I think that was an apology to Volvo, sort of. Antony the NTL bloke, marks for being helpful and trying. NTL your sill a bunch of useless cretins.

 Tom

ERRATA:

for NTL read Virgin Bloody media throughout.

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Sun 12th October 2008 | http://www.volvooceanrace.org

 

March of the Morons

NTL, aka virgin muppetfest army of morons is marching into battle with the all the intelegence of a public schooled young officer leading his lambs to be slaughtered at the Somme. Going out and ringing the door bell of an NTL customer vctim is as brave as going over the top on the western front.

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A well dressed bloke with laminated badge and clip board rang my door bell and asked me if we wanted to install NTL.

He looked slightly taken a back when I burst into hysterical laughter on the door stop. between fits of laughter I manged to sarcastically remark we already had it, and that it didn't work.

As an update: our phone doesn't work still. We may or may not have 2 accounts for our flat and he though there were 6 flats in the small terraced house in which my flat is located.

Yep its official NTL can't count.

Its so much more fun to describe them as usless incompetant crettins to a human being rather than a disembodied voice in india. Not that I can even do that right now the phone doesn't work at all since they "fixed it".

Tom

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Thu 9th October 2008

 

You must have ninja focus to complete your mission.

Ok so I couldn't sty off the old blog. Firstly can I say a big think you to Dave who's been looking after my server wot runs this. Or ran this, thanks to my former colegues its now running on there server. I was going to bring it back home. BUT my poor long suffering flatmates are customers victims of NTL. I refuse to call them Virgin, there still NTL and as shite as ever.

My telephone number is known to many of you, I woudn't phone it if i were you since it rings and goes to voice mail. When I say it rings, it rings somewhere, not here. Tuesday they rang the mobile, saying they would fix it. I went "oh god" there goes the internet. Before the internet broke, you see I've been a victim of NTL before. They're shite. Yessterday they rang again saying internet would return and this time they would fix the phone.

Phone no longer works at all, at least it made calls before. Internet sort of works, obviosly I have to add keepalives to all my servers, servers who's connections never wavered on the worst third world connections, but not NTL. Sometimes ever the ploynesian internet I griped about is faster than this. Hell, who actully buy's one of their packages. Last time I had to get a phone line just to run internet over it, cos NTL didn't work.

Dear World. DO NOT get interenet off NTL aka Virgin. They are dreafull. I'm not the only one who's dirty, In my possiton as neighbourhood geek I have been asked to look at dozen NTL cockups, mostly what happens is you changeTV channels and they do something wired to your acount and diconnect your internet. One enterprising NTL  "engineer" installed a cable - randomly connecting the wires at either end. Hmm that will work. The second engineer, couldn't fix it, said it would be fine and leggeed it. Yep they're that good.

NTL Letter of Complaint
"Dear Cretins"

Hey this letter is a famouse one, I'd say his experience of NTL is typical though his prose it better than mine. I've never posted the contents of a cats litter tray to them.

I don't have a cat.

God knows what they do all day, bolock juggling probably, I'd call them and ask but the phone don't work. Here's a tip though. Don't get your internet from someone whos customers run a forum called NTL Hell

Seach google for NTL are shite? About 91,000 pages.

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Fri 3rd October 2008

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