Monday, March 27, 2006


Work: Amusing Error Message

I'm trying to find a way to capture any JavaScript errors in the WebBrowser control from Visual Studio 2005. My googling turned up this article, which I'm sure is great, but isn't any use to me. I did, however, really love the error message in the code sample:
function errorHandler(msg,url,lno)
var alertmsg = "There has been an internal error." +
" Please apologize for inconvenience.";
alertmsg += "\n\nPlease refresh this page and this error should go away.\n\n";
alertmsg += "If problem persists please contact site helpdesk.";
alert (alertmsg);
return (true);
I just love the idea of some user hitting a buggy website and being told *they* have to say sorry for the problem. Hehehehehe

Friday, March 24, 2006


Darren's Blog

Ha Darren! I found your blog! That wasn't too hard.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Work: The Internet Is Dangerous

(Don't follow any of these links. You have been warned)

We all know the web can be a dangerous place. Sure, most of the time, with a bit of common sense and a bit of care it's pretty harmless. You know emails from certain friends shouldn't be opened when there are other people around ('cause they may contain stuff like this), and you can generally tell when a link isn't a good thing to follow (like

But occasionally even the most careful make a mistake. Maybe it's a site that at first looks perfectly reasonable, but after a few moments you realise the police might be knocking on your door. Maybe it's an image search that turned up more than you were expecting (see my Walmart post). Or maybe it's a reference you decided to track down so you could work out what people were talking about (tubgirl or goatse for example).

The last one is what I just did. I'm at work at the moment, reading through AppleGeeks as I want for code to compile. My computer is currently setup in such a way that my screens are visible from the other side of the room to anyone who happens to look. I came across a reference to "Mac Hall". So I googled for "Mac Hall". The first link was to, so I followed it (stop and think about what this post is about. Do you really want to go to this site?).

Turns out I'd actually Googled for "kmac hall". The real Mac Hall Comics can be found here. D'oh.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Why Was I Not Informed?

Ohmyfuckinggod! Amanda from the Dresden Dolls has a blog!

And iTunes has decided that in honor of this discovery, it will now play Girl Anachronism.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Just (Haven't) Played: City of Heroes

Big Headed Simon just remined me about this rant I've been meaning to write for a while. So here it is.

In my quest to find another MMORPG as fun as World of Warcraft, I decided I wanted to give City of Heroes a go. After my success with getting a free trial of Eve Online, I figured I might be able to do the same for CoH. So I did a quick google for "City of Heroes Free Trial", and found that the first hit looked pretty promising (I've linked to the caches version, for reasons that should become apparent). No where on the page said that the trial had expired or wasn't happening any more, so I filled in my details and hit send. Shortly afterwards I got an email back:

Thank you for your interest in City of Heroes. Your
serial code is the following:


In order to play City of Heroes, you must first have a PlayNC master account
and then a City of Heroes game account under that master account. If you are
an existing PlayNC customer or a returning City of Heroes player and want to
create a new game account, you can skip directly down to the "To Add a City
of Heroes Game Account ONLY" directions below.

"Awesome!" I thought, and so proceeded to set up an account and download the client application. Which was close to 2gig, but I could cope. So I finally had it all ready to go, then I went to enter the code they'd sent me. Turns out the code had expired. I figured that's fair enough, their promotion must be over. But I figured I'd tell them about how their system is still sending out codes, and maybe see if they'd give me a trial anyway.

I applied for the City of Heroes free trial (, and was sent an access code. Unfortunately when I tried to add CoH to my account, I was told that the code had expired.

I've since realised that the free trial was an offer from 2005. The link to the site is the top hit in Google for "city of heroes free trial", there's nothing on the page to indicate that the trial had expired and I was still sent an email with an activation code. Is there an updated code I can be sent?
I got a (very long and ugly looking) response telling me that they'd sent my query to someone else, and that they'd get to me eventually. A little bit later they sent me another email asking for the access code I was sent. Of course, to reply, I had to copy and paste their original email, and then type my reply in between two markers.
Hello Simon,
Thank you for contacting PlayNC Support!
The 20 digit serial code you have provide is an expired Penny Arcade Beta code for Auto Assault.
Please provide the serial code that was given to your for City of Heroes or City of
We look forward to your response.

Hmmm. Okay...
As I explained in my first email, after Googling for "City of Heroes free trial", I was directed to this ( page on the offical City of Heroes site. I filled in my details, and was sent an email with instructions on how to download the client and start the free trial. The serial number I listed in my previous email was copied from that email (I have included this email at the end of my reply). As I downloaded the client following the instructions given in the email, I don't have any other serial number.

I did sign up for the Auto Assault beta, and checking that email, the codes are identical. Could being part of the beta program have caused an incorrect key to be sent to me?

[snip copy of original email]
This obviously confused them somewhat, because they decided they needed to escalate it again.
Hello Simon,

Thank you for your response. In order to further investigate this, please take a screenshot of the e-mail you received regarding the City of Heroes Trial containing the serial code. You can attach the image to your response. Once we have reviewed the e-mail, we will be able to further assist you.

We look forward to your response.

Okay, well I can do that. Which I guess they weren't expecting, because they had to escalate it yet again. But eventually I got this back
Hi Simon,

Thank you for your patience.

At this time, we are not running any trial promotions for City of Heroes. The page that you used is not an active page on City of Heroes and the offer for City of HeroesCity of

We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused.
trial codes are only valid when that page is linked directly to the main website. All future promotions will be posted on the website,
Yes, I know that. I even said I knew that in my original email. And so why did it take this long for someone to say that? Oh, never mind, I don't care anymore.

After the serious lack of joy I had with Auto Assault and now the City of Heroes runaround, I have absolutely no interest in ever bothering with an PlayNC game. So I guess they've saved me some money.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Oh, Really?

Oh, so now that Mikal isn't sharing a cube with me, he finds he doesn't mind them so much. Well, don't I just feel wonderful now!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Computing: World of Warcraft and JavaScript

Since I've started playing World of Warcraft again, I've decided to start posting to my World of Warcraft blog again. I'm also in the process of redesigning the site itself - mostly to scratch a bit of an itch I've been having about various web stuff.

Anyway, the point is that I've finally got a groovy little JavaScript thing happening for items (go to this post and hover over anything that looks like [This]).

The majority of the code comes from OverLib, which is pretty nifty. There's probably a lot in there that I don't need, and when I get around to it I plan on learning how it's actually working so I can write my own custom version. But it will do for now.


Note to Self

The statement "I'll just play World of Warcraft for a little bit before work" is always going to be a lie. A more correct statement would be "I'll just play World of Warcraft until I'm very late for work".

Monday, March 06, 2006


Work: Going Dark(ish)

Gordon accused me today of maybe going dark. Well, kind of darkish anyway. Maybe a bit gloomy. A bit shadowy. A bit dim (hmmm, I think I like "shadowy" better than "dim"). And it's a fair enough comment - I haven't checked in any code ice code for a while now. There are excuses - I've also been working on the TCT (and I have been checking in code there) and I haven't wanted to ruin the template generator In case someone else needs it before I get my version into a usable state. But still.

This morning I left Gordon with lots of promises about how I was done with the TCT for the time being, and how I'd be putting my full attention to the template generator. Then pretty much as soon as he left, I get an email asking for an urgent TCT enhancement.

So that's what I did today: added a new feature to the TCT. Sorry Gordo - tomorrow I promise.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Just Read: February

Hmmm, not having a couple of weeks off work really cut into my reading time this month...

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Discovered: Another "gift" from Amazon. I'd been wanting to read it ever since I saw the movie a few years ago.
About It: Rob is a 30-something guy who owns a record shop and loves music. Oh, and his girlfriend has just left him. He decides that he needs to go and talk to his "top five breakup" girls to try and work out why he's so messed up. A lot of his revelations during the story made me go "well duh", but maybe that's just me. It was funny, interesting and cool. Plus, all the music references made me realize my music collection is seriously lacking (apparently you aren't considered a serious person unless you own over 500 albums)
My Rating: 3.5/5

A Game of Thrones RPG by Guardians of Order
Discovered: At CanCon, after hearing nothing but good stuff about it
About It: Okay, so this is an RPG, and so doesn't really belong here (plus, it reveals even further how nerdy I am). But I have to say it's fantastic. It's based on the fantastic Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin, and the game captures the feel of the books perfectly. It's the best implementation of the D20 system I've seen.
My Rating: 4/5


Scouts: Zone 3

Last night I took the scouts to Zone 3. For anyone who doesn't know, Zone 3 is a laser-tag game - basically you strap some sensors to yourself, and go and try to shoot the people on the other teams lots. It's lots of fun, and I did reasonably well.

"Sure" I can hear you say, "the big man was able to out shoot a bunch of 10-15 year olds. How impressive". But I used to play a lot when I was 15, and I was much better then than I am now. And there were two other "grownups" playing...

Anyway. Here are my score sheets if you're interested:

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