The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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6:51pm on Thursday, 23rd February, 2017:



This was the view from my office at about 3:45pm today.

Perhaps in anger at having been lumbered with an old-fashioned name, storm Doris decided to blow solar panels off the roof of the Network Centre. They made quite a noise.

A couple more did slide off this side of the building later, but fortunately not when one of my colleagues was looking out of his window to see what had made the racket (which he had done moments after I took this picture).

To think, I could have witnessed a guillotining.


8:05am on Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017:

Ingenius Idea


Here's Essex University's latest piece of back-firing publicity.

You can count the number of people who will be inspired by this to apply for postgraduate study on the fingers on no hands.


5:41pm on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017:

Mr Spanky


It's tempting, but I already have plans that evening.


5:10pm on Monday, 20th February, 2017:



Seen at the university in one of the squares:

He must be quaking in his boots.


2:19pm on Sunday, 19th February, 2017:



These are paint samples for the same colour:

I don't suppose the obvious difference in shade matters: none of the dozen or so paint samples we've bought over the past couple of weeks have borne much resemblance to the samples anyway.

Hmm, there's probably a party game in that: match the sample to the paint as it appears on the wall.


12:42pm on Saturday, 18th February, 2017:

Blair Witchery


Three of the people I follow on social media can be relied upon to post links to any anti-Brexit articles from respectable media sources that they come across. None of them have posted a thing about Tony Blair's "intervention".

My takeaway from this is that Blair has done more harm than good to his professed cause.


4:08pm on Friday, 17th February, 2017:

Bangor Spectacular


Old log files of MUD1 games are surprisingly rare, so I was pleased to be presented with several today from the instantiation that ran on the mainframe of what is now Bangor University. One set in particular stood out, dating from December 1984: they cover an event known as a spectacular (pronounced "spec-TACK-er-ler"), which is a winner-takes-all, fight-t0-the-permadeath, player-versus-player event that MUDs would occasionally run.

Logs are here, pretty well raw (in that local echo is on, so you see commands twice and some of them interrupt incoming text). Note that although Roy the archwizard is playing, that wasn't the original Roy: arch-wiz names were hard-wired into the code, so anyone wanting to run a MUD1 would either have to edit the code and recompile it (which required a BCPL compiler) or use an existing arch-wiz name (usually Roy).

The reason these files have survived, by the way, is because the person who graciously sent me them, Amanda (real name Rob), never ever deletes old files. That includes files on BBC model B discs.


6:00pm on Thursday, 16th February, 2017:

Reverting to Type


I had four, fifteen-minute meetings scheduled with students this morning to discuss why they weren't going to lectures. One of the students showed up for their meeting seven minutes late; the other three didn't show up at all.

I don't find the observation surprising that students who don't show up for lectures don't show up for meetings. This is because it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I just wish I didn't have to show up for the meetings either.


6:05pm on Wednesday, 15th February, 2017:

Jack Hammer


A new building is being constructed off Square 1 at the university (some kind of STEM facility so that computer scientists, mathematicians, biologists and psychologists can be kept apart from the rest of the university). This entails removing some of Square 1. Here's a picture of the workers doing just that:

Square 1 is made of 1960s concrete. It's not easy to remove. That yellow device at the back is a remote-controlled pneumatic hammer they have to spray with water to keep cool:

It makes a noise. It makes a loud noise. It's been making a loud noise all day, every day (except possibly weekends) since term began. Computer lab 1 and the project labs bear the full brunt of this noise. If we see a drop in quality infinal-year projects this year, it's because of that hammer.

I don't see that it even needs to be a hammer. I'm not a construction worker, but in my view it would have been easier to cut the concrete out in slabs using a saw, rather than chipping it to pieces with a drill.

By the looks of things, there's not long to go before they've removed what they need to remove. Finally, I'll be able to sleep concentrate in my office once more.


4:35pm on Tuesday, 14th February, 2017:



Remember that library/sports switch I mentioned last week was in LTB3?

Today, I thought I might press the switches to see what would happen. Unexpectedly, the cabinet the switches are on was open, so I thought I'd look behind to see if maybe they weren't connected to a power supply.

This is what I saw.

That is some impressive cabling. That's the kind of cabling you see attached to switches used to turn the power of entire housing estates on and off.

I decided to leave it a while longer before biting curiosity's bullet.


5:55pm on Monday, 13th February, 2017:



What the heck, Hovis! You're making bread, not Swiss cheese!


2:33pm on Sunday, 12th February, 2017:

Games on the .net


Because we no longer have a VHS player but some people do, we decided to donate all our old VHS tapes to a charity shop. In among the various 1990s children's TV shows and old movies, I found this:

It dates from 1995. I guess I kept it because it mentions MUD, but I don't know what it says on the subject because, yes, we no longer have a VHS player.

It's sobering to think that MUD was 17 years old in 1995 and considered ancient, when 1995 was itself 22 years ago.


3:33pm on Saturday, 11th February, 2017:



I had to call over the assistant in the Scan and Go checkout at Sainsbury's today as the machine wouldn't scan my coupon. As the coupon was for 500 nectar points that I "won" last week, and was thus worth around £2.50, I wasn't about to shrug and walk away. The assistant typed the number in manually, then tried to put the coupon in the slot where used coupons are supposed to go. It was a little full.

Me: Looks as if you need a bigger coupon skip.
Assistant: No, it's caused by people folding their coupons in half.
(Note: I had folded mine in half, and he knew that.)
Me: Why's that a problem?
Assistant: Because when you put them in, they unfold and pull themselves up the slot.
Me: That's if you put them in fold-first. If you put them in ends-first, they pull themselves down.
Assistant (grumpily): People don't put them in like that.
Me: I do.

Really, they just need bigger coupon skips.


4:47pm on Friday, 10th February, 2017:



I have three ways of accessing the Internet from home.

My preferred way is using a supposedly 10mbps connection that connects my router to the village router using some kind of line-of-sight wireless connectivity solution. This is usually fine, but subject to sudden outages if, say, a pigeon decides to perch in the wrong place.

My back-up way is using a slow but more reliable British Telecom line that runs at about 1.5mbps if I'm lucky.

My emergency way is using my mobile phone's data connection.

At the moment none of these methods are working. This is entirely explained by the appearance of a few rogue snowflakes fluttering about outside.

Should you get to see this, that means one of the methods started working again. My guess is that the mobile phone won't be offline for long, but it's such a palaver to set it up as an Internet uplink that I think I'll wait for one of the other two instead.


6:10pm on Thursday, 9th February, 2017:

In the UK


Sainsbury's supermarket in Colchester is a hotbed of anarchy.


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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).