I recently took my electric guitar into our local shop to get it adjusted by the resident luthiers, since I’d noticed lately that it was tending to go sharp on higher frets even when tuned correctly. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was just me, since learning for a year on an acoustic meant I often tended to use too much force on the fretboard of the electric and introduced accidental bending (since the string gauges on the electric are lighter, and steel rather than bronze).

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I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties of late, not because I don’t have anything to say (it takes strong gaffer tape to achieve that particular result), but I just seem to be juggling a lot of stuff at once right now and there’s always something else to be doing. This post is therefore for those who have been missing my particular brand of opinionated rambling. 😉 I recently watched Dave Gorman’s America Unchained.

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Keeping web software up to date is a pain, but failure to do it can result in significant ramifications. Some bits of software are easier to keep up to date than others, but one thing I never like doing is using web-based upgraders. They may be convenient, but for a start they require that you give the web server far more file permissions than any sane person would want to during the upgrade process, plus the fact that any kind of ‘black box’ upgrade makes me nervous.

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Valve are awesome. They’ve made a string of excellent games, many of them including elements that have significantly progressed the medium, like the Half-Life series’ in-game storytelling, Team Fortresses class systems, Portal’s FPS without guns and Left 4 Dead’s reinvention of the co-operative gameplay experience (yes, I know some of these became Valve when they absorbed other teams, but they had the vision to nurture and promote them). Then there’s the fact that they’re almost single-handedly helping to keep PC gaming relevant in the modern world with Steam.

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Important: the subject matter and parties involved with this legal issue are deliberately not mentioned here; if you are aware of their identities, I ask you not to mention them publicly here in comments, or anywhere else. As some of you are already aware, over the last few months there has been an ongoing legal issue with a 3rd party having allegedly used OGRE code without respecting the license conditions. I hate getting involved in legal disputes, there are so many more useful things to do with time, money, and emotional energy, but nevertheless as custodian of OGRE it falls to me and my company to take charge of situations like this, however reluctantly.

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My new chair arrived today, packed into a surprisingly small box thanks to the marvels of German engineering (or something). A deft bit of allen key action later, and it was ready to go. Initial impressions are that it’s going to take some getting used to. The gas lift does indeed go high enough to use with a standing height desk, and it’s very solidly built and very stable, which is good when you’re perched that high.

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Obviously I’ve been doing a lot of web work this week, getting ogre3d.org back to how I want it. In a lot of cases that’s meant changing the software wholesale - something you really don’t want to be rushed into, but in this case I had no choice. It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’m desperately doing a headlong sprint, only to run into an invisible brick wall two feet from the finish line.

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I live on an island that often gets bad press for being a ‘tax haven’. Those in the local financial services industry don’t like that term of course, pointing out how standards-compliant the finance industry is, and how many information exchange agreements we have with other countries (the line ‘the lady doth protest too much’ bubbles to the surface in some people’s minds I’m sure at this stage). So, we’re not technically a tax haven according to the OECD definition, but we’re certainly a place for people to stash their money and avoid paying tax on the income they derive from it in the juristictions in which they live.

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Despite my initial positive reaction to working standing up, since I made that post my back has gone steadily downhill again, starting with a dodgy weekend that I hoped was a blip, but grumbled on for pretty much all last week, before taking a rapid decline this week. This morning I’ve been in the kind of pain I haven’t had since late last year. So, coupled with the ogre3d.org hack, colour me extraordinarily pissed off this week.

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A small bit of musing while I wait for another back-up to run… Reinstalling a server from scratch sucks. Obviously. Not being able to use direct dumps of the old system itself because of concerns of how far a malicious attack got, and how long ago (even though we’re running SELinux) means that everything has to be constructed afresh. How much fun I’m having. But if there’s one silver lining here, it’s that at least Linux stores every shred of its configuration in a simple, plain text format, and in one dedicated subtree of the file-system.

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