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I was planning to go to Picocon today, but I didn't make it; a… - John C. Kirk

Feb. 18th, 2006

04:47 pm

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I was planning to go to Picocon today, but I didn't make it; a combination of having a lie-in, knowing that it finishes fairly early this year, and not being particularly interested in any of the GoHs. Anyway, I hope it goes well.

Mind you, it turned out to be lucky in a way, since I had a series of calls from work after a power failure. If I had been at Picocon, I'd either have missed those calls (if I'd turned my mobile off during events) or I'd have had to miss the sessions anyway. There isn't a formal issue of being "on call", i.e. I'm welcome to go off and do whatever I like at weekends, but there's an understanding that they'll call me if they get into trouble and I'll try to help.

Meanwhile, I've been doing a somewhat eclectic shopping trip. I've bought a new sleeping bag at Milletts, since my old one is about 20 years old and has seen better days; I also picked up a sleep mask while I was there, so I'll try that tonight. Mind you, I was surprised that I signed the receipt, since the big Chip and Pin changeover was supposed to happen last Tuesday (14th). The guy behind the counter said that they'd be doing that "sometime in March, maybe". I've also picked up a radio earpiece from Maplins, to use on SJA duties (there's a communal supply of radios, but I guess it would be a bit manky to share the earpieces), and they didn't do Chip'n'Pin either, but I didn't bother asking them about their future plans. And I've bought a new drawing pen, so I'll try that out later.

While I was clearing up loose ends, I also stopped by the Orange phone shop, to speak to one of their phone trainers. She was able to solve 1 query out of 2, which I guess is a reasonable success rate.
1. If you're typing a word in a text message, and it accurately predicts what you want (in grey), you can use the up arrow to fill in the rest of the word. (I'd tried the right arrow, which doesn't work.)
2. I have my phone set up to automatically get the time from Orange, but it's 1 hour ahead of what it should be. I don't know whether that means a problem with their central time server, or whether my phone is set to the wrong timezone or something. The trainer said "Ah, you need to set the right time manually, then change it back to automatic mode". This resulted in it being 1 hour ahead again. "Oh, well, that must mean that you put in the wrong timezone when you first set it up, but you can't change that now". I'm a bit dubious about this, but I prefer to avoid "Is not!"/"Is too!" arguments when there's no proof available. When I got home I spoke to Orange tech support (after battling with their menu system for a while), and they said that I need to do a full system reset, but I'm a bit concerned that this may lose my custom ringtone and/or phone numbers. Since the clocks go forward again in a month it may be easiest to just wait until then, and see what happens...

Comments:

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From:rjw1
Date:February 18th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
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lots of places havent swtiched to chip and pin yet. it just means they are takign a risk instead of the banks/credit card companies. Fo rlots of them its becaue they dotn want to make theoutlay for new machines yet. or indee din one companies case ( waitrose i think) the machines wouldnt work woith thier EPOS system so they are taking their tiem while rolling out their new system
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[User Picture]
From:pozorvlak
Date:February 19th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)

Sleeping bags

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I wouldn't be too hasty to throw the old one away - when I was down in London recently, I slept in Nyder's dad's sleeping bag, which is at least forty years old and the most comfortable sleeping bag I've ever experienced.

And you know Chip-and-PIN is a dodge by the banks to shift responsibility on to you, right?
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[User Picture]
From:johnckirk
Date:February 19th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Sleeping bags

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Regarding the sleeping bag, the main problem is that I haven't washed it in a long time, and there are no instructions inside it. It's got a weird metallic inner lining, so I don't know whether that means "dry clean only" or "don't dry clean it, whatever you do!", and guessing wrong would probably result in it disintegrating. So, spending 20 quid on a new one seems like a reasonable price, if that averages out at £1/year. (There's also my Sisyphus style quest to reduce the amount of stuff in my flat, so I'm trying to reduce duplication where I can.) Thanks for the tip, though.

As for Chip-and-PIN, I haven't done as much reading through the terms and conditions as I probably ought to, so I don't know how the liability issues work out. For now, I'd assume that if the bank says "You have to use your PIN" and the shop says "We don't have a PIN machine yet" then that can't make me liable for it. More generally, the bank were very helpful when my card got cloned a few years ago, so I'd expect the same thing to happen if someone faked a duplicate card/PIN.
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From:pozorvlak
Date:February 19th, 2006 06:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Sleeping bags

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AIUI, you should never dry-clean sleeping bags - think noxious fumes invading your brain while you sleep. Washing it at 40 should be OK. I have two sleeping bags, but they serve different purposes - a thick one for camping/lending out and a thin one for sleeping on people's floors, which is also much more portable.

Chip-and-PIN: I've heard that if someone fakes a duplicate card/PIN, the banks intend to turn around and say "You can't have taken adequate care regarding PIN security, Sir, not our fault" and stick you with the bill. Dunno how true that is (and it would be a major customer-relations downer if it were).
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[User Picture]
From:sammoore
Date:February 20th, 2006 09:43 am (UTC)

Re: Sleeping bags

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In my old job I had nearly 100 sleeping bags to care for.

Those that were synthetic all washed fine, as previously said, at 40-50 degrees C. Down bags are a different matter. If you aren't confident, send a down one off to a specialist company (not any old dry cleaners). I have the contact details if you want them.

The bigger the washing machine the better. When I lived in London, I used a laundrette. I'm lucky in that we have an industrial machine on site now.

Contrary to perceived opinion, tumbledrying is good for sleeping bags. A *cool* tumble dry, on its own, for as long as possible is ideal. If you put two or three tennis balls in the machine with it, they help it to "fluff up" and make it warm again. Again, the larger the machine the better.

The ideal way keep your bag clean is to make or buy a liner to use inside it that can be washed like a normal sheet. This is standard practice for down bags but also works with synthetic. We had a set of liners where I used to work and we only washed the sleeping bags once or twice a year.

Hope this is of some interest.

Sam
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