Yesterday was Bletchley Park

Mon, 19 Aug 2002 16:49:08 +0000

Yesterday was Bletchley Park. 35 miles is slightly over twice as far as anywhere I’ve cycled in that past two or three years, so I was quite pleased to get there in around two hours twenty minutes, especially as it turned out to be 40 miles including getting lost. 18 mph average is, I think, fairly respectable.

The Bletchley Park Computer Museum was kind of neat, but they would benefit (well, I would have benefitted) from the addition of a LispM or several.

Eventually it was time to leave, and at some point around here the realization that the return journey was likely to be significantly slower hit me. Three hours twenty, for an average speed slightly less than 13mph, and it didn’t help to run out of water halfway back either. On getting to the outskirts of civilization (Headington) I found an open off-licence which would sell me a bottle of water and a Twix bar: thus rehydrated the final two miles were easy. Of course, most of them were downhill too, which didn’t hurt.

Yesterday evening I had planned to go to the pub, but found I was basically too tired and went to bed in fairly short order after a really odd experience where someone sent me an encoded message I couldn’t break, which sounded exactly like my phone ringing. Current working hypothesis is that perhaps it was actually just the phone ringing, and my brain had it been present would have been telling me I was already half-asleep and should turn the lights off and so forth.

Feeling remarkably well today, anyway. Mildly sunburnt, but surprisingly at least not stiff and aching all over. Maybe that happens tomorrow.

Today is deal-with-NTL day. NTL cable modems work fine until they go wrong. When they go wrong, trying to get a human being on the telephone can take most of a day. To fully express my feelings on the matter of the NTL customer service voicemail system would require the invention of several new words, but in the meantime, imagine circular voicemail systems, “your call is valuable to us”, “all our operators are busy, please ring back” (after ten minutes navigating voicemail options, lovely), and enough slightly-out-of-sync customer databases that every time I ring them I learn about the existence of another one. Today I found I was in the Cable Modem technical support database with the correct postcode, but didn’t show up when they did a postcode search. Or, for that matter, a search on subscriber name. My modem was in there and showed up perfectly normally on a MAC address search, but there was no link between it and me. I thought the purpose of takeovers and mergers was supposed to be to increase profit by integrating systems, not just amassing large numbers of disparate ones?

Anyway, the internet is b0rken, has been since some time on Sunday morning, and probably will be until someone at the NTL local office (which may or may not exist, because every attempt I’ve made to call it has been met with “number not recognized” or forwarded into the national system) gets a message to phone me back to arrange an engineer to visit. Not holding out much hope here, it must be said. If you send me email, expect to receive answers a little more slowly than usual: I’ve had to dust off the old analogue modem

Today is also, it happens, my birthday, not that I have any particular plans to celebrate being another year closer to death. But anyway, spoils of war so far: teatowels, set of torture^Wbarbecue implements, sundry cards, and volume 3 of the IA32 Intel Architecture Software Developer’s Manual. I think that was sent without any particular reference to the time of year, but thank you anyway Mr Intel.