Tag Archives: gmail

The 20th century of Green Bamboo

The Modern Age.

I’m now in my 20th century of blog posts. The boys at WordPress have obviously been fiddling about so that in recent days, whenever I post a new entry, I’m told what number it is. This should be the 1902nd. It would be nice for the 2000th post to coincide with the 6th anniversary of Green Bamboo in November, but that post won’t be happening much before December by my reckoning. [27.09.14. Having trashed so many pointless blog posts over the summer, I’ve sent the blog back to the 18th century.]

I wonder which personal blog has the highest number of entries in the world. I know. Let’s ask Google. Oh, hang on a mo’. Since Google+ appeared, Google has been neutered beyond the first page of results.

Yes, I was expecting that Google+ would be blocked (which is why I didn’t even bother trying the service; apparently, it was live briefly before the imperial zombies panicked as usual and had to ask the nurse to fetch their especially absorbent underpants to deal with all that zombie diarrhoea which comes squirting out the moment there might be the slightest hint of an opportunity for independent thought), but that seems to have buggered up Google the search engine. (Currently gmail seems not to be working, but I assume that’s one of those mysterious service failures.) [27.09.14. I don’t see much point in G+. I’d perhaps see some point to it if it was populated by people I know, but it isn’t, and I have no real interest in it.]

Of course, things could be worse because this could be Iran where even having a little harmless fun ist verboten. (Iranian youths arrested for public water pistol fight in Tehran.) Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if the imperial government issued the some fatwa against having fun with water pistols to university students here. Iran and the Empire are like joy vampires, sucking the happiness out of life. [27.09.14. There was another, similar case just recently of a group of young people who have been prosecuted for dancing together; and the case of some British-Iranian wo­man who is in trouble for watching a volleyball match. There is some saying about getting the government you deserve, but I don’t think the Iranians deserve this.]

Remember the accident I mentioned the other day where one moron on an electric scooter crashed into another one? Well, today as I was heading from Baoli to 远东百贸, I was following someone on an electric scooter who turned right onto 中山路. Meanwhile, Mr Blinkers starts walking out across the road without even looking. Scooter Man skirts round in front of him, and even although I was right behind Scooter Man, Mr Blinkers kept walking. There was no accident, but Mr Blinkers is one of those brain-dead morons who deserves to win a Darwin Award.

Over on Sinosplice, there’s a report about a poll on some Chinese website which asked the question What can save this country? The most popular answer by quite some way was “There’s no hope; don’t want to save it”. Oddly enough that might just about be right. Let the Empire revert to the way it was during the Warring States Period (or the 19th century), but without the warring; let it be what it ought to be and has tried to be for large periods of its history: a collection of disparate nations inhabited by a Sprachbund. But at the moment, the Empire remains a megalomaniac’s idea of a country.

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Back and backn’t

And will the bloody Poles and others sod off and stop wasting time posting comments which will never ever be seen, not even if I don’t delete your shite. Morons.

Gmail seems to be behaving itself again, more or less, but where in the Empire there’s 阴, there’s also 阳 in that when I go to the Guardian website, I can see the front page, but can’t access any of the stories. I can’t see any headlines about the Empire: no references to tiresomely intolerant robots; no words beginning with T that might cause palpitations; no recommendations for courses in critical thinking. Perhaps they don’t want anyone reading the Dr Who blog. Baffling.

I invigilated my final exam for 2011 this afternoon, AS Physics Multiple Choice. When I got out of the building, there were hordes of Senior 3s waiting to sit this afternoon’s paper in the College Entrance exam. One girl was sitting on my bike and I observed that it made a better bike than a seat. Remember how the Senior 3s will have an English exam or two, including listening? Well, I may as well have been speaking Zhou Dynasty Chinese to her. “听不懂! 听不懂!” I said mockingly to them as I departed. I’m such a total wit.

Three for the price of one

Introduction.

Welcome to today’s entry on Green Bamboo in which we have reviews of The Green Hornet and The Mysteries of Udolpho Vol. II. But first up gmail.

Gmail.

As regular readers will be aware, Google’s web-based e-mail service has been having the living shite kicked out of it for weeks now with accessibility ranging from slower than the slow boat to China to Dude, Where’s my Inbox? Although the gmail module on my iGoogle page had sort of got back to normal, the story that the imperial government was behind recent attacks on gmail users seems to have caused it to have one of its infantile temper tantrums and I started getting a message that I needed to log back in. I did, and on each occasion not only was access blocked, but my home page would also vanish along with it only to become accessible again a few minutes later.

Last night, I switched from Firefox to IE to see what might happen. IE has a little gadget which allows users to see what’s in their inbox, and when I clicked on a message, I was ferried to full gmail. The only problem was that when I clicked on the link to download a document I’d been sent (quite important for my job), nothing happened. I tried to forward the message to my Hotmail address, but it refused to accept it perhaps because the attachment was a raw Word doc. In addition to that, gmail kept reloading itself without any prompting from me.

I switched back to Firefox, logged out of iGoogle and then logged back on, fearing that I might’ve made a huge mistake and would find that I was unable to access my home page. But the page came back, though the gmail module was still telling me to sign in. Since I’d been able to get onto gmail via IE, I thought I’d trying going to full gmail in Firefox. There it was, but once again, I was unable to download the attachment I’d been sent; but when I returned to my home page, the gmail module was working properly and, as I suspected, I was finally able to download the revised English curriculum for next year.

My thought about the problems I’ve been having logging in to gmail is that it seems similar to the problem I’ve had logging in to WordPress. The service isn’t blocked, but, it seems, someone is apparently trying to prevent users from using it so that ultimately (perhaps) imperial citizens (because no one here really cares about inconveniencing 600,000 foreigners) will switch to state-authorised e-mail and blog services. That’s my theory, although I admit that it’s not especially good. It might be asked why the Empire doesn’t block WordPress altogether as it has done in the past if it’s responsible for problems logging on and why it would make it difficult to blog on a service which, I suspect, very few of the locals use anyway. My only other theory is that noscript is being a little too zealous.

The Green Hornet.

Britt Reid is the wastrel son of a media magnate who finds himself in charge of his father’s business after he dies. Reid learns that Kato, the man who makes his coffee, is a genius, and they decide to become crime fighters with a difference – everyone’s going to think they’re villains.

They fight, they kiss; they fight, they kiss. Usual sort of buddy movie. There’s Cameron Diaz as the Babe, although she looks like she should be playing Reid’s alcohol-addled mother. real The villain decides that he, too, is a little behind the times and reinvents himself. There’s another big fight in which Reid develops awesome powers of awesomeness, and the villain gets two sharp stakes thrust into his eyes.

The Green Hornet does not, fortunately, try to be all dark and brooding like Batman although I’m sure the original Green Hornet (first broadcast on the radio in 1936) was not noted for it comedic edge. It doesn’t go overboard with the comedy either as the script often plays up certain absurd situations but just manages to avoid wasting too much time on such moments. On the other hand, Seth Rogen can only play the Green Hornet as a bit of a plonker who’s out of his depth.

It was all right, but the sort of film which needs to be watched on the big screen rather than on a portable DVD player.

The Mysteries of Udolpho, Volume II.

At the start of Volume II, Emily is off to Venice, where she is threatened with marriage to Count Morano until one morning the entire household heads off to the castle of Udolpho. She’s expecting to be married off to Morano at any moment, but instead he turns up, most aggrieved because Montoni tried to do him out of his bride. The boys fight and Morano gets the worst of it. It becomes clear that Montoni put her up for sale and once the contract with Morano was broken, he was then hoping to find a wealthier suitor.

How Montoni acquired Udolpho Castle involves the mysterious disappearance of Signora Laurentini. Emily discovers that the apartments adjacent to her room, which are usually locked up, are occupied and that Montoni visits the occupant.

Montoni is also trying to get his wife to hand over her estates to him, but she is stupidly obstinate and after being accused of trying to poison her husband, she’s taken away. Emily assumes that her aunt has been murdered, but later learns the truth.

Meanwhile, Valancourt,who managed to get a letter to Emily as she left for Venice and who has had to join his regiment, has been sucked into the world of the Parisian salon and although he doesn’t forget Emily, he thinks about her with less frequency.

Emily is still wetter than a bucket of water and barely able to function. Her servant, Annette, is amusingly garrulous, a trifle dim, but more knowledgeable than her mistress. Madame Montoni remains stupidly, well, stupid, defying her husband more out of principle than out of some bold attempt to to assert her rights. Montoni is still a moustache-twirling villain who rather overdoes his declarations that he will not be trifled with. (Although there are only nine instances of “trifled” in Udolpho, its frequent use by Montoni is noticeably repetitive and, in fact, he uses the word almost exclusively.) His men are all wild and fierce-looking, but no more than mass-produced cardboard cut-outs. Valancourt gets a single chapter, but is in danger of being dried out without his exceedingly moist girlfriend to keep him wet.

Set in Udolpho Castle, Volume II is much more Gothic than Volume I. There are Emily’s nocturnal ventures which lead her to rooms with curtained pictures and blood stains, or to doors behind which Montoni is often found to be lurking with some mysterious person. (All right, I think we’ve all guessed that it’s probably Signora Laurentini; probably.) Her daylight forays are scarcely less fraught after the bandits start fighting among themselves, and her encounters with Montoni ought to have her soiling herself, given her excessive fear of just about everything.

My impression, now that I’m halfway through the entire story, is that things have got a little repetitive (e.g. Montoni’s repeated declarations about not being trifled with) and a little stuck (e.g. Emily doesn’t seem to show much development; Madame Montoni seems to learn nothing; Montoni twirls his moustache again). I’m hoping that things will move on again in Volume III.

My squashed croissant

My flat-out pain. (Geddit?)

It’s very grey and very hazy this morning. The ground seems to be drying out, but there’s good chance that there’s invisible drizzle swirling about, little wet phantoms ready to pounce on me the moment I go outside. and I have to go out because I need breakfast cereal, which I can purchase in only one place – Carrefour. (Read that with a dread and august rumble of thunder.)

I’m hoping that everyone did their shopping for the long weekend yesterday, but that would require long-term planning, and, instead, the queues are as bad as ever. I have two things to buy.

I started queuing at 11.30am and estimated that I’d reach the till at 11.50am. I was almost absolutely right even although there were fewer people in the queue because the till was closer not farther away. Roughly speaking it took me twenty minutes to move about five metres. That’s a heady 25cm per minute, I believe. Did I mention that I had two things to buy?

Theoretically there are the multi-tills for people like me, but they’re never fully manned and the pyjama-clad morons still insist of pushing their trolleys into those queues.

Mrs Shouty Woman, who was in the next queue over to my right, was shouting at someone, but I don’t know who. She vanished off back into the shelves apparently leaving her daughter as a kind of place holder. When I next spotted her, she’d reached the till and I wondered whether her husband had borne the brunt of her anger and frustration for forgetting the 粽子.

It has been impossible to log on to gmail since yesterday. In fact, when I try, the following page is blocked and Google becomes inaccessible as well. The kind interpretation would be that the imperial government is thoughtfully blocking access to gmail to prevent the (evil) hackers from attacking it. I’m not in a kind mood and interpret this as the imperial government thoughtfully blocking access to gmail so that the (evil) hackers can attack it.

I’m pleased to say that etimo.it, the online Italian etymological dictionary, is visible again. I needed it for a minor matter yesterday only to find it was inaccessible. This sort of occurrence hasn’t been unusual recently. Both this blog and my LJ one appear blocked one minute, but are then viewable the next. Today it’s the turn of the Lingua Franca Nova website, which I haven’t visited in some time; and if it really is blocked, why?

Now we are 50

“Well, they’re not getting a card from me,” said the emperor huffily.

It’s Амnэsтy International’s 50th birthday this weekend. I don’t expect the emperor sent them a birthday card. Even if no one’s sure exactly what Martin Niemöller said, we need the likes of Амnэsтy so that there’s someone to speak out and annoy corrupt regimes which are unaccountable and which treat people’s lives as something worthless and disposable. The imperial government cannot, for example, be allowed to hide behind the excuse that huμαn rιghтs αβusэ is an internal matter and not the business of others. It is the business of others when there is no one else to speak out for the abused.

Gmail is being much less temperamental, and is back to loading a little slowly rather than not at all.

The weather is also being less temperamental than it has been, and a little less autumnal.

I suppose I should not be surprised to find that there is a Battle of Maldon website. The battle in AD991 was celebrated in a poem which was, luckily, transcribed before the Cotton Library fire of 1731 destroyed the manuscript. Although the poem is not, by all accounts, great literature, it embodies ideals in Germanic society which predate Byrhtnoþ’s encounter with Anlaf by many centuries. The Saxons may be doomed; their leader may have fallen; but they’ll fight to the bitter end.

But Byrhtnoþ’s ofermod (arrogance, pride, overconfidence) has got his men into trouble:

ða se eorl ongan for his ofermode
alyfan landes to fela laþere ðeode.

(“then because of his overconfidence, the nobleman granted too much of the land to a more hateful people”) Probably, though, Byrhtnoþ knew that the Vikings would go and make nuisances of themselves somewhere else. When things start going wrong, some of the Saxons flee, but the faithful Bryhtwold gets to utter the quotable quote:

“Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenra,
mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað.”

(“Our thoughts will be braver, our hearts fiercer, and our spirits greater as our strength diminishes.”) Inspiring stuff. The Saxons may be going to lose the battle, but they’ll lose heroically. It’s also very secular stuff. The romances of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance would probably have had them all praying till their hands were worn away. Here, the human spirit triumphs.

Don’t water the plants

Well, not too much.

I found out today that the broad-leaf pot plant in the office is a jade plant or Chinese rubber tree or money plant, a succulent which stores water and thus doesn’t need to be regularly tended. Of course, I had no idea what sort of plant it was or how to care for it, but now that I do, I can neglect it to good health. The plants themselves originally come from South Africa and Madagascar.

Meanwhile, the Empire has a new and terrifying munition – the exploding melon. One of the things which is noticeable when you come here is the grotesque size of fruit because it is sold by weight, thus making fatter fruit more expensive. The quality and flavour are also dubious, and the sheer size is usually off-putting. I want a handful of fruit, not a handcart-ful. When I lived in 通州, there was the annual melon season when truck piled high with monster-sized melons would turn up in town. Some farmer decided to help his melons with some growth accelerator, which caused his crop to explode.

The rest of the article about the exploding melons has me wondering whether anything here is a.) safe to eat or b.) actually what it claims to be.

Perhaps I should add some growth accelerator to gmail so that it might burst out of the straitjacket which is confining it again. This time I can’t even access it from home. I’m also trying to download a rather large file and getting it at modem speeds. If the download doesn’t come grinding to a halt (which it probably will), it’ll be at least 7pm before I’ve finished. I tried to get the same file at school this morning, but when I got back after class, it’d clearly got jammed with thirteen minutes to go. What’s the point of broadband? Let’s call it crawlband instead. In fact, even in the bad old days of surfing the Net on a modem anything below 5Kbps was feeble. This download is feeble.

I was amusing myself with the configuration tool for the Aston Martin Vantage on the Aston Martin website yesterday even if half of the colours are the same as the other half. I quite liked the dark blue and then a blue-grey interior. Mind you, I also liked the Lords Red, which is a darker shade of red but I’d need one of the red shades on the exterior.

Anyway, it’s time to polish off Shades of Grey and leave the download to grind to a halt probably around 5.45pm this afternoon with the message that only ten minutes are left before the download is complete.

Sometimes messages come out of the bottle

You just have to get them past the cork.

At school, my iGoogle home page is mostly (w)rack and ruin with modules not even being loaded with the fake search page, and gmail doesn’t appear at all. At home, gmail is more likely to appear, and with it appeared EditPad Pro 7. Because I’d only just bought EditPad Pro 6 recently, I got a free upgrade to v. 7.

There have been definite changes between 6 and 7. One thing is a slightly different appearance; another is the colouring of tags in HTML so that you can see which tags are paired; the search bar is now a sliver at the bottom of the screen rather than hidden altogether; spell-checking is on by default, but there doesn’t seem to be any option for adding words so that I was told that “practice” and “invigilation” were both misspelt.

Character encoding remains an intractable nuisance in that I still can’t type Chinese characters directly into the text, but have to copy and paste the Unicode numbers from Babelmap. Switching to UTF-8 seems not only to help in one way, but to hinder in another although I have a theory about that, and need to look up some information about HTML.

I’ve been using EditPad for about ten years now and would say that unless you need the pro version for pro reasons, the lite version (website), which is free, is sufficient enough.

I was thinking (as I’m inclined to do) about characters like Marfisa or Bradamante in Orlando Furioso and why there are such characters in an age when women were largely the invisible half of humanity. I assume that characters like Penthesilea in the lost epic, Aethiopis, or Camilla in the Aeneid, or Artemis and Athena were the models for warrior women in romantic literature. Historical figures such as Boudicca might’ve also played some part in the genesis of such characters. How did the audience of Orlando Furioso respond to Marfisa or Bradamante? The romance of Éowyn and Faramir in The Lord of the Rings is a modern summation of what was expected with the woman meekly submitting to the (right) man. There’s never any sense that she’d still rather go out for a little ultraviolence with the boys.

A most strange and peculiar instance of time travel

Blast from the past.

The latest news is that Japan has now been hit by a very powerful earthquake (8.4-8.9) to the north-east of the country, which has triggered a tsunami. I’m watching live footage from Fukushima via BBC World News, which is a complete mess following the tidal wave which hit the area. There are pictures of cars floating in the water, washed up against a bridge, and widespread flooding. There’s a fire at an oil refinery north-east of Tokyo. I’ve now seen footage of the wave sweeping across the coast and sweeping everything aside.

The Pacific Ring of Fire has been particularly active of late, it seems, after the quake in New Zealand and now the one of the coast of Japan. I know that there’s still the potential for a major quake in New Zealand up in the Southern Alps. Also, Californians may be wondering whether the state is about to slide into the sea, and the Pacific coast of South America is also prone to quakes, I believe. The Pacific plate seems to be quite active at the moment, or at least events around it have been more major than usual.

Anyway, the title of the post is related to a curiosity on the BBC website. As Royal Watchers know, William and Kate did split up for a time a few years ago. For some reason, that headline has appeared on the BBC’s Most Popular list even although I can’t think why news which is over three years old would be appearing. I have a theory, of course. The recent “resignation” of a certain religious leader much loved by the Empire (yes, sarcasm) has vanished from the top news stories (when I’d expect it still to be listed) and doesn’t appear in the RSS feed from the Beeb either. How curious.

Meanwhile, gmail is still being contrary.

(Cross-posted from Green Bamboo LJ with some additions.)

0 to 3.6.x in 60 days

Patch me! Patch me!

A couple of days ago it was Firefox 3.6.14; and now it’s Firefox 3.6.15. Some sort of problem with Java applets. I’m also wondering whether the problem with gmail and Google Talk was with Firefox rather than Google, but who knows? Another mystery about which I’ll never know the truth. Can’t be too many more patches before we make the jump to FF4.

As for gmail, it seems to be working again, although Google Talk seems to be slow to dead stop to appear, though whether that’s Firefox or imperial paranoia.

The good news from Christchurch is that no bodies were found in the ruins of the cathedral. No one knows where the figure of 22 dead came from. Meanwhile, the workers demolishing the building next to the CTV building had apparently drilled holes in the wall of the CTV building to provide some sort of support for the building being demolished. The question is whether this might have contributed to the collapse of the CTV building, although my information also says that the building was allegedly making noises for a couple of days before the quake struck.

The British Humanist Association has been putting up poster urging people to vote No religion in the census. You’d think in a secular society no one would especially mind such advertising, but according to the article in The Guardian (Humanist census posters banned from railway stations) the ban is because “the advert had the potential to cause widespread and serious offence”. Oh rubbish! Widespread offence? The UK is a secular society. The Advertising Standards Authority committee of advertising practice seems to be living in some other country (Iran?) in another century (the 12th?).

(Cross-posted from Green Bamboo LJ.)