Trials of Web Design

I’m a doctor not a gardener

Me: Hi [client]. Before I complete the booking form I need to know if more than one type of accommodation can be reserved per booking. In the meantime you can view the incomplete version of the form here [link], but please note that several sections have not yet been programmed.

Client: Hi [me]. Only one kind of accommodation can be reserved per booking. Thanks for the link to the form but we’re concerned that several important sections are missing.

1: Cancellation details: None of these are included. Please see original text and include all the paragraphs.

2: The booking dates are incorrect and should be June and July not January and February

3: Accommodation options for apartments/cottages and Backpackers are not yet included.

4: The total payment does not seem to include accommodation fees.

Please amend these urgently.

Me: What did I #@%&@*% say!!!?!!?

OK, I didn’t really email that back, but I sure would have liked to. A general inability to read what’s written in emails seems to be a common trait among web design clients and there are times you would really like to give them a serve. But, for the good of the company you swallow your rage and carry on.

Of course if you’re really good you can come up with a subtle, passive-aggressive reply that’s nice and polite on the surface but between the lines points out what illiterate morons they are.

We have to be Sssssssneaky!

Big surprise…

Here’s something interesting that’s come my way. Senator for Censorship Stephen Conroy has a blog, located at As is fashionable in these upstart, youngster blogs it has a tag cloud – over on the right – which displays the most common words and phrases used in said blog. All well and good.

Except you have a look at the source code. Here can be found a chunk of Javascript that generates the tag cloud, and which has a very interesting addition.

First up is a long string of phrases that can appear in the cloud. I won’t copy this in because it’s huge, but in the middle is the phrase “ISP Filtering” – the Government’s euphemism for their ridiculous net filter proposal. Further down is the code that adds up the totals for each keyword and prints out the 15 highest ranked…

for(var i=0; i<=15/*<-Important! increase this value by 1 everytime a keyword is excluded below*/; i++)
var z=0;
for(var j=0; j<split.length; j++)=”” {=””>
if (unique[i]==split[j]) {
counts[i] = z;
var size = getTagClass(z);
//Customise the tag-cloud to display what shows up
if (unique[i] == “ISP Filtering”)
document.write(‘<a class=”‘+size+'” href=”%5C%22[i]+%27%22″>’+unique[i]+'</a> ‘);

There, do you see that bit in red? That’s a neat little patch that prevents the phrase “ISP Filtering” from ever coming up in the cloud.

Fascinating no? The Government is filtering their own sites to prevent mention of their own web filter. Great work everybody!

Calling all Crabs

Ramblings and complaints

Well, we’re battening down the hatches for a major heatwave – just in time for my birthday. Oh joy! Temperatures are expected to range between 37° and 42° C until Sunday, after which they’ll drop down to a merely hellish 36° for a few days. I love this city but I hate this weather.

My work email account keeps getting spammed by the “Ruby Royale” online casino. Some strange part of my brain continually misinterprets this as “Ruby Rose”, so every morning when I come in and start sorting through the spam I get a sudden jolt of irrational excitement before sanity kicks back in. Damn spammers.

Finally I know it’s neither new or clever to make fun of Emos, but sometimes they make it so damn easy!

Pearls Before Swine

It’s lyrics time. Again.

Went out and got the Swine Flu shot today. The Government’s subsidising it to build up herd immunity, so I figured I’d better pitch in and do my bit. I feel a bit ill now, but that could just be because I went out and walked around the city for a few hours afterwards taking photos in the blazing sun (the results are up on my Flickr account).

On another subject entirely I (for some reason) was trying to remember the lyrics of TISM’s Strictly Loungeroom. There was one bit I couldn’t remember so I looked online. As usual the only lyrics available seem to have been transcribed by drunken lemurs, so I figured I’d better correct the situation….

Strictly Loungeroom

If your Luke Perry sideburns just won’t grow; that’s dancin!
If you can’t seem to dress like they do in Cosmo; that’s dancin!
You admit that you don’t like the taste of alcohol,
If you think that mull was a Paul McCartney song,

If you bough Stussy a month too late; that’s dancin!
If your parents are together and you don’t hate ’em; that’s dancin!
If you always bought a ticket for the train,
If you think that graffiti all looks the same,

Don’t give us none of your aggravation,
We’ve had it with your discipline,
Saturday night’s alright for fighting,
‘Cept when you have to stay in,
Strictly loungeroom!
Strictly loungeroom!

Then you know it’s time to get the razor blades out; that’s dancin!
Step into that noose and swing; that’s dancin!
When it’s Saturday night and you’re all by yourself,
Watching reruns of That’s Dancing,

Don’t give us none of your aggravation,
We’ve had it with your discipline,
Saturday night’s alright for fighting,
‘Cept when you have to stay in,
Strictly loungeroom!
Strictly loungeroom!

Strictly loungeroom!
Strictly loungeroom! Yeah!

That’s dancin’, yeah!
That’s dancin’, yeah!

There’s a party going on at the local church hall,
You know people going, all you gotta do is call,
Leave your empty room get out, seize the day,
But you put on ABC and foxtrot your chance away…

Enough said.

Introverts are Coming Out

5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

Continuing the theme of outing myself as an introvert from a few weeks back, a commenter on Boing Boing (you know, Boing Boing? You don’t? What’s wrong with you!) has happened to provide a link to the following article – which although it seems a little harsh on extroverts (most of my friends are extroverts and are nowhere near as annoying as the article suggests 😉 is an excellent overview on the subject…

The Atlantic – Caring for your Introvert

As the Sirius Cybernetics Electro-Sensa-Book Division would say, Read and Enjoy!

I Hate Cwazy People!

That’s why I’ll never have your brother around for dinner, he would parallel park outside my house for ten minutes, TEN MINUTES, he’s clearly insane…

About 12:30 today one of our guys at the office received a rather confusing phone call about a shipping container and where to email the appropriate documentation to. Not sure what it was about (but assuming it might be something to do with one of the boss’s side projects) he provided our support email address.

Shortly thereafter we received a shipping docket for a company we’ve never heard of. Realising that the initial phone call was a wrong number we emailed them back. The following emails illustrate the fun and games that ensued…

(All names and phone numbers have been changed to protect the innocent…)

Hi Jan,

Looks like you’re looking for Polecat Patios [website address]. It’s not us.

Kind Regards


I called them and they asked me to send all the docs to your email address.

Can you please forward all the docs to them?

Thanks & Regards


You didn’t actually call them at all, you called us (presumably you dialled the wrong number) and the person you spoke to – unsure about what the call was concerned with – provided our support email address.

We have never had any dealings with Polecat Pations and prior to Googling their business name today have never even heard of them.

I’d suggest it would be better if you determined the correct contact details and resent the email from your end, rather than them receiving their documents via a random third party company they have never even heard of.

Kind Regards


I called 555 826 533 and this is the number from the white page for POLECAT PATIOS. And the staff asked me to email all the docs for you.

If 555 826 533 is your company’s telephone number then it is the mistake from the white page.

Thanks & Regards


Our number is 555 826 833. You must have hit the 8 rather than the 5 when dialling. I was personally sitting next to the person who received your initial call and who was quite confused at the mention of a shipping container.

Kind regards

I am pretty sure the number I called is the one from the white page. Anyway I will call the below number again. Please disregard all the docs if they are not for you.


Oh yes. It’s much more likely that sunspots or something caused the Telstra exchange to connect you to the wrong number that you simply misdialed a single digit. Sheeze!

So what, we’re using this blog as Twitter now?

I needed them to get into a restaurant to celebrate my birthday since open toed slippers apparently weren’t acceptable. I tried to pay for them but my dad wouldn’t let me, then…

Last night I dreamt that I was buying a pair of shoes from the girl in the office next door.

I have no idea what this means.

On the Democracy Front

Threats are coming thick and fast…

Well thankfully it looks like South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson has backed down over his ridiculous and anti-democratic laws concerning political blogging. Excellent!

For those late to the party, Atkinson got some new laws put in in South Australia this week forcing anyone who wants to post anything anywhere online about the upcoming state election to sign their comments with their real name and postcode. It seems that he was motivated to create such laws because he believed the opposition were using a false identity to harass him in the comments section of a local newspaper website (oh poor diddums!). Apparently this wouldn’t threaten free speech in any way because people could still say what they liked, they’d just have to say who they were at the same time (the fact that the option of anonymity is crucial to genuine free speech seems to have evaded his tiny mind).

In the face of (unsurprising) public outrage he’s had to back down and promised to retroactively cancel the laws after the election. He’s attributing this outrage to the “blogging generation”, which only goes to show how hopelessly out of touch he is.

Additionally, in a nice bit of irony it turns out that the ‘fake commenter’ created by the Liberal Party to harass him in the Adelaide Advertiser is in fact a real person who lives less that 500m from his office. Nice to know he keeps in touch with his electorate.

Of course Atkinson is the same guy who’s singlehandedly preventing an ‘R’ classification for computer games anywhere in the country, apparently on the basis that anyone who wants to play anything more sophisticated that Mario Cart is a ravening sociopath. He also claimed that the gamers lobby (who are trying to get such a classification set up) are sending him death threats – on the basis of one threatening letter that turned out to be related to a completely different case.

What can you say but roll on the election!

Social Energy Crash!

An excuse for appalling behaviour

One of the things about being both an Aspie and a severe introvert is that you have only a limited amount of social energy.

Social energy may be a bit of an odd concept for the majority of people out there (most of the population being extroverts) but basically it’s a measure of your ability to be around and interact with other people. Extroverts replenish their social energy reserves by being around other people – making them sort of social perpetual motion machines – but we introverts need time alone to recharge before we can go out and do stuff – even with people we like.

This was brought home to me particularly this weekend. By Friday my energy reserves were approaching critical and I intended to spend a quiet weekend in doing chores, chilling out and recharging. Then Fabes called me up and suggested we all (that is to say me, him, Ryan and Paula) get together on Saturday. Against my better judgement I accepted – not to say that it didn’t sound like fun, it’s just that I really needed time off from people.

So I headed over. We had a great time playing Munchkin and running through an really old Dragon Warriors RPG scenario (I controlled a surprisingly intelligent Scottish barbarian named Grignr and an apparently mute Sorcerer named Zzardoz, while Ryan ran a very English Knight named Sir Spiffington and a Mystic by the name of the Comte Merde de Gallo). We then hung around for ages watching late night TV (including the end of The Core which we mocked mercilessly and a promo piece on the Commonwealth Games in Delhi which we also mocked mercilessly then felt guilty about).

Now the plan was to spend the night and head home in the morning but by 1:00am my levels of social energy had completely crashed. As a result I was overcome with an intense need to get the hell out and retreat to my own territory, so I called a cab and bailed.

I spent most of Sunday asleep, getting up only to walk down to the village for some laundry detergent and to watch a couple of episodes of the Boosh (Trapped in a box by a cockney nutjob! ‘ave a cup a tea!). As a consequence my energy levels are now sufficient to see me through the working week, but I’m going to have to spend this weekend being totally anti-social to get back up to an acceptable level.

So, I guess my reasons for recounting this tale are to apologise to the gang for my sudden and rude departure, and to make a plea for understanding and tolerance for all my introverted kin out there. It’s not that we don’t like you – we just need time to recharge!

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