Monday, October 26, 2009

eBay Annoyances

It's been a bit love-hate-hate between me and eBay recently. First eBay managed to set me up with a very nice guy who was very grateful to get a pair of tickets for Daniel Johnston and Laura Marling. He was due to be taking a young lady and had forgotten to get tickets, so he was very pleased to be able to buy a pair from me at face value. Then eBay refused to let me cancel the auction, which was still running, as they have some stupid there must be at least 12 hours remaining to cancel a sale rule. I mean, I didn't have a genuine reason, but what if you were selling a hamster and it died? Or a cigar that got wet? So having gone through the rigmarole of cancelling every single bid by hand, giving the reason as "Item no longer available." and quickly selling them to my girlfriend at £5 I thought that was the end of the matter. But no, this morning I get an arsey email from "flying giraffe" demanding to know why he didn't win the tickets for his £10 bid when they sold for £5, despite the fact that they were at £26 when I cancelled the bids. Here is my reply to him, all the text of his second email is contained within.
> I'm sorry,

Are you really?

> but why have they become unavailable?

They were tragically lost in a terrible tickets-left-in-pocket washing machine accident.

> When you put something up for auction you are
> legally obliged to go through with the sale.

No you are not, there is no contract at that point, otherwise eBay would not let a seller cancel an auction at all. If what you say were true then everybody who cancels an auction would be breaking the law. The only reason eBay stop a seller cancelling an auction 12 hours from the end is that they want to make as much money as possible.
Perhaps I should have just replied "So sue me." Serously, do not email a stranger with some bullshit story about how they've just commited a crime. eBay buyers are quickly becoming my second favourite group of people, just behind pedestrians who jump out in front of me from between (not parked) cars.
Meanwhile my other eBay saga continues.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogger Bugs

I've been wishing I could report bugs to/about Maybe if I post on it someone might hear me.

1) Search

Search on blogger is worse than Kind of ironic as google owns (and runs?) it.
i) It does not do partial matches, for example, my post entitled Mixing It Up does not get returned on a search for mix.
ii) Text searches do not match on labels, for example, the post mentioned above is labeled cycling but a search for cycling does not return that post.
iii) Text within the post not matched, eg, the above post contains the word "mixer" in the text, but is still not returned on a search for mixer.
iv) No search on Neil's Meandering Mind blog returns any results. At the moment the fist story is entitled Twitter Vs Facebook, a search for Twitter returns no results. Google hasn't indexed Neil's blog, maybe that's why..?

UPDATE: They seem to have fixed iii). Or at least that particular example works now.


v) While editing your blog, if you click Edit Posts, and then do a free text search, the label links on the left do not work. You have to empty the search box and click search and then the label links will work again.

2) Formatting

Formating seems to get lost if I use the Pencil logoed "Edit Post" link on a post rather than going -> Edit Posts -> Edit post

UPDATE: I think this is because takes me to while the post link takes me to

3) No WWW

For a while did not work for me, I had to use www. This seems to have been fixed now. (See no-www and extra www.)


4) Comment spam detection does not work.

I don't get many comments on my blog, but roughly half of the comments that I do get are spam. As far as I can see no comment has ever automatically been marked as spam. As with search, google does spam detection so well for gmail, why can't they do it for blogger?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Christian Response

Last Friday the Register drew my attention to a post by Australian Christians regarding their find of a "witch's sacrificial stone" covered in "blood". I left a comment pointing out that there is no such thing as witches and that the "blood" was far more likely to be paint or rust, being as it was, on some sort of construction site. Today I received this reply by email, in red ironically enough. (I would like to point out that I am not Australian.)
May the one true living God bless you Jamie and all Australians with His Saving Truth and Everlasting Love! (John 3:16-21)

We at Catch the Fire Ministries will keep praying for you Jamie and all Australians to believe the Bible (Word of God) as the mighty Voice from Heaven that calls, “I died on the cross for you and rose from the dead to save you from eternal death, hell and destruction! Repent of your unbelief / doubt and surrender your life (past, present and future) to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord before it is too late!”

Time is running out as we will soon stand before Him face to face as our Final Judge! (Revelation 20:11-15)

Say, 'Yes to Jesus, Yes to Heaven Forever!'

Say, 'No to Jesus, Yes to Hell Forever!'

Make the Right Choice Australia, Your Eternal Future Depends On It!
I was slightly economical with the truth in my reply.
I am a Christian, and I do believe the word of the bible, but the bible says nothing about the existence of witches, nor that red stuff is always blood. You wrote to me in red, am I to assume that this is blood too?


ps, I am praying for your misguided souls.
Jesus is coming back very soon as the reigning King of kings and LORD of lords! (Revelation 19:11-16)

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! (Philippians 2:10-11)

Are you ready Jamie?
I'm ready!


Does Revelation 19:11-16 really capitalise "LORD"?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Low Battery Warning Beep Script For Linux


STATUS=$(cat "$DIR/status")

if [ "$STATUS" == "Discharging" ]
        for PREFIX in "charge" "energy"
                if [ -f "$DIR/${PREFIX}_now" ] && [ -f "$DIR/${PREFIX}_full" ]
                        REMAIN=$(cat "$DIR/${PREFIX}_now")
                        FULL=$(cat "$DIR/${PREFIX}_full")
                        PRCT=$((100 * $REMAIN / $FULL))
                        if [ $PRCT -le 10 ]
                                mplayer /usr/share/sounds/bark.ogg
Put that in your crontab and smoke it.

UPDATE: There is/may be a warn file in $DIR which you can use instead of 10/

Suspicious eBayer Minds

I recently sold some small bits and pieces on eBay. I wasn't really interested in the small amount of money that they'd generate, I just didn't want to consign them to landfill. The winning bidder of an incomplete set of bicycle skewers, which sold for £3, eventually emailed me to say that he had a cheque for me, "printed by Nationwide". I replied that he could donate the money to charity and I'd send him the skewers. to quote my new favourite blog ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
Dear Jamie Kitson

Thank you for your e-mail. Whilst I have every intention of paying you, I shall now also donate to charity by purchasing one of those magazines from poor young people on the 'high' street.

The cheque will have to go back to the branch which issued it, for shredding and, hopefully, a credit. There can't be that many people with your name where you live and you must have a bank account so I am curious about your response, HOWEVER, I AM keenly aware this is none of my business. If it is a question of security though, as with some eBayers, it would make sense not to use your own name. I am myself concerned about security, which helps to explain my unfortunate delay as I was reluctant to link savings account and card, (which I have done some time ago). Also I am learning while buying, not having been a seller yet. I am wondering whether to have a different ID for sales. Ebay suggests using different eBay and e-mail IDs for security reasons but I think that anyone who encounters Virgin/NTL and tries to do anything with it's e-mail system, is surely doomed. Well I'm sure that's quite enough from me for now, too much probably, so I will leave you with my profuse apologies and regrets.

As soon as I get Paypal I will certainly reimburse you.

Yours Sincerely Andrew
Hi Andrew,

you may have received the skewers by now, if so you will see that I've put a return address on the envelope. I am not overly paranoid about security and my address is publicly available, it just didn't seem worth the effort of going to the bank, queuing, etc. for £3*. In fact I have a two year old cheque from TFL for £2 that I haven't paid in yet.

I don't think your bank will need to credit you as, as I understand it, the money for cheques does not leave your account until the cheque is paid in to the receiver's account.

Cheers, Jamie
* Let's say I get paid £10 an hour, that would make £3 of my time about twenty minutes, roughly the time all that would take.

UPDATE: Oh dear God, will this ever end? I wish I'd just thrown the damn things away.
So far all that has arrived is a "TO PAY" card. It may be nothing to do with you but I have to wonder.
Did you get the packet weighed and proper postage paid? Thanks and sorry to bother you with such a trifling matter but I remembered you saying you don't like going to the bank for small things and it occurred to me that the same could apply to the Post Office. Again I apologise if I'm imagining something absurd and suspect you unfairly, just that you said you posted the set remains weeks ago!
I'm beginning to think that it's me that's being ridiculed.
Dear Jamie

The excess was only 37 pence, plus a fee of £1 and I had to pay with stamps on the card, (at the Post Office which I had to visit anyway). So I shall be refunding you, if indeed it is the skewers and that is just a guess on my part, bearing in mind that I am expecting 15-20 items or so. If it's not the skewers then I shall write you a grovelling apology! Shall let you know when item arrives.