December, 2004

Dec 04

Brilliant brain teaser

My Dad told us this great brain teaser at the weekend. I hope I can do as good a job of writing it as he did telling it. It’s a belter, so prepare yourself. Some viewers may find this disturbing.

Three men walk into a hotel looking for rooms. On arrival, the clerk tells them that there is only one room left, but that they can share it for £30. They accept and pay the clerk £30 – £10 each. When the proprietor of the hotel hears that the room has been taken, he realises that the clerk has made a mistake. The room should only have cost the men £25, so the proprietor gives a butler £5 to take to the men. On the way to the room, the butler realises that £5 would be awkward to split between three men, so decides to keep £2 for himself and just give the men £1 each.

The men initially paid £10 each, but have now been given £1 back, meaning they have only paid £9 each. As we know, 3 * £9 is £27, and adding on the £2 that the butler took makes £29.

So, what happened to the extra £1? Answers on a postcard please.

Dec 04

The state of ScottishClimbs

Note: it wasn’t really meant to be, but this post appeared to turn into a bit of a rant about bitching on the SC forums. Anyone reading this might think that it’s all doom and gloom, when in reality it’s not! There are in fact plenty of fresh new faces on the site who are keen and have an open mind, which is just what everyone wants, and all the new traffic is keeping things relatively interesting if nothing else. In truth I was probably just a bit wound up today and that came out in this post, but hey – these things happen! :)

ScottishClimbs is great and I really enjoy seeing how it develops. Our forums have had a reputation for being “dull, yet informative” (paraphrasing from posts on some other climbing forums) for a long time, which I have always taken as a compliment. In fact, I’ve always been proud of our polite and useful debates which don’t tend to tumble into complete drivel at the drop of a hat.

Recently, however, there has been a noticeable shift in attitude of the posts in the forums. More and more people are getting involved in flaming, we now seem to have our fair share of trolls and Dave and the others have been doing more moderating than ever. Sure, more people are using the site now, but at what cost? Unstructured arguing and plenty of the sort of pointless bitchy remarks that the same people would never dare say to someone’s face, it would seem. What a shame.

Of course, most people will realise that many forums on the internet share similar ‘problems’, especially when subjects with such varying views as climbing are discussed. Exceptions to this are forums where people are actually trying to get something constructive done. Web development forums, like Sitepoint, are filled with useful threads and things rarely get heated. Is this because a lot of the people there actually work on the web and grew out of the “let’s cause an argument on the internet” phase when they left school?

I have noted since the start of SC that groups of forum posters seem to come and go, perhaps as people discover the place, get into and then get bored and leave. Maybe this then, is simply a matter of a new bunch of folk appearing, with a chip on their shoulders and a grudge to bear. Myself and the other administrators have always been of the view that we should just let SC head in the direction it wants to take, whatever that is, and we should just give enough nudges to keep things on something approaching reasonable. This will be an interesting time for us then, as there definitely appear to be changes underway. Will we change our minds and set up a draconian set of rules? Will this lot get bored and move on? Will they all get over stop being SAD when the spring comes? Or will the SC team go crazy, shut down the site and start up a knitting forum instead? Only time will tell, I guess.

Here’s a quote from Cassidy, on the SC forums – hopefully everyone on SC will read his post and take it in (but I doubt it). I couldn’t have put it better:

You can’t congratulate kids because they do well in comps, you can’t be a sport climber, you can’t be a boulderer and if you do you will never understand what climbing is… yada yada yada.

I compete, I boulder, I climb trad routes and heaven forbid I like sport climbing. Please be decent enough to recognise that those of us who participate in all parts of climbing (for that’s what all these things are) are not ignorant and may actually be just like you.

Dec 04

SuSE 9.2 Professional thoughts – part 1: getting started

I’ve been running SuSE 9.2 Professional as the sole operating system on my laptop for more than a month now. I had intended to run both Windows XP pro and SuSE, but decided against it (OK, OK, I made an arse of the partitioning!). I have long realised that Linux has the potential to be a really good desktop operating system for me, but the last time I had tried it out was with Mandrake and SuSE 8.0ish – both of which were a total nightmare to configure for my hardware, and that was with a desktop machine. Mr Redpath’s own struggles with a laptop and Mandrake at the same sort of time had also frightened me enough! Recently, however, I had the chance to have a quick play with SuSE 9.1 as well as get shown a few cool things by Alex (who has forgotten more than I know about Linux!) which really convinced me to try it out again.

I’ll be making some comparisons with Windows XP, becuase that’s what I had been using before Linux. However, unlike many people who switch to Linux from Windows, I didn’t do it out of some strange and intense hatred of Windows. In fact, I like XP Pro very much, I’ve just found that I’m liking Linux more.




I have been a long time Opera fan and, on Windows, used it for browsing, mail and RSS feeds. My natural instinct was to use Opera again in KDE, and I did, but increasingly I found myself using Konqueror more and more. Not because I preferred browsing with it (I still prefer Opera), but just because of the the way it integrates with the other things in KDE. Konqueror is everything that the Windows Explorer tries to be, only implemented much better. File and network browsing, the web, audio CDs, bluetooth and lots more are all handled, generally very well, by Konqueror and the rendering engine is also very good.


Cool feature – if you talk about an attachment, but don’t have naything attached, it will alert you before you send the message!

Dec 04

The radges that are the X-Team

When we were messing around with the rather nifty Way Back Machine the other day, Pedro had the brainwave of suggesting we look to see if the old X-Team website is archived. Thankfully, it is! There are a few images and pages missing but the core is there, including some brilliant, nostalgia inducing stories and photos. We spent the best part of yesterday afternoon laughing out loud. What a brilliant find – I must download it and host a copy.

I’m going to offset any literary and web development embarrassment by saying that the bulk of it was written when we were fifteen, which is, scarily, nearly a decade ago – eek! We’re also still no nearer completion of the video, so no surprises there. Anyway, enjoy – it’s great!

Dec 04

Worldpay intergration documents

Just in case anyone else has as hard a time as I did finding information about the Worldpay API, I thought I’d provide an embarrassingly obvious link. Was I just being blind and stupid? Very possibly. Although I do still find it strange that Google didn’t help me find any tutorials on the matter. And, yes, I do still find their product range confusing. N’mind!

Dec 04

One man band

Thanks to Pedro Pete for this odd musical link. Strange goings on.