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Month: September 2003

Personal: Telephone Soliciting

All my personal telephone numbers have been registered with The Telephone Preference Service for some time, but today I received a recorded advertising message which has just p–ed me off. I’ve reported it to TPS and to ICSTIS (the UK regulator of premium rate numbers) with the following message:

On 15th September 2003 at 19.29BST, I received a recorded (female voice) telephone call to my home residential number (that is listed with the Telephone Preference Service).

The message said I had won a £1000 prize award (well, my telephone number had) and that I had to call 0906 638 9992 at £1.50 per minute (call last 7 minutes) to claim the £1000 award. For terms and conditions, I was to see (may be incorrect) or write to PO Box 6017, Basingstoke, RG21 4BZ.

It’s bad enough that I was called whilst my number is listed on the TPS, it’s twice as bad that it was a recorded message that had no human operator at the other end, third that I had just got to sleep after an extremely long and hard shift at work, fourthly that it was advertising a premium rate phone number and fifthly that it’s probably a “rip-off/con”!

I hope this company (which failed to give a name, details of where they had got my number – apart from ‘randomly chosen’ or any other identifying information) gets massively fined and shut down!

Weird: Letter Orders

Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry wrod is in the corerct ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

(and, yep, I mangaed to raed it wthiout any porbelms at all).

Actually, I think it’s slightly more complex than that – if you can “split” a word (such as “manage” and “managed” and “without” and “with out”) then you’ve got to try and preserve the first and last letters in the word split otherwise it just doesn’t “scan” right.

(Lifted from Big Pink Cookie who lifted it from Blogdaddy)

Personal: Life Update

Well, it seems I’ve managed to sort out that data parser I was working on – it finished its first successful run at 2.34am this morning. However, I was just falling asleep before it completed as I’ve just been too tired to do much (amount of code added to the parser since last week: 6 lines of regexp’s – number of runs to attempt to parse the data – I’ve lost count!).

So now I’ve got 1Gb of SQL statements that I’ve got to load into a database whilst combining at least another 85Mb of unstructured data to it. Then I’ve got to parse out HTML/PHP pages which has dynamic remote XML/SOAP parsing systems with cachability whilst ensuring the whole database can be searched – and then I’ve got to work on stage two which is “data expansion” as then I’ll have enough data to seed the new system which will use the dynamic SOAP system to capture even more data whilst another system spiders a few items. It’s hard work (even the theoretical planning and timeframes a beast), but hopefully I’ve have a helluva good system by the month end if I can actually get time to work on it.

Why don’t I devote more time to it? Well, let’s just say this – I’ve been at work 3 days so far this week and yet I’ve spent so long in the office I’ve already done 4 days work if you count the hours (Monday was systems upgrades and hardware modifications to the sales machines, Tuesday was finishing off the coding for a dynamic employment site along with finalising some bits with two new billing systems/CRM systems I’ve written, today was “manual labour” – move lots of stuff half way across the building and up a floor and then totally rearrange and rewire the office). And tonight I need an early night as I’m going “preliminary job hunting” tomorrow.

Snippet: Microsoft Word Maximum File Size

*snippet* I’ve just tried loading a 2Gb file into Microsoft Office 2000 Word (thinking that as Word supports “Virtual Memory” at al, it’ll be able to cope with the fact I’ve only got half a gig of RAM). It chugs along for a number of minutes loading the file and then pops up:

Word cannot open this file because it is larger than 32 Megabytes in size.

I never even knew Word had a maximum file size!. But what really peeved me was the fact the Microsoft programmers didn’t implement a very small routine to check the file size before even attempting to open a file – it’s not like it’s a difficult thing to do…

Snippet: Groan… Lots of Data :(

*snippet* I’m currently in the process of rebuilding large sections of my website(s) and need to import a substantial amount of data into the new content management system. By “substantial amount” we’re talking around 2Gb of data(!). However, the data seems very very slightly corrupted (around a quarter of a record every 1million entries) so I have to run another script to correct the corruption and then rerun the parser utility. And I’ll tell you this, even on a 2.4Ghz machine, parsing 2Gb of data takes a looong time. Especially when it fails and you’ve got to restart from scratch.

Of course, once it’s parsed, I’ve then got to import it all into a MySQL database (I’m having it write the SQL statements instead of directly importing it for speed reasons), and then index it (which will take ages: believe me, once you start hitting the half-a-million row point onwards on MySQL it begins to crawl) and then link all the data together and then export it into a suitable format: no way am I going to bog down my server by having it make around 50 database requests per page!

Fingers crossed that I’ll have it all parsed by Sunday…

(That’s why there haven’t been that many blog entries: my machine begins to crawl whilst parsing – and it’s just a command line parsing system anyway: no GUI to slow it down).