Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Day 141

[reading: Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"]

I do sometimes wonder how normal people cope with computers.

I shuffled the home network setup this morning. Previously, an old machine with two network cards was acting as a router for the internal network, but I have to turn that machine off whenever there are guests staying in the room—which means no access to the filthy internet the following morning. So I shuffled the wireless router (which was previously just acting as a wireless access point) up to take its place—since it doesn't have a fan, there shouldn't be a problem leaving it on when folk are sleeping in that room—and reconfigured all of the machines on the house LAN.

Now, in the event this was a fairly straightforward operation—I just had to reconfigure the static IP setup on all of the machines and clone the MAC address of the previous router—but I wondered how someone who doesn't work with computers would get on. To be honest, I sometimes even feel that I can only cope with this particular sort of stuff because I worked in the same sort of field for a while.

I guess the same sort of thing causes problems with other things too. As far as I can tell, the whole premise of APS film was just to have a new format that was impossible to load into the camera incorrectly; likewise, any number of systems (VCR plus, barcode readers, on-screen menus, ...) got invented to make it easier for users to deal with programming VCRs.


Encountered an awkward etiquette problem at fencing last night. I was chatting to someone that I'd fenced earlier in the evening, and she was bemoaning the fact that she'd been 8-5 up against me, but had then lost 10-9, and that this seemed to happen to her a lot. I had to stop myself from blurting out: "You didn't realise that I gave you the first six points?!". Given that she says this happens a lot, I guess I'm not the only person doing so.

It did get me wondering, though, as to whether I should be giving away points to recent beginners. I just figured there's no fun and little benefit in losing 10-2 to someone in about four minutes; instead, I try to reward decent attacks with points to encourage learning. But maybe that's a bit too condescending; it certainly used to annoy me at my previous club when the better fencers used me as a practice dummy for some particular attack they were working on (it's kind of embarassing when someone does the same thing eight times in a row and hits you seven out of eight).

[A:14298 B:155 C:0 D:9187 Total:23640]

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