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November 25th, 2003


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05:33 am - (2^33299459)-1 in "not prime" shock
1. Feeling less hysterical today, but the facts still all remain true. One of the things I have done today is read (the 1999) What Color Is Your Parachute?; opinions solicited, please, from those who have read it and found it helpful and also from those who have negative criticism of it. I've seen some negative criticism on the reviews page at Amazon, but they never strike me as hugely authoritative. Very easy reading - but easy reading doesn't get you a job, only hard work. If there isn't a What Color...? jobsearch support group on LJ yet, perhaps there should be one.

2. Today I have mostly been shopping at Asda, the proud British member of the Wal-Mart family. I mean this literally; I have been shopping in five establishments, of which three were different branches of Asda. The fourth was a hairdresser's, not before time; the fifth was a fancy dress hire shop for fruufoo's party on Saturday. I am scared of fancy dress parties because they rely on a particular sort of aesthetic imagination which I don't enjoy, but fancy dress hire shops don't half make things easy... for a price. Still, the proprietor of the one I visited today really seemed to enjoy her job, which made things slightly less scary.

3. The subject line refers to the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, which has been testing numbers to see whether they were prime or not. I can measure small chunks of life by my computer's progress in this:
  • November 18th - December 7th 2001, double-checking 26423367-1 (not prime)
  • December 7th 2001 - March 22nd 2002, testing 212877243-1 (not prime)
  • March 22nd 2002 - November 24th 2003, testing 233299459-1 (not prime)
  • September 27th - December 8th 2002, The Possible Hardware Error Fest Of Dire Peril, resolved by upgrading this PC from a P-III 500 to a Celeron 1200. The PC has been working wonderfully for the past year and I thoroughly recommend the Stockton(-on-Tees) Computer Centre where I got it.
There was only an estimated 1-in-278,000 chance that my pet number would have turned out to be prime, but if it had then (a) I would have got into the Guinness Book of Records for it and (b) triggered $100,000 of prize money, of which I'd have got about half. Ah well. Back to the weeny numbers for now, simply because 20 months is so long; I may have 210559411-1 double-checked by the end of the year. One of the many nice things about the project is that it gives you the (falsely?) reassuring feeling that at least your computer is doing something productive even when you're not; another is that you join the global league table of top testers. The recent exciting non-news of composition is likely to send me shooting up from #16,305 in the world to something like #6,479. (Out of over 20,000, so that's not bad.)

4. I asked you what was the missing item in this sequence:

[...] BABABA BABABA BABABABABABABA BABABA BABABABABABABA BABABA ? BABABA BABABA BABABABABABABA BABABA BABABABABABABA BABABA [...]

Your clue was the [...] markers, denoting it's only part of a series. Here's the full series. The terms I didn't give you are in italics, the missing answer in bold.

Your letter was only the start of it,
One letter and now you're a part of it,
Now you've done it,
Jim has fixed it for you - and you, and you;
There must be something that you always want to do,
The one thing that you always wanted to,
Now you've done it,
Jim has fixed it for you - and you, and you; and you...

BABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
Jim has fixed it for you - and you, and you; and you...
BABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
Jim has fixed it for you - and you, and you, and you-ou-ou.

OK, if you aren't British and at least 15, this will mean nothing at all to you, but try grabbing the Jim'll Fix It theme tune .mp3 from seventh bottom on here.

I told you; it's a silly joke, but it amused me.

5. It's a good job that England won the Rugby World Cup with Jonny Wilkinson kicking a drop-goal 26 seconds from the end of extra time otherwise it would be a very poor line-up for Sports Personality Of The Year, bordering on the BBC having to say "Sorry, folks, fiftieth award and everything, but quite frankly Britain has been crap at everything this year. Nobody wins. The End." Look at the contenders the BBC identified:
  • Paula Radcliffe, bidding to win an unprecedented two-in-a-row seemingly on a rollover basis;
  • David Beckham, more "just because" than due to a great year;
  • Tim Henman, definitely more "just because" than due to a great year;
  • Andrew Flintoff, the one highlight in a very ropey international cricket season;
  • two token rugby boys (see J. Wilkinson fourth place last year);
  • the others some of whom had barely registered on my radar and I like to think I keep abreast of these things.
We argued about this last year, but I maintain this is at long last Bob Nudd's year. Or Justin Fashanu's. (Do look at the #3 pick in het Graun's alternative 2001 awards, though; how a year can change things, eh, lads?)

6. While we're talking BBC sport, to save me having to do another PhonePost, you can always listen to the audio of Derek "Robbo" Robson (here arguing with token "Aussie" "Davo") to get a fairly representative sample of a comedy Teesside accent.

7. Still on the BBC, I do like the latest series of adverts for Freeview with the two chimpanzees on the jungle branch, one of whom keeps revealing new heads. However, I keep feeling that the last head is going to be Johnny Vegas who proceeds to go "MONKEH! THERE Y'ARE, MONKEH, THOUGHT I'D LOST YEH!". Too close to home for the BBC? If they're going to reuse ad campaign ideas, they might as well do it properly.

8. This ten-points-in-one-posting idea is positively bad for useability and interesting discussions when there are interesting ideas which deserve their own post and their own discussion. I can tell you just why I do it - it's in the hope that there'll be something that catches people's attention. While it's nice to see entries getting lots of replies, I really should not panic over my comments-received-to-replies-made ratio like I do. Reminder to self: it's absolutely OK if one of your entries, or even several in a row, get no replies. Trying to balance "people still love you" and "no, perhaps you really should learn from this" is tricky, though. Damn LJ as performance art again.

9. Therefore I'm only going to do eight points in this posting rather than ten and then stop.

10. Bugger.
Current Mood: making LJ entries cheers me up
Current Music: See #4

(22 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:dancingrain
Date:November 24th, 2003 10:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
10 per post is too many, i get lost. My innate attention span ain't what it used to be. Blame the internet :D.
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:November 25th, 2003 12:30 am (UTC)
(Link)
Reminder to self: it's absolutely OK if one of your entries, or even several in a row, get no replies.

cf. the comment counts for my last two entries. There's really very little scientific basis for what attracts comments and what doesn't. :-)
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:November 25th, 2003 01:57 am (UTC)

The most important word is "of". No, I mean "personality".

(Link)
As for Sports Personality candidates, odd-numbered years are always relatively short of sensible options simply because of the lack of major things that are up for winning. The World Athletics Championships might have led to someone like Dwain Chambers being a reasonable bet, but I think he's presently less likely to win it than I am (anyone up for a wacky internet campaign?), and only marginally shorter odds than Michael Jackson.

The Cricket World Cup might have worked out better if England had shown up for all their group games, but politics messed that idea up, and they've been so flaky since that it probably wouldn't have happened anyway.

It's really not been a good year for football. England qualified for Euro 2004 but totally spoiled the effect with off-field (and the occasional on-field) shenanigans; Glasgow Celtic might actually be the club side most deserving of honours, having reached the UEFA Cup final and currently motoring through the SPL, but will anybody have noticed this?

It's amusing with hindsight to see your assessment from a year ago that a rugby player would probably never win the title. I had to go back to the archive to convince myself that none of the 1970s Wales side won it though - seems a bit off that that never happened. Also surprised that Wilkinson was in the frame last year - I didn't think he'd really achieved that much to already be a contender.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 25th, 2003 08:46 pm (UTC)

Re: The most important word is "of". No, I mean "personality".

(Link)
It's amusing with hindsight to see your assessment from a year ago that a rugby player would probably never win the title.

I wrote: "No rugby player has ever won, and it would be a huge surprise if a rugby player ever did, though rugby teams frequently win the team award."

While it's possible to argue that Jonny Wilkinson and England at the Rugby World Cup have been that huge surprise, ya got me. Word sandwich on brown, extra mayo and pickle, please. :-)

VOTE LENDL!
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:November 25th, 2003 04:07 am (UTC)
(Link)
4. Without listening to your link (I share an office) I thought that went:
Jim'll fix it for you, and you and you and
BAHBABAH BAAAAAAAH
BAHBABAHBABAHBABAAAAAAAAAH
BAHBABAHBABAHBABAAAAAAAAAH
[etc]
so it's unsurprising that I didn't get it. :-)

On a slight tangent, a few weeks ago I heard a comedian (probably on "Live from Jongleurs" or similar on the Paramount comedy channel) do a few minutes of his routine on the phrase "Jim'll fix it for you and you and you and Bap-babah."

5. Looking at last your links to last year's posts, I noticed some whining about RealOne (actually I'd probably have advised sticking with RP9 if possible) and how to play audio and video. I'd just like to plug Mplayer/mencoder which can not only play DIVX and lots of other kinds of video but also translate from .rm to more accessible formats. Only trouble is. . . it's for Linux. :-)

8. imc - Posted: 394 - Received: 314
I don't know if this counts replies that people make to my comments in other people's journals but I suspect that it does count replies that I make to my own journal.

Number of comments on most recent journal entries (in reverse order): 0, 1, 3, 0, 0, 0, 3, 0, 0, 0, 14. To get 14 comments I had to talk about cake. :-)

[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 25th, 2003 08:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
My favourite wrong answer that I generated myself for #4 was

BABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
QANTASQANTASQANTASQANTAS
BABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA

which would be a list of the aircraft operators using gate 16 of Heathrow Terminal 4 between Monday 10th and Saturday 22nd November.

Or perhaps it's

BABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
MUMUMUMU
BABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
BABABABABABABA BABABA
SNAKE, SNAKE, SSSSNNNNAKE, IT'S A SNAAAAKE

which is http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/ as pronounced by a badger with a speech defect that is only cured by the unpleasant surprise of a hostile possible predator arriving.
From:2ndavemusic
Date:November 25th, 2003 05:01 am (UTC)
(Link)
I was going refrain from commenting on general principal, but...

You havae a pet number?
From:2ndavemusic
Date:November 25th, 2003 05:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
This is what I get for being a smartass. I leave a stupid typo. Grr.
[User Picture]
From:xnera
Date:November 25th, 2003 05:07 am (UTC)
(Link)
Most of my posts get no replies. Somehow I survive. *shurg*

I've read What Color is Your Parachute? I think I have the 1999 version, too. Definitely do the exercises -- they helped me figure out why exactly I hated my previous job, and the kind of environment I need at a work location. As a result, I've ended up at a job that more closely matches what I want and need.

As for his approach to job searching... I think he has some good ideas. I did try sending letters to places that didn't having posted openings (found them in the phone book, actually). Received a few "we received your resume" letters, but no interviews. Blah. I ended up finding my current job through a state-run job search site.

If you need help figuring out what exactly it is you want to do, then I highly recommend Barbara Sher's Wishcraft and I Could Do Anything.... Those books helped me greatly, as did her message board.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:jumbach
Date:November 25th, 2003 08:42 am (UTC)
(Link)
An "ten" isn't even a prime number. :-)

One of the weird discussions I once had with my father was whether or not zero is a prime number. We decided it's not, since it can't be divided by itself.
[User Picture]
From:bateleur
Date:November 26th, 2003 04:13 am (UTC)

(Link)
That's actually more about words than maths. If you take a formal definition of 'prime' then 1 isn't a prime either and nor is -5 despite both having many properties we informally associate with primes.

A lot of the time in maths one wants to say "suppose p is a prime factor of n". Our definition of prime makes this easy in a way that it wouldn't be if we had to worry about 0, 1 or negative numbers !
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 25th, 2003 02:58 pm (UTC)

BAA-BAA Black Sheep

(Link)
When I saw the BABA puzzle I immediately thought I had the answer but on deconstruction of the tune I thought it was I realized I was mistaken. Here is what I thought it was:

BAAAAAA BAAA BAHHH BAAA
BAAAAAA BAAA BAHHH BAAAAAA
BA-BAA BA-BAA BA-BAA BA-BAA BAP-A-BAP
BA-BAA BA-BAA BA-BAA BA-BAAAAAAAAAAAAAA BAPPP


This is a fairly accurate rendition even if I do say so myself.

Very memorable theme from my UK 80s youth but not really from any specific show or movie. Possibly still airing today in the UK but, being an ex-pat, I have no way to verify.

  • For 5 points simply "name that theme"
  • For an extra 5 points give me the actual name of the track the theme came from
  • For 5 more points, name the 1994 UK hit and band which sampled this theme

    Answers in 24 hours if no-one has got it.

    Gareth
    The Anon Cannon
  • [User Picture]
    From:jiggery_pokery
    Date:November 25th, 2003 03:42 pm (UTC)

    Re: BAA-BAA Black Sheep

    (Link)
    Isn't that "Asteroids", the Pearl & Dean cinema advertising theme?

    Oh, and LJ invite code on request, should you wish to be anoncannon or somesuch. It's free and fun and will take over your life just like it has mine... oh.
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 26th, 2003 06:16 am (UTC)

    Re: BAA-BAA Black Sheep

    (Link)
    10 points. For verification purposes try this flash intro (http://www.pearlanddean.com/intro_ie.html) to their web site. Looks a lot more modern than the blue and white "coming towards you" intro sequence I recall. S'pose they must still be going strong and I guess a 21st century facelift is not out of the question.

    Is it worthwhile breaking the ranks of the anonymous to purely comment on your journal entries? I really dont have time to journalize my own life (though of recent days it would make a rivetting story). However, if its free..... go ahead and email me an invite and I shall check into it. Anoncannon would be an inapproriate handle once I became non-anon.

    Gareth
    [User Picture]
    From:jiggery_pokery
    Date:November 26th, 2003 07:23 am (UTC)

    Re: BAA-BAA Black Sheep

    (Link)
    You tease, you've only left the question 2/3 answered. I would happily give five of those points back for the information about the '94 band and a sixth point for a link to a .mp3 of said "choon". (Incidentally, I have a .mp3 of the Asteroids stab.)

    Is it worthwhile breaking the ranks of the anonymous to purely comment on your journal entries?

    On my journal only? Probably not, frankly. If there are as many as four or five journals you'd like to follow, probably so. (Even if you just use LJ as a way to get all your favourite comics on one page, that would do the trick - see the syndicated feeds.) I know a few people who only have accounts so that they can comment on other people's journals. Some of them even completely needlessly pay for the accounts.
    [User Picture]
    From:ericklendl
    Date:November 26th, 2003 07:56 am (UTC)

    Small world yet again...

    (Link)
    Perfectly reasonable Googlage for 1994 sample asteroids single provides, on the first page of hits, a link to some sample puzzles from the 2001 WPC in Brno. And absolutely nothing about Pearl and Dean.

    In't the internet BRILLIANTTTT!!!
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 26th, 2003 09:26 am (UTC)

    Great Googley-moogly

    (Link)
    A1: The Pearl & Dean theme
    A2: Asteriods
    A3: Goldbug - Whole Lotta Love (reached number 2 in the UK charts in 1994 and I confess to owning the CD single)

    I am v poor at finding mp3 download sites - I guess I'm a slave to the download apps. A Google on simply pearl & dean theme brings a pdf result at #5 with the answer.

    Gareth
    [User Picture]
    From:jiggery_pokery
    Date:November 26th, 2003 04:50 pm (UTC)

    Re: Small world yet again...

    (Link)
    Thanks, Vic. You've been absolutely no help whatsoever.

    I might make that my new journal title.
    [User Picture]
    From:chresimos
    Date:November 26th, 2003 09:01 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    8. Of course, a good way to get comments is always to post about how you worry over comments. :D

    Hey, your comments ratio is about half. That's not bad. I agree with you about the performance art thing. There are certain things to talk about if you want people to write back, but do you really want to be jumping around writing things that will get comments instead of writing what you want?

    Also, people don't have to comment to have read something. Often a comment will just seem inappropriate, or unnecessary. For example:

    1. You refer to something, the details about which I am unclear.
    2. ....erm?
    3. I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
    4. I do not know yon tune, thus joke is lost on me.
    5. I am ignorant about English sportsmen/women.
    6. I do not know what a "comedy Teesside accent" is.
    7. I do not get the BBC.
    8. I feel guilty about not commenting!

    Yet this doesn't mean that you are boring, only that I am ignorant! :D And surely there are people who have understood more, yet have not commented because they are not as brazen as I, who will comment for the sake of commenting!
    [User Picture]
    From:jiggery_pokery
    Date:November 26th, 2003 04:58 pm (UTC)

    (Link)
    Ayyyyy never meta comment-related observation I didn't like.

    Good effort with the non-responses! Do they really have neither Asda nor WalMart in New Zealand?
    [User Picture]
    From:chresimos
    Date:November 29th, 2003 11:15 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    Oh, we have WalMart. I am just not in the habit of going into them. And my erm was due to me just generally not knowing how to respond to your tale.

    Also, I have thought between now and the comment above, that you can't measure comment success by simple counting! Cassie, for example, even if she gets a hundred comments, is only having about a tenth of her readership respond! You can achieve that with a mere thirty comments!

    And that's enough from me! *slinks off*

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