2. I do find it strange that This Week In Chess can publish a picture of the crucial page of mad chess legend Bobby Fischer's passport. I would be amused if someone were to make lots of fake Bobby Fischer Icelandic passports and send them to 419 scammers who might try to use them to get into the United States only to be taken into custody at the border.
3. Britain's sports councils, including Sport England, currently recognise 112 activities as sports. However, their definition of sport requires the activity to involve "physical skills, physical effort, and physical challenge", which is rather sad. I have no objection to them recognising darts and indeed the only mystery is why it should have taken them so long to recognise that as a very fine sport. (Instead, I will quibble at the suggestion that hot air ballooning is a sport.) I do find their physical focus sadly blinkered, though.
4. When installing new software and given choice of, say, Standard and Advanced installations, does anyone else pop their head into the Advanced option to see how an installation can be Advanced before retreating and accepting the Standard defaults, or is that just me?
5. Anyone in Britain planning a 5/5/5 party to celebrate at least one election (and possibly a birthday)? Preferably a neutral or left-leaning event, preferably one where I would be at least adequately welcome...
6. This might be a repeat-o-blog, but I did enjoy reading about the plans for Superlink, a transport scheme through London akin to a bigger, better version of Crossrail (er, Crossrail 1). The names behind it are impressive but I have no clue whether their sums work or not. I am treating it as transport fan fiction unless there's reason to believe there's more to it.
7. The Oxford University Invariant Society was a Candidate For Speedy Deletion! ...from Wikipedia. Someone did write an article under that title, but it consisted of an academic reference to a book about invariants with no obvious relevance to the society. (It was slightly weird.) There could be a good Wikipedia article written about the Invariant Society - for instance, who are its famous former members? (Not as in LJ-famous...)
8. There's a persistent rumour about that Google may be working on some sort of networked operating system so that you can perform most common Office-style and Internet use tasks, independent of which computer in the world you're using as a terminal, without having to load and maintain more than a very basic OS locally per computer. It is well-known that Google employees may dedicate 20% of their work weeks to work-related projects of their own choosing; while I think speculation that this is Google's intention is solely speculation, I would be very surprised if there weren't at least one Google employee who has seen this speculation and is working on it - but that the speculation has driven the activity, rather than the other way around.
9. Do Dell make good computers? I am not very impressed with them as a company because they don't seem very straightforward about selling you things at the best price they are prepared to offer. You can get relatively good deals by typing in "E-Value" codes from their adverts and unbundling the additional extras (eg service contracts) to get back down to the advertised machine at the advertised price, but this doesn't fill me with confidence that I have seen the best possible E-Value code and so am getting my money's worth. Some of their service contracts also look very far from going the extra mile in the customer's direction, too.
10. Conversely, I will speak up in favour of ACE Computer Components / K. D. Computers of 38 Borough Road, Middlesbrough, who were able to sell me a very basic old AGP video card for my heavily-crash-prone desktop PC that was making the beeeeeeeeep-bip-bip "change your video card" POST beep code and so failing to boot. Cost: £8. How do they afford such low prices? By not having a web site, evidently. Hurrah.
11. The stating the obvious department would like to speak up in favour of firewalls; the no-charge Zone Alarm software is actually very easy to use, unlike my fear-driven expectation. Can I justify not having run a firewall in the past? No, not really.
12. While I'm not a habitual fan of what I thought to be categorised as rap music, though I believe is considered hip-hop these days, I did enjoy this .mov format music video of what a rap-based DDR-style game might look like.
13. 18-year-old starts commercial airline to fly Oxford-Cambridge, two 8-seater plane flights per direction per day, with scope for expansion. Well, the 18-year-old's company is only responsible for "route selection, development and marketing" and the 18-year-old is learning to be a pilot, but it's got a gimmick and it's got as good a shot as any. I await the Oxford - Teesside route but am not holding my breath.
14. McDonalds have been trialling "freshly-made deli sandwiches" here recently, though nobody in London or in a service station half-way between claimed to know anything about them (or to honour the voucher that came through the door for a free sandwich) so I suspect the trial is at best regional, possibly more local than that. I had a free Chicken Tikka sandwich, which comes with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and raita dressing. It was adequate but unexciting; not a patch on, say, Subway, let alone the local £1 sandwich bars. (Hungry Jack's may have folded, but a very similar clone called Slice has emerged in an old HJ location. Their experiment with tortilla wraps is over and the pick-and-have-mixed-for-you salad topping range has five ingredients rather than eight, but it's still a winner in my book.)
There are seven sandwiches in the range; the prices varied from £2.59 to £2.99, so compete against the Premieres rather than the regular burgers, but £1.99 day-of-the-week specials are offered at the Middlesbrough town centre branch and they're starting to bundle small ("medium") soft drinks in too. Mine was relatively healthy at 388 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat; Sweet Chilli Chicken is both battered and covered with sugary gloop so its 600 calories come from a storming 85g of carbs, but the real star is Cheese, Ham and Pepperoni (translation: fat, fat and protein, more fat and more protein) which at 639 calories, 31g fat, 13g saturated fat and almost 6g of salt makes the Big Mac look positively healthy. However, hey, it includes lettuce and tomatoes, so it's got to be good for you, eh?