December 28th, 2005


Cameras and calls

Everyone seems to be getting digital cameras at the moment. Meg had talked about how useful a digital camera would be for some time, and I suggested that I would buy her one for Christmas. After mind-boggling research (so many to choose from and how does anyone know what is important?) we decided that we liked the look, features and price point of two: the Sony Cybershot S90 and the Canon Powershot A520. Size and availability concerns decided that we should favour the Sony. I ordered the Sony and it arrived chez Meg on Christmas Eve. Hurrah! Sorted.

However, the same day, Meg received another digital camera in the post. It turns out that a round dozen of you - Mmes. and Mlles. wordplay, sundancekid, slytherincesss, longtimegone, heidi8, jlh, hermorrine, gwendolyngrace, evil_erato, cassandraclare, allysonsedai and ali_wildgoose - had also decided that we were short on digital cameras and very kindly purchased us one as an engagement gift. Displaying excellent taste, they only went and picked the Canon Powershot A520. How lucky we were to pick the Sony; but for the grace of God, Meg might have ended up with twain Powershots A520. Now that's what I call a TWAIN driver.

You are all monkeys of love, you delicious dozen. Thank you all so much! It is extremely kind of you. I am extremely touched, principally to think that there must somewhere be some posts to the effect of "Meg and Chris are getting married! Squee! Who wants to chip in on an engagement gift?" and you were all going around knowing that you were sharing a happy secret. We had no clue whatsoever; you all did an excellent job at keeping a completely straight face about it, an excellent job at picking the camera we would choose and an excellent job at getting an engagement present to Meg in time for Christmas.

In other news, I may have mentioned before that I have started to pay rent on a flat of my own, which I will move into Real Soon Now. (If I pass my driving test at 11:41am GMT tomorrow, Real Soon Indeed. Kindly cross fingers on my behalf, at least as much that the test is not postponed due to inclement weather as anything else.) I shall tell you more about it in due course, but one of the major problems is getting Internet access. There's a BT landline socket there, and the landline socket does produce a dial tone. However, every number I have tried gives a "number not recognised" error after the third digit is entered. I suspect it might recognise 999, the emergency services number, but obviously I haven't tried it. (Or 112, ditto.)

Fair enough. I have contacted BT about this. The trouble is that BT think my flat does not exist.

The building I am in has flats numbered 1 to 12, 12A, 14 and 15. Mine is 12A. I am not over the moon about this, for I am no triskadekaphobe. The Royal Mail have a service (you need to log in to it on, so no link) where you type in your postcode and it tells you all the dwellings that officially exist with that postcode. Almost inevitably, Flats 1 to 12 exist, Flat 14 exists and Flat 15 exists, but Flat 12A does not. Some companies are amenable to being convinced that the official list of dwellings in existence is not comprehensive; some are less amenable. BT, sadly, are not too amenable.

BT are planning to send an engineer around to the flat to wire it up, though no engineer is available until January 18th, grumble grumble. As the connection exists and a ring tone can be obtained from it, the engineer will have a very easy time and not need to perform any wiring; simply, he will need to inform BT that this particular socket exists and it should be associated with a phone number, so that I might start to make calls from this number and receive calls to it.

I have a suspicion that no engineer is really required; it should be possible to divine that I have a connection, that this connection can be uniquely identified as being number (something-or-other) and I would merely like this connection, which happens to be in a flat that BT believes not to exist, to be associated with a phone number. Is there a way to find out what information BT would need in order to make this happen? Reading part 3 of the uk.telecom FAQ it suggests that dialing 174, 175 or 17070 might be able to produce the magic "circuit number" required, though this information dates from 1996. This site suggests 17070 still operated the BT "Line Test and Ring Back" facility in 2003. Either, neither or both of these may be up to date.

Do any of you white-hats know more about this than me, please? Will calling 17070, getting the circuit number and telling BT what it is give them enough information to turn on the connection and start let me making calls, or is more required? Thanks in advance!
  • Current Music
    Katamari Damacy soundtrack

Pools Panel

Today I haven't:
  • failed my driving test
  • passed my driving test
Today I have:
  • tried ringing 17070 in the new flat, which did work; finding out what the phone number at the flat was means that I can have a new phone number there from 9am tomorrow, rather than having to wait another three weeks for an engineer to needlessly call. W00t.
  • written my first article on Wikipedia to fill a missing gap in the market for an article about football pools.
I did the latter of these so that I could explain the concept of "the pools panel" and suggest in my best Tim Gudgin voice that the result was

Chris Dickson P-P Driving Test (Postponed due to snow. Pools Panel verdict: no-score draw.)

but on reflection I'm not sure it's worth it. I shall be sent a new date for my driving test when, hopefully, it shall be neither snowy nor icy. Fingers crossed that it is much sooner than the five-week-plus delay that taking it and failing it would have incorporated into the system.

Comments on the Wikipedia article are most welcome; better still, of course, would be to improve the article!
  • Current Music
    Katamari Damacy soundtrack, Katamari Love Ending Theme