The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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3:35pm on Wednesday, 22nd September, 2021:



We used to get our gas and electricity from nPower, but in 2019 nPower was taken over by E.ON. E.ON reassured former nPower customers that we'd notice no difference in service as a result of this change.

I arranged for a smartmeter to be installed today. I was told that their technician would arrive between 12:00 and 16:00. That was until it actually was between 12:00 and 16:00.

"Hi, it's E.ON. We're sorry we are unable to attend your appointment today. We will call you to explain the reasons for this & to rebook your appointment. Please do not reply to this message."

They weren't lying. I am indeed noticing no difference in service as a result of E.ON's takeover of nPower.

Why do utility companies have names that look as if they've had to pass some kind of weak password check?


10:12am on Tuesday, 21st September, 2021:

Retitled Paintings #3



1:45pm on Monday, 20th September, 2021:

Author Central


My attempts to tell Amazon that the book I'm trying to release is one of mine are not going well.

I suspect that in addition to the version I'm releasing it's also offering me every version of the book I've uploaded but not released. It doesn't add any of them to my author page, anyway.

The head is meant to be upside-down, by the way. My graphic design skills are bad, but not that bad.


9:13am on Sunday, 19th September, 2021:



Finally, Sainsbury's have given us a Heroes on a Mission card that makes some vague kind of sense.

My earlier calculation that it would cost £1,440 to obtain a full set if you never got any duplicates is wrong, by the way. You get 3 cards (plus one circular one) per £10 pack, so actually the minimum spend is £480.

Two circular ones on top of each other can be used to make a Mickey Mouse silhouette.


10:00am on Saturday, 18th September, 2021:



I've been playing Crusader Kings III recently, because there's not a lot of point to Crowfall.

Actually, there's not a lot of point to Crusader Kings III for the most part, either, because primogeniture isn't possible until the final quarter of the game so every time you try to grow your realm it winds up being split among your heirs when you die. Your only hope is that you have a character who lasts long enough to carve out an empire-level domain. I think I shall be using a mod to make primogeniture available earlier (historically, it was around in Europe well before the 1200 minimum date set by the game).

Hmm, I hadn't intended to rant about realm partitioning here. Rather, I'd intended to point out this:

So, my spymaster uncovered the existence of a plot to kill some knight I don't care about. She pursued her investigation to find out who was behind the plot, and eventually uncovered the lead conspiritor: it was none other than herself!

I'm guessing that's a bug rather than a manifestation of forgetfulness on the part of my spymaster.


3:21pm on Friday, 17th September, 2021:



We had a five-hour educational away day today over Zoom. I can't tell you how exciting it was, because it wasn't.

At one point, it became apparent that after every supervisory meeting with final-year projects students (so that's six times a week, in my case), we have to record the fact of the meeting both in JIRA (which requires tiresome multi-factor authentication to use) and LEAP. The explanation for the LEAP one was that it was so there was an audit trail in case a student was missing meetings with their personal tutor. If we're noting their presence in JIRA, though, doesn't this audit trail already exist?

The answer to my question "why isn't this bonkers?" turned out to be "it is actually bonkers".


9:00am on Friday, 17th September, 2021:



I have taken full advantage of the fact that the laws of England do not prohibit the slow drowning of jelly babies in gooseberry fools.

Cry all you like, jelly baby: no-one is going to save you.


5:10pm on Thursday, 16th September, 2021:

Retitled Paintings #2



12:22pm on Wednesday, 15th September, 2021:



I was planning on (finally) releasing my Lizzie Lott #3 book yesterday. I had everything set up; I merely needed to upload the finalised text and I was ready to go.

Hmm. So when I set the price a few months ago, I went with the minimum it would allow me: £8.00 . Since then, either the page count increased or the price calculation changed; either way, the minimum price as of yesterday was £8.02 . This meant I had to rebuild the jacket with the new price (I went with £8.40 in case it went up again) and order a new proof to make sure that what I think it should look like is what it does look like.

The final time I read the book all the way through, it needed 72 changes (including another sentence that ended in ? instead of . but wasn't a question). I made the changes, waited a few days, then re-read only the pages I changed. As a result of that, I only needed to make 81 new changes (sigh). Nevertheless, I persisted with the technique. On the next pass, I only had to make 23 changes — a breakthrough! On the one after that, it went down to 11, then the one after that it was just 2. The final pass reduced it to zero, hence my decision to publish it before I changed my mind.

I have some reorganising to do before I can publish How to Be a God, though, so don't hold your breath on that one....


9:05am on Tuesday, 14th September, 2021:



It's good to see that the Essex County Standard is continuing its long-standing tradition of having the same article twice in the same edition, with minor alterations.

I expect that this repetition is the result of poor sub-editing rather than some kind of psychological trick to get people to pay attention to the content of an article, but if you ever do want to raise awareness of something in a newspaper then putting the same material in twice will certainly do it.


8:57am on Monday, 13th September, 2021:



I was interviewed about the Metaverse last week for the BBC news channel, and duly appeared on BBC Click over the weekend (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000zr54/click-short-edition-11092021 if you have a TV Licence). The interview lasted 30 minutes, but only a couple of short snatches we used, which is the norm for this kind of thing.

Pretty well any opinion about the Metaverse could have been extracted from what I said during the interview, but the BBC chose ones that make reasonable sense (rather than the tail end of a rant), so I come across as fairly sane. This may be because one of the two clips that feature me was basically my paraphrasing of something I'd read recently that Raph Koster wrote on the topic (https://www.raphkoster.com/2021/09/02/online-world-or-metaverse/), so was more lucid than my usual ramblings.

My voice is going downhill, though, and I have a chalazion gracing my eyelid at the moment that really showed up. Still, old, decrepit men have more authority than old, fit men, so overall it probably contributed to an appearance of gravitas.


8:38am on Sunday, 12th September, 2021:

Tuckered Out


I'm on a flying visit to Bristol.

Not every local grafitti artist is a Banksy.


8:44am on Saturday, 11th September, 2021:

Eating Out


We ate out last night. Friday evening in a shopping centre brimming with people aged 16-25 in a not especially well-ventilated restaurant: I guess this is how I find out whether that inoculation worked or not.

It was a decent burger, though.


9:28am on Friday, 10th September, 2021:



Sainsbury's Heroes on a Mission collectibles continue to deliver.

If you's like to help the planet then a poster advocating armed rebellion would do it.


12:00pm on Thursday, 9th September, 2021:

Retitled Paintings #1


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