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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Saturday, 26 March 2005

TV distractions (and intranet messaging)...

The Doctor and RoseIn spite of my being at work, it's been a bit of a televisual feast today; the England vs. Northern Ireland World Cup qualifier match was on BBC1 this afternoon, and it was the much awaited return of Doctor Who at 7pm. Fortunately, we have a TV in the office, and work was quiet during the times that the match and programme were on, so I could keep half an eye on the TV as I did some paperwork.

The match was really enjoyable. I only tend to like the internationals, as they bring out the best that a country has to offer, rather than the club with the most to spend. I certainly wasn't disappointed, especially when the goals started plopping in shortly after half-time.

I had also been looking forward to Doctor Who for quite a while, not least because most of the reviews of the first programme were positive - that's really something where cult programmes are concerned. Having one adventure every 45 minute episode (kind-of like Bugs, CSi, or - dare I say it - Buffy) was something of a departure, as I was used to stories that spanned six weeks, with each episode generally punctuated by a scream. The cinematography was excellent, there was plenty of comedy, and although the story was relatively simple, the characters had some depth (the Doctor's almost bipolar behaviour, the mother's 'desperate housewife' nature and Billie Piper looking like she did before marrying Chris Evans). If there were two things that bothered me, they were when the action just stopped and seemed a little awkward (mainly during the climax, where the shop dummies were having a bit of a go at the public and the Doctor was being restrained by the Kryten-a-likes), and the terminal incompetence of whoever was directing BBC1 continuity, and kept putting the sound of Quickly Scum Dancing (or whatever Saturday evening nonsense it was) to air during the first few minutes. "Dear BBC, why oh why..."

Sorry to keep harping on about Doctor Who, but I do wonder if the references to Monty Python (such as "We're sitting on a planet that's evolving and revolving..." or similar) were deliberate. The preview for Next week's episode reminded me of Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, too, as it's set at the 'end of the world'. Now that is something I'm looking forward to! (Er.. the episode, not the sun exploding).

All in all, a great romp (as a keen user of clichés would say), and much, much funnier than I remember it. I'm quite looking forward to seeing how Mark Gatiss's episode turns out, too...

Dull techie stuff alert...
In an attempt to prove that I wasn't bone idle all day, I've been trying to work out a way to alert Radio 4 Continuity of weather warning emails from the Met Office. We had a rather delightful solution, but the IT Gestapo have disabled the "net send" command (kind-of understandably, as it's really rather insecure). Fortunately, we use the intranet version of Windows Messenger, so after scouring the internet, I came across this fantastic article which explains how to create a Visual Basic script (VBScript) to send a Microsoft Exchange Instant Messenger message to another user.

It's one of those things that, if you have the in-depth knowledge of the way that Exchange works - or at least what the commands are - it's actually quite straightforward. Unfortunately, it requires a small Microsoft Exchange Messaging Runtime module to be installed (the version of Messenger supplied with Windows doesn't work, more's the pity), but otherwise it should be quite simple yet reliable.
OK... you can look back now.

Only one day of work to go - although it'll have to be as early a night as I can manage, as I'll be up at the equivalent of ten past five tomorrow morning! It'll seem even stranger, as I don't think I've ever worked on Easter Sunday (though I've done enough Christmas Days!)

Happy Easter!

Posted by james at March 26, 2005 9:47 PM

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