Oh blimey! There are only a few hours to go, most of which will be spent in the pub next door, and I haven’t written my end of year review yet! OK, time pressures mean it’ll be bullet points:

    Highlights, in roughly chronological order:

  • my trip to Saumur
  • birthday trip to Lisboa
  • the grand tour of the low countries
  • selling my flat
  • finally getting to live full-time with Hels
  • the grand tour of Germany
  • getting married! (obviously!)
  • the honeymoon in Sicily
  • getting our own home in Ruralville
  • kittens!

  • not selling Hels’s flat
  • generally not having enough money or time for all the things we want to do
  • ummm… that’s about it really

All in all, 2004 has been excellent. PFE continues to plod along, family are healthy and happy (mostly!) and I married the perfect girl for me. You can’t ask for much more than that really.
Happy New Year to you. Come back to the same place this time next year for another exciting annual review!

Old news

I’m sure that this story was first reported about a week ago on local television. Either way, you have to admire the determination of someone to hide from the law inside a sofa. (Eastbourne Today posted the story on December 23rd – come on BBC, that’s rubbish!).


Disasters Emergency Committee. Apparently, their website has been struggling with traffic, so you may find it easier to donate by telephone on 0870 60 60 900. Alternatively, all the high street banks are accepting donations.
Thought: will the people in Darfur and elsewhere be forgotten in all this?

The worm that turned

Well, I seem to have conquered the worm, with no new problems with it. I do still seem to be eating bandwidth though, and I’m not sure why – 0.9GB since yesterday tea-time compared with around 2.5GB for a whole month recently. So I’ve set robots.txt to prevent bots from looking for files that no longer exist (thereby creating an unwanted 404), although I can’t believe that that is the whole problem.
Thank goodness I checked my Hotmail and picked up on the warning from 34sp that I’d exceeded my bandwidth allowance, otherwise the bill would be spiralling out of control by now. There must be other people who haven’t checked their mail over the Christmas period who will be in for a shock when they next log in.


I’ve just received a traffic warning from 34sp – it seems that I’ve had more than 9GB of traffic this month compared with my limit of 3GB, and so should expect a bill for about £9. Hmm.
Would backing up my databases in two formats (two enormous files) have caused this? Previously, my traffic had been around 2GB and increasing by about 10% per month.

EDIT: looks like the Santy C worm. I’m working on a block.
FURTHER EDIT: this site is under attack. If you use WP or any other PHP script, you need to protect NOW. Go here.
YET FURTHER EDIT: I’ve implemented the .htaccess edit recommended by "thepete" in the forum linked above. I’ll monitor it tomorrow and see what has happened. I think that WP has blocked all the bot requests but has served a lot of 404s. I also seem to have been serving an enormous number of 404s to bots that have been looking through my old MT archive files (so, if you have links to my old MT generated pages, they will no longer work as they have been purged). I’ll keep you posted.
EDIT THE FOURTH: the edit of the .htaccess file has not worked. I’ve had more than 2GB of bandwidth eaten last night. So I’ve added some lines to the top of my index.php file as recommended in the first post in the forum thread linked to above. I’m really keen to fix this, as every GB of bandwidth costs me £1.50 and the money is being eaten at a frightening rate, so any suggestions are welcome! I’ll report back on the success or otherwise of the latest change.
EDIT THE FIFTH: the latest attempt seems to have worked completely, and my bandwidth consumption has dropped dramatically. Hurrah!


Hels and I are trying to comprehend the scale of today’s enormous tsunami in south-east Asia. Having recently read Simon Winchester’s excellent book on Krakatoa, and drawing on my slightly hazy recollections of O and A level geography (plate tectonics and all that), I can understand the science of it all and realise that there is no divine intervention here or yuletide symbolism – merely some enormous movements of the Earth’s crust and some terrible misfortune for anyone that happens to be in the way.
Hels said to me that we are fortunate not to live in a part of the world where this sort of thing might occur. To which I might reply that I’m glad that we live a fair distance inland, protected from the open sea by a good range of hills (though some believe the threat to be over-stated), and it has happened before (although a 2 metre surge may seem small, it can be funnelled in estuaries and harbours and become far more dangerous).