Well, that's pretty much what Bill Gates said when launching Windows Vista! The BBC reports: 'Windows Vista is "dramatically more secure than any other operating system released", Microsoft founder Bill Gates has told BBC News.'
Frankly, I think that's tantamount to laying a challenge down to any hacker or virus writer who feels like taking a shot at Vista. Fortunately for me, I intend to stay with Mac OS X, and within that I run anti-virus software anyway.
I'm typing this downstairs on the laptop, while Jill and Nathan are asleep upstairs, shattered after their day out. They went to the pub at lunchtime to meet up with the group of new mothers whom Jill describes as 'the ladies who lunch'. It's great because it's go her out of the house and it's allowed her to share worries. At the moment, her worst worry is the fact that Nathan has only put on 1 oz in the last week. The thing is, he had a cold for a big chunk of the week, and she's feeding him on demand and regularly, so I think that it's probably a mountain made out of a molehill by the health visitor when she weighed him. If he hadn't put on more weight in a few days, then that's the time to worry. He's clear of the cold and feeding well now.
The last few nights have been hell as Nathan has been very grizzly. Three hours sleep has been fantastically long when we can get it. To paraphrase Shakespeare in the Scottish Play:
Methought I heard a voice cry "Sleep no more!
Nathan does murder sleep," the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast. (2.2.32-37)
But then he smiles and it makes it all alright and fantastic. He's opening his eyes up a lot now, and being very alert. Looks gorgeous as a result!
Tonight has been the first night when I've had time to actually do some writing for BITS, but I'm feeling too tired. I had hoped to start trying out Scrivener to see just how good it is. Instead I'll probably mooch for a bit and read Squadron UK, a British Superhero RPG (effectively a rewrite of the game 'Golden Heroes' published in the early 1980s). There's a really nice toucjh in this, as it is dedicated to Matthew Bond, a fellow gamer and friend who died very prematurely last year. Apparently he loved Golden Heroes as much as he loved Traveller.
Over the last few days I've been giving some support to Ad Astra Games for their new Traveller miniatures range which will support Power Projection. They look absolutely gorgeous, and I can't wait to get my hands on them. There are some pictures on the Power Projection site which show how fantastic they are.
I've also been reading the initial draft of one of the new BITS projects; it's an adventure by Dave Elrick set in the Spinward Marches just after the Fifth Frontier War. Dave is a master of writing for Traveller, and really captured the feel of the 'classic' era. I shared some feedback, and can't wait to read the next installment.
I don't do work here on the blog, but I can report that I've actually got a date for the interview to replace the first of two missing people in my team. I can't wait for this to happen as I feel a little like butter spread too thinly on toast, especially as a third team member is off after an operation. It should make life a little less fraught.
Currently feeling: Tired but strangely happy.
Currently listening to: 'Brave' by Marillion.
Currently reading: 'At the Edge of Space' by CJ Cherryh but also 'Squadron UK'.
Well, it took a while bit there are a load of new photos up on Flickr which you can reach via the photo album here on the site.
Last night was a bit trying. Nathan didn't want to sleep, so I got three hours in total, which I caught up on earlier tonight when I got it. It's looking like he's being a bit better tonight, and as soon as I have uploaded this I'm off to join Jill and him in slumberland!
On a happy note, we've just heard that one of our friends from work, Mike Fildes, has become a daddy for the second and third time tonight with his two little ones being born safely. His wife Lisa is doing well too. Congratulations!
I started painting miniatures some time ago, once I was on the route that would lead to the publication of Power Projection. I always wondered what fleet I'd do, and was hankering after something different. I do have a great selection of GZG's Full Thrust miniatures, but I wanted something different. One of my friends suggested that I take a look at some of the Games Workshop models, but most of those were to chaos-death-spikey to consider for use in a reasonably hard SF game. And then, Forgeworld was mentioned to me.
Forgeworld is Games Workshop's specialist minatures shop, using resin casts rather than metal. I found the Tau starships and fell in love with them. With some minor modifications, they'll do nicely for the Solomani Fleet in my Traveller universe!
The first ship is a modified Emissary Class (inappropriate features removed).
The second ships are a Warden Class Gunship and a Manta Class. Sadly, due to the fact that I have just seen the Forgeworld site again, I've spotted some more ships that will look really good and help flesh out the fleet a bit more.
Anyway, that's pretty much all for tonight. Hopefully Nathan will be ready to sleep now. And I must price some more RAM for this laptop sometime soon. Playing with large image files is really slowing Rapidweaver down on the Powerbook with 512Mb in a way that the 1Gb equipped iMac doesn't, and the Powerbook has the faster processor!
My mum arrived at the weekend after JIll's mum had gone home. Looking at the picture here, I've just realised that we didn't get many pictures last week and none with Nathan's maternal gran (or Nan) so I need to rectify that. I have uploaded what we did take.
Anyway, it is (touch wood) looking like we are heading out of the woods at the moment and sleep may return to living memory. Today, Jill and my Mum went out with Nathan, his first non-medical trip. They went to The Kestrel, a local pub that does pleasant meals and apparently had a lot of ice cream. Well, that's my mum and Jill, as Nathan isn't quite that developed. Apparently he slept through the whole thing and was much admired by the people in the pub. He's going to break hearts when he's older! It's great that Jill got out of the house, as I think she may slowly go stir crazy otherwise. I spotted this when she got excited during our recent trip to Morrisons!
Oh, and I was right. The day after we visited the doctor's Jill was told off by the Midwife for feeding Nathan the water exactly as the doctor had told her! Go figure! I guess we're bad parents because we carried on that day as it was obviously helping and in the case of treating a cold I think we'll take the route of common sense and medical opinion.
Currently feeling: Tired.
Currently listening to: Nothing, but the last albums I listend to were the Chemical Brothers' Surrender and Simple Minds' perennially good New Gold Dream.
Currently reading: 'At the Edge of Space' by CJ Cherryh. In theory.
I'm pretty pleased with the site. Ever since I created the Power Projection site way back, it's never been quite what I wanted. I was surfing BlueBall Design's website and saw their MaxLight theme for Rapidweaver. The moment I saw it, I knew I wanted it for PowerProjection.net, because it was so, well, Star Trek like. Something just made me think of space. Anyway, I bought it, and started to build the site while we were waiting for Nathan's arrival. It needed a little bit of hacking to get exactly what I wanted (some tweaks to the theme) but I got there. I should also mention Charlie Lockhart from BlueBall, who was incredibly helpful when there were some code issues. Anyway, I'm pleased with the site, and happy that it is finally off the Pipex webspace which this blog is on, because it is a real pain to update.
The other big IT related find is Scrivener. Writing Power Projection on the Mac taught me the limitations of Word for creative writing projects, in much the same way that writing Delta 3 is Down taught me the limitations of Windows (NT 4 in this case) as a stable OS you can rely on. The problem is, Word really stops you seeing the wood for the trees, and you end up spending a lot of time thinking about the programme rather than the words.
I tried a number of solutions to address this issue with the workflow before layout, but none of them have been entirely satisfactory. My first attempt was a program called Copywrite, which promised a lot but seemed to be unstable as hell on my G3 iBook and G4 iMac. (It may be better now, but I have no burning desire to check it out again!) I eventually gave up on it and went back to Word. My most recent solution was to use Circus Ponies' Notebook to capture notes on projects, and then drive the projects themselves through the excellent OmniOutliner using an outline with embedded documents and files. This worked reasonably well, but didn't quite click. Then I happened upon a reference and review of Scrivener on 43folders.com, which instantly peaked my interest.
Scrivener takes what I was using Word and OmniOutliner for and merges them with some really intuitive tools. The full screen editing and structuring tools are excellent and it is very 'Mac'. It hangs together beautifully and after a few days playing convinced me it was a must have. I've registered a copy, and will be using it for my next two writing projects; Power Projection: Reinforcements, and a Traveller scenario called This Fear of Gods. I recommend you take it for a test drive and have a look. You can use it for 30 days before it locks down.
Currently feeling: Justified and Annoyed! :-/
Currently listening to: Radio 4 in the background
Currently reading: 'At the Edge of Space' by CJ Cherryh
Tuesday - an old friend, Phil, came around to meet Nathan. They hit it off well, but that was to be expected as Phil is a charmer! We patted him down before he left to make sure that Nathan hadn't decided to run off with him! There is a picture on the new shots I've added.
Thursday, I had to go to another site with work, over on the Wirral, for a meeting. I had to pick someone up on the edge of Manchester on the way, so was planning an early start. Things started to go a little wonky when I met Jill's Dad on the landing, and he told me that Gillian (his wife, not Jill his daughter) had developed a bad cold during the night, so they were planning on going home that day, rather than wait to the weekend. They wanted to minimise the bugs that Nathan was exposed to, and I can't fault that at all. Anyway, the meeting should have finished by 3pm, so they would wait until around 6pm when I would be back before they left.
I left the Wirral to return home at 2.15pm and finally got in our front door at approximately 10.30 pm. It was the trip from hell, and the weather warnings were – for once – very justified. I won't bore you with the details, but each of the following was shut just before we reached it; the M56, the M6 Thelwall viaduct, the M60 Barton Bridge. On top of that, Manchester Gridlocked and took perhaps three hours to cross rather than go around. It wasn't a fun day, but I guess at least I got home, unlike 11 or some unlucky souls. I was absolutely knackered.
Friday had the greatest ups and downs. Nathan started to sleep a lot longer (three and four hours) than ever before, and was showing very little interest in his food. On top of this, he was very nasal and sounded like he was struggling to breathe. Needless to say, this was quite worrying, so we phoned the midwife out of hour number after we couldn't find any descriptions of what he was doing in the baby manuals, and the next door neighbours with more experience than us were out. They told us to go to the Out-of-Hours doctor service at Harrogate Hospital, so Nathan had his first trip out, to the very place he had come from six days before!! Anyway, the doctor checked him out and he was okay. It's probably just a change in his sleeping pattern combined with the fact that he is taking his milk a lot faster. We were officially labeled as neurotic, and then told that the doctor felt that this was a good thing for new parents, and that we should do what we did if anything else changes again. Phew!
There was one disturbing thing. While we waited in the reception, we couldn't help but sit there and listen to twenty minute argument between the reception staff on what to do about an asthmatic who was choking. The Doctor had said to send a car out immediately, but the staff coordinating and the staff in the cars were being somewhat chaotic in trying to agree who would go. They couldn't even decide whether to call an ambulance. If it was a serious asthma attack, the patient could have been in a very bad way by the time they resolved it. I hope they weren't.
Another positive point is that we seem to have got the car seat fastening technique all resolved now! We go it in pretty fast last night, and the initially complex looking threading of the seat-belt becomes second nature very quickly.
Currently feeling: Neurotic (and that's a good thing!)
Currently listening to: Radio 4 in the background
Currently reading: Pulp Egypt (an RPG book)
Beyond the late nights, the big change to our schedule is an early evening sleep (maybe for as much as two whole hours!) while Nathan snoozes off his meal. Jill's mum and dad are here at the moment, which is absolutely fantastic. I think we both really appreciate the support. Next week, my mum is coming over as well (kind of a shift change)!
The cat remains bemused by the whole situation!
Currently feeling: Tired, as I have an early start in the morning
Currently listening to: Nothing, as we are watching 'The Riddle of the Sands' on DVD.
Currently reading: Pulp Egypt (an RPG book)
It's been an interesting few days, mainly comprising feed, sleep, nappy change, feed, sleep, nappy change.... Jill is struggling with lack of sleep, and it's not been too much fun from that point of view. Of course, it's everything that people say it is, but when Nathan smiles or chirps, it kind of makes up for it all.
I'm due back at work tomorrow, so Jill's parents have come over to give her some support when I'm not around. She's doing pretty well overall, but the breast feedings is hard work, especially on her left side.
If uploaded the final few pictures from the hospital to Flickr, as usual. You can get to them via the photo album.
The journey home sent Nathan to sleep quite quickly, once we'd sussed out the car seat. I suspect that he is actually used to the car noise, plus we put on the appropriately named 'To All Arrivals' by Faithless, which used to send him to sleep when he was still in the womb.
It was a very hard night for Jill last night, as Nathan was very hungry, feeding every two hours or so for 30 to 60 minutes. She was absolutely shattered when I got in to see her this morning (early, as she called me in). Hopefully, she can get some sleep now while I sit here with him and finally get the chance to put the Christmas decorations into the boxes.
As an aside, the look on the cat's face was a picture when he started to cry... and I'll upload the picture later on. After a quick look he went and hid upstairs under his duvet-bed!
I've added some photos of Nathan taken yesterday to the usual place.
I finally got some really nice photos of Jill and Nathan doing something other than feeding, which I've added to the photo album to share them.
The big change yesterday was a move from the room that Jill & Nathan have been in since they moved to Pannal Ward out into the ward itself. Apparently, they had a lot of babies born again on Thursday, so the rooms were needed for more C-Section patients. The move itself was simple enough, but I think that they'll need some adjustment to the new area as it's a lot noisier. It was nearly ten o'clock at night by the time that they were settled, and then Nathan decided that daddy hadn't seen a really dirty nappy yet, so did one to give me changing practice before I went home. It was quite an experience, and I now understand the comments some other friends and parents have made about 'how can someone so small make such a big mess?'. Once this was done, the midwife dropped hints so I went home!
Beyond the trip to the hospital, I finally managed to get a haircut, which was great. Funny how the little things make a difference! The Traveller CD ROM also arrived in the post (all the original books and games digitised), which will be useful if I am doing any writing for BITS.
Currently feeling: Ready for another day!
Currently listening to: Nick Clarke's Audio Diary on Radio 4
Currently reading: Pulp Egypt (an RPG book)
My Mum & Dad (Grandma & Grandpoppy!) visited last night from over in Cheshire. Nathan had been sleeping like a dream for the last two hours following a feed, and then decided to wet his nappy the moment Grandma held him, starting to cry.
He got a bit fractious then, and the midwives think that it is because he's got ahead of Jill with his need for milk – she's still supplying colostrum but should get the milk today (hopefully!). Aside from this, he's feeding well! Jill was looking a lot better too, except when she sneezed which really hurt.
The vital stats and more pictures can be found on the photo album pages.
I can sleep well tonight...
Dom (still smiling!)
Generally, the staff at Harrogate have been fantastic – I guess the only grumble we have is about the doctor we saw today as his bedside manner needs some work. He certainly doesn't know how to put a worried mum at her ease. It wasn't just Jill that this applied to either – one of her friends had him for her C-Section earlier in the week and he didn't say a thing to her during it, not even 'good morning'.
So where do we go from here? It is looking very likely that Jill will have a C-Section tomorrow if she doesn't go into labour naturally before then. This will probably be mid/late morning, unless the Delivery Suite is busy, in which case it'll be in the afternoon. It'll be interesting if it is delayed, as tomorrow should be Jill's more active day, and it tends to start early afternoon. I hope we do go naturally, but if it doesn't, so-be-it.
About two hours after the dose, Jill started to get contractions, initially around 5 mins apart, but gradually getting stronger until they were around 3 minutes apart by the time that I was sent home. A check up some six hours later indicated that the hormone has been doing what it should, so there would be no intervention (except perhaps to encourage Jill's waters to break) today. Jill started to use the TENS machine, which is a wonderful thing (and can be seen in the the photo above on the wristband) for pain relief late afternoon.
We had one final surprise at six, when Jill's sister Paula and her fiance Mark arrived from on the Wirral to see her. They spent two hours with us, and I think that it really helped Jill take her mind off things, certainly in a much better way than games or the TV do. Around ten o'clock, Jill was told to get some sleep, and I was sent home to bed. I'm not sure if I should expect a call tonight or not! We certainly seem to be out of the holding pattern of the last few days.
I guess I've some other things on my mind - my mum is in for an operation tomorrow with a light general anesthetic to allow an injection to be carried out to try and sort out some of her joints. I hope that it will work well and that she recovers soon to see her grandchild! My internet rpg and IT geek chum Tom Zunder (aka The Guv'nor on The Tavern) is also in for an operation with keyhole surgery tomorrow, so I wish him well too!
Currently feeling: Ready for bed
Currently listening to: Faithless, to all new arrivals.
Currently reading: Nothing properly today
Today was very, very frustrating. At one point, I was even contemplating getting agitated and raising my voice and demanding to know what was going on. But it passed... I guess it was the tiredness and the mixed messages. I went home last night in the knowledge that today was likely to be it - either Jill would have another shot of the hormone gel, or it'd be the drip, or she'd start herself. Unfortunately, they had a rush last night and the delivery suite was nearly full, so the last thing that they wanted to do was to add another lady in labour to the mix.
We didn't find out about this until lunchtime. I'd struggled out of bed after a bad night – Jill not being there and the cat deciding to kamikaze me at 4 in the morning – and got back to the hospital for 8.30am. JIll had a check on the monitor – aka machine that goes ping – when it was quieter at 11am, and the midwife mentioned that they had been busy that night, and they wouldn't have anyone to look further at us until the afternoon. At 1.00pm we had another check, and again it looked like we'd be going somewhere in an hour or two. However, I guess it ended up too late, and they finally confirmed at 10.45pm that nothing would be happening until tomorrow... so I headed home to see the cat and get some sleep.
We agreed I'll go in later tomorrow, and get some of the stuff around the house done that needs doing. I'm glad of this because I'm shattered! I know, all you sage hands who've had kids before will be thinking that "you ain't seen nothing yet if you think that is sleep-loss from kids". I know, but permit this moan for a bit!
Anyway, that's enough for now. Hopefully, tomorrow will show some progress.
Two Piccies - firstly, Jill's ward (she wanted me to use this!):
Secondly, our very own machine that goes 'ping'!
I like it too! It was a really pleasant afternoon, with only the shadow of the induction today hanging over it. There weren't any real developments last night, except Jill having slightly different pains to the ones that she has had for the last few days.
Today we're going in for the induction, so we know the next time that Jill comes home it will be with a baby. Quite a scary thought, as we've now reached the point where something is going to happen, but also quite a relief.
I finally finished The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers last night. It took some getting into, but it's a great tale that links Shelley, Byron and Keats together along with a different take on vampires (or vampyres as it is in the book). I'm glad I read it, but I suspect it won't be high on the re-read list, unlike his other books Declare and Last Call. This book was another from my backlog, which in some cases is a couple of years long. I'm trying to make headway into it now, with the next book after Complicity (which I'm re-reading as I just saw the film of Iain Banks novel) being Eragon. Which should make my mum happy as she bought it for me some time ago!
Anyway, I need to go and get ready for the appointment at the hospital.
Currently feeling: Nervous
Currently listening to: Radio 4.
Currently reading: 'Complicity' by Iain Banks
Today, Jill had her weekly 'Ladies who Lunch' meeting with the ladies who were at the Wetherby Midwife sessions. They've kept on meeting up the same day and time since the sessions ended, going to a different restaurant or cafe every week. I think it's great – they're all socialising and sharing their experiences. This week, they met after a gap over Christmas and found out that one of them had given birth four weeks earlier than due, but was doing well. Jill also seemed happy to find out that some of the others were in the same position that she is, late after the due date.
At the moment, we're in the position that Jill will go in to be induced on Friday if nothing develops. So we're kind of hoping that the baby will arrive on our fourth wedding anniversary tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see what happens.
While Jill was socialising, I was in work. I took advantage of a couple of hours to clear some things out of the way for later in the month when I have to go back. It was good seeing people and getting a little bit of normal life for a while.
Currently feeling: Relaxed!
Currently listening to: Nothing.
Currently reading: ''The Stress of Her Regard" by Tim Powers (I had a brief diversion into the Pulp Egypt last night)
Last night was pretty hard for both Jill and I, as the practice contractions continued and kept Jill awake during the night. This in-turn kept me awake, so we both had very little sleep. As I type this, she's gone to sleep because they've stopped. It'll be a brief respite because we are back in at the Hospital today for an internal examination. As this includes a 'stretch and sweep', it may well trigger labour off properly. I'm hoping it will, as it's getting very frustrated.
I start my paternity leave today, which seems appropriate based on the hospital visit. I've chatted to a few of my colleagues and team this morning, which was nice. That, combined with the sunny day, has made me feel somewhat less stir-fry and trapped in the house. The downside to this is that I've just been told that one of my team who left at the end of the year has had some dreadful news. Apparently his wife has been diagnosed with leukemia, which comes on top of his father dying in December. Absolutely awful, and a reminder of the frailties of life.
On a more positive note, I uploaded some more pictures onto Flickr, which are linked through the photo album pages here. They're of Christmas and were partly done to test the new camera.
Currently feeling: Tired!
Currently listening to: Gay Dad "Leisure Noise"
Currently reading: ''The Stress of Her Regard" by Tim Powers (I had a brief diversion into the Savage Worlds RPG last night)
I recently noticed a thread on Gaming Report which mentioned a sourcebook called 'Pulp Egypt' for any RPG. As two of the games that I have recently bought and like are Savage Worlds and Spirit of the Century, this looked too good to be true. Well, I had to take a look, and I'm glad I did. This is a sourcebook by Peter Schweighofer which costs $20, and is a 176 page PDF packed with information on Egypt (some of it in a similar manner to the Call of Cthulhu RPG Cairo Sourcebook) to support pulp campaigns. Having quickly skimmed the PDF, there are suggestions on how to run archaeological, espionage and crime based campaigns, and some excellent material for reference. I think that it will be easier to integrate with Savage Worlds rather than SotC, as the latter is more free-form and co-creative. However, it will add to both if you fancy some Indiana Jones style adventures.
If you feel that $20 is too much to spend on something you've never heard off, there are a number of free scenarios on the site which give an idea of the quality of the material. I recommend this. They can be found at Griffin Publishing Studios' site.
Looking back at the last entry, I've just realised my mistake... It's Monday, and it's a Bank Holiday, so of course I'm not back in work today! And I won't be in tomorrow, as Jill will have her internal if nothing has developed by then. So that's that then.
We were in shock last night, as there was a party in the Close with fireworks and loud music. One of the things we've noticed in the four years we've lived here has been that New Year was dead, totally different to Liverpool and the the Wirral. But last night the next door-but-one neighbours had a party. We'd have first footed them, except for the fact that Jill was ready for bed. But it was great to see some life in the close! Of course, the cat hated the fireworks!
Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR! We'll see what today brings...
Currently feeling: Relaxed
Currently listening to: Radio 4
Currently reading: ''The Stress of Her Regard" by Tim Powers