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September 2005

Day 9

I'm in hospital again. Started off being called anaemic and needing a blood transfusion, ended up just having an infection and needing to stay in for a night. Meh.

Day 7

It's been almost a week, which means it's just over a week until the next lot of Chemotherapy. I've stopped taking most of the drugs, but tomorrow I start getting G-CSF injections to make sure I don't die of a cold, or something like that.

How am I feeling? Bored. I keep thinking about going back to school, but, being realistic, I still can't walk very fast and stairs hate me. I haven't really looked at any work, though I suppose it'd be a good idea...

In computer news, I caught up with my feeds, got further behind with my podcasts, and launched Opera only to get annoyed and close it again. I've added blog archive links to the bottom of the home page, but I'm not sure whether I like them.

The other stuff

  • I'm being far too lazy with Podsnatcher, and yet I still managed to plan out more features. I'll eventually add some buttons to the Items tab to play/copy/download/delete multiple items at once, since having to click a lot is one of my iPodder annoyances. Once I've done that and, the prefs, and the feed add/remove stuff, I should release.
  • RdMise/RdPress work great on my phone, all things considered. But there are still a lot of things I need to fix:
    • The sidebars get in the way, especially on the home page. They should be at the bottom of the page code, with a link to skip to them.
    • Same thing for the search box. And <button> doesn't work in the Openwave browser.
    • The form to add a blog entry is right below the "Blog Archive" blurb. It should be moved up or given a page of its own, at least when I'm logged in.
    • Sometimes I have to scroll down a long way just to see if what I posted worked. The admin stuff should report success/failure in the page title.
    • It's still not obvious enough how to find the sixth most recent post. I need a link to this month's archive on the home page.
    • I need a non-admin "last X feedback" page.
  • I should release my code.

Catching up

Only a couple of hundred feed items left to read now. Thing is, I'm about a hundred podcasts behind and they take much longer to get through. I haven't felt much like blogging the past few days, though tomorrow I'll probably braindump the stuff I was thinking about at the hospital whilst trying not to think about the other stuff... it's not much, but I need to organize my thoughts.

The worst side-effect at the moment is probably the tiredness, so... night.

Day 2

I got home last night, leaned out the car, and threw up. :|

Feeling much better today though, I have a reasonably big scar on my neck where the biopsy was, and a tiny red mark on my wrist that's in no way representative of how much fluid went in there.

I'm just catching up on my feeds and skimming a thousand junk emails. I don't think I want to know yet how many podcasts I've missed.

More waiting.

The most annoying thing about this place? The people here can hardly walk, and it's full of pedal bins. :/

Anyway, not much happened yesterday, except for the physiotherapist telling me to take things easy, and the dietician telling me to eat more crisps. Final info on the chemotherapy should come today.


I'm not going to pretend that struggling to walk has had any major philosophical effect on my view of the world, but it does seem like not much is happening out there.

For example, the radio, TV, and Internet are telling me that democracy isn't working in Germany, somebody doesn't like Jeffrey Archer, and a Firefox security update is in testing. Yawn...

Ah, decisions.

I have to decide whether to have chemotherapy in Hull or Leeds. At the moment I don't really have much information, so I'll see what the consultants say.

The only other thing is hair. I'm probably going to end up losing it, but I dunno whether to pre-empt that by shaving. Any suggestions?

Today's score

28 tablets, 1 needles. A slight change (improvement?) from yesterday's 31/2. Meh, and I haven't even started the chemo yet...

Top 5 ways to relieve hospital boredom

Apart from pointless blogging on your phone, of course.

  • Read AS level physics notes. Now your head can feel like it's exploding metaphorically as well.
  • Wheelchair skittles.
  • Radioactive marker chugging.
  • Thumb war.
  • Bleep like the machines.

A name...

I have Hodgkin's disease. Apparently it's pretty treatable, I had some radiotherepy last might.

I also met a paramedic with a decent sense of humour, got a tatoo, and ate a burger and chips. So anything could happen next...

Diagnostic Review


  • Blood test - boring, but at least it's quick. And I can't help sniggering when I hear the word "phlebotomy".
  • X-ray - Lame. Could do with some sound effects.
  • CT - Probably the most exciting, what with the robot voice and the air conditioning and the whizzy stuff. The radioactive injection made me feel sick though.
  • MRI - Ow my legs. I had to lay still while the machine ate me and promptly crashed. And all this whilst wearing headphones playing U2 at me. Not fun.

This sucks :(

I'm in hospital.

Just had a biopsy on a lump in my neck, it's going to take ages to get the results.

Sigh. I suppose I can always read my physics notes if I have trouble sleeping.

The Boring Point

A few days ago, I got to the point with Podsnatcher where all the important stuff mostly works, but it's still not good enough for me to use it. It doesn't clean up old files, it displays dates as Unix timestamps, etc., and I can't be bothered to fix it right now.

School starting again doesn't really help my development speed. I still have ChatZilla stuff I want to do, and RdMise code to release, but now I have to fit homework in as well. Bah.

In other news, this rocks:

I have a screenshot of Firefox with the menus themed natively in the 'Luna VX' Windows theme.

Native Windows themed menus in Mozilla, being done by Silver. :DD


I'm still in shock over this. I wrote an RSS parser for my podcast receiver, and it worked first time:

Podsnatcher successfully pulled three RSS feeds, detected MP3 files, and displayed the results in its log window.

All I need to do now is return the item link and title along with the enclosure data, then I can start getting the data into the RDF store (which also works, after a slightly more painful experience).

Just a note about how getting an ID is harder than it should be: I take the <guid> as the item ID, unless that's absent in which case I take the <link>. If I have an item ID, the IDs for the enclosures become "<itemid>#1", etc.. If I don't have an item ID, the enclosure ID falls back to being the URL. This way, an existing enclosure's URL can change without causing another download, and an item can have multiple enclosures.

(The latter is forbidden in RSS 2.0, and I might disable it. However, I need it to work because it's acceptable in Atom, which I'll be supporting later.)

Next project please...

I've started developing a podcast receiver in XUL. So far I'm liking it, though all I've done is the UI. It looks a little bit like this:

The podsnatcher window has three tabs (Items, Feeds, Log). The Feeds tab shows a top pane of subscriptions that can be added to, refreshed, or removed, and a bottom pane of shows from the selected feed that can be played, copied, or removed.

My aim is to provide a simplified iPodder replacement that downloads stuff in the background without crippling my connection, and provides an easier way to get files on to my player.

I'm currently trying to get my head around XUL templates without RDF making me explode, and after that I'll be re-learning XBL. Fun!


I'm bored. Gonna just call this 1.0.

It doesn't necessarily have everything I was planning to add, but I'm finally happy with it, which is good enough.

Next? Better use of templates in RdPress, new stylesheet code, view source for RdCode, RSS3 parsing and HTML scraping in RdSplay, some more advanced spam protection, and support for HTTP authentication. If I care enough when the time comes, that is.

I'm considering releasing the code, but I'm not sure if its worth the bother. I highly doubt anybody else is going to set up a whole site, but at the same time bits of my code might be useful. Any thoughts?