Not feeling very confident about the impending grading (December 13th), but then I've not yet felt confident about a grading, and I've not yet failed one. I do need to practise more, though.
I spent the rest of the evening finding out about nameservers, being cryptic about high-speed penguin exchange in email, failing to write job applications, and having a confusing telephone conversation with a random Eastern European woman. This last was because I was trying to get some sense out of HSBC, because I wanted to check my credit card statement online, so I could get the magic number for activating my PayPal account, because ... [trails off into boring house-that-Jack-built anecdotal mooing]. ANYway, I went to www.hsbc.co.uk, entered my Internet Banking number, and it popped up a new secure window... which said something like "Owing to a period of inactivity we have disconnected you from internet banking for your security." I tried reloading the page and so on in case it had cached something, but it still didn't work, and something about their wording made me worry that in fact they'd deactivated my access to Internet Banking altogether (I hadn't used it for months), so I phoned the helldesk. The girl who answered seemed a bit confused, and when I said the magic word "URL" she hastily said "I'll hand you over to our technical people".
So she did, and there followed a period of some confusion while the nice Eastern European lady (I'm going on her accent, okay? Maybe she's actually from Hull, and just talks funny) tried to talk me through the menus in IE for the PC, and I tried to explain to her that I had a Mac but if she just told me what I was looking for then I could probably find it. Anyway, she suggested clearing the cache, which I did, and which had no effect; I then asked if it was likely to be something to do with the proxy, and she started wittering about how she'd need to give me a "proxy exception", and if I was willing to use a standalone PC (I'd already tried, ill-advisedly, to explain our network situation to her by this point) then it'd all work. In the end I just had to say "Look, if you can confirm there's nothing wrong with my Internet Banking account then I can probably fix it at this end". Which I did, FSVO "fix", by bypassing the local proxy.
sion_a later fixed it properly (we hope) by adding ".jsp" and ".jhtml" to the list of Things Not To Cache. And now I know what JHTML is. Which is nice. Well, it's nice to know. JHTML itself seems inherently evil...
It was a good evening for learning things; sion_a gave me a tutorial in the basics of How Networks Work, which was really interesting -- after I said that what I wanted was basically the TCP/IP Colouring Book he pitched it at exactly the right level & explained how our machines talk to each other. :-) He's really very good at explaining technical stuff, although I think sometimes the analogies I use when I'm trying to assimilate information confuse him a bit (probably because they only make sense IN MY HEAD). He then set me a homework assignment to go and find out "how domain names get translated into IP addresses". I'm currently reading RFC 1034 for fun. ("Fun" is a relative concept, okay?)
So anyway. I'm setting myself up for looking extremely stupid here, but: ask me more questions about networking. If I don't know the answers (as I almost certainly won't), I'll go and find out. You see, this stuff makes my brain hurt, and that reassures me that the old grey matter isn't completely dead.