The more accurate diary. (Old stuff)

Warning: These are old.

May 3rd

Whee! He's back, the bag is in the middle of the floor, and he's apparently had much fun. And what did he bring me back from the land of wine and sherry? Four plastic penguin heads, that's what. How ... useful.

April 30th

It's very hard to write the other side of Alan's diary when he hasn't written his and has instead gone jetting off again. This time it's Portugal. Hmm. I think it's time he started collecting those air mile things.

Alan ostentatiously packed the sponge bag this time. This results from the fact that I bought it for him, packed it with basic Alan away from home stuff, and he promptly got into the habit of taking all the contents and leaving the bag behind. Because it packed better. Ah well.

April 28th

Alan cleared the rucksack off the floor, the cat off the garden (not before it used it as a litter tray, grrr), and the backlog of email out of the mailspool in record time. Lots of very nearly normal life for a few days, before the entertainment of upgrading my little computer.

I'm still trying to write a coherent account of this, but let's just say that blue flashes of sparks accompanied by a yelp from Alan didn't bode well at the start, and I have gleaned a useful tip: do not decide you need a few new patches for X and go wandering about ftp sites the same day that a new Linux distribution (Red Hat 6.0) hits the mirrors. Ouch.

On the plus side, it was such a job to wrench the old disc out of the machine that we stood solemnly contemplating the wreckage on the desk thinking And we have to get a new one into that? and Alan decided it would be simpler to just put it in a different machine, which is faster than the old one. Also, I now have a mouse that works, though frankly, after Mr Drivers, Soundcards and Networks managed to fix a problem with the sound by telling pppd to send everything to the mouse, I'm a bit surprised. The soundcard, I am informed, will work, but will interfere with the network connection. How logical. Mmm.

Other things of note: Alan did gardening the other day. Yes. I saw it happen. He wandered out, made a heap of weeds so the wind could catch all the seeds (our neighbours will love us), and emptied all the snails out of the watering can.

Ordered a filing cabinet. Alan queried this. Went through piles and piles of paper with Alan. He now accepts the filing cabinet is necessary. Not sure where we're going to put it, though. I'm arguing for losing a computer to make space, but Alan's not convinced. Odd.

April 23th

Well, I recovered from the lurgy, raised lots of dust, disinterred all manner of things that really should be in the computer room and not my (tiny) bedroom, and read a load of mail. Thanks very very very much to people who have emailed about sudden Telsa-silences, mirrors, and procmail (particularly the latter two. Wow.) I will reply, honest! Procmail is going to be interesting, since it's not actually installed on the machine the mail goes to yet. Yet.

The big news is that Alan is back, and my beautiful tidy living room has the contents of his rucksack over the floor. The empty spaces in the whisky corner are now filled with a rather, um, acquired taste schnapps (complete with moss inside the bottle), and I am going "wow" at some books he brought back. I am madly jealous; he's clearly had a fantastic time and met some wonderful people. I'm sure there was a Linux conference involved in there somewhere, but so far I've received the impression that he spent his time playing about with jeeps, GPS, and 1 in 3 slopes trying to get out of volcanic craters, eating all manner of seafood (and puffin, which I'm sure will delight the members of a certain Puffin Group), standing on frozen rivers gazing up at waterfalls encased in ice, and smuggling in Jolt to the locals.

He rang to say he'd be back about 2.30am, and such was my inability to contain my loving excitement that I forced myself to play endless games of freecell and same-gnome (ahem) until he arrived. At some stage around then someone sent me a message asking if I'd seen the latest UserFriendly cartoon. About then, Alan showed up and I forgot all about it until much later (like today). Having seen it, I am dying with laughter at the uurgh, light, can't code.. parts. How apt. It's true. I've opened the curtains on him only to get a sudden complaint of Argh, no! I can't see now!

So he went to bed, and I got up, and things got straight back to normal on the sleeping cycle stakes (though he insists he was up early in Iceland because the sun came up too early and woke me up), but eventually the lure of 3000 emails was too great to resist.

Went out for a meal with friends in the evening. They used their palmpilots or Psions (I don't actually know the difference) to work out the bill. I got bored and waited outside. It took them 15 minutes, and when Heather, who has more patience than I, got bored and came out to join me, she reported, They're trying to work out a bug they found.

Back to normal, then.

April 20th

Whoops, much busy stuff. Call this a temporary update until I put the actual details in. Currently I'm recovering from the lurgy, trying to take advance of Alan's absence to do useful dust-raising stuff, and swearing horribly about my mailbox, which has about 700 messages I have to do things about. Yes, I know about procmail! I just can't work it out. I have a friend's .procmailrc as an example, I have read the man pages, I have gibbered, looked for a nice friendly HOWTO, and I still haven't worked it out. All I want to do is sort stuff from a dozen different sources into half a dozen elm folders, and RTFMing is not helping yet. Sendmail? Lockfiles? And there's another dozen pages listed at the bottom to read. Eep.

So it's back to the dust-raising for me.

Alan is apparently in Iceland. At least, he set off there. He hasn't actually mentioned arriving yet, but luckily someone else in Iceland thought to reassure me that he'd got there. Since Alan had to get up at 5am to get the coach to the airport, which time is not conducive to Alan being in alert, awake and coherent mode; and since he rang from the airport to tell me not to worry, he knew he'd forgotten his Icelandic money (!) and had got some more, I think I can be forgiven for not automatically assuming he'd reached the place until someone said he was definitely there.

April 11th

Now why the heck can Alan fail to get up for doctors, washing machine repair men, visiting friends and train journeys but manage to stay up until 3am and then get up for a 10am radio show?

And he bought things. Grr.

At least they were small. They were also somewhat surreal. What he describes as a collection of ethernet connector T-pieces looks to me like a plumber and a welder got together to connect t wo pipes whilst stoned, looked at what they'd made, and then gave the instructions for building the resulting contrivance to someone who turned the plans upside down, added a few right angles in, and built it in the dark. But still. It keeps him happy.

His annual opportunity to tease me about Welsh rugby took an unexpected turn today when we sat down at the telly as Wales defeated England (and here's a prophetic account in verse; this is the only reason Wales are in the Five Nations: so long as they beat England then honour is considered to be upheld) with a last minute try. Neil Jenkins, btw, is God. It's going to be a loud night in Swansea tonight, I suspect.

April 10th

Last minute arrangements with Bryce et al (sorry, I mean Al) resulted in Alan snoring until afternoon and me sitting downstairs thinking If Alan's asleep when they arrive this is going to be embarrassing... They didn't show up so we assumed they'd forgotten there was a toll-bridge on the way and Alan went to buy tickets in town. (Actually, I'd not realised that Bryce wasn't driving from Bristol but further away and that they both shared Alan's definition of early afternoon. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.)

Then they arrived! With much Stuff (ugh). And penguins. And a light sabre, or something very similar. Alan then returned from town sans tickets but with the products of yet _another_ trip to the computer shop sale. Hmm. Alan gloated over the Stuff, announced it was staying, ignored my squeaks and invited them up to the cave for other stuff, where more gloating was heard - this time on the parts of Bryce and Al - with I don't use it. Want it? and loud oooohs. I didn't understand most of it, so I'm sure that I must have misunderstood and that Al wasn't really going wowover omething with a Z80 chip in it. I know what a Z80 is. It was in my Spectrum. Z80s show up in the http logs, too, usually as Z80/KGB-cloned or Hurd 2.0/Z80, but I suspect these entries of being slightly misleading.

Bryce says that our house is not messy. He can come again.

Our penguin met its evil penguin cousin, who lives with Bryce, and Bash the penguin (which is a really bad way to introduce anything to Alan, because he tried to), who lives with Al. We left the penguins behind and went for Jolt, but the Jolt shop was shut. We nearly detoured into the computer shop with the sale, but Alan informed us that he had bought everything useful from it already.

Justin and Dick and Heather came round. Bryce and Justin both have digital cameras, so a certain amount of comparison was attempted. The penguins are now suffering from over-exposure. Tried to get into my favourite restaurant, which I am no longer naming because it's too popular already and we couldn't get seats, and went instead to the Slow Boat. Despite massive optimising of set meals, individual portions and extras, did not succumb to hacker silliness and work out the bill on anyone's palmtop. Largely because I discovered rogue was on it and wouldn't give it back, and anyway, the tablecloth was paper and we worked it out on that.

Returned, the (male part of the) Swansea contingent discussing plans for the radio rally tomorrow. I have become alert to this. They don't go for the radio equipment. They go for computer bits. The _plan_ is to attend at 10am. Yeah, right.

April 9th

Near-disaster. Almost came home with raisins instead of sultanas.

This is obviously silly toy week. Along with the television, Alan has the cricket scores on the gnome bar now...

I wish Alan's secret project was tidy the house for Telsa, but it doesn't seem to be.

April 8th

Went shopping with Alan and wondered why he wasn't ready to go back home. Stayed with him until we eventually ended up at the computer shop. I don't like computer books; they're too heavy to browse. I did like the silly mouse mats, though, yes. Alan nearly bought some children's toy because he'd had a silly idea, but since he has about five of those at the moment (silly ideas) I rather hope it's on hold.

Spotted Alan discussing the transfer of computer rubbish with friends. Apparently they were offloading a long long list. Sat quiet. Then Alan offhandedly mentioned we were being visited this weekend. By -- er -- friends who were bringing just a few bits and pieces.

April 7th

Alan has a silly toy: playing MUSHes and IRC with netscape. Predictably everyone sat on IRC trying to send him interesting HTML codes.

Now the clothes are dry, the sun came out.

April 6th

Messed about trying to organise pages. Alan has to fix something for it to work. Amazing how often Alan has to fix something so that it will work as expected crops up around here.

Dried lots of clothes.

April 5

Five days ago the BBC said that it was going to be one of the hottest April weeks in years. It has not stopped raining.

Haven't seen much of Alan today, but he got up before 11am!

Looked at Analog a bit more. This is probably a good time to mention that I am reorganising. This page will eventually (ho ho) end up with the address rather than diary.html at the end. In addition, if anyone is mirroring this thing, I would very much like to know. Especially if they can take a few extra hits!

Had a good laugh at ask your mum bit at the vote on the best name for Coco Pops, which Alan eats. The Evil Alan has not asked his mum for permission to vote, I am sure of that. Bad Alan. If he filled the form in, I fear now we'll end up with dozens of the free gifts that Alan retrieves with glee (and mess) from the packets and which I confiscate firmly and put in the bin.

April 4

Waah! My Technosphere creature died.

Going upstairs for consolation I then discovered that Alan has managed to include a television picture in his Gnome panel bar. Dear me. I wondered why he wasn't watching Scooby Doo any more. Apparently he's watching it in a one-inch square instead.

Installed Analog, which is lots of fun, and nearly fainted at the results. How many hits? And what on earth is the internet mega sheep?

April 3

This month just gets better and better.

Alan up horrendously late. He went to post a letter and returned with the exciting news that the computer shop was having a sale. He then plunged straight back out through the front door before I had a chance to comment. Eventually he returned, laden down with baggage. I hadn't realised there were so many sound cards left in the world that he didn't have yet.

He found me a nice new keyboard, but since it cost about three pounds, I have my doubts about how long it will last. As a result I was inspired to pull out the old keyboard which I used for two or three years and pester Alan into providing details on safe cleaning. He turned it upside down and shook it over me.


Fulfilling though this appears to be for him, I am not convinced of its efficiency.

Whilst I was engaged in fluff-removal and discovering what are probably eggs which will hatch into Crud Puppies nestling between the keys, Justin came to visit.

Justin has a new toy. Justin has a digital camera. Justin knew Alan would be fascinated. It's a toy, after all. Alan was gratifyingly fascinated, and the two went into a huddle of and if you press this here, look what happens! So, how much memory does it have? and Hey, what if.. Alan was particularly impressed with the bit about and you can display the results on your video. It turned out that he'd forgotten that we don't actually have a video...

April 2

Alan excelled himself today. First he kicked over my drink. Then he tried to soak it up with the newspaper which contained the crossword I was stuck with.

One of my Technosphere animals died off a while ago. It got eaten! Wail! But the other one is alive and well and in some kind of mating frenzy. Eeep.

April 1

Grrr! Alan switched my alarm clock off so I missed the usual crop of Radio 4 April Fool jokes this morning.

This was more than made up for by the net, however. I finally tumbled to the UserFriendly one after seeing it jammed in amidst other Slashdot sillies which were obviously jokes. Ouch. Talk about the delayed drop. Evil people!

Alan has eaten nearly all the sultanas (like raisins, but no seeds) again. I have run out of places to hide them. The only place I could think of - the bedroom - is out. Because yesterday he accidentally mislaid a pile of CDs. He then forgot he'd lost them. They finally surfaced on top of the bed. No, I have no idea why Alan felt it was the place to put them for safekeeping.

March 31

I am seriously confused. Alan got up before 9am again.

I've been asked for a more obvious feedback route. So there you are! But please note: This should be clear from the above, but: I am not a kernel hacker. I am not an anything hacker. Is this diary true? will get answered. (It is.) I have a problem compiling the brainsplat module under the pre-sliced option terminator; I am using the mutability framewedger on the standard infernalisation build will not. (Well, it might be answered in a similar vein, but for a real answer, look elsewhere. It's much safer.)