The more accurate diary. (Old stuff)

Warning: These are old.

February 29th

Even with an extra day, I am not going to empty my "reply to these now!" folder, which I try to have emptied by the end of the month.

Things you Do Not Want To See On IRC: your husband commenting on the S390 port and in the next comment, announcing that he expects a new toy. He tells me the two are unrelated. I do hope so.

February 28th

Set off to collect my tickets for travel to GUADEC, since they have now arrived in the travel agent. That's when I realised I couldn't remember which of the four branches of the same travel agent I had got them from. Whoops. Hope I find them before they change their mind.

Visited by friends. Discussing the rugby. Realised that I shall be in Paris (assuming I locate the travel agent again) whilst one of the matches is on. Woe: I shall have to miss it. Wail.

February 27th

Today was a "get organised and do -- nothing" day.

February 26th

Alan's not having a good February. A car arrived to take him to Birmingham, where he was going to do some video link-up with the Bang!inux conference. At 9am. ("Bleurgh.") This is about the fourth time he's been up before 9am this month. Poor Alan.

The driver seemed to think I was going, too, so, um, I did.

I've never seen all this video stuff in action before. After we stopped Alan rearranging the position of the chair ("We can't see you now! Put it back!") it was fun to watch, although I'm still not quite sure why I went other than the opportunity to attend a conference by proxy, I suppose. (I think going to India would have been more fun, but still.)

Did my usual "break a perfectly stable app" thing. Mentioned it to Alan and just as I said "core dump" the light went out. I'm not sure why, but he thinks this is hilarious.

February 25th

Managed to attempt to hold onto a pan full of water for too long whilst it toppled over in the washing up. Not clever. Ow.

February 24th

I was a bit surprised to see this page in the links section of LWN. Timing was a little unfortunate: the page is long because it's nearly the end of the month. Hello, people. I know it's slow, yes :) It could have been worse: I used to have tables (ahem). But I was persuaded of the error of my ways.

Meal out in the evening with people Alan used to work with. Christmas meal. Don't ask. It's a tradition. We were asked to take a DVD along because someone who normally uses laserdisks is 'testing DVD players' this weekend. He and his partner now have about twelve DVDs to watch over two days. They are looking a bit dubious now.

I didn't wait to see whether they used the palmpilots for the bill, but I did laugh as someone (not me) scrounged a palmpilot (or psion, I still don't know the difference...) in order to play old arcade games whilst the hackers talked computers. Ironic, somehow.

I am stunned. Alan has still not investigated how busy the supermarket is at 3am. I was sure he'd have done that by now.

February 23rd

Alan back on US hours. Or possibly Martian. I incline more and more strongly to this theory.

I don't think I like cvs any more. I thought I had asked it for one file out of one module. We had a cooker-testing night (Alan approves but the wok is suffering). Looked at the computer screen after that and CVS was still going strong about an hour later. For some reason it had decided it would be generous and give me everything it could find in the entire CVS tree. It forgot about the one file I wanted, too. Thank goodness (for once) for a 28.8 modem: I hadn't _quite_ run out of disk space...

A friend mentions that there are somewhat fewer DVD players left in the supermarket already. Apparently Swansea residents would rather like to be able to watch films from more than one region.

I shouldn't have mentioned "spring is here". It rained straight afterwards.

February 22nd

Alan came to investigate the new supermarket and started to laugh a lot at the DVD players piled high everywhere. I didn't notice this, but they're the ones which a UK magazine apparently explained the region-code correcting for. There's pin-ups of the review next to them, too.

Managed to sort the grill out. Phew.

February 21st

Alan has discovered a new way to entertain. Crash things, set the raid array to rebuild a disk, and forget to disable the "Wheeek! Wheeek! Wheeek! I am rebuilding!" noises. Wheek! Wheek! Wheek! Wheek! Wheek!

He decided to go out at this stage. I decided to, too. You can still hear it outside the house, and these walls are a foot thick. (Which is why we are still on speaking terms with the neighbours, although if he repeats this, I wonder how long it will last.)

I broke the new cooker. Specifically, I managed to get the grillpan wedged somehow. My immediate thought was that they must have a bugs section somewhere, but alas, the rest of the world doesn't do that. No bugzgrilla, alas.

Discovered a fantastic logitech trackball, was all set to order the left-handed version, discovered the shop didn't do that. Animated discussion with various people there. Nope, they know there's lots of left-handers, but apparently we all buy right-handed equipment, and this is completely unrelated to the lack of left-handed stuff. Back to my list of real left-hander suppliers. (I know lots of left-handers use right-handed mice. I don't.) Headed for the website. Nothing there, either. Looked for feedback. I can apply for a job or support, but not for a left-handed trackball with three buttons. How smelly.

We have a new Tescos nearby. (Big - by UK standards - supermarket). It's on the site of the old gasworks. For some reason, it advertises itself as "Tescos: the Marina". I don't think this is going to work. Everyone in Swansea knows it's really on the old gasworks. The big plus point, or drawback, is that it's 24 hours (as is the corner shop and our new favourite interesting food shop.) No longer is Alan bound by the opening hours of the Coco-Pops and sultanas suppliers. I fear he is lost to the twilight zone.

February 20th

Spring has reached Swansea (but don't say anything or it will go away). Docbook-ified Alan's pseudo-docs for lokkit. He pretended to be impressed. Did boring domestic things. Investigated the new shop down the road. English, Welsh, Chinese and Indian food. I can see I am going to learn a lot of new words whilst finding the right food and the right packet of spice. Lots of interesting vegetables, too. Alan clearly contemplating new experimentation.

February 19th

Alan got up so late he missed the start of the rugby, but he surfaced eventually to watch Wales smash Italy. Then when I logged onto IRC to gloat at friends, I discovered a complete lack of bandwidth. On a whim, checked the apache logs. Horror. It took thirteen minutes to clock up 200 hits on the "lokkit.shtml", which looked somewhat suspicious. Checked. Yes, the genius had sensibly put the tarball on the high-bandwidth site and - not so sensibly - put the screenshots on the wrong side of a 28.8k modem.

And mod_bandwidth wasn't running.

What fun.

So fixed some things, then the lightbulb blew (second today!) in the computer room, then the rugby started again and Ireland did dreadful things to Scotland's pride.

Finally got through to Alan's program myself, and berated him for not doing make clean or including docs. So consider him told, and yes, he knows about the "he forgot to set foreground as well as background colour" thing, and the "he hasn't put underscores in for translations"; and if anyone wants to send Debian initscripts for it, please do. (To him, not me!)

February 18th

We got a really good letter today in response to some enquiry or other. It began by referring to a particular person, and then ended with 'For more information, please contact "Mr Insert Name". Thank you'.

Someone needs a proof-reader.

Didn't see much of Alan, who was apparently bored of kernels and questions about firewalls and instead went wrestling ("I want a different colour, how do I do that?") with Gnome stuff to produce some exciting toy for firewalling Red Hat machines. Which he wouldn't let me test or proof-read. Meanie.

February 17th

Alan must have been influenced by all the cooker arrivals and departures, (sounds like a station, really, "Platform 4, the delayed Cannon Express, with buffet facilities and hot meals. Just departing Platform 3, the Parkinson Special. This service will not be carrying a hot food service today. We apologise for the inconvenience....") as he voluntarily got up in the morning, much to my confusion.

In the afternoon, an rpm --upgrade somehow morphed into a 'taking the other computer apart and stuffing hardware into it' session instead. I am still not sure how. Matters were enhanced by the fact that each computer has its own keyboard and mouse, but there's only one monitor. So of course, after each of us reminded the other, "Okay, the monitor is in that computer now, _don't_ touch that keyboard", someone (naming no names, but you'd think he was used to multiple machines and less than multiple keyboards or monitors) managed to control-alt-delete the wrong one regardless. Oh well. Moved the keyboard for the second attempt.

Broke the inevitable collection of things, summoned Alan, who just boggled at me, and after realising that we were no longer equipped with things you can cook in the oven (waah!), we went out for a meal. The place had been redone: we think it's catering for the "nightclub refugees at 2am" crowd. But the lassi (yoghurty drink) was nice. Shame Alan doesn't like it. I have just found about eight recipes for it on the web :)

February 16th

New cooker came. stood over the people taking a fascinated interest in the proceedings. Turns out it wasn't the cooker at fault but the connector -- which had worked fine until the old cooker was removed. New cooker attached in (not as nice as the one we meant to have, but too late now). They chain cookers to the wall these days to prevent people accidentally moving them away and jerking the connector out (think: like when you disconnect the ethernet by pulling the machine towards you to put a new CD in..). Alan stood and watched as in the large gap bounded by cupboards on one side and a freezer which came with a book saying "Position a foot from other appliances", they inserted the cooker flush with the freezer.

The chain, of course, is too short to let us move the cooker away. I got to laugh at Alan attempting to move the freezer instead. Well, it was his fault. He took revenge when I blew the bathroom lightbulb by claiming I was now 'progressing' to destruction of hardware, too.

The first program that has my attempts at writing docs in it is out soon. I am now convinced I wrote rubbish. It made sense at the time, though.

February 15th

Mooched around looking for microwaveable food that was edible. I cannot believe that the shops sell frozen omelettes -- "only ten minutes' cooking time!". Strange.

Looked at my hard disk, looked at the computer, got scared, left it.

February 14th

He's really pulling out the stops this year. Alan went to one of the many food shops and came back in triumph bearing.. not hot food. A piece of chocolate dessert thing with a little heart on it. Aww.

Much entertainment on the phone as we discovered that the brand of cooker we bought is not in stock anywhere in Britain. Either it's really popular, or it has a few problems no-one told us about.

Went round the local stores. No decent cookers. Accidentally went into both the bookshop and the computer shop and a first in recorded history occurred: I didn't buy anything in the bookshop, despite finding a book devoted entirely to postcards of penguins, and despite the temptation to send the Aisleriot (gnome-games) authors a book of patience layouts that they haven't found out about yet; and I came away from the computer shop happily clutching an exceedingly large hard disk (for me, not him) and giggling. This is scary. I'm sure I used to claim that computers were boring.

A friend was happily perusing seed catalogues, so her partner decided to take himself off to PC World. This is next door to Curry's (our cooker seller) and he's a nice friend, so stopped off to collect us on the way on the way. How convenient. Alan did his polite "Hello. This is the report from the Real Gas Board Man about your recommended fitters' attempt to install our cooker. We're not very happy" routine to the saleswoman as I attempted to find a cooker we actually liked and could live with for the next ten years. See his side of it for the details. I don't think he's joking about the digital camera.

Also investigated microwaveable food from the supermarket. Scary. Would you belive they even have frozen omelettes? Settled in the end for salad. Safer.

February 13th

Alan went out for his usual wander, today's excuse being "for some hot food" (we are cookerless! -- but really he goes for wanders to think hack stuff) and returned some hours later. With a large bag. Not a baguette and Jolt shop bag, either. Uh-oh. "What's in there?" "Well, I was looking for a dancing flower for you, but there aren't any." Who says hackers don't remember Valentine's Day? Aww :)

(If this doesn't make sense, the explanation is that when I was about fourteen I was enchanted by plastic flowers which 'danced' to music. They were groovy. And I still want one. And I'm sixteen years too late. Pooh.)

"So, what's in the bag?" "Well, I got a couple of DVDs." (Pause, whilst I silently say argh.) "They'd be better on a widescreen telly". (Double argh, check size of bag against probable size of widescreen telly, silent sigh of relief.)

Four DVDs (there was a special offer. I get into trouble if I do this with books) and a CD. This is silly. One of them was Yellow Submarine, because Alan is a sweetie and remembered me burbling about "the Jeremy, he's sooo sweet! Aww, the poor Jeremy!". Laugh if you want, the Jeremy is the best bit of Yellow Submarine.

Watched multiple DVDs, contemplated the camping stove (no cooker, and after a day, I am beginning to feel _really_ sorry for the French, loads of whom lost power for days just before the New Year, and for anyone else who suddenly loses what is a fairly central house object), felt hungry. Bought pizza from round the corner. Alan says garlic bread smells. I don't care.

February 12th

Alan delighted to be awoken by the phone at twenty to eight this morning. The gasman was delivering and fitting a new cooker (for Americans: I use to say 'stove' but apparently that means something different. Four gas rings with a grill at eye-height and an oven under the hob. A cooker :))and was due in ten minutes...

Gasmen came, removed old one, fitted new one, went away, I gloated over our ability to use the oven again at last, dithered between Yorkshire pudding and pizza, decided to let the slight smell of gas go away first, and wandered off. Alan went back to bed. Grr.

Slight smell didn't go. Opened windows. It went away. Closed windows (and door). It came back. Um. Not promising. Opened windows. Went away. Closed windows. Came back. Tried to convince myself that gas leaks happened in other places and not Swansea and especially not my house. Eventually gave in and called the gas board.

We now have a free sticker from the gas board saying "Do Not Use This Appliance On Pain Of Explosion" or something like that, and a warning to.. er.. not attempt to connect the cooker back up to the gas. Or we might explode. Apparently it really was leaking, and it needs replacing. The cooker, not the gas. And I hadn't even used it, so it wasn't me and I didn't break anything. So there.

February 11th

Lots of people asked me what on earth I was thinking of when I mentioned "a really really stupid panel app". Enough people have asked now that I have written it up. Please don't feel you have to write it. It was one of those ideas that is much funnier in the thought than in the execution!

February 9th

Alan got bored with mornings.

We both got bored with Godzilla. We couldn't find much else to watch, because our cable telly provider has decided that we only need to use channel 99 (the one here with the list of what's on 'now' and 'next' and the teletext of the day's listings for each channel) between 1am and 7am or something silly.

I have had a really cool idea for a really really stupid panel app in GNOME. I daren't tell anyone, though, or someone will go and make it happen. Free software is dangerous like that.

February 8th

Alan decided that he was going to experiment with this "morning" thing. After a struggle (all my offers of assistance rejected for some reason) he got up and wandered around in a daze for a bit.

I have been burbling about DocBook at him whilst trying to get to grips with it. It emerges he learnt more about it and the associated ideas in a few days than I did in a few months. I am sulking.

Friend visiting. Alan persuaded to cook. Even if he does non-Chinese food he still gets the cleaver out and cooks things in a wok. Went to pub in evening. Linux is taking over in more ways than one. I would never have thought that I'd end up discussing DeCSS and Linux apps with people I had just met (well, except at a Linux conference, I suppose, but pubs don't count).

February 7th

Half of an irc channel started checking ntpd when Alan showed up on it at 9am. He wasn't very awake, but he got up. I was impressed. Took him shopping, and managed to get him to pay for things before he was properly awake.

He came back complaining he'd been conned.

February 6th

Alan slept for many hours and spent the rest of the day reading - or at least catching up with - email. He was not overly ecstatic when I told him that he was coming shopping at 10am the next day.

February 5th

The wanderer returns! Right as the rugby was getting exciting (grumble). But he emptied all his bag over my nice tidy living room and sat down to watch the rugby happily. I was less happy. After Italy beat Scotland, France beat Wales. Waah.

Not much to bring back. A plaque for "contribution to Linux". No beanie hat, thankfully. A linuxchix tshirt and some badges about "So many books, so little time." I like the badges a lot. He unpinned them all from his belt and pulled the tshirt out of his pocket. It seems taking a tiny bag to avoid waiting at the carousel solved a lot of packing problems, but he had to go through the metal detectors four times taking more off each time. I bet they loved him.

He managed to get Illiad's autograph, but he won't let me have that tshirt. Boo. He forgot to take any photos at all. And his account of it was hopeless. I have so far garnered the information that Central Park is snowy and contains squirrels, the empire state building is big, and that Time Square is like Bladerunner only with less taste. As for the Expo, "there were lots of people there". And he tried to nerf the thinkgeek people but they had more ammunition. Good for them.

He laughed a lot about my accounts of computer woes, and stopped laughing when he realised I really had power-cycled everything that "looked like a modem" because the cable tv box is also small and black with a row of red lights on it. And I found that before I found the modem. Next time, he promises, he will leave the room tidy. So it worked.

Went out for a meal. Some drunk person opened the door of the restaurant and yelled in that Wales had lost, and laughed a lot. I thought he was going to get hit. That's a very silly thing to do in Swansea.

February 4th

Finally played with links a bit. Wow. Haven't broken it yet, though.

Alan won an award. First time he's had something like that. A beanie, which I gather is a hat with a propellor on it. He left the money behind, but I fear he is going to bring the hat back here. Oh dear. We have enough silly hats.

February 3rd

Nothing broke!

February 2nd

That'll teach me. Modem crashed. Power-cycled everything that looked like a modem until things worked again.

I hear than Alan made it intact to New York. Hope New York survives.

Whilst clearing old logs out, wondered whether there was any point to them. Peered at some and found some most remarkable contents, and ended up playing with grep a lot to find the weird things that Analog never mentioned to me. Entertained to discover that referer urls to pages of mine include the attempts of search engines to deal with some remarkable requests:

None of them beat my favourite, though: "dietary needs of a contortionist".

February 1st

Modem hasn't crashed.

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.)