The more accurate diary. Old stuff.

Warning: These are old.

March 1st
Up in time to get some work done before the other two arose. I strongly suspect that Alan had only just got up before a visitor arrived. Net profit was good though: I asked him, as I have asked every visitor here, whether he was in need of an alarm clock. Lo! He departed clutching two of our three surplus alarm clocks (Alan bought five in a fit of "but it's cheaper this way!" lunacy after Too Much Ebay) and I have now only to find one more a home.

Grabbed sandwiches from the shop for lunch. I took the papers home and read all about the huge areas of Britain apparently begging people not to trample foot and mouth all over them whilst Alan and Andi took the long detour back. As the hours passed on, I began to wonder where they'd got to and whether some irate farmer or council official had hauled them off. They eventually returned, having walked from the town down past the Mumbles to Bracelet Bay. I gather they got the bus back. What a surprise. Alan described the stunning views and lack of people and then admitted sheepishly that he'd forgotten to take the camera. They'd also gone shopping and been greeted by a male voice choir performing in the supermarket. It is St David's Day, the national day of Wales, and events like this are not totally unexpected as a result.

Chilli tonight. Alan has become enamoured of adding chocolate into it. I am not convinced. Then "Time Team" (Andi: "You say this programme is popular here?") and "I, Claudius" (Alan: "Oh god").

February 28th
9am: (surfacing from under a pile of email) Thank you, people. I did know about Alan Cox on a Chip already, yes... (So did Slashdot, too, since I seem to recall a similar deluge once before.)

Slightly later: ow. I am going to stop making silly comments about the trains. It becomes less funny when there's a crash the next day.

Introduced Andi to Welshcakes from the market. He was polite enough to claim they were nice. He bought some doc marten boots, which are at least a novel souvenir from Wales. Then we all went out in the evening with Dick for curry and kernels. Well, I thought it was for curry, but it turned into kernels too. They went to the pub to continue this fascinating discourse, and I ran away.

February 27th

Andi Kleen arrived to visit. His train arrived early. I am very confused by this.

He picked a bad time to come and see Britain. We are expecting snow and storms from Scotland to lay waste (or at least an inch of snow: gosh, how will we cope?) to the south of England and stop all the trains. In addition, we currently have foot and mouth disease in Britain and everyone is being asked not to go wandering around near farms ("near" meaning "within a few miles", apparently), which takes out about 90% of the countryside he might have wanted to visit. (We're a very crowded country.)

The snow is making headlines because it might hit England. This is not impressing Scotland very much, because it doesn't make headlines there. Stephen Tweedie has discovered the downside of telecommuting: whilst some people are snowed in and can't get to work (hello Deborah!), he gets to get up and walk into his computer room as usual.

February 26th
The washing machine liked a very deep red article in it so much that it wanted to share it. Alan now has a pair of pink trousers and one lilac sock. Whoops.

My ximian monkeys keep rearranging themselves. I have been suspecting Alan. So I arranged them all neatly reading a book, and when he sneaked in to rearrange them behind my back his face was a sight to behold. I wish I'd had the camera. They are now stacked up trying to drink out of a beer can.

February 25th
Telsa the Destroyer Day: results so far: So today was not splendid. Worked my way through more of the tests Sun wrote for Gnome apps. ("open this, click that: expected result: it works") Found a pile of clothes in a box from when we moved house. Cringe. Alan is of course claiming he "had been looking for that" every time I suggest that if he lived without it for six months then he didn't need it and it can go to the second-hand shop. Threw them all in the washing machine.
February 24th
I swear Tesco's website hates me. It's definitely reciprocated. Eventually worked my way around it and then looked at my list of "stuff to finish by the weekend." Blanched a bit, and decided I had had enough of computers. Justin came to visit just in time to save me from becoming welded to the chair. Set off for town with Alan, accidentally ended up having lunch in the pub. Then the rugby came on, confusing me totally. I thought the Swansea match was tomorrow (it had been moved just to confuse people). So of course we had to stay, before we decided we got a better view at home.

Apparently we had a demo in Swansea to protest about fuel prices. I completely failed to notice.

February 23rd
Completely unproductive day for me: started about fifty things, finished none. Wrestled with Tesco and mozilla some more. I am still using a horribly horribly old nightly, because I have not yet got around to using the nice rpms which I downloaded. So it's probably my fault, not Mozilla's.

More "open this, click that, it should.." fun. Generally it did. I confess to some surprise. Played with nautilus. It wouldn't try to display /dev/mouse or /dev/random. Pooh! I had visions of lots of dancing numbers for the latter, and I'm sure clicking on the mouse should produce a squeak if you have a mouse plugged in. Perhaps I misunderstand the nature of intuitive interfaces...

In the course of talking to George Lebl about applets, discovered that you can now cut and paste the time off the main clock applet in the new beta. Realised I should document this. Called him lots of names. He laughed.

Plasterer came to patch up holes in the wall. They're big holes, so he has to come back. I am relieved though, because I think Alan was thinking of trying it himself, and this would have been messy.

Up very late. So was Alan. Surprise. I bet he got more done than I did. I was playing same-gnome in Japanese, after reading a pair of docs on how to make your Gnome program internationalisable (what a word!).

February 22nd
Forgot about evil plot to wake Alan with spare alarm clocks. Luckily, another phone call for him just after 9am. I suppose I should be charitable and allow him his sleep after staying up to get more kernels out, but I'm not so I didn't.

Found "I, Claudius" on whilst channel-surfing over tea. Alas, it was six episodes in, and Alan found the complications too much for him. He retired, muttering something about "EastEnders in bathtowels" and I remained to watch two episodes back-to-back: we seem to have covered from the death of Livia to the downfall of Sejanus now. I had forgotten quite how good it was, despite my rants earlier about it.

Greg Leblanc managed to create working specfiles for the first beta of Gnome 1.4 but by that time I had finally given up and grabbed the packaged versions off Ximian. Played with it, failed to break large parts of it, started ploughing through the Sun-provided lists for QA on bits of Gnome I happen to use ("Add clock. Remove clock. Add clock a different way. Remove clock. Add clock, alter prefs, remove clock. Now onto next clock..." What fun. Zzzz.)

February 21st
More building chaos. I have gone off this and am waiting for a friend who is further ahead to send me his efforts.

Conversation on IRC:
<_Anarchy_> So next time I end up over there, what shall I bring to the US for you?
<Bryce> Cheese and onion crisps.
<_Anarchy_> ???
<Bryce> Well, they don't have them over here...

Oh dear. Poor Bryce.

Alan has got bored with getting up at sensible times. Someone rang up for him and I had to ask them to wait whilst I woke him up. I think I know what to do with the alarm clocks now..

February 20th
Andrew surfaced on the net, so we know he survived the trains.

Continued trying to build rpms of the Gnome beta. Yes, I know other people are already doing that. But since it seems likely that I shall break things, I thought having unstripped binaries would be a good idea. Also, Alan said I could use his build machine for it :)

At the end of a day, all I had to show for it was ten packages (out of a lot more than that), two of which had to be rebuilt anyway because I'd done them in the wrong order. At this rate I'll have built it all just in time to see 1.4.1 come out. Felt a bugzilla attack coming on. Broke bugzilla. Don't ask me how, but at one stage it started offering me components of aineral and gabgnomeui instead of general and libgnomeui. Then of course it started working as soon as I tried to do it again.

But now I know how to edit a specfile.

February 19th
Dick came round and we all went for food at a local Italian restaurant. Well, it's supposed to be Italian, but there seemed to be a lot of liver and bacon, roast beef, and other lesser-known Italian national dishes on the lunch menu.

Andrew took a bunch of photos and I failed to. Andrew had to show me how to use the camera. It emerges he had been documenting the documentary crew and has many pictures of the poor people carrying their stuff up and down and around. Eventually he entrusted himself to the tender mercies of British Rail and departed.

February 18th
Camera madness again. I tidied a whole bunch of rooms so they had a choice of wallpaper for Alan's head, but they found the cubbyhole at the top of the stairs where we throw all the suitcases, the ironing board, and other seldom-used items. They stuck a bit black curtain in it and a chair, and voila: one talking-head-Alan. They wanted me to read bits of the diary out loud, which turned into an interesting exercise. I should write shorter sentences. With fewer brackets. We had to start one section about eight times, because Alan kept sneezing and blowing his nose three rooms away and still getting onto the tape.

When they'd gone, we repaired for rest and recuperation to the pub, and met them again.

Alan decided to cure his cold with lots of hot food and sallied forth in search of curry. I gather he tried to persuade Andrew to try all the hottest dishes, but Andrew is more sensible than that.

Had a long chat with some of the Gnome docs people in the evening. I have ended up with an action item of my very own. Oh dear. Now I have to do something about it.

February 17th
Alan doesn't know what time Andrew Hutton arrived, because he was still asleep. Andrew has survived both British Rail and the air company which apparently stamped his bag into the ground and shattered the precious precious lakka. Into the washing machine with the cloth contents; onto the table with the bits of glass.

Spent the day wandering round a brightly glistening Bracelet Bay in the morning (camera crew: "but it's not raining! Your diary says it's always raining!". me: "Um, yes. It is, usually. Sorry.."), rambling around Cefn Bryn on the Gower and discovering I need non-leaking boots. Went shopping, complete with camera crew and Andrew. Watched rugby in local pub, complete with camera crew, cast of hundreds, and one lone Scottish supporter wandering around in a silly tam o'shanter and ginger wig. Hannu admitted he got quite into the match. Alan cooked for the first time in ages, complete with (yes, you guessed...)

February 16th
Utterly weird day. I awoke convinced it was Saturday. It later emerged at the end of the day that Alan thought it was Saturday too. Film crew arrived, bearing video of work so far. It refused to play in super exciting video player. Alan tried to blame it on the satellite telly installer first and then he blamed me. (The television keeps breaking when I am in the room. I hate it now, and make Alan change all the channels for me because otherwise I get the blame for everything.) We put the tape in the old (thirty year old) tape player. That ate it. We put the tape back together and after the film crew went away, it worked. They are here to interview Alan, but want some pictures of us doing Alan-like things.

Got Bryce to install analog. Found less than a hundred hits on my accounts of talks at LCA. Oh well.

February 15th
Finally, I have seen "Dark Star". What an amazingly silly film.

Alan felt the urge to try new take-outs and hit a new low in Swansea cooking. Dear me. He owes me now.

February 14th
Alan kept threatening to test new kernels on my Cyrix box. Luckily, he had one of his own. We watched half a DVD over tea. Then he went upstairs and didn't come back down. Boo. Hiss. Finished massive book on history which I took to Australia with me. I need more books.
February 13th
Finally, the contracts are exchanged and we are down to one house. It felt rather strange having two. Alan volunteered to take the keys down. Then he lost one. I found it later in the washing up. No comment. Sent him out again to replace it.
February 12th
The five alarm clocks Alan ordered off ebay (why?) arrived. Installed the two we actually needed and gave both the remaining three and Alan a Hard Stare.

Justin's birthday. What a wonderful excuse for a meal out. With wine. Hic. Weirdly, this must be the first meal I've been out to at which people did not mess with palm pilots, irc over their phones, or use silly electronic gadgets. The torches on keyrings and light-sabre incidents do not count.

Contemplated giving Justin three alarm clocks. Refrained.

February 11th
A two-cold day. Both of us. Lovely.
February 10th
For a week we have been having sun and wind and reading about floods everywhere else. Today, went shopping. It rained. Lots.

I think this is the day the "Rebel Code" book turned up, actually. Read most of it before Alan got his hands on it and transported it to the land of machine rooms. Now I have to get it back. It might also be a good opportunity to retrieve all my CDs off him, too. Grr.

February 9th
Alan went to buy a new chair. Finally. Came back with chair, new mouse and new keyboard for me, and some things he whisked out of sight for him. Apparently the chair shop "is pretty close" to the computer shop. (They're actually separated by about a mile and a half.) He also came back with a copy of Wired with a picture of him in it. This is the photographer who chased us around Vienna back in November for a day. Dozens of photographs, all for that one photo as a result? (The computer in the photo is something at the local university.)

Started to watch a DVD over dinner and between kernel builds. Alas, Alan vanished upstairs "just to kick the next stage off" and didn't come back. Waah. Presumably we'll find out how the film ends tomorrow. Or not.

February 8th
Alan up early? Again? My brain is melting.

Apparently I have successfully booked a room via email. So I'm going to GUADEC. Woo. Messed about with Gnome's shiny new Bugzilla and failed to break it. Lots of mouse-clicking compared with debbugs (email-based) system. Ouch, my wrists. Played safe and stopped. I either need a new trackball or to take the trackball away from the laptop.

Stuck the RH beta onto a spare partition of the other machine. Recalled why I don't use it much. The keyboard stinks. Stopped playing with that, too.

Alan still complaining about his chair. Not doing anything about it, though.

Watched Alan doing one of his kernel builds and was taken aback to learn some of his tricks. The reason the binoculars are by his chair and he wants the door to the room with the rack open: "Well, I need to boot it before releasing it, and the monitor for that machine I just booted it on is over there (waving airily towards the other room) on the rack, and with the door open I can read the screen with the binoculars". Boggle. "That's why you spent ages rearranging the rack? Just to avoid having to walk to the monitor?" "Yes. What's wrong with that?"

I cannot think of a reply to that.

February 7th
Booked flight for GUADEC. Wrote English email to Danish hotel for room and prayed. Not heard back yet. I fear I may need to resort to phoning and playing the stupid monoglot card.

Spotted favourite restaurant we can't get into without booking looking empty but open. Spotted lunch menu. Delayed latest kernel by an hour because Alan ordered three courses. Sorry. Like, really.

Broke GNOME CVS. Yay. Don't ask me how. I don't know. Alan doesn't know. Martin Baulig (who had to edit the server to fix it) doesn't know. I just tried to add a file. Then the madness began. I am still demonstrating a reprehensible approach to the entire affair and giggling a lot.

Alan has broken his chair (one of those ergonomic kneel-on-them things) again. He keeps doing this, and keeps bodging it back together. I don't think it's going to survive this time.

February 6th
Alan still up early. Boggle. Everyone on IRC is laughing at me over the rugby. Wail. Spent some time updating my copies of CVS stuff and then not committing anything. Messed around with the new GNOME bug-tracker and added tons of components.
February 5th
It turns out Tescos is not so broken as I thought. Netscape now works on it. And Alan is still getting up early, and I am still amazed enough to write about it.

I was going to write that it didn't seem to impair his functioning. But I have recently learned of his successful bid on a set of five alarm clocks on Ebay. I am not sure that this argues for unimpaired mental functioning. Why do we need five alarm clocks?

February 4th
Alan up early again. My world is being shattered here. I don't understand. He's been all over the world and this has never happened as a result of a trip to lands of strange timezones before.

A friend did the research I didn't and suggests the program Alan was interviewed for might have been this one. I dunno. Alan has no idea either. What a brilliant pair we make.

February 3rd
Absolutely stunned when Alan was up by 8.30am voluntarily. I have no idea what to make of this. After a couple of hours he had run out of hacking to do for a while, or needed to think or something. So we spent some hours wandering around down on the beach and nearby. I always think beaches are much better when they're not filled with tons of people. :)

Came back in time for the rugby and watched Ireland v Italy and then Wales got slaughtered. Wail. Got into an argument with Alan about whose fault this was. This argument happens every time. He does it to wind me up and I fall for it every time. What a meanie.

Alan was overcome with the shock of being awake early for two days in a row and got to bed almost before me.

February 2nd
Finished write up of -- the conference, at least. The full story of horses, spiders, gum trees, The Man From Snowy River and the pool table at Ozlabs will have to wait a little longer.

Alan had an interview on the evils of silly patents or something today. Please don't ask me to tape the radio programme: it's going out on the world service sometime next week, so everyone can listen to it. Well, assuming he doesn't end up on the cutting-room floor. I gather this is not unknown...

Tescos have utterly broken their website again forcing us to go shopping unexpectedly. The horror, the horror.

Wales-A v England-A. I dunno, people claim rugby is uncivilised, but where else do you get a penalty for being rude to the linesman? 19-19 for those who find the BBC strangely lacking in reports, and a lot of those points came in the last two minutes. I was scared.

February 1st

1000 emails, a filled disk and a dead mailing list, thirty letters and a trip to the solicitor for house stuff later, I am surfacing and starting to write up an account of the trip. I was hoping to use the news reports of the conference to remind me what happened when, but blink: where are all the news reports? I know that it's a week after it and news scrolls fast, but on past experience, I suspect that there just weren't many: it wasn't in the US so wasn't worthy of cover. I see a European conference on free software is getting very little promotion compared with yet another LWE open source extravaganza, too.

Alan seems to have been badly confused by jetlag and is getting up at civilised hours. When I ask him why, he looks affronted.

I could swear I had loads of goodies in the freezer for our return, but a trip to the supermarket (or, with luck, their website) is sorely indicated.

Reading the Guardian and the BBC, it emerges that it wasn't my imagination about the heat: the BBC is reporting that the east coast of Australia is having a heatwave such that rails are buckling; someone on IRC from Adelaide said they're well past previous records and onto their 35th consecutive day of higher-than-ever-recorded temperatures; and the Guardian informed me both that funnelweb spiders have shown up in Queensland and that it was the worst week for years in terms of reported spider and snake bites.

However did we get out alive?

January 31st

This is a placeholder entry more than anything. We are now back from Australia, where we have been for two weeks, for both LCA and touring around a bit afterwards.

Brief summary:

More later. There is a lot to write up, but first, there are about a ton of letters in the post to deal with. Argh.

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.)