Warning: These are old.
www.linux.org.uk also decided to have a day of rest. Accounts vary, but magic smoke was involved, and either the power supply or a capacitor. Lovely. It's back up now. Well, either that, or you are reading this on the wrong site which is going away soon (see note at top of page).
I don't think Alan is going to like Aussie rules football. I found
the rules on the web, and there is no off-side law. Whatever do they
argue about after the game then? Oh wait, I found a rule about
do not quarrel with decisions in public afterwards either, but
this spoils all the fun.
Friend brought her brother and a computer in need of rescuing. I had
begun to forget quite how bizarre the machine room looks until the
comments from her brother on the matter of the temperature of the
room (which reminded me that the spider plants need watering) and
What's all that shelving?
Ah, yes. Um. That'd be the rack.
I do not think I should be quite so blasé about a rackful of computers.
I confess to astonishment when the Lions went ahead first, and then
stayed there (such belief in the side, I know..), but it was great
fun to watch. I gather a friend was at the match. I am jealous. Normally
I rationalise it with
You get a better view on the telly but
Sky in their wisdom decided to draw graphics of angles and apparent
goal widths instead of showing the conversion attempt and managed to
focus only on the parts of the crowd dressed in red, giving the impression
that no-one from Australia showed up to watch it at all. Then the
commentators -- from Britain -- referred to Dafydd James as
every time they mentioned him. A friend complains that the commentators
on BBC Wales are biased: but at least they get the names right.
Oh yes, the Lions won.
Picked up by friend who was moving at short notice to help clean new house and move things. The rest of the cleaning squad failed to appear: the pubs had opened by now, so they were too busy celebrating the rugby. Hmph. Got rid of the last of the boxes we'd used to move house, moved lots of black bin liners, summoned Alan to evict many spiders, discovered friend's small child was scared of the vacuum cleaner (tricky when you're trying to watch child and clean a house...), regaled friends with rugby highlights, was dragged into earnest discussion of whether small child should play cricket (says mum) or rugby (says dad) for Wales (apparently it is never too early to plan these things), shampoo'd carpet (well no. Friend did that. We watched..), and eventually departed.
Loaded dyson into car for them and then retired to recover. Alan did not go to stare at the computer. On hunting for him, discovered him watching the sports channel, which had run out of rugby.
Alan has discovered Australian rules football now. Oh dear...
The ex-3com, ex-Equiinet, ex-everything gang decided to pop out for lunch. Rolled home about two hours later. I should not eat in the middle of the day. It makes me really tired. Alan finds this funny, blast him.
Why won't it work? Pestiferous thing. I am obviously doing something stupid. Alan is no help. Perhaps I should enter bugs against all his Gnome packages about the lack of gtkdoc-ified docs, and then he'll have to learn it and then he can fix the one I'm stuck on.
must reply to it properlyemail I had put aside. This is all the non-list email, usually, either from friends who send nice chatty email or mail from me with "To Do" in the subject to remind myself to do something, send something to someone, and so on. Dealt with most of the first, at which stage everyone replied and I was back where I started; and started on the second.
Further progress on the house. It is possible it may not be falling down around our ears quite as fast as we thought. This is a good thing.
At about four in the afternoon, I got a quick /msg on IRC asking whether I was going to see Great Big Sea that night. This is a band I love but have never seen. I squeaked a lot, demanded further elucidation, wondered how I had failed to notice the tour had taken in Wales (just about), grabbed the phone number of the venue in Cardiff, acquired two tickets and hustled Alan out of the house. Sorry, Red Hat. Some things are just too important. Anyway, it's a nice change this way round: I am more used to long-planned outings being curtailed by some software thing. By half past five we were on the train and we had time to discover Cardiff's new cafe culture into the bargain.
Whee. Happy Telsa. I saw Great Big Sea. I saw Great Big Sea. I
saw Great Big Sea. And they played the Chemical Worker's Song. And
I am happy. They attempted to learn Welsh from the audience, they
sang a great unaccompanied piece, and now there is at least one more
album to get because I don't have the album with
Boston to St John
We managed to meet up with Dan and his friend who'd told us they were playing that night in the interval. Alan helped by being stunningly inconspicuous in red hat and shades. Ouch.
We stayed for Runrig, who were the main act, and not hitherto one of my
favourites, but luckily the live show is a lot better than the albums
of theirs that I have heard. (Apologies to any Runrig fans :)) Well,
We've been touring Europe and Cardiff is the first
English show. Only people living in the rest of Wales are allowed
to say that about Cardiff. Everyone else is expected to call it Welsh.
Then back onto the train, and of course it stopped two stations from Swansea, and we ended up on a bus instead. Surprise.
What a wonderful evening. Now I have to get my act together and book for Trowbridge festival and see them somewhere that is not a all-seated venue (yuk). Cambridge is booked out. Grumble.
Tried to get back up to scratch with bug-bashing (we even have a mailing list now) and was foiled by only having my usual machine to test on. Normally I have a laptop and a test box to sacrifice to the cause, but testbox is in bits pending rearranging hard drives with aloss, and laptop still thinks its nameserver is somewhere in Ximian.
Now Alan has read Harry Potter, we have yet another subject to argue about. I found the Harry Potter website, but my (old) Mozilla wouldn't do flash plugins for me) so Alan eventually decided it was quicker to try on his machine. With an unholy combination of Mozilla, Netscape, Flash (I've never seen Flash in action before, and I don't think it makes up for blocking the site totally to users without it. Yuk) and RealPlayer, and then a lot of patience, got the trailer to run. It claimed to open on the 10th of November (in the US, grr) which coincides beautifully with the Annual Linux Showcase. Started pondering rationales to get there, but later discovered the film now thinks it will be opening a week after that. Grumble.
Re-constructed the dresser, which has been living in pieces in another room, making that room unusable too, and started filling it with the contents of the remaining not-yet-unpacked boxes. I had hoped everything would go back in, but um.
An extremely silly evening on #gnome tonight. Probably stress relief after the unallayed joy of having various discussions pasted all over almost every Linux news site in existence and shown in the worst possible light with some unfortunate editorialising. It's obviously one of those weeks. KDE got the same, too.
Sepnt most of the day trying not to fall asleep again and staring in disbelief at the shower (filled with buckets of paint) and the kitchen (it is possible that washing up occurred once whilst I was away, but not more than that) and the washing pile.
Taught Alan how to use the washing machine. I'm sure we've done this before. But if he can get me to demonstrate the right amount of powder, he can usually get me to demonstrate sorting the clothes, checking the pockets, and loading the thing. I think I'm being conned somewhere.
No good films on the way back, but they did have
Goodness Gracious Me
(which I cannot possibly describe but it's another programme which
began on Radio 4 and transferred to television, which is usually a
very good indicator of quality :)) which I love. Two hours hanging about
for the coach and attempting to get through to Alan on the mobile phone,
which ended up with
Hello, can you hear me? about eight times,
some frantic text messaging of
wots going on arg sstupid fone i
hate this sms it takes too long where is punctuation (taking about
half an hour to do that), and eventually the coach arrived. The drivers
sheep (warning, modem-users,
that picture is huge!) and the relief driver turned out to be a radio
amateur, and an instructor, and gave me lots of suggestions for learning
morse and his opinion of packet radio (packet equals racket: apparently
it makes a lot of noise..)
Alan did not come to meet me, so I'm not meeting him any more. Meanie. Fell over lots of things in the hallway which had not been there when I left. Felt suspicious. To bed and sleep.
Way too hot; the T is broken; will sight-see tomorrow and pester Ximian monkeys today. Whoops. It really was atrociously hot: by the time it felt cool enough to set out to Miguel and Nat's party, it was 10pm and my body still thought it was 3am and time to sleep. Waah.
I did manage to see the outside of the Red Sox stadium (the game itself
is a complete mystery to me) and laugh at the
Yankees suck t-shirts
being sold on the sidewalks. The T was a lot of fun: I love trams! But
it broke on my second day there (nothing to do with me, I swear). And
one I got would only accept dollar bills; another would accept anything
except dollar bills. I got hopelessly confused, bought a handful of
tokens, and of course never got to use it again after that.
Miguel took Mark, Ettore and me to a bookshop-cum-cafe (Trident?) which
was a lot of fun. Much wrangling over who got the best drink and re-ordering
I'll have that one that he's having) and Miguel's current
theory of life, the universe and everything, drawing strange and
peturbing connections between waitresses and some experiment to do
with putting numbers on your head and trying to find someone else
with a higher number on your head. (
No, this is a real experiment,
oh my god, Telsa, you do not believe me!) Lemonade stands came
into it too, but I'm now wondering how...
Sampled sushi again on Ettore's birthday night out. Um. I'm really not convinced. I mean, it's pretty, yes, but so are toadstools with red and white spots or spills of oil which have rainbows in them, but I wouldn't eat those either.
Sean kindly pointed out it was going to rain, and I ran downstairs to find the nice rain (I get homesick, apparently :)) and met a most incredible storm, which was apparently the residue of some hurricane or tropical storm or something. Whoa. We don't get those at home. Got rather wet.
Failed to meet up with friends in the state, except for Ximian people
and Mark Crichton, who tried to show me how to use GnuPG and mutt again.
Every time I send something using GPG, I am convinced that I have in
fact mass-mailed out my credit card number and home address or something
in error, because I'm still unsure of the commands. I think I'm just
going to have to start using it, and hope that GnuPG is unlike every
other free software program in existence and doesn't have a
user is Telsa, do something really weird that no-one can explain
facility buried inside.
Next time I go (if someone persuades me the weather improves, and I've heard about the winter, and I'm not so sure that's an improvement), I shall take a guidebook with a map that doesn't come in five sections all with different scales.
Met many Ximian people -- hello again, guys -- and scrounged space on the wireless LAN. Weather was getting unBostonianly hot, so stayed there (air-conditioning) rather than sight-seeing.
Mexican meal in the evening.
Arrived in Boston at some unearthly hour according to body clock, dusk according to Boston time, found hotel, thought it would be fun to surprise the Ximian monkeys (who never seem to go home).
Encountered Boston traffic. Uurgh. Retreated to hotel only to discover I wouldn't have found monkeys: they apparently thought it would be fun to meet me at the airport. However, the plane had arrived early and I hadn't had to wait for baggage, so they missed me and went cruising around Boston looking for small possible-Telsas on the sidewalk. Aww :)
Bought a ton of books, and then realised they wouldn't all fit in overnight luggage. Boo hiss.
Painter called about more painting. I suspect that Alan has been specifying colours in my absence. Pondered unilaterally countermanding them but settled for the cheering prospect of muttering sotto voce about the colour for the next twenty years. Much more fun.
Went out for a meal in the evening, and discussed Harry Potter since Alan has now finished the other author and is onto the first book of Harry Potter. He seems to like it: I caught him sneakily reading extra bits at home later instead of - gasp - hacking.
A bunch of us who have become altogether too acquainted with Gnome bugzilla recently formed a #bugs channel on gimpnet. And within a day, bugzilla stopped talking to us. I am put out.
Spent lots of time messing with Gnome bugzilla. Discovered from Alan's diary that the gas people had been in contact. He didn't tell me that. I find out after the rest of the world. Hmm.
Limped home after my very elderly boots decided to stick sharp bits
into my feet, and managed to catch a bus I never knew about before,
which collects students (largely) from outside the centre and deposits
them in the town. Even better, it stops on our road on the way out again.
The bus was packed full of people heading to the bright lights of
Swansea. We could hear lots of voices singing to the tune of Campdown
Races on the top of the bus (double-decker), with a refrain of
Tony, Tony Blair! Tony, Tony Blair! It was quite surreal. Politics
students, clearly. Gosh, was I that loud when I was a student? Regrettably,
I think I was probably worse.
Megadeth have apparently not changed since 1991, and the best track
of the set dated from then (
Peace Sells); Queens of the Stone
Age are simply dreadful; Offspring were new to me but fun; and AC/DC
made the entire night worthwhile. Two and a half hours of everything
Whole Lotta Rosie to
Hell's Bells. Excellent show
by a band who obviously know what's expected from them. Whee. I suspect
this was a lot more fun than Alan had at jury service today.
Seven hours' travel, and out of several thousand people there, I still manage to end up next to a couple from Pontypool and in front of a bunch of people with a large Welsh flag. :)
Stayed up late-ish to hear first results. Appalled by the low
turn-out, but I suppose it means my vote counts more. By the time
I was nodding, the first batch had declared. Skewed because the
early results are always Labour, but in those: Labour doing
well, Lib Dems doing very well, another independent candidate in
save our hospital campaign in one constituency), some
recounts in unexpected places, and the whole only marred by the
British National Party (no link, look them up yourself) getting some
appallingly high proportion of the vote and keeping their deposit
in one seat. Ugh. And so to bed, to get up in three hours to get
Oh wow, that's cute. Should we really be doing that? [pause, click, click] Oh my god!bugs. Lots and lots of them were fixed for Gnome 1.4, and a good many for 1.2: I suspect well over half in fact. But there's only one way to find out: try it on both (and 1.0, ugh) and see what happens. (Part of the justification for another machine, this.)
Alan returned, eyed my new parcel, and started to open it. The cheek of the man. Okay, I wanted his help, but not to take over. Cleared space, lined up all the bits, located screwdriver and outlined plan. The plan was simple:
Ho ho ho.
Needless to say, it did not go like that. It's nearly there, although Alan has yet to find an IP address for me. However, since it took about three hours to get to the stage where I could do no more without an IP address, I didn't feel like going any further. I felt like eating tea.
Those three hours consisted of, in reverse order:
Losing screws, fetching the wrong kind of screws, discovering screws when
someone stood up wondering what they just sat or knelt on, forcing fans
on, giving up, finding spare fans to use instead, punching holes
in plates which were covering things they shouldn't, losing the
instructions that came with the CPU, running to rub hands on the
radiator, trying not to tread on anything too vital, fretting over
take care with alignment (computers are lawful neutral,
perhaps?), hunting Pin 1... Ugh. The only bright side was that for
once there were no jumper switches. Really, trying to get the fan on
put me in mind of nothing so much as setting a giant mousetrap.
Now I remember why most people just buy the things intact. I can't think how many warranties I probably voided by ignoring the qualified engineers only warnings. Then again, at least I know exactly what's in there now: wires, more wires, not enough heatsink compound (known locally as penguin poo) and blood. Something bit back.
It will all be in the report.Engineer left, painter arrived. And so on.
Took the plunge and bought the Progeny boxed set on Sunday. It arrived today. I am going to be rearranging lots of bits of hardware and turning two computers and some loose bits of hardware into three computers soon, apparently. Then I can try not to break another installer. But first I need the remaining bits of hardware to arrive. I'm not sure when this change happened, but I'm almost looking forward to putting it all together. (But not quite, and I am not a geek. So there.)
Alan wandered off to do the jury thing, and eventually arrived back, announcing they had finished a little late so he got to go in even later tomorrow. I can't help wondering how he lands on his feet so often. It's amazing. Useful talent to have, really.
Spent some time arranging travel to things and working out who is going to be visiting when. We're halfway through the year, and we need to do something in the way of seeing people.
He set off bright and early with two Harry Potter books and the biography of Oliver Postgate (who invented the Clangers and Bagpuss) and arrived back having failed even to start Harry Potter. Sigh. Seems he'd been called in and now had a real live case to listen to. I don't know what it's about though, because you're not allowed to say: this is in case I nobble him, I suppose.
He finished at about 4.30pm, so we grabbed something to eat and then he headed off to catch up with kernels. He's supposed to be off work for the duration of this, but I suspect he's still going to be hacking. And to my disgust, he need merely be present at 10am tomorrow, so he is working out minimum bedroom to bathroom to court via sandwich shop times so he doesn't need to be up at seven any more. Grumble.
Come round for lunchphone call. On return, I bought bits of computer, since we have a spare fan, motherboard, memory and so on, and all that was really missing was a chip and a disk drive (well, actually, we have plenty of 200Mb disk drives, but I don't want those). Went down the compatibility lists carefully this time: no more chaos like that with X and the Cyrix MediaGX for me if I can help it. (Although the MediaGX successfully destroyed practically every installer I set it loose on, except for Mandrake where I didn't even get that far owing to an undetectable mouse.)
Four days until election, still undecided, and less than half the candidates (note for Americans: we have more than two parties here :) So there are multiple candidates standing in this constituency, and that's not so unusual) bothered to leaflet me. Not that I particularly want more dead trees: I spend enough time getting off all the junk mailing lists. But there aren't even many (any?) posters in windows around here. It doesn't feel like an election without posters in windows. (Billboards do not count: they don't count as real people being interested.) Went manifesto-hunting on the net (which apparently puts me in the mere 2% of the UK population who looked for election information on the net) and discovered it was the easiest way, although some parties' pdfs are terrible. We shall not discuss some of the websites.
Didn't get Alan into the bookshop, and ended up in the computer shop.
Also spotted a pair of chairs in a shop which were the spit and image
of two which we failed to buy from a different shop before it shut down.
Went in to make good this error. This is the shop who furnished us via
what Alan described as a commando futon team (nearly two years ago) in
which they arrived, ran in, dropped futon bits,
This goes here, you
attach this here, and then you stand that bit there, and ran out
again, taking about ninety seconds. We still have no car, and they
don't deliver, but being a small local shop rather than a large out-of-town
superstore, they are going to deliver them anyway.
Finally got an election leaflet through the door. We have a new polling station now we have moved. Woo. (I always wanted my school to be a polling station when I was little: you get the day off then.)
weekof Getting Things Done is turning into a month. Because the job today involved taking over half of the kitchen, which is currently being painted, we asked the painter to come in the afternoon only.
This morning, the gas people rang up.
No parts in stock. How about
next Tuesday?. (Which is when the builder arrives.)
I feel sorely put upon. We are both at home for most of the time (except that Alan has jury service coming up) and it's causing us nightmares. If one of us were taking time off work, we'd be running out of dental appointments, funerals, and car breakdowns to explain these absences.
Later, around 4pm, I realise that "come when gasman finished" probably translated into Monday. No painting today. Oh well.
The painter was also here, doing painter things. The gasman needed access to every radiator in the house, which meant trying to move my great big desk without killing all the computers. Then both the gasman and the painter went out for lunch; the gasman was to return to do the second job of the day (there's another day of this, too...), which involved an overflow pipe from the boiler and stopping it pointing towards the kitchen surfaces and instead pointing outside through a hole in the wall. If it is ever used, the water will be coming out of this pipe at a very high pressure and could potentially be very hot indeed. It had never happened yet (but read on..) but it has nonetheless seemed a good idea to redirect it just in case.
Whilst they were out for lunch, Alan was working, and I was right at the top of the house, the pressure in the system built up and all the water jetted out through the as-yet-unmoved pipe. Argh! Straight down vertically, shaking the hose which was draining to the outside drain off, and landing all over my microwave at some ridiculous pressure so that it was bouncing straight back and all over the kitchen (which is the room being painted, wouldn't you just know?)
Most luckily for us, the returning painter spotted this through the window, and came in and managed re-attach the hose to the pipe and to divert a lot of the water; at the cost of his shirt which had to be hung out to dry whilst we started mopping up and wondering where the gasman was. Sacrificed one of the huge bath towels to mop up the mess whilst trying to find out where in the kitchen was not soaked. Water was dripping off the most unlikely places.
Sphere was on television recently. There's several scenes in
it of intense claustrophobia in a half-lit submarine station, with
water trickling down from the ceilings after floods and jets of water,
just waiting for the next assault on their sanity.
I don't need to have discovered an alien spaceship in the vicinity to know exactly how the characters felt at that stage.
We stood outside in the dry admiring our new water feature. Then it started to rain, at which stage I just started to giggle helplessly. Clearly it was Getting Wet day.
So then everything stopped until we had had the gas people's electrical safety tester round to see whether we could salvage the microwave. Simultaneous with his departure came the arrival of the builder to see when he can start taking the front of the house off. (Next Tuesday, in theory, and what fun that will be.)
Amidst all this chaos, sorted a few bugs out. And, oh yes, despite the apparent survival of the microwave, this evening we ate out.
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.)