Warning: These are old.
Noon the grounds that almost everything works now, with the exception of xine. Alan was insistent that xine worked.
So broke xine for Alan some more. He sighed. I have not sent any bug reports yet because I do not know what is happening, which makes it rather hard to summarise.
It seems somehow typical that they can drive for miles to reach spectacular caves in Texas and then the other visitors there are from Birmingham and the waiter is from Northern Ireland. Apparently our local show caves are not in the same league. Pooh.
The Storm, which was great.
Never thought I'd hear 16th Century Greensleeves live. Scarily, it's one of those we have on vinyl, languishing unplayed for years. And I still know all the words.
Was chatting to friends on the net immediately after and discovered that it is an incredibly small world: one friend said he'd met Candice Night, and another apparently persuaded the son of one of the Black Sabbath people to try Linux (well, for a week, at least). Then it emerged Alan had worked for a guy who was one of the session musicians for Sabbath, and whose father had taught Alan's grandfather to play the drums. I seem to be the only one who does not have a connection to the Birmingham rock scene of the time.
I have now turned over seventy of our CDs into oggs and am playing with mozilla and with wget | ogg123. This is fun. Alan has done three CD, and managed to put one into the wrong directory and to mislabel two of them. Someone is not pulling their weight here.
Half an hour after he left, the router fell over. The joys of
Okay, now try to ping..
Well, then check..
Did that, too. It
turns out the network card is flaky. Three million network cards in
the house, and the router gets the dying one. How typical. Did I
get any credit for having thought of the basics before contacting
him? Nope, of course not.
Good grief, how are you?from that segment as a result. Alan has decided he likes LUG meetings because he can find people to take away old hardware. So not only did we get a lift back from it, we got rid of about four boxes of junk. His room looks absolutely no better than before but it's a start.
But what do they say?. It didn't occur to me that I had been getting my passphrase wrong. I thought it was something to do with the move of /home from one machine to another. Sigh. I had forgotten that the mail was still going to the old box which had not moved and thus this was nothing to do with it.
Despite the box saying Linux compatible, I still broke it at first.
Eventually we decided that when it said
PS/2 it wasn't
messing about; and that an AT keyboard with a converter wasn't
going to fool it. Abandoned my lovely UK keyboard for a not
quite so lovely UK keyboard with windows keys. Keep hitting
them instead of the space bar now, but now I know how to make
funny characters with alt-gr.
voicesI am very used to. It turns out to be very useful if all the participants have noticable accents: you can tell who is speaking!
Lost the mouse repeatedly. Windows kept opening on the
monitor regardless of which monitor I was expecting them to appear on.
The GNOME panel wouldn't stretch across both, so I started a second
(actually, fourth: I have tons of floating panels) panel across the
second monitor. Then I restarted GNOME and got
Beep. You already
have a panel running. I knew that, so I told it to continue,
and the latest panel appeared on top of the normal one and refused
to move. Killed it off and watched all its applets appear in the old
one. Because vastly confused, tried to repeat it. Couldn't. Started
I forget the details of what happened, but in the end I gave up and went to play with xine some more. Splendid. When Alan was faffing about with DVD stuff months ago, he reached a stage where he could get either sound or pictures, and then another where he got both at different speeds. I went through all these combinations and more in the course of the afternoon. Still couldn't figure out what was happening and what was meant to happen well enough to send bugs in.
Lost the mouse repeatedly. Eventually summoned Alan and demanded he tell me how to stop the xinerama stuff. He did, but pointed out I could still have the second monitor as part of the same session but on a different display. (I think.) Now I have xine on one monitor and normality on the main one.
I think there was some rugby involved, too, but I forget.
Three minutes silence today.
I have not put much about the events of Tuesday because I will upset someone somewhere. But the talk of war scares me. I am not even sure the UN Charter allows for declaring war on a thing or concept such as terrorists. What happened seems to me a crime and something for courts, not for invasions.
secret key not availableand that doesn't sound very good. I thought at first it was moving stuff over to new machine that had messed stuff up, but I'm still reading mail on the old one.
Now I have found a way either to crash or hang X, but I'm not sure which. When it happens, I can't even ping the machine. Argh.
I seem to have dropped myself into doing useful stuff with Gnome. It does not look easy useful stuff however. Oh dear.
The local evening paper has a huge banner headline:
Alas, the local Muslims have apparently already had phone threats to the
mosque and comments that the women wearing the headscarf are very easy to
Like many other people, I first met this quote as the preface to a Hemingway book. It says it better than I can, and applies to far more than what happened today.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
(John Donne, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, 1621)
Ended up at pub. Back very very late. Managed to off-load various bits of hardware to the person who gave us a lift. Whee.
Another giant spider. Another jump the length of the room. Oh, the embarrassment.
Failed to make rhubarb crumble. Made instead rhubarb sludge with a little pile of crumble on the top and all the rest sinking through the fruit. Whoops.
That's it, though. I am staying with this machine until it is grossly underpowered, because building machines is boring, finding all the little extras from the old machine which I installed from tarballs and not rpms is boring, and going through improving /etc/foorc files to the way I am used to them is incredibly boring.
Watching Edge of Darkness is much better.
I found it whilst stepping out of the shower, and how I didn't break something in the split-second gazelle-like (well, so I like to think, but it was probably more like an elephant attempting to imitate a kangaroo) bound to the other side of the room I shall never know. If I can see something without my glasses on, then it's big. It has now been removed to outside the house, where I hope it eats many woodlice.
New kernel fixed the xine woes and now I can get sound and audio at the same time, and in synch. Woo. Eyed drive thoughtfully. Looked at machine specs. So would this machine be fast enough to play DVDs? Alan found a spare DVD drive lying around (as you do). More rearrangements. Out with the RW/CD, in with the DVD drive.
Spent the next five hours watching Edge of Darkness whilst attacking email. Happy days. (Edge of Darkness was worth the BBC licence fee for the entire year and every year they have repeated it.) Then onto the next DVD, and disaster. Encrypted. Hunted down Ogle and bits. Failed to find one vital bit required for the thing to build. Grr.
Ran out of space when tarring /home up. Solved that, directed Alan
I want that there, and that there, and.. rearrangements of
the physical stuff (it's heavy!) whilst in fit of tidiness I cleaned
the keyboard to the extent that three keys would no longer work. It
may sound strange but I never realised you could just pull the keys off
and remove the ... erm, well, whatever it is from underneath. Yuk.
rsync'd gnupg stuff to about three different locations
case. After getting people to sign the key, it seems a good idea
to make sure I can still use it on the new box. (I made a revocation
key, but I put it somewhere safe, which means I have no idea where.)
And so on; and so forth.
Discovered Alan had bought me a printer without a printer cable. Improvised. Discovered Alan had bought me a printer which requires drivers not in RH. Collected, built, installed: it worked! Discovered Alan had not expected that.
Enquired whether I could now watch DVDs and mpegs and stuff on
exciting new hardware. Proceeded to test. Broke xine. Broke X.
Broke everything. X reported an unknown error that had Alan in
How on earth..? and laughter. Nautilus went all
weird on me. Started again. And again. And again. I can now watch
a video CD or listen to it, but both at once is proving tricky.
I feel put-upon.
The original plan was to mess with DNS (translation: make Alan mess with DNS) to get mail to arrive on new box rather than old. It's now 2am. I think that's tomorrow's job.
It emerged that he had bought me a new printer after the unfortunate incident last week. It is still behaving as if it thinks the paper needs to fly across the room. It's extremely funny, but I want to print things.
I wish I'd been awake to see that.
LUG meeting again
tonight. The planned talk or discussion didn't happen, so we talked
about everything else instead. Then we repaired to the pub. Then
we went back to Eva's flat and ate lots and drank more. This LUG
could be fun :) Then it was midnight. Eep! Luckily, someone was
driving back via Swansea, which solved the
train, what train?
Back extremely late (it wasn't the puncture, it was fitting everything back into the boot afterwards) to discover that Alan was still wide awake. What a surprise.
I can see we shall have to go back there and find out the easy way :)
From getting up at sociable hours whilst his parents were here, Alan has slipped right round the time zones in days and is now on New Zealand time or something.
Alan proudly showed me a photo of an exceptionally large spider and then looked delightedly self-satisfied when my attention was taken up much more by my appalled observation that the carpet in the photo was in the house and where is this spider now?
It might be two inches long and the sort where you have to be very careful putting a pint glass over it to make sure you don't knock a leg, but he managed to lose it. He doesn't even know whether it's in the bedroom or the bathroom now. (It was on the landing, and after all the builders coming and poking at walls, we have holes all over the place.) I am not sure which is worse.
Messed about with a web page for a friend and got bored of all the <p align="center"> entries, and decided I knew why stylesheets were a good thing. Sat down with a book and struggled. Went visiting every web site I could think of which (a) validated, and (b) had a consistent design, in hope of collecting templates. Including the first requirement narrowed it down a lot. Got sidetracked repeatedly. Eventually discovered that making all paragraphs on a page be aligned in a particular way was dead easy. Finished friend's page. Tidy approved. It looked beautiful in Mozilla. It looked, well, usable at least in Lynx.
Then Alan said,
You know that Netscape won't be able to do anything
with it, and old versions of IE won't be able to do anything with it,
and Opera won't be able to do anything with it, and..
Sigh. Back to all those <p align="center"> entries then.
Finally completed getting all of the Lord of the Rings tapes into oggs on a machine with lots of space. Tomorrow's project: icecast. Only now I discover that icecast only likes mp3s.
Alan is plumbing the depths of his musical repertoire, I see.
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.)