The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

March 2002

April 1st
Overslept badly. This does not augur well for catching the coach tomorrow. Made lots of remember to do this lists for remembering too late tomorrow. Went to pub instead (combined LUG meet), where we overwhelmed the staff with food requests.

I won't be able to check email on my usual address from Guadec (damn firewall...), but I might catch stuff sent to telsa at (www|ftp) If I look :) Don't expect fast replies.

March 31st
Packed for Guadec. Played the usual please print this all on the same page games with various applications, feeding them maps until they (and I) were sick. Nat frightened the life out of me by being under the impression that it started tomorrow. I am not that ready. But all that is left is the laptop and printing out the timetable and getting the phone tariff changed to allow me to send text messages to international numbers and... Oh. Not at all ready, then.

BBC News 24 had a rolling interactive bulletin of headlines with five times as much about the death of the Queen Mother as any single other stoey. Clearly, absolutely nothing of any urgency or importance has happened anywhere across the globe today.

Eating-up-scraps-day. Alan has discovered how to combine old mashed potatoes with beetroot and cheese. I'm not sure he should be praised for this.

Learned the Spanish for Where are the (women's) toilets?, I am allergic to shellfish and I want to go to.... Feel somewhat under-prepared for Spain.

Just after midnight, watched my Gnome fish get ill and die. This is possibly my stupidest contribution to Gnome: persuading someone that he should write the code for the fish to float upside down on April Fool's Day. Better (worse?) yet, it has been localised! Apparently Spain has its own special day for this. I am so penitent. Think of the hours that could have been saved if this has not happened. We might have had a flight simulator hidden in Gnumeric by now.

March 30th
More from Parcelforce. This time it was from Amazon and was four books for me to read on the journey to and from Seville. The postman also got the videos of The Code through the door. This is the results of the filming of the weekend of the 16th to the 19th of last February. I escaped the main film though I fear I may appear on the DVD. Listening to it, I discover the speech therapist I was sent to as a child did not entirely affect me. Uurgh. Let this me a lesson to all those who think I should talk in public: I can't understand myself either.

Read two of the books I was supposed to be saving for the journey. Oops. Bad Telsa. I wish I read slower. Books just don't last around here.

March 29th
Alan celebrated the Bank Holiday by sleeping in so long that when Dick mentioned he had freshly-made hot cross buns coming from the oven, it was past lunchtime. So I left Alan to slumber and went up for hot cross buns. (These are buns traditionally eaten around Easter time: particularly on Good Friday. Which today was.)

First we had buns, and then Dick did something mean: he showed me a puzzle. It was a wooden cuboid which breaks apart forty-nine (I think) sticks of wood cut with a jigsaw into not-quite-identical pieces. It took me about two hours to finish it. Then I realised I was about to miss a Gnome-2 release meeting, and had to jump into a taxi to get back in time. I had planned to do my Guadec packing today, but between puzzles and meetings that overran incredibly, no such luck.

Bright sun again today. On a holiday. Whatever next?

March 28th
More investigations on the mysterious copy-protected CD. Very mixed results. This is getting fun.

Lots of sun. Went around opening all the windows, or trying to. Mostly I went around trying to fit the right keys into the right window locks.

March 27th
Didn't fix the MediaGX box. Sniff. I made the fatal mistake of giving Alan something more interesting to do.

Parcelforce found the house today and delivered another parcel (this is beyond a joke. Normal people get letters. We get parcels of junk. None of it is normally any use at all, although Alan seems very happy with today's), whilst also managing to redeliver yesterday's to the local post office. (You can tell them to deliver there instead, but they have to fail to deliver it to a house first.)

Collected plane tickets and Euros for Guadec and started investigating cheap flights to Canada for OLS. Ouch. Also bought some books for the trip and am resolved not to read them before I leave this time. I bought some last week and have read them all already. This time I shall behave.

Passing the music shop, I remembered the name of one of the copy-protected CDs being tried out in Britain. I am now the proud owner of a Shakira album which has a CD logo on it and a little note saying Will not play on PC/MAC. Clearly, this needed investigating.

So far, we have played it on three CD players and a DVD player. None of those were attached to computers. When it came to computers, it got more interesting. Trying to read the CD crashed Alan's laptop so badly it had to be powered off and on again. Not nice. It won't play on a PA-RISC box (so clearly the warning needs adding to: and I dread to imagine the results if, say, it went through the entire list of architectures Debian supports...) It wouldn't play in a CD drive on another machine (PC). Then it played first time on a HP CD burner on another one. Not only would it play: grip picked up the information on the CD from FreeDB and displayed it fine: so it's clear playing for someone else out there, too.

Apparently the thing has two tables of contents, and by placing paper over the outer one, you can get CD drives to read them anyway. I jest not. Fortunately, we didn't need to go that far. On my computer, dmesg rapidly filled with complaints and grip told me that cdparanoia decided it could not find a way to read audio from this drive. I tried it again to capture the errors. Being me, of course, I dropped it on the way to the drive, and it caught on the monitor. There didn't seem to be any damage visible. Weirdly, though, it was after this that it suddenly decided to play in my drive. I have never heard Shakira before, but I presume it's meant to sound the way it did. Not only did it play on this one, it seems to rip too. With the exception of the mystery file datencd which I presume is the second table of contents or something.

Despite the weirdness that surrounds me in my life and the entertainment value of being able to claim it, I fear I must rule out the idea that dropping the CD somehow scraped through the extra table of contents and nothing else. For a start, as I write this, I popped it in the drive again, and it won't play today.

March 26th
Doom. Disaster. Desolation. Dire and dolorous desuetude. And other D-words. I think my Cyrix MediaGX box, guaranteed to destroy (ooh, another d-word) any distro installation involving XFree86, is dead. Whatever shall I do?

Demand Alan mend it, of course.

Having successfully delivered a parcel yesterday, Parcelforce are resting on their laurels. Today we got a card saying Tried to deliver but you were out. No. We were not out. Yes. The doorbell is working. Alan is expecting three packages at the moment. We are consequently listening for the doorbell keenly. I grant that the downstairs doorbell has not been the same since the incident of the plaster dust, requiring exploratory surgery and emergency measures; but the upstairs one is entirely loud enough: and anyway, the downstairs doorbell was working yesterday and this evening. I find its apparent sudden shirking of its duty in daylight (or at least office) hours somewhat suspicious.

Since it is clearly impossible that someone didn't ring it and just dropped the card in the letterbox, I am forced to the conclusion that we posses a vampire doorbell.

Well, it seems logical to me.

March 25th
Spent the day attempting to destroy the RH beta and nagging people on IRC. I can't find ircii but epic seems cool enough (and the docs for it are lovely). Did find one amazing addition in a package I use that made me stare though.

Parcelforce guy showed up with a delivery of a large box of lead (his words). That'll be a new UPS then.

March 24th
Alan has run out of machines to put the RH beta on and eventually passed me the CDs. Promptly wasted half an hour looking for the keys to open the hard drive (which is locked in place) on one box. I'm not sure those were the right keys in the end, but brute force and Alan-orance opened it. Decided after all that not to swap the drives around, and just install onto what was there.

That was the longest install ever for a very embarrassing reason: I have one of those KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switches, and to flip the keyboard, monitor and mouse between computers, I have to hit the scroll lock key. I must have hit it too much. I kicked off the install; flipped back to usual box to play gnome-games; flipped back to the install and discovered it was still sitting there at the same package. Apparently the scroll lock works even in the installer. Whoops.

March 23rd
Yes, well, the less said about the rugby the better. Record score, but in the wrong direction. Grumble. (And that was never a try ten minutes in.)
March 22nd
Alan is in disgrace. Becoming fed up of the heap of clothes by Alan's side of the bed, I put the washing basket right there. I was sound asleep by the time he came to bed and fell over it in the dark. Not only did he move it back, he left his clothes in the usual position on the floor. Argh.

Watched the Wales A/England A match in the evening in hopes of seeing at least one Welsh win. Whee. Hopes proved well-founded. Apparently the odds on the Wales side actually winning in the main game tomorrow are something like 12 to 1. Oh dear. Not sure my hopes will be so well-founded there.

March 21st
Aha. Found the water bill.

Tickets arrived at the travel agent for Guadec travel. Forgot to get them.

In a fit of tidying, found updated procmail and muttrc examples sitting about which I had meant to put up ages ago. Finally got around to it and moved the old ones to new names (the old ones have -1.0 at the end of the names now).

March 20th
Perhaps the bin day blitz was a mistake. I have lost the water bill now. Oh well. I'm sure they'll remind us.

LUG in the evening. Cardiff's turn to host it. Hatched an incredibly ambitious plan. Now someone has to make it happen. Won't be me.

March 19th
Forced a blitz on the paper pile by the simple expedient of announcing Bin day! Everything in this pile you don't remove is going out.

That was easy.

Puzzled over the cryptic comment RH talk - Alan in my (paper) diary for April 17th. I like my paper diary. It's far easier to reach and update than any of the shared calendar apps I have found yet. And it doesn't require perl, mysql and a graphical browser. And since I have started toting it around, Alan has started using it too. Not only asking what he is doing on particular days, but adding to it of his own volution: something we never managed with the shared calendar apps (frankly, the best we found was one file, group-writable, and a group of me and him).

Unfortunately, he has not yet learned to add things like what, where and why to his entries. I hope RH know what he's doing then. Because where this is, who is involved, and whether he's expected to talk to RH, about RH, or for RH, I have no clue. This would be okay except for one thing: neither has he.

March 18th
Back to the usual email deluge. I wasn't that covered in mud. Just my poor boots and leggings. We even had sun for one day, which was an unexpected bonus.
March 15th
Lost my hat. Sniff. Eventually found out where I was supposed to be once I was there and looked at the map. Shame there aren't ferries across the Bristol Channel: it would have saved a lot of travelling.
March 14th
Realised that although I am travelling to the nearest big town to friends, I have no idea where I am going after that tomorrow. Cunning.

Managed to squeeze in at favourite local restaurant. Staff teased us about not having been there for ages and promptly supplied a superlative meal. Surely this is an error on their part: it might imply to us that the less frequently we go, the better the food...

Alan had a GPG key for all of half an hour today. I signed it, I nagged him about revocation certificates, he duly went to make one, and gpg died horribly. Investigation revealed that he'd made it on one of his more experimental boxes. Oops.

March 13th
Sorted out coach tickets for getting to the airport for GUADEC and getting to visit friends at the weekend. Completed all the household stuff well before Alan got up. This wasn't hard. He was still in bed at 3pm. I think this must mean it's his turn to cook tea.

Later: I must say, he rose to the challenge (doubtless he'll say it was an instruction) and cooked a really excellent meal.

March 12th
Pleasant surprise. For once, Alan did not leave supper dishes in the sink for me to discover the next morning.

I'm a little perturbed by the idea that even speaking up on a mailing list causes mailing lists to die, but I am going to claim this is a coincidence. I certainly hope it is.

Alan announced he was going to Bristol in the afternoon. I thought I had him trained to put these things in the diary (the book on the desk, that is), but apparently not. He managed to arrive back extremely late after missing one train and waiting two hours for the next one.

March 11th
Oh dear. Printed out the Guardian cryptic crossword from the website stared at it through lunch and took ten minutes to realise that it was actually Saturday's crossword (which I can't do). Alan found this hilarious.

I am far too kind to mention in return that Alan later managed to start an email, get halfway through it, realise it was all wrong, and then hit send when he meant to hit quit. I am quite sure that if he used mutt this would not have happened.

My bash bug appears to happen on all gnome-terminals and xterms, not just those started since I changed something. Why won't it happen to Alan too? (Assuning you have no function or command called foo, do foo ' (with the apostrophe). At the prompt hit ^C. I expect it to give up and return me to my real prompt. It won't. It wants me to do ^C and then return. And it's only happening to me.) I am cursed.

March 10th
Failed to catch up on email. Broke bash instead. Not repeatable except on my box. The fact I added something to .bashrc didn't help, but removing it didn't make the problem go away.

Found another of Alan's silly Beatles parodies, even if it took me six months to notice it. Dear me.

March 9th
Another windy night. Bright and cold but I dragged Alan out into the sunlight (Bright light! Bright light) anyway. Since I know he had water on him earlier, too, I'll just have to make sure not to feed him after midnight.

Persuaded him into the bookshop to his disgust, and then finally managed to book flights to GUADEC although I fear arriving at almost midnight in Seville is going to pose transport troubles.

Later caught Alan eating after midnight. Oh dear. If I didn't actually feed him and he made supper himself, does that mean I am safe?

March 8th
Spent most of the day under the impression it was Thursday. Discovered that it was instead Friday and became most confused. Not bug-day? Release team meeting instead? In -- what, how many minutes? Ouch.

Alan cut his finger whilst cooking tonight. What a copy-cat.

March 7th
Discovered that Alan can lean over me and switch the alarm clock off in his sleep. I think I'll move it.

Managed to make an extremely deep slice through my finger whilst cooking. Alan managed not to say it was my fault (which it was) for an entire half an hour, by which time I decided not to kill him, since hanging onto his words for that long must have been a real effort.

Muddled my way through a kernel build for the laptop. It's no longer scary now. It's just boring. Decided 11pm was not the time to figure out how to add it with grub instead of lilo. It'll probably languish for a month now.

March 6th
I found the chequebook. It was underneath the bananas.
There must be people out there who live in households which have normal conversations.
March 5th
Off in the morning with Alan to Swansea university and the Taliesin building there to test whether Alan's laptop would play nicely with the projector there. Worked beautifully. Over to another part of campus to catch up with Alan's ex-workmates, back to scrounge a free lunch, then Alan did his talk and Dick his demo.

Alan managed to overrun drastically (of course) and Evolution managed to confound Dick by not spotting its IMAP server or something for a while, but it didn't crash :) Dick added a pantomime air by throwing Ximian freebies out into the audience, although I suspect collusion on the issue of who got the monkey. (He walked up and passed it over to someone. Hmm.) Two school trips went to get their buses back before the monkey appeared: the rest of the audience was a mix of local students, West Wales LUG, friends from Cardiff, who had managed to get a lift with a friend from London (how on earth..?) and a scattering of people in suits whom I presume to be local business people.

Then tea and biscuits as preparation for the serious stuff and the restaurant bracketed by two pubs. I now have a pile of GnuPG keys to sign, which I can never remember how to do, but this time I am determined to.

March 4th
Having finally destroyed my sleeping patterns to fit into his, resulting in my waking late and screaming every morning Where has my day gone? (spot the morning person), Alan has now taken to coming to bed at 4am again. I will not, not, not follow him in this. Someone has to be awake to catch the postman.

Did the daily Where is my day? scream and then spent far too much of the remainder of it attempting to sort out transport to Guadec. I wish I were better at organising. Spent several hours at the travel agent hoping they'd organise it for me and waiting for their computer to work. I think our internet connection is faster than theirs.

Attempted to write directions for car drivers around Swansea. Being carless, I am an obvious choice for this. Finished and found Alan's slides awaiting proof-reading. I'm amazed. He's done them more than twelve hours before a talk. The last time he managed that was in Australia a year ago when I lied to him and told him he was talking a day earlier than he really was.

Alan came down and spotted a theatre flier in the heap of Stuff To Tidy Up. Oh, he said. Lindisfarne are playing. I'd forgotten about that, so I asked when. In about fifty minutes. Abandoned cooking, email and my weekly installment of EastEnders in bath-towels (this is how Alan describes I, Claudius) to head for the bright lights.

There are advantages to living a mile from the city centre. Some hours later, wandered home clutching a new album, listening to Alan plan how to oggify (is this a verb? Convert CD to ogg files, anyway..) three CDs simultaneously, and warbling Clear White Light into the air and startling people at traffic lights who thought I was singing at them. Oh well.

March 3rd
Ran analog and boggled. Lots of people read this page. Alas that I have absolutely nothing to write about today.

Although the fact that more people read this site on UNIX than on Windows is a little unusual. However, this is by a margin of 100 when each one totals 69000-ish. So it's only just there. And takes no account of people like me who set their user-agent to things like steam-powered abacus or treadmill/mouse-driven. I don't bother with Mozilla: I want Mozilla to show up in logs, so there is no excuse for webmasters to say Everyone uses IE. But Lynx lets you change it on the fly, which is always good when you're bored and prevaricating before back-ups.

March 2nd
Difficult decision here. Of the three rugby matches today in the Six Nations, two were on at the same time. We have only one telly. And we wanted to watch both. In the days before satellite and cable, it was easy to watch one and tape the other. But alas! Now it's much harder, and I have never worked out what channel the video recorder needs to be on, which way round refuses to work, and so on.

Finally, the computer attached to the television turned out to have some practical use. Alan attached a monitor to it, and then managed to get one game on the television and the other game on the monitor. Whee.

The fact that Wales have finally won a game affords some relief. Bizarre game: great fun with lots of running (but I can't remmeber a single ruck in the first half) until 60 minutes in, at which stage there were mass substitutions. About the only remaining people on the field were the ref and touch judges, and I began to wonder whether they'd change one of those, too.

So the computer attached to the television had a real use for once today, although I'm not sure that I want to encourage Alan to think I am getting used to it.

March 1st
Before anyone else asks you, cwtch is a word I got from my dad and Google (ye gods, I'm turning into a free advertising service here, so I shall forego the link) knows about it.

Daffodil day here, also know as St David's Day. Excellent day to do the shopping. Cooking demonstrations in the market (followed by a smell of burning and then a smell of air freshener), many small children in national dress, most other people wearing daffodils, and two temporary marquees with a ton of stalls in them with local produce have appeared.

This local produce was noticeably skewed in certain directions. I am now possessed of the indisputably useful information that there are twelve vineyards in Wales. This is only slightly disconcerting. Far more disconcerting is the realisation that I think I managed to try alcohol -- largely the distilled kind -- from all of them.

Floated home to a Gnome desktop I have managed to destroy. (Here's one I destroyed earlier.) Got the cards in aisleriot to display two different sets of numbers simultaneously and gnome-terminal to start with random fonts. My word.

Installed some remarkable themes that make Gnome (and sawfish, and windowmaker, and xmms, and..) look like the Mozilla modern style. Beautiful. Very large screenshots (be warned) at the usual place. But since my gnome-terminal madness does not look likely to resolve itself, clearly this is a sign that I should just install the Gnome-2 betas on this box rather than some testing box I then only use a little and see what happens.

February 28th
Alan up early today to catch the train to London and talk at people about how Linux is useful. He bumped into Michael, who enthused about profiling (memory use, not people), and Dave Jones. Whilst looking for Dave's homepage (which he appears to eschew) I got a wonderful sponsored link for him on google: search for dave jones suse linux with a browser that shows the sponsored links (Lynx won't) and admire Are you a code poet? showing up. (Actually, on trying that again, it seems to cycle through several, but I thought the code poet one was cute the first time).

Google made it into the Guardian newspaper's corrections and clarifications column the other day, too. I hope they don't start checking how to spell colour and centre with that now: the US spellings are bound to outnumber the proper ones.

February 27th
Remembered to remove the new battery from the Vaio before it too died in the same fashion as the old one. Thank you, Sony. For those who don't know: leave your battery in whilst the machine is connected to the wall socket and eventually your battery will retain charge for just long enough to boot up, to log in, and to type startx. So now I have a new battery and a long time of attempting to drain the old one totally flat, recharge it, drain it flat, recharge it, drain it flat.. (rinse and repeat).

Threw a bunch of old vegetables out. Sigh. Throwing food out irks me. When I say old, I mean bought this week. The potatoes survived, but are all striking out for any nearby soil that may happen to exist in the cupboard. I am quite sure that when I was little, the potatoes we bought from the greengrocer would last somewhat longer than three days. My dad has memories of buying potatoes by the hundredweight in autumn and storing then in the outside cwtch and then eating them until spring when he was young. Of course, they were proper potatoes then.

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.)