The more accurate diary. Old stuff.

Warning: These are old.

July 2003

July 31st

Argh. No more free Guardian crosswords. Disaster. Worked out how much I spend on buying papers a year, and how much various online subscriptions are. Added spurious probably better for the environment figures in to come up with an answer I liked.

Can not understand why Analog tells me every month that a page about Iceland is one of my most visited. I think it's linked from about two places.

July 30th

Got side-tracked from installing more stuff to working out what on earth I have taking up so much space on this machine. Started to delete it until I remembered what happened last time I deleted stuff without having made backups. The tape drive is out of action so I feel as though I have no safety-net.

The meal last night was gigantic. I ate about half of it and then had to ask to take the rest home. I had some of it for lunch and Alan had the rest of it for dinner. The very reasonable price seems even more reasonable now.

The accessibility stuff turned on seems to have a drastic effect on terminals. It's all slow. And I still mostly use X and Gnome as a way to have about twenty terminals, a Mozilla, and a gnome-games :) vim seems to be much faster than joe in this situation. Perhaps I shall have to abandon joe after all this time. Changing an editor seems to be like moving house. You make all the preparations, but things are still not where you expect them to be subsequently. I wonder what the equivalent of not being able to find the kettle just after you move would be.

July 29th

Aha. Tuesday is a builder day. It is also a Welsh lesson day and an Alan birthday day. My planned present is not here because all the local shops are too grown-up to stock it and Amazon is out. Grumble.

Building complications of quite another nature in the afteroon. Succumbed to the blandishments of a friend promoting one of these IM applications and installed the latest version. Have never used IM before. Ran the latest package of gaim, tried to create an account, and core-dumped it. Hmm. Known bug, apparently. Perhaps if I create an account with a different app and then try with Gaim? Installed Gossip to the encouragement of the peanut gallery that is #gnome (Hey, richard, telsa's about to break your app, I don't think it's telsa-ready yet and so on). Discovered it was already translated into Welsh (sometimes I think this is getting out of hand), guessed at a few boxes (really, if the English is Someone wants to subscribe to your presence, any translation has to be better than that), created an account, cheered, and then watched Gossip hang.

This might be the fault of someone else who apparently asked something or someone to authenticate me, but it ended with me playing with gdb and feeding them back through IRC and then filing more bug reports.

Once it got going, IM proved to be entertaining for about three minutes. Then I had an explosion of someone wants to talk to you windows, all of which stole the focus (I see a window manager bug report shortly -- what if I was ssh'ing and typing my password?) and which kept coming, to barracking on IRC of C'mon on, show yourself. Then said yes to them all and everyone went quiet. Boring people.

Went out for a meal for Alan's birthday. Bumped into friends at the next table. Watched someone lowering his rubbish down from the roof of the memorial stonemason's opposite with a rope (I don't make this stuff up, it just happens here). Wandered back. Succumbed to the lure of a certain Dasher hacker and tried to install it to try something. Went through two versions of failing to build from CVS (Hmm, must fix that) because I didn't have something else installed before getting a tarball. Built it. Ran it. It segfaulted. This is not my day. Rebuilt it from make clean. Ran it, ready to attach gdb. It worked.

Conspicuously failed to train Dasher. Trained Dasher developer into telling me step-by-step what to do next instead. Found the exciting new feature. It works! Played some more. And more. And more. Then felt sea-sick. Oh dear. I am never motion-sick when travelling and I loved watching the letters and menu entries float around in Dasher, and starting new apps from within Dasher is definitely cool. But I don't think my inner ears agree about this.

Anyway, three new apps, and I broke them all. Clearly a successful day. Perhaps tomorrow I shall play with Conglomerate, since I downloaded that too. Dave Malcolm, be afraid :)

July 28th

Monday is not a builder day either.

It might be a Blakes 7 day though. Stories of new versions abound. Hooray for sites which summarise the main site full of flash and graphics.

July 27th

Sunday is not a builder day.

July 26th

We have an estimate now. Realised we had no food because we weren't supposed to be here this weekend. Luckily, Sharon and Justin had been to the games shop and wanted to play games, so had take-out and played new versions of Fluxx.

July 25th

I have the lurgy. Ugh. Spent most of the day waiting for builder's estimate on fixing the roof. Still waiting. Our planned weekend away appears to be melting along with the roof.

That will teach me to long for rain to bring the temperature down. We are about to test water-cooled hardware for real here.

July 24th

Dafydd, Chris and Keith round for more consultation on translations. We have a pretty desktop now. Found bugs, but most of them were in Gnome rather than the translation. Oh. Except for the place someone has translated Body in the sense of institution to a word which means corpse. Excellent. Seeing things in context makes all the difference.

Made a cheesecake without the vegetarian stuff just to prove it will stand up. Chris duly impressed. I am sick of cheesecake now. Next time, they get apples.

Alan appeared with hands full of buckets as the rain continued. This does not bode well.

July 23rd

Oh dear. There seems to be a hole in the roof. Right above Alan's head. Builder visited. Apparently a long period of hot weather followed by rain is good at finding these things. The cellar is pretty wet, too.

July 22nd

First of the holiday revision lessons today. I have forgotten everything. Alan forgot about the lesson and stayed up late the night before. Luckily, the one response burned into his brain above all others to the question How are you? (even above I am hungry) is Wedi blino : tired.

Arabic is now fully supported in Gnome 2.2, apparently. It's very cool to see all the non-ASCII script languages arriving. (For a pile more, have a look at

Parcel arrived today. Alan declared it a new toy, and like all the best toys, it comes with a power lead. It lasted about ten minutes. At least, I assume the failed hard-drive he was sulking about subsequently belonged to that.

On IRC, bumped into one of the Icelanders I had met when we visited Iceland some years ago. Brought lots of memories of the place and people back. (If you saw the James Bond film shot there, I have to say the reality of the place is even more impressive.)

July 21st

Train to LUG in the evening. Really looking forward to the evening platters at the cafe. Alas! The chef has gone on holiday. Was very sad. Sniff. Had to move to the pub next door. Think we lost some late arrivals that way, although the Arhont mob made it down for the first time in ages. Apparently there is a white penguin in Bristol Zoo now. Wonder whether we should sponsor that one now :)

An amiable but inopportune drunk interrupted our conversation on the way back to ask who we all were, where we were going, where we were coming from, what we had been doing and so on, told us the same about himself, and then sorrowfully admitted he had been lying and told us how very sorry he was. At length. Never a dull moment.

July 20th

More feeding of translations from Kyfieithu into CVS. More newcomers to the IRC channel who are plodding on through apps in there. IRC is not very good at dealing with accented characters, we have discovered.

July 19th

Not 24 hours after we stuck a partial translation of Evo up on Dafydd's Gnome yn Gymraeg pages, someone showed up on IRC with screenshots of it running on FreeBSD. Ecstasy all round at the thought that we have two users now. Then we spotted a bug. Daf fixed it :)

The flaming of the people fixing up continues, complete with Do it like this! suggestions pointing to sites which do not validate. Yay for community development. Since I hassled Jeff to get on with it, I feel a bit bad now.

July 18th

jdub started messing around with the main Gnome webpages. There is a Grand Plan in the wings, but to get there requires lots of little steps, so he has started cleaning out the cruft from the site so we have something which can take the little steps.

Alan ran a magic program along the lines of what the msgmerge program did but which grabbed strings from pretty much all the cy.po (ie, Welsh translation) files and filled in about a fifth of the monstrously large Evolution po file. (1200 strings tentatively done. 5000 to go.) Then Dafydd armed himself with a vim macro on discovering that another two-fifths of the strings were airport names and needed no translation, just repeating. Nearly translated Newport in some US state to Casnewydd, but refrained just in time :)

July 17th

A friend on IRC summarised this diary as Sunny in morning. Hooray! Raining in afternoon. Boo! Alan up late again. Grr!

What's particularly embarrassing is that other than getting the hooray and boo the wrong way round, he pretty much wrote the entry for today.

July 16th

Stuck in the house for most of the morning: I had lost my keys somewhere and Alan was not awake to let me out. Good job there were no parcels. Alan found the keys in the end. In my bag.

July 15th

Still hot. Bring back the rain! Stuffed all the Welsh rpms onto my main machine. Found a bug and fixed it myself: check out file, correct typo, check it back in. It's not often I can fix something myself, and I still get a kick out of being able to do it. Took some screenshots.

Out in the evening with visitors from Cardiff. Good meal. Richard counted heads (four, John driving, three drinking), divided them by the number of interesting wines on the wine list and arrived at an answer of ordering two bottles. To start with. My word.

July 14th

Horribly hot. And sticky. Hid inside a lot. Alan disappeared for most of the day refusing to answer even such questions as When will you be finished? He has been reasonably well-behaved recently. This reversion to annoying hacker is a pain.

July 13th

Blazingly hot. Alan took the opportunity to erect the rest of the bookcases and to leave both the wrapping and one bookcase in my room. I stole the bookcase :)

Alan now has a set of three bookcases with empty shelves and rubbish all over the floor in front of them. I am not sure this is how it is supposed to work.

Justin, Sharon and Dick round in the evening for games and wine.

July 12th

Another Linux Awareness Day. Far more people today, wanting to see OpenOffice in action, try a Linux out, have something installed on their box, have CDs burned for them, or ask business-like questions about support. After it was over, headed over to the Food Festival round the corner. I was devastated a while ago to realise that Cwm Deri vinyard was closing (just when I was considering a restock), but fortunately there were representatives from some of the many other vinyards there. Came back by train, clanking with bottles.

July 11th

The requirement for a language to be fully supported in Gnome is to have 80% of the strings from specific apps (the ones shipped as a release) translated. To be partially supported, you need 50%.

Gnome 2.2 is now at 50.4% for Welsh and Gnome will-be-2.4 (which has more packages, more strings, and frequent string changes) is on 41.8%. All this since May.

Now all we need is some users. Took what we have along to Linux Awareness Day at County Hall in Cardiff. It seemed sort of successful, except that setting up took longer than expected and we didn't have many visitors. Found cheap food (in Cardiff Bay, which I thought was impossible), and back home to Swansea.

July 10th

Chris and Dafydd round to tidy up more translations before we put them onto the demo machine for the Awareness Day tomorrow. Alan has discovered how to build Gnome rpms in parallel (or something) so spent the afternoon building rpm after rpm. We need to automate this. Alan should be putting the results up soon though.

Managed to locate every string you see when Nautilus starts up and present at least the appearance of a translated nautilus. Only another 1133 strings in Nautilus to go.

Richard came round to transport the demo box over to Cardiff. After we called it a night, found mail from the indefatigable Kevin Donnelly: a bunch of files translated through Kyfieithu. which had arrived weeks before we expected. I see another CVS session in my future.

July 9th

You know you have been overdoing the Welsh lessons when you stare at a book in a bookshop entitled EU LAW and think Their... what? Hand? Does eu cause a mutation? I can't remember.. and other such nonsense before you realise you are in the law section, the book is in English and its title is referring to the European Union.

It has been a silly news day. First we heard on the radio that a lorry-load of cheese had caught fire near Aberystywyth. The presenter suggested a variety of responses, including Police are asking motorists to drive Caerphilly. (Caerphilly is a type of cheese.) Well, it made me laugh.

And then there was a splendid story in the evening paper about the poppies growing by the roads locally and how people had cheerfully been collecting seeds. My Flora Britannica says Papaver somniferum is very widely naturalised here (and that the climate is all wrong for it to produce anything), so I think the council are fighting a losing battle. However, the Flora for Fauna database doesn't consider it a native species.

I have been falling over bits of bookcase for a few days now, but today I nearly fell over Alan. I did wonder whether he had knocked himself out. He was so still. But no. Apparently the way to work out whether a table would fit somewhere was to lie on his back with his head underneath the table staring at it until the answer fell into his head. When he is not working this out, he is trying to figure out the new phones he bought to replace the old dying ones. Even normal phones come with a choice of different ring tones these days. I was treated to a variety of carillons, chimes and beeps late last night, when what I wanted to know was how to get it to dial. If Alan is anything to go by, it seems you must test every noise before you can figure out how to make it dial.

July 8th

According to Amazon, customers who bought Harry Potter in Welsh also bought it in Latin and Greek. Hmm.

Moved all the bits of bookcase out of the living room and spent over an hour ripping up the packing into bin bag size portions. Some of the cardboard folded sharply onto my arm and very nearly cut it open. I have an astonishing bruise there now which came up within minutes. Whatever do they put in that cardboard? Ground glass?

July 7th

The first Harry Potter book to be translated into Welsh came out this weekend. I do not think I shall understand any of it, but I have bought it (the last in the shop!) in the hope that one day I shall.

I have, however, skimmed ahead and found out what muggle, Rememberall and chocolate frogs became. I am sure these will be a great help in the future.

To the theatre in the evening to hear a talk by Patrick Moore about Mars.

July 6th

Spent a lot of time writing things up and trying to tidy around the bookcase bits which are lying across the room as though they were a felled tree (or bookcase). The worrying thing is that Alan seems to think the bookcase is completed. So what are these pieces?

Alan spent a lot of time at the computer and making loud noises as he sorted his room out. He has not yet noticed that he will have to get the rest of the furniture past the new bookcase (which is heavily laden already). I am wondering whether to tell him or to let him find out for himself.

July 5th

Incredible traffic in town for no good reason. Still there and back again before Alan woke up. He filled the rest of the day by constructing one of the IKEA bookshelves in the living room (which is not where it's going) and ignoring my squeaks of outrage as I fell over things and couldn't reach things.

Getting it up the stairs was fun.

July 4th

Last day of the summer school. Aww. I want to do it all again now. Last day of Alan's holidays too. So he slept a lot.

July 3rd

Looks like we may have a solution to the mystery bin investigator. Fingers crossed.

July 2nd

CVS hates me. Again. The scripts which generate the messages to commits-list decided that the list didn't want my commit messages (one line each). Instead, it wanted the complete ChangeLog for each module (five thousand lines). However, discovered this was not my fault.

All these early mornings have taken their toll on Alan. He was in bed before midnight.

July 1st

Discovered how Alan had the time to spend this week at a local summer course (yes, more Welsh..). He took a week of holiday. If he is on holiday, then I can not understand what he's doing all evening on the computer.

Hendrefoelan House is lovely. Well, when it's sunny. At lunchtime everyone piled outside to sit in the sun and read notes. Sort of scene you expect to see in a glossy prospectus, not in real life.

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.)