The more accurate diary. Old stuff.

Warning: These are old.

July 2004

July 31st

jhbuilding in the morning. Fresh checkout of one module fixed one thing. teuf on IRC fixed gnome-vfs for me.

Shopping in the afternoon pre-barbecue, which seems to be a bring-your-own food thing. And then onto the barbecue. Where embarrassingly enough, I fell asleep. I blame the sun and heat.

At midnight, it seemed a good idea to make plans to go to the Eisteddfod the next day. Early in the morning.

July 30th

Oooh. Shiny new account on Alan's build box. After figuring out a way to connect to it (Alan is rethinking the network yet again) and syncing the clocks (NFS does not like two different times at once), headed straight for jhbuild and hours of Gnome build fun. I need to build the new stuff so that I can install something which lacks documentation and do something about the documentation lack.

It is very fast, but that only seems to speed the time until I meet the next bug up.

Met some weirdo issues which are probably 64-bit-related and wandered IRC servers hunting people who knew about Fedora Core 2, jhbuild, auto* and libtool, 64-bit stuff, and friends. Followed a trail of Dunno, but you could ask on #somewhere else through the world of freenode. Ignored the ask Alan suggestions: Alan hates autoconf and libtool and claims he can't fix any of it. I suspect this is deliberate. I'm sure he could understand them but then he'd have to fix things.

Out in the evening with friends to a local Indonesian restaurant. It has clearly become too popular: they have doubled the prices there since we started going. Poo. Still, every time I go, I order the same thing which involves a lot of vegetables, and every time it is different. It was especially nice tonight, so it was worth it.

July 29th

Alan's birthday. Out for meal in the evening. I am getting jetlagged after all. It always catches up with me a few days after I arrive. Must sleep on time and not get sidetracked.

July 28th

Email, email, dentist. Email, email, email.

July 27th

Email, email, email.

July 26th

Astoundingly simple journey back: every time we reached a change or a platform, the bus or train was due in another five minutes. Nice change from the journey out. Washing into the machine, windows opened, foolproof heat-up-from-frozen located, and bed.

July 25th

Checked out of hotel and caught up with the cousin of a friend, who decided that the obvious thing to do on her Sunday was to spend 12 hours escorting relative strangers around her home town.

Started with a restaurant I had never even noticed in the market before before dropping DV off at the airport. Then spent a lot of time on the Hull side of the river in Quebec province, where some of the older houses have an utterly different design, and at the edge of the Gatineau hills. Bumped into a collection of Montréal-based hackers at Pink Lake (which is not pink, but green) somehow. Then grabbed a snack in a bar and off to the airport. There were a dozen OLS attenders returning on the same plane. Alan found the duty-free shop. What a surprise.

July 21st to 24th

I am unlikely to have time to write up OLS properly, so here it is, for all of it. Went to OLS. Pretended to help (registration, running messages, sitting at desk). Failed to sabotage it all. Met lots of people. Failed to meet others. Escaped hangovers (pints of water equivalent to units drunk work if you drink the water before you sleep). Escaped riotous parties. Got gossip. Learned stuff. Wrote up no talks at all, saving me from thinking Must write that up on return. Handed out raffle tickets. Went to Chapters and only bought two books. (Alan is still in shock.) Went to Medithéos twice. (Down from the last time: I managed three times in 2002; but Alan is still in shock that it was so infrequent). Played telephone tag with a number of people I was trying to meet whilst I was in Ottawa. (Trevor, I am so sorry!) Discovered that chocolate fruit fondue is yummy. Discovered that Andrew Hutton can make very good mead. Asked Dan York Oh, if you work there [place mentioned], do you know Dan York?. Went to my first key-signing. (At least I knew that was Dan York after the earlier event.) Had a terrible curry (sorry, but..) Only had three margaritas all week. Sold proceedings and t-shirts for fun and profit. Did not get sunburnt. Did not get bitten by horrible insects (and on return, see headline about West Nile fever and how tourists to Canada should try not to bring it back).

July 20th

More desktop developers' conference, but I missed that too, helping set up registration for OLS. Heaped t-shirts in piles. Stuffed bags with programmes. (with a -mme at the end, as noted by several US attenders). Disclaimed all knowledge of wireless.

Registration opens in the afternoon. Deal with about 80 kernel and desktop people coming early. Only another 500 to go (if the 500 people, plus speakers, figure is right). And they will all come at once tomorrow.

Pub in evening. Get some feedback on the desktop conference: people liked it. Cool. To bed reasonably early. Two years ago, we were partying heavily until about 2am, and then had to be at the conference centre for 7am. We did it, but I don't want to do that again...

July 19th

Up early to register people and sit on the desk for the desktop summit, which meant I didn't actually hear any of it. It seemed to go alright. The kernel summit people wandered around showing off their freebies: attenders got Swiss army USB knives, or something. Except the ones travelling with hand luggage only. They got the knife-less version. Clever.

Met loads and loads of people.

Finished the Guardian prize crossword with the help of Mike and Chris Lahey. Chris and I have been doing the crossword over IRC for ages, but we are not usually in the same place to do it together. Lots of people offered to help and then said Oh, it's British style? Oh I didn't know British style meant cryptic.

July 18th

Over to the conference centre to help set up for the kernel summit and OLS (both held there) and the desktop summit (held at the adjacent Westin hotel). We are in a room with Daniel Veillard, Kevin Martin and Christopher Aillon. And we face the conference centre, and we have ADSL, so Daniel has acquired a wireless thingy which will make all the net work. If his laptop works.

There was a meal in the evening for the kernel hackers. Pretended to be one, because it was in a restaurant called Medithéo (link down?) which I like very much. Very glad they didn't discover it has a wireless node (according to Ottawa websites). Sat with the registration crew: Mike has consistently found really excellent wine there, but tonight there was a choice of red or white? Ah well. Will have to go back. (I managed three trips in one week two years ago.)

July 17th

A long day, what with the shift in timezones, but mostly spent on the plane or waiting for it. Geert and Jes were on the same plane too. It was late. Greeted by Andrew Hutton who swept us off to the hotel. Out for a meal in the evening.

July 16th

Off to Amsterdam, via Cardiff, Barry, and the airport. We weren't supposed to end up in Barry. I printed off the timetables of the Cardiff bus from the station to the airport, and we set off in good time. We found the right bus stop, stand E2. A bus with "AirBus Shuttle" written all over it arrived. We got on it and said the airport, waving our tickets from the train at him. He said okay. The bus set off, rattling along, crunching my back with every judder. We reached Barry. We sat in Barry for a while. The driver had a conversation out of the window discussing a crash he'd been in. We felt un-reassured. We set off back out of Barry. After we passed the very same road again, we began to doubt this bus. We checked we were on the right bus. Airport? asked the driver. Why did you get on this bus if you wanted the airport? Well, probably because he nodded or grunted when we said we wanted to go there.. I'll have to charge you extra now. Erm, no.

He deposited us at a bus stop on the outskirts of Barry. We looked at the timetable. The next bus going anywhere near the airport was a long time away. We had to be there long before. I knocked on doors and a friendly woman gave me a taxi number. Alan managed to squeeze battery juice from his phone sufficient to ring it. Where are we? Erm. Oh dear. The name on the bus stop is the name the bus company calls it. It is actually the adjacent road. Friendly woman to the rescue.

After all that, we were just in time for the plane, which was then late. Emerged from the airport to find a friend from Linuxchix waiting for us, despite the lateness of the hour. They had spent two hours on the train to get there, so they weren't going back without saying hello, despite the lateness. Wow. Checked into hotel and went for meal. Much fun had by all.

July 15th

Astounding. Have actually ticked most of the things off the before-going list.

It is almost raining and there is mist on the hill so I can't see the houses up there. Happy summer.

July 11th

Made the traditional list of Things To Do before going somewhere (I am supposed to be going to OLS). Realised that if things don't sort out, I shall have to get Alan to do them. Hrm.

July 10th

Ow ow ow. Whinge whinge. No typing today. (I am actually typing this on Sunday, but pretend it is Saturday.)

July 9th

Handed the sleepy-box back in today, three nights of sleeping accomplished. Feel sure I have broken it and equally sure that nothing has registered. Final day of summer school. Waah. Afternoon included a bunch of songs and sketches. We have lots of talented people, clearly.

Out for a meal to cure cold (didn't) this evening, and then to Tŷ Tawe for a magic show. It was fun. Alan claims to have figured out the tricks with rope. Gareth reckons to have figured out the tricks with cards. I signally failed to figure out any Welsh at all. Sigh.

Have acquired backache from somewhere. Again. I am supposed to be writing up Guadec but sitting down at the computer is crippling me. I don't like this. The longer I leave it, the worse the write-ups will be, but I just can't sit down for long enough.

July 8th

It was very windy the evening before. Woke up this morning to find that the buddleia had come down and was all over the back yard. (Buddleia is a bush, but ours is more like a tree and is home to a family of sparrows which entertain Alan when he looks out of his window to see them trying to fit onto one branch.) It was everywhere in the yard. Good job no-one was parked there. Amazed I didn't hear it come down.

Should have done the final night of the sleepy thing last night, but I switched the box on and lots of yellow lights flashed. This is not a good thing. Sigh.

Swapped the box for a working one. Will try again tonight.

Alan went to hack up bits of buddleia to make it a bit more manageable. Our neighbour heard and came out. She said she had heard it last night, and thought we must be doing building work in the night. Eep.

July 7th

Took Alan's laptop in to demonstrate Linux in Welsh to someone. Oh dear. He didn't have anything resembling a normal setup on it. We can demonstrate compilers, but not changing your background, opening a browser, or anything like that.

I have a sample user with home directory I keep for demonstrations. It has things like friendly defaults (allegedly: I can't use it with all those silly things like click-to-focus) and typical files and documents in it. Next time, I shall make sure he has that on it. Better, I shall make sure I have.

July 6th

Headband and sensors comfortable enough, but Alan not amused when I woke, pressed the button on the electronic box, and hit the radio button instead. He woke too. Oops.

More Welsh course. Trying to explain free software in English is bad enough. Free software in Welsh? Argh. Next time I am asked my biggest interest, I shall say reading.

Fascinating -- or fascinated, at least -- ramblings on Welsh deleted. I have another diary for that, so you are spared.

July 5th

Alan and I are both on a summer Welsh course locally for a week. (The normal classes finished for the summer, and we are now bored with no Welsh to learn, so off to learn more.)

I am in a sleep study, too. The local university was looking for people doing intensive language learning. I don't think this course is particularly intensive compared with the super-WLPAN a friend just finished (blast him, he's better than me now) or scary trips to Nant Gwrtheyrn to do everything in Welsh, but it is more than usual. Apparently the people in this study are looking at whether your sleep changes when you are learning a second language compared with when you are not.

I have a headband to wear with a sticky thing on my eyelid, and I have to press buttons when I wake up. The bright side is that I shall receive a pretty chart at the end proving that I have .. well, if not brain waves and thus a brain, eye movements, which I can claim are evidence that I do actually have a brain. The bad side to all this is that I am not allowed to drink alcohol for three whole days. The horror, the horror.

July 4th

Another barbecue. Lots of people.

Email dealt with. This was largely achieved by spamassassin (thank you, spamassassin authors) and delete-thread (thank you, mutt authors).

GUADEC write-up started. Not finished. Urgh.

July 3rd

Dad dug out the cathedral-building book, and also another old love of mine: an old family bible which goes back -- well, it's not very clear. The first dates in it are 1818, but those may have been, as Alan puts it, back-filled. The central pages for the family tree are in English, but the bible itself is all in Welsh: even the printer's address in London is in Welsh. Not, however, the sort of Welsh you learn for conversing in the street. I am told it is very beautiful Welsh, but mostly it just looks hard.

Off to the airport, onto a plane, then onto a coach, then onto a train, then onto another train, then into a taxi, and finally home.

I have 200 unread emails that are not list emails. And another twenty-seven mailing lists to read, totalling 8M. There are another 7M of spam mails. I do not think I shall wade through those looking for might-be-legit emails.

Alan has not really done any of the jobs I left him. There was one load of washing to do when I left. It is currently drying, with another load and a half to do. The fridge is uncleaned and almost empty. Two rooms are vacuumed, but he needs someone to empty the vacuum for him in case the dust makes him sneeze. There is stuff all over my desk.

And there is no wine.

But he is very impressed with the Mutt people: he broke it, found the flea(1) utility, and within fifteen minutes the fix was in CVS. I always told him Mutt was cool.

July 2nd

Back in Britain. My mum had washed the clothes I left behind and immediately demanded the rest, and my skirt in order to mend a rip in it. Alan never does this for me.

To Durham in the afternoon, to settle my longing to see Durham Cathedral again. It is only 20 minutes on the A1 but we hit a traffic jam and turned off to see if there was another route. I was commanded to reach for the map and get us there. Despite a momentary lapse of concentration which saw us heading back to Newcastle at one stage, we got there in the end, even managing to pass such splendidly named locations as Pity Me (yes, this is a real place).

It turned out to be graduation day in Durham, and they use the cathedral, so we had to wait. On the bright side, entry to the Treasury, where they keep the treasures, was free, and I got to renew my acquaintance with the original Sanctuary Knocker, a lovely huge knocker in the shape of a lion's head which was used to claim temporary sanctuary in the cathedral grounds. The one on the north door these days is a facsimile.

The Cloisters were really quiet, which was lovely. Eventually, we got into the cathedral proper, and wandered around until evensong. (For some reason they have this daft idea that services might be more important than me wandering around squeaking Oooh, I had forgotten about that and so on, and clear people out.) Saw the tomb of St Cuthbert. Never felt quite the same about him since I read The Wind Eye by Robert Westall: great stuff. My dad claims to be retired these days, but he can still reel off fact and context for nearly anything in his period (and most other periods: it can be quite scary at times). When I expressed curiosity about exactly how the pillars were put together, he remembered an old book he had about building cathedrals. And lots of Norman politics.

June 26th to July 1st

GUADEC. Hooray.

I had not been as enthusiastic as usual about Guadec this year befre going. But it turned out to be absolutely fabulous. Met lots of old friends, made (I hope) some new ones, and heard about lots of cool stuff. Free software really is changing the world. Honestly.

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.)