The more accurate diary. Old stuff.

Warning: These are old.

December 2004

December 31st

Up and chopping in the morning. Spent the rest of the day in the kitchen, sending Alan out (twice) for things I had forgotten. Then Gareth and Bryn came round and I was out of time to cook more.

Lots of people came round to see in the new year. Failed to poison any of them. Tried some interesting whisky, but alas, I have forgotten what it was. Last people left at about 5am.

December 30th

Made a list of jobs to do. Tried to put it where Alan would see it, and headed out to town. Alas. Returned to find that emailing it to him didn't work: he had (he said) been hunting everywhere for it.

Lots of tidying, vacuuming, and starting the cooking. The big job of chopping up butternut squashes only happened when there was absolutely nothing else to do, and stopped early after Alan gave himself a blister. At about midnight.

December 28th

Finally, after two weeks, we are reduced to Google for the King Williams quiz thing. We have not exactly done terribly well this year. Ouch.

On the other hand, we have learned all sorts of fascinating things :)

December 27th

Out to a friend's surprise birthday party. It surprised her a lot. It is not her birthday.

(But it will be tomorrow, so it all makes sense.)

December 26th

Back seems to be better, which is just as well. Alan is growing tired of responding to Pick that up off the floor and Can you put the washing in? and taking care to be at the other end of the house so that he can't hear such requests.

Played with bug thing. It may have recorded things on the radio. I am too scared to try to replay it and see.

December 25th

My parents have found the ideal present for Alan. An inflatable ... inflatable thing... (there is no other way to put this). Yes. A blow-up robot, which will carry the television remote control to him. I foresee ructions in the future.

Up to Dick's for Christmas dinner, which was yummy. Dick is only about two miles away on the map, but the map doesn't show contour lines. He is about two miles uphill, too. When it rains down here, it snows up there. So we had a white Christmas. Coo.

December 24th

Guardian finally got around to publishing the evil quiz which keeps a bunch of us occupied over Christmas. It's actually been out for a week or more, but we are so far not doing very well. We don't even know the location(s?) for section 3, although we have had rather better luck on the section to do with 198. We shall soon be forced to resort to Google, which we try to put off for as long as possible. And apparently the setter has thought of that and made it Google-proof. Uh-oh.

Alan chose about 10pm this evening to discover a need to burn some calories and start to tidy his room. (Not anywhere else in the house, which would have been more useful.) Long after I went to bed, I could hear bangs and thuds. I think he got bored of having to move the bookcase every time he wanted to go in or out: it was jammed right across the doorway because he had no more floor space to put it.

December 23rd

Had to send Alan shopping. This meant an Alan-proof shopping list. He has been coming up with wrong purchases for years now, in an attempt to prove to me that I should just do the shopping without him. But he was stuck this time: I wasn't going anywhere, so if he got it all wrong, he would have to eat the results. What a dilemma.

December 22nd

Did something horrible to my back. Boring. Can't lift stuff. Not even bottles of wine, unless they are empty, which defeats the entire point. If this doesn't clear up, it means I shall have to send Alan shopping, and that could be very bad.

December 21st

LUG in the evening. How come these days I go and Alan doesn't? Spent most of the day persuading laptop that it wanted to run software which is really a bit too big for it, and then realised that I had no battery power in order to show it off at the LUG. Well done me.

Thankfully, there are electricity sockets at the place.

December 20th

Sent the last of the cards and parcels off. A nice man came and took away the dead tree in the back yard. We have parking space there again now. I am very happy.

David has gone and updated the file (the one with all those thousands of placenames). But he says I can commit additions and corrections without asking. I am all excited now. And have no time to do any of it. But there is only a month and a half before string freeze, according to the Gnome 2.9/2.10 schedule, so I had better find some time soon.

Alan was persuaded to do some tidying. He now agrees that his room looks far better without a bookcase in the door. How he was getting past it, I have no idea. Either he was worming his way underneath it, or he was moving it every time he wanted to get through the door.

December 19th

Alan spent the day in bed with his cold. Until tea-time, when he recovered. No, I am not suspicious about the timing at all.

December 18th

Got all sorts of stuff done and then went for a break with Gareth. Three hours later we were still sitting chatting. Alan returned with a present from Cambridge: a heavy cold. Thank you so much, Cambridge. Not even the discovery that his order (heaven help us, you can order cider online now) had arrived made him happier. It made me happy though, because I have not had cider with elderflower before. I should note for the deprived-of-cider countries over the Atlantic, it is alcoholic over here.

December 17th

Alan announced last night that he was going to Cambridge. I had forgotten all about this. In the end, I ended up on the same train as him to Cardiff to complete Christmas shopping, as Swansea had failed me.

I swear, every time I go to Cardiff, they move a shop just to confuse me. I am sure the kitchen place was opposite the castle last time.

December 15th

Poked around at a few more mystery strings in the gweather applet's list of places. The poor maintainer is going to have a fit when I file the next batch, but I think they are all upstream from him, in that the data from wherever is wrong before he gets it. There's a mention of an airport in Guatemala called Aeroportola Aurora, for example, and searching for that on Google shows up dozens and dozens of hits for that string. All for What is the weather today in..? websites. They are not all running Gnome :) The only thing is that if I search for airports in Guatemala, I find (on a much wider range of sites, in more languages) that there is one for Guatemala City called La Aurora. What exactly is going on here?

In a similar (or not) vein, is there a substantial difference between Automated Reporting Station and Automatic Weather Reporting System? Because we have seven of each in the po file, and eight Automatic Weather Observing/Reporting Systems. It would be lovely if these, and the Automatic Meterological Observing Station and the Awrss (automatic weather reporting stations?) were all the same, and I have no idea how to find out. Someone suggested I ask the Flightgear people because they will know everything. I am very nearly at the stage where I shall have to. I have to know the answer. It is driving me mad.

I know, sheer pettiness, but there's a bunch like this, and everyone should go and look for their local area and see if they can find more and fix it, and then we can have a beautiful weather applet.

December 14th

Alan now somewhere between Leeds and London and Swansea for much of the day. Just before six, texted him asking whether he thought he would be back for dinner. Got back a message telling me I had new voicemail. Hrm. Didn't sound like Alan. Headed to Google. Got another message whilst hunting. Now I have a secret admirer. Of all the times for the spammers and scammers to find my new (month-old!) phone number, whilst waiting for a reply was not the best one. Came across Grumbletext, confirmed that they were (pricy) scams (what a splendid site that is), and was then further cheered by a text bearing the classic Alan hallmark: Dunno. In Westminster. Brief to the point of opacity.

He was still home by the end of the day. Not sure how.

The annual Christmas madness has begun.

December 13th

Last Welsh lesson of the term (and the year). Waah. Alan gave out OO.o CDs (for Windows) which have the Welsh stuff on them and then terrified people with his explanation. Comments about All in Welsh. Well, there's a couple of missing strings, and the About box is in German, but that's just a bug and failure to explain that no, they could still use Word if they wanted, in English, yes, resulted in at least one person looking panicked and deciding they didn't want to try it. I do not think Alan's advocacy skills are terribly well honed. But I had forgotten what it was like to explain free software in the context of Here's a program, you can have it, it's legal, there's no virus, and it works and the general bafflement this causes.

Alan swanned off to Leeds then, and I rearranged everything in the house. Hah.

December 12th

Up to 90% for gnome-applets-locations, and now am left with a motley collection of military bases and air force runways, which someone else can do. Stats look more respectable now, at least.

Started filing bug after bug about the spelling in the po file, doubtless much to the delight of the maintainer. Ahem.

In the gaps, managed to attend a cheese-tasting in a delicatessen, try some bizarre spices for putting into hot milk and beg Gareth to buy me some when next he is near Aber, and get in a curry. Didn't have to do any cooking at all.

December 11th

[hobbit@again po-locations]$ msgfmt -cv cy.po
5062 translated messages, 862 fuzzy translations, 558 untranslated messages.

I would never have believed there were so many airports, air bases, and weather stations in the world.

Alan has finally got around to building the bookcase which has been cluttering up the house since our visit to the bookcase shop. It is to replace a bookcase which only stays up because it is cunningly propped up against two walls. Having erected it downstairs, because there is no room to build it upstairs, we got the thing upstairs. Then he went to move it away from the door it was blocking and into its new position. He can't.

Because to do this, he must move something else, which means moving something else (it's like Sokoban, yes), and the (second) something else has a scanner sitting on it. The scanner is not a USB thing and which therefore cannot be unplugged from the machine without upsetting the machine. The machine it is attached to is currently running a 48-hour test, and must not be upset.

The bookcase is now swaying precariously in the breeze as it stands in the door. Good stuff.

December 10th

Had a quick peek at the Welsh translations stats and nearly fainted on realising quite how many strings were in gnome-applets-locations now. This is the file which contains placename, for the benefit of the weather (and other?) applets. 95% of the placenames are not going to need translating for any given translation. There are about ten locations in that file which are in Wales and have their own names in the Welsh translation. There are another dozen or so places around Britain which have different names in Welsh. There's around 200 countries, several of which have their own names in Welsh. And then there are about 6000 more strings, 90% of which can just be translated by pasting msgids into msgstr fields. It is mind-numbing tedium in the main. But you have to be alert, because you come across what are obviously Welsh placenames such as Milford Haven and then turn them into Aberdaugleddau before realising that its inhabitants at the coastguard station in Virginia (the state across the Atlantic: there's probably about fifty towns, airports and weather stations called Virginia, too) will not thank you for this.

So in order to keep safe, any vaguely might-be-in-UK placename has to be checked in the file to see where it really is, and then you discover that Gloucestershire has been typoed as Glouceoucstecoustershire (or is it the other way around), and you notice a town you are sure has an accent in its name in French or German has none; so is it the same place, and should the accent go back in?

Anyway, downloaded the updated version, and started plodding through doing the paste-one-into-other ones. Uuurgh. It has grown dramatically, and it desperately needs people from areas which are less-visited or less-known to go through and check the data for their area is correct, and add things like how to distinguish between Someplace and Someplace (alternative) (hint hint). Seriously, if you can't program, but live somewhere where not so many people are likely to point their weather-browsers, please do that. The file's a meg (!) long, but you only have to care about your little area of it.

Out in the evening to a gig to recover. Danced a lot. Scary.

December 9th

Alan up at 5am -- hang on, I'll repeat that -- Alan up at five in the morning to get a train to London in order to attend some meeting discussing patents or something. Back at 10pm, hungry. I gather he had in fact been to the pub after the meeting, but clearly they either didn't do food or didn't do enough food.

December 8th

Oh dear. The Christmas lunches have started. Alan didn't come. I am amazed at his restraint.

Nearly set the place on fire by dropping a songsheet down onto a table with a candle on it. Apparently carols and candles are too complicated for me to deal with.

December 6th

Birthday and LUG and lots of drinks. What a good combination. Hic.

December 5th

Oh, how I hate the nest of electrics and electronics that make up the television and associated bits. Tried to use the video player today. Just to video something. And what a nightmare that turned out to be. Ended up berating Alan, who had not even got up, about the evil that is the video machine.

I needed to video it because we were going out to watch the rugby and then have a curry. Except that the boys wanted curry first, and we didn't get to the rugby after all. I have not dared try to establish whether the video worked. It will only make me cross.

December 4th

Oh dear. Alan and I were supposed to be going to something today which involved getting a bus around half past eight. At twenty past, I gave up the attempt to wake him up and went on my own, only to see the bus disappear into the distance.

Fortunately the day improved from there. Alan claims to have got work done whilst I was out, too.

December 3rd

Out in the evening for Dick's birthday. Somehow we ended playing the longest game of Fluxx ever (well, it must surely be in the running).

To bed somewhat late.

December 2nd

People who park right outside doors through which I am trying to leave are a nuisance. Especially when the thing is a fire exit. Grrr. Next time I shall apply greater force, and damn the dents.

LUG in Carmarthen in the evening. Chatting to Gareth about stars on the way and mentioned that I had never yet seen the Milky Way, because whenever the opportunity arises, something happens to get in the way. No problem, we should be able to see it on the way back tonight was, in retrospect, a foolish thing to say. Fog descended.

After the fog, he opened the roof, and we zoomed through the freezing air with Orion blazing at us. No Milky Way, but it was great.

December 1st

Ooh. The Christmas market has started in Swansea. This means we are all squashed into half of the space so that more shops and stands and stalls can sell things to us.

Bought boring household things instead. Mousetraps. I can't set them now. How embarrassing. There are only three moving parts. They can't be that hard to set.

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.)