The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

January 2005

January 30th

I am such a fool. I have been making decreasing use of Lynx for ages, because for some reason it would not show me accented letters even though the terminal was quite capable of displaying them. Realised why today. It helps to have a display character set in your .lynxrc which knows about accented letters. Ugh. All this time, and it never occurred to me that this might be wrong.

January 29th

No more deliveries of model train pieces. Took Alan shopping. The train bug must be more dangerous than I thought: we went past the computer shop and he didn't even break stride.

Over to Justin and Sharon's in the evening.

January 28th

Damn. The postman arrived again and this time he brought railway. Alan has stolen my spare Ikea shelves, added them to his shelves, made himself a large new flat space with them, and built himself a little model railway circle and bit leading off it.

He is very happy, and he doesn't even have a train yet.

The library has baffled me. I had two books reserved. I got a letter saying the first book was there. I went in to collect it, and they gave me the second book instead. The first book isn't there, apparently.

Too complicated for me. Went out to see a band. Alan didn't want to come, for some reason. It can't possibly be anything to do with model railways...

January 27th

The postman rang early today and I ignored it. Alan was up from the bed like a greyhound from the trap, but alas for him (haha), no railway yet.

I went to a local council feedback session in the afternoon. An interesting experience. Naturally, I managed to piss absolutely everyone off, which was not remotely my intention, so I am not entirely sure that was a splendid contribution. Democracy is being one person in a group of four, and seeing the majority opinion turned in as the opinion of all. Woo-hoo.

On return, find Alan has still not received his train pieces and is sad. Good.

January 26th

Out for a curry with Gareth and Daf. It was a good night. It would have been a splendid night. There was just one tiny little thing.

Alan has informed me, just casually and by-the-by, that he has a new project. He and some other clown^Wgeniuses just got talking about some highly technical problem and potential solution, and came to the conclusion that the obvious way to test it would be on something like a model railway set.

So things might start to arrive soon, said he.

I should have known. I have a husband who has his subscription to one of the narrow-gauge railway societies. (And probably more than one but we only get magazines from one. The letter column, from my recent experience of it, is like Slashdot for trains, only somewhat better-informed and better-spelt. Come to think of it, not like Slashdot at all, then.) His father knows all about trains and has some limited-edition (at least, I assume so: it's enough work as it is) book which has hand-drawn maps of every railway line in the country which has ever existed in any part of history, whether the Eurostar or a tram up the mountain to collect the iron ore. His grandfather had a model railway so large it had to leave the house through the window instead of through the door. I do not think Alan can have had a train set as a boy. Because guess what he wants now?

Yes. Of course. A model railway set.

This is a bad move. This is a really bad move. I know people into model railways. I remember the rows when presents turned out to be, horror of horrors, the wrong size or colour or inappropriate for their scale model of whatever it was. Christmas was not a happy time of year. And I know this is such a mistake. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.

So no. No. No. A thousand times no, said I.

The pieces arrive tomorrow.

January 24th

I am in a NEWS file. I don't think I have been in one of those before. Coo. ( gnome-applets) See what idle proof-reading can do.

Found a slightly weirder typo in a completely different document today, but I'm not sure what to do about it. It came from an official body and is in a consultation document. And I think it now says the exact opposite of what they meant to say. (I think. Possibly they really want to do that, but I don't think so.) Official bodies don't have bugzillas, though.

January 23rd

Roped Alan into helping with the heavy stuff in the kitchen. Something in him enjoys throwing out-of-date food out and rearranging the cupboards, but he gets less interested when I ask him to wash the back of the cupboard because he has longer arms than me. However, wash it he did, and then he managed to work the washing machine out of its cubbyhole (I wanted to see behind it) and back in, so I am very happy. He thinks this excuses him from cleaning for the rest of the month. No. It doesn't.

How come a discussion which began with I am not dealing with that project if that person is typical of it ends up with me having an account somewhere in order to correct errors, for that project? I think I have been conned here...

January 22nd

Up late (says me) or early (says him) to go to a Sadwrn Siarad, which is like a Saturday school for Welsh. Weather bitterly cold in the town centre: it feels like it must be snowing on the hills.

Alan is revamping some of, a process which started with messing up all the DNS for it, and is now playing with content managers, separation of style and content (about time too), accessibility guidelines and versions which work on the phone. I have been looking at bloggy tools. People keep asking for RSS feeds. Two people have sent me programs which should generate RSS feeds for this diary, if only I used them. But then I wondered whether I should just succumb to the whole blog thing. Especially if Alan is messing about with the site. He wants my diary to move URL. Eep. (Rewriting URLs is not an option, it seems, so it has to move.) I have poked about at different bloggy tools, but I keep thinking of new requirements that I have. It's all very complicated. I may fall back on nanoblogger, because it doesn't scare me as much: it's all in bash. Naturally, Alan thinks he can write something better in C. I await the effort. And then I shall require a new feature.

January 21th

Alan back. He arrived at just the right time to make going to the rugby impossible, but instead we went out with friends. He is not amused at the schedule for tomorrow. He has to get up in the morning.

January 19th

Alan is away at his parents, so I went out too. Off to an Indonesian restaurant and then back to chat.

January 18th

Two weeks ago, we found a note about a parcel waiting for us. You were out. We have a parcel for you. Please tell us how you want it delivered. I had assumed that it was one of the parcels that arrived subsequently. We get quite a few parcels, and I blame Ebay entirely. It turns out that it was not one of the subsequent parcels. The post office know we are waiting for it and know that they had it. They've just lost it. They have no idea where it is. And because we don't know who sent it, we can't even find out whether it was insured.

If you sent us a parcel -- or registered letter, even, we don't know which of the two it is -- to our house back at the start of January, and expected to hear back about it, do let us know.

January 17th

Apparently there is no connection between upgrades and hardware failures. Alan found a spare hard drive and the box is now reinstalled, restored from backups, and functioning.

It is a little worrying that we had a spare hard drive lying about, I think.

Spent some time queueing at the dentist. It took us months and months on the waiting list to get on the patient list at all. Now the dentists have decided to go private (they were one of the few remaining NHS surgeries locally) and drop half of their patients. Eep. They are only the second dentists I have ever had who don't hurt, so this is a bit of a worry. I was just beginning to think dentists were not an ordeal. Unsurprisingly, there was something of a queue there today, as everyone who received the letter ran there to try to ensure that they were on the non-dropped half.

Out to LUG in evening. Bizarre question of the night: what television company makes televisions which respond to commands by speech? This has come up before, but we can't find the answer. A friend was on holiday in France and they noticed that the television in a room changed channel randomly. Then they realised that it changed channel when a particular word or syllable was spoken. They had children with them, who spent the rest of the holiday shouting things at the television to see what else it would do. But when my friend tells this story, he encounters doubt, strangely enough. He has no idea what sort of television it was, but if anyone has heard of such a thing, I would be very interested to know.

January 16th

Great. Now Alan has upgraded the machine I read my email on these days and the hard drive has exploded. I hope the former did not cause the latter, but, hmm..

So my mail doesn't work. This is getting better. What's next? I fear to think. But my webpage may work again, so off this goes to sit there.

January 15th

Spent the day correcting strings in Gnome CVS and destroying everyone's translations. Gave up on some of those damned airports and begged for help, and then departed out to listen to music. Alan didn't want to come. He still has Muppets videos to watch. And a squashy sofa to sit on whilst he does.

January 14th

Oh no. Alan has acquired a DVD of the Muppets show (the one from the seventies) from -- where else? -- Ebay. Muppets all evening. How... jolly.

It's not that I dislike the Muppets. I just dislike them in batches of three hours at a time. But Alan is happy.

January 13th

Eep. A health and safety inspection at the cafe I occasionally serve at. Apparently we passed. Good stuff. I'd hate to think we were poisoning people.

Gareth round in the evening. Just as he was about to go, he went to get something off the computer and spotted a typo. A really embarrassing glaring one. I had the up-to-date po file knocking around so we fixed it, and then we saw another typo in the file, and then some terminology we now don't use, and then something inconsistent, and before we knew it, it was something like 3.30am. Alan, of course, was still up, but he was most confused to discover that he wasn't the only one. He had to be still up. He had something to fix...

Alan has done something dreadful to There has been a long-standing plan to split some services up onto specific machines, and for reasons I do not understand, he has decided that tonight was the right time to do it. So this page has vanished, email to me on this machine has only half a chance of getting through, depending on which of two addresses you use, and apparently the address for this machine is going to change and Google will never love me again. I am not amused.

He has apparently partly fixed it. Except that now all the mailing lists on the machine have changed machine address too.

January 12th

Alan up in the morning! Voluntarily, and before 8.30am. Wow!

Sadly, this is not to answer the door to the postman, but because the exciting furniture is to arrive, and he cannot take the risk of being out or asleep when it arrives.

Furniture duly arrived. Shoved all the other furniture into the other half of the room. And there it remains, as Alan tests every single way to lounge around on the sofa and watch the telly.

January 10th

Started the new year as I do not mean to go on: paying library fines. Since my discovery that the money doesn't actually go to the library, I have become less sanguine about the occasional overdue book. I only got them out to help write a Wikipedia article and then some sod went and wrote it before I'd even finished making notes.

January 9th

Got entirely carried away whilst cooking (Oh, just throw it all in) and ended up cooking enough for four. Suddenly realised and rang a friend to tell him that free dinner was about to be served in twenty minutes if he was hungry.

I left home when I was 18. Which was... [mumble] years ago. You'd think that by now I knew how much to cook. Sigh.

January 8th

The BBC showed Jerry Springer: the Opera tonight. There has been some controversy in advance of this: apparently fifteen thousand people were moved to complain about the rumoured eight thousand swear words. Since this worked out at sixty-six swear words a minute including the credits, this seemed unlikely. (Or, alternatively, one swear word for every two complainants, but that's probably not a useful comparison.)

Clearly, it being a Saturday night when the only other alternatives were doing the laundry or adding more placenames to gnome-applets, I had to watch it.

Once it had finished, I spent an hour and a half trying to get through to the BBC phone number. (I was tempted to complain that there hadn't been anything like 8000 swearwords and that this was false advertising, but I am not sure they would have seen the funny side.) The poor person who answered the call certainly sounded rather... weary. Bet you can't guess what I'm ringing about Long pause. Would it be Jerry Springer, by any chance? Yeah, however did you guess?

No, I did not ring to complain. There's lots of things I would much rather complain about: the craze for reality shows, the switch from documentaries to drama-documentaries (argh! Especially the ones with lots of computer-generated crowds or dinosaurs), soap operas in all their forms (except Pobol y Cwm because I think I might be on the verge of understanding it now, so it can't go away), and anything which involves building, decorating or gardens. That's about 90% of the television output. By comparison with that lot, Jerry Springer the Opera was not that bad at all.

January 6th

Alan is back to being at work now, which of course means that he is coming to bed at 5am and thus has what he considers an excuse to get up at midday.

January 5th

Alan has been on at me to upgrade the kernel on my perfectly-working (well, working except that somehow I have a completely-translated panel which will use only half of the translations) computer. I have been reluctant. I couldn't remember quite why, but I knew there was a reason not to upgrade this machine.

To cut a very long saga short, the reason is something to do with the bios, which we only remembered after the installer blew up halfway through upgrading the C libraries. This is not a good place to stop.

Hours of entertainment have followed. The only thing wrong with the machine before the upgrade was a panel in two languages at once, something which Alan refused to assist with because it was impossible. I have read that code. What is happening on your computer cannot possibly happen. I think he assumed therefore that it wasn't really happening. Now I have a computer with that same bug and several more, and we don't know whether they're real bugs or whether they are just the result of a rather forced installation.

(How did I complete the install? Rebooted, thanked all the gods and daemons of unix that the thing was getting that far, stuck all the rpms from the CDs onto the hard drive, told yum to look there first, and then did an upgrade via yum. Yummy :)

January 4th

I have started transferring things into my diary. My paper one, that is, with Things To Do in it. Only three days into the new year and I have managed to double-book myself for the last weekend of February and the first week of August already.

We are down to nine questions left in that quiz, and we are stuck.

January 3rd

My new year's resolution, after a close shave today: learn how to work the sodding video recorder.

January 2nd

Alan has thoroughly enjoyed his Christmas and new year. He has slept through most of it. This is, to him, the epitome of a successful holiday.

January 1st

I am not sure whose idea it was to have a cooked breakfast at lunchtime, but successfully provided one. Then we discovered the rugby on the telly and that pretty much organised the rest of the afternoon for us.

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.)