Recent blog entries for pjdowner

My first Entry of 2003 :)

Chrimbo and new years eve went better than expected, especially New Years. Managed to get through half a bottle of After Shock with one of my neighbours on NYE and lived to tell the tale :)

Went on a spending spree yesteday and bought some new skates which totally rule, I should be on commission with the shop I bought them from because I've managed to drum up loads of interest in them when I went skating. I also bought a Nokia 7650 which is a superb phone, I have irda working with it under Linux now but I only seem to be able to transfer files from the phone not to it. No doubt some work is needed there.

My Christmas was nowhere near as productive as I had hoped it would be, but I did some work on the swlug site and played around with some ideas for my own site. I also got bored one night and set up a dns server on my local network and finally got around to setting up procmail.

After being encouraged by parents to remove the large boxes that the new pc came in I am now buried under CDs. Upon emptying the boxes I have 9 completely useless CDs full of Windows software why do they give out so many of these damn cds? Whats more the DVD of Mandrake 9.0 that I got off Linux Format won't boot so I had to burn 3 more CD's. Perhaps I'll build a Coffee table out of them all at some point in the future.

Mandrake 9.0 installed nice and easily, Linux RAID worked first time with minimal effort which is good considering this is the first time that I've played with RAID. I guess I'll write a review for the SWLUG later on and then prepare for wiping it and installing Debian.

I am distressed at my webcam purchase from a few weeks back now, finally got around to setting it up and realised that I'd bought the wrong model. The one I bought only seems to have basic drivers that are at the alpha stage of testing for Linux, I will have to look at these over chrimbo.

Took the opportuinty to go out for a curry on Monday with Robot101 and zx64 whilst they were home for xmas, also leant a spare 17" monitor to Robot101 to use over the holidays as he couldn't carry his on the train.

Went to go and see Andy's latest band play at TJ's I was very impressed will have to go see them next time they play, the other 3 bands that played that night were nowhere near as good. TJ's hasn't changed much either, it shocked me to think that the last time I had been there was probably 3 years ago.

Finally got the case for my new system this week, got an e-mail from Dabs telling me that it was going to be delivered that same day. Naturally no-one was in to sign for it so Parcel Farce decided to return it to the depot that is about 25 minutes drive from my house as opposed to the one that is 5 minutes drive. Left for work at an sickeningly early time the next day in order to allow for picking up the parcel, luckily PF open early although I'm quite disturbed that although it says in bold writing on the card to bring ID along they happily handed the parcel over with me giving just my name and post code.

Work is quite disturbing at the moment because everybody seems to have saved their Holidays until Christmas, this means that theres only about 5 people in the building and we all work in different departments thus hardly ever seeing each other.

I'm Planning to do lots of coding/reading over the next week, must make enforced time off from work useful. xmas/new year don't seem to mean much to me any more anyway, whats more depressing is that I can't remember a time when they did.

hmm, lots of stuff to log.

Work I am now employed as a full time software engineer for the company that I have been contracted to for the last 8 months which means I can now start to do stuff like apply for motgages etc. I'm not entirely sure wether this is a good thing.

Pain In my never ending quest to destroy my body before the year is out I fell over Ice Skating and ended up with 7 stitches in my chin.

Captain Cyborg Kevin Warwick gave a talk at the Cardiff National Museum and Gallery which was quite interesting, I came away with a better opinion of him than I had when I went there. Met people from the swlug before the talk at the Star Trek exhibition and went for food with most of the Swansea swlug regulars at TGI Fridays where the portions were so large that I failed miserably to eat much more than the starter.

Visitor Shane came over from Ireland for a week, we had thought of visiting davej but he was going to be in Mallorca so visited Rob in Sheffield instead. We went to the Devonshire Cat which is a great pub which serves amazing German/Belgium beers, we then headed to the Corporation (Heavy Metal club) for more drinks. Spent the night in the car because we failed to find Rob who was the only one with keys to his flat, found out in the morning that he had been in the flat just fast asleep. He was forgiven as we sobered up.

Magor Broadband Travelled back home from Sheffield on the same night as a LUG meeting so decided to visit my local pub instead of the extra hours drive on to Swansea. Whilst at the pub I overheard "wireless" and "2.4 ghz" coming from a group of people in the corner, when they produced wireless antenas I decided to investigate. Theres now a group of people in Magor who like me are obivously upset at the lack of decent net access in the area and are trying to get a bristol company IAP Broadband to supply wireless broadband to Magor. I left the pub with lots of phone numbers, web/mail addresses and feeling completely freaked out that I had not known about this already. I will have to check the security on my WLAN.

Dabs and Parcel Farce I decided to purchase a new system this week 1.67ghz Athlon, 2 x 40gb hdd, dvd, cdrw etc. The same delivery person made 2 trips to my house to drop off a box each time why they weren't delivered at the same time I know not. The problem is that the third box with the ATX case in it failed to arrive, this means that I'll probably have to wait till next week to get the case therefore spoiling any pc building plans that I had for this weekend.

Pain: Was not at all well on Friday, I managed to guess that having a doctor recoil in shock as she looked into my throat was not a good thing. Was sent home after being told that the thing that hangs down in my mouth had turned blue and I had a swollen spleen, not good. The bus journey home was not plesent, hopefully will be back at work on monday but I have to go for a blood count test first.

Mail: I now have an IMAP server which is nice, what was not nice was spending almost a week (about an hour a day was wasted) trying to find out why login.defs would not change the MAIL environmental variable. It was then that I discovered that ssh doesn't look at login.defs and actually connecting a monitor to the box and logging in locally would work perfectly.

New Toys: Bought a webcam this week, I'm not all that interested in putting pictures from it on to the web I just intend to use it to play with gnome-meeting.

LinuxExpo: I've put a write-up online here

nodnoL Spent a week in London recently and had a fantastic time managing to fit in time for both of my main passions in life. Spent the first three days skating, in total I spent about 17 hours on 8 wheels, starting off with the friday night skate and then spent Saturday and Sunday in Hyde Park as well as spending Sunday evening in Trafalgar Square skating with people I'd met in Hyde Park.

LinuxExpo The rest of my time in London was spent running the Gnome booth at Linuxexpo, I did have help from a few others (most natably Michael Meeks who turned up with Ximian monkeys and leaflets) but 70% of the time it was just me and my laptop manning the booth. As an added bonus I got on well with dpash who was manning the KDE stand (we also both helped build the debian stand when Phil Hands turned up) and lots of people were amused that at times when we needed breaks KDE would look after the Gnome booth and vice versa. Anyway Telsa has asked me to write a report for gnome-events, so I'll link to that when it's done.

Ended up at a Lonix meet on the wednesday which just turns out to be lots of computing people in a pub shouting at each other in order to be heard, I think I prefer the smaller scale swlug meets, met up with Alasdair at the meet and ended up going for pizza with a few others whilst Lonix went for curry.

Fun was had helping to dismantle the Debian stand, especially watching wookey try to fit it all in his van.

I also met up with Davej who had Victoria and John in tow, ended up spending Friday night round at his flat as well as wondering around various parts of London with them in the day.

SWLUG Another meeting in Swansea this week which was quite fun, we seem to be invading a Cyber Cafe in Cardiff for the next meeting which will be the first time we've not held a pub/restaurant meeting in a long time.

SWLUG: It was a good meet, quite a few people turned up , I spent some time looking over a laptop that someone had given away playing the guessing game. 'That must be the right screw to remove that cover to get at the hard disk' etc. it was a strange laptop, early compaq pentium with an external battery and option for an internal battery apparently the keyboard bios was dead but we had no power lead to test this. I also spent some time chatting with Telsa about hard disks, it turns out that her 40gig IBM had died but according to Alan could be repaired by updating the firmware and using IBMs repair tools. I, ZX64 and Robot101 followed Telsa and Alan home after the meet to pick up the almost dead hard disk and various other bits of strange hardware. It felt strange taking a night time tour of Swansea with Telsa pointing out local old churches/buildings that had been exploding in the early hours of the morning over the past few weeks.

Pain: Went Ice Skating the other day, started off a bit shaky but soon progressed to jumps spins and other advanced tricks. It wasn't too difficult to get used to, the only thing I don't like is the floor which despite being wet and cold was sharp enough to rip three chunks of skin out of the back of my hand.

New Hardware: I got a call from a friend whilst in work telling me that Lidl (Supermarket chain) had Nokia data cables in their bargain bin. This meant a diversion on the route home to pick one up for 10ukp which is 20ukp cheaper than a phone shop. I also got a smart card reader given to me which will be fun to play with when I get spare time.

Old Hardware: Was woken up on Saturday by a loud noise coming from the Gnome2 box 5 metres from my bed Leapt out of bed fearing dead hard disk. Immediate shutdown, removal to a kitchen work surface (to the absolute delight of my parents) and diagnosis revealed faulty PSU fan. Disection of PSU and removal of dust resulted in fully restored and working PSU/Fan. Reinstallation of box in bedroom and power up resulted in different loud noise, this time it was the 30gb hard disk (sigh). An e2fsck -cp resulted in a booting system but I no longer trust the disk.

Hacking: Spent Sunday playing with a gnome Bubblemon applet and trying to port it to Gnome2 untill I found a version that already works on gnome2. It is however different and the person that I was doing the other port for still wants it done so time was not wasted.

Debian Mirror Leant a 17" monitor to a friend for a week on Sunday evening and picked up 10 cds whilst round his place. The cds contained 2 day old Debian Sid (unstable) debs and I'm using them to build a local debian mirror as my connection is too slow to download them all. I haven't had this much fun disk swapping since the old days of 15 disk Amiga adventure games, I think I'm being spoilt by using an OS that can be fully installed over a network.

I have bandwidth throttling now thanks to squid, which means I can leave dist-upgrades running through the day without parents complaining about slow access.

Sat in on the debian commitee talk about gnome2 today, learnt a few things about gnome1/2 debian related problems. I eventually got bored of the repeating of issues and tuned out, but they did seem to fail to figure out how to deal with the fact that the Gnome2 desktop is a replacement for the gnome1 desktop and not an upgrade.

Arranged this weeks SWLUG meeting in Cardiff which will hopefully go better than the last Cardiff meet.

'This week I 'ave mostly been programming in Perl' due to the fact that I got fed up with some simple tasks in work taking far too long. I did try and then fail with batch scripts before I installed the win32 version of perl. I then subsequently spent time improving my perl.

The trip to Ireland was good fun, spent time playing Freeciv, trying to beat wine into working on my laptop and watching dodgy zombie movies and Kevin Smith's New Jersey Trilogy. There was also some time spent drinking beer, I did however freak out when I realised that I was the only person in an Irish pub drinking Guinness. The Stenna Line Ferry sucked, quite exactly what anyone who is not into watching dodgy comedians and bands is supposed to do on a 3 hour journey is beyond me. They used to have cinemas on board, all I can say is thank $deity for 6 hours of laptop battery life.

My patch to make Googlizer run on Gnome2 was accepted by Alan, which I'm happy at but I really should have sent it at him earlier as it's been sat here since June.

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