Archive for December, 2003

New Design

Thursday, December 25th, 2003

[ from the did-you-update-your... dept. ]

I finally started sorting out my website to bring it in to the new Millennium. Please let me know what you think as the updates continue over the coming days and weeks and whatever. Time to curl up with a book or some TV now and later we do fun family stuff.


Random Updates

Monday, December 15th, 2003

[ from the this-site-needs-xsltification dept. ]

Nottingham Trip

I went to the EP Christmas Party 2003 at Vision in Nottingham (I have been there several times but not for food) and since I do not have the IXUS 400 camera I want yet and no links have turned up, readers will have to take my word for it that this was real and absolute fun and once again I enjoyed myself completely. Yes Dave does fight back when attacked with a multitude of giant balloons – fantastic and so was seeing several others I have not seen so much since I graduated.

After staying with friends on Friday night I went in to Nottingham and met up with jok on Saturday for some coffee and a general trip around the town. I now know where Page 45 is and have slightly more insight in to what it means to buy many many comics in the same way that someone can actively look for new PowerPC books by certain publishers which are still not in print yet…but I am not bothered by this and do not crave this book oh no.

I went to Wagamama as usual and talked to several people who work there and by now recognise me quite well. I know that it is a slight problem going there as much as we do but the food is great and it is a good atmosphere to talk about random stuff. jok tried to get me using chop sticks and for once I had bits of the starter using them – but practice is what I require now in order to do it properly.

Random story

Here is something which I found interesting…On the way back from Nottingham something interesting happpened. I met someone I had previously met on a train from Oxford and might have mentioned previously. Gayle is visiting from the States for a semester and we recognised each other randomly in Kings Cross St. Pancras underground station – I wonder what the statistics say about the chances of that happening. She and her friend Naomi (I am not good at spelling names sometimes) been on a trip to a place I had planned to visit myself – I should talk to Martin about a visit to Edinborough.


Today I did a little tidying and have to do some sorting through various bits which came back from Nottingham and still have not really been processed. Those who know me will know which set of boxes I am mentioning here but I really should have sorted them out by now.

I bought some random stuff today partly to avoid feeling out of touch and old! The main thing was a 120GB hard disk but that lead to the wireless basestation which is supposed to reduce the number of cables in our living room and so on :-) . I bought a USB and car charger adapter for the Zaurus and some Powerbook Paint to help with the scratches. I got a wireless card for my brother in law to use when visiting and may use that in the iPAQ 3660 afterwards as I have a plan of sharing network block devices between PDAs. No there is no practical reason for doing that and it actually decreases reliability but then this kind of thing is what one can do sometime over the holidays. I got said brother in law a present which for obvious reasons will not be mentioned here but is nonetheless pretty cool. Also decided to check with friends whether the mutual “you do not have to buy me something so I do not have to do likewise” rule is applying this year – let me know if it is not!

Buffalo 54Mbit Wireless Basestation

I have been occasionally using the Zaurus in its cradle to serve as a temporary basestation although clearly a fixed one is more useful in the longer term. I saw one on scan and wanted a new hard disk now that once again much larger models are available than the last time I bought a disk (and one of my Deskstars is having some access problems which does not seem to affect its readings in ide-smart however it is probably a good idea to replace that disk soon anyway). I got a 120GB Maxtor disk with quiet drive technology (whatever that actually is) and 8MB cache (I doubt that will make much difference when running ext3 over having one with a smaller cache given that I am not likely to have hardware capable of consistently saturating its interface but hey.). I also got a Buffalo WLA-G54 wireless basestation because it was reasonably priced and I like the CompactFlash card I bought from them previously. They also acknowledge their use of GPL software however I should look in to actually obtaining source so I can break it :-) .


I am going to FOSDEM 2004 and also hopefully to the UKUUG Bournemouth event on High Availability & Reliability. Please contact me if you are planning to go to FOSDEM and would be interested in being a travel companion. I will probably stay at the Ibis next to Gare Du Midi as it was pleasant and convienient on my recent trip and I am a repeatative kind of person in that sense…but seriously it was ok and I liked it so will probably stay there. I am looking forward to FOSDEM.

The Bunker

I hope to be at the G2K4 Nuclear Bunker Party because I went to the last two (it has been held twice at that location so far however other events have taken place which I have not been to). I am not a hardcore gamer but it is generally an interesting event and when you are with friends you do not need to be the most frag inclined person to have fun. Besides I am considering a new cheap desktop and even a little gaming! :-) .

Reading stuff

I am reading Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics by Stan Gibilisco. It is quite good at giving an introduction to a lot of different bits that I need to read about without assuming I am a particular student or whatever. Knuth is kind of waiting for the right moment which might be over the holiday period when I am curled up on a sofa or in a certain coffee house and in the right frame of mind for it.
I need to read a little on music and in particular the theory which will accompany my desire to play the violin once more.


Bluetooth Adapter birthday present

Friday, December 12th, 2003

[ from the giant-pandas dept. ]

Bluetooth on my Powerbook G4 talking to a Nokia 6310i mobile phone

Hussein bought me a Bluetooth adapter for my birthday and so I stayed up late configuring that and doing an upgrade to sync up my version of the Debian Testing ppc tree. After inserting the USB adapter and figuring out that rfcomm required a single module which was not in the original kernel compile, I upgraded to 2.4.22-ben2 (remember to patch the two lines in mm/mmap.c in do_brk so that the recent security exploit does not bite – mail me if you read this and have trouble patching this file on powerpc or even on another platform.) and applied the necessary direct render module source updates to produce a working radeon driver for my card (as is the case each time I upgrade but hopefully this will be fixed in 2.6.).

Bluetooth support works using the BlueZ official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack and connects to my 6310i which with the aid of a script and an icon now makes connecting on the move reasonable. The Zaurus has similar scripts which I use to maintain connectivity on the go and I now need to work on data sync of my email as well as anything else I want to keep on the go. Perhaps something based upon CVS might be a good idea. Anyway the gnokii CVS archive available from the gnokii site supports the libbluetooth userspace access to my adapter and subsequently to the Nokia 6310i I have on Vodaphone.

I have to admit I even played with tones but only to see what was possible as I prefer the idea that phones ring or preferably chirp quietly whilst discretely vibrating or otherwise informing the user of a call. This is far better than having the latest pop tune played over and over on a busy train or bus (yes I did once have the Free Software song as a ring tone but I have learned through using silent mode that doing so is more polite.). Actually what happens is that people are pressured in to purchasing the latest mobile phone accessories and ring tones so as to keep up with everyone else in a sort of designer clothes kind of way. Still gnokii does seem to be very useful and I especially like the signal and battery meters it provides and which might be some time in a panel applet.

Nottingham trip is today

I am going to Nottingham later on today and am going to be around until Saturday at some point when I should return and do some cleaning up. Please do contact me if you are around and think we should meet up for coffee – I will probably be in town at some point during the afternoon.

I opened the Panda adaption kit [oops that should read Panda adoption kit - thanks trj ] I got from my parents as a birthday present. This is a good practical present offered by the WWF.


22 Today

Wednesday, December 10th, 2003

[ from the have-you-updated-your... dept. ]

Well it has been a while since I updated this blog I suppose. I actually wrote an update about a week ago but it got eaten during submission which was again repeated just now. I think there is a bug somewhere in phpslash or Firebird which is causing me to not only get logged out but also drop the submission entered.

I have been having driving lessons with BSM for the past few weeks and thus far have driven around the Summertown and Headington areas in Oxford. Last week we went out on a dual carriageway and I tried to address the problems I am having with clutch control which result in stalling in traffic or at junctions. I had my first night time driving lesson during rush hour.

I met Simon Cozens again a couple of weeks ago and wet to oxgo for the first time. I have not yet been back in part because I have had other committments on a Tuesday. The food in Freuds looks quite good but last time I had already eaten at the Cafe Orient.
Tomorrow I am planning to be in Nottingham and on Friday I am at the EP Party. I hope to read more this week and in particular find time when I am in the right mindset for some Knuth to continue that.

We went via Eurostar on a trip to Brussels last weekend and met up with a friend. I met up with a fellow PowerPC developer and am planning to return for FOSDEM in the new year. I need to work out whether I am going to CEBIT. I was in Waterloo on Friday night at the Days Inn hotel following a trip to Nottingham on Thursday to visit friends. I need to visit Birmingham at some point.

I enjoyed Brussels very much and was impressed with the general efficiency – even when an overhead power line came down on the return journey. Once this side of the channel again there were many train signalling problems due to a madman cutting cables between Reading and Twyford or something. There were security staff on the platforms at Paddington though the others seemed to have hidden themselves quite nicely.

I have taken precautions following the kernel do_brk exploit in Linux and need to look at the PCI IDE controller card I still have which is waiting to have a few driver fixes made. I am now running Linux kernel 2.6.10-test11 [ that should read 2.6.0-test11 -- updated 11/12/2003 ] at home on perihelion and noticed a script fix for the Debian module-init-tools package.

J’ai 22 ans aujourd’hui.