Saturday, May 28, 2005

Photo: A narrowboat navigates the canal outside Tom’s place. I tried finding the Valley View geocache but must have had the wrong co-ordinates or something as it wasn’t where I thought it should have been. I went to visit Tom in Congleton last Friday and we met up in Manchester beforehand for some dinner in Chinatown. I realised (after tasting some duck) that I don’t miss meat particularly any more.

A random collection of today’s ramblings.

(Nat Friedman might have a point about ADD).

I’m going to visit Portland, Oregon again. Yes, I’m psyched. I wasn’t sure I’d make it but since I’m in the process of changing jobs (from July 1 I will work with a large Embedded Linux company who shall remain mostly nameless in this forum as per my usual not blurring work and blog too much) I should have a bit of holiday time to play with around then and it turns out that ATP can change my return flights from Ottawa to the UK. So all I need to do now is get a 300 quid return from Ottawa to Portland. Cool. Managed to get an invite to the kernel BBQ too. Always good.

This makes my summer of crazy travelling roughly go like this:

London Heathrow->Amsterdam->Vancouver->San Francisco (sailing on the bay with Sven and Bill) ->Vancouver (board the train to Toronto and Ottawa) ->Ottawa (OLS/hiking/anything else after OLS->Portland (visit Deepak and co, Kernel BBQ) ->Ottawa->London Heathrow->Amsterdam(optional)->London Heathrow.

Not bad for someone who’s afraid of flying. There’s the possibility that I’ll get a train to New York in the week between OLS and Portland if there’s nothing much else organised since a friend is already going to Montreal (where the train leaves from). Might as well totally push the envelope to the max. I get back to the UK in time for the last day of UKUUG 2005 (if I can get a day return to Swansea) and the LBW 2005 up in Scotland.

Photo: Geocaching in central Oxford after Thursday afternoon’s driving lesson (note the Unicef filming in the background) . I found University Challenge 11 but gave up on one of the others after the GPS was wondering around all over the place. I probably want to get a better one if I do this more often as my old 12XL (thanks Jamie!) is cool for its age but much better and lighter ones are on the market now. Mark Lord has a super uber Magellan which works even in woodland under trees – I think my poor old unit would really struggle to get any single in such an environment.

I’ve been pissing around with realtime patches lately and battling with SuSE kernel builds in an effort to figure out the whole initramfs/klibc/etc. thing that is 2.6 Linux kernel booting. Having gotten myself excited enough to start breaking stuff, I decided to figure out gnome-volume-manager, HAL/udev and how I get it all working together to make my ipod “just work”. It’s not quite there on my Debian testing box (read: I’ve gotten the plug and play stuff working but need to fix pumount and get it to unmount and eject the ipod – less of an issue for me right at the moment). I need to use the sysfs destroy_node entry to occasionally kick my ipod into behaving itself – and it looks as if I might need to document this since people moan they can’t make their ipod work. If your ipod doesn’t come up properly and you get nasty kernel logs about the node in question, take the GUID from the message and send it to the sysfs ieee1394 control node after removing the ipod:

jcm@perihelion:~$ echo “$GUID” >/sys/bus/ieee1394/destroy_node

Then plug it back in and watch it come to life. Seems sometimes Linux can’t login to the device. I’m not yet an sbp2/firewire expert (but I know a man who is) although it could be something fun to play with. I think IEEE1394 makes my original paranoia about USB actually have a substance in the sense that average PCs without IOMMUs will freely give 1394 devices the ability to play with bits of the host’s memory (as I understand the protocol anyway) so you probably wouldn’t want to give general access to 1394 buses in a public terminal environment without better than white/grey box PC hardware available. Probably not a problem on the newer 64 bit platforms since they do tend to have IOMMUs.

I realised that Eric Gaumer is probably one of the most interesting and intelligent people I’ve met. There are few people who actually take that level of interest in the subject they study, and I like the ongoing efforts with python (puts my python ability to shame but I’ll work on that). If you don’t read Eric and Matt’s blogs then check them out (now linked from here) – and as to the elitism question in blog writing, Eric, it’s not particularly elitist and I agree with you, I enjoy writing too and that is my main motivation (aside from being increadibly vain at the best of times). Shannon’s photos are pretty cool too. Yes your South Park characters are pretty accurate :-) , I need to do my own South Park/Hackergotchi character for this blog. Meh, I’ll get around to it by the time they’ve gone out of fashion (anyone want to do me one? go on, loads of you are better at using the GIMP than me).

I’ve been listening to The Faders. Yes, they’re female (which I admit got my interest initially), but they’re also rather good. I went to Hickies in Reading and bought Laudate Dominum to see if it’s practical to learn it in time, and a copy of another piece I should be learning too. My violin practice has improved since I made some fundamental changes to my bowing technique last week – I decided to throw away all of the advice about technique and adopt one that works for me based on how I’ve observed professional violinists actually holding their own bows. Interesting that certain teachers seem to try to make you hold it in really really stupid ways. Meh.

I saw Star Wars last weekend at The Electric on Portabello Road in London. This was courtesy of some free tickets received through the magazine and I took Hussein as my guest. We had some juice mixes and nibbles, chatted, then lounged on a giant leather sofa with leg rests (I just rolled around like a beached whale and ended up with my boots on the floor and lying with my head on my hands the wrong way around – twas very comfortable however). The complementary popcorn was good and the screen was pretty cool. Having a bar in the audatorium is definately a big selling point for those who want to have caffeine and an almond croissant with their film :-)

That’s enough for now. Time to actually do something with this holiday weekend. I’ve got writing to do and a trip to Totnes to see Richard and Charlotte. Monday is hopefully an opportunity for an afternoon meetup for printk. Maybe we’ll get around to having some drinks and a BBQ if the weather holds up and we don’t suffer from too much apathy.

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.









Cultural Creative








Onwards and upwards!


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