Archive for March, 2006

Visited Countries

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Here’s an updated list of countries that I have visited. Asia and Australasia is notably lacking at the moment since I cancelled out on plans to go to LCA this year (maybe I’ll go next year instead). I’m sure I’ve missed something, 14 seems a little low, but maybe that’s about right. There’s more to be done.

Image: Countries that I have visited (generated by

NOTE: This image was not converted from GIF into PNG as in the past. I’ve got to get used to the notion that the Unisys patent has expired.


visited counties

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Here’s a list of counties in the UK that I have been to. These are places I’m pretty certain I’ve been to at least once, though Wales is lacking a few places (because I don’t know which counties I’ve been to and it was a while ago too). So, if it’s not highlighted it doesn’t mean I’ve not been there, just that I can’t recall it at the moment.

County map
I’ve visited the counties in yellow.
Which counties have you visited?

made by marnanel
map reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data
by permission of the Ordnance Survey.
© Crown copyright 2001.

The conclusion is that I could go see a bit more of Scotland and the Isle Of Man (not sure if I’ve been there or not!).


ID Cards – Pet Shop Boys

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Well, they’ve sold at least one copy of Fundamental so far. I’ve pre-ordered the album due to the final track, with the following lyrics:

If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear
If you’ve something to hide you shouldn’t even be here
You’ve had your chance now we’ve got the mandate
If you’ve changed your mind I’m afraid it’s too late
We’re concerned you’re a threat
You’re not integral to the project.

I happen to like the Pet Shop Boys quite a lot too. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t a lot more people out there who realise the distructive damage of the ID cards legislation on the UK way of life. On that subject, I just renewed my passport until the end of 2016, don’t require another renewal for the US (since the deadline for biometric passports just got extended) and can probably get by for the next decade without renewing again. That’ll hopefully give me time to not need another UK passport in the future (I really don’t plan on returning here in the longer term – this country is getting worse by the day).

I suggest that any other UK passport holders immediately renew their passport in case the legislation is repealed before the mandatory introduction of ID cards in 2010 as you really don’t want those evil fuckwits having all of that personal data in their giant wankerbase. They’ll be selling your details on ebay, thanks to some missing laptop, before not too long. I’d rant for a bit longer, but it’s just not worth it. This country has gone to the dogs. Who can really claim that the US is any worse? They’ve both got idiots at the helm.

Did you know that you too can join liberty?


LinuxWorld Boston

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

I’m over in Boston from Friday (2006/03/31) for 9 days. I’ll be at LinuxWorld and then hanging around for some meetings and to check out the local area on the weekend. If you’re in town and we haven’t already arranged to hook up next week, please send me mail.


A weekend in Canada

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Photo: Maple Tea. I brought back 4 boxes (800g) and some Inuit herbal tea too.

So ajh invited people to a party over the weekend. Since I’d gotten an invite, I wasn’t about to let 3306 miles get in the way of some fun, so I hopped on a plane on Friday night, stayed for the party and then flew back on Sunday. This was a trial run to see if weekend transatlantic trips really are feasible (they are) and I get to do it all again on Friday – I’m off to LinuxWorld in Boston.

Andrew and Emilie’s Mardi Gras was quite amusing and I got to see a couple of other people I know in Ottawa too (though there are more to catch up with next time). We had dinner on Friday night and (aside from the party) a sedate Saturday afternoon getting ready around the house. We went shopping at the new Tea Shop location at the Byward Market and I used that as an opportunity to buy 800g of maple tea (Whittard now have some samples that I gave them on the way back home). On Sunday, I went for a stroll around parliament hill and reminded myself how much I still want to live in Canada some day – I’m sure living in Boston will be great, albeit without the context of the fantastic Canadian way of life.

Check out the photos on my flickr pages. I’ve got a load of photos on the cameraphone from the weekend too, but that’ll have to wait until I feel like taking it apart (perhaps another few hours then).

One thing’s for sure, I’m not coming back here. Not any time soon. I’ve really gone off the notion of living in the United Kingdom. Our legislature sucks, the whole thing is built on outdated class models and we have no fundamental rights. Plus the signage in this country really really sucks :-) I got back to Heathrow to find that they’ve managed yet another round of central bus station optimization. They’ve not bothered to hook up any of the information systems but they have managed to stick up really tiny and pointless signs that nobody can see without having already done the right thing (typically British). It’s ceased to amuse me that this stuff happens here and is moaned about in a joking way. It’s just plain broken.

Anyway. I got back, submitted some figures for one of the book chapters and got back to work. But not for long. It wasn’t very long until I discovered that apogee (my router) had finally gotten very unhappy with the ailing/failing disk that it’s had for a while. I replaced the disk only to find that the one I’d replaced it with was also faulty, the disk cable was too long and out of spec (I didn’t build this machine as I picked it up used) and a lot of other things. I do need to fix this all properly by dropping all these machines at home altogether and moving such facilities over to colo accounts, but that’ll take me a bit longer to get sorted how I want. Anyway, in the meantime, I seem to be back online again.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to spare a thought for those customs guys I met on Friday night. Now, doing these crazy weekend trips may be fun, but not in the eyes of customs officials. They “knew” I was up to something, but couldn’t figure out what it was (I was genuinely just at a party, yes, I’ll fly that far for fun with no strings attached) so decided to spend about 20-30 minutes figuring it out. They called my friend, checked my bags, rooted around my laptop, that kind of thing. At least I’ve now got a precident for doing this so that when I do it again in another month or two, it’ll hopefully be less of an issue (or more of one, if they think they can find a pattern or something). For once I will agree that they were just doing their job – I bumped into the same customs guy on Sunday night as we were both buying food at Harveys. I told him that I really had been there for the weekend and really was leaving. I think he might have finally believed me.


killall -9 Firefox

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Well, it had to happen eventually. Firefox finally became the bloatzilla mozilla always was.

Yep, that’s right. This is yet another rant about the stupid caching feature they added in 1.5 in an effort to find a way to waste as much RAM as is possible in a particular machine. This might be a packaging issue (I’ll leave that caveat), but I don’t think so. The fact is, today I had to kill firefox several times with RSS’s of 234MB and other shocking amounts of waste. That’s giving mozilla a run for its money. But it hadn’t even started – last week, the damn thing managed to bring the machine down to such a crawl that it took almost an hour for the system to page itself out of a frenzy.

I’ll try upgrading to the next release, but if they don’t quickly see the folly of what’s going on there then I guess I’ll have to look for another browser in a hurry. No, I don’t want an option to turn it off, I want it to not be broken in the first place. Hint: the previous release was perfect in that it did everything I need from a browser.


Upcoming Ottawa Visit

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

I’m going to be swinging by Ottawa for ajh’s house party this coming weekend (24-26 March). If you’re in town and want coffee, mail me.