Addendum to manual:

Ever since I wrote a comment in Smiddly’s journal last week about detaching and looking at life from a totally disjoint perspective, and having done so to write the comment, I’ve had problems re-attaching. Indeed, I’ve felt choked, as if wanting to cry for most of this time with no need to actually cry or knowing why I’d want to.


Addendum to user manual:

Do not use detached mode as this may cause system instability.

Other news:

Other than this it’s not been a bad week. Unexpectedly busy at the weekend though. Sometimes I would have liked a busy weekend, but this weekend I wanted to sleep. Oh well 🙂

Thank goodness, it’s Thursday!

It’s Thursday evening already!

The week’s flown by, well other than then continuing hassle of trying to build KDE 3.0. I got the Linux build mostly done, the only problem being that the helpfiles didn’t work. The Solaris build got stuck in kdelibs with some very terminal errors. I’ll start from scratch on both of these and document the failures so I can pass them on as bug reports.

I see On/ITV Digital have finally died. I’m not that surprised, really. They rushed to market about 6 months to a year before the technology was ready because otherwise they would have been left in the dust of SkyDigital. Unfortunately, because the technology wasn’t fully ready they weren’t really up to compete anyway. Well, that and Sky had the resources behind it to kill the competition using marketting and loss-leading which On Digital just couldn’t do.

Still, it is quite sad. The technology had potential and the user front-end, IMHO, was far better than the one on Sky set-top boxes.

Nice sunny day.. KDE-3.0 grumble, grumble.

First the good thing.. it’s nice, warm and sunny! This means I’ll have to mow the meadow in the back garden tonight.

Secondly, I’m annoyed at the KDE maintainers who profess that the KDE-3.0 release was fit for compilation on Linux and Solaris out of the box.. they lied.. It compiles on neither without a good hacking of header files and config scripts. It is obvious that no-one has taken the whole release tree, put it on a clean machine and tried to run the complete compile process from scratch. This is the sort of thing which gives Open Source software a bad name.

Some would say “why not use one of the binary distributions?” To that I’d reply that most of these distributions are built with an isolated, single machine in mind. We need here to have the distribution to sit under a directory structure on a networked, shared disk and we need it to co-exist with previous versions. The binary distributions for linux are almost always packaged as non-relocatable RPMs which throw everything into /usr (<RANT>where only the base OS should ever go, not optional or local software </RANT>). The solaris packages usually muck up the /etc/dt dtlogin stuff. Grrrrrr!

And then..

Hmm.. shall I do one of those “…and then…” lists of events type entries or something different?

Maybe I should try something different.. a scrambled, random temporal line of events and just leave the order of events as a puzzle.

I visited a nice Indian restaurant and had a fun time.

I slept most of the morning and then pootled around the garden attacking defenseless and not so defenceless plants with saw and secateurs.

I had a fun time in London at the By The Gods thingy. Lumch was going to be Moroccan but due to the chef of the restaurant not being ready we had to eat in Pizza Express instead where I cheesed off the waiter by politely asking for a clean glass when he brought a dirty one.. he was surly from then on. Despite that Maureen thought we should tip anyway.

I was invited out for the evening unexpectedly by a couple of friends who couldn’t make it to my celebration of 10 years here in Oxford. The evening turned out to be “interesting” as after we’d finished eating the two of them started getting into an argument over their current living situation which ended in tears. Myself and the other two guests tried not to listen and have our own conversation and keep out of the war.

I’ve decided that after reviewing my feelings that recently I’ve not had any strong ones at all. Never mind.. they just get in the way anyway. I guess that means I’m comfortably numb or something.

What brought this on was the realisation that I didn’t actually fancy anyone at the moment.. sort of zero libido effect. Maybe it’s just that there’s no-one fanciable at the moment or maybe I’m just going through an a-sexual phase. Dunno. It’s not really a problem, I guess.

Fire alarm.

We’ve just had a fire alarm go off in the dept.. which meant I had to stand outside for 20 minutes wearing just as t-shirt ‘cos I was out of the office at the time.. now I’m chilly.

Still, it made the day more interesting.

Mid-week blues.

It’s a dull and boring day today, I’m just waiting for a number of things to come back from vendors (information) and rebooting our main server when it decides to go catatonic, which it’s done twice this morning. The weather’s on the decline a bit too.

Still, I’ve got tomorrow evening’s 10th anniversary at Oxford dinner to look forward to. I’ve just got one reply outstanding before I can book the table with the correct number of people.

I totally failed to get the car washed last night as by the time I got home I was feeling so knackered that I just flopped on the sofa and dozed in front of the telly all evening. It’ll have to wait ’til Saturday morning at least now as tonight will be taken up with talking to parents on the phone and doing video recording for a friend who hasn’t got Sky. Tomorrow evening I’m out having dinner and Friday is the normal happy hour stuff so God knows when I’ll get home after that.

Time for a knapp?

On Bullet this morning a discussion insued starting with why marketting people are using the term “Blade” for computers which are not at all extremely thin with a sharp, cutting edge.

Anyway, during this kensei said that the use of the term “blade” mean the use of componets attached to a board via some sort of card bus instead of having discrete components on the board.

To me, this doesn’t really give the idea of blades.. it’s more like thin bits of silicon, chips off the block, or flakes. Thinking this further, the term “flake” for a silicon device is very apt and has symetry.

In pre-history and in the “stone age” flint (a form of quartz, silicon oxide) was knapped producing flint flakes which were then processed further to produce cutting blades, arrow heads etc. The cores were also used to make axes etc. Today, we use silicon in our technologies.. the silicon rather than the silicate age.

With this thought, maybe it would be better to name chips, flakes and the process of making them knapping instead of fabrication. Then you’d have flake manufacturing knapping plants! 🙂

Just idle thoughts..

Boingy! Boingy! Boingy!

A sunny Mondya morning.. that sun sure helps getting up int he morning.

Anyway, quick resume of events so far in the previous episode of “Life”:-

Friday saw lots of little work jobs followed by re-installing ER Mapper on all the undergrad PCs all afternoon due to the clocks changing. (The time change causes the licensing software to think it’s been hacked.. the only way to get it working again is to uninstall, re-install and then call the manufacturer for a new license! Apparently this will be fixed in the next version.) Then the card swipe system stopped reading cards at 16:59, just too late to call out engineers.

I was, therefore, very glad of the nice social chat I had all evening as the dept’s “Happy Hour” extended ’til 20:45. T’was nice nattering with those two hippy 4th year undergrad women about life and stuff. (Before anyone asks, they’re both happily in stable relationships.) It meant, however, i got home too late to eat, so watched telly a bit then went to bed.

Saturday morning was a bit rushed as I needed to go and get the weekly shopping and then go to Sinoco to buy a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and memory for the Hartlands before zooming off to Hartley Wintney to visit Alec, getting there for midday.

Visiting Sinoco is always a deeply risky thing for me to do. It’s all too easy for me to get tempted by all those nice computer bits. Saturday’s visit was no exception.. I went in for the bits for the Hartlands and came out with not only those two items but an Athlon XP 1800+, heatsink/fan, motherboard and a case. Oh well.. I HAVE been thinking about upgrading my PIII 500MHz machine (or rather, cascading the guts down to my Dad to upgrade his system) for a while now since games on the Computer Shopper cover disk no-longer worked fully due to the machine being below minimum spec.

The fixing of Alec’s bike took rather less time than expected. From the description Alec gave me before I went it seemed to me that it was rusted solid and needed a rebuild. In fact, when I saw the machine all it needed was a good oil with 3-in-1 and a little gunge removing from the derailier cogs.

I had a very pleasant afternoon at Ramtops with Rachel, Graham and Christopher.. on and Fi who popped around. The flapjacks were most enjoyable as was the company. Oh, and the computer upgrade went well too, though we discovered there was no DVD playing software sold with the DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive.

Sunday started at about 9am.. though I woke up at 6:15am for some unknown reason. It’s not as if Alec’s spare bedroom is noisey. Had a nice quiet morning listening to the radio and then surveying Alec’s “front” garden before trundling home to watch the Grand Prix on telly.

The fact that I didn’t actually see much of the Grand Prix in the end (though I did hear it) was due to the drawn of those boxes sitting waiting for me in the living room. You can guess, can’t you? Yes.. I spent the afternoon building the new incarnation of my PC and gutting the old one. The only problem with this new case is that the holes for the 5.25″ drive bays don’t fit my old 5.25″ floppy drive so I couldn’t fit it. :-/

My good intensions about cutting the grass in the back garden and washing the car came to nought, as you might imagine when there’s the draw of technological tinkering. Oh well. 🙂

…and that brings us up to date.

This week’s excitement merely involves going out to an indian restaurant on Thursday night to celebrate 10 years working here in the dept. of Earth Sciences at the Univeristy of Oxford. It should be fun.


In most social groups the taboo subjects are religion, politics and the similar. It seems on LiveJournal at the moment that mental health issues are the ones which cause the most uproar and vitriol.

This was brought into focus by a posting yesterday which has generated a whole raft of comments, often taking some small part of a comment and blowing it out of proportion.

I was also surprised and dismayed by the way one of the commentators seemed to think that one particular part of a comment I made was aimed at himself. In fact, I didn’t even think of him when posting and was talking generallities. The word “sometimes” qualifying the “kick up the arse” seemed to be forgotten. This would change the meaning of the sentence from being one saying that occasionally the action would be helpful and appropriate to it should always be done.

Still, this still doesn’t clarify what the term “giving someone a kick up the arse” could mean in reality. As in the normal form of the term, rather than the metaphor, there is a difference between a tap with the side of the foot and a whalloping great kick causing damage. Maybe I should have used a wording such as “shaking the person out of complacency in a firm but constructive manner” but that doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The other worrying thing I find is the idea that to be helpful to someone you have to always be supportive and sympathetic. In this life, often support and sympathy ARE the right things to give, however, on other occasions you do have to point out to people that things they are doing or saying or thinking aren’t right in a way which may SEEM harsh at the time. It’s just like a mother forcing a baby to ween, not nice for the baby at the time but the best thing for the baby in the longer term.