The end of one and the beginning of another.

Well, it’s the weedend, or rather the end of one.

This is the last weekend I have free until after Christmas. Next weekend I’m working moving data from one disk to a set of others.. User’s home directories and the local software.

The week after that I’m visiting the Hartlands down in Yately. And the following weekend I travel back down to Cornwall for a couple of weeks.

So, what have I been up to this weekend? Well, yesterday was merely a shopping day. I found a useful place for generic clothing at reasonable prices.. Matalan. Other than that (and the half an hour it took to get out of the car park (I really hate the John Allen Centre car park)) I didn’t get up to much. I was fighting off a building sinus headache all day, which was annoying.

Today’s been pretty productive. I’ve cleared out to a certain degree my cupboard under the stairs. Enough, at least, to modify the shelving and clear enough space for the 4 draw filing cabinet I should be getting tomorrow. I’ve also managed to replace both front and rear brake blocks on my bike, which were near total failure.

This evening I’ve been flying about on X-Plane testing the global scenery. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with this part of the program. There’s some correlation between its world and this, but it’s very slight. Definitely not enough to fully navigate by. The landmarks aren’t really up to scratch for a start. London’s rather small, with few houses and when did they install a cooling tower in Camden? Oh, and who stole Didcot power station!

It’s a pitty that the program doesn’t use a good DEM and some low-res landsat imagry, which should be reasonably cheap these days.


I’ve just got home from the very first (and probably last) black tie dinner I’ve ever been to.

My impression? It’s the same as any other dinner except you have to dress up in a suit and a poncy bow tie.

Maybe it’s ‘cos I don’t drink, but I seemed be having a lot less fun than other people there and didn’t feel the urge to go to the seedy night club across the road from where we had the meal.

I just feel detached and not at all part of the whole social world out there.

Oh well. Time to brush my teeth and go to bed. Maybe things will look brighter in the morning.

Rain, rain, go away. Come back another day.

Blurgh. Horrid weather. I spent hours yesterday wandering around Oxford city centre in the rain looking for clothes. Specifically, seeing as I’m going to the Geology Society dinner on Tuesday I needed a suit which could pretend to be a dinner suit for the night but also to be a normal suit for other duties. I was also looking to see if any shops sold generic t-shirts at a resonable price.

Anyway, my SAAB umbrella did its thing and kept me dry. On the search front, it was a mixed success. I managed to find a suit. However, it was only in Moss Bros. that I could actually find any suits of my size (36-short) as other outlets such as Alders, Debenhams etc. all started their sizes at 38-regular or even 40-regular. Clothes shops obviously only cater for something like the 50 percentile of the population. However, I do now have a suit, from Moss Bros. and it cost £99.

On the t-shirt front, it was a total failure. The designer brands have won, totally. Nowhere could I find any shops selling non-designer t-shirts for exhorbitant amounts of money. What happened to the boxes of t-shirts costing about £15-£20? I think I’ll have to join the Matalan store system and look there for reasonably priced clothes. How can they charge £25 for a t-shirt when you can buy a properly tailored suit for £99?

Hmm.. it’s still gloomy and raining… I wish it would stop.

Big Cat Diary

Well, Panther’s installed on my iMac now.

I had a few problems getting the automounter to work, but that was all configuration silliness on the Sun rather than on MacOS.

So, now the machine’s fully integrated on the network with NIS/YP for authentication and automounting NFS home directories.

As for the speed of operation. Well, it’s adiquate. I’m not sure I’d like to run the system on a slower machine or one with less memory (400Mhz G3, 390MB RAM). Overall, though, for a new OS on an old bit of hardware (iMac DV Summer 2000) it’s pretty impressive. Oh, and it comes with a half decent X server too! 😉

PS. (08:45am 21/11/03)
The best site i’ve found for MacOS X and NIS/NFS integration I’ve found is this one. Though I did replace their YP Makefile script with a perl script which does things a bit better under Solaris.


Yestday my copy of the Special extended DVD version of The Two Towers arrived.. so I watched it last night, admittedly skipping a few chapters which hadn’t been modified from the theatrical release so i could get to bed at a reasonable time. My impression is that it is a better film, though I can see why some of the scenes were left out, mostly due to stilted dialog and/or really bad singing. On the whole, there wasn’t that much more entishness but Faramir’s character was totally revised into something more similar to that in the book, ie. he no longer looks like a younger Boromir clone but shows his more thoughtful and measured side which is in stark releif to his brother’s impetuous manner.

This morning I stopped off at our local Apple dealer and bought MacOS X 10.3 Panther for my iMac. If I could I’d rather not use this outfit as they are totally useless organisationally but I need to use them to get educational discount. It seems that Apple are sorely let down by their distribution channels. Great products, great marketting, hopeless retail agents.

Grrrr… 2

I got my bike back this evening. As I had thought, the shop fleeced me not only for the inner tube but also for a tyre. That was a bill of £18 in total.

I did say fleeced.


I got a puncture in the rear wheel tyre of my bike this morning when I was about a mile out from home. I was, however, only about a quarter of a mile from a bike shop. OK, so it was a bike shop I vowed never to use again after they took nearly 2 years to get a chain guard and then didn’t really fit it correctly. (Oh, and other problems when they attempted to fix my gears.) Still, there was no choice this time. I had to be in work to set up a digital projector before 10am, so I left the bike there.

I wish people wouldn’t leave bits of their vehicles laying in the road. This chunk was about 10cm long and 2cm wide, bent into a crescent and made of aluminium. it would have punctured a car tyre if a car had run over it. I don’t know how I failed to see it before I ran over it.

That was the week that was.

OK, a bit of a mega round up of a week’s events…

Monday night was filled with much merriment and hot food in Reading. Alec, Grim, Holly, Tom, Matt, Jon, Violette and myself met up in the Yellow River Cafe in the Oracle complex for a meal before going to see Matrix: Revolutions. It was a really fun evening all in aid of Holly’s birthday later in the week. I got home at about midnight but couldn’t get to sleep ’til a lot later.

As for the film itself. If you like hollywood action films and don’t mind a dodgy plot, in my opinion, you’ll love this film. If you’re hoping for a deep meaning which is what you may have thought you might get from the first film, you’ll be disappointed. It’s aimed squarely at the US box office 13-18 male demographic.. which is where the Hollywood studios believe the big money is.

Tuesday evening was spent out ont he town again. This time celebrating another birthday, Paul Freeman’s. Instead of far eastern inspired cuisine it was the more traditional curry. Good food and company was enjoyed. Home by half eleven.

The rest of the week was really just spent catching up with sleep. Happy hour on Friday was quite fun though. I was persuaded to sign myself up for the students’ geolsoc (Geology Society) pre-Christmas dinner, a week tomorrow. This does mean that I will somehow have to find a bow tie and “forget” to wear a jacket as it’s supposed to be black tie and there’s no way I’m going to splash out on a dinner jacket just for one evening.

Saturday night was spent celebrating yet another birthday. There ahve been huge number os of people having birthdays in the past week. So many that I’ve lost count. I think they must all be Valentine’s Day babies.

Anyway, the party was fun and went on ’til very early. Having taken Kat back to her college, I got home at 4am.

Yesterday I awoke at 9am surprisingly awake. Listened to Broadcasting House, where it seems Eddie Mair has been replaced. Got up at around 11am and then proceeded to await the return of my old bike from the postdoc who has been borrowing it for over a year. No phone call nor bike arrived, which meant that the day was wasted a bit as I couldn’t go out into the nice, crisp autumnal weather for a walk.

So, today, I’m back at work. I await the arrival sometime this week of the Extended Edition of the Tow Towers on DVD. I need to renew my car insurance and also need to get a new front sprocket and chain for my bike, as they have worn out after about 9000 miles in all weathers and are starting to slip teeth.

Onwards and upwards!

Happy birthday car.

Today was my car’s third birthday. So, happy birthday to it. It’s done 20550 miles so far in its short life.

The unfortunately, it also means that anything which breaks on the car now are my own problem as the warranty has now expired. Oh well. Oh, and I now have to join the AA as a personal member as well.

On other fronts, I had a rather nice dinner last night at the Bear and Ragged Staff pub/restaurant in Cumnor last night. The meal started with a rather large bowl of lovely, creamy soup followed by a “Barnsley Chop with crushed vegitables in a port sauce.” Yum. Again, the portiton was most generous, which meant that I couldn’t handle the desert course.

Tomorrow evening I’m off to Reading to meet up with Grim, Holly, Nobby (who’s just returned from S.Africa) and others for a meal and then The Matrix: Revolutions.

Tuesday evening will be spent in various pubs and a curry house in Oxford celebrating a friend’s birthday. I then have 3 nights off before Saturday when it’s another friend’s party.

OK, so it sounds as if I have a packed social life. Well, not quite, just like buses, you wait a long long time and then they all turn up at once. A point in case is that I got a second invitation for a night out in Oxford to see the last Matrix film on Monday but had to turn it down. However, I have no other social occations after next Saturday for the rest of the month, or indeed until the Christmas party season.

Oh yes, before I forget, I splashed out on a new domain name for my home systems on Friday… All I have to do now is find out how to assign an address to it! (Oh and build and install a web server on my SPARCstation 4, build a web site and reconfigure my router.)