Laptop update

Well, I’ve managed to resolve pretty well all the issues. The only issue left is caused by Linux’s ACPI sub-system not being able to properly suspend without crashing the machine.

On my old laptop I got around this by using APM rather than ACPI for power management. Unfortunately, the NDIS windows driver running under ndiswrapper won’t run unless ACPI is fully in control.

I’ve upgraded the system to the latest Linus kernel, 2.6.6, and made sure all the optimisations for the Athlon 64, including the PowerNow! power control options. Now the CPU fan runs quietly when it runs at all and the battery lasts a very much longer time.

New laptop

I’m typing this on my new laptop. It’s running Linux, the WiFi interface is working using a combination of ndiswrapper and the windows device driver and everything’s hunky dory.

Well, not quite. Citylink didn’t deliver the machine until midday yesterday even though I paid for before 10:30am delivery and the extended warranty pack wasn’t included. I’ll contact the vendor to sort these things out as the before 10:30am delivery cost an extra £10 and the extra warranty has to be registered within a fortnight. I’m sure this will all be sorted out.

As for the laptop itself, it turns out to be not that much heavier than my old one and is only a bit bigger. The fan runs quite a lot under Linux ‘cos the ACPI isn’t as advanced as under Windows, where the CPU fan just sort of ticks over. Remember, this is an AMD Athlon64 3200+ so it’s not a slow processor.

One thing I think Acer have made a mistake with is selling the machine in the UK without the Bluetooth chip and leaving the bluetooth button on the machine. I have the top of the range machine yet they’ve left out the bluetooth chip, which would probably cost about £10 to install. Now, £10 is an insignificant amount relative to the cost of the machine, so it’s a case of spoilling the ship for a ha’p’th of tar.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty impressive package and I’m very pleased with it.

Atop a hill

I’m typing this while sat on top of White Horse Hill watching radio controlled glider and sky larks and listening to their chatter as they fly high and then decend.

It’s a beautiful late spring day. The sun is shining in between the intermittent thermal induced clouds. The brease is slightly coX

PS. I’ll continue where my Treo truncated my posting (well, as much of it as I can remember)…

The brease is slightly cool, but that’s fine when you’ve walked a couple of miles along the ridgeway to get here.


It’s Saturday morning and I’m in work.

I’ve just completed upgrading our Cisco 2600 router’s memory, flash memory and OS image and, thank goodness, it all works!

As for plans for the rest of the weekend, they’re an absolute blank. I made sure that today was left clear as i didn’t know how long the router upgrade might take if things went wrong. Tomorrow I just didn’t plan for.

This is the first weekend I’ve had at home alone since before Easter. This has mostly been due to my parents having to stay so as to take care of my uncle’s estate plus one weekend visiting Em and Jerry.

On another note, I’m being tempted to buy a new laptop. The one I have is fine as far as the actual machine itself is concerned. However, I’m finding the 800×600 resolution of the screen highly restrictive when trying to read today’s web pages etc. Unfortunately, you can’t just swap the screen out. Still, the machine is 3.5 years old, which in terms of PC’s is rather old.

The machine I’ve been tempted by is the Acer Aspire 1501LMi or maybe the 1502LMi. Athlon 64 goodness for about £1000, the same price as my old Travelmate 201T 3.5 years ago.

Still, I’m going to wait until my credit card bill comes so I can pay off the cost of my B5 DVDs before buying anything more.

Weekend of serious playtime.

This weekend i travelled up to Bolton to see _paddington_ and _jander_ along with thier little ones Laura and Amy.

Saturday morning I managed to raise myself at 5am-ish for a 6am start. This was increadibly difficult and i couldn’t really face breakfast at that hour so merely had a couple of biscuits and some orange juice.

I finally dragged myself out th edoor by 5:50am and started the long journey oop’nort’ to Bolton. At first I took it easy doing only 65-70mph but after a while i just let the car get up to 80mph and let it cruise there as it hadn’t been all that happy at the lower speed as it was slightly below its optimum power band in 5th gear.

The weather wasn’t all that great alternating between dull but dry and heavy drizzle. Thankfully, the road never got wet enough that the cars and lorries in front produced spray. Spray on the motorway is just horrid to drive through.

At 7:20 I pulled into Keele services. Not only did I need to go to the loo but I really needed to have a rest. I was definitely getting on the borderline to drive. After the comfort break part I decided that I needed a good waking up so I proceeded to the café bit of the services where I partook of a latté and a “morning starter” cooked breakfast. This plus a five minute nap in the car before I started gave me the energy to continue the journey.

I arrived and Em and Jerry’s house at around a quarter past 9 and was welcomed to tea and good company. Laura was initially shy but soon came out of her shell and Amy was just being cute, as she was most of the weekend.

Later in the day we visited such cultural highlights as Bolton can muster, namely the museum. Which, was smallish, airy and had some ideas of grandure but is was a nice place to visit all the same. Afterwards we picked up pizza and went back to Em & Jerry’s house to eat it. Staying awake, even on my feet was proving difficult at this point. While standing on the stairs inseid the museum I was having unintentional microsleepos while standing up!

The rest of the day is a little hazy but I think it was mostly playing with Laura and Amy with a nice adult-ish conversation after they went to bed.

Sunday started later, thank goodness. Although I had slept more during the night I was nowhere near 100% awake. It was first off to church followed by a wonderful roast lunch and then a trip to an Elizabethan house 5 minutes by car from Em and Jerry’s house where Laura and Em dressed up in costumes. Em and I walked back through surprisingly rural, wooded paths whilst Jerry, Laura and Amy drove back. Laura insisted that Jerry meet us on the road before we got right back to their house.

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with Laura (a picture from which can be seen on _paddington_‘s journal) before I had to make my way home.

As usual, the M6 was abysmal going south on a Sunday afternoon. Between Knutsford and the new M6 toll road the traffic hardly ever moved faster than 30mph and was regularly 10mph or less. Most of the traffic peeled off onto the new toll road leaving the old M6 pretty clear through the whole of Birmingham.

I finally got home at 8:15pm, did as little house work as possible before going to bed.

This mornign I’m still not fully recovered but I’m sure a couple of early nights can get me back up to speed.

B5 overdose

My boxed sets of Babylon 5 series 3 & 4 have arrived! 🙂 are still out of stock of the series 2 set so I’m going to have to wait for those. Still, next week will be a B5 fest.

Panning Beagle 2.

Well, it had to happen, mud is being slung in the Beagle 2 story. Notably, it seems from this report [The Register] that the reason that Beagle 2 failed was mainly due to the project leader was overloaded by having to both seek funding and work on the device all in an accellerated timeframe.

Now, for anyone who has worked in British academia and has witnessed how funding works for research this would be seen to be the norm. ie. That’s the way british research works, or possibly doesn’t. Researchers have to spend all their time searching for money, sending huge amounts of paperwork to the funding councils to prove that they are actually researching things. Not only this, but, in general before the councils will fund something they want to know what they’re going to discover. (Yes, they want the results guaranteed before they will fund research to find out what’s out there!)

Also in that article they mention a report by the National Audit Office about their ideas. it’s obvious from even the cursory summary of the report given that they haven’t a clue about how to gauge scientific or exporational endeavours when it comes to cost benefit analysis. They’re probably fine when it comes to finding out how well councils have spent money on rubbish collection, however.