iPlayer Update

Managed to download a file; it doesn’t block so badly at 5pm. Can’t get the file to play in any way, shape or form. There is, however, a solution. What you do is click on the "download to windows media player" link. This gives you a straight forward URL from which you can http download. This is actually better, in many ways. You can use what ever download manager you like, including a vaguely capable one. You don’t have to guess which file is which as you did before. And as soon as some one has worked out how to pull the URLs out of the BBC’s UI, we should be able to circumvent the entire process of going to their website. So, perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom after all. Originally published on my old blog site.

BBC iPlayer Desktop

Just been forced to "upgrade" to this, despite having no desire to. It’s very impressive. It will only do a single download at a time and is current reporting 10 hours left for a 1 hour programme; the old BBC IPlayer would download in about real-time, certainly after 10pm in the evening. I did manage to download one programme in 5 mins, but sadly the file was only 32k at the end and it wouldn’t play; really, really broken. And, of course, it’s ditched my existing programmes despite promising to keep them. Apparently, they have ditched P2P for IPlayer Desktop; good idea, if you ask me. Lower CPU load, no upload traffic generally good. But you have to upgrade your servers, guys. And, of course, the entire internet, to avoid the slowest link effect. Very poor in…

Jaunty

Did the update. RC1 is out which is a reasonable time. If I updated on the release day it would have taken for ever; last time, it took something like 2 hours. This time the whole process was over and done with in an hour. It’s all been relatively painless. So far only two problems. Obviously my marble mouse configuration stopped working again, and I had to change all my HAL scripts; luckily, this is now better documented than before. A great relief because following through the myriad pieces of advice on how to do this every update was getting taxing. And, secondly, they’ve introduced something called "screen-profiles" which is colour schemes for screen; very nice, I’m sure, but when it seems to be kicked off when I start screen with an aliases, asking me lo…

Functioning in the Upper Reaches of Knowledge

When Peter Murray-Rust restarted blogging recently, I must admit that to having mixed feelings. His blog is very interesting, often insightful and entertaining. He is, however, rather prolific, making up a considerable chunk of my RSS inbox. This would be okay if he was dull, of course, as I’d just unsubscribe, but it’s not true. As a case in point, he recently talked about Ontological Wars; this lead me to the Upper Ontology page on wikipedia which I’d not read before. Mostly of this page is not about upper ontologies but two sides sniping at each other about why upper ontologies are or are not possible. Since the whole idea of upper ontologies came into bio-ontologies, I have to admit to being deeply ambivalent about them; I can see the appeal, of course. There is a …

Emacs and Blogs

People seem to be talking about my post on upper ontologies. Half of them are moaning about my blog software. Look, the point is that the user interface is nice and simple for me. I just type stuff into a text editor, I can do it offline and it all works. No one else needs to use it if they don’t want to! Of course, it would be good to use something better, but not if I have to fiddle with any of the 100s of rubbish online editors that I’ve seen. And it’s too hard to change now. Bah, humbug. Originally published on my old blog site.

Cygwin Problems

I’ve been getting recurrent problems with the ssh service on cygwin. It was crashing with a wierd fork, malloc style error that I just had no chance of debugging. It’s been causing me real grief. sshfs has stopped working, unison has had problems. But it’s only been intermittent, so I never got around to fixing it. Today, I did the google thing. And the cause? Think hard, have a guess, I promise you will be surprised. My web cam drivers. Of course, I hid the critical information from you — I have attached a device from Logitech to my machine; I’ve ranted about logitech before, but this one takes the biscuit. They really do make some of the worse software known to man. I mean, how are you supposed to figure this one out? Hmmm, a key component of my secure ne…

Chumbawamba

I used to listen to the Chumbas lots. They bestrode the 80’s and the 90’s particularly as a live band; they were constants on the festival scene. They consistently produced wonderful pop records, danceable and wonderful, underpinned with an anarcist heart and strong political message which always seemed at a counterpoint to their lightness of their sound. Unfortunately, I was really busy in the 90’s and never saw them live, which was a pity; so I was a bit surprised when they turned up in the SAGE programme; why not, I thought. Turns out, in the mean time, they have transmogrified into a 4-piece acoustic folk band; the harmony and lyricism of “homophobia” has ceased to be a standout and become their mainstay. As in the past, they retain their ear for catc…

Eliot Brood

Turns out that I have not actually been inside the Tyne pub before, although I walk or ride past it more or less everyday. Nice place inside; has a slightly mid-west US feel, with a long bar, high stools and a Budwieser neon sign. Fortunately, the beer bears little resemblence to the US counter-part, and they’ve put coat hooks under the bar, which means your jacket doesn’t great trambled when it falls of the back of your chair. There were 3 support acts on; all three were pretty poor at promoting themselves and I didn’t pick up the names, although the last one sounded improbably like “The Courgette Sisters”. First, up where man, woman, two guitars, nice songs. Fluent and organised, there were fairly good, although perhaps moving toward the inoffensive end …

I hate latex

I just spent 40 minutes trying to get the Bioinformatics class files working under linux. Pain in the ass. The problem is that Ubuntu has moved from teTeX to TeXLive, so things are all different. Canonical have also screwed around with TeXLive and teTeX a little also, so that they can install either; hence you have /usr/share/texmf-texlive rather than /usr/share/texmf. Under no circumstances could I get it to work; it just would not recognise the class file. I tried: adding it to ~/documents/tex which is my TEXINPUTS. This is my usual technique. Didn’t work. Adding it to ~/texmf which is, apparently, the recommended technique. Didn’t work. Adding it to /usr/share/texmf-texlive and running texhash and makelsr. Didn’t work. Adding it to /var/tex. Didn’t work. Addi…

Relative Risk

I’m kind of irritated by the response to David Nutt’s comments on Ecstasy and horse riding. He’s been widely slated by various politicians, desperate to get their "tough on drugs" soundbites. "There’s no comparison", said one. "Horse riding teaches you discipline", he said, making a comparison. Well, yes, maybe it does. But it also rather likely to kill, cripple or maim you. It’s not an issue of choice, of opinion, whether horse riding and ecstasy are as dangerous as each other, it’s an issue of evidence, and measurement. We can, potentially, answer the question. What we choose to do about it is a different issue, but, having measured the risk, to argue against ecstacy on the basis of danger is a poor argument if there ar…