Start the Week with Craig Venter

Craig Venter was on the start the week. I meant to miss it, but ended up listening by random chance. It was strange; he was thoughtful, understated, entirely reasonable and only talk about how great he was once. Unexpected to say the least. Originally published on my old blog site.

Upside Down

Just put a DVD upside down into my windows machine (there were no labels on it, so this was not hard). Windows hung, then told me explorer was not responding, then killed itself, then rebooted. Impressive. Originally published on my old blog site.

Jim Watson

I was going to see him talk on Sunday at Newcastle but it turns out that he’s gone home instead. I’m reasonably irritated about this to be honest. I mean, I know he keeps on coming out with these daft statements, but I was going to see hear what he had to say; more just to experience a piece of history. Maybe a bit pathetic, but his work has helped to define my own working life and it would have been good to see it. There seems to be a theme running along here. I was hoping to see Bo Diddley earlier this year but then he had a stroke. Originally published on my old blog site.


Had to kill this on Ubuntu also. It’s eating my entire disk IO all the time making it not very usuable. For the moment, I’ve just tried turning off the "watching" and left "indexing" on. I don’t know what "watching" or "indexing" actually does. I’m not impressed; this is not windows; having a nice GUI does not mean that you don’t have to write technical documentation. Originally published on my old blog site.

Leather and Chrome

Richard Thompson — excellent as always, sold out the Sage again. I’ve realised now why I prefer his solo shows to his band shows. As he sells out, he always plays big venues like the Sage which are, basically, horrible. To enjoy a band gig, you need to stand up and dance; failing this jigging about from side to side would work. The best band gig I went to was in Edinburgh; half way through I went to the loo, then spent the rest of the gig standing up at the back and had a great time. Throw out the chairs! Originally published on my old blog site.

Updated to Gutsy

A Vmware upgrade didn’t work for me. So I decided to update to Gutsy, the new version of Ubuntu. It mostly worked. Texlive was problematic, but I tracked this down to a copy of language.dat in my TEXINPUTS. Installing from a root console would have solved it, but in the end I just deleted language.dat which shouldn’t have been there. Everything else worked straight away, no worries. Well, except for Xorg of course. It didn’t get the widescreen working, nor the track ball scroll wheel emulation. I had to hack the config file by hand. One day, this will all work, but not yet. Originally published on my old blog site.

Dave Cowan's leaving do

Last week I went to Dave Cowan’s leaving do. No idea who he was, but he decided to get Jess Klein to play. Kindly, he decided to open up the gig to the public which included me. Jess was excellent again, better than the Cluny I would say. The gig was in the Black Swan centre which I’ve not been too, and the sound is far better than the Cluny with it’s odd shape. Had a talk with Jess afterwards; I’d had a few pints by this time so I wittered inconsequentially. Ah, well, I guess that she is used to it. Originally published on my old blog site.

Backups are great

I reinstituted incremental backups a few days ago. I have a nice, new, big hard-drive now, so I thought why not. My data is actually copied to quite a few machines, so having a backup on the same hard drive as the data is less of a problem that it seems. Anyway, a few days later, for the first time in ages, I found today that I had deleted a file I really, really needed but was able to recover it. Let this be a lesson. Backups are good. Originally published on my old blog site.


One of my bike tyres exploded last night. Rather unusual — in fact, I’ve never had it happen before. The side wall was a bit knackered. It’s loosened from the bead, which slipped off, and the tube went bang. At 100PSI (I haven’t gone metric for pressure measures yet!) that’s quite a bang. My ear took an hour or two to stop ringing. Sadly this was just after I finished changing the tube which was, therefore, brand new. Pain. Originally published on my old blog site.

Fusesmb again and Encfs

I did get this working in the end. Basically, my /etc/samba/smb.conf was wrong and needed fiddling with; gnome even provides a GUI for doing this ("Shared Folders"). Setting the domain and the WINS server and everything works. Fusesmb is great; I have now symlinked in the machines that I want. It only seems to understand paths like //CAMPUS/machine_name/share which is a bit of a pain; paths like //internal/web which work within CS don’t work here. I had to find the machine names by ls-lR’ing through the entirety of SMB space. It’s also very slow, so listing directories with a symlink to an SMB location can be a pain. But, given all of this, it’s still great. Having a mount at the file system level rather than in the GUI works well for me. I have comman…