Sorry I've been down for a day - problems with the latest Cooker MySQL...

When I wrote about our new apartment I forgot to mention the #1 most annoying thing - the fire alarm. On the one hand, it's nice to know we're not very likely to die in our bed if something actually does set on fire. On the other hand, it's probably safe to say the alarm is just a tad too sensitive when it can be triggered by boiling the fricking kettle. I don't make it a general rule to scream at inanimate objects to shut the hell up in Japanese, but for this fire alarm, I'm willing to make an exception...

("shut the hell up" sounds a lot more satisfying in Japanese than in English. One of the great things about learning languages is that you can swear a whole lot more effectively when you have a range to choose from. :>)

New toy!

Happy day - my new headphones arrived. Grado HF-1s, a limited edition being made exclusively for members of head-fi, the site for headphone geeks. I'm loving them so far, so just have to decide whether to donate my old SR-80s to my family or sell 'em. :)


Today's pet peeve - why does Firefox decide to use a different definition of font sizes from every other desktop application? Its idea of a size '11' DejaVu Sans is not the same idea as every other app on my desktop, and it's making me tetchy. (Yes, Firefox's OWN DPI SETTING (and why does it have one?! GNOME having one different from the X setting is bad enough, but Firefox having its own is just unforgivable. Use the damn system setting. That's what system settings are for. Or do you, Firefox, perhaps think you are running on a unique and special display that none of the rest of my system is running on?) is set the same as all my other DPI settings. Yes, I'm sure there's a much more specific technical explanation than the one I'm giving here. Firefox is using points instead of pixels or pixels instead of points or some damn thing. I don't care. It shouldn't be. Grr.

NetworkManager blah blah blah

Well, after reading one too many NETWORKMANAGER IS GOD posts on, I can't resist reminding people that Mandriva has drakroam. In Mandriva 2006, it has spanky integration with net_applet, the little network status icon that's in the notification area on a default install. Go ahead, try it out. If you use wireless you may have noticed the net_applet icon is now a wireless signal strength indicator, not just a little plug. Right click on it and you'll see - hey! - wireless network roaming! And a handy link to drakroam for configuring keys, static IP addresses and so on. And ours even works with WPA, how's that for a novel concept.

How do you like them apples, SUSE?!



The Register's coverage of the UK ID card debacle has been some of the most consistently insightful, methodical and interesting coverage of political shenanigans since Yes, Minister. The article posted today on the Home Office's new spin - a card will cost £30, and the public is in support of the scheme - is no exception. The dismantling of the opinion poll is every bit as brilliant as Humphrey Appleby's bravado explanation to Jim Hacker of how to frame absolutely any opinion poll question in order to get the reply you want.

"Here, we take a 'base case concept' as being a non-negotiable bottom line.* Amusingly, the researchers tell us that the 75 per cent "demand" produced by this 'base case concept' "holds up well compared to today's 77 per cent of passport penetration." So when (not if, when) the price of a passport goes up from £42 to £93, almost all people who currently have passports will still feel they need passports."

Read it today - even if you have no interest in the U.K., or ID cards. You will be educated.

useful toys

Here's one of the reasons I keep so many toys lying around the place:

kids at play

My partner's cousins love coming over to play. :)

parallel boot

Couriousous, one of the MDV contributors, has written an interesting parallel boot system for MDV which is much less radical than other similar systems. It needs a bit of manual patching of initscripts and so forth in its current pre-alpha state, but I had some spare time so I thought I'd give it a go. The results are interesting - it works perfectly but only saves me 4 seconds, indicating that current startup is already pretty well optimized. The resulting bootchart (below) is almost completely I/O bound, and the only downtime is I think while it's waiting to see if I'll press 'I' for interactive boot. Interesting stuff. 42 secs isn't a bad startup time for a full desktop system with email and web server thrown in for good measure!

parallel bootchart

Mandriva 2006 final!

So, finally 2006 is released! To Club members, at least. Yay! It's spanky. It really is. It's got one silly bug that will be fixed by an update soon, and a medium serious X.Org problem with some nvidia hardware which will hopefully be fixed equally soon, but it's spanky as hell. I gave one of the neatest things in it a test drive this afternoon - took my laptop downtown with me, went to Future Shop, whipped it out and used their wireless network to post some stuff on the Club. We've had some degree of wireless roaming in MDV for several releases now, but it's definitely got to a really cool stage in 2006. I brought the laptop out of suspend, right clicked on the net_applet icon, went to the wireless networks menu item, saw the Future Shop network there, and clicked on it. Bam, I was connected to their network and everything was working. When I was done, I went back to suspend. Came back home, brought the laptop out of suspend again, and it automatically connected me back to my home wireless network. Yay for stuff that really works!

Of course, while I was there, I just had to pick myself up a Game Boy Micro. So now I have a Micro, a DS, a GB Advance SP, a PSP, my Neuros, Treo 650 and my digital camera. Too many toys? Pfah, nonsense. :)

Just added a link to my profile page in the right-hand side bar. If you want to know what I'm listening to while I fearlessly dig through the tides of criticism in the MDV Club forums, clicky :)