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Friday, April 11th, 2008


Good news:
Scored well paid temp job starting Monday. Have interview for slightly lower paid proper job Tuesday. Have met one of my two vague this year fitness goals - my resting pulse is now below 60 (I've got a long way to go to meet the other goal - bets on what my pulse will get down to?). Ale trailing goes well - only 6 pubs left till I have free, queue-skipping entry for all days of the beer festival.

Bad news:
I broke my soldering iron trying to replace the cruddy and seized up tip.

Good news triumphs!

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2008


- I'll take one of those, please
Mmmmm, camera lust.

I'd put it on some wishlist so you can all buy me one, but it's currently only available in Japan.

    Summary of drool-worthy features:
  • Full resolution 60fps burst mode. Not only this, but as soon as you half-press shutter release, it's taking 60fps, and after you full-press, you can pick any of the burst to keep. Always get exactly the right frame of the action.

  • Full 1080p HD video at 60fps, with port for external mic

  • Hotshoe flash, and built-in that will do 7fps. Perfect for action shots of epileptics!

  • High speed video up to 1200fps.

I've been wanting a hispeed video cam for ages, this one is far far cheaper than dedicated hispeed video, but fast enough for me, and also a good bridge camera. Here's a review of features. Here's a youtube video which shows the crazy hispeed video. I could shoot a salticus leaping on its prey!

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Wednesday, March 26th, 2008


I've decided I really like running. Got rained on just now, which is actually nice. May die in the summer.

Now I'm going to have a shower and then comment spam your journals for I have been slack.

Oh, and last night I dreamt about climbing mountains to discover ancient relics with Tony Slattery. Only his name was Fran. The night before that I was a 3 foot high sentient bowling ball, who, after a pro-wrestler used me to score a strike, went exploring a set of angular tunnels where the gravity shifted at random and at corners. Analysis, please!

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Wednesday, March 12th, 2008


Reading people who want to hear some high energy funk should turn up to the Pitcher and Piano tomorrow evening. Big Train's Haymaker will be there for you, they're good.

Also, Leonard Cohen recently announced a world tour after a 15 year gap... I would be very interested to hear if anyone else is wanting some tickets.

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- I... I had enough sleep!
It feels like I've had a double espresso. It's entirely possible my sleep is being supressed to prevent me taking over the world. I guess MI5 had the dish pointing the wrong way last night.

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Friday, March 7th, 2008


- loft clearance - free techy bits
As per title, I'm spring cleaning my assorted junk computer parts. Odds are it's all too old and will be tipped / recycled, but I thought I'd offer it up on the off chance.

    So far dredged from the depths:
  • Some kind of slot Celeron + MB

  • Two ATX cases

  • Two believed dead monitors (17in VGA and some soviet era Sparc monitor with adapter)

  • Socket 370 MB

  • Socket A MB with some kind of Duron (1.3GHz I think), think this board has some dodginess associated with it

  • Some CD drives

  • PCI graphics card (no, not PCI-E ;)

  • ISA soundcard oo la la

  • Bunch of assorted fans, PSUs, screws, standoffs, cables etc

  • 10K scsi drive, with cable, pci scsi card. Think it's 10 gig.

Give a shout should you want any of these. Or if you have requests for similarly ancient bits, I will have a rummage for you.

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2008


I had my first private dentist visit today. Oh, the horrible expense! Still, seeing inside your teeth is cool. She thinks my minor toothache and temperature sensitivity is down to not flossing enough, giving me slightly inflamed gums, and possibly muscular tension (need new glasses). If you say you think you might need a filling, and the dentist recommends you don't have any treatment at all, it's remarkably believable. Also, a dentist that tells me the x-ray will take 0.4 seconds is my kind of dentist.

I was kind of looking forward to finding out what teeth drilling is like. Still, not *really* looking forward to it, and pleasant that I don't have to pay for it.

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Wednesday, February 20th, 2008



I've only just noticed that my phone has default templates for text messages.

"I'm in a meeting", "I am late. I will be there at", "I will be arriving at". All quite sensible and possibly useful. But a pre-written "I love you too", I find that disturbing.

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2008


- Ding Dong Daddios
A reminder that they're playing in Reading, Pitcher and Piano, tomorrow evening. According to their myspace, it's a regular last-thursday of the month gig.

I probably won't be going, as I have a bit of a fever and fainted today, sliding down a wall and bruising my face. Elegant and sophisticated!

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Monday, January 28th, 2008


- geek question
Could people with cross-platform GUI app experience - usage or development - give me some opinions on what toolkits are good?

The major players I'm aware of are Java, QT, GTK. I'd probably favour QT over GTK, I get the impression it's more mature for crossplatform work. I also think Skype uses QT, and it actually works well on both Linux and Windows, unlike most Java apps I have used. Am I missing any obvious choices? Are any of these toolkits actually horrible to work with?

The app will be fairly basic, it just needs to do some network comms and graphics display.

Thanks for the help :)

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Friday, January 18th, 2008


Just got back from a pretty damn good funk / jazz group playing at Pitcher & Piano. They are here if you're interested - yes, myspace, I feel dirty.

I was also told that Ding Dong Daddios will be playing two weeks hence, if people are interested.

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Wednesday, December 26th, 2007


- gnah
You know when your smoke alarms are running down, and they bip every so often to remind you?

Wow it's annoying when that happens in the house next door. Might be a while before I get to sleep.

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Monday, December 24th, 2007


- No christmas for me, but best wishes for yours
I am all alone in the house! That is a statement meant in a positive manner - I need some solitary time once in a while. Everyone else has gone back to their parents for christmas, while I stay here to attempt the by now much loathed dissertation write-up. That statement, not so positive. Ah well.

Builders are replacing the bathroom ceiling and the kitchen counter-top. Their predicted two day job will be on its fifth day tomorrow, assuming builders work christmas day, which I somehow doubt. Still, it will be a nice improvement when it is finished.

Lastly, here is a sketch of sad robot, inspired by jabbawokki:

Don't worry! He is not an expression of my feelings, I am actually quite chirpy today. He is sad because a mean girl hit him. I'm quite pleased with him as he's not copied, except the pose which I took from Rodin's Thinker. Hopefully I'll turn him into a proper drawing with more lights and doohickeys. Robots need doohickeys!

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Friday, December 21st, 2007


- dissertating the day away
So, another meeting with supervisor two days ago. Still can't provide me a deadline, still can't say if the second extension request is proceeding.

I have made little progress, regarding writing things up. I have, however, made progress in determining what my problem is: I really don't like writing academic reports. I have no problems documenting procedure, writing manuals, design or spec, or with reporting results. But I am very, very slow at the body of reports. I'm not a natural writer, I find forming fluid, coherent sentences, along with over-arching document structure, to be an excruciating and distasteful process. It's satisfying when I get there, but it's very slow and not an enjoyable journey.

Consequently, while I love learning, making things and working on programming, and problem solving, and have great enthusiasm for these, I spend a disproportionate amount of time on the parts I dislike. And when I'm writing reports I probably split my time about 20/80 between actually producing words and procrastinating / deliberating / hating it.

So, academia - probably not for me. Still, it's good to know, and there is also the distinct possbility that I'm just a bit sick of it at the moment. In either case, a year or two having a job, actually doing the things I enjoy, will be good for perspective, money, and I suspect general well-being.

I sketched some good ideas for a mechanical spider earlier.

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Saturday, December 15th, 2007


gconf is braindead and deserves to be poked in the eye.

Who thought copying the Windows registry, and removing the ability to configure apps from within the app was a clever concept?

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Sunday, December 9th, 2007


- How did I miss this?
Yes, I am working, this is research!

Somehow I missed this android replica of Philip K. Dick.

Links goes to web archive as the real site has lapsed. There are some construction photos here though. I'd buy a PKD replica head just to be disturbed by it.

But I can't, because the simulacrum has been "lost in transit", or so they would have you believe: details of bid for freedom here.

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Friday, December 7th, 2007


- christmas, cancelled?
My news this week is that my MSc course has become unexpectedly shorter and more stressful.

As possibly noted earlier, I have been delayed in my dissertation - partly through external factors, partly due to getting a bit panicked and disorganised in the middle. In september I was assured by the course supervisor that getting an extension would be no problem, and that it was more a matter of whether I graduated in December 07 or May 08. I have asked multiple times when the deadline would be, only to be told they don't know yet.

This week I was told that the extension has been rejected, and could I please finish everything by the end of the month. I don't think it's possible.

They're submitting another request, but I am doubtful they will succeed - they were supremely confident about the first one, and that took three months to get rejected.

So, I'm likely stuck with three weeks to obtain and analyse results, and write a 25,000 word dissertation, as well as finish up a few odd ends of courseworks. I do have my dissertation code in a reasonable state, in that it is almost able to produce results, though not the detailed results I would like.

I'm going to work slightly harder than possible for the next two weeks, and then assess. If it's not possible to finish I'll tell them so and actually have a christmas. Consequently I am having to cancel a few december plans at short notice, for which I am sorry.

The plus side is I have a deadline now, which I have been trying to get for the last month or so.

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Thursday, November 22nd, 2007


- bluetooth + linux
This might interest a few people, but maybe not; hence just a short note and you can ask if you want :P

Getting bluetooth working nicely in linux is pretty easy, and I can now send sound from any app to my headset (skype, amarok, mplayer all work fine), as well as ftp stuff to/from my phone - good for backups, custom ringtones, actually using cam photos.

Haven't tried using the phone as a bluetooth modem but the capability is there.

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Wednesday, November 7th, 2007


- Fireworks!
This is a call for people in Reading who would like to see lots of fireworks this Friday. Or people that want to visit Reading :)

I shall be exploding lots, with the help of anyone who turns up, at around 2130 in Palmer Park.

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Saturday, September 22nd, 2007


Grr, for the last three days I've woken two hours before my alarm, and got lots of stuff done. That part is fine, but I don't like getting up in the dark, and I'm getting increasingly tired.

Now, my plea for help - anyone got any experience with Qemu?
That, or anyone think of things that could cause:
No filesystem could mount root, tried: ext3 ext2 cramfs msdos vfat
Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(8,1)

I want it to mount root from an image file that's pretending to be a scsi disk with an ext3 filesystem. Scsi driver seems to be coming up earlier, and pretty sure partition table is okay + detected.
I can get all kinds of debugging info if that would help anyone, as it's emulated.

Edit: I have worked past this problem (it was stuff to do with raw disk images, and needing an offset when formatting to avoid clobbering the partition table). Can detail if anyone cares ;) Now I have the fun problem of setting up a static /dev tree in a cross-compiled environment.

I think later I'll have a bit of a back-dated posting spree, catch up with things on here.

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