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DMM wrote this not so many hours ago:

Feeling slightly… but not very… sick. A tiny bit of a cough. A little weak in the muscles. But no fever or runny nose or anything. …

It doesn’t seem to the swine flu. Fingers crossed.

…which is exactly the same boat I’m in. Staying home today as a precautionary thing.

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Disk transplant

I have – sorry, had – an Ubuntu box at home that I use as a server – files, printing, remote access, that sort of thing. It died a few days ago – I turned it off because we were going to be away for a couple of days last weekend (wedding stuff – topic for another post), and later discovered that it wouldn’t turn back on.

The hard drive hadn’t shown any signs of stress, and the machine isn’t even booting to the looking-for-storage stage, so I’m pretty sure the data is fine. I had a spare box sitting around, so I’ve just now transplanted the drive into it and am going to try booting it. I’m going to blog the whole process as a way of keeping track of stuff, and also in case anyone else is interested (unlikely, I know, but it’s a blog).

Got to the boot screen. So far so good.

Reiser filesystem is clean.

Okay, there was a brief glitch when it first started X – the screen was split into four and the colours were all out of whack. But it fixed itself almost immediately. The login screen is shifted to the left slightly but the monitor can probably fix that.

Hmm… no network.

Oh wait… I plugged in the wrong network cable. Shit. Hang on.

Okay now the network’s up. And the monitor auto-adjust fixed the shifted screen.

Well… that was pretty anti-climactic. Only thing I have to do now is change the MAC address on the router for DHCP…

Why is the router still giving it a weird IP address?

Meh. I’ll sort it out later.

Okay, show’s over everyone.


Thought of the Day

You can’t comb a spherical cow without getting a cowlick.

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Lisp belongs to a category of things in this world – also containing Go – about which I know just enough to know that I don’t really know the first thing about them, although I’d very much like to. I’ve played around with Common Lisp a couple of times now, and I’m at a point on the learning curve where I can see the crazy-powerful elegance of the thing from a distance, but I’m not far along enough to really be able to get a good grip on it and do anything useful with it.

Anyway, this weekend I finally accepted that ASDF isn’t an optional extra for serious package maintainers, but something I’m really going to have to get my head around to build anything nontrivial. Turns out it’s not all that hard; it’s just that (like Lisp itself) it’s on a different branch of the programming family tree to the entire Algol-descended world and its associated collections of compilers, Makefiles, virtual machines, environments, editors and whatnot, so everything works just a little bit differently to what I’ve learned to expect so far.

So I got CL-SDL working, copied-and-pasted and started playing with some changes to the NeHe tutorials, and that’s about as far as I got, but it’s nontrivial progress and I’m happy enough with it that I’ll now either (a) use it as a starting point for something serious, or (b) consider it a job well done and not look at the Lisp world again for another two years, but regret it the whole time.

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Lock the Taskbar

Does anyone else, when they see “Lock the Taskbar” in the taskbar context menu in Windows, always hear it to the tune of “Rock the Casbah”?

No? Just me?


EDIT: Okay, there’s at least one.

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Open Door With Care

On the topic of winning things…

There’s an “OPEN DOOR WITH CARE” sign on the door to the stairwell at work. Being geeks with a bizarre sense of humour, we saw this as a target for parody (rather than, say, a helpful safety suggestion – pfeh).

At some point, someone put a sign next to it saying… I think the first one was “OPEN DOOR WITH STARE”, with a line indicating staring (it’s easier to show than explain -  I’ll try to find the original). That was followed by, I think, “OPEN DOOR WITH HARE”. Within a couple of weeks, the door and much of the surrounding wall were covered with signs.

Anyway, Saturday night was our work Christmas party. The MCs (Shaun and George, you are much classier than the guy with the shadow puppets) gave out an Award for the Best Open Door With Care sign. And the winner was:


…by me, of course.

The prize was entitled “OPEN BOOK WITH CARE”.

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Well, Rafiq

Right, so, I won the draft.

There were nine of us, playing one-game matches. I first-picked a Stoic Angel and went on to draft an agressive Bant deck with Exalted creatures coming out its ears. For once I thought the signals were actually in my favour – I’ve had a nasty habit in the last few drafts of being randomly seated next to Mr Shellshear and drafting the same colours, but he was a seat further away this time and my colours didn’t seem to be disappearing for once.

Then, in the third pack, I got a Rafiq of the Many.

As a ninth pick.

For all (two of) my non-currently-Magic-playing readers, Rafiq is undoubtedly one of the best cards in this set in Limited; and being a ninth pick means that everyone else at the table passed it. Meaning that, beyond a doubt, nobody else was even close to being in those colours. Which was great news for me.

As it turned out, about four people at the table were drafting Naya, which was spread waaaay too thin. I won 7 games and lost 1 against Irgy, who did some shenanigans with Knight-Captain of Eos to turn the attacks off long enough to beat me up with a big trampling thing. Even that was pretty close.

So, I’ll just bask in this for a while until next draft, where I’ll probably go back to the customary position of second- or third-last.

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Once every couple of years or so, I start playing around with POV-Ray again. It’s usually triggered by discovering some simple but elegant effect, something I stumble across by accident while trying to do something else.

Here’s the catalyst for my latest round of obsession.

Crystal balls

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God good, demons bad

From a conversation at lunch today… Why is it that when someone says they believe in god, you think “fair enough, that’s what you believe, I respect that”; but when someone says they believe in demons, you think “you’re a raving lunatic”?

Of course, not everyone is as critical of the latter, and certainly many of us are less forgiving of the former. (No one involved in the discussion believed in either.) But it’s interesting – there does seem to be some kind of line between tolerable and weirdy-ass beliefs. I guess that’s part of what Dawkins et al have been saying all along – there shouldn’t be a line short of which we tolerate irrational stuff like that.

This was partially inspired by the announcement that the Vatican is training more exorcists to crack down on demonic possessions. I have to admit, I’m in awe of the sheer momentum of a delusion where an institution with members in the billions supports its uppermost leaders discussing, issuing press releases about, and giving its clergy lessons in the best methods to deal with shit that does not exist.

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Promise to blog, part n

Yes, I was going to blog more regularly. No, I haven’t been. I’ve been averaging less than 5 hits a day, and none of them are return visitors, so really, who’s going to notice? (Yes, there’s some confusion of cause and effect here. No, I am not apologetic.)

A few random developments, in quick succession.

Infinity on 30 Credits a Day is starting to get a bit of momentum. One of the character reference art submissions for Jake Starr is mine – vote for it! (I’m avoiding any accusations of canvassing votes by not telling you which one is mine.)

I’ve gone ahead and gotten actual hosting for Sooner or later I’ll probably move this site to (at the moment it redirects here). There might be other things in store as well. If I’m not too lazy, that is.

On the topic of bandwagons, I’ve set up a Flickr account and put up a short selection of my favourite photos to date. I just recently shelled out for an EOS 30D, and am in the process of accessorising it, so expect the photo collection to grow.

That’s about it.

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