Fri, 11 Aug 2006
Herts LUG 20060809
Another well attended meeting. I took my PC and monitor along to try and get
some help on a couple of issues. One was an apparently dead keyoard, but only on
one user account. Turned out to be the Slow Keys option was turned on so you had
to hold a key down for ages before it did anything. The other was my intermittent
USB card. Reseated the PCI card and okay so far. Also had a go at installing a
graphics card I got from Rob, but was
hampered by a total inability to get into the BIOS screen. Something strange
As promised by Nicolas we had
wireless networking. There was a Zaurus, an XDA and a Nokia 770 all accessing the
web as well as the odd laptop. I'll have to get myself some sort of wireless
device one day.
The featured presentation of the evening was by
Malc on the delights of
BASH. I certainly learnt a lot.
Malc used my PC and learnt that you could have multiple KDE/X sessions running
as I generally do.
Other news: I decided not to go for the
so I'm looking at alternatives. The NAViGPS looks
appealing for the price. I might have to go for the more expensive model with Bluetooth
in case I get a PDA with that facility.
I just took delivery of a digital TV card (Hauppauge
Nova-T PCI) so that I can use the PC to watch and record TV. I'm hoping it won't be
too complex to get it working on Linux.
Wed, 09 Aug 2006
I heard a story on the radio news whilst away about a fake psychic conning people out
of their money. Could give those real psychics a bad name. I would expect better of the BBC,
but then Steve Wright gives over a fair bit of his show to an astrologer. Meanwhile,
mathematics as non-Christian. That's the attitude that held up human development for a
few hundred years. Mind you, the muslims, hindus and other 'heathens' invented a fair bit of
Whatever happened to the Age of Reason?
Just back from a spot of camping up in Northumberland, near
Haltwhistle, centre of Britain. Stayed
on a very nice C&CC site.
Checked out the Roman remains at Vindolanda
as well as Hadrian's Wall itself. We had some wet days there, but I bet it was much
worse for the Romans in the depths of winter. Another visitor to the camp site was
Mick Aston of Time Team fame.
We left him to enjoy his holiday, but I'm sure he got the odd autograph request.
We then went on to Edinburgh,
via a brief stop at Roslyn Chapel. I first
became aware of it when reading a certain well-known book, but it's enjoyable enough as
a piece of craftmanship in stone. It's currently covered by a temporary roof to help dry
out the structure. This allows you to climb up and view the upper features.
We were visiting family in Edinburgh, but it just happened to be Festival and
Fringe time. We saw a couple of kids' shows
and Rich Hall. He was pretty funny
having a go at the US 'War on Terror' (to be followed by campaigns againt wistfulness
and uncertainty). We also did some walking there, including an ascent of
Thu, 27 Jul 2006
Where am I?
I've just entered the wonderful world of GPS.
I know everyone and his wife has a navigation system in their car, but I've considered them
overpriced for the few times a year I would actually need one. I was getting by with my
road atlas. A friend is looking to sell his Acer
n35. This is a PDA with built-in GPS antenna. I've got in on trial with a view to buying it.
First impressions are pretty good. It can't get a signal indoors, but outside it picked up
enough satellites after a few minutes. It has TomTom installed,
which most people I know say is the best software. I used it on the way home and it was
spot on for my normal route. I tried to fool it by taking a wrong turn and it worked out
an alternative to get me there.
The PDA side is behind the times, but probably equivalent to my aging Palm. I just need
to get used to the Windows platform. It remains to be seen if it will talk nicely to my
Linux PC. Some data can be transferred by infra-red beaming, but ultimately it would have
to synchronise with my PC applications. I mainly use the Palm as a glorified organiser and
occaisional audio player, so it should be able to handle those needs. I don't want to be carrying
both devices all the time.
There is no wireless networking built in, but SD adaptors are available, some with built-in
memory, for not too much money. There never seemed to be a cheap option for my Palm. It's about
time I entered the wireless world too.
One thing I would like to play with is OpenStreetMap.
This is an effort to produce free maps of everywhere by people mapping every road using their GPS units.
Arlesey is partially mapped, so I could add to that once I figure out what software I need.
Thu, 20 Jul 2006
Cool Computer Thing of the Week
Not exactly a regular strand on this site, but never mind. A couple of weeks back I finally
got a working VPN connection from Linux to the company network by getting the latest
version of KVpnc and finding the right
configuration options. Using Citrix I can do most work things if I don't happen to have
the XP laptop at home.
This week I got around to trying out Synergy.
This allows multiple computers to share a keyboard and mouse. Very handy if you have several on
you desk. As you move the mouse off the edge of one computer's screen it appears on the next
and control is transferred. It works on all the main operating systems. I'm typing this
on my Linux box, but can easily switch to the XP laptop and carry on typing there. The computers
also share a clipboard that can do images as well as text. This is the most useful thing I
have installed in a while. Checking on my del.icio.us
I see that I bookmarked it nearly 2 years ago!
Tue, 18 Jul 2006
Fixing my feeds
I've changed my feeds from del.icio.us and last.fm
to use their utilities rather than RSSDigest. That has served me well
for a while, but I'd prefer to get the feeds directly from the sources. The last.fm one is in the form of an
image, but I can live with that. The del.icio.us one was doing the same as my category list and was shifted
too far to the right in Firefox. I've fixed that for now
by making the whole sidebar left justified. It's not as aesthetically pleasing, but at least everything fits
on the screen now.
I got Rhythms
Had a great time at Rhythms of the World in Hitchin at
the weekend. I've not had a proper look before. The problem was that there was too much choice.
The main acts we saw were acoustic singer Beck Goldsmith,
funky Horace X and cello singer
Laura Hewison as well as bits of various
others. The opera singers in the church were very moving. I hope to be back next year.
We also attended the Great Offley Bike Show. I've not been involved in the biking scene for
a while, but it was nice to have a look. I'm always amazed at the work people put into their
bike, both old and new. Everything there from a 1920's Levis to a nitrous Fireblade and some
Wildlife highlight of the weekend was seeing our first frog in our new pond. I knew there were
frogs in the garden before, despite the lack of open water, so it was just a matter of time.
I'm hoping it will eat some of the mosquito larvae before they take flight.
Thu, 13 Jul 2006
Herts LUG 20060712
Fun meeting last night. Rob organised a little
quiz with prizes! My team won and I gained a neat USB light. Not only that, but I learned a
few things about Linux. I think total attendance was about a dozen.
Tue, 11 Jul 2006
My PyBlosxom has now been running for over two
years. In that time I have not managed to do any of the customisations I originally planned. I
still want to make the sidebar links come directly from my
FOAF file, even if that technology does not seem to be
taking off. I also intended to convert the old Postnuke
data to something I could display here. I did some initial playing around in
Python. It's just too easy to waste time idly surfing.
I have managed to get an exercise routine going and I spend some time on my
drumming, but I would still like to do some
programming for this site.
Wed, 05 Jul 2006
End of an Era
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Microsoft are ending support for Windows 98. I still
have a PC that runs it just so that my kids can play some 'edutainment' titles. The problem now is that there will
be no more security updates. I just found out that Zone Labs will not support 98
for their free ZoneAlarm firewall. They suggest that you install a more recent Microsoft OS, i.e. XP, but I don't want to
have to buy that. Instead I shall look at the possibility of running the kids' games on Linux via
Wine. The wonderful thing about Free Software is that you can just download the
next version for free.
Some people have concerns that all those thousands of PCs out there still running 98 will now be vulnerable
to all sorts of security risks that could cause problems for the rest of us. We shall see. We can always
hope that at least some of them choose a Free alternative to the MS options, especially if they cannot afford
to upgrade their hardware.
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