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Saturday, 30 June 2007

The weekend is not going well: thought of going to John Lewis and getting them to price match a cheap telly was thwarted by them only having it in a warehouse; the Powerline Ethernet adapters didn't work; trying to get VMware Player on Mel's laptop to work - when it used to - was harder than it should have been (to see if one of the devices had its defaults incorrectly set); the PVR dropped off the network - two network adapters simultaneously is obviously too much to cope with, so it didn't use either; Freevo lost all our favourite recordings, so I upgraded to svn HEAD... which is broken; oh, and my neck hurts.

Friday, 29 June 2007

The HD TV I was finally tempted by at Play has jumped 200ukp over the course of 12 hours now. Perhaps not. Although there does seem to be a slightly better/newer model of the same telly, with the same good reviews, with built-in Freeview for only about fifty quid more.

Of course I could only find this out after getting out of bed in the late afternoon after another bad head.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Fixed some issues with VidConvert and YouTube videos, should also support downloading Flash videos from the URL of the container page on a few more of that style of site.

Also avoiding going anywhere near Outpost Gallifrey for the next week as I don't want any possible spoilers. Finding out about the regeneration in Utopia was enough to drop everything else in to place. I've got some ideas about who the strange alien creatures are: "come on kids!", "finding out would break your hearts", ...

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Whilst waiting for episodes of Thomas and Friends to be transcoded so that avidemux can have a go at them for trimming, I found information on the ASUS Eee mini-laptop/UMPC. It runs Linux, has a 7" screen, trackpad (eugh), decent-enough Intel chipset, only a 3 hour battery life and no Bluetooth. But it'll be available for 200ukp in a few weeks. Very cool.

Nowhere near as stylish as a Foleo, but a third of the price, smaller and with built-in Ethernet. Hopefully there'll be somewhere to play with one in the flesh and some decent reviews once its available.

Oh, and Doctor Who: the Master, regeneration, stolen TARDIS, Captain Jack back, John Simm, Derek Jacobi, re-use of the Chameleon Arch and fob watch (very clever)... 'nuff said. Roll on next week.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom find its way on to my "read" list; finally. A good, proper hard sci-fi book which takes a core premise and explores some of the social and human aspects of the resulting society.

One thing which left me thinking, though, was the reputation system of "whuffie" which is core to the Bitchun society's want-free and moneyless structure. We don't need this karma system yet, but it could prove handy on the 'net we've got. Perhaps some kind of Facebook application mashup is the way forward. It could provide one of the more interesting details: the ability to drill down into someone's whuffie score to see what people you think like have scored them, versus people you don't.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Finished Jon Snow's Shooting History auto-biography. A very interesting book; albeit a little disjointed. He seems unsure whether it should be a chronological account of his career, allowing the reader to make the links and connections between the different sections; or whether or not to link together by subject matter. The balance on the side of chronological is struck fairly well, but a sejour into some later history occurs quite often.

The book also suffers from, but well explains, the author's libertarian socialist agenda and viewpoint on the US' foreign policy since World War Two. Despite this leaning, which fits quite well with my own libertarian centrist bias, a good job is made of explaining how the current "world disorder" is largely the fault of the US Government's self-centered, short-sighted, machiavellian, but ultimately naive meddling in other countries without properly understanding the environment in which they are getting involved. Instead, the world is painted in binary colours of Capitalist/Communist, pro-US/pro-USSR, good/evil... us and them. The ultimate example of which is the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The book suffers slightly from being written in 2004 and events in Iraq already more gloomy than the author estimaated. Similarly, his conclusion that lessons must has been learnt this time and so a military strike against Iran or Syria is now less likely seems an overly optimistic view of the world in 2007.

However, it's definitely a good read, and there's a lot more to him than a funky-sock dressing presenter of Channel Four News. I'll definitely be passing it on to Dad, David and Mel to read next.

Thursday, 07 June 2007

Finished the ebook of Human Nature: on the whole, I think the TV version was better, but obviously much simplified.

What was interesting, though, was the detail on the differences between the book and the TV version, and the author's notes on the origins of the story. It's fitting that the ST:TNG novel Imzadi provided some of the inspiration, when I think Human Nature/The Family of Blood is sci-fi based drama up with the best of them all, TNG's The Inner Light. This is marginally interesting as they both feature the main commanding character being incapacitated whilst under the delusion of being someone else in a more primitive society. Interesting.

Sunday, 03 June 2007

Whilst transcoding Doctor Who to take away tomorrow, it was aborting due to lack of disk space in $HOME, so I decided to clear down some of the tarballs and expanded source trees in ~/src. One big rm -rf ... using lots of tab-completion and wildcards to hit example-0.01 and example-0.01.tar.gz. Unfortunately I was a bit over eager and fell foul of bash's space-suffixing of single-match items. Hence an rm -rf ... example-0.01.tar.gz * .... One empty ~/src later, I'm thanking $DEITY for my fantastic automated backup strategy. Which hasn't been working on the box in question. Bugger.

Friday, 01 June 2007

Palm've announced the Foleo which looks like a very interesting device, despite all the negative press. In particular, it looks like an evolution of the Psion netBook combined with the Linux goodness of the Nokia Internet Tablets.

The most annoying thing about my N800 is the lack of a proper keyboard, making it rather unsuitable for typing meeting minutes etc. A Bluetooth keyboard works, but is sub-optimal. Also, the screen's a fantastic resolution and pitch, however a larger screen is useful when writing documents and wanting to read them.

It remains to be seen, of course, how open Palm is with this; it could be remarkably closed, but if open enough could almost be the consumer-level OLPC that people have been wanting.

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