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Saturday, 20 August 2005

Got the Cat5 laid to get the ADSL router into the study. Original plan of using the soil pipe failed when a) the hammer drilling of the breeze block caused the whole house to shake; and b) the plumb line got stuck half way down from the loft anyway. New route is up through the bedroom cupboard and down past the light switch in the study.

Only one nogging in the plasterboard walls it seems, and the light switch is directly above it: unscrewing the fitting, removing the pattress and drilling through with a long spade bit worked perfectly. Now the Mac's online properly :-)

Also finished wiring up the lights in the loft - very impressed with myself, even if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, 17 August 2005

Peridot's one of the five short-listed entries in the "IEE Innovation in Engineering Awards 2005, IT Category". One of the judges for the category is Tim Berners-Lee: very cool. The awards dinner is on 14th September (hosted by an ex-Tomorrow's World presenter) and I'll hopefully be going as Megan's "guest".

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

New colour laser printer arrived today; ordered it yesterday after getting fed up with clogged, unreliable inkjets. Did a lot of research, looked at sample prints, read reviews and decided on a Samsung CLP-550. Main requirement was cross-platform support: it needs to be printable from Windows (XP), Mac OS X and Linux (potentially even RISC OS, but the Linux server can use CUPS to act as a PostScript bridge if necessary).

Pretty much dismissed the HP LaserJet 2550 immediately as despite good reviews it didn't have a proper paper tray; meaning either another expense or a large wad of paper sticking out.

The shortlist, then, was the Lexmark C510, the Samsung CLP-550 and the Konica Minolta Magicolor 2450. The latter's more expensive but came with full, rather than "starter" toner cartridges and was recommended by a very helpful sales manager at The Printer Database. All of them had reasonable reviews although the Lexmark is apparently "noisy" and missing a card pass-through; and the Samsung "poor quality". However, the print samples we saw showed the Samsung's print quality - whilst not as good as the Lexmark (and nowhere near the near photo-quality Konica) - was reasonable. That, combined with the cheaper consumables and built-in duplex swayed the deal.

And we've not been disappointed: quality for photographs (proofs, at least) is good, albeit slightly darker than you'd want, but not really noticably unless you knew and text quality is excellent. It's big though. I knew it'd be bigger than I was expecting, but it's bigger than I was expecting it to be bigger than my expectations. IYSWIM.

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

After spending much too long in bed last night trying to fix Mel's XP Home laptop's wireless persuaded her to let me put Ubuntu on it (dual-boot, of course). The ISO downloaded during the day (mmm, BitTorrent) and then it installed perfectly first time on it (an IBM ThinkPad R50e): it non-destructively resized the existing NTFS partition; detected the wireless (including asking for the WEP key); X and sound both work straight off; adding the NTFS partition to /etc/fstab made the mount point appear in the "Computer" section of Nautilus. To put it simply, once again I'm pleasantly surprised how easy Ubuntu actually is.

Of course, once again I had to add an entry in /etc/hosts on the NFS server to avoid an "RPC timed out" error when trying to do an NFS mount. There must be something I can change on the server to avoid it, but this seems to work in the short-term.

Whilst at work, at about 16:50, the whole building shook side to side rather violently. Didn't quite feel like an earthquake (from the one I remember in about 1986 before school) and it wasn't local to our building as we could see people in the next one over looking startled and confused as well. However, spods in other parts of London didn't report anything perculiar and there was no explosion or sirens or anything - and when I left work everything appeared normal. Nothing on any of the news sites either: very odd.

Tuesday, 09 August 2005

Results finally back: "no current infection" - which we'd mostly worked out from the lack of symptoms already.

Monday, 08 August 2005

Caught up with various diaries: Andrew's updated his (for once ;-)) and found this shocking story from Chris'.

Signed up to the "UK EFF" effort being proposed by Danny O'Brien et al.

Also saw the BBC Live Radio Dashboard widget. Looks cool, but unfortunately won't work on Mac OS X 10.3.9, only Tiger. However, a bit of Googling turned up Amnesty Widget Browser which is a separate widget-environment to Dashboard - and works on Panther. The BBC Live Radio widget works perfectly, as does David Bushell's UK TV widget - using the listings, of course :-)

Also on Mac OS, had a couple of games of Chuckie Egg and Killer Gorilla on the new port of BeebEm - would be nice, however, if all the resource it needs could be put inside the application bundle rather than being in the directory next to it. Something to email Jon Welch about.

Saturday, 06 August 2005

It's good to be home (especially to a still new & exciting house), but there's a large backlog of email. Managed to finish sorting it today, but now there's a stack to reply to. If you're waiting for a reply, this is why.

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