Archive for May, 2004

Delivery Problems

During the birthing of this blog there was a bit of a complication; there were twins! Blog:Vote was born at the same time. I’ve been really busy at work over the last week or so and that combined with all this politics means that its unlikely I’ll get to write much here for a while. (Though it’s nice to see good things starting to happen on software patents. I guess this blog will get its smack from the doctor and start to cry on June 11th (after the elections).

On the subject of being busy at work, I came into the office today (a sunny Sunday no less!) to try and get some done and while I remembered the key to the building, the key to my office door is sat in my coat pocket at home (I’m using a computer in the corridor outside my office as we speak) – definitely a sign to forget about the equations and go outside into the sun, and not one that I’m going to ignore!

Linux, eBay and Books

Installing Linux (an operating system that is an alternative to Windows) is a bit like buying something on eBay. If you buy an item and it’s not right, you try and convince yourself that it was worth it anyway. As least I do – I don’t like to admit that it’s all a big mess up, even to myself.

Linux is a bit of a cult operating system and I like it, I’ve just installed Redhat’s latest release, Fedora Core 2. The problem is hardware support, because so few people use linux, manufacturers tend not to write drivers for it, and there are a few problems on my laptop (all of which there are work arounds for) but it’s still annoying. You have to know your way around a computer, and have time to spare to make it work. Once it is all setup and running nicely though it is really cool. For a start yum is really nice – imagine Windows Update but able to upgrade all of the applications on your computer not just the ones from Microsoft. Jamie Zawinski once said that “Linux is only free if your time has no value”, things have improved a lot since he said that and will continue to improve I’m sure but everytime I install a new version I’m reminded of those words.

My girlfriend Em, a veteran blogger who is just setting up a new blog (so be gentle if it looks a mess when you visit, her site is being built as I speak) has decided to change to Linux, I wish her well and she’s smart and she has time on her hands so I’m sure it’ll work out fine and she’ll learn a lot about computers in the process. I can tell I’m a geek as I find it really cool that I can talk to my girlfriend about rpms. It shows the way the wind is blowing though, more and more people are going to install it and as it improves you are going to need to be less and less technically adept to get it working and there will be more and more hardware support. If I was Microsoft I’d be worried.

I started out by mentioning buying things on eBay and there was a reason for that; I just used it to buy a digital camera. When it arrived, although it had been fairly well packaged, the packaging was ripped and torn and the LCD screen was smashed; it looked like somebody had played football with it on the way to my house – not good. With a company you’d ask for a refund but when it’s a private individual and it’s not their fault, that seems unfair – I should have paid extra for postal insurance. What started out as a very good deal has turned out to be a complete waste of 50 – I guess that’s the risk I was taking and I’ll just have to be philosophical about it. Ho hum.

Still, on the plus side, every book I read at the moment turns to gold; everytime I pick up a book I’m really enjoying it. I’ve just finished War of the Worlds and thought that was suprisingly good and I’m really loving High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. Next up is A Certain Chemistry by the guy that wrote one of the funniest websites on the net. It’ll be hard to live up to his last book, “Things my girlfriend and I have argued about” but I’ve got high hopes. We’ll see I guess…

The Danagers of ebay and Abuse

I have (unexpectedly) a few minutes spare so thought I’d write a quick entry. A couple of days ago I had to buy a lead on ebay. Whilst the lead only cost me about 2, I ended up spending nearly 50 on a digital camera. I wasn’t really looking for one but I guess it’ll be useful both if I want to sell things on ebay and to record things for posterity.

In other news, I was just coming out of a cinema with my girlfriend yesterday and some guy leaned out of a car that was passing and shouted abuse at us. I mean he literally shouted “Abuse!”. I’ve certainly had worse things shouted at me from passing cars – I thought it was quite witty.

A rant from a chilled-out entertainer

The lack of entries in this blog over the last few days has been mainly due to Blog:Vote. Writing the entries themselves doesn’t take so long but I’ve been reading a lot more blogs than usual looking for entries to link to and that takes time. I think I’ll leave the next entry another 24 hours or so, hoping that people will point out some interesting pieces. My life would be a lot easier if there was a search engine for blogs that you ask to just search for a certain term in blogs based in the UK. It wouldn’t be a complete solution, lots of blogs written by British people are hosted in the US but it would be a start. Answers on a postcard.

Away from the computer its been a good few days, although I did drink too much on Friday night and had had a bit of a headache yesterday morning; I also got into a heated debate about whether philosophers were a waste of time. Between that and all the politics its been really high-brow around here recently. I think I need to watch an action movie, preferably one without too much plot.

Last night (well the early hours of this morning) I watched some of the early episodes of the Office which a friend had on DVD. It’s funny but I really do hope that there’s a bit of David Brent in all of us because, there’s certainly a large part of him in me, it would be scary if I wasn’t such a chilled-out entertainer.

Lots of people are blogging about software patents. I really tried to find an entry in favour of them to link to in Blog:Vote but I failed. With such a one-sidedness of commentary on the net I’m tempted not to add to it, but it’s one issue where I definately have a strong bias so I’m going to have a bit of a rant so that I’m not keeping my biases hidden. On the other hand, there are definately (for the electorate at large) more important issues in the election, so that should probably be the last time that Blog:Vote mentions the subject, I guess it depends what the blogdom/blogosphere (whatever!) is writing about.

I’ll put the software patent rant on a separate page so you can skip it if you want and so I can link it it easily. With all this writing it’s definately time to step away from the computer and go outside. I just have an e-mail or two to write first…

Blog the Vote!

As I walked into work this morning I thought that it was sad that the turnout was likely to be so low in the upcoming elections. It occurred to me that the same thing that had nearly worked for Howard Dean, coverage on blogs, might make a slight impact here – and it was at least something that I could actively do. When I got into work I googled for “Blog the Vote” but found that a similar American campaign was using it so, to avoid confusion, this evening I created: Blog:Vote.

At the moment, dear readers, you are the only people that know the site exists – and there’s only a microscopic number of you so tomorrow I intend to email some bloggers that I read and/or comment on their blogs. Hopefully if enough of us start to talk about the elections and write about them in our blogs – we can make a difference, however slight.

Please, if you have a blog, visit the site, have a read, blog about it and link to it – What harm can it do?