dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
OK, I have spent a substantial part of the past three days in bed. For those new to my journal, I have ME, which a lot of people don't know when they meet me (which suits me). This is because I tend to pace myself so that when people see me, I'm not too bad. If I am too bad, I generally can't make it out, so it's easy not to spot I have it. It is also not, mostly, as bad as it was at the start, but just lately it has taken a serious turn for the worse. Partly this is the effect of my having had a few months of other health problems (asthma, chest infection, weird dietary problem), partly having had to expend a lot of my spoons on helping out my parents (my father has been ill, in hospital a couple of times, and my mother's mobility is very limited). Except that I have had rest and things should have been on an improving curve, but in fact things have been been inclining to be worse. I can't help wondering if some of my other medication is having a bad effect on the ME. The past three days I have had almost no energy, had problems moving around the flat, and have tended to feel so exhausted I was on the point of collapse while I was lying down.

I am quite pleased this didn't hit earlier, because it would seriously have buggered up Friday. I spent a chunk of the day with [livejournal.com profile] banhe, whose birthday it was. There was photography involved, and food, and the giving of presents. It was excellent getting the chance to catch up with her.

Since she's vegan, we ate in the Note. I decided not to take the risotto cakes (which are delicious and I can tolerate them) because I always take them lately, and instead decided to have the lasagne. It was nice, and I had no catastrophic effects, but there was definite unpleasant bloating for several hours afterwards. I recently also tried some beans (since I like beans on toast) and it wasn't too bad — not the catastrophically bad effects I was getting with fibre a few months ago. However, definite discomfort and bloating, enough to suggest eating more fibre would be a bad idea. So, it looks like it is going to be a while yet before I get back to being vegan.

My father's is not too well again; in exactly what way, who knows? He will not describe his symptoms. He's been put on some new medication which looks like some fairly potent antimicrobial, and he's going to be reassessed at the end of the week, and possibly admitted again to hospital. This is going to be fun.

I have been pleased to discover that there's now a BBC iPlayer which works properly with Linux, using Adobe AIR if I recall correctly (I installed it just before the ME thumped me at the weekend). Not sure how long that has been available, I haven't even looked at the iPlayer page for several months. It's about time, whenever it was implemented.


Jun. 18th, 2006 07:07 pm
dc: (Doctor)
Primary hard drive up and running again. Fortunately the spasm the other night did not seem to be an actual, hard crash, just a complete fucking up of the filesystem.

When I first got that hard drive and described it to a geek friend (he makes me seem ungeeky, which is quite pleasant), he mocked me for partitioning it. (I had set it up with a dedicated partition for / and another each for my home directory and [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach’s.)

He mocked me because, in his view, there was no point in dividing up a huge hard drive (which it isn’t now, but when I bought it it seemed impressively vast). My view was that this setup would permit upgrading the OS or switching to another Linux distro should I wish it, without losing the users’ data. Additonally, should the worst happen and the / filesystem get buggered, then there was at least a chance of restoring it without losing any data (including configuration) for the user accounts. Likewise, if one of the user partitions was corrupted, the other and / might remain unharmed.

I do so love the smell of vindication in the evening.
dc: (Doctor)
As if things weren’t annoying enough, last night, just before shutting down, the main hard drive crashed. Bugger. No data lost (only / is affected), but it is annoying, especially as I am in the middle of so much. I took one of the secondary drives and installed a new Fedora version on it (Mepis was on it, but while it is OK and pretty much works perfectly, there seems to be a glitch I can’t get to the bottom of so that Firefox’s font sizes can’t be adjusted in Preferences (and CTRL-+ really buggers up some pages). In general, its handling of fonts isn’t so easy on the eye as other recent distros. This Fedora distro has its quirks, but the display side of things is superb, so it can be used productively without my eyes getting worn out. More than they already are, anyway.

While the software installation was going ahead, I got watching the Argentina-Serbia & Montenegro match, and got completely drawn in. If every team played like Argentina did today, football would be a joy to watch. They didn’t just completely gub S&M, they wiped them out 6-0 (it could have been 7-0), and they did it while playing with an easy style that was a delight to watch. It reminded me of some of Brasil’s performances (some of Brasil’s best performances). I would not be at all surprised if Argentina go on to win the World Cup. And the thought that England could beat them, if they are on today’s form in future matches, seems more than a little risible.

This, I suspect, will be the only time anyone hears me rave about a football match. ;o)
dc: (Doctor)
Ooh, got a birthday card today. First one, very unexpected. My parents are not really up to prowling shops to look for cards, and it will be odd if [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach gives me one (we tend to think that as we see each other all the time, a card is a bit superfluous), so apart from that there is only a guy I have known since university and a couple of my exes — although one of them may well not bother, as I have not been in contact with her for ages. The penny never seems to have dropped that that is because she moved and I have no idea what her new address is.

The card I got was quite good, too, none of your rubbish. Makes a change.

While I am wittering about my birthday: anyone who wants to join me for a celebratory drink (you don’t have to buy me a drink, but all offers will be gratefully quaffed) on Saturday night (what [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach has started calling my official birthday) is most welcome to do so. Here is the information you need:
The time: any time after 7pm

The place: Ingram Bar, Queen Street

I know, not a lot of imagination, but: it is very central, handy for bus, subway and trains (including the Edinburgh shuttle); it also has at least one good real ale on tap (usually two or three, but sometimes they run out, have to settle, things like that) and a stonking range of whisky. Food’s good, too (stops at 8pm if you are looking to eat).

We will be at the back, on the left in the raised area.

As I said, all welcome, and although my birthday is the excuse I am not expecting cards, presents, or anything else. Just sociable people. ;o)

It is odd this week, with [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach working a back shift. She hasn’t done that in a long time. I have cooked a tasty curry with the aim of it being available for lunch tomorrow if she wants that, or putting it aside for the weekend if she doesn’t. It smells soooo appetising, though...

I am using Windows at the moment, having just installed a copy of Win98 on one of the secondary drives. Really, this is just to use one piece of software occasionally, an old, now unsupported product which is very basic but does a couple of things really well (and really simply). It is probably as well I did it today rather than yesterday, it would be asking for trouble to install The Software of the Beast on The Day of the Beast. :o)

I keep forgetting how clunky Windows is. Next step: to put a decent OS on the uncontaminated part of the hard drive, set it up as a dual-boot drive.

While doing this I noticed a 20Gb hard disk sitting on the shelf behind me. I have no idea what is on that, I must get a cartridge and check it out. No rush, though.

Tonight I must remember Deadwood is on: totally forgot about it at the weekend. Talking of TV, I caught a couple of episodes of Commander In Chief recently. Obviously the success of The West Wing made someone think there was a market for dramas set in the White House — and, hey, why not have one where the President is a woman? It’s a pity they didn’t think, Hey, why not have one with really good scripts and some decent acting? Every so often Donald Sutherland seems to remember, or at least come close to remembering, how to act, but then he seems to think, Why bother? And I don’t blame him, given how dire all the other performances are. Having said that, the actors are merely living up to the standards of the script, which is written in fluent Cliché. It is OMG BAD! [I think I have been online too long. ;o)]

Good TV (well, on DVD): last night I watched “The Blue Carbuncle”, the Peter Cushing version. They took one or two liberties with the story, but nothing which would have had Conan Doyle turning in his grave (not that much would, he had no real care what dramatists did with his detective). I think it is a little better than the Jeremy Brett version, not least because it does not make the guilty party quite so obvious from the very start. Cushing and Stock made a good team, and Stock’s Watson was no fool. It is a pity so few episodes survive. (More so that so few of the earlier, superior, Douglas Wilmer series survive. When are those episodes going to be released on DVD?)
dc: (Doctor)
The other night [livejournal.com profile] wibbble and I were passing some time by discussing the relative merits of the OSes we use, he advocating the wonderfulness of MacOS and I proclaiming the superlative goodness of Linux. (It’s something which helps pass the time when you are installing software.)

It was interesting to come across this article in Akregator (the RSS feed software which comes with KDE) about the art professor who wiped MacOS X from his digital media lab’s Macs and replaced it with Ubuntu, a Linux distro.
I began seriously planning this change last school year, when I realized how fully the current feature sets of free software programs could satisfy the technical needs of the students in my classes. I decided that the time had come to teach our undergraduate art students about free software programs such as the GIMP, Scribus, and Quanta Plus, instead of proprietary programs such as Photoshop, QuarkXpress, and Dreamweaver.
How did it work out?
The students’ reactions to all this was inspiring. They felt empowered by the quality of the software and their ability to upgrade, share, and customize it freely. They also appreciated the immense array of additional GNU/Linux multimedia software available to them. And I found it inspiring how many of the students took enthusiastic advantage of other applications, not only by installing software via Synaptic from the Ubuntu repositories of more than 16,000 packages, but in some case by compiling source code from elsewhere....

I found that Photoshop and the other proprietary software packages we had been using for years generally had more polished interfaces and more advanced features than the free software we chose. But the free software had more than enough of the core capabilities we needed in my classes, and also often featured desirable capabilities missing in the proprietary software.

The switch saved thousands of dollars in software upgrades. As a result I was able to dramatically lower the lab fee for each class, and require instead that the students purchase additional textbooks.
I’m not, BTW, knocking MacOS (whether X or earlier), which is a nicely designed OS (and X has a lot in common with Linux), but this does illustrate how useful open source software can be, without the enormous cost of some proprietary software, and that the transition need not be painful.

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