Photos from lisekit and terriem‘s Karoake party are up. The close-ups of faces are courtesy of S, who does that composition thing (as well as being a talented pianist). Thanks for a good party, Terrie and Lise.

I promised Terrie a link to Milkbusters, so there it is.

My computer is unhappy. It freezes or resets itself about 20 minutes after it’s powered on. After that runs for the rest of the day. I’m getting kernel oopses just before the bad stuff happens, which seem to be related to memory paging, so I suspect dodgy hardware.

I could just replace the memory modules and see whether that helps. However, Drogon people have been attempting to convince me that what I really want is one of these fine Apple computers. Apple’s OS X has Unix underneath, and the Fink project makes a variety of open source stuff available to it using the Debian package tools. The PowerBooks look rather nice. They’re also rather expensive. If anyone’s used one, do let me know what you thought of it.

The ensuing discussion of laptops, 802.11, and hence using the computer on the loo made me think of Anthony Hopkins, for some reason.

Mozex is an extension to the Mozilla/Netscape browser. It works on both Windows and Linux. Among the useful things it does is enable you to edit textareas in forms (such as, say, the LJ “post comment” form) using an external editor. I’ve been looking for something which like this for a while. While my client lets me use an editor to compose journal entries, it doesn’t work for comments. I like being able to use my own favourite editor, where I can use Google tricks like the ghref script.

I am sick, although I’m getting better. Possibly I was brought low by a moody pistaccio nut at PaulB’s board games thing on Sunday, or possibly I caught whatever S has had recently (although the effects seem to have been more spectacularly gastrointestinal in my case). Today I am moving about slowly, eating digestive biscuits and soup, and geeking out.

My web wanderings turned up Corey Doctorow’s notes on Tech Secrets of Overprolific Alpha Geeks, a talk at some uber-geek conference or other, given by Danny O’Brien of NTK notoriety. Nice quote from Python BDFL Guido van Rossum: “My 10-line python scripts are just like everyone else’s except I wrote a script to interpret them.”

I must be on track to becoming an Alpha Geek, because I have a TODO.txt file myself (actually, it’s just called TODO, putting me a cut above you Windows-using geeks).

Interesting statistic from bradfitz, too: 8 LiveJournal entries every 10 minutes are private, that is, locked to the poster only. Who’s posting these? What sorts of things are you writing in them?

In other news, Paul Vixie wrote a message to the DCC mailing list which nicely summarises my attitude to NTL (he’s actually writing about RoadRunner’s spamming problems, but NTL’s reliability problems with mail and news seem to have a similar solution).

LJ has started publishing FOAF information for all its users. The main use of this is obviously to draw pictures. Click the small piccy for a bigger one.

Purdy, ain’t it? This is a graph of the connections out to friends-of-friends level. Anyone at friends-of-friends level without at least 2 lines into them was pruned. The graph came from GraphViz, the data from LJ using a Python script and rdflib. I’m not desperately keen on unleashing the script on an unsuspecting world, as it doesn’t do polite things like caching fetches between runs (although it doesn’t fetch the same person twice in a single run), but if you’d like to see it, let me know.

I also went through the names on PaulB’s photo page and produced another graph from memory, but it’s much less connected than I remember. Anyone know what happened to the original?

I have slightly ambivalent feelings about this time of year (let the reader understand). This Christmas was a good one, though. I saw my family and S, drank a moderate amount of wine and had a lot of nice food. I have a new digital camera from my parents, some shirts from my sister, and a Thunderbirds Tracy Island from S, who clearly knows me far too well 🙂

I have spent today unsuccessfully trying to replace the ancient kernel on my Debian Linux box with a recent one so I can do USB stuff like talk to digital cameras. My root partition is too small to take the new kernel, alas. Today’s top tip is that Linux really does not like it if you move /lib to somewhere other than the root partition. Many hours later, I don’t have a new kernel but I do now have a working Linux machine again. Will try again tomorrow. Transferring from the camera works under Windows, but rebooting is annoying.

Also dug out the Acorn Electron and had a play, prompted by S’s interest in an adventure game I wrote for it ages ago. I’d really like a way of transferring some of the software and View documents onto a PC, so I could run the software in an emulator and keep the documents in a readable form. Since the Electron uses 5.25 inch disks in an old format, I’m guessing the only workable option might be to use the printer port.

I seem to be dancing quite a lot lately. I’m enjoying Dancesport B lessons. Sadly had to give up on the Intermediates on a Monday night as I think 4 nights a week is just a little bit too much. The word on the CDC grapevine is that some people think the Dancesport classes are too easy. Not sure where that’s coming from. The web page reckons people with more than a few terms of medals should be going to the B classes, and Alf never did arms and whatnot in his Latin teaching. Possibly dancing one-upmanship going on? Who knows.

Off to Rome in a week or so, which should be fun. Anyone know any good restaurants and suchlike?

People on the SpamPal support forums are getting a bit excited over the idea that someone might commercialise the thing. This would probably involve producing a better installer so the average Windows user can use it without having to fiddle with Outlook Express settings and so on (note to Windows users: please stop using OE, I’m bored of getting copies of viruses. Try Thunderbird or something instead). James Farmer, the author, has licensed it under an open source licence, so he presumably doesn’t mind this. But some people who wrote plugins, manuals and foreign language support for it are up in arms about the evil megacorps appropriating their stuff. I’ve said that I don’t mind my meagre plugin going in to such an effort. I’m not convinced that it’d be a commercially viable venture anyway, but people have packaged up SpamAssassin in a similar way. If people want to trade money for time spent fiddling with it, I can’t really see the harm in it.

The company also want to make a free DCC plugin, which would be nice, as the chances of me getting off my arse and finishing mine seem quite small at the moment.

This posting has been brought to you by the number 42 and the ACRONYM tag.

There’s something nasty out there, changing the DNS settings of Windows machines to point at what look like a couple of Linux boxes on some US hosting service. Best guess is that it’s down to another fricking Windows exploit, one that seems to work via a web page which downloads an executable, which runs itself to change your DNS settings, and then deletes itself. It got me during my lunchtime surf at work, and it seems other people have seen it too. Check your DNS settings before you next use Internet banking, or face the Man in the Middle. Praise Bill!

(I always thought it’d be cool to have a LiveWires course on exploits, as the kids were always keen on Internet stuff: In this worksheet, you will own a poorly configured IIS server, changing the site’s front page to the message “Je5u5 0wnz j00: ph43r G0d”.)

In other news, the dear old Church of England (in fact, the Anglican communion) looks set to split on the gay issue, what with a big meeting of bishops coming up and much sabre rattling on both sides. Bit of a shame, as I can’t help feeling some affection for the old thing, although I suspect that a split church is just what many evangelicals (such as our old friends Reform) are looking for. (Really must get round to responding to livredor‘s latest on that thread, too).

Allen sent me a link to an archived version of the old index page for my old machine,, which got me nicely nostaligic for a bit:

Three broad categories of people tend to get accounts:

  • Friends who know more about Linux than me and can help out with sysadmin stuff.
  • People I know who don’t have Unix access elsewhere.
  • Women I am trying to impress.

That last one never worked, of course.

In other news, girlie is ill and so I have spent most of today watching crappy TV, reading and playing on Drogon. I should write some code for nilsimsa or the POP3 filtering proxy thing, but I can’t be bothered. Work tends to suck the enthusiasm out of me at the moment.