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jon.dowland.name log

jon.dowland.name log
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Music for Our Future

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 25/01/2012 - 10:28am
cover

In 2010, a collaboration between the SyFy channel, Create Digital Music, XLR8R and Pitchfork created "Music for our Future": a compilation album of free music inspired by the TV show "Caprica".

The Crying Tree

jon.dowland.name log - Sun, 22/01/2012 - 3:45pm

Somebody bought The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha for Sarah as a present and she asked me to read it so we could talk about it, so I did.

It's a novel about a family tragedy, Southern-state U.S.A. and the death penalty. A little boy is shot dead, a man is arrested for the crime and faces the death penalty. The book chronicles what happens to the family and to the killer during the 19 years or so that passes before the execution takes place.

bugs

jon.dowland.name log - Sun, 22/01/2012 - 10:22am
[pic]

Bugs I've hit in GNOME 3, in the last 5 minutes:

  • gnome-shell's "run" pop-up lost focus and I couldn't get rid of it. Nor could I launch another "run" dialogue, which is my normal route for starting software.

vi

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 13/01/2012 - 5:22pm

As seen on reddit: an old Bill Joy quote often banded about as part of the (largely synthetic) vi-vs.-emacs holy war starts as follows:

vi was written for a world that doesn't exist anymore

The context of that quote is:

I was trying to make it usable over a 300 baud modem. That's also the reason you have all these funny commands. It just barely worked to use a screen editor over a modem. It was just barely fast enough.

The Silent Land

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 11/01/2012 - 10:15pm

I've just finished reading Graham Joyce's haunting The Silent Land: an atmospheric and moving love story set in an Alpine ski resort.

Husband and Wife Jake and Zoe head out to the slopes early one morning and are caught in an avalanche. They survive, narrowly, but upon returning to the resort, everything has changed…

Robert Smith in for John Peel

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 11/01/2012 - 5:09pm

On 21st October 2004, Robert Smith of the Cure sat in for John Peel whilst he was on holiday and presented his show. This was part of a sequence of people covering for Peel. Off the top of my head Siouxie of the Banshees sat in on another night, but I forget who else.

Anyway, sadly, John died a few days later on the 25th.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

jon.dowland.name log - Sat, 07/01/2012 - 10:22am
The Philip K. Dick Collection

The Philip K. Dick Collection

I've just finished reading "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" by Philip K Dick, one of 13 novels collected in the Library of America's wonderful "The Philip K. Dick Collection" boxed set.

Ready Player One

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 04/01/2012 - 5:17pm

I recently completed "Ready Player One", Ernest Cline's debut novel. It's a Sci-Fi fan-service novel that explores a dystopian future (yes, another one) where the majority of the populace hide inside a VR environment to escape their "real" lives.

The sole-genius who authored the VR software hid a series of easter eggs inside, in the form of challenges relating to pop-culture and video game trivia circa the 80s. He constructs his will such that whoever first completes the challenges inherits the mega-bucks company who control the VR simulation.

My new record player unit

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 03/01/2012 - 9:19am
[pic]

A mildly hacked Ikea "Expedit" shelving unit is a surprisingly snug home for my Hi-fi and my vinyl collection (even the 7" records).

backup

jon.dowland.name log - Thu, 29/12/2011 - 10:18am

Backups are something I don't do well. I hope to write a more thorough article about them at some point. For now, here are some tips.

Like most home users, I don't have access to a tape drive or jukebox for backups. I'm therefore looking for a solution that backs up to a local block device. I haven't ruled out a solution that backs up to DVD-Rs, but I haven't found a suitable one.

mail archiving script

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 13/12/2011 - 9:52am

Here's the mail archiving script I was talking about: http://github.com/jmtd/detachment. Sorry about the name-pun.

wadc

jon.dowland.name log - Sun, 04/12/2011 - 8:21pm

I'm happy to announce the release of wadc version 1.2.

A WadC session

A WadC session

WadC is a functional programming language for the composition of Doom-format maps. Originally created by Wouter "Aardappel" van Oortmerssen, I was granted permission to take over the project over a year ago, but didn't get around to releasing anything until now.

Flowers for Algernon — Daniel Keyes

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 02/12/2011 - 3:38pm

A melancholic look at intellectual disability and how it was regarded and treated by the society of the time (1960s). Despite an inevitable conclusion, it was enjoyable and thought provoking.

mail archiving

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 29/11/2011 - 7:17pm

I wrote a quick proof-of-concept script that can traverse my email (in local Maildir format) and detach all attachments: saving them to another location and replacing them with a text attachment which documents where they've gone.

In response to Andrew Cowie

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 21/11/2011 - 2:46pm

Andrew Cowie blogs about 'A good GNOME 3 Experience'. He writes

I think it’s a bit odd not to expect that something that was widely advertised as being such a different user experience is … different.

and

Retiring from the Debian games team

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 11/11/2011 - 10:25am

After over five years, I've decided to retire from the Debian Games Team.

The games team has been a fun group to work within Debian: packaging doom-related programs was my route into Debian and I've really enjoyed it.

Spare time is very tight at the moment, and I'm not dedicating much at all to Debian work. Within that, I'd quite like to try and focus on some other areas.

Good luck to the team going forward!

Minecraft

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 09/11/2011 - 5:15pm
The Archipelago

The Archipelago

Bird's eye view

Bird's eye view

GNOME 3

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 08/11/2011 - 10:23am

Oh, boy. Where do I start…

I postulate that there exists something called the "UI Singularity". Those who spend too much time considering the optimal way to interact with computing devices eventually pass through this singularity and can no longer effectively communicate with those of us on the other side.

At least that's one way to explain what seems to be happening to free-software desktop environments. From the outside, it would appear this happened to KDE with KDE 4, and now, unfortunately, it has happened to GNOME, with GNOME 3.

Rage

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 31/10/2011 - 9:25pm

Rage is the latest game by Id Software, a company whose prior work I have an immense fondness for. I picked it up at the same time as buying a refurbished Playstation 3 a few weeks ago.

Sadly, I'm not too impressed.

ifttt

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 25/10/2011 - 5:48am

I've just learned of if this then that: a simple web tool that performs actions based on events. It's like a streamlined, easy-to-use subset of yahoo pipes. I'm going to try and use it to achieve a few bits of integration, such as tweeting when I write a new blog post.

NIN album collection now complete

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 18/10/2011 - 8:52am
[pic]

With this, my NIN vinyl album collection is now complete.

I don't have a comprehensive NIN vinyl collection by any account: I don't have all the singles nor the remix albums, rarities, etc., but I do have all the albums. This is the newly-remastered version of "Pretty Hate Machine", which sites proudly next to an original.

mr-lint

jon.dowland.name log - Thu, 28/07/2011 - 10:53am

mr (multi-repository) is a useful script by Joey Hess for managing multiple version control check-outs. It's particularly useful for team Debian package maintenance, where you can have a common mrconfig file allowing team members to have easy access to all packages.

puppet packages

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 17/06/2011 - 1:50pm

Puppet lets you install packages on your system, like this:

package { 'foo': ensure => installed }

You can also ask it to make sure that the package is kept up-to-date:

package { 'foo': ensure => latest }

What does "latest" mean? How does this interact with a mixed repository sources.list on Debian?

It turns out that both ensure => installed and ensure => latest honour pinning. For example: if you have a stable system; sid in your sources.list and pinning set up; either of the above will install stable's version of foo.

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