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jon.dowland.name log

jon.dowland.name log
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Chronic

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 08/10/2012 - 7:41am

I've been ill for around 18 months. I started off ill, and more recently became more ill, so that I'd mentally divided my illness into two distinct periods. The truth, it turns out, is not quite so clear-cut. My more recent period of malaise spurred me on to seek a different treatment, which has restored me to a state of well-being which I had honestly forgot existed.

Engaged

jon.dowland.name log - Thu, 04/10/2012 - 9:49am
The ring

The ring

Back in August, I asked Sarah to marry me, and she said yes!

It took a little while to get the proper engagement ring sorted. I proposed with a stand-in, because I had a heirloom diamond that I wanted to offer Sarah for the ring. Happily she loved the idea, and so we had a ring made around the diamond.

Debian Day #9

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 01/10/2012 - 4:37pm

Day 9 is a bit of a strange one. I had a rare three evenings spare, but I have been feeling very ill so I didn't achieve much, relatively, despite the increase.

I update game-data-packager with experimental support for Hexen 2, which paved the way for uploading the first version of uhexen2, which has been accepted into experimental contrib. I also sponsored a new version of vavoom, both by Gustavo Panizzo.

Delete! Delete!

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 26/09/2012 - 11:02am
I prefer the classic Cybermen.

I prefer the classic Cybermen.

The only mail-filing feature that is consistently available across all mail clients (web, mobile, desktop) and most often via a convenient button, keypress or gesture, is Delete.

My next music player

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 18/09/2012 - 8:30pm

About two years ago, I wrote about moving to a Sandisk Sansa Fuze as my music player. I transitioned from a 40G, HDD-based iRiver to an 8G flash-based player, with an additional 32G supplied by a micro SD card, both running the rockbox open-source firmware.

Of course, my music collection has grown over the last few years and so I needed to find another solution. That solution is…

Debian Day #8

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 11/09/2012 - 9:10pm

A big gap since the last Debian Day. On request I reviewed Gustavo Panizzo's Hexen 2 Package which is in pretty good shape and should be ready for upload fairly soon. A prerequisite for that is support for Hexen 2 in game-data-packager: I've hacked in preliminary support and pushed a package to experimental (version 31), it should be available not long after you read this.

Archiving

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 11/09/2012 - 8:20pm

Last year, via jwz, I watched the video "Archive Team: A distributed Preservation of Service Attack" from Defcon 19. I learned about the Archive Team and the work of Jason Scott.

too many games

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 20/08/2012 - 9:17pm

Recently I have succumbed to a number of indie games sales, in particular ones in humble bundles, despite the fact I rarely play games these days. I might have been encouraged somewhat by a bad habit I've picked up: reading the excellent Rock Paper Shotgun, discovered via Stuart Campbell. I've got a back log of iPhone games to try out too, most of which I discovered via Stuart or his "Free App Hero" app.

Backup Data Mining

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 15/08/2012 - 8:41pm

What if you have a mis-behaving electronic device, which might corrupt files you store on it? I'm interested in tools to inspect incremental backups, look at file changes and alert me if they are suspicious. For example, if an MP3 changes, did the MPEG data change, or the ID3 tag, or something else? An ID3 change is likely to be on purpose, MPEG data less so. Similar for JPEGs and EXIF metadata. I decided to poke around in my backups of my music player. I discovered some pretty weird stuff.

books

jon.dowland.name log - Sat, 28/07/2012 - 5:56pm

I'm forty pages into a battered copy of "Complicity" by Iain Banks. I picked this copy up for the princely sum of 90p at Barter Books last weekend. For the uninitiated, Barter Books is a grand old bookshop situated in a disused train station in Alnwick, Northumberland. It has the dubious pleasure of being the originator of the "keep calm and carry on" fad.

envy24

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 23/07/2012 - 10:09pm

If you have an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 PCI sound card or anything else using the "Envy24" chip, be aware: at present neither the GNOME3 "sound" control panel applet nor the pulseaudio tool "pavucontrol" expose enough of the card's controls to play any audio. You need to have alsa-utils or alsa-utils-gui installed and use envy24control to put the relevant sliders in the right places.

6music

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 23/07/2012 - 5:08pm

I recently discovered the excellent BBC 6 Music: a digital-only radio station so good I'm almost convinced to buy a DAB radio for this one station alone. In particular, Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe, former Radio 2 exiles, hold an excellent afternoon slot. Stuart Maconie's late-night "Freak Zone" often has some really interesting stuff on it worth listening to, for example an entire episode dedicated to Brian Eno's "Obscure Records" label.

Debian Day #7

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 18/07/2012 - 1:08pm

Very little done last night. Advocated a maintainer. My desktop computer is completely hosed as part of a wheezy update: many issues at once but one is GDM going into an infinite loop, spawning millions of X servers; another is something in the boot processes seemingly prodding /dev/sdc and failing. I'm not sure if I have time to get to the bottom of it, I might just reinstall from a d-i daily. Priority going forward should be to finish off the musicbrainz stuff.

Cited

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 10/07/2012 - 9:08am

This blog has been cited in an academic paper!

On October 2011 I drafted a blog post about Infosuicide, or "Infocide" as I prefer, prompted by Mark Pilgrim's disappearance.

I never got around to finishing the post up — in particular I felt it was too long — but my draft was exposed to the Internet and somebody noticed it.

Debian Day #3

jon.dowland.name log - Sat, 16/06/2012 - 6:11pm

Once again Debian day was somewhat compromised: this time by more DIY. I still managed a few bits and pieces, amortized over the rest of the week. I benefited from some train time this weekend.

Debian Day #3

jon.dowland.name log - Sat, 16/06/2012 - 6:11pm

Once again Debian day was somewhat compromised: this time by more DIY. I still managed a few bits and pieces, amortized over the rest of the week. I benefited from some train time this weekend.

Debian Day #2

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 06/06/2012 - 3:58pm

One interesting side-effect of setting aside a regular slot of time for a task is that you are guaranteed to spend some time, perhaps not much, thinking about that task, every week. As a consequence, even one evening a week is enough for me to think about my Debian work at other times. This means I am in a better position to use any unplanned free time more effectively.

Debian Day #2

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 06/06/2012 - 3:58pm

One interesting side-effect of setting aside a regular slot of time for a task is that you are guaranteed to spend some time, perhaps not much, thinking about that task, every week. As a consequence, even one evening a week is enough for me to think about my Debian work at other times. This means I am in a better position to use any unplanned free time more effectively.

Debian Day

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 29/05/2012 - 9:24pm

After a relatively long period of flux, I've managed to settle into a routine where I've got all the time I can dedicate to open source stuff bunched together: every Tuesday night. I've started calling it "Debian Day", although Debian won't get all that time exclusively.

One evening a week doesn't sound like much, but that's unfortunately a realistic amount given my other commitments. Still, having a firm idea of how much resource I have makes planning what I can and can't do much easier. It also means I need to be quite selective about what I spend my time on.

Greg Bear — Hull Zero Three

jon.dowland.name log - Thu, 05/04/2012 - 7:41am

In (roughly) 2008 I read "Blood Music" — my first Greg Bear novel — and devoured it in a weekend, in only two or three reading sessions. That happens very rarely, and when it does I often wonder whether it's the quality of the writing or some combination of that and your personal moods and tastes at the time that is responsible. My next Bear was "Darwin's Radio" in mid-2010 which, whilst good, did not provoke the same feverish read. I might write short reviews for both at some point in the future, but right now I can't remember either well enough to do so.

qtscrob

jon.dowland.name log - Sat, 24/03/2012 - 10:36pm

This week I uploaded QTScrobbler to Debian.

If you have a music player running Rockbox, you can configure it to write a log of what you have listened to, and when, to a .scrobbler.log file in the root of your player's file system.

QTScrobbler takes such a log file and submits the contents to the last.fm audio-scrobbler website. It then deletes the log file from the player.

If that sounds useful to you, give it a go!

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