2008 — 17 Mar: Monday coolness

It's 00:35 or so. The face has duly been stuffed, and the unbusy motorway safely traversed in the reverse direction. The visual feast had been going to be The Fountain but, since a) I'd just ordered my own copy, and b) scanning the sleeve artwork suggested a serious likelihood of tears before bedtime (as it were) we opted instead for Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep. Fabulously quirky.

You were right, by the way, about the correct spelling of Thai currency, Big Bro.

Here's another picture of my beautiful Christa. This one does indeed date back to 11th August last year, just three months before her death:

Christa doing her garden things, 11 August 2007


I must have been tired..

.. last night at 02:30 or so when I finally switched off my light. It's now 10:38 and I've only been toddling around for 40 minutes or so. Brekkie is on its way down, the sun is making intermittent attempts to shine through the rain clouds. No sign of Mr Postie despite various emails suggesting stuff is on its way. Still, I have the loan of a new toy to play with while Mike has another go with that upscaling Helios DVD player of mine. Next order of business, I suspect, is some supplies shopping. If possible, dodging the showers.

It would also be nice if I could restore my KVM switching to its previous (that is, working) state. And even nicer if I could find my Photoshop Elements CD so I can re-install this useful program. It loads fine, but bombs out complaining about lack of name, serial number, and registration with no way of letting me re-enter these before the untimely exit — these minor details were all trashed, I assume, by the XP repair process on the HP machine. Shame on Adobe. Various other installed programs continue to function1 just fine. It's doubtless all part of Life's rich bit pattern, but very irritating.

Remember me mentioning Network Magic? Well, having paid for and activated it across the network, all hereabouts is instant file and printer sharing heaven, even unto the iMac at the other end of the study. That's nice software. (Yes, I don't doubt I could have struggled through the Windows and Mac info, but the current mixture of XP Pro, XP Home, and OSX Tiger [and, lest I forget, Ubuntu 7.10] seemed a steep hill to climb.) Next stop: all that lovely network attached storage (2x500GB) via the Slug.

A day of some frustration

I've managed to place a few of my pictures of Christa out on the Interweb thingy even though they're actually being served from a shared subdirectory on one of the PCs here in the study. But I couldn't work out the necessary incantation to get this Network Magic "system" to take its data from the iMac rather than from one of the Windows boxes. And, frankly, I'm a lot happier at the thought of leaving the iMac running 24x7 than either of the Windows machines.

I did manage to get a picture out of Mike's new DVD player that I borrowed for experimenting with last night, but never via its hdmi output. The likeliest explanation is that all these upscaling standard DVD players apply the hdcp protocol over any hdmi output and, naturally, that's the one signal I cannot handle with my expensively non-compliant 50" plasma screen... My DVDO video scaler respects hdcp and will not pass signals through to a non-compliant output device. My Humax high-definition satellite box is perfectly happy to deliver its 720p and 1080i via hdmi without any trace of hdcp "crap" wrappering it.

Having unpacked the new external hard drive PATA/SATA enclosure, I find I can only use it via USB as I don't have any external e-SATA ports. In one fell swoop, that drops the potential transfer speeds from a potential 3Gb/sec down to a "mere" 480Mb/sec. So the idea of attaching a fast drive to the Slug more or less falls at the first hurdle. Back to Plan B, therefore — re-use the two Western Digital 320GB drives on the Slug, and attach the two new 500GB Maxtor drives directly and locally to each of the PCs.

What went well? Lunch was fine. The shopping was fine. The evening meal was fine. But it's now 22:00 with not a whole lot achieved. Time for another cuppa. Then time to tune in to Humph's last "Best of Jazz". Can you believe he's been hosting this for 40 years? And I've been a regular listener, too, for much of that time. Oh dear!



1  IBM application software could be just as awkward after system glitches, I remember. The venerable (and I don't mean that in a good way) 3270 terminal comms emulator package would, if deciding it had woken up in a strange bed (as it were), remark as to how it was pleased you'd been evaluating it but would you now please buy it? And, in the early 1990s, we were exposed to a SWIM package (software installation and maintenance, or some such, over the LAN) that at one point failed its own installation with a petulant display of flawed internal logic by demanding that each of three pre-requisite components be loaded before the other two.