2011 — 26 July: Tuesday

Had this morning's garden waste collection lorry been only a bit quieter1 — it never is — I would probably still be asleep, and thus blissfully unaware that I'd forgotten to roll out my green bin for the recycling collection this morning. I wouldn't know it was drizzling.

Heck, I wouldn't even have added my Ubuntu 11.04 PC's MAC address2 to my router's little memory to assign it a static IP address. I admit I spent longer than should have been needed last night — having just installed an image viewer ("Gwenview") claimed to be as good as the "legendary" (not my word) "IrfanView" that some people like a lot on the Windows platform — searching for where the hell Ubuntu had put it so I could fire it up and then pin it where I could find it. Your mileage may vary...

But, worst of all, I wouldn't now have just downed a steaming hot cuppa to wake me the rest of the way up.

All systems are now "go". What's next, Mrs Landingham?

Alvin Toffler

Said "Tomorrow's illiterate will not be the man who can't read; he will be the man who has not learned3 how to learn." Whenever I read a piece on cyber warfare or cyber espionage or — latest example — the "Code War" (click the pic) ...


... I invariably recall the superb 1975 novel by John Brunner which was heavily influenced by Toffler's "Future Shock" in 1970.

4,000 words worth?

Just to see how I'm getting on. Lazier than a screen capture, which may be my next trick:

Ubuntu desktop

What was that, Mrs L? I need a bigger screen? Damn' right!

I keep an...

... (I hope, non-obsessive) eye on my server logs just to see what brings hapless browsers stumbling, dazed and confused, into the otiose arena that is molehole.org. Someone this month arrived after searching for, and I quote carefully, the following four book titles (all of which lurk on my groaning shelves somewhere):

godel escher bach black swan my life as a quant surely you re joking mr feynman


Meanwhile, Mr Southern Water has decided that, since I've used 11m3 of his captured rainfall in the last 181 days and have only paid him £100-70 I still owe a further 83p. I imagine the cost of printing and sending this bill comfortably exceeds 83p but (flushed with success, because he's now dropping my monthly bill from £17-70 to £14-20) I won't quibble — not even to yank his chain :-)

I shall celebrate with a cuppa and a bite of lunch. It's 12:31 and is brightening up enough for me to contemplate a little expotition this afternoon. Toot, toot!

My first (partial — even before trimming; not yet sure why) screen capture:

Ubuntu screen


Or killjoys, at least.

Forget time travel, forget trips to distant galaxies, and ditch the idea that there's a more advanced civilization than ours that's made the visit to Earth. A group led by Professor Shengwang Du (the name translates as "killjoy", The Register hopes) claims to have proven that a single photon can't break the speed of light in a vacuum.

Richard Chirgwin in The Register

Or was it moving too fast to see? [Pause] In other fast-moving particle news, many (many) millions of bits of information have been flying around my internal data network as I bring the Ubuntu PC "up to speed" (as it were). Alas, the weather never persuaded me to venture out, but my progress through Julian May's excellent work continues apace. It's already 18:03 — how does that happen?

I'm still pondering...

... those damnably tempting SSD disk drives. Having (finally) closely perused the annotated motherboard photo that came with BlackBeast I have uncovered the fifth SATA port. (It was cunningly at 90 degrees to the other two pairs and, by the time I'd plugged in my first four SATA cables it was jolly nearly hidden... but a quick grovel under my desk with a bright LED torch and I can confirm it is definitely present and correct, and empty.) So, were I to acquire and fit an SSD it would be without having to displace my optical drive, and it would also render the vexatious issue of being or not being able to boot from an SSD on the PCI-E bus moot.

Despite having scoured the Foxconn A88GMX motherboard manual closely I can see no hint in the BIOS section apart from AHCI... In fact there's nothing about booting, boot order, or boot(able) devices.

Note: Before installing the RevoDrive it is important to check the settings/capabilities on your motherboard. If you plan on using the RevoDrive as a boot drive please check that your motherboard supports boot over PCI-E, and note that due to limited option ROM space, it is often not possible to use the RevoDrive while the Onboard RAID Controller is enabled on many motherboards. Check with your motherboard manufacturer for the latest platform information and BIOS updates and refer to our Tested Motherboard Guide, or visit our support forums for more information regarding compatibility/installation.

I fully realise that if I plumb an SSD into a SATA port rather than onto the PCI-E bus I'm losing a great deal of the potential I/O speediness, but it would still wipe the floor (as it were) with the suddenly puny-seeming Velociraptor. So the saga may yet have one more little twist in a while. Say, after my next minor dollop of pension! Meanwhile, I am enjoying Ubuntu with Unity so far. Very much. And I gather, from reading a preview of Ubuntu 11.10, that more Unity smoothness is yet to come. It's placing the desktop GUI firmly back into play against both Win7 and OSX. And it beats both those hands-down on price, of course :-)

Gateway to the stars?

Promising. Very promising. (Link.) [Pause] Unlike the weather, although three intrepid walkers are even now making tentative plans...



1  Instead of having to rev like crazy as he manoeuvred past his drain-clearing colleagues in an even bigger lorry.
2  Let's see. Where have they hidden my little GNOME's terminal command prompt window this time? Aah, there it is. I've now pinned it to the Unity "Launcher" strip (which is tastefully aligned down the left hand edge of the desktop exactly where I chose to keep my OSX dock for the last three years).
3  These steep learning curves as you grapple with each fresh incarnation of software, particularly on a less familiar platform, are (I like to kid myself) good, or at least helpful, in keeping the synapses firing at other than random intervals.