2011 — 17 August: Wednesday

I'm confined to barracks today.1 It's 09:10 and breakfast is feeling like a good idea sometime soon.

My goodness! It's sometimes truly hard to believe that I live in the same, rational, world as others of my species:

Young Catholics making the trip to the Spanish capital will also gain a plenary indulgence — effectively a reduction in the time believers spend in purgatory after confessing and being absolved of their sins. These concessions were once sold2 by priests, but now the indulgences are granted on special occasions.

Tom Kington and Stephen Burgen in The Guardian

I confess I often confuse purgatory with limbo, but am confident they will both be swept away in time for my doubtless glorious ascension up to wherever the hell it is we go next. And if Christa isn't there waiting for me with a huge smile I shall be mighty ticked off, too :-)

I like tea, but...

... I'm not a member of the Tea Party. This piece by Hadley Freeman has attracted some robust comments, which (to her credit) she's batted around herself from time to time. Good, rousing, knockabout stuff. (Link.)

It's hard to believe that my little Yaris is coming up to four years old, but I've just had to arrange its next "big" (four hour) service and MOT, which will see me getting down to Millbrook for 07:00 one day next month. I must be mad. Where's that alarm clock?

Thanks, Mr Postie...

... though I don't think Christa would be remotely interested in personally-addressed junk mail from Anglian (so-called) home improvements, somehow. Still, I've now got the next film from the lady who made "Wasteland". And there's a chilling comic graphic if you (dare) click the pic:

Not your normal pizza!

I learned all about the charmless insanity of ICBMs during my Civil Defence stint in the late 1960s. Whether the Duke of Edinburgh would be pleased to know his award scheme had helped turn me into a life-long left-of-centre anti-nuclear weapon pacifist is another matter :-)

They also serve...

... who only sit at home (watching the rain) and wait. Until the gas man has both cometh and goneth I can't nip out to pick up my rejuvenated little Asus Eee PC. I was chatting to Brian last night as he was testing its newly-installed ability to serve web pages while streaming audio files. I will believe it when I see and hear it, as I still find the thought of it growing up to become a full-fledged web and music server quite boggling.

All I can do to "prepare" for it is plug its MAC address into my router, decide what IP address to assign to it, and then start looking for my long-neglected little Roku network music player to hook up to the audio system in the reading room. Assuming I can find the Roku,3 and remove the dust, it should finally come into its own as my MP3 player.

It's 15:55 and I'm getting a bit fed up of hanging around.

Perfidious Albion, heh?

Is it legal to shoot down a plane carrying the UN Secretary General? And then cover up the murder? I suspect not, somehow. (Link)

In less shocking news, my gas safety inspection was eventually deemed unnecessary, but I only found out less than an hour ago. Still, the weather's not been terribly inviting today, so no harm done.

Meanwhile, my little white server awaits a tad of final configuration tinkering, but Brian's now temporarily run out of time (he concedes that retirement is a state very far from being oversupplied with free time!). I shall spend my time until he returns from the mountains of Norfolk by preparing one of my (several) external hard drives with copies of my music and web site data files. The idea is to keep the Asus Eee PC as a "pure" server fed by said (pluggable) hard drive. It is (or was, when I last enquired last night) running Ubuntu 11.04 server and Firefly.

I gather he's determined to teach me how to program in Python. That should be amusing.

Famous last words

It turns out that I cannot format the drive with anything but NTFS on my Gateway XP system, and must choose between NTFS (the default) and exFAT (Microsoft's proprietary replacement for FAT32 that I'd never even heard of) on BlackBeast's Win7 system. Brian had already warned me not to use NTFS, which reduces the choice to exFAT of course. But (at first glance) it seems exFAT should now be "good to go"4 with a little Ubuntu-ish tinkering.

I found a couple of magic spells (of course) though I currently lack a spare Ubuntu desktop system — let alone a pentagram from inside the safety of which I can invoke them:

sudo -s
apt-add-repository ppa:relan/exfat
apt-get install fuse-exfat

to install exFAT support in the first place, and

sudo -s
mkdir usbdrive
mount -t exfat /dev/sdd1 usbdrive

to mount the drive.

Problem solved? Well, erm, no, actually. Not necessarily. I've discovered that guru opinions "in the wild" vary on whether or not exFAT is currently read-only on Linux.

Definitely time for a cuppa, and about three nicotine patches. It will be cool to see Brian Python program his way around this :-)

I turn, for light relief, to Google's birthday doodle celebrating Fermat:



All is now...

... sweetness and light. Len pointed me to a January 2009 update from Microsoft specifically for adding exFAT support to an XP system. And it worked, too. So both my 32-bit Windows XP and 64-bit Windows 7 are now equally equipped to handle exFAT as well as NTFS. Let's hope my little Asus box is equally adept.



1  Until Mr "Gas Safe" has done his inspecting of things around here that can potentially go "bang" in the night. Or, indeed, during the day!
2  Are these the wages of sin?
3  It last saw successful service via iTunes running on my iMac but will now have to learn how to play nice with the "Firefly" open source server I mentioned nearly five years ago.
4  Typically, when I first formatted the drive as exFAT and then connected it to the XP system, Mr XP promptly asked me "Do you want me to format this unformatted drive for you now?" Not a question to inspire much confidence, is it? And, to add further insult, when I'd copied across my web site files and a tiny subset of my MP3s (just as a test case) and then presented the drive once again to the XP system, Mr XP completely ignored the data on it and asked me exactly the same question again.