2014 — 10 July: Thursday

Some sunny mornings1 sleep simply flees, and I wake up with a tune rattling around my head. Today's tune, perhaps inevitably, being "Sugar Man". A couple of hours of 'news' from NPR while I do some overdue file shuffling and I can now munch my room-temperature nectarine and only slightly wrinkled peach pre-breakfast treats and revert to BBC Radio 3 in time for the 8 o'clock roundup. I doubt they'll have the same story about a 5,000 year old Welsh yew tree. But yew never know.

Nope. But emergency legislation is being rushed in next week to ensure our beloved guvmint can continue to snoop on us all. Unlike other European citizens.

I actually remembered...

... to download, and enjoyed watching, what is (I suspect) the final episode of "Episodes" Season #3 last night. The series has trodden rough-shod over very similar ground (in the TV world) to the much-missed "Action!" (which had the dubious distinction of being pulled off the air in America less than halfway through its one and only season by being very 'controversial' about the machinations of Hollywood).

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik note delightedly that network TV insiders gleefully identify the people on whom they are sure the characters are based without ever recognising themselves.

"We heard from network executives we hadn't heard from in years, telling us how much 
they loved the show. And the best part is, everyone we spoke with thought the characters 
were based on someone else. They were all, like, 'You totally nailed him!'
We never disagreed."

Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn got precisely the same reaction with "Yes, Minister" from both civil servants and politicians of all stripes. And Dilbert's creator also reports this phenomenon amongst his many fans in the Corporate world that he regularly skewers.

It could just...

... be the way my simple brain is wired, but I find it impossible to disagree with this. Source and snippet:

Privatisation isn't working. We were promised a shareholding democracy, competition, falling costs and better services. A generation on, most people's experience has been the opposite. From energy to water, rail to public services, the reality has been private monopolies, perverse subsidies, exorbitant prices, woeful under-investment, profiteering and corporate capture.
Private cartels run rings round the regulators. Consumers and politicians are bamboozled by commercial secrecy and contractual complexity. Workforces have their pay and conditions slashed. Control of essential services has not only passed to corporate giants based overseas, but those companies are themselves often state-owned — they're just owned by another state.

Seumas Milne in Grauniad

Jeeves! I need more tea.

On a whim...

... and a prayer, I've just kicked Ubuntu 14.04 LTS off my laptop, and am in the process of replacing it by Mint 17. A process that will almost certainly be interrupted by lunch in the next few minutes. My turn to pay; my turn to pick the venue. [Pause] Oops. The installer tells me it's just crashed. A curious sense of "been there, done that" begins to descend. I'm off to lunch. [Long pause]

See, the thing that makes me conclude Linux is still not ready for Prime Time is the undeniable fact that a klutz like me can crash the damn' installer. Again. Without even trying. I am retreating to the warm embrace of Ubuntu. Let's see how far that gets. [Pause] Back in business, after the last 63.5MB of updates have been re-applied.

When I wasn't busy...

... in WH Smith this morning, browsing the latest issue of Linux User & Developer ahead of my failed try at installing Mint 17, or the latest glossy "Build Your Own PC" (2014 edition) ahead of nothing2 in particular, I was busy buying my third novel by Mark Haddon:

Third Haddon book

I see the new...

... Samsung Galaxy Tab S is showcasing a fancy 2500x1600 pixel Organic LED screen. I was wondering where that particular technology had ended up. (Link.)

I enjoyed "The Fuller Memorandum" and will now be moving on to "The Apocalypse Codex". At this rate, I shall soon be ready to have another bash (by no means my first) at HP Lovecraft; in the meantime, I've lent "The Machine" to my tame guru in all matters Lovecraftian.

Fair exchange :-)

The live concert from York is curiously fascinating. [Pause] I'm now downloading my own Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" Cinnamon 1.3GB ISO directly to make one further attempt to get it on to my laptop before conceding defeat. After all, it worked for Ubuntu, and Mint is just downstream of that, dagnabbit.

I could spit!

The Universe clearly doesn't want me to run Mint 17. I downloaded the ISO and, when Firefox said it was all there, I clicked (as usual) on the "Downloads" arrow. This (as not usual) immediately opened a ghastly Modern App pop-up list of programs to do something with it. Dismissing that — probably my mistake, of course — I opened a Windows Explorer view of the "Downloads" folder. WTF? No trace of a 1.3GB ISO image, nada, zip, diddley-squat, "Virtual Case 4"... so nothing for me to right-click and then select Burn ISO to DVD.

How the hell can Microsoft's finest lose a file that large, that quickly, without a by-your-leave? It still shows in the Firefox Downloads history, but the option to open the 'containing' folder is greyed out. Like Baloo the blasted bear, it's "gone, man, solid gone". That'll lern me.

I didn't want to run Mint anyway :-)



1  This being one of them.
2  Except the scratching of a vague virtual itch, I guess.