2015 — 16 March: Monday

After a whirlwind romance (has it really been just one month already?) my Civil Partnership ceremony1 is concluded, and I'm delighted to announce that the Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon desktop is now officially my BlackBeast Mark III PC Life Partner of choice (at least, until the next Best PC Thing since Sliced Bread comes along). "Those whom Linus hath joined, let no heirs of Bill put asunder." Or something like that. Perhaps that will teach Win8.1 Pro Update 1 not to fail on me?

What's next?

Some breakfast, I fancy, in prep for my upcoming dental date with Dr Fang later this morning. There's also the tiny matter of getting the tiny new NVIDIA GTX970 graphics card to drive the tiny new 4K Philips monitor without everything collapsing into a surly Black Screen every time. And how could I overlook the Case of the Intermittent Scanner that's glued to the top of the shiny new HP LaserJet? I'm hoping a package purge and restore process will get me through that.

I've not yet bothered to re-fit the side panel on BlackBeast. Noise level (from the cooling fan under the power supply) is trivial, and letting air freely circulate certainly seems to suit the CPU. I've tentatively booked a session of further h/w and s/w tinkering with Brian tomorrow — he is far more expert than I currently am during those irritating What To Do When The Bl***y Thing Just Won't Boot2 sessions.

If an overnight email...

... can be believed, Big Bro has now joined the massed ranks of iPhone users. Why does that not surprise me? I suppose he had to give back his darker fruity little gadget when finally leaving the Life Corporate. I shall stick to my Android "solution". Reminds me: I must ask someone how to clear out the ever-growing list of ignored calls from "Unknown" numbers... Preferably without replying to them.


I was in the middle of replying when (for by no means the first time in the last few days) the desktop — to be more precise, the Firefox browser in the current virtual desktop — simply froze. Dead stop. Nuffin' was stirring, not even a mouse. I've noticed this happen enough times3 to rule out both 'happenstance' and also 'coincidence'. I'm now assuming 'enemy action' for those who remember Ian Fleming's "Goldfinger". It's only ever happened in conjunction with doing something at the time in Google Mail's web-based interface. And I've just confirmed, with Brian, that he's noticed the same symptoms (again, only with GMail).

So, death to the GMail web interface. Again. Press the 'reset' button. Log back in and watch Firefox recover both the email and the web session. Good, but not quite good enough as neither FileZilla nor the Pluma text editor came back from their unexpected journey to Limbo. So I've just re-activated my Thunderbird email client. Again. And left it to get on with its downloading. Again.


Open wide

You know the drill? [Pause] Have a rinse. Don't bite down on it too hard for a bit, you're still numb. See you in September.

Just deleted yet another credit card offer to lend me non-existent money at 0% APR4 until March 2016. Now why would I do that?

Decisions, decisions

Do I make lunch, or do I re-fit an optical drive? I must also fix a sticker on the front of the PC case (but I won't do that until I've successfully scanned it).

Lunch, I managed. After that, my vague plans for the day were very effectively derailed...

Yesterday's care-home nurse...

... knew exactly of what she spoke. Omay Khayyam comes in very handy at this point:

While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink:
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to thee — take that, and do not shrink.

Yes: I am now a fully paid-up member of the "Orphans and Widowers Club". It's a slightly odd feeling. In a piece of synchronicity, dear Mama left when her latest great-grandson popped out into the NZ branch of my little clan. As Big Bro put it: "Very much a one in, one out scenario perhaps. Our girls all have their various memories of Betty and that is good for them." Quite so. My own memories? I shall keep those to myself, I think.

As I now sup a cup before dragging myself out to the kitchen to re-fuel, I can report I've:

Look on the bright side: the hardened composite in my tooth has had the decency to keep its head down... And I can now drink without a straw.

The new Ubuntu newsletter...

... links to a chap, who links to a chap, who tries Linux every three years and keeps concluding it's not ready for that desktop. I remain of several minds about this. (Link.)

Unpacking the memorabilia...

... sent me whirling back in Time :-)



1  aka (in some circles) as a nice, hot, morning cuppa!
2  Peter and I shared a giggle at the weekend over that hoary question he first met in the University of York's Department of Computer Science: "Is Linux ready for the desktop?" Some of my recent Black Screen experiences lead me to suspect "No, not quite" is still the correct answer well over a decade later. But then wasn't the Singularity due this year, too? Or was it AI first? I forget :-)
3  Including earlier this morning while I was snaffling last night's "Drama on 3" in glorious 320 Kbps in an adjacent terminal session. I just sat that one out and the system unfroze with the download completed.
4  Close reading of the small print again suggests that the only way to avoid interest is pay in full in Month #1. And there's still a 3.5% handling charge. It amused me to hear BBC Radio 4's "Moneybox" tell me that the official industry term for someone who pays each card bill in full is... "deadbeat". I think that's rather sweet.
5  I was very pleased to get the one I particularly wished to have. It's a heavy glass paperweight of a pear. I'd bought it for my father's last birthday in May 1975 two weeks before he died. By then, he was blind, but he could — and did — still admire the heft and the shape. It will now live on my desk.