2016 — 23 February: Tuesday

Did I mention the existence of some nasty sharp edges in Linux?1 I discovered yesterday that the "Lock screen" function, erm, doesn't. Now you might well ask: "He's the sole occupant of Technology Towers. Why the hell would he ever want to lock his screen?"

Well, I'm too lazy to change the 'power' settings, and don't like the screen staring2 at me when I'm in music-listening, or reading, or even Kuro-watching, mode in the "comfy" chair. Screen lock was a simple way of turning the screen black in a trice.

(Whatever a trice is.)

J'accuse Xfce...

... after a minute or so of casual Googling. Once again, I shall move on to breakfast, and (of course) another cuppa!

The Grauniad carries two stories on Vienna currently. One rates it the #1 city to live in for "quality of life", the other mentions police imposing a 70 Euro fine — an automated hi-tech punitive measure, perhaps? — for a loud belch. Make what you will of that while I go on a wild-goose chase for the elusive Euro currency character.

Neurogastronomy, heh?

Pass the umami. Actually, it's an interesting article:

Fast food is so addictive because salt, sugar, and fat never appear together in nature. Try to imagine a naturally occurring food that is fatty, has high amounts of sugar, and is salty to boot and you'll come up short. And so, strongly reinforcing neural pathways that were only ever meant to fire in isolation, to tell us that a food is worth eating, now activate all at once, creating an enticing, addictive cascade that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Maria Konnikova in New Republic

Je (falsely) accuse Xfce...

... since Screen Lock works perfectly on the NUC. I was being pestered by a tenacious Amazon seller to provide a review of a little breakout box. It takes an HDMI input, passes it through to the display screen, but also breaks out both optical SP/DIF and analogue stereo audio from the HDMI signal on its journey. Since I was in the process of hooking that up to the NUC I thought I might as well give Screen Lock the old college try — it works perfectly.

So, too, does my new little breakout box3 though I have yet to discover the magic key combination on my 27" Asus screen that will mute its internal speakers, which is thus defeating the point of the exercise. Still, that's no fault of the box, which will get its review sometime today.

Minty green goodness

There's a fascinating thread here of some interest to Linux Mint users. Not too many pots and kettles debating the nature of the "colour" black... but some. And they do it quite nicely. Still, I confess I find some of my thoughts drifting gently in the direction of a new LTS Xubuntu breeze due to be wafting this way in a couple of months from now.

The last time...

... I had dealings with Polaroid (not the camera that I won in the 1970s) was during a simple (correction: should have been simple) IBM photo-shoot for some images to pop into a mid-1980s edition of my CICS General Information manual. It suddenly occurred to me, as I peered through the viewfinder, that we didn't have clearance to use the colourful image that was their trademark, all too visible in the background of a "general generic office" set where we'd stacked some Polaroid folders as a prop. Out they went.

Audio adapters

I picked up today's example for £6 in Asda a few minutes ago, having wasted too much time looking for just one of these useful dongles that has clearly followed all my coat-hangers and socks into a domestic Black Hole hereabouts.

Having just taken...

... Ubuntu 15.10 out for a test drive in its VirtualBox I needed my evening meal to help me recover. It still reminds me of all the things I hated about the horrible "unity" interface. I'm more interested in the look'n'feel at this stage. I already know the performance will be more than adequate on BlackBeast Mk III or the i5 Skylake NUC. I shall now try a similar level build of Xubuntu, methinks. But not without a cuppa.

It seemed rather cold out there this evening when I wheeled out my bin for tomorrow's collection. Brrr. We have a walk pencilled in for the bright shiny morrow. I have a lunch date on Thursday, and will be ending this week with another funeral...



1  Chorus: "Say it isn't so!"
2  Traumatic memories surface of an SF story I read in the late 1950s (in an anthology for younger readers that I dearly wish dear Mama hadn't thrown out as I would have enjoyed watching Peter read it). It was set on an asteroid used to house a new-fangled unstaffed hi-tech prison of the sort probably daily contemplated in upper guvmint circles these days. Screens throughout this prison monitored the "emotional temperature" of the inmates, triggering automated hi-tech punitive measures when deemed necessary.
3  Bonus points: it also passes through the full-fat 2560x1440 resolution along to the Asus screen whereas its little booklet had suggested (rather to my initial dismay) that it maxed out at a mere Full HD.