2016 — 27 May: Friday

I've just spent half an hour browsing around the "Mint Guide" site here, following a suggestion that I might wish to try kernel 4.6 to see if it fixes my DisplayPort, erm, feature. A kindly thought, but I think not.

I shall carry on1 regardless. And make a calming cuppa. Another one, that is. There's a bank statement to be read — I shall make the cuppa a strong one.

A mere eight years...

... or so since cutting a spare2 front door key, and obtaining first a stainless steel chain and later a leather "string" to attach it to, I've decided that rather than hang it on the main CH thermostat in the hallway it's probably more effective if I just wear the damn' thing all the time. One less thing to worry about. (My ingrained habit of locking the front door 'open' until I actually depart did actually result in it being left in that state all day on one occasion about five years ago. Note how quickly I make effective changes to my modus vivendi.)

I've not even read...

... the Dickens novel falsely claimed to be the best-seller of all time. Source and snippet:

The figure of 200 million was first queried on the Wikipedia talk pages in May 2009, and was deleted from the site on December 4, 2014 by Richard Farmbrough, one of the most prolific British Wikipedians... On December 5, the claim was reinserted, re-removed, and reinserted again. Farmbrough took it down it again on February 4, 2015; on March 1, it was reinstated and promptly re-removed; it appeared again on April 23, and survived for another nine months before the indefatigable Farmbrough deleted it yet again on January 30, 2016. Why has the claim proved so difficult to kill? No doubt part of the reason is that it has now accumulated a lengthy and, by Wiki-standards, respectable paper trail...

Peter Thonemann in TLS

And I shall not soon be discarding my Oxford Companion to English Literature (Harvey's, fourth edition) but only for sentimental reasons. It was originally Christa's copy from 1969. She did let me buy her the later edition (Drabble) but didn't rate it very highly. It got culled.

I may yet...

... regret this, but I've just unleashed Rhythmbox (on the NUC) on the music files held on a 4TB local drive. This will be its first outing under Ubuntu, and thus a useful test drive. Assuming it ever finishes scanning the disk. It seems to think there are 114,673 eligible files.

Keeping busy

I dispute this total. Weakly. I'm just going to let it get on with it. It is, after all, a Bank Holiday weekend and I have lots more I can amuse myself with. Not to mention blagging a cuppa and a biscuit over with Roger&Eileen when the day is rather older.

Breakfast sounds like a jolly Good Thing right about now. Before it metamorphoses into brunch. [Pause] This is still very much worth a browse. Don't blame (or bill) me for any time lost!

When I next looked...

... at the NUC — on my return from a mercy motorway dash to buy two more 10kg bags of salt for the water softener from what is now, I suspect, the nearest convenient3 supplier — I found a nice, fresh "Core" dump in my home directory, but I did not find any trace of a successfully-imported library of music. Why am I not surprised? I have wrestled with Rhythmbox in the past.

I shall therefore console myself with my new toy. Having bought the salt from the "Homebase" store in Hedge End, I nipped along to "PCWorld" for another nVidia GTX950 graphics card identical in spec to the one I slotted into Skylark back in March. I already know it works well with both Mint 17.3 and Ubuntu 16.04 and its fans only bother to spin if things get too heated. Since I don't play games, that basically never happens:

comparison pixel data rate (2016)

The nVidia will displace the Radeon R7 250 card from BlackBeast Mk III as part of my cunning long-term plan (the one necessitated by changes in the Linux Kernel's support for what are now clearly regarded as "ancient" examples of graphics hardware).


Talk about plans ganging aft agley. First, Eileen phones me to say Roger's poorly. So, no free cuppa. Then I nip out to warm the car up by taking it to Asda and back before putting it away back in the garage and only just spot the radar speed trap on Leigh Road on the way home from a fruitless scouring of the bargain DVD shelves.

Now, of course, I hope to move smoothly on to Plan B — remove the Radeon card, reboot, remove the AMD proprietary driver, shut down. Pop in the nVidia, and install the nVidia driver... What could possibly go wrong? Make it so, Mr Sulu.

  1. having removed the Radeon card from BlackBeast and attempted to reboot... nuffin' doing. Black screen of non-cooperation
  2. having then popped in the nVidia card and further attempted to reboot, at least this time I get to the Grub menu, but then... still nuffin' doing.

Naturally, putting the Radeon back in promptly restores normal function. Amazing how a lump of hardware can somehow sport an evil grin without actually having a face, isn't it?

Next plan? Tea, obviously! [Pause] And not one, but two, dark chocolate-covered ginger biscuits. Bliss. BlackBeast is back in business though — until I sort out the graphics card — I shall keep it plumbed into the less-demanding 27" Asus and keep Skylark's head down, out of the way. The 34" Dell can go and sit out this round on the naughty step (aka the dining table) as it's of a size to get in the way while PCs lie around in bits and pieces.

Ironically, but pleasingly, the NUC has all this time been calmly streaming a relatively recent (track listings here) 3xCD set. I've just logged back into it to see how long remains. Now I shall snaffle this week's triplet of "Late Junction" BBC Radio 3 programmes, the remainder of the fortnight of Armistead Maupin 'Tales', and then adjourn to a comfy chair for some more non-Vorkosigan.


Prompted by a phone call, I was reminded of earlier nVidia difficulties:

To get BlackBeast to play nicely with an nVIDIA GTX970 graphics card — and to boot the system to a working display — we had to add NOMODESET to the end of this line in /etc/default/grub
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"
And then immediately run sudo update-grub

Date: March 2015 or thereabouts

Clearly, I'd repressed the memory!



1  i.e., bumble along.
2  Having realised horribly early in my new (and unwelcome) state as an unmerry widower that I had no cheerful in-house "backup" any longer to rescue me from any consequences of my innate stupidity.
3  "Convenient" in this case having two meanings: "avoiding local road works and closures" and "near PCWorld".