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Merry Christmas!WEEK 51 2009Merry Christmas!

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First Post, 17 March 2002
Seven Years Ago, This Week, 2002 Six Years Ago, This Week, 2003 Five Years Ago, this week, 2004 Four Years Ago, This Week, 2005 Three Years Ago, This Week, 2006
Two Years Ago, This Week, 2007
One Year Ago, This Week, 2008

Saturday 19 December 2009
Saturday - did a lot of small chores - raking leaves (lots and lots of leaves), cleaning & refilling the hummingbird feeder, laundry, shopping, library. Even had lunch (and dinner) with friends.

I also tried to install some software on the linux box. First was the Android developer kit. This requires Java, which is in downloadable packages. Except that one, the documentation, doesn't download properly - it apparently wants hand installation with root privileges...for documentation. So far I haven't been able to get it out of the package manager, and every time I download something else it tries - and fails - to reinstall the documentation, requiring user input to reset the package manager.

Then I tried to install a file synchronization program, FreeFileSync. Turns out that it had no debian package, no README.txt, no installer script, no documentation of any kind. Even the forum was useless (and by the way, what happened to Sourceforge - it's got this glitzy horrible user interface now. Yuck).

Eventually I gave up, and looking further found Unison, which is a package in a default repository and downloads and installs just fine. It's a bit primitive, and no longer in development, but seems to work OK for syncing files between the HDD and a USB drive.

Friday 18 December 2009
Friday - back in Lancaster. I picked up a big external drive, 1 Terabyte, because I want to get all my files in one place - right now they are stored all over about four or five main computers, and it's irritating not being able to put my hands on a particular photo or document. Also I want to put all the pictures together in a folder - the old laptop was too small to hold more than the last year or two worth of images. The new laptop has enough space, I think, but I need to collect and collate the images from the old laptop, the linux desktop, the Win2k desktop, and the old backup drive.

I also downloaded and intalled KompoZer, for the web page generation - I am, in fact, writing with it at the moment. It went pretty well, but there seems to be no spell check, which is odd, because I believe there is on the Windows version. So if there is a mis-spelled word or two you can blame the free software community...

Sad news: my brother had to have his dog Duke put to sleep. Duke has had tumors and pain for some time, and had gotten to the point where he could no longer walk: it was time. A sad day, though Mike did all he could for him. Indeed, of his litter only Duke survived - the rest got Parvo and died only a week or two after Mike picked Duke up. He was good natured, but so big that his friendliness could injure you ;-)

Duke, August 2000
Duke, in the earliest picture I can find, August 2000. RIP.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Thursday - not a lot to say today.

I did finish Book #82, Key out of Time, by Andre Norton. This is the fourth in the Time Traders series, and (again) has no trading in it. Our intrepid heroes cross space and go back in time to see what happened to the aliens that used to live there. Short answer: the "Baldies", the evil aliens of the first three stories have apparently killed them off. Longer answer...well, they battle the bad guys with the aid of some, well, witches - and kind of win, but are left stranded back in time on an alien world at the end of the story.

The very short story.

How do they get back to earth? Dunno. We know they do because I've read the eighth book in the series, Atlantis Endgame. Norton seems to have picked up a distressing habit of stranding her hero's, first poor Travis Fox on Topaz (albeit with the beautiful and exotic Tartar girl) and now Ross Murdoch and Gordon Ashe on Hawaika.

This was the Project Gutenberg version, by the way.

I suppose I'll have to read the series #5 to find out what happens, Firehand, though by some reviews it really stinks. Oh well, these are mercifully short books.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Wednesday - another day of grinding away. Even Tim, who usually just tears through this sort of task, sounded a bit grim by the day's end. But, slowly, we are making progress. A lot of the problems are from the early days of inspection, before the process was optimized and while people (me, mostly) were still learning the tricks of the marathon GIS inspection trade and of dealing with the active sabotage of Magellan mapper unit.

Well, it is what it is, and it is certainly an enormous improvement over what they have: nothing.

I was thinking about the Shute book, Ordeal, of last week. It might be interesting to plot up the path of the boat, see where it traveled from England to France. A lot of it would be vague, because the protagonist is only a fair weather navigator - no sextant ability, and with blackouts of the light houses and radio beacons his path is a bit unknowable to him, and thus to us.

I was wondering whether Shute would have them sail across the North Atlantic, but I suppose that was too far fetched for that date and time. Even in the 1960's and 1970's it was considered a feat; in wartime 1939 it would have been considered impossible for a small family yacht

Wikipedia's entry for Shute lists his War books as follows - red highlights are books I've read by him and mentioned here.

The War novels include:

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Tuesday - the grind continues at work. Lots of small fixes that need to be entered, and changes to the database - one table might use Boolean for a flag where another it is to be merged with uses an ANSI, or one uses Int*16 instead of Int*32. And trying to sort and rename thousands of videos and stills in the appropriate format.

I see that I screwed up on the blog ordering last week, but have now fixed it so that Week 49 and Week 50 now follow Week 48. There were issues - this happens every year or so around this time, it seems. About the time I add the Christmas cats up above.

Monday 14 December 2009

Monday - back to work. Not much to say there - just grinding through the masses of data.

It's dried up a bit, and the roads are clean and dry. But the drivers are as stupid as ever, which is why I spent 45 minutes sitting - another accident on the 118. Between the people going 90mph in the slow lane and those going 55 in the fast lane it's a wonder anybody survives more than a week or two on these Southern California roads.

I saw the 49ers' win their game on Monday Night Football. Excellent game - but only the second Niners' game I've seen all year.

I understand my package finally arrived - the housekeeper went by and picked it up from the doorstep and put it inside for me.

Sunday 13 December_2009

Sunday - I watched some of the NFL games on teevee - some pretty good games are on, this late in the season. I was feeling a bit tired so not much else got done.

I was expecting a package but it turns out that UPS does not deliver on weekends. Weird, you'd think that they'd have to during the Christmas season, but apparently not. Well, maybe Monday or Tuesday. It's been sitting in California since Thursday, so we're talking 5 days to deliver less than a 100 miles. It took two days to get to California from Secaucus, New York (New Jersey?).

I installed a new version of Linux on the old Intel D845 system - this in Mint 8.0: "Helena". I had installed 7.0, Gloria a couple of weeks ago - and 8.0 was released the next day. Sigh. So, since I didn't have much of anything installed - just 'grip' to save some Christmas music to the PDA - it wasn't a big deal to replace it. One bad CD turned into a coaster, and a few other problems which may be caused by a bad CMOS battery. The system doesn't seem to remember the date or boot order correctly, and it is a pretty old system, so I'll have to try replacing that.

Other than that it seems to work pretty well. I have avoided the proprietary Nvidia drivers, and don't seem to have the old system hangups that once bedeviled me.
Merry Christmas

Picture of the Week
Seals in Morro Bay

Photo Notes: Seals in Morro Bay, July 2009

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