Bellerophon symbol, variation 7 jonath.co.uk
Tuesday 2nd September 2003

Do you ever wonder why you're reading this . . . why I'm writing this?


Wednesday 3rd September 2003

Nothing much to report . . . it seems simple . . . what does? . . . well, I have all these computers lying around my house . . . I kinda feel sorry for computers that society deems obsolete . . . all those 80486's and older. Especially when in less developed (technologically, that is) countries any computer would be a luxury. So, with this is mind, I became determined to find a use for this poor old neglected 486DX. That computer is now happily running FreeSCO now, but I have yet to decide what to do with it. It still has a few quirks . . . like, you turn it on - the power (not sexually) - and after a few seconds (although this can vary from one second to about fifteen) the power will just turn off and then on again. Very odd. At first, I thought I was trying to power too many components (four circuit boards, a CD-ROM, two hard-drives and a floppy drive) but after removing all but the essential, this power cycling thing was still happening. Anyway, it only seems to happen for the first few minutes of use, and then seems to settle down. Strange. Very strange. So, it works now anyway. Perhaps now I can remove the floppy drive, the video card and the CD-ROM and just have it as a dumb terminal.

You see? This is the kind of stuff I write about. I could go on. I will go on. You see, my main computer, the important one on which I do all my university work has some problems of its own. I think (although I'm not sure) that the video card (an old 16MB Voodoo 2000, I think) keeps overheating. I think this, because what I'm about to describe only ever happens when I'm flicking between video modes. So, what happens . . . well there's me, doing something in text mode, then back to 800X600 graphics mode, then I click the 'Full Screen' button in VMWare, thereby making Windows 2000 use the full screen, then I go out of this, do something in KDE, blah blah blah blah . . . and then, occasionally, the screen will go black and the machine will completely lock up. And I'm using . . . oh dear, the 486DX just resetted itself . . . hmmmm . . . not good . . . where was I? . . . oh yes . . . so I'm using Linux, so one hardly expects the machine to ever completely lock-up due to a software issue, so I figure it must be something hardware related. Then I noticed how hot the heat-sinks were getting on the video card (then get a better heat sink - duh) and so I . . . no, you don't understand. I got a memory upgrade recently, from 256MB up to 768MB, and it's hardly made any difference, so I'm suspecting bottle-neck somewhere. So I get this new video card, at the same time as getting the memory but, of course, the thing's so new, that SuSE 7.3 doesn't seem to support it. Plus, in trying to support this new video card, my computer kept crashing (so I've had to put back the old video card, for the time being). And every time the computer crashes, there's that risk that another chunk of my hard-disk gets corrupted. I've already had to reinstall KDE because of such corruption. And now, I find my mail reader no longer works and . . . so Paul says to me, "You wanna get a new version of SuSE. Newer version have a more robust file system, whereby if the system crashes, the computer can pick up from exactly where it was last time, so you don't lose anything," but I guess to do this, I'll need to format my hard-drive, which I cannot do, as there's loads of important stuff there, so perhaps if I buy a new hard-drive, format that, install the most recent SuSE on that, then maybe that will support my new video card and NOT have such a destructive impact on the hard-drive upon crashing . . . I don't know. It's never simple, is it?


Thursday 4th September 2003

What a strange dream . . . I was flying around Barton Road (Lancaster), but due to the wind, I was quite unable to control myself. After a while of fighting against it, I finally let it take me where it will . . . wherever the wind takes me. And, erm, it took me to the front door of a house there, so I thought, what the hell, I'll see who's in. An old lady answered the door, a bit taller than average, with grey, curly hair. And although I was floating by her front door, and couldn't actually speak any words, she seemed remarkably good natured about the whole thing. I think somehow we had a little 'chat', and then I went on my way. Anyway, I need to pump up my bicycle tyres before I go to work. Laters.


Friday 5th September 2003

A new hard-drive has arrived . . . I feel a bit like a surgeon - "I'm making the first incision now."


Saturday 6th September 2003

"Nurse, administer the, erm . . . you know, the, er . . . "
"Analgesic?"
"Hmmm? Yeah, what the hell. 'Anal-ge-sic', put it on. It might help."
"Sir, the transmission's fading."
"Transmission? Oh my god. Yes, I forgot. Erm . . . get on to the bridge. Should be fine to drop the power to the shields, and . . . "
"I can hear a voice . . ."
"Isolate . . . third . . . quick, I think he's starting to . . ."


Sunday 7th September 2003

Erm . . . right.

Not sure if it was the quantity of quality of alcohol that I drank last night but, either way, I woke up today with an appalling hangover. Seemed the best course of action was to sleep it off. Finally woke up . . . erm . . . some time after 3pm, feeling much, much better for it. Stayed in last night with M******. Anna came over, swiftly followed by Mouse and Simon . . . and then, later on, Tania and Paul. Yeah . . . it was a good night . . . only needing about ten candles to illuminate my cellar. Is that how you tell it was a good night? I'm sorry? Why you mention the ten candles? Is that a problem? Can I not mention candles now? Of course you can, but it was just the way you said, "It was a good night", followed by the ten candle thing . . . it was just . . . you know, odd. Look, erm . . . can I . . . just save and shut-down? But you've hardly written anything. Wait a sec . . . initiate the landing procedure . . . I just saw a good site. But it's all ice down there. No, trust me . . . ice coverage is only 78% and I could have sworn . . .


Tuesday 9th September 2003

Didn't really have a chance to write anything yesterday. Get home from work (a bit later than usual, having gone to Waterstone's with M****** to choose a travel book about Dublin . . . I think I'm going there) and then I was again trying to make this computer . . . get this computer into some kind of fit state so that I can get my university work done. I have a 30-day license to use VMWare before I have to pay them some money, but that should be enough.

Somehow, I managed to install Red Hat 9 on my new 60GB drive, whilst leaving the old 20GB one completely intact, or so it would seem. Yesterday evening, whilst setting up KMail, making dinner for M****** and Tania, trying to find a VMWare license, I also managed to mount the 20GB hard-drive and thence shift a load of stuff from one drive to the other. Eventually, both of them will use ext3. It's hard to believe it's actually working properly for once . . . well, there's always a but. My sound card has been detected and does work but for some odd reason, I cannot play mp3's.

Oh, and I saw Mars last night. It was a very clear night and, after the Moon, was the brightest object in the sky. It was a kind of light pinky/orangey colour. Oh well, I've seen it now. That's that box ticked.


Wednesday 10th September 2003

"They say the foreskin's getting thicker," two old men, having a conversation in Leeds, as overheard by M****** today.
"You don't know what they're talking about; it could just be their jobs," M******, telling me and Tania about this overheard conversation.



Friday 12th September 2003

Nah - still have nothing to say. How about this - the world smallest web-site.


Saturday 13th September 2003

I may be a bit drunk, but isn't this just a bit disturbing?

You see, for a laugh, and to see what all the fuss was about, I decided to download this thing called Kazaa. And, look - here's a link, so that you can do the same. But don't do that, unless you really don't like your computer. This software, and it's cohorts, are like this horrible collection of electronic parasites, diseases and infections. Stay well clear.

I installed kazaa and a few seconds later, noticed a significant deteriation in the performance of my computer. Put simply, everything slowed down. Now, I run Windows 2000 within an emulator, completely set apart from the rest of my computer, so if Windows crashes, goes a bit crazy, falls prey to a virus, or whatever, it shouldn't bother the rest of my machine. Linux doesn't care whether that particular process runs or aborts - it's all the same. But Kazaa, using up most of the resources alotted to it, actually managed to impact on the host operating system. The host OS, kind of stirred a bit, and muttered, "What? 256MB of memory not enough? Tough sh*t. Take it or leave it." But, erm . . . well, I'm trying to use Opera, just downloading some codecs or whatever and there's VMWare, probably wondering what the hell is going on, and I think everything is going a bit too slowly for my liking. Well, after trying out Kazaa for a while, realising is wasn't really for me, I decide to uninstall this thing. No, actually . . . first, I thought I'd do a quick check for this so-called 'Spyware' that I've heard so much about. So, erm . . . yeah. Where was I? Yeah, I remember. So, I find someone making available for free download some software to detect and remove spyware from your computer. It's here if you want it. So, I download and install this software, get it going and sit back and wait. And it finds stuff, loads of stuff, loads of this spyware stuff installed on my computer, watching me, observing which web-sites I go to and whatever. Creepy, eh? As it happens, and as I said before, Windows is only a guest on my machine, and I do all my web-browsing on the host operating system, Linux, so that any spyware running on the Windows machine wouldn't really get much information out of me, but that's beside(s?!) the point. The fact is, this spyware has installed itself there without my knowledge. And I notice the name Cydoor popping up a lot, hence the link at the top of this entry. But when I go to www.cydoor.com, I get this:

HTTP/1.1 New Session Failed

What the hell?!

So, yes . . . erm . . . what's my point, and what the frig is a 'super ice-age?'

Dr Myles Allen, who took part in the project, said the aim was to enlist the help of up to two million desk top computers. A test run in a number of centres around the world startled the scientists by predicting a possible "super-ice age". But Dr Allen said it would be wrong to get excited about the data at this stage. (from netscape)

Oh, I see, here it is on Ananova. Right, it all makes sense now.

So I did a scan for 'pests' (spyware), using this thing called PestControl, which, being an evaluation copy, would only point out the existence of these 'pests' and not actually take action. However, in doing so, I was given all the information I needed . . . location of 'pest' and what action to take. PestControl found 107 items of 'spyware' installed on my Windows 2000 machine. 107. No wonder the poor thing was running so slowly.

So, for those reading this thinking, "Oh, so it's just geeky computer stuff he's going on about today," then, erm . . . well, yeah, I am, but it's these people I'm writing for today . . . I wouldn't imagine the average person would have much idea about the existence of this so-called 'spyware' stuff being installed on their machine . . . I mean, I didn't until recently. It's crazy sh*t, man.

Later that day . . .

So, we had this steak for dinner, which had been marinated in soy sauce, chillies, honey, garlic (which Robyn Hitchcock just mentioned in his lyrics . . . Mexican God?) and . . . maybe that was it. We had that with chips and salad (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, toasted sunflower seeds, pepper) and some garlic bread to start. Very nice. Washed down with hot toddies (?! sp? basically boiling (or near) water, honey (again), lemon (Mel has a cold, you see) and whiskey). Why am I talking about dinner? I'm sure I had a point to make . . . nah, it's gone again.

The google searches continue . . .

http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/talktime/story/0,13274,1030232,00.html

The 'lite' version I had trouble obtaining, but it seems the better option, at least if you want access to the 'Kazaa' community but without the incessant pop-ups and activity (internet-related) monitoring:

KazaaLite download

But, really, why not just use WinMX?


Tuesday 16th September 2003

16th? God, it is as well. Freaky. I have nothing to write about at this point. Too busy doing university work. Bye.

Well, I think that's that done. Anyway, I'm off to the Otley Folk Festival on Saturday. Thought you might like to know. I don't know why the hell I'm going. I don't particularly like folk music. I think I went last time and came back, thinking, "What the hell?!" so now I can go back and try and make more sense of it all. Also, Michael (from work) should be playing. Michael's in this strange outfit called 'Flash Company'. Hmmmmm. So, yes, that's the plan. This is Michael here.

I don't know what it is about people with face paint on . . . perhaps something happened when I very, very young . . . something scary. So, erm . . . people with face paint . . . they make me feel uncomfortable. Can I go now?

Looks like the 'Flash Company' face competition - http://www.mappamundi.com/flash.html


Saturday 20th September 2003

But she was still ingesting, inside her large intestine. (Robyn Hitchcock)

"Systems . . . on-line. Jay, can you . . . "
"Already there."
" . . and air loss down to . . . "
"Sir, I'm getting a reading."
". . . ten parts per . . . "
"Sorry?"
"Sir, this place is, erm . . . "
"Ambient temperature?"
"43 degrees fahrenheit, and rising."
"Okay. We need to check the . . . . can someone turn that . . . what causes it?"
". . . we're entering the . . . "
"Well, it's very important . . . what to do . . . "
"No, afterwards . . . ignore Joseph . . . nothing to do with witchcraft."
"Sir, we're losing it."
"We're still getting this?"
"It's all we can get."
"Frig sake. I don't want to hear about pads of trapped tissue."
"Perihelion in nine minus . . . "
"Hey, you know, you really should be looking at your diet."
"34 degrees fahrenheit."
"It won't improve your . . . ."
"Sir . . . two metres now."
"What?! You're just giving me meaningless numbers and measurements."
"Some of it's useful."
"Well, okay, so how about just providing me with . . . Christ, what the hell was that?"
"That was Carter, sir. I guess the shields are working then."
"What?! When the hell did that happen? And why wasn't I told?"


Sunday 21st September 2003

"Still, they must have had a way of looking."
"I'm sorry?"
"They must have known."
"I really don't see how but, hey, erm . . . look, we better get back . . . the others will be . . . "
"Can you smell that?"
"Hmmm?"
"Lavender, like . . . yes, lavender. We used to make these . . . you know, as children, like, erm, miniature pillows, I guess, and we would . . . "


Monday 22nd September 2003

I wonder what I'm meant to be writing here . . .

"What's his name, Jim?
"His name's Jimmy Breeze."
"Jimmy Breeze?"
"You've reached four sev . . . [beep beep] Hello?
"Hello?"
"Yeah, what's up?
"Is this Jimmy Breeze?"
"Yeah"
"Yeah, well, we're . . . we're looking for a rhythm guitar player . . . "
"Okay"
". . . for my band."
"Okay, sounds good."
"What do you look like? I . . . Would you look good holding a guitar?"
"Oh yeah. Yeah"
"We have specific suits. We wear leather pants and, er, a red and black Michael Jackson suede jacket."
"Uhm . . . no, I don't have a problem with that, man."

Later that day . . . we found a good vantage point . . .

"Whoa - check out the sun. That's moving way too fast."
"Or maybe this planet's rotating too fast."
"Yeah, alright, whatever, but, erm . . . no, that ain't right. Did it always do that?"
"I don't think so."
"Where's the radio gone?"
"Radio?"
"You know . . . erm . . ."
"We don't have a radio. Do you mean the . . . "
"The communication thingy. I need to check we got the co-ordinates right."
"No, this is definitely the right place. I used to have dreams like this."
"Yeah? I wonder . . . nope, looks okay."
"What you doing?"
"The hands, you look at your hands."
"What for?"
"Hands never look right if you're dreaming. This must be real."
"Yeah, but I don't remember that thing being in the sky."
"Looks like a ferris wheel."
"But made in a sort of spastic, Meccano kind of way, don't you think?"
"I guess. God . . . that must be huge. Who would build something like that, and why all the lights?"


Tuesday 23rd September 2003

So . . . yes, that's right. I'm trying to get some work done here, but I keep getting distracted (well, yes, okay, so maybe I mean, "I keep distracting myself") by this intriguing chat-bot at www.jabberwacky.com. The web-site is currently a bit overloaded, and this may be partly due to the news article that appeared on the BBC web-site recently: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3116780.stm. But I warn you - despite the two minute wait for responses, this damn thing is addictive. Also, bear in mind that the chat-bot learns from you and has indeed been learning from many, many people, by the looks of things. I keep having to hit the 'Correct me' button, as the poor thing is full of bad grammar, spelling mistakes and things that just don't make sense. Right, back to work.

Hmmmmm . . . looks like you should take up that offer of a 'Premium account' after all:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/the_company_file/464990.stm


Wednesday 24th September 2003

Today must be a good day. I get back from work, get xmms going, and it plays me . . . what? Oh, xmms? Okay. It's basically an mp3 jukebox thing, you know? Oh, okay. So, anyway, I've got it set to random, yeah? And out of the 300-odd tunes I have, it plays me 'I see a darkness' by Will Oldham, followed by 'Fearless' (Pink Floyd) and then 'Father to Son' (Queen). Weird, eh? Is it? Yeah, 'cos erm . . . well, there's a load of rubbish available there (Christina Aguilera?!), and yet I get three random songs that I love. I like that. So what is it playing now? Oh, erm . . . something by Coldplay . . . wait a sec . . . 'I Bloom Blaum', whatever that is . . . it's okay, I guess. Not one of my favourites . . . oh, and now we have 'Safety Dance' by Men Without Hats. You get the picture.

Cool - arctic ice shelf splits!


Monday 29th September 2003

Not written much recently . . . been doing university work.

But the module is almost over . . . all assignments completed . . . just an exam left now.

And I work up at about 4am this morning with the smell of toast. It freaked me out a bit, as there were only two people in the house, and one was fast asleep. Had I been sleep toasting?