Sunday, 26 October 2008

Recent terribleness

Alas recent upheavals seem set to continue. I most humbly apologise for the break in transmission entirely due to circumstances within my control.

All will be revealed at a later date.

I hope to be settled before nanowrimo begins.

Going by today's date, that doesn't look likely.

À la prochaine

Monday, 13 October 2008

Missing blog post

Oh wow. I am in shock. I use the ScribeFire extension - mostly - for a quick stream of consciousness flow and then post and then and then and then (oh what next, Hughie?) I publish to my blog and then read then edit with the blog's own editor. I like this system and it is in keeping with 'more than one way to do something' - I think that is a perl mantra - there's more than one way to do that in perl'.

I was peering at my blog just the other day when I thought to myself: 'There's a post missing'
Then I thought: 'Nah, there's nothing wrong with your memory, man. Bright as a button for your age. (Over 14)'

I fired up my ScribeFire extension which I seem to remember updating a couple of days ago, incorrectly as it turns out, and discovered two instances of the 'missing' post which I did write. Ominously there were no references on the scribefire interface to my blog and the first-run wizard appeared to ask me if wanted to set up a blog account.

I have two blogs so I dutifully re-entered my personal details. On one blog, after logging in, I discovered the missing post. Some memory, eh?

I must pop over to the ScribeFire site and see if that was a buggy update (it wasn't - so sorry ScribeFire). To lose one blog is sad, to lose two is downright carelessness.

Lately I am tired. I went down to Uni this morning with the missus and we saw posters advertising Helen Clark on the campaign trail. I haven't seen helen in the flesh but when one of Polly's student chums who was forming part of the welcome committee told us she had been delayed by an hour with fog at the airport I just had to go home. Oh well.

In  the absence of a decent anarchist party I urge you and every New Zealander of voting age to vote Labour.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Mandriva spring

Let me make one thing clear in advance of the following comments. I absolutely love, adore, think it is only gorgeous, PCLinuxOS. Currently installed on my Desktop hard drive is PCLinuxOS Minime 2008 lovingly tended and configured by me to my own low standards. Minime is a slimmer faster booting version of PCLinuxOS 2007. News from the PCLinuxOS team - Texstar's ripper gang - is scarce concerning the next release which could be argued was due some time ago and could also be argued was due when it is ready and not before.

Linux users are no different to any other fanatic on the planet - we have our favourite distros as they are called - and can barely stand a mention of a rival Linux distribution. Naturally any mention of Microsoft is only tolerated when it is clearly scathing or abusive.

The reasons for hating Microsoft are clear to Linux fans but not to the rest of the world who do not know there are such things as operating systems (rightly so) and refer only to their computer as my computer. Questions such as : What version of Windows is on the machine you just purchased from Noel Leeming? might elicit a hesitant response and an offering up of the brand name of the manufacturer (Dell; Acer etc.).

Most of us would fall into that category I expect. But for those who don't there is a problem of proprietary, non-free, restrictive, software licencing and for those who care passionately about freedom the answer seems to lie in using only, and I mean only, free software. This includes a free operating system - for without an operating system you cannot have your Dell or your Acer etc. You would have a desktop or laptop sized silent unresponsive dust collector in your living room, den or office.

So by switching to Linux (Gee, I wanna do that. How do I do that?) we can set the world free or at least make a start. Er, not quite. A person, in the know, would already see that I have caused grave offence in one of the free software universes. That's right. I should of course have referred to the not-a-version-of-Windows operating system (OS) as GNU/Linux. Linux is not the OS. Linux is the kernel. GNU (GNUs Not Unix) provides the free tools that make it possible to have a functioning Operating system on your computer. It would appear that Linux is easier to write and say than GNU/Linux if I am being kind. But I'm not in a kindly mood. Not for nothing did my best friend once give me a birthday card with a 'grumpy old git' badge attached.

The people who talk about Linux and badmouth Microsoft are plain misinformed and ignorant of the history of the Free Software movement. And in doing so they let off the hook one of the most restrictive manufacturers of computing equipment the binary world has known. Apple. That's right, Hughie, you tell 'em. That cuddly little Apple, the mac, eh. Cute, isn't it? I love my mac. You might as well say you love Idi Amin.

On my Desktop PC I have a Windows 2000 partition and Minime partition. On the Acer Notebook lives a Windows XP partition and also a Kubuntu partition. Ubuntu and Kubuntu are Linux distros which are supposed to make life easier for people to make the switch from the Windows Operating System they didn't know they had in the first place to the world of GNU/Linux and a treasure trove of free software. The part about free software is mostly true. Some purists argue that no non-free software belongs anywhere near a GNU/Linux box and that we should if necessary build our machines from scratch avoiding hardware which requires proprietary drivers. A graphics card like NVIDIA would be a no-no as NVIDIA do not release details of their software to the world so the free software developers cannot write suitable drivers.

Oh, man, I am way off topic. I got fed up waiting for PCLinuxOS 2009 so I got a live-cd of Mandriva Spring 2008 and had a run at it on the laptop. I didn't like it and it also exhibited a startling bug which if I had done the updates would not have been there so I uninstalled it. I don't really like Kubuntu or Ubuntu, on which Kubuntu is based. Ubuntu is a Gnome based computing environment whereas Kubuntu is a KDE based environment. Us open source , free software afficionados loves our freedom of choice and the freedom to insult Gnome users or Xfce or Enlightenment (whoops! I'm doing it again, Enlightenment is a window manager - a chap could get killed for using the wrong terminology in this world).

Anyway I put the Kubuntu on the laptop and did the updates. It's fine. It sits there. I'm back in Windows XP.

I decided to have a look at available distros and saw there was a Mandriva RC (release candidate) 2009 just out. I thought to myself, now there's a thing. That's some development cycle. I've just got the spring edition and here is a very soon to be released distro with 2009 attached to its description.

I went back to the repository where I got the spring download. Of course, of course, of course there it was april 2008. It was a spring release but not bloody New Zealand's spring.

I've only lived here for six years. I can't remember everything.

I hope I have caused grave offence to all you apple macintosh users everywhere, but just remember this a restrictive licence is a restrictive licence.

Don't forget: Boycott Microsoft

Y'all have good day now.

Catching up

Yesterday - Monday 6th (sixth) October I visited my old classroom on the 6th (sixth) floor of Radio House in beautiful downtown Dunedin. The mission was to attend a talk from writer Vivienne Plumb who is in town with her play The Cape. The talk was made interesting by the reading of her own work. Her talk was brief so she was spared the awful questions that visiting writers get asked:

Are ye makin' any money?

Where do you get your ideas from?

I have a great idea for a story. Will you write it up and we can split the profits?

I've bought all of your books and read them over and over again as I have no life of my own.

Is it true there are only [insert whatever number here you have seen on the web] plots in the entire world?

I was hoping that some of chums from the creative writing class of 2007 would be there and - hooray - two of them appeared. Marion and Morag. It was great talking to you both after the presentation.

Our guide, Diane, has had her next creative writing course approved and was excited by the news as indeed was I. At this stage it has not been given funding and so it has one more fence to leap before her eager students can sign up.

This is a level six paper and will guide the creative writing student towards publication. A sizeable body of work would already need to be in existence I had better get writing!

Better get writing, better get writing, better get ... this is the whole point of the thing for me. I have a hard drive littered with scraps of text and no cohesion. Maybe I could just join them up in a big free wheeling lump of text and pass it off as the literary sensation of the year.

Now that I have the laptop talking to the PC Desktop I can start stitching and then when February comes I wil have a BIG lump of wordiness to whittle and sharpen into the tastiest prosepoem since the last tasty prosepoem.

Fever on me. Goodbye.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Cutting grass

What can I say? The lawnmower man is back.

The winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award for 2008 is Julian Novitz. Well done Julian.

The winning stories are usually downloadable from BNZ as Portable Document Files but it seems I am too hasty looking for them today. The BNZ site has had a makeover. I have been reading about the pitfalls of website makeovers recently. It seems that particular task is very attractive to clients, in this case BNZ, but is of no benefit in terms of user satisfaction to the BNZ's clients/users. If anything it makes site users uneasy especially if the change is sudden and done without their prior knowledge.

Dunedin City Council has upgraded their site recently. Currently it is live. I haven't checked all the things I used to do on that site recently but rest assured I will and report back some time.

I'm cutting grass today. Remember? I can't do everything.

If that seems a tad acidic you all have a nice day now.