Still around…

I’ve been a little busy of late – much of it at work and miscellaneous other-life bits and pieces.

There has been a few things happening. To follow on from my last entry, I didn’t get scummvm / stella fixed, alas. However scummvm is now in Fedora Extras, so I won’t be updating it anymore anyway – all that’s missing is MP3 support, per Fedora policy. This won’t be a burden on most games however as Ogg files are often available to cover these.

Stella is available from the Dribble repository, which is seemingly compatible with mine (I’m using it OK ‘cos I was jonesing for some Atari 2600 action :-)).

I’ve done some hardware upgrades too – my main desktop got a newer, larger SATAII drive (replacing the two old IDE drives I have) and the dust got cleared out of qbert yesterday (sorely needed!). Installation of some good case fans (Thermaltakes w/adjustable speed) will keep them humming at a decent temperature this summer.

I’ve been catching up with Extras commitments too – GeoIP, mlmmj and mod_cband are now all up-to-date for all available releases. Now to finish the reviews!

I’ve also been trying to get in some more exercise for the summer too – the apartment complex gym is spartan but functional – mostly exercise bikes/treadmills and a weight station. Alas, no free weights, squat rack (ex-weightlifter talking here ;-)) or heavy bag (bought bag gloves for nothing!)

On a more serious note, Bri and I were chatting on Thursday regarding the very dire rate of teen suicides – almost as worrying is the number of teens deliberately cutting themselves as a “fashion” – some celebs sporting cuts on their arms, and sadly the “monkey see, monkey do” thing kicks in.

It’s not healthy, certainly not “cool” and can have serious consequences – kids, understand this from someone that tried tossing himself in front of the Cleveland train @ 17yo..

Don’t think you’re disconnected or alone in this world. You aren’t – you are a part of this world as much as it’s a part of you. You are not separate entities!

What you do to yourself has an effect on others in this world and your actions, no matter how small, are not without consequences, possibly wider than you can imagine. Therefore – be mindful of them and the effect they may have. Remember too that nothing in this world is permanent, including good and bad times. These will pass – appreciate the former and don’t dwell overly on the latter, lest you get overly attached to either.

No doubt you have friends and family that care, even if it’s not displayed openly – so by taking your own life, you inflict upon them a “little-death” they have to carry for the rest of their lives. As a human being, why condemn those around you to such suffering? Who will suffer more by such action?

Repository updated for Core 6 :-)

My Fedora RPM repository has been updated for Fedora Core 6, now that defender has settled down and ceased panicking. For those not using it already, wander over to my Packages page for more information.

Unfortunately for the Atari 2600 and SCUMM engine buffs, scummvm and stella refused to recompile for some odd reason. Dribble has stella and Livna an older version of scummvm if you’re desperate.

There’s a couple of notable things this time around – I announced this previously to the fedora-list at redhat, and it seems my server is getting hammered as a result. I think I need more bandwidth. I will also try and keep the FC5 packages in sync this time, now that I have more than adequate drive space.

I’m about to kick a new mpop build and will hack in perl-Dev-Bollocks some time this week.

Updated (but with a few wrinkles)

I now have Fedora Core 6 on defender, my desktop PC.

The DVD image took a while but worked flawlessly. However the combination of it and the old NVIDIA Xorg driver ensured I was in console mode most of that night (Thursday) – fixed now though.

Now I have a rather bizarre series of kernel panics, which *may* be due to lm_sensors (as it’s reading the thermistor then causing Xorg to shit itself, bringing the whole place down with it) but I’m not 100% yet. I’ll run some HW tests tonight to hopefully eliminate that as an issue.

I also now have the i386 DVD (so I can do qbert/pong at a later date) to burn tomorrow. Those folks that use my RPM repository can also expect to see an FC6 branch soon, probably later in the week.

Life’s been fairly quiet. A friend pointed me at the Press Club for a preferred local drinking establishment (see my previous posts for the fun I had (not) getting entry to SunBar two doors up a couple of weeks ago…).

Comfortable, good beer selection, excellent DJ (anyone that can get Grand Master Flash’s “The Message” into a set and not sound shit is OK with me, as well as the house-y mix of Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy” which was first class) and the bar staff are prompt and friendly (and in the case of the petite brunette there Saturday night, quite cute)

However, work rears it’s head again tomorrow – but at least I have the billing servers off my back now 🙂

Preparing for Fedora Core 6…

For those folks who follow it, Fedora Core 6 is out tomorrow (or the day after depending on your time zone).

For me, this also means rebuilding my repositories over the weekend in preparation for folks (including me!) wanting my packages.

However, I will need to make some changes again this time around (much like the TODO I had for Fedora Core 5). Additionally, I can’t claim direct compatbility with RPMForge anymore, as I’ve stopped using Freshrpms in favour of Livna/Dribble some months ago. I shouldn’t be directly in-compatible though
Since Core/Extras 5 has been released, there’s been a number of packages go in that I have in the past maintained and probably should go. Good examples are

  • ntfsprogs (including the fuse module) – this is in Extras with the ntfs-3g driver (which I started using tonight)
  • Zile and perl-Net-IP, which I’d mistakenly rebuilt – even though the latter is in Core updates!
  • Quodlibet (I prefer Listen and Rhythmbox anyway..)
  • pyxmpp (python-xmpp in Extras) which I don’t really use, only for a local hack (the JMC jabber transport, which will probably go soon anyway..)

As long term followers of my packaging know, the number of packages seems to lessen each release – but when Extras publishes 4000+ packages there’s not much left of interest!

I am considering some “new” editions – some useful Perl modules, possibly some MySQL related apps (innotop and mysql-query-profiler for a start), ferm for firewalling (replacing my now-ugly Perl hack) – and Wah!Cade for MAME (sdlmame has no “default” frontend)

If anyone has others they’d like to see and aren’t covered by Core/Extras/Livna/Dribble, drop me a comment!

Congratulations Tina!

I’d just like to quickly congratulate Tina Wallmann on placing runner-up in the Gold Coast Miss Indy 2007 model competition. Well done my friend!

I personally would have loved to have seen her win – I’m biased and proud of it – but the winner (Sarah Buller) is indeed worthy and 2nd is still no mean feat.

Yet another upside for her is the doors that this will open for her. Go Tina!

A little extra reliability…

Payday finally arrived! I’d been looking at a good UPS (uninterruptible power supply for the non-hacker/tech readers) and finally settled on the APC RS 500 (about $AU300). It was painless to install and even with my current-sucking bittybox (ie pong, the environmentally-unsound old beast it is) I’ve got 15mins post-powercut to get my shit together and shut down cleanly. Plus, the unit does surge protection and voltage regulation (no spikes/undercurrents damaging components)

Monitoring is easy, thanks to apcupsd and munin’s APC UPS network plugin (apc_nis) (remember that qbert is a Linux box and while I have PowerChute, I’ve not used it yet)

apcups.jpg

Why a UPS for the home? Well – not only am I managing my own stuff but I’ve got sites for my brother and my friends the Turners to consider. I’m not getting paid to manage them but it’s a matter of professional pride. Data integrity is important. Additionally it will hopefully lengthen the life of the attached gear, which will save money.

However, the wiring at the back of the boxes is well…..

The Wiring Disaster

…it’s a bit of a mess, really. I really should break out the cable ties. Hell, I don’t even know where half of them go.
On other fronts:

Life: Dad is out of hospital and is well, although he has acquired a minor obsession for movies covering the Boer War. If anyone knows whre to get “Zulu Dawn” on DVD, we’d like to know.

Good luck to Tina Wallmann at Indy, I’m in your cheer squad in spirit if not in person (I still chuckle at the night you, Ali, Veronica and I had at Adrenalin, even if I barely got through my shift the next day)

To the charming lass that bagged Emma Brown at a recent competition, take a good look at yourself. You brought two people down (yes, two – that’s why I said to take a good look at yourself) for what? So you could convince yourself you’re important for 30sec? Sad.

I’ve said my piece, so I bid adeiu for the evening… 🙂

One very ordinary weekend…

Friday:

Dad still in hospital. He’s been having dizzy spells over the course of the week due to low iron/haemoglobin levels. Mum took him in last Tuesday after one too many.
Caught up with Bri but not as much as I’d like. On the upside she’s finished doing her clinical (field work for undergrad nurses) and has gotten back her love of nursing, which is good.

Due to all that’s happened this week sapping my energy, turned in earlier than usual.

Saturday:

Bummed around the house for a bit, checked out the Valley markets, pushed some packages out when I got home, some clothes readied for later that night.
Went out around nine o’clock after a light dinner. I’d usually head up to Sun Bar right off the bat because I like the place – nice atmosphere, drinks are reasonably priced, good crowd and no hassles.

Tonight however was a different story; the trip there was stillborn thanks to the “door bitch” who decided I was “too casual” to get in (good collared shirt, clean as-new jeans and my boots) even though I’d worn the exact same gear only a few weeks ago and noone batted an eyelid.

To top it off, she was extremely rude about the whole affair. When the above was pointed out, the reply was “well I’m here tonight and my taste is different”. I have known many doormen and greeters (including Tina, the best I’ve known) and judging fashion sense is NOT part of the job. If you pass muster regarding dress regulations – and no other bar or club in the Valley has ever knocked me back for what I wore – then you’re as good as anyone else to go in.

I know it’s not always the way, and in this case I left it at that and will have another go on Friday/Saturday, but beware if you , as a “door bitch” / uppity bouncer try it, you will get little sympathy if you try it on someone and they abuse you/call you a cheap whore (and given the dress of the lady in question it would likely cross a few minds) or worse. You live on your karma.

Went into the Mustang Bar instead and won a cooler off a couple of pretty (if not overly engaging) promo girls. The service is a little slow but it’s not bad, a lot like Adrenalin Bar but without the sporting-parephenalia overkill.

Sunday

Woke up early and got in a decent breakfast for a change.

Bought a couple of polo shirts at Myer, then realised why JAG only goes to 36 pants – their “XL” shirts (usually around a 40″ chest for most brands) would barely fit a skinny teen… *sigh*. Down $80.
Settled back in at home, decided to quit while behind. 🙂

A Wednesday Buffet…

Politics (sort of)

This method of verifiable voting looks very interesting, if a little complicated for it’s intended users (no such issues here in Australia, especially if you’ve ever seen our Senate voting forms). Ron Rivest really knows his stuff, being the inventor of the RC5 (and series) cryptographical digests and $DEITY knows the USA needs a secure voting system, given that the Diebold machines are notoriously hackable and thus can’t really be trusted to give an accurate result (or compromise by a party with a vested interest in the result.)

Tech Bits

To the Canadian guy who managed to reel off 200mb of my RPMs today: Shit, man – talk about a) massive overkill and b) using a teaspoon to dig a trench.

WGET is a decent tool, but it’s a bit like a ball hammer – it will do the job, but there are better alternatives even for older RedHat versions. cURL has more features than you’ll ever need and seems to be more efficient.

Better still for pulling RPMs is yum/smart (I no longer do apt-get per my Packages page) – you can at least pick and choose those you need. It’s not like you need all of my packages on both architectures (and dangerdeep must have taken AGES at 10k/sec.

Plus, if I wanted my repository mirrored, I’d offer rsync access (to authorised folks at least). While I don’t have a bandwidth cap, it’s a bit discourteous to flood a modest ADSL pipe like mine.

I’ve also determined the source of all the referrer spam down to a single /16 and tossed it into the firewall. If you’re on dip.t-dialin.net’s dialup pool….. you won’t see this post anyway, why am I bothering?

Seriously – the amount of pollution from that block is too much, so bye!

Life

Saw (but didn’t speak to, perhaps a good thing) an old girlfriend while exiting an inner-city eatery on Friday.

Wow. A lot’s happened in 6 years – at least for most people. She’s barely moved on and looks a little worse for wear too :-(. She’s still hanging around with a couple of folks that even in those days kept her down and told her how to think/look/eat/shit etc. She’s still in The Box, when the rest of us got out long ago.
I could say how glad I am to have moved on, or some comment about how she should have stuck with me and gone somewhere, had a better life – but it makes no difference and such talk is essentially useless. I know that she’s a great girl at heart and I hope that she finds her nature and path in life.

Because I’ve not put one up for a while.

…here’s a desktop screenshot.

October 2006 Desktop Screenshot

I’ve been running GNOME for who knows how long now – thought about KDE (nah) and Fluxbox (almost..) but stuck with what I know best. It just Works.
I’ve also avoided putting up images of late because I’m planning to move my hand-crafted / gThumb-generated galleries to Gallery2. However they do seem to get a lot of traffic and Google loves them (especially some of the joke ones or shots of Tina Wallmann) so I’ve held off so far.

The weekend saw me trying to get ahold of a UPS for the servers – the power feed in this block is decent however we still get brownouts and cuts occasionally. I’m not so bothered with downtime, I just don’t like the idea of shorting out the gear or limiting it’s lifespan. I had my eye on a good APC UPS, alas they were out of stock when I went up to Harris Tech (which is just up the road, I’m slack) to pick one up. A week and a half says the salesman – mind you, this is just in time for payday, so I may find myself capable of picking up a slightly bigger one.