Friday, June 17
Picked up The Hallowed Hunt today. This is the third book in the series that began with The Curse of Chalion, the best book to date by one of my favourite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold (better known for her Miles Vorkosigan novels).
Also in the store was John Varley's latest, Mammoth. I didn't buy that one because (a) it runs foul of Pixy's 77th Law (all books titled "Mammoth" suck), and (b) his last novel, Red Thunder, was complete crap. Maybe when it comes out in paperback.
Update: SPIT! It's US$16.47 at Amazon. Here in Oz it's A$54. Will someone please round up the Australian book publishing and distribution industry and shoot them? Thanks.
Thursday, June 16
Xshell. An SSH client/terminal emulator for Windows that doesn't suck.
And it looks like version 2 (currently in beta) will remove most of the remaining suck.
I got a nice new monitor at work today - a 17" Acer LCD, 1280x1024. It's very sharp and clear on a DVI cable on my Windows box, but on a VGA cable connected to either of my office Linux boxes the picture starts halfway across the screen and nothing I do will make it move. One of my Linux boxes has DVI output, but it doesn't actually output anything, so it's not a lot of use.
I have to have access to my Linux boxes to do my job, so I spent an hour downloading SSH clients trying to find one that didn't suck. Xshell was it.
Downside: It costs $69. Oh, and you have to bang it on the head a few times to knock some of the suck out (depending on what you consider suck), but it's configurable enough that you can get it working just the way you want with a few minutes of tweaking.
Xshell gets a silver "Doesn't suck much at all" award.
Australian hostage Douglas Wood has been rescued by American and Iraqi troops. A number of terrorists have been detained following the rescue operation.
My thanks to the soldiers who accomplished the rescue, and my best wishes to Mr Wood and his family.
Wednesday, June 15
Real Basic 2005 is out! Yay!
Real Basic is another cross-platform Basic compiler supporting Windows, Mac and Linux, just like Blitz Max. Where Blitz is aimed at game development, though, Real Basic is designed for doing businessy-type stuff, with databases and GUIs and like that. It comes with the SQLite database built in, and the Professional (read: expensive) version can connect to other databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL and Oracle. You can write multi-threaded server applications too, like, oh, say, a blogging package, and compile it to run on any of those platforms. Again, you need the Expensive Edition to write server applications and to do cross-compilation.
However, if you want to get your feet wet, Real Software have done something real nice: The Standard Edition for Linux is free. Well, right now the Linux version is still in beta, but the beta is free and it will remain free once it's released. I think that's a very smart move for Real Software.
Naturally, I've downloaded the beta and the Windows trial version, and I'll be reporting back once I've played with it a bit. And I'll likely be buying it as soon as their Australian distributor wakes up and realises there's a new version available...
Fedora Core 4 is out!
Just when I finally got everything working on Fedora Core 4 Test 3.
Well, I expect that upgrading probably won't destroy everything.
Tuesday, June 14
I forgot to (a) set my new modem to respond to pings and (b) create a NAT rule for SSH. So now I can't home from work.
(Yeah, most people are happy with being able to work from home, but I'm a nut for symmetry.)
Monday, June 13
| You scored as Natural Causes. Your death will be by natural causes, though not by any disease, because that is another option on this test. You will probably just silently pass away in the night from old age, and people you love won't realize until the next morning, when you are all purple and cold and icky.|
How Will You Die??
created with QuizFarm.com
And all this time I'd been planning on dying from proton decay.
Sunday, June 12
I've noticed lately that separatist sentiment has been on the rise in western Canada, what with the government being hopelessly corrupt and the eastern provinces being happy that way. I was reflecting that such a situation is hard to relate to as an Australian, when I was struck by a thought.
The general idea is for Alberta and maybe Manitoba and Saskatchewan and who knows, British Columbia, to break away from Ontario and the Maritimes and then, um. Form their own nation? Apply to join the US?
Heck with that. Join Australia. You know it makes sense. You have the snow, we have the beaches. Both rich in mineral resources. Both sparsely populated. Both have funny accents. Both love beer. Both have mooses... No? Okay, scratch the mooses.
And in part two, what we do is - get this - sell South Australia to the Japanese. It's not like anyone's using it. It's two-and-a-half times the size of Japan, and has roughly one hundredth the population. They'll love it! Okay, they're kind of broke right now, but we'll take payment in Playstation 3s and anime. Or they could join the Commonwealth of Australia, the Good Bits of Canada, and Japan. (CoAtGBoCaJ.)
Where's the downside?
Saturday, June 11
Had huge problems with my internet connection today. Drop outs, freezes, packet loss, data corruption, you name it. Tried everything. Checked ISP forums, no-one else seems to be having trouble. Disconnected, reconnected. Reset. Powered off. Unplugged the phone. Swapped cables around. Nothing helped. Sometimes it would work fine for, oh, several minutes, before melting down again.
In a final fit of desperation, I swapped my old reliable modem for a new ADSL2 unit I'm supposed to be testing. Of course, that meant I had to configure it from scratch with all my NAT rules and such.
And waddya know, it works. Not sure I'll recommend it though. The modem we currently sell has a wonderful diagnostic feature that tests everything that could possibly go wrong and gives a nice little report. It's an absolute life-saver. "Okay customer person, now click on Diagnostics and tell me what it says... Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Fail. Right, that means your password is wrong."
This one doesn't have anything nearly as good.
Meanwhile, somewhere along the line, some episodes of Mahoraba that I was watching last weekend managed to corrupt themselves. That makes me kind of twitchy, because the files were fine when I watched them. Things that make you go urk.
And even after I'd patched them up with Bit Torrent (which is brilliant for that - it checksums the file in 256k blocks and then only downloads the corrupted or missing parts) - even when they were all happy again, WinAmp wouldn't play them. And it did a week ago. Some digging around suggests that it's choking on malformed VBR audio, but it worked a week ago. And Media Player plays the files just fine... And a week ago, Media Player on my computer would crash on startup.
I hate computers.
Um, anyway. Cool toy of the day is Azureus, an extra-nifty Bit Torrent manager written in Java. It's just the thing for downloading your 200 hours of anime a month. It can even show you an animated diagram of all the packets going back and forth between you and the other computers in the swarm. Azureus works particularly well when you aren't suffering 90% packet loss.
And it has a little blue frog. Every computer needs a little blue frog.
Thursday, June 09
I'm only posting this in my Cool category because I don't have an Unbelievably Mega-Cool category.
Now, admittedly, I can't quite see my house:
But that doesn't mean -
- that I can't see your house:
(Click on the images to get some idea of how much detail is available.)
World Wind brings the entire planet to your desktop. Currently Windows only; I hope that will change, because everyone should have this.
Thank you, NASA. Umpteen squillion dollars and worth every penny.
(And thanks to bjornart on the mu.nu forums for pointing me to this.) more...
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