Everything's going to be fine.
Sunday, September 21
Red Thunder by John Varley
I've never been disappointed by John Varley.
If Rocketship Galileo had been written by the Robert Heinlein who wrote The Number of the Beast, rather than the Robert Heinlein who, well, wrote Rocketship Galileo, you'd have Red Thunder. It's all there: the characters too stupid to live, the pointless and unappealing sex, the arguments about who's going to drive, the contrived plot...
I give it sucks out of five. And no, I haven't suddenly developed a New Zealand accent.
Saturday, September 20
It's my birthday!* This afternoon I'm going to see Finding Nemo with my family, then maybe dinner at a non-Thai restaurant.
I wonder if I'll get any presents? I've been a little... slack in the present-giving department this year, what with my three full-time jobs and all. Maybe my nephew will give me a present, since I gave him six boxes of Lego last weekend.
* 25. Though not necessarily in base-10.
Friday, September 19
That scurvy bilge-rat of a server I mentioned yesterday, me hearties, is now booting more-or-less happily. I guess that threatening to make it walk the plank did the trick.
Only thing is, it insists on doing a full file-system check first. Shiver me disk drives! With 1.6 terabytes of disk, that takes a while.
Late for work, me hearties! Now where did I put those scurvy Linux disks?
My PC, it will not boot.
I rm'd * while su root.
Well, actually, I didn't. I've always wanted to try that, but I've never had a box I didn't care about at a time when I had the time to play around.
I think it just overheated. Spring has well and truly sprung here in Sydney, but the office air conditioning is still set to Winter. So it's really not surprising that the computers are finding it a bit on the warm side.
And it's not really my PC, it's one of the servers. The one with a terabyte of data on it, to be precise.
I've left it turned off overnight, and tomorrow I will return armed with a 30cm fan, an extension lead so we can position it somewhere a little cooler... And my Linux install CDs, because I'm not that much of an optimist.
Thursday, September 18
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 17
How did I end up with two full time jobs instead of one part time job?
Tuesday, September 16
The Axis of Naughty rules! Instapundit... Oops, I mean
Instapundit says so.
Monday, September 15
I spent the day at my brother's house celebrating my nephew's second birthday. While he likes the Lego I bought him, his favourite present by far was the Wiggles Safari DVD (the Wiggles meet Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter).
As soon as he had it unwrapped, he grabbed the DVD, trotted into the living room, and -
Well, he doesn't quite have this down pat. He put the DVD on the shelf under the TV, grabbed the remote control, and started pushing buttons. After all, the DVD player is too high up for him to reach, so it's worth a try.
At two, he's realised that if you put the shiny round thing in the silver rectangular thing and push the little buttons on the small grey oblong thing, pictures and music come from the square black thing and you can dance along - which at that age consists of spinning in circles until you fall over.
Unfortunately, the DVD was warped, and in the middle of Wobbly Camel the picture and sound broke up and it swiftly became unwatchable. We found that only the first two and last three of fifteen or so songs played properly.
Which kind of ruined the magic...
What I'd like to do here is write a Whittleian essay about how what engineers really want to do is magic - build machines that work so well that the very workings that they laboured so hard to create are effectively invisible to the user. You do this and that happens, every time, without any noise or smoke or heat. You don't need to pull it apart twice a year to grease the flanges or re-tune the interociter. You don't need to prime it with margarine before starting it when the weather's below freezing.
It just works.
I guess I went into computers because it's the closest useful field we have to magic. You move this thing until that thing points to this other thing, then you push on this thing and music! Movies! Books! Your printer springs to life and prints out a newspaper, or you send a letter to your friend on the other side of the world (and it arrives in a matter of seconds.)
Bugs are the mis-aligned gears and dry solder joints in the engineering magic of programming. When you run into a bug, it reveals the workings you've tried so hard to hide. The magic is ruined, though we're used to it and we usually manage to pick ourselves up and move on.
(Like, say, when my ADSL connection drops out and destroys the illusion that the internet is "just there".)
I have no idea where this post is going, though, so I'll stop here. If you do happen to know, please tell me and I'll do my best to finish it.
Sunday, September 14
Geek website Hypothermia raffled off one of their computers to raise money to pay Briana LaHara's settlement with the RIAA.
All the tickets were sold in five hours.
(via The Inquirer)
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