Greg
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January 2003
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Groogle

Wednesday, 1 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book today, and started looking at the mini table of contents that O'Reilly puts at the beginning of the chapters in many of their books. Found how they did it in their old nuts macros, which I used for Porting UNIX Software, but that looked far too complicated, so started writing something easier to understand. Got it working quite nicely except for the shading around it, which I first tried with pic, but that was doomed to failure, since it didn't know the size of the box.

Back to the content, decided to split the introductory UNIX chapter into two: somehow it's necessary to stress the importance of using the shell and the editor, so the first chapter will only be about that, and the second one will then describe more of the UNIX environment. Somehow I'm making too many structural changes this late in the game, but I think it's important.


Thursday, 2 January 2003 Echunga
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I should have been working on the KDE chapter of the book today, but the short table of contents issue didn't leave me alone. Played around with groff a bit more, hoping to reverse engineer pic's shaded boxes, and in the process discovered extensions to the \D” escape which I didn't know about. They're not in standard troff, and they're not in the groff(7) man page, though groff(7) does refer to the info page. Not the first time I've cursed the lack of hard copy documentation.

With the aid of that, managed to get things working, though I'm still confused about limitations in the .mk and .rt requests and the \v escape, none of which worked. In addition, putting the text in a diversion broke it in marvellous ways. All in all pretty frustrating, but I finally got it to work with only moderate kludging:

 
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After that, felt drained enough to go and do something completely different, in this case riding with Yvonne. Greg Rodda, the vet, had came along to do a pre-purchase check of Lady this morning, which she passed, so Bill Reid, the farrier, came along and shod her. For a change, we were able to use the horse float, and both Lady and Darah went on with no hesitation at all. Off to the Razorback Road section of Kuitpo forest, where we had a relatively short ride: Lady is only four years old, and she has almost never been in a forest. On the way back, bumped into Diane Saunders (for whom I was building the computer last week) and Jenny Fenwick, who had also just bought a new gelding, Ned, coincidentally from Bill Reid the farrier.

In the evening, while we were watching TV, Diane came along and told us that Jenny had had a float accident with Ned: he wasn't tied up properly, and climbed up over the front of the (open) float, doing himself some quite nasty superficial damage. Greg Rodda had already stitched him up, but Jenny didn't want to take him home (she lives about 20 km away), so it looks like he'll stay with us until he has healed up.


Friday, 3 January 2003 Echunga Images for 3 January 2003
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More work on the book today. The format is looking good, and I can get back to work on the content. The more I use KDE, the less I like it. Somehow the Microsoft approach is infiltrating UNIX too much, and we end up with special terminal emulators, web browsers, editors and more. In addition, there's the paradox that there's too much mouse pushing and not enough mouse functionality. To make matters worse, it's slow. I never had problems with sydney, my laptop, until I put KDE on it. This isn't specific to KDE, as far as I can tell: OpenOffice, StarOffice and GNOME all seem to have the same problem. I need to at least address fvwm2 in the book.


Saturday, 4 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book, and finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Wrote up on fvwm2, and was quite surprised what a large subset of the KDE functionality it offers. With any luck I can get the complete draft finished this weekend and submit it before I leave for Linux.conf.au in two weeks time.


Sunday, 5 January 2003 Echunga
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On with the book. I had set myself a deadline of this evening to finish the first pass through the text, but of course I didn't make it. I did come close, though: only a couple of relatively small chapters to finish. The trouble is that every time I look at these things, I find something else to add. Chasing a moving target isn't easy. Still, I think that it'll be worthwhile: the book contains stuff that isn't documented anywhere else.

Diane Saunders in this afternoon, and I finally presented the “new” machine to her. She was much happier about it that I expected.


Monday, 6 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book. It doesn't make for interesting reading, but I'm certainly happy that I'm making the progress I am, and for once I'm more or less on time. Got to the end of the chapters I was working on and put out another update to the reviewers, who haven't been overly active. Now I only have three chapters requiring significant work, and a couple of others needing updating. Hopefully the current structure will stay the way it is for a while.

When I built the machine for Diane, I had hoped for the www.auug.org.au web server to have been switched over by now, out of which I am to get two disks, so I stuck a spare 20 GB disk in there in the interim. Somehow www.auug.org.au is still trundling along, and in the meantime I discovered that the 1 GB disk I had planned for her wasn't big enough for a FreeBSD installation with KDE and OpenOffice. It seems that an installation of FreeBSD 5.0 with the Ports Collection and no additional software weighs in just shy of 1 GB. Instead, dragged out a 6 GB disk instead and tried to migrate to that. It wasn't easy: somehow the tar job lost files, and I couldn't find what had happened. There should be an easier way to move things around.


Tuesday, 7 January 2003 Echunga
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More of the same work today. Went back to the install chapters and discovered that I had managed to overwrite some of the images, and that the chapter on sharing with Microsoft still based on a 200 MB drive with an 80 MB Microsoft partition and a 120 MB FreeBSD partition. I actually performed that installation years ago (it was in "Installing and Running FreeBSD" dated 18 February 1996), but today was also the day that I discovered that a minimal FreeBSD installation now needs 160 MB. Looks like I have more image work to do.

Finally got Diane's machine moved over to the 6 GB disk, with the rather untidy method of image copying the entire slice. We still have problems setting disk labels writeable: disklabel -W appears to have been broken for some time.


Wednesday, 8 January 2003 Echunga
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Still working on the installation chapters of the book. Decided that I'd have to do the images all over again, not made any easier by the fact that the display of some of the screens has changed from normal to inverse video. Grrr. Managed to just about finish the chapters, though. I'm gradually relatively happy with this part of the book.

AUUG SA chapter meeting this evening, but I was too tired to make it.


Thursday, 9 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book today, mainly tidying things up and applying review feedback, which takes a whole lot of time. Every time I look at a chapter I haven't seen for a while, I find lots of things I need to change. If I carry on like this, I'll never be finished.

Diane Saunders in this afternoon to try out her "new" computer. She did surprisingly well with it, but it was painfully slow with KDE. OpenOffice has a footprint of about 90 MB when running just the word processor, and KDE has another 300 MB or so. This machine has 64 MB of memory, and it was spending all its time paging. Installed fvwm2, which came up in a fraction of the time and memory usage of KDE, so it looks like she'll stick with that.

After she left, tried replacing the memory with a 128 MB module, and found that it was a little bit better, but not much, and after starting OpenOffice there were still 14 MB of free memory left over, so for her purposes maybe the 233 MHz processor is also an issue. Put the old (PS/2) memory back in the machine and suddenly we had 96 MB of memory! It seems that I had paired 32 MB and 16 MB modules before, and though it worked, they all worked as 16 MB modules. That should make things a whole lot better.


Friday, 10 January 2003 Echunga
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On and on with the book. I spent most of today going through review input, which gave me a few things to think about.

Diane Saunders back in the afternoon. I'm impressed how quickly she picked up this OpenOffice stuff. I suppose the intention of copying Microsoft paid off. She confirms that the new-found memory makes the thing seem a lot snappier.

Called my father to arrange our trip across the Nullarbor to Perth next weekend. To my surprise, he decided he didn't want to do it right now: too much else to do. That's a load off my mind, anyway: it would have taken us four days to get there, and the best way to get the car back would have been to drive back, which at the very least would be two days. I can spend that time doing better things. Called up Qantas to book a frequent flyer flight, and had another surprise: the flights I wanted were available, and I got the whole booking done in 4½ minutes.

In the evening, Yvonne made a tagine, roughly after a recipe I found on the web. The quantities are all over the place in that recipe, of course. We took a quarter of the quantity of meat, same quantity of fruits and herbs, with the exception of three times as much garlic. It tasted surprisingly good. The first time in a long time that we have had something completely new.


Saturday, 11 January 2003 Echunga
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More trouble with the water supply. For once, I noticed that the water filter was almost completely clean. During the morning, Yvonne came to me with the information that there was almost no water flow, which proved to be the case even with the pump running. I had already suspected that we had a yabbie in the supply pipe: coming down from the dam, it's 2" (50mm) in diameter, but it reduces to 1" (25mm) to go through the pump:


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The gate valve is the thing in the middle of the photo with the blue handle, and the supply pipe comes up from the hole in the ground, after going underneath another 1" pipe. When we moved in, we frequently found yabbies in the water taps. I suspected that the yabbie had first caused a partial blockage, and gradually smaller stuff had piled up behind it. The solution is obvious: remove the junction and clean it out. Unfortunately, it's underground and upstream from the gate valve. We'll have to get a 2" gate valve and put it above ground, in case it happens again. At the same time we can put the water filter on the supply side of the pump.


Sunday, 12 January 2003 Echunga Images for 12 January 2003
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Gradually I'm making it with the book. For once, it looks like I might make the deadline I set myself. Not much else to mention.

More work on the book, nothing much of interest to report. It's getting there.


Monday, 13 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book. Part of it involved getting to know devd, which I didn't know about at all before. It's used to configure PCMCIA cards, amongst other things. The documentation is pretty rudimentary, but the implementation isn't bad. Was able to get it to automatically mount the compact flash cards from my digital camera, which pleased me.

We had some of the strangest weather I know here today. At 9 am, the temperature on the verandah was 27.9°, but it dropped noticeably, and later I saw it was only round 22°, though it went back up to about 27° again. When I checked the minimum value later, I discovered it had gone down to 14.4°. And that in the middle of a heat wave!


Tuesday, 14 January 2003 Echunga
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Guy Schubert came along this morning to replace the piping to the dam water pump, in the process spraying a surprising amount of dam water all over the place. That took a while, and rather to my disappointment we didn't find anything stuck in the reduction from 2" to 1". That means that there must be a blockage at the other end, which will be fun to remove. For the time being it's working, anyway.

On with the book. This new PCMCIA code has simplified things considerably and made it possible to remove a whole lot of text. Not too much more to do now.


Wednesday, 15 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book. Spent quite some time working on hostap mode with a Lucent card, and couldn't get it to work. Turns out it's not supported for the kind of card.

After that, more tidying up. Managed to absorb a couple of short chapters elsewhere, with the result that I only have a couple of chapters left before we're done.


Thursday, 16 January 2003 Echunga Images for 16 January 2003
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While reading my mail in the morning, I looked out of my office window and saw a large cloud of smoke coming from the direction of the pump. I went out to take a look and discovered that the power socket and plug for the pump had burnt out completely, leaving nothing of the contacts. Grr. That pump is giving me much more work than I ever expected. My best guess is that Guy caused this problem with his spraying around a couple of days ago.

Busy day with AUUG. Linux.Conf.Au is coming up next week, and they wanted some flyers from us. In addition, NOIE wants our presentation materials for next month's seminar by the end of next week, so we spent an inordinate amount of time discussing that. I really don't like the idea of doing the whole thing with OpenOffice, but it seems I'm in the minority.

Despite everything, including replacing the power socket (and covering it with a plastic bag!), managed to get some more work done on the book. Only one real chapter to go, on configuring X. But where to put it?


Friday, 17 January 2003 Echunga Images for 17 January 2003
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Into town today for the ADUUG lunch, this time relatively small. After that, off with David Newall, who was at the lunch and is one of the AUUG webmaster team, to Internode's new machine room to change over the www.auug.org.au web server machine. We've had two machines running in parallel for over a month, while we tried to coordinate the swapover. All we really needed to do was to change the IP addresses over. We specifically didn't want to reboot.

That proved more difficult than expected. One of the machines (the new one) didn't want to talk to the console, and so we had to do it over the network, rather like sawing off the branch on which you sit. In the end, disconnected the old machine and entered:

# (ifconfig fxp0 150.101.248.57; route delete default; \
  route add default 150.101.248.58) >/dev/null 2>/dev/null

That took the machine off the net, of course, but we were able to recover it after rewiring. Did the old machine via the console. but after that they couldn't see each other, which proved to be an ARP problem. After that, all was well.

Then Stephen Rothwell told me that NFS was hanging. Damn! I had forgotten about NFS. Since they were cross-mounted, we had to reboot both systems. Grrr.

After that, off shopping and bought a couple of second-hand books. Relatively late home.

Crisis in the evening: La Tigre, Yvonne's Paso Peruano mare, had a serious colic, probably an intestinal blockage. She's at Christiane Yeardley's place, 300 km from the closest equine clinic, and they planned to bring her to Adelaide for operation. After some discussion, though, we decided against it: the temperatures today were close to 40°, and the vets had serious concerns that she might not survive the transport. Nothing to do but to wait and see.


Saturday, 18 January 2003 Echunga
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Finally got round to going up to the dam to look at the water supply pipe. It used to be tied up on a post, but the cord holding it up must have rotted away some time ago. I found it after some difficulty almost submerged in the mud at the bottom. Under those circumstances it's surprising the water looked so clean, but of course it explains the bugs that I found in the water filter. This time tied it to an empty 5 litre plastic canister to keep it floating just below the surface. Hopefully the hay baling twine I used won't rot.

Down to the house and ran the pump. The pipe to the house is about 500 metres long, which makes for a cubic metre of water in the pipe. After that should have got through, really did notice less bugs in the water. Maybe we're done.

Apart from that, more work on the book, and got the advanced X chapter finished. The only chapter left now is the introduction, but I'll leave that for a while and go through the others cleaning up cross-references and such. It's nice to see things moving on.


Sunday, 19 January 2003 Echunga
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Turned on the news this morning just in time to hear about a bushfire in Canberra, but with no details. They came in in the course of the morning: at least four people known to the Ozlabs people in Canberra have had their homes burnt out, including Tracy Whatman, who was out at the time and only has the clothes on her back. Something like 400 houses destroyed. That must be one of the worst cases of bushfire destruction I've heard of.

Still more fun with the watering system. We made the mistake of putting feeds for the pond and a horse watering trough on the feed side of the pump. Now we have the filter in place, it sucks the water out of the pond instead, and the pond was down by about 5 cm. I'll have to buy a non-return valve.

More work on the book. Finally I have completed the draft fourth edition. I should be able to give a relatively polished version to Andy on Tuesday morning.


Monday, 20 January 2003 Echunga
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More work on the book today, mainly tidy-up stuff. Spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get the pagination right, unfortunately without success. I appear to be missing a couple of basic concepts about troff pagination. Probably time to re-read the book.

Got a non-return valve into the pond water supply and watched the pump happily suck in air through the horse trough. This seems to be a never-ending battle. Still, it only happens when the trough needs filling, which shouldn't be very often. More work for me for when I get back from Perth.

More work on the NOIE presentations today. I still have serious doubts about approaching it with OpenOffice.


Tuesday, 21 January 2003 Echunga –> Perth
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Up relatively early and did some more work on the OCG presentation before heading for the airport, stopping on the way to buy a second-hand dictionary from the bookshop I went to on Friday.

The flight to Perth was uneventful. Sonny Rajah picked me up at the airport. It's a good thing I knew that it was he; the last time I saw him, he was 36. Now he's 55, and he's changed. None of us are getting any younger.

Temperatures in Perth were 36° and the room was not well ventilated. After a while, Luigi Cantoni came along and we went out for a drink, where we bumped into some of the AUUG WA chapter people and talked for a while. Then back to college by foot, having dinner on the way and bumping into Paul Schulz of Foursticks and a bloke from Google whose name escapes me. Early to bed: these 2 hours do make a difference. Nasty, sticky evening.


Wednesday, 22 January 2003 Perth
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If yesterday evening was nasty, the night was terrible. The room had neither air conditioner nor (promised) fan, I was near a traffic light on the main highway from Perth to Fremantle, and leaving the balcony door open let in enough mosquitos to keep me awake during the rare lulls in traffic. It's a good thing I got to bed early, otherwise I wouldn't have even come close to getting some sleep.

In the morning, to the reception, where they had another room for me, with air conditioning and facing towards the quadrangle. That should be better.

In the morning, Conrad Parker gave a rather interesting tutorial on his sweep audio editor, while I tried to install it on my laptop. The conference network is a bit flaky, and it turned out that the current version of sweep is version 0.8, and the one in the Ports Collection is 0.1.1. Spent some time working on that.

Lunch with the OzLabs mob from Canberra, and after that to listen to a talk on PostgreSQL by Gavin Sherry, whom I met in KL two years ago. Not quite the content I was looking for.

Linus Torvalds is here. I missed him in the opening ceremony because of a network problem, but apparently he wore a penguin suit for the first time ever. Since then he was spotted from time to time with wife and children, but he doesn't seem to be spending much time at the conference.

In the evening, professional networking reception. Spent a bit of time talking to a number of people, but there aren't too many new faces.


Thursday, 23 January 2003 Perth Images for 23 January 2003
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Ah, the difference an air conditioner makes! Slept well and woke up early and refreshed. A little late to Tridge's talk, which was titled "Advanced Network Techniques", but which was in fact about reverse engineering. Good stuff, but I've heard it before.

During that had a phone call from Liz, so out to defer her, and bumped into Dan Shearer and Kate Mackenzie from The Australian, with whom I spoke at rather more length during the break. It's nice to get more publicity for AUUG, of course, but the most interesting thing was when she looked at my feet. For some reason, my feet have been generating a lot of hits lately. I saw this in my web logs yesterday:

Top 20 jpegs:
  89 /grog/Images/Gregs-feet.big.jpeg
  41 /grog/Photos/20020202/grog-in-office.jpeg

That's all the funnier because the only local link is via a smaller version of the image, but there were no hits on it. Obviously somebody has put up a link to it on another web site. I wish I knew which one, and why.

In the course of restructuring this web site, the image has moved. The link above is correct.

Anyway, Kate was interested in the sandals I was wearing; it seems her stepmother makes similar sandals, and since I've been looking, that was rather welcome.

In the evening, Linux Australia had their AGM, so I went along wearing my AUUG hat. It turned out that by registering for the Linux.Conf.Au, I have automatically become a member of Linux Australia. The AGM proved to be an election, and an interesting one at that. It seems that until the Linux.Conf.Au, Linux Australia had had exactly five members, which had posed problems filling its seven member committee. This time, every man and his dog were nominated as members, and Pia Smith, formerly not a member, was elected president. Hugh Blemings and Tridge were also elected as ordinary member. Spent some time talking to Pia later on about how AUUG and Linux Australia should work together. There's a lot to talk about.

After that, was planning to go to dinner with the Ozlabs people, but in the end decided that I was tired, so ate locally at a remarkably active Italian restaurant and again early to bed.


Thursday, 24 January 2002 Perth
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Up early to hear Bdale Garbee talking about the Debian project. Interesting talk, in which he reminded me that ten years ago we were both working on BSD/OS. Times change. His talk reminded me of what my talk about BSD is supposed to be. Maybe I should rewrite it.

After that, catching up on mail, of which I've had a lot lately, and didn't go to the morning sessions. Also spent some time talking to Pia Smith. There are some interesting issues about the way last night's election; it looks like they're going to have to do quite a few changes to the constitution.

After lunch to a talk about high availability servers, which was not the best talk I've heard on the topic. At the end I was still not really clear about how the thing works. Then to hear Alan Cox talk about kernel audits, much better done.

Conference dinner in the evening, during which they announced that Adelaide will be doing next year's LCA. That should be interesting. Had fun, drank a lot of wine.


Friday, 25 January 2002 Perth
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Up a little later this morning. The conference organizers had wisely planned a later start. Over to hear Rusty Russell talking his usual stuff. Married life has changed him: now he's claiming that it isn't the kernel hackers who get all the chicks. Sic transit gloria mundi.

More work and talking to people after that, without getting very much work done. Lunch was pizza, which seems to be a tradition for the last day of the conference. This time there was enough pizza.

Heard a couple of papers in the afternoon: Matthew Wilcox on drivers, bottom halves and things. I understand them maybe a little bit better now, but it's more through repetition than anything startling he had to say. Then to hear Adrian Chadd, whom I know from FreeBSD IRC channels, and was surprised how well he presented things; one of the better talks, even if he did overrun a little and engage in a little Linux-bashing.

After afternoon tea in to hear a repeat of Jeremy Malcolm's talk on software licensing, from a lawyer's point of view. Very interesting, exactly for that reason. He came up with things we had never thought of, and dismissed things that we thought important.

The final session involved the speakers all getting a bottle of (white) wine, with a label "Holy Penguin Pee". I wonder whether we'll give a red wine in Adelaide next year.

Didn't do much in the evening. Bumped into some UWA students at a restaurant, but turned down their invitation to kick on at a party, and did some catching up on my mail instead.


Sunday, 26 January 2003 Perth –> Echunga
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Up at a relatively sane time this morning and down to discover that there was no breakfast. Made do with some croissants, then over to the Physics Building to look for Pia. Spent a bit of time talking with her about the NOIE presentation next month. They have some good input, unfortunately a little late. It's really a pity that NOIE want only one user group to represent Open Source.

After that, tried to call up Sonny Rajah, as I had planned, but his phone didn't answer. Back to the college and caught up on my mail, and after an hour and a half of retrying, gave up on him and off to the airport, where I was once again unable to connect to the Skynet Global service. The DHCP server was not responding:

14:25:48.012811 0:2:2d:4:9:3a ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff 0800 342: 0.0.0.0.68 > 255.255.255.255.67:  xid:0x2f6b6754 [|bootp] [tos 0x10]
14:25:51.012804 0:2:2d:4:9:3a ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff 0800 342: 0.0.0.0.68 > 255.255.255.255.67:  xid:0x2f6b6754 secs:3 [|bootp] [tos 0x10]
14:25:54.012819 0:2:2d:4:9:3a ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff 0800 342: 0.0.0.0.68 > 255.255.255.255.67:  xid:0x2f6b6754 secs:6 [|bootp] [tos 0x10]

After some difficulty finding the support number (it had changed), discovered that, far from extending their service hours as they had promised, they have rolled them back to normal office hours. That's ridiculous for a service for air travellers. Wrote a stiff mail message to them, telling them that I am no longer prepared to pay for a service they barely provide. It's a pity, really: it's a great idea, and it would have worked well if they hadn't been so incompetent.

Back home without event. The time difference really kills in this direction, and it was 11 pm before I got home.


Monday, 27 January 2003 Echunga
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Australia Day holiday today, quite a quiet day. Woke up late on Perth time, and couldn't get down to doing much work. Instead worked on the sprinkler system, which is still giving us problems. Gave up with the filter on the supply side of the pump and replaced it on the high-pressure side, then set to refilling the pond which, somehow despite the non-return valve we fitted.

Apart from that, didn't even get through my mail, and tried to catch up on reading magazines instead. Early to bed to make up for getting up late.


Tuesday, 28 January 2003 Echunga
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Back to work after the long weekend, at least figuratively speaking. In practice, I still feel lethargic and did very little, though this time round I did get through most of my mail.

Got some mail about the seminar we're participating in at NOIE next month. It included stuff for OpenOffice, so started installing it on sydney. That was not so simple: there's a new version of OpenOffice out, version 1.0.2. For such a small incremental changes, there's an amazing difference in size:

-rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis  136458398 Jul 16  2002 OOo_1.0.1_source.tar.bz2
-rw-r--r--  1 root  lemis  161959753 Jan 18 03:18 OOo_1.0.2_source.tar.bz2

That's 25 MB difference, possibly the largest I've ever seen for any incremental release. Started to compile and again it kept failing and asked for all sorts of silly Java things which have to be loaded manually. As if the license made any sense:

Sun license conditions for some part of Java

I'll be really happy when they finally allow a more sensible download.

More trouble with the water supply. This is going on for ever. Today I discovered that the water supply pipe for the fire water reservoir had come off and was merrily leaking hundreds of litres of water down the arena. Grrr. No wonder the sprinklers didn't look too powerful.


Wednesday, 29 January 2003 Echunga
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Still more catchup mode. I seem to be getting nowhere fast, and by the end of the day I still had not finished reading my mail.

Got a call from Skynet Global this morning, suggesting that my problems on Sunday might have been with my computer, and perhaps I should have rebooted it rather than blaming the service provider. sigh. They actually admitted that they hadn't been taught to understand the intricacies of DHCP, routing and authentication. About the only interesting thing he said was that they only have a single DHCP server for the whole country, which sounds like a recipe for disaster. I wonder how they route broadcast packets, but possibly it was a routing problem. Anyway, they've sold out to Telstra, who, depending on the part of the company, might do a better job.

One of the things I had to do today was revise the slides we'll present to the seminar we're participating in at NOIE next month. They want them in Microsoft's “PowerPoint” format, so fired up sydney to run Microsoft to check out the slides. While I was doing that (they looked OK), Liz Carroll called me. While talking to her, I noticed a lot of modem traffic, and discovered that some random port scan had hit sydney, which was merrily communicating the lack of any “shares” to somebody out on the net. These Microsoft boxes aren't secure enough to be on the net. I'll have to firewall it completely, which also means a static IP address, I suppose.

Diane Saunders called up to say that her computer hadn't survived a short power cut this morning. Over to her place and confirmed that the power supply was dead. That's what I thought, so I had brought a new power supply with me. As I tried to remove the old one, I discovered that the power cable was soldered to the power switch, and that in such an inaccessible position that I don't even know if I can undsolder it without taking the entire case apart. What idiot did that? Why do these things always come up with minor problems which multiply the time it takes to do anything?


Thursday, 30 January 2003 Echunga Images for 30 January 2003
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Still more work. Apart from the seminar slides for NOIE, I have my Daemon's Advocate article to write again, and we've got another upheaval in the FreeBSD project. No wonder I don't get any work done.

Took another look at Diane's machine. I found a new case for it, but it had the wrong cutout for the power supply. Grr. All these little things that take up so much time.


Friday, 31 January 2003 Echunga
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Still more work on the seminar slides for NOIE today. Gordon has been in Hong Kong all week, which hasn't exactly helped us. At least we now understand what we need to do, but it took a long phone call in the morning. Somehow just getting normal background tasks working is taking all my time at the moment.

Finally got Diane's computer repaired: took out the switch from the other case and mounted it on a blanking panel in the old machine. After I did that, powered it on and it booted happily, then displayed a strange behaviour: a login prompt came up, though I had configured xdm, and the cursor blinked in an irregular manner. There was also some display corruption, and I wasn't able to type in the user ID properly. All looked like some random hardware error, possibly caused by the power spike that presumably killed the power supply.

Rebooted into single user mode and disabled xdm, after which the machine worked normally, but I couldn't start X: I had replaced the video card in a different PCI slot, and as a result the configuration was wrong. That was apparently what caused the strange xdm behaviour. Updated the XF86Config file with the new PCI slot number, and all was well. Who would have thought that?

Building OpenOffice goes on. It seems that it's installing multiple versions of Java, and after the latest abortion and download, jdk12 wouldn't build. I suppose there aren't too many people with the persistence to restart the build 10 times for 10 different manual downloads, but it seems that I must have been the first to try it with FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE: there were two bugs which prevented it from building, mercifully both easy to fix. But this shouldn't be necessary.


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