Saturday, March 22, 2008

At the Zoo

[reading: St. Clair, John, "Project Arcade: Build Your Own Arcade Machine"]

The plus side of going to the zoo:


The slightly more disconcerting side:


But someone didn't seem that impressed (he was more interested in the neighbouring boy's sandwich):


Monday, March 17, 2008

Ken acquires restraint (for some unfathomable reason)

[reading: Mary Gentle, "Ilario: The Lion's Eye"; recently Robert Harris, "Imperium"]

Imagine my surprise. Unlike every other year, this year's hike in the GLA part of my council tax bill is below inflation.

Year Annual Cumulative
2000/2001     100.00100.00100.00
2001/2002 22.7%0.9%2.3% 122.69100.90102.30
2002/2003 15.2%1.5%1.3% 141.39102.41103.63
2003/2004 29.1%1.5%3.1% 182.47103.95106.84
2004/2005 7.5%1.1%2.6% 196.24105.09109.62
2005/2006 5.5%1.9%3.2% 207.04107.09113.13
2006/2007 13.3%1.8%2.4% 234.68109.02115.84
2007/2008 5.3%3.1%4.8% 247.10112.40121.40
2008/2009 2.0%2.2%4.1% 252.04114.87126.38

March 2008 CPI/RPI figures not yet available; January 2008 figures used instead.

You'd almost think there was some kind of impending election*.

* Which is a wonderful link, by the way. I'd pretty much given up hope of any journalist bothering to do their job, rather than just recycle press releases.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Back /home

[reading: Iain Banks, "The Steep Approach to Garbadale"]

After a long break, I've just reinstated Linux as an OS on one of my machines.

I was tempted to go back to Slackware, which I used from 1993 to 1998 (until I was tempted away by the shininess of Red Hat), but as I keep hearing mention of Ubuntu, I thought I'd try that. (Also, it gave me a chance to run with the Debian package system instead of RPM for a change.)

The install was very smooth—smoother than any of the Windows installs I've done in the last few years (about 7 XP + 2 Vista), and just as smooth as Mac OS X (which I've done twice recently). However, the Linux install really wins big when in comes to adding in extra packages with the package manager.

On Mac OS X, getting all of the software, tools, utilities and depedencies was a fairly long-winded process (hence the blog about it, both so I could repeat the process myself if the machine died, and so that anyone else who had similar problems might be able to find useful information via the Magick of Google).

On Ubuntu, I just ran my top-level makefile; whenever some bit of build failed I just went into the package manager and installed the relevant missing package, then moved onto the next step of the build. In the end I think I only had to install three things from source, and two of those were very obscure.

So now I'm up and running fully, with access to all three of the major desktop development platforms.