Ooh, just a minute... has anyone got...

Having been to many conferences over the last 10 years, one thing that I find myself (as a part of the audience) subjected to with depressing frequency is this scenario:

Chairman: "And our next speaker is Fred Nurk, who will be talking about Prestressed Bacon Yoghurt..."

[Nurk plugs in laptop; looks at projection screen.]


[Much fiddling and pressing of keys. Projection screen stays blank.]

[5 minutes later]

Nurk (weakly): "Has anyone got a USB stick?"

[A USB stick is found. The presentation is copied to it, and then onto someone else's machine. The talk starts, 10 minutes late.]

vamos v0.9.1

The new version of vamos contains updates for supporting multiple virtio disks and SCSI disks. It also has a new script, frankendisk, for constructing composite disk images from individual partition images. Frankendisk is new, and has a lot of rough edges, but shouldn't (I hope) destroy your data.


Download vamos-0.9.1.tar.gz

Back to vamos

In search of...

I found this handy little site yesterday: searchplugins.net. Go to a website, use its search function to search for "TEST", then paste the resulting URL into searchplugins.net, and it will write an OpenSearch plugin for Firefox, Mozilla, or IE7 that you can download and install.

A successful Verdi

We performed the Verdi Requiem in Winchester Cathedral last night. It was a superb concert -- the soloists were great (particularly the bass and the soprano), and the orchestra was good. The big difference in the choir, though, was almost certainly the fact that we sang without scores. This meant that we had few places to look other than the conductor. As a result, we were tighter rhythmically, and much more responsive to the conductor's indications on dynamics.

It's plugging hot!

After vlad died last week, I rebuilt him with a new hard drive in the main system RAID array. This drive was twice the size of the old one – 160GiB, not 80GiB – so I had a bunch of spare space not being used. Yesterday, I bought another 160GiB drive, and decided to test the whole SATA hotplug thing...

Verdi's Requiem

The choir I sing with, the Southampton Phil, is putting on a performance of Verdi's Requiem next Saturday, in Winchester Cathedral.


Vlad is now alive again.

After spending a significant chunk of Saturday grubbing around on the floor, elbow-deep in computers (think James Herriot, only less gooey and with sharper edges), I've diagnosed vlad's problems: At least one of the two hard drives in the RAID-1 array containing my home directory has media errors, and the motherboard has decided to stop working entirely.

Wanted: Blood for resurrection ritual. Virgin preferred.

At about half eleven last night, my server, vlad, died. Quite comprehensively.

HantsLUG meeting: Openmoko

We held this month's HantsLUG meeting yesterday. It was relatively quiet, but a good meeting nevertheless. I gave a talk on ssh – part two of my series on basic cryptographic software (part one was on GPG, part three will be X.509 certificates). There were also talks on Bacula and BackupPC from Damian and Adrian repsectively.

We had some interesting hardware along for the day – Laura brought her new OLPC, and Daviey had a Neo1973 running Qtopia.

Hooray for XRandR

For years, it's been a major failing of Linux (and X11 in general) that it's not been possible just to plug in a new monitor and be able to extend your desktop on the fly. This is just about OK for desktop machines, which don't tend to change their configuration very often. It really, really sucks for laptops, though. It's really quite painful (and potentially quite embarrassing) to have to kill X and restart it before you can plug your laptop into a data projector at a conference.

But... X now has a thing called XRandR, that allows you to reconfigure your X display on the fly without restarting anything. I've got a couple of talks coming up shortly, so I thought I'd have a play.