Defining processes

I’ve been clearing a few things out of the study over the past few days, well study may be a bit of a grand name for it, but I tend to use it rather than office. There’s two reasons for that, firstly there’s the fact that I can’t have a dedicated office for work at home otherwise it is liable for business taxes. Secondly there’s the practical reason that it hasn’t always been an office and isn’t really one now – there’s way too many non-work bits in there. Books of all sorts (sailing, photography, cetaceans, fiction, etc., not just computing), and lots of old retro computing bits (more magazines as well as the machines and software).

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Where has the fun gone in computing?

My first ever computer was a ZX81 bought for me on my 13th birthday. I never upgraded it in any form and only ever had the tapes that came with the computer (so none of the dreaded ‘RAM pack wobbles’ for me!). I had that machine for about a year before selling it and having a painful time without a computer whilst waiting for my Spectrum to arrive. The only thing my ZX81 ever got used for was writing my own programs or typing in listings from magazines. While I was waiting for my Spectrum I wrote a Pacman style game for it, and since I didn’t have any manuals for it yet I used the list of commands on the back of the brochure and listings in Your Computer magazine to work out what the commands did and their syntax (needless to say it didn’t work right away!). All that programming was great fun and probably most of what I used my computers for. I did have a good number of games for my Spectrum too (obviously!), but programming was always more fun.

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Last year while I was working on the sailing club work party to get the compound ready for the cruisers to lay-up ashore somebodies rudder managed to separate into two pieces as I was carrying it. Unfortunately the steel toe capped boots that I had been wearing had seriously leaky soles to them, and since it was raining and there were plenty of puddles around I had decided to swap them for my sailing boots in the interest of keeping my feet dry. Even more unfortunately my big toe was in the exact spot the heavy bit of the rudder had chosen to land.

Now, about a year on and the black area of my nail has just about gone, so in commemoration of the event I decided that it would be fitting to shut my thumb in the car door (OK, I didn’t decide, it just happened while I wasn’t concentrating!). Hopefully it won’t be another year before the black bit in my thumb goes. So long as I can tie up my shoe laces more easily pretty soon I will be happy – for now all I can say is ‘ouch’!

Blosxom hack

Well after a bit of reading through the code for Blosxom I’ve tracked down the right place to put a temporary hack in to create the required entry into the RSS output. It lacks the seconds information on the time so I have manually set them to :00 (not a major issue, but untidy to my mind). There also doesn’t appear to be a suitable variable to use for the timezone information. For now I’ve done another nasty manual configuration of +0100, but clearly this isn’t going to work well once the clocks go back again! The question is will this hack actually work beyond a visual inspection of the output!

Here’s the diff from the original Blosxom code for anyone interested:

< rss story   <item>\n   <title>$title</title>\n   <link>$url/$yr/$mo_num/$da#$fn
</link>\n<description>$body</description>\n   </item>\n
> rss story   <item>\n   <title>$title</title>\n   <link>$url/$yr/$mo_num/$da#$fn
</link>\n<description>$body</description>\n   <pubDate>$dw, $da $mo $yr $ti:00 +0
100</pubDate>\n   </item>\n

Splitting the Atom

OK, a very quick update here to note that I’ve made a few modifications to my Blosxom install. First off I’ve added a calendar plugin (currently on the left hand side). Nothing fancy, but looks to do the job – and I’m hoping that the movement between months will present some live links once I’ve got some posts in more than just the single month!

The second one is the new Atom feed. This is partly a stop gap pending getting an RSS 2.0 feed working properly, but I’ll probably leave it there. This took a little bit of playing around with to get it working, but in the end all that was needed was installing XML/ which came in the libxml-parser-perl Debian package. This brought a small selection of other packages with it, but I’ll investigate that later 🙂

7 versions of Windows Vista!

Just noted this link Windows Vista product editions revealed on the ALUG list. Is it wishful thinking that this is likely to cause enough confusion and dissatisfaction for people to start looking more seriously at the alternatives to Windows on the desktop?

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Basking seals in Langstone

It’s been a long while since I’ve managed to do any decent sailing, and a quick jaunt down harbour and back doesn’t constitute a major outing, but yesterdays did have its compensations. About half way down the channel between Tudor and Salterns I noticed the telltale signs of seals basking on the mudbank on the Farlington Marshes side of the channel. I did do a double take, because although I have seen seal heads in the water and heard of seals in the area I have only seen them in this manner up on the Isle of Mull and on the Moray Firth. The shape, though, is quite distinctive once you’ve tuned into it – much like the sight of dolphins swimming becomes something you pattern match automatically once you’ve done it a few times 🙂 Anyway, these three looked like parents and a juvenile, and stayed there basking in their ‘banana bow’ position while we punched the tide past them and down past Sword Point. As we got further way they could easily have been mistaken for six large gulls since the tide covered the lower middle section of them leaving just the head and tail sticking out at each end.

So not only nice to be out on the water, but a pleasant surprise in the wildlife watching department too 🙂

Let’s get the ball rolling

OK, so this is my first blog entry. I’ve just thrown together a very quick Blosxom based weblog system. It looks quite nice and suits my way of thinking, and should even integrate very nicely with the other scripts I am using and hope to develop 🙂

All things being well I should add a few entries here once in a while, although past records may well indicate that it will die a horrible death due to neglect 😮

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