Marvelous miscellania

Amazon delivered my copy of “Just for Fun” by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond. It’s going to be a good read, i can feel it! In parallel i am still reading “Broken Angels” by Richard Morgan. Still recommend the latter.

I am also still on Ubuntu 11.04, but without Unity. I can’t do it. I can’t deal with unity, i can’t seem to configure it so that i can use it sensibly. I can’t deal with the side-menu thing popping in and out. I can’t deal with not seeing the toolbars at all times, i can’t deal with having the max,min and close buttons be on the left side if i maximize the window, when I’ve specified in gconf that i want them on the right side. I realize that i can configure these things somewhere. What i don’t realize is why make things like this by default? Unless you’ve never used Ubuntu before, you’re going to shit a brick. Me. No. Understandy.

Something i also realized was that something that changed in the propietary ATI driver, or Compiz, or some other relating concept messed up h.264 playback in Ubuntu. VLC would act as if something was wrong with the overlay.. The video was either entirely black, but with audio playing perfectly. Or, i’d get the video, but it was the top most level of everything. Try to open a menu like File in VLC, and the video would overlap that menu, so you wouldn’t see it. Very annoying, and made watching video nearly impossible. The fix, or workaround for now, was to disable compiz entirely. Another annoying feature of Ubuntu 11.04 – The System – >  Preferences – > Appearance tab that controlled compiz is gone. No way to disable it that way. You even have to download the compiz configuration manager separately if you want to configure it! So i did the metacity –replace trick to kill compiz and replace it with metacity, that does away with the overlay-problem.

A big sigh. But at least it works now.

It’s also time to head out of the city and into the untamed wilderness known as our summer cottage. I started my four-week vacation, and i intend to spend a lot of the time out there. If i can. My allergies are acting up, and if they get bad enough, i can’t stay there. Which blows.There’s lots to do there. Some trees to cut down and chainsaw into pieces, a new balcony-thing to build. Some electrical work at the Sauna.

There’s a shortage of podcasts to listen to in Summertime. Somehow. Or then there is too much time vs. the amount of podcasts, which is static.

I should try the 3.0 RC kernel. I have a colleague who’s tried it under VMware Workstation, and says that it works well. There was some issue with it, but it was patched by someone ™. I also read an interesting article that B pasted to me on the end of the AltQ in OpenBSD. You can read that here. PF has been serving me well since version 3.7 or 3.8, in a modest box sitting beneath my desk here, diligently filtering through all of my Internet traffic. It rarely breaks. And when it does, it’s due to some syntax error in my configuration, or failing hardware. In any case, it’s a great product.

A few minutes before writing this post, the Space Shuttle Atlantis separated from the International Space Station for the last time in Space Shuttle history. A sad moment. The end of an era. In all, the space shuttles spent over 300 days docked to the ISS. Sad to see it just floating away, the thrusters firing somberly to adjust slightly. I get a slight scifi kick from it all. Seeing the planet drift by below at blistering speeds. To see an orbital sunrise live from my own PC. A final victory lap around the station, and she is gone. Starting de-orbiting procedures. After this, the US has no way to get people into orbit, without help from the Russians. Next up, perhaps a commercial alternative. The Atlas V? Some rocket-based system in any case. Waiting for the Chinese to do their thing. Seeing the Russians put people up like they have for 50 years.No more space planes for a while. Not in the governmental sector anyway. Private spaceflight is the way to go for the next decades, mark my word.

Ok time to end this blabber and prepare for a departure of my own, to the summer house.

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