Posted in Computers on Wednesday 1st June 2005 at 10:27pm

Last week I promised to help a friend get DSL up and running, but stumbled at the first hurdle as Windows NT4 did not even recognise the USB ports on the machine, let alone run any of the supplied software! I suspected an upgrade to Windows was required. It would have been great to think this was an opportunity to promote Linux, but in reality it wasn't the time or the place.

Having not installed Windows for six or seven years now, I didn't know what to expect from the shiny new Windows XP disk we purchased from the computer shop. The install took a long time, and seemed to load drivers for all kinds of esoteric hardware prior to beginning 'just in case'. Whilst it wasn't prepared to upgrade NT4, it sorted itself out in a way that left NT intact, along with all the data created with the previous install.

I was pretty impressed with the results - it seemed quite quick to learn, easy to use and nice to look at. Whilst it still suffers from some of the frustrations which drove me away from Windows in the first place, lessons seem to have been learned in terms of multiple users and security. A nice touch was the dialog which walked me through installing a virus scanner, firewall etc.

Ironically, the DSL install on XP took literally seconds and was so simple my friend could have done it unassisted! I don't think I'll be switching back to Windows XP any time soon but I'd consider a second machine with it installed just to play around with. It seems to have come a long way.

Posted in Computers on Friday 18th March 2005 at 9:38pm

A little while back, my first delve into C# code was to try to persuade Muine to output the currently playing song via a signal from the command line, for use in XChat "now playing" scripts and suchlike. I almost got things working how I wanted, but my haphazard approach was flawed and I've long since abandoned the attempt.

So I was extremely pleased to find muine-shell which achieves exactly what I wanted and more rather elegantly, via clever use of DBus. First project was to adapt a script to post the current song Muine was playing to my website. Obviously if I'm not playing anything, it won't appear, so here is a screenshot:

Example of 'Now Playing' display

Some rough edges to knock off here - replacing the cover image with a default when the album has no cover for example. Fun to play with for an afternoon, and even more pointless personal information now available via this site!

Posted in Computers on Sunday 20th February 2005 at 10:40pm

I realised that it was at this stage in the release process for 'Warty Warthog' that I originally installed Ubuntu back in September. The idea then of running a Debian based distribution was alien and scary, and I wondered just what all the fuss was about. Around a month later, I was convinced. Having run the 'Hoary Hedgehog ' development release for some time on another machine, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade my main machine this morning.

All went incredibly smoothly, and I'm really happy with the outcome so far. No doubt the next few weeks will see the remaining rough edges knocked off, and the impending GNOME release introduced. Once again, I'm impressed just how robust and usable this distribution is, whilst remaining up-to-date with recent upstream package releases.

Posted in Computers on Saturday 12th February 2005 at 5:48pm

Since Thursday evening, I've been offline thanks to British Telecom. I'd decided to upgrade my internet connection to Demon's new Homeoffice 1000 1mbps offering. All seemed to go well, and Demon contacted me with new settings and suchlike. On Thursday, a restart due to needing to open the case meant reconnecting. But it wouldn't. It seems Demon had done their part in moving my account over, but BT had yet to do theirs. Talked to support for a while.

Talked to support again in the morning, and then used their live 'web support' function to chat with a Customer Services guy from my office PC. Very helpful, and would try to sort it - but as all British people know, BT sort of do what they want, when they want. Otherwise, Monday was likely to be the day. Decided to update DNS for the new IP in advance to save time.

Woke this morning to find things working fine, and the connection whizzing along. Very pleased with the service, and the short downtime really wasn't so bad - the hardest part was knowing just when it would be back, and knowing I was relying on BT to get me back online.

Celebrated by doing a few things I'd meant to do for ages, and that changing the power supply reminded me about - adding another 512Mb of memory, and also an additional fan in the case. I didn't realise until the sun began to set that the fan I hastily picked up from the shelf of the computer store gave off an unearthly green glow in the dark! Interesting.

It is comforting to be back on line, and having the machine work a little quicker is nice too.

Movebook Link


I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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