Dave Stark: January 2008 Archives


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I feel a round of congratulations is in order.

Firstly to Andy of the clan Wallace, who married his lovely missus Vicky in a vineyard in Oz on Saturday. Pictures on Andy's Facebook. I think he's been at the Just For Men - check out picture 3.

And to my bruv of the clan Stark and his lovely at-some-point-will-be-missus Mar, who got all engaged and stuff in India yesterday. So it turns out he's not a big gay after all, which asks more questions than it answers. Those pointy shoes...

And finally, congratulations to me. Because I'm awesome.


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Apple have just announced the MacBook Air.

Apple have probably the finest industrial design team available to humanity, and they very rarely disappoint. I knew the MacBook Air would be no exception, but I wasn't expecting this.
Holy shit that thing's thin. I knew they'd had a quiet word with Intel, and got them to make their processors thinner for the Air, but I wasn't expecting that. It's probably only the second time I've ever been genuinely amazed at the size of a piece of consumer electronics (the first time being when I saw a Nokia 8210 before they were released in Europe).

A lot of people are making a lot of noise about the fact that its battery is non-replaceable, its RAM is soldered-in, and that no-one will buy it because of this, but how many of you have ever replaced the battery in your laptop? And how many have added RAM?
Me neither.
Hell, I own a seriously decrepit IBM Thinkpad that's so old it can't even run Windows XP (it runs Fedora 8 just fine though), and even it's still on its first battery.

Anyway, Apple sell their wares on the back of only one thing: their UI engineering.
OSX, in terms of processing throughput, largely sucks. Apple held on to the PowerPC architecture for far too long while IBM flapped about trying to deliver the clock speeds they had promised. Video cards in every recent Mac have been weedy to say the least.
But OSX is without question the easiest to use and most visually impressive desktop environment available. The click-wheel on the late iPods is the only reason I own my ageing Mini, and their hardware is genuinely beautiful.
The two-finger twist and zoom in the linked video (as seen on the iPhone as well) also looks very cool, but I'm not sure how useful it really is unless you're editing images or video. Time will tell. People have even been messing about with the accelerometer in MacBooks for a while with some interesting results, so I'll reserve judgement on novel input methods in general for now.

I won't be buying a MacBook Air, but I'm glad that Apple are producing things like this because it raises the bar for everyone else. And that can only be a good thing.

It's triangular for a reason

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I eat a not inconsiderable number of Subway sangers during the average month, and waiting to be served I see a lot of sangers being made. A lot of sangers with those triangle shaped cheese slices.

Not once have I seen them lay the cheese out in the obviously appropriate manner.

Thankfully, my choice of footlong (BMT on Italian, not toasted, lettuce, green peppers, onion, black pepper) involves no such three-sided dairy products, so their incorrect arrangement is more a minor affront to my sensibilities than a direct assault on my lunchtime sanity. The issue remains, nevertheless.

Subway - Eat Fresh Aggravation

Debt-free in 60 months!

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I just cleared all my credit card debts.

Feels good. Liberating. It's been 5 years in the making.

(Heavy geek-out warning - normal service will resume shortly)

My personal contribution to the world of Free software is largely limited to a fairly long shell script (multiburn) and a very simple HTTP server (jamserve), but it's nice to know that out there somewhere, someone is using and modifying my software to fit their own agenda. I've been in email contact with a few multiburn users (from various corners of the world, might I add) to work on new features, bugs, etc, but this is the first time I've found anything of mine living a life of its own.

I recently discovered that a German geezer by the name of Mathis is maintaining a fork of an old app I wrote. jmultiburn was a Java GUI for the multiburn script, originally written just for some Java and Swing practice, which was abandoned shortly after its inception due to changes in the way multiburn worked. Mathis's fork - jmultiburn-sermon - is very specific to his particular needs, but having tried it out it seems to work as advertised. I'm quite surprised by all this, as I didn't think anyone had even downloaded jmultiburn in the first place.

Coincidentally, a couple of days ago I threw together a new multiburn GUI; this time using Zenity. gmultiburn suggested itself as a name, for reasons to do with garden ornaments. Due to the limitations of zenity, it's very much 'workflow' based (i.e. you click through screens, selecting the options you want until it's done), but that's not too different to the way jmultiburn worked, so nothing of value was lost. There's a link to the gmultiburn script on the scripts page, but I may integrate it into multiburn if I get bored.


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I feel rubbish. I think I've got a cold or something. Or maybe it's just all the New Year's shenanigans catching up.
Accusations of 'man flu' will be met with the customary derision.

Anyway, to cheer my sorry ass up, I bought some art. Kind of.
I've procured Fushigi Circus from Mark Ryden's website. It's odd, but it's excellent. I await the postman with suitably baited breath.

New Year

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So, happy new year, and all that.
Went to the Sub, as is usual for Hogmanay. They'd done some kind of deal with the club next door (the Classic Grand), so we had three floors to play in, instead of the one basement. Not that it mattered much to me - I spent most of the time in the Sub proper with Harri, Domenic, and Derrick Carter, as you would expect.
Somewhat remarkably, I was pretty much sober all night. Didn't stop me lounging in bed for the next two days, though.

3 new years' resolutions:
1) Stop smoking during the week (I'm resigned to smoking in (or rather outside) the boozer).
2) Get a flat (see previous blog entry).
3) You might find out what the third is if I ever get the balls to actually do anything about it. Some of you may have some idea what I'm talking about...

What about you lot? Good time at Hogmanay? Any resolutions?

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dave Stark in January 2008.

Dave Stark: December 2007 is the previous archive.

Dave Stark: February 2008 is the next archive.

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