Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The past 4 days

Since I’ve been mostly away from the internet from a few days I haven’t had chance to update you on what’s been going on.

End of freshers week
Freshers Week is over for another year, and so I’ve spent most of the weekend catching up on sleep. I eschewed a house party last night which, while I would loved to have gone to, would have left me feeling awful today. I’m still tired and I had 12 hours sleep last night. The FND on Friday was good – we had the Honeyz playing (a British r’n’b act from a few years ago who are apparently aiming to make a comeback). They were actually drafted in at the last minute as the act we had booked – Clea, a girl band of Pop Idol rejects – let us down a few days ago. Tonight I may go to the pub quiz and I’ll probably be out tomorrow night but otherwise I’ll be staying in most of this week. Wake me up when September ends.
Freshers week photos are up on Flickr. Well, most of them – there’s a few that I’ve left out to save embarrassment for several people. The new camera seems to be doing well.
I’ve created a new profile in Firefox to stop a bug that was making the first tab unclosable (it also wouldn’t show the throbber if a page was loading). My profile has been dragged through the alpha builds and a few nightlies so it’s a bit ‘dirty’, so to speak, so I created a new one and then migrated my settings, cookies and stored passwords over. I’m now in the process of re-installing my extensions. Resetting profiles isn’t something that average users should have to do but when you regularly run test builds things can get a bit messed up.
There’s one big problem when you subscribe to 180 different feeds – when you’re not really around for a week, you end up being well behind. Yesterday I had something like 1000 unread articles. I’ve basically ignored CNet News, The Register and Engadget which both had 200 unread (the maximum Bloglines lets you view) and then skim-read the rest.
New Housemate
Our new french housemate moved in yesterday. I haven’t had much of a chance to talk to him but he seems like a nice guy nonetheless. He’s currently kipping in the living room since the room he’ll be staying in will be occupied until next weekend when the other housemate moves out. Still got no internet yet though and my library card has now stopped working – I’m currently on my own in one of the student common rooms which has a wireless cloud.
Wifi Woe
incidentally I’m mostly using my old 802.11b card instead of my newer 802.11g card due to the latter’s tendency to disconnect every few minutes for no reason. I’m waiting to see whether it’s a specific problem with the university network or the card itself. I’m using the latest drivers.
Growl is awesome. I’ve had it installed for a while but it hasn’t been until I’ve installed GrowlTunes and HardwareGrowl that t has come into its own. The former displays the title of the song in iTunes when it starts playing and the latter lets you know when a new Firewire, USB or Bluetooth device is plugged in, or when a new drive is mounted. Its speech capabilities are also quite cool – you can have it tell you audibly that a drive is plugged in instead of it merely displaying a visual message.
The new standards-compliant Slashdot is a big improvement. The markup is very clean and it now seems like it loads much more quickly too. It’s also got a handheld stylesheet for viewing on PDAs and a print stylesheet for printing. A new theme would be nice, but I suppose now that all the presentation is done using CSS this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Since the living room is out of action I’ve taken back my digibox and the internal TV aerial and hooked them up to the TV in my room. We now have almost all of the Freeview channels working – Channel 5 and a few of the shopping channels are a bit fuzzy but the former still works on analogue and the latter are of no interest to me. It also means we now get E4 – previously we could only get E4+1 so we had to watch everything on a one hour time delay. We’ll also be able to get More4 when it launches on October 10th – it’ll be showing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 8:30pm every evening, and Sky Three which is replacing Sky Travel. Sky Mix, which we don’t get, will become a resurrected Sky Two, a channel that was around in the late nineties as an accompaniment to Sky One. [Via]
ĀµTorrent looks interesting – a reasonably well-featured BitTorrent client that is only 82KB in size and typically requires less than 4MB of memory, making it an ultra-skinny supermodel compared to an 80lb gorilla like Azureus. At first glance it actually looks like quite a good client too, with a nice Windows XP native interface. No installer though, and it’s currently Windows only – though a Mac OS X client appears to be in development too. [Via]
Back on course
Tomorrow is the second stage of my enrolment where I get my new student card (so I’ll be back in the library) and become a proper student again. On Friday I had a chance to meet up with other members of my course, who seemed alright – all but one are male, though one is someone I know from my undergraduate studies which is nice. The Computing MSc courses are very male-dominated, moreso than the undergraduate courses, which is a bit of a shame but I suppose it’s the way of the world.

I don’t know how often I’ll be updating here from now on – over the summer I had more free time because fewer of my friends were about, but they’re all back at university now. Updates should increase in frequency once I get internet at home again but until then I can’t guarantee that I’ll be as prolific as I have been in the past.

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