James Ogley

My Blog

31 Jan 2007, 18:17: Wednesday

Pretty functional day really but useful things:

  • Registered Callum's birth so the government can start monitoring him now. Paranoid? Me? Why would you say that...?
  • Finally got around to getting an electrician out to sort our oven. One new element later and (hopefully) it's fixed.
  • More investigation on bug #216129.
  • Did some checking of the Student Association constitution to make sure that the version in the files is what was voted on last year.
Roger has launched a new site, Nightmare World, which aims to place current world events, including the so-called "war on terror", in a wider context. Roger's great at cutting through the crap issued by governments and those who benefit from their actions and at sifting news sources to determine what's worth referring to.

He also has a mean collection of aluminium foil hats which I should borrow sometime. [:)]

I am absolutely livid that British Airways today ran flights as normal just hours after averting strike action by the T&G; Union.

The vast majority of customers due to be on today's flights had cancelled because of the possible action and the reopened seats were not advertised early enough for a full allocation to be sold.

So what, if not passengers, were BA flying around the world - dumping carbon emissions into the atmosphere - today?

In the words of Simon Calder, Travel Editor at the Independent, fresh air. That's right. Today BA have been polluting the air in order to move some of it around the planet.

Things I am not livid about:

  • Lord Levy arrested in connection with cash-for-honours
    The net continues to tighten on this corrupt and shameful government.
  • West Ham 1-2 Liverpool
    And the Reds go marching on on on... Look out Chelsea, we're breathing down your necks.
  • Windows Vista is launched
    I'm not upset by this because I seriously believe that this is the iteration of Windows that will finally drive people away from it due to the high cost of upgrading (not just the software but the hardware needed to run it) and the increasingly evil (could Microsoft really get any more evil?) control it will exercise over the way you live your life and use your computer and your documents.

30 Jan 2007, 22:11: BBC Radio on Banshee (3)

For entirely understandable reasons of format support, Aaron has removed the BBC feeds from radio.banshee-project.org.

Therefore, I've restored my version and I refer you to my previous post on the subject for instructions.

28 Jan 2007, 15:03: gnome-power-manager on Factory

gnome-power-manager is yet to be built with the correct prefix in Factory and, as such, is lacking some functionality currently. Anyone using Factory who wants that functionality (such as responding to lid closing etc) can grab a working package from my home repo.

It's only built for Factory and as soon as the distro version is rebuilt, I'll remove it.

28 Jan 2007, 10:29: BBC Radio on Banshee (2)

Okay, Aaron's added the BBC streams to the Banshee site so to access them all you have to do now is refresh your station list.

As a result the version I was hosting has been removed.

Aaron's currently working on a UI for adding your own stations and most UK stations have an online stream. Some even offer it in high-quality Ogg Vorbis format. For a fairly comprehensive list, click here.

The latest Banshee packages from the build service include the new internet radio plugin. Now, at the moment it officially only supports stations that can be accessed from the Banshee project radio website by Banshee itself. Not good enough for me as I only listen to BBC stations. So, here's the skinny on how to get yourself access to all the national/international stations the BBC has to offer. First, download bbc.xspf. Next, save it to ~/.gnome2/banshee/plugins/stations. Finally, restart Banshee. You should now have a new section under Radio entitled BBC Radio. Select the station you want and away you go.

Caveats: They're all in Windows Media format so you need to be able to play that (openSUSE users, use the gstreamer010* packages from PackMan). The FiveLive stream is the international version, not the UK version. That means that programming that is UK-only (such as FA Premier League commentaries) are not included. The UK version appears to only be available in Real format at the moment and (possibly because I'm not using Helix Banshee) I couldn't get Real streams to work. If it turns out I just couldn't find the right link and I track down a WM stream for the UK FiveLive stream, I'll update bbc.xspf.

Update: bbc.xspf now includes both UK and International feeds of FiveLive

Obligatory screenshot:
[Screenshot thumbnail]

26 Jan 2007, 15:30: GNOME:Community on Factory

This is for the attention of all people who are maintaining packages in GNOME:Community. Packages that still have their %sysconfdir set to /etc/opt/gnome are broken in Factory. You need to specify it correctly using %if %suse_version ... If the %prefix is also set to /opt/gnome it needs to be set correctly. There's a whole bunch of other changes. For full details, read this mail from Stanislav on the packaging list from three weeks ago.

25 Jan 2007, 18:26: College Visitors

Callum made his first visit to college, as did Teresa who's studying through the Extension Studies programme.

Suffice to say he was a huge hit with all who saw him. People couldn't quite believe he's my son given how cute he is [:)]

Thinking it might be time to revisit the tomboy-plugins sub-package which was discussed nearly a year ago now. I'll then submit a bug suggesting that the tomboy package in GNOME:* be changed to match whatever is decided (and thus, Factory too).

25 Jan 2007, 09:28: But the GIMP's asleep

It most certainly is not, development continues apace toward version 2.4 of everyone's favourite image editor. 2.3.14 is now out, and it's available from GNOME:Community (package name gimp-unstable).

I will get around to building abiword-unstable soon but the way the source is distributed has changed for 2.5 so I need to do some work on the spec file. It will probably make the packaging of AbiWord a lot saner though.

24 Jan 2007, 22:15: Catch-up

Haven't blogged for a couple of days so what's going on? Well, Teresa's staying with us for a couple of weeks to help us get settled with Callum for which we are profoundly grateful. Also, my mum and Dorothy came over to visit today.

Had a good meeting with Stephen Travis yesterday about my dissertation and some other supervised assignments.

When I got back yesterday, Amanda was feeling up to going out for a little walk with Callum which is an important step in terms of getting over the surgery I think.

Someone referred to this short guide on one of the lists for how to install the newly released Flash Player 9.0 (final version) on openSUSE. Please do not follow the instructions it gives as this could result in your browser seeing two versions of the Flash plugin. In addition, don't download the RPM that Adobe provide as it installs to the wrong location. Someone reported that it worked for them but what I suspect happened is that it left the openSUSE supplied flash-player package in place and they were seeing the old version (the Adobe supplied package is, unhelpfully, called flash-plugin).

So, what should you do? Well, there's an updated flash-player package available in the Mozilla Build Service repo. You can either add the repo to YaST or Smart and update or download the package and install manually.

[My post on the opensuse list with some more details]

21 Jan 2007, 15:37: Sunday

  • New photos of Callum in the gallery. I managed to reset the number of views for each picture while uploading - whoops!
  • tomboy and gaim-unstable in GNOME:Community have been updated to the latest versions.
  • Bug #232507 has been assigned to me. As I say in comment #7, I have no recollection of packaging muine for G:C. Ah well, I'll attend to it when I have time.

19 Jan 2007, 23:55: Home!

Amanda and Callum have come home. It's really exciting to get the little fella back where he belongs.

Now, let's just hope he sleeps through the night...

Update: Of course I don't actually expect him to, but I'm all for wishful thinking...

17 Jan 2007, 15:20: Wednesday

Things I have done today that I had never done before:

  • Bought baby clothes
  • Changed a nappy
  • Dressed a baby
I also was annoyed by an idiotic car park (originally typed carp ark) attendant. That's not unusual though.

Pete and Teresa came up to meet their grandson today which is why I'm at home blogging right now. I'll be going back in later. The good news is that I may have Amanda and Callum home by the weekend apparently.

17 Jan 2007, 00:17: It's a boy

That's right, I'm now the proud father of a beautiful baby boy. I'll recount the day as best I can remember and then reflect on it, but first the skinny...

Callum Jacob Ogley, born 12:42, 16/1/2007 GMT by Caesarean Section. Weighed in at 7lb 9oz. Mother and baby both doing well.
Many, many thanks for all who have been praying for us and it's good to know I have at least one vote for college children's rep now(!).

Arrived at the hospital bright and early (ok, early) but the section was delayed because the previous victim patient took a lot longer than was anticipated. The section itself was incredible especially for someone like me who's significantly phobic of hospitals and then we had a son. A little boy. I prayed the Aaronic/Priestly blessing and the Trinitarian blessing for him when he was given to me.

What is remarkable about it all is how unremarkable it is. Babies are born every minute of every day of every year to no great trump or comment and yet this is the most incredible thing that we have ever done. How does this go uncommented on in this world or is it, perhaps, that it is the magnificent mundanities that make human life the glorious thing that it is?

A photo of Callum:

16 Jan 2007, 06:13: Today

Well, today's the big day...

15 Jan 2007, 21:46: Monday

Amanda's birthday today so I delivered her presents to the hospital (and then brought them all back once she'd opened them). We had the midwife talk us though what'll happen tomorrow, suffice to say we're quite excited.

So, the six men accused of the 21 July 2005 bombing attempts in London appeared in court today. If they're guilty I sincerely hope they are found to be so by the jury. That being said, Five Live reported that one of the pieces of 'evidence' of their guilt presented to the court was that some of them had been under police surveillance before the event. That, I have to point out, is not evidence of guilt. Plenty of people over the years have been the subject of police interest and surveillance for no better reason than they matched the current 'boogeyman' profile. I've talked about this before. I am saddened that the police service in which my father served and my brother now serves is used by this repressive government regime.

13 Jan 2007, 23:05: More adventures

Many thanks to those who emailed me about my KDE queries. Briefly in response to those mails:

I know I could move the lock/logout applet, but that's not the same as swapping the order of the buttons within it.

Thanks for pointing out how I could have changed the mouse behaviour, glad to hear that the control centre (or is it just that bit of it?) is being overhauled for KDE4.

13 Jan 2007, 11:13: Adventures in KDE

Well, after yesterday's Factory update, GNOME is once again usable (although some things are still broken - basically it seems that anything that's not yet moved prefix may not respect settings because of the associated move in GConf schema location) so I'm back where I feel comfortable. There were somethings I preferred about KDE and some I didn't, so my reflections on using KDE are:

  • Some things are counter-intuitive. Take the logout/lock applet for example. I don't know why, but it just seems logical that logout should be on the right and lock on the left but it's the other way around.
  • I wanted to make Firefox my default browser but I had to resort to Google to find out how (Control Centre; KDE Component; Component Chooser as opposed to Control Centre; Preferred Applications in GNOME).
  • I liked the discreet mail download meter in KMail much more than Evolution's huge pop-up window.
  • The new SUSE 'K' menu rocks a lot more than the new GNOME Main Menu and it just works better for the following reasons:
    • Search in the beagle field at the top of the menu and the search results are embedded in the menu. This just makes a lot more sense than then waiting for the search window to open. If you want a separate window, you can still go to Kerry (or the beagle-search icon in GNOME) to achieve that.
    • The Applications section of the menu actually works and is navigable and sane. This is quite unlike to hopeless and awful GNOME Application Browser.
    • You can easily switch between the new style menu and the classic KDE Menu. This, again, is quite unlike the GNOME version
  • Finally: I hate single-click and I couldn't find a way to switch to double-click.

12 Jan 2007, 21:49: The GIMP in Ugly Betty
Watching the second episode of Ugly Betty and in the sequence where they're retouching the photo shoot, it's the GIMP that's being used. Problem is that I'm pretty sure it's doing things that it just couldn't do. Ah well, all exposure is good, right?
Watched my first NHL match tonight, New Jersey Devils v St Louis Blues. Was amused while watching that one of the commentators was called John Kelly and one of the players was called David Hale! At least none of them were called Christina Baxter [:)].

Now, I have to say that after one game, I'm sort of with John Hoynes, fictional Vice-President of the USA. The 'action' seemed completely disconnected to the scoring and goals would just come from nowhere. At least by the end of the game I'd worked out what a powerplay is.

Seems that all GNOME packages in Factory have been updated, let's hope it looks a little more healthy after my smart upgrade finishes.

11 Jan 2007, 23:32: Out of kilter
Today's been one of those days when everything's been slightly out. I started the day by managing to turn off the alarm clock rather than put it on 'snooze'. The result of this was that I got up a good couple of hours later than I'd planned and missed Morning Prayer at college. I also missed most of the time I'd set apart to do some Hebrew work this morning, although I survived the lecture time this afternoon.

Visited Amanda this evening after chapel, she's still doing okay although she is quite bored being in hospital just for observation. I then popped in at the Cadland.

10 Jan 2007, 21:52: Imminent Arrival
Amanda's in QMC for observation now. I'm getting in to see her at least once a day and other people are visiting which is great.

The reason she's in is that the baby's going to be coming by Caesarean Section Tuesday of next week - the 16th January.

10 Jan 2007, 21:49: Taking an opportunity
So, since GNOME is currently broken in Factory, I've decided to try out KDE since it's several years since I last used it. To that end...
smart install kde*
I've also started changing the packages in GNOME:Community that I maintain to use /usr for the prefix on Factory, will do the same for my home repo next.
10 Jan 2007, 14:28: Factory/GNOME warning
If, like me, you're a user of openSUSE Factory then you know you're basically using it at your own risk anyway. This is an added warning. The work from GNOME:UNSTABLE is now going into Factory and, at the moment, things are quite broken. I'm using FVWM2 at the moment and trying to avoid GTK+ apps. Doing a command-line smart update suggests there are further updates now which may make it more usable. I hope so.

Read why this is being done.

Update: While I was typing that, the smart update finished and there were no new packages from Factory yet. I knew I should have put my Factory image in a virtual machine, but I just like living on the edge...

Over the last few days, the US has launched air strikes against Somalia, supposedly targeting al-Qaeda leaders. This unilateral action by the dangerous Bush regime demonstrates that the sovereignty of any state[1] can be compromised by the marauding forces of 'democracy'.

In other news, Tony Blair yesterday said 'the manner of the execution of Saddam was completely wrong'. Let's ignore the fact that he waited so long after the event to comment for a moment[2] consider what he said. Mr Blair, it was not the manner of the execution that was completely wrong, but the fact of it. Taking a life is always wrong and just because Saddam committed state-sanctioned murder does not mean that he should be the victim of the same. Blair and his government are totally morally bankrupt and the fact that they refuse to condemn the taking of a man's life by the state is further demonstration, if it were needed, of that fact.

[1] The fact that Somalia is a seriously failing state without an effective government for the last 30 years shouldn't affect this.
[2] Presumably, either he thought that his ministers could get him out this duty in spite of the fact that it was him who got us into the mess and so he must comment or he was hoping that Bush might tell him what to say.

02 Jan 2007, 23:34: Losing power

When we turn our oven on, it starts to heat up (as one would expect) and when it hits about 50oC, it trips all the power in the house.

This is a complete pain because, not only does it plunge us into darkness, it of course uncleanly powers off my servers if I've neglected to shut them down beforehand.

Time to call an electrician. Oh, and probably purchase a UPS too.

01 Jan 2007, 15:25: New Year packages

To wish people who use my package repositories a happy new year, the following packages are new in my home repo (and may well move to GNOME:Community soon):

  • galeon - that's right, the classic GNOME web browser is back and you can get it while it's hot, hot, hot!
  • banshee-itunes-plugin - does what it says on the tin: enables you to purchase music from iTunes within Banshee
Have fun!

01 Jan 2007, 15:22: 2007 [2]

So, what do I think will happen outside of my house this year?

Firstly, the biggie: Iraq. Saddam Hussein has been executed in what Sir Menzies Campbell described as looking like victor's justice and this isn't going to help the situation there at all. Bush seems to think it's an important step forward and he's right. The problem is that it's a step forward into increased bloodshed and further sectarian violence. The recording of Muqtada Al-Sadr's name being chanted as Saddam was hanged doesn't help that either. Expect to hear a lot more talk about partitioning and a timetable for occupying forces to withdraw released by the summer.

Next up: Linux. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one major government department announced it was switching to Linux on the desktop this year. openSUSE 10.3 will come out and be fantastic, building on the success of 10.2.

Finally: Football. My predictions for the top three in the Premiership this season:

  1. Man Utd
  2. Chelsea
  3. Liverpool
Fourth will be any one of Arsenal, Spurs and Bolton. Portsmouth will probably get a UEFA Cup spot but I don't think they have the staying power to challenge foe the Champions' League.

Oh yes, none of these are based on anything more than my own guess-work (well, the Iraq prediction owes a lot to the coverage of the situation by the BBC and Independent).

01 Jan 2007, 12:15: 2007

New Year party at college last night - a lot of fun, including Disney Trivial Pursuit after a few beers - odd.

So, what does this new year hold? Well a few thoughts ...

For us, we will become parents this month for the first time. There will be a new, very small, addition to the family. Small, as I said, but larger than the hamster it's fair to say. Then, in the summer, June or July to be accurate, we'll be moving house. At the moment we don't know where too but we're trusting God that He's got a place for us to go to do my curacy.

Thoughts for the wider world later - can you cope with the excitement?