29 Oct


Just finished Furnace a roleplaying con organised by my friend Graham, Newt, Darran and I. We got 40 odd people, people had a good time, the venue worked well (it was quiet, all the noise was deadened) and I think we have some lessons to learn but that another one next year is viable, but we need to build some bridges to NODDSOC, especially since the people who named the society and started most of the annual events were at Furnace and it’d be nice to builod bridge to the new generation(s).

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27 Oct

Worry Wart

I have an appt. on the 14th Nov to have my probable gall stones investigated. I am supposed to be in Germany for a project startmeeting. Follwing all my friend Bill’s trials I have decided I am going to the hospital, not Germany! I feel lousy and stupidly read the stomach cancer page on Wikipedia.

I am treasurer to the Furnace roleplaying convention at the weekend so all I have to do is watch out for badgers with machine guns, but it’s still making me nervous.

Image copyright Malcolm Douglas

27 Oct


Firefox 2.0 is here and it is frighteningly fast. I then downloaded SwiftFox 2.0, which is a version of the browser compiled for specific procesors, and the speed notched up a touch more. Only available for Linux, Swiftfox is awesome, if you use Windows or Mac OSX then just use normal FF2.0! There is a British English version for we UK Brit-cits.

The Furnace convention happens this weekend. I am in denial, just like my mate Graham!

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20 Oct


Ok. I hit rockbottom Thursday but I bounced. I worked until 10pm, I got on top of things. I worked through Friday and I am now finished for the week listening to Scissor Sisters Ta-Dah and browsing allofmp3.com. I love Scissor Sisters. Next weekend is the Furnace gaming conference that gspearing, newt and darransims organised. Moneys in, we break even, still have places left, feel free to sign up still.

Ann sold he car so we are now a single car family. Let’s see how it goes. In theory we should be ok. If we have a Nissan Micra in a few months you’ll know it didn’t.

19 Oct


Tired, grumpy, fed up, disillusioned, irritable, sick of this proposal, winding wife up, tired of working at home, not going out, staying in to grind my way through work, time to reconsider what I am doing with work and life. Urgh.

16 Oct

Ann at her Birthday Dinner

Ann at her Birthday Dinner
Originally uploaded by tzunder.

Here is my lovely wife at her recent birthday dinner with friends. She does look lovely in this picture and I like it and love her so.

Ok, enough mush. Very low light, used my new 50mm 1.4 lens on the EOS300d, still had to tweak the levels up (I used GIMP for a change) there was so little light.

Aaah, I loves her..

11 Oct

New ‘cron here!

Whoopee! My new Summicron arrived! Well, new to me.. from the serial number it was made in 1972. But Leica lenses just keep on trucking so it’s hardly used up yet! I have been wanting one for some months whilst I sold stuff on ebay to raise the cash and unsuccessfully bid on auctions. Problem is the autumn is here so opportunities for photos are diminished. But I will not be deflated.

Other than that I am bored, pretty sure I have a dodgy gall bladder, slowly getting out from under work and thinking that maybe it’s time to start travelling again..

06 Oct


My search for a defrag found Auslogics Disk Defrag. It’s freeware, looks and runs nicely. Seems to do only file fragmentation but that’ll be enough for many. Can’t see a scheduling option and there is no support so if there is a command line I can pop into the scheduler I don’t know it. Not bad but no cigar.

I then found Purple Parrot’s Defrag Timer which is a scheduler for the inbuilt Windows defrag tool. Nice idea, shareware and 19USD, which rules it out of my search but frankly is a great idea since most people never even know how to defrag, let alone how to make it happen weekly. I do suspect, though, that it may be possible to schedule the inbuilt Windows defrag tool, so I’ll look for that next.. and here it is, hidden in Microsoft’s webpages but as simple as pie: Scheduling Defragmentation in XP. So not even a pack of seeds, Mr Parrot.

Now, does that meet my needs? Disk defragmentation is in my OS as default, the scheduler is in there as default, with that page I can make it happen as a scheduled event. You know what, I think so.. anyone else got a better free solution?
…and here it is: a script that runs, checks and fixes your disk for errors and then defragments, all as a simple batch file you can download, now what is more simple, free and elegant than that? LifeHacker’s Self Reparing Hard Drive.

06 Oct

Defragging your hard drive and backing up

I’m having to use my Windows XP box for work, basically I need to use Dreamweaver for html coding and there’s no Linux version yet. NVU is a open source alternative and is quite powerful but not as much as Dreamweaver, and frankly: I haven’t learnt NVU yet!

So I have realised that my hard drive is as defragged as hell. I have an old copy of Norton Systemworks that will do it and schedule itself, but when I  re-installed Windows on this box I forgot to put it back on. My external hard drive is 48% fragmented! You can hear it scream when I try and write to it.  Now Windows can defrag a drive, (right click on the drive icon and look for tools) and it’s okay. It’s not the best though, in fact Norton may be (I think they wrote the Windows version) but I want to see what open source or freeware options there are.

I am also going to setup my scheduled backup routines, so I shall also try and find freeware or open source backup software for XP.

Both need to be free, and capable of being scheduled in the XP Schedule manager. Oh, and explain how to do it..

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04 Oct

Windows Security

I am using my Windows XP machine today, so an update on Windows security, viruses and spyware..

Do you use Grisoft‘s AVG Free Virus Checker? Ever wanted to have Winzip or WinRar check your zip files for viruses? Here’s how to do it: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/5487/lng/us/tpl/v5

I have used AVG for years and I also use the free version of ZoneAlarm as my firewall. If you install it pay attention to the options, don’t choose the Pro version in the install unless you want to pay for a more complex package. I am sure it’s good but with Free AVG, ZoneAlarm and Spybot you are quite well covered.

The key to keeping clean? Keep the updates coming and keep scanning. Or switch to Ubuntu!

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