Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

29 Mar 2006

The New Dinosaurs

Many years ago when I was a poor struggling student[1] a friend had a set of beautiful books by British dinosaur author Dougal Dixon. They had beautiful illustrations and were all grounded in good evolutionary biology.

Time passes...

When talking to a friend in the village, I commented about a dinosaur notebook she was using. She reminded me she was a retired geologist/geographer, so dinosaurs were in her area. I then mentioned the fascinating books I'd read as a student, to which she said "that's my brother-in-law"[2].

Today when I got home today, waiting for me was a copy of "The New Dinosaurs: An alternative Evolution". The book is as I remember, but for one snag, it's the Japanese edition!

  1. I'm still poor and struggling, only less so.
  2. Or some other close relative.

19 Mar 2006

Monospaced Fonts

Fonts are a strange thing. I have a collection of hundreds of them, but I only actually use a few at most. I write all my letters using the same font, and I design every site with only a handful of them. There are just too many serif and sans-serif fonts to wade through to find the ones I like the best and frankly I don't care that much about which particular ones I use. The one area that I do care about is the monospaced or fixed width font that I use. I use fixed pitch fonts a lot, all my important work is either done in an xterm window, or is programming which I prefer to use a monospaced font even in a fancy IDE.

The problem this that font designers don't seem to care all that much about monospaced fonts, most people don't have a use for them, so there aren't that many to choose from relative to proportional fonts. Additionally in programming it's important to clearly see the difference between "l", "1", "i", "I", and "0", "o", "O". The less commonly used punctuation characters are additionally more important than normal text.

After much searching I've concluded what others have also concluded. So this is my list of monospaced fonts:

  1. Bitstream Vera Sans Mono - (ilI1 0oO /@#$%&[]{}\)
    • Nice typeface
    • Freely available thanks to Bitstream, most Linuxes have it by default.
  2. Anonymous - (ilI1 0oO /@#$%&[]{}\)
    • Nice typeface
  3. Andale Mono - (ilI1 0oO /@#$%&[]{}\)
    • Nice typeface
    • Microsoft gave it away, so widely available
  4. Monaco - (ilI1 0oO /@#$%&[]{}\)
    • Nice (Mac) typeface
    • Seems nice but I've not used it enough to form a strong opinion
  5. Lucida Console - (ilI1 0oO /@#$%&[]{}\)
    • Nice typeface - use to be a personal favourite
    • Microsoft gave this one away as well
    • Zero isn't marked - which is a pity
    • See also Lucida Typewriter, which also has an unmarked 0

See also:


13 Mar 2006

Cold Virus

On Sunday I started to come down with a "cold". I was very happy to go to bed early on Sunday night. Today I went home early from work, I was making errors and not functioning correctly - I was better off at home with a pot of honey & lemon tea.

Tomorrow I'm not going in to work, but because we're under a lot of pressure at work to get things done I'll work from home instead. It's just as effective as working at work, avoid the commute, and I'll not give every one a dose of the common cold[1].

  1. Though I probably have already...

12 Mar 2006

Normal People

Yesterday was an open day in the village. Clubs and societies were invited along to the Community Centre and then the rest of the village was invited in to find out about the clubs and societies. It was a good idea, and though not that well promoted quite a few people turned up.

I went along with a few people from the OPALS. We got more people than I expected, and more of them than I thought had heard of Linux, even one had tried Fedora. With any luck we'll pick one or two new members.

What was very interesting was the fact that a lot of older people have the time and money to apply to computers, and they are potentially better converts to the Linux fold than you would think. Helios has an interesting story in his blog: Linux Advocacy? A Fool's Errand or a Mission of Mercy?


10 Mar 2006

A Linux Desktop

By using the power of a KVM switch to combine my Linux "desktop server" and my existing Windows desktop, I have at long last achieved my goal of being able to use a sane operating system for my normal day to day work. The Windows box is now only used for corporate email and SAP, as neither are accessible from Linux. I can use VNC to access the Windows machine, but it's hardly fast - that's what the KVM is for.


08 Mar 2006

Hello World

Today I installed the Sun JDK for 64-bit Linux®. Using the method on the D-A.org site: I made a Deb from Sun's bin file, and then installed the Deb.

I then tried out the first program in my Learning Java book. It's rather a lot of code for just "Hello World". It's also a lot of messing having to compile to a class file before running it. I'll give it a go, but it looks very verbose and cumbersome when compared to Perl. I suppose it's not designed for the same thing so for the moment I'll give Java the benefit of doubt and see what comes next in the book.


06 Mar 2006

Red Kite

Yesterday we were out walking north of Pangbourne on the Berkshire Oxfordshire border. It's a nice area with rolling hills and sweeping views of the River Thames. Just before we got back to the car we spotted a beautiful Red Kite flying low over a school playing field. Once upon a time they were extinct in England and only just hanging on Wales, now they hunt for junk food on a school playing field...


03 Mar 2006

Email Disclaimer

At work my employer has decided that all outgoing emails should have a standard disclaimer appended to them. Unlike most of these stupid things, it's just two long lines rather than a massive legal brain dump.

This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the email by you is prohibited.

Danish - Deutsch - English - Espa˝ol - Franšais - Italiano - Japanese - Nederlands - Norsk - Portuguese - Svenska: www.bigcompany.com/legal/email[1]

According to my copy of the mighty OED a disclaimer is a statement that denies something, usually responsibility. What in the email statement above disclaims anything?

Other than keeping lawyers in the lap of luxury what is the point of this statement? In what way does it protect the company?

  1. Altered to protect the innocent

01 Mar 2006

I Like Monkeys

I spotted this[1] link in a blog I was reading today. You may not find it original or even funny, but I thought it was so funny it almost triggered an asthma attack. I had to walk away from my desk to cool down.

You have been warned do not read this if there is any possibility of health complications....

  1. I LIKE MONKEYS