Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Enforced computer-free time

Gah - I've been computer-free for the past week, and not by choice.

My ageing macbook suddenly started to switch off... at random. This was ok for a while... but when it took four times for it to even get through the boot process - I had to take it into the Apple shop. meanwhile I finally set about getting a new desktop, and work gave me a new macbook to try and use.

I couldn't get the monitor to work on the desktop, and the macbook is too new to run the current ubuntu LTS (though I somehow managed to get 9.10 to install... but it won't find the ethernet port)...

I've finally got the desktop working (I was using the wrong video connection) but I still can't get mail to work properly (the joys of mail on a linux machine...), and my macbook is back from the shop... but the ethernet isn't working.

soooo.... still no email and it's been a week. But at least I have google now.

You realise just how dependant on something you've become when you suddenly don't have it anymore.

You also find just how stuck you can be. How do you find the location of a good internet shop if you don't have access to google to look one up? There used to be a directory-services phone number, but I have no idea what that is anymore, and of course I don't have a copy of the yellow pages anymore (who bothers with those when you have google)?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Ubuntu without the Unity!

For some time now my ageing (and now quite flaky) Macbook Pro has been running Lucid Lynx (an older version of Ubuntu). I've been biding my time and avoiding upgrading since, well, April 2010, I guess.

For most of the time it was because upgrading your only machine that you rely on for 100% of your income, to a potentially unstable, non long-term release version is generally a bad idea; but then, when I went to a new employer, I tried a new install of the new long term release... and slammed headlong into the weirdness that is the Unity Interface.

To sum up my experience: when I buy a desktop, I want it to *be* a desktop... not a iPad.

Now - maybe I'm just being backwards and should embrace the new unified interface which I'm told is meant to be amazing... if a little bloated.. and sometimes corrupts your file system if something goes wrong... but this is still my only machine (for now) and I need to be sure it's ok. I don't want to upgrade to Unity.

Of course, there is now a new long-term-release version, and sadly, the old one is now no longer supported, so I'm feeling a bit like a sprite in an old platform game, being relentlessly pushed towards the future by the scrolling screen...

Thankfully, I've malingered just long enough for the Ubuntu Gnome project to have been officially blessed by . it's not an LTR version yet, but it will be.

Until then - it's also possible to upgrade to the LTR but keep gnome. I've been putting it off because I'm ultra-busy and kept finding other, much more important things to do than figuring out how to do it myself... but I've just found a neat article on how to change your ubuntu interface to gnome.

Just what the doctor ordered

Friday, 12 April 2013

Huge medieval camping event - come and join in!

war at Rowany festival

The reason it's been so quiet around here this month is that I've been crazy busy in my main hobby due to our major event for the year (run by our local group).

Rowany Festival is the largest Medieval re-enactment event in the Southern Hemisphere. I've heard it described as "kind of like Burning Man but with a medieval theme" - we prepare all year for this!

This year 800 of us all got together at Peats Ridge and camped medieval-style, fought wars, sang, danced, drank a *lot* of booze (some of it made by me) and generally had a great time...

Needless to say not a lot of Ruby got written... but that'll pick up again now I've got most of my washing done and camp kit packed away again.

If you'd like to join me on this stuff - I'm the president the NSW branch of the SCA, known as Rowany. The Australian kingdom is called Lochac (and also covers NZ too).

The whole Society is huge: 100,000 worldwide, and we all run regular events (camping roughly once a quarter, and feasts/tourneys once a month and just general hanging-out and learning fun stuff every week) and it's a great deal of fun.

Come along to our casual fighter-practice which is held on Tuesday nights at Petersham Town Hall on Crystal St (near to Petersham Station). We regularly get 30-50 people every week and they're running beginners fighting classes right now*. We also have regular singing, Calligraphy fibre-craft and costuming days every month.

* its $5 a night for non-members, or you can join for a year for $30 - but you have to do your membership online here (we're not allowed to take payment directly for that)

Picture Credit: Enough Wealth: Rowany Festival