Saturday, December 30, 2000
  This is great. A desk-toy for VT320 users - excellente! 
  Dave's gas & electricity bill - wow, and I thought it was expensive in Germany! 
  Wow, I wonder how many of my essential tools I only use 10% of the functionality of? Most of them, probably.

Take that indispensable telnet and ssh client PuTTY (Simon_Tatham++) - I've only recently discovered that you can cut and paste just like in X - hightlight with the left mouse button, paste with the right. Whooo. Sad, but true. And I'm not even going to think about what proportion of vi's power I use... 
  Hey - I just became an uncle again! Congratulations to Louise and Nacho - baby Sofia was born yesterday 17:30GMT in Guildford hospital. Cool-o. I'll try and get some pictures from them soon. 
Friday, December 29, 2000
  How to manage keeping up with the latest technical stuff while still having a life? You could do a lot worse than to grab MP3s of talks and interviews from TechNetCast - I downloaded stuff on Eliotte Rusty Harold and Jeremie Miller (of Jabber) last night - great listening.

And talking of listening, I must say that my purchase of the year is without a doubt my wireless speaker gizmo. I'd show you a picture (from where I bought it) but their site is so abysmal I can't find it again :-( Basically on the one side there's an RF transmitter less than a foot high that you can plug into a stereo output via a minijack or a pair of cinch/phono plugs. And on the other side there are a couple of independent battery powered (or mains-adapter-powered) speakers. I'm an avid listener to BBC Radio 4 and when in Germany can receive it via satellite (on an audio channel) - so I picked up a cheapo satellite receiver, installed it in the cellar out of the way, plugged the RF transmitter into the back of it and hey presto - I can listen to Radio 4 in the kitchen, bathroom, garden, wherever I want. Now that's excellent.

The other night I had a brainwave - plug the RF transmitter into the PC soundcard's output, and put all the TechNetCast's MP3 interviews on a loop with WinAmp. Then go back upstairs and let the wisdom seep in while soaking in the bath or chilling out in the garden (literally, at the moment). 
Thursday, December 28, 2000
  I've added a few new features to my (still young) Jabber text-based groupchat client - join/leave of groups on different groupchat servers, and lists of users and their presences, by group. Nice :-)

I was chatting about the client in the jdev conference last night, and someone asked me whether I could use the client to jump to IRC channels via the Jabber IRC transport. I wasn't sure - I hadn't even thought about the potential impact of different groupchat-type services -, but sure enough, I could! Not because of any great coding on my part - this was all to do with the amazingly well thought-out design of the Jabber architecture and protocols.

Kudos to the Jabber people! 
Wednesday, December 27, 2000
  I'm listening to the radio series of Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy as I hack on my Jabber text-based groupchat client. It never ceases to amaze me how much I enjoy listening to it, even after all this time.

Douglas_Adams++ (no relation!). 
  Bought my wife a Sidewinder Force Feedback Wheel from Microsoft for Christmas. Hardware: great. Software: unbelievably brain dead. The still-fairly-virgin Win98 machine crashed twice during the installation of the drivers (one blue screen and one hang) and then the sound stopped working (I had to start and stop our trusty WinAmp app to get it working. And the Monster Truck Madness 2 game that came with it took 3 attempts to install and run successfully. To add insult to injury, plugging the Sidewinder gamepad into the same machine totally disables the steering wheel - you can't even see it anymore in the Game Controllers controlpanel miniapp. Sheesh! So now when we want to switch to the gamepad for another game, scrambling around under the desk at the back of the computer is called for.

That said, when it works, it's great! So good, I picked up a copy of Midtown Madness this morning for DM29,95 at the supermarket - bargain! 
  Why is it that the weblogs I read the most tend to annoy (negative angle) or provoke (positive angle) the most? Are these things related? I think so. I came to this conclusion just now while taking a walk round the block (aargh, I actually typed 'round the blog') reading XML Bastard's article on namespaces. I was introduced to XML Bastard from the weblog arch-provocateur :-) Dave Winer at Scripting News. "The site we love to hate" goes one quote I heard, which fits in with the idea above. I want to be provoked, to be made to think, to galvanise half-baked arguments, and thereby have fun. 
  Yikes! My very own weblog. I thought it was about time I got one, before the dawn of the new millenium and all, especially since I seem to spend my web browsing time reading other people's weblogs. So hats off to the kind people at Blogger / Pyra for this facility. 

12/24/2000 - 12/31/2000 / 01/07/2001 - 01/14/2001 / 01/02/2005 - 01/09/2005 / 07/04/2010 - 07/11/2010 /

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