Sunday, January 30, 2005

Love Equals Death

A lot less people went to the gig at Gilman last night than the one I went to last week - about 40 (not counting bands) by the end vs around 150 last week at a rough guess. Typical, gigs are on twice a week and you're spoiled. Things started off slowly but it was a really good gig. False Alliance started, then Instigator - both from Los Angeles. Instigator do a great show and gave everyone a free CD! Yes, everyone! Shadowboxer went on then, followed by Love Equals Death.
Love=Death are a laugh and do zombie songs. See if you can spot their guitarist, faster than a speeding bullet:

Please feed me - punk vegan cookbook

When I was at Gilman last week I was surprised that almost the first thing I saw inside was a copy of my good friend Niall's new book, Please Feed Me. It was on sale there.

This is the American reprint of Niall's book, Document - A Story of Hope (which is out of print and no longer available). The content is largely the same.
Please Feed Me is a punk rock vegan cookbook. Each recipe features an anecdote by a band that performed via the Hope Collective, a popular punk booking collective in Dublin the author helped maintain for over a decade. (The Hope Collective became a blue print and inspiration for punk and DIY spaces across Ireland and the UK.) The book features contributions from over 120 people who donated their vegan recipes and thoughts on the importance of the punk rock community and culture, including such seminal punk banks such as Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and Chumbawamba.

In addition to great recipes, Please Feed Me uniquely illustrates the connections between community, art, activism and health. The thunderous subtext of the book is the vital underground community and network created and maintained by a collective of organizers and hundreds of musicians at a time when most punk bands were signing to major labels for the highest dollar amount. The book documents pieces of the stories of many popular US and international punk bands that continue to have a major influence on youth subcultures today.
As of today it's just under $11 from Amazon. I highly recommend it.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

99 more bottles of vegan wine on the wall

Not exactly 99, but I've added 122 more vegan wines to my Vegan Wine Guide. It's my most popular page, so making it better seems like a good idea - and I need it too! Some of the new wines are from Asda, some are from Smithfield Wines, some from the Vegetarian Network Victoria and there's a few miscellaneous fix ups. Now there's almost 300 wines (and I haven't added Sainsburys or Safeways yet, maybe another 50 ones there). I need to add some better navigation as there's getting to be too many wines for one page. The search is a bit messed up as well. I need to flesh out some of the information and put it on separate pages too. So plenty of things to come!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

OpenSolaris rises from the grave

argghh, arrrggh, need brains, tasty brains.... OpenSolaris is finally, really alive. I had a quick look at the dtrace source like many no doubt today. It looks complicated. Good thing my C is nearly non-existent.

I made space on the new laptop for a Solaris partition (or two), but I'm holding out another week until the FCS Solaris 10 comes out. I'm so sure we'll be seeing lots of retractions from all those good people who said it would never happen. Maybe they're having an off day, but the Slashdot trolls are fairly light on the ground - come on, there's got to be some more inventive conspiracy theories out there. I guess it gets a bit harder when actual code is available. There's even some poor, misguided soul pining for the iminent release of CDE source code. This Slashdot reply says it all:
"what kind of nutcrack would you have to be to crave for such an ugly piece of software as CDE?"
There are a load of cool blogs out there on OpenSolaris, primarily people who have all the code in the pilot program and the developers themselves. Some favourites:


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Gilman rocks!

I got my act together to drive up to Berkeley on Saturday to the famous Gilman Street punk collective to see a gig. Or a "show" as I keep getting told - the guy who sits next to me in Google is a straight edger, how cool is that? Except for the not drinking part of course...

There were a bunch of bands that I'd never heard of - Shinobu, Short Round, Dan Potthast and Colossal. But definitely the highlight of the night was Mike Park, more kind of a singer songwriter who seems to go back a bit - he played in Gilman Street in the 80s! He showed a cool DVD he'd made whilst he played and he even does one song with a scary girl on the cello accompanying - you can listen to it, Supposed to be There Too.

I took a couple of useless photos - mobile phones don't have flashes! But wait, with the power of the Internet...woohoo, here's some photos from the gig that someone else took! Thanks Justin August whoever you are.

Gilman Street is fairly small, way smaller than the old Warzone centre in Belfast, but probably a good size for independent gigs. It's lasted, which is much more important. One thing that was weird was that most people there were really young (well under twenty anyway!) - it's an all ages venue - and there were no, repeat no, crusties. What a strange place.

Before the gig I went to a great vegan Japanese restaurant in Berkeley, Cha-Ya, queuing outside for about 30 minutes to get a seat at the counter. There were probably a dozen people queuing with me, and some people who arrived outside before I got a seat had just got inside when I was leaving. So it must be good, right? And it was. These Northern Californian vegans have it tough.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Transferring pictures from Nokia to Linux with Bluetooth

I forgot to bring my digital camera so I've been taking some pictures with my Nokia 6230. My (new!) laptop has Bluetooth so I can transfer the photos to it easily. Here's a quick guide to doing this with Fedora Core 3.

First, make sure you have the basic bluetooth package installed, bluez-utils. Then for sending and receiving files I use the fabulous gnome-bluetooth package. Check they're installed: rpm -q bluez-utils gnome-bluetooth.
Start the various bluetooth daemons: sudo service bluetooth start. You should see something like this in /var/log/messages:
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost hcid[5455]: Bluetooth HCI daemon
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost bluetooth: hcid startup succeeded
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: Core ver 2.7
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost kernel: NET: Registered protocol family 31
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: HCI device and connection manager initialized
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: HCI socket layer initialized
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: L2CAP ver 2.6
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: L2CAP socket layer initialized
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost bluetooth: sdpd startup succeeded
Jan 24 07:38:22 localhost sdpd[5481]: Bluetooth SDP daemon
Jan 24 07:38:23 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: RFCOMM ver 1.3
Jan 24 07:38:23 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: RFCOMM socket layer initialized
Jan 24 07:38:23 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: RFCOMM TTY layer initialized
On the IBM T41p laptop you need to activate the bluetooth adapter (you don't want it running wide open the whole time!) by pressing Fn-F5. You should see the second LED from the left with the ™ sign come on. In /var/log/messages you should then see something like this:
Jan 24 08:18:07 localhost kernel: usb 4-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2
Jan 24 08:18:07 localhost kernel: usb 4-1: device descriptor read/64, error -71
Jan 24 08:18:12 localhost kernel: Bluetooth: HCI USB driver ver 2.7
Jan 24 08:18:12 localhost kernel: usbcore: registered new driver hci_usb
Jan 24 08:18:12 localhost hcid[5455]: HCI dev 0 registered
Jan 24 08:18:12 localhost hcid[5455]: HCI dev 0 up
Jan 24 08:18:12 localhost hcid[5455]: Starting security manager 0
Turn on bluetooth on your phone (Bluetooth menu). Then scan for it from the computer: hcitool scan
Scanning ...
00:12:62:99:99:99 Nokia 6230
By default the phone has the name "Nokia 6230" which you can change from the phone's Bluetooth menu. Something like "My top secret photos" helps keep a low profile. Then we connect the phone and computer together using the MAC address discovered above (replace it with yours): sudo hcitool cc --role=s 00:12:62:99:99:99. Start the software that manages file transfers between the phone and computer, in GNOME start Bluetooth File Sharing from the Applications/Systems Tools menu. This starts /usr/bin/gnome-obex-server.

You should be done! Try sending a picture via bluetooth from the phone, it should discover a device with the hostname of your computer. On sending a pop-up dialogue box should appear on the computer to confirm if you will accept the image. Choose save and it goes into the top level of your home directory.

When you finish, turn it all off, this configuration has no security - I'll write something on that in the future. Some more information on all this:


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Snow Jam

I survived the skiing at Lake Tahoe with only minor bruises, although some weren't so lucky. There were a small number of broken wrists, arms and legs from what I saw and heard, including a tale of one man with an unlucky two broken wrists.

I really did go skiing for the first time. I got a one hour lesson, which took me an hour and a half, but it got easier each time I tried it after that. I tried a "big" slope by the end of the afternoon (really the smallest beginner's slope past were they do the lessons!) and came down in one piece with just one fall in a heap. It was good craic, I'm sure Jasmine would love it - there were lots of kids her age flying past me. I'm not sure I would be racing to go skiing again with the millions of others places that I haven't been to yet, but it was good fun.

Google took us to Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe in northern California which was just covered in snow, several feet deep. There are so many Googlers now that despite taking over all the hotels in the area we were still sleeping 4 to a (double) room. Cosy! That said, we had a mystery guest #4 who we never saw, although a snowboard, bag and coat appeared and disappeared at various times, so he was definitely there.

In the evening there was lots of food laid on, some drinking , and a great 80s tribute band, Tainted Love.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Beating jet lag with a big stick

All my best plans to beat the jet lag went to pot yesterday. I arrived at my hotel at about 4pm California time but managed to be asleep just after 5. Oh well. I'm off to Squaw Valley tomorrow to spend a couple of hours skiing for the first time. Should be good fun if I can stay awake for it - the buses start leaving at 5:30am, but there at least the jet lag should help!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Artful Dodger pays me a visit

It's been an eventful week. All good to begin but it took a nosedive on Thursday.

I got the first reviews added to my updated Vegan Ireland guide the day it went live, which was unexpected. And several more since this week. So a good reaction, which is always nice! Then we finally replaced the television. We got a second opinion on the possibility of repairing it and, yes, it was well blown up. So we bought a nice new one. Our long delayed repairs of the kitchen ceiling started mid week too - a radiator leak upstairs had caused damage to the plaster including a big hole in the middle. So that's all come down and there's just a wee bit left to do to finish it off.

Then on Thursday night it all went wrong. I met up with the lads from O2 for a drink after work and within a few minutes my laptop bag was stolen. I didn't notice until closing time. The manager showed me the CCTV photage of it all happening from the moment the thief entered, following us around and leaving with the bag. All very quick and professional. I feel like a moron because I had all the photos from our honeymoon on the laptop, not backed up anywhere else yet. How stupid am I? Other than that there was nothing exciting on the laptop, some small consolation. I managed to catch a pickpocket with his hand in my pocket in Bolivia, but at home no such luck.

I'm off to California on Tuesday morning, so hopefully that'll cheer me up. :)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Vegans are from Mars lives

After a 12 hour PHP session, my new website is finally functional, if not necessarily the best polished or pretty. Still progress is progress. It's alive!

There are two main subsites as before:

Vegan & Vegetarian Guide to Ireland
Vegan Wine Guide

These are both now in databases, searchable, sortable - all that good stuff. Plus people can add their own reviews to the Ireland guide (and the lesser used Rome guide). In theory this is all much more maintainable so it should be easier to grow it now. Plus it works from anywhere (updating was only possible whilst dialed up to Eircom before, which was a royal pain).

Now the small task of tracking down all the pages linking to the old ones and asking them to update, plus getting in Google of course! Being an employee doesn't do anything for you there. From trying, it's looks like has turned off htaccess on their webserver, so I've had to make do with
meta refresh
tags on the old pages. Which apparently will make me look like a spammer to Google. Great.

Still no TV, which no doubt in part explains the burst of web creativity! And I've only spent a few hours playing Medal of Honor online with my new broadband so far. :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Happy birthday Mars rovers

The intrepid Mars rovers are still going one year into their mission. Good going on a planet reputed to be hostile to probe droids. They even have their own happy birthday web page. They've taken some pretty cool pictures so far, although their zooming around reminds me of the snail's charge in the new Magic Roundabout film. Watch the trailer, it looks like a laugh.

Rose-Anne and the kids are off to Belfast for the rest of the week, which leaves me free or on my own depending on how you look at it! So I'll be off to work in a while, living it up. Jasmine is trying out her new walkman she got for Christmas and as she didn't get round to taping her fairy stories, she's decided to take a Clash tape instead. That's my girl! Hopefully that'll make the car journey go a little quicker, although she and Dylan managed 12 hour bus rides in Peru and Bolivia, so the 2-3 hours to Belfast shouldn't be that hard for them.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

new year to you too

Well everyone's having a new year now and I'm no different. Back at work today after a short week last week and yesterday off, even though I kind of ran out of holidays for the first time, having only just started in Google, the holidays fell nicely to get a few days off.

We're having the nice change of no TV right now, as a minor electrical storm seems to have blown our TV up. It's certainly not working, although we're not 100% convinced by the (new to us) TV repair man's word on things that it's not repairable. But the cost and hassle of dealing with the insurance looks to be not worth it, even if they covered us, which is not certain after the flood - almost 2 years now. We're not covered for flooding and storms, which might just give them a get out clause here.

So much for Bertie's assurances that no one's insurance would be affected. He's only the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) after all.

The kids are discovering the Internet afresh now though, whilst there is no TV, we're still discovering the joys of the first few days of Google-provided broadband Internet access. Hurrah for my new job! Waiting for Flash games is a lot easier when you wait 10 seconds instead of 5 minutes. Especially for a 2 year old, reknowned for their patience.

My new website is almost finished (I always say that), I'm serious this time! Vegans are from Mars will be appearing shortly!