So long 2012 and thanks for all the memories

Well another year is overe, so here is yet another retrospective of 2012. I won’t dwell on the negative and just share some of my personal highlights. I had ended 2011 in a swing dance club surrounded by friends and more prosecco than I could drink. I began 2012 with a dreadful hangover still half dressed in my tuxedo, a sure sign of a good night the night before. Well, that’s not strictly true, I didn’t get home until well gone 5am but you get what I mean. Anyway, I digress, so these were my highlights of 2012. Aerials Workshops For the uninitiated, “aerials” is a part of swing dancing usually reserved for the elite or rehearsed performances. They involve high-adrenaline moves where the … Continue reading

VNC at graphical login for Ubuntu 12.10 or 12.04

It sounds trivial; create an upstart script to start on boot, but this had me googling for a little while. I used x11vnc as the vnc server. The main issue was that x11vnc needed to bind to an Xauthority file. In order to get it running for graphical login, the Xauthority needed to be for the desktop manager (in this case, lightdm) . It took me a while to find the right location ( ⁄var ⁄run ⁄lightdm ⁄root ⁄); once I had found the answer, the script was easy. I created a file in the upstart init script directory,  ⁄etc⁄init ⁄x11vnc.conf

Lets take a look at what this does; lines 1 and 3 are self explanatory, line 5, ensures that the vnc server is started at … Continue reading

EDL vs Walthamstow: Why a 30 day protest ban was not a victory

On the 1st of September this year (2012), the English Defense League, an extreme right political group with a passion for hating muslims, attempted to hold a rally in Walthamstow. They were given permission by the police and the local council, however, their rally was derailed due to the overwhelming numbers of local opposition. For some extra detail, watch this video: EDL Defeat in Walthamstow The clashes were mostly peaceful (mostly!) but the EDL were truly thwarted and humiliated; managing a pathetic 300 strong mob that was faced with 3-4k local protesters who blocked their route to the rally point. The EDL planned another march for today (27th October 2012), presumably with intent of enacting reprisals for their previous defeat. The local … Continue reading

Voyage: Coping with read-only file systems

I am a user of Voyage Linux, a lightweight Debian flavour designed for integrated and low-powered computers. I use it with an ALIX 3D3 board which uses a Compact Flash card for it’s main storage. One of Voyage’s features that makes it ideal is that it operates with a read-only filesystem (a good idea if using a CF card). This introduces some interesting challenges; what about logs? what about home directories and command history? Well Voyage attempts to resolve the first of these questions by mounting ⁄var⁄log as a tmpfs volume, which works ok but obviously useless if you restart or the box crashes. By default, home directories are stored on the main disk which makes them read-only; so no … Continue reading

RATM vs X-Factor

(Reposted here by request) To answer the question “what’s it all for?”, I think it is too simplistic to denote one reason – the creators of the group had theirs, I have mine, and the other 174997 people have theirs. I can only tell you why I support it; I resent Pop[ular] music being presented and covered as if that is the entire scope of musical talent. Sure some contestants may have real talent, sure they may deserve a record contract – but the extent to which the market is manufactured, manipulated and subverted, and quite frankly hi-jacked (X-Factor will try to claim the xmas no1 prize every year it runs) sickens me. The result is that other talented artists … Continue reading

First week back

This week was the start of the academic year proper. Still with that feverish bustle of freshers week, it was a hectic one. There is much to be done, people to see, places to get to. Something which takes just that bit longer now that the Roger Stevens Building is once again so overcrowded and congested. It is of course made worse by the fact that half the poor hapless freshers have no idea where they’re going. It has been quite comical seeing the familiar, bemused expression on their faces as they look across from lecture theatre 17 and wonder why they are now outside lecture theatre 20. I’m sure that’s exactly the effect the architect was going for. Top … Continue reading


I used to see foxes all the time when I lived in London, they were always rather interested in making a meal out of the cat. However it has taken three and a half years for me to come across a Leodien fox, last night being the first time ever. They seem to be a lot more timid then there southern cousins. Whenever I encountered a fox in London it took a good soaking from the water gun or a barrage of rubber bands to convince them that the tasty cat-sized meal wasn’t worth the bother. I wasn’t even able to get a photo of the fox I saw last night because the moment I opened the window it was … Continue reading

I miss my old life (an ode to everyone I knew back then)

I miss Walthamstow and everything in it, and how it all was back in the day. I miss my old flat; the dodgy peach wall paper, the dodgy cigarette smell, the tiny kitchen, the giant texaco sign in the hall way, the hole in the wall. I miss having the place to myself, I miss having all my buddies over, I miss being able to chose which. I miss my dad dropping by to get high with us. I miss my job; I loved the people I worked with, some of whom I still talk to but others I will never see again. I miss the sense of purpose and belonging, I miss the responsibility, I miss having a wage, … Continue reading

Weight Gain 4000

At the beginning of July, when I moved house, which brought with it “The Smoking Ban” I weighed an unhealthy 8st10, which at 5’9″ is underweight. However since then I have had such an increase in appetite which has craved non stop bacon and eggs, pasta and curries with loads of rice and bread, as well as the usual snacks. I have managed to bulk up to 10st6 in just two and a half months. I am happily reminded of an excellent South Park Episode 😉 “Say it with me, beefcake! Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!!”

Mind Your Manners pt II

Also last Friday, when I went to see Bad Manners (see pt I) CJ and I stopped off at Santiago’s Bar which across the way from Rios before heading home after the show. As I walked in  I saw a familiar face; one with twitching eyes, framed with gaudy purple hair and contorted in an expression of mixed rage, frustration and fear. Guess who? Their have been several occasions recently where I have nearly bumped into Claire but this was the first where our paths actually crossed since her least appropriate exploits after our little falling out. Despite these I merely smiled, waved and said hello, then turned away to talk to some people we knew. I thought Claire might … Continue reading