Shurely shome mishtake

Crazy… Gimboland is the top Google hit for funniest weblog ever – but only because I tried to help get defective yeti into the top spot, here.

Happy Anniversary To Me

It’s a significant, anniversary-laden date for me.

First and foremost, in exactly one month, on February 29th, I’m getting married – nuff said.

Second and foremost, a year ago today I received my first email from the girl I’m gonna marry – the start of something big.

Third and finally, I delivered the first Operating Systems lecture of the year today, the same lecture I delivered a year ago (though not on this exact same date), so I’d like to consider this my one-year anniversary as a lecturer. Since that blog entry, I’d say I’ve become more comfortable with waffling on and on (as if such a thing were possible, I hear the members of my family saying), and a lot better friends with chalk.

Today’s lecture felt a lot better than last year’s… I asked if there was anybody in the room who’d been there last year and there were a couple (slackers!), but they didn’t tell me if I’d improved or not. ;-)

Ikea Walkthrough v2.3.1

How to survive Ikea [yeti]

If you speak like the Swedish Chef you may be able to fool the employee into thinking you are the IKEA regional manager.

Scrooge McDagobert, King of France.

I learned today, from my research supervisor, that in Germany Scrooge McDuck is known as Dagobert, who was also a Frankish King, the most powerful of the Merovingians and reputed descendent of Christ, depending on how many socks you’ve been smoking lately. Crazy world.

Partway Gay

Partway Gay – a Washington Post article about fluid shifts in sexual orientation/behaviour in American teenagers, particularly girls [via bash].

Outside of conservative religious circles, the common understanding for years has been that homosexuality is largely genetic, based on physical attraction, and unchanging. Though an easy model to understand, if not accept, it has a major flaw: It is derived almost exclusively from male subjects. Recent studies of relationships among women suggest that female homosexuality may be grounded more in social interaction, may present itself as an emotional attraction in addition to or in place of a physical one, and may change over time. Young women also appear to be more open to homosexual relationships than young men are.

Well, dur. Roll on the day when human beings stop trying to judge, categorise or even explain sexual preference, and just accept that we’re all people, and some people love some other people, and that’s all we really need to know. This world is a scary enough place as it is without being told who you can or can’t be nice to.

Tim, do you know where your towel is?

Via Mr Finnis’ excellent weblog, apparently the upcoming Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie will star Martin Freeman (Tim from “The Office”) as Dent Arthur Dent, and the deliciously slippery Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast. Jim doesn’t tell us where he gets this goss from, alas…

And while we’re linking from Found, this was quite amusing too, but not nearly as meaty as this lovely nugget.

They talk by flapping their meat at each other.

Switching gentoo runlevels at boot

Back when I used to run Debian, it was very often very useful to be able to boot to a different runlevel from the default. In particular, when there were problems, it was great to boot to level S (single user, a minimal boot) and start fixing things.

Runlevels in Gentoo, which I’m using now, are handled differently (also because you generally use grub instead of lilo), and I didn’t know how to do this.

Happily, this gentoo forum thread holds the answer (hidden away amongst the dreck), which is that you can add “softlevel=<whatever>” to the kernel boot options when in the grub menu. So “softlevel=single” seems to do the trick.


The Fluffy Hippy Guide To Deadlines

The Fluffy Hippy Guide To Deadlines, easily identifiable as such by the words “giving a deadline to yourself or to another is like giving a gift”. [via that fluffy hippy I can't stop talking about, probably because I'm marrying her at the end of next month, bash]

Darth Vader vs Mr Punch

So Darth Vader doesn’t like Mr Punch either, eh? [Thanks, Dave!]

This is your art on LSD

This is your art on LSD [milk] – wow. I think my favourite’s definitely the one at 2 hours 45 minutes.

I’m having a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going.

Norton Defiant On My Chest

Somebody please buy me a Norton Defiant t-shirt or jersey for my birthday…

Nazi Zeppelin Techno Bonanza

blode – rather odd but rather amusing too [bash]; also, anybody who’s enjoyed Elbow’s marvellous version of Independent Woman as much as I have (you know who you are, Malc and Bash), ought to find this mildly amusing. Any anybody who hasn’t enjoyed it yet ought to watch that just for the music, which is fab, and an excellent ghost track for CDs you make for your friends…


Use Windows? Like groovy small programs that do useful things? Then check out Pricelessware and [gamma]. In fact, also has Palm software – note ye well, young Basheera (eg this and this).

IT Industry shift away from Microsoft?

Here’s an Inquirer article claiming that the IT industry is starting to shift away from Microsoft, taking the point of view that we’re at or approaching a “tipping point” [bash]. I’m not sure I buy it – I’ve spent so long waiting for this to happen and it never seems to, but what the heck, the article has some interesting aspects, so I thought I’d share. :-)

Get your pies for the great pie fight [bash]

Mac OS X for hackers

What is Mac OS X? – a hacker-friendly answer [null].

Full of natty bits like the following:

It is worth noting that pressing T while your Mac powers on would boot it into what’s called the FireWire Target Disk Mode. Essentially, your Mac becomes a fancy external FireWire disk drive.

XNU’s Mach component is based on Mach 3.0, although it’s not used as a microkernel.

The Sounds of Redness

Now that’s comedy. Gotta love that yeti.

Python round-up

Checking out the Daily Python-URL for the first time in ages, I immediately see the following interesting items: MMA for autogenerating MIDI accompaniment files; lython, a LISP front-end for python, and finally, an ickle bit of python to calculate sunrise times (what, no sunset?). Good to see the Python world is rolling on without me…

The Nuclear Winter Religion

What do alien life, nuclear winter, passive smoking, and global warming all have in common? Well, according to Michael Crichton, they’re all religions [gamma].

His point relates to the process of science in general, and how it gets compromised by exposure to politics and other social “realities”. Very interesting stuff.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.

Once you abandon strict adherence to what science tells us, once you start arranging the truth in a press conference, then anything is possible. In one context, maybe you will get some mobilization against nuclear war. But in another context, you get Lysenkoism. In another, you get Nazi euthanasia. The danger is always there, if you subvert science to political ends.

Parts of this remind me of this short article by Brian Eno, which introduced to me the word “propagenda”, and which happens to be stuck on my wall at home.

And while I’m writing, and since Lysenkoism was mentioned above, I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Live of Ivan Denisovich, which I’ve devoured over the last few days – compelling and vivid stuff. Much more enjoyable, in fact, than Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, which after twenty years of anticipation, was a really dull disappointment. I guess I’ve been spoilt by the likes of Bruce Sterling for Jules Verne to hold much wonder for me. Shrug…

No reason to expect things to get any better, I suppose…

I’ve been so involved with work over the last few months that I’ve kinda stopped paying close attention to what’s happening on the world stage – it’s so depressing anyway that I guess I needed a break. So it’s nice to start the year on an extremely black-humourous and cynical note with Exile Magazine’s Funniest 50 Moments of 2003 [null] (a little Russo-centric in places and very dark throughout).

And another new year begins…

Hola compadres! Well, it’s been all quiet on the Gimboland front for a while, so I thought I’d bring things up to date a little. First up, happy new year!

There hasn’t been much Gimboland activity at all since October or so because I’ve just been so darn busy with work – these damn students just won’t leave me alone. I think I’m being too helpful, and I need to work on being gruff and dismissive. The new term begins next Monday, and there’ll be exams to mark and marks to collate which is a pig of a job but one I’m landed with, so don’t expect great things on this site for the rest of January. In fact, February and March are probably out to, because (hold onto your hats) I’m getting married at the end of February. Woo and indeed hoo. More details later (and the inevitable pictures), but for now suffice to say that as if I didn’t have enough to do with teaching, marking, and research, I also have wedding preparations to think about now too. :-)

Nothing much else is flitting into my mind at the moment, so I think I’ll leave it there. Once again, happy new year everyone – I hope you all had funky Christmases, and all the best for the year ahead.