Little Spikey Land - October 2003

Computers Stole My Social Skills

Saturday, October 25, 2003


Origami Penguin

Thought it was about time to get some instructions up on how to make an origami penguin. Its something quite random that I can do and I still have a tendency to transform spare bits of paper into little penguins when I am bored.

posted at 11:17 PM John

Monday, October 20, 2003



Well I ordered a course book recently (on Quantum Computation), so I thought I'd get something for myself too. I ordered Maus which I had wanted to read for quite some time. It is often cited as being the book which created the idea of graphic novels (as opposed to just "comic books"), because of it's serious subject matter.

Slightly spookily I ordered Maus on thursday last week and then in this weekends Guardian there was an article about it.

posted at 9:16 PM John

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Girls, Girls, Girls ...

... are all I seem to be drawing of late. So in keeping with this tradition I have just added a new picture.

I'll try and draw something else soon, promise!

posted at 2:27 PM John

Bit more breathing space

Well the hard drive on my linux box was getting a bit full recently (97% used!). Considering it's only 4Gig in size that's hardly surprising. So I cannabilised Mavis (my very old PC that has two hard drives) and got another 4 Gig drive which I have now set up as the /home partition. It was fairly easy, although I did run into one problem, in that the drive had previously been setup with a partition labelled "/" and /etc/fstab was setup to mount a partition labelled as "/" as the filesystem root. So upon first boot it didn't get very far and it got a bit confused.

To remedy this I changed /etc/fstab so that instead of referring to "LABEL=/" I specified the exact device (/dev/sda2). Then I was able to mount the 2nd hard drive elsewhere and copy the contents of /home to it, using cp -a to preserve everything properly. I then mounted the drive at /home and checked a few programs worked as normal (e.g. mozilla). At this point I had not deleted the original contents of /home, they were just hidden by the other drives contents. Then I deleted those files on the original drive (first unmounting the 2nd hard drive) to actually free up the space. Oh and all of that was done in single user mode (init 1) to make sure that nothing else was running at the time.

Anyway, now I have about 500M left spare on the main drive. Because it's not holding the /home directory it should hopefully not fill up too quick now. I also have nearly 4 Gig available on the other drive, which will be very handy soon, as I'll need it for storing stuff for my upcoming mini-project.

Edited on: Sunday, October 19, 2003 12:19 AM
posted at 12:18 AM John

Saturday, October 18, 2003


Selling Babies

Cat and Girl sell babies for profit.

posted at 12:26 AM John

Friday, October 17, 2003

drawing java programming


Did a bit of work on making myself a gallery generation program. Basically I want something so that I don't have to do too much to add new pictures, but that will give me a fair bit of flexibility. As like a lot of programmers I have chosen to "roll my own". It's partly for the sake of it and partly so I can make it do exactly what I want it to do.

Anyway, here is a screen shot of a gallery it has made. The interesting thing here is that the thumbnails were generated automatically and still look reasonable, even though the original pictures were all sorts of different sizes. At the moment it is biased towards using the top left of an image for a thumbnail, but I want to make that user controllable too. In the mean time it'll be a nice bit of "relief" programming when I want to procrastinate. ;^)

Also done another inked picture.

Edited on: Friday, October 17, 2003 8:39 PM
posted at 8:38 PM John

Monday, October 13, 2003



Just uploaded another little drawing.

Edited on: Monday, October 13, 2003 10:01 PM
posted at 9:58 PM John

Sunday, October 12, 2003


More Ink

This time a brown eyed girl.

posted at 12:29 AM John

Saturday, October 11, 2003

drawing mac

Ink and Pre-Emptive Multitasking

Well today I bought some drawings inks. They are from Winsor & Newton and are the same ones I remember my Mum having when I was a child. They still have the same pictures on, like a spider in a top hat for the black ink:

Black Ink Box Art

Anyway, I've done a couple of drawings that came out ok, using the inks. The first one is of another girl and the second a very minimalist version of Florence (my cat) (a pattern seems to be emerging in my drawings). I think the picture of the girl came out quite well, although as usual I chickened out on trying to draw her hands.

Whilst scanning/resizing these pictures on my Mac I thought I'd give OS X a bit of a stress test and watch a DVD in the background too. Photoshop slowed down a bit, but was still usable. The DVD played back perfectly at half-size, with the soundtrack never missing a beat. Seeing as I chose to watch 2001 it was quite good fun listening to "Also Sprach Zaruthra" (sp). If my iMac was a bit faster (G3 400Mhz) I am sure I'd be watching DVDs and working all of the time...

Edited on: Saturday, October 11, 2003 1:39 AM
posted at 1:38 AM John

Friday, October 10, 2003

java mac psion

Candy Goodness

Well I finally took the plunge and upgraded to MacOS X. I know that Panther (OS X.3) is out in about 2 weeks, but I went for Jaguar (OS X.2) as I didn't want to wait. When it comes down to it Jaguar runs Java 1.4 and that's what I really want.

So far I am impressed with OS X. It's really nice being able to force quit programs that freeze and not take the system with down too. It's also pretty looking ;^). Oh and my favourite little feature is that when you drag an item off of the Dock (to remove it) it then disappears with a little cloud of smoke and an accompanying sound! I think it's the little touches that will make OS X fun.

My only niggle is that Safari (Apples custom built browser) won't do google queries from the main page, but it will from it's built in google search box thing. It's a bit bizarre, as Internet Explorer handles this fine. I suspect it's partly my setup, i.e. connecting through a Windows 98 box. I do also get similar problems with my Linux box, so I am not too worried.

Beyond that my scanner, cd burner and graphics tablet all work fine. The graphics tablet lets me use Inkwell, which is quite good fun, but I'm not sure how useful it will be in "real life". I did have to get a new USB serial adapter, but that was only £20 from Expansys so not bad.

I also got JPL running and it seems to work pretty well. Considering I have been developing it on entirely different operating systems it runs well. At least now I can fix some of those little problems (mainly with GUI elements). Anyway here is a screen shot of it running.

Edited on: Friday, October 10, 2003 7:59 PM
posted at 7:56 PM John

Monday, October 06, 2003


netBook Pro

Well the netBook Pro has materialised. As pointed out on Slashdot there is a Forbes article about it. Annoyingly it runs Windows, but apparently it does have a JVM and is basically the exact size and shape of the original netBook.

My original netBook is still carrying on and has recently had a new lease of life now that I've got a Wireless PCMCIA card for it. Even more so now that I can use it to connect to the wireless network at uni. Not bad considering it went travelling with me to Oz.

posted at 12:32 AM John

Strings Of Fate

I seem to keep on heading over to Strings Of Fate as of late. I think it's the artwork, as it's quite sumptuous, as it's usually been inked really well. Jen seems to have real talent.

posted at 12:20 AM John
programming stuff

Being a Student Again

It feels strange being a student again. I think I got used to having my free time as my own. Not that I've been particularly busy this week (first week after all), but I feel guilty that I haven't been doing more. I guess that will change when I get started on my first "mini-project".

I am hoping to do a mini shared networked world of sorts. It'll probably be quite basic as I have less than ten weeks (unless it turns into my summer project too), but hopefully I can get something working. Here goes Little Spikey Land II...

posted at 12:09 AM John

Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Linux Dead Tree Device

Well seeing as I'm now at Uni again I thought I should get a printer. So I just got myself a funky new laser printer. What impressed me most about the one I got was that it actually said it was Linux compatible on the box. It's a Samsung ML-1510. Even more impressively I inserted the driver CD into my linux box, clicked yes to auto run, entered the admin password and then it installed, just like that! I did have to do a little bit of fiddling, but it still seemed far too easy for Linux (had to go into the config tool and add the printer again). Now I've just got to figure out where to put it ;^)

posted at 6:57 PM John


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