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Journal: A fun evening for all

Journal by DarkMan

Sometimes I don't understand people.

Last night was one of those examples. There is some bloke that I know, Adam [0] that [1] was prescribed anti-deppresants, but refuses to take them. Well, refuses to take them this time around, 6 months ago he was hospitalised after an overdose. He's out at the pub with some folks, and heads out, saying he'll be back shortly. He doesn't turn up, so everyone shrugs, and heads home, before going of to a birthday party.

Then a friend of mine, Betty, finds him in his hallway, argueing on the phone with a friend of his, Claire. Adam stomps out, knocking over Betty in the process, before Betty finds a glass with 40 odd painkillers in it. Not knowing what to do, Betty heads over to where the party is, wanting to find someone else, not wanting to get knocked over by Adam again. Enter me, as I meet her in the street, looking rather upset.

Rather than break the party, I offer to help her. Essentially, after a few phone calls, we're looking over Adam's usual haunts, trying to find him. Claire, who is on the other side of the country calls the police, on the basis of suicide risk.

So, me and Betty are met by the police, and head round a few places, before going back to Adam's place. At the point, I'm heading off with one constable, whilst others take statements from her. No statement from me - I've not seen anything relevent. I wasn't a huge fan of leaving her - I felt she could have done with not being alone (ok, without someone she knows being there), and I'm not much caring about Adam at this point.

Anyway, the police are of the (prrobably most correct) opinion that once he's found, this all gets better, and that's the only real solution, so I'm heading off (I know what he looks like, you see), zooming around town.

A few hours later, I spot him. Turns out he was aware that the police was looking for him, and had avoided a car earlier, and turned his shirt inside out (to hide the logo on it). I'm getting less happy with him as this goes on. Trip to hospital, whilst a doctor checks him over. Waiting for the doctor, we're making forced conversation. He's in a really sarcastic mood, and isn't chuffed by the attention. Anyway, I mention Betty, and his opinion is that it's good that she's caught up in this, because she doesn't like it, and ... No his logic is lost on me there.

It's a good thing I didn't find him on my own after all, cos there may well have been some slapping involved, the way I was feeling then.

It was his attitude, trying to argue with the police that they shouldn't be looking for him, or that he was on his way home, and other crap.

Particularly where he made it clear to me that the distress he had caused to people who cared about him was not a factor to him, in fact he even implied that it was intentional. I'd believe that.

By the way, that's the second time that I've been in that sort of situation. I'm rapdily failing to care about people who threaten to commit sucide, or try badly. It's all the people around them that I'm worried about. They are the victims.

[0] All names are anonymised, sex is correct.

[1] Strictly the facts

User Journal

Journal: iVegan - eat different 2

Journal by DarkMan

Given that this is currently national vegitarian week, I was planning to eat vegie this week. Then I realised that I had been for quite some time, if I excluded trips home (the folks are carnivores), and occasional eating out.

So, I've gone vegan for the week. Only problem i can see with going vegan permentaly would be that the local shops don't stock savoury stuff to spread on bread. I'd have to take a trip to Dundee every couple of weeks, to get some variety in sandwich fodder.

Particularly fun is finding some confetionary that doesn't contain either milk, geletin or honey. Once you have a few memorised though, it makes it pretty transparent. Went to cinema yesterday (Matrix reloaded [Needs a different edit - each scene was just over the top, too long. Particularly noticable with the quarter of an hour fight scences]) and a bar of plain chocolate, bag of popcorn and cola - no problem.

Even if I don't go vegan after this week, I'm going to be eating less cheese after this. I think I moved everything non-vegitatrian I used to eat into cheese, so it'll be good to get some more balance back.

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Journal: Caveat Emptor - Unix is not Unix 1

Journal by DarkMan

This will probably go down as either an over reaction (if you've never met this situation before), or with a sage nod and a sigh (if you have).

I do number crunching. I crunch numbers. For various reasons, the 64 bit machines have an edge for the code I use, over 32 bit machines. So, when comparing machines of different architectures, it's a little complex.

A couple of years ago, we were looking at expanding our crunching capabilitiy a bit. So we looked at a bunch of systems. In the end it came down to either Sun Blade 100's, vs Athlon. The Athlons were slightly faster on paper, but the Blade's held the edge with ECC ram, and the 64 bitness seemed to make them the same in practice.

Plus, Solaris was felt to have a slight edge in proven relability over Linux. And proven reliabity was the clincher in the end, as expected run times were (and are) measured in days. A local Sun resealler was offering a good deal on the blades, and that was that.

It's worth pointing out that we have 3 rs6k's on AIX, a dual Alpha, on Dec Unix, and various PC's on debian (for crunchers / servers, and my desktop), or windows for a couple of other desktops.

So the Blades came. And worked. But, every so ofthen there were these niggling little things, that ment I had to delve into Solaris. Quite deeply at places. At what with the rest of the disparate OS's, it's turned into a pain. A lot of pain.

If we had more Solaris machines, it would be easier (the investement of time would give more return), but it's not. And that's the rub.

Don't split your OS's without serious thought. I reckon that a PC with debian stable, at 80% the raw speed of the Blades would have been worth the same money. For the same money, we could have got about the same speed, maybe a little under.

TCO. Say it again, and often. It's not the purchase price, it's the TCO (and include learnin' time as well as money costs there too).

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Journal: When hardware goes bad 2

Journal by DarkMan

Argh! My box started crashing randomly over the past couple of days, co-inciding with a fairly major upgrade (X drivers, libc and a coupld of common progs). So I'm trying to find the offender, and the box reboots, the reboots again in Lilo, and again during the POST.

Ah-ha goes me - hardware problem. My CPU fan had died. Not bad going, al things considered, 4 years. Fortunatly I'm on a K6-II 400, so I took off the dead fan, moved the PSU away from the CPU, and stuck the heatsink on with a touch of thermal equalisation compound (Or, extra virgin olive oil - great stuff, can use it for nearly anything).

I also dropped the clock sped to 350, and enables BIOS cpu throttling, at lowest temperature setting. Been stable for a couple of hours now, even with heavy load. Xmms skips a bit, and it's painfully slow waiting for mozilla to register all this typing, but that's a small price to pay for stability.

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Journal: Want a mixing engineer

Journal by DarkMan

So, as I mentioned in an article, I do a bit of sound engineering. So far, relativly local bands, all live gigs, broad range of music (indie guitar rock, Jazz collection and a ska group).

I'll repeat the offer I made in the article - Any band who wants, I'll mix and master to CD (and /or Ogg Vorbis) thier album (or single). You send me the masters, I'll m,ix and send back a finished product.

I don't have facilities to digitise at any sensible quality, so it's only sensible if you can get them master digitised elsewhere (Or its all recorded direct to disk, or whatever).

I'm probably not the best in the world, but I'll do it for free (with acknowlegement if anything gets published). There's not really anything for you to lose (Don't like it, don't use it).

If yopur interested, pos below, or email me at spurdie at wired dot st-and dot ac dot uk

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Journal: So, this is a journal then...

Journal by DarkMan

I must admit that I've never particularly been a great fan of web journals. I mean, it's a bit like harking back to the good olde days, when everyone had a homepage, and all it said was what they'd been dooing 6 months ago (what, you expected people to keep them up to date?).

Thinking about it though, there's nothing inherently wrong with a web journal. The sucess of livejournal would agree with this observation. Having nothing wrong with it is, however, distinct from it being good and useful. So, in that vein, the only use I can see of a journal is either to infrom co-workers of what I've been up to, (I'm a PhD student, and work alone on it), or to keep a record for me.

It's going to be the latter.

Anyhow, back on track. We've been having fun with the power here. I've had two 2 second blips in 3 hours. Fortunatly, none of my crunchers has gone down, so that's good.

One picture is worth 128K words.

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