Thursday, 22 November 2007

Installfest Success :D

Aside from some inevitable technical and organisational issues (valuable experience) it went really well. We had enough people turning up to keep us busy for 3 hours, which is the only thing I was worrying about. I don't know how many laptops we got Ubuntu installed onto, I know at least one (but we had no time to test it, so I just added a Windows entry to GRUB to make sure Vista booted properly and left it for now) and maybe a couple more. Some people have got OpenOffice and things installed on Windows, a couple of people came in after Windows help, so I gave them ClamAV and Spybot Search and Destroy (I know it's not Free Software, and explained that, but sometimes it is better to be friendly and helpful rather than arrogant and alienating) along with a copy of Ubuntu (which they were impressed with on my laptop (Compiz Fusion does it again :P ) I kept saying how I haven't dealt with viruses in years because I'm on Linux but that's what it sounds like). We got through quite a few of Arthur's Gutsy CDs (my CD writer fails :( ). Avatar had a complete mirror of Ubuntu's repositories set up, which was VERY helpful, since running it through a gigabit ethernet switch was much nicer than upgrading a system from Ubuntu Breezy to Ubuntu Gutsy via a 60Kb/s Wifi connection. We got through a load of biscuits and Guru3 and Avatar had a few networked games running whilst I rushed around between computers. Sarah and Jo popped in for a bit too and made up some signs to direct people, thanks guys :*, although Sarah you should have got your laptop out and we'd see if we could get your wireless going (I even brought along my PCMCIA wireless card with Windows drivers :P )

Anyway, yes it was good. I'm going to sort out a room for a couple of week's time when we can have another go (this time with at least one Ubuntu alternate CD ;) )

MASSIVE thanks to everyone who came

Friday, 16 November 2007

Dir En Get Out Of My House

I went to see Dir Emo Grey yesterday. Wow. I wrote up a mini-report of the evening on the Sheffield RockSoc forum:

Well, that was damned awful Smile

After a Gestapo search for cameras and recording equipment, half a million statements about cameras not being allowed but NOT ONE request/form/statement/whatever about me giving consent and permission for their authorised photographers to film/photograph me, we got in and smiled at some of the sillier outfits. Then Raging Speedhorn came on and started shouting at me, which wasn't very nice (I couldn't tell what they were saying, but Emma and I agreed it was probably about rainbows, unicorns and kittens). They left and things got really disturbing.

Every time a stage hand came on to setup a microphone or something everyone started going conpletely insane. That kind of fanatacism is scary, and needs help. Anyway, Dir En Grey came on and I found it amusing how powerful the crowd's collective cheer was. They started playing some pretty below average sounding songs (well, they were below average after I blocked out the vocalist, who had also decided to shout at me. With him they were terrible). Disregarding the headbutting I got I thought it was pretty amusing (well, topless Japanese men shouting at high pitches whilst headbanging with tshirts over their heads generally are), and the vocalist guy's got a really hot body. Plus there was a guy with waist-length hair whirlwinding next to me which made a nice breeze. Then though, the vocalist got up on one of the stage gizmos and started slashing at his chest the stupid emo whore (amid my disgust I did manage to giggle when he couldn't even get it right). All of the bopping little girls were cheering him on, as if it's something cool, then all the lights went down and everyone went quiet since it was meant to be really deep and meaningful or something, so I shouted "EMO!" as loud as I could and went to get some water. I looked across after and saw the vocalist was spazzing out which made me laugh quite a bit (it reminded me of Elliot), then I left since I wasn't going to endorse that kind of obnoxious disregard for responsibility (I'd already lost Emma amid the crowd by that point, and there was no way to get back to the front after I'd got a drink).

I walked up the road and got complemented by some guy about my hair (he said his wife would love it and I should go on X Factor). He shook my hand after I told him I'd rather die than go on X Factor, then I went to the Devonshire Chippy and got a spring roll and chips (chips >= self harm) and waited outside Corp for Emma.

So yes, all in all I was pretty disgusted. I quite liked having a load of female bodies pressed against me (I couldn't bop along myself at the beginnning or else the girl in front of me would think I was trying to anally rape her), since it reminded me of Saturday nights, but I was outraged that some of them might give in to that twisted brainwashing (based on their reaction to the stage crew and the "you're not allowed cameras" people I would say they've already been warped quite a bit) and then get home and harm themselves (probably on a webcam or something too, which would make it worse. Then to rub salt in they'd be broadcasting it using that Microsoft MSN Hotmail Live Windows Messenger Vista thingy). It reminded me of a public execution, but where people were going "Wow, that guy is so cool". Trying to pass that stunt off as art made me die a little inside, and made the bits left alive get angry.

My thoughts on Dir En Grey? Well, if you know someone who doesn't like themselves and you really don't like them either and think that the world would be a better place if they stopped whining on and on about the emotional crap that they think they're going through but actually have no idea about and just shot themselves already then I think it would be a good recommendation to get them to see. If, however, you know someone like that who you DO like, or at least don't dislike enough to wish them dead, then in your shoes I would do everything in my power to stop them getting drawn further and further in and down that ridiculously merciless spiral, part of which is wanting to listen to people screaming then idolising them when they go "You think I'm cool now? Wait until you see this!" *miss attempt to cut onesself* *miss again* *miss again* *actually manage it* *put tshirt on head and spasm out in the manner of an epileptic fit*. If you don't know anyone like that but want to, then pop along and maybe get yourself some underage emo pussy (get a friend to tell them they're fat or something, then they'll assume 1) it's true and 2) that it's a bad thing and then they'll turn on their emo powers, at which point you can step in to offer an understanding shoulder to cry on, then you're in (maybe I should stop going off on disturbing tangents?)). If you don't fit into any of those catagories then I suggest you go to the Devonshire Chippy and the nice guy in there will sell you some chips and spring rolls (and Chicken and Mushroom pies, depending on what you fancy) then impress you with his chip fork flourishes, then amuse you by picking your change up off the floor after failing his money flourish, plus he'll give you water if your friend is feinting outside, unlike the bastards at the wannabe-trendy place next door.

The best thing about tonight? I didn't pay, and thus was not condoning such a blatant display of consumerist culture's ugly reality.

Feel free to reply, but I don't come in here often since forums are just bastardised versions of mailing lists which have no place inside a web browser.

So yes. I really would urge you not to endorse them. Apathy can die in a bin as far as I'm concerned.

I handed in my Physics work today which was nice.

I've also been spicing up my laptop with funky 3D effects. I'm trying out the Avant Window Navigator, which is a big fat rip off of Mac OSX's dock. HOWEVER, it does reduce desktop redundancy which is nice. It doesn't seem to have a very useful system tray, which means I would lose a bit of functionality if I used it exclusively, and also whenever I drag a desktop launcher onto AWN it never seems to stay in place.

The reduction in redundancy is seriously VERY nice. Blingy too (I have the "squishy" effect on, which is the same as the KDE launcher effect next to my mouse pointer :P )

I am using Emerald with Compiz, since emulating Metacity makes me feel dirty. I also have Xwinwrap displaying the glslideshow screensaver for my desktop (although that occasionally quits :( I'll have to look through the options, or if the worst comes to the worst run it in a perpetual for loop). Quite impressive I must say. Plus it is still rather subtle (well, compared to the Airplane effect in Compiz that is :P )

Now I want them to fix the window-flashes-up-momentarily bug that has appeared for some of the effects (which means I can't use Burn on my drop down menus at the moment)

In slightly more productive computer news I'm trying to create an extensible physics simulator for use (amongst other things) on the XO laptop. I'm currently getting help from the developers to get an emulated system up and running (I tried the standard build image but it keeps resetting X at login when I run it in QEMU, KVM doesn't even get very far into the boot process and VirtualBox ONLY supports VMWare-style hard drive thingies, rather than allowing raw images to be used). I'll see if eToys works for me now (it didn't used to) and play around. If it looks good enough to build on then I'll do that, if not then I'll write a new one in Python.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll be booking rooms tomorrow for a Free Software Society installfest. Should be good hopefully :)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Free Software Society Gathering Steam... Sort Of

The Sheffield University Free Software Society is gathering new members and meeting face to face more :) Yay. After a bit of a get together social type thing yesterday where I got to put faces to forum members and got some membership monies in (which I need to give to Dave, our Treasurer). There was going to be a formal, serious meeting in a proper meeting room and stuff today, but due to a power cut on Thursday I was unable to book a room for it, thus making Interval the only real venue available. The problem with that is that there isn't much to do there which wasn't done last night, so I think I'm going to pop along to catch anyone who does turn up, but I'm not expecting much (if anything) to come from it.

A week tomorrow I hope to run an installfest for a few hours, rotating the people attending what will basically be an open room next to the Gallery in the student's union building (where quite a few people use their laptops). These days installing stuff is completely straightforward, only requiring the willingness to do so, thus pretty much anyone can help out as long as there is a guru close to hand in case their expertise is needed. So yes, need to book something for that.

Lots of good crazyness has been going on recently, which is good. Lots of partying, chugging, lolling and generally being a lolman. I hope it continues :)

I am sorting out running some very beginner Python workshop things here at Access Space, which will hopefully be popular (although I think I may need to run them next year due to scheduling, I'm not sure yet). My graphical skillz0rz in the GIMP and Inkscape seem to have gained me some respect, which is good news since I want to run some graphics workshops for the Free Software Society.

OK, I can't think of anything else to say..........


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Action on the FSS Front

OK, I'm trying to get my ass in gear: We are having an FSS social some time in the next week (looks like Monday at the moment, although Harriet can't make Mondays :( . Every day will be a compromise, so we need to find the best compromise). We're also having a formal meeting some time (depends on responses on our forum and to our email account).

I want to run an installfest, and we might be hosting some LUG meetings in a bit. I'm going to whore myself out for memberships in Physics and Computer Science too, plus as many of my friends as I can.

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