Happy New Year

Jan 1, 2006 / 0 comments

Not long back from Oxford where Dom had a rather good New Year's Eve party - good to see people and I'll stick photos up later today hopefully.

Kim asked me what I'd remember about 2005 (her engagement was obviously her big thing) and I didn't have an answer. However I thought some more about it during the drive home and Tristam and Angharad (two of my best friends) getting married is probably my best memory of the year; I actually had to remind myself that it was only back in March - it seems like ages ago! It was a great day and lovely to see the both of them so happy (and I confess to rather enjoying my role as best man as well).

Let's see what 2006 has to offer all of us...

It's good to be back.

Dec 31, 2005 / 0 comments

I finally had my first flight cancelled on me yesterday. I suppose given that I've been flying a few times a year for at least the past 8 years (even if it's only back and forth to Northern Ireland) I should consider myself lucky.

I arrived at Belfast City Airport at about 8am, for a 9:45am flight (the last time I flew from Belfast we hit really bad traffic, so we ended up overcompensating). On check in I discovered it was delayed by 15 minutes. Shortly after I'd made my way through security it was delayed by 45 minutes. Then they delayed it until midday. Then at 11:30 they said they'd have an announcement at midday. And then at 11:45 they cancelled it.

Now, I was flying from Belfast to Norwich. There's only one such flight a day. So I'm a bit stuck. And by the time I get to the front of the refunds queue they've filled up the flight today (Saturday), leaving me the option of a direct flight to Norwich on Sunday, or any other flight leaving Belfast City on Friday that they have seats on. So I go to London Gatwick, supposed to leave at 14:30. And it gets delayed by 45 minutes straight after I check in. Thankfully it does actually take off at 15:15 and I manage to get to England. On the wrong side of London for Norwich, but hey, the trains are running. I negotiate the Gatwick Express, get a tube to Liverpool Street and get on a train to Norwich. Which then gets delayed for 25 minutes because a train breaks down in front of it. Bah.

I finally get home just after 9pm, rather than the 11:30am or so I would have managed if my initial flight had taken off on time. The house is still in one piece, the plants haven't died, I have food again. Rar.

And I know this is small fry compared to American flight horror stories, or the potential problems we could have had when Uncle Steve lost our clothes en route to Brazil, but it's the first time I've had a major problem with flights.

(We'll ignore the fun I had when turning on my desktop machine and seeing "GRUB Read Error" displayed. Damn scanner had decided to frob the SCSI bus enough that the BIOS could boot grub but grub couldn't then see sda.)

Linux WMDs

Dec 28, 2005 / 0 comments

So, the delightful Kathy bought me a Marks & Spencer USB Missile Launcher (unfortunately out of stock at present or I'd have linked directly to it. Try searching on eBay / Google to see what I mean.) Problem. WinXP/2k only drivers. That's no fun.

Plugged it in to my laptop (as you do). dmesg reports:

input: Tenx Nonstandard Devic as /class/input/input6
input: USB HID v1.10 Device [Tenx Nonstandard Devic] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2
input: Tenx Nonstandard Devic as /class/input/input7
input: USB HID v1.10 Device [Tenx Nonstandard Devic] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2

lsusb says:

Bus 002 Device 004: ID 1130:0202 Tenx Technology, Inc. 
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               1.10
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0 
  bDeviceProtocol         0 
  bMaxPacketSize0         8
  idVendor           0x1130 Tenx Technology, Inc.
  idProduct          0x0202 
  bcdDevice            1.00
  iManufacturer           0 
  iProduct                2 
  iSerial                 0 
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength           59
    bNumInterfaces          2
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0 
    bmAttributes         0x80
    MaxPower              100mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           1
      bInterfaceClass         3 Human Interface Devices
      bInterfaceSubClass      0 No Subclass
      bInterfaceProtocol      0 None
      iInterface              0 
        HID Device Descriptor:
          bLength                 9
          bDescriptorType        33
          bcdHID               1.10
          bCountryCode            0 Not supported
          bNumDescriptors         1
          bDescriptorType        34 Report
          wDescriptorLength      43
         Report Descriptors: 
           ** UNAVAILABLE **
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x81  EP 1 IN
        bmAttributes            3
          Transfer Type            Interrupt
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0008  1x 8 bytes
        bInterval               1
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        1
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           1
      bInterfaceClass         3 Human Interface Devices
      bInterfaceSubClass      0 No Subclass
      bInterfaceProtocol      0 None
      iInterface              0 
        HID Device Descriptor:
          bLength                 9
          bDescriptorType        33
          bcdHID               1.10
          bCountryCode           33 US
          bNumDescriptors         1
          bDescriptorType        34 Report
          wDescriptorLength      23
         Report Descriptors: 
           ** UNAVAILABLE **
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x82  EP 2 IN
        bmAttributes            3
          Transfer Type            Interrupt
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0008  1x 8 bytes
        bInterval               1

The Windows software appears to consist of TenxHID.dll (24k) and Missile_Launcher.exe (908k). TenxHID only exports DeviceIni, ReadBuffer and WriteBuffer AFAICT. Which implies the higher level stuff is done in the exe to me. I think it's a job for USBSnoop and a Windows box, but that'll have to wait for a few days until I get back to a WinXP box I can use to fiddle. Unless someone else manages to write a driver in the meantime. :)

It's not easy being green.

Dec 21, 2005 / 0 comments

Socks

Dec 21, 2005 / 0 comments

When I had a real job I used to hate having to iron shirts every week. While I'll occasionally wear one when I go out it's not something I'd choose to wear to code in, so it grated that I had to expend effort in order to be able to wear something I didn't really want to.

These days I'm a lazy layabout who largely works from home and I can wear what I like. However I still have to deal with socks. Now, at least I like wearing socks, but they're still a PITA. Pairing them up in particular. I think the problem is that almost all my socks are plain black and while you think that would make things easy it really doesn't. They're different shades of black for starters. Or different shapes. Or feel different. Or are lost for months and then suddenly turn up and the other half of the pair that kept annoying you out of the corner of your eye has suddenly disappeared. Gah.

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