Moving on...

After nearly six years living in Nottingham, we've decided it's time to move on. Our house has, in fact, already sold (but the English system of house purchase means that "sold" doesn't have a really good definition: either party can pull out, for any reason, right up until the time money hits your bank account!). We therefore find ourselves now doing frequent day-trips to Norfolk and Suffolk, our preferred new counties of potential habitation. Unfortunately, we haven't yet found a suitable replacement for the place we are shortly to be required to move out of, so further day-trips are required.

That, in turn, means little time is presently available for software development, so the new Niente is likely to be delayed a bit. Sorry about that. [...] 

Continue Reading

Bye-bye, Last.fm

I've long been an advocate for registering the fact you just played concerto X or symphony Y with a web-accessible store of data, such as Last.fm. I've been doing precisely that with everything I've played since January 8th 2008, so Last.fm have a record of about 14 years of my listening history. The thumbnail at the left shows you that's quite considerable: 202,000+ "scrobbles" (i.e., a record of the completion of a 'play') have been received in that time,

My top 'plays' as recorded by Last.fm are (in descending order) Britten, JS Bach, Vaughan Williams, Handel and Sibelius -which isn't so hugely different from what has been recorded on this very website since June 2021[...] 

Continue Reading

QEII

Like everyone else, I expect, I had been aware that Queen Elizabeth II was in declining health and was unlikely to last much longer (though I personally had my fingers crossed that she'd last until her centenary, at which point she would have beaten Louis XIV to the title of longest-ever reigning monarch: that's the competitive historian in me, I guess!) I was nevertheless taken aback when the news broke that the decline had been faster, and more terminal, than anticipated.

I am neither ardent monarchist nor fervent republican: I just think the Head of State mostly does ceremonial duties and therefore the person performing the ribbon-cutting doesn't really matter. On the other hand, if you elect Heads of States directly, they tend to become Presidential and centers of power in their own right -which doesn't suit the Westminster system very well at all. Plus, certain Presidents (mentioning no names, but the French and US ones spring to mind) tend to behave as quasi-monarchs anyway, so if you're going that route, what's the difference?! Appointing former political leaders to the ceremonial Head of State role also doesn't sit well, I think: they have a past, and past allegiances and loyalties to mates, and one of the nice things about a hereditary Head of State is that they owe no-one any favours. It's quite a nice check-and-balance to have, in other words, where the ultimate referee of the constitutional game is beholden to no-one for their position. [...] 

Continue Reading

Tragedy! (Averted :)

As expected, Monday and Tuesday turned into absolute scorchers and in a land almost entirely devoid of real air conditioning units in domestic settings, it was pretty nasty and definitely uncomfortable. The thermometer on the left is decently accurate and, although that shot was taken with it in the sun, when it was placed in the shade, it was still showing 37°C.

And that was outside! Inside the house, the temperatures just kept rising and the decision to shutdown all my servers in the loft for the duration turned out to have been wise, I think! [...] 

Continue Reading

Progress Progesses...

I thought it was probably time for a progress report or two!

First, Giocoso Version 2.0 is practically ready. The only thing holding it back is the business of preparing documentation for it -and the fact as a new piece gets written, I get slightly annoyed with something or other and decide I need to tweak the code a bit to deal with it. Which then means going back and making sure all previously-written documentation still correctly describes the way I originally said the program works. It's a bit like a snake eating its own tail: we'll get there eventually, once I stop fiddling with things. But meanwhile, all the fiddling is making nice, if minor, improvements to things. I am still aiming for a June release ...but what with the Platinum Jubilee, summer weather and the like, it may yet slip into July. But it's close! [...] 

Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning

A glance at my software downloads page will tell you that it wasn't just Giocoso which had lately developed a problem with accented characters on Manjaro+KDE. In fact, every piece of software I've written which uses the metaflac utility to read FLAC metadata tags suffered from the same problem. Accordingly, all needed to be fixed and all now have been fixed; each utility can therefore be updated whenever you're ready, using the utility name plus the --checkver run-time switch.

In other words, if you wanted to bump AES to its latest version, you'd type aes --checkver. If you needed to upgrade Niente, it would be niente --checkver. And so on. [...] 

Continue Reading

Geoblocking Enabled

Not that it makes much difference in the great scheme of things, but just in case you use a VPN service that has servers in either Russia or Belarus: I've blocked visitors from both those countries from accessing this website, until further notice.

Of course, any Russian or Belarusian citizen will be able to VPN their way around such a block, fairly trivially, in their turn... but maybe every little helps. [...] 

Continue Reading

PC Change... One More Time!

Four months in, and for some unknown reason, my Minisforum UM250 running Kubuntu decided to go all graphical-glitchy on me, as it had previously done in Manjaro and Arch. It then seemed to get better after a while, before going all wonky once more. Currently, it's in an 'OK' phase, but who knows how long that will last! I assume some software got updated somewhere along the line -maybe a driver of some sort- and this introduced instabilities where there were none before. But, frankly, at this point I don't care any more: the Minisforum is destined to be retired from desktop duties and instead will be translated to the loft, where it can run something 'server-like' that doesn't require a GUI nor day-to-day interaction with it. I haven't thought what, precisely, it might end up doing, but I'm sure I'll think of something before too long!

It's a shame (not least, because it wasn't cheap!), but I can't be having my daily driver desktop doing random things at random times. [...] 

Continue Reading

Tweaks and Twiddles

Another round of software tweaks and twiddles -mostly minor, some a little more significant.

First, AMP has been bumped a couple of notches to 1.16. It's mostly to do with a few colour tweaks, but also an annoying bug dealing with distros that don't have the 'bc' utility installed by default.  Those should all now work fine (so that's OpenSuse, Endeavour OS, Debian, Arch and Raspbian). [...] 

Continue Reading

A couple of changes...

You will perhaps have noticed a dramatic change to the 'look and feel' of the website: the result of getting bored with what had been the look-and-feel for nearly 2 years, I'm afraid! I've gone minimal and, I hope, more 'punchy' and easier to read in consequence.

There may be a few colour/font tweaks and twiddles in the days and weeks to come, but I think most of the disruption is done and dusted. [...] 

Continue Reading