Esperanto and Second Life – a match made in heaven! In Second Life you have a lovely mixture of people from all around the world who want to speak Esperanto and are happy to teach other people. Plus you have this real-time conversation style which, combined with the easy grammatical rules of Esperanto, helps newbies to pick up a bit of the language very quickly.

I have discovered how to modify my Dvorak keyboard layout to include the extended Esperanto keys. On Linux, all you have to do is find your current keyboard layout (for me it is in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/gb) and add or replace the following lines:

key <AD07> { [ g, G, gcircumflex, Gcircumflex ] };
key <AD08> { [ c, C, ccircumflex, Ccircumflex ] };
key <AC04> { [ u, U, ubreve, Ubreve ] };
key <AC07> { [ h, H, hcircumflex, Hcircumflex ] };
key <AC10> { [ s, S, scircumflex, Scircumflex ] };
key <AB03> { [ j, J, jcircumflex, Jcircumflex ] };

For me, i simply had to add the lines because the gb(dvorak) layout extends the us(dvorak) layout. This allows you to hold down AltGr with the letter to type the modified version. Shift-AltGr also works.

Nun mi povas tajpi ĝusta en Esperanto! :)


Linux laptops from £169!

Aha, i managed to get away from the course early because i had finished the exercise (using for loops and conditions and casting to create a calculator of compound interest). Everything today has been relatively straightforward – nothing i couldn’t have figured out for myself, but that is reassuring to know at least.

On the train home i discovered another Linux user in Winchester! YAY! We got chatting after getting off the train – i complemented this person on their way cute titchy tiny little laptop. I wanted to know whether it was running Windows because i didn’t see a Windows key. No, it turns out it runs Xandros Linux! I smiled hugely and couldn’t help but say, “Good for you!” heheh!

After a very quick bit of browsing, i reckon it was one of these beauties: ASUS Eee PC – an ultra cheap, ultra small and light ‘subnotebook’ which comes pre-installed with Xandros! It weighs less than 1kg, boots up in 20 seconds, has all the best free software: OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Skype … it also has a media player and a video recorder. The price starts at £169.

Can i say … WANT!!!!

Oh my gosh, that would be so perfect for taking around on the train with me!! :)

C# course so far

Well things are going pretty well on the C# course. We get plenty of breaks and lots of practical exercises to do, which is nice. Started at 09:30 and hopefully finishing at about 16:30 today which seems really nice to me! :)

We have had the introduction to .NET which clarified a lot for me. I was rather bemused about this mystical thing called .NET and thought it was mostly marketing-speak. I wasn’t properly aware that many languages can use the same .NET libraries. I didn’t realise that it was pretty much a wrapper for categorising and holding more fundamental operating system functions within objects.

We have done the obligatory Hello World – both as a GUI and a command-line application. We have covered variables and constants, enumerated types, assignments, conditions, and just starting for loops and while loops now. Nothing too taxing.

The bad thing is the class is really quiet and the tutor does not encourage communication. After each exercise the tutor just tells us the answers, rather than asking us what we think the answers are, which would probably prompt a bit more discussion.

The other bad things are … we didn’t get any free lunch – i had to go and buy my own! :( and i am having to suffer Internet Explorer 6 which is even more awful than i remembered!

Anyway, we are about to begin again so i’ll sign out now …! :)

Windows disapproval

I’m on my course. Going well. It’s a short break now. I think the tutor is not a great fan of Windows either:

“If you go way back to when Windows was very popular …”

According to the tutor, that was around the era of Windows 3.1. It all went downhill from there!

Good weekend!

We had a nice weekend away with goodarcher: a bit of gardening, a bit of de-cluttering, lots of chatting and socialising, a bit of Torchwood, and a wonderful trip out to Bosham and elsewhere around and about West Sussex today. It was absolutely lovely. Met some nice new friends and had a very peaceful time. Came home in time for me to squeeze in a few chores, heheh! :)

The clock change is annoying me like it usually does. What’s the point, anyway? Everything feels wrong to me today and the time seems to be passing incredibly slowly. Except it’s now supposedly dinner time and yet it still feels like late afternoon. Why do we have to go through this annoyance twice a year anyway?! I generally try to ignore British Summer Time as much as possible – i shift my working hours to 9-5 during the Summer as opposed to 8-4 during the Winter. As far as my body clock is concerned i am working the same hours; it’s everyone else who has changed!

I reinstalled Debian again the latter part of last week, and i think i now know exactly how to install Ruby on Rails (and more importantly, how not to). I’ll write a post about it later. The good thing is, i am now updating MyChores to be Rails 2.0.2 compatible, so we can start to use the speed enhancements and API options of Rails 2.

Next week i am on a C# course in London. I am looking forward to it because i like learning, and it’ll be good to understand exactly what this C# thing is that i’ve been programming in! I am pretty good at feeling my way with programming languages, but i’m sure i’ll be hugely better at it once i know all the tricks and tips! :)

I also get to spend a night with nyecamden which will be fun! :)


It is with sadness that i reflect upon how great LJ once was, and how much i miss it.

I wrote a little letter to Brad. I made some spelling mistakes in it, which unfortunately i can’t edit now, but this is what it was supposed to say …

Dear Brad,

I am having a solemn afternoon, reflecting on what LiveJournal used to be, how much i loved it, and how drastically it has changed beyond all recognition.

I was a huge LJ fan once upon a time. I had a paid account, not because i particularly wanted the extra features, but because i wanted to support something that i loved so much. I actually enjoyed the days of invite codes because i loved to invite people! It gave me such satisfaction to look at my list of ‘children’ LJ accounts. I really got to know people … i used to call it LifeJournal instead of LiveJournal because you could become so intimately involved in people’s lives.

It had such a cosy home-grown feel. I used to like that little picture of you working hard on your computer, dreaming up exciting new features for us! News posts were a reason to get excited; i would eagerly go and try out whatever feature you had just released! These days a news post is a cause for despair: what awful idea have they cooked up this time?!

Now everything that was good about LJ has gone, and i feel so sorry for you. Six Apart and SUP have murdered the site that you created, loved and nurtured. They have mangled it and corrupted it into an ugly monster with no resemblance at all of the friendly place it used to be. Many of the userbase have become disillusioned, communities have become fractured, friends have left and gone elsewhere, and i feel i have lost touch with some of my closest friends because we no longer have this constant of LiveJournal to keep us all together.

I’d like to express my sincere condolences to you for what LiveJournal has become.

However, all is not lost, and i have to thank you for the gifts you have left us with. The original spirit of LiveJournal still lives on, through the open source code that other sites have taken and kept pure. No matter what SUP end up doing to LiveJournal, the other sites (particularly InsaneJournal) are learning from those mistakes and remaining true to what their userbase want. I must also thank you for OpenID which is truly the saving grace of this whole LJ disaster. Without it we would really become isolated from each other. There are other things that help keep us together too: RSS feeds and trackbacks. But OpenID is, in my opinion, the most innovative piece of technology that the Internet has ever seen, and i thank you for it from the bottom of my heart.

Though my words are insufficient, please feel the depth of my emotion as i grieve for what is lost, and thank you sincerely for what we still have.

With love and best wishes,

I had forgotten how much LiveJournal once meant to me until i started writing about it. It is so sad what has happened to it, and strengthens my resolve that i will never ever, under any circumstances, let anything like that happen to MyChores.

I wonder whether Brad will reply to me?


And now i hear LiveJournal, in their infinite wisdom stupidity, have dreamed up ANOTHER account type!! Just a way of cramming a few more advertisements into their site! Whatever were they thinking?!!!

And what was it they said a couple of weeks ago about three account types being too complicated when signing up? Idiots! I wish SUP would just come right out with the truth: “Yeah, we’re greedy selfish bastards who just can’t wait to make a whole bucket load more money out of you suckers!” Cos that really is what they’re saying, whether it’s in those words or not.

Frequent posting day

There’s something about computer woes that makes me want to blog a lot! I finally got Rails installed by some convoluted means. I wrote a lot down, crossed out a lot … next time i still won’t know which steps were actually necessary!

Now i am having trouble with Aptana/RadRails which apparently doesn’t appreciate having 64 bits to play with. I seem not to be the only person who is having this problem. I am considering trying something completely different.

Update: Installed GVIM and got the Ruby syntax highlighting working … and just discovered i can use it to clean up my code indentation! That has totally sold it to me! :D

Rails grrr

Why oh why is it so difficult to install Rails?!??!

I’ve never once had a clean install of Ruby, RubyGems and Rails that has gone exactly as the instructions say it should. Always there are missing dependencies, weird permissions errors, or things end up in funny places where you can never find them again.

RubyGems is the standard Ruby package manager. It’s similar to apt-get, emerge, and other OS package managers.

Yes, it’s ‘similar’ in that it calls itself a package manager. The difference to apt-get is that … hmm … apt-get actually works! I absolutely adore apt-get – it’s the easiest thing in the world!! :D