Getting your news when it has become olds

When something really note worthy happens, I usually don’t go longer than a few days without knowing.

But, for some reason, I just learnt about something that happened 19 March 2008.

Only by reading this comic in this book did I learn of Arthur C. Clarke‘s passing. This is particularly shocking as Arthur C. Clarke was the main author of the books I read in my childhood.

You’d have thought that it would have been bigger news.   Maybe I just live under a rock.

Buy the book, read the comics, follow the might of Hijinks Ensue.

Installing Boxee on Ubuntu 9.10 on Acer Aspire Revo R3600

This is on rather than my other blog on as it wasn’t as quick and easy as I’d have liked to set up. So, in a way, a very tiny rant with a lot of helpful content (I hope).

Inspiration for this article came from following Popey’s setup instructions with Ubuntu 9.10 alpha.

  1. Download Ubuntu 9.10 32bit desktop ISO:
  2. a) if you have an external CD drive, burn the ISO to a CD.
    b) if you have a USB flash drive: download and install UNetbootin from This is available for Windows and Linux. Use this util. to ‘burn’ the ISO to your USB flash drive.
  3. a) if you have an external CD drive, put the ubuntu CD into the drive.
    b) if you have a USB flash drive, plug it into the Revo (Any USB port seems to work).
  4. Power on the Revo and hit f12 to enter the boot menu.
  5. Select CD or USB depending on your install medium.
  6. Select Default, or wait and it’ll select it for you.
  7. The Ubuntu desktop will eventually load.
  8. Have a play, or click ‘Install Ubuntu 9.10’.
  9. On step 4, partitioning, I chose to use the entire disk. If you don’t want to ditch the shipped OS, choose another option.
  10. Set up a username/password then choose if you want to log in automatically.  Normally, I wouldn’t set this, but as it’s going to be a media centre, you might as well have it log in automatically.
  11. Step 6 will allow you to check you have set the options you want. Once you are happy, continue the install and go make a cuppa tea, do the washing, feed the cat, read a book; as this will take some time.
  12. Reboot the machine once installation has finished.
  13. When the desktop is usable, run the Update Manager – at the time of writing, there were 86 packages to be updated.
  14. Click on Restricted drivers available and activate the NVidia accelerated graphics driver.
  15. From this point, follow Popey’s install instructions.
  16. Whilst following Alan’s instructions, I had to grab 3 debs from Jaunty (rather than his stated 1). These are:

By this point, Boxee is accessible via the Sound & Video menu.

Next task, for me, is to get an external enclosure for my internal blu-ray drive (still waiting for decent blu-ray support in linux).

Fireworks – fun or explosives for all?

[this is a bit of a random rant, excuse me whilst I ramble]

Every year, the sale of fireworks seems to come earlier and earlier.

In the UK, we used to use them on the 5th November (or the closest weekend). Now they seem to be in use from the 30th October to mid November. And then over the whole Christmas period.

When in the right hands, they can be great fun. But as people have more and more access to them, the fun becomes less.

My thoughts:

  • The sale of fireworks should be licensed in the same manner as the sale of alcohol.
  • The purchase of fireworks should be more tightly controlled. Get them out of the supermarkets and corner-shops for a start.
  • The use of fireworks should also be licensed. This would restrict displays to organised events and not 14 year old kids throwing fireworks down the street, or scaring fish.

I don’t want to be kill joy, but explosives need to be treated with respect.

Maybe I’m getting old and jumpy. I love the look of a good display. I don’t like having to fish the cat out from underneath the bed.