I realize that I first started using X11‘s xedit in 1989. I’ve moved on a bit from editing ANSYS source scripts, but that means I’ve used it in the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s.
that looks bendy
A Scooma folding bike seen on the Danforth.
yay bloggers, it’s cold!
GTAbloggers tonight. Is there any coincidence that it was absolutely baltic last time, and there aren’t exactly that many brass monkeys hanging around today?
in and around the van
Spent a pleasant, if damp, day scooting around Vancouver and environs with Dave. After a quick tour of Granville Island, we headed off to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. We then had lunch at Fuel, which is extremely good.
We had to work off lunch somehow, so we hiked around Lynn Canyon Park, which includes the nifty and shoogly Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Back at Dave & Leanne’s place, we decided on dinner and a movie, but I had to bail on the movie ‘cos my cold was getting bad.
Vancouver is so green. I like it.
The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007
In haste: The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007
(now updated to include better MP3s)
a narrow escape
I narrowly avoided buying an old Speed Graphic camera on eBay today. I regretted bidding almost immediately; film is a pain, and I’m glad I didn’t win. It would have been a nice ornament, but nothing more useful.
self portrait as mobile phone
(found while clearing up old files.)
“It will feel strange …”
Leo Marks, on hearing of an old couple who died within days of one another, and were buried together:
It will feel strange
Not to nudge you
Or to talk to you
Or keep you warm
When you’re lying there
Only a few feet away
Or perhaps even less
But we shall get used to it in time
Of which we’ll have plenty
We always treasured silences
In which we said everything
We shall continue to treasure them
And to say everything
Throughout the longest silence of all.
— from Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s Story 1941-1945.
spring (!) cleaning
I’m upgrading Gallery right now, so many of my pictures will be unavailable for a bit. I suspect (but I hope not) that my old deep links into Gallery from the blog will be broken by the upgrade.
For probably no better reason beyond babbittry, I’ve always half-wanted a lomo. Half-wanted, that is, because of my previous experience with “Russian” photo gear (I’ve had a Lomo TLR, a Fed rangefinder, and a Pentacon six) and its legendary quality control. I’m also so done with film.
A while back, Donncha wrote about aÂ GIMP Lomo Plugin. While it looked handy, the link to the code is now dead. You can find what I think is the same one here: http://flelay.free.fr/pool/lomo2.scm (or a local copy here if that link dies: lomo2.scm). Just pop it in your .gimp-2.2/scripts/ directory, and it’ll appear as a filter. The original author‘s comment on Donncha’s blog contains good settings: Vignetting softness=1, Contrast=30, Saturation=30, Double Vignetting=TRUE.
I knew there was a reason I retrieved my old 1.3 megapixel Fujifilm MX-1200 from my parents’ house. And that reason is fauxlomo!
All the printers I’ve ever owned …
- An ancient (even in 1985) Centronics serial dot-matrix printer that we never got working with the CPC464. The print head was driven along a rack, and when it hit the right margin, an idler gear was wedged in place, forcing the carriage to return. Crude, noisy but effective.
- Amstrad DMP-2000. Plasticky but remarkably good 9-pin printer. Had an open-loop ribbon that we used to re-ink with thick oily endorsing ink until the ribbons wore through.
- NEC Pinwriter P20. A potentially lovely 24-pin printer ruined by a design flaw. Print head pins would get caught in the ribbon, and snap off. It didn’t help that the dealer that sold it to me wouldn’t refund my money, and required gentle persuasion from a lawyer to do so.
- Kodak-Diconix 300 inkjet printer. I got this to review for Amiga Computing, and the dealer never wanted it back. It used HP ThinkJet print gear which used tiny cartridges that sucked ink like no tomorrow; you could hear the droplets hit the page.
- HP DeskJet 500. I got this for my MSc thesis. Approximately the shape of Torness nuclear power station (and only slightly smaller), last I heard it was still running.
- Canon BJ 200. A little mono inkjet printer that ran to 360dpi, or 720 if you had all the time in the world and an unlimited ink budget.
- Epson Stylus Colour. My first colour printer. It definitely couldn’t print photos very well.
- HP LaserJet II. Big, heavy, slow, and crackling with ozone, this was retired from Glasgow University. Made the lights dim when it started to print. Came with a clone PostScript cartridge that turned it into the world’s second-slowest PS printer. We did all our Canadian visa paperwork on it.
- Epson Stylus C80. This one could print photos tolerably well, but the cartridges dried out quickly, runing the quality and making it expensive to run.
- Okidata OL-410e PS. The world’s slowest PostScript printer. Sold by someone on tortech who should’ve known better (and bought by someone who also should’ve known better), this printer jams on every sheet fed into it due to a damaged paper path. Unusually, it uses an LED imaging system instead of laser xerography, and has a weird open-hopper toner system that makes transporting a part-used print cartridge a hazard.
- HP LaserJet 4M Plus. With its duplexer and extra paper tray it’s huge and heavy, but it still produces crisp pages after nearly 1,000,000 page impressions. I actually have two of these; one was bought for $99 refurbished, and the other (which doesn’t print nearly so well) was got on eBay for $45, including duplexer and 500-sheet tray. Combining the two (and judiciously adding a bunch of RAM) has given me a monster network printer which lets you know it’s running by dimming the lights from here to Etobicoke.
- IBM Wheelwriter typewriter/ daisywheel printer. I’ve only ever produced a couple of pages on this, but this is the ultimate letter-quality printer. It also sounds like someone slowly machine-gunning the neighbourhood, so mostly lives under wraps.
- HP PhotoSmart C5180. It’s a network photo printer/scanner that I bought yesterday. Really does print indistinguishably from photos, and prints direct from memory cards. When first installed, makes an amusing array of howls, boinks, squeals, beeps and sproings as it primes the print heads.
And we didn’t even need to sacrifice anything to bring the sun back. But don’t forget the old Scottish saw: “As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens.”
in the running
Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:
A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – OlÃ©! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.
nostalgia for something that never existed
The Verbatim FlashDisc seems to be a solution without a problem to solve.
It’s a cheap ($4) but very tiny (16MB) USB memory key in the vague form of some kind of magnetic media. There are problems:
- $0.25/MB may seem cheap, but it would mean that a 1GB key at this price was $256
- It neatly blocks most of the USB ports on a machine
- Just what kind of media is it supposed to be? It looks closest to an old spool of mag-tape, but folks buying this wouldn’t remember that.
I rather like the new TTC tokens. Their swirly pattern makes them look asymmetric, but it’s a trick of the light.
Wish I had one of the pre-1975 “SUBWAY” tokens, but alas …
DexitÂ® INSTEAD? No, Dexit is dead
I see that the number of Dexit terminals has reduced to almost nothing, and now they’re offering refunds of outstanding balance. Looks like it’s dead.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Dexit. It was almost a great idea, but offered no significant advantage over cash from the bank machine. I wonder how long it will be before you can buy the old terminals in Active Surplus?
very, very old school
As I appear to have broken Catherine‘s ability to play Crystal Quest by upgrading her eMac to 10.3.9, I need to find an alternative way to run it. I remember running Basilisk II years ago on a very old Linux box â€” indeed, my ancient instructions are still here: archive.org :: Installing Mac OS 7.5.3 under Basilisk II on Linux, and quite amazingly, are still useful.
I found the following helpful to get it going under OS X:
- Basilisk II, OS X Port, Howtos
- MacOs Emulator at oldos.org
rip the carpet up off the floor
It’s moving day. We’re moving the office from North York to downtown. Very downtown, in fact; 200 University, almost my old Oanda stamping ground.
In celebration of leaving Vic Park & Sheppard, I guess I really must have one last burger from Johnny’s…
Took advantage of the holiday to scoot down to The 12th Fret to have my banjo looked at. I’d managed to do a bad thing to the tailpiece (which I’d rather not talk about, thank you), and had Grant fit capo spikes at 7, 9 & 10.
While working on the fretboard, Grant confirmed that these really were model railway track spikes â€” or more correctly, model railway enthusiasts use capo spikes to hold their rails down!
see, I told you ages ago
Trendy roof turbines are not as green as they look says The Observer. <smugness/>
Paul Gipe has some thoughts on this:
- Rooftop Turbines: Rooftop Mounting and Building Integration of Wind Turbines
- Roof Top Over the Top in Britain
- Roof Top Windsave in Scotland
The last one has a couple of pictures I took when we were in Scotland.