Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

March 18, 2005

Warped sense of distance

After a very short time at university in Cambridge, doubly so at a college in the centre of town, everyone quickly develops a very warped sense of distance. Anything that takes more than about 10 minutes to walk or 5 minutes to cycle to is Really Far Away, because everything that concerns students in the city is so centralised. Nothing highlights this more than the ongoing debate about which of my college’s two “outlying” undergraduate hostels are further away from college – the one I currently live in, or the one I was in last year. Both have proved to be sufficiently far away from the center of town to cause people who live in college to not bother to come and visit on occasion, or go back home rather than trekking to join us for a further drink. A quick check on Map24 in indicates that they are both in fact the same distance from college – a mere 0.35 miles. :P

posted by ramcq @ 4:03 am
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March 18, 2005

Beer, Ubuntu love, project stress

Although I was still feeling pretty ill yesterday, I went out last night for a few pints with mjg59 and robsterat the Free Press in Cambridge, a nice non-smoking pub with a few Greene King ales and some interesting trinkets on the wall. Despite having been there several times with Debian folks, and it being just over half a mile from where I currently live, I always have to walk round the wrong way and find the other three pubs in the vicinity before I manag to find it again. Thankfully, on the way back from there to my place to sample some gin and horrible cheap vodka, mjg59 showed me the correct unmarked lane to get directly between the pub and the main road, betraying the fact he’s been in Cambridge for far too long (although in his defence he has lived in the area)…

Later on, as an acid test for Matthew’s ACPI work, we tried installing the Ubuntu Hoary Preview on my really appallingly crappy FIC Celeron 366 old laptop, which previously under Linux did things like never enabling the CPU fan, so hard locking intermittently, and suspending to disk (with APM) when the battery was low, even though the AC was plugged in. It’s also got a really dodgy LCD (not TFT) screen with burnt patches, and weighs a ton. It took quite a while for Ubuntu to install, but booted in pretty decent time after that thanks to magic readahead and hotplug tweaks, and to my absolute amazement actually hibernated and resumed correctly, and suspend to RAM worked too when we enabled it. The CPU fan came on at 55C after making it do some work too, although the GNOME battery applet didn’t seem to notice when it was taken off AC, and lifting the lid doesn’t send a wake-up event like it claims to. Even so, I’m still glad I bought an X40, which is about half the weight and a hell of a lot quicker, and I’ve upgraded the acpi-support packages on it to Hoary’s latest versions to sort out some niggles with stuff not working after resuming from sleep – need to fiddle with my kernel and get hibernation working too. As a side point, I was also really impressed with the Update Manager & notification applet now included in Hoary – it’s exactly what the people I’ve given Ubuntu to in my building need to remember to install security updates.

Today I caught up quite a bit of sleep and felt a lot better, until I realised I had to go and see my project (I know, it’s fairly crackful…) supervisor and report on my progress this term. Unfortunately, I’m mind-bendingly behind schedule due to essentially having achieved nothing at all for several of the weeks in this term – I was hacking on it beforehand and my last darcs patches were from early February. He really wasn’t happy with me, and it was an awkward half hour or so while I explained how much more needed doing. The frustrating thing is even after I’ve done the coding, I have to write a dissertation, and I get marked for that only, and not the code… Now that lectures have finished, and supervisions are winding down, I’m staying in Cambridge over some of the easter break to try and nail it before next term and exam stress kicks in. Had a few pints in the college bar (lots of St. Patrick’s day drunkards around) and a game of Mao with my friends, and now I’m off to bed…

posted by ramcq @ 3:41 am
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