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Fri, 25 Feb 2011

The Waifs live - 11:59
I was able to go out and see The Waifs live show at the Canberra Theatre last night. They still play together really well, play off each others strengths well and seem to be enjoying their time on stage a lot which was great to see. The Audience of course really got into the few classic songs they played. The new album content was interesting, I think I will need to buy it and have a listen for a while to see if it grows on me (being released on March 4).

Vicki performed an awesome version of Sun, Dirt, Water with just her and the upright bass player on stage. Josh took the lead in some of the new material with a kind of gospel bent. Throughout the gig I thought Donna's voice often seemed to be overpowering the rest but it did not sound that strong during her songs. Still an excellent night of live music, such a shame we do not get to see them more often in Australia now (like we used to when they were at the national every year or other similar appearances). They celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Waifs next year which is pretty impressive just to think about.

[/leisure/music] link

Tue, 22 Feb 2011

Egos Like Hairdos at another AROC sprint - 15:50
Thanks to Ian and Aaron I was able to have another fun reasonably fast race in the recent AROC Sprint at Stromlo and the Cotter. I of course had a camera with me and took a bunch of photos. They can be found in the normal place.

[/mtb/events] link

Wed, 16 Feb 2011

Olive Clips - 20:02
I was trying to find the correct name of the pink clips on the end of the Q-Spear rack bungee cords the other day. I got as far as "shock cord clips" but still was not getting too many results. I have a few purple clips I use on bike tow systems I bought at the Marine shop in Woden years ago, however the shop has since closed.

Fortunately one of my friends discovered they are called "Olive Clips" in Australia and are somewhat readily available at boating supply stores around the place.

[/mtb/gear] link

Sat, 05 Feb 2011

New toy - A netbook with great battery life - 15:43
Before heading up to a few weeks ago I was thinking about the need to be able to keep using my laptop all day at the conference. The battery in my XPS M1330 simply does not last that long. Also commuting in the Brisbane heat carrying that, and a power adapter along with the other stuff needed into the conference every day seemed like overkill.

I have been reading about various netbooks for a while, and finally I realised I have a good laptop for the things I need a laptop for provided by work. However when travelling it is handy to have something less important and expensive, with better battery life. Everything else can be easily dealt with. The Samsung series of netbooks regularly had the best battery life mentioned in reviews, so looking at the models in stock at JB Hifi the NF 210 was claimed (by Samsung) to have 14 hours. Most Linux reviewers of it seemed to suggest 8 to 10 hours was the norm. So I headed over to buy one.

For AUD $437 I got a 1 GB RAM, 250 GB hdd, Atom N445 dual thread (I think) netbook with a 1024x600 screen and a huge battery life with the 6 cell battery it came with. At lca I was able to leave the (rather minimalist) power adapter where I was staying and just take the netbook, it easily lasted the whole day open during all talks and using wireless the whole time plus some other usage.

Gnome power battery status suggests 12 hours from 100% charge with the screen on minimum brightness, right now I am typing this outdoors with the screen at 50% the battery is at 50% and the report suggests 5 hours remaining. I installed a standard Debian Squeeze netinst install off a usb stick and downloaded an identical set of packages (almost) to those on my laptop, no need for a restricted environment as it is a fairly powerful computer anyway. Pretty much everything has worked well under Linux, the only slight complication was the need for a ppa samsung-backlight deb to control the backlight from the keyboard. The backlight seems to go dim on no use even when those options are not selected in gnome power manager so also something that could be investigated.

Also Paulus bought one and had a few problems with it freezing due to the closed wireless firmware on resume from suspend it seemed. I have had one lockup (possibly related) but it has not been a problem. The wireless driver does need to be reloaded on resume from suspend before it works (easy to do) but that is something I may be keen to look into at some point. I should not be surprised though how easy it was to have a capable working Linux system, that is often the norm with hardware these days (especially with much better/broader driver support than any other operating system).

For getting around the place some light work (compiling, interpreters, emacs, web browser, etc) it is a capable system and not lacking. I am a happy purchaser, even though my first one had to be returned within three hours of purchase due to a failed hard disk, since then it has been excellent.

[/comp/hardware] link

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