Week Notes 6 & 7

Another fortnightly “week notes”. But on the plus side I’ve written four other blog posts in the last two weeks.


I went back to the fracture clinic on Friday. They removed my cast and x-rayed my ankle. The consultant was happy with the way it all looked so she has discharged me. I’ve still got one crutch which I’m using as a walking stick occasionally, but I’m getting around pretty well. I have an appointment at the bone densitometry clinic in ten days time – but I assume that’s just standard procedure for anyone who breaks a bone.

The biggest surprise was getting on the scales for the first time in six weeks. Given that I’ve spent the intervening time doing almost no exercise and eating far too much, it was a pleasant surprise to find I’d lost six pounds. The body works in strange ways when it’s traumatised.

Speaking and Training

I updated the course material for my intermediate and advanced Perl courses and sent them off to be printed for next week’s sessions. Because of the leg it’ll be a more sedentary course than usual. Hope the attendees don’t mind.

I’ve also had a email conversation about doing some more training in a couple of months time. Looks like the training side of the business is really picking up.


I completed an article to go in issue 157 of Linux Format. That won’t be out for a couple of months (issues 155 has only just hit the shelves). This was slightly unusual as it wasn’t about Perl. It was a simple introduction to database design and SQL. And there’s a sample application written in PHP. Developing that was quite an experience.


My new laptop arrived. I was hoping to get a few blog posts out of the problems I had installing Linux on it. But everything just worked. If anyone is interested, here’s what I did.

  • Downloaded and burned CDs of Partition Magic and Fedora 64 bit
  • Booted laptop using Partition Magic Live CD
  • Resized Windows partition to free up most of the disk (I gave Windows 100 Gb of the 750 Gb disk)
  • Booted laptop using Fedora Live CD
  • Installed Fedora from the Live CD (I created a custom partition layout with two 250 Gb partitions – one for / and one for /home)
  • Rebooted into Fedora – which all worked

Actually, I’ve had one tiny issue. I like to use TweetDeck for Twitter. And TweetDeck is an Adobe Air application. And Adobe have stopped supporting Air for Linux. And I’m not sure that they ever supported 64 bit Linux. So I’ve given up on having TweetDeck as a desktop application and have installed the application for Google Chrome.

For the first time ever, I’ve bought a laptop without a VGA  port. This is important as I’m often plugging my laptop into rather ancient projectors. I didn’t spot the lack of VGA port until the laptop arrived so I bought a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adaptor from Amazon. Bizarrely that’s not one of the extras that Dell try to sell you when you’re buying the laptop. I think they’ve missed a trick there to be honest.

Installing a 64 bit version of Fedora on my new laptop made me realise that I’d only installed a 32 bit version on my desktop machine. And I’d been quite disappointed with the performance of my desktop since I bought it eighteen months ago. As an experiment I installed a PAE version of the kernel and found that the system suddenly got a lot faster as it could access twice as much memory. The PAE kernal is only a halfway step though. At some point I need to reinstall the system completely using a 64 bit kernel.

But I suppose it’s good to be reminded that there are areas of IT where I’m just as clueless as the next person.

General Business Stuff

Bought some new business cards to hand out at this week’s training sessions. Bought them from Moo, of course (that’s a referral link – if you use it I get some kickback on you get 10% off your first order).

Magnum Solutions Ltd LogoThe cards feature the new Magnum Solutions logo that I’ve started to use. Need to redesign the web site to use it – but at the same time I’ll probably move the web site from Movable Type to WordPress, so that’s a project for another time.


I’ve been rewatching old superhero films for no good reason – Catwoman, Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider. The quality varies incredibly. The only films I’ve seen for the first time are The Disappeared (which I can remember nothing about), I, Robot (which I wish I could remember nothing about) and The Wrestler (which was ok).


Watched a lot of TV on DVD. We’ve now seen all of the first four seasons of Mad Men for the second time and are very much looking to the new series next month. We’ve also got to the end of series three of Lost.

I’ve also seen the first episode of Grimm. It sounded like my kind of thing, but it turns out to be a bit obvious and repetitive. Might give it a couple more weeks to prove itself.

After series five of Skins I came very close to giving up on it. The third generation characters just didn’t interest me at all. But I’ve been watching series six and it seems that, slowly, I’m warming to them.

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