Week Notes 15 & 16

Another fortnightly week notes. That really wasn’t how this was supposed to work. Only one other blog post in that time too. I’m a lazy blogger.


With my leg feeling much better, I’ve started to concentrate on losing weight. About a week ago I bought a Fitbit. It’s a bit like a pedometer, but it measures more than just the number of steps you take – it also measures the number of flights of stairs that you climb and monitors the quality of your sleep. There’s a USB transmitter/receiver thing and whenever you’re close to that, it uploads the latest data to the Fitbit web site. It was my wife who suggested it. She realised that the challenge of measuring things and having little targets to beat (can I walk further today than I did yesterday) appeals to my geeky nature. She’s probably right too. I’ve lost three pounds since I’ve had it.

Alongside that I’ve also signed up with My Fitness Pal, which I use to track the number of calories I eat and the the amount of exercise that I do. It also pulls data down from the Fitbit site and takes  that into account when working out how many more calories I can eat in a day.

Calorie counting is a real pain. Who knew that calories tasted so good?


I’ve had a couple of run ins with technology in the last couple of weeks. Devices that were more complex than they needed to be to use with Linux.

The first problem was the Fitbit. it turned out that there was no way to do the initial set-up on Linux so I reluctantly booted my laptop into Windows for the first time in months. But having done the initial configuration I’ve been able to do the day-to-day data uploading quite happily from Linux. There’s a libfitbit priject on Github which seems to have stalled, but works pretty well in its current form.

Then there was a new printer. I got a free Dell P513W when I bought my new laptop recently but I hadn’t got round to setting it up until last weekend. Once again I needed to be in Windows in order to run the initial configuration. It connects to a wireless network and there was no Linux software to configure that.

But having got it up and running and working successfully with a PC running Windows it should have been simple enough to get it running across the network from a Linux system. For that to work I needed a PPD file for the printer. So I went to the Dell site to find it. This README file implied that the correct file was available, but it proved hard to track down. So eventually, I resorted to writing to Dell customer support who gave me some of the worst support I’ve ever come across and didn’t solve my problem. I don’t have space here to describe how incompetent they were. I should write a blog post.

I still don’t have that printer working under Linux, but I have a few avenues to explore.

Training and Speaking

Preparations are in full swing for my trip to Edinburgh. I’m going up next weekend and spending a week running training courses for Edinburgh University.

I’ve also been talking to another client about perhaps doing something up in the north of England later in the year. No firm plans yet. Not even sure if it’ll be public or private courses.


Two gigs in the last three days. And both of them were at the Union Chapel. On Thursday night I saw June Tabor and the Oysterband and last night I went back to see John Renbourn, Robin Williamson and Wizz Jones.

I’ve been buying tickets for things coming up later in the year. One particularly mad event is the Crystal Palace Garden Party on June 23rd. Rick Wakeman, Hawkwind, Focus, The Strawbs, Curved Air and Barclay James Harvest. It’s like it’s still 1975.


I saw and very much enjoyed Cabin in the Woods. Rather strange ending though.

Looking forward to seeing The Avengers (or as it’s now known, Avengers Assemble) when it opens next weekend.

6 Replies to “Week Notes 15 & 16”

      1. Oh…sorry David, I thought I saw you just behind me (I was on the left in the first bench) but I made a mistake.
        Nice concert. I had the opportunity to talk with Renbourn and I realised that he is a really special person!!!

        Best waves,

    1. Yeah, that’s what I’m currently investigating. That downloads a gzipped tarball. When you extract that you get a shell script called dell-inkjet-09-driver-1.0-1.i386.deb.sh.tar.gz and that “.deb” means it’s not going to work well on a Fedora system. The README I mentioned about implies there’s a .rpm version too, but I can’t find that anywhere.

      I have, however, managed to extract the files from the .deb version. And I hope I can use those to get it all working.

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