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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Vista disappointment, overnights and a brief worrying moment

I can see this entry becoming a bit of a dull techie one, I'm afraid.

For now, though, the other bits! I had a strange Sunday - the three colleagues and I, who made up the duty weekend shift, realised that the only way to carry out a four-yearly safety inspection of one of the production areas was to throw all hands to the pump and carefully co-ordinate all the testing, from the wiring insfrastructure to the individual pieces of kit and their associated power leads.

We took 'lunch' just before two, and we were met in the office by a couple of strangers who had been invited up by one of my colleagues. To cut a long story short, I got talking to them, and it turned out that one of them was a fairly well-known stand-up comedian - Patrick Monahan. It turned out that he, and the lady who runs the monthly comedy club across the road from our building, were making the most of my workmate's technical connections to carry out some vox-pops for his forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe show.

The remarkable thing was that I only realised I recognised him when we started talking about his web presence, at which he mentioned his name (handy have an eponymous website!) since he'd presented a number of the Creation Stand-Up Comedy podcasts (which used to be good, free, fun, but, apart from some brief previews, are charged-for now) and it was then that I realised I had heard his voice a number of times before.

He was a very friendly chap, though, and we had some good banter; a good way to make the lunchtime go by!

I didn't really have much time off on Monday, since I was in work last night on a 'specialist' nightshift - a large number of fairly critical items needed to be replaced by their supplier due to a manufacturing defect, and I was asked to come in and check every single one of the dependent bits of kit (the best part of forty mixing desks and ancillaries) to ensure they were behaving.

Added to that was a couple of rather tantalizing challenges, one of which was left for me by our best engineer ("Little Cook" as he's affectionately known due to his slight resemblance to Dan Wright.. well, OK, he has a daft mullet, too), and by ten past eight I was just about finished (in every sense!)

I'm hoping for a fairly early night tonight in order to catch up with my sleep - since it was a 'one-off' but I have a few days off coming up, so that'll certainly help.

techie bit
Over the course of a couple of quiet (read 'uninspired') evenings, I thought I'd give Windows Vista a go, having successfully installed the rather excellent (and free, since it's still in beta) VMWare Fusion. Since the implementation of video is fairly limited (next-to no 3D acceleration and heavily emulated graphics) the performance score was a rather disappointing "1":

A rating of '1' for Vista's Performance on VMWare Fusion

Without the shiny features of Aero (here's a rather breathtaking video of it in comparison with the Beryl Linux desktop), there really isn't much difference between this and a version of Windows XP with IE7 and the latest version of Windows Media Player installed. In fact, with all the rather paranoid questions it keeps asking (it seems to me that Microsoft have obviously gone all-out to ensure the system integrity is maintained, to the expense of the user experience), I can see why user demand has forced Dell to start shipping XP again...

Finally, I was just about to head to work last night when OS X decided to apply a security update. Fool that I am, I gave the Mac the chance to reboot just before I went out of the door, and it hung for a terrifying time; when I went into 'Verbose mode' it turned out that it was indeed waiting for "diskarb" to start up.. but by the time I'd reached the other end of the M1 it had finally started up OK.

So many things to worry about! Speaking of which, I'd better go and water the garden...

Posted by james at April 24, 2007 5:44 PM

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