May 21st, 2004


Part 2

We took buzzy_bee's advice and went a short hop on the motorway rather than following MapQuest's instructions to the letter in order to get to Harborne. We had to go round the roundabout a few times just off the motorway before we found the correct road and the rest of the instructions weren't quite plain sailing, but anyway we made it eventually to St Mary's about 10 minutes late for the start of the service in which one of bopeepsheep's cousins was to take First Holy Communion. After letting her out with the baby I then spent another 10 minutes trying to park and then wondering where I was going to sit.

Anyway, that all went fairly well, though it was sweltering inside the church. I wondered if I recognised the organist as someone who used to be at Queen's many years ago, but I didn't get chance to find out as J developed a very painful back towards the end of the service and had to be taken out to the car as soon as it finished. We then had a short hop with only a few wrong turnings to J's cousin's house for general milling about in the garden and buffet lunch. We said hello to various of J's relatives and smallclanger enjoyed crawling about on the lawn in the sunshine. Lunch finished at about 5pm with chocolate cake, and we began to disperse.

On arriving home I gave J the bag of birthday presents which I had intended taking out (oops) and we moved slowly towards bed, with a late night tea consisting of a tuna baguette sandwich.

Shiny toys

On Monday the laptop that I had ordered should have been delivered. However, bopeepsheep took the baby into town for a bit of shopping, and when she got back she found a card from the delivery firm. I rang and told them to try again on Wednesday afternoon, which the phone operator said was fine and she placed a note on the computer system (or I presume that's what she was doing). However, bopeepsheep was in when the delivery from Toys `я' Us arrived with lots of shiny things for smallclanger. I discovered on Livejournal, of all places, that J had gone out and bought a Game Cube, too (plus a pack containing a memory card and an extra controller). So when I got back home, there they were sitting at the bottom of the stairs.

On Tuesday, bopeepsheep went to the dentist's and missed a delivery by about 30 minutes. It was the laptop again, despite the fact that I had told them to come on Wednesday.

In the evening, we christened the Cube by having our first game of Mario Karting. It awarded me a golden buggy or something - I forget the details, and J hadn't inserted the memory card correctly so we didn't get to save the game data.

On Wednesday, the wireless card (which I should have ordered in the first place to save a lot of trouble) turned up. It's identical to the one that bopeepsheep is currently using, so of course it won't work in the old laptop - but that no longer matters.

bopeepsheep and smallclanger went out in the morning (to PEEP baby-group and the library) and didn't find a card from the delivery firm when they got back. But J had to stay in all afternoon waiting for it, and just when I was contemplating the inconvenience of having to drive to Didcot to collect the blasted thing, it finally arrived (at 5.10pm). I had a little play with it in Windows - didn't do anything much but I did investigate some software for programming a digital badge on behalf of someone else, which requires a Windows machine but wasn't important enough to bother bopeepsheep with to try it on her machine. One noteable thing about the delivery is that they had completely ignored my order of a network card (not even a note to say that it was out of stock or whatever). smallclanger was a lively soul and wanted to climb about instead of going to bed, so we didn't get any more games in.

Yesterday some more shiny things arrived from Amazon. For some reason, bopeepsheep had ordered the first series of Blake's 7 on DVD for me. Not that she needs a reason, of course. :-) Another thing which arrived was Super Monkeyball 2 which is a present for both of us, really.

I've started installing Fedora Core 2 on the laptop - conveniently enough, FC2 was released on Tuesday afternoon, so I had the CDs ready by the time the laptop arrived. However, I've noticed that the screen of the laptop isn't in tip-top condition. It has a few noticeable light patches, and one dark scratch-like mark (which doesn't actually seem to be a scratch despite looking like one). My nearly-seven-year-old ThinkPad 380D has a better quality screen, and so does bopeepsheep's 600E, which we bought second-hand one year ago. So I went to bed with that kind of sinking feeling I sometimes get when it all seems like I've made a terrible mistake. (Nevertheless, that feeling usually subsides quite quickly, so doubtless things aren't as bad as I've made them out to be.) It's not that I missed out on the offer that the_muttster pointed to about half an hour after I'd placed an order (incidentally, that particular offer is no longer available), but that of the two suppliers I chose the wrong one, chiefly on the basis of the net-card (that in any case never showed up).

Anyway, this morning I solicited bopeepsheep's opinion and she thinks the markings aren't actually that bad, so in the scheme of things I'm probably overreacting and I'll get used to it before long. (If all else fails we can swap machines - she won't be too displeased to swap a P2/400 with 160MB for a P3/900 with 256MB).

I haven't got the wireless card to work in FC2 yet; the hardware is apparently detected and can be messed-around-with using iwconfig, but it remains in "not ready" state. I've found the web page for the driver (which says the card should work perfectly), so it's probably just a case of going down the README and making sure everything's in place. However, I note that the driver doesn't support WPA yet, which is a slight disappointment as I was going to turn that on once the network is up and running. (Windows 98 doesn't support it either, and that's the other operating system on this machine.)

Update: Well, emailing them to say I was a bit unhappy paid off, as they have offered an exchange (they bring a box, I send them away with the old box). I have told them to deliver to the lab, to save J missing them again while she is at the dentist (again). And they apologised for overlooking the net card.

Update 2: I did manage to get the wireless card working - it needed the firmware file, which can be found on the CD of Windows drivers which comes with the device (or on the Linux driver web page).


Going wireless

What it cost, in the end…

Excluding delivery:

3Com Office Connect 11g access point£55.99
with a free 3Com Office Connect 11g PCMCIA card£0.00
A second 3Com Office Connect 11g PCMCIA card£35.24
Delivery ought to have been £5.88 but it ended up being twice that with an added £1.76 for returning the wrong card. Oh well.

Oh - the access point & PC card offer doesn't seem to be on any more. It looks like we bought at the right time.

clanger Oct 2005, clanger grin, clanger

Strange phone call

This afternoon my office phone rang. I picked it up and said hello, and got `Mem! Mem, memmem, mem. Bababa.' Punctuated by a few key-tones.

I sent an ICQ to bopeepsheep: `Is someone playing with the phone?' `Yes, why?' she said. Apparently smallclanger had managed to recall the last dialled number and phone me without his mum noticing what he was doing. :-)