Archive for September, 2008

Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, pioneer of VR technology, creator of the Alice program, gives a very moving talk on his life.

Randy passed away in July. RIP.

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Large Hadron Collider – Part II

Following from my earlier entry about the Large Hadron Collider, two of the internal security cameras are now online for your viewing pleasure.

Requires flash (but it’s worth it!).

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WebKit on Linux

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the mac or windows versions have, but it’s damn handy for testing safari compatibility without booting another OS.

To install/build it on ubuntu (hardy with the usual bells & whistles), proceed as follows:

First you’ll need some dev packages to build it with:

sudo aptitude install libqt4-dev libxslt-dev gperf bison libsqlite3-dev flex build-essential

Then get the latest source from Right now that’s r36309, so we have:


The builds change almost daily, so check first, don’t just copy the line above.

tar -jxf WebKit-r*.tar.bz2
cd WebKit-r*/
export QTDIR=/usr/share/qt4/ 

This will take 30mins+ on a reasonable machine, so go make tea.

When it’s finished, you can launch it as follows:


And that’s it, we’re done. Simple eh?

Note: it will need QTDIR set for it to run. We exported it when we were building above, but it probably won’t be set when you try to run it next time. The simplest way to work around this is probably to just put the export in your .profile as follows:

echo "export QTDIR=/usr/share/qt4/" >> .profile


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Large Hadron Collider

Bit of a buz about this at the moment, probably coz it’s gonna open soon.

The Large Hadron Collider

What happens when matter heats to over 100,000 times the temperature at the core of the sun? What happens when a particle with roughly the mass of a grain of sand hits something when traveling at nearly the speed of light?

Well, some people with too much funding and no girlfriends are soon to find out. There’s only a minor chance that they’ll create a black hole and destroy the earth.

Some incredible photos here.


What the f&*k’s up with IM Video on Linux

I mean how difficult can it be?

  • Skype: It’s the best I’ve found so far, but it still sucks dried donkey turds. Aside from minor annoyances like having to run the static build coz the buttons keep disappearing otherwise, random crashes for no apparent reason, dropped calls every time it tries to switch to TCP (helloooooo? TCP for realtime video is a terrible idea!) and generally bombing out for an indefinite period after about 10 minutes of conversation … where was I? … oh yes: Well skype is evil, isn’t it? Proprietary, closed-source, linux-is-an-afterthought and all that. Bah.
  • Pidgin: Well the great god ubuntu gives it his stamp of approval. But, well, did they forget to put in audio/video? Oh wait, a little googling tells me that they don’t actually care about audio/video conferencing. They may implement it, some day. But that day isn’t now.
  • Kopete: Aside from being ugly, and coming with a shedload of kde stuff I don’t want; video is limited to MSN and Yahoo. Hmm … well that’s useful eh? Don’t know (or more correctly, wish to speak to) anyone who uses either.
  • Ekiga: An hour or so tweaking around with an asterisk server to set up video, and twenty minutes convincing the other end of the call (a windows user) that they wish to install Ekiga, led to a 2 minute call with terrible video and no audio, and downed internet connections on both ends for about 20 minutes afterwards (I’m guessing that ekiga was trying to send video info so fast that it just stacked up at both routers, and killed everything else). This one nearly cost me a divorce.
  • Wengo: Signup on their site is broken – no problem I says, I’ll use asterisk again. Turns out their implementation of H263 is non-standard and doesn’t work with asterisk. Great.

Is that it? Are my options exhausted? I think so.

So for now it’s suffer skype, or run windows in a vm.

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Mac vs PC – advertisements from Apple

Following on from my earlier post about PC vs Mac vs Linux, these are a selection of the (many many) Mac vs PC ads from Apple.

Full credit to apple, their advertising department is exceptional (and this has nothing to do with the fact that I work for them!).


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PC, Mac… meet Linux – advertisements from Novell

A series of advertisements from Novell, promoting SUSE.

In all my years working with it, I never knew Linux was a woman – stunned I was.

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