Yes, most of these posts are for my own reference, a kind of public bookmarking system for articles I feel I may find useful in future. This is one such post....
SMF for Debian Packages
Solaris 10 introduced SMF, the Service Management Facility. It replaces /etc/init.d/ and is very cool, if a bit of a scary idea for those of us who were raised on /etc/init.d/, /etc/inittab and the like.
The linked article contains a brief, clear and concise summary of what is needed to create an SMF service, and (for bonus points!) how to convert a Debian GNU/Linux package to use SMF instead of /etc/init.d/ scripts.
Wow, that hurts my head!
I recently took the time to sit down and listen to some good music properly - sitting down, concentrating on the music, listening on my real HiFi, which includes a reasonable CD player, a good amp, and a great speakers, properly positioned. Yes, I know, the amp should be the highest quality part of the combo, but it isn't. I'm not a perfect snob yet, I'm just a snob.
I have been listening to MP3s for so long - on PCs, MP3 players, in car stereos, that I had forgotten how great studio-recorded music can sound. It's probably a year since I last sat down and listened to real music, properly.
My belt-driven turntable's rubber belt broke a while ago, due to lack of use. Not long ago, I sadly disposed of the turntable, rather than repair it, because I never get the opportunity to just sit down solely to listen to music any more. I would need to get new needles, and seriously consider a new amplifier, and I realistically ought to consider upgrading the turntable. I don't have the time, at this stage in my life, to make it worth my while. So it went. It will probably cost me a heck of a lot of money to buy a new turntable in 5-10 years' time, but hey - maybe we will all have properly lossless audio by then. Still, that isn't quite the point - it's not the loss that is the problem, it's the assumption of "perfection" being digitalised. The sine wave cannot be perfectly digitalised, as it is an analogue wave, and it is that to which the human ear, and brain, responds. Taking a wave, digitising it and converting it back to analogue, by definiton, weakens the sound. When Jim Marshall and Pete Townsend worked on how the Marshall amp distorted the sound of a Fender Stratocaster, they didn't take into consideration the factor of reducing the sound to 128kbps and playing it back on tinny PC speakers. The sound was created to be heard on the original speakers, by the original instruments; analogue recording onto tape, mastering onto vinyl, was the purest way to do that. Playing it back through the listener's audio equipment was a limiting factor, but no matter - the live experience was key. Fans could get the same high quality if they could afford high fidelity (hi fi) equipment to listen to the recordings.
You can hear the melody on an MP3, but you don't get any of the detail. Maybe that's why bands like the Kaiser Chiefs and Snow Patrol are so popular at the moment; it doesn't matter that there's no real depth, because the surface level sounds good enough, and suggests that there is more substance beneath. Maybe there is... I haven't bought their CDs to find out, I've only heard them on the radio.
Some music - and here's the irony - it's the tat that the record industry put out to make their daily bread - doesn't sound any worse on MP3 than it did in the studio. It's the quality recordings which can justify quality media. Britney Spears would sound as good on CD as through a tin can. Artists who spend time and effort on creating a sound are done a disservice by reduced sound quality.
The Grateful Dead were probably the first group to realise this truism; they encouraged bootlegs and home-taping, in the days before the record industry even realised that it was happening. They grew a huge fan-base by doing so, which reaped huge rewards.
Metallica did the opposite, which even Lars Ulrich acknowledged in their "Some Kind of Monster" video. I forget the exact words, but he said something along the lines of: "Do I want the entire internet to hate me? No."
Hi-Fi has therefore been all but killed off; adequate-fi is good enough for most purposes, particularly for music which has very little to say to the world.
So while a few things I have on vinyl, but can no longer listen to, I feel justified in downloading online, I have now started buying more CDs again, even of music I already own on vinyl. I don't expect The Dark Side Of The Moon to sound half as good on CD as it did on vinyl, but it will be a damn sight better than an MP3.
In the past century, we have grown our recording and communication abilities, from still photos, to black-and-white silent movies, to sound, to colour, and developed audio recording along the way, to a pinnacle of recording quality some time around the 1980s. Excellent quality was available, but at a price. With DAT, CD, now MP3, adequate quality is available at low price. The quality is dropping as as availability increases. If this continues, the inevitable result is that recording quality drops, such that we have no originals to go back to, only 192kbps MP3s.
Or maybe I'm just some old, gloomy naysayer.
 Yes, it was Pink Floyd, as it happens. Meddle, to be precise. No particular reason, I just felt the need to listen to Meddle, as one must from time to time.
Given the current financial climate, it's nice to see that Facebook are only running responsible adverts, promoting sensible, affordable lending.
437% secured against your car?!! If you are that desperate for a loan, and still own a car, you probably need it to get to work.
Facebook's popularity is largely put down to its "we are the good guys" image, similar to Google's "don't be evil" policy; adverts like these will do nothing to enhance their reputation.
Bourdais, in the blue and red Torro Rosso, emerging from the pit lane, had no chance to see Massa, in the red Ferrari, until too late. Bourdais apparently put his two right-side wheels on the kerb in an attempt to avoid Massa, but Massa simply drove into Bourdais. The two cars were driving for position.
Because Massa span himself out on Bourdais' car, Bourdais finished ahead of Massa. During the course of the race, it was announced that the incident was "under investigation" by the stewards. After the race, we hear that Bourdais (yes, Bourdais), was given a 25-second penalty for the incident which he did not create, and had no chance to avoid. That put Bourdais out of the points, and doubled Massa's results from one point to two.
When interviewed by ITV's Louise Goodman about the incident, Bourdais described what happened:
Bourdais: I was racing Felipe for position, I held my line.
He was behind me approaching the braking and he overshot the corner, quite massively.
I stayed on the inside and he went to, you know, all the way to the contact, and we touched, he spun.
Goodman: Anything else that you could have done, other than what you did?
Bourdais: Yeah, unrolled a red carpet and say "Here you go, the corner is yours."
It seems that sniffpetrol.com have great predictive abilities: After the Spa debacle, they published Those New F1 Rules In Full:
1) Overtaking a Ferrari is not permitted under any circumstances.
2) In the pit lane, a Ferrari always has precedence over other cars.
3) Any driver finishing less than 25 seconds ahead of a Ferrari will be penalized 25 seconds.*
4) If neither Ferrari finishes in first place, the stewards reserve the right to declare the result null and void (or to adjust it as necessary).
5) Only Ferrari drivers are permitted to use anything other than ‘designated’ parts of a circuit.
6) If forced off the ‘designated’ part of the track by a Ferrari, the guilty driver should immediately crash his car and return to the pits
6) Any driver or team appealing against any FIA decision in favour of Ferrari may be subject to a fine and/or the deduction of points.
*Subject to post-race adjustment by the stewards.
Of these six, at least (2), (3) and (5) were invoked at Fuji yesterday.
This is getting beyond borderline, past embarrassing, and is fast becoming a farce. Ferrari Internationale Assistance, indeed.
Never cleaned the PC
Just photos of dusty PCs...
Facebook's "chat" facility (which I must admit I don't often use) has started to mis-detect the Iceweasel User-Agent string. Accordingly, it doesn't include the fuller interface at the bottom of the page any longer, and when clicked, the opened page suggests www.firefox.com, which will admittedly offer Firefox 3.0.3, an entire "0.0.2" newer than Iceweasel.
I would have thought that a web application as widespread as Facebook, and which is currently advertising Linux developer jobs on its own website, would be aware of the Iceweasel User-Agent string. Shame on you, Facebook.
But in truth it had not exactly been gold, or even the promise of gold, but more like the fantasy of gold, the fairy dream that the gold is there, at the end of the rainbow, and will continue to be there for ever provided, naturally, that you don't go and look.
This is known as Finance.
- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (page 470)
... Most apt!
YouTube seem to have changed from "www.youtube.com" to "uk.youtube.com" recently, unless I never noticed it before. They have also now added more internationalisation (i18n) features:
For what it's worth, clicking on "Show message in English" simply shows the same message twice.