Archive for February 2014

Kerry decries ‘new isolationism’, says U.S. acts like poor nation

No, it’s acting like a socialist nation, which is exactly what the US government has been turning it into over the last few decades.

A nation where people are expected to work for a living can afford a big war budget. A nation which puts a vast fraction of its GDP into a welfare state cannot. There’s a reason the British Empire collapsed after WWII, and that reason is the British welfare state; now America is heading down the same path.

Which isn’t a bad thing, in a way. Since WWII, most other Western nations have cut back on defence and bloated their welfare states because they can rely on America to protect them. If the US Navy is no longer at their beck and call, they’ll have to start looking seriously at real defence measures. For example, a nation which expects others to defend it can afford to ban guns… a nation which expects its people to have to defend it cannot.

My weird libertarian Halloween story, Twilight Raid, is going to be in a charity anthology with David ‘Trouble With Tribbles’ Gerrold, amongst others. I wrote it back in the 90s, but never found a market for it, and rewrote it for the anthology; the basic idea is still there, but I think only the first line hasn’t changed.

Pause and restore now actually works again in Linux Mint 16. Which is useful; I no longer have to exit and restart every time I need to stop the music for a moment.

After years of economic stagnation due to the bursting of the bubble of cheap credit created by central banks holding interest rates artificially low, the G20 has decided that what we really need is economic growth:

G20 meeting targets an additional 2% economic growth

Now, if only they had any idea of how to actually create economic growth, rather than just printing money and handing it to bankers…

The US Army have created a pizza that lasts three years in storage. That could come in handy :).

Looks like the NFS and slow login issue is due to NFS now requiring GSSD. I seem to have solved it by setting ‘NEED_GSSD=yes’ in /etc/default/nfs-common on both client and server, and rebooting both.

The Cardo issue appears to be a problem with the font. I found a bug related to it on Red Hat:

Cardo font unusable, badly displayed

Using Fontforge to edit the OS/2 Metrics to the values specified there, and similar values for the bold font, appears to have solved the problem. The italic font appears to always have been OK.

Finally got around to upgrading from 15 as it’s now end of life. I tried the suggested method to upgrade without having to reinstall:

Upgrade Linux Mint 15 (Olivia) to Linux Mint 16 (Petra)

But that failed horribly. The system would boot, but the MDM couldn’t find its theme; I could log in from a console and start the X server myself, but half the MATE applets were missing. Any attempt to fix it by uninstalling MATE and reinstalling ran into a load of conflicts.

So, eventually, I gave in and just reinstalled from scratch.

Three things I’ve noticed so far:

1. Logging in takes about ten times as long as before.
2. Automounter takes about ten seconds to mount an NFS partition.
3. Cardo font is completely screwed up in LibreOffice 4.1. I suspect this is a known bug that’s fixed in 4.2, so I’m going to have to manually install that.

Nope, Cardo is hosed. I’ve had to fight through all the crap required to setup a bugzilla account, and report the bug:


Interesting set of photos of a NASA exhibition of Columbia space shuttle debris. Particularly the tile melted from beneath, showing substantial heating from inside the wing:


(From Wayne Hale’s blog)

One of my favourite fan fiction stories: I read it years ago and came across it again online recently:


New Hamster is settling in, so I actually have some time to do more writing again :).

Working through the final act of the fourth Dirk Beretta story, which has been sitting on my hard drive for months, unfinished. I’m beginning to think I should expand it from novella length (currently it’s about 20,000 words) into a full novel, but I’ll have to think about it; not sure how it would fit into the rest of the series if I did.

Sold 600 books, or, more precisely, 603 with three returns. That was a bit of a shock, even after the 100+ I sold in the couple of months before.

I’ll be interested to see how February goes, I’ll be happy if I at least manage to sustain the 100+ of the last few months.