JonRob's blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Funny Air Traffic Control Conversations

This story was on Digg today and it has some really great lines:

Includes things like:

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"


A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked." Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. "Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."

Enjoy :D

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This guy rocks my socks!

Avant-window-navigator is one of the coolest new pieces of software I've seen in a while. If he goes ahead and puts together another project he's talking about, Affinity, then Gnome is going to blow people away!

You can find his blog here, which he updates regularly. The best thing is I've found the SVN version to be STABLE!

Go take a look around and send him encouragement or bug reports :D!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I stopped reading Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig quite a while ago; I have been doing a lot of reading since then though, and I thought I'd share with you.

The Independent is running a series at the minute entitled "Banned Books" and each week they're selling a copy of a book that was banned or burned or restricted in some other way for a reduced cost (usually about £3). I'm trying to keep up with the series and haven't done too badly, need to get my hands on a copy of Lolita for this week; passed books have included Farewell To Arms by Hemingway and Clockwork Orange (though I can't remember the author's name!).

Both were really good, especially Farewell To Arms but I warn you, if you're to read it make sure you have something happy to do after - actually that's good advice for any Hemingway book! As for Clockwork Orange, although I've never seen the movie I think the book is probably a lot easier going. There's a lot of Russian and made up words which makes the impact of the disturbing scenes a little less striking - the overall message is still very clear and it's a great read all the same.

I've got an interesting post to put up soon - I just needed to pass a bit of time with this one :D

Sunday, February 18, 2007

VCRs and Guns

I'm reading the book "Free Culture" by Lawrence Lessig at the moment and just read a brilliant example about the problem with copyright laws; I thought I'd share!
In case you can't see it clearly, the caption reads "On which item have the courts ruled that manufacturers and retailers be held responsible for having supplied the equipment?".

The story is that Universal Studios (I think) went to the courts protesting that Sony was responsible for damages caused by the record feature on their new VCRs because, amongst all the legal uses, it enabled people to illegally copy content owned by Universal. Guns, on the other hand, kill people and yet their manufacturers' and retailers' aren't, or have never been, held responsible for murders involving guns.

That ruling was overturned but it's a pretty funny example of the complete lack of common sense surrounding "creative property" law. I'm not sure what the British situation is on all of this as most of the material I've been reading is by American authors but I plan to find out soon...

Friday, February 09, 2007


I've been trying to make a DVD that would both play in an ordinary DVD player and also boot in to a GNU/Linux live CD when in a computer. Apparently nobody else has wanted to do this because I haven't been able to find any documentation on the net but I have eventually figured out the rather obvious solution! I guess anyone else who wanted to do this probably knew more about mkisofs than I did but just in case there's ever any one else who needs to know how to do this, and doesn't know more about mkisofs than I do I'm going to document it very quickly here. (Also for my own future reference!)

mkisofs -dvd-video -pad -l -r -J -v -V "KNOPPIX" -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 \
-boot-info-table -b boot/isolinux/isolinux.bin -c boot/isolinux/ \
-hide-rr-moved -o /mnt/hda1/knx/knoppix.iso /mnt/hda1/knx/master

This example obviously takes Knoppix as the Live CD you're attempting to make but it should work for any live distribution that uses isolinux. The only relevant option to change is the -o, which should point to where you want the iso image to be created and the option following that, which specifies the input folder - i.e. where all your files are which you want to be put in to the iso image.

Hope this helps someone,


Thursday, February 08, 2007

New episode coming!

I'm interviewing Mark Shuttleworth on the 26th of this month (February) so feel free to send in any questions you have for him! The format will be slightly different as I've only got one guest for this episode but the rest is the same, i.e. Mark answering your questions! I'm expecting to mostly take questions on his work with Ubuntu Linux (as he is the founder of the project!) but if people do send in questions about his space trip and such like maybe I'll ask those too.

Oops, almost forgot to put down the contact details. Either send the questions to or leave a voice mail at 0121 286 9845 (+44). Feel free to visit the site,, to find more information, another way to get in touch or to find past episodes for download :-)

I know I haven't been posting so much to this blog lately but my blogging over at Free Software Magazine has been taking my writing attention and also I've started on a new project - more details of that one to follow soon!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

From London to train!

I wish I was using Wordpress now really, unless anyone can tell me a way to get asides on Blogger?!

Well anyway, that's not what this is about. There's an interesting article on BBC which is a correspondent describing their journey to their new posting in China, by train, from London! It's a good read and a really cool thing to do in my opinion...

See why I want asides now? How short was that!