Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Eggy flips revisited...

Well, I finally got around to making my self some eggy flips/bread using my Grandad's recipe and they were really good! Here's what I did, all be it made very short and very quick:

Follow a recipe to make Yorkshire Pudding batter (I believe you use about 150g plain flour, 1 egg, and 200ml of milk: make a well in the flour and put the egg in and half the milk and mix until smooth with lots of little bubbles on top; then add the rest of the milk and mix until smooth).

Cut pieces of bread into quarters and cover them in the batter. Let all the excess drip off back in to the rest of the batter.

Put a frying pan on a high temperature with a little bit of oil. Once it's hot place the bread covered in batter in the frying pan, turning them over regularly, until they turn golden/dark brown. Take them out and put a little bit of salt on them and you're set!


Friday, December 08, 2006

openSUSE 10.2

There's been a lot of talk lately about Novel and Micorsoft's new deal. Most of it has been bad, and I can only really think with good reason too if the Samba team - amongst many others - have seemingly been against this deal. Yet, I've done some research, as far as I can tell they haven't breached the GPL or in anyway admitted that Microsoft has legitimate intellectual property claims over any part of GNU/Linux so I myself don't see the problem (still who am I to make this judgement, see edits 1 & 2); add to this the fact that I believe a lot of what Novel has done, like usability testing, beagle etc has added a lot good things to the Free Software world and the result of all this has been that once I saw openSUSE 10.2 available for download I went and got a hold of the iso and installed it on my system!

[Edit: For now I will read Groklaw and see what they have to say on the matter and say this: openSUSE 10.2 really is a very good distribution; as for the deal regarding Microsoft and Novell, I'm no legal expert so I would point people to Groklaw to hear one side of the argument and to the openSUSE wiki where you can find Novell's response, and ask that you make up your own mind. Edit of the edit: You may also want to do a google search for information from Eben Moglen and Richard Stallman to get their points of view on the deal; someone in the comments has suggested their responses are also very useful.]

[Edit 2: After reading Groklaw, although I am still unsure, I don't want to make the mistake of endorsing a Novell product (or any product related to Novell) because of my ignorance! The review stands, it is a good distro, but in terms of what Novell have agreed with Microsoft including the agreement to include OpenXML support in Novell OpenOffice, I can't recommend it. In fact, I will be changing. I'm not sure what to but I think I'm going to have to think long and hard about it. ]

I must say I'm impressed. So much so I'm going to attempt to write my first ever distribution review! I'm not going to go over every step of installation and use, rather just try and pick some of, what are in my opinion, highlights (and real negatives!) of the distribution.


The installer was as good as any other graphical installer I've ever used. What was really great about it was the package selection: here the user had complete control over the installation packages with detailed descriptions of each to help you make your choices. The other thing I liked about the installer was the good default partitioning layout, using ext3 and a separate home partition. Add to these two things it worked, detected and configured my hardware properly, had a nice slideshow while installing telling me about all the great features I was going to find in the OS, and had me online quickly and easily.

The default themes throughout, including the boot splash, the GDM and Gnome's desktop backgrounds are all really attractive with nice blues and curvy lines and a, in my opinion, very cool openSUSE logo. Once logged in it took me a while to get used to Gnome with just a single panel across the bottom, with a single menu "Computer". This menu is so different to any other Gnome menu and I really love it!

Rather than try to explain it all, which will undoubtedly end in failure I'm going to link to some screenshots:
If you click the image you should hopefully be taken to where you can find a complete screenshot walk through of installation and the main features of the distro. Saves me a lot of time :-)

You might be wondering how to see the rest of your applications? Well, you just click the "More Applications" button and you're taken to a window with all your applications nicely catagorized and looking quite attractive, and a filter search to help you find them quickly.

The best thing about this, in my opinion, is that it's clean and there's nicely integrated beagle search which is just such a fantastic idea! Also in this menu is a link to openSUSE's help documentation which covers a wide range of topics, although I fear it won't be much good for any problems requiring more in depth knowledge - IRC, mailing lists and forums will still be important!

The other thing that's really different about this distro is that they actually make use of Gnome control center. This is a really good point I think as it looks much cleaner than the system menu used in other Gnome distros and makes it feel more complete.

Although none of these things are crucial functionality they make the whole experience a lot more pleasant. Things that are different to other distros are the default installer, which has a simple interface and makes installing applications easy to do, with repositories setup by default during installation; linked to this as well is the Yast2 set of graphical applications for configuring your system, hardware, software etc. I haven't had much chance to try it out yet, but it's accessible from the Gnome control center and appears to have a wide range of tools. I have used it for adding new repositories and that was straight forward, so I can't really fault it yet.

I should also add Firefox 2.0 is present here and is really great to use. The new spell checker feature is proving it's worth while I write this post :-p While talking about applications, F-spot and Banshee are both installed and clearly promoted in the default install which I think is fantastic because they look great and they work great too. I even think Banshee is using Helix as the backend by default, and if I'm correct this provides out of the box support for WMA and mp3 from an open source application. Please feel free to correct me on this. Although it's a shame not to try and support ogg etc a bit stronger this will certainly appeal to people coming from Windows.


There's only two thing so far I'm not impressed with: it seems slugish at times, certainly when compared to Debian or Fedore (with out SELinux enabled), and I wonder if this is because of Novell's apparmour? I haven't tried disabling it yet because it's only a matter of 10s or so on boot and login but it does seem strange when the rest of the distro is so good.

The other thing is the range of software available in the default repositories. It seems quite limited, but then it could just be that they've chosen different packages to what I've seen in other distros. Everything one needs for most tasks is included but there are some obvious gaps such as Istanbul desktop recorder (maybe not so obvious until you come to record a screencast for a review you're writing!).

I do wish they'd used a better default icon set too: I think they're using "Industrial" and it's just ugly in my opinion! Only a minor point.

The final point I'd like to make is about their approach to non-free software. If you're downloading the CD images you have to grab an extra bonus CD to get non-free bits and bobs, which I think is a fair approach and similar to Debian's non-free and contrib repos; when downloading the DVD, however, they're on the ISO and some are even installed by default. During installation if you choose to customize your software selection you see they are clearly labeled proprietary which I suppose is fair, but if you didn't choose to do this? The first clue you have is when you're presented with some license agreements. I guess I just wish they made the point a bit clearer, throughout the distro (with things like out of the box mp3 support).

[Edit: After reading Groklaw, although I am still unsure, I don't want to make the mistake of endorsing a Novell product (or any product related to Novell) because of my ignorance! The review stands, it is a good distro, but in terms of what Novell have agreed with Microsoft including the agreement to include OpenXML support in Novell OpenOffice, I can't recommend it. In fact, I will be changing. I'm not sure what to but I think I'm going to have to think long and hard about it. ]

In conclusion? I'm going to stick with it. It really is impressive with a great set of software installed by default (taking away perhaps a lot of my need for massive repos), nice touches like the new menu and use of Gnome control center etc.

Sorry it's not the most detailed review ever, I'm impatient! If there's anything I've not talked about and maybe you'd like to know about before trying it yourself post a comment and I'll try and answer your question. Or you could just look at the openSUSE website :-p

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Eggy bread (or egg flips in some parts)

I had a craving this last week for what my Grandad always used to call "egg flips" which I think more people know as "eggy bread". Well whatever you call it I'm sure if you've ever tasted it you have fond memories of how delicious it is and would agree it was definately worth some research. Here's what I found:

On the internet the only recipes I could find simply told you to dip bread in beaten eggs and fry it. I wasn't so impressed with the resutls; I found them a bit bland really. So I rang my Gran to ask her and she said it was better to do it with flour and milk as well, to make a proper batter. As I understand it now one takes an egg, some flour and some milk, beats it all together and adds a pinch of salt,dips the bread in and frys it.

I've yet to try this but I can only imagine it being better and more like my childhood memories so once I've tried it I'll post again and let you all know. Maybe I'll be able to add some more exact ingrediants too!


Sunday, November 26, 2006


Two posts in one day: starting to feel a little dizzy!

Well just a quick note to remind people to visit and download my podcast :-p and to give gNewSense a try. It's a completely free GNU/Linux distribution (free as in freedom) that is based on Ubuntu Dapper Drake. I'm just about to try it myself so I can't comment how smoothly it will go, but I think it will be at the very least a good thing to try.

Good luck,

The speed of light *IS* fast!

I'm writing this after an article that made it to the digg front page explaining why the speed of light really isn't that fast at all: he took the distance to various objects in our solar system and told us just how long it would take light to reach them. Admitidly the times weren't that quick, but wait until you consider the distances. This time around I'm going to put down how long it takes light, and how long it would take you to reach the destination driving at 60mph in your Volvo!

Earth to the moon: at 60mph it will take you approximately 167 days, driving 24 hours a day with no stops for dinner! It takes light 1.3 seconds; Seems pretty quick to me! And incase you were wondering 167 days is 14.5 million seconds.

I'm just going to skip on to the Voyager space probe example now...

Earth to voyager space probe (assuming a distance of 87 AU - approx 8*10^9miles): at 60mph, again with no breaks for dinner will take you 15600 years! Light? 30 days. Again, seems pretty quick to me!

Space is big, really big; light is quick.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Episode released!

Wooo!! The first episode has been released and I think it's a good one! Go check it out at questionsplease.org and enjoy either the ogg or mp3 file - the choice is yours...



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New Podcast

I'm starting a new podcast. I don't know how many times I've written a description of it now because I'm trying so hard to get the word out!

The idea is that ordinary chaps like you and me ask questions to people who have made significant contributions to their communities. The first episode is featuring guests from the Free Software world (Richard Stallman, Jeremy Allison and Jeff Waugh) answering questions. Obviously we need questions to make this a real success so please visit the site and submit your questions to yourquestions@questionsplease.org.

It's being recorded on Thursday so if you could send them in soon that would be great!

Thanks all,


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SIP conference calling...

I'm trying to hold a conference call on a linux system using the sip protocol but there really are a lot of options out there and no decent tutorials on how to do it so after I get it all set up and figured it out, unless someone can point me in the direction of an existing tutorial, I'm going to write one! It will be clear as day light and anyone will be able to follow it, or so goes my plan...


Monday, November 06, 2006

Not the norm.

I don't usually post stuff like this but it did make me laugh and hopefully it will make a few other people chuckle too...infact this isn't even really a proper post, just a link.


Actually, incase you want to know what it is before visiting, it's a page that has various quotations from famous people about their opinions on sex and love. It's funny.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

This is pretty quickly becoming a photographic blog really isn't it!! Well, I've been spending quite a bit of time with photos lately and this is another one that I've taken which I think is fantabulous (any one else like Van Morrison?)...

I hope anyone who sees this likes it!

Just so this isn't a total photographic blog my next post will be something a bit more geeky and Linux related - will have to try and get my Mum's school to at least try some Free Software on their systems I think :-) Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 03, 2006


Ooops, spot the silly spelling mistake in my last post!

Hear should read here! Hides in shame...

I took this picture today and although the quality isn't brilliant and the exposures aren't quite right on the different images that make it up it's still pretty cool - how lucky am I to live hear! I'll be heading back down to get it perfect next time the weather's good, which according to the forecast is tommorrow so I'm looking forward to it already!

Not just a blog for wingeing now! Enjoy, and visit Cornwall if you ever get a chance, there's no where quite like it in the world!

Jon Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Broadband in the C20th...?

We're currently in the process of moving our broadband service from one company to another and we received a letter informing us of our connection date to the new service provider. The letter read:

We are pleased to inform you that you will be connected to our broadband service on the 01/01/1900.

According to this I should have been connected long ago rather than the 3 weeks + that I've had to wait for my service to be switched over! Still...apparently I'm going with a company who are well ahead of the rest of the field ;-)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The First Post...

This is becoming a bit of a tradition: I start a blog; I write my first post entitled "The First Post"; I stop writing the blog a few weeks later.

Well, I think it's time for this to stop. I don't care if nobody is reading my blog as occassionally I just need some where to vent some anger (like after I read the star letter in the latest computer active - really wished I had a blog then!) and this will hopefully be that place. The plan looks something like this:

I'll keep this blog; it is about nothing in particular, just what I want to write about when I want to write about it (apparently not a good way to build a regular audience, but like I said this is not my aim).

Humble aims but I expect it will be surprisingly difficult to achieve! Hopefully I can avoid contributing yet another un-maintained blog to the blogosphere...