Older blog entries for AlanHorkan (starting at number 360)

Word of warning: Eee PC Linux Recovery DVD

New Toys:
A coworker bought himself an Asus Eee PC 700 for a modest €300. After the initial surprise of how small and light it is I got to play around with it for a while.

The custom version of Xandros (née Corel Linux) provided by Asus could hardly look more like Windows XP. The choice of this less popular distribution made life that little bit more awkward when I was struggling to get Citrix installed. When 3rd party software fails I'd be inclined to blame the 3rd party namely Citrix but since it works in Windows my coworker is more inclined to blame Linux and he threatened to buy the Eee PC with Windows next time since his children were already monopolising his new toy.

The very small tight keyboard layout with an undersized shift key got annoying fast, kept inadvertently hitting the up button. The smaller return key (or should I say "enter") is annoying but to be fair I'm used to it being two rows high and it isn't an unusual design choice (seen it on American keyboards layouts). I'm left wondering as to why designers do not elminate the Caps Lock key and the Function keys (F1, F2, etc.) and why it has both a Delete and Backspace key if space is at a premium.

Word of Warning:
In the limited time I had to play around with the Eee PC it was fun but I wanted to play with it more so I tried using the Linux Recovery DVD on a spare computer. I was hoping perhaps it was a Live DVD and I'd be able to setup a test Eee PC playground. I'm glad I used a spare machine since the *Recovery* disc overwrote something on the local hard drive. Don't try this at home. Having read the documentation further the smarter move would have been to get the Software Developer Kit (SDK) from the Asus website http://support.asus.com.tw/download/
and instructions are provided explaining how to setup the Eee PC inside VMWare. Although I didn't find it in my brief search I wouldn't be surprised to soon find a VMWare Player with all this already setup for you.

The Asus Eee PC has really grabbed a lot of attention (or was it the OLPC that started it all) and sparked a whole line of so-called "netbooks" but it will be interesting to see if they can capitalise on their first mover advantage, or hold on to a prestige position like Apple do. It is an impressive machine and I was almost tempted but little annoyances soon focussed my thoughts to more fun things I could do with the money.
In any case the software is what grabs me and I'm pleasantly surprised to see Linux in the mainstream.

Syndicated 2008-07-03 16:31:49 from Alan Horkan

Brevity: Mournes 2007 Climbing Trip Report in Twenty Words

Climbing trip report in twenty words*.

Trinity. Mournes. Soup. Drink.
Flooding. Fire brigade. Four dinners. Mulled wine. Drink.
Pidgeon Rock. Climbing! Hot Ribena. Orange Monster. Drink. Porterhouse. Home.

* twenty unique words is close enough.

Syndicated 2007-12-11 01:36:49 from Alan Horkan

As seen on TV!

Late on a Friday evening at the computer and with an episode of CSI Las Vegas playing on the television I unusually didn't switch channels as soon as the advertisements came and on was surprised to see Durex advertising a vibrator on television. Don't recall seeing Durex advertise on television before, so advertising a vibrator seems that bit more unusual and interesting.


Curiouser and curiouser.

Insert witty comments below about not having a girlfriend...

Syndicated 2007-11-24 00:30:46 from Alan Horkan

Bad haiku

sad but true
a knocking on the window
hope it was you

Syndicated 2007-11-04 21:19:38 from Alan Horkan

Can't stop the signal

TV-links may be gone (for now) but there are alternatives such as
TV RSS, and
All U C. Efforts to close down TV Links will likely raise the profile of these and other alternatives even higher.

What you might not realise is that streaming is supposed to be a convenience, downloading but in the background and playing at the same time and then disposing of the files when finished. Which would be fine if you aren't interrupted or do not want to watch the stream again, but a horrific waste of bandwidth if you are forced to download it all again. Having said that the convenience provided by this need breed of website is very impressive and hints at how much more the World Wide Web might yet surprise us.

Syndicated 2007-10-19 22:42:08 from Alan Horkan

Cyanide and Happiness: Breakup?

Would make a sweet t-shirt:

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

Syndicated 2007-08-17 23:51:13 from Alan Horkan

Climbing in Dalkey Quarry

The weather wasn't in our favour. Just as I left the house I said I hoped the weather would hold it changed from sunshine to rain. By the time we got to Dalkey things had improved but we did get another brief shower and things were generally overcast so things finished up earlier than they could have done enough if the brilliant sunshine of the morning had only lasted into the evening but we still did pretty well. The long days make it a great time of year for climbing if you can get adequate weather otherwise.

As we were gathering we passed John Mehegan who headed much more quickly to the quarry to climb with friends. Jenny, Rachel, Lena, Hamish, and Brian still wearing a sharp suit (and a pink striped tie) formed a separate group. Soon as he finished off work Luke was hot on our heels, and arrived not too long after us.
Although there was talk of climbing Thrust, a route on the upper cliffs, we ended up at Paradise Lost or "base camp" as Brian called it as so many climbing days begin there. Rachel started to lead Levitation, and Brian joked he would race her. Despite Rachel taking an early lead Brian was soon speeding the adjacent route Mahjongg.

Waiting around Alan (me) did some basic climbing and traversing not much more than a metre from the ground, but it felt good to be out there and getting some climbing done again. I probably should have lead Paradise Lost but I was disinterested in leading it again, still convinced it would be much more enjoyable to solo the route with no rope at all and without the hassle and weight of a rack of gear. Alternatively I might have had time to climbing Levitation before Luke arrived had I been a bit more enthusiastic.
Luke soloed Paradise Lost as a quick warm up, then lead a climb nearby to the left called Fragile. Fragile is so close to Paradise Lost it was at times hard to know if we were really climbing a different. Alan seconded Fragile, making a conspicuous effort to keep left, deliberately avoiding the easy line in an attempt to make it a little more challenging but for the most part it was really wasn't difficult.
After a pondering our options and asking for suggestions Luke decided to tackle E-route. The clouds had dissipated enough let through a little sunshine and light the upper half of the route. As Alan began the climb a gentle drip drip of rain began. This brief shower was more than a little off putting, but Alan was able to get started thanks to suggestions from Philip and Dennis and the rest of the climb was good fun from there.

Enthusiasm and energy varied and it would have been so much better to go out earlier on my day off but it was a good evenings climbing and I'm glad I made the effort to get out there and just do it.

Syndicated 2007-06-12 23:16:48 from Alan Horkan

Trinity Ball Weekend Dalkey Quarry

Geoff Quigley, Luke Stratford, and Alan Horkan (me) went rock climbing in Dalkey Quarry.
Geoff started by leading a route called Delectissimo, seconded by Luke.
Next Luke lead Jameson Ten and Geoff took his turn to follow and seconded the route.

Then Alan made his first and long overdue lead climb on Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost is one of the easiest routes in the Quarry, climbed by practically every beginner who has ever climbed in Dalkey. Things get a little more complicated without the luxury of a top rope to fall back on and with the extra weight of a full climbing rack jingling like a one man band. The achievement of a first lead climb was somewhat diminished by Luke ("Safetly Officer") climbing solo up alongside Alan without any ropes at all but the important lesson was placing gear correctly and setting anchors more than the actual climb itself. Now that I've done my first lead climb I now need make sure to do my next before too long.

Not sure if Luke and Geoff climbed anything else as I had to go to work. Been a long day, and I've been extremely hungry. Better get some sleep, work again tomorrow.

Syndicated 2007-05-13 16:18:36 from alanhorkan

Could've, would've, should've.

Airplane tickets are cheap, cheap enough that going to another country might just be cheaper than visiting parts of Ireland. The cheapest airlines are run much like a bus service only with much more pointless harassment in dubious attempts at security. While I was student I pondered how when I paid off my loans and I had a bit of money I could find cheap flights and do a bit of city hopping. One too many times I've said two of the places I'd always wanted to visit are Anchorage and Edinburgh, and when I mentioned it most recently I was told why don't you just go? Always good to have someone in your life to push you to do the things you have always wanted to do anyway.

March 19th, 20th, 21st, Saturday through Monday, I will be in Edinburgh. I had flights nominally cost two cent, but the actual cost including various taxes comes to more like €60 (think that was actually for two return tickets). Less than the cost of one single Trinity Ball ticket and it is going to be great. I shopped around a bit for a good deal but indecision served me well and when I checked again the prices had dropped even lower, an understanding boss and a flexible timetable certainly helped.

Cannot recall if anyone I know is living in Edinburgh at the moment but if you are do give me a shout. Never been to Scotland before, let alone Edinburgh. Suggestions welcome.


Syndicated 2007-05-05 22:59:46 from alanhorkan

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