Niall’s virtual diary archives – January 2002

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6th January 2002

Traditional annual year round-up

31st January 2002

Birthday and Linux thoughts

Sunday 6th January 2002: 9.23pm. This is the first day the new computer hasn't been exhibiting some sort of annoying weirdness, so it's been time to do other things eg; this diary. So far so good. It's been the most difficult new installation I've ever done with its mixture of hardware and software problems eg; the processors never arrived so I had to order new ones from elsewhere or also the second hard drive failed and I'm still having problems in getting it replaced. Also, it seems the latest drivers for the machine actually knacker it - Friday it was like using my old one - stable, just very slow. Anyway, I reinstalled that night to this installation which thus far seems to be working well. And boy is it fast - a MPEG1->MPEG4 compress ran at 5-7fps on my old machine, this one does like ~100fps and to see what used to take hours been done in less than 15 mins - well, it's a shock. Getting used to it already though ...

The project at work failed its compatibility test (that's where the customer turns up to see if it works or not) so we're looking at least until April. I've said I'm quitting then, I've had enough and I'm now willing to forsake my end of contract bonus for it. I got home to Ireland on the 22nd, was there until New Year's Day - not a lot to report there except that even less people are around. And now we're at this weekend.

Right, time for the usual end-of-year round-up. What's happened of note this year:

  • Went through probably the worst break-up with a woman yet
    And while I'm still getting through it, suffice it say it's unlikely there'll be a repeat of last year's birthday entry this year . Nevertheless, I am staggered looking back on it how deeply affected I was - I understand how one can build ones understanding of the world on certain precepts, which if suddenly removed, can lead to the crashing down and falling apart of ones self-understanding - after I've been through that before as well. Still, it is worrying that life appears to follow these ups & downs - especially the next time it takes an up
  • Learned Spanish and lived in Spain for a year
    Whatever else one can say, I have now achieved living in a completely foreign language for a year. Even if we all have the same money now
  • Worked through my first year of full employment
    And while it's hard its irritating parts, it's been overall good
  • Educated myself
    University was for finding new avenues. Life is for exploring those avenues. To that end, I have read a vast quantity of literature in the past year and as my knowledge & understanding grows, I too grow. Being in England has hurt that quite a bit and I also had to send back the psychology book I bought because it wasn't suitable, but I have another lined up and am looking forward to getting my hands on it. This new book, if learned off in its entirety, could probably enable me to pass a psychology degree

So, ok, another year really to have preferred not to have ever happened, but I think I'm right in saying I've done a good job in taking what I had at the start of the year and putting in motion what is required to progress from that. This year, we'll definitely see me moving to a new country wherever that may be, and hopefully earning a decent recompense for my greatly in demand skills.

And I suppose that's it for my first entry of 2002! I hope that all readers have had a fantastic christmas and new year and I look forward to seeing some of you again in the coming year. I'm off now to investigate Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, might make an entry later about that, we'll see. Until then, be happy!

Thursday 31st January 2002: 9.26pm. I've been meaning to put an entry in here for ages - I've even been sending reminder emails to myself from work but alas the energy always leaves me! OTOH, I've had a lot to divert me, I've been mucking around with Linux and reading about going independent work-wise. I also ordered a large collection of books with topics ranging from psychology and quantum computing to highly-regarded works of contemporary authors (Kearney, Lucan etc) which took me a while to put together.

And yes, I have been slowly getting through that huge email backlog generated by my birthday email. I will get it done soon, before I go to England again.

But back to birthday celebrations: well, it came and it went. I think I smoked some of the good stuff and lit a candle, otherwise it was very similar to other days. And oh - I went to bed early I think cos I remember throwing the god damn telephone cos it woke me up - that is, it goes through spells of working and not working. Very poor.

A friend from my class at uni was here installing servers as part of his highly paid globally-scoped remit - so I've spent a fair few nights in restaurants which was fun. I have also noted a marked return of my pre-Ruth state - feeling stronger, more confident, more capable and I suppose also arrogant. Maybe psychologically the passing of a year flicked a switch? Work went mad a few days ago, the paymasters of the project are threatening to pull funding plus orders which effectively would be cutting the bollocks off the project - what I don't get is why it's taken them so long and I, tactless as ever, have said as much. Anyway, very annoyingly, they have sucked up two days this week of my time already and there is a pre-emergency meeting tomorrow followed by a full-on emergency meeting Mon-Wed in the UK. Then the following a week another emergency weekend in Germany. Oh fun!

Anyway, I return to the UK 13th Feb for a few days of paid leave in Hull to see what remains of the folk up there (not a lot!) and then back to Bordon until start of May when I shall finally be becoming unemployed and I am looking greatly forward to it! First off shall be Ibiza for a week I think, get destressed, followed by a few days in Amsterdam which ostensibly could be combined with looking for work. Heh ... might have a negative influence on interview skills however!

Right, energy very nearly gone, I've managed to sustain myself without spliff since eating because I was writing a partition copier in Linux. I must say I was blown away how much Linux has progressed since I last used it - that KDevelop is approaching MSVC usability and while it isn't as outwardly configurable, of course as with all Unix kit there's shit loads of config files you can tinker with far more so than any Windows system. Of course, the help system etc isn't anything like as well developed, but by god its debugger is excellent. One major failing, as with all X, is lack of multithreading support for GUI ops, but I suppose it's not a perfect world we live in. Not quite yet anyway.

Ok, I'm off for time off. Be happy!

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