Mobile broadband

After a little more noodling I’ve finally got the Vodafone Mobile Internet working properly on Ubuntu.  It’s actually easily than I realised at the weekend – all I needed to do was install and run the software, then set the apn field on the configuration as ‘internet’.  You also need to enter something in the username and password field, although this isn’t actually used to connect.

The only other thing you need to do is ask Vodafone to remove the adult content blocker.  Then you can access raunchy sites like The Onion or Flickr. 

All of which means I’m finally back online.  Excellent.

A new home…

I’m now settling into my new flat in Coventry.  It’s wonderful to be living somewhere clean, modern and big.  I’ve got almost all my things here and it doesn’t feel cramped.  The flat has two bedrooms (one of which will be a study/library) and two bathrooms.  Still not figured out how one person makes use of two bathrooms.  Maybe one for morning and one for evening?  Or one for weekends?

I did the move yesterday with the help of Liz, Dave and Hannah.  It took a couple of hours to carry the boxes up the three flights of stairs and I was covered with bruises afterwards.  I’m going to have another cull of my books to make moving out a much simpler affair.

My plan for tomorrow: buy a tin opener.

Vodafone mobile internet working on Ubuntu

After some fussing I’ve finally got Vodafone’s USB Mobile Connect working on Ubuntu!  The first stage was easy, installing Vodafone’s experimental Linux drivers, but after that I ran into problems.  Checking the debug logs showed me the modem was working OK (and the SIM was working as it could receive and send SMS through the GUI) but wvdial was failing.  I’ve now managed to get wvdial configured correctly, so it’s now a case of working out where Vodafone’s GUI is getting its config from.  I’ll try to remember to post a full summary of the solution when I have the GUI up and running.

Everything’s coming up Millhouse

I’ve now got the keys for my new flat, where I’ll be staying the rest of my time in Coventry.  I’m not sure how I will respond to having two bathrooms, a luxury I never thought I’d be troubled by.  Coventry has an IKEA (well, it’s more of a principality judging by its size) so I’ll be visiting next week.  I can finally buy the IKEA desk I’ve been craving for months – but that wonderful desk deserves its own post.

Coventry has a poetry night which I finally tracked down this week.  ‘Night’s Blue Fruits’ had some very good open mike poetry as well as a reading by Mario Petrucci, a poet I’d heard about on the MA.  It was an entertaining evening and I’m looking forward to the next one on May 1st.

I now have a mobile Internet gadget so, providing I can hook it up to Ubuntu, I’ll be online more often in the near future.  If all else fails, I’ll have to sully one of my other computers with Windows for a bit.   

Minding Rocco and Riddley Walker

When I visited Naomi at the start of the month she gave me a copy of a short film, Minding Rocco, the story of a man handcuffed to a clown. It’s only eleven minutes long and well worth watching.

Also, I recently read Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. It was the second time I’d tried to read it, having given up the first time because I couldn’t give it the concentration it needed. It’s an incredible piece of writing, and one of the strangest books I’ve read. I followed this with Will Self’s ‘cover version’, The Book Of Dave, which didn’t work so well. The scenes set in the future felt like a bad fantasy novel and were far less engaging than the modern-day plot.

Will Self on characters

"[Self] finds naturalistic novels "preposterous" – he laughs a wheezing
laugh – "most of the time. They’re far more about an invented reality
even than the things I write." As for character, he’s never been very
interested: "Doesn’t do it for me." … He
also considers novelistic "depth psychology – not that I read a lot of
fiction – not very true". In life, "people’s motivations are so often
not just obscure to them, but absolutely fucking mad".
"
(from the Guardian via The Tart of Fiction )

The Orphanage

I’m in Brighton again this weekend.  I’m doing very little with the Easter break, mostly catching up with things and trying to finish a draft of the book.  I did take some time out to watch The Orphanage with Kitty and Rosy at the Duke Of York’s, where I managed to disgrace myself.

I like scary films but I do get a little too into them – I love the feeling of mounting terror in a decent ghost story.  I bought a big tub of popcorn and sat there eating it whenever things weren’t too spooky.  Which wasn’t all that often, so I had a lot of popcorn as one of the characters investigated the house.  Suddenly something jumped from the shadows and I jumped too.  Popcorn went everywhere, my lap, Kitty’s lap, all over the floor.

So, I can add The Orphanage to the list of films I shouldn’t have bought popcorn for (the other being John Pilger’s The War on Democracy ).  It was a very good film though, and I can’t wait to watch it again on DVD.

At the weekend, after my second week at $NewCompany I made my way to Brighton.  I’d originally planned a busy weekend catching up with people but as the weekend approached I needed sleep and relaxation.  I stayed in on Friday, only popping in out to buy a curry, and spent a leisurely Saturday morning buying supplies for the coming week.

On Saturday afternoon I travelled up to London to visit Rockcabaret.  It was a long journey since we had to stop at the garage near Rabbit Island on the A23 to fix a headlight.  I drove up with Kitty Peels, Rosy and China, who I’d not met before.  Waiting for the club to start, I asked China what she did and discovered she co-owned a circus.  I was, as you can imagine, quite excited to hear this, and we had a very long discussion.

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Kitty was booked to perform a rope act.  Watching her rehearsal in bright lights above a hard wooden floor was nerve-wracking, everything looking dangerous.  Everything went well and she disappeared to get changed and people started arriving.  We posed in the photography studio, and watched some acts, including Leo and Yam who did an amazing double silks act.  Kitty’s act, a Barbarella Futuristic 60’s Extravaganza was incredible.

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After the acts there was dancing.  The music at the club was pretty good (they played a whole side of Sign of the Times before opening).  We didn’t leave until very late, when we had a long journey home.  I discovered China and I had hung out in a lot of the same places so we talked about the old days (as, I guess, the mid-90’s are now) and things in Brighton that aren’t there any longer.

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Still not online

I’m now back in Brighton after my second week of work at Coventry.  Things are going well: been refactoring code and spending my evenings writing.  I’m still offline most of the time but that does mean I get more done.

Last week I read AL Kennedy‘s novel Day , about a WW2 bomber pilot.  I came off the bus on Wednesday to find the city center closed off by police cordons.  An unexploded world-war 2 bomb had been discovered by some workmen and a 500m exclusion zone thrown up.  It strange to think, even sixty years later, the war can still have such effects.

I’m now back in Brighton.  I’d hoped to catch up with people, but I haven’t had much free time.  The dance I was going to on Friday was cancelled and I’m off to London tonight.  I’m hoping to catch up with people at some point soon.

Meanwhile I’m going to buy one of those mobile Internet things in the next few days, which I hope will solve all my connectivity woes.