Saturday, November 23, 2013

Yog-Sothoth Eats My Brain ...

I had better things to do, which is probably why instead of doing them I decided it would be a good time to go reinstall Fedora on the second little Samsung that's been sitting around here for the past three months. This time I got the options right and it came up looking as I wanted, with all the development tools installed etc: last thing to do was download and install the cross-development environment for ARM, and do a first build.

Of course every five minutes that would come up telling me that the FTP server was down, I'd restart and it would go a bit further before doing it again ... very, very boring. So at that point, as the actual environment itself was set up, I though I might as well just copy the directories and such over from the big Asus - and of course, I was working on Windows Samsung at the same time, which meant three machines running at once.

And because I am not the sort of person who is going to leap from keyboard to keyboard just for a couple of arcane commands, and the little KVM I have here only swaps between two machines, I guess you can imagine exactly how I wasted my time.

That's right, trying to recall the steps that need to be done to get Samba up and working on SE Linux, then installing a VNC server on both Linux machines, mumblefucking because I couldn't access one from Windows using its name (that was the nmb service that wasn't started, for some reason - fooled you) but had to use its IP address, and finally logging on to both at the same time, from the Windows machine, using Remote Desktop.

Bloody marvelous, works a treat. I can sit at my main machine and have my Linux desktops but a click away. Sadly, I can no longer recall exactly why I wanted to do that.

Anyway, the weather still hasn't cleared up sufficiently to make further work on the terrace possible, so Cédric's been bashing about up on the top floor, which is now gutted.

Which is, coincidentally, kind of how I feel, just having had my soul destroyed thanks to the URSSAF web site. You may recall that I found out that I am now what is called profession liberale, and the organisme compétente is the URSSAF: they maintain a web site, the Centre des Formalités des Entreprises, on which you may - if you prefer not to deal with their staff, I'd hesitate to call them human beings - declare all those interesting things like the establishment of your company and so on.

Having procrastinated researched the matter for long enough I girded my loins and pointed Firefox at the damn thing. I always use NoScript for personal web hygiene, so I rather expected to have to allow (temporarily, for I am paranoid) the domain - and indeed I did - and finally the online form popped up. Now this is divided into blocks, each of which has some required and some optional fields, and I foolishly thought I'd hop about and fill in the easy stuff first - you know, name, address and phone numbers, stuff like that ...

Alas, each block seems to have its own validation routine, so when I'd filled in my name and tried to put in my phone number the damn thing screamed blue bloody murder at me, saying I had not filled in my nationality. Right, nationality ... pick "other" from the list, and this cool moiré effect gets applied so I assume it's trying to call up a pop-up but suddenly nothing happens, and it continues to happen so I guess that maybe there's cross-scripting from another site and maybe I'd better go authorise that one too.

The only other site listed is globalsign, and I can't see why I'd have to authorise that given that they're just a CA, but what the hell ... go do that and yes, the pop-up shudders into life and I get to tell the site that I am in fact a New Zealander, born in Napier. Fine, carry on - and at this point I wish to check a radio button, to select how I'm going to declare TVA (or GST, to you). Apparently, radio buttons - and drop-down lists too - are totally inactive. They must have dreamt up some really fancy Javascript to get that effect.

I came to the conclusion that this wasn't going to work, so fired up Chrome and headed back to the site. The radio buttons worked, but the pop-ups would not. Well, one did, but only once, and then had a hissy-fit at me and died.

So finally I started IE (I suppose I really should have used version 6.1 - and yes, I still have a copy around, if I fire up the way-back machine - if I wanted to experience the site in its true glory, but quite frankly had it come to that I would actually have gone into the local office at Carcassonne, sat down in front of the desk and insisted on doing it together with the "person" opposite me) and had a bash with that.

I managed to select "nationality: other" from the list and no pop-up popped (sigh of relief): I made it all the way down to the bottom of the form, carefully using the TAB key to skip from field to field to get there (in case it got upset), typed in their stupid captcha and hit the "Save" button.

At which point it screamed at me, saying that I had not filled in the number of my carte de séjour - quite true, because it hadn't asked for that. Which is kind of odd, because when I selected "other" as nationality under Firefox that pop-up came up and asked me for that, but under IE it did not. So I had to scroll back up and click on the button that said "Modify my nationality" (would that it were so simple) and then lo! it asks me for all this information.

Still hadn't finished, because it then - quite spitefully - decided that I'd got the captcha wrong, and proceeded to redisplay the whole form, with a new captcha. I suppose I should be grateful that it didn't wipe all the data I'd so painstakingly entered, I was certainly surprised.

I still had a few neurons functioning, in what passes around here for their normal state, but apparently not enough because I then went on to give Stacey a hand with her music. Her mother bought her a fruity fondleslab when she was in the US, and as she was headed off for the weekend thought it would be a Good Idea to take some music with her ... fair enough, and I thought it would be a simple matter. Silly old me.

This being an iThing™ I was aware that you can't just copy stuff across to it as one would do with any normal gear, although I'm still not sure as to the reason: I guess that maybe Apple just don't want anything detracting from the totally brilliant, life-changing simplicity of the user experience, or something. And anyway, Stacey had tried that, with complete lack of success.

I very carefully did not say "I could have told you that" because at that point it would've gone down like a cup of warm sick, no, I put on my best bedside manner and said "I'm afraid we're going to have to install iTunes ..." and set about doing it.

This did not, of itself, take a long time: what pissed me off was what came after. For starters, the damn thing came up saying it had a couple of hundred tracks in its library but they weren't where they used to be and what did I propose to do about it? No mean feat, given that it was a first-time install. Then, having zapped all that, how do I import the actual music that there is? There is indeed a menu option to do that - one bloody track at a time, about as useful as the proverbial tits on a bull.

So I look it up on the intartoobz, and discover that, counter-intuitively, I have to drag and drop folders ... go figure. Now iTunes has the music in its maw - how to get it onto the damn iPad? "Easy", says the innergnats, "click on the iPad button on the menu bar ..." - except there isn't one. Until, five minutes later, one magically appears. Click on it, the menu bar morphs into another one, and there is a "Synchronise" button. Hit that and it chunders away happily for a while, and then tells me that iOS 7.03 is available and would I like to update?

Why not, it's not as though I have anything to lose, at which point up pops a warning that there are apps on the slab that aren't backed up onto the PC and I must save them before continuing unless I wish to have my first-born sacrificed. Now tell me again, for I respectfully submit that it is not self-evident, exactly how I go about doing that? I had, rather naively I admit, thought that the whole bloody point of synchronising was that the two devices were in fact synchronised ie had the same data, but it seems that there is another, arcane meaning, or I do not speak Apple.

In any case I passed on that - at least the music was where it needed to be so the thing was more or less fit for purpose as a glorified MP3 player. Put like that I suppose it doesn't sound too ghastly, but it still wasted the better part of ninety minutes.

Whatever, it's comfort food time over in these parts, and as the butcher had a special on I walked out of there with a leg of lamb and a few chicken parts and a ginormous slice of beef jarret which is destined for a stew, so fairly obviously I decided on gigot à la bretonne.

A term which, incidentally, no-one has yet explained to my satisfaction: the Oxford insists that it refers to a dish prepared with a garnish of cauliflower (me, I'd always thought that was du Barry, but I could be wrong), whilst coquilles St-Jacques à la bretonne are briefly poelé in butter and then put to rest on a bed of stewed onions with parsley and white wine before being strewn with buttered breadcrumbs and then baked.

Whereas the lamb of the same name is quintessentially from around these parts: dried white beans are soaked, then simmered in white wine with chopped tomatoes and onions and some parsley is added: the whole lot goes into the bottom of a baking dish, the leg of lamb, studded with garlic and rosemary is set on top, and it all goes into the oven to roast, soused basted with more white wine periodically as either the dish or the cook dries out. So why in hell try to pretend this is Breton is completely beyond me. Not that I care too much, whatever its ancestry it is rather delicious.

1 comment:

  1. I had better things to do

    Hey now. Blue Oyster Cult lyrics are a Riddled tradition.