Spindles's blog

Netflix on Linux? Hell yes!

Okay, so it isn't quite a native solution, but there is now a workaround that allows you to watch Netflix and other Silverlight content on Linux.

Having done this myself this morning, I can confirm it works on Ubuntu 12.04.

So, here it is:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi

Once you've agreed to everything and completed the installation run:

pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight

Then you should be all ready to go. Fire up your browser and enjoy. I would advise that you also install a user agent switcher on your browser to spoof the fact that you're not on Windows.

My Annotated Workspace

Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Green I thought I would give a bit of an insight into my general workspace. As I use my office for several things from developing software, through writing to recording music it can have several different configurations. The one I'm going to talk you through is my software developing workspace as that's what I'm supposed to be doing instead of writing a blog post about my workspace, but hey.....

My Desktop

So, here it is. First impressions... Yes, I know it's a massive mess of cables, but it actually could be a hell of a lot worse as a whole mess of the networking and power cables are actually in cable runs behind the unit. But yes... Messy.

1) My trusty laptop. An Acer Aspire V3-571G. Excellent machine for all my needs as it has 8gig of RAM, 64bit processor and an internal NVIDIA GeForce GT 630m for those times when I fancy a bit of Elder Scrolls. Note that all the nasty Windows stickers have been replaced with KDE and OpenOffice stickers. Much more appealing.

2) Secondary monitor with a remote desktop session to my other Linux box in the Wallingford office. I also use this screen for running any virtual machines, typically a Linux box for developing on rather than fighting with WAMP. Why not just use Linux all the time? I hear you ask... Obviously I would if I could, unfortunately there is no Linux client for our VPN so I have to connect to that through Windows then route the connections to my virtual Linux machine. It gets even more complicated when you know that the machine in the remote session has itself got a virtual machine running Windows in order to connect to our Exchange server. Fun huh?

3) Much as I love my laptop I'm just not a fan of the keyboard/touchpad arrangement. In respect of this I tend to use actual keyboards and mice. Hence the cable clutter.

4) A LOST mouse mat. Because I actually really liked LOST, even the ending!

5) One of my Raspberry Pi's. This one runs RaspBMC and covers all my background multimedia needs while working be it music, TV programmes or films.

6) A broken hard drive in a dock which I am currently attempting to revive. The disk forensics course I took actually comes in quite handy for helping out mates who have broken their hard drives.

7) A big cup of tea. Beacause, let's face it, Who can work without a big cup of tea?

8) This month's batch of comics that arrived this morning and are there for any 'compiling' time I may have over the course of the day. See http://xkcd.com/303/ for more details on compiling.

9) Jack Daniels hip flask for medicinal purposes only.

10) Sherbert Lemons from Honeydukes in the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios Florida, because even my sweeties are geeky.

11) Pens and pencils for thos times when I have to actually write stuff... You know... BY HAND!!!

12) A Zombie.

So, there you have it. Perhaps one day I'll do one of the other configurations, but for now I'll leave you with another view of my workspace, the shelves above. I won't annotate this, but have fun seeing what you can pick out.

All things Doctor Who

Something amazing happened this weekend. A little sci-fi show you may have heard of celebrated an unprecedented 50th birthday. That's right, it has been 50 years since our favourite mad man in a box first took to our screens. It's been a whole year's worth of build up for most and even longer for those of us who are huge fans of the show. The internet has been peppered with supposition, over-analysis, actual fact, lies, mis-truths and more damn prestidigitation than you could shake a question mark shaped umbrella at. So what did we come out of the other end of it with?

*takes a deep breath*
Best monsters documentaries and episodes, featurettes on all doctors, sneakily released minisodes with a missing regeneration, Big finish audio recordings with all five remaining classic doctors, the loving crafted An Adventure In Space and Time, a massive three-day celebration event in London, The Science of Doctor Who lectures, a wonderful parody adventure written and directed by one former doctor and starring a further two, TV appearances, interviews, press junkets, re-mastered lost episodes, re-printed books and, of course, the 50th anniversary episode itself.

And that's just the stuff off the top of my head. This year has been, for us Who geeks, what last year was for UK sports fans and royalists.

So, how am I feeling after it all? Frankly exhausted.

I've soaked up every bit of Doctor Who related TV and internet shenanigans that I could get my grubby little mitts on, and it has been amazing.

I appreciate that the rest of the world is probably now rather sick of it all and wants to forget all about it and, in truth, I'm fine with that. You may all go about your business again and let us dissect the remnants during what is now the run up to the xmas episode.

Before conjecture on that, let me just take a moment to give my thoughts on a few of the major offerings in this celebration:

An Adventure in Space and Time was a brilliantly executed docudrama recounting the genesis of the program through to its defining decision to re-cast its lead actor in order to keep the show going forward. Rather than just being a purely fan-orientated film, it has as much to say about gender and racial equality within the entertainment industry as it does about the actual show. Deeply moving, wonderfully written and performed by all involved. I salute you.

The Doctor Who 50th Celebration in London has to have been the largest scale convention about a single show I have ever witnessed. Three whole days, around 25,000 people. The scale of it was unthinkable. It was amazing to see not only the fans turn out, but walking around the event you had no idea who you would see. Personally, I bumped into Louise Jameson, Bonnie Langford, Sophie Aldred, Peter Purves, David Warner, Colin Baker, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy. The whole set up was amazing with the massive theatre shows, special effects demonstrations, panels and all manner of other events. Truly a celebration of the show.

Finally, the 50th anniversary episode. The Day of The Doctor. It's taken me quite some time to get my head around everything that happened in it due to various factors but here are my opinions. Firstly, it was stunning. Everything about it screamed spectacle. It gave us Daleks, Time Wars, Zygons, Queen Elizabeth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Alien Invasions, Rose, Three doctors for the whole episode, Fleeting glimpses of all thirteen, TOM BAKER and so much more. Truly Moffat et al managed to pull off the impossible and please almost everyone. I say almost as there are always people who won't like something, especially when over 10 million tune in. I am not one of those people. I loved it. I can't wait to see where we're going from here, the search for Gallifrey, a new Doctor, the tantalising prospect that The Doctor can revisit old forms if he so chooses. I am excited to see what the future holds for the show and hope I'm around to revel in and rant about the 100th anniversary.

This show is a law unto itself and it deserves the attention that has been paid to it this year. Congratulations you mad bastard you.

Oh, the irony...

The irony of the situation has not escaped me, I promise you... If you are reading this, it is most likely as a result of the very thing I am trying to stop. For the last 20 years (yes the internet has been around that long) I have, for some reason, decided that it is my mission to try and keep people safe in this cybernetic world we all now inhabit.

Back in the early nineties it was actually a pretty easy job as most people online at that time were reasonably tech savvy and could spot a hoax when it appeared.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't mean to infer that people who use the internet now are not tech savvy, but that they do, in fact, share something with even the earliest of adopters. The history of spam can be traced back to it's first appearance in Python scripts... And yes, I mean Monty Python, not the programming language. I DON'T LIKE SPAM is a phrase that everyone should remember. Spam is, at its basest form, unsolicited messages. It grew from that to being messages that tried to elicit money from you, and made the inevitable leap to social networking once that became the pervasive form of communication over email.

I'm not going to debate what is the predominant form of communication on the planet as that is fluid and beyond the scope of what I want to say.

So, after what seems like an inordinately long introduction, I arrive at my point, which is this...

For, god only knows what reason, some people find amusement in spreading disinformation about technology. Not only do they create the disinformation, but they propagate it by attempting to sound sincere and knowledgeable about whatever they are debunking. This occurs to the point that people accept what is being said and pass the information on without checking its validity for themselves.

I like to call this the Spontaneous Anonymous Forwarding Syndrome (or SAFS). By which I mean that people pass on official sounding information as fact to all people in their social circle without ever checking its validity.

I would urge everyone who reads this, and indeed everyone on the planet, to check their information before posting it to all and sundry.

Whenever someone says that facebook, google or whomever is attempting to do something that you may not approve of, please take a moment to check the text of the message against something like hoaxslayer, as it is generally either untrue or grossly exaggerated.

Sorry.. I've been drinking and this all may be coming across as a bit of a rant, but please... All I'm asking is that you break the cycle and actually check facts before you post something... is that really too much to ask?

Yeah, i know...

It's been a while again. But I have reasons, really, I do.

Aside from being so awesome at my job that I now get to be a senior developer, I'm also in the middle of three modules for my degree. As if that wasn't enough, I've been busily working on my new album, writing some new scripts and tidying up The Wonky Spanner. If you've been keeping up with NerdVsWorld you'll also know that we've been very busy getting guests on the show. It's been an absolute blast so far chatting with people either out in the world or in the studio and I'm massively excited to see who we can get on the show from here.

We've got a few fun bits and bobs coming up, we're finally getting round to filming an afternoon of us messing around with a Makey Makey and some other stuff too.

My apologies once again for not blogging more, but I hope you can understand with everything that's going on at the moment.