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    Sunday, 13 February 2011

    Dad ill again

    A few years ago, I mentioned my dad's fight with cancer. He survived that, and has carried on for several more years since. He had a replacement hip fitted last year to improve his mobility, and was looking set to enjoy a good long retirement. Until... Just before Christmas symptoms suggested that the cancer had returned, and with a vengeance. Tests confirmed it.

    We were hoping that Dad would fight on and win through again this time, and I was looking forwards to him being at my wedding this September. But there have been a lot of unexpected complications this time and it's just not going to happen. I spoke to him last on Tuesday this week, but he was delirious at the time. He hasn't really been conscious in any meaningful way since.

    I'm composing this message in the hospital in Southport where I'm now waiting for my dad to die. We've been told by his doctors that it's not going to be long now, but they said that on Wednesday too. My dad has always been stubborn, always a fighter; we know that this is a fight he can't win, but that isn't stopping him from trying his hardest. At least he's being kept comfortable for his last few days, with plenty of strong painkillers on hand when needed. Please let it end soon.

    19:19 :: # :: /misc :: 10 comments

    vmware eats modifier keys

    As much for my own reference as anything else...

    I quite often use vmplayer on my work desktop, and occasionally on my laptop. Other options might work better for other people, but the company have already settled on using vmware on their Linux machines to give users access to Outbreak, Office etc. I try to avoid them as much as possible, but about the only effective option for calendaring at work is Outbreak. *spit*. And on my laptop, I just have a vmplayer setup containing a trivial Windows XP installation for things like Nokia firmware updates. It's more hassle than I can be arsed with to move to something else - the only thing worse than using Windows is installing it, in my experience.

    In most respects, vmplayer is working OK for me. But: it has one intermittent and really annoying bug. Every now and again, as I switch away from the vmplayer session to another desktop using Ctrl-Alt, then Ctrl-Alt-Cursor, vmplayer eats the state of the X keyboard modifier keys. This makes things interesting after that point: my normal use of emacs, firefox, xterms, mutt (etc.) is fairly heavily dependent on being able to use the Shift and Ctrl keys.

    This looks like it has been documented as a bug in a number of places over the past few months/years (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) but there doesn't seem to be a fix coming. However, what I have found out is that there is a workaround: setxkbmap will reset the modifier key state when things have broken. If only I'd been able to find that earlier - I've ended up restarting X or rebooting in the past... :-(

    19:01 :: # :: /debian/issues :: 1 comment