Best news

I received permission to remain in Ireland for five years without the need for a Work Permit. Happy Day!

RSS for this blog via GNUS

Quoting the fifth comment in

I finally got it to work! The trick is to set mm-url-use-external to t so that emacs uses an external program, by default wget, to fetch the feed, rather than its built-in http support.

I couldn’t have put it better myself (except perhaps to emphasise finally), and without that comment I would still be floundering. Thank you, Matthias.

More good news

I called the Immigration Division of the Department of Justice, Equality, and Law Reform again today, just to confirm that they had received the replacement information that I had sent them. I got through on my first attempt, I only had to spend about ten minutes on hold, I still wasn’t in the computer, and the good news was that my case file was on the appropriate person’s desk and I was told that I would receive a decision in a week or two.

Now, I have been told “two weeks” before, as my previous post attests, but I am choosing to believe that within a week or two I will recieve that politely worded and, in an ideal world, affirmative letter from the department.

Bad news, worse news, good news

In a prescient moment in July, I wrote to the Immigration Division of the Department of Justice, Equality, and Law Reform asking for extended permission to remain without requiring a work permit, as I am entitled to do since I have worked in Ireland for over 60 months. After I was told I was RIFed, I contacted the department by phone (itself a long story) and was told that they would be “in communication” with me within two weeks.

That was four weeks ago. My expectation of receiving a politely worded letter from the department having faded, I phoned the department again last week, another long story in itself.

I’ve called the department’s number so many times that I have it on speed-dial so it takes less time to be hung up on because their queue is full. I also have it registered with our “Friends and Family” calling plan so there’s a discounted tariff. We should save more through the misnamed plan this period than we have for the whole rest of the time we’ve been on the scheme.

The bad news, once I did get through after two days of trying, was that the person on the other end had no idea why I would have been told two weeks for an application sent in July since the department was still processing applications from April. When I mentioned that I was being made redundant, the person said she would look into my case for me after the phone call, since she couldn’t find my details on computer in front of her.

The worse news, when I was called back later, was that while the department did have a record of my sending a letter, they no longer had either the letter or its supporting documentation, and could I send it all again?

The good news from the same phone call was that my application could be fast-tracked since I was being made redundant. I don’t much like jumping the queue ahead of someone who has been waiting since April (and I’m sure that the person waiting since April wouldn’t much like me either), but waiting a little bit longer when you are in stable employment makes less of a difference than the difference that freedom from work permits will make to my reemployment prospects.

Xubuntu 6.06 on Fujitsu P1120

I have installed Xubuntu 6.06 on my (and I use the term loosely) Fujitsu P1120. Actually, I’ve installed it about six times so far.

Xubuntu promises a lighter weight window manager for use on older or slower processors like the 800 MHz Crusoe in the P1120, but installation from a netboot is not at straightforward as installing the Ubuntu desktop. The instructions at help a lot.

The good news is that the display is automatically configured with the right 1024×600 resolution. The bad news is that the mouse freezes after a suspend-resume, the wireless doesn’t yet work though the Networking tool says that it’s enabled, and I can’t yet persuade it to use the preexisting encrypted filesystem that is happily used by multiple JDS installs on the same machine.

Pango 1.14.2 and Cairo 1.2.4

After upgrading to use recent bug-fix releases of Pango and Cairo, I’m now eyeballing and verifying the output of over 300 tests with differences, but so far the Pango and Cairo bug fixes don’t seem to have resulted in any fortuitous fixes for xmlroff bugs. At least the xmlroff testing module automates identifying the tests with differences so I don’t have to check the output of several hundred other tests.

Website reworked

For the last ten years, the first line on has been “Forgive the spartan appearance, but w’re just moving in.”

It may have taken ten years and there are still a few rough edges, but we’ve, or I’ve, finally moved in.

The website uses Norm’s DocBook Website DTD and stylesheets. It was a learning experience to get it building correctly on Windows (since my Linux laptops will shortly no longer be mine). The best part of the whole exercise was finding the existence of the “hspacer” named template for adding space between the navigation bar and the body of a page. I’ve been wanting something like that for about the last five years, and the next thing I’ll do is update the xmlroff website at to also use it. To give credit where credit is due, I found out about it from Bob Stayton’s “DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide” at