Sunday, August 22, 2004


I've had my home directory under version control for some time now. It's a -very- nice way to keep files consistent across all the various machines I use.

Previously I had been using CVS, and have been pleased with it. The standard problems with CVS apply, of course. Binary files are handled poorly, the network protocol is slow, moving/renaming files is difficult.

So I was in the market for a new version control system. I looked at Subversion looks very nice, but I wanted something decentralized. GNU Arch also looks nice, but didn't really appeal to me. Something about how all the documentation tells you that you shouldn't edit configurations by hand left me feeling uneasy. So I went with Monotone.

Monotone does much of its work by calling LUA hook functions. The defaults pretty much feel like CVS. However, I was very impressed with how much customization can be performed. With a little tweaking, I've got a system that is as close to completely transparent without being Coda as I've ever had.

Suffice it to say that I'm impressed.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


I do some contract work for a small Internet Cafe near my old hometown. As of now, I'm sitting in the back hiding from customers, trying to bring the client machines back up to some kind of useful state.

As you might guess, malware is a huge problem in an internet cafe with windows based client machines. So most of my current headache stems from trying to extract wriggling badness from the soft flesh of Windows 98.

At the Cafe, they've been using NAV: corporate for AV, but that's it. So I've installed ad-aware and spybot. Spybot caught some things that AAW missed, but there's no harm in having both of them. For kicks, I installed AVG as well. AVG caught some viruses that Norton missed.

The traditional wisdom is that Norton is top of the line, and if you've got cash to drop, drop it there. So I'm very surprised to find that AVG (traditionally described as an underdog that is only popular because of their free edition) outperforms NAV sometimes. And yes, before someone asks, both were updated immediately before the scan.


Today I got not one, but two gmail invites. Never rains but it pours, eh?

I've been saving all of my personal email since 1998, and I've only used 22MB. I'm sure that there are people who hit their 1GB limit, but under normal use, it'd take me quite a bit of time to do so. Maybe google's "never delete an email" push isn't that far from the truth.

Thus far, I find their conversation view to be very clever, useful, handy even. Other webmail services seem to me to be offering a poor man's IMAP. Gmail actually does something differently in a way that is useful.

Monday, June 28, 2004

In Other News

This is going to be a busy year for me, oh yes indeed. My "Instant Family" takes up all the time you'd expect and sometimes more. Of course, who am I to know what to expect? I went from being child-phobic to having two young step children.

I'm meeting with my Professor on Thursday. We've got to decide on what classes I'll be taking, and start familiarizing me with the model (CANOPY) that I'll be working on. I think that I'm going to be adding a light model similar to that of SORTIE. Beyond that, I'd like to extend the model to understand that the world is not flat. Also, if I haven't worked myself into the ground by then, I'd like to add the capability to consider UV exposure profiles in the modeling.

Just like with my research at work, I'm wondering how anyone expects to get accurate data about outdoor phenomena without considering the weather. Now, we can't predict the weather into the future, but being able to enter UV profiles as input would probably help a lot WRT calibrating the model. I think. I -really- need to get myself up to speed on the biological basis of this process.

IE Redux

Apparently some other people are also losing the Faith with respect to IE being worth anything.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Weekend Update

Have I complained lately about Internet Explorer? I've been doing some freelance web development stuff for family and friends of late. Two of the people I'm working for are running small businesses. So ignoring IE, and just putting a warning for IE users on the front page isn't an option. OH, how I'd like to.

Recently I was added to the Fink Project as a committer. I've been sending packages in for a little over a year. I wanted to eventually be a committer, but I wasn't going to make myself annoying by asking for it, and I didn't expect that it'd be offered so soon.

I saw Chronicles of Riddick this weekend. It was an ok movie, but not all that impressive. The plot felt rather thin and rushed. It felt like there could have been an interesting background that this story was painted on, but we didn't get to see much of it. Expect it to be a shallow action flick, and you'll enjoy it.

I discovered the most adorable little desktop: xfce. I've been a loyal fvwm user for the past three years or so. I've tried a few other desktops and WMs, and not found any that I like quite as much as fvwm. I found KDE to be very bloated and slow. I found GNOME to be better, but still rather slow on my 800MHz PIII. After trying those two, I generally stayed away from "Desktops". But after reading a good review of xfce, I figured "Why not?" and tried it. I think I'm actually going to keep it. Old dogs can learn new tricks.

Sunday, June 06, 2004


I have recently had the distinct displeasure of trying to write web pages that work in IE. The issue comes about because I recently taught myself CSS. I knew before that IE was just flat -bad- at standards support, but I had no idea how bad.

I can understand why people write rants about IE now.

Let's just ignore IE's poor security track record. MS Apologists will say that the existence of patches proves that MS is fixing problems. This may be true, but to me the sheer number of "critical security patches" out there for IE would indicate that they released a crappy product which has more holes than a screen door.

Let's also ignore that IE's CSS support is buggier than a beehive. It is interesting to compare Microsoft documentation, with actual standards. Notice how the MS docs conveniently ignore some property values, in this case "fixed".

IE doesn't even support HTML 4.01. This is insane.

IE is the only browser so buggy and generally crappy that it provides its own special tag, that web authors use to work around IE's bugs.

I just can't take it anymore. My personal websites will no longer support IE. Trying to write web pages that are actually functional, that comply with standards, and that render in IE is just too much of a pain in my ass to bother with unless I'm getting paid.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


I've been having a few problems with calvin of late. First, he says "calculating..." forever instead of guessing how much battery I have left. Second, he has been crashing a lot.

The second problem was actually pretty easy to solve, once I got off my butt and read the discussion boards. Apparently some other people have also had the same problem. One of them even posted a panic.log that looks -exactly- like mine. The problem? Loose Airport Extreme card. Easily remedied.

The first problem seems to be both more subtle and more common. Though apparently some people have found a solution.

I recently wiped my hard drive and reinstalled Panther (and fink (that was a -lot- of compiling)) from scratch, which -might- have fixed the battery problem. I don't know, since the various knowledge base docs about it suggest that I need to drain the battery to 0% before it will recalibrate itself. I've just started draining the battery now.

However, I'm a much happier person now that calvin doesn't shit on me every few minutes. Maybe I just need to learn not to type so bloody hard.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

In the beginning (or was it?)

This is part two of my attempt to maintain a weblog. Part 1 seems to have failed. I got this bright idea that I wanted to build and maintain my weblog as a part of my website. This would be well and good if I were motivated enough to come up with my own content management system. I am not. So I went and found blogmax, which is a system to maintain a weblog using everyone's favorite editor, EMACS. It works fairly well. However it seems geared toward someone who uses a single machine most of the time. I do not.

Now, I share my home directory and most of my files across my machines using CVS. This is really a nice thing, but it doesn't play well with the kind of structure that blogmax likes to use for storing files. Also, the longer I thought about it, the less sense it makes to store a weblog as flat text files. Something like blogger (do I really need to link that), where they store the entries in a database and use some dynamic voodoo to generate indexes does make a lot more sense.

So I'm switching. And I'll be honest, it's mostly because I'm lazy. There's nothing wrong with the system I was using before, it just requires more motivation than I have.

The project for later tonight: see if I can transfer my old entries from the flat text files they live in now over to blogger. Shouldn't be hard, provided that I am allowed to create blog entries that predate my creation of this blog. We'll see. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2004

CVS Homedir

One of my stupid new-years/birthday resolutions was to not let my weblog go un-updated so long. It makes me look like I've got something to do on weekends when I don't update it, and we all know
that isn't true *wink*.

Inspired by Joey Hess's CVS Homedir I merged together all the files from home directories on my various machines and put the resulting mishmash into CVS. After a bit of re-writing for .bashrc and the like, I'm very pleased with the result. I'm using the CS Department machines for my CVS repository. They back those up like mad, which makes me feel better about not actually backing up my machines in several months.

I can foresee this being very nice for when I start school again. Not needing any special voodoo to synchronize the various papers I'm working on between calvin (my laptop) and hobbes (my desktop) will be delicious.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Various Pointless Musings

I know, it's been quite some time since I made an entry. It's not that I haven't had much to talk about, though that has something to do with it. More than anything I have had a lack of motivation. But, so it goes.

It was a relaxing new year, I played pool with a small group of friends. For the most part, we relaxed in a group, It was nice.

My application to grad school seems to be almost done. I've been in contact with some of the people in Forestry, and apparently the only thing that we're waiting on right now is an
approval form to admit me even though my GPA is a bit low. I might even be accepted officially before classes start. I've got all the classes I want picked out. I think I'm going to do band again next semester, I keep talking about how I want to.

My project to build a DVR based on the freevo project has been a complete success. It's impressive what you can do just by putting something on the Internet and sticking a computer in it. It makes a stupid TV into a device that seeks out shows you want and snarfs them for you automagically. The people at IBM who said that four computers would be sufficient to run the world must be going nuts to see what people are doing with computers today.

I was trying to figure out, for a while, what purpose the 'news' section on my website would serve now that I'm attempting to maintain a weblog (Jerry Pournelle says that the pseudo-word "blog" is ugly. I agree with him.). I've come to the conclusion that the 'news' section will talk about updates to the site, and my weblog will continue to be mindless