Older blog entries for CentralScrutinizer (starting at number 6)

I'll pretend posting to Advogato is a normal thing for me.

  • Logitech Freedom Pro Just picked up the ergonomic wireless keyboard and mouse by Logitech. Nice. Much more 'ethical' than my old Microsoft Natural Elite 2.0. Cleaner too. I don't know what it is about Microsoft keyboards, but every one I've ever seen, whether in use or at the store, is disgustingly dirty. Anyoo, the only truly wacky thing about this keyboard is that it has no lights for caps lock, num lock, et. al. I'd like to try and get the other buttons into use somehow, but I dunno how to map them under X11. I remember using some app many moons ago that displays a keyboard and you can see the layout and what key you just hit, but I can't remember the name. Anybody know of something to do this?
  • Rain - I woke up, and it was raining outside. We had some really nice weather previously. Unfortunately, this made me really cranky today, and I feel bad about the way I treated my girlfriend. Feeling slightly better now.
  • Glasses - I got reading glasses so my eyes don't strain, resulting in headaches and eventual blindness. Incidentally, I look like Ryan Phillpe in Antitrust in them. Looking Dead Sexy (TM) good, looking like Ryan Phillpe, not so good. Unless I get to bonk Reese Witherspoon.
  • Codez - I met with my friend Jeff Greeson yesterday. I help him run his Mortal Kombat site . We discussed a new site feature for whenever (?) the new Mortal Kombat game might come out. Basically, he wants to build a community to discover and verify new moves as they are found. I think some really neat things can be done with this:
    • Trust/Scoring - We want to prevent people from trolling and submitting lots of bogus moves. Thus we will probably implement some kind of scoring, wherein if you submit a move and a moderator confirms it, you get points, and if it is denied, you get points taken away. Simple sounding, but from my readings at Advogato and intuitively, I know whatever I implement first will be completely wrong and subtly but massively abusable. We'll see what happens.
    • Output generation - I'd like to output moves lists as PDF's. I'm pretty sure you can do this from PHP, and I imagine Python shouldn't be too hard either. I just wonder how hard it is to actually create a PDF in code. I'll fool around with it when I get to that point. If worse comes to worse, I'll just output TeX or HTML and convert it to something that prints pretty from a cron job.
    • XML-RPC - I'd like to have web and curses interfaces to this system. I'm just really horny to write some kind of command interpreter. So I'm thinking I'll implement my first prototype in Python using the command interpreter module already available, and then branch out from there. In the end, I think XML-RPC might be neat to do, as I think PHP and Python both support it well. The only thing I'm concerned about there is security. Can you do XML-RPC with SSL? Or, perhaps can you sign XML-RPC messages with GPG or PGP?
    • Prototypes and design - As above, I want to do my first prototype in Python, and then write a PHP version for the site. My only concern is that I'll use language goodies in Python I will be hard pressed to emulate in PHP. I also recall PHP3 being slightly hokey in places (I can't remember, so I'm not bitching), and I hope that won't snag me either.
    • XML format and DTD's - Finally, I want some simple way to confirm a submitted move is a valid sequence. So I'm thinking of defining a DTD for the task. This means I have to learn how to write a DTD, that's not too bad. Writing a DTD is useless though unless XML parsers for PHP and Python are validating now. Last time I looked, all were non-validating. Frowns. Anyway, if DTD's are the way to go, then I could make this software pretty generic. You could just write a new DTD and use this with <favorite game here>. Then I could be famous and girls would throw their underpants at me.
Expect more on school, music, and 'the social hacker' later.

I hate to lower the signal here, but I have to chime in on the 'Ultimate Band'.

Dictator and Composer: Frank Zappa
Lead Guitar: Jimmy Page
Rhythm Guitar: Keith Richards
Guitar Pyrotechnics: Eddie Van Halen
Bass: Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five)
Drums: Terry Bozio
Trumpet: Maynard Ferguson
Tenor Sax: Michael Brecker and Bob Mintzer
Trombone: Tom Malone
Bari Sax: Doc Kupka
Piano: Ben Folds
Keyboards: Stevie Wonder
Vocals: Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones
Backup Vocals: En Vogue and Barenaked Ladies

If this kinda looks like Zappa's band for Live in New York and Baby Snakes , then you are perceptive. I think that is a wonderful album. Of course, I would get to play in this band too.

Now Available

One(1) reasonably abled programmer for use in your Free Software project. Can contribute ~1-3 hours daily on your project. Willing to do the unsexy. Really wanting to contribute. Consult my Sourceforge profile for talents and blurbs.

I would also like to kick a shot out to joey . Joey Hess has got to be one of the kindest Debian developers I know. I saw him flame someone once , and it was a pretty kind flame (he professes to being a very nice flamer). In addition to maintaining the most packages (I have not heard if he has lost this title), he has written debconf, which, love it or hate it, is a really nice contribution to Debian. I hereby propose that someone market a Debian developer teddy bear type doll, and that it be modeled after Joey. Apparently it should come with a kite too :}>

I'm going to do my part to raise the signal to ramble ratio by writing an entirely technical entry.

I helped fix a bug that someone else introduced into the board we're trying to get running Linux properly. Yay, I'm cooler than I was before. As an aside, apparently the ThunderLan driver is not so hot; the guy who designed the hardware may rewrite it, so that is happy. It's quite cool to get to work with this guy, because as nutty as he can be, he is still quite cool. This is the same hardware as the Compaq Netelligent dual ethernet cards, so if you have one of those, there may be hope yet. No promises, I may be naughty for even rambling about it. :)

I got some of my own code working, and mostly I've just been designing a lot. If I can get the whole thing designed before I start to write any code at all, then whoop! I'll be sitting pretty I think. Getting around the limitations of C in the context of CGI will be a fun challenge, as will trying to minimize my memory footprint. If anyone knows how to get 'cgic' to compile into a dynamic library mail me and let's talk. This will be on an embedded system with 8 mb of non-volatile memory at most . Linux is a double edged sword here; gotta love it, but 1 megabyte kernels really kill ya. So do 600 kilobyte webservers. :(

I'm feeling my power steadily grow as I learn the ins and outs of Redhat and compare them to Debian. Speaking of Debian, I may be adopting gnapster from bma, so whoopee. I'll probably get it through a sponsorship (aklein), so I can finally be a Debian developer like I've been meaning for quite a while. I also got the new root-portal release, and I will probably hack on that a little when I get the change. That plus my contract project 'FriendSpam' and I should be busy for a good bit. I need to manage my projects better, but that's why I'm an apprentice, right?

Went to the frat party. Got a little tipsy before hand. I was still as nerdy as ever, though I was more verbosely analytical of myself. My momentum management was not so good either. The party almost sucked, as there were only 3 girls there for quite a while. Eck. Girls finally arrived at 11:30/ish, and things got better. I didn't get the goods up to go talk to this tall girl, but I will figure that out. Helped my friend most of this weekend, makes me feel good to help him with his girl problems. Girls are stinky, yes that means you.

I didn't code near so much as I'd hoped. Watched too much TV. I did get my website a bit more to where I want it to though. I was going to create a Zope ZClass to implement the 'sections' of my website, but that quickly got out of hand, so I'm implementing it a lazy way. Almost sat down to write real code, but have yet to do so.

Quake 3 Fortress came out. Good time sink.

I did a diagram of my Test Suite idea on Saturday. Since none of you commented on it last time, I expect lots of you to to check it out and then let me know what you think. That means you. Don't try and hide, I see you through the telescreen.

Started in on reading So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish again. I like Douglas Adams, even if this one isn't so outlandish. I thought about starting to read things I've heard about like Neal Stephenson (?), nerdy stuff. I just know I need to balance fiction, non-fiction, and technical stuff better. :)

I missed "Code Rush" :(

As a guy who's in college in America, I must weigh in on the college education debate. 1) I went straight from high school to college, but I wanted to be a music major at first, so I had little choice, plus my parents. I have not thought enough over whether it's good or bad I went straight through. I think I've learned the same 'life stuff' regardless, just had to juggle school along with it. B) SMU isn't cheap ($25K/year). I'm afraid only 33% of my professors have been worth it. More evil is the fact that I would not give the two CS professors I've had a Ph.D. They lacked the 'curiosity' that I see in my friends, in free software hackers, in smart people in general. Maybe they're old, maybe their academic, who knows. C) I've felt the temptation to go get a job and quit school numerous times, but the main reason I'm here is to get a paper degree, and to become smart. I know I'm going to have to rely on myself to get uber-smart, but that's the way life is, ya know? Ergo, D) SMU is pretty much a vacation school. There aren't a whole lot of sadistic professors here, and the ones that are get weeded out quickly. So I'll slide through here, get a degree that looks decent on paper, and go get a job that will buy me all the toys I desire. I'm sure that this irks the hell out of some of you, so tell me and I'll become a better person.

And finally, I may leap back into the world of stand up comedy. There's an open mic night here at SMU, and I think I may leverage that. Need to get my cajones built up though, know what I mean?

I realize this has become one of those really long annoying diary entries, and that it has little technical value. Sorry. I now yield the floor to the person whose diary entry proceeds me.

Massive props to those who poked my site. Makes me feel neat. Also props to Joey for certifying me. Whoop. Can I be the official Advogato troll? :)

I overcame NFS today. Evils associated with TI's obfuscated network. This guy helping me was trying to mess with 'netgroups' or some Sun/HP-UX construct like that. Oye. Turns out he may be quite intelligent; he showed me the hardware emulation rigs they have (scary) and he had a lot to do with the Compaq dual ThunderLan (tlan) cards. He could be just making stuff up though. It's for certain that he can talk your ear off though.

I've been thinking on ways I could start writing more code, be more 'uber'. One thing my friend Hai does is to just write something to prove to himself he can do it, like a texture mapper. I might do this in the applications/system realm; I think it'd be fun. My other two ideas come from the Software Carpentry competition. I'd like to write a modular test suite, with some ideas I've had in the past. I'll detail that in a second. My other idea is to real software quality testing on big stuff. Like toruture testing. I imagine something like Apache already has this in place, but I'd like to run long tests with lots of possible mangled input and do fail testing, produce lots of statistics, etc. Perhaps that could feed into writing the test suite.

The idea for the test suite is that you have a core, which provides generic testing services like logging, scripting, statistics, etc. It knows nothing about the kinds of tests being performed. Above that you have two (maybe more) kinds of modules. 1) test modules which test a piece of hardware, a webserver, a GUI application, etc. 2) extensions which probe the hardware, webserver, etc. I know that's a really rough description, but input is appreciated

Going to an 80's Frat party tonight. Gonna yell "Freebird!" all night. Shun me.

I thought I should get in here while it was still 'cool'. Yay for something more intelligent for slashdot. (See my my homepage for a low-blow against slashdot). I'd like to actually get my name on some more software before I registered, but I've not much time to code these days. Someday I'll be a 'master'. Until then, watch me grow, and just tap me on the shoulder when I'm being an idiot.

I'm a student at Southern Methodist University. Not a very strong CS school, for those who wonder. I sometimes ask myself who gave the professors a Ph.D. Eck.

Right now I'm co-op'ing (?) at Texas Instruments. I just got done working on some hardware diagnostics for Windows (bleck). That one almost killed me. The good news is, I get to work on Linux finally. I'm typing this on an Ultra2 Creator workstation that really hauls. If only it were Debian instead of Redhat. :)

I hope to someday be as smart as the likes of graydon, but so does everyone. But I can say that I've worked with him and I knew him before he was a pseudo-celebrity. ;)

Signing off, heading home.

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