Older blog entries for Nafai77 (starting at number 12)

Quick pop-up of Tomboy notes

I've started using Tomboy to keep track of my tasks lists, to keep random notes, whatever. I've found it to be very useful.

I am always seeking to be more productive and find ways to reduce the amount of distraction in my life. One example: if I am in the middle of working on a project and remember I have to pick something up on my way home from work, I want to quickly jot that down so I don't forget. But I don't want to interrupt the concentration that I have on the task at hand. Tomboy is an ideal solution for this. I am trying to implement a GTD-like system, so I have a Tomboy note titled "GTD Inbox". The idea is to put all of those things that need to be processed and remembered in my "GTD Inbox" to be dealt with later.

Normally, to get to do this, I would have to click on the Tomboy icon in the notification area and select the note title. Alternately, I would hit Alt-F12 to pop up the same menu and move down with the arrow keys and hit Enter. If I am trying to minimize the interruption of the original task, that's too much. I'd rather rely on "muscle memory" -- something that is as natural as pressing Alt-Tab to switch between windows.

With the help of Alex Gravely (thanks Alex!), I was able to come up with a popup_note.sh that uses dbus-send to open up a specified note. With that, I could set a hotkey in Metacity for each of the important notes. For example, at work Windows-i opens "GTD Inbox", Windows-n opens "Next Actions" (my list of next actions for all of my projects, GTD-style), and Windows-t opens "Today" (my list of goals and tasks for the day).

So, back to my "remember to pick up the milk" example. All I'd do is hit Windows-i, type "Pick up Milk", and hit Escape. The Note goes away and I'm back at doing whatever I was doing previously. Wonderful.

To use the script, just pass the title of the note on the commandline, like so:

   $ popup_note.sh GTD Inbox

If you want to set up global hotkeys in Metacity, do this:

   $ gconftool-2 -t string -s /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/run_command_1 "<Mod4>i"
 $ gconftool-2 -t string -s /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands/command_1 "popup_note.sh GTD Inbox"

Download popup_note.sh.

This and other scripts will be linked from my Random Code page. Hopefully something there will be useful.

Syndicated 2006-07-25 04:29:00 from Travis B. Hartwell / Software Craftsman

New Blog

I'm moving my blog from LiveJournal to my own domain. I'm using PyBlosxom, and so far I'm pretty pleased.

I plan on blogging more now that I have greater flexibility and control.

Watch this space.

Syndicated 2006-07-21 15:08:00 from Travis B. Hartwell / Software Craftsman

Redirecting stderr and stdout to a file plus displaying them

It has taken me ages to figure this out. Googling has been fruitless. Finally, after some tinkering, I was able to figure out how to properly redirect stdout and stderr to a file plus display them from within a script. Here's the idiom:



if [ ! -e $OUTPUT_PIPE ]; then
    mkfifo $OUTPUT_PIPE

if [ -e $OUTPUT_LOG ]; then
    rm $OUTPUT_LOG

exec 3>&1 4>&2
exec > $OUTPUT_PIPE 2>&1

echo "This is on standard out"
echo "This is on standard err" >&2

exec 1>&3 3>&- 2>&4 4>&-
wait $tpid


It works but it might not be entirely correct, particularly the exec &> /dev/null. Improvements or suggestions are welcome.

Update: Figured it out. I had to store stderr and then restore stdout and stderr and close the fd that I stored them in.

Update update: Looked back and realized I had a typo on my first exec line.

Syndicated 2006-07-14 08:23:00 from Travis B. Hartwell / Software Craftsman

Random Ideas


Okay, maybe this is ironic that I'm posting this on my Live Journal account, but I really hate how limited LJ is. I would love to be able to track site statistics and reads and so forth. I just got a Google Analytics account for my main domain. There is currently (and probably never will be) a way for me to put in the requisite javascript code into my template at LJ to have Google Analytics track things. Yet another reason to move off of it. After the wedding, I think I'll finally have time to get my blog set up on my own hosting account. I'm going to be using Pyblosxom as it seems to be most flexible and easiest to integrate with Twisted Web. I got Twisted Web 2 working with Pyblosxom via WSGI with a minimal amount of code and some help from #twisted.web. I'll post how I did that when I get that blog up.

Random Ideas

I figure this would be a good place to throw out my random ideas of things I want to hack on, things to figure out. Feel free to tell me my ideas are dumb. Feel even freer to tell me that they've already been implemented or that you want to write them. :)

In reference to my prior entry regarding my IRC and IM setup, here are some things I've been thinking about:

  • I want to write a programmable chat notifier, so I don't have to be constantly logged onto my session locally. I want an application that will connect to my proxy for me and, when certain conditions (regular expressions or something) are met, notifiy me via libnotify and the notification area of my Gnome panel. That way I can't let IM/IRC distract me.
  • Write a wrapper around XChat-Gnome to handle my setup more cleanly:
    • If my ssh tunnel is not started, start it, prompting me for the password
    • Turn off the notification plug-ins (sound, notification, and on screen display) to start. As bip is playing back my log to the session, I don't want to be notified.
    • Find out, via d-bus or a python plug-in or something, that the playback is done and then enable those plug-ins
    • If appropriate, on exit, kill the tunnel

I've started using Evolution as my primary mail client, so I have a few things I want to do with it:

  • Update my (not-yet-released) new mail notifier:

    • Make it more robust and clean code-wise.
    • Give more information, if possible. (Number of new messages, perhaps message information)
    • Leave an icon in the notification area until I click the pop-up notification or the system tray icon.
    • When clicking either, go to the new messages in Evolution
  • I get a lot of spam -- probably 1250 or so in the last week. I need to curb that.

    • We use spam bayes on my mail server. I need some way to retrain it, when it misses or mis-classifies something.
    • I also use spamassassin locally, which works for most of what I have.
    • First filter on spam bayes, and then spam assassin classifications.
    • I want to be able to set up something -- like search folders -- that will capture messages that are in the junk folder, but missed by one or the other.
    • I want to be able to automatically re-train spambayes and spamassassin appropriately on these.

So, for Evolution, I need to figure out the following:

  • In what order are the filters applied? Junk filters and then user-defined filters? Can I specfy the order of this? Can I specify the order of my user-defined filters?
  • Can I set up a filter that is only applied when I select it? For example, I need to write some shell scripts to handle re-training Spambayes on my remote server. I would like to be able to click on a message and then tell Evolution to pipe that message to a given program. Can I do this?

I think that's all of my random ideas for now. I probably won't get to any of this until after the wedding. Of well, priorities, you know.

Syndicated 2006-05-17 19:44:00 from Travis B. Hartwell / Software Craftsman

Ten Days and Counting

On Saturday, May 27th, my sweetheart Torie and I are getting married!

Ten days!

Torie and Travis engagement picture

Syndicated 2006-05-17 19:41:00 from Travis B. Hartwell / Software Craftsman

Iswitch-window handler update

I keep meaning to announce that my iswitch-window deskbar handler as described here, has now been included in the core Gnome Deskbar Applet distribution, as seen in the 2.15.1 announcement. Any further changes or improvements will go directly into deskbar cvs.

Enjoy! Thanks Raph and team for a great project and including my contribution!

Syndicated 2006-05-01 10:43:00 from Travis B. Hartwell / Software Craftsman

ncm: My lack of strength in C++ shows here. Why is using delete considered sloppy thinking? I would assume that the use of new is acceptable. For example, when you are allocating memory for a dynamically sized array (yes, I do know about the STL <vector> I thought it was prope, and in fact necessary, to pair new and delete calls as in C with malloc() and free. What am I missing? Standard C++ doesn't have garbage collection, so I'm a bit lost.

An update: in just 6 weeks or so, I will be done with school forever. My last final is on December 12th, and I will be finishing my bachelor's degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics at Utah State University. Finally!

On the free software front, I've been doing a little hacking. I've worked more on my Gnome Alerts Panel Applet, now with clients for an e-mail watcher, web page monitor, cvs monitor, and a regular standalone messager. I need to finish the UI and then put it up for others to use.

I just recently started using Spam Bayes as Spam Assassin wasn't catching all of my spam. Spam Bayes is doing a great job of catching nearly all spam that SA does not, and only a few false positives and unsures. I need to tweak how I train it, but overall I am pleased. I was annoyed with having to start a Python process for every single message that comes through, so I wrote a spam bayes daemon that listens on named pipes and then a small C program that acts as the filter that procmail calls that interacts with the daemon via the pipes. I was pretty proud of myself. After doing that, I added the named pipe capability to the e-mail watcher program for my alerts applet. Anyway, I want to release this stuff to the Spam Bayes community, I just haven't taken the time to clean it up and put it out there.

Other than that, my free software stuff is slow. I'm waiting for all of the Gnome 2.4 packages to come through on Debian PPC Unstable, and am excited to try that out. As soon as the Linux 2.6.0 final kernel comes out, I will be trying it out as well. Hopefully it will make my boxes feel faster, as I have slow machines right now.

I went to PyCon a few weeks ago, it was a very enjoyable experience! I got to meet the rest of the Twisted team and a few other interesting people. It was very fun and synergistic to work with the Twisted gang. They are amazingly smart! While there, I gave a tutorial on using Twisted.Web: Slides are here

While there I started working on Gnome Panel Applets for CVSToys and then enventually for BuildBot with the help of warner. The hard part at first was just figuring out how to integrate the applet with the Twisted mainloop. Now I have to learn how to write Gnome programs. Being busy with school and other things hasn't allowed time to really write any code.

I am also really getting into Woven. fzZzy has started writing some docs and it is really exciting. It seems like this is the way that writing web apps was meant to be.

10 Nov 2002 (updated 10 Nov 2002 at 05:39 UTC) »

I haven't posted here in nearly two years though I read these diaries near daily. I guess I'm not doing enough development to feel like anyone would be interested in my life.

Stevey: Pardon my ignorance, but what is your main beef with the example code you posted in your entry today? Is it that they don't use strncpy and strncat? I'm assuming that it is a security problem given your current project.

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