Older blog entries for Phoon (starting at number 49)



No time for a full entry right now... I'll write more later. I just had this idea that I had to write down and get feedback on.

I would like to see a screen-like X client proxy, so that the user can detach and redirect apps without restarting them. The X client attaches to the proxy, and the proxy attaches to the server.... so if the proxy gets detached from the server, the client remains running and can be pointed somewhere else? I've had a few times I've wanted to restart X without restarting the apps I had running.

Has this been done already, or should I start on it? Would anyone else find this useful?

30 Jun 2001 (updated 30 Jun 2001 at 09:42 UTC) »


yakk: Well, this is a public diary, but it's as good as private -- no one reads it anyway. Or at least no one comments on it. It's where I put most of the non-code-related stuff.
Tengo que hacer una presentación al 26 de julio, pero no le trabajé mucho. (If I messed that up, let me know, OK?)
Still haven't finished the poem I started earlier....

I don't get into poetic moods often. It's a delicate balance... I have to be awake enough to not write stupid crap, but tired enough not to think everything I write is stupid crap. Sadly, most of the time, by the time I'm tired enough to overcome my inhibitions I'm too tired to write.

Usually, the result of one of these creative bursts is waking up the next morning and saying, "What was I on when I wrote this?"

I fixed the "input not UTF-8" warning in ithought, by making the input UTF-8, using the isolat1ToUTF8() function in libxml2. Then I realized I had to change it back. Then I realized it doesn't null terminate its result. So I had to use g_malloc0() instead of g_malloc().

ithought development has been kinda dead recently... this seems to be the first change in a long while.

CD: Blue Man Group - Audio
T-shirt: None
Mood: Fried

(Apparently, the change to ithought breaks some modules. I'm working on it.)


yet another

Another entry? So soon?
Every once in a while I get in a poetic mood. So recently I started on a sestina about Keith Henson, the guy that had to run to Canada to avoid being thrown in jail by Scientologists.

I got two-and-a-half verses done, then I realized the choice of repeated words I had made wasn't easy to work around. I guess "plan to throw one away" applies in literature too. I'll let you know when (if?) I get it done.

Saw Shrek the other day. Thumbs up... it's hilarious. I was laughing most of the way through. There were a few moments, though, when it was obvious that my ten-year-old companion didn't get some of the jokes. She had a good time, though.

There were times I almost forgot it was animated; the graphics were great. The music isn't bad, but the soundtrack CD makes a major change; the version of "Hallelujah" on the CD isn't the same as the one in the film. It's a shame; the song in the film is incredibly moving.

around advogato
gleblanc: If you want storms, come down here to Florida. We've been getting storms daily; they've been doozies too... massive lightning, some hail, a few tornadoes (mostly on the coast).... fun, fun, fun. Just wait until a hurricane comes through. Remember your surge protector.
Absolutely no progress on the gaucho report. I'm going to ask if I can have it completely written out in English and simply translate on the fly. That would make it infinitely easier.

You see, I'm not very adept at public speaking in English, and I'm fluent. If I can't put together coherent sentences in the language I've spoken my entire life, how can I expect to do it in a language I've known for about 6 months?

The professor said she has a set of gaucho gear, so that might be some help.

bad code
Fixed a tiny bug in ithought's export module today... I forgot to tell it the default permissions for newly-created files, so it set them randomly. Earlier I got a file with no permissions whatsoever, and today I got a file with seeming random permissions... it even had the "Transient" bit set. (That's what I was told it meant... a T in the last space on the permissions display.)

That's fixed.

Got an interesting setup now... almost my full root window in X is a root-tail. Soon, I'll set up my workstation as a partial loghost and dump firewall logs to it, so I can tail them here.

Studies have shown that 3 out of 4 people is 75 percent.


nothing doing

I know you're going to ask... no, I haven't done any coding. So sue me.
stubby fingers
I had a very... enlightening... conversation with one of the lab managers at my school. (This isn't the same one I dealt with earlier.) We got into a discussion about programming languages.

She actually claimed C++ was simpler than C, simply because it has iostreams rather than stdio. The book she used to learn C didn't cover printf() very well, and the C++ book covered iostreams, so of course she assumed that iostreams are better. Of course she didn't realize how much of a monstrosity C++ can be if you let it. We bantered back and forth for a while, then I told her I would bring her some C code that I had written.

That was yesterday. Today I printed out some sample C code and a copy of the GPL, for her enlightenment.

She also said she would rather write in COBOL. So I went to the library and checked out a COBOL book. Just LOOKING at the source makes my fingers hurt.

muchos dolores..
... en mi cabeza...

Spanish is coming along slowly. On July 26 I have to give a presentation about gauchos. The Argentine cowboys. Yeah, those guys. Actually, it's an interesting topic... but I don't have the needed vocabulary in Spanish yet.

Next term I have to take Calculus III. It's not required for graduation, but it is required to transfer to USF's Comp Sci program. Don't ask me why.

I still need to take General Chemistry 2 and Wellness Concepts (gym class).

new shoes
The time had come again for me to find another pair of sandals for my size-13-wide feet.

So I got a decent-looking pair of sandals, size 13. Only one problem: they're too long. When I'm riding my bike, the toes tend to rub against the ground if I'm not careful. They're also a hassle to walk in. They're also too narrow.

If a pair is short enough, it's too narrow, and if I get a pair wide enough, they're too long.

Bill Gates can't be human. There is no way that much crap can flow from one person.
life, the universe, and everything
logic: Today had a number of interesting things happen. First, the total solar eclipse. Next, it's the first day of summer solstice. Then, we have Mars making a quick pass near earth. And finally, it is the 42nd day since the passing of Douglas Adams. What a strange set of coincidences.

Maybe someone actually built the Infinite Improbability Drive?

tickling the ivories?
More like "pummeling the ivories".

I learned my first song today... "Miniature Waltz"... it's only 16 measures but it took me nearly an hour to play it correctly. I still haven't learned to play hands-together correctly yet.

(Don't laugh. I just started learning.)

17 Jun 2001 (updated 17 Jun 2001 at 10:56 UTC) »
Morning. (EDT, Night PDT)

version 2.0

I had an entry typed up like 2 days ago, then ithought failed to save it. And what's worse is that I ran it from the gnome panel, so I didn't even get a chance to see the error messages, and I haven't been able to reproduce the problem. Figures.
on the site
csm, dyork: My condolences for your loss.

jmallett: CD-ROM? I don't need no steenking CD-ROM!

Seriously, though, how much are you asking for the iMac? Keep in mind I'm a college student without a job... ;-)

BTW, if you want people to contact you, it's generally a good idea to include things like an email address.

change is good? maybe
Ditched Linux on my firewall, went to OpenBSD 2.9. I've been having a few problems with it:
  1. It thinks the machine only has 15 MB RAM. It actually has 32, and I can't remember how to tell it how much I have explicitly.
  2. Outgoing DCC connections aren't handled correctly via NAT. I'm trying to write a patch that will correct that, but it may take a while.
  3. I'm having some minor problems with statefulness in ipfilter. I need to sit down and go through my old set of ipchains rules and convert them (if not directly, then in intent) to ipfilter rules.
  4. OBSD's boot script is boogly. I'm a huge fan of SysV-style boot setups, but even for a BSD system, this is just fugly.

I've got a basic ipfilter setup, with a total of ten lines of configuration and it works well enough, but, for example, some IRC networks take a minute for ident to time out, so I need to add that. I also need to prevent spoofing, tighten down ICMP, et cetera.


I just remembered something that happened years ago, and may be the real reason I've felt this drive to code.

I was taking a computer class in 6th grade. We were still learning BASIC on Apple IIs, using drawing commands to make pretty pictures and learn the basics of programming.

The teacher had a Mac. At one point, I asked him, "When will we learn to program those things?", pointing to the Mac. He responded with something like, "It's really hard to program those. Only grownups can do it." Of course, my 11-year-old mind took that as a challenge, to learn everything I could about programming, and someday, maybe, to program a Mac, to prove I was "grown up".

Now, 8 years later, that "challenge" still drives my choice of career. Although my sights have shifted from Macs (the "best" computer I had ever seen at the time, being in a public school) to other, better computers, I'm still compelled to learn everything I can about these machines, and to make them do my bidding.

And I still haven't grown up.

father's day
I need to get my Dad something for Father's Day. Hmm... maybe I'll just take him out to breakfast....

Updated to add the "flashback" section, and to remove the possibly offensive tagline that was right here.


keyboards vs. i18n vs. programming

Why can't someone come up with a keyboard layout that can handle multiple natural languages and still be suitable for coding?

So far, I like the ISO9995-3 layout, except to type < and > I have to type AltGr-Shift-Z and AltGr-Shift-X. Not exactly conducive to speedy coding. (Or HTML authoring.)

What I would like is a keyboard that is the same as (or very similar to) the US layout, except for the AltGr switch, which would allow me to type extended characters needed for other languages (accents, inverted punctuation, guillemets, etc).

Update: I found it! It's called the "US-International keyboard".

Another idea: is the Dvorak layout compatible with any of these international layouts?


I had to give a presentation to my spanish class today. Now, I don't like public speaking anyway, and when nervousness and lack of preparation are combined, strange things happen. I managed to squeak out a presentation without offending anybody, I think.


advanced case of bleary-eye

Yeah, yeah, yeah... so what if I got up at 5PM yesterday, and didn't sleep at all since? So what if I can't focus on anything further than two feet away? So what if... *yawn*...

Seriously, though, my screwed-up circadian rhythm is really beginning to become a hassle. Strangely enough, the more work I have to do, the better my rhythm is... it's like the constant obligations keep me out of bed when I'm not supposed to be there. Normally, I get home at about 2PM, fall asleep, wake up at about 6PM, hack/study/etc, catch a couple of hours at night, then wake up at 6AM to start the whole process over again. Drag.

But I promised myself I wouldn't cut class unless I were actually sick... and I'm not sick. Yet.

so, how long until "chopsticks"?

Absolutely no piano work. Two hours per class, one night a week, is the wrong format for a piano class. It's the wrong format for almost everything.

linux hassles

The first problem was that klogd took my CPU time to 100%. It's a low-priority thread, so it didn't affect performance. I didn't notice it until I noticed my load average being higher than 1, instead of hovering at 0.02.

Then, when I switched keyboards in X, apps stopped recieving Meta-Q and Meta-Tab. No idea why.

Finally, X went haywire and sucked up all CPU time. I had to ssh in from my firewall and kill X.

I googled for information on all three problems, but on the first all I could find were bugs with 2.4.x and I'm currently running 2.2.18. No help there.

Just as I begin to get frustrated, I reboot into Windows, blow up a few bots in Descent 3 (yeah, yeah, windows version... got it for free with my hub...), begin to appreciate the stability of Linux again, and start working with a new vigor.

2 Jun 2001 (updated 5 Jun 2001 at 15:58 UTC) »

archmagi anonymous

Whoopee. I'm addicted to Archmage again.

I don't know how it started... someone posted a link.. I remembered playing the first time, and how good it felt... and before I knew what was going on, I had created a character and had already started beating the snot out of someone.

Then Armageddon hit.

I'll see y'all in 48 hours.

hacking and/or cracking
I saw an ad for "Swordfish" today. Finally a movie got the terminology right.

"The best crackers in the world can do this in sixty minutes"... halleleujah.

Now, getting back to hacking... what hacking? Absolutely nothing's going on.

job hunts
Possible places I could work:
  • Gateway Country. Fairly convenient location... haven't been inside, though.
  • Computer Renaissance. Same, and same.
  • One of the myriad computer stores my dad is convinced exist in this area. Trust me. I've looked. There are very few computer stores around here, and those are mom-and-pop stores, or a guy running a business from his garage.
  • Some random grocery/hardware store. Tolerable, but not my first choice.

I hope I'm forgetting about some. I'd really like a job working with computers.

I miss my PS/2 clickety-clack keyboard. It's hooked up to my firewall right now, so it's not really gone, just not accessible.

I wonder if PS/2 keyboards are hotswappable.

small metal discs
I actually sat down and counted out all the change I've been collecting. It came out to about $47, with $17 of that in pennies.

There was a study a number of years ago that claimed the average family has $20 in pennies. It's surprising, though, how small $20 is, and how heavy. Copper is more dense than one tends to realize.

I'm also disappointed in the "golden dollar" the US Gummint has been pushing recently. First, IMNSHO, it should have a president, or a Founding Father, on the face. Second, it's too small and hard to distinguish from a quarter. Third, the golden plating wears off fast.

school and related activities
Supposedly, the Polk County LUG is talking with Polk Community College, trying to arrange a Linux course. I hope it goes through. I hope I can test out of it, since I probably have more Linux experience than any professor they could arrange to teach it, unless they can bring in a LUG member to teach. I've already insulted one of the "computer science" professors by showing him how little he knows. (Read my first few posts to hear me rant.)

Spanish is going fairly well. Aprendí mucho en esa clase. Me gusta español.

I'm still working on the webpage for the International Circle. I have one question, though... in a "club roster" page, what's a reasonable size for a portrait? I have them set at 144x192, but that seems kinda large. However, 72x96 looked too small.

I've nearly forgotten that I have piano class. Once a week is already too long, and skipping a week makes it even stranger. (No, I didn't cut class. The professor had a prior engagement, so she couldn't be there.)

fud, fud, and more fud
"Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source." -- Steve Ballmer

I think we've reached a milestone here. Microsoft has failed to stop us with mere "twisting" of the truth, and must now resort to outright lies. We have them running scared.

edited when I realized I had used a feminine demonstrative adjective with a masculine noun.

edited again when I realized I had the movie quote wrong.

28 May 2001 (updated 29 May 2001 at 00:05 UTC) »
Early Morning.

job hunting

Yeah, it's me again.

The job hunt's been fairly futile. I applied at Circuit City, and they seemed interested to have a warm body actually interested in the job. I learned why when someone told me about their pay system. I'm not going to post anything here, in case what I was told is wrong. If I were to be offered the job, I'd probably accept it... even with the pay system. Crappy commissions are better than nothing at all.

The Best Buy across the street from said Circuit City isn't hiring. Shame, since that's where I really wanted to work. I'm not really interested in sales; repair is where I'd like to be.

Radio Shack is hiring. That might be an acceptable place to work. I figure I could peddle cheap consumer equipment... even *gag* MSN...

And I refuse to work in fast food if there's any alternative. I would rather shovel manure at a farm than flip burgers.

My dad thinks that every store's hiring, and that companies are just begging for people. That's true, except in anything remotely interesting, and especially computer-related jobs. All the companies that are hiring (except for the aforementioned) are hard, backbreaking, manual labor. Either that or burger flipping, and I'd rather take the manual labor.


I wrote my first Gtk-Perl script the other day. It's a wrapper for LoserJabber, which takes an ithought entry and passes it to LoserJabber's text frontend to be uploaded to LiveJournal.

Simple, but not bad for a first script.

Not much else going on... once I get a job I'll probably buy an iMac to run OSX and LinuxPPC on.

Can a Mac dual-boot? I'd like to be able to play with both OSes without having to own two Macs.



Is there a requirement that diary entries must be relevant to open source? If so, I'd like to know before I go on breaking it.

A portion of my previous entry has been moved to my LiveJournal. I mean, I forget that a majority of users here don't care whether I manage to gather up the courage needed to ask someone out.

Even if I don't post them here, if you still want to hear about my romantic exploits (or lack thereof), they will still be posted to the Web... with the URL changed.

If you have an opinion, let me know. If you have an opinion and the authority to enforce it, let everyone know.


I've been trying to teach a lady in my campground how to use her computer. I've been failing miserably.

Does anyone know of any guides to computer pedagogy? I have a hard time explaining things to people who aren't near my own level of experience. (In other words, they have to have a clue to begin with... I don't wield the cluebat, although I'm sorely tempted sometimes.)

I'm also tempted to start a computer-repair business out of my own home. I need to find out what that would entail. I'm tired of working for donations. I'd also like to increase business.

Also, what's a good rate to charge for computer instruction? The one lady I'm teaching gives me $8 per hour. I feel like I'm getting ripped off. At least it's only once a week, and is flexible.


Read Starship Troopers today. It's infinitely better than the movie.

Also made headway into The Hitchhiker's Trilogy. It's amazing how many in-jokes I missed the first time around.

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