Older blog entries for Radagast (starting at number 19)

New optimism on the use of Auto* for the GNOME site, after Elliot helped me straighten out a couple of things.

Really tired, been up for far too many hours. But at least now my schedule should be close to normal. My stomach really hates me for staying up this long on only coke, though.

Still no word from Belinda. Slightly worried, but knowing how tough she is, I probably shouldn't be.

Rewrote GNOME site backend stuff in Python. Much neater. The build system we're using is starting to be a serious pain in the ass, though, I'm thinking about just dumping Auto* and using plain WML. But I'm not sure yet. I do know development is going slower than I want, and one of the reasons is the sluggish build feedback cycle, especially when I need to add new stuff, do server-side includes, etc. We'll see.

I've been thinking more about how to make a content delivery system that generates everything dynamically, yet doesn't generate more load than a site with only static pages. The idea is to create a mechanism for splitting everything into nested blocks (for instance a block is generated from an SQL query, or is an include file on disk), cache the pregenerated blocks, and define a simple condition for when the cache needs to be regenerated (comparing timestamps on files, or doing a simple SQL query). I think this would bridge the gap between pregeneration systems like WML, which are kind of awkward, and fully-dynamic sites, which load the server a lot. Got to think about it more, though.

No work from Belinda yet. Hope she's doing ok.

Got heavily into the GNOME site backend stuff. The old site, that is. Need to understand it to be able to port it over. Now, I'm not a master coder, but I do know a good web system when I see it, and using a combination of wget on RDF files and a C program using libxml to parse the result into a HTML file which is then included into a .shtml just to get the headlines off news.gnome.org and onto the main frontpage is not the way to do it. Started rewriting it in Python, had to teach myself the Python XML API first. Useful to know.

Belinda is leaving for Tulsa as I type. I hope she gets online there fast, I'm going to miss her if she doesn't. Actually, I miss her already.

Got my Helix Code mail address and other miscellaneous administrivia set up. I guess it's official now, I'm the Helix Code webmaster. It's sad to quit Simplemente, but after two years of trying to get it work, I'm tired and ready for some financial security for a while. Best of luck to those who are staying, it seems there's going to be more focused work now that there are fewer people, and I think that might actually be what's needed. It's the old less overhead thing again.

Today was quiet. Mexico City is winding down for Easter, which Mexicans tend to take very seriously, ie. all semblance of commercial activity just stops. So this is set to be a long weekend thing. I think it's going to be good. Working with few distractions is always nice.

Little Real Work today, mostly mucking around with answering mails, getting organized, etc. Did get a little work done on the site, probably checking that in tomorrow. Talked to Belinda for a little, then she went off somewhere, and I went to Hans Petter and Leo's place to get some food and drink, and watch a Starship Troopers. I'd almost forgotten what an hilarious movie this is. "They sucked his brains out!" How can you not fall down laughing?

Hans Petter got back to Mexico today. He was slightly miffed that I didn't manage to arange a pickup at the airport, but other stuff was going on at exactly the same time.

Spent some time clearing up things around the office, meetings, etc. Seems that most things I have to do are taken care of now. Maybe Easter will even be nice and quiet.

Hacking GNOME pages again now, while talking to Belinda. She's working on a resume and things before her job-hunting trip to Tulsa. It seems that Leo might be able to get her some contract illustration work on a site he's working on, which would be cool. Everyone who sees it seem to like her work on the Flux site.

Today seemed eventful, but when I sit down and try to sum it up, there's not that much to say. I hate it when that happens.

Got to work late today. Rune and Monica are back from NAB 2000, brought their usual stacks of brochures, demo version CDs, and stuff. Going to be fun to go through all of it. I noticed a Maya CD in the stack, and I desperately want to play with it.

Spent half an hour getting a bank account and a card. Smoother than I expected in general, and a hell of a lot smoother than what I'm used to from Mexico.

Miguel called, his plane had just landed. Went to eat with him, Federico, and Chac. Had an excellent time, and since it was an Argentinian restaurant, ate more meat than I'd like to admit.

Got to talk to Belinda for a little, then a meeting, and some GNOME site hacking. I'm falling in love with the Mozilla hackers, just seeing activity on my bug gives me this great feeling. Not that it's fixed yet or anything, but it's the principle of the thing.

Weekends are nice. They give me time to do real work.

Spent a lot of time yesterday with the JavaScript stuff for the new GNOME pages, specifically to try to make it work in Mozilla. Got it working to 90%, decided the rest was a Mozilla bug, and it turns out I was right. Oh, and kudos to the Mozilla people in general, it's great to see hordes of coders descent upon the bug and pull its guts out. I love you all.

Went over to Leo's apartment last night, cooked nice dinner and watched The Name of the Rose. Bad VHS copy, but still a great movie. Went home pretty late.

Back in Mexico. The flight was nice yesterday, in some ways, at least. It was wonderfully clear weather, so I got to see the city better than I think I ever have before. It's starting to feel like home now, which is weird, but it's been two years, after all.

Working out what to do with my future got complicated a few days ago, and then it suddenly got a lot easier again. I love it when that happens.

It's nice and warm, too. I'm spending my time catching up on stuff that was too cumbersome to do from Norway, and then later tonight it's GNOME website full time, baby. I'm expecting that project to show considerable progress through this week, now that I'm back at the office, and doing nothing else of consequence.

Phone conference with people today to sort out GNOME web site issues. Reached agreement, after I had to have all my communications filtered through another person, because the weird way I entered the conference made all sound going to and from me totally disappear, except for to and from one other person. Oh, well.

Wow, I think there's some rule that says online communities are at their most active when they get to discuss themselves. From all the forums I've been involved with throughout the last 10 years, that's certainly been the rule. I wonder why. It seems to be a good sign, though, people growing so attached to their community that they get involved deeply when there's talk of changing it, etc.

Going back to Mexico on Monday. Should be good, my office there is at least a hell of a lot more practical than the "desk with a windows box and a modem" I have here. Oh, and it's warmer. And it'll be possible to get coding again, which is more or less impossible here.

Gender politics scare me. Somehow, it's the sort of arena where people tend to hate each other no matter how reasonable or unreasonable the opinions are. I tend to try to stay out of those discussions. Why can't we all just get along?

Peer press is forming into licensing and XML working groups. Good. Perhaps we can reach something usable pretty soon.

I originally felt that basing the new GNOME web pages on WML, Automake and Autoconf was, well, esoteric but kind of cool when I made it work. After working with it for a bit, I'm starting to change my mind. WML is pretty cool in itself, although the syntax and things is pretty heinous. But Autoconf and Automake for this job? Hm. Not so sure. It breaks in strange ways (well, strange for people who aren't familiar with it), and the amount of trouble I had to go through to set it up so I could start working on the pages makes me skeptical to whether or not I can count on anyone else to do work on this. Oh, well.

Going to meet up with several old friends here in Norway tomorrow, should be good. Also remembered that I should write some stuff on the Peer Press list, someone actually emailed me in private about it. Will try to do that today.

Crimz wants to write a movie script. His idea is actually pretty good, and it's plausible to write and produce with the equipment we have at work. Write up another project for our copious free time. God help us all.

Norway is so cold. Between that and the speed of this modem, I'm starting to remember why I left for Mexico in the first place. Oh, well, another week and a half, and I'm going back to Mexico City.

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