Older blog entries for Radagast (starting at number 22)

Be the water.

One of the harder weeks of my life finished with the GNOME 1.2 release and the new GNOME website. As expected, I was flamed plenty, but then again, there were a lot of positive reactions too, so I'm all in all pretty happy about it. Also a lot of people had constructive criticism, which I'm incorporating in the next revision, which I'm working on at the moment. If we want a website close to perfection, I think that's very much an iterative process, I don't think it can be perfected before we hear the feedback of the people who use it on a day to day basis. Of course, there were some amusing reactions, like the people who claimed "it loads so much slower now, because of all these heavy images" when the front page is actually a good 10k lighter now than it was before, and the slowness was of course because of Slashdot. Oh, well.

Got some leisure coding done this weekend. We more or less decided to use TJ's Gnome-Forest as a basis for Loom, and I coded up some tests, producing this simple but promising result. Had a nice talk with TJ too, about what gnome-forest is missing, and it seems most of what's needed for Loom is easy to do. Goodie.

A new life awaits you, on the off-world colonies!

GNOME is the land of possibilities, especially when taken with a heavy dose of Helix Code. Where else would I get the chance to work on two large web sites at the same time, preparing them both for the same deadline, which will lead to a massive onslaught of users, and also get the time to conduct an interview and edit a nude picture of a well-known free software hacker? It's great.

I discovered fiber cookies. They're small, soft, have lots of fiber and dried fruit, little fat, and no added sugar. They taste good, and they're cheap. I think I can survive on one package of those a day, if I get my three liters of coke, that is.

Going to a rave tonight, even though I don't really have the time. But it seems cool, and I'm on the VIP list, which is a new experience for me. The DJ is mainly Asad Rizvi, which is cool, and some local DJs. Should be good.

It's been ages since I posted anything... As for what I've been doing lately, well, phew. There's been a lot of stuff going on. We released the Evolution Preview 0.0, which got a lot of traffic. Thanks to Akamai, we handled the Slashdot onslaught very nicely, which was fun.

Now I just have to make the GNOME website beautiful for the upcoming 1.2 release... The design is all done now, just have to fill stuff in, and there's also a little script hacking to do. In addition I need to do some small stuff with the Helix Code site. I figure I have about a week to do this, which should be just about sufficient.

Nothing much new on the personal front. Belinda's decided to go to college, finally, studying to be a crime scene photographer. It might seem to be a strange choice of professions, but it's so much her, combining her artistic and morbid side. Also, it seems she might be studying photography at a college in Boston, which isn't close to Mexico, but at least close to Helix Code offices, where I expect to be now and then. So all is good.

Going to a rave on Thursday, it seems, in an old church downtown. Leo's becoming some sort of VIP in the Mexico City club scene because of his work on some club and concert guide website, which means I get lots of invitations and get in free and whatnot. Can't say I'm complaining. He still can't write English (or any language) worth a shit, though, as his Advogato page clearly shows. God damn artist types.

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.

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