Older blog entries for RossBurton (starting at number 16)

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End result: everyone sees my ranting at IE, and misses my proper diary entry.

1 Jul 2002 (updated 1 Jul 2002 at 13:31 UTC) »

Arse arse arse.

Why oh why does IE5 not know how to draw a PNG with a transparent background? It draws it black, which sucks...

Anyone know a work-around?


For the first time in a long time, my girlfriend and I had a weekend where neither us were being savaged by hay fever, flu, back ache or work. This felt remarkably good, so I celebrated by refusing to turn my computer on until the early evening for a quick "when is the new Counting Crows album coming out" check (next week, dammit). Saturday was a good day -- long chats in pubs, a bit of shopping, laughing, cooking, followed by red wine and Best Of Luis Theroux in the evening.


Now that I finally have some web space to go with my domain, I can start putting some content up. This led to my routine adventure into metadata...

I want to keep a collection of screenshots and photos online, as we all do. I'm against 100 files, all called screenshot-43.png, so some form of index is required. I'm also against information being in the wrong place, i.e. in a seperate file. The only file which knows what am image is about, is the image. A quick peek at the PNG specification confirmed that the text chunks are have keywords associated with them, so a PNG image can have a creation date, title, author etc.

So, all I need is:

  1. A CGI script which can examine a directory, scan the metadata, and create a titled, date sorted index
  2. A nice GUI tool to edit said metadata

(1) I could code up in a day or so if Apache Cocoon 2 were installed on the server, and I still had my love for Java. Cocoon2 is a wonderful piece of software, and excellent for this sort of thing. However, its too heavy for a single directory... does anyone know of a tool which does this? Or should I just sit down and write it in Python myself...

(2) I suppose needs writing — I remember a Java tool written by a Dublin Core dude, but that only handled JPEG images. I'm thinking Python + GTK + Bonobo + gnome-vfs should be good, and handle the file opening and viewing nicely. Drop in a few objects and edit the metadata of any file desired. All I need now is for jamesh to add the application stuff from gnome-vfs to the GNOME bindings for Python... :-)


"I left gnome-games to RossBurton now..." -- hadess

Well, it's official then. I am the new maintainer for gnome-games. It's all very exciting, getting cvs commit access to gnome.org and committing my first (2-line) bug fix for gnome-games 2.0.1.

Speaking of which, I just found out that GNOME 2.0 RC2 has just been announced. Getting close... can't wait until Ximian release packages so we can roll it out across the office. I just can't stand using GNOME 1 any more...


Recently I finished The Two Towers, and cannot wait for the film to be released this Christmas. Last week I started reading Neuromancer, a book I read every few years forgetting how good it is...

6 Jun 2002 (updated 7 Jun 2002 at 09:30 UTC) »


So hadess looked at the gnome-games patches I sent him over the weekend. Damn, they sucked. A simple task I set out to do and I totally forgot to fix several cases of the problem. He finished the fixes and committed, but I still have some uncommitted changes on my checkout. So now I am going to run through my other changes and make sure that I can play at least one round in every game, dammit. I can make a good patch.


I just installed the Ximian Evolution development snapshots... and damn are they nice. Many lovely 1.2 features and lots of new bugs. Something about me likes a mail client which crashes now and again... I must be mad.

Bank Holiday

Now, I'm not what you would normally describe as a Monarchist (the whole 'as chosen by God' thing, where God changes over time -- see Henry 8th -- pisses me off a bit), but a 4-day weekend is really great fun.

I feel much less stressed now -- I think I can even stand upright against a wall again without aching, which is always a good sign.


...is frozen for 2.0.0! Yay! Another yay is for the panel padding, which got removed at the last minute, thank goodness. I just hope that gnome-terminal will be able to copy+paste multiple lines by 2.0.0, as its currently broken for me with libzvt 0.117.0. :(

Recently I've been using more software from GNOME2 on my desktop at home, which has an interesting setup. As a result software which makes assumptions like 'libgnomeui prefix == my install prefix' breaks. As a result I fixed these bugs in eog and gnome-games. At the same time my anal-ness resulting in me filing patches calling gtk_window_set_transient_for() more so that dialogs don't appear in the top-left corner of the screen under Metacity, but centered on the parent window where they belong.


Dear God... my GNOME2 setup is now a cocktail of Debian Sid packages, Debian Experimental packages, garnome, and jhbuild. This is getting silly but it is much faster — as I don't have to build the core libraries myself but simply use the Debian packages. Details of this procedure are on my web space. (well, will be when I put it there)

GNOME2 is really looking polished now — Gman, Calum et al are really working hard in #ui-review cleaning up the interface.


My DebianUpdate script is complete UI-wise but is missing one function — the ability to analyse the apt repository and decide what updates are required... Has anyone out there used Python with the apt libraries?

Web Space

I finally managed to get one of my ISPs to turn on my web space, so http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/burtonini/ is finally live. Highlights include PyGTK and gtkmm files for Garnome, and a Debian on the IBM ThinkPad X22 installation guide.


My small tool to assist in Debian upgrades is ready for a 0.1 release. Basically it lists the packages for which there are upgrades (it currently processes an apt-get dist-upgrade command) and lets the user select which upgrades he wants to apply. It will then generate a script to download/install the selected upgrade (either directly with apt-get, or a script using ncftpget.

I find this very usefull as I can generate scripts at home (dialup connection) to download package upgrades I want (ignoreing ones I don't) which I can take to work and run there (256K leased line). Hopefully I can get this online over the weekend.


I've checked out Garnome from CVS now so I can generate patches adding GTKMM and Gnome-Python support. These patches are trivial but they will help spread the word as it were, and help get stuff ported. Expect them online over the weekend aswell.

GTK+ in Python

Python and GTK+ so rock. I've been working on an adapter class which makes a GtkTreeModel look like a Python list. There are some major limitations (its not a tree, just a list) but it's very handy being able to treat a GtkTreeModel as a list:

for item in model:
  # Here item is the object which represents
  # the row in the model. How cool is this!

I'm using a descriptor object which tells the GtkListModel class how to map between rows/columns in the tree and attributes on an arbitary object. Very groovy.

As with everything else, I'm going to finish this off soon and push it online somewhere. Damn I need some good webspace.

Flamage in gtkmm-list

There has been some heavy bitching in gtkmm-list for the last few days. Nothing as bad as the "viewports/workspaces" threads in desktop-devel which have been very annoying, but it was amusing watching the definition of "a C++ progammer" used as flameage.

25 Apr 2002 (updated 3 May 2002 at 13:43 UTC) »


Oh My God. Last night I left the office at 17:15 which normally means I walk into my house at 19:00... except last night it was 20:45! :( There was a fire at Cambridge Heath (barrels of oil or something burning in the arches) which meant all trains were diverted. The trains were packed and slow so I got a bus to Stansted Airport which was supposed to be fast... of course I found myself sitting in traffic, crawling our way out of London. That sucked.

Of course, the trains are still screwed today so at least I get a Work At Home day out of it! Luckily today is Makefile Hacking Day so I can do this at home...


Just finished the Armogeddon series of books by Robert Rankin. Excellent stuff! Weird and wacky with lots of sex, violence and gratuitous running gags. Now what to read next...

I still have Heliconia by Brian Aldis sitting on the shelf — but I couldn't get into that last time. I dunno.


Still waiting for beta 4...

My Programming Python book finally arrived — all 1250 pages of it. Now at last I can learn Python without having to read other peoples code and the language reference.

Thinking about re-writing Jeroen's Bugzilla-Buddy in Python for two reasons:

  1. To learn heavy-duty GUI Python
  2. To try and make it work for me, as it crashes dramatically at the moment
Obviously it does work for Jereon so (2) should be sorted out, but (1) is still a good reason as far as I am concerned.

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