Older blog entries for Spooky (starting at number 63)

I purchased a USB to serial converter today. From the safety recommendations section of the manual:

When installing your USB to Serial Converter, do the following to avoid possible electric shock and damage to your system:

1. Turn off all power to your computer.

2. Unplug all cables connected to your computer, including the power cord.

3. Ground yourself by touching a metallic object before handling the USB to Serial Adapter and before installing the USB to Serial Adapter.

It doesn't end there, two pages later from the Hardware Installation section:

Follow the instructions below to install your USB to Serial Converter.

1. Power on your computer ...


People have been trying to contact me on IRC recently and of course they have failed miserably because I'm not very good at changing my nick to indicate I'm working, sleeping, or just generally not paying attention. Sorry.


At least I can answer one of the questions posed to me on IRC: how is the Aisleriot resizing code going ? The answer is very well thank you, expect big things to hit CVS in a day or so.

Python and Scheme

To those who want to rewrite aisleriot in python: you are sick and need help. Even if you could write the undo/redo code as elegantly and transparently in python as you can in scheme I will still be laughing scornfully at your impudence. Oh yeah, and emacs rocks way more than any other editor, ever, and KDE sucks and ...

The disturbing bit is I believe some of what I have just written.

11 Apr 2004 (updated 14 Apr 2004 at 10:58 UTC) »
GNOME Bugzilla

Fixed an 80000 series bug. Woohoo ! Only two whole years. I have older bugs on my list, but most are feature requests (fixing the remaining one requires finding a machine running OSF/1).


More scaling work has hit CVS. The cards don't change size yet, but the layout does. Some games don't work because they still try and set the geometry in a pixel-oriented fashion, but most seem to work. I'm working through those issues now and once done will move onto the actual cards themselves which should now be straight-forward. Unfortunately real life keeps seeming to interpose itself between me and hacking, but thats not all bad.

gnome-games web page

gnome-games now has a web-page. You can see it in all it's glory on the GNOME website. Thanks got to Paolo Borelli, who provided the first draft and Jon McCann and Richard Hoelscher for the graphics. I provided the mistakes.

Aisleriot scaling

The Aisleriot rescaling code is still progressing, the layout code is complete, but the cards don't change size. This isn't in CVS yet because the mouse clicks don't end up in the right place. My policy is to try and keep CVS vaguely playable.

6 Apr 2004 (updated 8 Apr 2004 at 23:13 UTC) »


I've now begun the merest smidgen of work on Aisleriot. The results are in CVS. It is still playable, but probably not what you want (yet).

Just for fun my kittens (now seriously heading toward cat status) decided to pull the power plug on my computer. It's been a while since they last did it, this time they managed to get the G5's power supply to panic and refuse to start again until I'd left it unplugged for five minutes. Truly impressive from a pair of animals which otherwise show no ability to learn.

GNOME stuff hasn't been happening in any great quantity recently for a variety of reasons. On the other hand I have seen a lot of films at the current film festival (Shattered Glass, Capturing the Friedmans, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and Interstella 5555).

Everyone seems to be talking about baseball. I never really came to grips with it while I lived in the States, it seemed to be isomorphic to cricket, but I could never get the big picture of how the score was going or whether a team was winning well or losing badly. Note to Americans: you know how cricket seems strange to you, thats how baseball seems to me.


The last two days have been spent helping Bryan getting his vacuum system up and running. It went very well, admittedly the pressure he wants is quite high (about a millionth of an atmosphere) but we targeted a bit lower to give us some lee-way. When I left it, it was is sitting quite comfortably at about a billionth of an atmosphere. Not bad given we the sort of crap we put inside the system (rubber is not vacuum friendly).


As I expected I didn't get any work done on the Aisleriot resizing code over the weekend. I did get as far as looking at jrb's gdeck code. gdeck seems to be more than I want but it would be nice to reuse someone elses effort so I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

There is also a gnome-games website in the works. In fact it is just about finished. It's been a bit weird the way it's come together, it has sort of spontaneously come together from the work of three different people. We weren't working independently but there was no real organisation.


I've finally merged Sjoerd's gataxx code into CVS. Gataxx is as functional as it was but more modular and with a better AI. In the process I've noticed all the things that weren't finished when it was branched from iagno (like networking and sound). So now gataxx is stripped down and relatively clean my intention is to incrementally port the stuff from iagno and eventually make the two games one program. I reckon I can do it incrementally so for a long time there will be gataxx with a non-functioning iagno mode and a fully functional iagno in parallel.

I say "long time" because I'm going to force myself to finally do the aisleriot rescaling work before-hand. There appear to be plenty of volunteers prepared to draw SVG card decks so that bit should work out. This weekend I'm going to look at the stuff jrb did for gdeck/Aisleriot2 and see what code I can steal. I think I'm going to have to throw out the current model for card decks, with luck the 2.6 release should condition people to not expect an infinite number of pointless choices for the look and feel of their cards and we can just have set decks (with perhaps a choice of reverse).


2.6.0 is out the door ! The shake-down period took quite a bit longer than I anticipated (I hate freeze dates that shift), but it has been worth it. The result is rock-solid, I'm confident that there are very few crashers left in the code. I won't say none, because that is guaranteed to catch the attention of the coding gods. A bit like flying a kite in a thunderstorm while standing in a copper bathtub full of salt-water screaming "I don't believe in you Thor, you bastard !".

For 2.7 I've started importing Sjoerd Langkemper's gataxx ai and graphics rewrite. This is taking time because I'm going through and cleaning up all the rough edges (from both the old and the new code). The new code should hit CVS in a few days. Most stuff is done, but I want to make sure I'm not throwing any useful stuff out with the old code.

Also, for Aisleriot fans: the per-game help menu item has returned. Simply select a game you don't know how to play, look in the help menu and you should be able to jump directly to the rules for that game.

54 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!