Older blog entries for Spooky (starting at number 66)


My time in the US gave me enough understanding of american life and politics to appreciate the Doonesbury cartoons. I regularly follow them on the web and yesterdays (depending on timezone) cartoon strip was fairly stunning. However I'm clearly still don't fully understand Doonesbury when it seems more people are shocked by B.D.'s helmet coming off after 30-something years than the fact that his leg has been blown off. I suppose some things you have to grow up with (I defy any non-New Zealander to fully understand Footrot Flats).


I've produced a web-page describing how to get started with hacking Gnome Games. It is meant to be a HOWTO style document for the person who hasn't dealt with GNOME before and in theory this could (should ?) be generalised for GNOME as a whole. Feedback is more than welcome.

Before Ali points out that I mention jhbuild but not cvsgnome, I'll just say that I haven't forgotten about cvsgnome, but when questions get asked on games-list about build systems (as they will, because I've mentioned them on the web-page) I'd prefer it to be about the one I know something about. Sorry.

Stupid trick of the day

Sort files in your tarball by file type, not name. For a moderately mixed case like gnome-games bringing similar files together knocks 3% off the compressed file size (both gzip and bzip2). The trade-off is of course that bouncing randomly between directories is a great way to negate the effectiveness of the directory cache while decompressing.

Aisleriot now scales ! The code is in CVS. It's not quick and the code is awful (I kept changing the design of one end of the code and the other end hasn't caught up yet). I'm not sure I put all the new files in CVS either. Also, don't expect to be able to change the theme either, you're stuck with a badly scaled version of the old bonded PNG theme. All I can really guarantee is that I can play klondike on my machine.

Those of you who want to write SVG themes, look at bonded-new.png and copy that layout.

Maybe now I can pay more attention to the backlog of patches in bugzilla.

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.

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