Older blog entries for Uruk (starting at number 14)

Haven't posted here in a very long time although I have been reading the articles. Frankly, the articles have been a bit dull for the past few weeks, because Advogato seems determined to talk about nothing but itself. But that's neither here nor there...

I finally finished version 1.0 of GTKeyboard which was distributed about a week ago. I've already started on revisions for 1.1. I haven't heard of any bugs in the program from the users, but there may be a couple. There are a few people who feel that it was a bad choice to make implicit redirecting the default on gtkeyboard, but after having gotten lots of emails saying that most people used it to type into other things, it seems more reasonable to make that the default. Not only that, but it is configurable via ~/.gtkeyboardrc so it's kinda hard to feel bad for those people. :)

The revisions in the upcoming 1.1 are going to be *very* cool. I got a piece of code from a guy calling himself Dr. Tom a while back that does word completion ala GNU readline. The neat part is that it's for whole words, not for commands like at the shell, and it can work off of a cache if we choose, meaning that words that the user has typed frequently in the past will be listed as options ahead of other words that are not as frequently used. I've been having a lot of fun playing around with that source code recently...

This week is going to be final exams week at school, so everything is nuts and I'm trying to find spare time to code. One of my computing theory classes has just spent some time on turing machines. As it turns out, it's *extremely* easy to program a turing machine, (I used perl, but only because I didn't want to spend much time doing the file parsing) and will let you get a better grasp of what's going on in them. I guess I should eventually post that source to my site, which I will do if I remember.

Damn headhunters! Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I'm sick of losers emailing me asking me if I want to apply for a lucrative position manning a radar tower in Nome, Alaska. Well, maybe they're not asking me to do that, but people actually drop me emails thinking that I'm going to be interested in taking a job as a TRAINEE doing VISUAL BASIC for about HALF of what I'm currently making. It's like they're trying to present me with my *nightmare* job, just to see if I'll accept it if it's put in front of me enough times.

Rant, rant, rant, rant, rant.

Life is a haze of beer, code, exams, work, and MP3s.

School and work, school, school, school, and work. The semester is going to be over in about 3 weeks. It can't happen soon enough.

Sometimes it really *feels* like I'm burning out, but even when it feels that way I can usually get over it with some sleep or cold pizza.

I'm going to go fix some bugs in some crufty piece of perl I wrote months ago - you know, if somebody wants to use something repetitively, they should let you know when they ask you to write it so you don't do it as quick and dirty as you usually to throwaway data munging perl scripts. Oh well.

Hmm...read the newest meta article about advogato and everything that's surrounding it. Quite interesting. It seems to me that at times, people really just want to predict extreme consequences for relatively simple things happening. It seems like everybody wants to be a doomsayer or an unshakeable optimist.

Kinda funny how that article degenerated into name calling, arguments about sexism, and started to border on slurs about other people's sexual preference/identity. IMHO all of that stuff has nothing to do with free software and is therefore completely uninteresting to me when I come to advogato, but if that's what people want to talk about, they'll post regardless of what you think about it.

Did anybody but me see the article that said something along the lines of "This was our last chance for a site with rational discourse, and it has now failed"? -- that's just a little too weird for me, especially since it's in response to just one "bad" thread.

With regards to advogato, I think it works decently, I don't feel offended or oppressed by any of the ratings, and despite the limitless amounts of vitriol, I don't think that advogato is going down the shitter just because some people think that "Journeyman" is a sexist term. Chill out folks - use advogato for what it was meant to be - a place for the discussion of free software.

Other than that, in free software news, I've been learning Perl/Tk, which is CRIMINALLY easy. :) It's quite nice - last night in about 1 1/2 hours I was able to write an image viewing program which supports .xpm, .xbm, .gif, and .jpg (through Tk::JPEG). Really, it should be harder. :) I've always enjoyed perl, but I'm starting to respect it more and more since I've picked up some experience with DBI and Tk. It also seems to be roughly 20x faster than java on my machine too. :)

GTKeyboard 1.0 is coming along - actually the coding pace has slackened a bit as I've been involved with several other things simultaneously, but it will be out as soon as I'm done putting it through the wringer. As far as I can tell, the codebase that we've got now, (roughly 1.0pre6) should be released as 1.0, but I need to test it a bit more thoroughly before I'm convinced that it can roll without further modification.

EAQFFJ, Uruk

GTK+ has been pissing me off recently - I've been finding and dealing with a lot of memory leaks in my program that were caused by the lack of a call to g_free() for some things that I didn't know needed to be free'd(). I emailed gtk-list about it, and apparently, moving forward, all strings being returned will be g_strdup()'d.

I've had to hunt through the GTK+ source in order to find out which calls return values that have to be freed by the caller, and which calls return values that are just pointers to the guts of a widget. (Which would be bad to free). I don't mind poking through the source on that, (I've learned a lot about the guts of GTK+ that way) but I wish that kind of stuff was in the RDP.

I guess it's really not a small thing when one of your calls is in a loop and leaks a few hundred bytes of memory each time through. Oops. And after all the hunting, I'll probably still miss something...

I've been using memprof (which I think Owen wrote) to do this stuff. It's not bad.

Back to debugging...

Whew. Fixing a whole lot of bugs recently. Some of the font and color issues in the program were really nasty, with a new color clobbering your selected font, and a selected font clobbering your color, etc. It wasn't all that pretty. But it's much better now.

Unfortunately, I had to change a few of the variable names, (only some smaller obscure ones) that conflicted with other variable names. I was having some strange problems with the hashing algorithms in glib, and rather than patch glib, it's easier to just slightly change the variable names on things that aren't used that often anyway.

I fixed two segfaults that were reported. They only happened in cases which I would have never thought to test. I love it when people report that stuff. I mean, I can test the application, but there's some things that I would never use the application for, and other people help me catch that type of stuff.

After all, if the number of possible interactions with a GUI program isn't infinite, it's damn close. :)

Just hanging out with my friend Budweiser tonight, tightening up some code. Version 1.0 should be out Real Soon Now. (GTKeyboard)

Other than that, I've been hacking wayyyyy too much java for work recently. That language is so klunky, I swear. Sometimes it seems as if it discourages programming styles that are efficient with respect to the CPU. Other times, the OO abstraction is quite nice. Example: It takes less than 5 minutes to learn how sockets work in java if you know java and have a background in sockets in another language. On the other hand, it takes for-fucking-ever to compile and run things. Oh well. And I'm going to be programming swing stuff at work soon. I think that if bosses realized that for the most part, people just stare at the screen stupidly when a compile is running, that they'd revolt against the usage of the java language. :)

Tonight I'm going to be heading along with a guy from my LUG down to the Research Triangle LUG (TRILUG) for their meeting. That should be fun. Despite the fact that I have two exams tomorrow, I think it'll be good to get outside the house, and in fact outside of our city. (Richmond, VA)

Lots of things are coming due very soon. Stress is annoying. You know the deal - none of it is really all that hard, but there's just a lot of it.

Rewrote the search function GTKeyboard yesterday. I actually used to be using the version out of the GTK+ book written by Harlow, but it was pretty bad. Didn't work like it should, caused segfaults, all kinds of other nastiness. I rewrote it, and it works great, with the slight exception that I haven't built in a radio button to specify case-[in]sensitive searching yet.

Other than that, things are going pretty good. The code seems reasonably stable, I haven't heard any bug reports recently. The code is getting cleaner and more organized, and hopefully we'll have something reasonably nice very soon. :)

Learning perl-DBI programming right now too. This stuff is a LOT of fun. I didn't know SQL before yesterday. I don't know if I'm getting the wrong idea, but I feel like I learned half of it in one day - it seems like a really small language that's pretty obvious. I mean, as programming languages go, perl can be pretty englishy when it wants to, but it's nothing up against SQL which is very straight forward. The actual SQL stuff inside the perl is absurdly easy with DBI. Maybe I'll start my own privacy-invading big brother database now. What was your SSN? :)

Talked about push-down automata and converting them into empty-stack accepting push-down automata today with a prof. There seems to be a lot in that area that isn't well defined. Usually, when something has been rigorously explored, there are hundreds of "lesser" theorems describing odd properties of the structure at hand - but that doesn't seem to be the case with the push-down automata.

GTKeyboard 1.0 is now in the works - I've ironed out a few bugs that have been sent in to me from users, and I'm working on cleaning up the code, testing it as much as I can, getting the word out for other people to test it hard and send me the results, etc.

I have no idea when 1.0 is going to be finished, I'm hoping in about a month or so. All test results are appreciated as well as any constructive criticism about the GUI layout and so on.

Other than that, school, work, school, school, work, etc.

More GTKeyboard code hacked today - things are looking good so far. I fixed more long-standing annoying cosmetic bugs, and fixed the odd segfault that was reported recently by a user.

I probably need to go through a few more rounds of hunting and fixing before I release 0.99 which I hope will be out before the end of the week. I'm on spring break from school this week, which means the code is calling me...that is, if I wasn't going to be working twice as much at work to make up for that time. :(

Things are moving right along though.

Fixed several *really* annoying cosmetic bugs in GTKeyboard. I just added the ability to, via the menu system or via the configuration file, show/hide arbitrary elements within the keyboard. (F-keys, cursor keys, number pad, main keyboard). I was having a lot of small cosmetic problems with things such as:

Hide the number pad, and change the layout file to a german layout. The number pad keys pop up after the new keyboard has been generated, even though it should still be off.

I also made some fixes to the methods to show everything with respect to the subcategorization of widgets on the keyboard.

Somebody at GNU emailed me today asking me to verify a lot of information about GTKeyboard. Seems they're starting a database of GNU software. Sometimes their software page seems oftly full, so I guess that's a good thing to start subcategorizing and so on. Organization, and all that good stuff.

So it's looking like a hearty round of bug-hunting and responding to feedback, and then version 0.99. Or maybe there's something I'm forgetting...

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