Older blog entries for connolly (starting at number 12)

25 Aug 2004 (updated 25 Aug 2004 at 19:35 UTC) »

I'm developing an interesting relationship with my chiropractor... Dr. M is my customer sometimes. The first time, I helped him recover his data when part of his disk went bad. I thought it was going to be as simple as mounting the VFAT partition under linux, but it wasn't... the disk was bad in some really strange way... I had to copy the raw partition to another machine before I could mount it.

The next project is...

bottles

This is database application; I think of it as a COBOL program; I wrote database apps in COBOL in high school. All the programs had add, change, and delete screens.

This is a product development project, not a research project. A program is something that works for the developer; a product works for the customer. I haven't done product development in ages.

I have a friend that does PC tech support and occasional database development. I thought maybe a MS Access thing would be more "normal" for the customer and I was getting ready to let my friend take over the project. But then he told me that deploying MS Access apps is too hard. I didn't need convincing! So we're still thinking about how to work together.

Now I'm putting together something with sqlite and twisted python's DB stuff. It's fun!

I did the database design GRDDL-style: wrote it in XHTML with Amaya, converted it to RDF/OWL with XSLT, and converted the OWL to SQL with some more XSLT.

Where's the source, you ask?

Dr. M wants to sell this thing to his peers, so I'm noodling on the license. Maybe dual license? Or just charge for support? And it's not really a w3.org thing... and I'm not sure I want to use my family website for product devleopment. Hmm... maybe webtechs?

Meanwhile, I'm trying out subversion. The docs are pretty good, so far...

Using XSLT to get from XHTML to LaTeX

The ISWC2004 deadline got extended by a couple weeks just as one of TimBL's design issues articles was looking like it might make a good paper. When I saw that the submission instructions required a certain form of LaTeX, I couldn't help automating the conversion from XHTML using my favorite hammer, XSLT.

The result not only scratched my itch but evoked some "gimme!" responses from a few of my peers.

So here you go: Transforming XHTML to LaTeX and BibTeX.

ConnectingAudiences: WWW2004 in NY

It was good to see everybody at WWW2004 in New York. Thanks to edd, dajobe, and various people with IRC clients, we have community coverage. Good thing, since I didn't manage to stay for dev day.

A search for usb midi keyboard support and an example of great open source software marketing

Beast is a powerful music composition and modular synthesis application released as free software under the GNU GPL and GNU LGPL, that runs under unix. It supports a wide range of standards in the field, such as MIDI, WAV/AIFF/MP3/OggVorbis/etc audio files and LADSPA modules. It has excellent technical abilities like multitrack editing, unlimited undo/redo support, real-time synthesis support, 32bit audio rendering, full duplex support, multiprocessor support, precise timing down to sample granularity, on demand loading of partial wave files, on the fly decoding and full scriptability in scheme. The plugins, synthesis core and the user interface are actively being developed and translated into a variety of languages, regularly assimilating user feedback such as from our FeatureRequests page. -- about beast

Yay! That's exactly what I wanted to know about it. (I'm still looking for a blurb about plone that will serve the same purpose.)

I have an m-audio keystation 49e usb-keyboard (a garage band accessory) and I wanted to see if it would work with any open source software.

After restarting hotplug, I got as far as:

Bus 002 Device 005: ID 0a4d:0090 Evolution Electronics, Ltd

Then I tried apt-cache search midi, but (a) I couldn't really tell from the descriptions which one was likely to work, and (b) the first few I tried spewed screenfuls of diagnostics and keeled over. (notes ).

OK, so debian's core competency is not multimedia. So I went up the food chain, to gnome... a search for midi in their footnotes zine yielded a beast release article. So I followed the link and I was very pleased to find an attractive website with both the latest news and the basic about blurb above.

Then I discovered there's a beast debian package after all. I fired it up... no spew of diagnostics... demo right there in the menu... and it works! wow! (ok, a few diagnostics there, but hey, I've got some candy already...). And in the help menu, I find a quickstart guide! Yeah!

Too many open source projects tout "it's completely extensible: you can write your own modules!" before they explain the hello-world features of the app.

But using a midi keyboard wasn't covered in the quickstart guide.

But hey! There's an IRC channel... and the developer was right there and gave me some real-time support... enough to discover that /dev/midi wasn't working. (cat should show output when you play the keys.)

Now that I've done my chearleading, anybody wanna help me out? send me some mail or visit QandA in the debian wiki and help the whole community out.

hotplug seems to relate the device to the "audio" module in 2.4.16. Do I need to use alsa?

I read the linux midi howto, but it doesn't suggest any software that you can use to confirm that your hardware setup is right. in particular, it says to look at /dev/sndstat, but I get "no such device", even though sound output is working fine.

11 Jan 2004 (updated 13 Jan 2004 at 04:11 UTC) »

Finally released aimbridge.py, a gateway between AIM and IRC after factoring the passwords out of it a few days ago (3Jan rdfig entry). Now supports the basic /server, /join, and /part and a few other goodies...

It's based on twisted; after puzzling over the twisted python APIs a bit, I like its architecture and design even more. Deferreds are like promises in ... hmm... scheme? E? one of those languages... Nice alternative to locking and threads.

I wrote this thing because my WearableGizmo, a t-mobile/danger sidekick, has very handy IM support, but it's AOL, and the rest of my peers use IRC.

As an example, I was out of the office going to the Steamboat Arabia museum with family Friday, but I kept my gizmo tuned into one of the channels from work. There's a meeting coming up 22 Jan, and somebody said they'd found a cheap flight, as long as I booked it that day. Using the gizmo's IM and email support, I was able to negotiate the itinerary with our travel support folks in the spare moments at the museum. Nifty!

6 Dec 2003 (updated 6 Dec 2003 at 19:12 UTC) »
holy price-wars, batman! color sidekick for $20 at amazon!

It's my WearableGizmo of choice. t-mobile provides flat-rate data. Crunch all you want. Hiptop google rocks. Real POP/SMTP email. The recent update even supports IMAP! and ssh! The instant messaging support can be really handy; it's AIM, which kinda sucks, but I gateway it to IRC pretty effectively (it's a trivial hack based on twisted python; if I get around to enhancing it to be non-trivial and factoring the passwords out, I'll make the code available).

My birthday is tuesday; buy one for yourself and send me an amazon affiliate kick-back as a gift!

various terms and conditions apply: This price is after rebate, of course. $35 activation fee, maybe a 1-year contract, etc.

but I'm confident you'll like the thing for a year.

Speaking of gift giving... if you're feeling generous, take a look at my amazon wishlist. one click ordering! ;-)

hmm... thinking about an article on saying thanks in the gift culture.

see you at XML 2003?

I'll be there at the W3C TAG town hall and the Practical RDF thingy. If you can't be there, I'll be taking notes in IRC and weblogs and such. Gotta remember to get my PGP gear ready. One for my travel checklist.

In praise of gnumeric

MichaelCrawford, do try it. I use it to send travel expense reports every month; it interoperates with the .xls world plenty well for my tastes. I was using it to visualize the disk space on my machine just the other day, when learning about LVM.

conversing accross communities and such

Umm... I'm new to this business of conversing accross advogato diaries... will MichaelCrawford get some form of notification that I linked to him from my diary?

started this item in rdfig. hmm... gateway my rdfig items here? selected ones? </b>

Hmm... composing articles in HTML source in a browser form sucks... er... itches... gotta scratch it with some code. This is worse than wiki (a pretty tolerable form of poor mans hypertext. Anybody got advogato integrated with emacs so I could use James Clark's awesome nxml-mode? Let's keep working toward immersive hypertext editing, OK mozilla and evolution folks?

Got a firewire enclosure today so I can put this new 200GB disk drive in my iMac. As is my custom, I made note of their UPC codes (after discovering, much to my delight, that my cuecat works thru the ps/2 port even while my keyboard is hooked up thru USB).

I'd really like to see more open source/linux/debian support stuff indexed by UPC code. I'd like to be able to do apt-cache search NNNNN and see debian packages that support the piece of hardware show up. Or something like that.

9 Oct 2003 (updated 9 Oct 2003 at 05:31 UTC) »
talking to ssh-agent from python: throw me a bone?

Hmm... ConfidentialityVersusAvailability... I'd like to talk to ssh-agent from various python hacks (perhaps cwm tweaks, or browser plug-ins, screensaver connections... hmm...). There... sshAuth.py communicates with ssh-agent... but... hmm... I can't verify the signature using the python cryptography toolkit.

I tried posting to openssh-unix-dev@mindrot.org and PYTHON-CRYPTO@NIC.SURFNET.NL but I guess you have to subscribe to post to those, and I don't think I'm up to that. I got one reply from amk asking a clarifying question, but he hasn't found time to reply in substance.

Anybody wanna throw me a bone?

26 Aug 2003 (updated 26 Aug 2003 at 03:05 UTC) »
If I had a rocket launcher...

I spent the better part of last week fighting Sobig.F (well, looking over the virtual shoulder of the W3C systems guys as they fought it.) Forged mail interacts very badly with the first law of SMTP: thou shalt deliver mail or bounce it. Let's get SMTP+SPF or RMX or something like that out there... soon!

But here's what really pissed me off: after several long days and nights switching MTAs from sendmail to postfix to get the Sobig garbage blocked before it entered the queue, when the stormcloud/queues on our mail hub and list hub were finally clearing, the load on the end-user mail server spiked because it had to filter out all the rest of the filthy spam that was still coming in. ARGH!

Saying thanks in the gift culture

Hmm... Affero... i.e. if you like the help I gave you, you donate to the causes I support (in my name; i.e. I get the tax credit, not you, if I understand correctly). Nifty idea... I've offered money to people who gave me support in #debian and the like, and they refused; it's just not part of the culture. And I wrote a friggin check to SPI, and they haven't cashed it 8 months later. But I could see how this would work.

22 Jan 2003 (updated 22 Jan 2003 at 05:12 UTC) »

The danger sidekick is way cool; it's by far my favorite WearableGizmo. Pocket email (real email: POP/SMTP) and google. Amazon is offering the gizmo for $50 after rebates, and the service is $40/month flat rate. Hard to beat! I hope the platform takes off.

I'm (slowly) working on RDF import/export in hipAgent.py , part of palmagent.

I started maintaing my church's web site. Sigh... so much of the church's work is tied up in proprietary data formats. And I think they don't even realize it. Hmm... how to change the culture there...

Whoa! Where did these master certifications come from? I have done some large-scale closed-source software development, but my contributions to Open Source Software are pretty minor, no?.

Anyway... it was great to catch up with a bunch of fellow Semantic Web developers at WWW2002, even though my wallet and cellphone did get swiped. ... more trip notes.

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