Older blog entries for connolly (starting at number 44)

18 Mar 2006 (updated 18 Mar 2006 at 03:15 UTC) »

I made a sort of new year's resolution for 2006: no more undocumented, untested code. I like to write little ditties for stress relief, but without docs and tests, the code seems to add to my stress, over time. At my first job out of college, at Convex, management devoted equal resources to coding, documentation, and testing/QA. The more time goes by, the more wisdom I see in that way of working. If the code is worth writing, it's worth testing and documenting.

It's best to write the tests first, and it's good to have use cases in mind, if not documenation written down, before that.

For personal projects, I'm not disciplined enough to write the tests first every time; if the code I write works the first time, I sometimes let myself get away with it. But I'm doing pretty well about doing test-driven debugging, at least. I write tests for any code that doesn't work the first time. And I write tests when I refactor and change things. The confidence to make changes that comes from having tests in place is very freeing.

Recent coding/testing/documenting episodes include:

5 Mar 2006 (updated 18 Mar 2006 at 03:17 UTC) »
re-discovering dotfiles

I thought I understood how .profile, .bashrc, .login worked, but it has evidently faded from memory. After years of relying on sensible defaults in debian etc., I'm using mercurial/hg for source code management. A big advantage of mercurial is that it does not need to be centrally managed; I can install it in ~/bin. But then I want to use it across an ssh connection, so $PATH has to get setup somehow. I've got that working, using .bashrc.

But I have to manually . ~/.bashrc before I can use mercurial in interactive logins. That's tolerable, but I have to remember to do it before I start up emacs, or else I get the dreaded:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/Users/connolly/bin/hg", line 10, in ?
    from mercurial import commands
ImportError: No module named mercurial

when I try to use hg/emacs integration. I rely heavily on emacs/cvs integration, and working this out will be critical to moving to hg, for me.

update: Well, I got it working by symlinking .bash_profile to .bashrc; I would have thought I could do it within POSIX-standard facilities, but I can't see how. I guess I can rely on bash being on all the machines I use.

25 Jan 2006 (updated 25 Jan 2006 at 17:33 UTC) »

crap; This emacs CUA-mode doesn't really work. If I copy from firefox and ctrl-v in emacs, it pastes the last thing I yanked from emacs, not what I copied from firefox.

I rilllyrillyirillyrilly hate that.

I saw something about a gnome clipboard daemon... what's up with that? Ah...

It was stupid of me to think that I had the power to fix the Clipboard by creating one application. I don't have that power. Discontinuation of GNOME Clipboard Manager

So is there some freedesktop.org standard brewing? Aha...

Qt 3 and GNU Emacs 21 will use interpretation 2, changing the behavior of previous versions. freedesktop.org Standards/Clipboards

But... but...

$ apt-cache policy emacs21
  Installed: 21.4a-3
  Candidate: 21.4a-3

So wtf?

7 Jan 2006 (updated 7 Jan 2006 at 04:44 UTC) »
CUA-mode, where have you been all my life?!?!?! Found in some comments on Gerv's search for an editor. Could it be true? No more impedence mismatches between emacs's sense of paste and the rest of the gnome/mac/windows world?

Much of my hacking life has been spent in wondering whether to mac or not to mac. I don't know how many times a day I curse emacs or firefox or gnome-terminal for screwing up copy-and-paste. I have so much angst every time I try... "if I close the window that I just copied from, will paste still work?" "oh crap! I don't want to paste what I just selected; I want to paste what I carefully spent 10 minutes copying to the clipboard!"

Speaking of to-Mac-or-not-to-Mac, and imporovisation, I wrote/discovered another little three chord ditty last night (did I mention I love having a piano in the house?). Part of me wants to try out the western music notation support in Garage Band 2, but the rest of me knows that recording my knowledge using proprietary stuff is a step backwards. I have spent many, many hours trying to get RoseGarden and the like working under debian linux... preempt kernel patch... OSS vs ALSA vs Jack vs ARTS... argh! I look forward to the day when Ubuntu can afford to make it a priority.

Back from XML 2005 in Altanta, looking into a dist-upgrade, I hesitate to make the switch to the x.org X server, since I use an nvidia chip. Does the open source nv driver support 3d acceleration?

tags: debian, dirk.dm93.org, hardware, graphics

As if the t-mobile sidekick desktop interface weren't slow and painful enough, they shortened the login session timeout. Oh for an ajax interface to my WearableGizmo calendar! Something like kiko would be really nice.

So I got to thinking about Ajax, which reminded me of my idea last May for an ajax-based quicken work-alike . I seem to be not the only one interested:

If intuit would create an AJAX version of Quicken that matched the functionality of it's windows client then you would see a better chance for homes to move to an alternate OS. posted by hawks5999 (2) at 11:07 AM 9/26/05

#swig notes

I upgraded AmdAntec over the weekend to Ubuntu breezy. Due to traffic, a straight apt-get dist-upgrade said it was going to take 14 hours, so I used bittorrent to grab the .iso, mounted it with losetup, and ran a little python BasicHttpServer.

Ho-hum. The screen was stuck at 640x480 until I did dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg a few times. And I can't get sound to work (2.6.3 seems to be the last kernel that works with my sound card, and breezy defaults to 2.6.10).

14 Oct 2005 (updated 14 Oct 2005 at 06:54 UTC) »

My XML 2005 late-breaking news proposal was accepted: Semantic Web Calendaring: RDF Calendar, hCalendar, and GRDDL. See the conclusions and future work section of the RDF Calendar report for some of what I'm going to talk about: getting RDF data out of hCalendar using GRDDL, and then querying it with SPARQL.

Debian Unstable Turns out I didn't need to build a new kernel to install the nvu debian package. apt allowed me to upgrade libc without removing my win4lin kernel package. After that, installing nvu worked ok.

Trying to upgrade a bunch of other stuff resulted in a conflict between some libraries used by evince. I had to endure the usual abuse before getting the clues I needed in the #debian channel: #327145: gnome-desktop-environment: unsatisfiable dependencies. So I had to remove the gnome and gnome-desktop-environment packages.

tags: rdf, semantic web, calendar, debian

29 Sep 2005 (updated 30 Sep 2005 at 07:21 UTC) »

So I want to post a journal/blog entry about my recent trip to Edinburgh for a TAG meeting. How and where to post it?

  • advogato? It's not really about open source. Advogato doesn't support offline editing -- well, I suppose I could upload it via the XML-RPC control protocol. Advogato seems to mangle my text. I like to keep to XHTML.
  • w3.org? It's got product endorsements. I don't have an RSS feed there... though... hmm... I could use my XHTML site summary hack to make one out of my homepage pretty easily. Unlike most weblog systems, posting the content would be a separate transaction from making the RSS entry, but maybe that's OK... it would let me use mailng lists posts as entries, as well as advogato posts, flickr photos, etc. It's not ImmersiveHypertextEditing, but emacs with nxml-mode combined with CVS and ssh is a pretty nice way to edit the web.

So I'm thinking about adding blog-smarts to dm93.org. As I mentioned earlier, I'm disenchanted with ZopeDB as the back end. I liked Zope's ease of access control, but the cost of being different from apache is just too high. I'd sure like to see openid support integrated with apache .htaccess stuff. Maybe a fastcgi auth hack of some sort. Anyway... back to blogging... <"> I want to use the filesystem with hg. I see there's a debian package for pyblosxom. I'm also interested in flickr's support for weblogging APIs. I see there's a bloggerapi module for pyblosxom. I would prefer the Atom protocol. I am reading An Atom-Powered Wiki by Joe Gregorio April 14, 2004. I wonder if the protocol has changed much since then.

update on testing gnome blog etc.: While waiting in the Kansas City airport recently, I had just enought time to download xjournal, recommended by Pure Mac's list of web editors. The "mood" field is kinda cool, as is the "get music button". I tried to copy and paste fromTravelCheckList in my wiki, but it came across as plain text. Bzzt.

tags: python, scm

Ugh... debian glibc transition. I tried to install nvu, and it wanted to remove my win4lin kernel in order to do so.

Tags: debian, sysadmin

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