Older blog entries for cwinters (starting at number 72)

Did you know that the O'Reilly book DocBook: The Definitive Guide is now available under the GNU Free Documentation License? Maybe this is old news, but it's still cool!

Starting to organize the SPOPS documentation, including a standalone manual. Trying to swipe ideas from the Template Toolkit doc process -- might as well steal from really smart people.

Trying to get motivated, almost working. Undertime still in effect. Wrote a simple script to grab CVS off sourceforge every night (just in case...) and FTP the tarballs up to the main site. I'm sure there are programs out there to do this, but I was curious how many lines of perl it would take and what it would look like (false laziness).

Whew, that's about done. Cyrus IMAP is now up and running, a-OK. Just a few more upgrades on that machine (like moving my website) and I can secure the cover with the proper screws, stick it in the corner connected to the UPS and forget about it.

I really, really tried to use Gnus as a mail client. But I haven't been using gnus as a newsreader for very long and haven't quite caught its way of doing things yet. So back to mutt, which is quite happy with IMAP and which makes me quite happy. Webmail -- using IMP, which is my first foray into PHP please forgive me o Perl masters-- is working too, so the next time we go on a vacation and I connect from a cafe I won't have to sneakily install PuTTY...

Little hacking done the last few days. I was quite burned out after heinous amounts of work a couple weeks ago -- DeMarco's notion of undertime seems right on the money to me. Boss (sorta) called today looking for help on something -- I tracked down what it should be doing, but turned down a request to fix it. Dammit, I'm really trying to make weekends ours, not work's. This crap over the last couple of weeks reinforced that -- all the work done for an artificial deadline that wasn't met anyway. Whoop-dee-doo.

But at least OpenInteract has a shopping cart and simple catalog system now, probably to be put out there with the other extra packages. Whatever.

Saw Thirteen Days tonight. It wasn't bad, but Kevin Costner's amazingly bad accent almost ruined it for me.

Went to my first Bat Mitzvah today for one of my wife's students. Interesting, and one of the passages she was reading had some interesting commentary about animal cruelty.

100% human-generated.

Oh, how embarrassing. Got new versions of OpenInteract and SPOPS out the door only to find a bug in one of the OI packages (browser-based object/task security editing won't save the settings). Ack! Quick release of a new version out as quickly as possible.

The possibility of this happening probably increases with the number of changes made between versions. That'll teach me to change so many things at once.

Now that things aren't so panicked, I'm revisiting the server issue so I can get IMAP up and running. I'm being ambitious and trying for Cyrus on the first shot. We'll see...

chromatic: You should ping the DC Perlmongers group (esp the mailing list) regarding XP in DC. If I still lived down there I'd be there with bells on :-)

OpenInteract 1.2 and SPOPS 0.50 are pretty much bundled up and ready to go out the door. Once my guinea pig -- I mean client -- gets everything up and running, they'll be unleashed. LDAP support for object serialization and authentication, retrofitting onto existing directories, is included. Also: better TT integration with a full provider and plugin; SPOPS code generation has been totally rewritten to make adding features quite easy (rules-based setup). The crowd goes wild.

I really need to work on the docs for SPOPS -- it's getting big enough that I think we need something like what TT has: each module has its own information and a separate hierarchy (Template::Manual) has overall information and binding material. Organization key.

Project from hell pretty much got worked out -- throw enough time at it for n days straight, hey no problem -- but of course right on the heels of that the only person who knows unix went to germany and saddled me with a nasty email problem. Then someone else had an email problem. (And of course everyone panics when they have email problems.) I'm getting the impression our clients are held together with duct tape.

Also went down to DC for a meeting with a about-to-sign-the-contract client and closed the deal. Cool. So OpenInteract will be used on a site that some people might have actually heard about. (More later, when it's actually implemented :-)

On my way back from DC stopped by one of the big box stores and bought five or six CDs. The pleasures of immediate gratification...

So I'm jamming along, finishing up this LDAP stuff after having completely rewritten the SPOPS class builder system, feeling pretty smug. Going to Kennywood tomorrow, great. Weather has finally cooled down, great. Got some trance something or other playing that a friend gave me a while ago.

And then the project from hell comes raining down. You know, the one where things have been spinning further and further out of control for months, where the people who were working on it and had some idea of what it was supposed to do are gone, where the scope has gone entirely out the window, where your management is just cutting bait so the project doesn't continue as a black hole for money and time.

Yeah, that one. To be finished by Friday (day after tomorrow). I had forgotten, but that's why I wanted to become a programmer. Shit.

Somehow, the idea of running OS X in one of them new iBooks has got itself into my brain and refuses to leave. Part of me recoils in horror at the potential of becoming part of another rabid community. But it's mostly because it's so damned cool.

I've never been a Mac person, and it's fascinating to try and learn something about the technology because you quickly run into a different language. Task about Pismos this, Lombardo (?) that, Wallstreet the other thing. It's just like discussing any number of things in the PC (or opensource world), but it's still startling to encounter the first time. It's been a while since I felt like a newbie... of course, other people probably thought I was, but I didn't :-) Ignorance is bliss.

The hardware treadmill never ends, does it? I suppose if I were a handy person I'd be the same way about power tools. Oh well.

Socks are mostly patched up now, resulting in lots of cool features for both SPOPS and OpenInteract. I need to release new versions of both soon, otherwise the Changes entries will become overwhelming.

You know when you've got a thread dangling from a sock and you start pulling the thread to make it look (and function) properly? Sometimes the thread breaks after a short tug and you're all set.

But sometimes you can pull and pull and once you realize the thread will keep coming and you've pulled out too much to stop, you see only three options. You can keep pulling until all there's no more sock and then reweave everyting. Or you can break it with your fingers but then you get that bunched up look and that just won't do. Or you can just get a new sock.

I'm in between the first and the third options... But it will all be good, once it's done. Really!

Went to wedding in Monterey (CA) and then to SF for a day of walking around, eating, etc. Nice place (last time I was there I was eight), but once we saw a 'For Rent' sign for a relatively normal 3BR place in Russian Hill ($3600), the airy dreams of moving got some cold reality water. Beautiful wedding, too.

Verizon has tipped me over the edge -- inbound port 80 is now blocked for DSL customers and will probably be for the foreseeable future. (I need to setup a proxy somewhere and run my stuff on port 81, hassle hassle.) I'll wait a bit to see if they change their policy, but I'm looking around at different providers. Unfortunately, there would be a one-to-two week period where I'd have no DSL service at all. Bleh.

Excellent ideas going on with SPOPS right now -- one of the active contributors wants to be able to synchronize an object so multiple processes can access and use the same object concurrently. Immediately terrible visions of EJBs flood my head, but wait -- it's optional! Every get/set method doesn't require an RPC! It's not something to be designed around -- use it or don't use it, your choice!

Plus, SPOPS::LDAP is functioning, so you can use an LDAP directory as a datastore. Sweet. Still some more features to add, but I should be able to meet the deadline.

Now that I think of it, we're getting some nice 'enterprise' functionality -- LDAP, synchronized objects -- all we need to do is something with XML and computerworld will be knocking at our door :-)

And a colleague has finally turned me onto Gnus for all my messaging needs -- he uses the IMAP interface frequently and with no problems. Once I get cyrus setup I think I'll switch, just making it something else to learn, something else to never leave xemacs for...

This is nice when it happens: a client needs LDAP functionality for SPOPS right now, is willing to pay for it and is willing for the work to be distributed with SPOPS under the same license. Sweet.

The (slight) downside is dealing with LDAP -- I understand it and can work with it no problem, but I always feel like there's something I'm missing.

One of the other benefits (sorta) of writing code on a contract basis for a short deadline is testing -- people want to know that the code works, and the best way to do it is testing. IMO it's easier to skip over testing when the people using the code are peers than when someone has paid you money for a particular thing to work. So since I was adding new features to it the SPOPS tie interface (along with its subclass that does strict field checking) now has decent test scripts. Hooray for Test::More!

We went camping this weekend. It was just a short little trip an hour away but very nice. Our fire kicked ass :-) Unfortunately, there was a Marilyn Manson/Black Sabbath/some-other-tick-off-the-parents band at the nearby outdoor pavillion, and some of the attendees were saving money by camping. So we woke up Sunday morning to a distorted voice singing: "My name is Lucifer/Please take my hand" or something. Creepy.

Note to self: after upgrading your X server and fonts (say, from 4.0.x to 4.1.x to get DRI working properly so you can play Quake 3 b/c you're a lazy bastard and don't feel like working), it's helpful to stop and restart the font server. Otherwise all the fonts come up as squares, which can tax your memory as to option positioning. (It's kind an of interesting usability test, tho.)

I wish I were in San Diego right now. I should make a resolution to either be with a stable company next year around this time or make sufficient money that I can go out there and justify the (large) expense.

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