Older blog entries for gilbertt (starting at number 28)

16 Jul 2001 (updated 16 Jul 2001 at 23:22 UTC) »

ldunbar: Haha. Well for one thing, I've been told by another reader that "Anybody who calls you the famous *anything* (except famous slutmonger) is insane". Wise words indeed ;-)

As to the LCD, it was fairly easy to set up, it's an LCD 2401 from Matrix Orbital. The only tricky bit was wiring up power - a mate tried to do the same thing a month later and blew his up - so you have to be real careful. (It was quite impressive btw, it apparently literally exploded...)

After that, a serial cable, wired carefully out and back into the case, a hacked hole in the front of a drive bay and I was all set. Software wise, lcdproc is very cool, it runs as a daemon you connect to and ask it to draw widgets on a panel. The clients can have as many panels as they like, and they get cycled according to their "priority". So I coded up a little perl client that spouted mp3 info about the currently playing song and it was job done :) You can check out the client here btw. It's that easy.

Muahahaha. I'm back!

Hrm, only 7 months to catch up on, diary-wise...

New job since the last entry. I'm working as an IT consultant now, specialising in OSS. Most of my work is web- related now, with stuff like apache, J2EE, appservers, etc.

Currently I'm consulting to Deutsche Bank, and boy I'm having fun! Their entire Global Intranet is running on OSS. That's right, over 1000 internal business sites and another 1000 personal employee sites are being run on a combination of apache, tomcat, php, perl, and more. All wrapped up in a chroot environment with automatic management and configuration. This has been one of the most fun projects I've undertaken, and I've been able to make a large contribution to the design, infrastructure and implementation of it. Very satisfying stuff.

Outside of work, I'm currently hacking on a bunch of things - one is a C project I refuse to talk about until it does more ;), another is an IRC bot in Ruby - mainly because I'm really enjoying working with Ruby, I don't really need an IRC bot :) Still - it was fun implementing the IRC RFCs in Ruby, and I managed to find and report a couple of Ruby bugs on the way.

I'm still working on camE, my v4l webcam snapper/uploader etc. I just made a large update to the palette code - it previously only supported RGB24, so I added support for a couple of YUV derivatives and am working on more. Unfortunately I seem to have broken support for ov511-based webcams, as davej will testify ;)

I don't think I'm doing anything wrong v4l-wise, but some of these drivers are still immature and I think I'm just tickling ov511 up the wrong way. Something in the palette detection code causes it distress. What I really wish is that v4l had a general "what palettes DO you support then??" call =P

Apart from that, life is good - I finally got ADSL installed last month - 2Mb into my flat. Now for the UK, that's a nice pipe, but it cost ;-) The upstream is, obviously, pathetic - but this is the UK and I have no chance of doing better right now.

In other news, I'm off on a carribean cruise in september, some good friends of mine are getting married, and I'll be out there with them. It gives me 2 weeks to spend time with my girlfriend, who I don't see much - I live in London, UK, she lives in Cleveland, USA - and that justifies the cost alone. After the cruise, there is a good chance she's gonna come over and live with me in London, and then next year I plan to head out to the states to live and work - visa permitting.

Long entry warning. It's been a while.

So. I've been busy. The new job is working well, the 16 hour days are cutting into my hacking time, but it pays the rent :-)

Also the work is switching over the corporate website from a proprietary platform to linux, a nice challenge and an honourable one IMO.

So the website redesign is going right on track. The VA linux servers arrived and are all installed (by yours truly). We have apache, we have tomcat, we have mod_jk, all working together nicely and serving jsps and static content. (That was me too ;-)) The SSL area is nice and tight (me), and running in the background is an application server. (Oh yeah, I did that). Oh yes, and I've been writing stuff in java, even some enterprise beans ;-) Who would have thought it?

Thoughts on java? Well, apart from the not-really-free beef I have, it's a fantastic language to code in. I really love it. Pretty much makes sense in a lot of ways. This is good. The implementation aspect still sucks a little, a small daemon I wrote to keep an SQL server database (ick) synched up to an openLDAP one works great, and was nice to write, but just sitting there doing very little it uses ~12Mb resident and that's a lot more than it's perl script equivalent ;-)

Still, the fact that I can just take this code and plug it into the app server and let client-side jsps interface with it pretty well rocks IMO. (Let's not mention the appserver DEMANDS a box with half a gig of RAM to run on ;-))

So, anyway, I think we'll hit the deadline, and along the way lots of other little things spin off to please the Management. Better site traffic monitoring and analysis, better uptime, off-site maintanence and updates, heavy automation compared to the current setup and I persuaded them to switch to mailman for client bulletins.

That's all fun, and in the little free time I have I am redesigning geist, and re-coding it in C++. The codebase was growing large, and rapidly becoming hard to manage with my object-model-in-C strategy. C++ is making things a lot more doable.

So far I just have some base classes, but it's going to be easy to grow up from once those are nailed down. The strategy is that everything is a composite object. So a window has a ->render() which calls render() on the document in it, which calls ->render() on it's children, which all render their children until the leaves actually draw themselves :-) There is a lot more to it than that, but getting this bit right is utmost if the rest is going to follow through nicely.

I've also written a website for smoothwall, a firewall mini-distro I am about to help write a better UI for.

Still hacking on camE, gom, feh, scrot as time permits of course...

Other than that I'm looking forward to xmas and wishing there were several more hours in the average day :-)

Hehehe. My pro-debian rant has succeeded in converting a total of 29 people to debian already, at least to try it for a bit, and that's just the ones who emailed me to tell me so. I doubt many will revert. Viva la revolution! :-)

Iain: it may help you to know that of the 80 people normally in #E, maybe 2 of them are Enlightenment developers. The flack you get is from users (and non-users) of the window manager. This is par for the course when it comes to IRC, from my experience, abusing people who don't know the facts make people feel big, or something.

There are maybe 4 people who hack on E and related projects full time, and about 6 more who do stuff now and again. Only a couple are in #E a lot. I idle in there all the time, but all serious #E related talk occurs in a vastly higher signal/noise developer channel.

The developers that do hack on E are genuinely busy working on it pretty much all the time, and so won't sit in #E answering questions about obsolete test software like EFM. We respond to bug reports and offers of help, and to any discussion involving nudity, goats or pants.

There is zero elitism on behalf of the developers, we are really genuinely busy trying to cut an awful lot of code. It's just the standard IRC bullshit you have to try and filter out IMO. There are a lot of people sitting on IRC in an awful lot of channels, waiting to look good by making someone else look bad. There's nothing special about #E in that respect.

What would be nice would be if those bitter folk would turn to the light and help us write the damn software! But I don't see it coming ;-)

Damn. Traditions can be pretty screwy. I was walking past a fireworks display today, and paused for a moment to watch a crowd of children and adults dancing and cheering as a man-sized dummy was burned at the stake. It chilled me a little. Then I realised I'd been doing the same thing for 20-odd years without a second thought. I wonder if half the people around that bonfire really knew what they were symbolising? I mean, not only is burning someone at the stake a pretty morbid thing to get excited about, it's also pretty nasty to be celebrating the horrid death of someone by such means for a couple of hundred years, no matter what they did to "deserve it".

Of course it could be just me. This crack pabs sold me is pretty nasty...

aaronl: 3 ghosts will be visiting you in the small hours to put a bat up your nightdress.

Now playing : Coldplay - Trouble.
Looks like I maybe got me a new job. Will know by the end of the week. Looks like a good 'un.
I'd say things were looking up, but then I don't have a good track record with that kind of prediction lately.

In an effort to put the evil lack-of-job related stress out of my mind, I coded for 17 hours straight today. I feel kinda fulfilled now, although I'm currently having trouble seeing. I got two complete apps written and a lot of hacking done on my long term projects. Here's what I ended up with:

scrot (SCReen shOT) is a commandline screen capture utility which uses imlib2. I wrote it from scratch as a handy alternative to ImageMagick's import command. It has the benefit of imlib2's dynamic image saver modules, meaning I support lots of image formats without much work. Plus I like the name ;-)

camE (continuing the funky naming tradition) is a v4l webcam grabber, using (can you guess?) imlib2. This means you can label your cam image using antialiased truetype fonts and blend them onto the image with transparency if you like. Lots of other features, like ftp or scp uploading and the ability to run as a daemon forever (no X connection needed). It's pretty fun and you can see the results on my webcam page.

Geist now has font styles (antialiased truetype fonts with shadows, outlines, blurs etc), a font style editor, a selection rectangle, half-written polygon code, a faster wordwrapping algorithim, and a slightly more optimised renderer.

Feh got some long needed luvvin' and I fixed a coupla little buglets that had been around for a while.

Got some work done on more of the backend libs we will need for Enlightenment's DR17 release. As some of you may know, this is a complete rewrite (see DR16's codebase for hints why ;-)) and so there is a lot to do. But using imlib2, evas and some of the other abstraction layers we are currently working on, e17 will be a wonderful thing. In maybe 2 years time ;-)

Anyway, I feel better for that. I put up snapshots of most of this stuff on my site, even some rpms (will make debs tomorrow) for people to check out. Now we have finally made a stable imlib2 release, I thought I may as well get some example apps out there for people to toy with.

Yesterday I took a look at Python. I have to say, I kinda liked it. The OO stuff is quite nicely implemented, and no matter how much source code I read, it always seems unusually readable... Now that's a nice feature. Plus the XML and ODBC modules are really, really nice to use. I might play some more.

Continuing my experimental mood, I also wrote a WAP/WML interface to my website. You can view it at http://linuxbrit.co.uk/wap/ if you have one of those fancy phones. I don't actually have such a phone, so I have no idea if my WML is clean, or even renders, but it looks good from here. The big plus is that I set it up to automatically generate from the meta language I write my site in, so it's no extra work to maintain. Super ;-)

At some point soon I'll start freaking out about the job thing, but today for the first time I appreciated the extra time I had for Open Source. Just wish I could keep a roof over my head and continue coding :-) I guess we all do though?

As my eyesight blurs and fades, I think I'll head off to bed.

Trying to put my life back together. Picking up the pieces, dealing, etc.

For legal reasons I still can't really talk about the reasons behind our closure. I'm sure you can all make a good guess though, huh?

There is some light at end of the tunnel. Lots of people have gone out of their way to help me find a new job. I have had help from unexpected sources, which was flattering, to say the least.

A couple of slim chances for next week. Great jobs which I am unlikely to get, after that I have to get less fussy.

The resume is up to date, and out there. I guess I have to sit back and hope now. Maybe brush off the suit too ;-)

It's times like this I really resent all this real life stuff and want to just curl up in a corner and code. It is a shame that even corners cost a lot to maintain in London, and a corner without a roof is no fun in winter ;-)

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