Older blog entries for gleblanc (starting at number 30)

emergent properties
Wow, jfleck posted a really cool example of emergent properties in his diary. Thanks! There's a lot that can be done with that one, I'll have to bring it up next time I'm sitting around BSing with friends.

Heh, 0.06 inches, huh? We're supposed to get 0.5 inches between yesterday and today. Not neat storms, but we do get plenty of water. It's actually been raining since about 10 minutes into the Cat II race last night, not just drizzling. Pretty fascinating. Oregon is the land that intermittent, or "delay" if you prefer, wipers were made for. Low is too fast, and off is too slow.

Hmm, I guess I lied to DV this morning, I can read the French at the end of mathieu's diary, more or less (without the help of babelfish).

dyork mentioned something about an "American aversion to all things metric". I don't believe in such a thing. I'm an American, and I love metric. I can convert most things between metric and English Standard in my head in a trvial amount of time. Metric is incredibly nice computationally.
I'm amazed that people can get by using vi, or even vim, for SGML editing. I need to try out Dan's .vimrc, but I can't imagine it being able to keep up with an editor that actually reads, and presents options based upon reading, the DTD. I've gotten some people to write me some "macros" for things in emacs/psgml, like insert graphics, and other complex markup. I should write up a -really- good .emacs for use by the LDP, GNOME, and so on. Yeah, in my copious spare time. :-)

computer hardware
<rant> Dan York put something up a while ago about about somebody trying to put the e-smith server on a notebook (or laptop if you prefer). He said '...the system must be "PCI-based"...' and '...I haven't really seen any laptops that supported PCI cards!..." I'm looking at the website, and I see "PCI-based Pentium machine" as the hardware architecture. Regardless of which of those you choose, every x86 based laptop made today meets those requirements. They're all PCI based. The memory and the CPU exchange data through the "north bridge". The "south bridge" controls the expansion capablities, such as PCI, and ISA slots, and serial and parallel ports. Every chipset on the market now supports PCI. All of the notebooks that we've purchased within the past year no long have a PCI-ISA bridge, meaning that -all- of their peripherals communicate via the PCI bus. There's no reason that I can find that it shouldn't run just as well on a notebook as it does on a desktop system.</rant>
Sorry about that, I like to learn about computer hardware, and it irks me when I see things that are "just plain wrong".

I promised John that I'd write about my race last night here, so I guess I'd better hop to it. So, on Tuesday nights they have bike races out at PIR, Portland International Raceway. It seems that it's a 2 mile track, very flat, with curves that might be challenging at 150 miles an hour, but are pretty wimpy at 20. I'm not entirely sure how the entire race went, because I was working too hard to really think. We started off, and just glumped together for a while, then strung out into single file. Either the first or the second time we came through the finish line (did I mention that it was 5 lap race?), the guy behind me dove into a little sprint. Colin (a guy I know from the velo) and I took off in chase, and kept up with him. We got into a -fast- (for my tired legs, 25mph) pace line, which I was able to stick on for a lap. As we came onto the straight-away, after my pull, I didn't have the strength to keep up with them, so I let them go, and pushed on by myself. By the end of the race, I couldn't see either the two guys ahead of me, nor the guy behind me. It's pretty boring to just crank away for that long, but it's a really good workout. So, I got third, out of a field of 4, by a long margin both ways. Unfortunately, they didn't publish the results on the website, nor did times get posted on the emailed results. Drat.
Impressions? Well, the race was fun, because it was a race... and boring, because the track is really boring. Once I get faster, the other categories look a lot more fun (40+ people, rather than 4). But I race at just over 20 miles an hour, and they were all doing better than 25, which is just too fast for me to maintain. Those races will definately be a good workout for me. Six or seven miles from work to there, and then eight to twelve miles as a race, then another bunch (dozen?) miles home. And of course, Wednesday nights are out at the velodrome, when it's not raining. I do like bike racing and riding...

I've been off doing other things for a while, but decided I wanted to write something here tonight. Well, I wanted to last week, but things were too busy. Anyway, jfleck has been writing some neat stuff. I love storms, but there's no such thing in Oregon. I've heard thunder twice since I've been here. That's an average of once every 3.5 years.
I have no idea what he's talking about with "emergent properties". I read that a couple of times, and it still doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. I should look for more links on the topic, in all of my free time.

I saw a diary by hacker, and decided to read it, and as it turns out, he's writing docs for something that I've been dying to do for a really long time. Cross-compiling is such a bitch, but it's SOOOOO useful. Perhaps I'll try it out with Intel to SPARC compiling. Fun!

dyork was fighting XML/XSLT the other day, and came across a bug in libxml. Dan, upgrade to the CVS version, and things will be fixed. Heh, good deal, huh? I'll see if I can make a snapshot build for you. What Linux distrib are you using lately? I want to try this Real soon now, but I've got a few other higher priorities.
I didn't think CDATA marked sections worked properly in XML? Anybody know the details of what doesn't work properly here, and care to explain? Maybe I'll ask Liam tomorrow, if I remember.
I'm not surprised that Hotmail has moved to win2k, really. This is the first time that they've had an OS with even the potential to run that sort of a service. I don't think anybody other than MS would have made the move though, it's just too expensive to replace a working system that doesn't cost money, with a less efficient system for which one must purchase licenses.
Dan also wrote some stuff about the LPI, and about advogato's certification levels. Good stuff, but I've forgotten all of the comments that I wanted to make. I think I should take the plunge and get some Linux or Unix related certs. Now, to find some sample tests...

I think I may have a lead on a track bike, for a pretty reasonable price. The biggest problem with getting a rental bike is that I don't always get the same one, and some of them don't fit quite right. The seat is quick release, and I put my petals on it. However, sometimes the tilt on the bars is wrong, or they're a bit too high, or too low. I want my own bike so that I can get it adjusted and tuned properly for me.
I biked to work last Monday and Tuesday, which felt really good. Maybe I'll HTMLize my logs and put them online... Wednesday I went out to the track. I was a bit tired going into the workout, since my rides to work are really races against the clock. We did a much longer workout than I was used to, and I pushed myself pretty hard to keep up with the pace line. I was 5th from the last to drop out there. At the end of practice, we did some sprint races. That's three laps, the first must be at least a walking pace. The rest can be any speed, but usually the second is slow, and the final lap is VERY fast. I managed to finish 1 of these, but I was just barely coherent at the end. A couple of minutes later, they asked me to go again, but the coach didn't think that would be a good idea. I -wanted- to ride more, but wasn't physically capable of it. I biked home pretty slow. I couldn't ride to work on Thursday, I was just too tired. Friday I could have, but didn't, ride in to work. I'll take it a bit easier this week.
I just came up with this... But what I think I'll do is bike to work tomorrow (Monday), and get a lift home. Then get a ride in to work on Tuesday, and go out to the races a PIR, and maybe bike home from there (if it's not dark). Wednesday I'll get a ride, and go out to the track. The PIR races are on road bikes, which is good, because mine is well adjusted, and I can work the gears, almost. Gosh, I want indexed shifters.

I finished the exercizes for Chapter 4 in learning perl today. I keep writing things in Pascal, and wondering why they don't work. I'll get the syntax down quickly, as soon as it's not 6 months between hacking sessions. I need to get through chapter 8 ASAP. 8 is on functions, and I need to be able to use those to write the build script for GNOME 2.0. Bleah, not enough hours in the day. jrb keeps telling me to learn python, and I think I've got a good project for that ready, but I need to get job hunting too. So, Python is on the shelf for the time being. GPP stuff is going well, I need to draft a mail to see if there's space to put binaries on ftp.gnome.org and it's mirrors. I send Red Hat a set of updates for most of their GNOME packages today, hopefully dcm will see about getting those into production soon. I might even get to close a couple of GConf bugs that are in the Red Hat bugzilla, since I think they're my fault. ;-) Enough for now, I need sleep...


Wow, some dude was a total dick to fejj... The guy posted only one possible rational argument... Amazing
I don't really think fejj's first reply was that great, but it's easy to understand why he posted it. Oh, I see. They're all flames, but that's the way things go sometimes.
I REALLY like Evolution, although the snapshots that Ximian is making kind of suck ass. Speaking of which, I need to ask Robin if he's had time to hack on a simple build-script, so that I can feed tinderbox.


Biked to work today, although I got a flat about nine miles into it. It was raining, so it was really hard to get the tire dry enough to get the patch to take at all. Of course, I didn't check well enough, and missed the piece of glass that was embeded into the tire. I got a new one tonight, but I grabbed the 650 tube instead of the 700. Rats. I'll go back, since I need to give them grief anyway. They need to replace the heel pad on one of my shoes, since it's already fallen off. I need to swap the tube for one the right size, and I need to get a real patch kit... the kind with glue, not just the pre-glued pads. The pre-glued ones are nice for weight, but they don't seem to work nearly as well as the ones with the rubber cement. I actually talked to the mechanic down at the bike shop (I've given up on Bike and Hike, since they don't keep the sales guys busy enough, and they tend to intercept you before you can talk to the mechanics). River City Bikes is where I'm headed lately, and this mechanic helped me find the good tires. This one looks pretty nice, and we'll see how it holds up. It had better be nice, for $50...


Busy, drat. I wanted to be less tired when I got home today, so that I could do some job hunting. Alas, I barely had enough energy to sit in front of the TV.
10 Jun 2001 (updated 10 Jun 2001 at 21:03 UTC) »

[This entry has been edited for content, and to run in the time allotted]


The first half of the bike ride in was tough. My legs complained the entire time. Once I got over onto this side of the river, and I'd gotten well warmed up, going was a lot easier. I managed to drink my "required" 2 cups of gatorade on the way to work yesterday morning, but almost none on the way home. I didn't drink much on the way in this morning either, but I managed to drink it down after I got in to work.
My mom and I went out to the Velodrome to watch the races tonight. There were some good races, and one of the guys I ride with at the Wednesday night classes was out there whooping ass. I'm getting familar with the names of the races, but I'm still pretty unclear on what names go with what events. There are a -lot- of different events out at the track. It was pretty fun watching the races, although it got a bit nippy, even though it was 80 degrees when we left to go out there. There's a pretty good breeze in the stands.
Oh, the bike ride home wasn't so rough... 14.7 miles an hour. Slower than I'd like, but I'll keep working on it. Maybe I need more hill climbing time. Actually, I'll bet most of the slowdown is because downtown was nearly impossible to navigate, because there's a parade tonight. The traffic was horrid, and nobody gave me any breaks.

Work Well, the manager/boss person leaves for vacation at 7am tomorrow, which will be both good and bad. Good because he -loves- to hear himself talk, and will make up BS about damn near anything he wants to (it's clearly BS to anybody with half a notion on the subject). Bad because now I have to do some of his job for a week. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but the guy who used to do our tech support has moved to another department, so I have to do his job too. Hmm, I'm doing three jobs for a week. That sucks...

Looks like jfleck has been out playing in the yard again... Keep it up, gardens take time! We planted some blue-berries when we re-did the back yard last year, and they're looking really good this year. Maybe that was two years ago, I forget. We're going to get a crop this year, which should be really great in muffins and such. My dad loves to pick blueberries, so it will be really nice for him to be able to go someplace close and get them. I mostly like to eat them. :-)

Brits, and such

Hmm, I hope that's not a derogatory term, although it is a bit inacurate. I chat with <person>telsa a fair bit, when we meet up on IRC (gosh I wish I had a nice psgml like mode for this...), and she's been keeping really weird hours the past couple of days. Up at like 6am, and going to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning! Apparently she's "catching some kip" (did I get that right?) sometime in the afternoon. Still, weird hours.
The other "Brit" thing was pronunciation. One of the lists I'm on was chatting about "routers", as in the things that direct internet traffic, and got onto something, somehow, about how the "Aussies" and the "Brits" pronounce it. I've never heard the Austrialian pronounciation, but I'm certainly familiar with the Brittish one, as it sounds exactly like how we'd pronounce it in New England, especially an hour or two north of Boston.


I biked to work today. It was a great ride, I averaged 17.5 miles per hour. Amazingly fast. The ride home was 15.3, which is pretty good. My goal is to make every ride a better than 15 mile per hour average. If I can do that for a week or twos, it will be time for a new, faster, goal. Or maybe I should just tack and extra few miles onto the ride... I need to develop a decent training program (not software). A good set of workouts would be nice to have.
I've been noticing that I'm getting into much better shape now that I've been riding again. The first couple of trips to work were really rough, but now they're getting quite manageable. I can also see that my abs are getting a lot tighter than they were. My legs have some definition now, but nowhere near the bulk I had when I graduated High School. Hopefully that will be back before too long.
I don't mean that as vanity, although you could see it that way. I just hate being out of shape, but had trouble keeping myself there. I love biking, but I was really being a fair-weather biker for a bit. Now that I'm back, I'm thinking ahead, and trying to figure out good ways to get clean work-clothes to work, so that I can bike to work, rain or shine, and not have to lug a big bag on my back. My current thought is to rig a rack onto my bike. This is slightly complicated by the fact that I have a road-racing frame, and there aren't any mounting holes for the screws that would normally hold it up. I'll have to find a rig to mount it on the little triangular (should that have an ly?) shaped holes in the wheel drops. Oh yeah, one more way that I can tell I'm getting to be in better shape is that I can actually keep up for the first 2/3 of practice out on the track. I still get tired at the end, especially when they have me leading sprints, but it's a grand time, so who cares?!?
Wow, I just remembered something about the science stuff I was asking John (Fleck) earlier today! First, background... I make ice cream in the summer. Blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, mint, chocolate chip, whatever I can find that looks good. In order to do that, I have to make ice. Lots of it. At least 4 trays every day, often 6. Sometimes, when I take the ice out of the freezer, it will look like it's frozen in mid-splash. I'll get a picture to illustrate next time I remember. Anyway, I just checked the ice, and it freezes over the top first, and then on the sides and the bottom, trapping the liquid in the middle. As the liquid freezes, it expands. It's possible that at a certain point, this fractures the ice on top (since it can't go sideways or down). If the water was approaching the freezing point, as it escpaped the crack in the ice, it would be chilled even further, perhaps -actually- causing it to freeze mid splash. Any physics majors out there who can tell me why that doesn't work? I should ask muet...
One last question before I stop writing for the night... Anybody else know what kind of elevation gains they have on a typical ride? I've got about 350 feet down, followed by 100 feet up on the ride to work. All at just about sea level. On the way home, 100 down, followed by about 550 up, 250 down, and another 50 up. The ride home might even be hillier than that... (perhaps another trip down and up 50.

Wow, several people have already posted replies about the advogato thing... If I could hack, I'd do something with the thing that <person>dyork</posted>. Probably wget that, have a script search for the people who's diaries I read in that page, and generate a list of people who have updates. I could just remove all dupes, so that wouldn't be too hard. But how do I reset the list, after I've read a bunch? Hmm, maybe just delete the file it generates. Definately some possibilities there.

Anyway, as for life, eye contact is definately being avoided. Hehe, that must be a lot of work, since I walk through that office a dozen times a day.
And on the biking front, the track riding was -great- today, until that final race where my asthma kicked in... Bleah. I really need to get my own track bike...


There are a huge number of diary entries posted here all the time. I like to read through them, and keep up on the diaries of the people that I know... But I haven't found any good way to do that yet.
I was trying to read all of the ones that were new since my last diary entry... but it seems that if I wait more than 24 hours or so, mine scrolls off the bottom of the list. :-( I could check it more often, but then how do I remember which ones I've read? Quite a sticky problem... Maybe I can get raph to keep a longer list of diary updates someplace...


I biked in to work yesterday (Tuesday), in the cold and the rain. It wasn't such a bad bike ride, but the showers were closed when I got to work. Thank goodness I brough my own towels to wash up with. I didn't bike into today, since I'm going out to the track to ride. It's a nice looking day outside (it's knock on wood, not touch wood, silly), so hopefully practice will be on (you can't ride the track in the rain, it's unsafe). I did bring in a change of clothes, so that I don't have to lug them with me when I bike in tomorrow.
Speaking of unsafe, there are WAY too many people who are too stupid to own a bike around here. I'd say that 1 in every 4 bikers I see doesn't have a helmet on. That really irks me.
My other big rant is all of these idiots who can't be bothered to use directionals. I'll be zipping along down the road, minding my own business, in the bike lane, and some idiot will make a right-turn in front of me, and signal only after I almost slam into them at 25 miles and hour. EGADS people! Pay attention, I hate having to yell at you so that you know I'm there.


dyork has a note in his diary about poisoning pigeons in Canada. While that's not funny, it does remind me of a Tom Leher (I think it was Tom Leher, anyway) song called "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park", which is hillariously funny. I'd put an MP3 up for you, but I'm pretty sure that's against the law. Nuts.


Well, I'm still being ignored whenever she can get away with it, but we snuck up on each other coming around a corner, and she knew enough not to frown (at least not in front of her dad). Glad I've got people to chat with elsewhere, or I'd be really bored.

4PM now, must be time to think about going home (since I'm taking the bus, and I won't get home for an hour and a half).

Oh yeah... I'm not sure why one needs to read Alan's diary to make sense of Telsa's... They seem to stand on their own just fine to me.

Well, I disappear for the weekend, and I've got all kinds of stuff to read!

I was just noticing how silly this little entry form is... Raph said that it would accept closing tags as </>, but yet it ignores whitespace. If you wanted it to be convient, why not have carridge returns actually do something here? Sorry, just seems pretty stupid to me. <br>. Err, I mean

Thursday night I spent working on shortening a screw, so that I could get the cleat on the bottom of my bike shoe held on properly. The screw that it came with was only long enough to get 1 thread into the shoe, so it didn't hold well at all. I lost it on the ride to work one day. We went out to the hardware store at lunch, and found a non-stainless steel screw that was slightly longer, which was enough so that it went into the shoe a little bit more easily. That one came loose while I was at the track last wednesday. It held ok through practice, but came completely loose by the time I got home. I'd purchased a much longer stainless steel screw while at the store, and I went over to Rex's house, and ground it down to the right length, and put it into the shoe. I went out for a shortish bike ride on Sunday (half an hour or so), and things seemed plenty tight afterwards, so I'm hoping I've got it fixed this time. Didn't bike to work this morning, but I'll go our and do a longer ride after work tonight, even though it's plenty cold.

I guess I'll break now, so that I don't start ranting too much.

1 Jun 2001 (updated 4 Jun 2001 at 18:22 UTC) »

Hmm, looks like I made a couple of stupid typos. Just fixed a couple of them. It seems like it's been a really long time since I've had time to write anything here, but it's really only about a week. I think I've got lots of stuff to comment on. I try to keep up on other diaries which is where most of these comments come from.
I think I'll just forget about putting any order to this today, follow along... if you can!

jfleck, congrats on the personal record! Sometimes it's good to take a break. :) This guy knows about tomatoes too, although we don't grow yellow ones up here. John, you -have- to plant them in a new spot every year, and let something else grow where they are. Tomatoes are -very- nutrient hungry plants. I usually dig a hole about 16" across, and 8-10 inches deep, and the only things that go into it are a 1 gallon tomatoe plant, and black compost. I've yet to have a problem with tomatoe yields, unless you count having too many tomatoes as a problem. I've found that half-inch rebar is the only thing strong enough to hold up our 6' plus plants.
I'm really pleased to see somebody new working on gnome's bugzilla in a meaningful way. I cleaned up a -lot- of gnome-games stuff, and now people are actually using bugzilla to find bugs to fix in gnome-games. I'm hoping that gnome-utils will do the same thing, although perhaps a bit faster (it took months for people to realize that gnome-games was an almost sane component with regards to what bugs were left, and where they were).

I've been thinking that we need to start a "hackers bike club", or maybe a "docs guys bike club", since there are so many of us that bike. dcm, dyork, jfleck, and myself, at least. I'm not sure if the weather in Ontario is better, or worse, than it is here. It's been roasty-toasty here lately (80s and 90s, once up to about 110), but then it will swing back into the 60s and 70s. Dan gets to deal with 40s some mornings. Hard to say.
I've just about got my Dad's bike put together in working shape, so maybe he'll start riding it. I needed to have the front derailleur adjusted, the brakes tightened, the break levers moved to where he can reach them, and the handlebars re-wrapped. It still needs the rear derailleur adjusted a bit, but it works, as long as you don't downshift too hard (the chain slips into the spokes, not good). That's probably only another half-hour of work... yay!
I read something recently about Microsoft's new licensing, and it had me thinking, because they talked, in some way, about monopoly powers. There are quite a few monopolies out there, MS and Intel among them. These two companies were both in persuit of a monopoly for a while, and they both did just about anything they could in order to get there. When Intel achieved their monopoly, their CEO said "ok, were're the most powerfull semi-conductor in the world, we have to change our practices." However, when MS got there, they just kept on doing "business as usual", never changing their stance. In the USA, this is clearly in violation of the laws. Some people don't seem to realize that while almost anything is legal while you're in a competitive industry, all of that changes as soon as you own the industry.
Ugh, I'm too lazy to write anymore right now, more after I get home and get through these last 300 emails.

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