Older blog entries for gleblanc (starting at number 41)

Hmm, another quote, methinks

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views ... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering. -- Doctor Who, "Face of Evil"

I miss Doctor Who. SciFi has some good stuff, but no Doctor Who.

It's fruit season, clearly. We've got a bushel of grapes in the kitchen waiting for us to finish cooking them, then straining them. The apples are ripe, and we need to figure out something to do with them. Not sure what we'll do yet. I'd prefer cider, but I've been unable to find a hand-powered cider press for a reasonable price, nor even a good set of plans to build one from scratch.

If the colleges were better, if they really had it, you would need to get the police at the gates to keep order in the inrushing multitude. See in college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving the natural method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting that you shall learn what you have no taste or capacity for. The college, which should be a place of delightful labor, is made odious and unhealthy, and the young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits. I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself. The marking is a system for schools, not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to put on a professor. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life, the Universe, and Everything

We ordered 10 yards of crushed stone a couple of weeks ago, so that we could fill in under the deck that we're rebuilding, and under the foundation that's holding up our carport. We finally got the last of it moved out of the way today, so now we can park the car in the carport again. I hate having it parked on the street.


It seems as though my Dec 3000 server isn't capable of running Linux, and the Evil people from my last place of employment stole my copy of OSF. Currently, it's got OpenVMS 7.1.2, but no TCP/IP packages. I guess my other option is one of the BSDs. I'll have to look into compatibility.


The Sci Fi channel is putting on the FarScape series from the beginning, starting tonight. I've liked the snippets of the series that I've been able to watch before, but seeing it from the beginning gives the story a lot more cohesion. I'm hoping to be able to watch the rest of it, but I think I'll have to video tape it a couple of nights, so that I can go biking.


I was attempting to navigate the trexlertown (search google, if you don't know) website today, to see if there are any races coming up soon. That is, big races, and not the weekly things. I'm not sure, since their website isn't very good, but I think that RSN will be the end of the American Velodrome Challenge. I know that Emily is leaving town on Wednesday for PA, so maybe this is what she's going for. It certainly sounds like it's just a "visit", since she didn't sound like she was saying good-bye to anybody. I hope she does well, and even more hope that she comes back soon...


Tomorrow, I think I'm going to drag my mom out to look at heart monitors. She's been training for her vacation (8 days of hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire), and I'm sure she'll want to keep training after she gets back. I need one because I'm having a really hard time judging how hard my workouts really are. I used to run in High School, and I could pretty easily tell how hard I was working. With biking, I have a much harder time judging how hard I'm working. I can bike for a much longer time than I can run. A 2 hour bike ride has me slightly tired afterwards. 2 hours of running, even easy running, had me completely wasted for the entire day. Anyway, I want the heart monitor so that I can try to keep my heart rate where it needs to be, rather than just going and riding. I -really- want to be much improved when the racing season starts next spring/summer.

Food, Fruit, and

Last summer, we had to cut down one of the big apple trees in the back yard. It was still pretty solid, but we were terracing the yard, and leaving it there would have killed it. Now we've got a rather large section of the back yard that's un-shaded. This is sort of OK, because there are blueberry bushes planted along the wall, in the really high-sun area. These aren't those big fat watery cultivated jobbers either, but some moderate to small, really flavorful berries. Anyway, I think I'm going to try to talk people into putting in a second row of blueberry bushes in the back yard. I don't think we've got enough bushes yet, and they look a lot better than all that grass. I think I also want to see about putting in a smaller tree in the top corner of the yard, to provide some shade back there, as it gets really hot.
We've still got a pear tree, and another apple tree that are actually in our yard. They're both bearing plenty of fruit this year (LOTS of pears, pretty average crop of apples). Last year, we picked hundreds of plums from the tree that's in our hedge. This year there are almost no plums on that tree. I guess it's just one of those cyclical things. I don't mind too much, we've still got a few jars of dried plums left, and those are really good.
We let the blackberry vines grow out through our hedges, and pick lots of blackberries. There always seems to be a huge crop of these, and they taste really good. We usually run them through our juicer to remove all of the seeds and skins, then boil it down to about 1/2 volume, to enhance the flavour a bit. I love to make ice-cream out of the sauce. It's a custard ice cream, so it's not too healthy, but if you add the right amount of sauce, it becomes a REALLY incredible ice cream, almost on the edge of being sherberty. Mmm... I can't wait until I've frozen enough water that I can make some more ice cream. I Scream/You Scream/We All Scream/For Ice Cream/.

It's been a month since I wrote anything here, so this is going to be really long... In the mean time, I've managed to be out of a job, working on GNOME stuff mostly, and some biking. So, if anybody is looking for a sys admin, or maybe even a build expert, let me know. I do actually have a resume, but I was resting for a while, while I put it together.


I actually got out to do some track races this week, and I clearly haven't figured out the mental part of these yet. Maybe in a few races I'll be able to get my act together, and turn in some reasonable efforts. We'll see.
I was talking with somebody who's been out at the track with us a couple of times, and he said he was out at the track pretty much every day. He was talking to somebody he met out there, who noticed that he was always riding the same speed. They recomended that he talk to a coach, so that he could actually improve his bike riding, since you can't do that by riding the same speed all the time. I was thinking about this, and it dawned on me that I'm pretty much riding the same speed on all of my road rides. Sure, I speed up and slow down a lot over the course of the ride, but my average time for every ride is about the same. This was a good thing when I was completely out of shape, and just trying to get fit, but now that my lung capacity and muscles have regenerated a bit (not back to peak, certainly, but they're doing OK), I need to start training to get better. I haven't figured out if I just need to get in touch with a coach, or if I'd be better off joining a team, or what.


Well, I was completely miserable there, although I'd sort of liked some warning, rather than having to leave quite so abruptly. At least I don't have to work with the guy who was my boss anymore, as he was a horror to work with, let alone under. Mostly, the parting was caused by my wanting to improve things at the university, and the other people at the university wanting to keep things more or less the same. I don't really feel like writing more about it now (well, I could, but there are other things I want to write about), so I'll leave that for another day. It's hard to move on though.
I do have a much nicer email address out of the deal... gleblanc@linuxweasel.com. I should put a website up too...

Cool Software

When I got my domain online, I suckered TSCHAK (err, uhm, no, I can't remember his real name, and I'm too lazy to look/ask) into helping me get djbdns set up for DNS services, and qmail/courerimap for email. They're pretty slick, although some of the support libs are a bit stupid. Qmail is bloody fast, running on my SPARCstation 20 (SM81/256MB). I bulloxed something up so that it wasn't getting mail for a few hours, then when I fixed it, it got flooded at nearly the bandwidth of my net connection, and it never seemed to flinch. djbdns is so so so so so so much nicer to admin than bind is, even if I use JRB's DNS management tool (which still doesn't seem to write files than bind can parse, but whatever). If you don't mind a little bit more setup time (download, compile, install, for two or three small packages, instead of download RPM, install), in exchange for a SANE way to manage the DNS records, djbdns is the way to go. I do need to get a secondary server online, preferrably on another link. I should look into that again, maybe Mr Bill can host it for me. Hmm...


A while back, right when I got my SGI Indy, I also got a free 21" IBM Fixed Frequency monitor from a buddy at SGI (a customer had used a bunch of old IBM Unix machines to trade up to new SGIs). I've also got an Alpha machine downstairs. Strangely enough I think that the Alpha may be able to drive that IBM monitor, which is good, because I have NO other monitors with BNC connectors on them (which is what my existing cable for the Alpha is).
I need to pick up a bunch of smallish (<4GB) 50-pin SCSI drives, so that I can get my farm of SPARCstation 2s online again. I also need a decent backup solution... I've got a DSS2 tape drive right now, which will do 2GB on a 90m cartridge. My home directory is currently 6.2GB, which is huge. Normally it's more like 2GB, but that still means it fills up a tape. I'd have to swap tapes several times in order to get the rest of the drives on this machine backed up, not to mention the other machines around. I think that I'm at about 10-12GB right now, certainly with the potential to grow to a lot more than that. I'm thinking that a DLT drive will be the best way to go, since they're fairly cheap (I can get a drive for < $100 from ebay), and they're fast. The only "concern" is the cost of media. It's pretty expensive. I suppose I could look at getting a library, maybe an Exabyte or something. Media should be dirt cheap, and the capacity should be good. I wonder what the cost would be. Hmm, should have thought of this before...

Other Stuff

Ack, one of those things that I hate about me is that I'm really shy. I don't go up and talk to people on my own. I have the hardest time with that. It can get really frustrating. There's this young lady out at the track (she's probably my age, maybe a year older). Anyway, she's a national caliber bike rider, who also happens to be really cute. We've chatted a little bit, and she smiles at me when I sit there grinning like an idiot, but that's about as far as I've managed to get. I completely missed a great opportunity to secure her as a friend because I was too much of a coward to offer her some help. ARGH! I hate that. I think I'll go kick myself for a while, and try to get some sleep. Later all.


Just a couple of things... I made record time on my bike ride home on Monday. Well over 17 miles/hour on a ride where I normally only manage to do 16. Very fun ride. Tuesday I was riding to work, and managed to get a flat just about half way there. Of course, I had to do something -stupid-, and tear the valve stem out of my tube while re-inflating it. (I need to learn to loosen that bloody nut before reefing on that thing with the pump). It was looking to be a pretty average ride, so I'm not too disappointed.
I gave Mike the money for my new bike today, and he's going to bring it to the velo tomorrow. I'm soo stoked, this is a pretty sweet bike for me. This will only be the second new bike that I've ever purchased. The first one I paid for half of when I was about 10 (my parents paid the other half). We still have it, and it's my mom's bike now. Plus, this new one is -really- nice looking. It's not as good of a deal as the bikes that they sold through the track last year, but the bikes are a LOT nicer looking.
If you're in the Portland, Oregon area, you -really- should come out the the Alpenrose Velodrome. This weekend is likely to see some track records broken, and the race competiton should be intense. Marty Northstein, the 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist will be here, as well as the Canadian national champ, and a few other really fast dudes from around the world. I can't wait.

GNOME Packaging Project

I've finally gotten roaring on this again. I've had several people volunteer to hack on a perl script that I need written. garrison volunteered first, so he's got dibs on it. I wanted to catch him and ask when he's going to have time, so that I know if I should email these other people as well. I know Jim pretty well, so I'd prefer to leave things there, at least until I get to know these other folks. Plus, there's -plenty- more hacking, I just need somebody to bang out the structure, so that I can get people to volunteer to do things.

Wow, lkcl actually updated his advogato information. I didn't think he was working on TNG anymore, but couldn't really tell from that. The guy is flocking smart, and I've gotten along with him really well, when I had time to play around with Samba.
I just got around to reading jfleck's diary, after seeing quite a few people respond to it, both here and on gimpnet (irc.gnome.org). I totally understand what all the fuss has been about now. I'll leave reactions for some other time, probably.

I love to bike, but I've never been into watching things like Le Tour. If I'm going to watch an event, I'll go watch something here in town, such as the races out at the Velodrome. Speaking of which, if you're anywhere near Portland, don't miss the Alpenrose Challenge on the 27th through the 29th of this month. There will be some AMAZING sprint competition there, the quality that you see at big international events. But, I just read John's diary entry, and the coverage of this sounds interesting. I may read some more about it, so that I don't feel so silly when talking to people about the Tour.

BTW, I made some packages of Norm Walsh's XSL stylesheets today. They're not perfect, specificly in that they don't have a catalog file, but it removes one more set of "crufty" files from my system. Oh, you want to see? http://www.ibiblio.org/gleblanc/ has what exists. that website is messy though...

Free Software

I just read this article from dyork's article. I really like the point that it makes, I think it parallels a lot more than the church ministry. For example, the boy scouts of america do a tremendous amount of community service work. I don't think that it's particularly good "article", but it would be an article that I'd publish formally. There's a lot of anti-microsoft rant in there, which detracts from the point a bit. I'm tempted to write a bit on the topic, but nobody is paying me to be a free software advocate, and I know I've got other projects which I'm going to spend my time on first.


Macintosh bigots, don't flame me, this is supposed to be funny!
One of our professors on campus today, carrying his light blue, semi-translucent Mac notebook (the one with a handle on it). One of my co-workers saw him walking across campus, and thought that it was brightly-coloured toilet seat.
We all had a good laugh over that one. His communication skills are pretty poor, but we get a good laugh out of him every now and then.


I just updated a bunch of plain GNOME RPMs. There's a new Nautilus, GConf (this one works even if you don't have the -devel package installed), gal (another packaging fix), and gnumeric. I think I updated a few more, but I'm not sure what they are. The new nautilus (1.0.4) is another fairly large improvement. Highly recomended upgrade.


I finally contacted the bikes guy about getting a track bike, and I'm going to spring for one. I was out at the track last night, and it was a good workout. After several months of riding, I'm STILL in patheticly bad shape. I think I need to find a good training book, and start doing hard weeks and easy weeks, and get myself into decent shape. I think a new bike will help too, because I'll be able to put a smaller gear on it, and not have such a hard time at the end of the night. See, I can crank that gear around, but I don't have the physical strength to push the gear on the rental bikes to my peak sprint spinning speed. Uhm, yeah, that's hardly intelligible, but I'll have another shot at it sometime when I'm not quite so fried. I love biking.

More Computers

I don't see this any of my other diary entries, but we've ordered new notebooks for the faculty. Celeron 800s, 128MB of ram, 10GB hard drive, onboard 10/100 MBit network card, onboard 56K modem, internal 10X DVD drive, internal floppy, 1024x768 14" LCD display, carrying case, mouse. They're from Dell, a vendor I trust, which is certainly a good thing. We had a demo machine here, which had a 700MHz processor, but was otherwise identical. We compared it against a very similar machine from Toshiba, except that it had a P-III 700. The Celeron was -faster- for every test which we performed on it. Either the P-III has absolutely no performance edge over the Celeron (I'm slightly doubtful of this, for a number of technical reasons), or Dell is much better at designing machines (Uhm, yeah, this is my bet) than is Toshiba. We were leaning towards the toshiba, because we purchased from them last year, but they couldn't deliver the machines that we demo'd here, and couldn't even get us a new demo. Plus, Dell was willing to beat toshibas price, on an identical (more or less) machine. So, I'm pretty happy about that purchase, even though I don't get to use one of these machines myself. Of course, my "boss" has made sure that he gets one, the selfish bastard. :)

I went over to the Velodrome on Wednesday, and it felt pretty good, although I was tired due to my forced week off. I do like biking out there, it's rather fun to race in circles, and deal with other people being on the track. I must build up my endurance though, as I'm getting tired at the end, and can't compete in the mock races. I got a new chain for my bike tonight, as well as some new gloves, and a new bottle of Tri-Flo. Great lube, that is. I'll replace the chain on Thursday, I suspect. Perhaps Friday, we'll see.


For the first time in ages, I managed to get my Evolution working to send mail at work. I'm really pleased, as reading things in Evo, then having to reply in Outlook was rather traumatic. As it turns out, it was a problem with my bonobo install, and nothing with gtkhtml. At least I have a new bonobo now... I'll try to get myself a new, working, nautilus tomorrow. I love GNOME.
We've been having some good conversations on the mailing lists about the direction that help is going for GNOME 2, although we need to be quick about this, since the API freeze is in just a couple of weeks. I hope others haven't waited as long as we have. BTW, don't let me comment on these things, I clearly have not a freaking clue about programming, and especially APIs. I thought I'd written a decent message, but it appears to have been crap. Ah, well, back to things I understand, I guess.
Work is getting down to actually hiring a person as the network technician. I want nothing to do with hiring people, nor even with evaluating their skills. I completely apathetic as to what happens there. This is a very bad thing. I should go mail out my resume soon.

running, sort of

I went to "participate" in the Ranier to Pacific relay this weekend. There are 11 runners on a team, and up until Friday, I thought I was one of the 11. As it turns out, I was a backup runner. Ah well, at least I got to hang out for the weekend, and go to the beach. Cool people, even if they were MD's. <grin /> I think I'll see about running in the relay for real next year. I'd love to do Hood to Coast again, but it's a bit different. H2C is about 1000 teams, and 2 days after registration opens, it's full. R2P is 100 teams, and I'm sure they could accomodate quite a few more. It's a bit ironic that r2p seems to end in a bigger town, which has more/better facilities for the end of a race than the h2c. Well, I'll write more about this one later, I think, but not just now.

Why is rudeness such an accepted value in US Teen culture? It really ticks me off. I'm going to have to return the favor one of these days... Break some noses or something. It's such a good thing I can't find out who people are on battle.net, or I'd probably drive over and beat the living daylights out of ThaHammerElf. If you see him, leave, he's a God Damned PK.

gman can't spell, but it's all good, because he's cool. 50km is a pretty decent bike ride, so good going Glynn. Get some higher SPF sunscreen... I'd go with 45 if you're applying it every hour. If it's really hot and you're sweating a lot, that can wash it off, so get the waterproof stuff too. <grin />

dyork enjoy Canada any where you like it! Enjoy SGML/XMLing. Are you biking again? What's the news?

jfleck is eating advocatos. The only good thing I have to say about them is that they help me remember how to spell advogato. :-) Not my fav food, but perhaps I've just not had them done well. I probably won't, until I get to going out a lot more, because my dad won't eat "Mexican food", which pretty much includes southwest stuff too. Oh well.

The style guide sounds awesome, I wish I had time to read it right away, but other things take priority. I'm not entirely sure why, but Advogato seems to be one of them.
DV is awesome. That's all there is to it. Apparently he's made some more speed improvements to libxslt. Processing time on DocBook: TDG has been cut -in half-. Truly amazing.

biking Tuesdays don't seem to be my day for biking. I don't think I mentioned this, but last week, a Volvo tried to cut me off at an intersection. I layed the bike down, and slid through the intersection, under the front of the volve. I lost one of the handlebar plugs, and got some pretty ugly road-rash on my hip, and a bruise.
Today, I had a hard ride to get to the track in time, and just barely made it. As we were coming into the straight-away near the end of the first lap, I crashed. I was fatigued from racing to get to the races in time, which didn't help any. I was drafting off of the two lead riders, and they hit the head-wind, slowing them down. I was still going along, and overlapped the tire of the guy in front of me by a couple of inches. I tried to slow down/get out of the way, but somehow wound up on the ground. I scraped up my knee, ankles, elbow, and chest. Not bad, but enough that they bled, and will look ugly. I also pulled some muscles in my shoulder, and that's gonna hurt tomorrow. The handlebar tape on my right handlebar is torn to shreads, so I'll need some new stuff. I also trashed my glove. They were really nice gloves... cloth backing, short fingers, good padding. The padding on the palm isn't really attached to the fingers anymore. So, a few repairs are in order, and probably a few days of rest off of the bike. I did bike home afterwards, nice and slow (well, I didn't work as hard as usual).
No more biking for me on Tuesday's for a while. I started a new paragraph here in order to write some more, but, uhm, I've forgotten what I wanted to write. Must be bedtime.

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