Older blog entries for jfleck (starting at number 321)

Quote of the week:: "Jackson arrived to the hotel wearing a white surgical mask over his mouth and nose, but later removed it."
Will the real bill Wyman please stand up?
GNOME 2.2 Diaries
I worked through enough of the remaining build bugs (jhbuild makes this rockingly easier) to get a working GNOME 2.1.whatever setup running this morning. Not everything's there yet (I bailed out because I have to go to work) but all the basics are now built.

Woo hoo.

I also started going through the packages of the proposed additions last night to assess the status of the user docs. It's better than I expected, but we've still got some work to do between now and a Jan. 3 RC1 (yikes!).
I interviewed Craig Venter yesterday. I have the coolest job.
Finished up the encoding section of the libxml tutorial over the weekend. As a bonus: pdf.
Get your woolies out! The Leonids are back this year, the night/morning of Nov. 18 and 19, and since hackers are usually up that time of the morning anyway, all you have to do is go outside at 3:30 a.m. and look up (that'll work, at least, for those of you in Europe and the Americas - not sure about the rest of the planet). These people have a more ambitious plan.
"No other Free Software project has the blend of community involvement, corporate support, and mature process that we do." - Luis Villa

Is this true?
GNOME 2.2 Diaries
Got finished with a complete build of jhbuild this morning, minus a number of packages. Must now go back through and tackle the picky little errors that are hanging me up.
I went to a very interesting cycling clinic yesterday afternoon, with a trainer from Heart Zone. I'm a numbers obsessive, and I've ridden with a heart monitor since I got my road bike, so I'm very aware of my heart rate under a range of conditions. But I was astonished to learn, under a formal test, that my understanding of my max heart rate was off by about 10 beats per second or so, which means my estimates of my aerobic and anaerobic zones were also off. And I also learned I'm spending way too much time doing macho boy cycling, pushing up into the anaerobic zone (ah, the exquisite pain) without taking enough care to do proper recovery workouts. I started off a question to the instructor with the preface, "In the summer, when I'm riding a lot of miles and I'm fit..." and she replied, "When you think you're fit." Cheeky.
the week from hell
Computation in my work life is trapped in a cobbled-together collection of legacy systems, largely self-supported, a case study in inflexibility. The system works fine when it works, but when we need to roll with a change or an unexpected complexity, we face doom. This doom I faced Tuesday and Wednesday as we tried to get election result numbers into the newspaper. I have no IT power, just some responsibility to work within the existing system to make things work. I kept wishing my kingdom for a real computer.

Friday, the desk next to mine was outfitted with a bright shiny IE and Outlook Express, confirmation of the bold new world we are entering.
GNOME2.2 Diaries
At the urging of jrb, I switched over to jhbuild for my GNOME cvs builds. I've been avoiding building the GNOME 2.1.x branch for as long as I could. As soon as I get into the cvs build game, lots of time is required to keep the build working. But the release is looming, and jhbuild has enough "shiny new toy" about it to at least make the build process a bit interesting for now.
April Holladay's delightful Wonder Quest explains how Fahrenheit came up with that goofy numbering system. I never knew, but it does make some sense.
We picked up our Christmas train yesterday. It's an old diesel from the early years, painted in the classic Santa Fe "warbonnet" paint job. It's sitting on the mantle right now - we've gotta haul out some track today and run it a bit, I think.
Lissa and I rode down in the valley yesterday, saw more sandhill cranes poking about in the plowed-under chile fields.
It's completley unscientific, but at least at a qualitative level I think we've come up with a measure of our nation's preparations for war. The bike ride takes us under the flight path for the runway shared by the Albuquerque airport and Kirtland Air Force Base. In addition to its own modest contingent of locally-based war machines, Kirtland is a stopoff for jets in transit needing fuel, a sort of high-end roadside gas station. During a typical bik ride, we usually see a jet or two making the stop. Yesterday we saw about 10. I'm no jet geek, but I recognize most of them from my days covering the U.S. military, and there were Navy fighters and a Warthog and another one I didn't recognize - in other words, not local stuff. The "tempo of operations", as they call it, is obviously increasing.

It's a pretty creepy feeling.
libxml and encoding
I spent many hours yesterday immersed in the world of encoding, trying to understand how libxml handles it. I've no need for it myself, but questions about it come up so often on the mailing list that it's clear we need to improve the documentation. Thanks to Marcus Labib Iskander I've got some working code, boiled down close to a minimal case that I think will work in our tutorial.
I arrived at work this morning to find a head of garlic on my desk. I am safe from vampire attack for the day.
There was an alien running around my house this morning, all green with sequins and green antennae and full of a powerful energy. I believe she was a Martian princess. I had a hard time getting her to eat breakfast - in the end, two carrot sticks. A Martian princess cannot be contained, cannot be chained to the banality of breakfast cereal on a day such as this.
john fleck is fascinated with the public's preoccupation with dirt
when in doubt, ask
Igor Zlatkovic did a brilliant yesterday on the libxml list - when in doubt, ask rather than flaming.
anonymous sources
Great screed today in Slate about the indiscriminate use of anonymous sources by Walter Pincus in a piece in the Washington Post. Pincus' thesis: there is a consensus among "senior intelligence experts inside and outside government" that "Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would likely be ousted in a coup led by members of his inner circle in the final days or hours before U.S. forces launch a major ground attack." This may or may not be true, but as a reader I have no way of telling whether Pincus is accurately characterizing the consensus or merely has tapped into a subset of the intelligence community that shares a common view. Why can't I tell? Because Pincus' sources are anonymous.
bgeiger: Sorry the cranes aren't as pleasant where you are as they are here. (They are the same species there as here in New Mexico.) Sandhill cranes are not an "endangered species", a designation under federal law: (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). They do seem to be listed under your Florida state law as "threatened". This is more than an idle quibble - much societal ill is unfairly blamed on the Endangered Species Act. In fact, Sandhill populations are thriving now across much of North America after the big birds nearly went extinct in the 1930s, in large part because of efforts to conserve important wetland habitat. (No doubt the reason they're in the middle of the street there is because y'all have paved over the wetlands where they would prefer to be living.) We should view the cranes' return as a success, rather than an inconvenience.

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