Older blog entries for lloydwood (starting at number 19)

9 Jun 2003 (updated 27 Nov 2006 at 02:55 UTC) »

A week ago I noticed that Eric Raymond had updated his version of the jargon file; in doing so, badly and without redirects, he did, of course, break all the links from my jargon file lexicon interface. Again.

The easiest way to minimise web maintenance is to never link to content that you don't control. (I should have borne that in mind before I set up my blog.) I was so busy fixing the breakages that I didn't notice the changes in the jargon file entries themselves.

NTK's blipticle on jargon file changes prompted me to look at Wiki. Could a community-maintained Wiki replace the jargon file? Would Twiki, with its changelogs and some editorial control, suffice? Could its backend be modified to autogenerate a printable dictionary on demand? I see much of /. had much the same idea.

One of the areas Wikis fall down in lies in naming. The 80sJoinedCapsWikiNamingConvention may be cute, but it is not search-engine friendly. A clearly-separate-words-wiki-naming-convention works much better for clear indexing of individual keywords, and if the keyword is mentioned in the url it is significant. (I prefer - to underline because the dash is visible and is not confused with spaces in underlined links, because the dash does not require the shift key, and because dash is permitted in dns naming, allowing consistent use throughout the url.) Recognising that significance, incidentally, is why I have google's recommendation for 'ungood'. It's not luck.

It's been almost a year since I last did a SaVi release. I really should do another release, but until Geomview builds with gcc 3.2, there's likely little point. All that's happened recently is the successful relocation of the original Geometry Center web content.

Just discovered Red Hat Europe are based in Guildford. I used to live on that map. I was there again today.

Just discovered I need to figure out how not to thrash the disk when SaVi dynamic texturemapping isn't altering its coverage texture.

Just discovered I might be good at something after all.

I woke up this morning saying "named pipe".

Some hours of messing around later, I've discovered the fun of blocking. Sure, it's easy enough to modify the current dynamic-texturemapping SaVi to set up and write to a named pipe, but then SaVi blocks forever waiting for Geomview to read from that pipe. Geomview's existing file-handling code would probably just close the pipe even if it managed to read from it once, which isn't likely to happen anyway since it doesn't know it's a pipe. And, of course, I still haven't figured out unique per-instance naming of the file/pipe, either, to allow more than one user to run this simultaneously.

I guess I really do need to modify Geomview as well.

In other news, I discovered that El Reg is now promoting my T-shirts with a banner ad. Tasteful.

I was wrong about travelling a lot; it really shouldn't stop me from programming at all.

I spent a good couple of hours improving experimental SaVi texturemapping before my laptop battery was exhausted. I was on a flight, where movies just aren't what they used to be (but, then, as a moviegoer, I'm not what I used to be, either). Playing with SaVi was more fun; I think it's the first time I've gotten something done on a plane.

Douglas Adams once gave a talk on the lack of standardised laptop power in planes; it's printed in the posthumous Salmon of Doubt collection. That showed that he spent far too much time in the air; couldn't he have given a talk on something that, well, mattered? Last chance to see? Last chance to fly to, more like.

The trivial problem of seat power is slowly becoming a solved problem, but by the time laptop power sockets are common in economy I'll probably have enough frequent-flyer miles to be upgraded all the time; I'm spending far too much time in the air myself. Still, there's room to stretch out these days; a lot of empty seats.

I come from Cleveland, England. I'm writing this in Cleveland, Ohio; SaVi development is wherever I am.

Happy birthday, dad, wherever you are.

29 Apr 2003 (updated 4 Apr 2007 at 06:58 UTC) »

Haven't done any SaVi development in ages. Oh, the guilt - but I've been travelling a lot.

Haven't sold any T-shirts in ages. Perhaps I put too much stock in the idea, and we got too much of the idea in stock. I'm trying to think of a new design to put into production, because I'd hate to be a one-hit wonder.

Wonderful hits: I see that Royksopp's Remind me music video has been classified by the BBC as 'urban'. Excellent.

19 Mar 2003 (updated 12 Sep 2003 at 18:14 UTC) »

Dean weighed in with some useful suggestions to improve SaVi's dynamic texturemapping using Geomview. Alas, they all involve modifying Geomview, which I've been avoiding up until now; I suppose I could come up with a set of diffs, much as I did when I took over SaVi 1.0. Geomview's development is... quiet; no idea when its C++ streamhandling code will build with gcc 3.2, or whether a 1.8.2 release will turn up.

I've had some success with using mozilla's bugzilla, describing various mozilla bugs, and even seeing some resolved. It feels worthwhile.

Not so with gnome's bugzilla. Two years ago I filed a bug on a gnome component, and someone finally got around to doing something about it yesterday.

Apparently I should upgrade to gnome 2. Riiight. I'll do that straight after I upgrade to emacs 21, which is after hell freezes over.

September 2003 update: I see jwz has had exactly the same problem.

Generated a better-sized large pbm earthmap for the dynamic texture-mapping work in SaVi development, now I've found Gimp's threshold filter.

This is going to be tricky; I need 'Large coverage window' as a menu option (destroys small coverage window if it's open...) to make best use of this map, and ideally to have the dynamic texturemapping work off the same coverage map if the large coverage window is open (and we're default cylindrical), and use its own if not. Doing all the computing for multiple coverage maps at once is best avoided if possible. Generating a scalable earth bitmap from the vector set already used by Geomview would be ideal, but hard to do; the coverage plot is already scalable.

Zeldman pointed out the existence of Eric Meyer's colour blender. After getting colour picking and random colours working in SaVi over Christmas and into sourceforge cvs, this (try two intervals) was what I was aiming for, by blending colours 1/4 together to generate 2/3 diversity/intervals and random blends. I need to support this in the coverage window, along with a save-coverage-window-as-ppm option based on the write-scratchfile code I've already done for the texturemapping. zlib support for compression of that and of scratchfiles would be a bonus...

Those little things are easier to do and less time-consuming than the dynamic texturemapping stuff and getting that interacting well with Geomview; quick wins that will let me release 1.2.2 with a clear conscience.

Quickly experimented with dynamic texturemapping between SaVi development code and Geomview, so that dynamic satellite coverage appears on the Earth sphere in 3D and is updated in realtime.

Even given the hacky nature of this proof-of-concept work, I think the results are cool (there's a screenshot along with the tarball you can play with), doing it was easier than expected... but reading in texturemaps from a scratchfile that is written every second? Ugh. There has to be a better way.

I finally succeeded in talking Waider into trying out the SaVi development code. It was entirely worth it; a couple of problem observations and suggestions from him, a couple of fixes committed by me. Like, totally positive outcome.

I love it when a plan comes together

Did ridiculous amounts of SaVi development over Christmas and New Year; probably enough to justify releasing 1.2.2.

SaVi's new Earth Made of Glass feature allows Geomview's trippy spherical and hyperbolic spaces to be demonstrated, and, combined with the colour-changing coverage options I've just finished adding, it makes for something of a visual treat.

I'd have done far less development, but my family, having noticed my tendency to play SSX Tricky on my sister's Playstation 2 when I'm home, gave me a load of boarding games for her PS2. I didn't get to try them out on Christmas Day, since the television was being watched.

A few days later, as all the television schedules returned to normal programming, less watching was done. And, lo, my sister went out and spent her Christmas gift vouchers on The Weakest Link, the PS2 game, whereupon the family sat around the telly and played that instead.

Thus, I used my free time productively. Programming. Normally, I don't have much free time. I don't have a Playstation. I don't even have a television.

If the time that I did spend was any indication, I'm going to remain entirely rubbish at Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder and Surfing H3O for quite a few months.

Well, there's always Easter.

We also completely amazingly misjudged last-minute festive-season-of-goodwill joy-to-all demand for depressingly dystopian products of a totalitarian-society mindset, and have a whole load of ++ungood; left. It's a mistake that anyone could have made.

But at least I haven't lost my shirt.

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