Older blog entries for mattr (starting at number 16)

Much has happened of late...

GOVIA
I really need to spend some time on my web site...or on the WhoNose scripts, really. But recent efforts have been directed towards GOVIA... We're approaching all-around functionality now, rather than just having a very crude search engine to see a dozen contributions.

The original XML format has changed a good bit; I'm not even sure the original crude search engine works as it should at this point. I'll have to re-fix it when we get other things more finalized.

Currently, we're focused (or are about to be focused...) on participant registration and getting the queue to work as it should.

Day Job
Difficult to get things approved by the right people and finalized... but the day job hacking project will probably be ready for use next week. Too much other internal training and meeting going on this week, plus I have a few things to change based on some up-the-ladder wishes.

Will be good when we start using it though... Rather than having over a hundred Word documents being emailed all over creation to wind up in front of one poor guy who has to cut and paste into another document to save as HTML, everyone will just go to a happy URL. Supervisors will have to approve the reports with the click of a button, and everything will be dumped automatically into HTML.

May be the first success for open source in my company, thanks to my "sneakiness..." :)

While I'm thinking of it... My Win2k box at work has been up over 80 days. I'm pushing it for a record and surprisingly enough, it's not letting me down! Of course why shouldn't it be able to handle browser windows, Outlook, PuTTY windows and playing some mp3's? That's about all the box does...

...
What's nutty to me looking at what I've just typed here, and considering what I've been up to recently, it's hard to believe it hasn't even been a full year yet since my first install of Linux...

As far as personal life goes, the recent dog-related bad/sad news was perhaps just a harbinger, as early last week my marriage came crashing down around my head. Crazy world.

well all of our friends baby / they're going insane now
Butthole Surfers

Testing now with the weekly report interface I did at the day job. So far, so good. No major problems.

Been working on GOVIA a lot... IRC discussion mostly, few more scripts to throw in the toolbox. Getting nearer to a certifiable something though.

I'd like to rant about intellectual property at the moment, but no time. Shucks. See my idea of a license, if you want.

Though it's one of those kindergarten lessons, I often wonder just how many of us made it past the 'me/mine' stage of development... You know, where kid sees something, picks it up, says 'Mine,' cries when you suggest otherwise... Fewer tears, less snot dripping from the noses of the mega- corporations and others, that's all.

Days continued to suck, until they stopped sucking quite so much.

I could go on about more doggie sadness, but suffice to sadly say we lost our two 'babies' within a week of each other. Loki's been gone over a week now - not much hope she'll show up after this long... Then Gunner got into some kind of trouble and died suddenly on Sunday. Molly also got shot in the butt Sunday, but she's fine.

We'd had Loki and Gunner longer than any of the critters... I got Loki while I was still in school and Tiff adopted Gunner right after she graduated... So it was and is tough.

We went to animal control Monday and adopted 'replacements.' They'll never replace Loki and Gunny of course, but at least we still have the right number of feet pitter-pattering. The new kids are much like the ones we lost...another bird dog for Tiff and another beagle for me...

Anyway, enough of that...

miod... Not sure which diary entry was the 'clever' one you mention...but thanks! Never hurts to have someone somewhere think you're smart/clever, at least for a moment... ;)

I'm really just rambling here anyway. By the time I'm looking at a diary entry area, all the wondrous things I come up with when reading other diaries/articles have become crap and it's all I can do to babble.

Hm. Not even babble-ready at the moment. Shucks. Later then.

Days suck lately.

Loki has been missing for two days now. :(

Yesterday, the NetBSD machine I've been using to develop the web-based weekly report thing at work re-developed some disk errors it was getting about a month ago. I didn't lose any work due to the errors, but lost a day setting up another machine.

That machine turned out to be an iPaq ... which would boot just fine from my NetBSD boot floppies, but when the installation menu appears, the keyboard does nothing. Boot messages seem to indicate it saw the USB keyboard and all...just doesn't work at all.

Sadly, I had to install Red Hat 7.1 from some old CDs I had laying around. I say sadly because I really don't care for Red Hat much these days. It's still what I'm running at home just because I don't have the time to deal with setting something else up there right now, but I'm really becoming a BSD fan. RPMs (and their stinkin' dependencies) seem stupid once you've used ports/pkgsrc.

And then last night I broke my glasses at the left temple piece. A bit of tape for now there.

Feel like going to bed for a few days.

Found an interesting site yesterday dealing with Community Technology Centers. Particularly nifty was the startup manual, providing a step-by-step guide to getting such a thing going. It covers everything from formation of a steering committee, to non-profit incorporation (if that's what you want to do), to the tech side of things. It was a great find, as I'm really interested in doing this kind of thing. But the tech side does get a little puzzling...

The chapter dealing with software selection makes no mention of open source or free software! Shareware/public domain is mentioned, but the guide seems to assume that any CTC would consist of Windows boxen.

Not that a CTC should necessarily exclude Windows boxen, but clearly if you're trying to start a technology center with public funding, you do well to use a lot of free software, right? I'd probably seek individual sponsors for Windows boxen licenses... ;)

At any rate, I like the guide - more good help on the 'How to Start a Non-Profit' front. Zen and the Art of Making a Living has also been helpful, but I've been stuck over a year now just trying to figure out what my mission, etc. really is. I could ramble on about such a thing without any trouble, but when it comes to framing a concise mission statement, I have trouble. There's too much I want to do...

Still, I feel I'm slowly getting a better idea of what I'll do with the non-profit paperlove.org will eventually become... [I want to be a non-profit when I grow up. And considering the red tape/paperwork involved in such a thing, that might just be another subconscious reason behind the domain name...]

Working with the community to create a community technology center would be a great start, I think. I've got a mental list of potential collaborators, advisers, sponsors, etc. started. The real challenge will be determining the focus based on community needs. There's a sizeable Hispanic population here, but I don't even know Spanish (the CTC startup guide suggests that many who speak a foreign language would still prefer to learn computer skills in English language software, but some Spanish-speaking volunteers/staff would be good nonetheless). Then again, perhaps that part of the community wouldn't even be interested. That's why finding the focus will be the hard part...Might help if I was in the community more...An introverted computer geek catch-22, I guess?

Made some progress somehow yesterday hacking on this activity report thing in between games of NetHack. I must blame lev for making me think of NetHack. Saw the blurb about wop on lev's site, and soon I was wasting time in the dungeon again. Lousy games, all, but it's such an entertaining game nonetheless!

Now I'm stalling though. Just switched monitors on my G3 - gave it the newer, borrowed monitor I'd been using on the 7100/66, since the 7100 is rarely on anyway these days and the G3 benefits much more from a better monitor.

Eventually perhaps I'll do something else with the 7100 entirely. It's a pain, apparently, to run Linux on such Macs. mkLinux runs on some old NuBus Macs, but if I remember correctly, not mine. Even NetBSD(!) won't run on that Mac, last I checked. One day maybe I'll learn enough to help make 'em work... just gimme a few years. ;)

Since I'm babbling about the old machines, might as well add that my Amiga's quite sad these days. I was a bit too impatient, I think, attempting to add RAM a month or two ago. Had the ZIP banks fully populated with 256x4 chips, but one bank had issues when originally installed back in the day, leaving me with 5MB total - 2 chip, 3 fast. Finally splurged (after 10 years or so...) on some 1M ZIPs, but I wound up with no fast RAM at all after removing the 256x chips and installing the 1M chips. And oh, the horror of installing those ZIPs... Makes me not want to deal with it ever again, but I still want more RAM... She deserves it after all these years, by golly...

Hm. Think I'll play a game of NetHack and get back to work... Right.

4 May 2002 (updated 4 May 2002 at 00:16 UTC) »

Wow, some recent certification magically changed me into an Apprentice! Thanks to everybody who's taken the time to click on me and stuff. :)

Find it more interesting the more I visit here. Seeing some folks with hundreds of diary entries... folks who've done really neat things, useful things, important things.

...Thinking it's pretty neat that a co-founder of the Linux Professional Institute can agree that my web site is strange. Thanks, dyork! I have considered throwing some colorific randomness, and probably will do so at some point. Won't want to leave that to complete chance (complete approximated chance) though, as that could lead to some pretty hideous and unreadable pages. [And congratulations w.r.t. Chloe - what a cutie! All of our kids are four-legged and furry. :)]

What everyone misses out on by not registering and creating pages (plug, plug) is the fun profile page listing of your pages... which, of course, only gives you a random excerpt from the first 15 pages you've created... fun fun fun.

Not sure what's technically interesting though... I'm more interested in it perceptually, I think. Knowing the pieces are essentially randomly thrown together, how often do I create connections? How often do I think of something in a new light because of a strange new juxtaposition?

Some friends and I (we called ourselves the Losers) haunted a cafe when we were in high school, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes for hours, and sometimes playing free association. Playing off of one another in a circle, from granola to Darth Vader in one circuit. Challenging each other when the associations were extremely bizarre...

Hmm...seems like there's a quantum entanglement module for Perl... Throwing some quantum mechanics in the mix could be cool. ;)

Just remembered out of the blue seeing someone's diary or notes lead off with 'I'm a generalist.' Thought it was neat, as I also consider myself somewhat of a generalist. Finished calculus 3 in eleventh grade and that was the last time I touched 'the math.' The math is just not as cool as the thoughts, implications, correlations, etc. So I couldn't major in a scientific field -- would be too difficult to choose one. Instead, I majored in communications, and upon graduation, swore off institutionalized education for a while (my aversion is starting to lose strength...and funny, I'll probably first consider going back to study more math).

I imagine there's a real need for generalists right now... Folks who go after a broad spectrum of knowledge but who keep enough distance to make observations from a variety of fields, perhaps draw new conclusions from them, perhaps interpret them for others...

Anywho...'nuff for now.

3 May 2002 (updated 3 May 2002 at 15:18 UTC) »

Rainy morning...Neighbor woke us up holding on to Gracie, who may or may not be in heat again (he said she and a stallion up the road were eyeing each other)...And then late to work, thought not by much. I've been much tardier.

. . .
jnewbigin mentioned something about a PHP module that does SMB authentication on April 30... That might be a direction to think in for the activity report stuff I typed about ?yesterday?.

I was reading some other diary entries and noticed people thanking others for their certifications -- say! That's a good idea -- thanks to those who have clicked me nearer to Apprentice-ship. :)

Still interested to see how things progress here. I can only comment on my own behavior here, but given my own status as a yucky gray-bar person, if I have spare moments to read other diaries, I read other Observer diary entries and perhaps certify them. I notice that several of my certifications have come from fellow gray-bar Advogatans...so this must be a pattern. We arrive as newbies and see all these Masters, Journeypersons, and Apprentices... talking to each other via diary entries, able to post and respond to main page articles...

Since they're busy doing all of that, we the observers have to certify each other and hope/cross-fingers that eventually we'll make some progress (both in what we're doing that warrants certification and in the certification itself).

It's a study in ingroup/outgroup dynamics, sorta. The Master movers and shakers need not even visit -- their contributions stand alone, and they'll remain certified as Masters for a good while... They may know each other, at least be familiar with the others' names. They've 'paid their dues.'

Then there are also some mid-level folks with their circles...their more significant projects (than my listed project, for instance...hehe)

Then there are the newbies... with no spheres of influence, no circles of friends, no clue. And when I look at some other new users and what they're involved in...I see that Apprentice applies to a pretty wide range of folks/skill levels. I'd be more fittingly classified (if I must...) as a Dabbler or Student or something.
. . .
More later maybe. Better do something useful for a while though.

2 May 2002 (updated 2 May 2002 at 20:48 UTC) »

What someone had to say about www.paperlove.org:

that is the weirdest website i've ever seen in my life.
tractor

I appreciate a comment like that. :o)

Wow, it's May.

Yesterday I realized a silly old include from day 1 of my PHP/MySQL education was missing from the WhoNose tarball. So I added that a minute ago. I don't think anyone noticed. ;)

In other news... Work with GOVIA is proceeding, albeit slowly. Next on the agenda is refining the submission process handled by what we're calling 'heralds.' As a part of that, we're looking at classification schemes for the media types, which is a task in itself.

Still, it behooves us to rough out some classification before we get the herald process worked out.

I'm also now beginning work on a project for my employer. Employees are to complete weekly reports detailing their activities. The reports then are compiled by department and posted on the company intranet. Currently, this is done with MS Word documents -- each employee has the template and at the end of each week, we email the finished document to our team leader so they can address anything that needs addressing. They merge the team reports and send them to my manager, who's responsible for getting the reports on the intranet.

Trouble is that my manager wastes oodles of time just making stuff look decent -- standardizing fonts and bullets and such (as folks are always changing what's in their document). He wanted a way to streamline that process, so for a while I was looking at utilities that I could work into a Perl script or something to convert *.doc to plain text, add HTML tags and concatenate the reports as necessary.

But a better solution, which he secured some kind of approval for (not sure what 'approval' even means around here sometimes), is a nifty web interface to the whole process.

Originally thinking in the simplest terms, I told him I could get something together in probably 30 minutes that would do what we needed. But the more I thought about, the more useful I realized it could be, so I can't do a quick & dirty job on it.

Current questions revolve around the best way to store the reports and what the pipeline will be like for reports to make it to the official listing on the intranet (including a trip up the chain of command for problems to be resolved).

All I heard was of an 'approval,' so I'm using the tools with which I'm comfortable: the AMP of LAMP, just running on NetBSD instead of Linux. I hope it will be a good way to demonstrate the value of some free software here. I also hope that whenever it's presentable the company might allow me to put it under a public license. It would be a waste to treat it as proprietary, methinks, and it would be good for us, mealsothinks, to acknowledge and contribute to the community as a corporate body.

Anyway... peas.

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