Older blog entries for motb (starting at number 13)


I've decided to keep with Mac OS X 10.1. I think it is a good compromise between the original design intent of NeXTSTEP and a decently modern operating system.

Sometime in the medium-term (two to three years) future I'm going to be living outside the city, which will mean limited 'net access -- possibly only UUCP, or dial-up PPP if I'm lucky. Cruising Freshmeat or VersionTracker will be a serious pain in the butt, and doing it regularly will likely be impossible.

I have decided to use Objective C and the Cocoa framework for all projects in the near future. Don't get me wrong -- Ruby will still have its place, and I'm not above O'Caml, Smalltalk, Common Lisp, or any of my other tools. I have just found that ObjC + Cocoa + (possibly) the OmniGroup free code does most of what I need it to, and I feel like I am making good progress in learning it all and putting it into use.


I'm still looking for a job. There is a bright side to it, though -- I'm starting to look at menial labour as a way to make enough to pay the bills and put my share of food on the table. While that may not seem like much of a bright side, it does mean that I'll be able to let my mind wander at work, and I won't be too burned out when I get home to work on my projects.

The part that sucks is that my resume for menial labour is pretty limited -- my last experience in a gas station (where I'm most likely to start applying first) was six years ago. I'm worried about the "over-qualified" label getting in my way. I won't know 'til I try, though.


Neko is doing pretty good. It seems that Tracey has been a little lax with her -- her obedience has taken a few steps back. Karma is doing great, though. I have her responding to both her own commands and the same commands I use with Neko.

Other stuff

Getting Ellen set up on a Mac. I'm giving her my iMac, because I never use it anymore -- my iBook does everything I want it to, and it's a bit faster. FreeBSD has been a bit of a pain for her, as she's a recovering Windows user with very little time to learn something new. I figure OS X.1 will be good for her -- it's dead friendly, and stable enough.

Contact info updated

I have updated my contact info. Sorry for the inconvenience. Life has been busy, and almost none of it has to do with open source (directly, that is). For what's going on with me, check out my website.

O'Caml, round 2

Grabbed Objective Caml 3.06, and it's great -- a lot of fixes for Mac OS X support, and a few handy new library functions I'm dying to try out. I had originally figured on writing my own programming language, but when it comes right down to it, I'd sooner use camlp4 to define a new syntax for O'Caml.


Absolutely nothing on the job front, unfortunately. I'll be moving in a month or so, and have no idea where to. Check my website for updates.

On getting it

I had that "I get it now" moment with ObjC last night. I'm a happy camper. Starting blocking out the design of the stock photo site engine, so I've got a bunch of interface files and a bunch of catch-up to do in writing implementation code.


Last month, rent was sponsored by the sale of my pro photo equipment. This month, rent was sponsored by the sale of my pro audio equipment. If this keeps up, next month's rent will be financed by the sale of my musical instruments. The month following that by sale of furniture and books. The month following that, selling every computer except my laptop.

If anyone is looking for someone to hire in the Vancouver, BC, Canada area, please let me know. I will e-mail my CV on request, and should have it up on the web in a day or three.


Work still eludes me. I joined the bcmacjobs mailing list, so hopefully I won't have to wait long before a job or two comes across.

You know life sucks when the "overqualified" word comes out. I fscking hate that.


Spending a lot more time in Objective C land recently. Now that I'm getting the hang of it, it doesn't seem so bad. I think it's the similarities to Smalltalk that make it fun to work with. With some luck, I'll find a company that will see my knowledge of lesser-used programming languages as a benefit, as opposed to me "wasting my time", as it was rather un-eloquently put to me recently.


Had a party recently -- approximately the first I've ever hosted. Between the great conversations, fun folks, nude people in the bathtub, great snacks, and cuddle'n'converse session with T, C, E, and L (who was pretty much wrapped up in C) at the end of the night, it was much fun. It's always amusing when there's a game of truth or dare going on, and the youngest person in the room is in their mid-twenties. :)


Just picked up the Hillegass book on programming for Cocoa. So far, I like it -- it makes a lot more sense than most of the other graphical environments. Hopefully this will come in handy for the medical office management system (which I have given up on coding in CGI -- it's just too boring!).

Does anyone know any Vancouver (Canada) based companies that are working on anything OSX related?

Nine to five

Decided that consulting involves too much chasing people for money and too little working on interesting problems. As a result, I'm looking for a good old nine to five sort of job. There are a few good possibilities locally -- with any luck, one of them will come through. If anyone knows any good companies to work for in the Vancouver, BC, CA area, please let me know.

Five to nine

Speaking of nine to fives, like many of us here, it'll be a challenge to be out of bed and to work on time. There is something too tempting about wiling away the night hours reading or coding. If anyone has any good tricks for how to get on a healthy cycle and keep it, please share.


I've been working with C++ again for the past few days. Let me tell you, I really miss some of the conveniences I find with Ruby, Perl, and some of the other scripting languages. I'll get used to it, though. It seems to be the language that gets one jobs these days, and it's not actually difficult.

What does the world need?

A few of the projects I'm working on are a medical office management system (in Ruby), a literate programming tool (also in Ruby), and an e-mail client (in C++). On one hand, they're all fun and educational. On the other hand, I feel like I'm just duplicating what's out there a million times over.

What does the world need? What isn't well-covered in the various open source offerings? I'm horrendous at GUIs and graphics, but pretty good at most everything else. If you have any ideas, please let me know.


Decided it's easier to just update my homepage. Check that out instead. There will even be some code there, as soon as I document it properly. There's a description of what's to come now, though.

I'll still be following Advogato, but rather than cluttering up the recentlog with my (mostly) useless chatter, I'll put it where only the truly masochistic have to see it. :)

Battleship bug

The bug seems to be in the PRNG routine (random_fire()). I'll get to it eventually, but a couple of my projects have taken some time recently.

New project

One is a reimplementation of most of the POSIX.2 utilities in O'Caml. I know it's about the last thing the world needs, but it's forcing me to learn a lot more of the language.

I've got a few of the utilities done already (the really easy ones), and another couple underway (chmod and csh). I expect to be done sometime late next year at this rate. If I go completely mad and decide to implement a basic *NIX-style kernel, it'll likely be sometime the year after next.

In terms of releasing the code, it'll start off in little chunks of related functionality (chmod, chown, chgrp is one such chunk), and eventually wind up in one tarball. We'll see which winds up getting released first, but at this point it's a dead heat between chmod/chown/chgrp (which are dead boring to work on) and sh/csh (which are a bit more fun, due to ocamllex and ocamlyacc).

Web woes

I'm definitely letting codegeek.org and codegeek.net go. I am sick and fscking tired of having to spell them over and over again to the same people. My English pronounciation sucks (even though it's my first language), and people never hear me right. At least with membersofthebored.com they never ask me how to spell it.

That being said, I'll now only have three or four websites to do nothing with, rather than half a dozen. For some odd reason, that makes life feel a little simpler.

Happy Chanukah

Yes, I know it's almost over. The yearly Chanukah dinner at my step-relatives' place was a little late this year. As usual, I overdosed on latke. As usual, I had dessert anyway. Nothing makes a Jewish stepmother proud like eating 'til you burst.

Windy city

Windstorm kept me awake until 06:30 or so. Due to the possiblity of power outage, I had three quarters of the house unplugged, and was working on my laptop. The good news is that I didn't lose power or have a surge. The bad news is that I now have a kink in my neck from the lack of laptop ergonomics. Ibuprofen is my saviour.

I can see clearly now...

The LCD monitor is working great. I can now stare at a screen for more than an hour or two without my eyes falling out. The refresh rate I've got it set to is just nauseating -- it almost seems like a kernel build (OpenBSD) takes a minute less. Or it could be that the novelty drives off a minute of boredom. We'll find out in the next few weeks.

Bugs in strange places

There's a bug in the battleship (bs) game shipped with OpenBSD. Seems like it's a creeping off-by-one, but it only seems to happen when I'm not paying attention. I'm going to squish this tonight or tomorrow.

Bugs in the usual places

Been a while since I've said anything about pcm (pretty crappy MUA), and there's been good reason for that. The development language has switched three times (from Perl to Scheme to CommonLisp to O'Caml), and the bulk of it is frustratingly boring to work on, especially as I have another working mail client that meets my needs, and only sends ISO-2022-JP messages to the right people.

I think it comes down to being something I'll never finish -- just a way of comparing solutions to common problems in different languages. Kind of like my CGI-parsing routines (now in thirteen different languages, with PostScript being the next one I have planned, should I ever find my PostScript manual).

Bugs in amusing places

Saw the movie Swordfish a night or two ago. Pretty lukewarm movie -- they could have used a reality consultant or two. My favourite part was when they spelled algorithm as "algorhythm". A multi-million dollar movie makes a totally preventable typo. I'm trying to think of some smart-ass remark, but I'm having trouble beating that.


members ofthebored.com is down for now. I don't know what I'm going to put there. I just got sick and tired of what was there. Should I actually ever finish a project, I'll probably put a link to it there. Other than that, it can rot, for all I care.

I also got notice that codegeek.org and codegeek.net are up for renewal in a month and a bit. Since I gave up codegeek.com (thanks in part to NetworkProblems, err, VerySenile), I don't feel much of an attachment to those two anymore. Methinks it's time to find something else that amuses me.

On "getting it"...

I finally realized what makes types so important in ML, as opposed to being the simple convenience that they are in C. That only took me an aeon. I think Perl ate away my brain. Someone give me a little green box...

New toy

My nineteen inch monitor died on me a month or two ago. I just replaced it with a fifteen inch LCD screen. I love it. I am definitely sold on the LCD for desktops thing -- the sharpness is far better than any CRT I've seen.

Bugginess at Apple

I finally figured out why my Minds@Work Digital Wallet won't mount on the Mac (MacOS 9.2.1) at work. It seems that the Launcher and Login programs interfere with the mounting of USB mass storage devices, for some unknown reason. If you've got the same problem, here's how to get it to mount -- quit the Launcher and force quit the Finder. All of a sudden it will mount for you.


Annoyingly, the person who replaced me at Pibase seems to be refusing to do work on any machines that I installed (which is currently all of them, to the best of my knowledge). While this is good for me (more consulting hours), the overall attitude behind it still bugs me. Getting phone calls to ask if I ran the web log analyzers by hand is annoying, too. It's not like crontab -l is hard. Or cd /var/spool/crontabs ; grep -i webalizer * | less.


Almost feeling at home in the new place. At least that is making progress.

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