mterry is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Michael Terry
Member since: 2004-01-16 19:40:25
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Homepage: http://mterry.name/

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I develop and maintain a few open source projects -- mostly xpad>. I am an avid user of the GNOME desktop and try to contribute as much as possible -- fixing various low-hanging fruit bugs.

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xpad

Just released xpad-2.0-b2, which is a much better release than beta1. Fixed some crashers that appeared in beta1 and redesigned the preference windows to be more HIG-friendly and sexier. Also, if your notification area restarts, xpad's tray icon is also restarted. Yay!

On the horizon: Some of that new transparency everyone's talking about.

Xpad

I just pushed through a new release of Xpad, which is actually just a beta for the upcoming 2.0 release. It has lots of goodies, including a new toolbar, text formatting, and remembering pad hidden state.

It is the result of a couple weekends of hacking. It started with the simple desire to object orient some of the code base, using proper GObjects and all. The GObjects library is a simply amazing addition of classes into plain C; kudos developers. About half the code base is GObjects now, with more to come.

Predictably, this broke a lot of stuff, but I also fixed things too. For instance, the long-standing bug where the text insertion cursor was not the same color as the text foreground color. For some reason, GTK+ did not make this simple.

Semantic Web Update

The method of joining RDF and XHTML I talked about in my last update did not pan out. I replaced that article with one detailing more accepted methods for joining the semantic web.

I ditched it after talking around, notably in the #rdfig chat room. My method, while maybe well-formed had some predictable semantic problems. But I do want to warn others about my experiences with #rdfig. I felt that the members of the chat were less than helpful with my ignorant self and after a while of trying to help, they mostly gave up on educating me, which is fair. However, I later discovered via a google search that several of the members were in a parallel chat room in which they were making fun of me. Including my personal appearance, based on pictures from my web site. I feel that this was a little low and want to warn others away from that chat room. And to warn IRC users everywhere that if you make fun of someone, you might want to do it in an unlogged chat room.

Semantic Web Goodness

I'm sure people are somewhat tired of hearing about the semantic web. Usually because it is viewed as something of a pipe dream. Well, I think I have found a method of combining RDF and XHTML that provides the power of complicated metadata while still providing an XHTML document to browsers. In addition, I think it's done 'the right way'.

I'm seeking comments on this approach and details on any browsers it doesn't work in.

11 Jul 2004 (updated 11 Jul 2004 at 19:30 UTC) »

The Fifth HOPE

So, I went to part of HOPE 5 (Hackers on Planet Earth) in New York City these past two days. I left early because we didn't have any place to sleep and crashing on the convention floor, while doable, wasn't keeping us very awake during the lectures.

Anyway, it was interesting. This was my first HOPE, and I wasn't sure what to expect. While there, I saw some of a documentary on past HOPEs and one interviewee mentioned that HOPE was largely a place for engineers and hackers to get together to be technical, that it was in no way political. That may have been true in the past, but the past few years have left our community with the realization that we urgently needed to act soon, or at least act in November 2004.

The whole place was decorated in a very Orwellian manner, replete with Nazi symbolism, big brother references, and WW2-style propaganda posters. The big brother reference, by the way, appeared directly below a giant head that looks somewhat like Bush with a Hitler moustache.

About half the talks were political. There was a talk on how cool having bloggers at the DNC will be followed by a talk on how to best make trouble at the RNC (e.g. volunteer but don't show or make a salon appointment inside the hotel to get by security). Some other talks focused on digital rights management, 9/11, privacy, file-sharing, Florida in the 2000 election, etc. Kevin Mitnick even gave the first keynote. It was nothing we haven't seen on Slashdot before, but they were a little bit more informative and all condensed into a few days.

I'm a huge fan of this trend. I have long agreed with Lawrence Lessig's position that hackers need to be more legislatively involved. In recent years, thankfully, the combination of terrible laws, terrible leadership, and terrible lawsuits have conspired to get people talking. I think Groklaw is an excellent example of this. Hackers have never been more in tune with their place in the legal landscape. But, we have to make our position known outside of the community by raising awareness of these issues close to our hearts. This can largely be done by simply educating. Mitnick touched upon a major reason why so much crap happens in lawsuits -- judges simply don't understand the issues. Mitnick's judge was convinced he could dial up NORAD, whistle into the phone, and launch some missiles. And the Microsoft anti-trust trial's judges could certainly have used a couple hits with a clue bat.

The days when we could bury our heads in the sand and just focus on issues of engineering are over. Patents, lawsuits, proprietary companies, and legislators are not inclined to let us alone. So, please become involved, regardless of your political inclinations; hackers need to make their positions known. Contact your representatives, educate your friends and family, donate to the EFF, and, for goodness sake, vote!

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