Older blog entries for neale (starting at number 15)

randakar, mobius: also check out The Cold Project. It's more or less MOO-ish, but with a more general-purpose language. For example, db objects are just like in any other OO-language, whereas in MOO all objects have certain "physical" properties (location, description, visibility). This part of MOO leads to weird things like web servers being located in the "nowhere" room. That may be desirable for certain situations, though.

I'm supposed to write a web-based wedding registry pretty soon here. The ones I found on SourceForge didn't impress me much. I suppose I'll do it in PHP, and create a new project out of it. I don't know that there's much to salvage in the two non-functioning registry programs. Really, guys, if you have a list of 500 items, there's no need to require MySQL. How many wedding guests are you inviting, anyway? The entire state of New Hampshire? ;-)

Three quarters of starting up a new project is figuring out what approach you're going to take toward solving the problem at hand. I am in the habit of hemming and hawing about the problem for longer than I'd like, but when I finally tire of procrastinating, I tend to kick into high gear.

I don't enjoy the time spent procrastinating before the actual designing and coding, which is why I liked my high-pressure job at freei so much. But I think that somehow, I end up with better designs this way. It's strange to try to justify to myself why I put things off. I'm fortunate in that I've never had to do it to anyone else.

Of the people here who own their own domains, I'm one of the very few that has no links to my vanity page on the front page. There are many here whose vanity page is the front page.

I think I figured out why my productivity at work is so low. I'd fallen into the habit of working around 14 hours a day, and only getting serious work done in the later 6 hours. Now that I have a reason to go home, I'm only working 8-9 hours per day, which means I hardly get any real work done.

The sun is out again. Yum.

Wow! I just got my first O'Caml program working with the equeue stuff. It listens on a socket and prints "arf" to anyone who connects. No big deal. But what's really cool is that it worked the first time. Granted, I had a few syntax problems I had to work out, but the bugger worked pretty much right after I typed it in.

This is similar to the experience I had with Python, except that in the case of O'Caml, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. :^)

Anyway, that made an otherwise lame day pretty exciting :-)

I have an inkling that someone is using thunk as part of a personal vendetta, and that really pisses me off. It seems, now, that this thing is still at the level of IRC, including mindless banter and little wars. I may take it away soon, there's enough noise on the Internet without me contributing to it.

Four-day weekend skiing in Montana, and the sun is shining in Seattle when we get home. Life is good.

I'm trying to figure out how to convince co-workers to use O'Caml, or at least, how to convince them to let me use it. It may be a very hard sell.

I can see myself heading toward another major life change, in which I abandon something that I'm currently doing and leap headfirst into unknown territory. These sorts of paradigm shifts have mostly been positive. I think I need these periodically to keep myself awake.

The last release of PHPix2 was a mess, and I'm not particularly motivated to do anything about it right now. I'm thinking about abandoning it, it's just not capturing my attention like I keep hoping it will. Anyone want a small yet successful GPLed project?

15 Mar 2001 (updated 15 Mar 2001 at 18:55 UTC) »

Last night we discovered that I'd left the car door open when we parked the car. I parked the car on Sunday, four days earlier. So I pushed the car back and forth on the 30 feet of flat pavement we had in the parking garage while Amy tried to pop the clutch and get it running. Unfortunately, I'd decided to park at the very bottom, so it was a uphill on one end, and a wall on the other. Finally, a dude in a jeep showed up and gave me a jump start. Today I'm sore.

After pushing the car around for a while, we went back to UW. I went to Bill's room and checked out this system he's got rigged up to measure gas flow with some kind of Data Acquisition board he's got hooked up to the parallel port of an old laptop. They're doing it in DOS, and I talked to the guy writing the code about writing an interrupt handler for the timer interrupt to do hard realtime sampling of this port (you have to poll it, which makes me wonder why they didn't just go straight into the parallel port). It brought back fond memories of writing 8086 assembly code when I explaied to the dude what AH and AL were, and how they were the same as AX. He was a junior CS student and didn't know what a union was. C++ is evil.

A guy on thunk was bugging me to add "last article posted on..." text to the article overview functionailty of mod_virgule, so I did, and sent the diff in to raph. Does that mean I get to register myself as a Helper on mod_virgule? There's no option for "know the code fairly well, sent in a diff, feel free to ask me questions" :-)

When she requested last week I put Linux on her computer, I asked Amy if she felt like she knew it well enough to use it as her primary OS. Her response was, "what exactly is it I'm supposed to learn how to do?" I think that speaks well of where things have come. I guess most people need an email client, web browser, mp3 player, and word processor, in that order. KDE gives her all of that in a nice package.

Waldo: don't just drop your idea, dude, it's cool. I already volunteered my company, I'm sure other people are excited. Flesh it out and start a project on sourceforge. We don't care if you don't know how to do it technically, just be glue and provide architectural oversight.

sye, it's been my experience that there is enough room on the Internet for people to go off and form as many splinter groups as they like. Witness how kuro5hin and advogato have been sort of "splits" off of slashdot. So if you're unhappy with something, nobody's preventing you from starting your own version of it. However, as I have found over the years, unless there's a need for something, your new endeavor won't attract much attention.

This is the problem I keep having; with the exception of a successful IRC channel that I joint-formed with two or three other people, my luck with forming splinter groups has been abysmal. Unless you're just dripping with charisma, you're better off waiting until there's a sense of need among a community. And it doesn't look like skolos really has much going on with it, so I'm afraid your options are to play by their rules or just give up.

Giving up isn't so bad. Socratic dialog is getting far less play these days than it deserves. And there is a lot of neat stuff to do in the world, especially now that days are getting longer up here in the northern hemisphere.

sye and I have been having an OOB discussion on thunk about this skolos site. I'm not quite sure what to make of skolos, but it appears to have lost momentum in the same way that thunk has, and I don't know that I have the magic touch to revive it.

Amy got sick last night, so I spent some time nurturing. We're both itchin' to put Linux on her computer, maybe this weekend. I want to see the anti-aliased font rendering in the new Qt library.

At work, I'm actually beginning to get up to speed again. It's amazing how frustrated and depressed I get if I don't have anything to do. I work so well under pressure that when there isn't any pressure, I grind to a halt.

The lighting situation today isn't bothering me much. It's cloudy outside. I'm supposed to move to a window cube (a viewbicle) but I want to push some code out before I make the move. It just doesn't feel right getting the window seat without at least attempting to earn the respect of my peers.

Something interesting I wrote on the 19th of January:

Gnome, I have just this moment decided, is pretty, but not much else. The only graphical thing that I've really taken on in the past ten years has been the web browser. Right now I have seven xterms and one xemacs visible, and a Mozilla and a Galeon minimized. I just closed out gmc because I wanted to try Nautilus, which wouldn't launch because it couldn't find the right libraries, and I realized that I never use gmc anyway, except to install things on my palm pilot. But I think Amy will like it whenever they get the package fixed. I've been reading a lot about how the text interface is to the GUI what books are to television. After reading a bunch of Asimov stories, I wonder if there won't come a day where knowing how to read and write isn't required for day-to-day activities, and most people won't know how to do it.

My mod_virgule thingy is seeming sort of directionless. Which was expected. I remember, at IPC-7, ESR talking about his new paper, "Homesteading the Noosphere", and someone likening it to bachelor predators attempting to find mating grounds. I think that's what I've been doing for the last umpteen years, at least WRT computers.

In trying to figure out what made Advogato successful, I stumbled across a very old article with advice to young free software hackers (that's me). Good stuff, far better than ESR's "How to be a hacker" IMHO. I got a lot out of Havoc Pennington's guide too. I think I haven't spent enough time learning about things, which is why I'm having the kinds of leadership problems I've been having. There is no dark side of the force I can just instantly switch to here, I gotta stack a lot of rocks first.

Thanks for writing those things, guys.

PHPix2 seems to be picking up; after going through and fiddling with bug reports, one of my developers has arisen from the dead, and we've got someone volunteering to port to NT. cdh sent in some good suggestions for Solaris and just getting the feedback was a good morale boost, so that project may be heading somewhere again. I'm thinking about releasing every two weeks instead of every month. One of the more interesting problems is that I started the project because I'd made really significant changes to the original PHPix, but the author appeared to be comatose, so I started up PHPix2 on sourceforge and did all my work there. Then the author resurfaced and seemed a bit miffed; after a few friendly exchanges he's dropped off the map again, so I don't know what to do about this. The only other developer on the project seems to think we should merge the stuff back in and then make a clean break, rewriting the thing from scratch. I can't really convince myself that it's worth all that trouble for a silly photo album program, but then again I don't want to steal anyone's thunder. Oh, what to do, what to do.

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