22 Mar 2002 raph   » (Master)

out of the box

It took me a while to figure out exactly what kgb has against the phrase "out of the box." Then it hit me - I was thinking about user experience, as in "it works well out of the box." For example, Ghostscript doesn't work all that well out of the box. It works much better if you know all the fiddly little command line things. I think we should all do more "out of the box" thinking.

schooling out of the box

Both of our kids are obviously highly gifted, which is forcing us to think about their education. A lot of people seem to have the attitude that the traditional school environment builds character, even if it's deathly boring for gifted children. Somehow, it's supposed to prepare the child for later life.

I just flat-out don't agree. Realistically, the chances of Alan becoming a corporate drone are much lower than, say, making a living writing poetry. Why not prepare him for the latter, then?

Our current thinking is to have him in school half a day, and at home half a day. Now that he's reading, I think he can take more of his education into his own hands, just like both his parents.

Python

Playing with Python continues to be great fun. Check this out:

>>> import fitzpy
>>> rp = fitzpy.read_pdf_open('/home/raph/knight.pdf')
>>> t = rp.get_trailer()
>>> t['Root']['Pages']['Kids'].topy()[0]['MediaBox'].topy(1)
[0, 0, 612, 792]

I can't imagine it getting much better than this.

Alas, speed is still a problem. It's not horrible, mind you, but even with C doing all the work of opening the file and parsing tokens, it's still quite a bit slower than a C-only implementation.

xmlrpc

The xmlrpc stuff is fun. I'm happy that gary is working on it. The idea of the community taking care of Advogato, making it thrive, thrills me.

People who are interested in mod_virgule development should look at the virgule-dev mailing list. The Badvogato crew has done some good things with the code, and it's just my slackerliness that's kept it from being integrated. I'm hoping that will change, now that Gary has so generously volunteered to take some of the load.

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