Older blog entries for richieb (starting at number 51)

Now that my job situation has stabilized and my workload is more reasonable, I again feel like getting back to some open source Eiffel projects.

I have been playing a little with XEmacs JDE and JDEbug packages. These provide a nice IDE for Java within Emacs. However, I can't seem to be able to get these to work properly just yet. This I need for work, as we work remotely on a Sun machine that's in Boston and any graphical IDE (like Jbuilder or Netbeans) simply doesn't work over a wide area network (way too slow!).

Anyway, seeing how nice the Java mode is in Emacs, I thought it would be nice to extend the Eiffel mode to allow compiling and debugging Eiffel - now that SmallEiffel has a debugger. There are already two different Eiffel modes, one of which already has the compilation things in it. This project would require a more serious dive into Emacs lisp programming.

Meanwhile the eGTK project is showing some signs of life. Another developer has become interested and wants to help in building eGTK for the new, future version of GTK. This time around the plan is to generate a lot the tedious code we wrote by hand before. Perhaps this time we will be able to generate a single set of bindings that works with all the compilers...

Since the last time eGTK was worked on Eiffel language acquired "agents" - basically routine objects, so that call backs can probably be done much nicer. Before we used the COMMAND pattern, which is bit tedious to code.

Now, I just need to sleep less....

I set up dual booting on my new machine: Windows 2000 and Linux. I also figured out the problem with the CD writer. It doesn't work at higher speeds (the 16X), but works fine at 8X. So now I can burn CDs, multi-session and all. Just to try it I made a CD of all my Larry Coryell CDs.

So now, I just have to move the files from the old machine to the new one, create accounts for everyone and we can do the switch.

Had a weird morning today. On the drive to work I hit a deer. It's still dark at 6:00AM, and I saw the deer standing on the side of the road and just as I came near it it darted right in front of the car. Fortunately I wasn't going fast, I slammed on my breaks and stopped, but I hit the poor thing just enough to knock it over. The deer got up and ran away and there were no dents on my car.

Well, what a difference a day makes. Having had some time to think about what I was doing I solved my installed problems.

Trick number one: when installing Red Hat use "fdisk" to set up partitions, this way no objections are made about things being above 1024th cylinder. Since I'll be using floppies at first, and then Windows 2000 boot manager it doesn't matter where the root partition is.

In Windows to format a large driver you have to choose the type of file system. Windows defaults to FAT, naturally, which doesn't work above 2 Gig. But rather than giving you a warning or picking a reasonable default Windows tries to do the stupid thing, fails and just says "it didn't work". "Professional" indeed!

Now that I have both OSes installed, I have to set up the boot manager, then install all the sofware I need and finally fight with the CD-writer (it seemed to have software problems with creation of multi-session CDs).

I had some time this weekend to play with my new machine. I got a second hard drive (40Gig for $100!) and a CD burner. But I'm having trouble configuring Windows 2000 and Linux together. Linux needs a boot partition on the low part of the first drive (at least RH 7.1 install wants it that way) and Windows wants to be on the first partition.

When I defined three partitions, one for Windows, one for Linux /boot and third big data partition for Windows, Windows was not able to format it. I don't know why!

There are no error messages to be found - only "Sorry I can't do it". Grrrr....

I need to come up with partitioning that works, but it takes time to fiddle with all these installs.

It's Saturday. I finally had a regular work week of five days. Last time I worked five days in a row was at the end of June. My summer was crazy, because the company I was working for ran out of money and fired most of the employees - except the core tech team. This included me.

However, since there was no money to pay us - we would come to the office when we felt like and after a while you stop feeling like. In retrospect I think that the people who were laid off earlier were better off, because they went to look for new jobs sooner.

I was lucky though, that through connections, I got another job pretty quickly. Moreover the new company hired the four person team, so I still get to work with my friends.

I started the new job right after Labor Day and Tuesday September 11th was the end of my first week there. Then all hell broke loose in Manhattan...

So, after all this time it's nice to be back to a regular working week.

Oh, yeah. I want to make T-shirt for myself that says I was a Chief Architect at an Internet startup and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

Meanwhile, I got another computer to use as our home Windows/game machine. This one came from a fire sale at a startup that died. It's a nice dual Pentium III machine. Today I installed Windows 2000 on it. Tomorrow I'll add Linux and set up dual booting. I've been going to these computer shows to pick up cheap parts - I got the soundcard for this computer there.

This new machine will become the new game machine for my kids and also I may use it for some development - if my laptop is too slow.

Win 2000 install was pretty easy - almost as easy as Red Hat Linux.

I found out this week that a saleman from DEC I knew long time ago was killed at WTC....

24 Sep 2001 (updated 24 Sep 2001 at 00:53 UTC) »

Today is Sunday. I went flying again. First time since September 11th. The airspace around New York is all closed to me, as I'm not capable going IFR. I don't want to fly there anyways.

Today was a hazy day. Yesterday is rained. The air was nice and smooth.

I saw Lew, our former partner in the airplane, at the airport. We went up around the patch once with Lew at the controls. He just came back from France where he visited Normandy.

I've not done much coding at home. I can't build up enough enthusiasm lately...

I'm trying to get Webmail to work with Resin, but I'm running into some trouble. I don't feel like debugging it just yet, although I can see where the problem is.

Went back to work today after a week. It's a little weird to be downtown Manhattan. The place is full of police and soldiers. During lunch we walked down Broadway and peeked at what's left of World Trade Center.

It's still doesn't seem real, except that every now and then someone finds out about a person they knew, or a friend of a friend who is still missing...

I've been home for the past two days. Downtown Manhattan is still closed and I have no idea when I'll be able to get back to work. From speaking to other people, it appears that I was very fortunate to leave the city as soon as I did. I just was in for a very long walk (nearly 10 miles) and today my legs still hurt (it's the old age and not enough excersize).

At 9 o'clock on Tuesday we were standing in the window of our office building looking at the fire in the first tower that was hit. I now realize that we saw the "exit wound" which did not look that bad. The fire was only on one floor. It was an odd scene, as office papers were floating slowly in the air towards our building.

We are actually less than 1/2 mile from WTC - a 10 minute walk. It was then that we saw the second airplane come in and hit. The scene had a unreal, movie quality. I think that fact that we were behind glass and there was no sound at first. We saw the airplane banking to the left, as if to make sure that it would not miss, then it just went in and a huge fireball engulfed the top of the second tower. A second or so later we heard the muffled sound of the explosion.

At this point it was clear that this was no accident, so we just ran to our desks telling everyone to get out. We are on the 48th floor of a building that's right on the edge of East River - wide open to another attack. If there were two planes, there could have been more.

As elevators were packed, we took the stairs. Running at first, but slowing down to a walk after a while. It takes time to go down 48 flights.

When we got out of the building we walked to Battery Park to get away from all the buildings. At some point at Battery Park I was able to reach my wife on the cell phone and tell her I was OK.

We lingered by the water for a while. I thought of trying to catch a subway to get out of the city, but I was afraid to go underground - I expected subways to be closed anyway. So instead I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. My mother-in-law and my parents live in Brooklyn.

We started up Water Street and my friend, Jason, decided to stop by our old office on Wall st and Water. He wanted to hook up to the internet and get his email, I just kept walking.

Few minutes after I got on the Brooklyn Bridge we heard what sounded like an explosion. I turned around and saw big pieces of the World Trade Center tower start falling down. It created a huge clound of smoke/ash that slowly filled lower Manhattan. As the wind was from North West the cloud did not cover the Bridge. I just hanged my head down and continued walking.

Jason was in the office when the collapse occured and he told me the whole building shook and he ran out of there as fast as he could - leavinag his stuff behind.

My new boss was stuck undeground in a subway train when the buildings collapsed. The train was only couple of blocks from WTC. Fortunately the subway tunnel held and the train was backed out of there and everyone was safe.

A brother of a friend from an old job is a NYC fireman. He was among the first fireman on the scene. Today he is still missing.

Like I said. I'm very fortunate to have gotten out when I did...

I was in my office on 48th floor about a mile from the World Trade Center. I was standing at the window looking at the fire in the first tower, when I saw the second airplane come in and hit.

Enough said....

8 Sep 2001 (updated 8 Sep 2001 at 02:11 UTC) »

Well, I just finished my first week at a new job. I'm slowly customizing my work environment. Can you say Cygwin is your friend? Plus the development Sun machine has "bash" and "emacs". I'll have to get the admins to install Xemacs.

Living on a corporate network is a pain though. I can't telnet out, my home page is filtered out (!!!), so I can't read my home email. On the other hand my home web server is visible, so I had this "brilliant" idea - why not write a web application that allows you to read mail from some other POP3 server. Guess what, about two dozen people had the same idea, as a quick search of Freshmeat showed.

So, I got Webmail - a Java/servlet app - to read your email. And it's GPLed too. This weekend I'll set it up on my home web server and I'll be set. Talk about scratching an itch....

BTW, work is OK so far. The people I met so far are really nice, but I still have lots of learning to do...

To pull my mind in a completely different direction I started to read Linux Device Drivers...

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