9 Jul 2004 rossigee   » (Journeyer)

Once again, I fail miserably to regularly make an advogato journal entry, and when I do get round to it, it's down for a few weeks. Looks like I haven't made one since I was in England last. Ten months have passed, since then.

I've been to Thailand, moved off Samui island and bought some land on the mainland. I'm now back in the UK (with Mee, my Thai girlfriend) looking for work to pay off the land and build a house, and to let Mee meet my family etc and see what life is like back here. Who knows, one day maybe the crazy Thai politicians will make it unviable to live there. If we can't find a nicer country to live in, we'll have to go back there to live (god forbid!), and I'd like to see how she handles the pace of western life (she's only just beginning to learn English too).

Paid-work wise, things are looking good, with a few potentially promising new PHP development projects in the pipeline, coming from two sources, plus a couple of weeks standby cover for an old company I used to work for while their guy goes on hols. Should mean we have enough to take Mee for a few rides around the country to see England (Scotland, Wales and Ireland too, if possible), and enough to put a safety reserve back in the bank. If all goes well, it should even lead to plenty of work to keep me going when I return to Thailand in three months time.

Open-source wise, I washed up some of my favourite PHP classes into a decent rock for myself and other web application developers to smoke. For now, I've called it Harmony, and it simply consists of a few common classes and an example website. The website provides the facility to log in, authenticating users against an enterprises' LDAP database. Once logged in, links are provided according to the groups the user is in. If they are in the 'admin' group, they have the facility to create new users and groups, and maintain them. Most of the PHP scripts that support the site use XSLT as a templating mechanism to convert a generated result fragment into an XHTML page (or other). That's about as far as I've got so far, but it's useful enough to start creating sites with.

It's certainly an interesting approach, and I'm not sure if there are other people out there doing something similar, but I'm hoping that people give it a try and give me some feedback. I'm currently in the process of setting up a website to release it (GPL), which will include a demo site where people can log in and play admin with a dummy LDAP backend, and see some of the other modules in development. Really, I need to square it off so I can use it to finish developing the revamp for my main homepage (and my personal homepage). My main homepage is flaky and useless, and it's nearly two years since I updated my personal one!

It's all based on code I wrote and used in a couple of projects already in daily use. I'm just trying to document it and package it up a bit, so that I and other people that have to maintain my future projects can easily apply bugfix releases and/or work out what's going on etc. Still a few design flaws that I can't figure out (such as a nice way to handle i18n - I want to see my website and homepage viewable in English or Thai using a combination of gettext (the easy bit) and standard XML/XSLT methods (still struggling with this).

Anyway, GNOME Thai translation seems to be rolling along nicely at the hands of native Thais, so I've diverted that portion of my spare time to helping the GNOME sysadmin team out after their (not-so-recent now) server compromise. Still lots of big important tasks on the to-do list, but between us several of the jobs have been completed and slow progress is being made on the remainder. I should also be able to leverage my work on Harmony (if I quickly knock up some stylesheets and one or two PHP subclasses) to implement an web admin interface for managing the GNOME LDAP server (used for CVS accounts/authentication etc), and perhaps the mirrors database too to make that side of things easier to automate and delegate.

Sadly, still haven't had time to nurse gtranslator. I'm also getting twitchy fingers at the thought of helping the GPE developers get multisync working with the GPE addressbook/calendar/tasklist, so I can sync between my iPaq and my laptop, although I think I'd fall into the bottomless pit of time mismanagement if I started on that route. Also getting twitchy fingers reading recent discussions about getting the 2.6 kernel working on the iPaq.

Nice not to have to use a 56k dial-up connection and be tethered to a wall. I'm still tethered by my power cable (I'm not paying 200quid each for new laptop batteries), but having wireless DSL just about everywhere I go is a real blessing.

Got to go take care of Mee now, as she's got bored of the jigsaw and the knitting that was keeping her occupied, and as it's Friday night, I suppose I'd better go introduce her to my friends, entertain and translate things for her.

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