10 Sep 2004 shlomif   » (Master)

New Story Update

The new story is progressing nicely. I already received one relatively positive review of it from my cousin, and a laconic remark from someone else who I referred it to him, and just said he did not like it too much. But still, it isn't finished, so I'm unwilling to show it to the world at large.

State of the Onion

I read Larry Wall's recent State of the Onion. It was very amusing as most of the things that Larry has written. I liked it a lot. In any case, he says there that he has been hospitalized for a large part of the passing year (but now he is more or less OK). I hope Larry will stay in a good physical condition.

Story for the Software Freedom Day

I wrote a story about my interaction with Adrian Ettlinger (in Hebrew) for the Israeli story contest of the Software Freedom Day. As for activities in this day, we wanted to have several stands in various shopping centers, but we did not have time to organize anything, because it was on such a short notice. I hope we'll have a better luck next year.

The Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are over. Israel has won its first Gold Medal by Gal Friedman. One thing that impressed me was the speed in which some of the gymnasts moved. They did it very quickly. In any case, I did not watch too much of it, and spent most of the time working on the computer.

HTML Navigation Menu

After a long time of neglect - I started working on the unified HTML navigation menu interface. I am basing my work on HTML::Widget::sideBar. However, it seems that the added benefit of it was very little. It is possible writing the relevant logic from scratch would have taken me less time, than trying to find out how to work around its idiosyncrasies. At the moment, I have patched H::W::sB, sub-classed it and wrote a lot of logic on my own.

Still, what I have now functions pretty nicely, and I'm making more progress. So I'm a dumb-ass but optimistic.

Welcome to Linux

I started preparing the Blitz lecture for the upcoming Welcome to Linux series. This year, we aim for it to be conducted (at least partially) by three clubs (in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem), and so it requires quite a lot of organization. Aside from the lecture, I was also placed in charge of the site.


I went with my dad to see Shrek 2 in the cinema. It was very entertaining, with a very high-quality animation, and very funny. There are many parodies of other films embedded in it. I also finished watching Spiderman 1 in the DVD. It was very entertaining. It seems that I liked most of the Comics-based films I have seen.

Mozilla Firefox - A War Story

I decided to give Mozilla Firefox a try. So far so good. However, after downloading the latest 0.9.x release, I encountered a case where installing a certain plug-in did not work. This has caused me to try the trunk release (where some things could not be installed because install.rdf was not supported.) and one of the branches release (where some things also did not work). Eventually, I returned to 0.9.x and managed to install everything I needed.

Firefox is a better browser than Mozilla Core. It is faster, and gives one better control over the extensions and themes. (you can easily update or uninstall them). Very nice. Other than that, I discovered the Web Developers Extension for Firefox and Mozilla. So far I used the PNH Toolbar, and I must say that the Web Developers Extension gives everything PNH gives and more. It also eliminated one thing I used Opera for - validating a web page by uploading its content.

Talash' Mandrake Woes

Michael Perelmutter (aka Talash) has recently bought a new computer and wanted to install Linux on it. He tried Mandrake for a while, then SUSE which he decided he liked better. However, SUSE had some problems, so he tried Debian, which did not work either. So, he returned to Mandrake. Now, when talking to him on the ICQ, I learned that the network card did not work (despite having worked perfectly the previous time he installed Mandrake) , and so I dropped by.

The first thing I tried was to see if I can configure the card manually using /sbin/ifconfig and /sbin/route. This worked perfectly. Then, after a lot of tweaking, we realized the problem was that Mandrake was using an "ifplugd" thingy to control the card, which was not compatible with it. Quickly setting the rather obscure MII_NOT_SUPPORTED flag in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 (not in /etc/sysconfig/networking as I previously thought) did the trick. We then had a problem that /etc/resolv.conf was filled with the address of the router. This was solved after the correct DNS servers were inputted manually, and a reboot.

After that, I just showed him to use Easy URPMI to set the sources of the packages, and as he was about to leave, we started updating everything using MandrakeUpdate. The GUI tools turned out to be incredibly unhelpful in getting the network up and running, but they were reported to buggy in this release of Mandrake.

O'Reilly-Net Article

I finished writing another article for O'Reilly-Net. It has good prospects of being published, but I did not get any reviews for it yet despite having sent it to some of my friends, and the OnLAMP.com editor. If you have some spare time and wish to review it, drop me an E-mail and I'll send it to you.


I've been to two Tel Aviv Linux Club meetings. In the first one, gby gave a nice presentation about Asterisk - an open-source solution for managing phone networks. I enjoyed it very much. In the second one, mulix and ladypine gave an entertaining and enlightening presentation about the latest developments in the world of the Linux kernel, as seen through attendees of the Ottawa Linux Symposium.

I just returned from an Israeli Perl Mongers meeting. Uri Bruck gave a presentation about using Perl to automatically fill OpenOffice forms. It was very nice. He chose to use XML::Simple, and it reminded me of how much I generally hate it. Then Gabor, first explained about the status of the Perl community in Hungary, and then about how can one contribute to Perl. I did not attend the last presentation to its end because the person giving me a ride had to go to catch a movie. Hopefully, I can read the rest of the presentation online.

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