Older blog entries for srl (starting at number 117)

Spent the weekend chilling out and doing almost nothing related to free software, but that's okay. I needed the downtime. Instead, I bought fall/winter biking clothes, ogled shiny new bikes, and read The Fellowship of the Ring and half of The Two Towers.

My birthday was yesterday; went out to dinner and to the movies. Saw Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, which was good silly fun. Got Cirque du Soleil tickets from my SO, which I'm really excited about, and her fiance baked me a cake. It was happymaking.

Now, to return to hacking.

Advogato as messageboard

harvey: I don't know if I'm going to the Boston DMCA protest on monday. Maybe. But you don't have to parse zoneinfo files yourself; Damon Chaplin wrote something that does that. He's generating iCalendar VTIMEZONE files with it, but you could probably use it for whatever you need. Mail me or something; Reefknot's working on using those VTIMEZONE files for nefarious and fun purposes.

Calendaring cellphone goodness

Spiffy discovery of the day: Sprint PCS has iCalendar-based calendaring for their cellphone customers. It's web-based and will mail your cellphone to remind you of events. And best of all, you can import and export iCalendar to/from their storage system using the website. This is Very Cool; it means I can make Reefknot talk to it. Now all I have to do is hack around with it some. Woo.

Any of you who are working on Evolution: Evo should theoretically also be able to talk to SprintPCS's system via iCalendar. I'll post more details when I figure them out. In the meantime, I'm going to work on hacking something up in Perl to import and export iCalendar to SprintPCS. That would be a really neat hack.

Life

Date::ICal 0.14 is out, finally. I hear that Simon and Skud's talk on Reefknot at TPC went well, and that Larry (Wall) was there. Yay. Now to fix bugs and answer new-user questions.

Rich has been really busy; he's put out 2 or 3 releases of Date::ICal in the last few days, which has been a great help to us. My hat's off to him.

Work

I work in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston, where there's some construction going on. It's the part of town where lots of "new media" (read: web) companies seem to be located. Lots of Adobe users here. Anyway, there are plywood partitions around the construction site with various ad posters. Today, bright red graffiti appeared on the posters. In letters about 2 feet tall, that wall now says, "FREE DIMITRY NOW".

I don't have a digital camera, or I'd post a picture... but I thought people might be interested to know. If you do take a picture of it, speak up. I know there are Boston folk out there.

Hmm. I wonder whether it's crazy to have an Advogato BOF/pub night in Boston sometime, just to match faces to usernames.

Was up late last night working on a release candidate for Net::ICal. Discovered that the nifty Sourceforge data sucker that LotR wrote is now broken--- basically, it's a screen-scraper that lets you generate your BUGS list from the list that's on Sourceforge. I think SF changed their data format; I don't think the code was broken when it was committed. Gee, I wish they'd provide clean data export hooks to their system.

Anyway, I spent a while trying to coerce LotR's module into giving me a BUGS list, then gave up. Prepared a release candidate version of Net::ICal so that Skud and Simon will have something to talk about today. Earlier in the day, worked with Rich on Date::ICal, helping him figure out how to rework the internals. Date::ICal has a new version out (1.20); Rich has been great in working on it while he's at TPC/OSCon.

Went to bed at 2:30, then got up at 7:30 to bike to work and do it all again. I think I'm getting closer to my goal of 5 roundtrip bike commutes a week; this week I'll probably make it to 4, if I'm lucky. (That's 100 miles a week, which I know isn't a lot really, but it's a lot for me.)

Been hacking at Net::ICal the last few days, trying to get a releasable version out in time for Skud and Simon's talk at TPC/OSCon. Other than that, not much. I'm still here.

jfleck: Bravo. That's a great entry.

software

Still working on that release-management and configuration tool at work. Writing tests for Net::ICal in my spare time, trying to get things working so we can get a snapshot release out. Oh, and sleep and bike-commute too somewhere in there.

Wow, time seems to just disappear, and suddenly I've not written in a week. Much has been going on.

Reefknot

So, I had this brainstorm about a timezone server--- a web service, probably XML-RPC, that I can ask questions like, "I think it's noon. What timezone am I most likely in?" or "When's my next Daylight Savings Time shift?". Reefknot could use that.

We've all been running scared from timezones--- they're Hard to deal with in a sane way. For one thing, every platform that Perl runs on handles timezones differently--- a web service would reduce some of that complexity. This idea looks interesting enough that I want to make it work though--- as well as figuring out in my own mind whether web services are really useful or just The Next Big Buzzword.

So, I poked around with Damon Chaplin's Olsen->VTIMEZONE conversions, which give useful data for accomplishing the functions I want. That means I'll end up writing Timezone.pm, which we've (also) all been throwing up our hands and running away from.

Read a post from Miguel about why not to run away from scary technical problems. That provided me with some energy. Now all I have to do is focus it.

In fact, focusing the energy into a release right now would be Really Good. All I have to do is find some time.

YAPC::Boston 2002

So, I seem to be cat-herding volunteers for the idea of a YAPC in Boston next year. I've been meeting interesting people and talking to them about finding space at a college in Boston where geeks can have a conference. If you want to help, mail me. (Or even if you just know someone in Boston who could help us find space.)

Other things

Rearranged our home office/server room/rackspace this weekend. That's a large task, especially the first time. Hence, not enough time for Reefknot. Such is life. Oh, and I've been biking, which is making me happy.

Spent yesterday at Damian Conway's Advanced OOP class, which was really interesting. Got a new set of ideas and some inspiration, which is always good. Now to get my home network to behave again, so I can actually hack on those ideas.

I've also begun to collect volunteers who are interested in organizing the YAPC conference in Boston next year. I don't really want to be the chief cat-herd of that event, but it may yet happen. (If you're in Boston and want to know more, particularly if you have ideas for colleges who'd be good for hosting it, or if you know of good corporate sponsors, mail me.)

Listening to Who is Jill Scott?. Good stuff. I recommend it highly. Bought the New Riders book on Vim, and I'm absorbing it slowly.

It was a weekend of hacking. More work on Reefknot, some hardware hacking (rebuilding my firewall, mmm). Went to a Boston.pm barbecue and saw lots of people.

Hm, I seem to be feeling unusually terse today. Ah well. cwinters, come play with us. :)

Worked on Reefknot some more--- trying to convince Date::ICal to do the right thing. I'm working on an automated deployment system at work, so that we can use a consistent process to make developer sandboxes, staging servers, and production servers. Other than that, nothing much is going on.

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