Older blog entries for trs80 (starting at number 42)

Warning: blogorrhea ahead. I'm trying to clean out my thoughts for some more in-depth posts later.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is being played at UCC again - its popularity waxes and wanes. This latest jump might be due to severe drop-off of WoW players after Blizzard fucked up most of the classes in the expansion. In anticipation of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars I bought a new PC - C2D 2.13@3.2, 2GB RAM, 8800 GTS 320MB OC. I kept my SoundBlaster Live as I know it works under Linux, unlike the X-Fi. I also bought STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl collector's edition, although I haven't gotten it working under wine yet, so I haven't played it. As should now be obvious, I'm only running Linux on this computer - specifically, Debian Etch, the same installation on my old computer that dates from September 2000. One of the last things keeping me in Windows was iTunes with its database of ratings and last played times which fed into some complex smart playlists, but banshee-itunes-import-plugin did most of the work, and provided the information required to recreate smart playlists based on smart playlists, which it doesn't handle. I've also converted my locale to en_AU.UTF-8 after getting utf8 to work in IRC by compiling new versions of screen and ircii on morwong and tartarus.

Life: While I could probably earn a fair bit being a VOIP monkey, I'm going back to uni to finish off my degree. Re-enrolment needs to be done by Friday June 1st. For other events around that date, see the news (which the observant have already spotted) on my bookmarks page.

While flash has made video on the web much more prevalent, it's also dropped us back 1996, when MPC 3 specified 320 x 240, 15 bits/pixel, 30 frames/second. I suppose it shouldn't be that surprising given the bandwidth of the average net connection is about as fast as CD-ROMs were back then. OTOH I see no reason to upgrade to an ADSL2+ modem because my upload would be the same, and the real constraint on my downloads is monthly download quota. This is also why I'm not bothering to sign up for Joost even though it's free, since I've a) got a functioning MythTV setup already b) I'd just have to pay for more downloads. Hooray for there being only a few fibre cables under the Pacific, and Telstra's local loop monopoly. Although the community features of Joost could be interesting - I barely use MythTV because I don't keep track of what's on FTA, and my friends all download TV shows.

StevenRainwater was kind enough to wrap diary entries in div tags with class="node username" so I can hide syndicated diaries that I read elsewhere with this in my userContent.css:

@-moz-document domain(advogato.org) {
    div.user { display: none; }
}
Somewhat related is the concept of a snooze button for social sites. I also hunted down a LiveJournal (and other sites) Greasemonkey killfile script for a friend. It'll hide comments from people, and in my copy I've enabled hiding on your friends page as well. It might need some changes for your specific friends page - contact me and I can do it for you.

Finally, some accumulated cruft from using Advogato's diary page as floating data storage:

A first-hand account from UCC that swapping hard disk controller boards still works in this day and age. The UWA Computer Science department got reviewed resulting in a report that lists its problems as "financial, organizational, strategic and cultural in nature."

24 Feb 2007 (updated 24 Feb 2007 at 06:51 UTC) »

thoughts while driving home a few nights ago • feeling limerent and anti-liminal - a sense of belonging and connectedness • openldap needs better docs, particularly examples • freshers wandering back from the cap s, that general feeling of semester starting again • lent in the southern hemisphere • heroes rocking, despite being spoiled by steve, and me squeeing at vm like a fangirl • why does ldap seem so much nicer than sql? maybe it's just a domain-specific database? • driving music new order - 60 miles an hour which reminds me of pete sullivan in expiration date

23 May 2006 (updated 23 May 2006 at 12:07 UTC) »

So apparently the forthcoming Ubuntu Dapper release will include on a forth, yet-to-be-announced architecture. There have been a lot of SPARC fixes going in ... and it's a Forth architecture ... it must be Ubuntu Open Firmware!

We cleaned out UCC's Shenton Park storage area, and the sheer number of vt320s gave me an idea for the UCC vt320 delivery service:

Playing a whole lot of ET recently, can't wait for ET:Quake Wars to be released.

Set up 1.6TB of RAID 1+0 at work, and it struck me how document and data management is quickly becoming a mainstream problem. Most people store their files without any software assistance, but this breaks down once you get a few hundred GB of stuff. It's probably a solved problem for large businesses, but I haven't really seen any small-scale tech for this. Is great search like Beagle or the various Desktop searchapps the solution, or will WinFS be required? What's the Free desktop's answer to this problem? Also related is Long-term backup.

I know UCC could sure do with some help organising its amorphous mass of data that's spread over too many filesystems. Maybe what I want is some sort of intranet/CMS/wiki site for top-level organisation, but that supports direct links into the filesystem that work regardless of which computer you're using. Actually, with the gnome-vfs integration in mozilla plus sftp this might actually work on Linux.

11 Mar 2006 (updated 12 Mar 2006 at 09:06 UTC) »

There was dew on the grass as I left the MINCS LAN tonight, autumn has finally arrived.

gobry: There is DOAP, which seems to be used by CodeZoo among others, subscribing to it over Atom.

This is actually a reply to a post by Jono Bacon of LugRadio fame, but his comment system doesn't like me, and it's worth repeating to a wider audience.

Free beer and speech: You should never, ever, use the terms free as in beer and free as in speech, as they're opaque to anyone who hasn't read the specific piece[2] by RMS that defines them. For a long time I had them the wrong way around, since it made more sense to me that way - I'd heard of "open source beer"[1], its recipe having a free license (RMS himself uses recipes as examples of Free software), whereas the GFDL (for speech) allows invariant sections[2], and a lot of RMS' writings are freely distributable, but only if unmodified.

[1] Although I'm sure I heard of it before 2005, when Vores Øl was announced.

[2] The first distro I used was Debian, so I'm more influenced by the DFSG than RMS' Free Software Definition.

the inside of an aircon with green corroded copper pipesInstalled a new aircon at UCC yesterday, to replace the dead gobi, seen at right, after we pulled it out. Mmm, corrode-y. We named the new aircon gibson (all aircons and friges are named after deserts) because it has an IR remote, and future interfacing will result in ... well, you can guess.

Spent Thursday, Saturday night and this afternoon upgrading manbo which is now running Solaris Nevada b28 and is fully operational with 14 400MHz UltraSparc II CPUs, 12.25GB of RAM and 216GB of ZFS, so UCC should be opening it up to FOSS developers to dtrace their apps and tinderbox on. This required quite a few reboots, each of which printed "svc.startd: The system is down." which triggered the Strong Bad Techno in my head each time.

netmon-applet ate my panel, yay for %gconf-tree.xml editting. f-spot seems kind of cool, when it's not crashing. Will hopefully get to work on weather.gnome.org while on holiday.

Work: Set up a 2.55TB RAID array using the Areca ARC-1130 controller and 8x Western Digital Caviar RE2 400GB drives. Had a few teething problems, including Ubuntu not turning on CONFIG_EFI_PARTITION and some odd interaction between the controller firmware and the drives where it only works from a cold boot, it hangs in the BIOS after a warm boot. However Areca support is great, they got back to me at 6:30pm on a Friday afternoon. This guide to LVM recovery was also useful for getting back my data from the clutches of truncated partitions.

UCC: One of the aircons died, and it seems to have caused two drives in manbo to die from overheating. Ebay has 5kW split systems for $550ish, maybe we should grab one of those. Also need to start organising the camp, committee has been very slack this year.

Advogato: Thanks to raph for restoring my account. The only niggle at the moment is the diary ratings - my explicit ratings are showing up, but not any calculated ones.

ncm, bagder: Why don't Windows people help with Free Software projects? I suspect the reason is more practical than what you suggest: developing software under Windows is PITA. A few weeks ago, I spent a couple of hours trying to set up a Mozilla dev environment on Windows (trying to help fix 244770, and failed miserably. I already had Visual Studio and Cygwin installed, but needed the latest library updates, the right directories in %INCLUDE% and %LIBS% and in the right order etc. When I compiled Mozilla on Linux (to fix 128398) I just untarred, configured and built. Admittedly Mozilla is not your average FOSS project, but the point still stands:
Linux: comes with a build environment ready and working.
Windows: requires paying for Visual Studio (or juarezing it) and often installing FOSS tools for development and general futzing around for non-native (ported from posix) apps.
Mac OS X: (badger's comment about "windows dev/user ratio lower than on any other OS") comes with build environment and dev tools (Xcode and the usual FOSS suspects).

Stuff: Need to: look at Bacula for UCC now we have tape library; organise intervarsity LAN with MINCS where much ET shall be played; finish coding Excel/VBA monstrosity for SQM assignment by internal group deadline of tomorrow evening; stop playing around with Asterisk at work and actually put the new PBX into production; work on weather.gnome.org; get daniels to fix 10866 so I can use my new laptop in X; sleep.

It seems Google has no sense of humour these days (I assume it had one in the past). First it puts the kybosh on AdBar, then it removes Greg Duffy from its results for writing an article on how to extract entire books from Google Print. Yes, both these violate their ToS ... but with the kerfuffle about AutoLink in the Google toolbar and who controls a webpage, what's to stop a user doing what they want with data that Google freely serves to them? (And yes, I know that argument is specious, but it's a good starting point).

In other news, good to see that there's a lot of discussion going on about MoFo and Seamonkey 1.8 and Firefox reviewers. I would like to claim to have been the person to start the 1.8 flam^Wdiscussion ;-)

Skipped a lecture to fix something at UCC this week (morwong just wanted a cuppa tea, a Bex and a good lie down) for the first time this semester, but it's only week 2. Which isn't that promising - I need to stop spending quite so much time in the clubroom, particularly at night. Also need to find a supervisor, 4th year project and write a proposal for it in a week, after the last two lecturers I sought out couldn't take me on. Gnome 2.10 release party tonight, will be nice to relax in between the many fresher welcomes this week.

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