Sunday, August 24, 2003

The More Things Change...

so i upgraded my install of net news wire to the latest beta a few days ago, and i'm happy to see that it's gotten a feature i've always wanted, it shows the differences when a blog entry you've already downloaded changes, rather than just marking it as new again.

in and of itself, this is just damn cool, since i've always been curious exactly what little tweaks people are making after they publish an entry.

the really weird part is that of all the feeds i subscribe to (about 60 at last count), the one that seems to edit their entries after posting them the most is the feed from the new york times, kindly provided via userland software.

i'm not sure what to think about this. i don't think the stories themselves are changing, although honestly i can't be certain, but the short blurb in the rss feed sure as hell is, and that is definately not what i expected from the new york times.

anyone have any opinions on this?

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Ruby 1.8

so ruby 1.8 has been out for a little while, and i knew it had a bunch of cool new features, but i hadn't had a chance to look that closely at them.

fortunately, whytheluckystiff, the guy who wrote the YAML support for ruby, has put together a little document that details exactly what some of the new features are.

in addition to the new YAML support, i'm particularly excited to see the XML parser in the core library, the dynamic library support (sort of like their version of .NET's support for calling into unmanaged code), and the un module (as in -run), which implements common unix commands like cp, ln, mv, and quite a few others in ruby, so you can safely use them in cross platform makefiles or .bat/.sh scripts.

anyway, suffice it to say that i'm going to be trying real hard to find a use for all these new toys just as soon as i can.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Blosxom To TypePad Take Two

so as part of my quest to determine if i want to move my blog from blosxom to typepad, i decided to see if i can bring over comments as well as entries.

it turns out that it is, with a few caveats.

you can set up a writeback flavour for dumpfiles, and that will get you pretty much all the way there, with the exception of the timestamps on the comments. the writeback plugin does not store timestamps for each comment, so you have to generate them yourself. i've got a little two line hack in my writeback plugin that adds a timestamp variable to writeback output, but generating it is kind of a hack, i just take the timestamp of the entry and as i loop over each comment i add one minute, so at least they end up in the right order, even if the real timestamp is impossible to retrieve.

yeah, it's a bit inaccurate, but without it you end up with all the comments having a timestamp equal to when you imported the dumpfile, which is kind of lame. worse than just being inaccurate, it means that they end up in reverse order, so if you tell typepad to show them oldest first, the latest comment you had posted in your original blog shows up first, rather than the earliest.

anyway, the last thing i have to try is categories. i don't know if i can do that without post processing to remove slashes, it will depend on how typepad deals with a slash in a category name.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The Obligatory Cat Picture

so since i've got this shiny new camera, i feel a bit obligated to go out and take pictures...

unfortunately, the weather isn't cooperating, and i've got a bunch of work to do on the book anyway, so i didn't get to play with it all that much this weekend.

on the bright side, i did manage to get a picture of the cat.

ok, so it's not a real cat, but my parent's though it'd be more appropriate for me... it sleeps a lot, doesn't need to be fed, and there are absolutely no litter box issues for me to care about.

anyway, everyone else seems compelled to post a picture of their cat, so i figured it was only appropriate that i post mine ;-)

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Expensive Toys

so my editor told my my first check was in the mail...

as a result, any sembalance of self control vanished, and i went out and bought a canon eos 10d and a canon 28-105mm 3.5-4.5 usm lense.

they are just the coolest things ever, and i'm quite pleased.

it basically came down to the canon and the nikon d100, and i went with the canon because it's slightly newer tech, so i can feel better about it not becoming horribly obsolete in the next few days, it's cheaper, especially when you account for the fact that it comes with photoshop elements, which i would have bought anyway, and most importantly it just felt more solid and well built to me.

i'll have to get some pictures up on the web somewhere soon, once i've managed to take some that don't totally suck ;-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Another Perspective On The SCO Thing

i noticed an interesting email to the gcc mailing list today while reading through the thread about their stance on further support for SCO unix given SCO's rather antisocial behavior of late:

http://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2003-07/msg01696.html

it's kind of interesting. the guy posting it is actually someone i sort of know, as he sometimes posts to the subversion mailing lists. he works for SCO and does a lot of work making sure that various bits and pieces of open source software work on the platform. i get the impression that a lot of it is the semi-approved sort of thing that often gets done by engineers who use these packages in their job and submit patches so that others won't have to deal with the same issues they did.

in general, he's always been quite reasonable in all interactions i've had with him, helpfully sending in patches to fix build issues on his platform and pointing out ways we could make the software work better for use cases that most of us don't deal with on a regular basis, and it really hit me how despite the way the management of SCO has been acting lately, there are still a lot of your average (or above average in his case) everyday geeks working for them, just trying to get their jobs done who are probably quite annoyed that their superiors have managed to get the rest of the geek world really really pissed at them.

the presense of such people at SCO doesn't change my opinion of the company all that much, and i still hope IBM will wipe the floor with them, but just as in any war, it's really too bad about all the collateral damage, and people like kean are just that in this case.

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Hey, That's Only Three Or Four Times What A Sane Person Would Spend...

so after some random conversations about it with r0b last week, i've started looking around at the various different digital slr cameras that are available.

i've been playing around with my current slr a bit, and i like it a lot, but i absolutely hate dealing with film.

getting it developed is just a pain in the ass, not to mention expensive as hell, and a shoot, develop, look at picture cycle means i don't get anything approaching instant feedback, so by the time i actually look at the pictures i've forgotten 90% of the details of how i took the picture (what lighting, what settings, what lense, etc.), so it's kind of hard to figure out what, if anything, i'm doing wrong. i imagine it's like what programming must have been back in the day of punch cards, with the edit, compile, test cycle taking hours or days. while you can certainly learn that way, it's not what i'd call fun, especially if other options are available to you.

in addition, there's the whole "i want to get these things on the net eventually" question, and i still haven't gotten around to picking up a scanner, and even if i do, it'll add yet another step to the cycle, which will result in me having another thing to procrastinate on, which is always a bad thing.

so anyway, i start browsing around on various different sites, and i discover that virtually all digital slr cameras are so far out of my price range that it isn't even funny. then, i start looking a bit closer, and find that there are at least a few out there that are only a little out of my price range, and if i look even closer, there are places one can get them where they are arguably in my price range, if you squint a bit and try not to let the "oh my god that's expensive" reflex kick in.

basically, i'm down to the nikon d100 and the canon eos-10d. as usual the nikon is more expensive, but in its favor is the fact that i have a nikon film slr camera and a few lenses (albeit cheap lenses that would not be hard to replace) for it that would work with the nikon. on the other hand the canon is newer, so is less likely to be horribly out of date in the very near future, and while the reviews of both are quite positive, the ones for the canon seem slightly more positive.

so i played with the nikon today at the mall, and i think i'll go look at the canon tomorrow, and then i'll work on convincing myself that i don't need one, since even these low end digital slr's are freaking expensive...

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Reversing an old Transition

so i'm continuing to play around with typepad, and it's hard to do that without any content, so i've thrown together the beginnings of some blosxom flavour files to generate MT style dump output from my existing blosxom weblog. i haven't made it do categories yet, and i don't think i'm going to be able to get it to do comments (at least not without some post-processing), but right now i can successfully transfer entries directly from blosxom into my typepad blog.

of course, the fact that this was so easy is making me think maybe i should stick with blosxom, just for the hackability, but the insanely great interface of typepad combined with the fantastically good support ben and mena have given me so far has got me real close to switching...

stay tuned for more updates on this breaking story ;-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Nicely Done!

so typepad is now available in a 'prerelease' form, and i must say i'm impressed. for anyone who's looking for a simple way to set up a weblog with all the bells and whistles without needing to mess around with maintaining a web server or installing CGI scripts, this is the way to do it. i just had to try it out, and so far so good. the UI is fantastic, the responses i've received concerning the few problems i've found have been rapid and clueful (as one would expect from the people who wrote movable type), and despite a few minor issues (that will likely be ironed out in coming days), i'm -><- this close to switching over.

i definately still think blosxom is just ridiculously cool, but this is quite close to convincing me to switch, and that's saying something. i'll have to give it some thought, but who knows, maybe i'll be sitting down and figuring out how to convert my blosxom content into an MT style dumpfile for importing into typepad. we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, August 4, 2003

They Grow Up So Fast

my little sister just got a job at cnn.

i guess this means i'll have to start watching the news from time to time...

anyway, congrats sis!

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Fun In The Sun

so i just got back from a weekend at tracey's parent's house on the jersey shore.

ok, strictly speaking i got back like 3 hours ago, and i've been reading email ever since... i need to get off some of these mailing lists...

it was a good time, despite the rain (which put a damper on the whole 'beach' thing for those who were so inclined) and the sun (for those of us who burst into flame at the first sign of daylight... to misquote peretj "the roof doesn't have a high enough SPF"). we ended up playing lots of uno, watching horrible shows tv, and generally having for most of the weekend. somewhere in there we managed to sneak in a few games of skee ball, which is of course the best thing about going to the beach.

some people did actually manage to spend some time on the beach, despite the rain, although i was not one of them. come on, did you really expect me, colonr, and peretj to spend a whole lot of time on a beach?

anyway, it was fun, and i'm going to go to sleep so i can get up and at least seem enthusiastic for the first day of market data wee^H^H^Hthree days in training. i swear, this is so the last time i'm doing this, three times in a row is definately my limit.