Friday, October 31, 2003

Best Window Washers Ever

Sometimes, I love the place I work.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Recommended Reading

If you're at all interested in the mechanics of large scale open source software development, this paper about the FreeBSD SMPng project is well worth reading. It's a fascinating look into a very interesting project, both from a technical point of view (SMP kernels are fun!) and from a project management basis (herding cats is hard!). It doesn't pull punches, and at least as far as I can tell from what I've read on the various mailing lists it gives an honest and accurate view of how the project has progressed.

Monday, October 27, 2003

It scares me...

That The Onion didn't have to make this up.

That must be one of the signs of the apocalypse. It has to me.

Random Updates

So a few notes from my experience with panther this weekend:

  • New Emacs from CVS (that's the only place to get a version that works with Aqua) doesn't work with the syntax highlighting in nxml-mode. That's annoying. If it didn't take so damn long to build I'd try moving back to a previous version to see when the breakage happened, but for now I can't be bothered.
  • A New version of Firebird is out, correcting many OS X specific problems in the last version. And damn, does it start up quickly. I'm quite impressed.
  • Panther doesn't have an 'internet' preferences panel, in order to change your default browser you have to go into the Safari preferences. That's kind of lame.
  • iPods are just the coolest thing ever.
  • Fast User Switching is quite cool. I'm running a non-admin user now, just to see what it's like.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

iPod Update

So I made a trip out to the apple store again, and they were happy to exchange my busted iPod for a working one. Apparently it was so screwed up they couldn't even use it in target disk mode (note: to use an iPod in target disk mode you reset it by holding menu and play, then hold the fast-forward and rewind buttons at the same time). As an added bonus, the manager (who was actually the guy who sold me the iPod last night, amusingly enough) noticed that he had forgotten to take 10% off my iPod last night (since I had bought a copy of Panther at the same time, and they were having a special discount last night), so I actually got money back in addition to the new iPod.

And now I'm sitting here waiting for a monster-huge copy to complete so I can back up my home directory onto the iPod and do a clean reinstall of the OS. I've screwed around with this system enough that it's time to start from scratch, and I've wanted to partition the drive into 'Root' and 'Other Stuff' for a while, so I can more easily make this kind of transition in the future.

Panther, and fun with iPods

So I had this plan...

I wanted to reformat my hard drive while in the process of upgrading to panther, but I'm entirely too lazy to copy all my data over the network, so I needed access to a firewire hard drive of some sort...

Hey, I thought to myself, an iPod is just a tiny firewire hard drive, and a 20 gig one will hold my home directory just fine...

So I went off to the apple store last night for their panther roll out thingy, and I picked up a copy of the OS and an iPod, since i'd been planning on getting one eventually, and hey, this is a perfect excuse.

Then, the fun begins.

So my brand new iPod apparently does not like talking to my powerbook. I've been able to get the powerbook to recognize it twice, for stunningly brief periods of time, but before I can actually copy anything to it, it vanishes. I'm really hoping it's the cable, or failing that, the iPod itself that's bad, as I would be unthrilled if there was something wrong with my powerbook.

Anyway, I gave up on the reformatting idea, in the short term anyway, and just installed panther over my existing install (what, did you really expect me to wait a day or two to install it?), and I must say, it's damn cool. Everything is faster than before, or at least it feels that way, and the new features are just entirely too damn cool. I'm finding myself searching for reasons to use the 'fast user switching' stuff, even though I'm the only user on this box, just because the effect is so slick.

And now I'm waiting for some stuff from work to finish up, so I can go back to the mall and get the guys at the apple store to either tell me what I'm doing wrong or replace something or other in order to make my new toy work.

Monday, October 20, 2003

RPI In Fall

So it turns out that the windows in CII 7003 open way further than you'd think they would, and that RPI actually looks pretty decent in the fall, and that the pictures I took while waiting for the alumni meeting to start came out ok.

Who'd have thunk it.

Random Stuff

A few random points for my 3 readers:

  • It's really annoying when you're tweaking obviously inefficient code to remove the stupidly obvious inefficiencies, and it actually makes the end result slower.
  • While driving to Troy this weekend I determined that my copy of "Rarities, B Sides, and Other Stuff", by Sarah McLachlan, does not play in my car's CD player. I'm like this -><- close to using that as an excuse to buy an iPod.
  • If I had any self control, I would use that as an excuse to burn a CD instead, but let's be honest, what are the odds of me having any self control when it comes to consumer electronics?
  • Being completely and totally interrupt driven sucks, cause you never actually move forward, you just spend all your time dealing with the latest catastrophe, and despite having said to ourselves that "being completely and totally interrupt driven sucks" several times in the past, we seem to be doing it again at work.
  • There is absolutely, positively, zero chance that I will make any progress on my pile of "books i should really read" before new years, and that really really sucks.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Weekend

Spent the weekend in Troy at Psi U's 3 to 3.

As usual it was a hell of a fun time, and I got to see a ton of people I almost never get to see. In particular, Saavik actually showed up, and brought her fiance along. He seems quite cool, and she seems to be doing well. It's really odd thinking of Saavik as 'Doctor', so I think I'm just going to ignore that fact.

Oh, and while I did manage to take a number of not entirely crappy pictures, I also find it quite amusing that the one shot I got of Kirsten (when she wasn't paying attention to me and thus couldn't run from the camera or hide behind something) that had a chance of looking decent fell victim to the fact that I don't know what the hell I'm doing, and thus it's ever so slightly blurry.

It looks almost decent if you zoom way the fuck out, but let's be honest, nobody is really interested in a 160 x 107 jpeg.

Oh well, practice makes perfect...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Bad Day

When I walked out to my car this morning and noticed that it had a parking ticket on it, I totally did not expect that to be the best part of my day.

It was, in fact, the best part of my day.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Ironic, Isn't It?

So nothing has pointed out the insanity of the way google ranks weblogs to me as clearly as this, a journal entry by Seth Schoen where he mentions a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, and says that if you have not heard the quote you should google for it.

Of course, now if you google for it, the number one hit is that page.


svn blame

this is officially my new favorite subversion command.

still a little slow, but we've got a few ideas on how to fix that going forward.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

TiVo Rocks

So it goes without saying of course, but TiVo kicks ass. It's so much cooler than ReplayTV that it isn't even funny. Worth every penny, and I didn't even have to bend over backwards to find a phone line to do the initial guided setup. I should have done this a long time ago.

When in Rome...

As usual, Mark is amusing, and on target. I don't have anything especially interesting to say in response, I just found it to be yet another amusing post from him, and wanted to share with any people who by some quirk of fate happen to read my weblog but don't read his.

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Things I Learned This Weekend

  • The Red Sox still kick ass.
  • Even weirder, I apparently enjoy watching them on TV, which was kind of a big surprise, since I'm generally not a big baseball fan.
  • The Breakfast Club still rules.
  • Output from programs like cvs2svn tends to be really long, making it kind of hard to create short little examples for the book.
  • My book has an ISBN number (1-59059-290-5 for the curious). I suppose this means I have to finish it at some point.
  • There are no hotel rooms in Troy during 3 to 3, so Jess, Emily, and I will have to scramble to find someplace to stay.

Saturday, October 4, 2003


So a while back I went out and bought a ReplayTV because I wanted a PVR that could be used without a phone line. At the time the ReplayTV was the only one available that would worth with an ethernet connection in a supported manner. Sure, you could make a TiVo do it, but at the time they weren't supporting the configuration.

Anyway, I was reasonably happy with the ReplayTV at the time, but since then things have gone down hill. It's become more and more clear that the TiVo just has a better UI, and that more interesting things are being done with the TiVo (primarily because Sonicblue went under I imagine).

So I finally got tired of being annoyed by the ReplayTV, and today I started looking in to getting a TiVo. I really didn't plan on it, but it turned out that they were having a sale on refurbished 80 hour series two TiVos from the TiVo website, so in a moment of weakness I ordered one.

A little research shows me that I will probably even be able to get past the how do i setup a new TiVo without a phone problem without too much trouble. It turns out that they don't support the initial connection over a network because most of the current gen TiVos that are shipping don't have the most recent software, but with the right kind of network adapter you can make it work. And even if I don't have especially good luck with that, I can always take it to a friend's house and do the initial setup there.

And yes, I will admit to anyone who cares that I am the king of the impulse buy, and I seriously need to have my credit cards confiscated by someone more responsible than myself ;-)

Friday, October 3, 2003

Now That's A Scary Bug Hunt

The next time you're chasing a problem through some code at work, just be glad that you don't have this kind of problem. Compiler bugs are scary, and this is a fascinating story of how some were tracked down as part of resurrecting an obscure OpenBSD port. Neat stuff.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Trusted Computing?

Interesting whitepaper from the EFF on the various 'Trusted Computing' standards that are currently in the works.

I'm still not sure how I feel about these things, but it definately feels like there is a lot of potential for abuse practically built in to them. On the bright side, at least you can turn them off, but on the other hand, it could end up being one of those things where you really need to turn them on in order to interoperate, so yeah, I remain on the edge.

In any event, it's worth a read if you're into that sort of thing.