Archive for May, 2001

Random Open Source Work (and a scary 9-1-1 call)

R.I.F. Reading Is…

Feeling in a rut, I decided to load up CATB on my Palm and do some reading. Two quotes stuck out and are immediately relevant to my current growing workload.

Open Source

“…I had another purpose for rewriting besides improving the code and the data structure design, however. That was to evolve it into something I understood completely. It’s no fun to be responsible for fixing bugs in a program you don’t understand…”

Work

“…A happy programmer is one who is neither underutilized nor weighed down with ill-formulated goals and stressful process friction…”

my $retention = Lather::Rinse->Repeat;

Interesting cardiac problems have arisen of late. Scary 9-1-1 call involved.

Nibbled to death by ducks

I have 5 weeks to complete $(PROJECT_1), and if I keep getting interrupted, that will not get done (listening?). The end date is not slipping to compensate for these interruptions.

I won’t finish $(PROJECT_1) if I keep getting requests for rand($USELESS)

“…I am being nibbled to death by ducks…”

Secret pilot-link code commits

SUCCESS!

YES YES YES!

I can’t say any more at this point, until I get the code pulled into the project, but I have to thank a bunch of people for pushing and prodding me into the right place. mbp, overcode, n9mtb, judd, n1ffo, BobC, and kroah. Thanks for the inspiration.

Now to architect a solution involving what we’ve figured out.

I just love being able to do what I needed to do with a combination of pi-nredir, ethereal, -DDEBUG, and some other tools.

“..storm the castle walls…”

0.9.5 Release Is Imminent

Ugh.

Tedious work, manually documenting every function in a codebase. Definitely well worth it though, for “What Is To Come™”.

0.9.5 Release Is Imminent

What does the GPL REALLY stand for?

Tags:

sneakums, I know what the GPL stands for, but I was curious why he generalized it in such a fashion, nothing more.

our business” is in giving users a choice. I’ve had to correct dozens of people who view GNU/Linux as a competitor to Microsoft. We are fundamentally nothing more than an alternative, albeit a better one. Competing on a business or financial level is secondary to providing a more functional, robust solution for the users that use GNU/Linux.

Microsoft has a financially-driven business model, and clearly view the GPL and what it stands for as a threat to maintaining that revenue stream. (notice he did not use the term “Free Software” in his speech anywhere. It’s clear they want to keep pushing the “GPL == open == linux == that hacker that stole your password” mentality in the general user populous). The Free Sofware community is a socially-driven business model. It turns the whole monopolistic practices of a company like Microsoft on their head.

Education should be our next task. Educate the users, and not by slandering Microsoft, but with good, concise, down-to-earth examples of where GNU/Linux and Free Software is really benefiting the advance of technology, business, and the spread of information.

We’ve demonstrated that we can stand together to develop software to benefit the community, rallying together to advance the development of GNU/Linux. Now we must stand together as a non-technical community and begin our task of re-education where it really matters most.

Mundie and the “General Public License”

“…What it comes down to is that all this whining by Microsoft about “intellectual property” and “innovation” is merely an expression of their fear:

Microsoft has been reaping enormous profits with a faulty product, developed based on the inventions of others. In part, those were disequilibrium wages–artificially high, temporary profits. In part, they have been able to maintain them through questionable business practices.

Microsoft is afraid of competing in the real world, where margins are razor thin. Just like IBM, Ford, and other formerly grand companies, Microsoft needs to come back to reality sooner or later…”

Did anyone notice that Mundie calls the GPL the ‘General Public License’ here:

http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/comment/0,5859,2761605,00.html (grep for ‘general’)

I wonder if this was intentional, or if his ego prohibits him from really admitting the truth about our business.

How Palm screwed up the Palm m505

New Toy

I picked up a new Palm m505 handheld the other day at the local CompUSA for a nice cheap price of $449.00 USD.

I can only say I am totally unimpressed.

The screen is the dimmest screen I have ever seen. Yes, it’s transflective, but there’s no white, and it’s incredibly hard to see unless you’re in a dark closet with the backlight on. It is dimmer than my girlfriend’s Palm IIIc with the brightness setting all the way down.

It looks incredible in direct sunlight though.

Why the heck did they feel the need to decrease the diameter of the left side stylus rail hole (leaving the right side stylus rail hole intact)?

Contrary to popular (Palm) belief, there are still some left-handed people remaining in the free world. Even some right-handed people like myself prefer left-handed orientation on their PDA. Not only can you not put a stylus in there now, you can no longer use their included “leatherette” cover in the right side rail slot because the diameter of the rail which holds it in place is only about 1mm wide. Renders every single clip-on case enclosure for the Vx useless now. Great thinking.

Speaking of incompatibility, why did Palm feel it was necessary to turn a completely functional clip-on slot in the back of the device into two separate holes now?

Great, now my PalmVx GPS’ (2 of them) and my Minstrel clip-on wireless modem are useless as well, as is my regular modem. Every third-party clip-on and hardware add-on now needs to have a new version built to support this new device.

And what’s the deal with making the stylus itself being 2mm shorter in the m505?

Now I can’t go to the store and buy a pack of replacement stylii without getting a set for my Vx, and another set for my m505. They are identical stylii, except the m505 is 2mm shorter, and the Vx one will not fit in the m505 slot now. Wonderful.

Yes, the connector is different now as well. They needed to go to USB, and I can understand that, but what the hell is with those little hooks on the cradle, and the little “eyelet holes” in the back of the Palm? Who thought of that? Those things will probably fatigue into slots instead of holes in 1,000 cradlings of the Palm, rendering the hooks in the cradle itself useless.

Lastly, why is a device with a higher bit depth (16bpp) by an order of magnitude still being shipped with the same amount of memory as the 2bpp devices (8MB)?

Color applications which will work on this device will be larger for no other reason than they have color support, even if no new features are added to the app. Yes, the added colors look beautiful, and are appreciated, but please give us a platform that we can use to take advantage of them.

sigh

I don’t have the energy to continue to rant on and on here, but I believe this is the beginning of their demise. They’ve planned this road map, but it leads right into a wall.

They’re pissing a lot of people off, from hardware manufacturers to developers to commercial partners to third-party conduit developers and maintainers like myself. They may want to take two steps back and look at who supported whom here.

Palm, please remember that your product would be dead if it wasn’t for third party support, both in applications and in software/hardware/user support. That is a statistically-proven fact. I hope your numbers this quarter reflect these decisions of yours.

I can’t continue to be the voice box for those who can’t or won’t speak up about these things.

I’m exhausted.

Random ViewCVS errata

gstein, as one who uses ViewCVS very heavily on my cvs server (and shared a few emails with you personally), I’ve got a few quick suggestions:

  • It seems that setting mime_types_file has no affect on the rendering of the page. If there are PDF files, or Postscript, or images in my repository, and I want to view them, the browser renders them as ‘content-type=text’, no matter what I tell it to use.
  • some sort of code2html output, so I can link to not only a file with syntax highlighting, but link to a place in that file, by line (the equivalent of running ‘code2html -lc -t8 -N’ on a source file, for
    example)
  • While in the syntax-highlighted view of the file, a drop-down for each version in branches where that file appears would be nice on that page. If I’m currently looking at version 1.13, and want to see 1.12 and 1.10, a dropdown at the top (or bottom) to allow me to pick another branch where this file appears, and view its contents, would be nice.

But what am I doing, this isn’t ViewCVS’ bug reporting system, this is advogato =)

Great work gstein, keep it up!

Now I just need to find a better patch management solution and bug-reporting solution for my cvs, and I’m pretty much done (for this week anyway).

Anyone have any recommendations for a good bug reporting system I can use?

Lots-o-links-o-books

Tags:

Reading

Thanks to dave0, I now have a better place to purchase books

Here’s the books (fictional) I’ve managed to polish off in the past three weeks:

From the Corner of His Eye
by Dean R. Koontz

Seize the Night
by Dean R. Koontz

Night Moves (Tom Clancy’s Net Force, 3)
by Tom Clancy and Steve R. Pieczenik

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Trilogy)
by Ursula K. Le Guin, Ruth Robbins

I used to have so many books at my last place. I had to leave 14 boxes of books behind. Saddens me. This is all I could find around the apartment, or at the local store, or that Erika bought for me (thanks!)

It’s good to not be so focused on work though, but there’s this other pile sitting here next to my computer, growing and begging to be cut into (most technical, some not). I plan on cutting through them soon:

GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool
by Gary V. Vaughan, Ben Elliston, Tom Tromey, Ian Lance Taylor

Official Guide to Programming With Cgi.Pm
by Lincoln Stein

Dynamics of Software Development
by Jim McCarthy, Denis Gilbert

Mastering Regular Expressions: Powerful Techniques for Perl and Other Tools (O’Reilly Nutshell)
by Jeffrey E. Friedl and Andy Oram

Sams Teach Yourself C++ for Linux in 21 Days
by Jesse Liberty, David B. Horvath

Graphical Applications with Tcl & TK
by Eric Foster-Johnson

XML Bible
by Elliotte Rusty Harold and Elliote Rusty
Harold

Beginning PHP4
by Chris Lea, Wankyu Choi, Allan Kent, Ganesh Prasad and Chris Ullman

MySQL
by Paul DuBois, Michael Widenius

The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner and Tom Peters

Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader
by Joan Goldsmith and Warren G. Bennis

Multilunguality

I’m also trying to teach myself German and Italian. I think I may put them into active use some day soon.

I bought these two multimedia courses at CompUSA here in San Bruno:

Instant Immersion German

Instant Immersion Italian

Japanese is next.

I’m just so exhausted with learning, fighting, defending, coding, fixing, and dealing with an insurmountable amount of uncertainty looming over me every day with ${COMPANY}.

Such a productive weekend.

I wish the liars and deceitful people pounding my back would learn to see the light of truth.

Could I be tasting life again?

Handera 330 POSE sources posted

Handera 330 POSE sources posted

one down and one to go

Great work guys, special thanks to Mike W. at Handera

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