Archive for January, 2001

SuperBoring 2001

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Its no secret, I hate the SuperBowl. It represents everything I hate about manipulation, money, and greed. It’s practically a national holiday now.

Presenting the instant replays in “Matrix-style” doesn’t mean that now they’re going to attract the analytical technology sector. I have better things to do with my time. For what they spend on 15 seconds of commercial time could buy me a nice house out here in the Bay Area.

I’m so glad I don’t own a television.

Perl and Python Experts Required, Apply Within

It’s that time again. Time to canvas the technology masses to help us work out the bugs in the Python parser for Plucker, and in the Perl version as well. The perl version as it stands now (though incomplete) is still about 700% faster in execution time than the Python counterpart, based on timings used purely on the gather-content portion of the code.

I don’t know enough about Python yet to help with that part, and some of the things in perl I’m trying to do are a bit outside of my current skill level.

Pain At 40,000 Feet

Another plane flight to the other coast. Let’s hope my ears and headaches can handle the altitude. I should be racking up these miles, but I never end up flying on the same airline. Ugh. I’ve got over 20,000 in the past year alone. Could I bring my snowboard and stay the weekend? Maybe my mountain-bike? I need to get out more.

Is she going to come out and see me?

So once again, my gut was right.

My friend Casey once told me:

“If you have all the facts, and it still doesn’t make sense, you’re being lied to…”

So much going on, I can’t thnk of a title for this post

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Linuxworld Expo 2001

Well, it’s that time again. Time to rack my brains at the last minute to come up with something so incredibly outstanding that people will say “Huh? What did he just say?”. My talk is on the Linuxcare
Bootable Business Card
this year.

A lot has changed, and a lot will be mutating into this behemoth. It’s a good thing. Come see the show. We updated a ton of things, but also ended up breaking a lot of other things. D’OH! We’ve already fixed a major number of items, and will be providing a fixed ISO location at LWE.

Long Time No Post

Well, $PROJECT[1] is tailing off, and finally I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment. I still have a TON of overdue tasks to deal with, but one bite at a time, I’ll get them done. The new Plucker Portal is coming along nicely. You can see some of the progress here:

I’ve changed the way the Plucker Configuration Builder looks:

Screenshot Un and
Screenshot Deux

I’ve been thinking about sprinkling some Javascript into it to make it more Wizard-like, but I hate Javascript, and it’s unpredictability on various browsers. Only as a last resort.

Too many community responsibilities have been laid by the wayside. I can’t let this happen. Just as much as I have a responsibility to our clients, I also have a responsibility to the community.


We’re now linked from Michael Holve’s Linux Portal site in various capacities. He linked to Plucker from his links frame also. Thanks Michael. I emailed him about a feature-add I wanted to put on this portal page so we could bring it into Plucker without images. I asked for the implementation of ALT tags on the page, and within an hour, he had emailed me back, and added them. Now that’s the internet at work!


It seems as though Evolution is shaping up. I managed to fix some of my bugs and slowdowns with it, and it’s aaaaaaalmost usable for me. Until I can successfully sync any of my Palms to it, I can’t use it full time. There’s still some small buglets with gnome-pilot. I’ll see jpr and ettore at LWE, so I’ll chat with them about it. It seems to barf on every conduit except Calendar. Not good.

The Only One

Vacation in Keystone Colorado was somewhat relaxing, although I didn’t really get into the swing of things until Wednesday. I’m going to have to claim off 3 days of my vacation time to work, and expense out those horridly expensive phone calls to retrieve my email. We’ll just bill it off anyway, since it’s project related. Came off the vacation little sore from some pretty hard falls on the mountain (3.7 mile runs), but it was fun. I can’t wait to get back on the snow again, and get back into snowboarding more often.

Erika is finally moved out of the house. Well, moved a second time, that is. Manipulative landlords needed to be dealt with. Now she has her own place in town, and is settling in. Happiness will follow.

My lease is up in May, so I’m hoping to be out of here into a new place with her in San Francisco very soon. I want a nice, large, spacious flat or studio. Something to grow into, and out of. We both need time to cool off right now. Stabilize. I hope the stress of “certain events” doesn’t rip us apart. I have to be the strength for both of us when we’re both feeling weak. She is me, and I am her.


Well, as many have heard, we’re being acquired. I am optomistic about it’s possibilities. It’s like taking on an orphaned child. We have the power to shape and mold the combined company into something very powerful. We’ve been slinged through enough mud, let’s get some sunshine into our cubes now (literally and figuratively). Too many good people have been slain by the sword. No more.

I’m still not on the guru

Packet Loss

I’m still getting 70% or more packet loss to gnu-designs, and I’ve proven that the problem exists upstream of us, at a providers router. I’ve emailed him, and he shrugged it off, since it’s not directly affecting him. ARG! It’s affecting about 30 domains I host, as well as my production work, my cvs, and my development projects.


The [I] in ISP Must Mean Inept

My ISP has now reached the last straw. They have been slowly blocking ports through their network now, so that I can no longer use ports 21, 22, 25, 53 or 6667. This means no ftp, ssh, smtp, or irc without intricate tunneling. I’ve emailed them without a single response. Since they bought out my last ISP’s dialup accounts, and transparently moved them over, I was never told of this, and certainly would not have agreed to this change. I basically told them to correct their “errors”, or I would simply cancel my account, and deny all previous charges as fraudulent on my credit card. Again, no response.

I can’t think of anything else, but there’s a lot more to write. More later, I suppose. Until then, for users of Plucker, I’ve been cooking up some test content and little ebook-style samples to try in Plucker. Go here and here to grab them and test them out. They’re all compressed with SysZLib, so you’ll need that and the viewer application to make it work, but it’s well worth it.

I’m hoping to release pilot-link at Linuxworld Expo, as well as get my “Secure CVS” slides started.

“Slowly I’ll whittle this tree into a toothpick…”

Hunger takes me.

OpenFlock, code, monkeys and keyboards


dsifry: I created a project for OpenFlock here. Add yourself. Your sites aren’t routing, and only one is up, with lots of dead links. Yes, I know, we all have no time left. Once I clear my plate, I can help you with this if you still need it.


Have to work on my Secure CVS talk. Seems that the need for anonymous ssh access to a secured CVS in a chrooted jail with non-privileged accounts and quotas is getting more and more popular. Well, maybe not, but some people need it, namely me, for $PROJECT[937].


More perl goo for my portal.

if ($nummatches > 0) {
   $lastmatch = $max+($set-1)*$max;
   $lastmatch = $nummatches if ($lastmatch>$nummatches);
   for ($i=($set-1)*$max;$i<$lastmatch;$i++) {
      $file = $matches[$i];
      $ip1 = $i+1;
      my($ksize) = ($sizes{$file}/1000);
      $size = &round($ksize,1);
      $date = &formattedDate($dates{$file});
      # convert the url for the forum messages
      $url = $file;
      foreach $dir (keys(%forums)) {
         if ($file =~ /$dir/ && $file =~ /(.*)/(.*).txt/)
            $url = "$forums{$dir}?msg=$2";
      $resultstr .= "<p><b>$ip1.</b><a
      $resultstr .= "<br /><b>URL:</b>
      $resultstr .= "<br /><b>Size:</b>
${size}KB, <b>Date:</b> $today_date";
   $numsets = int($nummatches/$max)+1;
   $next = $set+1;
   $previous = $set-1;
   $qstr =~ s/&set=(.*[0-9])//;
   $qstr = "$config{'scriptsearch'}?$qstr&set=";


I hate shopping around for cheap flights. Can’t someone get this scam in order? Guliani could probably get the Mob in line and get this thing regulated. One site has a flight for $700.00, and another has the same flight for $408.00. ARG!


Some days, I feel this incredible rush of productivity. Today was one of those days. Other days, I just feel like everyone else was productive, because I was doing their job for them, forgoing my own responsibilities.

No more! I can’t be responsible for voluntary ineptitude.

Employee Retention

We lost another one. I fear that if we don’t start treating employee retention as an important topic, we won’t have many more
employees left to retain.

“I can’t do everything, I can only do enough…”


Contributions are starting to come in for pilot-link now. A few OS/2 users are contributing patches. This is great! Keep up the incredible work guys.

n9mtb is going to help us shore up the python code in the tree now as well.

Stumbled across this yesterday. Looks like a good start for a server-based clipping application server. I’ve started something similar here about a year ago, though not nearly as thorough. I like the term “renderings” regarding the transcoding of the web content. Makes more sense then “channels” that AvantGo uses.

Plucker Desktop Buddy needs some TLC. Any GNOME guys want to help me fix this?

Someone gave me yet another idea for a Palm application today. A Flash viewer! Now that we have Open SWF, this should be easier. I’ll stick it on the long-term TODO list.

Anyone want to volunteer some time to come up with a good technically accurate Functional Requirements Specification for this?

USA Today interview at Palmsource conference


Hey look! I was in USA Today! Note to self: Never talk to anyone at PalmSource. He never presented himself as a reporter when he was at the booth talking small-talk to me.

dhd: I feel your pain wrt telecommunications companies. I can make long-distance calls, but not local calls, because my “local long distance” charges exceeded 75% of some threshold I was never told about. Even to this day, they can’t tell me what that threshold is.

ianmacd: I think something “odd” has happened to my access at the Palm Pavilion. I now no longer have access to anything with my login that I can’t get publicly through the normal seeding pages. It would appear as though I now have less access than before. johnm Did I piss someone off?

jpr: I saw your abstract. If I can finagle it from work, I’ll try to make it to OLS to catch your talk. I promise I won’t heckle like I did over there. I have way too much on my plate right now, so I don’t think I’ll be submitting any papers this year for that.

New Years


I coded my butt off.

The results of the new Plucker Portal will be live soon. The Perl major hurdles are done. I might start playing with Text::Template soon too. Looks promising. I hope they’re not just shrouding eval in a module though.

Some of my slurped ViewCVS redirection:

  my $redirect = substr $path, 5; # drop "/cvs/";
  my $cvs_info;
  my $loop = 5; # nuke the redirect loop

do {
 local $ENV{SCRIPT_NAME} = "$script/cvs"; 
 local $ENV{PATH_INFO} = $redirect || '/';
 $cvs_info = $CVS_PATH 2>/dev/null;
 ($redirect) = $cvs_info =~ m{  

 } while (defined $redirect and $loop--);

  for ($cvs_info) {
 if (m#^Content-Type: text/plain#) {
    $_ = (split / /, $_, 2)[1];

 $_ = "<pre>$_</pre>";
 } else {
 print $cvs_info;


Looks like these are my plans for January:

  • 1-13-2001 to 1-22-2001: Fly from SF to Colorado for vacation with Erika
  • 1-22-2001 to 1-29-2001: Fly from Colorado back to SF for training at Linuxcare SF facility
  • 1-29-2001 to 2-3-2001: Fly from SF to New York for Linuxworld Expo

“How Do You Eat An Elephant?”

Somewhere in here, I have to find time to get the BBC cvs up and working for public development, prepare my slides for LWE, release pilot-link 0.9.5, get my Sony Clie kernel module finished, complete two lingering HOWTOs (perhaps I can do these on the airplanes?), shim in JogDial and MemoryStick support into Plucker, and lots more.

And that work thing. Lots of projects there too. Have to get the final report out for $PROJECT[1], the $PROJECT[2] serial alarm daemon, and $PROJECT[3] for the Wine stuff. Can’t say any more at this point.

Dysfunctional Family Life

I managed to find my dad on the net.

That’s oddly surreal. He left me when I was 3 years old. I wonder if he even knows I exist. Or does he even care. I was talking to a guy in #perl on irc, and he said my last name seemed familiar, and that his stepfather’s last name was the same as mine. After some digging, I realized that this guy’s stepfather was my father’s brother. Weeeeeird.

I have a brother and a mother somewhere too. I wonder where they are.

Pilot Goo

If anyone has any ideas for conduits for pilot-link or gnome-pilot, let me know. I’ve posted my wish list here. Consider it an ad-hoc TODO list.

Toys, toys toys!


    I managed to get to the local CompUSA here in town, and picked up a new Sony CLIE handheld. This one has a jogdial, and Memory Stick external upgradable storage. It comes with an additional 8-meg stick of memory, but I opted to get an additional 64 megs for use with Plucker and some other apps I’ll be testing on it. Right now you can’t run applications from it, but you can use it for DOC and db storage.

    After tearing open the box, and sticking in a new 64-meg Memory Stick, I charged it up and tried some hacking. It comes with a USB cradle (arg!). I managed to rape the usbserial.c code and hack together a clie.o module. It “almost” worked. Just a few more tweaks, and I think I’ll get it.

    I think supporting the Jogdial in Plucker is going to be next, with the jogdial-in function (pressing the jogdial button in) setting a “chevron” for bookmarks in the page.

    That was day one with the unit. Wait until the weekend comes! I’ll work with kroah on it and see what we can come up with. I want to “own” this one. My First Kernel Module.

Palm again…

    Looks like even though I’ve signed and delivered several NDA agreements to Palm® over 12 months ago, they still refuse to give me full developer access to their Pavilion. I can only get to the OS 3.5 stuff, and their phone system is atroscious. It tells me to hold for an operator, then hangs up on me. Every time. One of my coworkers signed up, faxed in some NDAs, and had his full OS4 access within an hour. Apparently I have to sign, and snail mail two copies of three separate NDA agreements in order to gain access. WTF?!


    Here’s a screenshot of the new layout I’m working on. Looks mighty sweet.


    Pushing 22GB of data across a potentially flawed NIC driver over rsync is not fun, not when you fill up the drive by accident. D’OH!


    Travel sucks. Going to Colorado in January, then New York, then back to SF. I hate flying.

Post Christmas Blues

grog: I’m sorry about your recent loss. Heartfelt apologies go out to you and Yvonne.

Christmas is over

    It’s funny to see how fast people get Christmas over with. Christmas starts sometime in July (if the department store displays are to be believed), and yet the day after Christmas, trees are on the curbs, husbands are winding up coils of lights from the bushes, and it seems to be over.

    …except when you return to the workplace. Monday morning was barren. I think there were 12 people total in the office, and I was 1 of them.


    Looks like I have a nice, organized, full plate of tasks to bite into for the next quarter. I’ll not list them here, but quite a bit of Palm® hacking will be in order. If I get some time, I might look into prc-tools, and try to help johnm out with
    that at some point. Anyone else who wants to jump in, by all means…


    boris: I feel for you with the telco madness.

    Pacific Bell certainly has a bug up their ass about me having phone service with them. I had similar problems back in CT with SNET.

    I started phone service with Pacific Bell back when I moved here, had it for a week, then house-sat for dsifry for a full month. When I returned, my phone bill at home had grown to $237.00, and was terminated. None of the numbers I called were my own (largely because I was not even at home that entire month). After arguing with them to waive this deposit to restore service, I just got service again (different number,
    different options) 3 weeks ago. Promptly on Monday morning at 7:00am, they once again terminated my service, before I even got my first statement on that number, and wanted me to pay another $90.00 deposit to restore service.

    I really don’t want to resort to some knowledge I’ve “obtained” in my past (for educational purposes only) to continue to make phone calls. I still have some “equipment” at the house.. Really guys, get a clue please.


    Lately my time has been spent investigating the difference between the Intel
    eepro/100 driver
    and the Becker driver. Have to do some pseudocode workarounds here for a client. Can’t say more at this point.


    I’ve been tinkering with some really complex HTML pages lately, trying to get them to validate against the spec at Fun, and not.

Lots to do, not enough time, you know the rest…

Sleep is for Mortals

3:23 am, PST (or “Sleep is for Mortals”)

  • I had this book awhile back called Wide Awake At 3 AM” by Richard Coleman, and it was about using a revolving wake period (add an hour each day, go to sleep an hour later) to increase the amount of time you stay awake. Supposed to be a behavior mod to enhance productivity. Most people aren’t wealthy enough to be able to do that, and maintain a job.

    But what if you don’t sleep AT ALL? I hate what that car accident in 1992 has done to me, and at the same time, it’s the best thing it could have ever done to me.

    Since I only put in less than 5 full hours of rest per week (I’m completely unable to achieve REM at all, lilo believes this is the result of my TBI in 1992, and resulted in what he believes is an undiagnosed overactive reticulum), as long as I stay away from boredom, and keep myself fed, I’m doing good. Very particular splits of mental and physical rest are all I need.

    Found some interesting information here on this whole sleep disorder thing related to TBI.

    “Boredom is the hardest task to concentrate on”

Internet 6.0

  • I was working on a new site design today, which actually came out REALLY well. I’m pretty impressed with the result. More on this later, but I found a neat tool while asking the guys in #perl too many convoluted perl questions. In the middle of this madness, I found Bluefish, vi, GyrosCoPe (yes, it’s really spelled that way), and an assortment of browsers, and you can pretty much do anything. Table wizards are a great help.

    “AOL now ships the Internet on CDROM. It’s called Internet version 6.0”

In the PalmĀ® of my…

  • pilot-link.0.9.5 errata went out on Sunday. I hope to get enough feedback to get this rolled out within the next week or two. I would have loved to have cut a release by Christmas, but that wasn’t in the cards.

Christmas Passed

  • Another Christmas has come and gone. I hope everyone that celebrated some sort of holiday this season got what they wanted. Joy or toys. I should hit the mall one of these days and go shopping for some new toys to outfit myself with.

    I spent the long weekend coding. And coding. And coding. And… ah, enough of that.


  • Work is going to be fun these next two months. Whee. Much to do with the BBC, some non-public internal projects, OLS, Linuxworld in New York, and lots more writing and coding.


  • schoen, I think I can sympathize with you now. My arms have been cramping up a lot lately. No pain associated, but my fingers seem to hit the wrong keys now as I type. It’s that same feeling you get when you’ve been out in the snow without gloves for too long. Stiff. I hope I don’t go into some sort of RSI injury session. Without use of these hands, I am pretty much rendered useless.


  • I’m done with this severe diet modification. I looked in the mirror the other day, and saw a skeleton looking back. I must have lost 20lbs, and I’m only 175lbs. on a good day.

    On the plus side, I’ve never been mentally sharper, or looked as healthy. I look 10 years younger (and I probably weigh as much as I did 10 years ago). Time to do some real in-depth nutrient research and approach this much more methodically. As hectic as this was, I am convinced.

    I wonder if Erika can help me along this path of self-discovery. Her background is perfect in this area.

    I had a huge bowl of my “Nuclear Spaghetti” today (Dave’s Insanity in the boiling water, 1/2 tbsp of mayonnaise (for a cremier
    sauce), chunky sauce of choice, some other ingredients, boil, eat, burn).

    I definitely miss the taste of good food.

Christmas was productive, work is going to be speedily accelerating, things are looking up with Erika, I’m cutting away at my growing list of projects and overdue tasks… things are looking good. Now I’ll have to get in an accident or get pulled over, or my truck will blow up or something. It’ll balance all this chewy wholesome goodness with some catastrophic act in my life.

Karma is never on my side.

Trucksportation, holidays and hacking


“I just love that gasoline smell!”

Wait, no I don’t.


I finally got it working, but there’s still that annoying font bug. It sync’s with my Palms. I don’t really like the fact that it requires I use gnome-pilot to get my data. I don’t like running that daemon. I have to get a conduit in pilot-link for this.

Starting the daemon, sync’ing my data, and killing the daemon is not a model I want to continue to use. Still needs proper category support in the Contact records and a few other tweaks. Not quite production ready yet.

Also, what are we doing about group calendaring or rfc2447 compliance. Let’s start coming up with a good solution here.


Things appear to be stabilizing. I just wish I was.

That Work Thing

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

Work continues to be interesting. Unfortunately, there’s some internal projects I can’t elaborate on here. It’s rapidly become a great test of my mental strength and tolerance.

“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.”


I’m unmotivated.

I found a bug in pilot-addresses, and some other redesign problems. The good news is that it appears that there are still several people successfully running 0.9.5 under OS/2. Small problems, but it works. Another “When I Get Time™” fix.

ianmacd, we should get you started on some small development tasks on the Palm©. As you know, there’s a ton of work out here in that space. I have a certain
I think you could help us with.

It seems that my internal Linuxcare email diary from PalmSource 2000 made it’s way into the hands of PalmPower Magazine, unaltered. How it got there, I don’t know, but now they’re asking me to print it in their magazine.

Let me be clear: “If you print that material without my permission, you put your entire company in a very ugly legal liability situation.”

AvantGo is still at it on my server. This time they’re trying to subvert my $HTTP_REFERER tricks. They don’t realize what I’ve got running on that box. I just love seeing this stuff. A small reminder guys, I stay on top of my logs, and now so do they.


  • Have to work on my CVS For Secure Development talk.
  • BBC Slides for LinuxWorld in New York.
  • OLS Paper
  • pilot-link fix, OS/2 builds, Autoconfiscation
  • Capture all of my tweaks in the IBM Thinkpad HOWTO
  • Finish the Secure Wavelan HOWTO
  • Complete work on the Palm PPP HOWTO
  • Begin the Palm, Linux HOWTO. The old one needs a serious update. Makes sense to do a complete rewrite from the ground up.

logic: well put:

“Christmas: Was there a class I missed out on in grade school that failed to prepare me for the efficient and thoughtful acquisition of gifts for significant others during holiday seasons?”

Take a breath, step back, relax.

I need to get back into writing. I’ve got so much work I need to capture on paper (electronically) and distribute to the community.

Bad Behavior has blocked 102 access attempts in the last 7 days.