Archive for February, 2001

28 Feb 2001



It’s time to get out of the cube and into the Big Blue Room and go biking, camping, snowboarding, running, whatever. Next weekend will definitely be fun.

There are rougly three aspects to my life:

  • Work
  • Play
  • Family (except that I’m not married and have no children, and “girlfriend” might be somewhere between “Play” and “Family”

Her birthday is coming up. We’ve missed too many holidays apart, so I’ll try to do what I can to make this one special, given unbelievably constrained funds at the present time. At least my round-trip tickets from one coast to the other on 10 days notice (3,051 miles) were $200.00, saving $1206.25 on the full fare. Thanks to Priceline, of course.

Project Roundup

Well, it looks like the new Plucker website is a success so far. Still some small minor tweaks to do, but overall, it’s been doing well. 11,997 hits on it’s first night, nearly 13,000 the next day, and pretty stable on the third day.

Don’t forget to help out with the Plucker Artwork Contest. We need some T-Shirt ideas. Templates are available on the site, and I’ll be putting up everyone’s ideas there for everyone to see.

Oh, and go play in the Plucker Samples Section. I need some more ideas, content, stories, HOWTOs, etc. Just send them to me directly.

I also managed to squeak out a few more patches into pilot-link, and get a release of pre5 on the website. Download it if you’re using 0.9.3 and use this for now until the final version is released. Just a few more additions to the code, and I’m going to cut it, if there’s no major breakage. It fixes a lot of problems people have had, and it’s going to be a mandatory upgrade when it’s released.

The CVS Seminar I am going to be giving at the offices seems to have grown in interest, and now it may be turned into a University Course to deliver to partners. Doesn’t matter either way to me, since I’ll be retaining the rights to the material, so it comes with me. This also means I can turn it into a book. There’s really no good in-depth books out there on CVS, including this one and this
. Depressing. I’m going to try to fix that.

Looks like there are some other new projects coming my way. I just hope I’m given the time and flexibility to dig into them. Lots of new chewy ideas, just need to start coding away and implementing them.

“How do you eat an elephant?”

More Public Speaking

Looks like I’m going to be flying around again speaking at CLIQ, the Colorado Linux Info Quest. I’ve never been on a panel before, so this should be interesting. I’ll be on the panel with Havoc Pennington, Andy Hertzfeld of Eazel, and others.

Sounds like fun.

Of course I’m terrified.

I’ve never done slides or a presentation on pilot-link before. Time to get cracking!

At least I can use my iPAQ now to remotely control my MagicPoint presentation on my laptop over 802.11 wireless. Whee! The joys of geek toys!

Why do people even use Microsoft products anymore, really. I mean with all the instability, patches, and blatently open security holes in it. Even PowerPoint has security holes now… How did that even get past QA?

We need a “VBA Viruses For Dummies” or “Writing Successful Microsoft Viruses in 24 Hours” book on the open market. Any takers?

I have to laugh though, I was in my local CompUSA recently, and someone was commenting on my iPAQ running linux, and my ThinkGeek ultra-spiffy perl t-shirt, and this guy says:

(him) “Why don’t you run Windows, it’s so much better than that Linux stuff”

(me) “Why do I need Windows, I already have a Playstation…”

(him) <blank stare>

(me) “In a few years, when their OS gets to the point where it actually becomes useful, though highly unlikely, I might consider it, but that’s probably 5-10 years off, and I have work to do now. I can do exponentially more things with Linux as it existed a year ago than I can with Windows today.”

(me) <walks away>

Picture seeing this tall, ominous-looking person covered in tattoos saying this to “Joe User(tm)” in a CompUSA. It’s always funny when it happens.

Ok, that’s enough for now.

2:11AM PST

Time to get some food, and get some more code cranked out before I have to roll back into the cube at 7:00AM PST.

I hate driving.

I hate my truck.

Plucker Website

5:40 am PST


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3:12 am

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More to come in a few hours.

Cathedral and the Bazaar in Plucker format


I don’t have much time tonight to post, but…

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

dirtyrat, I just emailed this to you as well, but for the rest, I’ve converted it into Plucker format (took 10 seconds to spider and convert). Now everyone can enjoy it!

The Cathedral and the Bazaar in Plucker format!

The viewer (you need one of these)

The compression lib (I compressed the text, so you’ll need this also)

I built it with one command:

plucker-build -f /tmp/catb -H "" --zlib-compression --bpp=4 --stayonhost

thrase Plucker cvs checkout

thrase, you might want to grab plucker-1.1beta1.tar.gz if you want the latest build of Plucker, or hit the cvs.

cvs -d -z3 co plucker

(password is nothing, just hit ENTER)

Welcome aboard!

LUG, BOF, Seminars and Talks


I held my first-ever BOF on Group/Shared Calendaring under linux and the State of Affairs. Looks like there’s a lot of really neat stuff to work on here. We’re in the beginning stages of stitching it all together (as is everyone else). My not-even-complete slides are here (there are only 4 of them for now). I’ll be updating them as the weeks roll by. The next BOF we have will be externally open to the public and we’ll provide a Sprint dial-in line for those who want to join in.

I have several more talks to give, both internal and externally. I’m still working out the hundreds of slides for my CVS talk at the main Linuxcare offices. It was going to be a full 8-hour session, but now I think I’m going to split it into two days of four hours each, perhaps with some ‘homework’ on the first day for those in attendance.

Next talk is on the migration of Windows Applications and Data Interchange to Linux. It should get some people stuck in the mud at work to think about running a proper OS. Windows users are propagating, and it has to stop.

My LWE proposal is in for August’s Linuxworld Expo at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’ll be a shortened version of my Secure CVS for Distributed Development Projects talk that I’m giving at work


My life is rife with uncertainty…
…and I do not like it.

I’d like to know what’s going on with [CENSORED]

I will not lose her, and everything else in my life, most of all my sanity, for this.


schoen, not to worry. The BBC will survive, and we will manage through these resource-constrained times. We just need some more time to focus. I seem to be so distracted with a million things, I’m whittling them down one by one.

“Nibbled to death by ducks…”

I need a sense of accomplishment.

Depression crawls closer.

I must be strong.

Distracting hacking, BBC development, Palm stuff Distracting Hacking


2:14:53AM PST

Distracting Hacking

Tonight I managed to get a quick and dirty hack out to get the JPilot Backup Plugin working with the latest JPilot version. I’ll work on a much cleaner version later on this week if I get some spare cycles. There’s still some minor GUI tweaks I’d like to do to it. I’m not sure I like the little status window at the bottom. I’ll monkey with a status bar hack or some progress bar stuff later.

You can find the small hacky patch here.

I managed to get my external serial modem working over the Keyspan Serial->USB adapter, so now I can use my Palm on the serial port. Just some more testing. I need to figure out why the kernel module for it is locked at 9600. Perhaps some mods to modprobe a new speed into it would be in order. hugh, any ideas?

So far, I’ve been able to get three consecutive mouses working under X (at the *SAME* time, USB, PS/2, Trackstick), my modem or any other device on the Keyspan adapter reliably, sound, IrDA, USB, and some other small goodies consectutively on this laptop. Now it’s time to get some of this Thinkpad Hackery documented, so others can take advantage of it and play with devfs, reiser, and some of the kernel level crypto stuff.

ianmacd has this all down pat now, apparently, so I’ll trade him some CVS knowledge for his FreeS/WAN tricks.

Pain Comes In Many Forms
..and I hope this is the end of mine…

BBC Development

I’ve now taken a stand and stepped up to the plate to lead the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card project. Now that Duncan Mackinnon can no longer help us from the inside, I hope he will continue to help us in the community. It will continue onward, no matter what we are called, or who we are maintained by. Between schoen, ianmacd and myself, we will ensure the success of this.

Believe in that.

Seminar’ige (CVS, Group Calendaring, Windows Migration)

Well, it seems that I’m going to have to persue some SGML expertise to get my presentation done up for people to follow on my CVS talk internally. Once again, a wrench in the works, since Ancilla was one of the unfortunate ones to go on Friday. She was the one who tirelessly set up these internal talks, gathered the respondees, and tended to the projector, keys, and all of the organization. I’m trying to find someone to help me with this before my talk. I’m going to have to split the talk into two separate days, four hours each, instead of one grueling day on a weekend of 8 hours. Maybe I’ll have some ‘homework’ for the people who attend on Day One.

Two more seminars have come to mind recently, which I’ll have to begin working on soon:

  1. Migrating From Windows (replete with full conversion examples, multiple options for Word docs, Excel, mail, etc like the migration from Word to Abiword or StarOffice/OpenOffice, Excel to Gnumeric, yadda yadda.)
  2. How To Use Your Equipment (hardware hackery, centering on our “Standard Builds” and Thinkpads for the moment)
  3. I’ve scheduled a BOF this week which I’ll be chairing on “The State of Group Calendaring”. I’d like to get some other outside people to dial in to help us with this. Maybe I can do a LUG on it at FourSeas.

Advogato Wishlist #247

  1. Why is there no search option on Advogato?
  2. Why do we not have <project>foo</project> tags?
  3. Why does the Login page not give me a ‘Post Diary’ option on the success page? I have to strike the success portion of the URI and reload. Ugly.
  4. No <code> #include <foo.h> </code> tags? <pre> </pre> isn’t good enough.
  5. Can someone say <a name=#foo> tags to reference a specific day’s entry?
  6. Why does this happen?

Palm Stuff

Lots of goodies coming around the horizon. Anyone who can lend some cycles, either in coding expertise, documentation, or anything (even pointers to some HOWTO documents) would be greatly appreciated. Here’s what I’ve got planned:

  1. pilot-link 0.9.5 release
  2. Various other conduits
  3. XML outputs for pilot-link, pxd (pilot-xfer daemon)
  4. New conduit to sync your Palm to a cvs server (local or networked)
  5. Malsync updates (should help fix the Vindigo problems).
  6. gnome-pilot updates for Calendar, Categories, and some other goodies. jpr and ettore are working on this one. Teaming up on this is crucial to it’s success.
  7. Plucker Portal
  8. Work on the perl spider for Plucker
  9. Plucker Desktop Buddy
  10. Palmvogato. Yes, a way for you to enter your daily diary in your Palm, sync, and have it posted to the server. Makes sense if you’re on the road and want to still keep a record of your daily activities.
  11. gnutrition conduit for the Palm. merge with on-Palm shopping lists.
  12. Finish my Palm PPP HOWTO.
  13. Strip gnome-pilot conduit fixed. It exists, just in a broken state.
  14. Finish my Sony Clie USB kernel module.

The Writing Was On The….Web?

I’ve decided to begin putting my writings online for people to enjoy. Maybe I’ll do some sort of “page-a-day” story site or something, and let people jump onboard and read what I have. I’ll be fun, I promise. I still have lots of ideas in this space.. Celiac Times, some sort of Linux/Palm column, maybe some short fiction stories, and of course, the much-sought-for autobiography. I’ve got so much crazy things that have happened in my life, more than a dozen people have asked me to put them to paper, they’re so insanely unbelievable. Anyone who has spent more than a day with me knows that they’re all valid. Time to start penning my memoirs.

EEK! I’m turning 30 in less than 5 months!!


Lots more new stuff on the horizon. I hope I can devote some spare cycles to getting it all done in time. At some point, I have to deal with moving my whole life again to another location closer to San Francisco, moving Erika here with me (yes?), and putting myself through school, fixing my health and my teeth, blah blah… it’s all boring and I’ll spare you this time. This year is going to be a huge, productive year of reinvention, and churning out so much code it’ll be coming out of my ears.

If I have time…

Last-minute Christmas stuff


“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.”

I sit.
I code.
I wither.

I’ve never had a Christmas, and this year is no exception (not by choice). Looks like New Years isn’t going to find me in New York City this year. That will be the first time I miss that in 6 years straight. Last year in Times Square was a blast. I took the Metro North down with elorg.

Erika, I hope your Christmas is as happy as you hoped. You are wanted and needed by many people, and I’m only one of them.


Playing with a very cool new layout idea I had for the Plucker site. There’s a new site launch coming up. I can’t quite get the “compartments” laid out right. Weird hash array references. Damn logic. I can’t process thought right now.

sub content {
if (exists $content{$action}) {
   if (ref $content{$action} eq "ARRAY") {
      for my $sub (@{$content{$action}}) {
   } else {
} else {


my $sub = do {     
   local $^W = 0;
    $content{$action} || &blank_content_area;

I’m sure dhd would be able to help me with it.


The stomach has stopped growling as much as before, but now I definately feel some very specific physical effects of my little diet experiment. I am much “weaker” when I’m up and around. It seems like my joints are a bit less padded.

Walking down stairs feels like jamming my knees and hips now. I’m about to give up on this, and persue some focused eating habits with small, hyper-nutritious meals. It’s also played havoc with my rest periods.

It’s clear that my mind is an order of magnitude sharper with substantially decreased nutrition, however my body suffers. I’m not sure how to balance this out, or how far it can go.

Mountains of South City

I should get out of the house more. I really hate driving. The stress with the truck, and the threat of being stopped by the locals keeps me at home.

My bike seems to be calling out for me to get back on it and find a local trail. If anyone wants to go riding, and live in the Bay Area, contact me. I’m pretty gonzo in the woods, the more technical the better. So far, all I could find was this for a trail map.

I wonder if my PalmV gps would be handy in the woods out here.


Too much lingering. I’m trying to cut out the larger of the projects from my plate, so I can focus on the much more interesting projects. I bit too much off at once. Seems every time I ask for some assistance, people vanish, then complain that I’m not doing enough. I don’t really feel wanted when things get like that.

Stress is at an all-time high. Must relax.


  • Web stuff
  • pilot-link stuff
  • HOWTO stuff
  • truck stuff
  • tax stuff
  • Erika stuff
  • apartment stuff
  • food stuff
  • computer stuff
  • perl stuff
  • stuff stuff!

Lastly, for those who celebrate some sort of holiday this season, HAPPY HOLIDAY!

Phone Rape

Phone Rape

I just received my January phone bill from PacBell. Total amount: $1294.18!!!!

Apparently they believe that I spent 8588.0 minutes on the phone last month. That’s sort of odd, considering I was in New York at LinuxWorld for about 8 or 9 of those days.

There will be a very loud session between myself and them. Last month, they ‘suspended’ my service because my bill had exceeded $174.00, but now they seem to think it’s ok to let me continue to happily dial along with a $1294.18 balance.

I need to find a local ISP in the Bay Area. Seems nobody has 650 dialups, and anything outside of about a mile radius of me is a “local long distance” call, so I get nailed with 0.15/minute during the nights and evenings and .30 during the day.

Anyone know any ISPs I could look into (that accept dialup, since DSL is not available here). I’m not that close to my COs (Central Office).

California is definately the worst place I’ve ever seen for bandwidth. WAY to spotty and random, and with these microscopic calling areas, it’s worse.

Eating is unhealthy

It seems that my ‘Caloric Restriction’ tests on myself were overwhelmingly successful, however now I’ve put myself into a very dangerous position of anemia. I’m seeing some aftereffects of that ‘experiment’. Fatigue, frustration, short temper, headaches, cloudy head. All of these are directly related to an extreme iron deficiency.

We’ll see what the doctor thinks.

I’m going to approach this much more scientifically soon. I need to get Gnutrition working on my box again. I think I broke MySQL on my box. Ack!

It would be nice if I could also sync Gnutrition with my Palm-side shopping list, so I could keep track of what goes where. Maybe a version for Celiacs too?

Yes, I read my logs…

I’m seeing some interesting SYN attacks hit my server lately. Time to tighten netfilter on the box.

I’m too furious to think of anything more at this point.

Too much work to do today.

A Great Disturbance in the Force

A great disturbance was felt in the Force today.

Bad Behavior has blocked 104 access attempts in the last 7 days.