Pat's Log
Sat, 26 Nov 2005

Totally Awesome
20051126 Tonight was the much anticipated U2 concert. As expected from previous experience, it was a spiritual experience. The way the group interacts with the audience makes it so. Just seeing every one of the 18000 seats of the Corel Centre occupied is enough to set the atmosphere. Seeing a fantastic performance drives everyone wild. Except for the drummer, all of the members were completely mobile, with wireless instrument transmitters and mics. The things this allows for with an oval stage makes the performance unique. The lighting was even more revolutionary than during the Elevation Tour. Words cannot quite describe this experience.

After the concert I went to the Honest Lawyer to celebrate Ring Day with the current batch of recipients. It was good to see everyone again and catch up.

I'm still hacking on Celestia's GTK front-end. It's nearing completion. Last night I ripped out the old menu system and replaced it with more modern GtkActions. The job is only half-done, but after that is completed and a few more bugs are closed, things are cleaned up, it will be good for release. There is no doubt that it is cleaner and easier to maintain now.

At work I'm flying through things with remarkable success. The company is growing. For the moment, things are positive.

[] | posted @ 08:12 | link
Thu, 17 Nov 2005

Morning-After Pill
I need one of these "morning-after" pills. Yesterday was the most productive day I've had in months. At work, it was productivity straight through the day, and as soon as I got home, more of the same. I eventually pried myself away from the computer at 3. This morning, I feel like crap.

The evening was spent refactoring Celestia code from a monolithic file of many KLOCs to smaller, more manageable files. The way a multi-source-file program is usually structured is largely lost on GTK Celestia, because it's written in ways most GTK programmers are taught to avoid. Splitting it up has definitely highlighted these areas, so I'll be fixing them in due time. For now, they are just worked around. I also learned a lot about how static functions work in a multi-file program: they don't. In the end, the code was compiling, but didn't link since all of these files were put into a new "gtk" subdirectory. The Makefile will have to be modified to be able to resolve all of the symbols from other subdirectories.

[] | posted @ 14:03 | link
Thu, 10 Nov 2005

Typical Shipment from Sun?
20051110 Going back to work on Tuesday, after being very sick, I was greeted by a large shipment. I was expecting a 1U SunFire X2100, but not a delivery on a wooden skid!

This machine was terribly over-packaged. The large white box on the top that could easily fit three of my laptops had but one laptop-style CD drive in it. The slightly smaller box on top of it had a single power cord. Every additional component came with a disposable static strap.

Additionally, the package was covered in YOW, and further browsing of the papers shows that it was air-shipped from Markham. Bizarre for such a short distance. I wonder if it would have been air-shipped to Toronto?

The real surprise came when I first pressed the power button. I immediately jumped back as the loudest sound I've ever heard from a computer came from this one. It would put a typical shop vacuum to shame. It was many times louder than my favourite "Tyan Sever." It eventually eased the fans back a little, and a setting in the BIOS setup allowed for them to be quieted further. But at every reboot it still blasts those fans like there's no tomorrow.

Nonetheless, the machine is well-built. The chassis design is good. The SATA drive trays are very nice, as the drives plug directly into the chassis rather than through an intermediate tray connector. There is no crazy purple sculpture on the front. It is a nice 1U unit.

If this is the future of Sun, cheaper and more utilitarian-looking, I'm all for it.

[] | posted @ 18:00 | link
Tue, 08 Nov 2005

20051107 Things were going so well. I was getting so much done. And then, out of the blue, I became violently ill last Thursday. Nothing specifically wrong, except I have spent the last five days coughing uncontrollably for no reason. It's very exhaustive. It broke my voice. It made me have bloodshot eyes yesterday. Made my right eye swell itself shut.

The only nice thing about being sick is that I managed to watch every episode of firefly there is. I'm amazed I didn't know about this show when it was on. Totally cowboys-in-space, very fun. It also set the record straight: these guys did Steadicam, zoom, and "handheld CG cam" before the new Battlestar Galactica existed. Too bad it got canceled.

Before I got sick, I did my presentation at OCLUG about Xbox Linux. It was well received. Once again I thought I might have too much time, and once again I went over my prediction by about a half-hour.

[] | posted @ 03:36 | link
Tue, 01 Nov 2005

Yesterday I attended one day of the UbuntuBelowZero conference in Montreal: "Ubuntu Love Day."

Canonical employees work from home, and they meet up for one or (in this case) two weeks in a different location around the world twice per year. The first day was the most community-oriented, and the attendance was well over 100 people. It was packed.

Interesting Highlights:

Installer: In the next version they will supercede the Debian installer. The liveCD will boot as it normally boots into the desktop, and there will be an "Install" icon on the desktop, with a graphical wizard. It will allow for a much simpler interface than the current Debian Installer, including something that works like gParted.

kubuntu: The KDE-based Ubuntu is headed up by Jonathan Riddell. He makes it a point to backport latest patches to keep their KDE fresh. Their main difference to other KDE distros is that they build the GStreamer backend into the multimedia applications as the default.

edubuntu: A really neat implementation of the Linux Terminal Server Project. I witnessed very, very fast booting on the thin clients.

Translations and LaunchPad: With their big "LaunchPad" project, the Ubuntu guys are trying to revolutionize how translations are done. Basically, when all of their default packages are built, all of the .po files are moved to a few big "core translations" packages. The LaunchPad already lets people translate strings online, and the translations package can be updated frequently without bumping binary packages. Another big goal of Launchpad is that it will aggregate all of the various Bugzillas out there so that bugs can be found quickly, duplicates thrown out, and patches not left unnoticed.

Obligatory Funny Quote: Jeff Waugh: "Ubuntu: ancient african word that means 'I'm sick of compiling Gentoo.'"

[] | posted @ 04:58 | link

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