Recent blog entries for Al

Three days of work turned into an entire week. I hardly slept between Sunday and Friday and was utterly exhausted for the weekend. There's something about this particular customer I find is particularly disruptive to the rest of my life.

Currently compensating for this with a break. Visiting Bryce and Red Hat and doing some product evaluation stuff for work. Getting into the US is a good deal harder than it was last time I was here. Security at the airports involves National Guard with guns and three security checks before getting on the plane.

Apart from harrassing (and being harrassed) by various Red Hat folks and writing a long report on possible technologies Bryce and I visited the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Mitchell. It's pretty stunning scenery. Weather here is stupdily warm for early December. Pictures to come, when I finally get around to sorting them out. Put the new digital camera through it's paces and learnt a lot about how it works, at the expense of a LOT of badly taken pictures!

The Digital Camera is currently out-of-order! My pager decided to wake me up at 3am to tell me the battery was running low, and do so every 5 minutes till I raided theonly source of appropriate batteries I could find: the camera.

I have an apology to make to Microsoft. Apparently a fault I thought was with Exchange was actually a fault in the client's FreeBSD/IPFW NAT setup. This doesn't excuse all the other faults though and it's still a lousy product.

I've finally found a use for all that time spent learning Python. Woo!

Gearing myself up for 3 solid days work. Great. I will bloody need a holiday when I've finished, fortunately I have one in just over a week!

Saw The Others on Sat night. Very good. Jumped a couple of times and a mega plot twist at the end.

Finally I've got my Exim talking to customers Exchange. How many RFC non-compliances have I had to work around? *sigh*

Getting Exim to do what I wanted was fun, waiting for the other end (sadly running Exchange) is not so much fun.It is an entirely brain-dead application. Various problems with TLS still remain and nice handy "Subsystem not initialized" messages aren't helping diagnosis very much.

Had a BBQ on Saturday. Not an obvious thing to do in November in South Wales, but all the same it was fun and many things exploded.

Bought a digital camera on Only a cheap one since I'm not good at photography and I don't take a huge number of pictures. We'll see how much I enjoy using it. Need to get some more details about its capabilities.

Heart sank watching the news. Another plane down in New York. Fortunately this had nothing to do with terrorists (apparently) but as someone due to fly into New York in two weeks I'm getting a little anxious now.

It's been a relatively quiet few days. A lot of my time has been spent working on some SMTP-AUTH and TLS stuff with Exim. Why I didn't migrate from Sendmail sooner? I have no idea. Big mistake!

I appear to have become a little bit sucked into Nokia Game. Very sad. It's taking a remarkable amount of time to play and I shall be glad tomorrow to move out of the real-time tunnels hell!

Took some time out yesterday to take part in a weekly meeting of the UK Campaign for Digital Rights. They are doing some interesting work on Copy protection and the EUCD. I have a lot of reading to do (links to come).

Been reading still: Lord of the Rings (part 1), Quiddich through the ages, and PWA. All very good.

I have started moving from using mostly Netscape to mostly Mozilla. This is still a difficult task for someone who works for a web company with designers who worship at the alter of flash and DHTML.I have persevered (with bug reports) where previously I would have gone back to Netscape. Mozilla 0.9.5 is certainly an improvement on any previous version though there's still room for improvement (I know, I know, get on and do it then!)

Fortunately for Bryce there has been a reprieve for Piranha. Various bits of PHP and C lie in patch files on my machine not looked at for a week. I'll wait until he's really busy to send it to him :)

The shift in excitement (away from Piranha) has been caused by Web Services and my current role as evaluator of company policy. I thought web services was something we'd been doing all along - since we're a company in the services sector doing web stuff... how wrong was I? The basic framework is extremely exciting and putting aside the huge hype that currently exists around Microsoft .NET and loking at offerings from other companies I've realised this whole revolution has been going on for ages and totally bypassed me. I am swamped in material on XML, UDDI,and long whitepapers produced by IBM.

Those in the UK and with an interest in Digital TV and Public Sector Broadcasting should check out Oftel's Review of pricing of conditional access services and related issues. There are various questions in here that Oftel raise and responses can be emailed to them.

Had a car trauma day on Thursday. Noticed cracked windscreen as I was dropping car off for MOT (32 quid), lead to me spending part of the afternoon at Autoglass getting a new one (60 quid), and then having to go back to the garage as I'd left my debit card there and they'd given me the wrong MOT certificate. When all this was sorted, about 4pm, I got to the Post Office to buy the car tax and found they don't take plastic. Nearest ATM was at Cribbs so fought through end of school holiday traffic hell there and back to get cash and finally the tax disc. Got home at 5:30 feeling exhausted and as if I'd wasted my day off work.

Just remembered I have 25 days till I go to the US... now where's my passport?


Looked at Piranha. Had a few ideas. Bryce will be wincing right about now. If not yet he will be when the patch file arrives :)

I installed devfs on my workstation at work on Wednesday afternoon. I was impressed for a while until I upgraded the glibc on my machine and various things stopped working suddenly. Took this as a sign that it was time to upgrade 7.1 to 7.2. Mistake. Not really Red Hat's fault I suppose but their X setup tool and Matrox G400 video cards don't get on well. It seems to cause a lock up. I'll look at this again later but I ended up having to install on another machine (with an Intel graphics adapater) and now things are back to normal. Lots of errata (some avoided like the plague) later and I have Ximian Gnome and Red Hat 7.2 looking and working like my old machine. Various new toys to play with such as Ext3.

Some UKUUG things today. The CFP for Linux 2002 is out already. Last year was a lot of fun. Meanwhile they still don't seem to have a venue for the Winter 2002 conference.

Management and sales did eventually move into the room next to mine, but not before we'd purchased a bolt and made sure they couldn't use the connecting door to bother us! It's not much further to go out into the hall and round but it's the principle of it.

I think I might be addicted to Harry Potter. I can't wait for the film to come out. Meanwhile I started reading Chamber of Secrets on Wednesday night and was so engrossed I hardly slept last night and had to take the book into work today to finish the final two chapters. Very sad.

Watched Bryce watching zenIII handle a lot of Red Hat 7.2 mirror traffic.

Rumour has it that the sale and management teams are moving into the currently empty office connected to mine. I'm not sure I like the idea of either group in such close proximity. Also there are four desks in each room (3 in use in mine) and there are six of them... so even if one person sits in the desk in the window I'm going to have to have one in my office. This scuppers my plan to keep the connecting doors shut and locked from my side.

Oops. I've been neglectful again!

Mostly I've been ill. Some horrid virus thing had me feeling grotty for about 8 days and I still have a cough that keeps me awake at night :/

Work has been very busy. First a W2K fileserver decided it no longer wished to serve files and in fact no longer wanted to have any sort of filesystem. Then there were some problem with gremlins in the backups etc. All quite exhausting when you are already ill. Started looking at Interchange (flying vising needed soon), DB2, some bits of Piranha, tmpfs and DevFS. Various Compaq kernel patches which needed some modification. Translating some of our firewalls to iptables and some other stuff I forget. *phew*.

Have watched Run Lola Run (ace), Phantom Menace (OK), and (anything but OK). I have read The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, and The Hobbit and enjoyed all of them.

88 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!