Older blog entries for Erbo (starting at number 30)

OK, I know, I'm being lax in my diary entries. But I've been very busy with the ICQ transport and other things; only now (since everything's crashing anyway, and it's jer's and temas' fault) do I have time to break away and write again.

This is now "Hell Week," the week before the 1.0 release, and the ICQ transport still has some odd issues with it. I've remedied some of them, but others are tough to remedy without getting someone to make it happen...and others I simply can't do anything about without knowing more about the ICQ protocol. Meanwhile, Dave and other people are having JECI issues, which I can't do anything else because that transport is sucking the life out of me!

I had to reconfigure my Linux workstation so that it could run Gabber today. Since it was an old Beta 1 release of Corel Linux, it needed a LOT of work. I pretty much wound up upgrading the whole system...and now it's a fairly vanilla Debian-frozen box with GNOME and Enlightenment. Oh well, it now looks a little more like my box at home...

Looks like TSBandit will be coming out here later this month. Well, I'm sure I'll enjoy meeting him...

Oh, and I still need to pay my taxes for 1999. This sucks, because that relocation allowance Webb gave me counted as income, and they didn't withhold anything from it. I may wind up having to call my brother and see if I can borrow some money so Pamela and I can eat for the rest of this month...

The CLIQ show (Colorado Linux Info Quest) was a great production. I spoke to many people, preaching the gospel of Jabber, and got to hand out many of my Goth business cards. I also raked in the swag (both freebies and stuff I bought from the LinuxMall booth); the take included:

  • Various brochures, flyers, and whitepapers
  • Three pens (two of which I gave to Pamela, including a Sybase one filled with purple ink)
  • A Maxtor pocket penlight (Pamela got that too)
  • A very nice solid metal Sybase keychain (also went to Pamela)
  • A Linux bumper sticker
  • A sheet of Penguin Power stickers
  • Two tins Penguin Caffeinated Peppermints
  • Five new distribution CDs
  • Three Tux dolls (one foam rubber one from SGI, one small stuffed one with a suction-cup hanger, and one larger one with a Linux Weekly News button)
  • A VA Linux poster
  • Three "LNX" oval stickers from LinuxCare
  • A few additional buttons
  • A Compaq Linux license plate (you know, the ones that say "LIVE FREE OR DIE" above "LINUX", done up in New Hampshire green and white)
  • One resume, to be placed on Steve's desk Monday morning

Aside from that, I got to see Jon "maddog" Hall's keynote (I know another guy nicknamed "maddog," this is confusing), sit in on a BoF session about OpenLDAP, and watch a speech about Linux businesses. And I got in an interesting discussion with an employee of the Defense Information Systems Agency over lunch. And I played some tank game at the Xi Graphics booth that looked like BattleZone on steroids. (Incidentally, that attracted the attention three potential prospects, two DU students and a conference staffer who thought I was Jer for a minute. I must remember this technique in future. :-) ) And I learned about the meetings of the local user group (Colorado Linux Users and Enthusiasts) as well as the local 2600 meeting (it's on a nonstandard day of the month, so the magazine doesn't list it).

Sadly, the "Email Garden" seemed to be out of order, so I couldn't ssh out to one of the webb.net bozes and get on the channel to give a live report. And one of the stupid Marriott payphones ate 70 cents of my money, then, when I did manage to get through to Pamela, it cut me off after 5 minutes. Whatta ripoff.

But I had fun today. Now sleep tonight, and then probably a lot of errand-running tomorrow.

Cool...I got Goth business cards :-). The temporary business cards are black, with the Jabber "little man light bulb" logo designed by Jenn and Deb, and all my contact info. Some of it is wrong. Oh well, more of it will be wrong in a couple of months when we move to Wynkoop, and there's enough info on there so someone can find me.

icq-t now seems to be holding up a little better. There's one more weird, not-as-serious buzz in it I can't quite track down yet, but at least it's not seriously sucking CPU now. Or not as much. And JECI needs vCard support still; supporting the full vCard DTD is gonna be a bitch and a half...

Well, my stock window is now closed for a month. Hopefully the price will recover by then. Pamela wants to have her Subaru Forester in time to drive it out to New Hampshire...

I need to turn in; gotta get to the show by 8 AM tomorrow. It's my turn in the barrel here, I guess...

Another buzz has cropped up in icq-t, but this one's not as serious, I think. It doesn't seriously peg the CPU; I came in this morning and the process showed a "time" of 0:54 instead of 874:23 or some ridiculous figure like that. The issue seems to be repeated calls to peer_read_init_packet in the libicq-erbo source, when establishing a peer connection. I better instrumented that function and am now waiting for the problem to recur.

Meanwhile, I partially finished moving JECI's InfoQueryPacket class away from depending on a <query> tag as its child. This is important to properly support vCards. I need to finish the 0.9 updates pronto, as Dave Scott will be needing JECI for what he's doing.

Meanwhile, genesis, our first jabber.com development server, should be up today; I'm waiting for Robert in NetOps to tell me it's wired up. It's a VA Linux FullOn 2x2 dual-P3 box; sweet! (The production server, hendrix, will be a quad-processor box, also from VA). Pamela also said to make sure we include the name "aerosmith" in our list of "future" machine names; she loves Steve Tyler. (Oh, in response to kelly's concern, who's going to sue us over machine names? I don't see Paramount going after outfits that have host names taken from Star Trek, for instance, and, given Paramount's track record in the legal department, they'd be the ones suing over host names, if anyone. Speaking of which, if we set up a Beowulf cluster, I want it to be named after Borg, with nodes named "locutus", "hugh", "seven", "crosis", and so forth...)

It's snowing outside. Two days ago we had sunny clear skies and temperatures pushing 70 (or 21 Celsius). That's Denver weather for you. The only thing you can do is expect the unexpected.

My business cards should be ready tomorrow sometime. Then I should go down to the hotel and pick up my badge, so I can be set to go at the CLIQ show right when it opens.

Later: I see that, when GnomeICU reads peer-to-peer packets, if it finds 0 bytes available, it just closes the connection. The original libicq does the same thing. I just modified the functions in peer_receive.c to do that. Hopefully this will perform a "buzzkill" once and for all.

Snowing harder now. Dave's not used to this :-).

I think I've found the icq-t buzz. It was in my ICQ_free function in libicq-erbo, which frees a connection handle. Part of the process is unlinking the connection handle from the master list of connections. Well, guess what? My loop for finding the predecessor node forgot the essential "p = p->next_conn;". D'OH! Can you say "infinite loop," boys and girls? I knew you could!

The server at jabber.webb.net is now handling ICQ traffic for the main jabber.org Web server. That's how I was able to spot the buzz, by getting lots of users. Now let's hope nothing else crops up...

We had an entertaining discussion this morning about naming servers for Jabber, Inc. (jabber.com, as opposed to jabber.org). We settled on the theme "70's rock bands." The first two servers will be "hendrix" and "genesis". We'll add "zeppelin" as a QA server later, and we've got another bunch of names waiting for more servers. I also sent the list to Pamela for more input.

With the advent of open-source Doom engine clones, I've been fiddling a bit with PWAD construction at home. I did this a while back, but now I can do it under Linux with open-source tools. I'm working on a level map containing a huge cave as its centerpiece, along with interesting things like teleporting monsters. It should also make for a good deathmatch level...

On Saturday I get to go to the Colorado Linux Info Quest show, down at the Marriott in the Denver Tech Center. Partly, it's to look for possible new prospects for Jabber, Inc. (They're printing me up some Jabber business cards in a hurry.) So if you're going to be there, and you want to work for Jabber, Inc., keep your eye out for me :-).

Now I need to get back to JECI, to update the Info/Query handler to the new standard and try and do something about vCard support. Maybe now I can finish that part.

I'm getting lazy. Must stop that.

icq-t is experiencing a random "buzz" every so often where it suddenly pegs the CPU. It should definitely not be doing that. I've tried a few times to locate it (and incidentally uncovered a couple of other bugs, including an issue with the ICQ peer-to-peer protocol versions), but I can't find it yet. (But I did make a couple of advances in the meantime; icq-t now speaks client-server protocol version 5, and it does "contact messages" back and forth (they're jabber:x:roster messages on the Jabber side).

Jer, temas, and DizzyD were all here yesterday and today for meetings regarding Jabber, Inc. Somehow, they all remind me of the gang I went to high school with. (Which is cool; I hung out with a pretty good bunch.) We've made some progress in determining what needs to happen on the open-source and commercial sides.

Yesterday was Steve Adams' retirement bash, at the Denver Chophouse, just across the street from where our new offices are going to be. Don't think he's entirely out of the picture, though; he's still the largest owner of Webb stock, and he's keeping an eye on things at Webb, including Jabber, Inc.

Oh, that Avs game last Saturday was cool. They lost to the Red Wings, 4-3, but it was a well-fought battle. And I got some goodies from the souvenir shop afterwards, including a beret for Pamela. She's always wanted one.

Last night was one of the longest nights I ever went through. I logged onto #jabber at around 11 PM, and it started out innocently enough, with Jer reporting a bug in icq-t. But it turns out implementing the solution required using some functions he hasn't adequately documented. Then came "oh, and it should be doing this," and "no, that behavior is wrong," and, pretty soon, I was going over some of my source files with a microscope, feverishly working to make sure I understood all this. At one point, my connection dropped, and that must have worried the people on the channel no end! Finally, at 2:00 AM, I committed the changes, saying, "I'm not doing another thing to this code tonight, not even to save my life. Glory be to God, I'm tired."

Today was less stressful. I spent it reworking some of the innards of libicq-erbo, as I'm beginning to understand some more of the way ICQ works. I'm hoping to get two features into icq-t soon: contact messages, and account creation. Andre would especially like the latter.

Another meeting at Wynkoop Brewing Company today. Except it's St. Patrick's Day today, so I had a helluva time getting out of the joint afterwards :-). Steve Adams is retiring as Webb Chairman; no surprises there. Guess it's all up to Perry now (I wonder if the Board will vote him as the new Chairman. I sure would.). Oh, and I won a ticket to tomorrow's Avs game (against Detroit) by playing Jim's twisted variant of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." I'm letting Pamela go if she wants to; she's wanted to see the Avalanche for awhile now, and this is a good seat. (Tom, Jim, and someone else from the office will be there with her, so she'll be OK.) I hope she enjoys the game. Maybe I'll check it out on TV while she's there.

Busy couple of days again. The ICQ transport now includes support for searching for users (with the jabber:iq:search namespace) and reestablishing connections after Mirabilis' server drops them. Things are looking up in that department!

There's a goodbye lunch today for my coworker Jenn, who I've known ever since we were both working for Durand in Santa Barbara. (After the merger, she relocated some time before I did.) It's kind of sad, but she wanted an environment where she could do some more active marketing. (Yes, she's a member of the "canary yellow crowd.") The lunch is going to be at the Hotel Monaco, which has a nice Northern Italian restaurant.

Snow yesterday, and lots of it (maybe 8 inches in the metro area). The drive home was harrowing, especially since I had to stop off at Bed Bath & Beyond and Safeway on the way home. But it's nice out today; the snow should be melting fairly quickly. At least Pamela got her snow; the Torrey pine tree in front of our patio was covered with it, its branches weighted down. Last night, I took a broom and knocked some of the snow off the lower branches, and they sprung right back up.

I'm not even going to look at the stock ticker today. It's just making me depressed.

Now it's time to finish the mods to JECI so a Java applet can send search requests and receive responses. Then I guess I'll get back to figuring out some more of the new applet code.

No, I'm not getting lazy, I just went to ground for awhile, working on my new idea of "skins" for a Java applet. Bottom line is, it's doable. I know how to break up big images into parts now (it's not hard, use java.awt.image.PixelGrabber and hunt though a big array of ints), and I'm setting off on recoding the applet so it'll play nice with 0.9 and use skins in its UI. (It gets a lot of the parameters, such as the skin names, from an XML file. Why not? I've already got the parser, haven't I, as part of JECI? And an applet can load an XML file via HTTP as easily as an image.) It keeps the applet parameters from getting too crowded :-).

Yesterday, my broker faxed me a bunch of letters relating to the exercise of my options. Today, I got all those letters signed and sent to the appropriate people. This now "arms" the transaction, so it can happen whenever I give the word. I can just imagine it coming up on the screen like in WarGames:






Now all I have to do is pull the trigger, so to speak :-). Have to talk to him about how much flexibility I have...but I don't want to go past the 30th or so.

There's a small gathering going on on #jabber; Jer had some notes related to icq-t and 0.9pre4 that he wanted to talk to me about. Periodically, I'm shading Netscape to look at the X-Chat window, to see if he's finished with his latest bug hunt yet...

The new web site (christened "Our Place In Heaven 2000") is about ready for initial publication. I do want Pamela to review it first, though. I tried to keep from putting the background music in (which requires the use of proprietary M$ tags and a Netscape <EMBED> that doesn't work under Linux), but Pamela picked up on that right away. Seems a lot of people have commented on the music, so I've damn well got to put that back in. (I am not putting the ActiveX scroller or the <MARQUEE> tags back in; Pamela will just have to live without them, and as for Micro$oft Site Builder Network, well, they can blow me. What can I say, I was young and foolish three years ago...)

I included a page for "Linux/Free Software Info" which will contain a lot of my bookmarks, some blurbs on Jabber, etc., but, for the moment, it just contains a copy of the "What Is Linux?" text from LJ, liberally sprinkled with <A HREF> tags. HTML editing is tough work...

Pamela and I wandered around the Denver Auto Show yesterday, at the Colorado Convention Center. We got to sit in a variety of new cars and pick up a bagful of literature. Pamela most liked the Subaru Forester, but she was also fond of the Subaru Legacy, Mitsubishi Galant, Hyundai Sonata, Pontiac Grand Am and Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Alero, Saturn LW2, Mercury Sable wagon, Ford Focus, and Mazda 626. Of course, they had a Corvette there, which I went to go drool over along with about forty-'leven other poor slobs. If I were ever foolish enough to want to buy a sports car, the Corvette is the only one I'd consider...my father owned a beautiful silver '59 Vette that he had almost completely restored before he had to sell it.

Pamela, however, is torn...she wants a car with a V6 engine, but very few of those have 4-wheel-drive options. The Subarus, though, use a novel horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine design that works very well, and they all have full-time 4WD. Maybe, when the time comes to replace the old Mazda, I'll get one of those V6 cars so she can drive it occasionally. The Grand Prix was fairly reasonable, and I know they're cushy, 'cause we had one as a rental when we first got to Denver. Oh well, that's so far in the future it doesn't bear thinking about.

I should go catch up on what's been happening on #jabber this weekend...

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