Older blog entries for Radagast (starting at number 26)

Radagast certified aaronl as Dimwit

I started an activity log on my own website. It's over here. I hope there will be a diary import feature here on Advogato soon, so I can post easily to both places, for now, I'll just use my own. This doesn't have to do with Advogato, it's just a matter of it being easier for me to work up the motivation to actually write entries every day when I have to do it by hand, for some strange reason. So for you thousands of teenage fans, go there now.

Down here it's made of wood and wire.

We got furniture, computers, cabling, and whatnot moved into my living room early this week. A lot of time spent setting stuff up, migrating data between platforms (my old windows box is now my GNU/Linux box (kassad), my old GNU/Linux box is now a rather weak file and web server for me to do all my experimental stuff on (cythraul), and my new box runs Windows(malleus)). If you remember the scene from "sneakers" where the h4xx0rz moved into the living room of this well-meaning lady, that's what my living room was like for a while. Now, it's more under control.

Slept for ages today, don't really know why, but I think the weather change of the rainy season is influencing my body chemistry. Got up, finished migrating my work environment from cythraul to kassad, and started workin on the GNOME site again. My todo list is getting shorter for the first time in ages, which is comforting.

Got an idea a while back for a game I want to do when Loom is ready for it. It started out pretty simple, but it's grown, and is on the brink of getting epicish, plot-wise. I think it's going to be pretty original, both in subject matter and parts of the gameplay. Must write down some drafts of the ideas tonight, and get some concept art from Belinda.

List of items for weekend: Finish GNOME site todo list. Small stuff on the Helix site. Random Loom hacking. Finally do the world timezone map for Hans Petter's gnome-admin-tools time and date util. Tell Belinda how much I love her. Answer an interesting mail I got from a guy who red my comments on presence protocols and crypto. Write up game plot drafts.

Things to think about: Iain fixed the Colinear! problem. He's a smart guy. I wonder where Federico went, I haven't heard from him in ages, and there's a desk and chair for him here. An office/living room overlooking one of the busiest streets in Mexico City is cool in theory, noisy in practice. Oh well, loud music is your friend.

There's a world going on, underground.

It seems Hans Petter's rediscovery of Tom Waits has rubbed off on me. It must be the rain.

Churning web statistics isn't that fun, especially when the log files are gigabytes in size. Oh well.

Made plans to do some major book purchases when my next paycheck comes in. I really need to fill some holes in my bookshelf. Come to think of it, I need a bookshelf. But mostly books. Foley and Van Dam, the Tufte books, and some other stuff.

Iain said he was going to hack some on Loom now that he's finished his exams. I hope someone (Raph) gets around to fixing Libart soon, those "Colinear!" bugs seem to slow things to a crawl, and Loom needs to be snappy. Not that it needs to be production quality at this point, but some times it's just hard to actually test the code because of the slowdowns.

We seem to be finally setting up office here. That is, home office. My home, other people's office. Hans Petter and Federico will be moving into my living room next week, so we'll have a nice work environment. I'm looking forward to it.

Be the water.

One of the harder weeks of my life finished with the GNOME 1.2 release and the new GNOME website. As expected, I was flamed plenty, but then again, there were a lot of positive reactions too, so I'm all in all pretty happy about it. Also a lot of people had constructive criticism, which I'm incorporating in the next revision, which I'm working on at the moment. If we want a website close to perfection, I think that's very much an iterative process, I don't think it can be perfected before we hear the feedback of the people who use it on a day to day basis. Of course, there were some amusing reactions, like the people who claimed "it loads so much slower now, because of all these heavy images" when the front page is actually a good 10k lighter now than it was before, and the slowness was of course because of Slashdot. Oh, well.

Got some leisure coding done this weekend. We more or less decided to use TJ's Gnome-Forest as a basis for Loom, and I coded up some tests, producing this simple but promising result. Had a nice talk with TJ too, about what gnome-forest is missing, and it seems most of what's needed for Loom is easy to do. Goodie.

A new life awaits you, on the off-world colonies!

GNOME is the land of possibilities, especially when taken with a heavy dose of Helix Code. Where else would I get the chance to work on two large web sites at the same time, preparing them both for the same deadline, which will lead to a massive onslaught of users, and also get the time to conduct an interview and edit a nude picture of a well-known free software hacker? It's great.

I discovered fiber cookies. They're small, soft, have lots of fiber and dried fruit, little fat, and no added sugar. They taste good, and they're cheap. I think I can survive on one package of those a day, if I get my three liters of coke, that is.

Going to a rave tonight, even though I don't really have the time. But it seems cool, and I'm on the VIP list, which is a new experience for me. The DJ is mainly Asad Rizvi, which is cool, and some local DJs. Should be good.

It's been ages since I posted anything... As for what I've been doing lately, well, phew. There's been a lot of stuff going on. We released the Evolution Preview 0.0, which got a lot of traffic. Thanks to Akamai, we handled the Slashdot onslaught very nicely, which was fun.

Now I just have to make the GNOME website beautiful for the upcoming 1.2 release... The design is all done now, just have to fill stuff in, and there's also a little script hacking to do. In addition I need to do some small stuff with the Helix Code site. I figure I have about a week to do this, which should be just about sufficient.

Nothing much new on the personal front. Belinda's decided to go to college, finally, studying to be a crime scene photographer. It might seem to be a strange choice of professions, but it's so much her, combining her artistic and morbid side. Also, it seems she might be studying photography at a college in Boston, which isn't close to Mexico, but at least close to Helix Code offices, where I expect to be now and then. So all is good.

Going to a rave on Thursday, it seems, in an old church downtown. Leo's becoming some sort of VIP in the Mexico City club scene because of his work on some club and concert guide website, which means I get lots of invitations and get in free and whatnot. Can't say I'm complaining. He still can't write English (or any language) worth a shit, though, as his Advogato page clearly shows. God damn artist types.

New optimism on the use of Auto* for the GNOME site, after Elliot helped me straighten out a couple of things.

Really tired, been up for far too many hours. But at least now my schedule should be close to normal. My stomach really hates me for staying up this long on only coke, though.

Still no word from Belinda. Slightly worried, but knowing how tough she is, I probably shouldn't be.

Rewrote GNOME site backend stuff in Python. Much neater. The build system we're using is starting to be a serious pain in the ass, though, I'm thinking about just dumping Auto* and using plain WML. But I'm not sure yet. I do know development is going slower than I want, and one of the reasons is the sluggish build feedback cycle, especially when I need to add new stuff, do server-side includes, etc. We'll see.

I've been thinking more about how to make a content delivery system that generates everything dynamically, yet doesn't generate more load than a site with only static pages. The idea is to create a mechanism for splitting everything into nested blocks (for instance a block is generated from an SQL query, or is an include file on disk), cache the pregenerated blocks, and define a simple condition for when the cache needs to be regenerated (comparing timestamps on files, or doing a simple SQL query). I think this would bridge the gap between pregeneration systems like WML, which are kind of awkward, and fully-dynamic sites, which load the server a lot. Got to think about it more, though.

No work from Belinda yet. Hope she's doing ok.

Got heavily into the GNOME site backend stuff. The old site, that is. Need to understand it to be able to port it over. Now, I'm not a master coder, but I do know a good web system when I see it, and using a combination of wget on RDF files and a C program using libxml to parse the result into a HTML file which is then included into a .shtml just to get the headlines off news.gnome.org and onto the main frontpage is not the way to do it. Started rewriting it in Python, had to teach myself the Python XML API first. Useful to know.

Belinda is leaving for Tulsa as I type. I hope she gets online there fast, I'm going to miss her if she doesn't. Actually, I miss her already.

Got my Helix Code mail address and other miscellaneous administrivia set up. I guess it's official now, I'm the Helix Code webmaster. It's sad to quit Simplemente, but after two years of trying to get it work, I'm tired and ready for some financial security for a while. Best of luck to those who are staying, it seems there's going to be more focused work now that there are fewer people, and I think that might actually be what's needed. It's the old less overhead thing again.

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