Recent blog entries for Rasputin

So, I obviously never got around to posting any research papers (blame my boss, apparently there are patents in them thar papers).

Anyhow, playing on a personal project (calendar and project management system for GTK on BSD) I realized one of my bad habits might have applicability to a wider audience. During the development stage, a required file in my world is called "developer.notes". The point is pretty straight forward, it's a repository of my thoughts, rants, comments, etc about the code I'm working on. I never allow it to leave the project (i.e. no one who hasn't worked on the software will see my notes). It captures almost everything, since it's convenient, it's a great way to think with my keyboard and I know it won't ship as part of the final package. It is, however, exceptionally useful as a reminder, developer documentation, whatever.

Some sample paragraph openings (I see no need to share the entire note set):

Thoughts for evolution...apparently MySQL can dump as XML, so...

Look! I documented the data structures.

Next up, start building even more happy little dialog boxen.

This is horrifying, I'm not even half way to alpha and...

You get the idea, I hope. If you find this a useful idea, please use it and share. If you've already been doing this, well done. Otherwise, have a great week-end.

Welcome back. I'll enjoy a bottle of Merlot to celebrate the return. OK, so I was already into the Merlot, but I'm glad Advogato is back.

So, this space is moving slower than most online diary and article discussion fora I've seen. I think I like that.

After the monthly operations review, I've actually started serious thinking about what the required elements of a support model would need to be for those products that have an Open Source software base. From a corporate perspective, this is actually harder than it seems, but an interesting problem. Anyone who's managed a large, geographically diverse support group probably has some idea of what I'm trying to do.

An interesting piece of fallout from my efforts to deal with supporting Open Source software in proprietary hardware scattered all over the world is an examination of the nature of supportability and communications system resiliency. If there's anything worth discussing here, I'll put together an article and post it. If not, then I probably won't. We'll see how I feel and what happens.

I look back and I notice the last time I logged in or posted was back in 2000. Wow, things have come a long way since then. I'm still somewhat ambivalent about online diaries, but I've matured (OK then, don't believe me) so we'll see what happens. More to come, I'll try to hit this at least a couple times each week. Maybe during my lunch-time browse fest, might be a nice change from news and such.

Been a pretty good week in California. Mostly sorted out the hand-over to my new position. Get back home tomorrow, and find out just how badly confused my life has become in my absence.
Managed to even get a few hours in at the LinuxWorld. The best part was definately the BSD BOF. Finally had a chance to put some faces and voices to a bunch of people. Also had an interesting (but short) chat with Jordan H. He had to run away a little early because of other commitments, but while he was there it was worth while. Talked to a few other people. All in all, pretty good time. The exhibitors area was mostly interesting, although I only had a couple of hours to wander about. There were a bunch of exhibits I wanted to catch, but I just ran out of time. Oh well, maybe next time.
Still sorting out my distributed architecture problem, but in the interim, I'm putting together a single point system to get the bigger pieces debugged. Should have something we can play with internally in a week or three, and available to anybody who wants it about a month after that. Stay tuned to this space ;)

Interesting times...not only did the network get re-numbered, but I became a manager. I hope this doesn't mean I will become technically incompetent (or worse, pointy-haired :). Once I get everything sorted out (internal promotions == 2 jobs for a time) should be good. I'm almost done sorting out all the things I had to do, and I'm coming up to speed on the new stuff.

On the distributed information store issue, only a small amount accomplished. It seems to me, that if an individual server is aware of all servers in it's "area" and knows of one server in each other possible are, I can solve part of the problem. Each server would behave as a "DNS Root server" within the area it knows, and as a "caching only DNS" that does recursive queries for the remaining areas. Sort of :). There are a large number of issues I have to come to terms with, adding new servers to an area, tracking new nodes on the information store, reducing the network load for searches, and a host of related things. Fortunately, this starts as a closed, one-server only system. The distributed bit happens when it becomes an open-source project. There's also some thought needed for types and levels of extraneous functionality.

Other than that, if we can get the air-condioner going around here, should be a good week.

Started thinking about distributed information stores. The hierarchical approach of DNS is interesting, but not appropriate for what I want to do. The issue is that there could be an inderterminate number of servers with the data spread randomly (approximately). The tough part is how does one server find any other server, and how to minimize the difficulty of the search to find the needed information. Yes, there is an open source project in here somewhere :)

I've had some thoughts on this and I'm starting to get some feel for where this will need to go. There are, fortunately, some simplifying assumptions I can make, because the raw problem is probably not solvable.

Now I gotta run, the network guy is here to move my subnet. To be continued...

I have no idea how many Advogato types are affected, but I'm seriously torqued about what has happened to K5. There's no point putting in the link because the site has been knocked down by script kiddies. I hope Rusty can get it back up fairly soon (although I noticed a message from him to the effect that it would be about a month away). I'm surprised there's no story or commentary in other diaries.

Well, it's been quite a while since I wrote anything here. It's not that I don't enjoy the site, I certainly do ;), but rather I'm still ambivalent about the whole online diary concept.

Anyhow, on the hacking front, been busy in too many areas. You ever notice I don't talk to much about what I'm actually hacking on? That would mostly be a result of the fact that I don't intend to release most of what I hack on. Some is for work (internal only), some is just for play and a lot is just to scary to contemplate putting out in the world.

Work is interesting these days, but for all the wrong reasons. Apparently someone noticed that managing a group in Ottawa from California probably needed adjustment so we're promoting someone from within the group to be the new 'local' manager. Might even find out who it is today. Four of us are at least marginally interested in the position, although I suspect any of us could do the job. The only real drawback is the hit to technical skills. If you don't use it, you lose it. As a manager, the time spent hacking drops dramatically.

I have no idea if this means I'm going to be writing here regularly again for a while or not. We'll just have to wait and see what happens ;)

It's been a little difficult to get motivated to do a diary entry. Migraines will do that.

Nothing noteworthy in the hacking dept. A little work on Intraverse and CS, cleaning up the machines at home and work, that kind of mindless silliness.

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