Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 571)

Valentine's sonnet for Alex

Within this world, there waits a patient wood
that longs for recreation by your touch
to fall, be sold, be sawn, and seen as good.
Its oaks have pinned their hopes to suffer such;
its maples dream as much as they are able,
and every aspen whispers to itself:
they pine for you to bring them to the table,
or give them self-assurance as a shelf.
   Then there's yourself.  The elements essential
   within the raw material of you
   are scintillating stock, with star potential;
   still, steadily you work, and make them new.
And beauty's born, no matter where it lies,
for all the world reflects behind your eyes.

Syndicated 2010-02-14 23:51:58 from Monument

14 Feb 2010 (updated 14 Feb 2010 at 03:05 UTC) »

Things I could perhaps give talks on at GUADEC

"From English to English: an introduction to dialectal translation"
  • overview of non-US English dialects: en-GB (and why it's not en-UK), en-CA, en-AU, others
  • is this necessary or important?  (Yes.)
  • How it's done (at an automated level); Abigail's script
  • How it's done (at a human level) and why we need to hand-check ("Colourado"; sometimes a check is not a cheque)
  • Common dialectal substitutions in software (we can find these out programmatically)
  • Controversies about translations: how on earth do we translate trashDialogue box or dialog box?  If we call the eraser a rubber, will people laugh?
  • Punctuation differences
  • Actual phrasing differences rather than spelling and word substitution
  • Dialect versus language (e.g. Scots)
  • How many teams in various free software projects are working on each dialect?  GNOME, KDE, Launchpad, Firefox... coordination
  • Automated transliteration into non-Latin alphabets for English (you knew I had to get this in somewhere), and why
  • How you can help with all this
"The history of window border decorations"
  • the concept of reparenting and frame windows
  • different ways to express decorations: preset, code, pixmap, vector...
  • reasons generalising theming is difficult
  • reasons theming buttons is particularly difficult
  • timeline of various WMs' ability to do this
  • particular cases of how various WMs deal with this, with examples
  • how it's played out over the history of Metacity
  • which theme formats are most widely used?
  • how window border themes relate to other kinds of theme
  • the theme artist community as opposed to the WM developer community
  • theme formats used across multiple WMs
  • CSS themes
I wonder whether anyone would be interested in either of these.  Would you come to hear them if you saw them on the programme?  Would they be of any use?  Perhaps I'll submit both of them and see whether either of them are approved.

Edit: Of course I could also do a talk on writing N900 apps.

Syndicated 2010-02-14 00:45:02 (Updated 2010-02-14 02:46:13) from Monument

What I write about

I haven't been getting many comments recently.  At least in public posts and posts on ordinarily friensdlock, I've been writing mostly about what I've been thinking, which has been about work or about Metacity or about Shavian transliteration.  Maybe I should post more of my poetry?  Or I should post more introspective stuff?  I miss your comments.


  • If you want poetry, I have nothing recent and new to show you.  But you may like the Valentine's poem I gave Fin, four years ago tomorrow.
  • If you are interested in Shavian Firefox, I'm wondering whether it would be best to release it with only Shavian and Tengwar (Tengwar will apparently bring far more people in) or whether I should add Deseret and Unifon as I'd originally been planning.  That would be maybe another night's work.  I will work on this after the current chapter is written.  I am currently waiting on the LiveJournal Tengwar community to tell me whether my transliteration is correct.  If they don't get back to me soon, I may just go ahead with what I have.
  • If you're interested in CSS themes, I need to do a couple more experiments to find to what extent I can use existing code in libcroco without unduly cramping what's available to us.  I would also really like your input on a syntax issue.
  • If you're interested in the general-purpose Shavian transliterator, my new .po library needs releasing first.  There's also an unreleased version of L:E:A:S which needs sending out.  Both of those need to move to public repositories.
  • There's a number of things I've written here over the years, like the basic introduction to heraldry, which need turning into proper websites.

Syndicated 2010-02-13 19:35:46 (Updated 2010-02-13 19:44:26) from Monument

13 Feb 2010 (updated 13 Feb 2010 at 21:05 UTC) »

Cowbell blog

Any of you who are interested in CSS themes will be interested, and any of you who are not will be relieved, to hear that I've moved discussion of them off this journal onto a new Cowbell blog.  See you there, perhaps.

Syndicated 2010-02-13 19:17:51 (Updated 2010-02-13 20:35:43) from Monument

Another thought about CSS themes

There is a standard set of buttons you can use in Metacity.  Here is a rather nice diagram I drew a few months ago which tells you what they are and what they do.

The question I am pondering is whether we should allow window managers which use Cowbell CSS themes to specify new buttons outside the standard set of menu, close, minimize, maximize, shade, stick, above.

Why we should:

  • I want to make Cowbell as usable as possible by other window managers.  If a window manager has a button that can't be represented in that set, they can't use the theme format.
  • I would like to add new buttons to Metacity anyway, like screenshot and share.
Why we shouldn't:
  • Most importantly, themes need to declare how to draw buttons.  If we're going to allow people to come up with arbitrary buttons, how is the theme going to know how to draw them?  People can't write themes which know how to draw every button type anyone could ever dream up in the future.  I discussed this in more depth here.

Syndicated 2010-02-10 21:32:06 from Monument

Language icons, etc

There is a tool I look after called ProjectJournal which is used to publish the Metacity Journal posts.  I am considering releasing it, because some people have expressed an interest.

One of the things it does is list all the people who have contributed translations to a project recently.  At the moment, it looks like this (apologies for the old example, but it was the first I found):

  • On branches/gnome-2-22: en_GB by pwithnall, es by jorgegonz
  • On trunk: es by jorgegonz
Things I should perhaps fix about this include
  • writing the translator's full name rather than their username
  • maybe making the translator's name a link to their home page if I had it
  • writing the full name of the language rather than the ISO 639 code
  • alternatively, displaying an icon next to the language-- but it's not obvious what icons to use.  Some people use flags to represent languages, but of course this is rather broken because there's no 1-1 mapping between flags and languages.  Wikipedia uses icons which incorporate the ISO 639 code, which makes it seem hardly worthwhile using icons at all.  I feel this is a bit of a minefield and probably one we should stay out of.
What do you think?

Syndicated 2010-02-09 20:45:50 (Updated 2010-02-09 20:51:14) from Monument

CSS window border themes

No, it can't be "dialogue": CSS is US English.

Syndicated 2010-02-09 01:20:28 from Monument

The record shows I took the blows

There is an idea in literature called the motif of harmful sensation. For example, if you look at Medusa, you will turn to stone from the very experience. If you read a book called The King In Yellow, you will go mad simply from the sensation of reading it. If you hear the joke "Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!" you will die, as long as you understand German.

Well, apparently the Sinatra song My Way should be added to the list. Being around anyone singing this song will apparently get you killed.

Syndicated 2010-02-07 18:35:35 (Updated 2010-02-07 18:37:06) from Monument

Friendslist tidying

I removed some people who haven't commented for a bit. If I removed you by mistake, sorry!

Syndicated 2010-02-04 05:43:34 from Monument

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