Recent blog entries for pcburns

A player in the touch football team that I play for created a web site for our team. He posts match reports, player profiles, match fixtures and anything else to do with our team. I can see its use for players. I go there to see what time the game starts each week.

Christina Wodtke's site elegant hack has a short comment on it.

Where better to comment about a weblog being commented on in another weblog than in a weblog?

I've spent almost all weekend in front of my computer. I'm the only one left in my house who isn't sick. It's well into autumn now and too cold to go to the beach, but it's still a nice sunny day.

I've been writing unit tests and removing lots of little bugs from penguinsound. I haven't committed any source to sourceforge for a long time. I've been trying to increase my skill in refactoring.

I've switched to using kde after tiring of gnome-session opening an ever increasing number of applications on startup.

It's ANZAC day today (25th April) - a public holiday in which Australians and New Zealanders remember those who died in war.

I have taken the rest of the week off. I hoping to see Ju Ju Space Jazz at Newtown RSL this saturday - part of the yak secret tour.

I've gotten hold of a version of konqueror that can do https:.

I've been taking advantage of the sunny weather while it lasts. Winter will come soon, ruling out trips to the beach. I'm looking foward to going snowboarding again. I've digital camera to play with now.

I've been refreshing my memory of Java. It's tainted now by years of programming in c++. I've been noting all the differences: some things are better, some missing. I miss const and templates. I don't really miss unsigned types or explicit memory handling. I like the way you can call other constructors of the class using this(...) but miss the being able to give default arguments to methods and constructors.

Java has a much better standard library overall.

I've playing around with mysql. I created a simple table in a mysql database and have been try out various methods of accessing it using PHP and JDBC in Java.

I've been buying to many cds again : the avalanches, boards of canada, Luke Vibert.

LINUX
Installed linux 2.4.1 with Andrew Morten's low latency patches.

Fooled around with devfs. Updated my cdplayer so that it looks for /dev/cdroms/cdrom0 if /dev/cdrom can't be opened. Did the same for my audio code so that /dev/sound/dsp is tried if /dev/dsp is not found.

I have an old sb awe64 and a sb live and both now are recognised with no problem. The awe64 is accessed /dev/sound/dsp2 and the live through /dev/sound/dsp1 or /dev/sound/dsp.

I was suprised when I placed "Sweet Distorted Holiday" by Josh Abrahams into my cdrom drive. It started playing a track I had never heard before, and the track location indicator on my cdplayer was moving backwards. A secret track! No wonder, I had so much trouble getting it to play under Windows NT.

Installed gcj - the gnu compiler for java. This will be fantastic when awt support is implemented. It seems to be very fast. It was also very easy to install. It eliminates all the things that I disliked about java. One small quirk caught me while I was trying it out. You have to specify the class that contains the main function.

WORK

My manager has resigned and moved to Tasmania. My new manager is a contracter - he was a permanent employee but I guess he wanted more pay. His contract expires soon so I may be getting a new manager soon. I have also moved buildings. I'm now in a cubicle instead of an office. It has some disadvantages - my workmates listen in on my phone calls - but the social aspects of the change are overwhelmingly positive. The focus of my team has changed from network programming in c++ to web development using ASP. I'd prefer to use php and apache. I've been learning a lot about SQL and databases. I've enjoyed work lately. I'm still getting used to the chairs. The chairs in the meeting room are really low down - a trap for the unwary - my boss went sailing head over heels.

STUFF

I've been thinking about implementing cddb access for my cdplayer. My work has a firewall in place, so I won't be able to connect directly. I'll have to use http. I downloaded badger's libcurl for that purpose. I'm still working out the details. I'll be using freedb.org rather than gracenote.com I'd like to try to get the lyrics of songs from the web as well if I can.

I've been buying a lot of cd's lately. I've really enjoyed the ones by Jimi Tenor.

I read "The Siren's Of Titan" By Kurt Vonnegut. I bought it because it was so similar to the title of the cd "Sirens From Here To Titan" By Tooth, and be cause it is part of the SF Masterworks collection. The quote from "Science Fiction: 100 Best Novels" on the back of the book states it is 'A very funny novel about The Meaningless Of It All'. I found it very depressing. The book is set on earth. A new religion is created called the "Church of God the Utterly Indifferent".

Here's a quote from the book: "O Lord Most High ... what could we do for Thee that Thou couldst not do for Thyself one octillion times better? Nothing. What could we do or say that could possibly interest Thee? Nothing. Oh, Mankind, rejoice in the apathy of our Creator, for it makes us free and truthful and dignified at last."

It made me think about what I believe in and what my life is for. There is nothing we can do for God that he could not do better. There is no deed that we can perform that will turn God away from our sins.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10.

mrorganic wrote:
My wife is one of those people to whom "Internet" and "the Web" are the same thing.

For most people the web equates to what you can do in web browser. Think about it.

http, ftp, news, email, instant messages, - all these services can be accessed from a web browser. If the web browser itself doesn't do it - perhaps somebody somewhere has written a web interface for it.

I have been reading a few Computer-Human Interface books by Bruce Tognazzini and Jef Raskin. I want to learn how to make good user interfaces.

An intersting idea came to me after reading about Fitt's Law. Fitt's Law helps to quantify the time that it takes to target an object on the screen with a mouse. Basically, it will be easier and faster to hit the object if the object is large and close to the current mouse position. Both Raskin and Tognazzini site the example of the Macintosh menu bar which is located at the top of the screen. It is faster to use since the mouse stops at the top of the screen, making its effective size is much larger.

I've been trying think of ways to exploit this property further. Many unix desktops have virtual screens. Often you can switch virtual screens by simply moving off the edge of the screen. I have found this a little disconcerting. Often the scrollbar is right on the edge of the screen - if you don't take car you can miss the scrollbar and end up on a different virtual screen. Some window managers fix this problem by employing "friction". If you move the mouse off the edge of the screen the virtual screen does not change straight away, but if you keep it off the screen for a configurable time the virtual screen will change to the next one.

I thought about the way the mouse operates. Move the mouse to the point corresponding to 0,0 on your mouse pad and the mouse cursor will move to the point 0,0 on the screen. You can effectively scale the distance you move the mouse on the mouse pad to the distance it moves on screen by modifying the speed of the mouse. The fast the mouse the smaller the distance you need to move the mouse to move the pointer the same distance on screen.

Some games make it easier to target an object by giving the objects "gravity". If you move the mouse close to an object the game will move the pointer so that it targets the object.

Many desktops give the objects on the desktop a 3D look. Perhaps this look could be exploited in combination with Fitt's Law. Instead of treating the desktop as a flat plain think of it as populated with ridges and bumps and plateaus. The mouse should move the pointer fastest over flat surfaces. Moveing over a slope will cause the pointer to move slower, it has to move further after all. Consider moving the mouse out of an application window. It will take a few more rolls of the mouse to move the pointer over the edge of the window. I think this sort of idea has been tried out with "force feedback mice" but I have never used one so I'm not sure how effective it is.

Certified danny as I have read some of his essays and thought they were excellent. He appears to be a very good analyst. I could be wrong however...

Read an editorial on freshmeat about Trivial Software. Decided to update the entry I made for gtkmod While I don't consider gtkmod trivial I know that the project is dead. It's been transformed into PenguinSound. Unfortuneatly since I create the entry almost 2 years ago I no longer remember my username or password for freshmeat.

I originally made a page for gtkmod on xoom.com which was sold to NBC and became NBCI. I'm not sure what happened to my page on NBCI. I did a search for gtkmod on google and found a whole lot of links for it on rpmfind, davecentral, etc and although its page no longer exists on NBCI, it was cached in google.

Worked out how to use the Fl_Scrollbar widget in fltk. There appears to be a bug in the value method, where the bounds are set. You can get around it by simple calling bounds after value. I sent an email about it to the fltk mailing list.

I've been having trouble with menus in fluid 1.0.10. Others have also commented about it on the mailing list.

19 Jan 2001 (updated 19 Jan 2001 at 02:29 UTC) »

Discovered gvd. Found out that it was written in ada using GtkAda. Decided to learn a bit more about ada. Found a grea t tutorial for it. The tutorial features quizes at the end of each section. Its really, very well done. I'll have to think of a program to write so I can teach myself ada. I learnt c++ by writing a mod tracker.

I have been lurking on the Linux Audio Developers list. I've been learning a great deal. I've written partial support for LADSPA plugins. I just need to write a good user interface for connecting them together. I've been thinking about the code I've written and wondering how to convert it into LADSPA plugins. I'd like to convert my sample file code into plugins, though I'm not sure if LADSPA is flexible enough to support it. I just need to be able to give the plugin a file name. There are lots of other details to work out.

I've also been fixing up my mod tracker, improving the pattern entry widget.

15 Jan 2001 (updated 15 Jan 2001 at 11:23 UTC) »

I spent about 20 minutes writing a diary entry only to have netscape crash before I posted it. I've decided to switch to konqueror. It starts much quicker, and performs much better. The user interface is not as user friendly but much faster than netscape. If only it could do ssl - then I'd be able to get rid of netscape. I've lost lots of diary entries through netscape crashes.

Here's a quick version of the initial entry.

Been in the holiday mode for the past month or so. Went down the South Coast and spent a lot of time swimming at the beach or by the lake fishing. I had a go at kneeboarding. A woman returning from a walk along the beach didn't want to get her clothes wet while crossing a channel that emptied out to the sea. She took her clothes off leaving only her hat to protect her from the sun, and walked across the channel. This was on a public beach with scores of people around.

Couldn't get tickets to see B(if)tek so I contented myself with the fireworks display on Sydney Harbour. Managed to secure a good spot on a wharf near Milson's Point without putting too much effort in.

The Sydney Festival is underway. I went to a free Jazz Festival in the Domain on saturday night. The crowd was reportedly 100,000 strong. It had a fantastic atmostphere. Most people settled down to picnic, drink champagne or simply chill out with friends while listening to great music.

I've purchased quite a few cd's lately. One of my favourites is Kevolution by Purdy. He will be performing at Frigid on the forecourt of the Opera House on the 24th of this month, along with Tooth.

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