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Name: Pete St. Onge
Member since: 2000-03-16 15:46:00
Last Login: 2012-11-21 01:59:22

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    $ CVS blurb pete@localhost 1.1 $

    I'm still involved the SEUL/sci project, aiming to foster the development of good, open source scientific software for Linux. I still maintain software produced by the SGPL project, and hope to port all of it and more to GNUmeric.

    Cowrote an editorial for Freshmeat on the use of Linux in Education with Doug Loss from the SEUL/edu project.

    Currently working on a series of weekly reports describing the use of Linux and open source software in science, a soon-to-be revealed doc about using Linux for science and getting back into research programming.

Recent blog entries by peat

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Where *does* time go?

I'm finally taking the time to sit down and finally learn how go code in C. Funny what being laid off does. I'm reading the ORA make book and getting all kinds of ideas on how I could use it to make custon CV versions... Then again, maybe it's time to get off my arse and get my own thing going.

Beyond hawking the CV over yon and sundry, I'm working on two small projects, mostly to get up to speed with C and Python.

The C project is being done with a friend and aims to be the penultimate program for unit conversion. Goals for 1.0 are full implementation of MKS (meter - kilogram - second) conversions. Once this is done, I would like to see changes to 2.0 dealing with full localization so that i18n is indeed possible.

The Python project is more immediate, as it is really to export raw data from my thesis into a decent TeX layout so that I can append it to the thesis. I have the pgsql links working already, but am a bit stuck on the crosstab query generator. Next step afterwards is generating a CRC32 checksum across rows and columns so that errors can be detected during OCR if and when someone decides to do that some time down the line.

This latter part seems like a lot of trouble for something that may not be useful, but after my experiences doing an OCR import of someone else's copious quantities of thesis data, I'm bound and determined to do better.

Speaking of the Never-Ending Thesis Saga, I did indeed finally get my revisions back (after two months). It gets better tho, according to He Who Must Sign Off, "One last set of revisions and it will be okay" (his words). Wow. That's the first time I've ever heard him say that term. Last. Could this actually be the end of the Never-Ending Thesis Saga? We'll see...

Quote of the day...
"Neil, it's not Project Thingy's policy to hire livestock ... but we felt like you could use a sidekick." -- Project Thingy

Don't ask me why I found that so funny.

Thesis, thesis, thesis

    Spent the last w'end (Canadian Thanksgiving) working on the sum of my existance for the last four years. My introduction to LaTeX and other documentation systems is going swimingly (as in I'm still managing to keep my head above water. mostly). Am glad to report that I am about to work on the last table for the document tonight, perhaps finishing it. TODO: add graphics, rework citations. The more I use latex, the more I like it. Granted, the learning curve is substantial and it helps to have good documentation (and colleagues online who can answer questions). That said, with time and a bit of forethought, I'm starting to be fairly well equipped to start on the phd after this is done (yes, even after all of this shit).

    That pretty much all of the news for now. I'm catching up on my sleep, er, reading rfcs and other neat docs. :) I'm learning a lot about the more interesting aspects of system administration; I hope to get my hands really dirty in a coding project soon (or many, for that matter). I've been watching with great interest how some acquaintances have set up personal, db-based web sites. Pretty impressive, I must say. I can see some ways in which a lot more could be done tho, and I've started sketching out what I'd like to see in a more focused site. Stay tuned.

    Back to thesis.

Oh, but before I do...

    And in other news, said credit card company bozos have decided to send me a platinum card application. Maybe if I write them back something really imaginative ("addressee used as stunt double for polar bear scenes on Chilly Beach" or something) they'll send me one for a titanium card.

    yeah. right. :)

    There is this one credit card company here in Montreal (the name isn't important, and besides, why would I give these bozos free publicity) that keeps mailing me a credit card application. And every time I get the "invite," I reply with a creative note on the envelope saying something like...

      return to sender: addressee deceased after being attacked by large gerbils and used as ink blotter fodder


      return to sender: addressee had a sex change, moved to Northern California and opened a health food store


      return to sender: addressee deceased after tricycle accident and was subsequently trodden over by a band of wild elephants, and now resides in the National Gallery as a really cool wall hanging.

    And yet, I still get this crap in the mail. Trouble is that I still don't know whether they keep sending because they haven't gotten the hint, or they just want to see what I'll write next.

    Enough fun. Back to work.

    It's been some time since my last diary "entry" (read: the fast, amazing, awesome, "dependable" connection went down for a few hours and I lost what I was working on), so I should be a bit more detailed about the goings on here.

    Been spending most time hardware hacking. Not building hardware, of course, mostly fixing things for other people. My hardware collection has grown a lot in the process. Seriously, I have to do something, as my apartment is rapidly becoming an ungodly mess. I'm slowly finding homes for gear, so if there is anything you're looking for, let me know.

    The review of the blinux kernel mods for speech synth haven't been going as quickly as I had hoped, but at least progress is being made. I'd like to see more people reviewing it, because although I really want to see this in the kernel, but only once it has 'matured' enough to not break kernel design principles (which it currently does).

    Freebasin has gone into a holding pattern pending thesis completion. The crash of the NT box didn't help things any, but at least I was able to move the data from an access db into postgres. Next stage will be the post-process differential correction of the position data, and merging what is promising to be one of the largest ecological databases going. :) This should be fun.

    OODS is still going well, lots of planning is happening. Normally, I would find this really unsettling, save that I know the people involved, and I know they will make this happen. Besides, I've learned so much about design and abstraction ... two aspects I would have liked to have learned in school, save that I'm getting a masters in ecology and not computer science.

    OODS is primarily about open source directory services. I would have figured this to be really dull, boring and with few practical applications outside of system management. However, thanks to Frank, I can see just how broad the 'directory services' category is and just how relevant it is to, say, ecology. Scary.

    What else. Finally saw X-Men and Art of War. Nice surprise, neither particularly sucked, I was really glad to see someone doing Wolverine 'right.' The other characters seemed to fit as well. Nice to see. As for AoW, homegrown movie it is, it looked decent as well, tho I expect to go see it again (missed some of the local 'sights' the first time around). Hopefully the trend will continue with Highlander?

    If it sucks, tho, at least you know you can blame someone.

    Well, that's about it for now. Not much to see here. These are not the droids you're looking for...

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