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Name: Rick Bradley
Member since: 2000-07-23 08:21:44
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I'm a professional developer with a CS Master's degree, living in Nashville, TN, and working only in open source environments. After years of contracting and consulting, my current employer is Base Systems, where I do software design, development, and even a bit of management on projects to build digital voice recorders, web-based workflow and document management systems, distributed information systems, etc.

I'm a maintainer of Gene Kan's litestream streamer, a maintainer of the RDTJ jukebox, and an obsessive dabbler in code. I've got a page where I keep my open source code (at least the code I've bothered to upload for public consumption), including content management systems, domain name trackers, anonymous proxy tools, etc.

I'm interested in smart information manipulation, context-aware applications, algorithms, graph theory, and trying to do things that may require a lot of duct-tape.

I still maintain (a legal resources site) and about a dozen other smaller sites.

(most recently updated July 10, 2003)


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First diary entry in millenia. My how some things change and others just stay the same.

Some of the ambitions from a couple of years ago have been fulfilled. I released a lot of the code I was working on. For the big projects, like corengine, in some respects the system is better than anything else I've seen in the same field; but in some respects it's definitely not. What took 12K lines in corengine I've now done in 6K lines here at the office (and that code is slated for an open source release sometime this year) with much more power.

As an experiment in actualizing some ideas that project was a success: objectified content (now called "microcontent" I suppose) is a win, reusing objects by encoding structure as a generalized graph (so iterators are graph traversals; graphs can render to XML, really -- XSLT makes subgraphs) is also a win. Trying to write an useful objectified renderer in a language like PHP which has no mixins, interfaces, or multiple inheritance, is an exercise in futility. Coding (dirty nasty hacking) to a demo schedule when the next evolutionary design phase is clear, is a lose.

Oh, and cut-and-paste of objects through a web application to speed workflow: a big win. Hopefully more on that in the future.

The most recent news is that we (i.e., I and Brandon and Sean) finally re-released Litestream. I had been having email exchanges with Gene Kan before his death about getting back online and loosening up the litestream license to a pure BSD license (no advertising clause). He renewed the domain, dug the machine back out for hosting, and agreed to a BSD license. And then he passed away.

I can't say that I knew him -- I just had a passing acquaintance with him over the Internet at the end of his life. But his death affected everybody who had any contact with him. I feel that we (all of us) really lost a lot when Gene left us.

After some months we approached Yaroslav and some of Gene's other XCF friends and asked if we could follow up on Gene's wish to bring litestream back online, update the license, and get the project going again. They said, yes, that Gene was happy when he was working on litestream and that we should bring it back.

It took us a year to get our act together -- we had to decide how we were going to maintain the project, and we set up a website, mailing lists, all the cruft that goes with development. Then we pulled out the code and spent a lot of time looking through it and testing it. Gene wrote really great code. Compared to the other streaming tools out there it's as if litestream is a Predator drone that can do Mach 2, while the competitors are like doublewide trailers that bounce up and down on rusty springs. I say that having looked closely at the code of a number of streamers.

We found one bug on Linux that has to do with how Linux handles non-blocking sockets, so we fixed it. In the process we added debug scaffolding (a probably ancient version of Fred Fish's public domain DBUG macros), updated the license, and took out the compiled-in mp3 (a relic from the old license).

We've got ideas for a litestream2 -- things like factoring the backend and making a liblitestream, e.g. It's daunting, though, looking at how well the code is written, to undertake big changes to a solid product. That's the beauty of open source though: both development and testing are parallelized. So, we'll see.

Anyway, it seems people are happy to see Gene's good work back in circulation again. I hope we can do him credit with maintaining what he left behind.

A little more to be done on the base site revamp, then I can set up the project site (not yet live) and, finally upload the newly BSD-licensed PH3P, enable the mailing lists, and do the freshmeat/ph3p-announce/advogato-project/etc. jig. Then it's back to unproprietarizing (is that a word?) CorEngine so it will one day be yet another open source download.

I will be releasing PH3P (a preprocessor for PHP) this week under the BSD license. It's been very useful over the past year and almosts makes PHP into a programming language. ;-P

In the midst of revamping our main site before announcing the release. Need to get the independent project hosting site ( and the consulting site ( set up RSN too.

I should be on track to announce an open-sourcing of some very established projects about 1x a month each (except for around Xmas which will be a much-needed time sink) for the next 4 or 5 months going forward.

16 Nov 2001 (updated 29 Nov 2001 at 04:18 UTC) »

Working through a skein of incompatible bits of monocultural missives as of late, trying to figure out why exactly it is that production == 0.

Peter Drucker recently said not to ask for permission, and I took that as a Good.

Again 4 or 5 times recently I've heard this television-era dime store cultural aikido self-help pith which says that we can't excel without a goal somewhere (vaguely) dead ahead of us.

On Saturday I went to a small party with the guitar I hadn't played in six months and played something vaguely derivative of El Camino for a number of hours.

I realized today that the whole fucking problem is that I had goals two months ago and now I'm only left with doing things for the doing itself. I should've known better than to let some trite cultural widget slip into my mental pocket.

Somewhere on the continuum between not asking permission and infinite flamenco guitar is the isolated hum that is the tao of "do for doing" that I've forgotten these many years.

obOSS: major progress on testing for new CorEngine authentication classes tonight.

Jukebox day
This afternoon I got a call referring me to a guy in Louisiana who wants to build Linux jukeboxes. Not something to put in your living room, but a replacement for the CD-containing jukeboxes in bars and clubs. Two hours later people in four states were discussing the project, particularly the non-technical complications (USC 17, state licensing, BMI/ASCAP, and ... the power of the Mob in Louisiana). Nobody's pretending it's a particularly novel idea (we had a fairly novel set of designs and business applications sketched out over a year ago, and we were hardly the first), but the guy on the ground seems to be a real underdog (without the "...get some VC hire 300 people to run the website and ..." mentality), so we're taking a look at it again.

Noticed that musicbrainz is doing a cddb replacement (I knew they were doing a metadata database but I didn't put 2 + 2 together I suppose). Unfortunately their idea of "P2P" involves people being the peers as they review album entries by hand. I've had a submarine project in the works for a while now which will be a direct "competitor" to musicbrainz from what I can tell, but which will be automated. I always assumed p2p peers did computation. Then again I always assumed people who said "p2p" too much were marketroids.

Along those lines (automating weird extraction and classification tasks), I keep coming across whizbang! labs (they also have a research site...). Ullman's advising them. The guy who wrote WordPerfect is in deep. They run, have a particular fancy for spidering my home page, and seem to cite a lot of my old co-workers in their research papers. I like some of their ideas so I think I'm going to implement those I can deduce from their datasets and papers, then wait and see if anybody comes out of the shadows to throw a lawsuit at me :-)

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