Recent blog entries for tcurtis

GNOME building

I'm trying to get back up to speed with GNOME development, so I've been trying to install from CVS HEAD. It's still the pain that I remember it being a few months ago, but jhbuild is making life a little easier.

BOSS but more

This year BOSS is joining forces with the two universities here in Ottawa so that we can RULE THE WORLD! Well... so that we can promote Open Source a little more efficiently anyways. I was a part of a meeting today, something which I managed to miss out on last year, and am shocked by the level of detail and planning that is involved. I understood there was some, but never really understood what was involved when getting a group of people to together to undertake a venture like this. I now have even more respect for those who are apart of the various GNOME groups (ie. the release team, the Foundation team, and the like) or any other organizing/planning groups.

For more information on the Open Source Weekend, please see

Just my luck. Get my wrists back into shape for some doc hacking, and my desktop goes on the fritz. Last week it started randomly rebooting. Arg. Trouble-shooted it to death (with my limited troubleshooting skill set) and found a bad stick of ram. Still had problems, so I bought good heat sink and fan; the Volcano 6. Nice fan, with a big honkin' heat sink. Still had reboots though. I found that the die on my CPU is "chiped", and flaking too.

Finally took it in to the good folks at the Clone Society. They found the other stick of ram and the mobo to be bad. Both got replaced and I have my computer back. But now it has only slight yet annoying errors. I thought I'd test my ram and ran this test: memtest. I kept seeing errors were the letter "u" was replaced by a "w", such as "number -> nwmber". I have _no_ idea why this is happening. I'm also finding that compiling glib gives the same problem. At some point "number" is used in a header file, and the compiler complains about "nwmber" not being defined. Maybe all this is due to the chip in the die.

The rest of my time has been spent working at a warehouse, fighting a cold that seems to have hit everyone in the city, and spending time with family as this weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada.

I'm back. Wrists are a bit better (sound of tcurtis knocking on wood), so back to writing docs, drumming, and such.

On another note, now that the band known as Soma Radio does not exists anymore, I need to figure out what to do with the webspace ( In the end, I think I'll just end up putting links to all the pages on the server. <shrug>

There have been some BOSS rumblings, so I hope to lend whatever help I can to make sure things come off as smoothly as they did last year. :)

25 Aug 2002 (updated 25 Aug 2002 at 04:06 UTC) »

After a month of taking it easy around the keyboard, I'm back. I've taken steps to improve my hands and wrists. From wrist braces, to a new chair, I'm hoping that my hands and wrists will behave themselves.

I've asked for some help with the gnome-applets docs. The docs themselves are written, but there are a few omf/scrollkeeper things that need attention. I'm not very knowledgable in this area, and so I've asked for some help. I am trying to learn, but it would be nice to have the fixes and modifications done sometime before GNOME 3.0. I'm also working on the GnomeICU docs, which I hope will be ready by the time the GnomeICU crew decides to release 1.0.

My hands are complaining again. I'm not sure what exactly they are complaining about: using my mouse, using emacs' key sequences, or just being at the keyboard for so long.

I've tried a few things. One was to make an .Xmodmap file and map my PC keyboard to a more SUN keyboard (swap the Caps Lock and Ctrl keys). That worked for a bit until I had to use another computer. So lately I've just remapped my most commonly used emacs commands to the function keys. I have twelve of them, so I might as well use them.

Nothing more on the GNOME front. Still working on docs, still working on omf's and the like.

It has occured to me, whilst trying to track down an omf/scrollkeeper problem, that we don't have docs about the GNOME document system. We have docs on omf files, and on writing style, but nothing on the system it self. I think I'd find this usefull, since I'm basically having to learn alot of this trying to track down the above mentioned problem. So I'll try to keep jotting down some notes and maybe make some sort of outline so that a document could be made.

I've also been amazed at how many "correct ways" there are. Since GNOME 2 has been released, I've seen many emails, and IRC discussions flaming developers, because they didn't implement something the "correct way". Many of these seem to conflict as well: one person says that one way is the "correct way", whilst another informs us of a completely different "correct way". I now have more of an understanding of what the UI teams must deal with. I think they are doing great work.

Speaking of great work, the GnomeICU team is really working hard. The GnomeICU port to Gnome 2.0 is looking really sharp! Things keep changing which makes documenting difficult at times. ;) I'm also looking forward to the next release of this app too. GnomeICU will totally "rock out".

Happy Canada Day! Ok, so I've missed it by a few hours, but my heart is in the right place. I had these great plans to go to a museum (which was free due to the occasion), and catch the fireworks on Parliment Hill. Didn't do any of it. Instead Roberta and I just chickened out and stayed home. Watched a movie, cooked some hotdogs... nothing all that special. I don't feel too bad since it was unbelievably hot today. I don't mind the heat so much, as the humidity. Luckily, there's air conditioning.

I'm excited to hear that the GNOME team is already looking ahead to 2.0.1. So, I'm working a bit on the gnome-applet docs that need attention. It would be nice if I could look at the GDM docs as well. It occured to me today that I had never tried out GTK+2's AA feature. I now have this feature working, and don't think I can ever go back. I'm also finding myself very fond of Metacity, the window manager.

I met pete from Gimpnet yesterday. We had been trying to meet for quite sometime now. From bad weather on a Canada day, to train switches getting frozen, things just never seemed to work themselves out.

We decided to meet at the OLS front desk. I really wish I had enough money to go. Just from the front lobby, it looked like alot of fun. I figured I'd be able to catch up with some people at the parties, but apparently you need to have registered to do this. Oh well. It just strengthens my resolve for next year. :)

In other news, the government decided to give me an $80 cheque. Woo-hoo!

GNOME 2.0 is out! This is the first major release I have been a part of. There is a certain amount of pride knowing that I contributed, however small, to a project so widely used. Yes, there is a certain amount of pride involved here.

jfleck: Congratulations! I'm sure you'll do a fantastic job.

The G8 protests went more-or-less smoothly. The very first was in November, and despite a few broken windows, spray paint, and tax dollars used to control a mob of some that weren't there so much to protest as to "Take the Capital", it went smoothly. This week, the police did not wear their riot gear. They also tried very hard to have an open dialog with protesters. This must have worked , because even the protesters said they felt everything was very much in control, and that they did not feel threatened by law enforcement. From the images on the local news, it seemed the police made their roll to be supervisors rather than human barricades.

Email vs. Telephones:

I've had many discussions with family members on this topic. Most of them either do not have and see little need for a computer, use a computer only when forced and get frustrated with them, or just generally despise a medium that they deem so impersonal. But their main argument is that it is too time consuming, especially considering they have a phone across the hall that will allow them to speak to any individual at any time. I don't agree. Take for example, how voice messaging effects this equation.

In January, I'm hopping to start finishing my Computer Science degree. I've picked a school in Montreal, because it is close and the tuition is quite low. For about a week now, I have been phoning Admissions to speak to someone regarding obtaining a registration package. So far this person has not been at her desk when I call. No problem, I'll leave a voice mail. I have done this twice now, and only yesterday have I gotten a response... when I wasn't home. I came home last night to hear a message left by this contact at the university asking me to call her back.

Now in no way do I fault the individual working for the university. Work can get hectic, and you have to prioritize to get work done. This "phone tag" that she and I seem to be playing, is very much like email messaging. Only in this case it is more expensive. Similar to email, I've had to phone this individual, leave a few messages, to which she responds by leaving me a message. This is exactly what I do when send email. Send an email or two to inform or ask something of someone. They respond. Then I may respond if appropriate, and so on. Phoning long distance in Canada does cost, so despite the fact that Montreal is reasonably close, I've had two long distance calls charged to my phone bill.

Not only has phoning not been advantageous, it has actually cost me to use the phone. Had I been given the email address of this contact, correspondence would not have cost me, and I may already have a registration package on its way over to my house. Granted, had she been there, none of this would be much of an issue, but their isn't any certainty. Email allows you to prioritize and answer at your convenience. At times this can be inconvenient if your messages are being ignored, but for the most part, I can say I've had positive experiences with email. I suppose the real issue for many of my family members is not so much about convenience, and how impersonal the medium is, so much as a generation gap.

25 Jun 2002 (updated 25 Jun 2002 at 23:14 UTC) »

Wow. A Journeyer! Thanks to all of those that "sponsored" me. I just had some fun adding myself to the different projects to which I have contributed.

A few days ago, I was finally able to meet telsa in person. This was a new experience for me, because I have never met any fellow GDP/GNOME people face to face. With OLS comming up, I may meet more.

I've been experiencing pain in my wrists with all the typing, and drumming I do, so I've been running about changing my keyboarding and drumming habits. The first thing I noticed is that I put my left hand through crazy calisthenics using FSF Emacs. For some reason, I never use the control key on the right side of the keyboard. Is this common? As for drumming, I know exactly what to do. I recently started taking lessons, and as a result, I've come to realize I grip way to tighly with my index finger and thumb. I'm going to take it easy music-wise and just concentrate on changing my technique.

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