MJR's slef-reflection

Powered By MaBloss This section is something like a blog. You can subscribe to RSS 1.0 feeds of the entire thing, just hacking or just scheme. The scheme feed will be the base for the new SWN once ready.

Mostly writing

  • Read Ebooks: Neither E, Nor Books which gets a lot right, as Joey Hess wrote;
  • Have WiFi working well enough, but still not properly set up. Yay Pareto effect;
  • I think MaBloss will support Atom Syndication Format as well as RSS 0.91 very soon - I have no reason to implement the API yet;
  • As a consequence, the MaBloS format (internal to MaBloss at the moment) will change to be more future-proof.
  • Wrote to one of my proteges (what is the inverse of mentor?) about their talk, but I think I used too many words on how they confused cathedral/bazaar difference with proprietary/free (growl at ESR's CatB again) and copyleft/non-copyleft with free software/open source (growl at BSDers?). It's a very good talk on the whole, though.

# | 2004-02-15 03:16:02


  1. I've realised that mabloss makes some very desirable things possible with very little work. Some refactoring required, but I'll do that.
  2. Didn't install the SCSI hardware or the WiFi. Tomorrow. I want to watch sport while hacking.
  3. Got lots of quotes for booklet printing for the FOSDEM stand. I think we've missed the cheapest (but slowest) option, but I'll try calling them tomorrow.
  4. More fun writing opportunities, but I have no time. I must reply to some correspondants tomorrow. If you're awaiting email from me and you read this: sorry.
  5. One of the mailservers has detected two probable MyDoom infections at client sites. I'll passed the message on. Let's see if they fix them. Anyone know the clean-up rate?

# | 2004-02-14 01:00:34

"Means" means "means"

I think a correspondant just claimed that things only mean whatever people think they mean. If anyone ever really believes that, I don't want them to contact me. There seems no point in replying, as they can claim my words mean whatever they think they mean. It is not possible to communicate reliably under those conditions.

# | 2004-02-13 12:06:04

(define (working-on? . tasks) #f)

I did some work today, but it was just holding position. There's lots to do tomorrow. Got rid of some hardware and got some more. I must do the outstanding urgent work before installing it, but then I have wireless! Could do with getting the camera working read-write too, and connect the "new" SCSI drive. The SCSI-USB systems here are a mess, so it's probably some kernel option needing tweaking.

I was told today that someone seems to have been telling me one thing and doing another. It upsets me, but I suppose it's good to know about it, so that I can ask them and act if needed.

# | 2004-02-13 01:58:02

Identity and the Infobahn Traveller

This year will mark 10 years since I got my first email address and I've written many words and a lot of code since then. Today, another debian blogger emailed me about code that I've not touched since leaving uni. Looking at the project FAQ, they say that they tried to find me without success, but they give the form of my name which the university forced on some of my emails (and I hate). Searching on the web for that name, I find some things that I really don't like. I'm pretty sure I didn't write them, because they seem to be in US English, full of spelling errors, and say things about the author's life that don't match mine.

I have annoyed people in the past and don't remember it all. I'll have to live with that, but I wonder whether these others (at least 2) have ever been confused with me. Should I add a note about it to my writing web page? I really don't know what to do. I can't ask to delete their posts, as they seem to share my name. It's not that unusual a name, after all. GnuPG signatures wouldn't have helped, as almost no-one signs on web boards.

The namespace is limited and now I'm really motivated to figure out how to deal with this. I think the debian project should figure it out too, instead of relying on the evils of trademarks, which seem fairly hard to enforce sometimes anyway. I'll let you know.

# | 2004-02-11 11:59:28

Annoyed by British Telecom

I saw the news today, oh boy. Actually, the newspaper. All over it are smug, self-satisfied British Telecom adverts saying about the numbers of subscribers returning to them. I'd leave if I could, but BT still have an effective monopoly in most of Great Britain. It's easy to route calls over another provider (tell me if you want to join and I'll buy you a beer next time we meet) but BT just keep milking their trapped customers by putting the line rental up and up. You can't change the line if you want any of the fixed-fee internet access schemes, as far as I know, and definitely not for ADSL.

My mood is improved by yesterday's server troubles not returning and a good lead on at least three new contracts for work.

# | 2004-02-10 14:57:35

MaBloss 1.0.2

I just uploaded the third release of my blogging software, MaBloss, to my web site. There are lots of things that I want to do with it and lots of ways that the code could be refactored, but it basically works now. I'd be really happy if people downloaded, tested, broke and fixed it. Follow the link below. Please be gentle with your bug reports. ;-)

More info...

# | 2004-02-10 10:13:04

Atkins loss not ketosis

Hacker wrote:

The Atkins Diet, and others like it, trigger short-term weight loss through a process called ketosis. [...] your body has to use a completely different metabolic pathway to turn that fat and protein into glucose.
...which directly contradicts an edition of BBC's Horizon that said negligible ketosis occurs and the other nutrient release processes are not that much less efficient. They suggested elevated protein intake supresses appetite, but more research is required. There are links to the people researching it near the foot of that Horizon page.

As someone else who watches their diet (but not as much as some), I generally agree with hacker that Atkins is an unhealthy fad. Eat fresher and drink more are my main tips. In GB, the British Heart Foundation can give you good info about losing weight and I think most doctors can refer you to a dietician, if asked.

# | 2004-02-09 21:09:22

Quote: buggy MaBloss

This was a bug, so maybe doesn't count, but it made me wonder whether the old woman icon for MaBloss is accurate:

; ../mb-xhtml 2004-2.html ls
map: expects type <list> as 2nd argument, given: head;

# | 2004-02-08 22:34:43

Let's review...

  1. MaBloss v1.0.0 nearly packaged so I can scare people with it when they get to work tomorrow. Will I blog less when I'm not testing a blogging tool?
  2. A few small fixes for www.gnustep.org and interesting discussions with people about marketing;
  3. The search for accommodation during fosdem/freeedem continues and I still need to figure out times for where I want to go;
  4. mjg59 is becoming a synonym for anger with some debianites;
  5. Some support for my opinion that non-project posts are fine on planets. I guess it's no surprise that I agree with thom: I know what was in the pubfood;
  6. Sent some info about free-to-air satellite systems, but I already decided to get more than just Astra 2;
  7. quinophex says I am the moron for driving in Cambridge in daylight at the weekend;
  8. Enough! Time for food.

# | 2004-02-08 21:38:10

Cambridge Driving Daze

I drove to Cambridge because the trains are screwed today. The actual drive and parking was fine, save a known bug in the car and a long queue on Milton Road.

The bad driving in that city has to be seen to be believed. I think I saw it all. I really object to the mad old bat in the Nissan who thinks it's OK to ram people, as long as you indicate when you move across into them, and the guy with half his bedroom on his back seat who slows and indicates left at every junction, then drives straight on.

I really am going to avoid that place by car in future.

I also will avoid PCWorld. Just because they had the part I wanted last time doesn't mean that they stock it any more, not that the shop "assistants" know what it was or whether they stock it any more. When will I learn?

# | 2004-02-08 16:44:15

Free Music

I've not finished reading yet, but it looks like Michael Crawford has come up with the goods again. We can overthrow the music copyright cabal if we vote with our ears and our wallets. Only thing that makes me unhappy is that he features iRate radio, which seems to require non-free software (libmotif or Sun Java) for me to run it at the moment (so no link for them from me). On the whole, though, I wish I'd written that document. Go read and enclue a friend.

More info...

# | 2004-02-08 01:31:19

Some don't grok planets?

It feels like every planet causes some grumble about OT entries. Planets are about the inhabitants, not just the project. If you want a pure source of just debian news, please help debian weekly news, use the package tracker, read the more on-topic lists, set up "debian news planet" or whatever, for example. I like having planets with people on them.

# | 2004-02-07 23:04:02

Going to FOSDEM and Freeedem

Yippeee, I've ordered the most difficult/expensive tickets to get me to FOSDEM. I've looked up the meetings of some of the projects I help. Now I want to find out about the others: debian and koha, most importantly. It seems there's an education conference nearby at the same time. Should be fun. See you there?

More info...

# | 2004-02-07 20:13:33

Memes: DPL, AV-spam and orkut

  1. It will be interesting to see whether planet debian reflects the DPL election at all.
  2. Wouter is nearly right. If you run a mailserver, send a SMTP reject for mass-email worms that reach it. Most of the worst are malformed and easy to spot. Then either the sender will make more data traffic (= cost more, usually) or get clue. Darwin at work. Just need to avoid false positives as much as possible.
  3. Much shorter: Screw orkut. That's one electronic addiction I'm not starting on.

# | 2004-02-07 12:17:41

GNUstepping to it

Worked on GNUstep.org. Added a new objC book to a rewritten docs page and gave it a front-page news item. Fixed some out-of-date info. Still lots more to do. By the way, I use Toolbox to read RSS feeds in GNUstep.

Quickly: Why is PlanetPlanet blank? Are GnuPG keys your fun friends? Time to stop the war on 20 March?

# | 2004-02-07 01:20:09

Boycott Murdoch?

After mentioning boycotting Murdoch, I searched for what he owns and found this list. A web search for "boycott murdoch" also suggests that he backs all the usual right-wing things: hard lines against Palestine, against the Fire Brigade Union, against football fans, for Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe (via ICC TV contracts), against liberal authors, for Bush's wars. He starts to look more and more like the baddie in Bond:TND.

# | 2004-02-06 14:39:34

Watching boxes

I'm really sick of the terrible tv here. I don't just mean the wall-to-wall "reality" shows on ITV, but the dismal signal strength. Most days, BBC2 and ITV1 are a bit fuzzy. In any case, the "local" programmes are from Leeds and Hull, well over 100 miles away, instead of Norwich (40 miles). There is a nearby transmitter which relays the Norwich programmes, but the map suggests it is hidden by the hill which has Castle Rising on it. Why did they put it in such a dumb place? It's near Sandringham. Serves her maj's country house fine, I'm sure, but not the town.

Some relatives have digital terrestial and it seems OK, but the poor signal I mentioned above means it probably won't work here. Even with an expensive aerial upgrade, we'd still not get local news because the relay isn't planned to "go digital" any time soon. So, I'm looking into satellite sets, but I won't pay Murdoch, just like I won't buy his newspapers. It seems like you can only get ITV and Channel 4 by doing that, but BBC is free-to-air. We'll have to use the old aerial for C4 and ITV until they get clue.

All this, just to get a decent picture and something watchable (like skiing, more football, more documentaries, foreign language programming, news channels) on the box. Madness.

Speaking of which, I wanted a box. A wooden box. Pine. With handles. About 300mm cube. That didn't sound so difficult. However, the only shop I found with one I liked isn't in town here (and I know I looked in quite a lot), but in the next town west, 15 miles away, 20 minute drive. Surely wooden boxes aren't that rare today? Does everyone else use plastic? Or get their boxes custom-made? I admit, I gave up and went to the next town rather than asking about custom-made boxes. I got funny looks when I asked them to make wooden drawer runners to replace the crappy plastic ones. They work well, though.

# | 2004-02-06 03:59:19

Putting my house (well, blog) in order

Insomnia has been bad recently, so I've been doing some mad hacking feats in the last couple of days:

  • I got fed up with trying to bend the accounts package into the shape I wanted, so I wrote my own nominal ledger code from scratch, with an SQL backend and a web interface. I'll upload a tarball somewhere RSN.
  • I got fed up with the complexity of my web site's production system, so I wrote my own blog tools from scratch. I started with a port of blosxom, which I think works, but it's still basic and untested
  • Then I started again because I decided that I didn't like blosxom's way, for the reasons on Gordon Weakliem's blog. I don't really want to port my code to a supported CGI language on my main web site and I don't really want to have files floating around as well as the ones uploaded. My editors use a simple API to read and write backend stores in formats like RSS, xhtml, or advogato's xmlrpc. You then just upload the stores to the web. Nice.
Still much to do, both for customers and for AFFS. A bit more insomnia could be helpful...

PS: Hello PlanetDebian. This is the first post written knowing you're watching.

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