Content here is by Michael Still mikal@stillhq.com. All opinions are my own.
See recent comments. RSS feed of all comments.


Sat, 29 Dec 2001



30 December 2001

    My knee hurts. It would probably be more comfortable if it had some skin on it...

    Whilst not being able to do much because of my knee, and in the calm of the post Christmas Mikal, I have been able to get a fair bit done, which is good. I have put out a new version of the comp.text.pdf FAQ document, I have worked on the groff2db converter, and I have done the clothes washing...

    Felt like some geek movieage, so watched Enemy of the State again...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


30 December 2001

    My knee hurts. It would probably be more comfortable if it had some skin on it...

    Whilst not being able to do much because of my knee, and in the calm of the post Christmas Mikal, I have been able to get a fair bit done, which is good. I have put out a new version of the comp.text.pdf FAQ document, I have worked on the groff2db converter, and I have done the clothes washing...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 28 Dec 2001



29 December 2001

    Semi productive day yesterday -- I worked on the comp.text.pdf FAQ, and then even did some work at work!

    Skinned by knee riding my bike this morning. It hurts.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 27 Dec 2001



comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-05 (24 Aug 2001 12:46:24 GMT)

    There have been some big changes in the comp.text.pdf FAQ recently. The latest version is available in three formats: Docbook SGML, PDF, and Postscript.

    There have been a whole bunch more questions, and answers added, and development work is still ongoing on the output generation.

    As a point of interest, the FAQ is now generated by a script which stores the source information in a mysql database. The code to generate the script will be released real soon now.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-05 (24 Aug 2001 12:46:24 GMT) Update

    There have been some big changes in the comp.text.pdf FAQ recently. The latest version is available in three formats: Docbook SGML, PDF, and Postscript.

    There is also a new version of the PDF version of the FAQ submitted by a reader. This version includes hyperlinks, and bookmarks. It can be downloaded here. There have also been some reports of people having trouble viewing the original version of the PDF. This version should fix this...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /ctpfaq | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-05 (24 Aug 2001 12:46:24 GMT)

    There have been some big changes in the comp.text.pdf FAQ recently. The latest version is available in three formats: Docbook SGML, PDF, and Postscript.

    There have been a whole bunch more questions, and answers added, and development work is still ongoing on the output generation.

    As a point of interest, the FAQ is now generated by a script which stores the source information in a mysql database. The code to generate the script will be released real soon now.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /ctpfaq | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-05 (24 Aug 2001 12:46:24 GMT) Update

    There have been some big changes in the comp.text.pdf FAQ recently. The latest version is available in three formats: Docbook SGML, PDF, and Postscript.

    There is also a new version of the PDF version of the FAQ submitted by a reader. This version includes hyperlinks, and bookmarks. It can be downloaded here. There have also been some reports of people having trouble viewing the original version of the PDF. This version should fix this...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 15 Dec 2001



mysqlvi 0.2 released

    The latest version of mysqlvi, a little ditty to edit values of cells in SQL tables is available... This version fixes some bugs and also accepts some fairly braindead command line arguements.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


mysqlvi 0.2 released

    The latest version of mysqlvi, a little ditty to edit values of cells in SQL tables is available... This version fixes some bugs and also accepts some fairly braindead command line arguements.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /mysqlvi | permanent link to this entry


groff2db 0.3 Release

    The new version of the script has been released. It addresses a number of bugs reported by Greg and O'Reilley. Check it out here.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


groff2db 0.3 Release

    The new version of the script has been released. It addresses a number of bugs reported by Greg and O'Reilley. Check it out here.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /groff2db | permanent link to this entry


16 December 2001

    Finally started not feeling sick again... My stomache is still doing pyrotechnics at the moment though, so I am not getting too much done. Hopefully Catherine wont get this sickness off me -- I don't want to make her or the baby ill.

    Managed to find the energy to have a look at groff2db for Greg again... He has sent a list of bugs that he wants looked at. I will try to get onto them sometime soon. I am also very aware that I need to get going with the comp.text.pdf FAQ. I had a brainwave though (the rainwaves are what slows it down), and the next version will be in a PDF. The PDF will come from docbook SGML, which will make it easy to target at a variety of different outputs later on if the mood comes upon me...

    Anyway, I think I might have a lie down now.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 13 Dec 2001



14 December 2001

    I have been sick for the last couple of days, which has been a bit of a downer. It has also meant that I have got very little work done.

    On the baby front, it would appear that Eric the Feotus has dropped, which I am told means that Catherine is about 4 weeks away from giving birth. This means that the baby would appear mid January, which is good because I don't want a Christmas baby. It still means that we have to get the baby through the local summer without it melting though...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 09 Dec 2001



10 December 2001

    There's been a lot of pressure at work to produce the next version of TRIM at something approaching on time. This has meant that I haven't had much time for open source recently... When I haven't been working I have been sleeping and getting ready for Catherine to have a baby.

    There should be more time once the baby is born, but apparently those are famous last words... I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    This diary is one year old today. I should try to get back into making more regular entries... I am working on putting some photos up as things get more interesting again.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 28 Nov 2001



29 November 2001

    More work on groff2db is help Greg... Meta cartpal...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


groff2db 0.2 Release

    Version 0.2 of the script is now available, it fixes bugs in the conversion and starts implementing conversion of tables.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


groff2db 0.2 Release

    Version 0.2 of the script is now available, it fixes bugs in the conversion and starts implementing conversion of tables.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /groff2db | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 27 Nov 2001



28 November 2001

    Hmmmm. A busy few couple of days. We keep pushing for the deadline at work, so much code is being had by all. I spent 12 hours at work today looking into document index building problems... I then came home to discover that the script I wrote to convert groff to docbook (groff2db) had caused a whole bunch of email from the people who are using it... I looked into this a bit until eye strain told me it was time to go to bed.

    Second wedding anniversary last night, and Catherine got served parmisan cheese with cheese wevils in it. Hmmmmm...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Groff2db 0.2 on it's way...

    A bunch of bug fixes have been applied to groff2db in the last few days. These will be released here soon...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /groff2db | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 24 Nov 2001



25 November 2001

    My laptop arrived yesterday -- two days after having been paid for. Well done IBM... It is nearly setup properly.

    North at a place called the Entrance visiting my grandfather. I should put some photos of the place here.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 21 Nov 2001



22 November 2001

    I have the flu and no new laptop yet. The first cut of mysqlvi is ready.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


mysqlvi 0.1 released

    This is the first release of mysqlvi, and editor for tables values within mysql. It is covered by the terms of the GNU Public License, version 2. Get it here.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


mysqlvi 0.1 released

    This is the first release of mysqlvi, and editor for tables values within mysql. It is covered by the terms of the GNU Public License, version 2. Get it here.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /mysqlvi | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 20 Nov 2001



21 November 2001

    My new laptop arrives sometime this week!

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 17 Nov 2001



18 November 2001

    One of those fdays when you are home for about a waking hour -- church, a house warming, afternoon tea with the inlaws and a birthday all in one day. No coding got done, but a least my wrists got a rest...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 16 Nov 2001



17 November 2001

    Neil and Rachel's wedding today. Aint love grand?

    Feeling a bit mata carpal today, so I am taking it easy for a bit. I have the wrist barces on and everything. I might try to knock off the faq though because that has been on the todo list for quite some time and I am very behind.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 15 Nov 2001



16 November 2001

    I don't feel amazingly well, a bad headache which is probably related to my ridiculous caffeine levels at work is the worst. Oh well, better soldier on and just not drink too much tonight at the company drinks.

    Ironing out the last few formatting errors in the next version of the comp.text.pdf FAQ.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 14 Nov 2001



An update online!

    I finally got around to updating the site...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


15 November 2001

    Well, another long gap between diary entries. I have been battling ODMA, ISYS searching, Windows threading and a whole bunch of other issues at work recently which have left me a little distracted. I did however find the time to come up with the first cut of groff2db, mainly as part of that bet with Greg Lehey...

    Working on finishing off the next release of the comp.text.pdf FAQ. Will be there soon hopefully.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Announcing groff2db

    groff2db is a groff_mm to docbook sgml conversion script. It was originally developed by Michael Still for Greg Lehey, and was targetted at the conversion of the source code for The complete FreeBSD at that time. It is developed in Perl, and is available under the terms of the GNU Public License (version 2).

    Note that the output produced by groff2db is completely the property of the person who uses the script, and no claim is made over it by Michael Still...

    Checkout the groff2db page for more information.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


groff2db 0.1

posted at: 04:00 | path: /groff2db | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 15 Oct 2001



AUUG Winter Conference 2001 presentation

    I have finally gotten around to making my AUUG 2001 presentation available online. The slides can be found here. The talk covers how to use Panda and PandaLex

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/panda-documentation | permanent link to this entry


AUUG Winter Conference 2001 presentation

    I have finally gotten around to making my AUUG 2001 presentation available online. The slides can be found here. The talk covers how to use Panda and PandaLex

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


16 October 2001

    Getting close to finishing a whole bunch of things that I have been working on. These include
  • The implementation of the groff to docbook conversion for Greg Lehey (it will be released here when finished)
  • The conversion of the comp.text.pdf FAQ generator to using a mysql backend -- this means that the FAQ works much better now, and that I can continue updating the questions and answers.
  • Second semester of uni for the year

    Catherine is also now over six months pregnant, which is quite cool...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


AUUG Winter Conference 2001 presentation

    I have finally gotten around to making my AUUG 2001 presentation available online. The slides can be found here. The talk covers how to use Panda and PandaLex

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


AUUG Winter Conference 2001 presentation

    I have finally gotten around to making my AUUG 2001 presentation available online. The slides can be found here. The talk covers how to use Panda and PandaLex

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/pandalex | permanent link to this entry


AUUG Winter Conference 2001 presentation

    I have finally gotten around to making my AUUG 2001 presentation available online. The slides can be found here. The talk covers how to use Panda and PandaLex

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/panda-development | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 23 Sep 2001



...

    A big gap

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 24 September 2001

    The second day of my third AUUG conference. My first diary entry in a long time.

    Spent most of the time from the last diary entry working on settling in at my new job, which has taken a bit of effort. They're a good bunch, but it is my first major C++ piece of coding work.

    Entered a bet with Greg Lehey which I might regret later (me and my big mouth). I'll let you know more later...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 15 Aug 2001



Wednesday 15 August 2001

    Spent most of the evening battling the web based calendar package I had downloaded. I recommend that people not use CyberCalendar (I found it on Freshmeat), it caused me great pain to configure -- mainly because the author assumes that the html and image files will be in the same path as the cgi executables, which is not the way most web servers are configured. I finally got it installed, only to discover that it is nothing special. I'll keep looking. On the up side, I now have mysql installed...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 09 Aug 2001



Friday 10 August 2001

    Well, I haven't posted any diary entries in some time. I have been busy handling the normal number of community comments you get after a release (in this case Panda), dealing with some memory leaks in Panda (the shame is too great!), and sorting out my computing world. I recently resigned from IPAustralia -- on Monday of this week in fact. This is why I have been sorting out my computing environment. I have to return my laptop, as it was company issue, and this has caused a lot of distruption. It has also meant that development of things like Panda has been delayed as well. Such is life. The plan is to buy another laptop real soon now. Maths test soon -- linear algebra, which isn't too hard. There is just a lot to cover, and not enough time, like normal.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 29 Jul 2001



comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-04 (24 Jul 2001 17:08:35 GMT)

    The latest release of the comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document is now available. I am not aware of any outstanding email submissions.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /ctpfaq | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-04 (24 Jul 2001 17:08:35 GMT)

    The latest release of the comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document is now available. I am not aware of any outstanding email submissions.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 25 Jul 2001



Autodocbook 0.3

    In one of those great misteries of life, version 0.2 of autodocbook has been skipped, and I am now releasing version 0.3. Version 0.2 did exist, but was rapidly turned into 0.3 with the addition of the handling for Freetype's formatted comments.

    So anyway, check it out!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /autodocbook | permanent link to this entry


Documentation for Freetype 2.0.4

    A week or two ago there was a request for a man page version of the Freetype documentation. I have now modified autodocbook to handle the format used by the Freetype formatted headers.

    The sample documentation (which is not yet perfect) is available as a sgml set, a man page set, a man and sgml set, and a formatted html set.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /autodocbook | permanent link to this entry


Documentation for Freetype 2.0.4

    A week or two ago there was a request for a man page version of the Freetype documentation. I have now modified autodocbook to handle the format used by the Freetype formatted headers.

    The sample documentation (which is not yet perfect) is available as a sgml set, a man page set, a man and sgml set, and a formatted html set.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /freetype | permanent link to this entry


Documentation for Freetype 2.0.4

    A week or two ago there was a request for a man page version of the Freetype documentation. I have now modified autodocbook to handle the format used by the Freetype formatted headers.

    The sample documentation (which is not yet perfect) is available as a sgml set, a man page set, a man and sgml set, and a formatted html set.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Autodocbook 0.3

    In one of those great misteries of life, version 0.2 of autodocbook has been skipped, and I am now releasing version 0.3. Version 0.2 did exist, but was rapidly turned into 0.3 with the addition of the handling for Freetype's formatted comments.

    So anyway, check it out!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 19 Jul 2001



Panda 0.4 Release

    Panda 0.4, the latest version of my PDF generation API is now available from the download page. New features include a whole bunch of bug fixes, better imaging, better text boxes, and legacy system support (MS Windows).

    Check it out!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.4 Stable

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/panda-download | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.4 Release

    Panda 0.4, the latest version of my PDF generation API is now available from the download page. New features include a whole bunch of bug fixes, better imaging, better text boxes, and legacy system support (MS Windows).

    Check it out!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 01 Jul 2001



Sunday 1 July 2001

    So much done today. I entered into an IT frenzy and started finalising the church server. I also had a look at some code for work, PandaLex, and the tdb work I have been doing.

    It looks like there will be a Panda release in the next week or so... The first one in a while.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


29 and 30 June 2001

    Nothing of significance to report...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 28 Jun 2001



Thursday 28 June 2001

    Home sick.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 26 Jun 2001



26 and 27 June 2001

    Windows port of Panda nearly finished. I must have a bug of some form, I have felt like crap the last two afternoons and have had to come home from work early.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 24 Jun 2001



Saturday 23 June 2001

    Production implementation from hell. Moved code across to production last night and then discovered it didn't compile because the production machine was 64 bit and the development machines are 32 bit. It would seem that libtiff doesn't compile on a 64 bit machine -- this is something I will have to put some work into. I ended up compiling the code statically on one of the 32 bit machines and then ftp'ing it across to the 64 bit machine. This meant that the binary worked in 32 bit compatibility mode, which seemed to work fine.

    For reference, add the following to xlc to compile statically...
    -bnoso -bI:/lib/syscalls.exp
    


    Too much fun.

    Helped a mate build a shack in his backyard -- I'll put photos here when I can.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 25 June 2001

    Boring course all about an EDMS today. Didn't get much done apart from that. I have been working on a little perl script to manage the comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document. Played with that a little while watch Blues Brothers 2000.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sunday 24 June 2001

    More shack work.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 21 Jun 2001



Friday 22 June 2001

    The port of Panda to Windows continues. Basically all the functionality is there now, it is just a case of whipping up an example or two to make sure that it actually works. I have uncovered a couple of subtle bugs so far. After that, it is a case of making sure that I have done the VB bit in the most VBish way possible, which will take some extra time.

    Don't buy Denon audio equipment. We have now been through about a dozen hi fi amplifiers, and have just ha dour second one smoke.

    It looks like the area I am working for is being split up. More details as they come to hand.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 21 June 2001

    Course cancelled, so I wont be going to SLUG this month. Oh well...

    Catherine seems to be fine, and the doctor thinks that there is nothing wrong, so we are trying to be relaxed about it all.

    The shit hit the fan at work the other day and people started saying that they needed a PDF generator in house that could do PNG. The obvious choices being Raster master (the commerical library we have been using), or Panda. I got the go ahead to start looking at porting Panda this afternoon. I have been having a play tonight, and now that I have actually sat down and tried to do it, it isn't that hard.

    The port isn't even that dodgy. The only bit that I think is a little bad is that I couldn't determine how to setup MS Visual C to point at extra include directories. There is a setting for it, but I couldn't get it to work. I must have been doing something wrong. In the end I just chage the <>'s to ""'s as needed.

    Anyway, so I have the library compiling, it is now just a case of arranging some DLL exports. After that I will have a play in Visual Basic to make an ActiveX wrapper around it, and then use InstallShield to build a pretty little installer.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 20 Jun 2001



Thursday 21 June 2001

    Very tired. We were worried about a possible miscarriage last night, and so I couldn't get to sleep until late. I am hoping that Catherine and little plus plus will be ok.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 19 Jun 2001



Tuesday 19 June 2001

    Did work on getpage, and then went to dinner and a concert.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 20 June 2001

    One of those days. It was really quiet until the last hour of the work day, and then everything happened all at once. I think work has lost the plot -- I had to go to an interview -- just to go on a three day course. There were a bunch of Samba and library configuration issues to sort out as well. Finally, the PDF generator I recommended against three months ago has of course failed to live up to expectations, so I am thinking of a solution to that as well.

    Bass lession as well. My fingers hurt.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 18 Jun 2001



Monday 18 June 2001

    At work. Nothing much of interest to mention. Had a play with pngtools this evening.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Getpage 0.3

    The new version of Getpage is now available. Features in this new version include:

  • Indexing of backend data into index pages (this is not recommended at the moment as the code is still too slow)
  • Better cross posting functionality
  • Ongoing code cleanup

    You can get the code from getpage. The commitnews script hasn't changed in this release.

    It occurs to me that this stuff would be more useful with some sample config files, so these can be found here.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 16 Jun 2001



My AOSS III Talk

    The slides for my Australian Open Source Symposium talk are now available online. This talk covers Panda, PandaLex, PandaScript, PNGTools, and stuff like that.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /notes | permanent link to this entry


My AOSS III Talk

    The slides for my Australian Open Source Symposium talk are now available online. This talk covers Panda, PandaLex, PandaScript, PNGTools, and stuff like that.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


My AOSS III Talk

    The slides for my Australian Open Source Symposium talk are now available online. This talk covers Panda, PandaLex, PandaScript, PNGTools, and stuff like that.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/pandalex | permanent link to this entry


My AOSS III Talk

    The slides for my Australian Open Source Symposium talk are now available online. This talk covers Panda, PandaLex, PandaScript, PNGTools, and stuff like that.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


Sunday 17 June 2001

    Woke up this morning with a most amazing headache, which is normally the result of having just finished a stressful period of life... My brain somehow feels that the best way to celebrate this is to cause my cranium to contract and force gray matter out my ears.

    Had some asprin, some caffiene and a hot shower, but my head still hurts enough for me to not be willing to go and stand in a loud church.

    I'm therefore staying at home. I've watched a bit of quiet TV, worked a little on the comp.text.pdf FAQ (I have been working on a perl script to maintain it all for me because I couldn't find any code out there that did what I was after). I am also thinking about having a bit of a play with Panda as well.

    I have been building a machine for my local church, and I have so far had three hard disks fail of the four I was donated. I am starting to think that I should just front up the couple of hundred dollars and buy a hard disk I know is going to last for more than 30 minutes.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


My AOSS III Talk

    The slides for my Australian Open Source Symposium talk are now available online. This talk covers Panda, PandaLex, PandaScript, PNGTools, and stuff like that.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/pandascript | permanent link to this entry


My AOSS III Talk

    The slides for my Australian Open Source Symposium talk are now available online. This talk covers Panda, PandaLex, PandaScript, PNGTools, and stuff like that.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /pngtools | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 15 Jun 2001



Saturday 16 June 2001

    Attended the Australian Open Source Symposium today. I gave a talk on Panda, PNGTools and 2D open source imaging in general, the notes for which can be found here. There were also cool talks from other people of course, the highlights being talks on the ACT election voting system (EVACS), NFS4, and stuff like that. There were also a bunch of talks repeated from linux.conf.au...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 14 Jun 2001



Firday 15 June 2001

    So what did I do today? Well, I had a play with pnginfo (which is part of pngtools), I tried to debug a silly WIndows NT service that keeps crashing on me at work, I helped someone with some signal handling code on a FreeBSD machine, and I had a tour of the Civic phone exchange.

    The phone exchange had to be the highlight of the day -- there is a lot of hardware there, like the $300,000 web cache machines for the Telstra internet backbone, and stuff like that. Then again, this is only the Canberra infrastructure and I am sure there is better stuff out there around Australia. It was sort of as I expected it to be though, really there is nothing to running a back bone -- at least in the sense that is just a bunch of nice Cisco routers and that is about it. It's not like there is magical machines or anything. I think that the main value in this sort of operation is the staff -- the hardware is nothing amazing.

    Anyway, now I am working on automating my generation of the comp.text.pdf FAQ. I have looked at faq-o-matic and things like that, and they don't really do what I am after, so I am in the process of whipping up a nasty little perl hack. I am getting quite good at this perl thing. I think you know when you are starting to become comfortable in a language when you start to think that perhaps the problem you are looking at is a "perl problem", or a "c problem".

    Anyway, charity trivia night tonight and then some work on my talk for tomorrow. Too much fun...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 13 Jun 2001



Thursday 14 June 2001

    I really should start working on my AOSS III presentation...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 12 Jun 2001



Wednesday 13 June 2001

    Well, I think I passed my differential equations exam. Had a play with the following to celebrate:

  • Autodocbook version 0.2 -- I am aiming at having this suitable to go into makefiles, and convert to man pages automagically if possible
  • Setting up my colour xterm -- took a bit of love, but I think I am getting there. Gosh if it isn't slow to boot...
  • Documentation for tdb
  • Patting the cat

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 13 June 2001

    Well, I am half way through the day and I have done my DST exam (distributed systems). I think I did pretty well on it, I am certainly happy enough that I definitely passed. I am aiming for a HD, so we will have to wait and see on how that turns out.

    I only have my maths exam left this semester, and I am not looking forward to it. I am trying to be positive, but at this stage I would settle for a pass. I have studied for it so much that I am having a lot of trouble motiviating myself to study any more, but I still think that I am borderline for a pass. We will just have to wait and see. If I am honest with myself, there a few units in my degree (the electronics ones mainly), where I didn't think that I deserved a pass and I got one. Perhaps it will happen again...

    Walked into Jacqui at uni. I haven't talked to her in a long time. We are going to meet up after my maths exam, which will be good because there is heaps of catching up to do. She is also due to get married sometime this year (I think, perhaps it is next year), so it will be interesting to see how things are going.

    Anyway, back to pretending to study.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 11 Jun 2001



Tuesday 12 June 2001

    I am feeling a bit demoralised about my maths exam. I am having troubles with some of the more complex pieces of the differential equations stuff, and whilst I think I understand Laplace transforms, I don't seem to often get the answer that is in the back of the textbook.

    At this stage I am going to just do my best, and hope for a pass. After this unit, there is one more hard maths uni in my degree, and then I am home free... I will be glad to be rid of the maths, because it is hard to see how it is relevant to the work that I do (except for perhaps some of the compression algorithms, but then again I am unlikely to ever want to write my own one of those).

    I am feeling pretty confident about the distributed systems technology unit though. The only thing I have to owrry about there is getting the wierd terminology that the lecturer uses right.

    Staying home and studying today. Released the latest version of the comp.text.pdf FAQ, which is hopelessly behind schedual.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-03 (08 May 2001 11:24:28 GMT)

    There has been a bit of a delay since the last release of the comp.text.pdf FAQ. This has mainly been because of workload at university. Anyway, here it is...

    The latest release of my comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document is now available.

    This version includes all requested by readers.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /ctpfaq | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 12 June 2001

    Pregnant wife update: Yay! The nesting instinct has kicked in!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-03 (08 May 2001 11:24:28 GMT)

    There has been a bit of a delay since the last release of the comp.text.pdf FAQ. This has mainly been because of workload at university. Anyway, here it is...

    The latest release of my comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document is now available.

    This version includes all requested by readers.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 10 Jun 2001



Saturday 9 June 2001

    Studied for DST and did some work on Panda.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 11 June 2001

    A public holiday in Australia (for the Queen's Birthday of all things). This is a good thing because it gives me more time to study for this maths exam.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sunday 10 June 2001

    Did some study for differential equations, went baby shopping (didn't buy any babies though), and saw the Mummy Returns. A good flick.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 08 Jun 2001



Friday 8 June 2001

    I'm starting to wonder if the whole Telstra thing has fallen through. At this stage my tactic is going to be to assume that it has, and then if anything does come of it, then I am pleasantly surprised.

    Bought my bass today. Also went to an ultrasound for my child. It is amazing that at a little over 6 weeks, it has a detectable heart beat -- it doesn't have a heart yet, but it has the beat! Its good to know that everything is going fine with the baby.

    Tags for this post: blog ultrasound pregnant
    Related posts: 31 October 2002; Its either a third child, or Cat is pregnant with a unicorn; 13 August 2002

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 06 Jun 2001



Thursday 7 June 2001

    Did my exam. Did ok I think. Left in 180 minutes, instead of the recommended 360 minutes. There might be something in that (it was too easy, or I had no idea what I was talking about). I did answer every question though.

    The new improved todo list version:
  • Thursday 7 June: CE3 exam
  • Friday 8 June: Ultrasound for Catherine and little ++
  • Monday 11 June: Public holiday
  • Tuesday 12 June: Study for exams
  • Wednesday 13 June: Maths and DST exams
  • Friday 15 June: AUUG 2001 abstract due, ADDS II finished, resign?
  • Saturday 16 June: AOSS presentation (possibly)
  • ???: START WITH TELSTRA?

    Underlined means done today, and not shown in future lists.

    I am back actively working on a new version of Panda as well, because I find that it is a good break from studying for my exams. There is also a new release of the Sony Vaio coming out in the next few weeks, which explains why there isn't anything on the sony.com.au website about the Vaio picturebook. I am really hoping that Telstra can pick me up one of these -- so sexy!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 05 Jun 2001



Wednesday 6 June 2001

    Up at 5 am to study for my exam tomorrow. I am summarising the lecture handouts for the relevant chapters, then will look at some examples he hinted at, and then look into the questions in the relevant chapters to make sure that I understand everything. The unit is boring management stuff, but I think it is hard to fail if you apply some common sense. That is my theory at least, but he wont make past papers available, which makes it hard to tell.

    The never ending todo list:
  • Friday 1 June: Maths assignment due
  • Monday 4 June: Birthday lunch for Peter, baby doctor appointment
  • Tuesday 5 June: Study for exams
  • Thursday 7 June: CE3 exam
  • Friday 8 June: Resign?
  • Monday 11 June: Public holiday
  • Tuesday 12 June: Study for exams
  • Wednesday 13 June: Maths and DST exams
  • Friday 15 June: AUUG 2001 abstract due, ADDS II finished
  • Saturday 16 June: AOSS presentation (possibly)
  • ???: START WITH TELSTRA?

    Underlined means done today, and not shown in future lists.

    Anyway, back to the study...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 04 Jun 2001



Project management notes!

    Too cool for school!

    I have just studied up for a project management unit, and the notes are online in the notes area. Manage to your hearts content!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 5 June 2001

    Study day. Possible miscarriage day (it turned out not to be). Argueing on the CLUG mailing list about Telstra day. Too much fun.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 03 Jun 2001



Sunday 3 June 2001

    It is amazing the contrast between days. Today I got nothing much done apart from building a machine for my church. Oh well...

    It also turns out that for various reasons Greg Lehey hasn't been getting my mail about AOSS. It should be fixed now (I hope).

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 4 June 2001

    Back at work once more.

    Had an interesting discussion on the CLUG mailing list about whether it is possible to have an GNU indent like program for Perl. It seems that there is really nothing out there that does this at the moment. This would seem to be because parsing Perl is a bit of a bastard. Oh well, I will just have to learn the emacs indenting style for Perl and be done with it I suppose.

    I'm wondering if it is time to move this site to a real database in the backend. I think that file I/O might be making the generation of the indexes quite slow -- 18 seconds it is currently running at on my development machine. There are currently 2126 records (files) in the database...

    Finished off my maths assignment and handed it in (finally).

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 01 Jun 2001



Saturday 2 June 2001

    You can call me achieving things boy. Stuff I have gotten done today:
  • The roadbase mountain is finally off my driveway
  • I did all the washing
  • Filled the dishwasher three times
  • Did some coding on getpage (a new release soon)
  • Studied for uni exams (it's worrying that you can summarise an entire unit in a day's worth of work)
  • Washed the car

    You get the idea...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 2 June 2001

    I had a brain wave. I have asked Uni of Canberra if they have any students who would like to have a go at redesigning this page to make it more pretty. We'll see what happens.

    I still haven't got my maths assignment in. I feel silly handing in something where I could only answer a quarter of the questions. I will have a bit more of a look at it this weekend, and then hand whatever I have in on Monday.

    This weekend is also an exam study festival, as well as the russling up of the last bits of hardware for the church server, which I am aiming at building Sunday afternoon.

    The todo list (as ever):
  • Friday 1 June: Maths assignment due
  • Monday 4 June: Birthday lunch for Peter, baby doctor appointment
  • Tuesday 5 June: Study for exams, resign?
  • Thursday 7 June: CE3 exam
  • Monday 11 June: Study for exams
  • Wednesday 13 June: Maths and DST exams
  • Friday 15 June: AUUG 2001 abstract due, ADDS II finished
  • Saturday 16 June: AOSS presentation (possibly)
  • ???: START WITH TELSTRA?

    Underlined means done today, and not shown in future lists.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 1 June 2001

    Ahhh. It all becomes a little clearer.

    It's a good excuse, I can't complain. At least I'm not sick.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 31 May 2001



Thursday 31 May 2001

    Got home and did some maths homework. I have no idea what this assignment is talking about. Well, that's not totally true. I know what he wants, and I am obviously doing something wrong, because I get this huge equation than wont simplify... I just can't see what I have done wrong.

    Did some web surfing. I can see what John means about the size of the BGP tables in core routers and CIDR. I think the main effect that CIDR has caused is that it is possible to have a lot more AS's now than it used to be. If you want to have a look at the core routing table for Telstra Internet, have a look at Geoff Huston's web page, which has a link at the bottom of it to the current routing table.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 1 June 2001

    Hmmmmm. Telstra management in Melbourne should hurry up with the contract. I am pretty keen to get started on something new. I wonder if it is bad form to ring Leanne and let her know I am pretty keen?

    GRUMPY. Greg Lehey has published the list of talks for AOSS 3 10 days before the abstract due date. I can understand that he wants to get the ball rolling, but I would have hoped that poeple would have been told if the abstracts were a case of first in best dressed. I had also warned him that I would like to talk. As it is, all of the talks are basically from IBM Canberra. Oh well, I guess it is one of those things. I will wait and see what happens. It certainly looks like there are fewer talks than last year, so perhaps there is room for me yet.

    The other problem is because I am moving, it isn't clear if I will have a laptop to present from at that point.

    Still working on my Maths assignment, which is due today. I am drawing some comfort from that fact that the lecturer doesn't seem to care when it actually comes to him (perhaps on Monday?), and that all I have to do is get a "satisfactory" mark. It certainly seems that the assignments are a lot harder than the exam and tests, which is the way it should be. I don't want to take too long though, because I would like to gte as much study in for the exam as possible. I really need to at least pass this unit if I want to get into honours.

    My todo list again:
  • Friday 1 June: Maths assignment due
  • Monday 4 June: Study for exams, resign my job
  • Thursday 7 June: CE3 exam
  • Monday 11 June: Study for exams, AOSS abstract due
  • Wednesday 13 June: Maths and DST exams
  • Friday 15 June: AUUG 2001 abstract due, ADDS II finished
  • Saturday 16 June: AOSS presentation (probably)
  • Monday 18 June: START WITH TELSTRA?

    Underlined means done today, and not shown in future lists.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 30 May 2001



Thursday 31 May 2001

    "Like a Sturgeon, touched for the very first time.
    Like a Sturgeon..."


    Sorry it had to be done. Anyway life in the office is pretty boring. The compile environment on the main oracle development machine is cactus, so it isn't like I can do any work.

    Current status of todo list for next two weeks:
  • Friday 1 June: Maths assignment due
  • Monday 4 June: Study for exams, resign my job
  • Thursday 7 June: CE3 exam
  • Monday 11 June: Study for exams, AOSS abstract due
  • Wednesday 13 June: Maths and DST exams
  • Friday 15 June: AUUG 2001 abstract due, ADDS II finished
  • Saturday 16 June: AOSS presentation (probably)

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 29 May 2001



Wednesday 30 May 2001

    I hate my stomache. I think that I might have acid problems, although some people think that it is sympathy pains for Catherine (who is pregnant). I am going to cut down on the amount of coffee I consume in the afternoons, and I am giving Mylanta a try to see if it helps.

    The next few weeks look like this:
  • Monday 4 June: Study for exams, resign my job
  • Thursday 7 June: CE3 exam
  • Monday 11 June: Study for exams, AOSS abstract due
  • Wednesday 13 June: Maths and DST exams
  • Friday 15 June: AUUG 2001 abstract due
  • Saturday 16 June: AOSS presentation (probably)
  • Monday 18 June: START WITH TELSTRA?

    Too busy for words.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 28 May 2001



Monday 28 May 2001

    Had to get Catherine's uni entrance form in a bit of a hurry -- nothing that express post wont fix though. Handed in the second last of my assignments for this semester, which brings me a little closer to having some free time for projects.

    You are also now looking at the proud owner of erindale.org.au -- the domain for the church I am currently going to.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 25 May to Sunday 27 May 2001

    A bit of a blur. I worked on a Uni assignment, Catherine (my wife) did some entrance exams for University, and a whole bunch of in-law birthday parties...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 29 May 2001

    One of those days. I finished off my tax return for the last financial year (just at _this_ finacial year is coming to an end). I went to uni lectures, and I organised a new job. It seems that Telstra is now writing up the contract for me to jump ship from the sinking boat that I feel IPAustralia is at the moment. They seem to have lost the plot a lot, they simply have no concept of best practise (for instance, the size, quality, or consistency of their image holdings).

    Worked on a maths assignment.

    Tried to get the cat off the keyboard long enough to type this. Failed...

    I really want to finish off Panda et al so I can move onto other projects. Oh, for some free time to work on them.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 23 May 2001



Thursday 24 May 2001

    Off work sick. Negotiating with Telstra...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 23 May 2001

    Telstra offered me a job. I think I'll accept.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 21 May 2001

    Interview with Telstra. Pretty impressive, a week delay between application and interview.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 15 May to Sunday 20 May

    ?

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 22 May 2001

    I'm going to be a father. I think I'll call it minigeek...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 14 May 2001



Monday 14 May 2001

    Worked out my tax with an accountant, worked on uni assignments and went into the office. I am busy enough with Uni at the moment that I am unlikely to get any Open Source done for the next month or so.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sunday 13 May 2001

    Mother's day

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 11 May 2001



Saturday 12 May 2001

    Stuff I did today:
  • Worked on my ATM assignment for uni
  • Worked on my online medical practise assignment for uni
  • Went to a school fate for a friend of the family's child
  • Went to a meet-the-pastor session for my new (as of 8 weeks ago) church

    I have many assignments on, I guess it is the wrong time of year for Open Source.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 10 May 2001



Thursday 10 May 2001

    Registered the Church domain. Apart from that, one of those days when you feel that little has been achieved. I did pick up a bunch of hardware from nemo including a colour labtam xterm though (thanks nemo!).

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 11 May 2001

    So much work, so little time.

  • Worked on my comp.text.pdf faq document. Ran out of data on my laptop, which means I have to remember to sync the archive with my home machine sometime soonish.
  • Worried about database consistency a lot about an imaging database I am working on at the moment at work. I need to work out some sane way to perform rollbacks of the database when commits fail.
  • Put some work into trying to determine how to build windows DLLs under cygwin. Libtool seems to want to create .la's. Perhaps there is some option I am missing?

    Feeling pretty under motivated. I'm bored with all of my CD's (music that is), I think it is time I made a trip to a record store sometime soonish.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 08 May 2001



Wednesday 9 May 2001

    How much documentation can one man write? I spent last night documenting the Internet configuration for my church, and now I have spent all of today at work documenting code I wrote a while back. Too much fun...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 07 May 2001



Sunday 6 May 2001

    Catherine sick -- it must be catching!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 8 May 2001

    You may call me achieving things boy. Go on, I dare you... Today I have:
  • Finally arranged to do my taxes for 1999-2000
  • Booked the car in for a service
  • Chased up my mobile phone which was in for repair
  • Organised ISP access for my church
  • Worked out the domain name for my church (it will hopefully be erindale.org.au)
  • Done some work
  • Won a volleyball game (the other team didn't show up)
  • Drunk coffee
  • Gone to a meeting
  • Had lunch, and breakfast!
  • Gone to uni

    What else could you want from a day?

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 7 May 2001

    Went to uni, went to work, went to small group. Not my else...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 04 May 2001



Monday 30 April to Friday 4 May 2001

    Off sick from work this week. Got a uni assignment down, although I wasn't working nearly as efficiently as I would normally. I have come to the conclusion that some of my lecturers have no concept of how long it takes to do their assignments. They are interesting, and teach worthwhile things, but you don't need to implement an entire system in two weeks to demonstrate learning.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-02 (30 Apr 2001 13:56:00 GMT)

    The second release of my comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document is now available. The current plan is to do a series of quite frequent releases whilst I am still catching up with reality, and then settle down into a regular monthly pattern.

    This version includes a few improvements requested by readers, but not all. If your's hasn't been included yet, then it is still in the queue. You haven't been forgotten...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /ctpfaq | permanent link to this entry


Computer Engineering 3A: Talk on Distrubuted Systems Technologies

posted at: 07:00 | path: /notes | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 5 May 2001

    Released the seond version of my comp.text.pdf faq document. Finished a uni assignment. Dug holes with a mate.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-02 (30 Apr 2001 13:56:00 GMT)

    The second release of my comp.text.pdf frequently asked questions document is now available. The current plan is to do a series of quite frequent releases whilst I am still catching up with reality, and then settle down into a regular monthly pattern.

    This version includes a few improvements requested by readers, but not all. If your's hasn't been included yet, then it is still in the queue. You haven't been forgotten...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 5 May 2001: Rant for the week

    I've been digging holes, so I have been thinking, which is what I do while digging holes. My thoughts were based on the following factiods:

  • I bothered to do that maths the other day, and nearly 30,000 people have downloaded a version or other of Panda / PandaLex / PandaScript. This number might include repeat downloads, and doesn't take into account caching, so take it with a grain of salt.
  • A friend commented that if 10% of the people gave me $10 for my efforts, then that's a lot of money
  • I released the second version of the comp.text.pdf faq I have been working on recently
  • I am paid to work as a software engineer for a government department, where I write code most of my time, and this code is only used internally

    Anyway, here is what I came up with based on these facts...

    I write open source because I can. I write code all day in my job, which might be generally useful to other people, but that will never see the light of day. It is also not unheard of for people at work to have code developed that is never really used.

    Open source is a way of fixing how I feel about that. I can write generally useful code, and have it used by real people. It also leads to better code, because I know people are going to look at it, and draw conclusions about my level of clue based on that code.

    On the money side, I guess my rationale is that all the people I know of who work for Open Source companies earning a lot of money had to do that hard yards first a generate a name for themselves. I guess that is the stage that I am in at the moment. At some point I will get noticed, and get hired, and get paid a lot of money.

    The other reality is that I am learning things doing my open source coding that I wouldn't learn otherwise. For instance autoconf, automake, libtool, and stuff like that. These all also make me more employable.

    Perhaps I should call for donations for the whole Panda thing. If you want to send me money email me!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 28 Apr 2001



28 April 2001

    Sick.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


27 April 2001

    Sick.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


29 April 2001

    Sick. Released the first version on the comp.text.pdf FAQ document. Finished my talk on SOAP and XML RPC for uni. Sick.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 27 Apr 2001



comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-01 (19 Apr 2001 00:56:31 GMT)

    The initial release of my comp.text.pdf FAQ is now available. This is version 2001-01, which covers comp.text.pdf postings up to 19 Apr 2001 00:56:31 GMT. If you have suggestions, questions or answers, please email them to me, or post them to comp.text.pdf!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /ctpfaq | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ

    I have just started producing a FAQ for the comp.text.pdf usenet group. The page for this document can be found here.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


comp.text.pdf FAQ 2001-01 (19 Apr 2001 00:56:31 GMT)

    The initial release of my comp.text.pdf FAQ is now available. This is version 2001-01, which covers comp.text.pdf postings up to 19 Apr 2001 00:56:31 GMT. If you have suggestions, questions or answers, please email them to me, or post them to comp.text.pdf!

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 25 Apr 2001



7 April to 26 April

    A big blur, including being sick and releasing the first release of pngtools...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 24 Apr 2001



Distributed Systems Technology Stuff

    I am doing a unit called DST at uni, which is basically about client server computing. This page has a whole bunch of stuff related to that on it.

posted at: 07:00 | path: /notes | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 18 Apr 2001



PDF Specification Updates

    PDF 1.4 has now been released in the sense that Adobe Acrobat 5 supports it (as has Illustrator 9 for some time).

  • Changes for PDF 1.4

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/panda-development | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 11 Apr 2001



Initial public release

    In line with the maxim "release early, release often", here is the initial public viewing of my work on pngtools. At the moment, the only command that is implemented is pnginfo, which is pretty much there (apart from the command line options, which are rarely used).

    I would welcome comments on the code, which can be sent to mikal@stillhq.com. The code is (c) Michael Still 2001, and is released under the GNU GPL version 2.

  • Source

posted at: 07:00 | path: /pngtools | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 08 Apr 2001



Panda 0.4 RC2

    Panda 0.4 RC2 is now available. It supports PNG for the first time, and has much better documentation. Please note that it is not a stable release however...

    ChangeLog
    Source (with examples)
    Source (without examples, but much smaller)

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda/panda-download | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.4 RC2

    Panda 0.4 RC2 has been released! This version supports PNG for the first time, as well as having much better documentation (currently only in Docbook SGML form, there will be man pages for the final release).

    Checkout the Panda Download page for more information...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.4 RC2

    Panda 0.4 RC2 has been released! This version supports PNG for the first time, as well as having much better documentation (currently only in Docbook SGML form, there will be man pages for the final release).

    Checkout the Panda Download page for more information...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 04 Apr 2001



Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April

    Studying for a Differential Equations exam...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 2 April to Thursday 6 April

    Studied some more for maths. Helped a friend move house. Got PNG working in Panda! You should see Panda 0.4 RC 2 sometime real soon now...

posted at: 07:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 29 Mar 2001



Saturday 24 March to Friday 30 March

    this week has been a bit of a blur. There have been lots of assignments at uni (it being nearly the end of the term and all), along with doing lots of documentation on Panda. I also started looking at PNG support for Panda, mainly because I had to look at it for work for a different project I am doing there, so I figure I should harness my new found knowledge for the greater good...

    Panda 0.4 RC 2 should be out soon!

posted at: 06:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 22 March and Friday 23 March

    Moved office.

posted at: 06:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 20 Mar 2001



Monday 19 March

    Nothing interesting to report...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 20 March and Wednesday 21 March

    Working on better documentation for Panda -- in the last two days I have added 40 man pages to the development tree... I also have to write some ASP for uni and work on a maths assignment. Too much fun!

    Also mainly sorted out the acceptance testing with Raymond.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 17 Mar 2001



Sunday 18 March

    Released the code for Subnetmapper 0.1. I am currently trying to decide if I will do a freshmeat announcement. I think I wont because it is not ready yet...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Release 0.1

    Well, the assignment is finally submitted, so I can release some code. The code is pretty basic at the moment, but next time I get bored with Panda I will work on it more...

    The code:
  • dnsscan
  • buildtrace
  • netmap
  • genlevel

    You will also need PandaScript before you will be able to generate any maps...

    To use subnetmapper, just edit the subnets you would like scanned in dnsscan, and then run the commands in the order they are listed above.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /subnetmapper | permanent link to this entry


Subnetmapper 0.1, an example of how to use PandaScript Released

    Subnetmapper is a simple network mapper that produces maps using PandaScript. The maps are pretty basic at the moment, but it is a good example of how to use PandaScript with shell.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda/pandascript | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 17 March

    Released a sample of Panda 0.4 (RC1). Interesting, about half the web traffic I am used to with a release, but much much more email sent... I wonder what that means.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Subnetmapper 0.1, an example of how to use PandaScript Released

    Subnetmapper is a simple network mapper that produces maps using PandaScript. The maps are pretty basic at the moment, but it is a good example of how to use PandaScript with shell.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 16 Mar 2001



Autodocbook 0.1 Released

    Autodocbook, a simple program to generate C code from specially formatted comments has been released for the first time...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 14 March and Friday 15 March

    stillhq.com was broken for a while because my ISP upgraded perl to a version which is much stricter about some things like variable initialisation -- which is strange because I didn't think perl was meant to care about that sort of stuff... It is all fixed now, and I think the outage was only for a day or so, so I wont get too upset with my ISP just yet...

    Released a new version of Panda, finished 0.1 of Autodocbook. Overall a good Open Source couple of days. A shit couple of days at work though.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Autodocbook 0.1 code

    The code for Autodocbook 0.1 can be found here.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /autodocbook | permanent link to this entry


Autodocbook 0.1 Released

    Autodocbook, a simple program to generate C code from specially formatted comments has been released for the first time...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /autodocbook | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 15 Mar 2001



Panda 0.4 RC1

    Panda 0.4 RC1 has been released. This has happened well before I am ready to release the final version of 0.4, but this version of tha API should be entirely stable. The reason for it's release is that the recent changes to Panda are so major that they will affect all of the current users of Panda... Have a look at the changelog to see what they are. The new code is available from the download page.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.4 Release Candidate 1

    Panda 0.4 RC1 is now available. It represents a series of major changes to Panda that will position it well for future growth. Checkout the changelog for details.

    Source

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda/panda-download | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.4 RC1

    Panda 0.4 RC1 has been released. This has happened well before I am ready to release the final version of 0.4, but this version of tha API should be entirely stable. The reason for it's release is that the recent changes to Panda are so major that they will affect all of the current users of Panda... Have a look at the changelog to see what they are. The new code is available from the download page.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 14 Mar 2001



Wednesday 14 March

    Volleyball! I don't knwo what changed, perhaps it was just that I took it a whole lot less seriously, but I was a volleyballing machine today! My secret technique, which I am willing to share with you, is to go "Grrrr! I'm a volleyballing machine!" before each play. It is best not to make the team member serving laugh though, cause then they miss...

    IBM C is wierd is my feedback for the day... It makes me realise that Panda wont compile with IBM C. I think I will have to do a fair bit of work to the code to make it compile as well. Autoconf also doesn't work with IBM sed, which is something I will have to look into...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 12 Mar 2001



Tuesday 13 March

    First day back at work after a week or so of looking after my wife who has been sick. There is so much work on that I am behind in... I had to go back into the office and do overtime in a bid to catch up.

    Had lunch with Cougar today and ended up getting the tour of BigPond Direct. It's pretty cool -- and ISP with 19,000 customers, almost all of them businesses with permanent connectivity has about a dozen employees. They seemed like a friendly enough bunch of folk as well...

    I am still a bit depressed about the state of the IT industry. It strikes me as being pretty crap that people keep getting laid off all the time. It makes the industry a much less attractive place to be as well. I am still a little shocked that a clueful bunch such as LinuxCare Canberra could lose so many staff as well.

    I have a new assignment to start work on at uni. It is an ASP based medical records system... An interesting project, a pity about it being based on ASP when there are plenty of other equally good technologies out there to consider as well. The course is a little MS centric for my liking.

    Anyway, back to work...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 11 Mar 2001



Subnet mapper

    Subnet mapper is a simple map generator for networks. It produces PDF files using PandaScript. It was developed for an assignment at University of Canberra and might be of interest to you. It is released under the terms of the GNU GPL.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Monday 12 March

    How depressing. A while back I wanted to work for Linuxcare in Canberra, but now they seem to be shedding staff like it is going out of fashion. The casualties so far (as best as I can tell) are:

  • Greg Lehey, Fired
  • Hugh Blemmings, Fired
  • Rusty Russel, Resigned
  • Martin Schwenke, Unknown

    Is the Open Source world really that bad at the moment?

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 08 Mar 2001



Why did you write it?

    Cause I had to for a uni assignment. Well sort of. I had to generate a map of a subnet with ping and traceroute, and decided it was more logical to write a little script instead.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /subnetmapper | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 27 Feb 2001



Thursday 28 February to Sunday 11 March

    Nothing much done online -- working on uni assignments mainly...

posted at: 05:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 28 January

    Well, I have been putting some effort into these DST assignments. Here is some VB Script. It should display a list of all the names you enter...

    Enter a name:




posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 26 Feb 2001



Tuesday 27 February

    One of my lecturer's says I have to produce a web page with a link to his unit homepage. So there we go.

    Anyway, I've been quite busy at work and uni with the ususla sort of stuff, so not much opening of the source has happened recently. I am having to write some interesting scripts for mapping networks, which I will put on my site when I have finished writing them for uni.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 21 February to Monday 26 February

    Too busy digging holes in the back garden for paving to write much code or play here. Bought a new car as well!

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 19 Feb 2001



Sunday 18 February

    I like my new church a lot -- they seem really clueful about things like the Internet. They also seem to give a s**t about people, which is better than the last place I was at.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 19 February

    First day back at Uni. Fifth restructure at work in six months. I am so ready to move... I've let John know.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 17 February

    Shoe shopping and over at John's house. More catching up...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 7 February

    Had an ex-girlfriend ring up and tell me that a good friend (who I hadn't seen in a year) has killed herself whilst in Ireland... This raised a few issues for me because we hadn't been very good at keeping in touch for the last few years. This was partially because she moved away from Canberra (where I live), but also because we both were a bit slack about it.

    At first I felt a lot of guilt about not having talked to her more, but now I think I have come to the conclusion that it takes two to tango -- a cliche I know, but I think it works here.

    I had to call a whole bunch of people to let the know about the whole thing, which was possibly the least fun task I have ever had to undertake. John, her ex-husband said some things that made me feel a little better though. John and most of the people I called also fall into this "haven't talked recently" bucket... So at least the scooby gang is getting back closer together.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 11 February to Thursday 15 February

    Work.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 20 February

    John sent me Telstra's shopping list -- I think I match 95% of the job, which rocks. First time for everything really. It would also possibly mean that I would get to go along to things like IETF meetings, which would enhance my geekhood muchly...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 16 February

    Funeral and a wake... Got to talk to John for hours at the wake. Time flew because we had so much to catch up on. He offered me a job with Telstra -- I'll have to think about it.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 9 February to Sunday 10 February

    Dug holes in the backyard for my paving... Made me feel a little bit better.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday 6 February and Wednesday 7 February

    More management course.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 8 February

    Last day of management course. It all felt a little unnessesary.

    Did the 2 hour drive back home after the course, dropped off the passenger, and then listened to Vanessa Amarossi on the way home... One day you should read the words to Shine -- it's about suicide, and it has an interesting message. Cried for the first time over the whole thing on the drive home and nearly didn't make it...

    Catherine made me feel a lot better when I got home though.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 04 Feb 2001



Saturday 3 February and Sunday 4 February

    Went shopping, went out for lunch, had dinner at a friend's house (both nights). Jack hammered up a concrete path at the back of the house so I can put paving down. That sort of stuff...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 5 February

    Submitted the application for my job today. Got ready to go on a course (management) for the rest of the week. I have an interesting problem to code up now for work so I am happy -- all I need to do is take a RGBA tiff image, and turn it into a dithered black and white image... Should be fun, I'll let you know how I go.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 1 February and Friday 2 Febuary

    Writing the application for my own job. I love the public service. Got no coding or anything of worth done.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 31 Jan 2001



Tuesday 30 January

    Pretty much the same as yesterday...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Monday 29 January

    Got back to work. I have been playing around with some image processing code for the Trade Marks people. This code needs to take true type fonts and render specified characters onto a TIFF image. It now works, apart from lacking the support for variable height characters. This support is not needed anyway, as we are using a barcode font where all the characters have the same height any way. I still want to get the code working better sometime though for my own personal understanding... It will have to wait for my copious free time.

    Trade Marks is also after something to allow them to commit images into our systems from the Internet instead of from scanners, so I have been working on that as well...

    Much of my after hours development time has been dominated by this imaging work for Trade Marks, so Panda hasn't gone much farther. I will keep you informed.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 31 January

    I have to write a job application for my own job soon. I have been procrastinating and haven't got much done yet, I guess I will have to spend more time on it in the next couple of days, because it is due at the end of the week.

    Had some spare time after work because my brain had melted. I went home and watched the Goodies for a couple of hours, at which time my brain had a least started to work a little. Then went surfing (I think Freshmeat II has real potential -- give it some time), checked my email, and did some coding on PandaLex for a change.

    PandaLex now works! This is a good thing because now I will be able to get Panda opening and modifying existing PDF documents, as well as having a great reverse engineering tool...

    I'll let you know when it is all ready for release.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 27 Jan 2001



Tuesday 22 January to Sunday 28 January

    On leave from work. Did some digging of holes in the garden, some scuba diving, and some coding. I also helped someone move to Newcastle, but that is too traumatic to speak of. I didn't get nearly as much coding in as I wanted to. Thursday was CLUG, which included a visit from people such as Alan Cox, who has recently fallen off a horse.

    I am currently working on a bug in Panda 0.4 which means that blank pages cause the library to segmentation fault.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 21 Jan 2001



Monday 22 January

    Back from LCA. The world in Canberra hasn't changed much. People don't seem to be rushing forward to offer assistance for the running of next years LCA in Canberra. I guess I'll just wait and see who comes out of the wood work this week before I make a decision either way.

    Worked a lot on Panda today -- it pretty much has a full set of line drawing options now (these will be released in 0.4 sometime real soon now). I just have to work out what the story is with the fills, which don't seem to work at the moment. I also spent a small amount of time looking at the man pages for zlib, because they have been on the TODO list for way too long.

    Dug a few holes in the back garden as well. I have a space out the back that I want to put a pergola on, but before I can do that I need to lay some concrete, and before I can do that I need to run the pipes for the inground watering once and for all. So I spent a lot of today digging trenches for the plumbing.

    Tridge seemed real keen on FreeCIV, so I have downloaded it and will give it a try. Another good idea I got from LCA is inline docbook documentation for Panda, which I have also started playing with.

    Overall, a fairly productive day.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 19 Jan 2001



Saturday 20 January -- LCA -- SparcLinux on e10ks

    I need one of these machines...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 19 January -- LCA -- Rusty rants

    Rusty gave a very funny talk about kernel hacking and how it makes you more attractive to women. Pretty much the key note you have when you are not having a keynote.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 19 January -- LCA -- 2D graphics

    Raph is the new maintainer of ghostscript, and is also the developer of libart. He gave a very interesting talk (especially given my PDF bent) about 2D graphics, the next version of PDF, and things like that. He also talked about the directions he saw ghostscript moving in the future. I also had an interesting talk at the end of the talk with Raph about PDF 1.4 (I now have enough information to start implementing it in Panda), and with an employee of an airline which uses a product called Open Skies to send itinery faxes out to customers. They are now looking into using Panda to generate the faxes before they are sent out -- it should be cool because it will only take about a dozen lines of PandaScript code.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 19 January -- LCA -- Mom and Pop linux

    At the dinner John 'Maddog' Hall gave a very interesting talk regarding the problems his parents have with using technology. It reinforced some of the issues about user interface design and ease of use that face Linux today. To a large extent I am grateful that I don't currently develop anything with a user interface, so this isn't my problem. The Mac when it first came out is a good example of how to do things right.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Saturday 20 January -- LCA -- Hacking the TiVo

    Tridge talked about his latest hacks for the TiVo. See tivo.samba.org for more details.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 19 January -- LCA -- Itch scratchin

    Hugh Blemming of LinuxCare OzLabs fame gave a talk comparing the difficulties of developing drivers for a device where the manufacturer was supportive, with developing drivers for a device where the manufacturer was not supportive. The talk also discussed reverse engineering, and some of the serial protocol techniques that Hugh used. overall a very good talk.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 18 Jan 2001



Friday 19 January -- LCA -- IA64

    Ho hum. I wonder if these things will ever actually be released. There are interesting features here, like multiple page sizes, and variable page sizes, i386 binary support and PA-RISC binary affinity (binary conversion at run time). They will be cool if they ever arrive, but I think I am of the opinion that the world is much better off going with one of the risc architectures like PPC or Sparc.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Friday 19 January -- LCA -- David Miller

    David is easily the best speaker that has been at the conference so far. He took the relatively complex issues of scattered gather ip packet sending, and network card checksum generation / verification, and made it interesting and relevant. He also had many interesting stories about things like IBM's reaction to the Linux dominance of the current SpecWeb99 statistics and stuff like that...

    The most interesting comment he made was that there are some people who want to design constantly, and sit down as talk about how to make something the best it can be, whilst he would rather people went home and coded, and then showed the world the code... The basic gist was that something is better than nothing, and that code can always be improved once something actually exists.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 17 Jan 2001



Thursday 18 January -- LCA -- Linux 2.4 / 2.5 VM

    This carried on from the memtest talk nicely. Rik is doing a lot of work on the VM subsystem, all of which should make it more reliable. It would seem that FreeBSD and Solaris seem to be the poster kids of the quality VM world at the moment...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 18 January -- LCA -- Alan Cox

    It is obvious to me that Alan Cox is someone who know what he is talking about... He gave over an hours talk on what was happening across four kernel versions from memory. A very interesting man. The gist of what he said (excuse me if I get this mixed up) is that 2.0.39 is the stable version that people will run for some time now. New drivers will only be added to 2.2 if there is a 2.4 version, and 2.2 will be the new 2.2 stable candidate. Before any more major changes can be made to 2.4, the current bugs need to be cleaned up. 2.5 will not start until 2.4 has stabilised.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 18 January -- LCA -- Tux 2 failsafe fs

    This is cool too. It means that in theory you can turn off a machine at any point, and it should come back up without a fsck or anything.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 18 January -- LCA -- User Mode Linux

    This is a very interesting technology. Not only does it make kernel development (and any other form of development where rebooting is a frequent occurance) much less painful, but it also has some interesting security applications. Apparently, a UML linux instance can boot in about 15 seconds, which is about how long it takes to get into the POST on my sparc 10... Me thinks I will have to play with it sometime real soon now.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 18 January

    In addition to going to LCA today, I got together with my folks for dinner at an interesting store in Sydney called Peter's at Kensington. If you ever get a chance, it is well worth a look. I have also spent much of today working on Panda, and getting the line drawing stuff just right. I have also made a completed a bunch of stuff requested by users, and this new version will be released as Panda 0.3.2...

    Note that the line drawing stuff is not in Panda 0.3.2. This is Panda 0.4, along with a whole bunch of interesting other changes (like the Panda namespace being improved).

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.3.2

    Panda 0.3.2 has been released. This release fixes some of the things that have been commented on by users and is a minor release in itself. Some of the things implemented include bug fixes for the Makefile, inclusion of the Makefile.am (automake configuration) in the distribution, and inclusion of the input2.tif test file for pandademo... Why not check out the download page?

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.3.2

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda/panda-download | permanent link to this entry


Thursday 18 January -- LCA -- Memtest

    There was a lot of conversation from around the room about this topic. This made the talk a little confusing, as did the thick accent of the speaker. It would seem that every man and his dog has a test suite, and that the most important thing than needs to happen at the moment is that everyone gets together and share their tests.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.3.2

    Panda 0.3.2 has been released. This release fixes some of the things that have been commented on by users and is a minor release in itself. Some of the things implemented include bug fixes for the Makefile, inclusion of the Makefile.am (automake configuration) in the distribution, and inclusion of the input2.tif test file for pandademo... Why not check out the download page?

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 16 Jan 2001



Wednesday 17 January -- Linux.conf.au

    At linux.conf.au, I will endevour to post comments on each talk I attend...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Freetype page added

    I've added a Freetype page to the site because this is what I have been playing with recently, and it seemed to be a good place to put some patches I have generated for the documentation for the package. I'm thinking about adding some sample programs using Freetype to this page -- let me know if you think it would be worthwhile.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Linux.conf.au comments

    I've been putting linux.conf.au comments into my diary. You might find them of some interest...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Glyph documentation patches

posted at: 04:00 | path: /freetype | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 17 January -- LCA -- DocBook

    I think the biggest thing I got out of the session on how to write DocBook documentation is that it is becoming much more common over time, and that the best way to write new documentation is to grab someone else's and make it your own...

    It is also interesting to note that the 2.4 linux kernel now has embedded DocBook documentation in it. Perhaps I should be doing this myself, and getting the coders at work to have a look at it.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 17 January -- LCA -- 3rd tutorial

    There was nothing of interest on offer, because I already know all I need to about CVS, and DNS for makefiles is nothing too amazing... Hacked tiff imaging code instead. My latest project has been to take an arbitary string, render it using freetype (a TrueType library), and then insert this onto the tiff image. Freetype is cool -- check it out.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday 17 January -- LCA -- ColdStore

    ColdStore allows you to have processes that persist between reboots, and could possibly be accessed easily from other machines on the network. It was originally developed for MUD development.

    It's implemented with some interesting hacks with ELF (via libELF), which involves overriding the symbol table for the executable, in order to abstract access to functions within shared objects.

    Funnily enough, the HTTP access stuff for ColdStore looks a lot like Microsoft's .NET... Perhaps Microsoft has been innovating people's code again? They are also working on NFS access -- perhaps I should point them at the Katie code, because they are interested in doing it in Perl.

    It definitely deserves a closer look...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 12 Jan 2001



Saturday 13 January 2001

    It has been pointed out that the previous posting format meant people were never really sure what I was talking about. I have changed to the format above, and promise to try and remember to keep it that way.




    Haven't posted in a long time... Got Panda 0.3.1 out, and spent today laying concrete at a friend's house. Body tired now.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 07 Jan 2001



Panda 0.3.1

    Panda 0.3.1 has been released. This release is aimed at fixing some problems with the Makefile and installer from the 0.3 release. Why not check out the download page?

posted at: 04:00 | path: /site | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.3.1

    Panda 0.3.1 has been released. This release is aimed at fixing some problems with the Makefile and installer from the 0.3 release. Why not check out the download page?

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda | permanent link to this entry


Panda 0.3.1

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda/panda-download | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 02 Jan 2001



Monday

    New years days. Did new yearsy things like watering the lawn.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tuesday

    Back at work. I am still working on this Windows NT service, which is now having issues with the InstallShield installer. Catherine (my wife) now has an email address -- catherine@stillhq.com. Why don't you email her and say hello?

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wednesday

    Still working on the NT Service from hell... I have tried making the target machine for the installer have the latest service packs before I run the installer. This is a last ditch attempt before I rebuild the installer from scratch.

    It works! The answer to all my woes was to have the target machine upgraded to service pack 6a before running the installer. All I can say it that the solution is intensely crap -- but at least I will never need to worry about it again (I hope).

    In my private time I have been working on a couple of projects over the last few days. These are:
  • A review of the Autobook (GNU Autoconf, Automake and Libtool) which I will post on this website and hopefully slashdot real soon now
  • PandaScript 0.3 Stable. Before this goes out I want to check for memory leaks with dmalloc
  • Further development on PandaLex, which is a dependancy for Panda 0.4

    I'll let you know when a release of anything is ready...

posted at: 04:00 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


PandaScript 0.3 Stable Released

    The 0.3 stable version of PandaScript has now been released!

    Source (Signed)

posted at: 04:00 | path: /panda/pandascript | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 01 Jan 2001



GNU Autoconf, Automake and Libtool (aka the Goat Book, the Autobook)

    By: Gary V Vaughan, Ben Elliston, Tom Tromey, Ian Lance Taylor
    ISBN: 1-57870-190-2
    Published by New Riders, and available under the terms of the OPL




    The version I reviewd
    For this review the OPL'ed downloaded copy of the Autobook was reviewd. This version is made up of a series of HTML pages, with the first page being here.

    Background

    It seems that all of the authors of the Autobook are heavily involved in the growing world of GNU software.
  • Gary V. Vaughan has been involved in the Open Source movement since 1989. He is the maintainer of the m4, Libtool and libsnprintf.
  • Ben Elliston works as a telecommuter for Redhat (for the part of the company that used to be called Cygnus Solutions). Ben works on porting GCC and binutils to new platforms, as well as building simulators for processors that are currently being developed by hardware manufacturers. Ben is also the ex-maintainer of GNU Autoconf. On a side note, Ben was one of my tutors at University of Canberra.
  • Tom Tromey is the maintainer of GNU Automake, and a sometimes contributor to the Gnome project. He is also employed by Redhat (in the bit that was once Cygnus Solutions).
  • Ian Lance Taylor wrote the GNU UUCP package, and has been involved with the documentation for Autoconf.

    Which is good, because they all seem to be eminently qualified to discuss the topic matter of the book.

    The good

    The book starts out by discussing the history of how Automake, Autoconf and Libtool came to be. Whilst not strictly technical, this sort of thing is good to see, because it gives the reader a sense of where the packages are coming from. The Autobook also goes not dwell on these issues for too long, it quickly move onto the meat of how to get the programs working for you.

    I am a great fan of W. Richard Steven's writing style, which involves introducing a concept, discussing the concept, and then having some source code that demonstrates the concept. I feel that the Autobook follows this style guide well. The examples are also useful. I have only got through the first 5th of the book ro so, and the examples have already shown me all that I needed to get my first Automake / Autoconf project off the ground.

    Balance is another thing that is good to see in a book, even a technical one. Whenever issues were raised where there are two distinct sets of opinion, then both were discussed. An example is whether to include generated files such as the configure script itself in your distribution. Some believe you should, and some believe that you shouldn't. Both were discussed. I must say that I tend to be of the opionion that generated files such as configure and even lex / yacc output should be included in the distribution, because it means the end user need not have a complex environment, just to build you package.

    The bad

    I am a great believer in reference books. I will read a book, but then it will live on my shelf until the day when I can't remember the specific thing I need. I'll remember which book it was in though. I can then look it up, and I am on my way again. I feel that the index for this book, at least in the version that I had a look at, left a lot to be desired. For instance, I am having some troubles getting Automake to work well with lex and yacc for one of my projects. I have found information (after digging) in the Autobook that would have helped me along the way, but when I have a look at the index for the book, there is nothing there on the subject. It is a shame to see a good reference let down by some poor indexing. Perhaps this is something that I can hope will be improved in the next edition, if there is one.

    The ugly

    There were occassions when the authors made statements that needed a little more backup than was present in the work. For instance, at one point the statement is made that you shouldn't use libucb. They never say why. This leaves me wondering what the problems with libucb are. If the authors had merely had a footnote that explained the reasons for the statement in a few sentences, then this would have been appreciated. Even a URL to a website would have been better.

    Conclusion

    If you like the look of this book when you have a look at it online, then I would recommend that buying it is well worth while. One of the things I like about the OPL is that it is the ultimate try before you buy deal, but over all I'd much rather have the paper in my hot little hands. The other advantage of buying a copy is that the authors see something for their efforts, and are therefore more likely to write again next time. Personally, I'm going to walk out any buy a copy of this book now.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /reviews | permanent link to this entry