Content here is by Michael Still mikal@stillhq.com. All opinions are my own.
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Fri, 30 Dec 2005



Python DNS modules

    My first python script involves doing some DNS lookups (for TXT records if that matters), and I am currently working through using the pydns module for this. Is this really the best DNS module to use for python though? For a start, it was last released in May 2002, and the documentation is somewhat sparse...

    Tags for this post: python dns pydns

posted at: 17:07 | path: /python | permanent link to this entry


Talk about a support life cycle...

posted at: 17:04 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 26 Dec 2005



Figures from chapter 1 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 1 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 1-1

    Figure 1-2

    Figure 1-3

    Figure 1-4

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    Figure 1-18

    Figure 1-19


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 11:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 2 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 2 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 2-1

    Figure 2-2

    Figure 2-3

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    Figure 2-16


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 10:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 3 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 3 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 3-1

    Figure 3-2

    Figure 3-3

    Figure 3-4

    Figure 3-5

    Figure 3-6

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    Figure 3-14


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 09:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 4 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 4 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 4-1

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    (Click to see all the images)

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    (Click to see all the images)

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    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 08:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 5 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 5 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 5-1

    Figure 5-2
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-3
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-4
    (Click to see all the images)

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    (Click to see all the images)

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    (Click to see all the images)

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    (Click to see all the images)

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    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-14
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-15
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-16
    (Click to see all the images)

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    Figure 5-18
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    Figure 5-19
    (Click to see all the images)

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    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-21
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    Figure 5-23
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    Figure 5-24
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-25
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-26
    (Click to see all the images)

    Figure 5-27

    Figure 5-28
    (Click to see all the images)


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 07:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 6 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 6 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 6-1

    Figure 6-2

    Figure 6-3

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    Figure 6-45


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 06:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 7 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 7 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 7-1

    Figure 7-2

    Figure 7-3

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    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 05:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 8 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 8 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 8-1


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 04:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 9 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 9 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 9-1

    Figure 9-2


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 03:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 10 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 10 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 10-1

    Figure 10-2

    Figure 10-3

    Figure 10-4


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 02:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Figures from chapter 11 of ImageMagick, the definitive guide

    Here are the thumbnails for the figures from chapter 11 of ImageMagick, the Definitive Guide:


    Figure 11-1

    Figure 11-2

    Figure 11-3

    Figure 11-4

    Figure 11-5

    Figure 11-6


    Tags for this post: imagemagick book figures

posted at: 01:00 | path: /imagemagick/book/figures | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 25 Dec 2005



How come I don't blog any more?

    It's not intentional, I think it's more that I haven't had anything interesting to say since I moved to the US -- all of my time has been devoted to training at work, moving into houses (two now, no more of that please), and sustaining the other two activities by going shopping. I promise now that most of that is done that I will be 100% excitement from now on.

    In fact, I'll take my camera to Andrew and Sarah's Christmas lunch, and then post some pictures online... Promise.

    Tags for this post: blog christmas quiet

posted at: 10:13 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 20 Dec 2005



First commute to work

    This morning was my first bike commute to work ever. Not just to my new American job, but ever (I've always lived too far from work until now -- being a bike ride away from work was one of the criteria for the apartment in the US). The ride was rather pleasant, and involved very little on the road stuff (just getting onto the bike path near the apartment) -- 27 minutes, 7.7km, maximum speed of 33 km per hour.

    There is a lot of room for improvement here -- we didn't go the most efficient way, I am relatively unfit at the moment not having ridden for a month, and Andrew is learning how to use cleats which made for a bit of laughter.

    A nice ride though, and I'm pretty happy with how it went. I'll be riding more in the future.

    Tags for this post: bike ride commute work

posted at: 09:21 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 19 Dec 2005



Back on the road again, nearly

    Andrew and Sarah's air freight arrived on Saturday, and thanks to their kindness that means my bike arrived too. I reassembled it on Sunday, and went for a short test ride, which was a mistake as it reminded me how much fun riding is. Now I need to find time to ride here, despite the fact that it appears to want to rain all of this week.

    I'm considering bike commuting and just getting wet.

    Tags for this post: bike

posted at: 13:11 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 16 Dec 2005



About to resize my LVM

    When I created my USB2 mirrored LVMed disk array I go asked a few questions about performance of the disks, how long it took to setup, and stuff like that.

    At the time it was too late to get that data as I already had things I cared about on the disk array. Now it's time to grow the array so I've picked up two more disks. I've collected some data, so I now have data on the setup process for a new LVM from two USB 2 disks, and bonnie results for the filesystem on those disks. I don't have the date with me though, so I will write it up in the next few days.

    Is there anything else people would like to know before I put these disks into action?

    Oh, and yes this does mean that there is now a terrabyte of disk in that array. That brings the total amount of storage I have online at my house to 1.2 terrabytes. That doesn't include the old disk array still running in Australia either. Fun fun fun.

    Tags for this post: linux md lvm raid filesystem

posted at: 09:28 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


The environmental friendliness of shrimp trawling?

    I've been setting up MythTV, and my test show was an episode of "Dirty Jobs" which I am watching now. The process for shrimp trawling is the current victim, and it seems to involve grabbing everything from the bottom of the ocean, and then throwing the vast majority of it back while looking for the relatively small number of shrimp in the catch.

    So, does this suck environmentally or not?

    Tags for this post: blog shrimp fish environment

posted at: 09:22 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 11 Dec 2005



Update on the Dell

posted at: 14:21 | path: /diary/toys/dell/e310 | permanent link to this entry


I like Christmas

    I spent some time this morning wrapping the presets for the kids. They get two Christmases you see -- the one in Australian, and then another smaller one when they get to the US. Now, it might be the nostalgia speaking, or the fact that I haven't seen my family in nearly a month, but it occurred to me that I really like Christmas.

    Or to be more precise -- I really like giving my kids stuff. Although, it turns out that I am crap at wrapping. There is something really cute about the kids being excited to be moving to the US -- because daddy said there were presents waiting for them. That's cool.

    Oh, and next time I'm only going to buy rectangular presents so I stand a chance of being able to wrap them. Ever tried to wrap a stuffed toy?

    Tags for this post: christmas

posted at: 10:06 | path: /christmas | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 09 Dec 2005



Installing Linux on a Dell Dimension e310

    I got a very good price on a Dell e310, so I have been trying to install Linux on it for about an hour now without much joy. It turns out (or at least this is my current theory) that the USB chipset in the machine isn't supported by the Ubuntu 5.10 installer, and that causes the kernel to crash on boot. There certainly seem to be other people experiencing this as well.

    Unfortunately, I really need USB on this machine, as there are no legacy ports and I really like keyboards. Specifically, the Ubuntu install CD needs me to enter a boot line before it boots the installer kernel, and I can't do that with my spare USB controller installed and the on board one disabled, as the BIOS wont allow me.

    I'll keep you posted when I come up with a solution.

    Tags for this post: blog toys dell e310 ubuntu linux install

posted at: 22:06 | path: /diary/toys/dell/e310 | permanent link to this entry


Errata from the book

    The Definitive Guide to ImageMagick arrives in bookstores 26 December 2005, but Apress has already started sending out PDF versions of the book to some reviewers (let me know if you're interested in doing a review and I will see what I can do), and there is a sample chapter available for download from the Apress site.

    We worked hard to make the book as good as we could, including having a technical review team, several layers of editors, and me reading all of the chapters more than I would like to admit. That doesn't mean that it's impossible that errata slipped through though, so if you see something like that then please send either me an email, or even better send an email to the address reserved for such things.

    Each error found, if I agree with it, will result in a thank you email, the error being corrected in any future editions, the error being listed online (I don't know where yet though), and a credit in future versions of the book.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book errata

posted at: 07:38 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 02 Dec 2005



Building a stack of images from thumbnails

    I have a directory full of thumbnails of the rental tour I went on the other day while looking for a new apartment, and I want to put them online. Instead of putting each photo online, which I thought might be boring, I wanted to build a stack on images on a background.

    I'm not really describing the effect well, so here's the output so you know what I mean:



    This was remarkably easy to create with a simple script that uses ImageMagick. Here's the code:

      #!/bin/bash # Setup the random number stuff LOBOUND=1 HIBOUND=600 RANDMAX=32767 # Create a white image to start with convert -size $HIBOUND"x"$HIBOUND xc:lightgray output.png for img in img*jpg do echo "Processing $img" # Rotate the image if needed rotate="" if [ `exif $img | grep Orientation | grep bottom | wc -l | tr -d " "` -gt 0 ] then convert -rotate -90 $img img.png else convert $img img.png fi imgwidth=`identify -ping img.png | cut -f 3 -d " " | cut -f 1 -d "x"` imgheight=`identify -ping img.png | cut -f 3 -d " " | cut -f 2 -d "x"` # For more information on bounded numbers with bash, see # http://www.stillhq.com/bashrand/ x=$(( $LOBOUND + (($HIBOUND - $imgwidth) * $RANDOM) / ($RANDMAX + 1) )) y=$(( $LOBOUND + (($HIBOUND - $imgheight) * $RANDOM) / ($RANDMAX + 1) )) # Put the image on top of the accumulative image mv output.png input.png convert -draw "image atop $x,$y $imgwidth,$imgheight img.png" input.png output.png rm img.png done


First the script creates an empty image to place the thumbnails over. Then for each image it checks if the image needs to be rotated, and what size it is. I use the size of the image to determine what the maximum value for the two random values I need are (the random values from the coordinates of the top left of the thumbnail image, and I don't want any images falling off the edge of the new image). The the image is placed on top of the accumulating image.

It's just a little ImageMagick hack I thought I would share.

Tags for this post: imagemagick thumbnail stack effect

posted at: 17:25 | path: /imagemagick | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 28 Nov 2005



Sin City

    I'm in a temporary apartment at the moment, and the nice previous occupant appears to have DVR'ed Sin City for me from Comcast pay per view, so Andrew and I sat down and watched it last night. I must say that I liked it, in a Pulp Fiction kind of way.

    Put it this way -- I wont be able to take Rory in the Gilmore Girls the same way any more.

    Yeah, I liked the movie a lot. Now I need to decide if I will recommend my wife see it...

    Tags for this post: blog movies sin city

posted at: 11:40 | path: /diary/movies | permanent link to this entry


Example 2.1 from Dive Into Python

    I've just started working through Dive Into Python, so I don't really have an opinion of the book yet. I did notice that Example 2.1 produces different output on my machine than from the example...

    The example says I should get:

      server=mpilgrim;uid=sa;database=master;pwd=secret
      


    I get:

      pwd=secret;database=master;uid=sa;server=mpilgrim
      


    It's interesting that this is exactly the reverse of what the book says I should get. I have no idea why, as I can't read Python yet, but there you go.

    Tags for this post: python diveintopython string order

posted at: 11:16 | path: /python/diveintopython | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 24 Nov 2005



Adventures in Ubuntu Breezy Dovecot

    I mentioned the other day that I am having problems with Dovecot on Ubuntu Breezy. Now's the time to debug it, and here are my notes...

    No inetd.conf

      sed: can't read /etc/inetd.conf: No such file or directory
      


    This first error is because of this poorly implemented test:

      # The init script should do nothing if dovecot is being run from inetd
      for p in `sed -r "s/^ *(([^:]+|\[[^]]+]|\*):)?(pop3s?|imaps?)[ \t].*/\3/;t;d" \
        /etc/inetd.conf`
      do
        for q in `sed -r "s/^ *protocols[ \t]*=[ \t]*(([^\"]*)|\"(.*)\")/\2\3/;t;d" \
          /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf`
        do
          if [ $p = $q ]; then
            exit 0
          fi
        done
      done
      


    You can see from the comment that the intention is that the init script doesn't do anything if dovecot is running from inetd. The error message is kinda bogus though, in that the code keeps executing after that failed line with the sed call in it. If you find the error annoying, then make it go away:

      touch /etc/inetd.conf
      


    In a perfect world, you'd hope that the packager would change the script to do something more like this:

      for p in `sed -r "s/^ *(([^:]+|\[[^]]+]|\*):)?(pop3s?|imaps?)[ \t].*/\3/;t;d" \
        /etc/inetd.conf 2> /dev/null`
      


    Moving right along...

    It doesn't start the service

    I had enabled the imap_listen variable in the dovecot.conf file, but not put it in the protocols variable. The init script checks this, and bugged out without an error message. I would think an error message would be nicer.

    And now it works.

    Tags for this post: linux ubuntu dovecot

posted at: 20:40 | path: /linux/ubuntu | permanent link to this entry


Stuffit expander for linux, but open source

    I've been working with publishing people recently, and they're all Macintosh users. There is a trial version of Stuffit expander for linux, but they really want me to give them money after 15 days... I've googled for an open source alternative, but can't find one. Is that because one doesn't exist?

    Tags for this post: linux stuffit

posted at: 14:30 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


On home sound systems

    My temporary apartment in Santa Clara came with a $500 US Bose alarm clock, which is of interest firstly because it's an amazing amount of money to spend on something as trivial as an alarm clock, and secondly because it sounds fantastic. It has an impossibly large amount of bass for something so small.

    I initially thought I would buy one, but at $500 US, there is little chance of that happening. I also need some way of spreading the musical joy around the entire house before I go crazy, so I suspect that I might just end up with a bunch of Squeezeboxes or equivalent around the house.

    More details when I've finished surfing and deciding what I want to implement.

    Tags for this post: blog toys wireless home music

posted at: 13:25 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Mikal, the massive domain squatter

    I picked up a couple of new domain names during the week. stillbert.com, points to stillhq.com and is a reference to my old nickname at TOWER.

    More interestingly, imagemagickbook.com points to the ImageMagick book pages here. It was a suggestion from Andrew Pollock which just made too much sense to say no to.

    Tags for this post: blog domain internet

posted at: 12:51 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


What do you do on days as a bachelor in a strange country?

    Well, for me it was a cooked breakfast before getting the house work done. Instead of writing an exciting blog post about the fact that the bed here comes up to my belly button and it's sheets needed washing, I thought I would comment on American bacon.

    As the people who I hang out with will know, my wife is allergic to all forms of pig. In a no longer breathing way. I happen to love pig, so when she's not around I tend to go a little wilder with it than I probably should. So, when I went shopping for the first time here the other day I picked up some eggs and some Safeway bacon just in case my arteries needed hardening.

    It was a good thing too, because I have a medical need to eat bacon to help me with the after effects of the Coronas this morning. I'd already done one cooked breakfast here, so I have already discovered that American bacon (based on my extensive sample of one) appears to be 50% fat. It took me about ten minutes to trim off enough fat to approximate Australian bacon quality.

    After that it was quite nice. The point of this post though? Is all American bacon so terribly fatty, or is the Safeway stuff just terrible? Is this why Americans seem to eat Canadian bacon instead (think ham steak)?

    Tags for this post: travel usa bacon

posted at: 12:09 | path: /travel/usa | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 23 Nov 2005



Ubuntu Breezy and Dovecot hate me

    I've got a new laptop, and have installed dovecot. Now it wont start, with an error about not being able to find the inetd.conf config file. That's because inetd isn't installed.

    Is the dovecot package just broken? Is there something obvious that I am doing wrong?

    Tags for this post: linux ubuntu dovecot package

posted at: 14:54 | path: /linux/ubuntu | permanent link to this entry


Learning Python

    Due to a personality crisis I've now decided it's the time in my life to learn Python. So, does anyone have good pointers to tutorials and so forth?

    Tags for this post: python language program learn

posted at: 14:37 | path: /python | permanent link to this entry


New laptop

    The dead ThinkPad R51 has been replaced by a new ThinkPad X41, which accidentally turned out to be a tablet PC without me really intending it to be. It's a nice looking machine, and the perfect combination of size and weight (small and light). I think we're going to be very good friends.

    Ubuntu Breezy installed just fine on the machine, although I haven't bothered to get everything working yet. I'll report back if I have any interesting problems getting stuff going.

    Tags for this post: blog toys thinkpad x41 tablet

posted at: 09:16 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 22 Nov 2005



JVC utilities for changing the images and movies on my head unit

posted at: 10:53 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 20 Nov 2005



Australian's say the darndest things

posted at: 05:51 | path: /travel/usa | permanent link to this entry


Top resale value cars

posted at: 05:42 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Hybrid buyer's guide 2005

posted at: 05:38 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Jet lag

posted at: 05:35 | path: /travel/usa/california/santaclara | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 19 Nov 2005



The book

    Just a little status update... The book went to print last night, so I guess that makes me a published author or something. Cool, huh?

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book published author

posted at: 16:32 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Arrived yesterday

    So, Andrew and I arrive in Santa Clara from Canberra yesterday. It took about 24 hours of travelling, and a lot of queueing to make that happen, but we're here finally. I must admit I'm really liking things so far, I was a bit worried about the expense of rent until we went and saw am apartment complex this morning, and I'm not worried about that now.

    The mall is nice (the local one that is), the temporary apartment is nice (photos soon), and the rental car is crap, but that's ok.

    On a musical note I only just recently discovered the Black Eyes Peas, so I picked up Elephunk this morning. Damn that's a good album -- it's rare for me to find a disc that I like every track on, but this is one of them.

    Anyways, here. Alive. In Santa Clara for now. Must wander off now...

    Tags for this post: travel usa california santaclara music

posted at: 16:17 | path: /travel/usa/california/santaclara | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 16 Nov 2005



Recursive linkage zen

posted at: 15:00 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Procrastination

posted at: 04:59 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Packing

    Someone at university once told me that you remember things best when you're in the state that you learnt them in... You recall things about driving best when in a car, how to yell at your boss when stressed, and how to code while highly caffinated.

    That's why he always showed up to exams in the same state as he had studied for them -- stoned.

    I guess this means I'm going to have to unpack (and remember where I put everything and why) when tipsy. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

    Tags for this post: blog chemical mind trigger stoned alcohol

posted at: 03:31 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 15 Nov 2005



Stilly, the lump of meat

posted at: 14:00 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 14 Nov 2005



Giving Google Analytics a go

posted at: 02:43 | path: /google | permanent link to this entry


I should quit TOWER more often

    I got a Play Station portable as a farewell gift. How cool is that? I'll start hacking it when I have some spare time, which I guess means in the US. We did the firmware tweaking today though, so I'm on a good footing...

    Tags for this post: blog toys playstation portable work

posted at: 01:57 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 13 Nov 2005



Linux USB quandary

    I've got two USB high speed disks. If I plug them into the machine with the Via 6202 PCI controller before boot, they get detected as full speed (i.e. slow) devices. If I plug them in later, they get detected as high speed devices.

    But md only detects devices at boot.

    So, how do I get the USB detection to work? Or, how do I detect md's after boot?

    Tags for this post: linux usb md high speed

posted at: 02:07 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 12 Nov 2005



Building an answering machine using a $10 winmodem

posted at: 21:51 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


At least I wont starve

posted at: 19:52 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


SMART and USB storage

    One thing I didn't think about when I set up my new disk array is that SMART doesn't seem to be available on USB storage provided disks. I've just had a disk hiccup while getting ready to move it all to the US, and now I'm trying to investigate why. SMART would make that a lot easier. At this point I suspect that it's the USB storage layer, not the disk, which is having problems.

    Tags for this post: linux smart disk monitor usb storage

posted at: 00:27 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 11 Nov 2005



Unemployed Bum

    So, I am an unemployed bum by the way. Yesterday was my last day at TOWER, today is our family's meta-Christmas, and then I have a little under a week to pack my stuff and help start packing everyone else's stuff before I fly off the Americania to start work with the G thing. So, now I just need to slot some good solid panicking into my schedule, and all shall be well.

    Tags for this post: work

posted at: 23:33 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Adding space to the disk array

    As discussed earlier, I have an LVM and MD based USB 2.0 disk array for all my storage now. I wanted to extend the logical volume (the bit with the filesystem on it) a little, and thought I should write down the commands I used so I could remember them next time.

    It was as simple as (with the filesystem unmounted):

      lvextend -L+6G /dev/data/datalv
      e2fsck /dev/data/datalv
      resize2fs /dev/data/datalv
      


    Very nice.

    Update: Fixed the command line above to be correct. Additionally, I had some troubles with the fsck eating all of the RAM on the machine (it didn't have much), and I've had to add more RAM to the machine to get the commands above to work.

    Tags for this post: linux md lvm disk filesystem resize

posted at: 21:21 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


Packing

    It's time for Catherine and I to start thinking of packing for the move, and as ever it's a barrel of laughs. We've made the decision that there is a bunch of stuff which we're not going to bother to take with us... Mainly things like reference books which I haven't used in years, but can't bear parting with. We've therefore entered the exciting world of boxing and listing everything which we're leaving. We're also doing something similar for the things with a lot of value which we're moving to the US.

    I decided that it was time to roll out an official stillhq wiki to hold this sort of documentation, as well as other things which seem like they should be documented over time.

    This is the first time that Catherine has used a wiki, and so far it's working well.

    Tags for this post: travel usa california mountainview relocation packing wiki

posted at: 21:14 | path: /travel/usa/california/mountainview/relocation | permanent link to this entry


Working on the site layout again

    Test 1... 2... 3...

posted at: 16:18 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 09 Nov 2005



Test 1... 2... 3...

    Twiddling page layout style...

posted at: 16:13 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 08 Nov 2005



TrackBack pings

    So, I finally found a use for TrackBack pings... So for now I'm using a blosxom flavour for TrackBacks. It's not perfect, and it's going to create a lot of files on disc, but it's good enough for now.

    Does anyone have a better solution for TrackBacks before I write my own?

    Tags for this post: blosxom trackback ping

posted at: 22:47 | path: /blosxom | permanent link to this entry


Ok, where does one buy PCs in the US?

posted at: 22:40 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Microsoft Australia's profit

posted at: 21:47 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 07 Nov 2005



Underground Kent

posted at: 01:53 | path: /travel/uk/kent | permanent link to this entry


People sneak into Google for lunch?

posted at: 01:52 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Gordon get's quoted by the Fortune blog

    Gordon's blog gets quoted by Fortune, which is really cool, although it does worry me that Fortune seems to think that journalism is blogging about other people's blogs. Does this mean that real journalists have abdicated their responsibility to collect new information?

    Tags for this post: link journalist quote fame

posted at: 01:52 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 04 Nov 2005



ThinkPads return to bricks and mortar retail in the US

posted at: 01:51 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 03 Nov 2005



Giving bloglines a try

    Liferea has finally given me the heebies... After not being able to start it for a week because of segfaulting. So, bloglines is the next one to try. Any other suggestions?

    Tags for this post: blog aggregator liferea bloglines

posted at: 19:03 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Life hacking

    I'm flattered that Simon has written some software and Gordon has changed his TODO management style because of either the life hacking article I linked to or my comments on how I handle my TODO list items respectively.

    I think there is a lot of potential around life hacking, and especially custom software such as Simon's. To me, the most important parts of life hacking are focussing on visual simplicity (I need to be able to analyse what it is saying from the corner of my eye -- I generally have my iPaq running next to my monitors with the "today" TODO list items displayed so I can see it out of the corner of my eye); focussing on doing a realistic amount in a given day; and helping with the prioritization of tasks.

    I think this stuff is going to be big... Everyone I talk to is busier than they remember being five years ago, and the people who will succeed are those which can work effectively. People often ask me how I get so much stuff done, and the short answer is I always automate as much as I can, and avoid tasks which don't make the world a better place (like watching TV).

    Anyways, introspective self-congratulatory rant over.

    Tags for this post: lifehack todo list management productivity software

posted at: 16:26 | path: /lifehack | permanent link to this entry


All racehorses descended from 28 horses

posted at: 16:17 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


What's happening with frozenchicken.com?

    Gordon at work asks me what is happening with www.frozenchicken.com. If you hit the site, then you get the Google search interface. This is because of the DNS configuration for the domain:

      challenger:~# host www.frozenchicken.com
      www.frozenchicken.com is an alias for www.google.com.
      www.google.com is an alias for www.l.google.com.
      www.l.google.com has address 66.102.7.147
      www.l.google.com has address 66.102.7.99
      www.l.google.com has address 66.102.7.104
      www.frozenchicken.com is an alias for www.google.com.
      www.google.com is an alias for www.l.google.com.
      www.frozenchicken.com is an alias for www.google.com.
      www.google.com is an alias for www.l.google.com.
      


    You can see that www.frozenchicken.com is an alias for www.google.com, which in turn points to what is presumably my local cluster.

    So why do all the links of the Google page then point via www.frozenchicken.com? Well, because they're relative URLs, they use the hostname from the browser.

    Tags for this post: google frozenchicken.com alias dns

posted at: 15:21 | path: /google | permanent link to this entry


Bike crash

    More details later, but I had a badish bike crash on Wednesday night, and spent a lot of yesterday at doctors and being xrayed. More details when I get the time to write them up...

    Tags for this post: bike crash

posted at: 15:12 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 01 Nov 2005



This is a pointer

    I just wanted to link to pdfomatic from the PDF database page, but found I hadn't bothered to put anything here. So I'm putting this up as a placeholder. Pdfomatic is a renamed openpdf, because there was a namespace clash which my initial googling hadn't shown up.

    Tags for this post: pdfomatic pdf generator parser code

posted at: 22:25 | path: /pdfomatic | permanent link to this entry


Time to document my PDF testing database

    It seems to me that it might be time to document my database of test PDFs and various parsing results that I have had online for quite some time. This entry is an attempt to do that for the current state of play.

    Adding a PDF to the collection

    You'll need the pdfcollection code (tarball). This is all the code I used to manage the database.

    Run the addpdf script to add a new PDF to the collection. Here's an example:

    mikal@lapel:~/opensource/pdfcollection$ ./addpdf /home/mikal/pdfa/This\ is\ a\ sample\ PDF.pdf
    Where is the PDF database? /home/pdfdb
    Publish? (y/n) y
    Adding /home/mikal/pdfa/This is a sample PDF.pdf
    New object id is 649 (000649)
    Moving PDF
    Processing PDF
    Extracting pages
    Number of pages: 0
    Extract info
    mikal@lapel:~/opensource/pdfcollection$ 
    


    The text in bold above is what I typed. The local copy of the PDF database on my machine is in /home/pdfdb/. This command relies on ghostscript, imagemagick, ghostview, and pdfinfo (from the xpdf utilities package) being installed, so make that happen. It displays the PDF with gv, makes sure you really want to add it (i.e. you own enough of the rights to the document to do so), and then does it's thing.

    In this example, ghostscript failed to extract any pages from the document, which is a little sad.

    But I don't want to view the document before adding it

    Then use the --force flag to addpdf and all will go well. Use a command line like this:

    ./addpdf doc.pdf --force
    


    Recreating the page count and thumbnails for existing documents

    A lot of the PDFs have been in the database for several years, and in that time I assume that ghostscript's ability to view PDF documents has hopefully improved. You can therefore easily regenerate the page count, thumbnails and metadata for a PDF document with the processpdf command. This command was actually used by addpdf under the hood. Let's give it a go:

    mikal@lapel:~/opensource/pdfcollection$ for item in `ls /home/pdfdb/ | grep 0`          
    > do
    >   ./processpdf /home/pdfdb $item 
    > done
    


    This simple script regenerated all of the metadata for all of the PDFs in the database, and hammered my machine while doing it. The command line arguments are the location of the PDF database, and the id number of the PDF to process.

    This command has basically the same dependencies as the addpdf command.

    Conclusion

    I've run out of things to say for now, but later I'll show you how to rerun the pdfomatic regression tests.

    Tags for this post: pdfdb pdf database test document

posted at: 22:21 | path: /pdfdb | permanent link to this entry


Coffee and beer in one glass

posted at: 21:47 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Expect to see some sample documents soon

    A while ago I asked for PDF/A sample documents, and basically didn't get any... In the end I got my hands on one of the two products which appear to support PDF/A at the moment -- Adobe Acrobat 7. The other is Acartus' PDF archival tool if that matters. I've been producing some test documents over the last couple of days in dribs and drabs, and I'll add them to my database of test PDF documents soon. There are some tweakings I want to do to that database first, and I also need to remember how to run all the scripts which manipulate the database.

    Tags for this post: pdf pdf-a sample document

posted at: 21:42 | path: /pdf/pdf-a | permanent link to this entry


What's that grinding noise?

    Dad I were riding a week or so ago, and I had just come down a nice hill where I had been going over 50 kilometres and hour... Towards the end the brakes on the rear wheel started to make a grinding noise as I slowed down. I'm a bit of a bike newbie, so it seemed to me that there were a couple of options: my brake pads were worn out; the brakes had over heated; or there was grit stuck under a pad.

    We stopped and had a look, and the pads seemed to have heaps of rubber left on them, so we went for the grit theory. This was reinforced by the ride home, where the grinding stopped after a little while.

    Time passes and I have the same experience last night. Except this time the grinding happens all the way home, so I decided to take the brakes apart when I got home.

    It turns out that the brake pads were worn out, and that I had been damaging the rear rim. I don't think the damage is too bad - -I've probably reduced the life of the rim a little, but it's still usable. The problem was that the break pad has these metal spikes through it to hold it together, and the amount of usable pad is much smaller than it looks from the outside.

    I suspect that the grinding went away the first time because the metal spikes in the pad changed shape as it heated up going down the hill, and then changed back as I rode on.

    So, new bike brake pads today, and you live and you learn.

    Tags for this post: bike brake pad grinding noise

posted at: 18:41 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


CD ROM

posted at: 15:34 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 31 Oct 2005



Sony's CD DRM acts like spyware on Windows

posted at: 15:57 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Destinator 3 GPS navigation for the PocketPC

    I was reasonably happy with Destinator 3's trial maps of Australia, but hadn't had time to write up anything about it yet. I guess that's unlikely to happen now, as the trial just expired after four days, instead of the four weeks I assured it would last.

    Given that the maps for Australia seem over priced (twice the price of the US maps?!?), my imminent departure from Australia, and the general not-particularly-helpful-ness of the Australian distributor, I'm not sure what else to say.

    The distributor, after what seemed like an ridiculously large number of emails agreed to reactivate the trial. That made me happy again until I found out tonight that they sold me an out of date version of the product. Grumpy.

    Tags for this post: blog toys press digital c1 australia destinator gps navigation

posted at: 03:22 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Status of the book

    The book has been written for a while, along with the technical editing and review. The copy edits have been done since last week. There are only two chapters left for page layout. The process has been interesting, educational, and in some parts long.

    The hardest part though? Ironically, it's filling in the marketing questionnaire. I've never done anything approaching sales before, although I have done customer facing work.

    Some parts of the questionnaire are easy... The target audience for instance, a short pitch for the book, that sort of thing.

    What about things like which magazines to ask to do a review? What about people who might be willing to do reviews?

    Got suggestions? Reply in a comment?

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book marketing review

posted at: 02:50 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 30 Oct 2005



Second beta of linux.conf.au 2005 CD ROM

    There is a second beta of the linux.conf.au 2005 CD ROM, including an ISO image this time, available at http://mirror.linux.org.au/linux.conf.au/2005/. If people could have a poke around and point out any errors to me, that would be mightily neighbourly.

    I don't have time to take the CD ROM project much further than producing the image, due to imminent buggering off from Australia, but it is my fond hope that we'll have the CD out before this year's yuletide festivities.

    (I've been watching Firefly, and I think it's affecting my language style. Why on earth did Fox cancel that series, and worse than that, why did it gross so badly at the cinema?)

    Tags for this post: blog lca2005 cdrom proceedings conference opensource linux

posted at: 23:05 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Two more weeks to go

    So, there are two more weeks to go for me at TOWER, and TOWER has already started recruiting my replacement (among a few positions recently made vacant). So, if you're a developer who likes the idea of living in Canberra, writing C# and perhaps some C++ for a living, and want to directly affect the lives of a million licensed users, then drop me a line and I'll tell you more about the job.

    Tags for this post: work job employment canberra

posted at: 22:28 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


TODO list pride

    I'm very proud of myself at the moment... For the first time in a very long time my TODO list is short enough to fit vertically on a 17 inch LCD monitor. This might not sound like a big deal to other people, but it is to me.

    Normally what I do is I have all of the things I need to do in tasks on my iPaq, and then have a classification called "today" which is all the stuff I should try to work on today. I do this because otherwise it is too easy to become daunted by the seemingly endless list of things to get done.

    Things have two ways to getting onto the today list... If I am in interrupt mode, as I have been recently, then it is a list of things which really truly need to be done today. If I am in polled mode, then it is the four of five things I can reasonably expect to get done today.

    I often don't manage to clear the list out daily, but it gives me a more manageable feel for what needs doing.

    Tags for this post: blog time management todo list

posted at: 22:24 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 29 Oct 2005



Extreme Machines: Eirik Raude

    I'm watching the Discovery channel as I am occasionally want to do, this time instead of working on page layout review for the book, and I am quietly amazed by the commentary. This is a documentary about the world's most advanced oil rig -- the Eirik Raude. It's meant to be complimentary. It's about how cool this thing is...

    The commentary starts "Everyone needs power. Our insatiable desire for oil forces the oil companies to drill in stupider and stupider places." (or something like that). The Eirik Raude is built to drill in deeper water than before, in rougher seas.

    Given that there is general consensus that we're using too much oil, as shown by even this pro oil rig commentary, you'd think we'd start doing something about it. But no...

    Tags for this post: environment oil rig

posted at: 21:36 | path: /environment | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 25 Oct 2005



Building my new disk array

    I have an opportunity to build a new disk array for when I move house. I made a few mistakes when I built the last one (although perhaps they were because it was the best that could be done at the time), and I don't intend to repeat those mistakes. I put out a call for suggestions a little while ago, and now I've built an array I'm pretty happy with. Let's walk through it.

    First off, let's start with a reminder of the requirements. Here's what I said in the previous post:

    • Reliable: be that mirrored or RAIDed
    • Expandable: I want to be able to drop in a new disc when I run out of space. I don't mind needing to add two identical discs if that makes point 1 easier
    • Rethingable: I want to be able to remove unreliable discs from the set. If there are paired discs, then I can handle having to cycle out both at the same time.
    • Non-sucky


    The hardware

    I now have two identical USB 2.0 external hard disk enclosures, each with a 250gb Seagate Barracuda drive in it. I picked USB 2.0 because I want the disks to be easy to move, and I picked external enclosures in the hope that this would ruggedize the disks for the trip to the US just a little. They'll be travelling in my carry on luggage.

    The mirroring

    Both of the disks are part of a MD mirror pair, and I must say that MD is a lot nicer than last time I played with it. Here's all I needed to do to set it up (sdb2 and sdc2 are the partitions with the MD on them):

    mdadm --create /dev/md1
          --raid-devices=2
          --spare-devices=0
          --level=1
          /dev/sdb2 /dev/sdc2
    
    mdadm --detail /dev/md1
    


    No config files in /etc like you used to. No need to do more configuration. It just works. What happened to the first partitions on the discs? They're each an 8 megabyte FAT partition with nothing in it but a meaningful name. This is so that I can tell which disk is which no matter what if they end up falling out of their labelled cases or something.

    So, we have redundancy... Let's make it expandable and shrinkable

    Then I used LVM to create a volume group and a logical volume on md1, which is where I will store the data. This is so I can expand and shrink the filesystem as my storage needs grow and disks fail. I currently get a disk failure per year with the current disk array (which is currently four disks), and I currently consume a little over 230gb. Yes, I know I'm going to need to buy more disk real soon, but I thought I would wait until I am in the US.

    Creating the LV:

    pvcreate /dev/md1
    vgcreate data /dev/md1
    lvcreate -L<size> -ndatalv data
    vgdisplay data
    
    mkfs -text3 /dev/data/datalv
    


    And we're done. Any comments?

    Tags for this post: linux md lvm raid mirror storage filesystem

posted at: 00:49 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 23 Oct 2005



All airline tickets now booked...

posted at: 22:59 | path: /travel/usa/california/mountainview/relocation | permanent link to this entry


Hacking a webcam to be an IR camera

posted at: 18:59 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Paul Graham pages on startups

posted at: 18:51 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


That's it. HP support rocks

    I have an iPaq h2210, which I have been very happy with. It's out of warranty (*I assume, it's 18 months old), and the funny rubber grips on the side just delaminated. I can get spares from the US for $12 plus $20 in shipping. I thought the shipping was a bit much so I gave HP locally a call to ask if I could buy them here.

    The nice Indian man insisted on sending them to me for free. I know it's a little thing, but I feel so loved now...

    Tags for this post: blog toys ipaq h2210 support hp

posted at: 17:28 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 21 Oct 2005



TECRA M4 P-M 770 and Ubuntu live CDs

    My work machine at the moment is a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet, and I figured I'd give a Ubuntu live CD a go over the week and play with setting up this disc array. I only have a Ubuntu live CD for version 5.04 lying around, so that's what I used.

    The machine booted fine, once I'd disconnected the USB external keyboard, which stopped the hardware detection from working for some reason. Dunno why. In fact plugging the USB keyboard in at any time killed the X server so that the mouse and keyboard never worked again. Odd.

    Tags for this post: blog toys toshiba techra tablet ubuntu live cd

posted at: 04:11 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 20 Oct 2005



So, how am I getting to the US?

    Well, I just booked my flights to the US... The flight there is on 18 November 2005, and goes from Canberra, to Sydney, to Los Angeles, to San Francisco with Qantas. At least I get club access along the way.

    Tags for this post: travel usa california mountainview relocation

posted at: 23:18 | path: /travel/usa/california/mountainview/relocation | permanent link to this entry


I feel a little vindicated

    In my previous post about my iPaq from a second ago, I mentioned that it was still running Windows. I get a bit of abuse about that, but I'm much too busy doing real work to have iPaq down time (I live and die by my todo list).

    It's good to see that Dave Jones feels the same way about his iPaq.

    Tags for this post: blog toys ipaq linux windows mobile

posted at: 18:30 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


HP iPaq GPS FA256A

    I picked up a HP FA256A blue tooth GPS the other day for my iPaq. The idea is that when I move to Mountain View, CA to work for Google then I'm going to need some form of satellite navigation to survive crazy American roads where they drive on the wrong side.

    I'm liking the GPS. It was only $145 Australia, it's got an eight hour lithium-ion battery, and comes with a car charger. I downloaded a free GPS test application for the iPaq (mine still runs Windows Mobile 2003), and it just worked. The only hard part was working out that it was hiding on COM port 8, not the COM port that was labelled as blue tooth in the drop down.

    The graph to the left was made with some GPS code I wrote a while ago which I haven't got around to documenting better than the README in the source code (tarball).

    This graph is a dump of the drive from Andrew's house to mine last night. The color change indicates speed, with red being faster than blue.

    I'm considering getting around to using GPS data more here. One day in my free time...

    Tags for this post: blog toys gps bluetooth ipaq hp pocketpc windows mobile fa256a


posted at: 18:01 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 19 Oct 2005



A filesystem which will resize over more than one disc whilst being reliable

    Given I'm moving, I had a great opportunity to sort out my home disc storage. Here's what I want:

    • Reliable: be that mirrored or RAIDed
    • Expandable: I want to be able to drop in a new disc when I run out of space. I don't mind needing to add two identical discs if that makes point 1 easier
    • Rethingable: I want to be able to remove unreliable discs from the set. If there are paired discs, then I can handle having to cycle out both at the same time.
    • Non-sucky


    So what are my options? I'm currently leaving towards two identical discs, with a meta disc that is mirrored between them, and the some sort of filesystem over the top. I suspect that LVM offers something here, but I need to learn more about LVM before I can give it a go.

    I want to have something sorted out by the end of the weekend. I don't mind building something to play with and then tearing it down later it if sucks, but it must be ready to roll within the next two weeks for real.

    So, thoughts people?

    Tags for this post: wanted disc storage file system non-sucky

posted at: 21:30 | path: /wanted | permanent link to this entry


Clothing status update

    I'm wearing my google tshirt today. That is all.

    Tags for this post: blog clothing google

posted at: 17:36 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


What are we doing with the pets?

    We own a dog and a cat. We've had the cat, Taffy, for a long time and he's quite old now. The dog, Spike, on the other hand hasn't been with us for very long. So, when we move to the US, what are we going to do with the pets? Well, the cat is relatively easy, as he's too old to cope with a move, and is quite attached to my father. He'll be staying in our current house, which dad will be renting from me.

    The dog, Spike is harder. The kids are now quite attached to him, having been initially scared of him (we got him as a puppy, and the kids didn't like that puppy phase too much). He's now a year old or so. On the other hand, he didn't like the flight from Sydney to Canberra when we acquired him, so a 14 hour flight to the US is too much for him. If we don't like the US and want to come home really, soon then he would also end up in quarantine, a four hour drive away from us, for a very long time (around three months I believe).

    Worse than that, we're probably going to end up in an apartment in the US, and that would mean that he wouldn't have a yard to play in...

    In the end we ended up deciding that it was better if Spike staying in the US. we contacted the breeder and had a chat, and found a lady in Sydney who has been looking for a Labradoodle for a while. After her visiting us and meeting the dog, and us interviewing her, we decided to just give her Spike. It felt really wrong to even discuss money.

    Spike now has a dog's dream job -- he's a mascot for a Sydney school, and plays with the kids at before and after school care (which are urn by his new owner). he also gets to go for long walks every day, and play on the beach, which something we were somewhat lax about.

    That's what the trip to Sydney that I blogged about earlier was about. Spike was dropped off, and then we went to my father in law's house for the night. The boys got skateboards in return for being strong about the whole thing. They still ask after Spike a little, but I think that they understand that we're going on a bit of an adventure and that Spike is best off where he is.

    That's why I was at Freshwater breach for that surfing competition that day as well... That beach is about a five minute walk from Spike's new home.

    I honestly think we've done the right thing, but it's still sad when I think about it.

    Tags for this post: travel usa california mountainview relocation dog puppy sydney canberra home

posted at: 17:31 | path: /travel/usa/california/mountainview/relocation | permanent link to this entry


Posting of private email is fun

    I just got this from a work mate:

    What's going on with you lot?

    I've sat down at my desk for about 15 minutes, and there are NO new blog posts, and no mail.

    You all need to pick up the pace. If you have a blog, you should post to it every day, so that I don't have to start doing any work until AT least 10 o'clock.

    (If you don't have one, well get one, so I can read it.)

    I don't care what crap you post - It's important to my general getting-slowly motivated morning routine

    Now I'm going to have to start 'work' earlier.

    Grrrrrrr.

    That Is all. Thankyou.


    Sorry. I'll work on some sort of inane post now. (Well, it's done in fact.)

    Tags for this post: blog

posted at: 17:14 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 18 Oct 2005



Two weeks of being sick

    And 31km travelled. Not too shabby given I couldn't breathe and had goo coming out of my head. I feel quite unfit riding now though, so I need to put some work into getting back into things.

    James talks about commuting to Google, which is currently of interest to me so I'd like to hear more about the practicalities of commuting in Mountain View if possible. For instance, are their off road bike paths, do American drivers try to kill you, and how far is Jame's commute on the bike each way?

    I'm not sure I really care if commuting to work by bike is cheaper, I only want to own one car in the US if I can (I have two here), and I like the idea of living close enough to work to be able to ride there.

    Tags for this post: bike ride work commute

posted at: 01:44 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 17 Oct 2005



Meet the life hackers

posted at: 22:45 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Spike, skateboards and geckos

    Photos from a recent trip to Sydney with Spike, the kids getting skateboards, and a gecko that Catherine found.

                                           

    See more thumbnails

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20050925 photo

posted at: 16:42 | path: /events/pictures/20050925 | permanent link to this entry


For Christmas

    I would like one of these. It's a robot which cuts custom stickers out of vinyl. Very cool.

    Tags for this post: wanted vinyl cutter robot

posted at: 04:03 | path: /wanted | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 16 Oct 2005



Matthew on his bike

    Matt has been angling to go on a bike ride with me on the street for a while, so we negotiated to taking a ride on the basketball court at the local school, as I wasn't too keen on being on the rode with a two year old. He's really go and I'm much impressed... He can't handle hills yet, but he can steer and peddle really well.

    All I need to do now is teach him how to use the brakes, which might require some modifications as they're so stiff that I can't use them, and then I can take the trainer wheels off.

    I'm very proud of him...

                 

    Tags for this post: matthew pictures 20051015-mattbike photo

posted at: 16:59 | path: /matthew/pictures/20051015-mattbike | permanent link to this entry


Lake Tuggeranong

    One of the things I've been liking about my riding is going around Lake Tuggeranong, and the little lake near Point Hut Crossing. I haven't had much of a chance to ride in the last couple of weeks because I've been so sick, but I took these photos before I got ill. They'll have to do to fulfill my lake fix for now.

                                   

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20051015-laketuggeranong photo

posted at: 16:24 | path: /events/pictures/20051015-laketuggeranong | permanent link to this entry


Grumps, Catherine, Andrew and Matthew came back to Floriade with me

posted at: 16:17 | path: /events/pictures/20051015-floriade | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 15 Oct 2005



Apple's Safari javascript implementation

    Is it just me, or is Apple's javascript implementation in Safari (at least on my wife's OS X 10.4 machine) terribly slow compared with Firefox?

    Tags for this post: blog web safari browser javascript performance

posted at: 04:13 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


The Cotter dam and Tidbinbilla deep space tracking station

    I hear that the Cotter dam is 100% full, which is something which hasn't been the case for quite some time, so dad and I ventured out to have a look. Unfortunately the path to the top of the dam is now closed, which we didn't know until we got there. On the way back we dropped in on the Tidbinbilla deep space tracking station, which is a NASA facility. All of this is about a 20 minute drive from my house, not that I timed it.

                                           

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20051015-cotter photo

posted at: 02:05 | path: /events/pictures/20051015-cotter | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 14 Oct 2005



Bad blog, bad bad blog

    It turns out that my comment engine was buggy, and I hadn't noticed until just now. The bug was that if the first comment was spam, then no other comments were shown on that post. This has now been fixed. As an interesting side effect, the site now displays information about how many spammy comments I have seen on a given post. This is mostly interesting because it seems to me that some posts are being hit by the comment spammers much harder than others, and I'm not really sure why.

    Tags for this post: blog comment bug spam

posted at: 03:48 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Backing up a disc partition

    I'm after a way with free tools to back up a partition on a disc to something like DVD. I would ideally like to shrink the partition to it's minimum size, and then turn it into something which is easy to recover later.

    Perhaps I should shrink it and then just gzip the device file? I could then mount it via look back if I ever needed it again. What's the best way to shrink a NTFS partition on Linux these days?

    Tags for this post: wanted partition backup linux open source

posted at: 00:10 | path: /wanted | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 13 Oct 2005



Great Googly Moogly

    (As the Ferocious Beast would say). I just resigned my job, and have accepted a position with Google in Mountain View, California. I should be there in about five weeks.

    I know it's a great opportunity, but I still feel kinda weird about it. More on all of this later.

    Tags for this post: work resign google

posted at: 19:27 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 08 Oct 2005



A little story from my sickness

    So, now that I am starting to feel a little better, let me tell you of the journey of discovery that was my illness. I didn't know until about two days ago that you can have allergic reactions to anti-histamines (which are apparently the only difference between day time cold and flu tablets and the night time ones). I found out that you can by having such a reaction...

    The first night, I went to bed and spent the first two hours after having the tablets tossing a turning in a hallucinogenic night mare. The topic of the nightmare? ISO standardisation of PDF/A, which is the topic of the standardisation riff I have been on recently (and will continue when better). I certainly care about PDF, but I'm not sure that hallucinogenic nightmares are the right way to deal with the problem.

    The same thing happened the next night, except it was a two hour extravaganza of sweat over how to best run analytics on the 4.2 million lines of Apache web server logs that this domain have created on Andrew's machine since the last box upgrade. More on that later too.

    Anyways, I've returned to sanity now that I'm not taking the night tablets any more and just using day tablets in their place. I think I will be careful around those blue pills from now on. More red pills for me!

    Tags for this post: blog sick cold tablet nightmare hallucinations

posted at: 01:20 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 07 Oct 2005



The book process continues

    Despite my lack of posting here in the last couple of weeks, and the death of my laptop (which I believe is traditional when you write a book), the book process continues. This is the first time I've written a book, and the process itself is pretty interesting. At the moment I'm looking through edits from the copy editor for the first chapter (previously this chapter has survived technical review, a review from the acquisitions editor, and review from the project manager). The copy editor is providing comments on my writing style and how to make the chapter easier to read.

    I guess that I could take the comments as hurtful, but to be honest it's fun. It's kinda like having a personal coach trying to teach you how to write better. I like that.

    One interesting thing that has happened is that the chapter title was tweaked to "be more active", which I like. I guess that means some of the chapter descriptions I have already posted might actually be wrong. Oh well.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book editor process coach grammar style

posted at: 17:11 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


A first taste of Google blog reader

    So, Google has released a beta of their bloglines equivalent service, and given that Liferea crashes about four times a day for me I thought I would give it a go. Login et cetera is easy, and the user interface is nice and AJAXy. It's fairly intuitive as well, although when I was importing my OPML file from Liferea I missed the message at the top saying the import was in progress as first.

    That said, it's been 30 minutes and it still says it's importing my 460 line OPML file. I just refreshed the page for the import, and the import stopped and said that I now had 54 subscriptions. So, I guess that means I should wait longer for the import. I'm now going to try importing over the top and see if it's smart enough to squelch duplicates.

    Tags for this post: google blog reader beta

posted at: 14:35 | path: /google | permanent link to this entry


Sick still

    I thought I wasn't getting any better, but I feel a little better this morning. I'm really hoping to be up to work on Monday. Meh.

    If I haven't answered your email, please be patient, I'm trying to get through them all.

    Tags for this post: blog health

posted at: 13:38 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 05 Oct 2005



Photos from the Allete Pro Junior

posted at: 05:29 | path: /events/pictures/20050925-freshwaterbeach | permanent link to this entry


Matthew playing on some swings

posted at: 05:29 | path: /matthew/pictures/20050925-freshwaterbeach | permanent link to this entry


Andrew playing on some swings

posted at: 05:29 | path: /andrew/pictures/20050925-freshwaterbeach | permanent link to this entry


Winchester Mystery House

    When Andrew and I were in San Francisco recently we ran out of time to see the Winchester Mystery House, a mansion built by the widow of the dude who invested the Winchester rifle. She was convinced that the ghosts of Indians killed by Winchester rifles were haunting her, and modified the mansion to confuse them. Then Boing Boing pointed to this blog about the house which has some interesting photos online. I really must try to make it there sometime.

    Tags for this post: travel usa california sanjose winchester mystery house

posted at: 04:26 | path: /travel/usa/california/sanjose | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 04 Oct 2005



Sick

    I've come down with a cold, so I'm going to go quiet for a bit... Somehow I don't think I'll be going to work tomorrow. Exciting topics to be more fully explored when I feel better include: my exciting adventures with a broken laptop; more on that standards riff; how I've just finished the last chapter of the book and now just need to do the front matter and an appendix; and whatever else I think of.

    And now I'm going to bed.

    Tags for this post: blog sick

posted at: 02:20 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


100km week

    At the start of last week I set myself the goal of riding 100 kilometres during the week. Despite a couple of rainy days and being busy, I made it... I'm very proud of my little self now.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 02:18 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 03 Oct 2005



r51 update

    Well, at least the disc from the R51 would boot in the X21 that I had lying around... The only thing I needed to do to make all of that work was to reconfigure x.org to work with the different video card and ensure that I had the right module for the network card loaded. Now I can get back to the book...

    Should I buy a new battery for the X21 (the current one is garbage)? Or should I just get a new laptop real soon now? These and other questions will be explored soon...

    Tags for this post: blog toys thinkpad r51 x21

posted at: 00:14 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 02 Oct 2005



So, that was me tempting fate apparently

    So, apparently I tempted fate, just as the CVS commit of the work on the final chapter of the book finished, and I got around to writing the blog post about the machine, it locked up again. What happens is that the screen goes blank (except for some random red and blue dashes this time), and the power and disc lights stay on. The machine doesn't respond to any input.

    I'm wondering if it's temperature related, as the machine worked ok until I went out into the sun to do some work. The machine is out of warranty, and having played around with the memory, and knowing that the disc isn't the problem that really leaves the logic board, which probably means it's not worth repairing.

    I've got an older ThinkPad without a working battery that I can use for now, but I guess it's time to start thinking about a new machine. I really want to get the book out of the way before getting distracted on that kind of stuff though.

    Tags for this post: blog toys thinkpad broken

posted at: 18:09 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Pain with the ThinkPad

    I have no problems with my various ThinkPads -- in fact I love them greatly. They're by far the most reliable and well built laptops I have ever owned. That didn't stop my R51 from stopping working on Saturday. I woke up in the morning having had a bad night with Matt who has an ear infection. Anyways, the machine was locked up when I finally got out of bed, which has like the third time in the last couple of days. Repeated attempts to reboot the machine resulted in a laptop which wouldn't power up at all (apart from the disk and power lights turning on).

    To cut a long story short, disassembly and a good solid clean with aerosol freeze spray (the only non-conductive aerosol I could find) seems to have fixed the problem. Odd.

    I'll keep you posed on if it keeps working...

    Tags for this post: blog toys thinkpad repair

posted at: 17:48 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Frank Arrigo discovers Steve Walsh's free wireless

posted at: 16:54 | path: /travel/australia/canberra | permanent link to this entry


This looks handy, subway maps for mobile devices

posted at: 16:50 | path: /travel | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 29 Sep 2005



What do you do when you care about a standard...

    ...but your employer doesn't? Well, the answer that I've come up with is that standards do matter, and that they shouldn't be controlled by companies for corporate gain. So, I'm going to pursue membership of the standards committee as an individual (which means that I wont be going to any of the meetings I guess), and advocate what I honestly think is the right solution, instead of what nessesarily makes things easier for my employer to implement.

    I'm kinda keen to find some time to implement some tools around the standard too, especially as I am not aware of any implementations online at the moment...

    Tags for this post: work standard committee

posted at: 15:21 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Robert Scoble is right, Microsoft has abandoned a lot of their developers

    (I know that's not an entirely accurate description of what he said).

    Robert Scoble talks about the latest Microsoft MVP summit, and some of the backlash over VB 6.0 not having a recompile path to .NET and Vista. He tried to make the argument that sometimes things have to break for revolutionary change, and he's right. Then again, I'm not sure that Vista is a revolutionary change. Anyways, one aspect that Robert completely ignores is that he makes the assumption that if people are forced to do a rewrite, they'll do it on a Microsoft platform.

    There are only so many times Microsoft can make you rewrite some code, before you decide to go elsewhere.

    Tags for this post: dotnet vb rewrite vista

posted at: 15:15 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Mont 24 hour race



    The Mont 24 hour race (a mountain biking event in Canberra) is coming up. I'm thinking about coming along to take some pictures... Hopefully they'll be as nice as this one taken by Big Headed Simon.

    Tags for this post: bike race mont canberra

posted at: 03:32 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 27 Sep 2005



Working from home today

    I always find that when I have to work with documentation, that I do it better somewhere quiet. It's hard to think about prose when you have someone else waffling on in your headphones. We don't have enough meeting spaces at work, so I am working from home today... I must admit it is also nice to eliminate the hour commute from my day once in a while.

    Tags for this post: work home telecommute

posted at: 15:50 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 26 Sep 2005



75 kilometres last week

    It would have been more, except I was away on the weekend. I haven't gone riding yet this week -- it's been too wet.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 03:53 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 25 Sep 2005



ImageMagick bug?

    Subject: imagemagick: If the trailing character of a montage label option is a percent sign, the output image is erroneous
    Package: imagemagick
    Version: 6:6.2.3.6-3
    Severity: normal
    
    *** Please type your report below this line ***
    
    Executing this command line:
    
    montage -geometry +10+10 -tile 2 -label "-sepia-tone 15%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20a.jpg -label "-sepia-tone 35%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20b.jpg -label "-sepia-tone 55%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20c.jpg -label "-sepia-tone 75%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20d.jpg ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20.jpg
    




    Whereas this command line:
    
    montage -geometry +10+10 -tile 2 -label "-sepia-tone 15%% " \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20a.jpg -label "-sepia-tone 35%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20b.jpg -label "-sepia-tone 55%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20c.jpg -label "-sepia-tone 75%%" \
    ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20d.jpg ImageMagick_Chapter5_Insert20.jpg
    
    Produces the expected output:
    




    -- System Information:
    Debian Release: testing/unstable
      APT prefers unstable
        APT policy: (500, 'unstable'), (500, 'testing'), (500, 'stable')
        Architecture: i386 (i686)
        Shell:  /bin/sh linked to /bin/bash
        Kernel: Linux 2.6.11
        Locale: LANG=C, LC_CTYPE=C (charmap=ANSI_X3.4-1968)
    
        Versions of packages imagemagick depends on:
        ii  libmagick6                   6:6.2.3.6-3 Image manipulation library
    
        imagemagick recommends no packages.
    
        -- no debconf information
    


    Tags for this post: imagemagick bug report debian

posted at: 20:43 | path: /imagemagick | permanent link to this entry


Floriade 2005

posted at: 20:16 | path: /events/pictures/20050925-floriade | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 22 Sep 2005



Should small ISVs be involved with the standards process?

    This week I asked my employer to fund a trip to a standards meeting. The meeting is in the US, so it's a little expensive to attend, but it's an important meeting. The meeting is important because:

    • The standard in question has just had it's first version accepted by ISO
    • There are clear problems with that first version
    • I have a lot of expertise in the subject area (not to beat my own drum or anything, but I really do)
    • The standard has a lot of potential, if pushed in the right direction
    • The meeting is to discuss the future development of the standard, so this is the right time to do that pushing


    Update: I forgot to mention that the standard is also directly related to what we do.

    The proposal was met with sarcasm in the office. This raises an interesting question that I've been pondering overnight. I've been working on the assumption that small software companies should be part of the standards process, both because standards compliance is important, and because being an early implementor of these standards can make a big difference to the acceptance of your software.

    Then again, perhaps I've been wrong all this time. Should standards development be left to the customers, Microsoft, Adobe and so forth? Should a standard be about what the customer and large vendors want, not what is possible?

    I suspect that large vendors certainly use the standards process to produce standards they know are hard for their competitors to implement -- the ODMA specification is certainly an example of one specification written by a large vendor, which is fairly closely tailored to how their code internally works, and is therefore harder for everyone else to implement.

    So, are standards about the customer? Should they be used as a competitive tool? Whatcha think?

    Tags for this post: work standard meeting process competition software

posted at: 16:58 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Extended Stay Hotels -- shame on you

    I'm a little horrified to have just received this email from Extended Stay Hotels (I stay at them under the name Homestead suites, there is one across the road from our Washington DC office, and another across the road from Microsoft's Redmond Campus):

    If you - or someone you know - are among the millions evacuating due 
    to the approach of Hurricane Rita, Extended Stay Hotels still has 
    room availability in the following metro areas:
    
    	Kansas City, MO - From $38.99/night
    	St. Louis, MO - From $44.99/night 
    


    Does anyone else think it's icky that they're advertising like this to people with their homes and livelihoods in danger? Perhaps Homestead should offer free rooms?

    (Oh, and this indignant post is the 1,000th in the diary category here...)

    Tags for this post: blog hurricane rita katrina hotel advertising

posted at: 16:50 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 21 Sep 2005



Did you know...

    There is enough metal in my mountain bike to open the car park boom gates at work. I wonder how much metal is actually needed -- I'm going to go down with a can of soup sometime and give that a try.

    Tags for this post: tech boom gate metal mountain bike

posted at: 16:22 | path: /tech | permanent link to this entry


First beta of the LCA 2005 CD ROM

posted at: 00:33 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 19 Sep 2005



ImageMagick book - Chapter 4: Other ImageMagick Tools

    It's been a while since I wrote one of these chapter summaries here, and the reason for that is that I've been busy writing chapters, attending conferences, caring for a sick wife, and stuff like that. The book is still pretty much on track (I'm currently running about a week behind on the chapter deadlines, but I think I can have the whole thing done by the overall deadline).

    Chapter 4 is an interesting one as it discusses all the tools which aren't going to be covered elsewhere in the book. The reality of ImageMagick is that 95% of the functionality is exposed in the convert command, so you can discuss most things there. There are however some cool things which happen in commands of their own, and those are the things discussed in this chapter. The chapter is so early on in the book because I don't want to give the impression that ImageMagick is a one trick pony, and because any book claiming to be a complete coverage of ImageMagick really does have to discuss them.

    I wont go into a blow by blow account of what commands are covered, as that would be quite dull to read. Let's just leave it as "the rest".

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book chapter tools

posted at: 14:18 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 18 Sep 2005



Writely.com is cool

    writely.com is an in browser AJAX word processor which supports versioning, collaboration, and import of word documents from your local disk. It's really very cool, and something which has been threatening to happen for quite some time. I recommend you give it a try.

    Tags for this post: blog writely word processor online ajax collaboration

posted at: 16:44 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Samba and MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger)

posted at: 14:16 | path: /samba | permanent link to this entry


Sounds like Andrew's cat is allergic to something in it's food

    Catherine's dog (not the current one, but an older one) was allergic to chicken, and suffered similar symptoms to what Andrew describes for his cat. It took a while to determine the allergy, but it sounds like that might be the next step for Andrew. I'd start with a really simple diet, and build up from there.

    Tags for this post: blog pet cat dog allergy

posted at: 02:57 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 17 Sep 2005



A 50km week

    I went about 50km this last week... I can only say about because my bike computer just reset itself while I was down at the shops -- losing the odometer along the way (it said about 190km). Oh well. All of that riding was errands and travel to and from uni, with only one 13km pleasure ride.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 22:16 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


My first interview

posted at: 03:01 | path: /enclosures | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 15 Sep 2005



If I'm famous, then people have to be nice to me, right?

    So, I've just got off the phone with James Purser who interviewed me about the Linux Australia Mirror Project for the Linux Australia Podcast. It's my first interview, and hopefully I don't come across as a crazed moron or something. Anyways, it's funny because James and Karin only realized that I'm the guy with the flowers around my head at the end of the interview.

    I'll try very hard not to get a swelled head and to keep it real, y'all.

    Tags for this post: blog podcast interview

posted at: 03:48 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Overflow rooms

    (This is only tangentially related to linux.conf.au 2006, I have no idea what they're doing for room allocation). For linux.conf.au 2005 we discussed the use of overflow rooms to deal with having too many registrations. In the end we decided against it, the crux of the logic being sheer logistics, and value for money (if people pay to attend, they should be able to be in the same room). Anyways, Microsoft's PDC has sold out, and they ended up using overflow rooms. It seems to be working for them so far, and the infrastructure sounds interesting.

    I'm thinking this should be seriously considered if we end up with a sellout situation for a linux.conf.au in the future.

    Tags for this post: linux conference opensource lca2006 overflow

posted at: 02:24 | path: /linux/conference/opensource/lca2006 | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 14 Sep 2005



Feedster has lost interest in it's top 500 already?

    Each month, Feedster brings you a list of 500 of the most interesting and important blogs. Enjoy browsing to see what people are reading, to find feeds that will bring topics of interest to you on a regular basis, and to discover new voices in the Blogosphere.


    If Feedster is updating the top 500 monthly, why is it still displaying the August results halfway through the month of September? Don't they care about the whole thing any more? If so, it only took them a month to get bored with it...

    Tags for this post: blog feedster top500 blog ranking

posted at: 23:35 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


LCA CD continues

    I thought I would add the conference wiki to the CD as well, but htrack does a terrible job of mirroring PHP wikis -- mainly because of the large number of possible ways to view a page. Does anyone know of a better way to provide an off line view of a wiki like this?

    Tags for this post: blog lca2005 opensource conference cd wiki mirror

posted at: 17:24 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


I can't hold it in any longer

    Eric Raymond claims to have had a job offer from Microsoft. He so hasn't. If you actually read the letter he got sent (which he didn't), it's an invitation to apply. I've gotten these too, and if you go through the process the next step is a phone interview, possibly followed by a face to face. It just means they noticed he's an engineer, not that they actually think he's worth hiring.

    Eric, get a grip.

    Tags for this post: blog building19 eric raymond microsoft job

posted at: 00:46 | path: /diary/building19 | permanent link to this entry


Learning Ruby

    So, I'm learning Ruby to write a chapter for the book. So far it isn't too bad, but I'm going to allocate an hour to reading a tutorial while waiting for my god daughter's dance class to end.

    Tags for this post: ruby programming language learn

posted at: 00:42 | path: /ruby | permanent link to this entry


TUF 18 conference dinner

posted at: 00:15 | path: /events/pictures/20050908-tuf18dinner | permanent link to this entry


20050908-tuf18dinner

posted at: 00:15 | path: /diary/pictures/20050908-tuf18dinner | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 13 Sep 2005



Well, that's Google blog search live then

posted at: 23:59 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


My first keynote presentation

posted at: 17:07 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Comparison shopping for books

posted at: 16:12 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 12 Sep 2005



The LCA 2005 conference CD

    I'm bored, so I'm making a LCA conference CD. Given that we have no audio, and that the corrupt video is quite big and will be online soon (I just need to wrangle the data across), I'm looking for other things to fill the CD with. So far I've decided that photos of the conference would be cool. So, if you have some photos which you wouldn't mind being on the CD drop me an email and I'll see what I can do. I'm happy with stamp the images with a domain name like I do here if that makes people happier.

    Tags for this post: blog lca2005 conference opensource linux cd

posted at: 18:33 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Around Guilford

    Guilford is about a 20 minute drive from the Vines golf resort in the Swann Valley just outside Perth. Again I had a dirty CCD, but some of these shots are quite nice.

                                           

    See more thumbnails

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20050910-guilford photo

posted at: 05:32 | path: /events/pictures/20050910-guilford | permanent link to this entry


Mirroring the Linux Update podcast

posted at: 05:25 | path: /mirror/opensource/linux/australia | permanent link to this entry


We're getting there

posted at: 02:29 | path: /mirror/opensource/linux/australia | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 11 Sep 2005



Shots from around Fremantle and Perth

posted at: 18:41 | path: /events/pictures/20050910-fremantleperth | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 10 Sep 2005



TUF18 Swann Valley, outside Perth

    TUF 18 (the TRIM User Forum, our user conference) was held at the Vines Resort, in the Swann Valley outside perth. The resort is nice if your into golf, which I was for a little while, but haven't been recently. High lights include rain, a lake, more rain, Gordon and Anthony in Felicity's spa, and so forth.

    Unfortunately the CCD was dirty for many of these shots, and I didn't realise until it was too late.

                                           

    See more thumbnails

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20050908-swannvalley photo

posted at: 20:11 | path: /events/pictures/20050908-swannvalley | permanent link to this entry


Back from Perth

    The Vines resort (where the Jonny Walker Classic is played) is nice, if you like early 1990 architecture, and golf. Just don't try to have a shower in your unit, as the hot water system is the size of a thimble. Hire cars are good, because they take you away from the Vines. Freemantle and Perth are both good, with the Halo resturant in Perth being the producer of one of the best meals I have had in a long time. Photos online soo...

    Tags for this post: travel australia perth vines golf resort

posted at: 19:43 | path: /travel/australia/perth | permanent link to this entry


Thanks for the kind word Pia

posted at: 06:37 | path: /mirror/opensource/linux/australia | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 05 Sep 2005



CVS digital cameras and handy cams

    I'm a happy man. My CVS disposable digital cameras and disposal handy cam arrived today. So cool. Pity I wont have time to do any hacking until I get back from Perth...

    Tags for this post: blog toys disposable camera cvs handycam hack

posted at: 18:22 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Google Pizza Program

posted at: 16:20 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


I like screen oopsies

    I've already posted this image today, but it was buried in a bunch of other stuff. Check it out:



    Funny. Especially given United's terrible check in service.

    Tags for this post: travel usa airlines united checkin sign

posted at: 01:40 | path: /travel/usa/airlines | permanent link to this entry


Tour of San Francisco

posted at: 00:10 | path: /events/pictures/20050714-sanfrancisco | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 04 Sep 2005



Perth for a conference

    The TOWER Asia-Pacific annual conference is later this week in Perth (Wednesday to Friday). I have a couple of free hours here and there, mostly in the evening. If there is anything interesting happening in Perth later this week, could people drop me a line and let me know? Failing that, if you have a free day in Perth, what would you see? Rottnest Island?

    Tags for this post: travel australia perth

posted at: 23:50 | path: /travel/australia/perth | permanent link to this entry


The Linux Australia mirroring project

    Some of you might be aware that Linux Australia recently agreed to support a trial open source mirror project for Australia. This mirror is being run by a sub-committee of Linux Australia, on hardware owned by Linux Australia. The purpose of this post is to remind people of the project, and give a quick status update. It has to be quick, as I'm really busy this week.

    Our hardware arrived several weeks ago, and having been kindly configured by Andrew Pollock was ready for deployment about a week ago. This deployment was held up with some illness amongst various players, but the hardware was deployed to the data center last week by Steven Hanley and myself. We're currently finalising network ACLs for the machine before we can work on finishing off the software configuration.

    At this time I would like to ask for suggestions of projects which would benefit from mirroring. Preferably there would be a clear benefit to the community in Australia from such a mirror, and support from the people being mirrored for the concept. Bandwidth isn't a problem, and disk isn't a big deal as long as the suggestion doesn't need hundreds of gigabytes.

    I'll keep you posted as things progress.

    Tags for this post: mirror opensource linux australia

posted at: 23:23 | path: /mirror/opensource/linux/australia | permanent link to this entry


X.org doesn't support dynamic resize of the screen?

    I wondered why the Gnome screen resize doodad has disappeared until just now, when I added it back in and was told that my X Server doesn't support screen resize. This must have happened when Debian Unstable went from X11 to X.org. It makes me a little sad... Is there a simple twiddle in X.org to make it all work again?

    Tags for this post: linux debian unstable x server x11 x.org screen resize xrandr

posted at: 18:14 | path: /linux | permanent link to this entry


LCA 2006: CFP closes today

posted at: 17:16 | path: /linux/conference/opensource/lca2006 | permanent link to this entry


Alcatraz

posted at: 17:07 | path: /events/pictures/20050714-sanfrancisco-alcatraz | permanent link to this entry


Pacifying New Orleans

posted at: 14:07 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Why does every man and his dog put man pages online?

    So, I know that I have a few man pages online, but then again I wrote either the code they document, or some of the generation toolchain to create them, so I think that is different. Why does every man and his dog feel that he should put man pages online? It actually makes it really hard to search for things if the first page of Google results are the same man page over and over again from sites who seem to think that they're making a contribution to the community.

    Are they just doing this to grab some pagerank?

    Tags for this post: google unix man page online search internet

posted at: 01:28 | path: /google | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 03 Sep 2005



Photos from the San Francisco gardens

    We only saw a tiny part of the big gardens in San Francisco (which includes a whole bunch of gum trees!) because the tour didn't stop there very long. What we saw was pretty cool though...

                                           

    See more thumbnails

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20050714-sanfrancisco-gardens photo

posted at: 22:57 | path: /events/pictures/20050714-sanfrancisco-gardens | permanent link to this entry


A Saturday ride

    This is a boring post, so I'll keep it short. 30.81km, max speed 45.9 km per hour, 1 hour 52 minutes ride time. Around lake Tuggeranong and so forth.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 04:16 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Apple update

    Sorry Apple that it took a while to write this, I'm fighting an addiction at the moment, and am a little busy. Apple declared the iBook dead on arrival on Wednesday, and I picked up a new machine that day. They promised to have the old disc in a caddy by the end of Thursday so I could get my data back, which I am still waiting to happen as I write this. I of course had to build a new machine.

    So, what went so wrong here? Well, the initial contact was terrible "ring Apple". Then two calls to Apple with about 20 minutes on hold. Then being sent to a service center which didn't exist. Having to sign a form telling me that they would destroy my machine at will, and being told it would take two weeks for the machine to get assessed. Lack of knowledge on the part of the staff -- they never asked me to boot the machine, and demo the fact that it clearly didn't work.

    If they'd said that it would probably be DOA'ed, and I could have a new machine within three days, all would have been well.

    Why did I get this outcome in the end? Perhaps it's part of the standard deal. Perhaps it's because I'm lucky enough to have a developer relations contact at Apple who I could send a very grumpy email to. Perhaps it's this site and the traffic it gets. Dunno. I would certainly still say avoid ANUtech and Mac1 like the plague, which effectively means don't buy an Apple in Canberra.

    And why is it so hard to put the old disc in a caddy? Lord only knows...

    Tags for this post: blog toys apple service anutech mac1

posted at: 03:51 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


New Orleans and sea level

    Andrew, my understanding from basically no research is that New Orleans didn't start below sea level. As the city grew, they needed more land, so they built levies and pumped water out of the basin. This meant that the city started to sink further below sea level. Additionally, another problem is that the city is cited on a major oil deposit, which they're pumping oil out of. To get the oil out, they dug canals, with removed the natural barriers which protect from storms. The city sinks about an inch a year. So, the problem is the world's greed for oil, not poor city planning.

    Oil canal reference.

    This isn't a well researched piece. Please feel free to leave a comment if I need educating.

    Tags for this post: blog new orleans sea level oil canal

posted at: 03:36 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 31 Aug 2005



Hetherington, 82, created Mr Squiggle in 1959 - a decade before men without strings landed on the moon

posted at: 23:26 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Addiction?

    I've been feeling agitated all week, and really quite stressed out. This could be because of:

    • The three conference papers i give next week in Perth
    • Including the opening keynote
    • The impending release of the product I work on
    • The two book chapters I am meant to be writing this week
    • The PhD work I am meant to be doing
    • Not spending enough time with the kids
    • or Grant and Lindsay's departure from TOWER HQ yesterday


    But I've put it down to being because I hadn't been for a bike ride since Saturday, so I just went for a 12.14km, 41 minute, ride around ANU and the edge of the lake. Now I feel better, if more sweaty.

    Tags for this post: bike ride stress work

posted at: 20:05 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Pictures of Mountain View, San Jose and Oakland

    Well, the backlog is getting smaller at least. This photo set includes some more Mountain View, pictures taken when Andrew went on a flying lesson with Marc Merlin (I was elsewhere at the time), pictures from "The Tech" Museum is San Jose, including Segway rides, and some random pictures around Oakland (I think that's where we were...) on the way to and from the Bay Area Debian meeting.

    I like Segways by the way...

                                           

    See more thumbnails

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20050713-siliconvalley photo

posted at: 16:33 | path: /events/pictures/20050713-siliconvalley | permanent link to this entry


The cafe downstairs made me a little flat white

    The cafe downstairs at work make me a little flat white with my burger, so I didn't feel left out of the espresso drinking crowd...

                   

    Tags for this post: blog pictures 20050712-siliconvalley photo

posted at: 00:38 | path: /diary/pictures/20050712-siliconvalley | permanent link to this entry


First photos of Mountain View and surrounds

posted at: 00:38 | path: /events/pictures/20050712-siliconvalley | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 30 Aug 2005



Some pictures of Andrew

posted at: 22:42 | path: /andrew/pictures/20050723-pollockwedding | permanent link to this entry


Photos from Andrew and Sarah's wedding (finally!)

    It's taken a while to get around to putting my copies of the pictures I took at Andrew and Sarah's wedding up, although Andrew has had copies up for a while. It took so long as I wanted to rewrite the way these images are generated, which I have finally done.

                                           

    See more thumbnails

    Tags for this post: events pictures 20050723-pollockwedding photo

posted at: 22:42 | path: /events/pictures/20050723-pollockwedding | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 29 Aug 2005



Blogging fire alarms

posted at: 17:25 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Ssssh, I'm hunting customers

    Scott is a random TRIM customer in Canada, who a couple of us found by having technorati watch lists for the name of our product. I have a policy of subscribing to blogs of users when I find them. It's been educational reading Scott's blog -- not just for us developers, but for the company as a whole working through how to deal with customers having a much more public voice for their thoughts.

    Scott mentions that now TOWER machines are about a third of his subscribers... Let's work out who those people are for a second:

    • Liferea: that one's easy. It's my Thinkpad R51 running Debian Unstable. As an introduction, I'm a senior software engineer in the research and development section of TOWER, and am currently in charge of the TRIM Connectivity Toolkit development.
    • Sharpreader: that will be Little Headed Simon, who is a developer on the TRIM Connectivity Toolkit project. Oh, Simon also prefers the moniker "Normal headed Simon", but that doesn't have the same ring to me.
    • Newsfire: will be Lindsay on her Macintoy (which appears not to have broken Apple like me, not that I'm ranting about Apple service at the moment or anything). Lindsay basically runs our marketing section's day to day operations, but leaves the company tomorrow.
    • And Onfolio: is Gordon, the project manager on the TRIM Context ICE web product team. And apparently Grant, our lead DBA as well.


    Hi Scott.

    Tags for this post: work customer blog

posted at: 16:42 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Let the Apple service ranting continue

    So, it turns out that even APC magazine has been riffing on Apples dreadful service in Australia. It makes me think that Apple's lack of penetration in the market is because of their outstanding service in this country.

    Tags for this post: blog toys apple service

posted at: 15:24 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Average build time for a PC

posted at: 13:59 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


More on Apple service

    Another friend remarks: "The thing you have to remember about Mac1 in Canberra is that they're idiots".

    Now he tells me.

    Tags for this post: blog toys apple service

posted at: 05:23 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 28 Aug 2005



Apparently terrible warranty service is par for the course with Apple

posted at: 21:30 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Did I mention that Apple service sucks?

    So, to summarise from my previous post about Apple service, I called the store I bought my iBook from 13 days ago. They said they weren't interested in helping, and gave me the Apple tech support number. I called that number and waited 15 minutes on hold. I was then told that I should try booting off the OS X cds, which were of course at home, despite the fact that the machine didn't boot at all.

    My wife drove the CDs in. The machine is so broken that it wont even suck the disc in when the machine is powered up, so I called Apple again and said so. The dude on the phone said that I am now allowed to take the machine into the nearest service center. How good of him. The nearest service center is of course the store I bought it from, so I jump into the car and off I go.

    When I get there, I'm told that there is in fact no service center there, and the nearest one is 30 minutes drive away (in the other direction of course). I wonder why Apple thinks there is one there then? Anyways, they say that they can ship it to the service center for me, but it will take two weeks for them to decide whether or not to fix the machine. Did I mention the machine is 13 days old?

    I check the machine in for the service, which involves signing this disclaimer:

    Please carry out at my cost as soon as you conveniently can the repairs listed on the job sheet with the corresponding number to this slip and any other work you consider to be undertaken at your current rates for the parts and labour used. You will not be responsible for the loss or damage to the equipment, its accessories, software or data however caused. ...


    I've skipped the rest of the disclaimer, although it did also say that there was a minimum fee of $99 for the service. The emphasis above is mine.

    So, this is my first Apple computer, and it's 13 days old. It's going to take then 14 days to decide what to do to the machine, which is dead, in which time they may also lose the machine, jump up and down on it, or whatever they like.

    This is my first Apple purchase, and I'm thinking it will be my last. This level of service for a brand new machine is simply unacceptable, and I'll be going back to IBM. No wonder Apple doesn't have many corporate customers -- would you put up with this?

    Tags for this post: blog toys apple service

posted at: 19:51 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Some pictures of Andrew

posted at: 18:42 | path: /andrew/pictures | permanent link to this entry


The excitement of Apple service

    I bought an Apple 12 inch iBook G4 from the ANUtech Apple Center less than two weeks ago. Last night the machine locked up, so I rebooted it with the power button. After booting, the machine would crash after about a minute with what looks a lot like a kernel panic, saying something about bad RAM. I wondered if I had done something to cause it, but it would consistently happen when I booted the machine and left it at the login screen, without me touching anything.

    I gave up and went to bed.

    This morning, I was hoping the machine was magically fixed, so I tried to turn it on. It didn't boot. So I tried again, and this time it booted, but with a mouse that didn't work. So I tried booting again. It didn't work at all.

    I rang the Apple Center, thinking that a two week old machine is simply a case of swapping the machine over or something. The guy basically told me to go away and call Apple. Something like "Oh, well we can't do anything for you -- ring Apple". This is very disappointing to me, I would expect a lot better from a retailer. Anyways, so I rang Apple.

    15 minutes on hold. Some simple questions. The machine still doesn't boot. Booting with Apple-Option-r-p doesn't help. Now apparently I need to boot with the OS X CD I left home. So I get to call back later after being on hold for ages.

    Two week old machine doesn't make me happy.

    Tags for this post: blog toys apple service grumpy

posted at: 17:13 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Weekend riding

    Not as much riding as I had hoped for over the weekend, as I ended up with yet another headache this afternoon. The frequency of them is decreasing though, so I think I am getting over whatever bug is causing them. Anyways, 12km yesterday -- a ride from Dad's house to my house, and then a couple of test rides when playing with the gears on my brother in law's bike.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 05:22 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 27 Aug 2005



LCA 2006 Call For Papers closes soon

posted at: 18:03 | path: /linux/conference/opensource/lca2006 | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 25 Aug 2005



Hamster powered mobile phone charger

posted at: 16:00 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


If you're decisive and you know it, clap your hands

    ...I'm not sure if I should join in the clapping. Perhaps. Perhaps not. It would be a big life change. But I'll always wonder if I should if I don't. Meh. Worst case I can always stop clapping if I don't like it. Ok, I formally accept your offer of clapping.

    /me claps

    Tags for this post: blog weird

posted at: 14:42 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 24 Aug 2005



A lunch time ride

    I can't go for a ride tomorrow lunch because it's Lindsay's farewell from TOWER. I therefore went on a longer ride today -- from work to ANU, ANU down Clunies Ross until you hit the lake (not literally), turn left, out and around the National Museum, over Canberra Avenue, and then back up through the city and O'Conner to work. It was 12.13km in total, which isn't too shabby. I even got back in time for my meeting.

    Next time I really should remember to take a camera.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 20:48 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Worst timing evar!

posted at: 16:32 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


I wonder if that paraglider has any drugs?

posted at: 16:30 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Hackathons again

posted at: 16:27 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Rides last week

    Here's a dump of recent bike rides... All distances deserve an ish near them.

    Work to accountant: 3km Work to accountant and then uni: 6km Work around lake and back: 23km Home to investment property: 10km Work to pub: 3km Work to pub: 3km

    I've done around 60km since learning to ride. Not too shabby me thinks.

    Tags for this post: bike ride

posted at: 05:02 | path: /bike | permanent link to this entry


Interview with Adam Savage

posted at: 01:32 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Must. Overtake. Groklaw.

    I didn't pay any attention to Cameron's press release on the Australians in the top 500 bloggers for August 2005 at first, mainly because it's not the sort of thing I normally pay any attention to. It's not like I'm likely to win any popularity contests or anything. Then my Google Alert for stillhq.com (yes, vanity, all is vanity) went off last night and sent me email. It turns out that I'm on that list of top 500 bloggers.

    Yes, that's right. I am your god. You may commence worshipping me now.

    I'm the 201st blogger in the list. Right after Groklaw. So, I beg that you all link to me gratuitously so that I can overtake them.

    Meh. Just thought I'd gloat. Thanks Frank for pointing this out.


    Update: Feedster isn't linking to the most commonly used form of my RSS feed. You should use one of the links at the bottom of the sites main page if you want to subscribe.

    Tags for this post: blog blog blogger vanity gloat

posted at: 00:59 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 23 Aug 2005



Unjustified fun making

    The QA section at work just found the Klingon translation for the Web Service project I've been working on, and is making unjustified fun of me. To defend myself, here's how it happened...

    Global product, with a few languages currently supported. I need to support different languages in my Web Service, but there aren't any other translations available for the messages yet. In fact, we're not inclined to spend the money until the messages stabilise a bit more. But I need that translation. Simon happens to own an English to Klingon dictionary, which is better than anything else we can find.

    Klingon translation it is then.

    Oh, it's never been shipped, and it never will be. It did test the message infrastructure though, and provided some cube fun. If only I hadn't got busted by QA.

    Tags for this post: dotnet international internationalisation message translation klingon test

posted at: 17:58 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Alternate queries on results pages making it easier for future evilness?

    John Battelle implies that the new search result page being testing by Google could make evilness easier in the future. The premise is that offering alternate queries might be useful now, but it would make it easier to insert paid listings later.

    I'm confused though, and John doesn't have a comment link in his RSS output, so I'll post it here. Surely if Google wanted to embrace evil later, they could just direct their coders to make it happen? They already know what keywords you're searching for (i.e. Adwords), couldn't they just roll those into the page in a way which looks like search results? I see no real way this positions for future evil.

    I've been keeping an eye on Google news recently, and there seems to be a propensity towards paranoia in a lot of people (for instance the gmail displaying Adwords thing). If people are bothered, why don't they just use another search engine? You can't tell me that MSN and Yahoo! are any less evil...

    Tags for this post: google evil query user interface

posted at: 01:17 | path: /google | permanent link to this entry


Dovecot index cache problems

    I'm getting:

    challenger dovecot: IMAP(test): Corrupted index cache file /home/test/mail/.imap/netfilter.lists.netfilter.org/dovecot.index.cache: field header points outside file


    In my logs, and Googling doesn't return anything. Does anyone else get this? I'm going to try upgrading to see if that helps.

    Tags for this post: dovecot

posted at: 00:49 | path: /dovecot | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 22 Aug 2005



Where did SUVs come from?

    I've always wondered where the SUV proliferation in the US came from. This article assures me that it's because the US federal government tried to make cars more fuel efficient. Interesting, if it's correct. Nick Hac.

    Tags for this post: link america usa suv

posted at: 18:30 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Want to be an acquisitions editor on Open Source topics

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


The channel seven defence

posted at: 04:55 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Hackathons

posted at: 04:53 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 21 Aug 2005



Small file open and save dialogs

    It occurred to me this afternoon while driving home from discussing my broken brain with the general practitioner. Why are file open and save dialogs so small? Screen resolutions have gone up, but the size of these windows haven't. Often I find myself poking around in a tiny little hole into the filesystem trying to find what I want. Why can they resize to say 80% of the size of the screen automatically?

    This complain applies to applications on Windows, Linux, and MacOS equally.

    Tags for this post: blog user interface dialog small

posted at: 23:02 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Clarke, you need to look into things a little before mouthing off

    Clarke Scott (who once applied for a job as a Microsoft evangelist, although we should note that I don't hold the Microsoft job application moral high ground) blogs about repeats verbatim without verification a post from a Microsoft evangelist based in New Zealand about Linux Australia's support for Linus' trademarking of the Linux trademark in Australia. He ignores of course that Linux Australia has been running one of the most successful Linux community events in the world for the last four or five years, or that Linus is genuinely behind the trademarking effort. He doesn't look into how the Linux Mark Institute (the international body behind the trademark) is structured. Or what their goals are.

    He just comments that the community is less free as a result.

    Windows is a trade mark too. How does having Linux trademarked any more restrictive that Microsoft owning the Windows mark?

    Update: Clarke commented on this post to mention that I had missed that this was a quote from another site, which I am happy to concede. He also suggests the post was tongue in cheek, despite the fact that I can see no indication of that having re-read the post.

    Update: Fixed broken link

    Tags for this post: dotnet linux trademark

posted at: 22:57 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Podcasts and iTunes 4.9 on Mac

    Oh, while you're being my Macintosh help desk, with iTunes for Windows I could have podcasts appear in party shuffles and when I was playing random shuffled music on my iPod. This doesn't seem to work any more now that I'm using the Tiger iTunes. Is there any way to get this behaviour back?

    Tags for this post: macintosh osx tiger itunes podcast pod cast party shuffle random play ipod

posted at: 03:00 | path: /macintosh/osx/tiger/itunes | permanent link to this entry


Automator and iTunes hates me

    I can't see a way to get Automator to change the track rating (called "My Rating" in the iTunes user interface) in a workflow. This makes me very sad. I can't even see a way of running AppleScript as part of a workflow. Am I going blind? Is this possible?

    Tags for this post: macintosh osx tiger automator itunes applescript

posted at: 02:51 | path: /macintosh/osx/tiger/automator/itunes | permanent link to this entry


Sydney Australia in Google Maps

posted at: 02:24 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Interesting technique for finding leaks in code

posted at: 02:04 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 20 Aug 2005



One thing about Microsoft Tablet PCs that Scoble didn't mention

posted at: 07:14 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 18 Aug 2005



Rave in a village

posted at: 03:45 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Ministry of re-shelving

posted at: 01:33 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 17 Aug 2005



Getting ASP.NET working on Windows XP Tablet PC edition

    So, new tablet, new battle with IIS. To get ASP.NET to work (I was getting an ASP.NET is not installed error message, despite the fact that it clearly was), I needed to go to a Visual Studio command prompt and run this command:

      aspnet_regiis -r
      


    And then it all worked.

    Tags for this post: dotnet asp.net microsoft visual studio .net windows xp tablet pc

posted at: 23:34 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Code better with a new monitor

    I am so feeling lucky. Work loves me enough to have got ride of that crappy 17 inch LCD monitor for me, and gotten me a real monitor...



    Tags for this post: blog toys monitor lcd work cubicle

posted at: 22:55 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Conference papers now online

posted at: 17:45 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 16 Aug 2005



Excitement in the office

    I have a Toshiba tablet PC as my work machine now. If only I got scrape the people off it so I could get some work done. Oh and in the process of moving stuff across, I managed to kill all of my iTunes library. Not happy Jan... I'm thinking I might use Catherine's iBook as my iTunes machine from now on. More details when I know more.

    Tags for this post: blog toys laptop tablet pc itunes ibook apple toshiba

posted at: 23:49 | path: /diary/toys | permanent link to this entry


Feeling lucky

posted at: 18:21 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 14 Aug 2005



Random segue: how I came up with the original table of contents

    One of the problems I grappled with early on with was how do you come up with a table of contents for a book? It's a complicated process, and it's really important. If the book doesn't flow, then people are left confused about what goes where, and the book is a lot less useful. Additionally, when you sit down to actually write, then you need to know what is covered where so that you can refer the reader to the right place to find out more about a specific topic -- even if you haven't covered that topic yet.

    So how did I come up with the first cut of the table of contents for the ImageMagick book? Well, I started by looking at all of the command line options to the various ImageMagick commands. I wrote this down on a stack of old business cards, and then distributed those cards in logical sounding piles on the floor. Those piles pretty much became the chapters that I originally submitted.



    That's the card mound. Anyway, once that was done, Matt (the editor) and I sat down and worked on the table of contents description until it flowed nicely, covered everything we could think of, and had approximate page counts. It turns out in hindsight that the table of contents wasn't completely correct, but that's ok because I've been tweaking it as I go along, and it was more of a help than a hindrance in that it tells me stuff like which chapter to refer the reader to for certain kinds of information, and that sort of thing.

    So what's the point I'm trying to make here? When you're writing something big, it's important to have a feel for where you're going in the document, the point you're trying to make, and how you're going to get there.

    Update: Fixed my spelling in the title line, as per the helpful comments from Peter.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book table of contents technique writing

posted at: 16:03 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


The Apress page for the book

posted at: 04:06 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 13 Aug 2005



So proud

posted at: 18:59 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Inflation through stealth

posted at: 18:34 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Working on review comments for Chapters 2, 3 and 4 tonight

    Michael Carden asks in a comment to my previous post to the book if I had considered making draft chapters available for public comment before printing. To be completely honest it hadn't occurred to me until Michael suggested it, and it does fit well with all the open source stuff I have done over the years. It's a hard call though, because there is already a review team of four or five, and there isn't much spare time in the process because we really want the book published in time for Christmas.

    This is why I'm going to say no this time to the offer of a more public review, and I'll do my best to take that on board next time when I know more about how long this sort of thing can take (I'm actually only about two days over schedule at the moment, but I really don't want to slip any further).

    Sorry Michael.

    Anyways, I'm working on review comments for three chapters tonight, which is one of the things that made me think about this more. I'm really rather surprised about how positive the review comments have been so far given how I feel about the manuscript (I've always viewed myself as a bit of a perfectionist, and it's always possible to improve something, so it's really hard to turn the chapters in on time, because that means letting go).

    I have independently decided that I want to include more in chapters three and four though, and the review team without my prompting suggested more content for chapter four, so it's now a case of sitting down and making that happen. Well, back to work.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book chapter technical review

posted at: 04:25 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Sensis Australian search

    With Sensis obviously spending the entire national debt of most third world nations on advertising their "search engine for Australians", I got curious as to what they return for queries about me, given that I am an Australian, living in Australia. It seemed relevant as well because of recent discussions about the Pandora archive here. They did return results, but none for the "results about Australia column". So, let's try some other queries:

    A search for G'Day world (an Australian podcast) returned a bunch of Australian blog entries, all from sites ending in .au (so, ironically not the G'Day world site itself). A search for Linux Australia seemed to do the right thing, but their domain is an .org.au.

    I checked my traffic logs. A user agent claiming to be from Sensis hasn't crawled my site this week, and I have no entries for them in the referrer logs either.

    So, I surmise from this that Sensis is reselling someone else's results, and doing the equivalent of a site:.au at the end of the query to get the Australian column, which seems like the most ham fisted way possible to return that kind of result set? So, apart from propping up advertising providers, Sensis doesn't appear to have much to contribute to the search space.

    Tags for this post: blog sensis search pandora australia internet

posted at: 01:26 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 12 Aug 2005



ImageMagick book - Chapter 3: Compression and Other Metadata

    Writing the summary of Chapter 2 seemed to work as a warmup for me the other day, so I thought I would write about Chapter 3 as a warm up for working some more on Chapter 7. I also need to look at reviewer comments for Chapters 2, 3, and 4 sometime today, so it seems like a good idea as well because it will help me remember what I am trying to cover in the chapter.

    Chapter 3 is all about the different things you can do with compression with ImageMagick, as well as other forms of image metadata. So, I start out by talking about lossy versus lossless compression (there's an interesting tangent to this discussion which I need to add as a sidebar to the chapter during this editing process, but I'll leave that to another post here), I give some examples of the accumulative nature of the loss from lossy compressions. We then move on to compare the size of a bunch of images using different compression algorithms, which gives a good introduction to discussing which image format is the right choice for given scenarios.

    (As an aside that I will follow here, that was probably the most recurrent battle I used to fight as an imaging specialist at IPAustralia, what format to use when. The number of times I've had to explain why JPEG is a poor choice for text is amazing to me.)

    I also talk about other compression aspects, such as quality levels and interlacing.

    Then we talk about image metadata, which includes random stuff like image width and height, as well as more complicated stuff like JPEG's EXIF tags. It also includes changing what imaging nerds would call the photometric interpretation -- the way that the pixels are interpreted in the image. For example with a black and white image, is 0 black, or white? I finish up by briefing covering gamma correction, color intent and profiles, and so forth.

    Finally, I introduce multiple image formats, such as TIFF, and PDF, which can have more than one image per file. Animations are of course multiple image formats as well.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book chapter compression metadata meta data

posted at: 18:32 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Teaching teenage girls to diet

    My little 16 year old sister is doing the World Vision 40 hour famine to raise funds for people who have famines a lot more often than on a weekend. To spur her one, the rest of the family has been eating in front of her, and making skeleton jokes. Here's an artists impression of what she'll look like at the end of the weekend:



    Tags for this post: blog xray charity famine

posted at: 03:30 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 11 Aug 2005



Why Debian?

    Why do I use Debian? Well, one of the reasons is the bug reporting. I think I just found two bugs in ImageMagick, one a simple documentation bug, and the other a functionality bug. With Debian, I can just run the reportbug command from the command line with the name of the package, and walk through the simple bug reporting process, instead of having to fight my way through mailing lists for the dozens of different packages I have installed. It's nice.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick debian bug report reportbug

posted at: 02:54 | path: /imagemagick | permanent link to this entry


ImageMagick book - Chapter 2: Basic Image Manipulation

    I'm meant to be writing the rest of chapter seven tonight, but I thought I would warm up by continuing with my promised series of posts about the content of the book. The next chapter in the list is chapter two, which covers simple image manipulations. The idea was to get the stuff which everyone wants to do and cover it as soon as possible so that people can get some runs on the board (so to speak). In chapter two you will find an introduction to the bits of imaging theory that we need for the book (rasters, vectors, bitmaps, pixels, you get the idea).

    Then I move on to talk about ways to change the size of images. This includes resizing, sampling cropping, scaling, thumb-nailing and so forth. We also discuss some interesting transformations like trim. Then we move onto making an image larger, before finishing up with how to process many images at once with ImageMagick.

    It's an interesting chapter in that it's immediately useful, and goes through some interesting theory matters. It also sets the stage for the later coverage of all the other cool stuff you can do with ImageMagick. As a point of interest, this is also the chapter I wrote to determine how long it takes to write a chapter, which was an interesting experience.

    Anyways, on with chapter seven me thinks.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book chapter basic image manipulation

posted at: 02:04 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


I didn't get my shirt!

posted at: 01:09 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 09 Aug 2005



Bye Grant and Lindsay

    Last week I had a brain wave on the way home, and decided that I should write some remarkably eloquent post about Lindsay's resignation from my employer. I had a draft paragraph floating around in my head and everything (as these things sometimes happen for me). But I realised I couldn't -- Lindsay had been offered the position at her new employer, but the contract wasn't signed, and she certainly hadn't announced her departure in the office.

    Grant's departure is similar. There's more going on than meets the eye, in my opinion, but it's not my place to comment on these things.

    Let me try to remember what I wanted to say about Lindsay's departure at the time -- it also applies to Grant. It went something like this...

    I am deeply saddened by Lindsay's and Grant's departures from work. When I started four years ago I think I ended up as being more of an acquaintance than anything else, but over the last couple of years they have become very good friends. They're the reason that we acquired Spike the Labradoodle. They're the people who supported me the most apart from my direct family when I interviewed with Microsoft, and while I try to work out what's happening with some changes that are happening in my life at the moment (more on that another time perhaps).

    But at the same time I am so very happy for them. I think they've made the right decision, and my sadness is mostly selfishness. They need to do what's right for them, and I think they're doing that.

    So, how do you manage happy and sad at the same time? All we've done so far is promise to keep in touch...

    Tags for this post: work departure employment

posted at: 17:15 | path: /work | permanent link to this entry


Audio from linux.conf.au 2005 continued

    Further to the previous post on the linux.conf.au 2005 audio, a gentleman named Matt kindly wrote in with these thoughts:

    Hi Michael,
    
    Prompted by some of the other Fluendo guys, I took a look at the sample
    ogg file you uploaded of the LCA streams. We think we've figured out
    roughly what the problem was, so I thought I'd let you know...
    
    We think the machine doing the DV reading/encoding was falling behind
    (possibly due to too high CPU usage, but possibly because of an issue in
    the dv grabber gstreamer component - we're discussing what we might do
    to solve some of these issues in the future.
    
    Unfortunately, the result of this is that the raw DV data is simply lost
    - the remaining data was encoded fine (there are no errors in the vorbis
    data according to my validation tools), but there's no possible way to
    recover the bits that went missing. There are a couple of minor muxing
    problems in the actual ogg files, which can be fixed easily enough (I've
    written some tools to help with this, and Conrad Parker has some too,
    let me know if you want to know how to fix these up - they confuse some
    players a bit), but the talk in that sample file is still pretty much
    incomprehensible due to the missing data after repairing the ogg-level
    errors.
    
    Mike
    


    So there you go.

    Tags for this post: blog lca2005 conference opensource audio corruption data loss

posted at: 02:58 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 08 Aug 2005



Nice introduction to Fourier Transforms

posted at: 23:40 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


PDF/A sample documents?

    Interestingly, the PDF/A standard is sufficiently raw that I can't find any samples of valid documents. That makes writing code a little exciting. Is anyone aware of sample documents which comply with PDF/A?

    Tags for this post: pdf pdf-a sample document parse draft standard

posted at: 17:32 | path: /pdf/pdf-a | permanent link to this entry


Funny

posted at: 14:14 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 07 Aug 2005



Audio from linux.conf.au 2005

    I've been asked quite a few times as to the status of the audio from the 2005 linux.conf.au conference, so I thought I would grapple with the issues involved here, so that everyone knows. The short answer is that there doesn't appear to be any audio... Read on for a summary of why.

    Speex

    The linux.conf.au 2005 committee did have machines record speex in every lecture theatre at the conference. These were the same machines which were displaying those slide shows when the project wasn't in use. It would appear that there was a hardware issue on those machines, as they all have recorded fairly large amounts of garbage data. I can't comment much further than that, as I wasn't involved with the setup of the machines, or the diagnosis of the problem.

    Video recordings

    But wait. There were all those video machines in the back of the theatres (or at least the big three). They'd be recording video wouldn't they? Well, they were. It turns out that the audio streams generated from those cameras and their audio system hookup are corrupt. Apparently, and again I haven't looked into this myself, the time stamping in the files is bogus, so the audio data can't reliably be extracted. It would seem that about 25% of each talk can be extracted.

    So where to from here?

    Well, all of that is a bit of a bummer really. Our current plan is to put the dodgy ogg video files online for people to download and try to help us out with the extraction of the audio. The problem with this is that we're talking about a fair bit of data here -- 25 gig to be exact. Linux Australia has recently rolled out a mirror project which I am associated with which will be able to host these files, but it's a case of actually getting the hardware (it's on order), configuring it, testing it, and then deploying it. I would expect this to take around another month from now.

    I've put a random sample of the ogg video on my site if people want to have a poke before then and see if they have suggestions. This video file, assuming I have worked out the file naming convention properly, should be the start of Eben Moglen's keynote presentation. The file isn't too big (around 30 megabytes) so feel free to download it and give it a try.

    I do apologise for the inconvenience the loss of data has causes, despite there really being nothing I could have done about it. I do find it a little embarrassing that this has happened. If you could please refer further comments to the conference organisers list that would be nice.

    Update: One of the guys at work thinks "I can't comment much further than that, as I wasn't involved with the setup of the machines, or the diagnosis of the problem." sounds self righteous, so I thought I should clarify and point out that I didn't mean it that way. What I am trying to convey here is that I would have liked to supply more technical detail as to what happened, but I don't know any.

    Tags for this post: blog lca2005 conference opensource audio corruption data loss

posted at: 20:49 | path: /diary/lca2005 | permanent link to this entry


Leon, my point remains

    Leon continues the conversation on the MSH / Monad "virus". I still think it's not a virus though -- someone asked for code to execute, and got the result the code promised. I could implement something exactly like this with bash, using the same assumptions that the monad virus author used. How would we react to an article saying that Linux is virus prone because of a script-able shell?

    Also, I don't write like an American. Y'all know that I'm fully Australianitized. S'alright?

    Strewth, vegemite me a croc cobber.

    Tags for this post: vista monad virus

posted at: 19:01 | path: /vista | permanent link to this entry


PDF/A

    So what is PDF/A? I was recently assured by someone that the PDF/A format was a competitor to PDF which had been unleashed on the world by a group of people who object to Adobe's ownership of the PDF format. This couldn't be further from the truth. The PDF format is quite open, and certainly complex. The PDF 1.4 specification runs to nearly 1,000 pages -- and people think the TIFF specification is complicated! Therefore, there have been a number of groups who have attempted to come up with simplified subsets of the format for specific purposes.

    The first example of this that I have been aware of is PDF/X. PDF/X is PDF optimised for the pre-press and printing industry. I'll leave the description at that, and refer you to the PDF X FAQ.

    PDF/A is similar, except it is a PDF subset which is optimised for document archival and the associated storage of document metadata. This is core business for my employer, so I am currently boning up on the subject. Similarly to PDF/X, PDF/A is a ISO standard, but this time has a bunch of EDMS / RM / DM / ECM vendors, AIIM, and the US government on board.

    Both PDF/X and PDF/A exist with Adobe's support. You can read more about PDF/A at the AIIM site, which includes a draft of the ISO specification.

    So, it's a standard format, which is a subset of PDF. You can expect to see more on the topic from me as I continue reading up on the topic.

    Tags for this post: pdf pdf-a pdf-x iso standard document management archival format

posted at: 18:55 | path: /pdf/pdf-a | permanent link to this entry


Trying out the Apress e-book system

    Full disclosure: I am currently writing a book for Apress.

    As an Apress author Apress asked me to check out the Apress e-book online catalog thingie. They threw in a free e-book as an incentive, so I thought I should give it a try. I've done a fair few book reviews for AUUG / Woodslane over the last couple of years, so it seemed like a good idea to look further into this e-book thing anyway. Especially as I have a garage full of books that I occasionally need as references, but don't have the space to store in the house, especially with two small kids who like to draw in books around.

    So, I picked a book in their online catalog, and said I'd like to buy it. I entered the discount code, and was good to go until they noticed that I didn't have an online account in their system. So, I had to stop my "purchase" and make one. Which meant that my place was lost in the purchase, as I had to wait for a confirmation email to arrive, and then click on a link in that email which didn't have the stage I was up to embedded into it.

    The email by the way set off my somewhat aggressive spam filtering, by not having any of my addresses in the delivery headers. I had to go digging in the probably spam folder to find it. You can read about my mail list filtering rules over here if that kind of thing excites you.

    So a couple of warts. After all of this I went and found the book again, entered the discount code, and "bought the e-book". What this gives me is an entry in the list of books I have access to on the Apress site, which means I can download the e-book more than once (if for instance I delete it in error or something). The book is a PDF file, with the slightly annoying name of "book143.pdf". The book in question is quite long, and is about a nine megabyte download.

    Oh, all of this webby stuff was with Firefox on Debian Linux, which all worked fine. The PDF file opens fine with xpdf, with a password on the file which matches the email address I signed up with. This just means that you need to remember the email address that you used when you signed up with Apress, which seems reasonable in a world with fairly permanent email addresses now. It also means that if I put the e-book up on kazaa or something, that they can tell which account did it I suppose.

    xpdf seems to think that printing works by the way, although I don't have a printer configured to actually test with.

    Overall, I think it's quite good. The e-book was very cheap ($15 US if I'd paid), I can download it lots, I don't have to remember a crappy password, and the PDF doesn't seem too crippled. Cool.

    Tags for this post: books ebook system apress online pdf drm

posted at: 18:32 | path: /books/ebook/system/apress | permanent link to this entry


More riding

posted at: 18:15 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Some details about the publication process

    Pascal asked in the comments to a previous post about the book about how I was going about writing the book and how the publication process works. It's a good question, and something I meant to cover here anyway, so now seems like a good time.

    I'll start from the beginning with a brief summary of how I got started with this writing thing. I started off by writing a number of articles for IBM DeveloperWorks. DeveloperWorks are actually really good to work with, all I did to start writing from them was fill in the proposal web form within a couple of hours we'd sorted out what was happening, and off we went.

    The ImageMagick articles I wrote turned out to be quite popular with the ImageMagick people. I suspect that's why the editor for Apress, a lovely guy named Matt contacted me. He pitched the book to me, and I was originally hesitant. He spent a fair bit of time (a month?) discussing the project with me, and I ended up deciding that because it's fairly closely aligned with the imaging work I'm doing for my PhD, I ended up saying yes.

    Along the way I wrote a table of contents with Matt's guidance for the book, which is what the contract with Apress is based on, and wrote a chapter of the book to determine if the timing estimates that Matt had provided were believable. I was also a little less scared of the process given I was on the review team for a Jeremy Wright's upcoming blog book.

    So, no. The book isn't self published. I have Apress doing that for me.

    The book is written in a Microsoft Word template provided by Apress. This has to happen that way because that Word document plugs into Apress' publication process. I am not aware of a non-Word format option for this at the moment. It's not a big problem though, as OpenOffice's support for the Word format is quite good. The entire manuscript has been written in OpenOffice, with the exceptions being the insertion of images into the document, and the dealing with change tracking and comments from the editorial and technical review team. Both of those tasks I do in Microsoft Word, as the OpenOffice support for image insertion seems to be buggy (I can't get it to work for me), and the change tracking is significantly nicer in Microsoft Word.

    It would be nice to give a presentation at LCA 2006 on what it's like to write a book in OpenOffice at the OpenOffice mini-conf (if there is one), but we'll have to wait and see if the papers committee accepts my real talk proposal, and what happens with some personal stuff I am dealing with at the moment (nothing bad, I'll tell you all more about that when it's more public).

    Anyway, so there's my book publication brain dump. Any more questions?

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book author process apress

posted at: 17:55 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 06 Aug 2005



Bad server, no donut for you

posted at: 19:21 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Leon, get with the program

    Leon comments on the alleged existence of a virus for Longhorn / Vista. He ignores that it's simply a shell script, which must be executed by the user -- which sounds a lot like all the shell scripts I can run on the Linux box I am using here.

    Read more from one of the Monad authors.

    Tags for this post: vista virus windows monad

posted at: 18:13 | path: /vista | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 05 Aug 2005



Riding

    I think I forgot to mention that last weekend I went out for a couple of rides with Dad. It's kinda nice getting some exercise for once, and it certainly is fun. Last weekend my big achievement was getting to the not-so-local-shops, which is about a 10 minute ride away, as opposed to the local shops, which I have ridden to a lot.

    I beat that today though, with the 25 minute ride between Dad's house and mine. The uphill bit was a bit of a struggle, but apart from that it was actually good fun. I need to do the ride in reverse sometime so that Jasmine can have her bike back (I was trying out her seat).

    Tags for this post: blog bike ride exercise

posted at: 19:12 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 04 Aug 2005



And now the book is on Amazon.com

posted at: 02:17 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 02 Aug 2005



This morning I was pondering the origins of the goose step march

posted at: 23:21 | path: /link | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 30 Jul 2005



More on burial methods

posted at: 03:53 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Chapter seven of the shop manual

    "As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburettors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual"


    ABC coverage of the bad writing contest from San Jose University.

    Tags for this post: link bad writing news coverage

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


Fri, 29 Jul 2005



Wow, Amazon UK is listing the book

    I wonder where they got the cover art from though? I certainly haven't seen cover art from the publisher yet. Then again, the art that's been used is kinda nice. You can find the book listed here. Thanks to Anton for point all of this out in the comments here.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book amazon

posted at: 17:42 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 26 Jul 2005



Seriously pissed someone off?

    When choosing an armoured vehicle, it's important to keep in mind how badly someone wants you dead. This will affect your purchase. If your assassin is an amateur -- perhaps some punk with a .38, which fires a 158-grain, round-nose lead bullet at a velocity of 850 feet per second -- you'll probably be just fine in an aftermarket armored sedan or the one offered by Cadillac. In fact, even if your enemy comes at you with a .357 Magnum -- a serious weapon capable of spitting metal-ripping charges at up to 1,395 feet per second -- you'll probably escape without a scratch in one of those sedans. But if someone really wants to kill you, you'd better be riding in the 2005 Lincoln Town Car Ballistic Protection Series. The BPS is a rifle-grade armored vehicle, meaning that it can withstand an attack by professional killers wielding 7.62-mm high-powered rifles or even 5.56-mm high-velocity assault rifles, which fire armor-piercing rounds at more than 3,000 feet per second and can take out targets from half a mile away. Oh, the BPS can also deflect shrapnel from roadside bombs, in case you've angered someone with a background in demolitions.


    If you've pissed someone off in the office, it might be a good idea to read the rest of the article. Simon's verging on needing one of these.

    Tags for this post: blog car automobile travel armour grumpy

posted at: 22:07 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Converting a bunch of TIFF images to a PDF using ImageMagick

    I just got this question in email, and thought I should answer it publically to help other people who might be wondering:

      I used following commands to convert
      
      D:\>convert -adjoin scanImage_1.tif -adjoin scanImage_2.tif -adjoin scanImage_3.tif three.pdf
      
      This didn't work.
      
      And I use
      
      D:\ >convert -adjoin scanImage_1.tif -adjoin scanImage_2.tif -adjoin scanImage_3.tif three.tif
      
      And convert three.tif three.pdf
      
      Did not work.
      
      Then I use
      
      D:\ >convert three.tif three.pdf
      
      Did not work
      
      How do I create single pdf  file?
      


    As far as ImageMagick is concerned, a PDF file is simply a format capable of storing more than one image in a file. TIFF files are another example, as are animations. Therefore, to turn multiple TIFF files into a single PDF, you just need a command line like this:

      convert scanImage_1.tif scanImage_2.tif scanImage_3.tif three.pdf
      


    Too easy. Obligatory advertising: you can find out more about this in chapter three of my upcoming ImageMagick book, which is slated to be released around Christmas.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick convert tiff pdf

posted at: 04:19 | path: /imagemagick | permanent link to this entry


JJJ's hack

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


Do you think there is something wrong with my FFT?

    I'm no genius, but I don't think FFTs are meant to look like this:



    Tags for this post: phd fft gnuplot

posted at: 01:09 | path: /phd | permanent link to this entry


ImageMagick book - Chapter 1: Installation and Configuration

    I want to talk about the chapter I'm currently writing, but in order to do that in a way which makes sense, I really need to mention the chapters which are already written. Well, it makes sense to me at least, and this is my site, so I guess I get to do that if I want.

    Chapter 1 of the book covers installation and configuration of ImageMagick on a variety of platforms including various Linux distributions, FreeBSD, and Windows. I didn't cover MacOS, as I figured that most people who care will know how to use Fink, and I don't have access to a Macintosh to write anything on.

    I'll write a summary of the other chapters I've already finished writing soon.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick book chapter installation configuration

posted at: 01:06 | path: /imagemagick/book | permanent link to this entry


die() in a CGI

    So, I've been battling for a couple of days with how best to die() in a perl script while running a CGI script... The problem is that I really want the user in browser land to know about the error too. Then SJH pointed me at a web page which suggests this:

      use CGI::Carp qw(fatalsToBrowser); 
      


    Which is lovely and just works. Me likey.

    Tags for this post: perl die cgi error handling

posted at: 00:43 | path: /perl | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 25 Jul 2005



On my site layout

    Steven, you're completely off track. I'm not asking what you think of the layout of my site. I really don't care. I was more asking if anyone had thoughts about the potential proliferation of blog tagging services. There is no CSS involved with the tag painting, so I'm not sure what he's referring to there.

    Tags for this post: blog

posted at: 21:35 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


New server

    This site is now being served by a new machine. Please let me know if you discover broken bits. The only bit I am aware of which doesn't really work at the moment is comments. This will be fixed by the end of the day.

    Tags for this post: blog stillhq.com server maintenance

posted at: 19:30 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Blog tags

    So, now IceRocket and Technorati support tag syntaxes. Does anyone feel like some standardisation?

    Tags for this post: blog tag technorati icerocket

posted at: 18:56 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Sarah's favourite aunt

posted at: 17:29 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Andrew's Wedding

posted at: 15:24 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


The architecture of PerlMagick

    Steven comments on the slowness of PerlMagick in the EXIF tag extraction case. I'm pretty sure that it's not forking a process though -- ImageMagick is now a set of libraries which are wrapped to make the command line utilities we all know and love, as well as PerlMagick. So, I don't think a fork is involved.

    I think what is happening here is that ImageMagick is suffering from it's own generic (and therefore very powerful nature). In return for being able to do heaps of things with heaps of image formats, you get a block of code which simply as efficient as possible in all cases. I haven't done a code audit to determine if this is the case in this specific incident however.

    So, I think PerlMagick is innocent here.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick perlmagick image jpeg exif perl cgi

posted at: 05:24 | path: /imagemagick | permanent link to this entry


Dear robot authors

    Gigabot is an example of a crawler which is trawling my site but doesn't bother to put a URL with information about it in the user agent string. Dear robot authors -- please be polite about what you're doing on my site.

    Tags for this post: blog internet crawl

posted at: 04:51 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


ImageMagick slowness extracting EXIF information from JPEG files

    For the book I've been working on a PerlMagick example which takes a directory of images, lets you rotate and label the images, and the publish them to a list of different possible publication directories. It's basically an automation of what I've done with the image publication for this site for some time, but also deuglificated. It also does some nice stuff like display relevant EXIF information for the JPEG files in the HTML pages that it generates, which will be nicer than the igal stuff I currently use.

    Yes, I am aware that gallery does a lot of this now, but I need an example for the book, and this gives me a chance to write up exactly what I do now in a nicer form, and make it well documented so that people have a basis for something to hack on in the future.

    One of the things that the script does if it hasn't been told how to rotate an image, it tries to guess by looking at the EXIF tags for the images. This presents a problem with the beta version of the code, which I am testing with the photos I took from Andrew's wedding. PerlMagick takes about a second per EXIF tag lookup, which means the the HTML request times out while the CGI script is trying to work out the 312 EXIF tag reads it needs to do to make this happen.

    So, I suspect that I'm going to either have to do something ugly to make this all work, or I'm going to need to roll in a different EXIF tag reader.

    Tags for this post: imagemagick perlmagick image jpeg exif perl cgi

posted at: 02:54 | path: /imagemagick | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 24 Jul 2005



Young Achievers

    My employer has for some time sponsored Young Achievers, a business skills development for kids in Australia. There is now a tertiary version, and given that I have pondered starting my own business down the track sometime I figured I'd volunteer as a mentor. The humour of me mentoring people on good business practise has not been lost on me.

    I haven't done any of the reading for tonight yet, which I need to catch up on today. I do suspect that there is an unrealistic amount of startup paperwork, more on that later.

    Tags for this post: young_achievers young achiever business incubation

posted at: 18:10 | path: /young_achievers | permanent link to this entry


Sat, 23 Jul 2005



Sixty five roses (Cystic Fibrosis)

    My back neighbour, Sian, has Cystic Fibrosis, so listening to the 17 year old girl on the ABC Radio National Science Show discussing the topic is something which is close to home. Her name is Emma Money, and she lives in Adelaide. If you're n the ACT and want more information, you should contact The CF Association of the ACT.

    Interestingly, the radio show mentions that the gene defect first appears 15,000 years ago in Celtic stock, and that all the current sufferers are related in some what. I hadn't really thought about it before, but that certainly makes sense.

    Tags for this post: blog cystic fibrosis medicine science health

posted at: 19:18 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 19 Jul 2005



Use the phrase "circle jerk" in a corporate memo today!

posted at: 21:34 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Andrew's CSS is disturbing?

posted at: 21:27 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


Microsoft TechEd flair

posted at: 21:17 | path: /dotnet | permanent link to this entry


Mellow

    I took last week off and spent a week in Silicon Valley, as readers here will be aware. It's interesting how big an effect a week off has had. I feel remarkably mellow and unusually happy now, and there's no particular reason for it. It just happened. Even the kids stepping on my glasses and being two hours late for work because of having to get them panel beaten back into shame hasn't been able to adversely affect my mood.

    They call me mellow yellow... Quite rightly.

    Tags for this post: blog mellow mood happy

posted at: 18:11 | path: /diary | permanent link to this entry


A mystery solved

    For some time there has been a raging battle in the corridors of work. Heads have rolled, careers have been destroyed, and whingy complaints have been made. What has this battle been over?

    Whether the white residue on the dishes when they come out of the wa