Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Re: Get a Mac - Counselor

Obviously, the counselor/therapist is Linux®.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Interface Design

It seems that taking this design class is really aggravating me. It seems that some of the people in the class think that history is not important when gathering needs requirements, i.e., research. I'm sorry, but that is bullshit. There's a couple of kinds of history when you're thinking about design. There's backwards compatibility, where you take into account what people are used to. This is why we've had the desktop/window paradigm for so long. This is why I still have a panel on my Linux® desktop that looks a lot like the Windows™ taskbar.

On a related note, it really pisses me off when people call me too technically-minded. Sure, I'm mainly a technical person, but when I think about user interfaces, there are three factors that are always in my mind (in this order):

  1. Is it too complicated?
  2. Is it somewhat recognizable to the user so that s/he can use it relatively well?
  3. Can I code this (in a reasonable amount of time)?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bloglines Freedback, 2006/09/28

Have I mentioned that freedback is a pretty stupid word?

Anyway...I find the new changes to Bloglines's service rather annoying. Sure, it looks spiffier, but when functionality that I rely on gets messed up, it's not a good thing™.

My mouse is currently in a state where it likes to double-click things even though I definitely single-click them. As a result, I tend to lose the "new" posts from a folder with only new posts in one feed. It used to be that I could just hit s and then click on "Display posts from last session", and I'd get the posts back. Now, this behavior doesn't work. I don't like it. If I actually had time, I would start hacking on Venus and make a service for myself...but alas, stupid classes that overwork me. (Oh yeah, and those other projects that take up my time...)

Edit: Oh, and "Keep as new" is broken. At least, it broke for me. I get this (0) (-1) in the title bar instead of (0) (1). The annoyance level is getting to that one tipping point...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Re: Do We Need New Software?

I've gotten the chance to talk to a lot of people about these issues, and with the exception of those who are very close to the current software, opinion is almost unanimous: the Wikipedia software needs to be rewritten from scratch in Python. (Yes, everyone really did say Python.) Rewrites of large software projects aren't taken lightly, but from everything I've seen this is one of the rare cases that it's actually necessary.

This made me laugh. It makes me wonder how this will play in non-Python communities. Somehow, I doubt this will happen. I took a quick look at the SVN repository, and it all looks very muddled to me. I had to guess as to where the main source code was, based on the version timestamps.

With regards to the series from which this article comes, I find them very thought-provoking, It will be interesting to see if Mr. Swartz ends up on the board. I'd vote, but I'm just a typo finder (i.e., I don't have 400 edits).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Re: RAD V: << !!

ongoing · RAD V: << !!:
<< is the name of a method, and you can define it to mean anything you want, but normally it means “append-to-self”.

Why, oh why, did Ruby decide to yank a horribly unintuitive operator from C++ and stuff it into its grammar?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bazaar-NG'd Projects

So I finally got around to setting up a script that rsyncsupdates my Bazaar-NG branches nightly via SFTP. (I would have just done a cron script that does bzr pull sftp://[...], but the ssh binary on the webserver is freakishly old and not openssh)(It was a problem with using rbash instead of using rssh as the restricted shell) I also have a human-readable version, courtesy of bzr's webserve plugin. There you will find the links to the respective repositories. If the link doesn't work, try installing pycurl, as it seems that the non-pycurl code doesn't handle 302 redirects very well. One of these days I'll (try) to get trac installed (because I dislike webserve's interface, and bug reporting capabilities are also a plus), but that means I have to run it via CGI. Stupid admins not enabling FastCGI even though it's installed and even says so in the server signature.

Of particular note is the TracAtomPP branch, which as one can (maybe) guess, adds support for the Atom Publishing Protocol to Trac. This is something that I've been working on lately, in order to give myself a break from xmingw porting. So far, I've got a good chunk of the base done, and I'm currently working on the wiki "collection" module.

On the subject of xmingw, if anyone could test out the xmingw branch with layman, it would be appreciated (because I would like to know if its bzr support works yet).

Re: Start Menus

Start Menus:

This screenshot of Freespire shows how many levels in you have to go to get to OpenOffice. Do the people that build these structures ever actually use them? The answer is probably no! (consider how easy it is to launch things from the command line...)

Windows's "Start Menu" is a pet peeve of mine...with the amount of stuff I install, it either fills between half and all of my 1280x1024 screen, or it takes forever to scroll to the desired folder. This is why I love Xfce's Menu (and, to a lesser extent, GNOME's menu): you can get to the programs one submenu in. And, of course, all of the applications are in neat little categories, so that I don't have to look to see where the hell on the menu the "Inkscape" folder is (not that I'm trying to insult Inkscape – it was the first cross-platform app that I use that came to mind).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Re: GNOME on MS Windows (and Mac OS X)

GNOME on MS Windows (and Mac OS X) | Desde América, con amor:
A cool GnomeOnWindows CD could come up from it.

This is definitely something I want to see happen. Finally got NSIS installed, so we'll see if I can integrate some sort of install system into my xmingw overlay...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Code-Related TODO

  • Write a post about xmingw updates
  • Put my Gentoo xmingw-related ebuilds into a Bazaar-NG branch
  • Make my Bazaar-NG repositories public (i.e., on a webhost and not my own machine)
  • Investigate putting Trac on said webhost
  • Port GNOME's fast-user-switch-applet to an Xfce applet
  • Resurrect my S5 presentation editor
  • Look into adding the Atom API to Trac
  • (Re-)learn C++ so that I can create a patch for (g)obby
  • Post this entry before my computer crashes from doing an emerge, updating my TV listings, and running Firefox + Deepest Sender at the same time

Friday, June 02, 2006

Levels of * Knowledge

Somewhere between 5 and 6, but I'm probably going to transistion to level $ soon.

And here are my badges of honor, courtesy of the Button Maker:

CSS L5HTML L5JavaScript L$

I'd love to see someone make a "Levels of PHP/Python/Perl Knowledge", although the Perl one might be a bit scary. I bet I could write the PHP one, though it would be mainly for version 4, not 5. (I haven't touched objects in version 5.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Re: JavaScript 2 And The Future Of The Web

As a web developer and a Python enthusiast, I have to say, that looks sweet. As a wannabe CS major (but not trying anymore), it looks like the bastard child of every single programming language I've ever seen. The question remains: how cross-browser will it be within the next several years?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Generating IE tables in Javascript/DOM

So apparently, in order for tables that you've created in Internet Explorer via Javascript/DOM to actually display, a <tbody> needs to be present. It's exceedingly annoying.

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, April 17, 2006

Google's Summer of Code 2006

Projects which interest me so far:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Calendars (and their mini-reviews)

It figures — a week after I get Mozilla Sunbird + PHP iCalendar working for me, Google comes out with this Google Calendar thing. I'd say it looks like the web equivalent of Mozilla Lightning. I'd use it, but I already put work into my system, and it seems that you can't publish via a desktop calendar program (i.e., WebDAV/CalDAV protocol or equivalent) My question is, where's the Google Talk integration? It would be useful to get an IM about an upcoming event.

My problem with calendaring systems is that they tend to be too bulky; I don't need to have my schedules integrated with my mail client (e.g., Evolution, Outlook, or Lightning). Right now, Sunbird is a bit too slow for any computer I have at the moment (although, I am eagerly awaiting the time when it is ported to XULRunner). I've found two lightweight calendar programs so far: Dates and Orage. I haven't gotten Orage to "work" yet because Xfcalendar (the previous incarnation) is still installed on my computer (and I like having a clock on my screen), but based solely on the screenshots, it lacks multi-calendar support and remote calendar support (i.e., publishing), both of which are pretty important to me as features go, especially considering the workload I have this quarter. With regards to Dates, there hasn't even been a release, but it's pretty — it does this neat little "zoom" transition between time modes (e.g., day → week). It also suffers from the same lack of features as Orage. However, both have a small memory footprint (Orage due to Xfce's philosophy, and Dates because it's designed for small devices).

All this kind of stuff makes me want to brush up on my C skills. It sucks (and seems rather ironic to me) that my horrid schedule is causing this particular coding curiosity.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Blogger's AtomAPI authentication = SPLAT

Yep, I get it too. Thank you to the person who thought it would be an excellent idea to both reply to one of my Deepest Sender LJ community posts and email me directly to ask me what is wrong. As if I worked for Blogger, or something. My answer? Monitor the thread linked above.

(Written using the Blogger web interface)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Most Annoying Thing About Web Development, Ever

Premature end of script headers

Damn you, CGI.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Re: Filtering out the Channel Noise

I think the best solution would be aggregator (similar to Planet Planet which powers Mozilla Planet) in which tagging and submission capacity is supported. Submissions allow for other non-RSS based systems to feed data into planet, such as Mozilla Wiki, and Bugzilla. By using dozens of tags or categories, as well as some meta tags (of course there would be a general tag as well for timeless who must have more mail than Santa Clause), one could have links to all new info in one place. What I’m thinking of is something that essentially is planet as we know it, and wiki rolled into one. Blog like tagging and posting capacity, but wiki style editing and managing. Submitters could add tags, and so can others.

Well, why not use Planet Planet? At least for the aggregation part, anyway. Most everything in the list is syndicatable via Atom/RSS — you then have a source which includes:

  • Planet Mozilla's feed (plus the stragglers)
  • Mozilla Wiki's Recent Changes feed
  • Bugzilla's bug list feeds (ctype=rss or ctype=atom)
  • Bonsai's CVS log feeds (e.g.,
  • Google Groups feeds (examples at

Writing a feed generator for mailing lists is trivial (relatively speaking). It shouldn't be too difficult to generate a feed for the Mozillazine forums, although with their bandwidth concerns, it would probably be restricted to just that aggregator. I'm not exactly sure how syndicating the tinderbox output would look (or spaghetti, for that matter).

The part that interests me the most is how to syndicate IRC. My thinking is that you have a bot log the channel and also serve a webpage that allows one to select lines of the chat and submit them as a "post" with tags, etc. It would also make it easier to make quotes, but I digress. :)

Anyway, back to the system mentioned in the quote. I think the problem with my solution is the signal-to-noise ratio (with more noise than signal). The only options I see at the moment that would account for that are:

  1. Social human intervention - doing the thing and modding "posts" up or down.
  2. Simply not tagging/untagging the bad posts, and letting them percolate down to the bottom that way.

...It's amazing what I can think up when I'm not in school.

Re: Normalized data is for sissies

[...]and it's good to remember that relational databases themselves were a controversial idea.

I find it very funny that a lot of the ideas that I learned in Database Management and Information Retrieval were/are pretty contentious, even though they taught it as though it was gospel.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Web Framework presentations

Because of a) my job, and b) one of my classes, I've been looking at web frameworks a lot. I still have yet to decide on which one to use for the job, but one thing's for certain: No Java/J2EE. I just watched an interesting and relatively comprehensive presentation from someone at NASA's JPL that solidified that view. (HavingBeing forced to write to write Java/JSP for class also helped with that particular decision.) There is also the comparative "Snakes and Rubies" presentation, given at a university in or around Chicago by the creators of Django and Ruby on Rails. Yeah, I wasted about 3-4 hours of my life on them, but it was relatively informative, and I multitasked during both, so it wasn't a total waste.

Awesome Software, 2006/03/07

Selenium IDE: Records and plays back user interaction on a web page.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

JSLint "feature request"

It would be very awesome if someone put a local copy of JSLint into a firefox extension, perhaps as a sidebar.