status: week ending 12/25/2007

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Figured I'd send this out early because I'm not going to get anything more accomplished.

I spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:

  • triaging old bugs
  • continuing to clean up comment spam left over from when our bug system was managed by Trac
  • fixing my Windows build environment problem (bug 9327)
  • fixing the problem with Miro on Windows in the 1.0 branch (bug 9363)
  • checked in a fix from a downstream reported problem where Miro on GTKX11 doesn't honor the --xine-driver option (bug 9373, r5897, r5898)
  • started making adjustments to our build scripts to allow us to tag with "Miro-1.1" instead of "Democracy-Player-With-White-Wine-Sauce-1.1" which is too long and I'm sick of typing it ;)
  • set up a pbuilder environment for testing Ubuntu/Debian packages and continuing to make our packages better
That about covers the last three days. pbuilder is really cool, but takes forever to run because it's building a fresh environment in which ti build everything and it does that by downloading and installing all the packages each iteration. It's definitely a good idea to do this, though, as it'll increase the confidence in our Ubuntu/Debian packaging and potentially fix outstanding issues.

I'm doing a whirlwind tour of family visiting over the next few days, then going down to Louisiana on a service trip to rebuild houses. I'll be back online January 1st.

status: week ending 12/18/2007

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I submitted a new patch for bug 303645 on the 12th. On the 13th, I started having problems seeing the feed preview page. I talked with the folks on #develop, but wasn't able to get it working. No clue what the problem is. I did a fresh checkout on a different machine and that works fine, so I continued working on the second machine and produced a better version of the 303645 patch. I'm gone next week and between that and the time I'm going to have to put into the 1.1 release, I don't think I will get a patch together for the rest of the changes for bug 400059.

Firefox takes me about an hour to compile from scratch. While trying to figure out what my feed preview page problem was, I spent some time using the reports feature in Bugzilla and doing bug triage on old bugs. I also wrote a script to remove comment spam from the comments we migrated from our old Trac bug-tracker. There's still a lot of comment spam in there. Ick.

I merged the libtorrent changes from trunk to the 1.0 branch and tested out the GTKX11 platform. I went through Ubuntu Gutsy, Gutsy-64, Feisty and Dapper, made sure Miro in the 1.0 branch compiled and updated the requirements as listed in GTKX11BuildDocs.

I tried to test the 1.0 branch of Miro in Windows, but I'm hitting the LIBEAY32.dll problem in bug 9327 and the fix suggested in the comments isn't working for me. So... my Windows build environment isn't working again and I don't know whether the 1.0 branch is stable or not after the merges I did.

That about covers me for this last week.

In the next few days, I plan to help out with the 1.1 release, make sure I have the Ubuntu platforms covered and continue working on the Firefox patch.

I'm gone from December 23rd through December 31st. After December 22nd, I won't be online again until January 1st.

Pretending to add new files with cvs

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I was throwing together a patch for Firefox 3 and needed to add some files to CVS but I don't have add privs. If I don't add the files, then they don't show up in the diff. After a Google search, I bumped into fakeadd which tweaks the Entries file so that the new files show up in the diff. No clue if that's a good thing, but it certainly fixes the problem I was having.

status: week ending 12/11/2007

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It's been a good-ish week.

Nathan finished up his changes for bug 9077, they were merged into the trunk and 1.0 branches, and Janet did some testing and came up with bugs 9334 and 9335. I fixed 9334 but I think I'm going to skip 9335--it involves changing the padding for those items in the item view and I'm not wildly excited about doing that and I think the issue is cosmetic. We only implemented CC metadata at the item scope--not the feed scope, yet.

I worked my way through some bonehead issues I had caused, finished up the patch for bug 303645 and submitted it. I'm a little apprehensive about submitting a patch to Firefox, but ... I'll suck it up. The important thing is that this patch populates the enclosures array for each FeedEntry item. That was a pre-requisite for bug 400059. I'm working on that one now. As a side note, the folks on #developer on the Mozilla IRC channel have been really helpful.

On Friday, I went to lunch with Dean, Chris Blizzard and John Resig--that was really neat. A little hard to quell the star-struck feelings--hopefully I didn't make a total ass of myself.

I created the "other packages" page for the download section of the getmiro web-site and changed around the download page, too.

I sent an email to Justin at Mozilla in response to his blog entry. I pointed him to the code for the timeline script and the script for migrating data from Trac to Bugzilla.

Looking forward to a Miro 1.1 release with all its libtorrent and CreativeCommons metadata goodness....

Status 12/07/2007

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Went out to lunch with Chris, John and Dean (who I don't think has a blog). That was pretty cool. We talked about a bunch of stuff and the hamburgers at Christopher's in Porter Square (Cambridge, MA, USA) are really good.

I continued working on adding enclosure viewing support to the subscribe preview page in Firefox 3.0. I've almost got Yahoo MRSS support in. Mental note: one wastes less time if one double-checks the tests to make sure they're testing correctly. Oops.

I'm doing some minor mentoring for GHOP mostly on PyBlosxom related tasks. I'm on both of the mailing lists for GHOP-PSF and it's hard to keep in mind that the people working on these tasks are students in high school and early undergrad. It's like an army of really able, but not very experienced, bodies hungrily munching large bites out of project todo items. PyBlosxom had 4 tasks in last week and 4 in this week. It's great because the help is fantastic and it's forcing me to get around to work on organizing the project and development for PyBlosxom 2.0.

If you're in high school or college and want to do some Python-related work, definitely take a look at GHOP! If you're a Pythonista or Pythoneer and have some spare cycles, definitely come help us mentor. If you have a Python project and need help with screencasts, documentation, testing and other small tasks, take a look at GHOP. Titus has more on his blog.

PyBlosxom 2.0 is going to be a huge overhaul from PyBlosxom 1.4. I'm getting lots of help from the people who hang out on #pyblosxom on IRC, Ryan, Michael and various other people who pop on, ask questions and help identify issues. Progress is excellent so far.

In PCF land, I have a blog focused on PCF work and Miro development. It's at I figured I'd keep it separate. It runs on WordPress so that's giving me some WordPress experience.

Whoever fixed NetworkManager for Ubuntu Gutsy should get a gold star. I did an update on 12/4 and picked up a new set of packages and my perpetual wireless networking problems all went away. Bless you!

Also, if you've got young children in your life, definitely take a look at Bee Careful Marvin. It's geared towards children up to around 6 or so. You can get a professionally printed version at Lulu, but you can also download a PDF for free. It's released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and "the source" is all at that link. Print it out, copy it, give it to your young friends, translate it, rewrite it with Star Wars dialogue, ....

Nose and coverage

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I'm working on improving the PyBlosxom testing situation and in the process of doing that ran into a problem with nose (version 0.10.0) and coverage (version 2.77). Both installed with easy_install.

When running:

nosetests --verbose --with-coverage --cover-package=Pyblosxom --include unit
nosetests --verbose --with-coverage --cover-package=Pyblosxom --include functional

I bumped into the problem described here ( and here ( The solution is to either:

  1. remove from /usr/bin, or
  2. change the filename from /usr/bin/ to /usr/bin/coverage

status: week ending 12/4/2007

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I've been super busy this past week.

I spent the brunt of my time on the Firefox patch. I've solved most of bug 303645, though the output isn't pretty and it doesn't support Yahoo's MRSS or iTunes enclosures. I think I'll have it figured out in the next couple of days and submitted to the Mozilla folks. Once I've populated the enclosures and they're available in the FeedWriter, I can work on what we really want to do. I still need to figure out how to associate applications with different feed types. Mozilla froze the trunk today for the upcoming beta 2, so none of the changes I've done will be available until beta 3 at the earliest.

I spent several hours looking for enhancements or bugs that lend themselves to being small 1-5 day tasks for high school/college level people in the PSF section of the GHOP. I didn't find any that I thought were promising. This is a bit unfortunate as it'd give us some good exposure, gets us some help, and would be good for the project. Still, there's a certain amount of work that would need to be done to be part of the GHOP. The contest lasts until February, so I'm hoping I can figure something out before the end.

On Friday, Dean and I talked with Henri of CivicActions. They work with clients who produce content and we talked about various directions our groups can take to help each other. He's particularly interested in how Miro could interact with mobile and embedded devices. I'm pretty interested in that, too. I plan on working on that when I get a Nokia n810. I've written about that in previous posts.

Also, I've been working with Nathan of Creative Commons to get Miro to understand and work with licensing metadata (bug 9077). He's done most of the work so far; I've been providing feedback and working out the implementation issues. This is really useful since it allows content producers to embed licensing data in the feeds that Miro will display to users viewing the content.

And I've spent some time doing bug triage and talking with users about various issues, mostly related to packaging.

Current deadlines:

The CreativeCommons birthday is 12/15, so we need to have the 9077 work done by then.

The Mozilla folks told us that we need to get the patch done before the end of the month.

We were thinking of doing a Miro 1.1 release mid-month. I want to fix the packaging scripts so that we can name tags and branches Miro-x.y instead of Democracy-Player-x.y. I'll probably look into that later this week.

status: week ending 11/27/2007

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Short status this week....

I took Wednesday through Saturday off.

On Monday, I fiddled with my Windows build environment and finally got it working (again) on Tuesday. I was having problems getting fasttypes to compile. I was getting all kinds of errors when going through the boost stuff. After some skulking through Google results regarding boost compilation problems, I decided to try installing Visual Studio 7.1 without installing the service pack. That worked super--though I'm not entirely sure why. I updated the WindowsBuildDocs page with new urls and tried to break up the instructions into something that's more digestible.

I also continued to work on the Firefox patch.

status: week ending 11/20/2007

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I spent Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday watching new bugs, helping users out with 1.0 issues, continuing to build a Windows VM (I've almost got it working again) and working on Mediabar.

I checked in a minor overhaul of Mediabar. There are two big issues with Mediabar that need to be fixed that involve architecture changes (I've been talking about this for a month now). I figured since I'm overhauling the code for that, I might as well overhaul the code and fix namespace issues and tighten up the existing architecture to make it easier to fix the big issues. In the process of making the changes, I noticed the flv extraction code doesn't work. I'm not sure how it's supposed to do what it does, though, so I'm not sure if it's something I did or something that was pre-existing or something I'm misunderstanding. When I work on Mediabar again, I'll talk to NPR and Dean about how it should behave and what kinds of things it should be picking up and write it down into an ad hoc specification. On a side note, anyone have any idea how to do agile-like development with Firefox extensions? Where does the testing code go and how do you kick it off?

On Sunday, I got worried that I'm going to miss the deadline for the Firefox patch I'm working on. The work is under bug #400059 in the Mozilla Bugzilla db. I spent Monday and Tuesday working on adding enclosure detection to the FeedProcessor and then adding enclosure support to FeedWriter so that you can see enclosure links on the feed subscribe preview page. When I get this working, I'll submit it as a patch against bug #303645. Making those changes paves the way towards adding support for distinguishing between video, audio and text feeds and supporting applications for handling those different feed types.

I will be off of email and IRC for the rest of the week but I'll be studying.

I hope you all have pleasant holidays or work days (depending on where you live)!

"there's no good content" == utter hogwash

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One of the things I keep reading in comments of various Miro-related reviews is something along the lines of "there's no good content". I think that's utter bunk. There's a lot of good content listed in the Miro Guide. The channel starter packs that we added to the first page when you start up Miro 1.0 make this painfully clear. This doesn't even include all the content that's not even listed in the Miro Guide.

I don't have cable tv anymore because it doesn't make sense to waste my money on it.

I also don't watch a ton of shows with Miro. However, here's the list of shows I do watch (some of them while testing):

  • Ask a Ninja (Add to Miro) - Occasionally there's an annoying show, but mostly I think it's pretty funny. I saw the Recipe For Disaster episode just before a family reunion--couldn't have had better timing. I first discovered Ask a Ninja when one of the NPR programs I listen to periodically (I forget which one it was) had their movie critic off for the week and they played the audio from the Ask a Ninja episode reviewing Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. (Disclaimer: I have ninjas on my business card.)
  • Make Zing :: Blog MAKE Podcast (Add to Miro) - I love this channel. The projects are really interesting and it covers a very wide variety of topics. Dean, my brother and I met Bre at PodCamp Boston 2 and my brother secretly thinks that the t-shirt cannon project was influenced by his story of kids launching potatoes at a river from a cannon in their chimney (long story--very odd).
  • Galacticast (Add to Miro) - I met Casey at PodCamp Boston 2 and after hearing about Galacticast decided to look it up. It's a great show!
  • What you ought to know (Add to Miro) - The shows are almost all under 3 minutes long and they cover a variety of topics. It's thoroughly educational in tiny bite-sized chunks.
  • Wired Science | PBS (Add to Miro) - This is a great general science channel.
  • WebbAlert (Add to Miro) - Morgan Webb and her crew do a really good job of distilling "tech news" down to a 5 to 6 minute program Monday through Thursday. I find watching this saves me the trouble of flipping through the series of blogs I used to flip through.
  • Google Tech Talks (Add to Miro) - Some of the Google Tech Talks aren't wildly interesting to me, but I've learned a lot from the ones I have watched. This channel is based on a Google Video search and so you're going to want to set the Auto-download to OFF. Otherwise it's likely you'll pick up old videos you've already seen.
  • Onion News Network (Add to Miro) - I usually test with ONN because it's fantastic. The "Ninja parade slips through town unnoticed again" episode got a lot of play time on my systems--it makes me smile every time. (Disclaimer: I have ninjas on my business card.)
I think there's a lot of other great content out there both to watch and to participate in.

So to people who shrug Miro and Internet video off because "there's no good content" I say, "Buddy--this is 2007 and you're missing the boat".

What shows do you like and why? Toss your thoughts in the comments.

Update 11/16/2007: Fixed a grammar issue and somehow I managed to misspell Galacticast.