Status 10/18/2006

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It's been a few weeks since my last blog entry. My classes are really hard. This semester I'm taking Semantics in Programming Languages (covering operational and denotational semantics and a bunch of other stuff) and Advanced Software Development (covering structure-shy adaptive programming, AspectJ, DemeterJ, DAJ, DJ, and various techniques) and it's been a wild semester so far.

I've put everything else I normally do on hold until the end of the semester when I get some downtime.

Interestingly, I wrote a very similar blog entry last year.

problems upgrading tetex-bin

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I went to update bluesock today and had wicked problems when it tried to upgrade tetex-bin to version 3.0-18. Every time it'd try to configure tetex-bin, it'd fail with this:

Setting up tetex-bin (3.0-18) ...
Running fmtutil-sys. This may take some time... Error: `etex -ini  
-jobname=jadetex -progname=jadetex &latex jadetex.ini' failed
Error: `pdfetex -ini  -jobname=pdfjadetex -progname=pdfjadetex &p
dflatex pdfjadetex.ini' failed

and lots of other output.

After futzing with things for a while I finally started skimming the Debian BTS and discovered bug 334613. Towards the bottom, Frank says that he can reproduce the bug by having jadetex installed before upgrading.

So I did an apt-get remove jadetex then an apt-get upgrade and tetex-bin installed fine as did everything else. Then I re-installed jadetex and docbook-utils and my system is happy again.

Figured I'd mention it in case anyone else had the same problem.

Update: I have multiple systems: one desktop (running Ubuntu Dapper), one laptop (running Ubuntu Edgy), and one server that I lease from ServerBeach (running Debian Sid). The jadetex problem I had was on the server running Debian Sid. I have no idea if the same problem occurs on my Ubuntu boxen. Figured I'd add that additional detail.

Ubuntu Edgy Eft thoughts (2)

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I've been running Edgy Eft for a week or so now. In that time, I have successfully performed the following feats that surprised me:

  • docked and undocked my laptop without shutting it down and restarting (something that Windows XP would bluescreen on); the battery applet pops up, the screen dims, the laptop knows when it has been docked and undocked
  • undocked my laptop, plugged in an HP 1510 PSC printer (USB connection), added a new printer, and printed out my estimated tax forms (which I need to fill out pronto)
  • switched between docked and ethernet to undocked and wireless (for some reason I consistently had problems with my wireless connection)

Minor point: I've only had Windows XP and Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 2 (with lots of updates so far) on my laptop, so I can only compare between them.

The reason I bring this up is that I'm really excited because this is really fantastic. The total amount of time I've spent installing, fixing configuration files, reading through forums and researching problems, etc. is at most an hour. I spent some time trying to figure out a minor problem I had with installation, but that's it; everything has worked in a way that has been hassle-free.

I'd like to thank the Debian folks, the Ubuntu folks, and all the other thousands of folks who've worked to make this a reality.

School has started again

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I'm back in classes for my Fall 2006 semester of grad school at NEU CCIS. I'm taking two classes this semester: Semantics in Programming Languages with Professor Wand and Advanced Software Development ith Professor Lieberherr.

I've had two sessions of the Semantics in Programming Languages class and it's been really educational so far. I'm in the process of learning LaTeX so I can type up my notes and do my homework. I picked up docbook a year ago or so to do the PyBlosxom manual and some other work--I like LaTeX a lot more than I liked docbook.

While searching the Internet for LaTeX tutorial/manual resources, I bumped into Getting to grips with Latex. It's been a great tutorial so far--I've picked up almost enough to type up the first two days of notes. The issue I have now is that I need to code some math symbols but I don't really know what the name of the symbol is so it's difficult to find.

Ubuntu Edgy Eft thoughts

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I installed Ubuntu Edgy Eft on my Gateway 450something-or-other laptop a couple of days ago. I had one problem with installation where X doesn't come up, but pressing Alt+F3 a bunch of times does something and then everything works nicely. I haven't had any problems since then.

Figured I'd mention it in case anyone else was thinking about Edgy Eft.

Photo managing

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I moved a bunch of photos from my laptop (running Windows XP) to my desktop (running Ubuntu 06.06) and then slurped a bunch of photos from Shutterfly (using a painfully monotonous and guified method) only to discover that the photos I slurped from Shutterfly don't have timestamps of when the photo was taken in the EXIF headers. That's what I get for slurping.

I've never really used F-Spot much but I know the version number is at 0.1.11 or something like that so I figured it'd be pretty bereft of helpful features. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I can adjust the timestamp on each photo. Not only that, but I can select a bunch of photos and adjust the timestamp on all of them at the same time.

I spend the next few hours fiddling with photos and getting them into a decent state with descriptions and all that and then export them to a folder.

There isn't much of a thesis statement to this blog entry. For the most part this entry is a long-winded explanation for how happy I was to discover I can fix the timestamps on a bunch of photos at the same time using a piece of software that says it's version 0.1.11.

Stargate SG-1 cancelled--I'm bummed

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I just found out that Stargate SG-1 was cancelled and this is its final season. That really bums me out. I thoroughly enjoyed the series and it's one of two shows that S and I keep up with (the other being Stargate Atlantis--though I also watch Battlestar Galactica).

I realize that all things end eventually, but I've spent a good part of the last 4 or 5 years watching SG-1 episodes and thinking about the various predicaments they've been in. It's a great science fiction show on at a time when most shows are sitcoms and reality tv shows.

Anyhow, I'm bummed. It's irritating when companies cancel good shows because of results that are as likely to be results of poor business decisions than a poor show no one is interested in. I very much look forward to the time when more "tv shows" are less like they are now and more like vlogs which I can enjoy during downtime when it fits my schedule.

Cleaning up PyBlosxom (part 2)

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I got a few comments from people who were interested in how I used Cheesecake to clean up PyBlosxom. I tossed around making it a series of blog entries but then decided to write it up as a technical article: Cleaning Up PyBlosxom Using Cheesecake.

I think it came out nicely, though parts of it are too "wordy". I really liked writing the article using Trac's wiki system. My only problem with Trac's wiki system is that the documentation for writing wiki macros needs a lot of help.

I'm going to update some of the PyBlosxom plugin writing tutorials I wrote a couple of years ago and put them in my trac instance, too. I still have work to do with PyBlosxom, but it's coming along very nicely. I'm working on unit tests and functional tests now.

Update May 11th, 2017: The pycheesecake and my Trac sites are now gone. You can find my article here>.

Last day at work

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Today was my last day at work for the summer at ByAllAccounts. I spent the beginning of the summer doing backend work and then hit a showstopper with the project I was on. Then I spend the second half of the summer working on extending our Custodial Integrator product to work with Advent APX (it already worked with Axys). It was interesting, but I preferred the first project I was working on because I was doing it nuts to bolts: research, project plan, scheduling, work, testing, and quality control.

I told them I'm not going to work during the fall semester. I think with the two classes I'm taking, I won't be able to give BAA enough time to be effective/useful.