Gah! That's my professor!

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This was floating around on programming.reddit.com and I finally decided to see what it was all about because I wasn't getting very far with register allocation and needed a break. I click on the link, start reading about guns and ammo and then... I see Olin.Shivers@h... Gah! That's my professor!

Then I broke into a sweat and went back to work on register allocation and graph coloring 1.

[1] - Actually, what really happened is that I took a break, read that page, exclaimed, "Gah! That's my professor!", then broke into a sweat, then wrote a blog entry about it, and now I'm going back to working on register allocation.

Mugshot: disabling notifications of my events

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I decided that it's silly for Mugshot to notify me with notification balloon things of what I'm doing given that I already know what I'm doing because I'm the one doing it[1]. I thought about this for a bit and I can understand why other people might want to be notified of the things they're doing if only because it allows you to quip and other social-connection things. However, when I'm flipping through tracks in Rhythmbox to find something that fits my mood, I get a bunch of notifications and it's kind of silly.

I signed up for a Mugshot bugzilla account and was all ready to submit a bug detailing how while it's nice for Mugshot to tell me what I'm doing, I'd rather it didn't. As I'm writing up the bug report, it occurs to me that I might be able to disable it. I clicked on the Mugshot face, clicked on the filter button, and discovered I can filter out notifications of my events.

That's what I did instead of working on the LaTeX markup for a table mapping XML Schema terms/ideas to Demeter class dictionary terms/ideas.

[1] - If I don't know what I'm doing, then I probably have other more pressing problems to deal with.

PyBlosxom status: 04/01/2007

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I saw Titus' Strangling your code and growing your test harness: ... entry and that's the process we've been using for adding a test system to PyBlosxom. We're still on step 2 or 3, though. We have unit tests for a portion of the tools module in and working but that's it. We need a setup/teardown code for testing a request on a basic blog for n variations of "basic blog". Getting there....

Window Snyder

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I think most people have stories about their undergrad days in Computer Science where they were hooked up to an intervenous drip of caffeine and staying up all hours of the night wrangling with assembler on a robot that had lasers for eyes and could do backflips down the hall and land on both feet while juggling C pointers and doing remote garbage collection ... And most of the stories from these days are eseentially myths and the characters of those stories are the CS equivalent of Greek gods.

One of those people from my undergrad days was Window Snyder. She was just the awesome of the awesome. She had a VAX machine for a coffee table. As I recall, she dropped out because she was involved in some clandestine project somewhere that involved all kinds of stuff that so boggled my mind at the time that I don't even remember a hint of it.

Gary (another Greek god from my undergrad days) told me that she's now the head of security strategy at Mozilla. Sure enough, she even has her own wiki page. Craziness!

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn thoughts

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The hard drive on my laptop was doing some weird things on occasion and I decided to get a new one and an external case to stick the old one in. Figured while I was going to be replacing my hard drive I might as well install Feisty Herd 5 and use that.

Installation had no problems. I was up and running with all the updates in 3 or 4 hours (I have a slow Internet connection and there were a lot of updates). I fiddled with things to get Beryl working mostly because I want an Expose kind of thing, but ... it was really sluggish (I've got a Gateway 450ROG with an ATI Radeon Mobility 7500) so I removed it.

Everything looks good so far. Figured I'd mention it in case anyone else was thinking about Feisty Fawn.

Update 3/19/2007: I traded emails with Patrick and he helped me configure aiglx correclty. I've got Beryl 0.2 working very smoothly--some of the features it has are already making a huge difference in usability. w00t! Also, there's an article on Ars Technica that walks through Beryl features called Bring on the bling with Beryl. That helped, too.

Shower's frozen (again)

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It was so freaking cold last night that the pipes for our shower froze (again). Unlike the previous two times, this time they're totally frozen as opposed to just mostly frozen where the hot water works but the cold water doesn't.

The pipes go from the water tank all the way across the basement getting smaller and smaller until they go up an outside wall in the corner of the house to our shower. That corner of the house gets no sunlight and it's exposed to the wind. The house has terrible, no-good, very-bad insulation, too.

The last couple of times I was able to unfreeze the pipes by sitting in the basement with a hair dryer in the hole that the bath tub drain pipe comes down from. This time that didn't seem to work.

On top of that, our heating bill for last month was $400. Our landlord says that's normal, but I looked through all the heating bills for all the apartments I've rented over the lat 6 years and I've never used that many therms before. This apartment isn't any bigger than previous apartments--it's actually smaller! I think S and I are going to move when our lease is up.

I think the moral of this story is that having alcohol wipes, an extension cord, and a hair dryer on hand is really handy.

Testing in Python

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A few days ago, I saw on Grig's blog that Titus created a mailing list covering Testing in Python. I joined the list and it's been very educational. So far the posts have been in the "Hi--my name is _____________ (name) and I use ______________ (framework) and ___________ (framework) and ____________ (explanation for which framework gets used for which specific purposes)." Then this spawns a conversation with thoughts and insights and lots of applause. There have also been questions regarding how to use some of the frameworks and which framework would suit some need the best.

While I'm following the mailing list, I'm taking notes so that I can finish up this round of adding testing to PyBlosxom so that I can do a release this week. We're using nose and I'm using a similar structure that Cheesecake uses since I have some familiarity with their project.

It's a neat list so far. I'm glad Titus put it together--it's definitely solving my immediate needs.

Status 02/18/2007

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Life: I had a really rough January, but I'm not going to get into the details. The kitchen sink drain is working again, the pipes are unfrozen, and our cell phones work [1].

School: My compilers class is going really well. My research project needs a lot more attention.

PyBlosxom: I've been doing some PyBlosxom work again as Ryan gets ready to do a contributed plugins pack release that has all the changes to the comments plugin and all its friends. He's done some really great work pulling things together.

I started hanging out on freenode on #pyblosxom after Asheesh mentioned it on the pyblosxom-users mailing list. That's been pretty cool, but the channel has been pretty quiet most of the time.

Wedding planning is ... coming along. I figure a wedding has 10,000 decisions to make of which maybe 5% of them are "big decisions" (venue, church?, food, ...) and the rest don't really affect the big picture, but they need to be made and it's way harder to make them and there are thousands (silverwear, colors, flowers, flower arrangements, music, favors, text for the invitations, the border on the invitations, the pictures on the stamps for the invitation envelopes, color of the envelopes...). It's been interesting. S has taken on most of the planning lately since I've been sick and working on school work.

Things are moving along pretty quickly. In a few months I'll be graduated, married, and (hopefully) employed!

[1] - S and I get our cell phone service from Working Assets and they have the best customer support of any cell phone company I've been with. You call, you talk to someone immediately, they ask you questions trying to isolate the nuances of your problem, and then they work with you to fix the problem. No hold music, no tedious chit-chat, no scripts, no wasted time, ... And they call you back later to make sure the problem is resolved and that you're satisfied. It's just awesome.

Kitchen sink is blocked

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A few days ago, we discovered that the kitchen sink drain is blocked. Not only that, but it's blocked below the point where the drain for the upstairs neighbors' kitchen sink meets ours. So when they use their sink (for example, when they clean pots from the spaghetti with clam sauce), it backflows into our sink and then our sink overflows. Ewwww!

An "excavation" guy showed up at 7:45 in the morning to unblock the sink. While he was working, I learned that garbage disposals, while convenient, are the devil's tool and were probably invented by an evil plumber looking for a steady flow of business. I had no idea.

Anyhow, he couldn't excavate it enough and it looks like we're going to have to have the section of pipe replaced. Craziness!

No more Dark Rifts for me

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I had a craptastic conversation with one of the admin on Dark Rifts a couple of days ago the end result being that I decided to cut my losses and leave. They're not going in directions I'm interested in and I don't really have time for it anyhow.

Between all the mud projects I've worked on, I've probably written a couple hundred thousand lines of code in Java, Python, C and ending with LPC over the course of the last 7 or 8 years.

I'm still kind of bummed about it and I think that's the end of mud projects for me unless I get involved in Twisted Reality or Phantasmal/DGD. Twisted Reality is really interesting, though it's really different from other mud systems I've worked on.