Archive for January, 2009

Not the most productive day

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Happy birthday to John, who is wonderful.

Yesterday was not the most productive day. First of all, I overslept, and when I woke up I found it didn’t matter so much because the heavy snow had brought the net connection down and there was no bugzilla or IRC. So I hung around the house a lot and didn’t do much, although I did find a way to save a quarter of the time it takes to register a window’s properties. On the other hand, that’s only an average of 44μs saved. On the gripping hand, it makes the code cleaner. Anyway, a friendly bloke from Comcast just turned up and climbed the telegraph pole to fix it, so we’re all back and lovely.

I was also so annoyed at the CPAN module Lingua::Phoneme requiring a database installed even just to test it that I rewrote it using Berkeley DB. It turns out to be less portable than I thought, but Adam Kennedy has explained to me three ways this can be fixed, so I’ll get on that soonish.

Someone bought me a copy of Gareth King’s Intermediate Welsh Grammar addressed to “Thomas Happy Birthday Thurman”. Thank you, whoever you are, and I would like to know who you are!

Fin has been painting watercolours of Katie and other people: Katie in a corset, Katie again, Sandra, and bifemmefatale.

Someone I know who is friendly has started an interesting blog about Bolivian politics.

“No, honestly”, said God, “I really do want you to play Free Bird.”

And finally, Nerd Merit Badges. There should totally be a GNOME badge.

The Metacity blog, again

Monday, January 26th, 2009

mud puddleThis is your semi-regular reminder that you should all be following the Metacity blog if you want to know what’s going on in the Metacity world. (Some people want to know why the Metacity blog isn’t on Planet GNOME.  It’s because Planet GNOME is for people, not projects.  It does appear on GNOME News. I know some of you have said there should be an exception, or something like that, but I’m not the person to complain to.)

Yesterday I posted an idea about getting down to zero bugs in the tracker by this time next year.  It could be sooner, if we have more help.  Many of the existing bugs are squibs, or “why don’t you add this feature to Metacity?” bugs, and rather than just saying “no” to a bunch of these myself, I’ve decided that for the next few weeks we’ll post about one squib a day for you to argue over.  This is not an election and the maintainers still have final say, but your opinions are always interesting.  The first two have already been posted: cloning Exposé, and live previews in the alt-tab switcher.

And there’s also all the other regular features about current issues in window management, blue sky ideas, letters pages and the Metacity Journal, which is produced by a script and then hand-edited.  I may make the script public when I’m a bit more sure of its stability.  Would your project like to use it?

Photo © Trepelu, cc-by-nc-nd.

Is tag

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

There is a kind of IRC bot called an infobot which remembers when you say “Perl is wonderful” and can repeat it back when anyone says “What is Perl?” Yesterday night Ande said something which gave me the idea of doing the same thing with Twitter, and a few minutes’ coding and a day’s running over the feed produced the result you see. It’s quite interesting to come back to every so often. If I feel like it I may make it so it refreshes every hour and excludes tweets that have come up before, and has RSS feeds, and maybe has a page for each subject so it becomes a sort of twitter-wiki.

(The entries at the top of the page are the most common words which come before “is”, getting less common as you go down the page. Only the first five or so tweets for each tag are shown, and newer ones arrive at the start knocking older ones off the end. The links go to the relevant tweets.)

David Rice Atchison

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Zachary backery,
David Rice Atchison
Made (for a day or so)
National head;
“If you should want me,” he
Somnambulistically
Murmured, “pro tempore,
I’ll be in bed.”

Sunday, March 4, 1849, would ordinarily have been the first day of the presidential term of Zachary Taylor, but he would not be sworn in on the Sabbath, so his inauguration was moved to the next day. It was said at the time and often since that David Rice Atchison, who was then president pro tempore of the Senate, was president for that single day, since the term of the previous president (Polk) had clearly ended, yet neither Taylor nor his vice-president (Fillmore, later president) had yet been sworn in.

There is here a confusion between who is acting as president at a particular time, and who is actually president. When Bush delegated responsibility to Cheney on July 21, 2007, while he was under general anaesthetic, Cheney did not therefore become president for a few hours. Until 1967, there was some doubt over whether you became the president even by being the vice-president when the president died, or just acted as the president until the next election; in that year, the 25th Amendment made it explicit that the VP becomes the new president. CBS is therefore incorrect in stating that Biden was president between the moments of his own oath and of Obama’s.

(The question of whether Taylor or Atchison was president on that Sunday is easily answered: either you need to have taken the oath in order to be the president or you don’t. If you do need to, then Atchison was never president because he never took the oath (and either there was no president or it was still Polk). If you don’t, then Taylor was already president and Atchison couldn’t have been.)

Photo of Atchinson’s gravestone by AmericanCentury21, GFDL.

Weekend stuff

Monday, January 19th, 2009

This last weekend we met up with Amy and John in Philly and Fin got pierced and so did Amy. We went back to their house and met their new kittens. Amy and John gave me a Christmas present of some Lush things and a Storyhill CD, one of the new ones, and to all of us a game called Quelf, which we played on Sunday afternoon. Later we went to Newark, the one in Delaware, and hung around in bookshops and board game shops. Also, there were cupcakes. It’s been a happy weekend.

Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo update

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Bowl with Figures, Artist: Olowe of Ise (c. 1875-c. 1938), Yoruba peoples, Ekiti region, Nigeria, Early 20th century, Wood, paintDuring all the discussion on the gnome-i18n list about merging these Nigerian languages, Chris Murphy has discovered that the licence information in the RPMs says they’re GPL.  So the translations which are GPL can be merged.  So I have:

If you speak any of these languages fluently or know someone who does, please encourage them to help out with translation.

To the person who wanted to work on a Tiv translation: have you done any more on this?  I’d love to give you any help you need setting up a translation team.  (Joining gnome-i18n and discussing your ideas there would be a good step.)

Photo: Bowl with figures, by Olowe of Ise (c.1875-c.1938).  Photo by cliff1066, cc-by.

Show tweets in Twitux

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I like Twitux, but it bugged me so much that I get notifications saying 3 new tweets and not what the tweets ARE that I spent a few minutes last night patching it. I would attach this to the bug tracker but it doesn’t seem to have one. The only obvious problem with the patch is that it displays tweets in the order they appear in the XML, which is usually newest to oldest within one set of updates, so if your friends are having a conversation it may appear backwards within one update. I didn’t think this was enough of a problem to fix it for what I wanted.

Any other recommendations for good Twitter clients, btw? Is Twitux even maintained any more?

[and don’t get me onto the subject of how relieved I was to delete code saying _("You have %i new %s.")…]

I’m imagining Patrick McGoohan waking up in the afterlife and discovering it’s a small village where he has no idea what’s going on

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

-6°C today. I walked ~5km in this weather to the gym and back; I hardly needed to work out after that. (No way was I leaving there straight after a shower.) Fin made lunch and it was lovely; not much else happened except that Riordon discovered interactive fiction, and so I received this IM:

riordon: hello
riordon: I love you
riordon: <3
marnanel: <3 I love you too
riordon: can you makeit so i can play on zork

(Zork this way →)

GPL niceties

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Peppas!A rather fascinating discussion is going on on gnome-i18n (which has spilled over onto legal-list and kde-i18n-doc) over the Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo translations I mentioned last month. The current questions are:

If you’re going to weigh in, it’s better to weigh in there than here.

Photo (c) Melvin “Buddy” Baker, cc-by.

Things I did

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Today it’s been a bit quiet since Katie left. I washed up, and went to the gym for the first time since Christmas, and was quite surprised that I could still lift the same amounts of weights as before. I put on a stone over the holidays, so I need to work that off. I made dinner tonight: it was pierogies and beans. Also, I made the first post for a while on the Metacity blog. I upgraded to Jaunty but this seems to have broken the mp3 player. I also spent a while installing bip; most of the time was spent fighting the hashing algorithm which didn’t like some of the funny characters I had in the password I originally chose. I don’t know why it doesn’t just require you to make the file unreadable by anyone else and store the password in plaintext like pidgin does– or at most use md5.

Rather excited about Launchpad being released.

Here, have a silly meme.

What are your nicknames?
I don’t really have any.

What’s your Chinese Astrology sign? Be specfic, with the element and stuff!
bunny. more than that, I don’t know.

What’s the last book you read?
A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

What color shirt are you wearing now?
very dark blue with a quotation from Horace on it (not in translation).

Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Intro.

Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer?
Usually Firefox, sometimes Epiphany, sometimes Lynx.

Do you nap a lot?
no.

What was/were your favorite childhood toys?
Mrs Squirrel, David the bear, and Joanna the cat.

What’s your current fandom/obsession/addiction?
notably short of them.

What are you currently reading?
nothing, actually. need to fix that.

What was the last thing you ate today?
Bowl of Weetabix. Thanks, Katie.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
I actually have a list of things to do in the morning called Rhaglen Bore. It takes a bit over half an hour to do all of them, though I sometimes miss some of them out.

What websites do you visit daily?
Mission St Clare, the bank, Planet GNOME, BBC news in Welsh (those are actually in Rhaglen Bore), and LJ and Facebook and of course Google.

What’s the last movie you watched?
good grief, I don’t remember.

Do you like to clean?
yes. I think my word for this year should be Tidy.

What time is your usual bedtime?
I like it being about twelve-ish.

Do you read any web comics?
yes, xkcd.

What is your favorite weather?
autumn rain.

Where would you see yourself in ten years?
I have trouble seeing myself in ten days. Why should I plan ten years ahead? It would only need to be changed before then when other things came up.