Archive for March, 2009

Because things shouldn’t get lost

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Purple YarrowThere is a venerable bulletin board at Cambridge called GROGGS: it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It uses a custom protocol called RGTP, which is reminiscent of a centralised, non-threaded form of NNTP.

In 2002, I wrote a CGI interface to GROGGS called yarrow, which is now the most popular RGTP client (a big fish in a very small pond), and this week just gone I had to move my yarrow installation to another server.  It took me a few days to get around to it, and so I took the opportunity to put yarrow on Launchpad so anyone who wants can run their own installation in case anything happens to me.  (There are other clients you can use, including the very full-featured GREED for Emacs, and a Perl library if you fancy writing your own client.)

Back in 2002 I also wrote an RGTP server in Python called spurge, which is not the rgtpd used on GROGGS, and I put spurge on Launchpad this week as well.  Back in the day a few other sites ran spurge and yarrow together to make a no-frills bulletin board system, but I don’t know whether anyone else is still doing this.

Anyway, if anyone wants them, there they are.  I apologise for any infelicities in the source; my programming skills have improved in the last seven years.  Patches and enhancements are of course welcome; I don’t have much time to work on them any more, so it’s best that they’re publicly available.  I would like to debianise them, but I don’t know enough about the intricacies of the Python policy.

Cambridge people who want to join in with GROGGS are welcome to apply for a GROGGS account, and anyone can play with the test server if they want to know what RGTP feels like in practice.

Photo © Tom The Photographer, cc-by-nc-nd.

RiordonFancy v4

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Sample of the font

Here’s RiordonFancy version 4.0.  Rio has added the euro sign (someone should have told us it was missing!), the cent sign, a few dingbats (like the snowman), and I’ve added a fontlog and tidied the spacing a little.  I hope this goes far enough to clear up the problems raised in Fedora bug 478570.  If not, let me know.  If anyone wants characters it doesn’t cover, let us know too. (Is anyone using it for Icelandic out there?  and I suppose we could use this as an educational project to learn about the Cyrillic or Greek alphabets…)

I’m keeping track of some of the interesting places it’s turning up.  The oddest one so far is a sign-maker for EBay.  Let us know if you find anywhere else (or use it yourself somewhere interesting!)

Poems, number 1

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Several years ago I promised people poems on a subject of their choice. I am just starting to complete them. Probably some people who asked don’t even have me friended any more…

[info]dyddgu asked for a sonnet, possibly in Welsh. I tried, but I just couldn’t get it together, so:

My Welsh is just not good enough for verse.
My “dw i’n hoffi coffi”‘s lacking fizz;
cynghanedd is pedestrian or worse;
I wish it wasn’t so, but there it is.
My struggle’s still to learn, as yours to teach,
and so my englyn’s still in English sung,
and aching awdls cower out of reach,
and English shows the thinness of the tongue.
But here’s my goal: some month the Gorsedd meet
so many miles ahead— I may be there
to share my bitter words, my verses sweet,
at common table. Never mind the chair.
But that’s a dream, and not what’s on the card,
and much as I might dream— for now— I’m barred.

Performance scripts with SVG

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

I was asked where I got the tools to make graphs like this one (for this post).  It’s a custom variation on Federico’s Performance Scripts which outputs SVG instead. You can get it here.  It reads in the strace output in the same format as Federico’s scripts, and prints out SVG.  You can use inkscape or whatever you like to mark it up then.  It could probably be improved a whole lot, but I offer it here in case it’s useful.