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Thu, 30 Dec 2004
More on crisis management software

Peter Royal left a comment that ASF member Berin Loritsch is working on crisis management software in his day job. Berin is writing about his experiences on his blog. I had no idea that this was the case (and obviously neither did Sanjiva or the people he talked to), and for some reason Berin's posts aren't showing up in Planet Apache.

[23:18] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sanjiva Weerawarana on disaster management software

Sanjiva is posting again, from Sri Lanka. He's found a way to put his computing skills to good use. He's been talking to the CIO of FEMA, and people at IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco.

The one thing that has become clear today is that we have a tremendous information management problem in our hands.

What's incredible is that there doesn't appear to be software for this stuff and all these agencies which deal with disasters regularly don't have all this shit automated. Incredible. Well, we're going to build our stuff (openly/freely) and we'll be happy to share it with the other affected countries or anyone else.
[17:17] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 28 Dec 2004
Sanjiva Weerawarana reports on Tsunami relief efforts in Sri Lanka

For those of you that don't read Planet Apache, Sanjiva Weerawarana is an Apache Software Foundation member who lives in Sri Lanka. He an his family survived the tsunami, and now he is trying to get involved with the relief efforts in Sri Lanka. Here's his report of his first day.

(in his reports LSF stands for the Lanka Software Foundation, an open source foundation that Sanjiva helped to start)

If you want to help tsunamihelp.blogspot.com (among others) is aggregating relief info.

[22:21] | [society] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 27 Dec 2004
PyCon 2005 Reminder

A reminder: The submission deadline for PyCon 2005 is this Friday, December 31st.

Registration for the conference is now open. The early bird rate of $175 is good until January 28, 2005.

[16:28] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 22 Dec 2004
December SeaJUG report

Tonight I went to the December SeaJUG meeting It was fun because our reading group here on the island decided to go all together, although we did kind of get split up due to differing transportation arrangements. There was a pretty big crowd because Doris Chen from Sun was coming to talk about Java 5.

Every meeting before the speaker goes on, Jayson Raymond, our fearless leader, does a matchmaking poll. He asks how many people are looking for work, followed by how many people are looking to hire. For the past few years, this has been a depressing exercise. I remember some months where it seemed like half the group was out of work. I remember other months where we didn't even ask the question because we didn't want to know the answer. Tonight was a very pleasant surprise. Not a single person in a very full room was looking for work. What's more, there were a number of companies looking to hire. It's just one month, but its a nice change.

The talk got hung up in generics (which we had already had a fine presentation on in October) and on the enhanced foreach loop. We never even got to annotations, which is one of the features that I actually care about. As I listened to the generics discussion, my mind was thinking something like this:

Generics extends the amount of static type checking that you can do.

Static typing checking is good because you make fewer mistakes.

But wait, now you have to worry about wildcards and type bounds.

It seems that for average programmers this could be more work than writing the code itself.

So now you can make a mistake in writing the specification (type) that is supposed to keep you from making a mistake.

Doesn't sound like a bargain to me.

There was also a nice demo of the new JMX based monitoring console for the VM. All those displays just reinforced the notion that a VM is a platform. In fact, would that some operating systems had such a nice monitoring console.

If course, all of this Java 5 stuff is academic for me since there is still no Java 5 for OS X. I suppose I could install it on one of the Linux boxes....

[00:58] | [computers/programming/java] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 16 Dec 2004
We're going to Canada!

No, not because of the election, and not permanently. Julie has been selected to be a speaker at the Northern Voice blogger's conference in February. Since it's close enough to drive, and because technically, we're all bloggers, the girls and I will be going along to the conference. I'm looking forward to getting to see my love in action.

If you're interested in attending, click the moose.

[23:56] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 10 Dec 2004
Another reason why I'm excited about Ubuntu

Daniel Stone and Thom May sit down to smack down Ubuntu's boot time.

[22:50] | [computers/operating_systems/linux/debian] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Congratulations to the PyPy team

[via Jarno Virtanen] for obtaining EU funding for their work.

[00:15] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Pyblosxom comment previews (and more)

In Pyblosxom 1.1 (coming soon), we've decided to unbundle plugins from the distribution. I've been merging a bunch of changes that people have made to the comments plugin. The new plugin is available here.

If you are already using the comments plugin, there is a significant change to the behavior. You will need to modify your comments-story.html template to have just the content that should appear between the end of story.html and comment.html. This will typically be a <div class="blosxomComments"> tag. If you see the body of your entry twice, you didn't modify the comments-story template.

Here's a list of the changes:

  • Comment previews [ Bill Mill ]
  • Users can configure the plugin to force all new comments into a "draft" mode where they have to be manually "published". Set py['comment_draft_ext'] to a filename extension. New comments are given this extension and must be renamed to have the regular comment_ext in order to published
  • Add a comment rejection callback allowing people to write their own comment rejection plugins. [ Will Guaraldi ]
  • Add $message variable so that users can see what happened to their comment: whether it was rejected, whether it was successful, whether it's in draft mode, ... [ Will Guaraldi ]
  • Stop stomping templates [ Will Guaraldi ]
  • Rich HTML mail notifications [ Roberto De Almeida ]
If there are more changes to the comments plugin lurking out there, please contact me. I'd like to merge more changes so that we can improve comments as much as possible.
[00:14] | [computers/internet/weblogs/pyblosxom] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 09 Dec 2004
Patrick Logan is on fire...

Just go to the beginning of December and start reading forward.

(Patrick, you need an archives link)

[00:09] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Dynamic language support on the JVM - cross your fingers!

Tim Bray has reported on a dynamic languages summit that was held at Sun recently. Aside from the timing (years too late), I think that this is a very positive development. There were key implementors of multiple languages (the notable exceptions being Lisp and Smalltalk folks), the list of stuff issues/features that was discussed seems to be the right list, and (most importantly) it looks like there is some acceptance of the fact that the JVM bytecode set could do more for dynamic languages.

My guess of a timeline looks something like this:
3-6 months to decide whether bytecode instructions are really necessary or not
Another year for a JSR to approve those instructions
Another year to do the work to the VM (including compatibility testing etc)
As much as 18 months (is the JDK on an 18month cycle now?) sync of with a JDK release, depending on the JDK schedule.

So, we're looking at 2 years (at least), or 2007, before anyone would be able to count on JDK support for their dynamic language implementation. Once that JDK ships, there's the typical adoption cycle, which means another few years before you'd be able to deploy a dynamic language solution on top of the JVM. That's a long time. Fortunately for Sun, there's not a lot of dynamic language support in CLR 2.0, and that doesn't even ship until 2006, or as late as 2007. So a MS designed and implemented dynamic language enhanced CLR could also be quite far off. 2010, maybe? It has a nice ring to it.

This means that anybody else has 2-5 years to get their act together and get going.

[00:08] | [computers/programming/java] | # | TB | F | G | 8 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 08 Dec 2004
More calendar stuff

Today Jon Udell wrote about his experiences with the Mozilla calendar, which we've been using at home to maintain a family calendar between Julie's Thinkpad running Windows and my Powerbook (using iCal). We also had some discussion of iCalendar on the Seattle Python User's group mailing list this week. Lisa has already posted her comments on the way that Jon's desired scenario is in line with her goals for CalDAV (click for details on how to get involved).

I wanted to add one more tidbit of information. The WebDAV folks are working a searching mechanism called DASL, which is designed to support multiple query grammars. The basicsearch grammar defined in the DASL draft is (unsurprisingly relationally oriented) but there's no reason that you couldn't use XQuery as one of the grammars for DASL.

[23:36] | [computers/open_source/osaf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 07 Dec 2004
Back to pyblosxom

I spent a bunch of time over the last few days trying to see if I could coax better performance out of my blog. Some of you have probably noticed (or complained) that the blog is pretty slow. This is mostly due to the fact that I'm dynamically rendering the blog for almost 1200 entries. Here are the things that I've done so far:

  1. Move the comments directory out of the datadir -- this reduced the number of files that needed to be stat'ed by about 1400
  2. Turn on entry caching (my testing shows that entryshelve is faster than entrypickle. YMMV
  3. Implement a simple cache for tools.walk_internal that removes the redundant datadir scans caused by pycategories, pyarchives, and pycalendar

Also, somehow Planet Pyblosxom didn't make it into NetNewswire (fixed) so I wasn't seeing some of the pyblosxom related discussions that have been going on outside of the developer's mailing list. Will has been holding down the fort, but newcomers Bill, and Rob have some good ideas. I've been seriously contemplating switch my blog to WordPress due to the performance issues, but since things have improved a lot with only a small amount of effort, I think I'm going to spend some more energy trying to get pyblosxom to go faster. WordPress 1.3 doesn't look like it's showing up soon, and I'm not desperate enough to learn PHP so I can help/extend WordPress.

[23:33] | [computers/internet/weblogs/pyblosxom] | # | TB | F | G | 6 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 06 Dec 2004
CiteULike: Everyone's library

CiteULike is like del.icio.us for for academic papers. It's almost (well, not really) enough to make me wish I was a grad student again.

[22:41] | [computers/internet/microcontent] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 05 Dec 2004
PyCon 2005

PyCon 2005 is happening March 23-25, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Call for Papers is now online, and the deadline is December 31. I've written a bunch about PyCon since attending for the first time this year, and I'm really looking forward to itn. If you are out there working on some cool Python related stuff, this is your chance to get more exposure for your ideas, meet people who could give you advice or ideas, and learn about other cool things that are happening in the Python world.

[23:16] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 04 Dec 2004
My emotional life...

Late Thursday afternoon, I found out that one of my uncles had passed away. When I called cousin (his daughter) to see how things were going, I learned that he was still on a breathing machine, but not yet disconnected. So he was dead, and yet not dead. My uncle and I were not that close, partially due to a language barrier, and part to geographic distance. As we talked, my cousin and I reflected on the fact that we've reached that age where our parents and their siblings are starting to depart this life.

This part of my family is back on the east coast, which means a longer trip out (next weekend) to attend the services and other proceedings. I haven't been back east in quite some time, so I'm looking forward to the chance to see some family, but wishing it were a different occasion.

It's hard to write about death. I feel progressively sad, it is sinking in over the days, as I contemplate the meaning of it. I'm grateful that he lived a long life, that he'd been very happy in recent months, and that he passed relatively quickly and without pain. I can't help but think ahead to the day when it's one of my parents and not one of my cousins. I believe my uncle has gone on to a better place, to live in the presence of his Maker, and that someday I will see him again. That doesn't diminish the pain of his absence from our lives until we meet each other again.

[12:21] | [family] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
My famous wife...

beat me to IT Conversations ;-). The IT Conversations audio for Julie's BloggerCon session is now available.

Many folks at BloggerCon were unable to attend this session, so here's your chance to find out what happened. It won't be the same as being there and participating, but it's much better than nothing. I found the recording fascinating in a number of ways:

  1. I've never seen (or heard) Julie moderate a discussion before, so it was interesting to hear the way that she chose to organize the session, flow from one topic to another, and make sure that everyone got a chance to speak. She spoke just enough to keep the conversation going. When she came home, she told me that the session could have run without her. The discussion was rich, but I also think that her telling of her own stories at key points helped it continue to flow
  2. I really enjoyed the topic material. Julie and I talk about some of the issues that were raised during the course of the session. I could easily imagine going out for a long dinner with the people in the room and staying up late to keep one talking, revealing, and discovering. When I talk to people about blogging, one way that I describe it is that its about "finding your tribe", that set of people with whom you probably have a natural resonance. These people are spread all over the world, which means that the likelihood of your meeting them in real life is small.

A few quotes stuck out to me:
Lisa Williams

You can't share what you don't own

Lisa also talked about the way that her blogging has changed her expectations of the kinds of people/organizations that she can work for. I agree with this, although in my case, it also has a lot to do with the kind of working environment that I've found at OSAF, one of the best (if not the best) of my career.

??? (Shimon Rura?)

Its a system of listening

This one is so striking because mostly we talk about blogging as a system for talking or expressing. We are about voice and style. Looking at the blogosphere as a system for/of listening is a really interesting idea. Implications everywhere.

I'm curious to find out more about Jerry Michalski's knowledge of dialoging techniques. I guess I'm also going to have to look inside his Brain. Sounds like a good idea for a Chandler parcel someday.

[11:39] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 03 Dec 2004
The death of Thinkpads

Diego said it best regarding IBM's exit from the PC business:

More than anything, what will be missed the most will be the innovation that Thinkpads championed
The Thinkpads were the best Intel based laptops, as far as I was concerned - size/form factor, features, and reliability. At ApacheCon, the dominant notebook brands were Apple and IBM, by far. As an IBM shareholder, I want the company to exit non-profitable businesses. As a person who might one day want an Intel based Linux notebook, I'm sad.
[23:06] | [computers/hardware] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 02 Dec 2004
Not happy Mac.

It did it again, so it's the fodder for today's post. Every once in a while, the Powerbook refuses to give me an unlock panel after I try to get the machine back from the screensaver/sleep. Instead, I'm treated to a very nice spinning rainbow beachball. I've tried closing the lid and opening it back up. I've tried sshing in from another machine to try to find out what's hung. None of the logs that I've checked gives any indication of what might be happening. The machine is usually up for about a week before this happens.

Debugging ideas (or a solution) would be appreciated.

[23:41] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 13 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 01 Dec 2004
Even more XMPP

I'm going to respond to the thread of comments on the Growl/Zephyr/Jabber posts here, in the hopes that a regular post might help disseminate some of the information in related posts and comments.

Peter Millard, the author of Exodus wrote a post that addresses some of Mark Eichin's criticism of XMPP vs Zephyr. Peter and Mark, if you want to continue clarifying, etc, please feel free to use the comments on this post to do so. Peter was also somewhat put out because my criticism of Jabber clients was not concrete, which is true

Yesterday I asked Peter St. Andre if there was a scorecard comparing the features of the various Jabber clients. Here's why I asked that, and why (in part) my criticism of Jabber clients has been abstract. If you go to Jabber.org and look at "What is Jabber®?", you get a description that talks about open standards, some stuff about servers, security, and extensibility. What is missing, in my opinion, is a clear list of features that the Jabber/XMPP protocol enables, like "headlines". I want to see the client features (like headlines or security) that I don't get (or are hard to get) with other IM systems. Then I want to know which clients actually implement those features. From where I sit, it's very hard to know what is possible with Jabber/XMPP solutions, other than reading a stack of RFCS and JEPs. Unless I can tell people why I (and therefore they) are switching to Jabber, it's hard to make the case. The opening paragraph of the Jabber.org overview is about open standardsness. My own use of IM tells me that while I value open standards, I value features, and my network of people more. I use iChat, not because I love AOL (and I'm happy for whatever Jabber support Apple tosses into Tiger), but for one reason. It's the only client that I can use my iSight with, and the iSight video conferencing is the first web cam style thing that actually works for me. I'm starting to use Skype. I hate the proprietaryness of their protocol. But no one's audio sounds better (not even iChat), and nobody lets me do an n-way voice call. There are like 147 JEPs (okay less than that, but still a lot), most of which were presumably introduced to enable features. But beats the pants off of me if I could tell you what those features are.

I've been writing about Jabber because Lisa Dusseault and Joe Hildebrand tried to educate me one day. They sort of succeeded, because I know that there's a bunch of cool stuff that Jabber can do. But I don't really know what all that cool stuff is, and I have no idea whether a particular client can do the particular cool thing that I need. Jabber is a cool system, that can do cool stuff. I'm convinced of that (at least until Mark and Peter mix it up again). The problem is, I can't actually tell somebody else what any of the cool stuff is. I could read the pile of RFCs and JEPs and eventually figure it out. But it sure would help if someone who already knew could explain it for the rest of us.

Okay, so all that was abstract. Here's a concrete request. Which XMPP Macintosh client should I use if I want to experiment with headlines, so that I could do my system notifications with that instead of Growl?

Here's another one. All you Jabber folks come and leave a comment on your favorite cool - not found in any/most other IM systems - Jabber feature. I'm professing my ignorance -- here's your chance to educate me.

[ After I finished drafting this post, I discovered Dare's posting of the press release on MSN Spaces and the new MSN Messenger, and his personal favorite features. Those of us in the "free world" ought to be able to build stuff like this, and we need a substrate like XMPP to do it. ]

[22:56] | [computers/hardware] | # | TB | F | G | 16 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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