Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Wed, 30 Jun 2004
Another good reason to use iTerm
Updated: Nelson and I have been e-mailing back and forth about launching URL's from terminal windows. Apparently, he found a fix.
[01:17] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Here's a fluff piece on OSAF and Mitch Kapor in the NYT
[01:17] | [computers/open_source/osaf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 29 Jun 2004
Desktop Linux
Bart Decrem has revised the study that Mitch Kapor talked about in his OSCON Keynote last year. The revised version is available as the ACM Queue article Desktop Linux: Where art thou?.
[13:09] | [computers/operating_systems/linux] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 28 Jun 2004
[ via Bart Decrem's weblog ] OB4.org is a weblog based on CivicSpace that Bart, Mitch Kapor, and Joe Costello are going to use to noodle about
what we can learn from the Dean campaign, MoveOn.org, Ohmynews and other shining examples of the power of Net to help bring about democratic reform
There are lots of interesting things going on inside the building housing the OSAF offices. This is another one of them.
[01:01] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
DIY-IT events
Another reason that I'm not missing JavaOne or WWDC terribly much is that I would really like to see more meetings that have the flavor of the DIY-IT events that Doc is thinking about. I go to conferences for the people and for the chance to do something in high bandwidth mode. For me absorbing information via presentations is low bandwidth mode. You usually can only learn enough to know that you need to go read a pile of specs or code, so it's not really that helpful. I can do that at home or online. The thing that is hard to do is real time full bandwidth discussions with other people.

One thing that surprised me was that Doc didn't think about the Sci-Fi con angle for his events. There's a reason that ApacheCon and PyCon are called ApacheCon and not ApacheOne or PyCon and not the World Wide Python Developer's conference. The names do say a lot. I guess Doc missed Ken Coar walking around in his Star Trek uniform.

[00:53] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
It certainly has is a big week for conferences, with SuperNova just finishing up and both JavaOne and WWDC ahead. Of the three conferences, I regret missing SuperNova the most. This piece on Techdirt probably summarizes the reasons best:
the power of all of this "decentralization" isn't just focused on the technology world, but expands well beyond that. While many of the conversations were focused on technology, it's time we started looking beyond the nuts and bolts of decentralization and towards how it will actually impact real lives.
While it sounds like this conversation didn't actually happen on the official program, I'd guess that happened a bit amongst the attendees. The decentralization trend is a huge one in my own life. I'm working in open source, Julie and I are blogging our brains out, we're home schooling our kids -- there are many instances of decentralization settling into my day to day life. What about other aspects of society that are modeled on large centralized organization: the military (Techdirt covered this), law enforcement, government, institutional religion, large non-profits? The centralization or command/control architecture of much of society is so ingrained it's hard to recognize sometimes.

In no particular order, here are some other blogs that produced interesting commentary on SuperNova.

As for the other two conferences, I've been to JavaOne multiple times, and I just didn't enjoy the experience. There are too many people, it feels too mass produced, and I haven't always found the content to be valuable. The one thing you can say is that a lot of people are all in one place. Fortunately, many of the people I want to connect with will be at either OSCON or ApacheCon.

I've never been to WWDC (even when I worked at Apple), but now that I'm back on the Mac, the conference holds a lot more interest for me. Fortunately, the blogs and rumor sites will cover most of the details, and for the moment trying to ingest the content would be overkill.

[00:53] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 27 Jun 2004
How to get from MovableType to WordPress
Fellow ASF'er Rich Bowen has posted a bunch of things that learned when taking his blog from MavableType to WordPress.
[23:16] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Carbon Emacs for OS X
I've run into a number of people looking for a native Emacs for OS X. The one that I am running is a build of Emacs from CVS. But a few days ago Nelson Minar posted a list of Mac software, and one of the links is to a dmg for a prebuilt Carbonized Emacs.
[23:03] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx/tips] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 26 Jun 2004
Bluetooth for normal phones
I am spending a lot more time on the telephone these days. Having a decent phone headset makes that a workable situation. I'd love to escape from my wired headset to an unwired headset. So the ideal situation seems like a Bluetooth headset that I can use with a regular (POTS/landline) phone, my cell phone, and my Powerbook (VOIP/iChat). The cell phone and Powerbook are covered, but the POTS part isn't. Google reveals that some products purporting to do this have been announced, but I haven't been able to find them actually listed on a vendor's page...
[22:16] | [gadgets] | # | TB | F | G | 10 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 25 Jun 2004
Open Source versus public or private betas
As I commented on Katherine's blog, NetNewsWire 2.0 is going to be awesome. Brent Simmons posted a status update on 2.0 today. I've been part of the beta group, and I'm just about in heaven (and Brent is definitely aware of where I'm not). One of the great things about Macintosh software is that a lot of it is done by "little guys" like Brent, who have beta programs where they really get to interact with the testers. We've had lots of discussions about big features, performance issues, memory leaks, and very fine UI details, for example.

One of the things that gets touted about open source is that there is a very tight feedback loop between the developers and users of a piece of software. In my previous Mac life, I also did a bit of beta testing for little guys, and I remember the same pleasant experience that I'm having now. While I do wish that I had access to the code (and I'd be more than willing to pay Brent extra and give him back all the changes GPL style so that he can keep eating), Brent has done such a good job with the tight feedback loop that it's hard to complain. I also had this experience with Nick Bradbury when I was using FeedDemon on Windows. Unfortunately, I never had this experience with the larger software houses.

As I read Brent's post, I can sympathize with a lot of what he's wresting with in terms of the public beta. I have the same sort of feeling about Chandler, except of course, everything is all public. But there's the same feeling that people are going to judge the final product by what they see now.

Is it odd for an open source guy to feel such a kinship with a closed source/proprietary software guy? I don't think so. I don't consider myself to be ideologically pure when it comes to open source. I'm happy to pay money so that people like Brent keep on contributing to software that I use. I'd be happy to contribute money to open source developers working on software that I use. Figuring out how to make that happen is a continuing interest of mine. It's not about money for software or IP. It's about making sure that friends can keep doing what they love, and what they are good at. And that's the same whether its friends in the open source community or whether it's little guys like Brent Simmons or Nick Bradbury.

[22:58] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Birthdays, Slinky's and .3gp files
Abigail, our oldest daughter turned 6 yesterday. My brother and his wife did an excellent job with birthday presents. Among the presents was an old low-tech toy, a Slinky. Tonight after dinner, Abigail was playing around with the Slinky, trying to figure out what it was good for. The stairs in our house are a bit tall for optimal Slinky action. I remembered reading on the side of the box that an inclined plane was a good surface for Slinkys. So I grabbed Abigail and headed for the back deck, complete with a supply of boards suitable for an inclined plane. The rest of the kids joined in and soon we were happily sending the Slinky down the plane. Julie arrived with the cameras, and then we had the idea to try to take a video with my new Nokia 6600 (actually we could have done it with Julie's 3660, but the Bluetooth mechanics are all worked out for my phone at the moment). Herewith is a movie of the Slinky. The 6600 takes movies as .3gp files, which can be rendered by Quicktime 6.4 or newer. I suppose this will finally be the incentive for me to learn to use iMovie.

While composing this post, I discovered that there are some really hardcore Slinky resources out there. We'll find out if they are too much for a 6 year old.

[22:38] | [family] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 24 Jun 2004
ApacheCon 2004
The CFP for ApacheCon 2004 is out. ApacheCon is one of my favorite conferences to go to, so mark your calendars. And if you are doing something cool with an Apache project, this is your chance to tell the world.
[22:04] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OS X phone home.
LaunchBar has become one of the most indispensable applications on my Powerbook. In version 4, you can look up people's contact information via the Launchbar input window. Unfortunately, you can't do anything with the phone numbers that you look up, which is a shame. I would love to be able to connect the Launchbar lookup with a way to dial a telephone. This could be done with the OS X Adddress Book's support for dialing via a Bluetooth cellphone, or via BluePhoneMenu's dialing support. If you had PhoneValet installed that would be another possible mechanism. It would be great to have dialing (Bluetooth or PhoneValet) accessible via UNIX command line utilities or AppleScript.
[21:55] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 23 Jun 2004
pylucene is a separate project
Today OSAF is breaking out pylucene as a separate project. Here is the announcement. We covered this today during our IRC office hours. For those of you who missed the session, here is the IRC log for today's discussion.

The pylucene project page has the usual information including a Subversion repository, mailing list info, and a bugzilla component. We're experimenting with the use of Subversion as a version control system.

A lot of people have asked for pylucene as a separate project. I hope that this will be useful to folks out there in the broader Python community. I also hope that some folks will get involved in helping to improve pylucene. There are a bunch of things that need doing, a distutils based install being high on my list.

From my perspective, this a good study in looking at how to leverage other projects. We were interested in full-text indexing from Python. We had a few options that included Managing Gigabytes, Lupy (a pure python port of Lucene), CLucene (a C++ port of Lucene) and the original Java port of Lucene. When comparing Managing Gigabytes versus any of the Lucene related libraries, most of the Lucene ports are being actively maintained, while the Managing Gigabytes software hasn't been updated since 1999. That leaves you with a Lucene variant. Lupy is much slower than either Lucene or CLucene. So that rules out Lupy. Only Lucene and CLucene are left. Coming from Python, it would seem that CLucene is the obvious choice since it's written in C++. The problem with this is that it's a port, and you are always trailing Lucene. Further, the real search engine expertise lies with Doug Cutting, who is working on Lucene. So if you have a search related problem in CLucene, it might have to go all the way back to Lucene anyway. The biggest problem with Lucene is that it's written in Java, and the last thing we want in Chandler is to have people also install Java. Enter gcj. Thanks to the hard work of the gcj team, you can compile Lucene into native code, which can then be wrapped with SWIG (just like CLucene needs to be for Python). As both gcj and gcc get better, pylucene will benefit (of course CLucene would also benefit from improvements to gcc).

[18:02] | [computers/open_source/osaf] | # | TB | F | G | 36 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 22 Jun 2004
MS and DRM
By now everybody has had a chance to read Cory Doctorow's DRM Talk at Microsoft (thanks to Anil Dash for the nicely formatted version). I was trying to imagine Microsoft's lawyer's staring down the RIAA and MPAA's lawyers. It would be a great sight to see, and a victory both for Microsoft and consumers if Microsoft were to take up this cause...
[23:19] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 19 Jun 2004
Northwest Python Sprint
Today I hiked over to Bellevue for the first Pacific Northwest Python Sprint. The group was small but dedicated, including a group of hardcore folks who drove all the way from Portland for two days of Python hacking.

I was surprised to see the r0ml, aka Robert Lefkowitz, joining us for the sprint. Regular readers may remember that I was quite taken with r0ml's talks at OSCON last year, so I was quite excited when I saw his name on the wiki signup page. Imagine my surprise during the introductions when he recognized who I was. Perhaps this blog is good for something after all. I discovered some other interesting connections as well. It turns out that r0ml is the father of Glyph Lefkowitz, one of the leaders of the Twisted project. When r0ml told me this, there was a very long and amusing moment where my jaw worked wordlessly while my face displayed utter stupefaction. It just never occurred to me -- bit it was good for a laugh. I also discovered that he is, like me, a Lisp person looking for a a home. (In fact, there was at least one other such person present today).

We started the sprint with a series of lightning talks which covered, roundup, buildbot, sqllite, and Chandler. After that, we threw out ideas for sprint projects. There was a large interest in sprints involving Twisted, and not much interest in doing stuff around the Chandler repository (unit tests -- it's hard to have much to do in a single day), so I ended up getting sucked into one of the Twisted sprints. This is a good thing for me, because we just started using Twisted in Chandler, and I needed some good hands on experience. The project I ended up working on was to try to Rendezvous-enable Twisted code. We looked at pyzeroconf, a pure Python implementation of Rendezvous. I was able to scaffold out a small amount code for how to advertise a service via Rendezvous, as well as use Rendezvous to lookup a service and then connect to it. There was a bit of a learning curve -- I had to learn both pyzeroconf and bunches of twisted. It helped that we had a brief run through the Twisted finger tutorial before lunch. It still remains to be seen how to actually modify Twisted so that this functionality is built in. We were unsure whether or not we would have to Twistify pyzeroconf in order for this to be done right. Code for the various projects is going up on the SeaPIG Subversion server.

[23:54] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 18 Jun 2004
Michael Salib is at it again
After tantalizing us with StarKiller at PyCon, Michael Salib has gone on to do it again, this time with a Lightning Talk at EuroPython on Insecticide, a time-travel debugger, much like the ODB, Omniscient debugger, for Java. I hope somebody hires Michael soon so that we can get our hands on some of this stuff.
[00:42] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
20 Years of PLDI
Today my copy of ACM SIGPLAN Notices arrived, except that it was 20 Years of the ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (1979 - 1999): A Selection. This is great volume and would be perfect for a graduate seminar in programming language implementation -- most of the selected papers are related to implementation rather than language design.
[00:30] | [computers/programming/java] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Planet Python
Thanks to my Technorati watchlist, I discovered Planet Python. Unfortunately, it looks like it's not quite open for business. It needs a planet wide RSS feed.
[00:12] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 6 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
mail.appetizer RC series
I've been using mail.appetizer for a while, waiting for the betas to appear and fix a bunch of little problems that I've been having. The day has arrived, and things have been working really well. This little utility has cut down the number of trips that I actually make to Mail.app, by previewing new messages in a transparent pop-up window that's there just long enough to tell me whether I care about the message or not.
[00:11] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx/tips] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
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