A speaking cat, imagine that!
Woohoo - tcl 8.4!
Of course none of my live sites are on AS 4 yet - the next challenge is ssl - time to go look at what oacs code needs to chenge to work with the new improved nsopenssl...
Well actually in this case it's designed to give most people LESS information to digest (yay!).
I have started a seperate Developer Blog where i will keep "development related posts" seperate (whatever that means).
Gotta love OpenACS - I decided to start a new blog and it took me, oh, 45 seconds!
You will notice a new tab up the top of this page titled "Dev Blog" which will take you to Mark Aufflick's Developer Weblog. Go on, click it. You know you want to! This blog has it's own seperate RSS feed to keep you RSS feeders happy.
OpenACS on MacOS X Panther (10.3)
I am loving being back on OSX - all because it looks like I can get a cheap replacement screen for my original G4 PowerBook from a friend (thanks in advance Rutho).
I decided to go with Postgres 7.4.1 (in retrospect the current OpenACS documentation actually tells Panther users to go with 7.4 instead of 7.3 - Malte as always you are one step ahead). Compiling pg 7.4.1 needs the very latest version of bison which is ahead of both apple and fink, so I had to install bison from source.
With all this manual installing going on, I decided to start an /opt tree, So now I have very clear delineation: /opt is stuff compiled by me, /sw is compiled and/or installed by fink - everything else is from Apple or a standard OSX application/package install.
So my standard ./configure command (as used for both bison and Postgresql) is now:
Keeps everything nice and tidy :)
Like Vinod, I decided to manually add --enable-threads to both ./configure lines in fink's .info file /sw/fink/10.3/stable/main/ finkinfo/languages/tcltk-8.4.1-2.info for tcl to enable thread support. But instead of sheer laziness (in Vinod's case :P) I actually did it on purpose so that any other fink packages needing tcl (probably plenty) will work ok. Seems like an ok idea to me - but I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than a development machine.
For AolServer 4.0 I used:
Note that for some reason, the aolserver sourceforge archive has no tarball for nsrewrite - you have to get it from cvs. Details and other Aolserver 4 installation help is in this OpenACS 5.0 document. Basically, after the above .configure, I did the following to install the required modules:
make install ACS=1 INST=/opt POSTGRES=/opt
I didn't need to edit nssha1.c like Vinod did - the current version only generates a warning which you can ignore.
Ok - AOLServer works now. Time for bed :) GAH - 3:43 am!!
Oops - forgot to install tDom. Unlike in Aolserver 3, we install the tDom library into our system instead of libtdom into the aolserver directory. As per Vinod's instructions, edit the tDOM-0.7.8/unix/CONFIG file by uncommenting the Aolserver 4 section - but modify it to say this instead (again supplying your prefix of choice):
If you get "invalid command dom" in your error.log, then aolserver is not finding tdom. Assuming you have installed it, check your LIBRARY_PATH I guess.
Launch of a new Blog
This blog will be where I post "development related" blog entries so that they are easier to find and don't clog up the home page since most people really won't care that I created a new /opt tree on my laptop...
Oh - and so for those of you tracking my blog with RSS, this blog has it's own RSS feed (linked on the right).
Mac OS X Outliners
One big issue is an outliner - the one piece of software that soothes my brain instead of frying it!
I had an ok outliner before, but I can't remember it's name!! It had something to do with strawberry software, and some other name that had trademark issues...
Anyway, while hunting for it I found a few nice bits of software:
MyMind - outliner and mapper - you can map interesting relationships graphically, and have arbitrary columns, but no concept of a "body" of text per entry...
Omni Outliner - better than I remember it - this may well be the winner since it fits my outlining paradigm.
Shout! My Brain Out - dumb name (due to aformentioned trademark issues), great product. It's been updated more recently than the old version I used to run, and I'm going to have to go license it now that it runs in demo mode, and $USD20 is a bit steep when the incumbant (and slightly more polished) OmniOutliner is $USD29.95
The act of introducing something new.
A newly formed shoot, or the annually produced addition to the stems of many mosses.
- Know your customers' mindsets—intimately
- Innovate around—rather than through—the technology
- Scour the globe for good ideas
Mars Rover runs out of flash [spaceflightnow.com]
Also for those of you confused about how to hear a beep in the Marsian atmosphere - I think they mean a network ping...
Do You Race? Hell, yeah, I race! [www.hovercarracer.com]
Matt Reilly, or Matthew Reilly as he is known in the U.S., Sydney's own best-selling author, is about to publish a full length action novel, on the Internet, for free.
The sharper readers will remember Stephen King doing a similar "world first" - but he tried to charge money for it (a dollar a chapter or something). A quick google search will show that he never finished (or finished publishing) the book - possibly because noone bought it.
I have raved about Matt's writing in my book reviews (like Contest) - they are fast, furious, and leave tradtional action writers for dead when it comes to pleasing a 21st century blockbuster- raised generation of readers.
To quote the release email (which seems inspired by Apple's Superbowl ad invoking 1984-which incidentally is about to have it's 20th birthday):
Welcome to the future of reading.
On 04.04.04, everything you thought you knew about reading is going to change. Because on April 4, one of the biggest novels of 2004 comes out, but this novel...
HOVER CAR RACER is the first full-length 400-page novel by a major international author to be released on the Internet. Which means it will be available for reading on your computer....for free. The story will be released in 8 cliffhanging parts, each part ranging from 25 to 72 pages, so you can read it at your desk at work during lunchtime, or at school during library period, or you can even print it out and read it on the bus-ride home! Any way you want, just like a book!
You can sign up for his email list, where the first episode will be pre-released. From the catchy date of 04.04.04 you will be able to get further installments on the website www.hovercarracer.com. You can sign up to the mailing list at that site or Matt's official homepage MatthewReilly.com.
Bible stories - in Lego! [www.thebricktestament.com]
The site is created by The Reverend Brendon Powell Smith, who has his own website with the cool URL of www.thereverend.com - but I'm not sure that he's a genuine reverend, just like Phil Dooley's not a genuine doctor...
McDonalds HotSpots [www.btplc.co.uk]
McDonalds and BT (British Telecom) have teamed up in the UK to launch wireless hotspots in 500 of their restaurants.
If you get drivethrough I guess you would need to read your email real quick ;)
London Olympics 2012 [www.london2012.org]
The centre of the games would be an Olympic park built in east London, comprising an 80,000-seat stadium, a velodrome and an aquatic centre (which will be built regardless). Tennis matches would be in Wimbledon; archery in the Lord's cricket ground; swimming, cycling and athletics at the Olympic Park; triathlon and road cycling in Hyde Park; baseball and softball in Regents Park; and beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade.
Now apart from the idea of beach volleyball in London, that sounds absoulutely amazing. It would be the next "can't miss" Olympics after Sydney 2000. Even Eton gets a lookin with their new rowing course.
It seems a pity to use Lords for archery though - why not hold cricket as a demonstration sport? It would be yet another gold medal for us to win :)
Colons; Semi-colons: What's the big deal?
Have bullets, will travel
Washington airport - who would have thought. Now it's true that five bullets by themselves are not a big deal - even if he had dissasembled them to extract the gunpowder he would have been lucky to set off the smoke detector that is fitted in the toilet because smoking is a safety hazard (that's funny - it wasn't a safety hazard in the 1980s...)
What's a bit scary though, is if there are terrorist groups testing out security methods to find weak points. Maybe this guy could meet up at an airline hub with half a dozen others each with a few pieces of a ceramic pistol...
The Brits were quick to point out that this shows America should be focussing more on ground security and less on ramming sky marshals down everyone's throat. I am inclined to agree - regular sky marshals would mean that there would be at least one gun on every international flight. That concerns me. (more discussion in this article)
In related news, at New York's Kennedy Airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.
At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value.
How the man managed to obtain a slide rule continues to baffle investigators.
What, exactly, is SCO implicating?
I often get annoyed by people who take their high horse on this, thinking "just let the punters think it's all Linux - it's easier for them to understand that way". But now that ambiguity is helping SCO.
You see the only code SCO is complaining about is in the kernel. And as we know, the kernel is just on (very important) piece of the puzzle. We can, though, run almost exactly the same set of software on a different kernel - like *BSD, GNU's own Hurd (running on the Mach microkernel), Apple's opensource Darwin kernel or even non-free kernels like Solaris.
So there really is no reason for the Opensource / GNU movement to be affected by these lawsuits - even if the unthinkable happened and SCO actually won a point or two.
Thank's to Richard Stallman for pointing this out on ZDnet (gee, if you coudln't trust Richard Stallman to point this out - what could you trust!)
HP licenses Apple's iPod technology
"We explored a range of alternatives to deliver a great digital music experience and concluded Apple's iPod music player and iTunes music service were the best by far." -- Carly Fiorina, chairman and CEO of HP
Looks like even one of Microsoft's best friends recognises that Apple is lightyears ahead of Microsoft when it comes to personal Audio. Game on!
Linux for Poets [www.linux.com]
The interview covers topics like "is using linux hard". My favourite is the following question/answer (excerpts):
Q: Why do you think so many writers use MS Office instead of OpenOffice?
A: They use it because it comes with their $400 Dell specials. Or because they bring it home from work and copy it. ...if you're going to be a welder, you have to know how to use a torch -- for instance -- but for writers, they seem to think they don't need to know how to use the tools of the trade in order to make a living at it. ...
Better Linux Virtual Servers [www.linux-vserver.org]
Essentially, every virtual vserver shares the same kernel as the host system, although they are all full isolated and protected form each other. This means it's no use for testing new kernels (which is on of the main aims of User-Mode linux), but is more efficient for production servers that most of us run.
It makes sense that it's more efficient than User-Mode Linux, and I would guess that it should be faster than VMware as well. (Incidentally I love VMware, and use it on production servers).
Thanks to Guan for the link.
When more can be too much
So THAT's why I hate sendmail configuration! In my mind there are two ways to do configuration files:
- for simple cases, a .ini type with named groups of name/value pairs (although the .ini format itself sucks)
- otherwise, use a well know, simple to embed, structured language. The way aolserver uses tcl in it's configuration file is a good example of this (example).
This would of course only be useful for exploits that allow code to be executed or files to be installed.
People who know me know that I intensly dislike most Microsoft implementations of technology, but I think it is instructive to how we operate as people that if this technology came from, say, the IBM research labs, it would get positive page 2 or 3 IT press reports. If, however, it came from Microsoft, it would get page 1 negative reports - but be implemented anyway.
New Search Engine Technology
My theory is that it is the rise of blogging, rather than spam-like pornographic sites, that are ruining the results from conventional search sites. For example, my referrer logs show that some time this month, a poor hapless internet searcher was searching for "(law and rss )and( not commercial)" which hits my blog entry SCO vs. the World. So this web surfer has gone to roughly 300% more effort than the average person while constructing his or her search string and still they get a less than useful result. I hope they enjoyed my site though!
Not that long ago, you wouldn't have called Google a "conventional search engine" with it's innovative page rank technology, but times move fast, and I guess eventually the pigeons just can't keep up.
I have been playing with vivisimo.com a bit which, basically, automatically categorizes the search results into browseable groups of results. Not so exciting, except that the categories themselves are generated from the content of the search results themselves. I am a bit ambivilent about the results so far, I suspect their results would be better if they used google as the underlying index instead of Yahoo, MSN and others.
A different approach is to improve the way you interact with the search results. This is the approach taken by Grokker. Grokker clusters the results, possibly in a similar way to vivisimo but I'm not entirely sure, and then lets you kindof "fly through" the results. It appears to borrow a lot of ideas from Apple's Project X (using their experimental Meta Content Format known as Hot Sauce), which was a new idea in, oh, 1996. Like Project X, it's a nice idea, but I don't see it being a big hit.
A similar concept is behind www.kartoo.com, but instead of downloading an application, it runs in your browser which is more convenient, and instantly gives it 100 times more chance of surviving. It took me a little while to get used to it, but I quite like it.
Stay tuned for more reports.
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