Entries tagged software which should exist

Related tags: forums, maildir, perl, projects, stolen-souls, todo, wishlist, xen-tools.

Random tools I would use - and pictures

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

So previously I talked about pictures. Having spent a while playing with some new lighting ideas I'll present three recent images:

Now that's out of the way lets talk software. There are two specific things I think would be useful to me right now:

Opportunistic "cron"

I've got a few jobs that don't take long to run, and I schedule for once a day when my systems are idle.

It'd be nice to have some long-running daemon which could trigger these odd-jobs (which do things like update my list of mutt mailboxes) when the system has been idle for >30 minutes, or some similar criterion.

Ideally I'd say "Run this job when the system is idle, but if the system is never idle run it once a day, or once an hour regardless".

Content-aware tracking software

I use rsync to archive images across a number of systems.

Imagine I rename a few images locally, I have to re-rsync even though ideally all I need to do is rename the contents remotely. The issue is remembering what I've changed.

So given:


If I rename "06-Indigo" then it's trivial to ssh to the remote host and do the same job. But what if I rename a bunch of individual files?

Ideally I'd be able to run something like:

~$ tool --snapshot ~/Images/
~$ mv Images/old.jpg Images/new.jpg
~$ tool --show-changes ~/Images
mv Images/old.jpg Images/new.jpg

I half believe git can do something like this, but it seems like you should be able to index the filename+SHA1+size to ~/.snapshot, then later do the same thing and output a list of "mv" commands.

Anyway; I'm drunk. I'm probably not making sense, and I need to sleep. Goodnight.

ObQuote: "Hello Mr. Svenning how have you been?" - Mallrats



What would you have me do, Stephen?

Friday, 6 November 2009

Things which should exist, but don't yet:

Transparent SQL Cache

Imagine a proxy listening on, receiving SQL Queries.

Any query that was "SELECT .." could return the result from a local cache for the appropriate table. Any query of the form "UPDATE" or "INSERT" would flush all caches for the table.

Should be near-trivial: Hash the incoming query & parameters via SHA1sum to get a unique key then store/lookup results in Memcached.

Would it be useful? I think so, but of course it depends on the application and the effort involved.

"Global status"

A single site that would rebroadcast a posted (short) status message to facebook/twitter/your chat client/etc/etc.

Hard part would be receiving comments from the sites it re-served to.

Scraping statuses from facebook is hard, not sure about twitter.

This concludes my Friday wishlist.

ObFilm: Master and Commander



We should just deal with nice people

Sunday, 16 November 2008

For various reasons I've recently been thinking about forums.

Many technical users dislike forums, because they are things that are hard to follow. Even with RSS feeds & etc you need to keep a login and remember to return to see if your post(s) have been answered.

However non-technical users love forums, and from a community-building perspective they're very cheap and easy. Particularly if you manage to appoint moderators from within the comunity.

I currently find myself in a position where I'd kinda like to have a forum package. Something that I can integrate into existing site easily.

Unfortunately most of the "best" forum packages are PHP-based, and have their own complex login, group, and admin facilities. That makes it hard to update them to authenticate against my existing MySQL table(s). (We'll leave my PHP-allergy in the background)

So, once more, I've been contemplating the bad route; create my own forum software. I'm well aware that down that path lies badness madnesss.

Let us recap. What is a forum?

  • A forum is an online site.
  • With a coarse list of topics.
  • Inside each topic is a list of threads.
  • Each thread is comprised of a number of (threaded) messages.

Sound familiar? It should if you use email:

  • ~/Maildir contains storage for a collection of mailboxes.
  • Each mailbox is a course list of topic-specific discussion.
  • Each topic is comprised of a number of (threaded) messages.

So, the unthinkable, could we convert (bi/uni-directinally?) from a Maildir hierarchy to an online forum?

Would that make sense? On the face of it. Yes.

There are implementation details - the forum index would be essentially a list of Maildir folders (perhaps "~/Maildir/topic1/.title" would be require to give it a pretty name).

Each thread topic would be a rendered display of the messages in the folder.

So, what are the drawbacks? Well reading Maildir folders gives us threading, and subjects, bodies, etc. But it does mean a fair bit of overhead parsing messages.

(Times like this I remember Hughe. Every time we've gotten together for beer & geekery the topic of an extensible perl-based IMAP server comes up. I'm sure it should be written ..)

I'll wrap this up now. I'm sure I've made the point. There are some details which have impact - Should the forum accept new posts online? Or only via gated email-delivery? Will it work? Should it be Maildir, or IMAP based? Still at least filtering your SPAM would be easy ;)

More questions. Some questions have no answers. Some answers we ignore because we don't like.

I need to sleep.

ObFilm: 007: Quantum of Solace

Bad film. Don't waste your pennies.



In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26

Friday, 13 July 2007

Bootstrapping non-Debian distributions suck.

The only available tool appears to be rpmstrap which quite frankly fails more often than it works.

Since my xen-tools project needs to do carry out this kind of operation I've been pondering the idea of writing a tool which will install CentOS/Fedora/SuSE into a directory, in a similar fashion to debootstrap.

If there's nothing out there that you can point to, then I think that will be my next project.

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