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Prepare yourself you know it's a must

17 October 2007 21:50

After years of on-again-off-again infatuation I now own my very own steam engine.

This makes me far far happier than I was expecting.

In other news a new release of xen-tools was made to fix some stupid bugs, a release of xen-shell is pending for the same reason, and after declaring I'd not make another release of GNUMP3d again I'm just about to do that too.

I am finding myself rather bored working on the same projects for so long. Though thankfully each of those three is essentially complete. If I died tomorrow there would be no real need for future development. I guess I need a new project to work upon.

The mail-scanning was going to be that project, but that has been sidetracked as I've been stripping out all the pretty and functional user-interface code with the aim of selling the code to $company as a one-off deal. (Not confirmed. Nice idea though.)

So I need a new project. People like Joey Hess who can almost instantly start fun projects (such as moreutils, ikiwiki, pristine-tar, mr) which just seem so obvious, necessary and useful on a whim make me jealous!

All in all life is good and steamy.

I just need inspiration. And more hours in the day too.

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One of the four beasts sang "come and see".

5 March 2008 21:50

As many of you might not know I love steam. Steam power, specifically.

Steam engines represent one of the most interesting engineering developments in history as far as I'm concerned, (closely followed by the accurate mechanical clock).


When I was a kid I had a computer. Each part of it was labeled and described in a manual. I knew what it was. I understood how it worked. I could build one myself if I had the time and re$ources.

Nowadays? Hell no. Sure I can assemble the different components, but I can no longer visualize the whole entity, and I couldn't build one from scratch.

I'm amazed at youngsters (~18 yrs old) who can understand a modern PC. Me? I do, but only barely, and that is primarily because I've watched the transition: Hercules Graphics -> CGA -> VGA -> SVGA -> & etc.

Coming in cold? Right now? I'd be lost. I'm impressed (saddened? That this stuff isn't more accessible?) that people can pick up technology and understand it, without having watched the developments along the way. "Southbridge"? "Northbridge"? "APIC"?

It's the same with everything. Fixing a car engine? These days? With electronics? Hell no. My (non-existant) car breaks, I'd be fucked.

I can strip a simple engine. I could repair it if I had to. I could build a steam engine. I could, given a suitable template and collection of eye-glasses, build a mechanical clock. But computers? Modern Cars? Aeroplanes? More complex than a simple person like me can understand. And somehow I think that's a bad idea. It almost reminds me of the old Asimov stories where only computers could design new machines. People just didn't undestand them anymore.


So, in conclusion. I have new steam car. It works, as you can see in this adhoc video. (Randomly captured by my partner whilst I was too busy squee'ing. Excuse the quality and lack of editting. Notice too that I've removed the seats for the test drive, just to give me a safe place to pick it up without burning my fingers!)

Lets hope the rise of the machines is soon, otherwise mankind will have collectively lost all knowledge of things less advanced than hot & cold electricity and the microprocessor.

(As you can tell it is late and I've just had many beers and a beautiful curry. All is well! Thanks for reading!)



Book Us A Ticket On The Next Space Shuttle

9 March 2008 21:50

Tomorrow I turn 32, so I've got to be all mature and responsible and stuff now. Maybe.

This means no more song lyrics will be used for blog titles. Instead I shall switch to film quotes. Films are more mature than songs, right?

There are three candidates standing for the DPL this year. I'm glad I didn't stand, but I came pretty close to doing so. I just think I'd be unlikely to receive the votes, and busy enough to fail even if I did get picked.

It seems to me that every year people promise to do too many things; fixing NEW, fixing the NM process & etc..

Me? I'd have only one goal: Open up the keyring-handling. Nothing more. Nothing less.

(Sure I'd blow all the Debian money on new toys for people but that'll be our little secret ;)

Anyway since there was a bit of interest I've uploaded a new steam engine video and I've started to document some of my collection:

More updates later. Really I need to sit down, clean my toys, and then get some good pictures taken.

Maybe next month I'll find the time. (Ha!)



You get the dwarf. I get the girl.

21 May 2008 21:50

Recently I have mostly been "behind". I've caught up a little on what I wanted to do though over the past couple of days, so I won't feel too bad.


made a new release of the chronicle blog compiler, after recieving more great feedback from MJ Ray.

un-stalled the Planet Debian.

updated the weblogs hosted by Debian Administration, after help and suggestions from Daniel Kahn Gillmor.

stripped, cleaned, and tested a new steam engine. Nearly dying in the process.

discovered a beautiful XSS attack against a popular social networking site, then exploited that en masse to collect hundreds of username/password pairs - all because the site admins said "Prove it" when I reported the hole. Decisions decisions .. what to do with the list...

released a couple of woefully late DSAs.

started learning British Sign Language.

Anyway I've been bad and not writing much recently on the Debian Administration site, partly because I'm just sick of the trolling comments that have been building up, and partly due to general lack of time. I know I should ignore them, and I guess by mentioning them here I've kinda already lost, but I find it hard to care when random folk are being snipy.

Still I've remembed that some people are just great to hear from. I know if I see mail from XX they will offer an incisive, valid, criticism or a fully tested and working patch. Sometimes both at the same time.

In conclusion I need my pending holiday in the worst way; and I must find time to write another letter...

ObQuote: Dungeons & Dragons



My ass is on fire! Spank my ass

15 August 2008 21:50

This has been a rather random few days.

  • I bought a steam-boat (not really; but close enough.)
  • I fell in love with mod_perl

For those of you that don't know it mod_perl is an Apache module which embeds perl into your webserver.

You can use this to write extensions, handlers, and all kinds of fun things in pure perl.

Me? I just changed the beefy CGI script that I use to power a couple of my sites from being plain-CGI to being mod_perl-CGI - that means:

  • The same perl engine & copy of my script stays in memory.
  • I don't need the fork()/exec() overhead for each incoming rquest.

The downside is that I have to "/etc/init.d/apache2 reload" if I change my script, or any of my custom modules it uses. (I suspect this is something I can fix; I just don't know how yet :)

All that was possible, with zero changes to my applications as I use the CGI::Application framework - lucky? or planned? I'll let you decide ...

In terms of speedup I can now process about 100 requests a second, compared to 10. As reported by the Apache-benchmark tool. Cool.

ObFilm: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor



Has he tried to speak or communicate in any way?

25 August 2009 21:50

See? Steam power does have its uses!

To avoid this becoming my most content-free post ever I'll close by saying that I updated the html-tool utility as per Sven Mueller's suggestion. So you can now show/dump arbitrary class or ID values from HTML.

Oh, and I added an about page to my blog.

ObFilm: Seven (Not Se7en - that's just dumb.)

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