June 2002 Archives

Broken PowerBook

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I was able to copy -- via PCMCIA, which stands for "Really Really Slow" in Arabic or something -- all of my main system partition and the important files from my source partition to another drive (12GB I think), and then stuck that drive in the ol' PowerBook G3/400. I booted it with the exact same system, and it seems fine, albeit slow. It's no G4/667, but it will do the job until the G4 is fixed.

I am going to limit my work on this machine for the next few weeks to making important upgrades/changes/etc. only when necessary, so I will have less stuff to copy back to the G4 when it returns. My email folder, maybe some source (although I should just be able to cvs update/p4 sync, so that shouldn't matter much, as long as I commit my changes).

Later tonight I'll do a full backup via FireWire to the 160GB external drive, and call Apple to check to see if they have parts in stock, and then send the machine in (assuming they have the parts). use.perl.org


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I am in my YAPC talk right now. use.perl.org

YAPC Day 2

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What a day. It started off unremarkably, with some good talks, but then MJD's Mailing List Judo talk kicked us all in the butt. It was funny because it was true, going through various types of people on perl5-porters and giving tips for how to get your patch accepted.

I listened to more about Perl 6 and became even less interested in it. Enough said.

I listened to some of ingy's YAML talk and am considering looking into it for some things (as I am considering looking into RT). That's some of the good stuff about conferences like this.

After the Mailing List Judo talk I had to attend the Conference Presentation Judo talk, where I picked up a few tips. But MJD stole my thunder when he said the most manipulative trick he knows is to put pictures of happy babies in your slides; but today, I plan on strapping a real live baby to my chest. My shame knows no bounds.

gnat asked to borrow my PowerBook to use FireWire and iMovie to put together a film for the Lightning Talks. It was exceptional. He spent a few hours importing, cutting, pasting, etc. and it was brilliant. I'm sure he'll put up a QuickTime movie somewhere. But my PowerBook had two problems (perhaps related?): as he finished, the PowerBook (see previous entries) froze, and then it wouldn't open the movie file. We copied the file to freeside's iBook via FireWire and got it done just in time. I later found out that the problem with opening the movie file is related to the titles: when I removed the titles from the opening, it was fine. Bugger. I tried re-adding them, no dice. I dunno.

Then we went to |siv|'s house for a BBQ and Jam, which was quite enjoyable. |siv|'s family was wonderful (and showed great hospitality to my wife and daughter), and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. We should have had a better setlist or something for the jam, though. It's jjohn's fault for not having messaging on, as he never got my comment about such preparation, and I thought he would have.

Then driving MJD and jjohn back to dorm (wow, they are far from the university!) and hotel, and to bed. Good day. use.perl.org

YAPC Day 1

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I woke up, showered, and watched the Brazil-Turkey match on ESPN.

I tried to decipher the instructions for where to go in the morning. I need a parking pass, which apparently don't really exist. Well, they do exist, but you need to find the bookstore and buy them there. siv was given money to go buy more, and so then we had parking passes. Ayup!

Larry's talk carried a Tolkien/LotR theme, which worked pretty well. I talked to many peoples and showed off my new baby and went to a talk by obra about RT, which I am going to play more with in the coming weeks -- I am considering moving MacPerl to use it -- and they are looking to move the perlbug DB to using it. It's in use at rt.cpan.org, a fine public service to the Perl community.

I went to Damian's talk about how Perl 6 is more like Perl than you may think. I read the TPJ article on the same topic on the plane, and I came away from the talk more frightened of Perl 6 than I was before the talk, but after the article.

I hung out with jjohn and gnat a bit, went to dinner with them, had a wonderful evening, and then returned with jjohn for a Template Toolkit BOF before heading back to the room for bed.

In the corner of the TT BOF room, Rbrt, lathos, and obra were working on replacing the perlbug DB with RT. Stay tuned.

I am quickly skimming over many details and people, but I am tired, and when stated this way it doesn't really seem like a lot, but the day was quite full and enjoyable, and I am looking forward to more over the next two days. use.perl.org

YAPC Day 0

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I hate travelling. Really. I hate it, which is why I rarely do it, and never wish to do it.

The first half of the flight wasn't horrible, though I was cramped -- as usual -- in my seat on the airplane. Good thing about baby: can preboard. Bad thing about baby: can't get emergency exit row.

The day got progressively worse. The second flight was delayed, the weather turned, more delays, more uncomfortableness, on and on. I am too tired to go into details, and there wasn't any one huge problem, just many little ones. I hate travelling.

Next year YAPC should be in Boston or Providence! use.perl.org

YAPC Jam BOF/Hoedown

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The YAPC Jam BOF will be at Brent Michalski's BBQ, Thursday night. That doesn't mean we can't play elsewhere at other times, of course, if for some reason you can't make it, but this is the "official" Jam BOF. use.perl.org

Mac::Perl at YAPC

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Just a reminder for anyone who will be there, I'll be giving a Mac::Perl talk at YAPC. Covered will be an overview of the state of perl on Mac OS and Mac OS X; different methods for controlling your Mac OS X environment from perl (including AppleScript, Carbon, Cocoa); MacPerl's place in Mac OS X; and an announcement about MacPerl on Mac OS X that you may not want to miss.

Slides will be posted after the talk. use.perl.org
This morning I added support to Mac::AETE::App (and small changes to Mac::AETE::Format::Glue and the gluemac droplet) to support apps in packages, and now I can "glue" apps under Mac OS X. I had added preliminary support before, but lost the code, and it wasn't very complete anyway. I am finding Mac::Glue to still be very useful under Mac OS X, despite running on MacPerl under Classic.

I still have issues with launching apps by signature (maybe it only works for Carbon apps?), and even when I do launch apps, the Launch routine returns immediately instead of waiting, so I have to sleep and wait for the app to be ready; and I haven't yet created glues for Scripting Additions/Dialect (which isn't really necessary until Mac::Glue runs on perl for Mac OS X, I believe). I'll want to figure out the launching problems soon, but the rest can wait. use.perl.org


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I got TMBG's new album, No!, a collection of songs for the whole family (that's code for "families with kids", though anyone can enjoy the album).

I like all of it except for this one song about crossing the street that seems entirely out of place, like it should be on a Barney CD. Thirteen of the 17 tracks also have an accompanying Flash animation thing on the CD, which is nifty.

My favorite songs are Four Of Two, a song about waiting for 2 o'clock, but the clock never moves from four of two, for many years; and The House At The Top Of The Tree, one of those songs where the lyrics go really fast and get jumbled together. TMBG doesn't disappoint the kids, I'll tell you what.

But anyway, I have the first track stuck in my head: it's called Fibber Island, and the lyrics are basically fibs about things ("our friends live on Mars, and we sew buttons on our cars"). It is screaming out to me that it should be spoofed with a new version called Three Mile Island, with lyrics about mutations, but I think there's an international law somewhere that says you can't spoof already-funny songs. use.perl.org
This is the first in a series of reviews of movies I haven't seen. Any spoilers are entirely accidental.

Steven Spielberg doesn't break any new ground with Minority Report, but as always, he takes good ideas and apparently does a great job with it. If you saw AI, forget about everything you saw there: ths movie doesn't seem like it is at all similar, except that it is in the future, and is directed by Kubrick^WSpielberg.

Minority Report is about a policeman (Tom Curise) who works for a special unit that knows who is going to commit what crimes. I doubt they make this premise believable, although 1. it's science fiction, so no one probably cares and 2. if anyone can make it believable, it's Spielberg. Again, ignore AI.

So Cruise goes around arresting people who haven't done anything wrong, and I would probably be annoyed by Spielberg's likely attempts to draw comparisons with what is going on in the world today. But I am sure I would get beyond that quickly because of the action, good acting, phenomenal directing, and quick-paced storyline, especially when Cruise himself is accused of being about to commit a crime.

I think it would be cool if they made this into a self-fulfilling prophecy mindbender like in that scene from The Matrix where Keanu meets the Oracle, but my guess it is more like that Max Headroom episode where a computer just decides to make stuff up about him. Either way, it would probably cause me to reflect on the role of technology as a controlling influence of our society, and I would think that I had gained new insight into the potential plight we are all in, and say that we need to take steps to make sure this kind of thing never happens. Computers are everywhere, and they can control everything we do, if we let them; but never should we take away our rights and responsibilities, even for apparently all-powerful technology.

The movie probably ends with Cruise beating the system, maybe by showing the world how flawed it is so that no one ever has to be subject to such unfair persecution/prosecution ever again. Either that or he ends up in jail or dies, and the movie ends with a camera shot pulling away from him, seeing the whole city, and it's at night and/or raining, and we feel like the future is hopeless.

I think I'd walk away from the movie thinking it was very good and I might want to buy it on DVD when it comes out, though the filmmaking was more impressive than the message. use.perl.org


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test slashdot.org

TiBook Repairs

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Apple is gonna try to repair the PowerBook. The new keyboard didn't do the job. We tried RAM and the hard drive. The sequence to reproduce the freeze now seems to be to get the computer hot (doesn't take long :-) and then tap the space bar a few times. Hopefully, they can reproduce the problem.

I will have the TiBook at YAPC, though. I'll send it to Apple after returning. I'll be the guy with the external keyboard hooked up to his PowerBook. :-) use.perl.org

Netscape Cookies

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As noted in the previous journal entry, I figured it might take some work to get my SOAP script to work. I hate being right.

Apparently, when I created my Mozilla profile under Mac OS X, it used my existing one from Mac OS, and the MagicCookie file decided to use Mac OS newlines (CR) instead of Unix newlines (LF). So HTTP::Cookies expected local newlines, and failed reading the file. I was all set to send in a patch to Gisle, and then I decided to just try to change the newlines of that file to LF to see what happens. Sure enough, it works. Apparently Mozilla autodetects the newlines and then preserves them.

At least, it seems to work. If it fails at some point, I'll send in a patch. use.perl.org

Mac OS X Trials

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I've been running Mac OS X as my primary OS on selected days recently; today I've run Mac OS X all day long. Someday I will likely switch to it permanently, and I need to start getting more familiar with it. Plus, I think I will use Mac OS X primarily at YAPC, because Mac OS 9 has some problems with sleeping (programs crash pretty frequently when sleeping/waking), I need access to both for my talk, if I need to look up something at a moment's notice I won't want to reboot, etc.

So anyway, each time Mac OS X is easier to use, but I also keep uncovering more annoyances. Some notes:

  • It took me awhile to get maccvs working. I tried using maccvsX, which is the Mac OS X version, but it was incompatible with the lsh private key I use with maccvs/MacSSH. So back to maccvs (which is Carbon, so no worries).
  • BBEdit is Carbon, but its dialog boxes stink. I hate the paned dialogs in Mac OS X anyway -- they are almost entirely unnavigable by the keyboard, take up too much real estate, are far more difficult to find things with than the Nav Services in Mac OS 8/9 -- but in some Carbon apps, it is even worse. I can't hit Return to "click" the glowing blue buttons, I can't hit cmd-D to get to the Desktop. A folder called "osdn.com" shows up as "osdn".
  • I cannot find any way to expand subfolders in the Finder. In Mac OS, I can option-click the arrow in list view and get everything underneath. I use this for a very functional purpose: I expand out everything, sort reverse by date modified, and can quickly see what has changed. No such luck in Mac OS X. I found that if I option-click to close a folder, then upon opening it, the top-level subfolders will be opened. What the heck kind of sense is that supposed to make?
  • Eudora for Mac OS X doesn't do SSL. So I need to get company email under Classic. Sigh. I could try fetchmail, I suppose, but that is just more work.
  • The Keychain works differently. I don't know if I like it or not. One thing that is nice is that you have fine-grained control over which apps can access a specific key without warning. What I want, though, is what is under Mac OS, where I can let an app access without warning until the computer is restarted, or until the app quits. Better yet, I should be able to let it access without warning only for a specified time period, or until the Keychain locks again.
  • I miss lots of little things. It takes a long time to get everything working the way I want it. Example: I have a few FKeys (remember those?) to put my sig on the clipboard (works from any app) and others to quote text for pasting in email. I am sure there is a good way to do this in Mac OS X, so I can hit cmd-shift-9 in any app to get my sig or quote text, but I don't know how. Another example: I would normally post this right from BBEdit, but I need to adapt the Perl script first (install SOAP::Lite and its dependencies, move script somewhere where it will work, test, debug if necessary, etc.). Lots of little things.
I am sure there is and will be more, but this is just what I have today, that I can recall. On the upside, I installed WirelessDriver in preparation for YAPC; since the TiBook's AirPort reception stinks, I can use my external WaveLAN card. Under Mac OS X with WirelessDriver, I can have both cards driven at the same time. Under Mac OS 9, I have to restart to get the drivers to recognize one card or the other.

But regardless of all this, I am getting to the point where I can use Mac OS X without having to run screaming back to my comfortable and heavily customized and personalized Mac OS environment. It helps that Mozilla, BBEdit, maccvs, DragThing, Interarchy, Eudora (except for SSL) -- all my most commonly used apps, except for MacPerl, which still works fine under Mac OS X -- are Carbonized. So it is getting better.

Speaking of which, I have this program called compare_slash which uses Mac::Glue to talk to Interarchy and BBEdit, fetching local and remote files, comparing them with BBEdit, using BBEdit to reconcile differences. It works flawlessly under Mac OS X with MacPerl stuck in Classic, and BBEdit and Interarchy in regular Mac OS X. When I do switch to Mac OS X permanently someday, if I don't get those Mac:: modules ported, I will continue to use MacPerl often. use.perl.org


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It is amazing to me that people chastise me for requiring definitions for words used in arguments.

This morning someone said the US has "slaughtered" many innocent civilians in Afghanistan, as if the statement were supposed to prove in itself that the US has done something wrong in its actions in Afghanistan, because obviously "slaughtering" is bad. Perhaps the US had done something wrong, but if this statement were to prove it, I needed to know what definition of "slaughter" he was using. He got on my case for "playing with the definitions of standard words".

Well, excuse me. You intended to prove something with a word, and I demanded you define your terms. If "slaughter" means merely "killing", then I want more information about how and why the killing is wrong. If it means "intentionally killing," then I want to see evidence of many innocent civilians being intentionally killed.

I can't understand why anyone would ever have a problem with requiring that critical and unclear words in an argument be defined. To progress in an argument without ensuring everyone is using the same words in the same way is nonsense; it is not useful communication, it is different people saying different things and not understanding each other. To use a word and then not want people to know what you mean by it is nonsense; it is not useful communication, it is obfuscation. use.perl.org

TiBook Woes

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My TiBook is still freezing. I got a new keyboard, and I thought it fixed the problem for awhile, but after a full day of using, it finally did freeze, and I was able to duplicate it many times. I don't know if the length of time the computer has been running makes a difference, but sometimes I can reliably hit the space bar a few times and freeze it, and sometimes I cannot. But soon after I cannot, like 10 minutes later, I usually can.

I can also cause it to freeze during the startup "bong" sound, if that tells you anything. It's definitely hardware.

Also, it doesn't happen with external keyboards (or never has), it doesn't seem to happen unless I press down with some force (not banging, but not lightly pressing, either), and it doesn't happen if I lift the keyboard off the laptop, out of its well. I tried tapping on other components inside (sure, why not?) but couldn't cause it to freeze.

The only good news about this is that I think I can use the computer at YAPC. I can type lightly, and even if I do freeze, I think the freezes should be infrequent (as long as I don't play any games, which is when I use more force; most of the freezes I've had, when I've not been trying to freeze the machine, have been while playing video games, mostly EV Nova). I can bring an external keyboard, too, for when I am able to use it (such as during my talk). I am fairly sure at this point I will have to send the machine to Apple (my one fear is that they will not be able to duplicate the freezes), but I can do it after returning from YAPC, as I have no travel plans for another month and a half.

The other good news is that I have two perfectly good TiBook keyboards. Yay, me. use.perl.org


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Everyone bring an instrument to YAPC, we'll do a jam. I'm bringing my guitar; I think jjohn might bring his, and gnat might bring a stringed instrument of some kind. use.perl.org

Mozilla 1.1

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I am very happy that Mozilla 1.1 now comes with the Site Navigation Bar back. Yay! It also apparently has performance enhancements under Mac OS X 10.1.5, but my primary Mac OS X box doesn't get these performance enhancements, being only a Lombard. Supposedly, anyway. I'll have to try that patch tomorrow when I get home.

Speaking of home, I left it this morning without my AC adapter. I am about three bttery hours away from no computer, wth about four hours left before I leave the office. use.perl.org

iBook VGA Cable

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I bought a VGA cable for my wife's iBook, and then realized that it already came with that cable. $20 obo, I can deliver to YAPC. :-) use.perl.org

TiBook Freezing Craziness

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My TiBook has been crashing for no apparent reason. I did everything to eliminate causes: removed RAM, ran hardware tests, ran CPU-intensive software overnight, tried different OSes, reinstalled OSes, ran surface scans of partitions, ran file and filesystem checks, etc. The only thing I noticed for sure is that I was always doing something on the keyboard when it froze, and usually happened in my lap (only one freeze yesterday while at my desk, but several of them on my lap).

So after four Apple tech support guys, I thought some more and decided to run some more tests. I hit the space bar repeatedly. Freeze after a few seconds. Try again, in Mac OS X. Freeze. Try again, no freeze. Why no freeze? Doh, it is on the desk this time. Put it on my lap. Freeze.

Apple is sending me a new keyboard; hopefully this does the trick. If not, at least I can send it in to them with a repeatable test case.

And Yes, I sorta do wish I had an iBook 14" right now, instead of this thing. Too fragile, horrible AirPort range. Sigh. use.perl.org


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This weekend wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great.

First, my TiBook decided to freeze for no apparent reason, in both Mac OS and in Mac OS X. "Freeze" as in "needs three-finger salute." No love.

Next, my printer dies. Epson Color Stylus 777i. There are pieces in there that look broken. The printer is out of the reach of the pets, so they didn't break it, and I don't recall breakdancing in the general vicinity of it, so I don't know how it happened, but it is unusable. I thought about buying a new one, but I am going to wait for Mac OS X 10.2 and get one that reportedly works well with it. But I just spent over $50 on ink cartridges, which is probably about as much as a new damned printer will cost.

Then, my TiBook decided to continue freezing, early and often. I could not find the Hardware Test CD that (supposedly) came with it, though I did run various tests with TechTool Pro, and Apple is sending me a CD. I suspect I will need to send them my computer to fix, which means I need to move all my data to another computer (thankfully, I have extras lying about) and be without my TiBook for awhile, risking not getting it back in time for YAPC.

Then I wake up to remember I forgot to set the TiVo to record the World Cup games. I was able to record half the second game and all the third game, but missed the first game, USA vs. Korea*. They'll replay it twice today, though, so I set the TiVo to catch the 3 p.m. showing. If you know who won, don't tell me, because I will destroy you. And your computer. Then you'll understand better how my weekend has gone.

* Last night on the NBC Nightly News, the anchor said the US was going to be playing South Korea in World Cup action. No, it is the Korea Republic, which includes North and South Korea, isn't it? I'd look it up to be sure (I am 90 percent sure), but I fear seeing a result for this morning's game. :-) use.perl.org

Computers on Airlines

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In the past, I have always had them check my computers by hand at airports. I've not flown since September 11; is this still a good idea? Do I really have anything to worry about from these airport scanning machines with my computer/PDA/digital camera? use.perl.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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