Computers: July 2002 Archives

Mac:: on Mac OS X

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So I want to get Mac::Glue to work on Mac OS X, and I am porting a few Mac:: XS modules. First up was the simplest, Mac::Types. Then I did Mac::Memory. The next few -- Mac::Files, Mac::MoreFiles, Mac::Resources, Mac::Processes -- all require GUSI, so I am going to have to do something about those; it shouldn't be too hard, the functions needed are mostly just converting paths to FSSpecs and back. Then there's Apple events. It could prove to be a challenge; I'm not yet sure.

So far the issues popping up, aside from disabling unsupported functions and providing missing GUSI functionality, there are just some common .h-type things to provide, a few common functions, and ... $^E. $^E cannot be hacked into perl on Mac OS X, so it will require a porting of scripts that use the Mac:: modules. I figure I'll have a Mac::Carbon module or something that will provide a MacError() function to retrieve $^E. Maybe a tie'd variable. I dunno.

Focus Camera

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Don't use Focus Camera. They sent me a broken electric focuser for my telescope, and I have to pay the return shipping charges for their mistake.

MacPerl Progress

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I am mostly done with bugs I need to fix for MacPerl 5.6.1r2. Matthias is needed to fix a few others, and he is on vacation for a couple of weeks, so now I need to move on to either 5.8.0 bugs (moving toward either a third alpha, or a beta), or to something else.

I am toying with porting some of the Mac:: XS modules, primarily so I can use Mac::Glue in Mac OS X. I have a plan, and it just might work.

International Space Station

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Last night, I watched the international space station. What did you do?

I was planning on looking at it through the new telescope, but it was moving too fast. Went across the sky in about five minutes. It was about as bright as the brightest star in the sky, not as bright as Venus had been earlier. But there are people in it, just like on Venus!

The Heavens Above site is very cool. Personalized star charts etc. telling you when and where the ISS will be. I went outside with my mother-in-law and wife and told them it would pass right above the edge of the handle of the Big Dipper, and right through the dipper of the Little Dipper, and sure enough, there it went, at the time the site said it would. Nifty.


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While most everyone else is at TPC, I am at home playing with the new 60mm telescope my wife bought me. It's way cool. Aside from the regular stuff, it has a computer so it can automatically find celestial objects, and you can hook that computer up to your PC and control it with the included software.

The CD even comes with ActivePerl (yes, it's Windows; I am running it under Virtual PC), to script the telescope, but the software is only scriptable for a certain number of days before you have to pay. Well, if I am able to hook it up to my Mac and control it via Virtual PC, I might do that at some point. For now, I am just learning to use the thing.

It also comes with an "electronic" eyepiece, for plugging the telescope into a video source, like a video camera or TV. So I can sit in my living room, control the telescope from the computer, and watch it on TV. OK, that's all a bit too perverse.

I can see me spending a lot of money on eyepieces and such for this thing. Gotta take it slow. :-)

So cute!

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It's funny to me, in more than one way, to see everyone coming to the Mac platform. I've been using it for almost as long as I can remember.

Before Mac OS X, I was using an old, decrepit, silly toy operating system. And now I am an early adopter, a sage being with incredible insight into this new wonder that is Mac OS X.

Of course, the truth is that Mac OS X is not Mac OS, that it is a new operating system, that NeXT users were the real early adopters (well, OK, Mac users were the early adopters of most of the UI and some of the API, but NeXT users had the rest), and that it's pretty new for everyone. But still, I slide fairly comfortably (if not entirely willingly) into the world of Mac OS X, knowing much about AppleScript and Apple events, what apps are available, platform-specific differences, etc. So while Mac OS X is new, it's very familiar, and Apple has done a tremendous job (if a slow one) of making Mac OS X feel like home.

So it's pretty funny to me to see all these Perl programmers, many formerly hating Macs, clamoring to the Mac platform, learning about the little things, and falling in love like I did many years ago. It's also a bit disturbing, because I used to be "The Mac Guy" in the Perl world, and I am that no longer (or at most, not for long ;-). But that's good, because the more's the merrier, and it means less work for me to get the tools I want (I'm looking at you, Elian).

MacPerl 5.6.1 Building

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I did a build of MacPerl 5.6.1 for the first time in many moons today. A few small test things to fix.

One odd thing I noticed was that something that popped up in builds for MacPerl 5.8 that I never noticed before were popping up in MacPerl 5.6, with MacPerl trying to open "" and seeing a file ":Test" trying to open it, instead. This causes havoc in the test suite, since there is a file called "TEST" (remember, case-insensitive!) in the t directory. So in my test script, I move the file around depending on whether the test needs that file or not.

Anyway, this never happened before with 5.6, that I recall. But there's not been a new GUSI in some time (since right before MacPerl 5.6.1r1 was released), and I would have noticed it before. Could something else have changed? I have no idea what, but I might look into it. I am fairly certain this is a bug in GUSI though, so hopefully Matthias will fix it and I won't need to worry about it anymore.

So ... apart from that, I am now just synching up some of my work from 5.8, fixing other little bugs, etc. Moving toward an r2, slowly, but surely.

News at TPC?

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Is there any?

.mac .sucks

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I moved the family email accounts from to elsewhere (no addresses need changed, because was just the end location, and mail was forwarded there from elsewhere), because Apple is going to start charging $100/year for addresses.

It's really a horrible shame what Apple is doing. There are primarily two types of people who will pay Apple: 1. the person who really wants all these .mac services and is getting a pretty good deal, and 2. the person who, because of reliance on the address or because of lack of computer ability to change to a different account is essentially forced to pay whatever Apple wants. For the former group, they have no complaints. For the latter, it's classic bait-and-switch.

Perforce updates

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Not a lot of new code from me, but I can note that there is a new branch for MacPerl on the perl repository: maint-5.8/macperl/ is what macperl/ was. maint-5.6/macperl/ is still there for MacPerl 5.6, and macperl/ is still there for MacPerl 5.9/5.10.
infobot stopped working for me under perl 5.8. I didn't investigate why, but for some reason, under perl 5.8 the same code was using NDBM_File instead of DB_File. Oh well, I tracked it down and just added the right configuration line to infobot.config.

Other than that, perl 5.8 has worked just fine on my dev box, including with all my little scripts and with mod_perl.


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We didn't renew our vehicle registration before it expired. So we are waiting for it to come in the mail after renewing online, but then we get email reply that says we can drive the car before it comes in the mail, as long as we print out the email and carry it in the car.

We have no printer, and no fax machine.

My wife's mother is flying in tonight, so we sent the email to her to print and bring with her on the plane.

Technology is really weird.

Spam Spam

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Someone is spending me (the admin of use Perl;) spam to prove that the email to them, that they requested, is not spam. It's unsolicited, it's commercial, and it's email. That makes it spam. It amazes me that the users of this system completely miss the irony of it. And there's no way I am going to respond to it.

Subject: Re: [use Perl] Stories for 2002-07-13
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 08:51:21 -0400
X-Priority: 3
X-Library: Indy 9.0.1-B
X-ChoiceMail-Registration-Request: ChoiceMail registration request
The recipient,, asks that you click on the URL pl?data=xxx
to request permission to send emails.
This recipient is using a permission-based email system that requires
senders to be granted permission to contact the recipient.
The purpose is to prevent junk email messages from disturbing the recipient.
The recipient apologizes for this minor one-time inconvenience.
The original mail that you sent to the recipient has been stored temporarily
and will be released once your registration has been accepted by the recipient.
There is no need to send your original mail again.
For more information on how you can subscribe to this service, please contact

TiBook Returns

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I got my computer back today. I don't know if it is fixed; I'll have to wait and see if it freezes over the next few days. Apple didn't say what was wrong; predictably, they just noted that they replaced the logic board (and yes, I still have 512MB on it :-).

They reinstalled Mac OS 9.2.2, apparently over the existing installation (I see the telltale Desktop icons for accessing email and the web, and the Late Breaking News alias in the volume). I don't know what possessed them to do this, but they didn't say what software changes they made to my system, so I have to erase the whole thing and reinstall from an image I made before shipping it off. That's really stupid; if they are going to change my system, they should at the very least tell me exactly what they changed. Sigh. I have no idea whether they added something important (doubtful, since it was a hardware problem, which also makes me question why they bothered with this in the first place), and since I heavily customize my system, they likely added back or removed things I didn't want added or removed.

Well, I'll be happy if the computer isn't freezing anymore. To be continued (hopefully, for not much longer) ...

"Good" News About TiBook

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Apparently the Apple technicians think the logic board needs replaced. My primary fear was that they would think there is no problem with the machine.

I wonder if my computer will come back faster and more stable in other ways, too? One can always hope!

p4 problems

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I couldn't get p4 to run. My little p4start script was silently failing. I removed the option to not give errors/warnings, and learned that the host fingerprint changed. D'oh. I spent way too much time trying to find out what the problem was.

YAPC Day 3

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I never finished my Day 3 wrapup. I remember hanging out longer than normal in the hotel room to finish up my talk, then going to the university, then giving my talk.

I think my talk went well, though I can never be too sure. Riley gave most of the talk with me -- my hot dancing babe -- and was a big hit. I forgot to start Classic, or it somehow got quit, and so my talk stalled for a minute or two. I think I went too fast over a few things, and didn't explain some things well enough. I'd do it better if I did it again, and maybe next time I'll try giving the talk to or somesuch, first. Although, since I never finish my talks until they are ready to give, that'd be tough.

Damian's closing talk -- good as usual -- mentioned the Perl eugenics program featuring breeding of a new class of programmers with coded names, like gnat's Raley and my Riley, both having some relation to O'Reilly. It's all a conspiracy!

Jennifer, Riley, and I were tired and unfortunately didn't stick around on Friday evening. We went back to the hotel after a good YAPC, ate dinner at J.Buck's, and slept.

The next day was annoying. The hotel had quoted us $119 for the second two nights, but charged $139 each, and wouldn't change it. They had other problems too, relatively minor, but they added up. The flight was delayed about an hour, and we only had 1.25 hours between connecting flights. Luckily, the connecting flight was delayed too, due to security problems. Yay!

We saw Dan Sugalski at the airport, getting searched. I had my shoes searched. Poor security guy.

Got home very late and slept.

Riley was very happy all Sunday. She was quite glad to be home.


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I am reading through journals of the past week, and remembered a part of Larry's keynote that I thought was fantastic: the importance of histories as applied to our own lives. I had a similar thought as Larry did: the problem with allegories is that they are too directed. Too forced.

I don't think it is so much that I love histories because the reader has the freedom to see how they can be applied, but I love that they may be applied, and that they aren't forced like allegories are. OK, maybe I do love the freedom aspect, but I don't put it in those terms. Maybe I should. But it is rare that I can read history and not be able to apply it to other things.

On a side note, I think this is why I have trouble writing fiction, or even songs (I've written scores of songs, but not many in the last 10 years). I feel like I am forcing things too much, that it is too artificial. I've recently continued my journey through LotR (I read FotR last year before the movie, tTT is this year, and probably RotK next year), and perhaps I'll meditate on these things.
J.Buck's, named after -- owned by? -- recently deceased St. Louis sportscaster Jack Buck, has absolutely fantastic food. There are a lot of yuppyish people around, but the food is great. I had the best restaurant hamburger I've had in years for lunch on Thursday, and a fantastic fetuccini dish with chicken and a creamy parmesan sauce. It's in Clayton, right across from the Sheraton hotel I stayed at.
<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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This page is a archive of entries in the Computers category from July 2002.

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