Posts for August 2008

2008-08-10: Update and migration

Week before last, I had an absolutely fantastic visit with long-time friends. It was the first time that all four of us were able to get together in one place physically in eight years. We spent the whole week talking, mixing in some game playing, a long tour of Stanford, photography and comic book geeking, and watching some DVDs and TV shows, but mostly just talking. We went until 5am several days and at least 2am almost every night.

Then Monday, the day after the end of that visit, the power supply failed in the shell system and main web server (or at least I'm fairly sure that's what the symptoms meant). I then forgot that it had a weird power supply (ATX-GES) and wasted $70 (well, I could still return it) on a power supply that didn't work. Since ATX-GES power supplies are basically impossible to find and the converter cables weren't available locally, I went through some worrying about what to do, and then decided to just accelerate the migration to hosted VMs.

So, that's what I spent basically all of Monday and Tuesday on, and some of Wednesday, but it's all set up now and is working great. I cleaned up a bunch of old accounts too, which will reduce the mail load and provide fewer opportunities for someone to brute-force some old account. I'm very happy with the results; the new system seems quite responsive, I'm well under the bandwidth cap, and I now have a good template and installation system for making changes.

Since I didn't want to take vacation to fix my machine (I have other vacations coming up to use that time on), the rest of the week was catchup, trying to get a full week's work in. Of course, then the Olympics started Friday evening, so I'm now into my intensive Olympic-watching mode.

So, I'm basically packing as much as possible into every day right now. I have a bunch of web site work that I still want to do, I have lots of services left to migrate off of my other main system, and I still have lots of writing ideas from our visit that I want to explore with friends and have only just started. And there are the Olympics, which as usual have more coverage per day than I can actually watch.

This summer didn't look like it was going to be this busy going in. I guess they never do.

The current goal is to make sure that I do two full weeks of work these next two weeks, and spend all the rest of my time watching the Olympics. Everything else, as usual, will take something of a back seat. Then I have one regular week, and then vacation, during which I can catch up on all sorts of other things.

2008-08-11: Recent photo gallery

I've added a gallery of recently posted photographs to my photograph page, which should make it easier for people to keep up to date with new photographs I'm posting. It will also make me feel less like I need to mention each one here if I feel like posting a few things that don't feel worth announcing in a journal entry.

Another beach photograph today.

Driftwood river

The recent gallery only has three pictures right now, but will eventually hold the most recent eighteen.

2008-08-11: New photographs

Three new photographs posted today, including a new gallery of photographs of random objects, often junk, that caught my eye and look more interesting in a close photograph. Here's the first:

Rusted metal

To for quick links to all three new photographs, see the recent gallery.

2008-08-12: Classic haul

With all the other things going on in life right now, one of the things that's suffering is reading. My yearly total is likely to be far below the last few years, although a bit after the Olympics I do get to have a week of vacation which is going to be devoted mostly to reading and playing video games.

But, of course, that doesn't mean I can stop buying books, particularly since there are new books out by a few authors I like to support. I also picked up some very nice classic editions of some famous books.

Elizabeth Bear — Hell and Earth (sff)
Philip K. Dick — Four Novels of the 1960s (sff)
Philip K. Dick — Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s (sff)
Thomas M. Disch — The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of (nonfiction)
Richard P. Feynman — The Feynman Lectures on Physics: The Definitive Edition (nonfiction)
Ralph Keyes — Nice Guys Finish Seventh (nonfiction)
Karl Schroeder — Pirate Sun (sff)
Charles Stross — Saturn's Children (sff)

After reading a lot about Feynman recently, I finally decided that I wanted to own a copy of his lectures on physics, even if I'm not likely to read them soon. The Library of America has published two very nice collections of Philip K. Dick's short novels, and I couldn't resist picking those up, particularly since I'd only read one of the nine novels included in them.

2008-08-13: Reviews now on journal page

When I moved my old journal into my web site, I removed some redundancy by deleting the individual journal copies of book reviews in favor of keeping the canonical version in the reviews section of my site. As a side effect of that, though, and the way the various index files in my journal are generated, that meant that reviews stopped appearing in my regular journal web page. They were in the RSS feeds, but to know that a new review was posted when browsing my web site, you'd have to go to the review section specifically.

I didn't think much of this, but I've since discovered that this has apparently confused at least one person. Plus, the more I thought about it, the less sense it made.

So tonight, I took some time while watching the Olympics to hack on the various bits of software that generate my web site to automate generation of the main index page for my journal (instead of semi-automated the way it was before). This means that reviews will now appear in the regular journal page like any other post and age out like all the rest.

In the process, I also cleaned up URL handling so that I can use relative URLs in journal posts and they're always made absolute for all the RSS feeds (I'm not completely sure how all RSS readers handle relative links, particularly when turning the RSS feed into HTML to display on some other site). This means that images references in my journal entries will now get proper size tags in HTML because they're relative filenames that spin knows how to deal with.

2008-08-13: Reflections

The latest photograph, another from my Oregon coast trip last year.

Hotel reflections

This is the first picture I've posted that's vertical rather than horizontal, but all the software and layout seems to have coped fairly well. The only potential problem is that the vertical height of the rows of pictures in galleries containing vertical pictures is a bit larger, which may look odd down the road. It doesn't yet, so I won't bother trying to figure out how to fix it yet. (I can probably fix it with judicious use of vertical padding around images that are horizontal.)

I'm fairly happy with what I'm getting done while still watching the Olympics. I'm less happy that that's involved resurrecting dead AFS servers for the past couple of days, although thankfully the problems were all known ones from accidentally running a back revision of the file server.

2008-08-18: spin 1.69

I added support to spin for setting links to RSS feeds for a page in its header using an \rss command prior to the \heading command. I also added support for a \sitemap command that includes the entire structure of the site as a list in the page. There are some additional documentation fixes and a bug fix where state from one page was not fully cleared before starting to process the next page.

These features were added to be used on my site, of course. The pages with corresponding RSS feeds now have the appropriate tags in the page headers, which means that modern browsers with RSS support will provide an easy interface to subscribing to the feed. There is also a new sitemap for my web site. I don't know how useful it will be to anyone, but it looks impressive at least.

You can get the new version of spin from my web tools page.

2008-08-22: Footprints on beach

Here, have another beach photograph. A bit generic, but I do love the way the sky's color varies.


In other news, I just uploaded version 11 of the USEPRO draft, which I expect to be the final version before IETF Last Call (maybe with an additional version to fix some minor issues like typos). We had an end-of-the-month deadline to finally get this out the door. It's a significant improvement over RFC 1036, and the working group is burned out. The chairs finally picked a resolution for the main open issue remaining, and I'm fairly happy with the result.

The Olympics have consumed my brain, so there haven't been many updates (although I'm working on a new release of remctl; there's a lot of work to incorporate). I love watching the Olympics in saturation like this, but two weeks is the right length or maybe a bit too long. I want to watch the rest and will also be happy when it's over.

Having the constant visual input and partial focus on something like this is a drain. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I've finished over the last few weeks, but it leaves me feeling a bit stretched. Ideally, I'll get the remctl release out next week before I go on vacation, but that may or may not happen. I still have significant patches to integrate.

The end of next week, I go on vacation, during which I will read, play video games, watch DVDs, and generally let my brain relax fully.

2008-08-23: spin 1.70

I decided to start overhauling my Usenet article format page a bit since I'm working on the USEFOR draft again, and decided that finding the size of each file to indicate the size next to links (which the IETF pages do and which I think is cool for an at-a-glance feel of the size of specifications) was tedious. So this version of spin now supports a \size command, which inserts the size in bytes of a local file. It automatically scales the units to produce a nicely readable number.

I also made the error handling of a botched macro definition a little less spectacular in its failure, although it could still use work.

You can get the latest version from my web tools distribution page.

2008-08-25: Debian packaging and Git

I'm now using Git for nearly all of my Debian packaging except for some team-maintained packages and some packages where I'm also upstream and have not yet converted the repository. I've written up my workflow and related notes.

I think I mentioned this previously in my journal, but somewhat in passing. Since changing ones packaging workflow and adopting the new revision control systems came up again on Debian Planet, and since I've made various modifications and updates, it's probably time for another mention.

What I'm doing still doesn't maintain nice patches for pushing upstream that include complete revision history. I diff the feature branches against upstream to produce patches, which works reasonably well. Something like TopGit would probably be an improvement, but I haven't had a chance to experiment with this yet.

The Shibboleth packaging team is using this repository format. The AFS and Kerberos packaging team is using a simplified version of it.

Last modified and spun 2017-03-25