Posts for April 2009

2009-04-01: More strategy

Cedar closeup

I'm going on vacation in a week and a half, which turns out to be right in the middle of the schedule for the second revision of our strategy documents. The resolution turned out today to be that I'm supposed to start revising mine fairly soon, as soon as I get the right permissions in the wiki where we're doing the work.

I'm not particularly happy about this, but I suppose the work has to get done at some point. There are advantages to doing all of this on a very tight schedule: it does at least really get done, and if these documents will be used in all the ways that we're planning, it will significantly change how we do planning. But bleh, I was still recovering from writing the first drafts.

Otherwise, today I took care of some additional cleanup in advance of the lbdns upgrade Saturday morning (early again), fighting through feeling tired and a bit unmotivated. I need to find some time the rest of this week to stop working, since I've already worked 31 hours this week and it's time to step back and do other things rather than working another 45 hour week. I'm good at continuing to work when I have good momentum, not as good at stopping working and doing other things when I've accumulated a surplus. But there will be volleyball tomorrow, which will help.

2009-04-02: Coal tipple

Coal tipple

This is the reinforced concrete coal tipple at the Morden Colliery near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The mine is abandoned, but there's a public trail and some great places for taking pictures.

This seemed like a good picture for a day where I felt like I'm getting more and more loaded on. I'm working on two different security releases as well as getting ready to revise strategy documents, plus a few other miscellaneous things cropped up. And that's on top of scheduled AFS VLDB server upgrades and an upgrade of our load-balanced DNS service, which starts Saturday morning at 6am.

I've now worked over 40 hours for the week already. I can't skip tomorrow entirely, since I have an important meeting and need to do some prep work for Saturday morning's upgrade. But I'm going to try to work as few hours as possible and get some non-work things done.

2009-04-03: One more early weekend

Concrete frame

Another picture of the Morden Colliery coal tipple.

Tomorrow morning is a 6am morning (better than 4am, at least). I need to get up a bit before 6am, walk into work, switch a cable, and then do a separate system upgrade before 7am. Shouldn't be a problem, but it's always a little stressful that I'll oversleep or that something will go wrong.

Then, once that's over, I'm done until after my vacation. One more week of work (which is going to be hella busy), and then I'm off to Nanaimo for a wonderful week free of work and full of photography, exploration, and great conversation.

2009-04-03: Lintian 2.2.9

I finally got this released. I'm very sorry for the long delay; life has been ridiculously busy lately. This release updates the list of valid sections, fixes a few annoying bugs (particularly in diversion handling and some problems with file 5.00 and analysis of source packages), and has some additional checks for correct package sections. Many thanks to Frank Lichtenheld and Raphael Geissert for their work on this release.

I've also started the full archive run for, so it will finally be up-to-date again. Apologies to everyone for the out-of-date results there; I kept meaning to update it after the next release, and then kept finding another bug or not having a moment to do it.

Lintian development will probably be slow for the next couple of months (unless my co-maintainers end up with more time to drive it forward), since I have a huge pile of work that I need to do, including deploying a virtualization environment and lots of upgrades to lenny. Things should start settling down again sometime around mid-June.

2009-04-16: Photography success


I was really struggling earlier today to get macro focus correct, but towards the end of the day it just started working. This was the best success by far. A fly stopped on a tree bud just about at eye level and stayed there, letting me get quite close. Since I'd also switched my camera to taking pictures at maximum resolution, I got one of the best closeups I've gotten.

I'm currently on a much-needed vacation, which is why journal posts have been very quiet. (As opposed to last week, when there were no journal posts because I was crazy busy with work, or next week where there will probably be few journal posts because I'm crazy busy with work.) It's been a photography-intensive vacation, averaging around a hundred pictures a day between the banter and great company.

Going into vacation, I thought I might have some time to catch up on things like book reviews and some free software work, but I've been playing it by ear and have found that I needed way more recovery from work than I'd expected. It may be that everything else will stay on hold until next week (including AUTH48 USEPRO review). Relaxing is important. The rest can wait.

2009-04-18: Vacation continues

Rathtrevor Beach

Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, British Columbia (north of Nanaimo).

Vacation continues, and remains rather focused on photography. I've put on hold just about everything else I'd been working on and instead am doing little beyond just taking pictures and analyzing pictures. I'm feeling my energy levels regenerate a little bit, although I'm not looking forward to getting back to work and dealing with all the things I've put off. It doesn't help to have left in the middle of a bunch of active projects that will still be waiting for me.

I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to go back and want to get into a solid schedule and flow and maintain it through all of May, or whether I'm going to work remotely for part of May. I think I'll play it by ear and see how I feel a couple of weeks after I'm back.

2009-04-20: Back home


A close-up of sedum growing along the Nanaimo waterfront. My camera didn't want to focus in macro quite that close and kept focusing on the rock, so I manually focused by moving the camera. It worked surprisingly well. (Next time, though, I'll probably try resetting the camera focus algorithm.)

Vacation is, alas, over, and it's back to work. I'm sad to leave, happy to be around my own things, and not at all interested in going back to work, but ah well. I at least have a much better attitude about it than I did last week.

This particular choice of picture is partly a reminder: the goal for this week is focus and detail. I have a full list of things that I need to do, they're not all going to get done as fast as people want, and if I start thrashing, I'm going to drive myself insane and get even less done. So I need to be organized, focused, and good about continuing to work on something until its finished. The first step for tomorrow morning will be to go through all of my work tasks and put together a priority list and plan of attack, and then be sure my manager knows about it as well since she's probably going to have to run interference for the things that aren't prioritized as high.

There are various things about coming back into the US and going through customs and immigration that really bother me, but I don't have the mental energy to write them up tonight. I'm not sure if the urge will persist. Even if it doesn't, I expect the impulse will come up again, since the same things bother me every time I come back into the US. This is a placeholder so that I remember to think about writing something later.

I'm way behind on most of my volunteer work, including Debian, IETF, the software I maintain, and chasing upgrades. Most of it is likely going to have to wait for another week or two while I get work back in order and build some structure around all the things I have pending.

2009-04-20: Lots of little starts

Maple buds

Today was a good start at getting back to work. I caught up on routine mail, fixed or forwarded a bunch of issues, and then prioritized my current tasks. I then did a lot of knocking off things from my quick task list to reduce the total number of things I have on my plate. Finishing 21 distinct tasks makes this a very good day.

Tomorrow, I need to finish the prep work for the weblogin3 upgrade and the next global change in Puppet, and otherwise continue my planning and organization. This first week will be devoted to getting back into a regular schedule.

Non-work stuff is still on hold and will be for a little while, although I may try to knock off some quick things to keep reducing the total quantity on my plate.

2009-04-21: Spikey but successful

Post and brambles

This is not one of my best pictures ever, but it sums up how today felt. There were a lot of things to catch on, tear a bit, and struggle through, but at the end of the day, the post was solidly built and still standing.

weblogin3 is now running lenny, the global change has been pushed through Puppet (and I got the diffs done only a couple of hours in advance), and various other difficult things have been faced and gotten through. It's been particularly hard coming back to work this time, and I'm still feeling dissatisfied, but I'm also feeling like I can push through and things will be better on the other side.

The primary part that's bothering me at the moment is that the amount of stuff pending that I want badly to work on is just so large. I'm tackling bits of it every day, but some of it is hard and takes a lot more time than I wish it would. A lot of today, for instance, wasn't forward progress on pending things, but rather administrative overhead and cleanup on things that I'd already scheduled.

Tomorrow, I start working on strategy documents again. I suspect this will end up being much easier than I expect it to be, which will help.

2009-04-22: Struggling with foundations

Morden Colliery

Well, today was also a struggle and much less successful. It was one of those days where I spent the day largely sitting around and feeling guilty about not doing anything, but failing to start anything.

Neither of the things that needed to happen today got done. Both of them I still have to deal with tomorrow as well as the stuff already scheduled for tomorrow.

These are the really hard days to deal with. It happens from time to time, but I don't know how to react to them or push through them, and they leave me feeling like my time to do non-work things will now get eaten into because I need to make up for not actually accomplishing anything today. I was hoping I wouldn't get back to this feeling this soon after coming back from vacation.

Ah well. The one thing that I know works with time is letting the day go and letting tomorrow be another day.

2009-04-27: Lintian 2.2.10

This is primarily a bug-fix release, cleaning up a bunch of accumulated minor stuff. The largest single fix saves all the error output from tar in the various places that Lintian runs it and analyzes it to turn it into Lintian tags, which suppresses the occasional annoying record size messages from tar and should provide better handling of other tar problems. There are also fixes, several from Raphael Geissert, for various packages that failed in the lintian.d.o log.

My tentative plan is for the next verison to be 2.3.0, incorporating more infrastructure work by Raphael Geissert to work towards getting rid of the separation between unpack and collection and make the data collection more fully dependency-driven. I'd also like to take another pass through the wishlist bugs and try to knock off a few more of them.

I'm going to try to get 2.3.0 started and get up-to-date on merging major patches over the next couple of days, and then will probably take another break from Lintian work for a while to work on Policy (and on finishing the USEPRO RFC).

2009-04-30: Dreamwidth

For those who haven't heard, Dreamwidth is a new journal hosting site using the LiveJournal code base (with improvements) but a different business model and general attitude towards their community. They're trying to be much more transparent and open about everything they're doing, they're trying to run the business so that it's focused on building a community than making a profit, and they're trying to do much better at being an active open source project than LiveJournal has managed. They also run all of their servers on Ubuntu, so they feel like part of the broader Debian community.

I haven't had a lot of time to help, but I think their ideals look great and I really would like to see them succeed.

Dreamwidth just launched open beta, which means you can purchase a paid account but they're using an invite code model for free accounts. Since they just launched, I have invite codes.

I think one of the things that will make Dreamwidth successful is to have a broad-based community, and I'd also like to see Debian and Ubuntu folks involved in their community, in a position to help with improvements to infrastructure packages they use, and help with the open source development of the underlying code base. I've therefore got a few invite codes reserved for Debian and Ubuntu folks on basically a first-come, first-served basis. If you're active in Debian or Ubuntu, want to try Dreamwidth, and think there's a chance you'd actively use it, send me e-mail and I'll send you an invite.

For more information about Dreamwidth, see their wiki.

Last modified and spun 2017-02-20