Blog entries from December, 2006

Second time’s the charm

Sunday, December 31st, 2006 at 3:46 pm

Two months ago I failed in an attempt to switch my internet routing from Gromit, my trusty but aging linux box, to my Linksys WRT54G router. A few days ago I tried again. Unfortunately I encountered the same issues as before: difficulty establishing connections.

Then I came across a page on the DD-WRT Wiki talking about slowdown issues and how to fix them. From this page I realised that I had completely missed the display and settings related to the maximum number of IP connections. Even with Azureus sitting idle there were at least 400 connections. Considering that the default limit is 512 it is not hard to see how it may be the cause of my connection troubles.

A quick change later (maximum connections up from 512 to 4096, timeout on both TCP and UDP down from one hour to ten minutes) and all is well. So far I have been running with these settings for a day now and if I have no problems until next weekend I shall be able to disconnect Gromit and reorganise the desk, in particular the cabling.

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Too many options

Thursday, December 21st, 2006 at 7:42 pm

Today marked the end of yet another working year and for another year running we spent the afternoon at the South Oakleigh Bowling Club for lawn bowls and a barbecue. It was interesting to note that only a handful of people actually played bowls, the remainder did other activities.

So what were the other options?

  • Wii Sports on Ben’s Nintento Wii
  • Arcade games on Andrew’s MAME setup with his X-Arcade controller
  • Chess, which included the final of a tournament that started a week ago
  • Talking, etc

One contributing factor against the lawn bowls was that it was the only activity that was outside in the 35°C heat instead of inside with air-conditioning.

The point I am trying to make is that when there are multiple options people will take them which is not necessarily compatible with doing things as a group.

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Lose some, win some

Monday, December 18th, 2006 at 7:29 pm

The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh that I spotted on eBay last week finished today. I was the winning bidder for a few seconds and it ended up going for over AU$1000, a few hundred more than I was willing to pay.

On the bright side my order of television DVDs arrived today after a long wait:

This adds up to over a hundred hours of viewing. I hope I get through them by March.

I also bought myself a new SD card for my camera. As well as doubling the capacity the 2GB SanDisk Ultra II Plus card that I got has a built in USB connector. This means that I can easily copy photos off (or other files onto) the card on any computer with a USB port.

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How high will I go?

Thursday, December 14th, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Yesterday I spotted a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh on eBay. It is currently sitting at AU$325 with three and a half days to go. This would be an excellent addition to my collection so I am considering going to twice that price, ie AU$750, or even higher.

Unfortunately there have already been bids from five separate bidders which indicates that there is a lot of interest.

As an aside it was interesting to see that a few days ago eBay stopped showing the names of other bidders, all you now see is ‘Bidder 1’, ‘Bidder 2’, etc. In the past I have found it enlightening to look through the history of the other bidders in order to see what sort of items they have bought or sold. This can give an indication of how much they want the item. Alas, I can no longer do that.

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I haven’t even read the first one!

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006 at 8:51 pm

Today I saw that there is a new version of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Lawrence Lessig. It is called Code v2 and the most interesting aspect is that the text of the original book was put up on a wiki for anyone to edit. These changes then made their way into the second version. Definitely on my list for the next time I place a book order.

Unfortunately I still need to read the original book which has been sitting on my bedside table for quite some time. Instead I have been working my way through the unread novels that I have…

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My first bookmarklet

Friday, December 8th, 2006 at 9:38 pm

I have just written (actually tweaked other people’s) my first bookmarklet that takes the url and title of the current page and generates the first part of a link. Why? When I write my blog posts I find myself repeatedly viewing the HTML source in order to copy and paste the page title for the title attribute of the link. This makes that a lot easier.

Here it is:

OSDC2006 – Day three

Friday, December 8th, 2006 at 7:30 pm

So what happened on the third and final day of OSDC 2006?

  • As I had seen Scott talk about Zaltana before (at OSDC in the past, at OSDClub, and at perl mongers) I decided that I would take my time getting in and skip his keynote. I ended up taking more time than I planned and missed the next talk slot.
  • Adam took up two half hour slots with his presentation of The Portable Image Testing Architecture: Rediculously Large Scale Testing. In a nutshell this is a system of virtual machines running a variety of operating systems with a variety of perl versions. Perl modules are then fed to these machines in order to obtain test results. This is what CPAN testers will be replaced with.
  • Another Scott (actually one that I see every day at work) presented on Usability, user-centered design (UCD) and FOSS. Although I had been exposed to the material before it was still an excellent presentation which was represented by Scott receiving a prize for the best talk later in the day.
  • As usual the lightning talk session was the highlight of the day with many excellent talks and some good talks. Cog has even made available the slides from his lightning talk which summarise the entire conference

Despite excellent talks and more people than last year I could not shake the impression that the conference was not as good as the previous years. This was partly confirmed by the announcement that next year it will NOT be held in Melbourne which would expose a new audience. The question is whether I would travel to attend…

See also:

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OSDC2006 – Day two

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 10:06 pm

So what happened on the second day of OSDC 2006? Not much. I only attended a couple of talks (nothing much to say about them as I had essentially seen them before), missed other talks to work on my slides and then presented my talk.

Tomorrow on the other hand is looking great.

See also:

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The hard part is over

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 6:43 pm

At 2PM today I presented my paper. If people are really keen they can run through my slides on their own time.

For now I am relaxing and will post a recap later tonight.

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OSDC2006 – Day one

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 1:35 am

(I am typing this as I wait for the next train back to Glen Waverley from Flinders Street. Unfortunately I missed the previous train by seconds as I decided to continue on with the group I was travelling with instead of changing at Richmond. Over half an hour of waiting…)

Anyway … today was the first day of OSDC 2006 with the following highlights:

  • The opening keynote, Free software – A look back, a look ahead, by Randall Schwartz was a great start and included a run down of the various open source licences and examples of how Randall and others have been able to make a living from them. Despite them being ‘free’.
  • cog’s first talk of the day, Perl White Magic, ran through some of the many command line switches and special variables that can be used to reduce the size of Perl scripts, in particular when writing one liners on the command line.
  • In contrast to his first talk, cog’s second talk on obfuscation and golfing was the opposite of his earlier talk – how command line switches, special variables and other syntactic magic of Perl can be used for evil.
  • Paul Fenwick gave us a rundown of the new features available in Perl 5.10 5.9.4. It is interesting to see Perl 6 features being incorporated. Jokes were made that by the time that Perl 6 comes out the features will already be available and in use.
  • Adam Kennedy decided to buck the trend and give a talk on how things do not always go to plan. After reflecting that conference talks are (almost) always about new or succesful projects there is not exposure to the failures he went on to decribe a number of common pitfalls that are experienced.
  • The final talk from cog covered ninety modules from the Acme namespace in twenty minutes (it should have taken thirty so he will look for some more to describe). What was scary about this was that some of them (for example one to allow C style comments) may now be useful to members of the audience. It was interesting to note that many of the mentioned modules were from Australian authors such as Damian , Paul and Adam.
  • Above all of this was Damian’s rendition of The Da Vinci Codebase. This is a magnificent parody of The Da Vinci Code with the main protagonist, Dr Damian Conway and expert on symbology in computer languagess, supported by a variety of characters in Paris, Texas unravelling the clues that lead to the villan, the DMCA.

Although not part of the formal program, and facilitated by alcohol, were a variety of interesting discussions. On in particular led to the proposal of Acme::Playmate::Object. An extension of the Acme::Playmate module which allows you to obtain the vital statistics of Playboy playmates with Data::Vitals which is a class build for a modelling website that represents the vital statistics of fashion models and allows easy conversion between metric and imperial. The expectation is that Adam will have Acme::Playmate::Object (the objectification of playmates) ready to present as a lightning talk tomorrow.

See also:

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And so it begins

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006 at 9:14 pm

For the next three days I will be attending this year’s Open Source Developers’ Conference. Similar to two years ago I have been finishing off the slides for the presentation of my paper which is in a scant forty hours away.

I am also undecided on how I am going to get there. Last year I caught the train from Glen Waverley to Richmond and then another back to Caulfield which took around fifty minutes. I have been playing with the Metlink Journey Planner which tells me that it would be five minutes quicker to get off the train at Tooronga to catch a bus to Caulfield if I catch a certain train.

In a sense this highlights the issue of public transport in Melbourne being focused on travelling to the city. East Malvern station on the Glen Waverley line is actually pretty close to Caulfield station on the Packenham/Cranbourne/Frankston lines and has plenty of options including trains, buses and trams that can get you to the city. However the options to travel across to Caulfield are limited with no direct routes, they all go a fair distance out of the way…

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