Install For Install HELL
Argh GSM is driving up the wall. Jesus, ISO7816 is appallingly bad.
Glad to see there is finally motion around the subject of open-sourcing Java. It will be very interesting to see how this goes, what is going to be open-sourced, etc. A common set of the core Java library would be great news, as there are numerous silly but very annoying bugs in Sun's libraries.
Work on PyPNG has started up again, I've finally made PNG chunks individual classes, so manipulating the files is a lot easier. Hopefully I'll clean this up soon and make a usable tarball.
Related work on my RDF-based web gallery is... slow. Twisted is very nice, but the documentation is not great so I'm having to work from other examples. However, I do finally have a working image gallery, which displays captions and thumbnails based on embedded data inside PNG files (captions from RDF, thumbnails are generated from another script). This seems to be working nicely, but it's damn slow -- I need to cache the data I guess.
NP: Parachutes, Coldplay
Scanners and Calibration
So a few weeks ago we bought a new Epson Perfection 1670 scanner. After much comparing the PC Pro reviews with Dabs prices and the Sane supported scanners list, this was the only good scanner which is sub-£100 and supported in Linux.
The scanner software in Windows is, well, pretty average. After a bit of configuring it works well enough, but the interface is skinned and a little Byzantine in places. However, Epson are good enough to provide a set of ICC files which are used by the scanning software automatically, and I had already installed an ICC profile from my monitor from Iiyama, so the scans are pretty well calibrated out of the box.
Not as much luck in Linux. After adding the scanner to /etc/hotplug/usb/libsane.usermap, and adding myself to the scanner group, I can access the scanner without being root. I've built the SANE front-ends from CVS as the current release is still GTK+ 1.2, and it works well enough, although the scanned images are incredibly dark. A little gimping solves this, but of course I'd like not to do this.
So, anyone managed to correctly colour-calibrate a SANE/X/GIMP/CUPS toolchain? I have ICC profiles for the scanner and my monitor, and am willing to work in sRGB, so in theory this shouldn't be too hard. My limited digging to X tells me that Xcms was invented before ICC was conceived, so can I convert between the formats? Is Xcms actually useful? Help!
We're Off To See Parkie
On the 4th of March we're off to see Parkinson being filmed. This should be really cool, but sadly we don't know when the show will be shown so have no idea who will be see being interviewed. Finger's crossed it's Kylie and Johnny Depp...
Dude is the sequel to Stupid White Men and contains exactly what you'd expect really. I feel that Stupid White Men was a better book, but this is still a good read, with many interesting facts, quotes and investigations. Oprah for President!
The History of English is a great book for anyone interested in the history and development of the English language. The author (Melvin Bragg, who had previously done a short radio series and then a TV series on the same topic) looked at the way English has changed dramatically over time, and puts the changes into historical context. An interesting read.
NP: Simple Things, Zero 7
Beer in The Spitz
Last night I went to The Spitz (on Old Spitalfields Market) for a pint or two and to meet some fellow GNOMEies. Mikael Hallendal is in London for a few days before going to FOSDEM, staying at Matthew Allum's house in east London, and Matthew Garrett came down from Cambridge. Mikael appeared to find London positively balmy after Sweden, and was sitting outside (well, inside the market, but it's not exactly heated). I think he is enjoying the lack of frozen marshes to fall into.
(I am totally blaming the stress caused by double signal failure on the way there which lead to me mis-hearing "Old Speckled Hen" as "Uzbek 10". Maybe I should get my ears looked at, or take up steet yoga, or something; but now I think about it Uzbek 10 does sound like a cool name for a wine. If I ever open a vineyard, look out for it.)
Had a good night, was nice to see Matthew (Garrett) and Mikael again, and Matthew (Allum) is cool too. They tried (and failed) to convince me to drop everything and go to FOSDEM this weekend, but I did promise to look at getting to GVADEC, despite the problem of having used most of my holiday already.
NP: The Mirror Conspiracy, by The Thievery Corporation
Last weekend was good -- it started well with Vicky making me a huge breakfast fry-up for Valentine's Day, which was really nice. After much lazing we finally got on the train to London, several hours later than planned so we didn't go to the Tate Modern, but dived straight into shopping. Popped into the nightmare which in Hennes on a Saturday to pick up a few bargains, then did the HMV Sale (3 for £20, so we got three Morcheeba albums) and discovered Selectadisc (it's spookily like the store in High Fidelity, but with less lighting), buying another three albums at far more reasonable prices (Moon Safari, Lamb and The Soul Sessions).
Thanks to Oxford Street being what it is, we were throughly shopped out now so searched for a pub which had seats and beer, and found one on Berwick Street. As we walked in we noticed that there was football on the tele, but it wasn't one of those pubs so we could still have a quiet pint. It slowly dawned on me that this wasn't football, but rugby, which I had totally forgot to record...
Beer, crisps, silently fighting couples; the usual until 19:00 at which point we trotted off to Zizzi's on Wigmore Street. Now I love the food in Zizzi's (good pizza/pasta) and I realise that Valentine's Day is going to be busy, but telling us that "we have to leave by quarter to nine" is a little rude. I'd have preferred ruthlessly efficient service and subtle hints like them bringing the bill if they had crammed themselves full. Anyway, the Merlot flowed and the Pizza Sofia was fantastic, so we didn't mind. Vicky even noticed we were sitting next to a children's TV presenter from Channel 4, or BBC, or something. Apparently I didn't seem impressed at the time, but I really was. Honestly.
Traffic Island Disks
Traffic Island Disks is a pretty cool idea.
We roam the streets looking for people wearing headphones, stop them, and interview them while recording whatever they are listening to. The result is a half hour tour of an area of London, heard through people's personal tastes and rhythms.
I have a funny feeling I'm going to spend a lot of money on Shazam finding out what some of the songs are...
NP: Moon Safari, by Air.
Alert people would have seen these already, but just in case:
'"/" not a directory'
Wednesday morning, for no good reason, CVS at work was failing with a missing symbol in libkrb5. A little experimentation revealed that the problem was not my machine but the server, Lovel. This is a RH9 box so I checked the versions of the packages thinking a broken upgrade happened overnight, but they were fine. At this point I scratched by head and issued some rpm -V commands on the relevant packages (the only good thing about RPM is that is stores per-file checksums), and discovered that krb5-libs didn't match the checksums. Hmm. Re-installed the package and tried CVS, problem solved. Or so I thought...
Worried about random libraries changing, I checked the logs for anything interesting. No errors, no strange logins, nothing. Just in case, I started a read-only fsck on that partition to check the drive is okay... and the kernel spewed errors. fsck couldn't find a valid superblock. 'ls' wouldn't work as /bin didn't exist any more, and echo * also produced yet more kernel errors.
Rebooted very quickly, wondering what would happen. The kernel couldn't find
the partition (its mounted by label instead of device name), so I made a
Tom's Bootdisk (after throwing away five floppies trying) and had a
poke. Superblock definitely gone, but a backup block was fine. However, this
is when I get the message / is not a
directory. Fix?. Erm. Eek. Spent the next minute holding down
I'll skip the pain of getting a CD-ROM hooked up, and the case fan which then decided to give up and make an awful noise, and discovering that the drive has bad blocks after all and rushing out to get a new one, and shoddy CD-Rs which don't write correctly at 48x. Happily the Red Hat re-install went well: it detected the RAID1 array on the other disks and configred it correctly for me. Once it had rebooted I essentially had to set the hostname, do some NFS mounts and configure the NFS export, and we were back in business. The machine needs more work, and I really should put the case back together, but at least CVS is back and the repository is fine. After all of this stress a quick blast of Enemy Territory was much appreciated...
Sound Juicer "Highest Grade Mk 2" 0.5.10.1
Sound Juicer "Highest Grade Mk 2" 0.5.10.1 -- download the tarball here. Debian packages available in my repository and are in the upload queue. This release is a brown-paper bag release to fix broken intltool files.
Sound Juicer "Highest Grade" 0.5.10
Sound Juicer "Highest Grade" 0.5.10 -- download the tarball here. Debian packages available in my repository and are in the upload queue. This release fixes the very annoying hang on startup many people were seeing.
- Fix a double free, solving the hang on startup for some people
- Translate the file/path pattern strings
- Show estimated duration and ripping speed (Bastien)
- Correctly kill the ripping idle callback, fixing some random crashes
- Acknowledged that my release names are pretty weird at times
(Shock and Awe)
They said it would never happen. They pointed and laughed and jeered. They kicked sand in our faces. But it has finally happened.
An except from the docbook-xml 4.2-8 changelog:
* XML catalog registration using dh_installxmlcatalogs from xml-core, requires >= 0.6; closes: #155129, #181362, #223867, #217367, #222265, #223231, #223643, #225382, #230611, #134789, #214006
It's been a long time coming, but it is finally here. Thank you Adam Di Carlo!