Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

FUD from the Apache Foundation

At Bradley Kuhn’s talk at this year, I was surprised and disappointed to see a slide quoting some FUD (in the traditional Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt model, a la the Microsoft Halloween documents from back in the day) about the GPL and the SFLC’s enforcement thereof. Here’s the quote: This is not just a theoretical concern. As […]

Silly testcase hacks

Martin Pool linked to an old post by Evan Miller on how writing tests could be more pleasant if you could just do the setup and teardown parts once, and (essentially) rely on backtracking to make sure it happens for every test. He uses a functional language for his example, and it’s pretty interesting. But […]

Silly hacks

One thing that keeps me procrastinating about writing programs I have is doing up a user interface for them. It just seems like so much hassle writing GUI code or HTML, and if I just write for the command line, no one else will use it. Of course, most of the reason I don’t mind […]

The semiotic web

Quite a long time ago I read a fascinating article on semiotics and user-interface design. My recollection is that it made the argument that computer user interfaces could be broken up into roughly three branches: “menus”, where you have a few options to choose between, and that’s it; “WIMP paradigm” where you’ve got windows, icons, […]

Excuses to use gearman

Sometime ago I stumbled across gearman and thought it looked cool — map/reduce and distributed processing for shell commands? Neato! Unfortunately, at the time I was looking for a distributed database (and found couchdb) so that didn’t go anywhere. The session at lca reminded me how cool at was, but didn’t get much further on […]

Email: how much does it suck?

Yes, this post is going to mention notmuch. Whether that’s the answer to the question posed is another matter… My email habits have defaulted to mutt and procmail for quite some years now (and prior to mutt, pine which was essentially the same except older and less nifty). I had a brief interlude under OS […]

The simple scripts in life are often the best

Possibly my longest blog post title ever? Anyway, here’s a link to today’s little bit of scripting. I’ve now written this script three or four times, so I figure that means it’s useful and maybe worth keeping around. I’m calling it dir2tree and all it does is take a (sorted) list of pathnames and convert […]

Free software and the future

So this past weekend I had (hopefully!) my last Linux Australia face to face meeting — handed over the chequebook to the new treasurer, passed on some advice, and whatnot — which more or less ends my major existing responsibilities to the open source world. That happened to more or less coincide with a tweet […]


Ooops. Emergency woblomo post coz I forgot. Here’s the link to the other day’s screencast that apparently didn’t make it through aggregators. Hohum.

Some more PyGame

So here’s where I’m up to with my “trigrid” project. The idea is you’ve got a bunch of roads on a triangular grid (hence the name), with little peons on each segment of road that will carry goods from one end to the other. Some segments spontaneously create goods, others destroy them. The point is […]


I don’t have anything interesting to say today, so instead I’m going to link to an oldish post on my junkcode wiki (rss feed). Namely redcat — a program that merges ed-format diffs, so they can be applied in a single pass. That makes a big difference when dealing with anywhere more than a few […]

The Red Pill

ajtowns – Scamming my way onto “Team Samba” (“hey, I use it!”) was a good idea. Winners! #lca2010 #hackoff Wellington Perl Mongers were awesome enough to run the Hackoff during LCA 2010. It consisted of a couple of hours of team hacking to decode craftily hidden eight character tokens. I’d seen Rusty carefully putting the […]


At this year’s I decided it was high time I learnt how to program simple graphics. The use case I had in mind in particular was simulating/visualising resource transportation in a grid based real-time strategy game like Widelands, but really I’ve been a bit annoyed that I haven’t been able to do basic graphics […]

Python on Nokia/S60

I finally got a smartphone a week or two ago. I ended up getting a Nokia N86, based on a combination of form factor (I would’ve preferred a flip phone, but apparently not enough people do for there to be lots of different models, and I’m still a bit reluctant to go for touch interfaces), […]

Wikis and Junkcode

A brief update mostly linking to other things. I’ve been thinking it’d be fun to try developing code in a wiki environment — ie, web based, reasonably pretty, simple markup, potentially collaborative, and with text/links as first class elements; basically my idea of what LitProg2.0 might look like. As such, I’ve been poking at some […]