marnanel's Journal marnanel's use Perl Journal en-us use Perl; is Copyright 1998-2006, Chris Nandor. Stories, comments, journals, and other submissions posted on use Perl; are Copyright their respective owners. 2012-01-25T02:35:40+00:00 pudge Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 marnanel's Journal Things I need to fix in my CPAN modules <b>BLT:</b> <br> <br> 1) <a href="">Fix this bug</a>.<br> <br> 2) And <a href="">this bug</a>.<br> <br> 3) Make BLT not depend on XML any more. This will increase both speed and portability.<br> <br> <b>DateTime::Calendar::Liturgical::Christian:</b> <br> <br> 1) <a href="">Fix this bug</a> about the start of Advent.<br> <br> 2) Add Year 1 / Year 2 calculation. (Easiest to have a method which returns the current year, *or* the year plus one if we're in Advent, and then write it in terms of that.)<br> <br> 3) Putting both the main and the Office lectionaries into the calendar would be a nice touch (the main starts on page 888, and the Office starts on page 934, of <a href="">this copy of the BCP</a>. Conversion to some kind of XML-ish format, or pure Perl, would be a reasonably simple job.)<br> <br> A question to BLT users: If I changed the format of the settings file, would you want it to upgrade automatically, or would you be okay with typing your username and password in again? marnanel 2009-06-17T15:32:09+00:00 journal Writing a Facebook application in Perl <i>(Reprinted from my blog post <a href="">here</a>, because I thought use.perl might be interested)</i> <br> <br> This post is a record of a day or so's experimentation building a Facebook application in Perl. It's probably applicable to writing applications in Ruby or Python, since it contains pretty much nothing that's Perl-specific. I thought it would be particularly useful to write it up because Facebook only officially supports Java and PHP, so almost all existing instructions are in those languages. I may continue <a href="">hacking around</a> with building this application in future, and if I do I may make this post the first of a series.<br> <br>Firstly, a confusing piece of nomenclature. There is a <a href="">Facebook API</a>, and there is even a Perl implementation of it called <a href="">WWW::Facebook::API</a>, but this is not (necessarily) what you're looking for: this is for building applications that use Facebook (say, for when you want to build a Perl script that can list all your Facebook friends), not for building Facebook applications. It's like the "well, he's a friend who's a boy, but he's not my boyfriend" thing.<br> <br>Facebook applications are programs that integrate seamlessly with Facebook. You can find <a href="">a ton of them</a> advertised publicly on Facebook, and there are many more which aren't part of the public directory. Anything listed in that bar on the left-hand side of your page is a Facebook application (but applications don't need to be listed there).<br> <br>So, what do you need to make a Facebook application? You just need to be able to write a CGI script (or mod_perl or whatever). If it needs to integrate with the other parts of Facebook, then it can use the Facebook API. Otherwise, there's no need.<br> <br>In order to make your application, you need to <a href="">add the "Developer" application</a>, which is an application for making applications (yeah, it's a bit meta). After that, you can click "Set Up New Application" and add your new application. There's some terms of service stuff to agree to and so on. You get to choose between "website" and "desktop" application types; I've only experimented with "website". You don't have to fill in "TOS URL" at all.<br> <br>Most of the other fields you're asked to fill in are self-explanatory, but there are two which puzzled me a lot, and I had to spend some time playing around to find out what they do. The fields are Callback Url and Canvas Page URL (no idea why the capitalisation is different). I'll explain what they do in case it saves people some time.<br> <br>Canvas Page URL is easier to explain. It's of the form This is the URL at which your application will be visible within Facebook. If you decide to put an entry in a user's list of applications at the left of the screen, the link for your application will go to this URL. If you're wondering where Facebook gets the content for this page, we have to go on to talk about Callback Url.<br> <br>Callback Url is the address of your CGI script (or whatever) on your own server. Whenever anyone goes to the URL you set up in Canvas Page URL, Facebook's server will make a POST request to this URL, <a href="">with certain parameters</a> to tell you which Facebook user made the request and so on. Your script serves the content in a special markup language called <a href="">FBML</a>, and Facebook then serves it to the user within their ordinary page so that it looks just like part of their site. (Usefully, if they go to, Facebook will add<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/anything-else to the URL of the Callback Url it calls: you can test for it using path_info() in, or with $ENV{PATH_INFO}.)<br> <br>Alternatively, you can elect to use an iframe, in which case a largish iframe will be generated, and pointed at your Callback Url with the relevant values passed as a GET (obviously, since you can't do POST through an iframe). Then you serve the content in HTML (or anything else the user's browser can handle) and the user sees it as usual. I'm a bit puzzled as to why anyone would want this, since a) you don't get to do fun stuff with FBML (though maybe there are things FBML doesn't do that you'd want to), b) you have an iframe on the page, and iframes are generally ugly, and c) the user can find out where your server is and what your script is called.<br> <br>There's another thing that Callback Url does. Suppose you have a website called, and you want a way of putting a link on that website which adds the i-like-cabbage Facebook application, and then sends the user home to so they can carry on as before. There is a way to do this, but it's outside the scope of this post. If you do this, though, Callback Url is where you get sent when you're done adding the Facebook application; you can tell the difference between this and the Canvas Page URL request because it will be a GET rather than a POST (unless you've decided to use an iframe). If you don't get users to connect in from an external website to add the application, you don't need to bother about this. So why am I telling you? In previous versions of the Facebook applications spec, this was all that Callback Url did, and I'm telling you this particularly because a lot of the documentation will tell you that that's all it still does. (For example, the strapline explaining Callback Url on the "edit application" page says: After logging into Facebook, users are redirected to the callback URL.)<br> <br>So, there are the basics. <a href="">Facebook has a developers' site</a> with documentation, and there's <a href="">a developers' group</a> where you can ask questions. There's still a bunch of stuff I don't understand, but I'll come back and write it up as I find out. <br> <br> &gt;&gt;&gt; <a href="">Later: what I found out</a>. marnanel 2007-05-27T00:49:20+00:00 journal Well, here it is Well, here it is. After eight months since <a href="">the free tax filing project was announced</a>, and over a year's work on the system before that, we've finally gone into a release. I'm not sure whether to be elated or exhausted. <br> <br> Someone was asking what it was we'd been working on, so here's the potted history: I work for a Philadelphia consultancy called Solutions for Progress, as a Perl programmer. Part of what SfP does is try to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor in the US. So we've had a program for a number of years that helps you file your taxes, and figures out what government money you're entitled to, and it has always done all this at no cost to the end user. This has always been done through community groups, but in 2008 we will hopefully be opening this up for general release on the web. This year, to prepare for that, we're letting people just use the tax part: <b>it will help you file your taxes for free</b>, so you don't have to pay out any refund money to preparers, but: <br> <br> 1. Because this year is a preliminary release, it's limited to 75,000 users total. 2. Because we're about reducing the gap between rich and poor, there is an income limit. This year it's <b>$52,000</b>. If you don't fit under that limit, you probably know people who do. 3. Every state does state income tax differently. The program knows how to file state income tax in PA, DC, MD, OH and MS. Also, AK, FL, NV, SD, TX, WA and WY are okay because they don't have state income tax. If you live anywhere else, the program can help you do federal taxes, but you will have to figure out state taxes without the program's help. <br> <br> Everyone working in the US should have their W2s by the end of the month. So, when you do, go on, try it out, have fun, and if you like it, tell your friends, tell your grandparents, please post links in your own journals and communities and forums and things, digg/reddit/ it... you get the idea. <br> <br> Someone mentioned that the system behind the site might be something that would make an interesting YAPC presentation. What do you people think? <br> <br> And the site's called <a href="">Sidney</a>. marnanel 2007-01-18T16:43:49+00:00 journal 2006 in review <a href=";qid=1&amp;mode=ans">What people suggested for resolutions last year</a>; I didn't do any of them except "find a church" (actually, I found two). <br> <br> <b>In January 2006</b>, <a href="">went to see A+J</a>; got discouraged writing translation code; went to the philly-poly pubmeet; <a href="">spirit butter</a>; got taught to knit by a random traveller on the train; <a href="">I didn't get glaucoma</a>; helped redecorate at ArtSphere; held a "teach-in" about Unix at the Wooden Shoe; was attempting to write a 6502 emulator in Perl; first visited St Gabriel's; two obvious depressive episodes. <br> <br> <b>In February 2006</b>, I attempted to fix my first GnomeLove bug, <a href="">but failed</a>; tried to fix my second, <a href=";view=markup">and succeeded</a>; fixed <a href="">many other bugs</a> over the <a href="">course</a> of the month; it snowed a lot; made pancakes; got ashy. <br> <br> <b>In March 2006</b>, I was given GNOME CVS access; <a href="">I measured out my life with kitten toes</a>; had a review at work which was rather positive; <a href="">went to the Rodin museum</a>. <br> <br> <b>In April 2006</b>, we went to visit Sarah in Cleveland; I figured out a really spiffy perl test system at work; <a href="">for night can only hide, and not destroy</a>; I switched to Ubuntu from Debian; Sharon got a job in Philly so I didn't need to catch the bus any more; <a href="">the free tax filing project was announced</a> (things have changed a bit since then, though); <a href="">someone made a fan site for the adventure game I coded in 1995</a>. <br> <br> <b>In May 2006</b>, I was interviewed by a Welsh TV company and I confirmed that my spoken Welsh is indeed rather bad because of the lack of conversation partners here; I visited St Mark's for the first time; I switched to gmail; I made a gtk BBC Micro emulator up to the point where it booted and then dropped the project for something more urgent. <br> <br> <b>In June 2006</b>, I was added to Planet GNOME, and so I started making day posts generally public; <a href="">we went on an interfaith walk</a> (which was my first pgo post); we <a href="">went to the beach</a>, where it was cloudy, and played pool; it was first seriously suggested by a psychologist that I might have Asperger syndrome; I was interviewed for another position in my company, and we both decided I would be much better doing what I was currently doing anyway; Rio learned some C; her goldfish died; <a href="">I discovered my highest priority</a>; <a href="">will programming exist on high with Thee?</a> <br> <br> <b>In August 2006</b>, Sarah came over and we all went to the naked beach; <a href="">I tried to write an englyn</a> (I know <em>now</em> it should be aaaa); after several visits with different psychologists I was <a href="">finally diagnosed with (mild) AS</a>; <a href="">my youngest sister got back in contact</a>. <br> <br> <b>In September 2006</b>, I started an englyn (<i>Does dim bara o dan y tir &#8211; mae d&#373;r / a cherrig ac aur gwir...</i>) which I haven't yet finished; Fin went to visit Sarah; I took over maintaining fast-user-switch-applet; we completely rethought translation at work and I became much more confident about looking after it; I started UVB treatment for psoriasis. <br> <br> <b>In October 2006</b>, Rio was baptised; metacity-theme-2 was released; blueskywonder visited; I became infected with MRSA; pinkstuff crashed; Rio was a fantastic bluebird in the Halloween parade; I put up the first coloured lights at work (which has now escalated to something looking like <a href="">Blackpool in the autumn</a>). <br> <br> <b>In November 2006</b>, <a href="">I made a Welsh spellcheck for Firefox</a>; <a href="">I visited Sarah</a>; <a href="">a squirrel visited us</a>; <a href="">I was admitted to the GNOME foundation</a>; <a href="">we let off fireworks</a> for Bonfire Night; <a href="">I volunteered as a nonpartisan election observer</a>; <a href="">we went to the art museum</a>; <a href="">I was mistaken for a priest</a>. <br> <br> <b>In December 2006</b>, it was mostly quiet, since I was working very hard on getting the tax thing released. But Sarah came to visit us; krasota and explodingcat visited; A+J came and we climbed Hawk Mountain. marnanel 2007-01-01T21:37:22+00:00 journal The asteroid 14024 Procol Harum <ul> <li> <a href=";orb=0;cov=0">(it's true!)</a> </li><li>Today was a day of fixing lots of little bugs. We had a company meeting (which was alarmingly originally scheduled to run between "12/20/06 11:00 AM EDT" and "12/26/07 11:45 AM EDT" imagine the beauty and majesty of a 53-week meeting!) where we discovered among other things that we're all getting a 2% cost of living increase. I thought 2% wasn't very much until I realised it's 2% more than I'm getting and all the bills are already paid, so it's a bit more money every month and nothing particularly to spend it on. Yay.)</li><li>I went to the Shoe to buy Firinel a present, and it cost $10, and I had $10 and some pennies. There is tax on books in Pennsylvania. The staffer gave me a quarter. Sometimes people's little kindnesses amaze me.</li><li>The other day I went to Chinatown to buy some tea for plexq. The only directions I had were "turn north at the <a href="">arch</a> and go down Tenth Street until you find a shop which looks like it only stocks pocky." I am pleased that these were sufficient instructions.</li><li> <a href="">"Essentially what we have here is an immaculate conception..."</a> but only if you have <em>absolutely no idea</em> what the words "<a href="">immaculate conception</a>" refer to. (Clue: there was a human father involved.)</li><li>I have been hacking around with the Metacity compositor, as promised. I have successfully #ifdefd out the bling, and added a bunch of comments (I'll check it in in a few minutes). Currently there are two major problems: on startup (rather than during regular use, in my experience) it sometimes <a href="">makes some windows invisible</a> until you minimise and restore them (it seems to be sensitive to the window configuration, and having Firefox open seems to make it more likely; the invisible windows *are* getting mapped); and <a href="">it segfaults when you replace it</a>. Currently you have to enable the compositor at configure time, and then you get a gconf key you have to turn on. When these have been fixed it might be good enough to enable by default (though people should probably still have to turn it on with gconf for now).</li><li>To the person who said they'd like to buy me stuff for fixing the compositor: thank you, I'm very grateful for the thought but shouldn't you be buying it for S&ouml;ren who did most of the work? (Then again, I suppose he was paid.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) )</li><li>Today's Film Clip I Rather Like: <a href="">6A's holiday video</a>. Rather funny. They need to do something about the sound, though.</li></ul> marnanel 2006-12-21T03:10:19+00:00 journal Happy weekend <ul> <li>It's been a happy weekend shared with our beloved Moominmuppet who came to spend a few days with us. It's always good to see her. We didn't do very much other than snuggle up and watch films together, but that's a good way to spend a weekend in December!</li><li> <a href="">New version</a> of DateTime::Calendar::Liturgical::Christian up: this just fixes the prerequisites, rather than adding any new code. If you know much about the calendar of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Lutheran churches, I still want to hear from you.</li><li>BBC News has had a lead story up for most of this evening about <a href="">the decision</a> of two Virginia congregations to split away from the Episcopal Church, ignore the Windsor Report, and make public their support for the &uuml;ber-homophobic Church of <a href="">"we encourage prohibiting the legality of homosexuality"</a> Nigeria. I don't see why this is such big news, really. Everyone knew they were going to vote that way, and it's sad that they feel the need to ally themselves with people with such opinions, but it's not like they're anywhere near a majority in the church. Heck, it's not like they're anywhere near a majority in that <em>diocese</em>. It's happened a thousand times before: they will leave, and there will be arguments about it, and then we will get on with living out the good news in the world.</li><li>I picked up my knitting needles for the first time in months. I thought I'd start again with something easy, so I'm making a scarf for Riordon's doll Tiffany.</li><li>We went with SaraMae and Sis to get their Christmas trees, from a Christmas tree farm out in the middle of nowhere somewhere near Collegeville. You have to ride in a wagon pulled by two draught horses to get to the trees, and when you ride the wagon back they give out hot chocolate or (what Americans call) cider. It's lovely.</li><li> <a href="">Someone posted to d-d-l requesting a compositor in Metacity!</a> For those who don't know, Metacity has had most of a compositor for a while; S&ouml;ren wrote a lot of it, but he's since been reassigned to other duties. I am turning over the idea in my head of disabling most of the code, just leaving in (say) drop shadows and minimise/restore animations, and then releasing it with that turned on. Then we can re-enable new parts as we ensure they work. Who thinks this is a good or bad idea?</li></ul> marnanel 2006-12-18T03:08:58+00:00 journal "Loading..." is not responding Many good things happened today. <ul> <li>We had something to fix at work. We discussed the ideal way to fix it, which would have meant overtime and stuff. I came up with Plan B, which people thought was a bad one, and then Plan C, which people thought was promising. Then when other people went to lunch and I went out to get chocolate, I was hit with Plan D; I ran back and told people I could find, and to my relief they all said it was a very good one. I think it may have saved us a week's work or more, and deadlines are coming towards us fast now, so this is a good thing.</li><li>Fin made muffins. Aunt Cindy made pineapple upside-down cake. They were both very good. Also, we had chili for tea, and I had a new kind of hot sauce on it, which was lovely.</li><li>I finally decided to do something with <a href="">my launchpad account</a>, and joined the <a href="">Ubuntu Desktop Bugs</a> team, since so many of metacity's bugs come from there. Also, it's because I run Ubuntu anyway and so I'd like to help out a bit where I can. If you run Ubuntu and you'd like to help out with coding or graphics or docs or testing, maybe you should do similarly.</li><li>I had the sort of job offer which you are very flattered to receive. I won't be going, because I think I'm needed where I am, but it was a happy thing.</li><li>Our HR person confirmed that a perk of my job is that hospital bills are settled in full by the company. This means that the bill which we received for firinel's stay in hospital last month will not be a problem for us, which is good because it was more than the cost of a trip to England. Just one reason I love the place I work.</li><li>My new CPAN module almost works well enough to upload it (I'll tell you what it is when it's ready, which may be tomorrow). I have delayed the release somewhat by refactoring something important, and I still need to formalise the tests.</li><li>Happy conversations with firinel and moominmuppet.</li></ul><p> It did sadden me, though, that today was the day where a <a href="">building</a> near a friend of mine <a href="">collapsed</a> and killed three, and on the day when that guy in Oregon, whom I'd been hoping for, <a href="">was found dead</a>. This has made today a solemn one; it reminds me of the shortness and fragility of life, and that we need to live to the full to honour those who die. In particular, it reminds me to tell you all that I'm very glad you're around, and in particular and in no particular order and among others I'd like to mention riordon, moominmuppet, firinel, onib, machineplay, naltrexone, and floatyfish. You people are irreplaceable. Thank you for sharing your lives with me.</p> marnanel 2006-12-07T03:38:52+00:00 journal Thanksgiving, Firinel, chess with Rio, janitors, daft patent <ul> <li> <b>Today is Thanksgiving</b> here. I am grateful for many things, but largely I want to echo <a href="">Fin's wonderful list</a>, and I'm especially thankful for zir. We went to Sharon's house, and ate dinner. The man next door to Sharon has just moved here from out of state, and his wife has to work today, and he was minding the baby. Fin actually put a portion of everything on a plate and took it round to him, because there was no big party happening at his house. Did I mention that Fin is someone I'm thankful for?</li><li> <b> played chess with me</b> today and <em>won</em>. She checkmated me with her queen while my king was still on the back rank, hedged in by too many of my other pieces, and I was busy elsewhere on the board. I shall have to keep my wits about me more when playing her in future.</li><li>I am very pleased to hear that <b> <a href="">the Houston janitors</a> have been given health insurance and a living wage</b>. See what people can do if they work together! They were being paid half what janitors in other cities get, and given no benefits, and they'd been striking for a while, and been <a href="">treated quite violently</a> by the authorities.</li><li>It's quite sad that something as basic as <a href="">doubly-linked lists</a> can be patented. This is no less silly than the famous XOR patent 4197590, which is so trivial that any schoolchild can work it out faced with the problem and a pencil and paper (and in fact, as a child, I did). I can't believe that this will have any real effect in the world other than making people take the patent system less seriously, yet again. Sad.</li><li> <b> <a href="">Strange story from Canada</a> </b>: a postal worker refused to deliver a church's leaflet called "The Consequences of the sin of Homosexuality (AIDS)" which they had sent to every address in the gay quarter of Vancouver. All their colleagues ended up agreeing with them and walking off the job. Their managers were concerned not to look like they were censoring the post (though they do refuse to deliver pornography), but since none of the workers would do the job, the managers ended up delivering the leaflets themselves.</li><li> <b>No major hacking today</b>; just plugged <a href="">what I thought was a leak</a> in someone else's program, and fixed a few translations.</li><li>Wandering around websites, I found an <b> <a href="">interesting interview</a> with a professional dominatrix</b>, especially on how she reconciles her job with her anarchist politics. She criticises her job as being something where you have to play a role for money, and where you have to prepare your body a certain way; I don't see how this is different from almost any other job, especially since in most jobs now you can't have visible tattoos or piercings. I was rather interested to learn that the British sex workers' union is now affiliated to the huge GMB union, which like most large unions is affiliated to the Labour party. I can imagine the headlines it would cause if a sex workers' union became attached to either of the big parties on this side of the pond.</li><li> <b> has been adjusting rapidly to using GNOME</b>. It's always a joy to see people learning the system, and Fin has been learning fast. One problem zie's having is with Rhythmbox; it seems to have a lot of quirks, like stopping playing the current track when you do something as trivial as opening the file chooser. I'm compiling the version from HEAD to see whether it has these faults; if it does I'll try to fix them. But maybe zie'll be better off with Amarok or something.</li><li> <b>Today's Video That I Like:</b> One of the good things about YouTube and Google Video is that you get to see TV from several years ago that you'd almost forgotten about. Today I found Fry and Laurie's spoof talk show, <cite> <a href="">Photocopying My Genitals With...</a> </cite>. Stephen Fry is always lovely, of course; if you're one of the people who apparently don't realise Hugh Laurie is English, here he is in his natural element.</li></ul> marnanel 2006-11-24T03:44:26+00:00 journal in a foreign land Today I worked on the SEIU's portal at work. <p> I slept through the alarm, and was only woken up by Sharon honking her horn outside. I got dressed and out the door in about three minutes, but of course I didn't bring anything to eat; Sharon gave me her lunch, leftover Chinese food from yesterday, and said she could easily buy herself something else. I think that was very kind and thoughtful of her. </p><p> At <a href="">St Mark's</a>, the bald priest whose name I don't know preached on <a href="">Psalm 137</a> (though both he and the appointed readings omitted the famous curse at the end, which probably needs a whole separate section to itself). He said that even though the question of "How could we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?" was a rhetorical one when it was asked, eventually they were forced to find practical answers to it (building synagogues to meet in and so on since they couldn't meet in the Temple), and they found eventually that God is indeed in the whole universe and not just in Jerusalem, as their forefathers before them had discovered that God was indeed in the promised land and not just in the desert. </p><p> I think as an immigrant this particuarly gave me a lot to think about. (And I wonder whether if I go to GUADEC '07, how I'll handle being on English soil again for a week and then having to leave it for who knows how long once more.) Then again, on some level we're all transients passing through this life: someone asked me recently how I like the US, and I said I like it well enough, but I never really feel like I belong here. Zie said zie feels the same about the whole world. </p><p> I did see Brian the homeless guy there, but just to wave to briefly. </p><p> <b>NARGERY:</b> Havoc pointed out to me that if you set METACITY_DEBUG_XINERAMA, metacity will pretend you have two xineramas on the screen. Using this, I was able to test St&#233;phane Rosi's patch to <a href="">#323820</a> and find that it works fine. I also looked at <a href="">#304927</a> briefly. Gentle readers, do any of you actually use metacity's shaken_loose feature, wherein you can unmaximise a window by picking up its title bar and shaking it free? Or is its very existence news to you? If the latter, it might be going away soon. </p><p> Also, there was some talk on IRC about why <a href="">Anne &#216;stergaard</a>'s name appears as Anne &#195;[]stergaard on <a href="">the Foundation pages</a>. Character encodings in XML and XSLT is actually the sort of thing I spend a whole lot of my time doing at work, so I took this on the train with me; I now know the answer, though I obviously don't want to commit it without talking to someone on the board. (If anyone's around on IRC tomorrow, I might grab you.) </p><p> As I was walking down the street in Philly, a well-dressed person called something out to me from the other side of the road. I asked zir to repeat, and zie halfway crossed the road before repeating, "You look... exactly like Jesus!" I was a little nonplussed before replying, "Well... hallelujah!" </p><p> has been doing a whole lot of work on some <a href="">beautiful artdolls</a> and making web pages about them. There are dozens more that don't appear on the site. </p><p> In the evening we went round to Robin and John's house and sat outside and drank beer and talked while Rio and Murphy-the-dog chased a ball around their garden. Fin bought me a chocolate ice-cream from the ice-cream van. *happy*</p> marnanel 2006-07-01T02:41:26+00:00 journal "I did not see a temple in the city" This morning I woke to the alarm, which was cut short by the second power cut in a week. We all had breakfast and headed into Philly for the <a href="">Third Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation</a>. I think people had been expecting it to be a meeting of Muslim, Jewish and Christian people from around the area to talk together and discuss peace, but this year there was a <a href="">significant Sikh contingent (pic)</a> too, as well as a smattering of other people from other traditions. <br> <br> Despite being held up by other people's accidents and roadworks, we got to <a href="">Al-Aqsa mosque</a> about on time to meet about <a href="">five hundred other marchers all wearing white (pic)</a> (but the baklava had all been eaten). The organisers had planned for a few people to <a href="">say a few words (pic)</a> and for us all to move on, but in fact afternoon prayers were just starting and we were all invited in, the women into one side and the men into another. I felt very out of my depth and confused, since it was all in Arabic, but a friendly guy who seemed to work at the mosque was sitting next to me and explained things in an undertone. I never knew when to stand or bow down or anything, so I was careful to watch everyone else. When the service was over, the mosque guy whispered, "Okay, you can relax now." <br> <br> I think that it must feel pretty similar if you're not used to Episcopalian services to walk in to the middle of one. This is a sobering thought. <br> <br> After that we walked to <a href="">St Peter's</a> Catholic church, where some guitar singers led us in a very campfire-ish chorus, and the priest told us about <a href="">St John Neumann</a> and his passion for helping immigrants. He said that we should all learn from Neumann's example and give immigrants all the help we could, and everyone applauded. After that <a href="">Imam Shehatah read some of the Qur'an</a>. <br> <br> Apparently they have St John Neumann downstairs, lying there all dead but somehow not rotting away. I wanted to go and look at him, but it was time to go. <br> <br> We then walked to <a href="">Christ Church</a>, which was a long way away. I don't remember much about Christ Church except that the vicar and the imam gave a short talk, and they had peanut butter crackers. Then we all <a href="">stood outside (pic)</a> in a <a href="">ring (pic)</a> and sang a song about sharing peace with one another. <br> <br> After that we went to <a href="">Society Hill Synagogue</a>. I've never visited a synagogue before, but they made me feel very much at home. The rabbi preached a sermon (do you call it a sermon?) midrash about the part in Exodus where we're told to help rescue our enemies' donkey if it falls over. Society Hill also put on some excellent food for us, even though there were several hundred more than were expected, which was much appreciated. <br> <br> Probably the best moment of the day happened by chance. The imam and the rabbi happened to be walking across the stage at Society Hill in opposite directions. As they passed, they randomly stopped and hugged one another, causing a spontaneous ovation. <br> <br> One of the most interesting parts of the day, as with most days, was the conversations. Primary among these was a conversation we struck up with an older Sikh man. We asked him whether the colour of a man's turban was significant, and he very courteously told us that no, it wasn't, but that orange was a popular colour because orange represented the idea of strength. Then he went on to tell us how in Sikhism it was important to be as strong as you could be, but you were doing that because you wanted to help protect anyone who was weak, and how there was an idea of being so strong that you were able <em>not</em> to fight, and how Sikhism was an egalitarian faith and anyone who knew how could lead the services. We talked for a good long while and learned a lot. There was also a woman who told us about her Welsh ancestors and how she had visited Wales, and a man called Steve who told me about a paper he was presenting on the <a href="">St Scholastica riot</a>. (Sadly, he got called away before I could find out much more. It was a bit like being in Cambridge, though.) <br> <br> So, do I think it will do much good? Well, I don't know whether walking around Philadelphia will cause much peace, and I suspect that anyone who wasn't inclined to listen to what people from other traditions had to say wouldn't have come along. But I learned a whole lot, and was inspired to read about a whole lot more. And as Fin said when we were talking to the Sikh gentleman, it's from ignorance that you get fear, and from fear that you get hatred, so it's vital that everyone stops and talks to one another. <br> <br> <small> <a href="">(Reflection: the same day through Fin's eyes)</a> </small> <br> <br> I didn't get any hacking done today, but I did discover that <a href="">the O'Reilly Goat book</a> is available online, which is just what I needed to know about autotools. Excellent. So far I have discovered that it's insanely complicated, but I suppose I already knew that. <br> <br> A blessed Pentecost to those who keep the feast, and to all of you a restful night's sleep and a strong start on Monday morning. marnanel 2006-06-05T03:50:19+00:00 journal "A oes heddwch?" Today was the day that my journal first appeared on <a href=""></a>, so hello to those of you reading it there. I'm Thomas, poet, would-be linguist, and programmer; I'm from Cambridge in England and I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my partner <a href="">Firinel</a> (Fin for short) and our daughter Riordon, who are both awesome people I'm lucky to have in my life. I work for an organisation that does <a href="">awesome things</a>. If you want to know more about who and where and why I am, you should read my <a href="">bio on LiveJournal</a>. <br> <br> I am feeling <em>so much</em> better today. I must have slept for over twelve hours on Friday, and today I woke up feeling almost back to normal. When I came down to check my email I found a cup of coffee waiting beside my keyboard. Did I mention that Firinel is an awesome person? <br> <br> SaraMae and Sharon (Fin's grandmother and mother) wanted us to go out to <a href="">the diner</a> with them, so we sat and drank tea and ate croissants. A while ago, someone somewhere on LJ was saying that French prosody doesn't really map to English ideas of where the stress lies in a word, and that when a French word is loaned into English, British English tends to stress the first syllable (BAL-lay) and American English the second (bal-LAY). I don't know enough about prosody to know whether this is true, but I present the anecdotal evidence of my very English attempt to order a croissant in America: <br> <br> Me: I'll have a croissant, please.<br> Waitress: Go ahead.<br> (long pause)<br> Me: Um, what are we waiting for?<br> Waitress: I thought you said you had a question.<br> Me: No, no, a croissant.<br> Waitress: Oh, a croisSANT. <br> <br> Later we came home, I did some washing up, and we briefly went to <a href="">the sale</a>. We didn't see any kittens, though. <br> <br> I believe I fixed <a href="">metacity bug 114305</a> today (removing old dead code to do with menu icons). This is part of a much bigger project to <a href="">revise the entire theme format</a>, which is about half done. I would have been almost done by now, but I broke my laptop a few weeks ago. (I have to say that <a href="">the people I work for</a> were extremely good with helping fix it, and deserve heaps of kudos.) <br> <br> My current pet project is a port of <a href="">xbeeb</a> to GTK. It's tentatively called gbeeb, at least unless <a href="">enough people decide</a> it should be called plasticdaffodil. There are still a million things to fix, but I think it's now good enough to do an 0.01 release, so I'll try and get onto that, but first I'll need to learn a lot more about how to set a program up with autotools: I'll dig around and see if I can find a primer anywhere. Thanks to all of you who've expressed interest in testing or playing with it; if anyone else is interested, <a href="">let me know</a>. (If you don't have an LJ account, you can leave an anonymous comment.) <br> <br> I've lost about eight pounds in about a week, quite possibly because I didn't eat much on Friday. I don't think this is anything to worry about; I'll probably get it back soon enough. <br> <br> If any of you are going on the <a href="">Philly Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation</a>, we might see you there. Either way, peace to you all. marnanel 2006-06-04T01:38:28+00:00 journal thunder and lightning Quite briefly: <br> <br> I fixed both the utf-8 bug and the trailing zero bug yesterday. <br> <br> On the train I fixed up the BBC Micro emulator so that keyboard input is now almost as good as it'll need to be. (There are still some things like keymappings that need doing eventually.) I'm planning to use this to help teach Rio programming. <br> <br> When I got home, there was a huge thunderstorm, which caused a power cut. We went to the diner in the hope that it would come back on, but when we came home it was still off. So we went to bed in the dark, but sometime overnight it came back on. <br> <br> I'm feeling pretty dreadful this morning: headachey and feverish. I thought when I woke up that it was just that I'd slept badly, but I'm still feeling that way. marnanel 2006-06-02T12:33:03+00:00 journal three bean The BBC Micro emulator lives, sort of. It displays (very badly) in a gtk window, and it can accept keyboard input (very badly). Next to do is to improve the teletext emulation a whole lot.<p> I tried all day to track down the UTF-8 bug, and found out a lot of things about it, but couldn't put the big picture together. I'll try again tomorrow.</p><p> I went to St Mark's at lunchtime again. Today was the feast of the Visitation, when people remember Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth when both of them were pregnant. The preacher said that he was tempted to use pregnancy as a metaphor in his sermon, but didn't really dare make pronouncements about what pregnancy might be like because he wasn't ever going to be pregant himself.</p><p> I hacked on Metacity some, and on the Beeb emulator some, on the way home.</p><p> Fin made three bean chili. I made the rice. It was lovely.</p> marnanel 2006-06-01T01:27:12+00:00 journal As feely homies As I mentioned earlier, I hacked BBC Micro stuff on the train. I got into work early, and refactored that piece of code I told you about where I'd tried to be too clever. I'm quite glad of the way it works, now. <br> <br> Later, we spent most of the morning planning the new iteration, Iteration Zhoosh. I'd suggested the name before Iteration Zho, but that's because I'd never heard of a zho (which is because I'm not a Scrabble player), but I'd heard plenty about zhooshing, which is <a href="">Polari</a> for "beautify" or "comb". Hence the topic in the chatroom:<blockquote><div><p>(2006-05-30 10:53:24) ***Alec of the Wood has set the topic to: As feely homies..we would zhoosh our riahs, powder our eeks, climb into our bona new drag, don our batts and troll off to some bona bijou bar.</p></div></blockquote><p>At lunchtime I went to the 12:10 service at <a href="">St Mark's</a>, where I <em>was</em> the congregation. <br> <br> <b>Hello<br> <small>My name is</small> </b> <br> <i>the congregation</i> <br> <br> During private prayer afterwards I was struck by an insight about my life, which I'm still thinking over, though like a dream it might lose a lot by being put into words. Maybe I could make a sonnet of it or something. Anyway, I don't want to write about it here, but maybe I should start a Bible study / prayer journal. I'm not sure whether I should leave it readable to a list of people who want to see it or just to me. Your opinions on this are appreciated. <br> <br> In the afternoon, I tried to solve a big UTF-8 problem, but barely got it put together by the time it was time to leave. <br> <br> I hacked a <em>small</em> amount on the BBC Micro emulator on the train. The reason I didn't debug more was the one line</p><blockquote><div><p> <code>EmulatorPC += ( signed char )( *EmulatorPC++ );</code></p></div> </blockquote><p>(EmulatorPC is char*.) Now, for those of you who know a little C but not much, that DOES NOT increment what EmulatorPC points to (which is good, since it points at machine code). Instead, it <br> <br> 1) takes what EmulatorPC points at<br> 2) increments EmulatorPC<br> 3) adds the number we found in 1) to EmulatorPC <br> <br> You might THINK that this was legal C, because addition is commutative, but it IS NOT, and it DOES NOT WORK. Except it does. gcc doesn't complain about it at all. But part of what I needed to do involved changing EmulatorPC from auto to static, and then all hell broke loose and the program didn't run. Debugging virtual machines is no fun at all. <br> <br> There was so much traffic on the road that the power went out on my laptop before we got home. I spent the rest of the time reading <a href=""> <cite>The Yellow Wallpaper</cite> </a>, which is very interesting and enjoyable, and I'll post my thoughts on it later. <br> <br> Sharon has an ending date for her job. I see buses in my future. <br> <br> Fin made a gorgeous tofu salad. I wish I could tell you how good it was. It was <em>good</em>. Rio and I went out and swung on the swings afterwards and talked about things. <br> <br> I have a big plan about learning Welsh, which I'll post more about when I know more, in the next few days. <br> <br> I was delighted to discover that two people think I'm a journeyer on <a href="">Advogato</a>. I like being part of big projects. <br> <br> It occurs to me that I didn't tell you people what the myspace account I'd set up was. It's <a href="">here</a>. Friend me if you like, or don't. I'm not particularly impressed with the system, but there must be <em>something</em> in it, because there are millions of people using it. On the other hand, you could say the same about Windows.</p> marnanel 2006-05-31T02:01:51+00:00 journal Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand We were back at <a href="">St Gabriel's</a> this morning. Fr Cal was away, and a priest had come in from Reading to take the service. She was a very friendly, warm and glad sort of person, a pleasure to meet. Her sermon was more like an essay about prayer read aloud. It would have made a good small group meeting, but it didn't really work as a sermon. She had a beautiful stole with pictures of children of all different races on it. She told me that she'd seen it at General Convention, and pondered back and forth about buying it because she was close to retirement, but it seemed so perfect for her and her ministry of children's work that she ended up getting it. <br> <br> Probably because it's Memorial Day tomorrow, there were a few patriotic songs mixed in with the hymns. The postcommunion hymn was <a href=""> <cite>America, America, God shed his grace on thee</cite> </a>. I thought this was a bit weird, but someone pointed out to me that English churches do occasionally sing <a href=""> <cite>Jerusalem</cite> </a>. <br> <br> After the service people could stay behind and be prayed for. Only two people stayed, one of whom was me. One of the clergy people asked you what was up and you talked about it for a bit, and then they prayed for you, and gave you a hug. They were very supportive. I'm glad I've found a church family where I feel I belong. <br> <br> I mentioned <a href="">the work I do</a> to James, and he said it was wonderful to have good works and the work you do for a living being the same work. I think he has a point. Some people try to tell me I should be doing something else (my psychiatrist asks me why I'm living in this town and doing this work when I could be away somewhere doing postgrad work or something) but for now, this is my calling, and I'm sticking to it. <br> <br> Later we went to lunch. We mostly discussed swordfighting, for some reason, but the lesson I learned from that meal was not to eat so much at lunchtime that I'm no longer hungry, or else I'll feel sleepy all afternoon. I don't need any more ways to feel stupider. <br> <br> My fix to Metacity compiles. It awaits testing. <br> <br> I went to the park with Rio later, and she played with another little girl. I should have brought my computer and tested Metacity, really, but I thought she and I were going to play more. marnanel 2006-05-29T01:24:25+00:00 journal Saturday We woke late for a weekday but early for a Saturday, because it was time to go up to <a href="">Shupp's Grove</a> and help out with SaraMae's stand: they needed Fin to help out with power tools setting up the electrical supply. Rio stayed to run her own table today with them today and made $3. She is very proud of this. <br> <br> When we came back I tried to compile GNOME again so I could work more on Metacity next week. It all fell quite easily into place. <br> <br> I set up a myspace account because I was curious what all the fuss was about. I still don't know. It looks like just another blogging site with some social networking features. <br> <br> I finally got VoIP working, and had a long talk with my father. <br> <br> Rio and I went to the park, and met a little girl called Juanita, and her father, Abdul. Abdul and his wife both work at the shop round the corner, so I'd met them before, but never to talk to (it's hard to chat to people in a shop when they're working). He asked me about England, and told me he wants to visit Stonehenge one day. "My parents-in-law are in England," he said, "but we don't talk because I'm a Muslim." "How does that work out?" I asked. "Well," he said, "every time they talk to me they try to convert me to Christianity." I think it sounds like being as pushy as they're being is the worst thing they could be doing if they want him to hear more about Jesus, actually. <br> <br> We had Chinese for dinner, since we didn't on Friday. I realised that most weeks we all get a different order and then Rio's leftovers go in the fridge, even though she gets a small, and then they often go bad. So today I ordered nothing, and ate the remainder of Riordon's food, and there was no waste. marnanel 2006-05-28T02:47:36+00:00 journal hereinunder known as the Artist <p>Sharon picked me up in the morning and gave me yoghurt and cola. </p><p> Today at two we were due to talk over one another's code review, so when I got into work, I spent the time until nine o'clock getting some code reviewed ready. At nine, I walked to the <a href="">Plough and the Stars</a> on Chestnut Street. I had a bit of trouble finding the place at first. When I got there, a man was blocking the door; I told him I'd come for the documentary and he took me to the manager. The manager, who was pleasant and Irish, asked me whether I'd brought the producer with me, and when I told him I wasn't anything to do with the production but only an interviewee, he sat me down with a cup of coffee. </p><p> Sitting next to me was a professor called <a href="">Rich Pawling</a>, who was playing the banjo. He began regaling me and the manager with tales of Irish derring-do, mainly involving Irish people killing other people they didn't get on with. He pulled out two or three books about the <a href="">Mollies</a>, and showed us some press cuttings. "You don't think it's all over, do you?" he said. "Here's a story about some Englishman with no brains in his head walks into an Irish bar on St Patrick's day, and makes derogatory remarks about the Irish, and he'll Never Walk Again." (Since I was at that moment an English person sitting in an Irish bar, I inly swore I would be careful not to make any accidental derogatory remarks about the Irish.) </p><p> After a while, Dyfrig from <a href="">Telesg&#244;p</a> turned up. He chatted with me about the Mollys in English and Welsh, but I was finding it difficult to put sentences together in Welsh. (Thinking about it now, this was my first attempt at a face-to-face conversation with a Welsh speaker in Welsh <em>ever</em>, so I'm not surprised I fluffed it. Someone whose opinion I respect tells me it's always hard speaking Welsh to a new person, anyway.) I said my Welsh wasn't really good enough, and he told me that that was okay, because they could use me in English. </p><p> I went upstairs to the balcony, where the cameraman was setting up, and the sound guy put a box in my pocket, and ran a wire up inside my shirt to a clip mike on my collar. Rich Pawling said he'd go and get ready. Did they want him as a miner, he asked? He had all the clothes ready, and even a (disabled) pistol. I saw him afterwards and he looked very convincing, with a light on his hat and soot on his face. I don't know how he got all that into his little bag. </p><p> The cameraman shone a light at me, and Dyfrig stood just out of shot and asked me questions. I was instructed to wait a second after he'd finished so our voices didn't cross. I talked for about twenty minutes about the Molly Maguires, Welsh and Irish immigration, class struggle, and the necessity for the labouring classes to organise, but occasionally we had to re-take because of the phone ringing. Once I said "as I said before", and I was asked to do it again without those words so they'd be able to put it back in any order. </p><p> After that, I came back downstairs and signed the release form (in which I was hereinunder known as the Artist). It had all been so much fun that I was quite surprised to hear I was going to get a cheque for doing it: I hope I can do something similar again someday. I apologised to Dyfrig about my Welsh being so bad, and he said not to worry because I'd given an interesting perspective on it in English. When it airs I'll try to get hold of a copy. </p><p> When I got back to Solutions, the code review meeting was just about to start. The lessons I'm taking away from that meeting are that doing things the clever way doesn't usually win you any brownie points. I wrote one module in two ways, one using OO and the other using prototyped subs, and everyone used the OO version. But having the other subs in there made it all more complicated than it needed to be, and I think it got bad reviews because of it. I'll be refactoring it in the next few days. </p><p> I checked in new code to metacity today for the first time since my laptop broke. </p><p> I made pierogies for dinner.</p> marnanel 2006-05-27T02:21:13+00:00 journal What goes up must come down <p>Today was mostly code review, but I sneaked in some extra fixes to the tests I was writing yesterday. </p><p> ladynik0n gave me a teapot! I walked home with it. People were staring at me from cars and pointing. </p><p> We don't owe the state any taxes. </p><p> I worked quite hard on the way home on a project to make it easy to edit benefit flows. <a href="">This is what I've got so far, if you want to play.</a> You need a browser that can do SVG (Opera, recent Firefox, IE with a plugin, or Safari from CVS); if you don't have one, don't worry about it. </p><p> In the "what <em>were</em> they <em>thinking</em>?" department, here's <a href="">a book review from Amazon</a>:</p><blockquote><div><p>Someone in Rev. Lucas Holt's rundown, Austin, Texas parish has chosen to ensure God's vengeance by dispensing his own brand of justice... this serial killer has selected his victims based on the words of a hymn... Holt, an attractive middle-aged Episcopalian priest, was assigned to the down-in-the-chalice church of St. Margaret's; his sadistic bishop relishes the church's demise and that of its unconventional shepherd as well. Does the Bishop also realize that Holt exudes sex appeal to a variety of women: his church secretary, hookers, an aspiring female politician and not the least, a lady from his own past--tough police Lieutenant Granger... <strong>Himself a priest,</strong> (my emphasis) the author has endowed his long-suffering but oversexed protagonist with great intuitive sleuthing abilities.</p></div></blockquote><p>Clearly, we're dealing with the Rev. Mary Sue here. </p><p> Firinel made lovely breaded fried tomatoes and aubergines for dinner. While I was helping cook, I was talking to Riordon.<br> Me: Well, you have some Scottish blood.<br> Rio: Because Daddy Alex is part Scottish?<br> Me: And not only that, but you have some Welsh blood too.<br> Rio: Because some people in your family are Welsh?<br> Fin: That's a strange use of the word "blood".<br> Me: Why?<br> Fin: Usually, people use it to mean biological parentage.<br> Me: Oh! Do you know, I completely forgot.<br> Fin: What's funny is that you were assuming Rio inherits genes from both her <em>fathers</em>. </p><p> I made another unsuccessful attempt to get on I was told that the only requirement needed was a GNOME CVS account, which I have, but when I asked to be added, everything went silent again. I'll ask again in a week or so. </p><p> desh came up and told me that he has reason to pester everyone in the Systems team except me. So we'll have to find something for him to pester me about, too. I hope it's not Joule breaking or something.</p> marnanel 2006-05-26T02:58:41+00:00 journal Pamela Taylor, my erstwhile biology teacher <p>Some teachers at school stick out in your memory. One such was my biology teacher, Miss Taylor.</p><p>She would go off on long discussions about her own experiences, where it was relevant to the lesson. Once I remember during a sex ed class she told one of the kids, "Don't write this down, dear, your mother will have a heart attack".</p><p>Another time she said, "When the brain processes a stimulus continually, it becomes insensitised. For example, Gemma, can you feel your knicker-elastic?"</p><p>Lots of kids used to go to her for advice about contraception or menstruation: she was quite the Wise Woman of the school. When I was quite young I was building a barometer in science class. I was trying to make it with a balloon as the diaphragm, but Miss Taylor walked past as I was building it and said, "I don't think that will be sensitive enough... I think you should use a condom." The entire room stopped talking and stared at me. This was officially my second most embarrassing moment ever.</p><p>Once some kids brought in a bottle of whisky and shared it out between themselves at breaktime. She said, "Well, since I can't tell how much you each might have drunk, I'm afraid you're all going to hospital to have your stomachs pumped", and made it so.</p><p>Another time: "Surely you've heard of the principle of osmosis! 'Nicholas farts at the front of the class. Who smells it first and who smells it last?'"</p><p>Another time she was telling us about childbirth and explained, "It's like shitting a melon." The next lesson, she asked, "Did anyone prepare for this lesson?" "Yes, miss," said one of the boys, "I ate a melon". That same lesson she told us all to lie on the floor and put our legs up in "stirrups" (actually lab chairs). "Yes, come on, the boys as well." Then she walked around the classroom exhorting us to push.</p> marnanel 2006-05-26T02:54:38+00:00 journal uebertag This morning: write "tag" function.<br> <br> This afternoon: after some suggestions, write super-generalised "uebertag" function.<p> <tt> =head2 ubertag<br> <br> For people who never took German.<br> <br> =cut<br> <br> sub ubertag {<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;goto &amp;uebertag;<br> } </tt></p> marnanel 2006-04-28T20:07:22+00:00 journal "I did my taxes for free. Click here to do yours." I think the staff meeting this afternoon was the most exciting event since I started working at Solutions for Progress, and that's saying quite a lot. The basic point was this: our mod_perl program which tells people what benefits they're eligible for, and files their taxes for free, is pretty wonderful, but there aren't as many people using it as there should be. Until now, we've always worked with partner organisations, churches and so on, who actually provide counsellors to sit with people and talk them through the process. And so there have been people who've said, "I want to file my taxes and find out what I'm eligible to receive", and we've had to find a partner organisation in their city, if there even was one. <p> Well, the idea is to make the whole system self-service. Come next year, if we can get everything working, <b>anyone in the US making $45,000 a year or less will be able to visit our website, file their taxes for free, and apply at the same time for a whole bunch of benefits</b> they might be eligible for, all with one easy website, with phone support if they need it. They can go and visit a partner organisation if they want someone to sit with them through it, but they won't need to. They can do the whole thing in one evening from their living room-- or the computer lab at their university, or the public library. What Food Not Bombs do for food, we can do for tax filing: abolish the myth of scarcity. It's all there as much as you need it, and it's free. </p><p> The opportunities for memetics are enormous. We can give people HTML to put in their blogs saying "I filed my taxes for free. Click here to do yours." We can have people spread the meme by word of mouth. We can build a movement, we can create communities on LJ and myspace, we can send the message where the people are who need to hear it. We can mobilise people-- when people are done with the system, we can say "You're eligible for X in tax refunds, Y in food stamps, and Z in heating assistance-- if you'd like to volunteer to do more to fight poverty, here are some people local to you to get in touch with." We can get millions of dollars of tax refunds and benefits into the pockets of people who need it most. </p><p> I'll let you know how we get on between now and tax season next year. And if you feel you'd like to help out by using the program yourself, or spreading the word, or both, let me know. For now, feel free to link to this entry. </p><p> I am so excited about this.</p> marnanel 2006-04-27T01:22:44+00:00 journal nargery *in the shower*<br> <br> marn: And then we can run the server in <a href="">taint mode</a>, so that...<br> fin: <a href="">Taint</a> mode? Heh. Is that between balls mode and arse mode?<br> <br> *later*<br> <br> marn: So, when you hear "Tainted Love", you think "somewhere between anal and teabagging"?<br> fin: I am <em>never</em> going to be able to listen to that song again. marnanel 2006-02-20T01:04:04+00:00 journal none-too-complex maths <p>Riordon and I were discussing commutativity.</p><p>Me: So is subtraction commutative? What's ten take away zero?<br>Rio: Ten.<br>Me: And zero take away ten?<br>Rio: Well, you can't.<br>Me: You can't&#8253;<br>Rio: Well, my teacher said you can't.<br>Me: She did?<br>Rio: Yes, I said you could because of negative numbers and the teacher said we didn't do those for a couple of grades yet.</p><p>(I remember the same thing happening to me when I tried to use division in infant school.) The daft thing is that Rio is quite capable of working in the complex plane. I wonder how I can teach her not to let the school put brakes on her exploration. It bothers me firstly that she'd understood what the teacher said to mean that she should pretend negative numbers didn't exist, and secondly that she then took this to apply to every situation in her life (not just as needed to get by in school maths classes).</p> marnanel 2006-02-07T01:48:03+00:00 journal Lingua::CY Welsh Perl modules that I would like to exist include<ul> <li>one to turn the vaguely-standard ASCII markup into UTF-8 ("dw+r" to <a href="">"d&#373;r"</a>, etc)</li> <li>the same module, to turn it back again</li> <li>one to help you work with the <a href="">CEG</a> (a free million-word corpus)</li> <li>one to mutate any given word using a given mutation</li> <li>the same module, to take a number and a word and give you the correct mutated form ("1 c&#226;n", "2 g&#226;n", "6 ch&#226;n", "100 o cannoedd")</li> <li>later: the same module, to give you a list of possible radicals for a possibly mutated word, and possibly check whether they exist in a dictionary (see below)</li> <li>one to pluralise common words (would need an enormous attached dictionary, but creating this from the CEG would be no great deal)</li> <li>later: the same module, to look up parts of speech and so on in a dictionary</li></ul><p> I think, given <a href=";">all the work that's going into translating KDE and Gnome</a>, some Welsh-specific Perl tools would be really useful. I'd like to write all of them myself (it would be a great way to use some of those computational linguistics classes I took in college) but I worry that people will just say "oh! you're not a fluent speaker, you shouldn't be getting involved with such things". Maybe I should find someone who speaks both Welsh and Perl well to sanity-check them for me.</p> marnanel 2005-09-18T01:45:32+00:00 journal Progress report That game, which Firinel named "Entrop", <a href="">now has its own SourceForge page</a>, if anyone wants to check on its development. I'll be releasing v0.1 probably next week sometime. marnanel 2005-08-05T19:52:06+00:00 journal Repton Okay, who wants <a href="">Repton for Perl</a>?<br> <br> I'd probably make it so you could supply arbitrary PNGs for the sprites, instead of relying on the Beeb format (though of course it would still load those). And I certainly wouldn't be distributing the original maps along with it, because they're copyright. But most of the fun of Repton / Boulderdash / Rocks'n'Diamonds is building your own levels. marnanel 2005-07-22T18:19:27+00:00 journal v0.10 <a href="">v0.10 is done</a>. Net::RGTP can now post; I'm figuring out some new applications for this.<p> Here's what I posted to GROGGS about it:</p><blockquote><div><p> <tt> <b>Reply from [marnanel] at 00.12 on Tue 19 Jul<br> From We are far too young and clever<br> </b> Net::RGTP version 0.10, to hit CPAN imminently, supports posting.<br> <br> I've been thinking about what to do with this new ability, and I<br> think it might be kind of fun to have a server where RSS feeds were<br> fed into RGTP. So every time (say) a new news article was posted to<br> the BBC site, there would be a new RGTP item to discuss.<br> <br> What do you think? What RSS would be good to use?<br> <br> Of course the other possibility is that now it's possible to build<br> a Windows RGTP client with some ease (see K3351406 and R1671542 for<br> previous discussion of this): just hook up wxPerl with Net::RGTP and<br> there you go. It could probably be put together in the evenings of a<br> week without too much effort.<br> <br> However, I don't think a separate client has much of a chance of<br> being used now that there's Yarrow that anyone with a browser can use.<br> Then again, people are still using email programs despite the existence<br> of webmail.</tt></p></div> </blockquote> marnanel 2005-07-19T07:22:05+00:00 journal Ongoing I've been working on the posting feature, but it's not finished yet. RGTP posting is actually surprisingly complex when it comes down to it, because of the concept of continuations. I hope I can get the API simple enough, nevertheless.<p> If anyone wants to see the script that's reading RGTP and producing LJ entries from it, it's <a href="">here</a>. It's very rough-and-ready, knocked up in an hour or so, and not something I really want to publish as an example of polished code, so treat it as pre-prealpha.</p><p> In particular, as it stands, it will fail the first time it's run because it always tries to read the cache, which isn't created yet. It's trivial to comment out everything except the part which saves the cache the first time if you're playing with it, but obviously it's something that should be fixed in a published version.</p><p> There's a huge thunderstorm tonight, with massive thunderclaps almost overhead; the power keeps going out. I hope this posts.</p> marnanel 2005-07-13T22:37:15+00:00 journal v0.05 Most of the stuff I wanted to address is fixed in 0.05. The error handling should still probably return undef and set $! on common errors, though, rather than dying.<p> I have plans for the next version, which will be 0.10. It will have a general post() method which encapsulates RGTP's NEWI, REPL, CONT and MOTS commands. I was planning the new API in my head as I walked around the town fair this evening.</p> marnanel 2005-07-10T05:21:32+00:00 journal Bad night for GROGGS to go down There's a few things about Net::RGTP 0.04 that I'd like to tune up a bit: the error handling could use some work, and it uses a predictable value where it should pick a random number. After that, I want to add the ability to post. That'll bring us up to version 0.10. However, <a href="">GROGGS</a> went down tonight, so I can't run the test suite. When it's back, we can get going. Or maybe I'll use my own scratch server. marnanel 2005-07-09T05:50:43+00:00 journal