2002 Aug 3 (Sat), 02:15 Blargle
Very brief update:
  • Tux Typing will be having a 1.0.2 release this next week. In addition to that, I've been hacking away at some fixes for Tux Typing's title screen. So far, lots of success (see message linked above).
  • Bill's TuxPaint is coming along nicely. They've done some great work over there.
  • We've recently been donated a keen HP NetServer over at Tux4Kids and I've been busy setting it up for its use. The screenshot linked above shows the administrative web interface (this will be a headless beast when all is said and done... it will also live behind a firewall). The system will be a backup and archival server. It will also handle daily CVS snapshots.
  • Be sure to go and vote for Tux Typing at Lindow's Clicky-Awards. you can vote here- type in "Tux Typing" at the Home & Education section. Hey, it doesn't cost you anything and could help keep Tux4Kids alive (erm... we're running out of funding for our hosting... anyone interested in donations should contact me ;-)
  • I did a cheesy CSS demo about using CSS to make transparent text boxes. I did this to illustrate how to do these for Jake.
Other than these... gosh I am tired... Been a tad busy this week. Lousy WinNT backup server we have at work hasn't had a successful backup all week (this is a legacy box that we plan on replacing with a Linux box running Samba... it's just a matter of finding time to make the switch). So work was busy... And then all the stuff I've been doing with Tux4Kids has been exhausting. I should take a break this week, but I have too much to do before the LinuxWorld Expo (Harry McGregor of OSEF will be giving a presentation that includes our stuff).

I need to come up with a fancy, dumbed-down, presentation for possible grant writers as well. See, I'm not joking about Tux4Kids.org. If we don't get a pretty strong infusion of money over the next few months, we may get to be in dire jeopardy (as in, we may need to close down and just divide up the projects within 5-6 months.) So I need to get something easily graspable by non-tech people so I can go and try and enlist the help of professional grant writers (I mean, hey, I'm a developer... I'm not a people person... and I don't know jack about writing grants.) Wish we didn't have to do this... but we've gotten too popular for our existing budget (rather, MY budget... since I've been footing most of the bill thus far.... not that I'm complaining, it's just that now with my wife back in school, and me working part-time, our income has dropped dramatically.)

Anyhoo... go vote for Tux Typing, and go see Harry's talk at the LinuxWorld Expo! ;-)

2002 Aug 15 (Thu), 13:08 Profound Nuttiness

Okay, get this: A few days ago after our semi-nightly walk up Sabino Canyon my wife and I stopped in at a Blockbuster Video to see what deals they might have. They were running this special where you could get $3 off any used DVD/VHS/Game. We found three movies that were priced $4.99 which we went to purchase. The cashier scanned the movies, and had to scan a "special" UPC tag to give us the discount. After she was done, our total came out to be $11.29, which is totally wrong. We pointed this out to her, her brows furrowed as her bubble-gum and MTV rattled teenage brain tried to grasp the situation. Eventually, rather than argue with us, she just scanned the UPC discount tag again to take off another $3.00. This left us with a total of $8.29.

Now, obviously this still wasn't right- $4.99 =~ $5, $5 x 3 movies is $15. Take $3 off for each movie ($9) and you get roughly $6 for the lot. Add in the rather high Tucson sales tax, and you're looking at no more than $6.75. The math is simple, the concepts are simple. We again pointed out that this was wrong, and this time she was even more confused than before. She could not see that the math didn't add up, and began to get frustrated with us for arguing with the cash register's math (Of course it's right! The computer's always right!)

Eventually, she had to get her manager to come over. Her manager was a bit older than her, but obviously wasn't any brighter. She too became irritated with us and said that the computer had scanned in each movie so of course there was no error. My wife, being the educator she is, layed the movies side-by-side, with the tags facing up (so you could see the $4.99) and went through (slowly) the math involved. Eventually, the girls realized that the computer had scanned the wrong price on one of them, and we got the correct price.

Now, we only made a fuss over this because a) these were unknown movies to us, and who wants to pay a lot for a movie you end up hating? and b) it was astounding to see how poor many people's math skills are. Seriously, I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country where the average student somehow manages to slide through school without the most basic education. As another example, a friend of my wife has a daughter. This daughter was in GATE her whole life, and has a 4.0 in college now (she's studying to be a nurse). My wife helped proof-read a paper for this girl, and was astounded how much crap was in it. Gramatical and spelling errors, rambling incoherent thought (I know, pot calling the kettle "black", but hey, this is my diary)... it was horrendous. And yet, somehow, this girl has managed to slide through life getting nothing but praise for her nonexistent academic skills!

But I digress.... Project news:
  • Tux Typing: We just had our 1.0.2 release for Tux Typing. Go check it out, it rocks. We also have some pretty interesting stuff in the pipeline so stay tuned.
  • Tux4Kids: As far as general Tux4Kids items, I've been pretty busy. We now have automated, daily CVS snapshots for all our projects (well, all that use CVS ;-) Adding new projects will be trivial, as well. Additionally, I've finally revamped the news page so that it uses the latest noNews-lite snap from CVS. I've done a bunch of other stuff, but can't think of any of it right now.
Also, anyone out there own a PS2 and plan on getting the broadband adapter and SOCOM: Navy Seals the 28th? Hey, if so, join me for a frag-fest!

2002 Aug 19 (Mon), 16:54 Effervescent Raccoon

Okay, so I have been very busy as of late and haven't been updating my diary... so shoot me.

Over at Tux Typing I've been trying to get one more release out the door before the end of the month. I guess it might have something to do with the fact that I basically had a year off between releases and I'm trying to make up for lost time... but the fact that Tux Typing is in the running for the Lindows Clicky-Awards and we could really use the moolah for Tux4Kids certainly puts extra urgency in this release. Plus, we do have some really neat patches that have been applied since 1.0.2, like my smoothscroller patch and Jesse's rand() fix. Heck, we even had two neat patches applied today. Anyway, barring anything unforseen, I'll put the next release up for the t4k-rel guys to hack at and plan for the official release on the 28th (same day as SOCOM: Navy Seals comes out... I know... I plan to handle the release early in the morning before I actually start playing the game ;-)

Anyone interested in getting a sneak peak at what will probably be 1.0.3, should check here.

Other than that, I fixed one problem with Tux4Kids daily automated CVS snapshots. It wasn't a serious problem, just makes things cleaner.

Speaking of CVS snapshots, if you are remotely interested in Tux Typing, you really should go and check out Jesse's latest code for Tux Typing dev (codenamed tt2). He has some truely awesome stuff going on in there, and its really reinvigorated me into the project. I think I made the right decision to have him be my successor on the project, he's making some great choices of what to put in. If you haven't yet, go out and download the snapshot and check out all he's done. Bear in mind this note since the build process is broken in dev (I was going to write up a new one and submit it later on).

2002 Aug 24 (Sat), 23:42 All good monkeys...

Okay... not a real update by any stretch of the imagination... over at Tux4Kids we'll be having a kick-butt release of Tux Typing 1.0.3 this Wed.. I hacked some on the dev branch for Tux Typing and did some pretty eye-candy for the title screen that separates it from the stable branch... BTW, Jesse is doing awesome as the new project admin over there... I'm really glad I gave up the reins, as he's been able to take the project in new and exciting directions I wouldn't have had the energy or desire to.... So all is going well with Tux4Kids and Tux Typing...

Been playing Samba De Amigo for the Dreamcast this weekend. My wife surprised me with it last Thursday, and we've been really getting into it. Man, what a frickin' workout! That game is nutz... I never thought I'd like a Ricki Martin song!

Other than these things.... saw American History X finally (hard movie to watch) as well as Ed Wood's "Orgy of the Dead" (never thought I'd tired of seeing nekkid women, but sure enough, I do have a limit ;-)

Next friday I'm meeting with some professional grant-writers to see if we can get some much needed funding for Tux4Kids (since no one seems very willing to donate.) Here's hoping we can get some money for infrastructure (web-hosting, bandwidth usage, backup servers, etc.) as well as for needed equipment (one of our project managers is getting carpal tunnel syndrome due to lack of a proper ergonomic setup)

Hmmm... other than that, sure can't wait until SOCOM Navy Seals comes out ;-)

2002 Aug 26 (Mon), 18:49 Stupid-stupid-stupid people

As you might know, I'm back in school today (for those who don't know the whole story, let's just say that until this economy picks back up, I'm back and hiding in academia ;-) and I'm taking this upper-division sign-language class (mainly because I need something that I should pass with little-to-no effort). Today was the first day for that class, and we had the typical introductions you get in a language class ("Hi, my name is Bob... I'm a Duck-Squeezing major.." except signed). My teacher (who is actually a good friend of mine) got to this one dork in the class who was in the wrong room. My teacher asked this dork his name, and to tell us about himself. Well, this dork was supposed to be in a Spanish class, and decided rather than just standing up and excusing himself to find his right room (which would have been the smart thing to do) he would just try and fake it.

So here's this dork, doing pretend sign-language, much to the confusion of the teacher and the class (the thing was, one or two of his "gestures" actually were signs, so it really confused everyone). Anyway, we finally figured out he was a poser and "encouraged" him to leave. But can you beleive how stupid people can be?

Tomorrow night I'll do the Tux Typing 1.0.3 release. This will be the last release I plan on doing for the stable branch unless I get some pretty mind-blowing bugfixes. All-in-all, I'm rather sick of it (which is why Jesse is now the project manager) and I want to move onto other things. Needless to say, I have a pretty full plate and will be happy to clear it a bit.

Of course, I have to do the release tomorrow night because Wed I will be playing "SOCOM: Navy Seals" all day long.... and need the day free.

BTW, if you haven't already voted for Tux Typing over at the clicky awards, please see this message and go vote for us! ;-)

2002 Aug 27 (Tue), 21:42 Tux Typing 1.0.3

Well, we managed to squeeze out one more stable release of Tux Typing this month. You can read the full release here. Basically, this will be the last stable release I plan on doing, unless anyone has any significant bugfixes to submit to me. I'm done, and I don't have anything else I want to add to Tux Typing stable... Now Tux Typing dev (where Jesse is working), that one will see some more patches from me... But pretty much I plan on working on other things.

BTW, if you haven't yet voted for Tux Typing, go read this and vote for us!

Anyway... I'm beat, so I'll wrap up for the eve'... Later on this week, I will be meeting with some grant-writers to see if we can get some funding for Tux4Kids, so I need to start working on my presentation. Also, tomorrow is the day that SOCOM Navy Seals comes out... so I expect to see you all there ;-)