2003 Jan 1 (Wed), 16:36 More porting...
Moved more from my old web-site to the new engine today. Today you can completely browse the older news items, as well as the "files" section.

I've gotten some requests for the source to my new engine, so I will probably post it in a week or so. I want to test the engine out some more, and make a few refinements to the security system. Plus, the administrative backend is butt-ugly, made just for myself, so I should, probably, clean that up a bit.

2003 Jan 1 (Wed), 16:42 Tin

One more thing... I've just been informed that the web-site for my absolute, favorite IceWM theme is no longer active (theme: 'Tin', from http://samael.k.pl/~michal/aeteria.html)....

Does anyone know of the theme's author has a new site, or if the theme 'Tin' can be found anywhere else? (If not, I want to put it up on my site so people can still download it).

Anyone with a clue about this, please let me know hart-at-physics(dot)arizona[dot]edu (my work address is more reliable this week.)

2003 Jan 4 (Sat), 01:21 Rapscallions & Cheese

Busy, busy day. Getting back to work (my job) has been hard, not because I dislike the job or anything, but because other people who I've needed to rely upon have been somewhat flaky in their return to work (I'm testing a SAMBA install for a mission-critical database used by Book-keeping, and I need a few of them to come into my lab and stress-test the setup for me... but certain indiv.s haven't been showing up to work this week :-/ ) I'm the kind of person who hates having his work have to wait for other people (I guess that is the staff giving me a taste of my own medicine... sysadmin-type people are always taking this system down, or upgrading that system and inconvieniencing people while they work...)

Was on #tux4kids over at irc.freenode.net much of the day. So was Jesse and Calvin, they were working on important things (like a new TuxTyping forum, website, and several patches) while I was busy goofing off on SNH.engine for my website (granted, we'll probably wind up using at least peices of SNH.engine in Tux4Kids). Basically, I was only there for moral support and the occassional witty quip.

Made a new theme for my site today. Was so impressed with it, I made it the new default! Check out Minty Fresh. I think it's keen.

I also think I've finished migrating all of my old web-content to the new engine. So here's hoping that's done.

Over the weekend I hope to begin the slow transition of Geekcomix.com to SNH.engine and possibly Tux4Kids.org as well. Also need to get the Tux4Kids wiki up, and the code online (I really have no excuse not to, I just haven't yet).

Of course, I could also flake off and just play Super Mario Sunshine (I'm at 70 shines!) or GTA:Vice City (one unique jump away from 100%... lousy jump). Guess we'll find out, huh?

2003 Jan 5 (Sun), 11:28 A Clockwork Turnip

Okay, I flaked off... but not because of video games.... It's because yesterday I got quite ill. I became terribly dizzy and somewhat nausiated. So I did nothing of import yesterday. I'm feeling a bit better today, so here's hoping I can accomplish some of what I hoped.

Oh, and I purchased Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange" (the book) and started reading it. I was not aware that previously, in the states, we only had the story excluding one final chapter (which the rest of the world had in their book). This includes the movie, which ended with the 20th chapter (the last one in the US version of the book). Apparently, this final chapter has Alex gaining some sort of insight or perspective on the acts he did in his youth, and feeling remorse. The New York publisher cut this last chapter originally because he felt that it was "selling out" and that the book lost its bite. Burgess, on the other hand, claims this chapter really drives home the point that we should not apply a "mechanistic morality to a living organism" (hence the title). Idunno about either. Initially I tend to side with the publisher, but that may be only because I am familier with the work up to that 20th chapter. So I'll give the book a chance with the 21st chapter uncut, and see what my thoughts on it are (I'm sure I'll share them with you all here as well... so stay tuned.)

2003 Jan 6 (Mon), 22:10 Another day...

....Another theme! This one's called "Business 1.0"!

BTW, per my desire over the weekend to get a lot accomplished: I actually did do quite a bit. The most evident thing is Geekcomix.com, which now looks alright and has all of its contents finally organized. The SNH.engine is done and ready to be stuck in Noink2's CVS. It will also be used to power Tux Typing's new website (I'm giving up site maintainership).. probably, anyway.... Haven't heard back from Cal if he's interested in using it ;-)

2003 Jan 7 (Tue), 15:50 Pipermail sucks

Okay, been troubleshooting and fixing a problem with the mailing lists over at Tux4Kids dev server all day. It's been sucking. Apparently, the problem stems from pipermail choking on certain messages, locking qrunner, and filling the qrunner logs with entries like this:

Jan 07 11:09:00 2003 (27071) Exception reading qfile: /home/mailman/qfiles/fb4c06dde8c9764d7b4e4203a3200f14a9352641 [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '/home/mailman/qfiles/fb4c06dde8c9764d7b4e4203a3200f14a9352641.db'

which basically hit the log file once a minute. It drags performance down to nothing, and locks delivery on several lists and certain addresses.

Now, I'm not certain what's causing this. A search on Google reveals that several others have had this problem before, but no one has ever really found a solution. Although one post I found (which I can't find now... perhaps I imagined it) said that this was probably caused by pipermail locking things up and how pipermail isn't supported and perhaps the user should switch to something else (such as MHonArc).

Anyway, trying to set it up, been on #tux4kids @ irc.freenode.net working with others from t4k. It's been rough (mainly because the system we're setting it up on can be... erm... cranky). Anyone with experience, or knowledge in this area, who wants to pop in on the channel and help us out would be our best friend forever....

Also, just out of curiosity... can anyone tell me how to run a terminal in my root window on my desktop? I've seen screenshots around with people doing this very thing, but couldn't find any documentation telling me how to do it. If you know how, and want to email me (criswell(at)geekcomix.com) or pop in the above irc channel and let me know, feel free.

2003 Jan 7 (Tue), 19:19 Bleh!

Okay, so pipermail wasn't the problem... and I just wasted most of my day running down a fruitless path (well, maybe not fruitless... mhornarc is pretty cool.. and maybe someday we'll switch to it instead).

It turns out my mail server cannot resolve 'mail.tux4kids.net' for whatever reason, and ain't bouncing any errors back to me (stoopid hunk). It worked fine up until sometime last week... and then bit it.

Still looking for information on getting a terminal of some sort to run in root window (or seem like it is). What I want is to replace my background (which is a solid color anyway) with a terminal that fills the screen (with the same solid color background) that has no border or window bars. In this terminal I will have my 'screen' session going with whatever I'm using at the time. For example, today I've been working on IRC with everyone at #tux4kids, and yet also doing things in other windows, on other desktops... It would be very nice to have this IRC terminal back there so I can readily see (regardless of what desktop I'm in) when there is a change or new post in that session.

I did find out that newer versions of gnome-terminal (yuck) can run borderless... so all I'd have to do is set it sticky and fullscreen and it would /kind of/ be what I'm looking for... But I dont think that version of gnome-terminal is in Debian yet, and I aint veering off of Debian testing just to get a stupid terminal. Plus, I know there has to be a more elegant solution that I'm not seeing.

Anyway... anyone know of anything about this please lemme know ;-)

2003 Jan 8 (Wed), 08:25 Look! A flying pig! ... And what is this? Could it be a snowflake in hell?

...Well, that does it, Sega is now doing F-Zero for Nintendo....

2003 Jan 11 (Sat), 19:20 Viddy the starry vesche

Well, spent even more time working on SNH.engine today. I've been making it a bit more portable and ensuring that it'll work with the data at Tux4Kids. Basically, you can see the results thus far of the unholy union here (be sure to compare and contrast it with the original page). Once the engine is fully in place, it'll be just as easy to change formatting/layout and fix problems in the Tux4Kids site as it is now on my homepage.... which is something I'm looking forward to.

Over this upcoming week, I'll be porting the existing pages to the engine much like I have done over here at Geekcomix.

Oh, and I beat Super Mario Sunshine (mentioned last here.) Gamespot guys were freakin' morons for thinking this was the biggest disappointment for the GC in 2002, cuz the game rocked. Sure, it had camera problems, but show me a 3D platformer that doesn't, and I'll show you a half-monkey, mutant monster dog. Also, my wife and I rented Animal Crossing: a more addicting piece of crap you're not likely to play.

Oh, and the Farscape episode last night somewhat rocked. Too bad SciFi still sucks for cancelling (okay, maybe they only mostly suck, afterall, the next Dune mini-series looks hot).

2003 Jan 17 (Fri), 09:11 Tux4Kids.net is down

Yes, Tux4Kids.net is down. They are having a massive winter storm in the area, and apparently, this has knocked out their services. I'll keep everyone updated when things change.

2003 Jan 17 (Fri), 10:02 Tux4kids.net back

It's back up, tho the storm is apparently still raging. So it could be spotty throughout the day

2003 Jan 19 (Sun), 17:10 Tear the Roof Off

Tux4Kids.org is now set up with the SNH.engine powering it. I made a nifty little hack to the engine today that allows you to make any page have a "Printable Version". It's ultimately a very small hack, but it's kinda a neat feature. Haven't decided whether to use that hack on my homepage yet. If anyone find any errors or mistakes with the Tux4Kids.org website, please lemme know.

Tux4Kids will be at Linux World Expo in NY this upcoming week. We will be there vicariously through Harry McGregor of OSEF. If you're there, go and check him out and get a copy of his Knoppix-based Educational Linux CD (which includes our software).

In light of my complaints in my diary about certain video game publication's best and worst games of 2002 lists, several people have been bugging me to do my own list. So, here it is.

Lastly, I finished reading A Clockwork Orange (the version with the extra 21st chapter that I mentionned here .) I'm not sure whether I like it with this extra chapter or not. I'll admit I agree that the chapter almost makes you feel like the Burgess was "selling out", but I'll also agree that it makes it feel more like a peice of "legitimate literature" than it does without it... however that's not always a good thing. I will say this: that extra 21st chapter really changes the overall thrust of the book. It makes it seem more like a "coming of age" story than a morality debate. Anyway, I guess the jury is still out on that one. Anyone else who's read the full version and would like to discuss it with me, feel free to contact me.

2003 Jan 23 (Thu), 21:56 The roof was torn down...

Ugh... week from hell. Spent monday moving most of the staff at my work from the ailing NT server to a shiny, new SAMBA server. Monday was a holiday (MLK Bday) but it was the best time to do this (it's hard to tell most of the staff, "can't work today, I'm upgrading!") and I worked from 7:30am to 10:30pm (which was mainly spent with file transfers from old to new server). Then spent most of the rest of the week putting out fires here and there because of the new setup (SAMBA's great and all, but this move was bound to be problematic). Anyway, learned many things that I never knew before about SAMBA.... whether I wanted to or not.

Then, last night the tuxtype-dev mailing list barfed out over 280 repeats of the same message before killing the server. It seems to be fixed now, but I spent a lot of time today troubleshooting/fixing/fretting. For the gory details, read this. ...... Needless to say, I'm considering Jake's suggestion that I just focus on being T4K's sysadmin and not develop much beyond web-scripts for a while...

Looking forward to ClanAM's game tomorrow... I really need the break....

2003 Jan 28 (Tue), 18:11 Ug... Me Tired...

Well, it's been a rather long week thus far (it's only Tuesday? WHAT THE?) and it has been rather hellish. Apparently, newer versions of Samba seem to not support the classic, standard LPR aliasing. This is a problem for us in PAS because we've been running all departmental computers off of Samba for a while now, and have been aliasing the different functions of each under a single, unified interface. Basically, if there is an HP in room 381 that can do duplex or single-plex (whatever it's called) we'd have two interfaces to it in LPR, hp381d and hp381s, and then an alias for hp381 that would intelligently "pick" which ever one was appropriate (I'm aware that's an incorrect oversimplification). Unfortunately, when we recently upgraded our Samba server (Red Hat-based, not to 8.0, but 7.3, I think) Samba lost the ability to deal with this aliasing.

Anyway, I was going to be going in over this upcoming weekend to move the remaining stragglers off of our old NT server to the new Samba one, so I was taking tomorrow off... which is now needed more than before. I plan on sleeping in and resting (I still have one class I must attend: Philosophy of Mathematics, a 500 level course that covers so much in lectures it's not even funny).

Brought Noink back from the dead (in the form of noink2) and began working on the P2P extension to noNews-lite I've been meaning to do for a while. Jake's been helping me there, and I appreciate it. Once we get something working, we'll impliment it over at Tux4Kids.

Speaking of Tux4Kids, I got them started on the new Tux Typing website. It's powered by SNH.engine and a gambit of other utilities that will become Noink2.

In non-serious work, I've revised my Deserted Island Games list. I also finally got caught up with all the older ClanAM screenshots (see them here and here.)

2003 Jan 30 (Thu), 20:27 MS Word docs are evil

I am preparing for some possible whiplash from my stance against MS Word docs in a class I am taking right now, and wanted to ask anyone with good anti-MS Word doc arguments/articles to please send them my way (contact me at my work addy ;-)

Also, been very busy with even more Samba issues today. The short and skinny of it is it seems that whatever version in Red Hat 7.3 no longer supports LPR aliasing (which I guess I already mentionned). Plus, Win2k seems to default profiles for non-existent users back to administrator. Which means that all the staff I moved over to the new Samba server last week no longer has access to their profiles anymore. I know.... I know... that's a prime argument to make "roaming profiles" default behavior.... But honestly, doing so would slow down the functionning of certain things enough that the staff would give us mucho flak... so we can't exactly do that, can we?

Also working on bringing Noink back from the grave. Jake and I are taking much of the code we've been making for Tux4Kids and other places and wedging it back into the never finished Noink2 branch. We have some pretty cool directions we're heading in (such as a P2P news relay service for all T4K sites), but don't expect to see much until after the weekend.

Oh, and for those that care, EA has closed Westwood Studios. Westwood Studios is the creator of the RTS genre, with their Dune games and the Command and Conquer series. I guess I'm a bit sad, but, being a console gamer, this doesn't directly affect me anyway. For more info on them, check out their website.