Fri, 30 Nov 2007
I've been trying out some more plug-ins for my Pyblosxom
- Book Review is very similar to the Book List one I had before. It also uses a text file to store all the text,
but has some extra fields and can generate a page for each book with the link using the ISBM. Unfortunately the
latter is not working for some reason. I'm looking into it.
- There's a simple one that gives links to all the other pages. That's something I didn't consider until I
cut the number of items on the front page.
- Plugin-info just lists what I have installed. It could be useful for
- Recent could be the most useful. It lists recent items, including comments.
I don't get many comments and there's a problem that stops me getting email notifications when a new one is added.
The first time I used this I saw I had a couple of comments. Appropriately enough they were on the subject of
One thing I still want to do is to get the site URLs rewritten to something shorter. The main page should really
just be at www.bagofspoons.net. I understand this means some set-up in Apache that I need to work out. There's other
things to sort out when I find time.
Thu, 15 Nov 2007
Herts LUG 20071114
Down to Stevenage for the monthly chat. I was interested to
see a Panasonic Toughbook (very rugged looking
laptop) and a neat Palm emulator
on Tony's Nokia N770. If I could get one for my PocketPC then I wouldn't need to carry
two PDAs around. I still haven't migrated some of my data or found substitutes for
some of the apps I use. Malc showed up later
to talk about his attempts to recover a dying hard drive. One suggestion was to bang
it on a table if the heads were stuck.
Several people were interested in the new Asus Eee PC.
It's a mini laptop with a flash drive for not too much money. I don't really need a powerful
laptop and probably wouldn't want to take one on holiday, but this is much more convenient
and powerful enough for internet, photo editing or watching videos. A big plus is that it
runs Linux. I can't justify one just now, but perhaps it will encourage a new wave of budget
devices. Or they will just bring out a better one for the same money in six months.
My software revelation of the week is that Skype released a
client that does video! It's a beta, but that's never stopped me before. I have it installed,
but have yet to try the video feature. Otherwise it looks the same as the previous one, i.e. a bit
lacking in features, like showing contacts by group, that I liked before. I don't have a working webcam
myself. Recommendations for something cheapish that works on Ubuntu are welcome. Other interesting new
software this week was Miro. It's a sort of RSS reader for video.
You can subscribe to various feeds and get the latest editions. Some of it is even in HD, but the
examples I tried were not that impressive on my 19" CRT. One day I'll move to a nice 22" widescreen
Sun, 11 Nov 2007
One Million Gnodes
This is geeky, but I don't care. I've been contributing processing power to
Distributed.net for many years on a variety
of computers. My current dual-core Athlon is probably equivalent to a dozen of the
old machines I started with, plus the software has been optimised to get more out
of the hardware. I had switched to Folding@home
as it seemed to be of more practical use, but I was having problems with it crashing
out and losing many hours of work, so I switched back to the Dnet OGR project.
There's also the RC5-72 code-cracking project, but that seems to have already proved
that it's not currently viable to brute-force the code. After a few years they haven't
even managed 0.5% of the keyspace.
Anyway, today I finally reached the milestone of
one million Gnodes on OGR-25.
I can see there that I've been running it for over seven years, but at the rate I'm running now I
could do the same work in about eight months.
I'm not sure how long this project has to run. There are a lot less contributors these days,
but I estimate it could be done within the next six months. There has been a
hint that a new project
is coming along soon. I feel a certain loyalty to this group, so I will be looking out for that.
There's an argument that we shouldn't be leaving computers on and running them at full capacity
to run projects like this due to the increased energy usage. I have my own dilema about this, but
I think I compromise well by not leaving my computer on all the time and by saving energy in other
areas. The Windows F@H client has the option to not use all the available CPU. That's a good
way to compromise and also keep the computer cooler. I understand that this is trickier to do
on Linux. Dnet does have the option to only use one CPU core, which should keep the power usage
down a bit, but I'll keep my PC on full steam for now. It helps keep the house warm in the winter,
but probably not by much.
My contribution to these projects may actually be almost insignificant next to that of the
many Playstations that now run them. Their multi-core processors seem capable of very high
speeds. I'm not planning on buying one, but we have been considering a Nintendo Wii purely for
family entertainment. The problem may be in actually finding one. They seem to be in very short
supply in the UK. Ideally I'd like to use vouchers from my credit card to buy it, but that limits
the options futher. For example I couldn't find any Argos stores with them in stock. Any suggestions?
Sun, 04 Nov 2007
I've mentioned before that I don't really like closed social sites like Facebook.
I shouldn't have to force friends to join whatever site I'm on just so they can see my updates.
I could ask them to subscribe to the feeds of all the sites I use, but that's asking a bit
much and their list will not stay up to date for long. I've been exploring some sites that
let me build a single feed from all my sites.
Mugshot does this fairly well,
but has some limitations. It only allows linking to certain sites plus one blog. It has some
nice social features like groups that all you to have a joint feed.
FriendFeed offers very similar facilities, but
not groups. What attracted me there is the option to set up feeds for friends who don't
want to join themselves. They call this 'Imaginary Friends'. Others may call it cyberstalking ;)
They also don't allow for multiple feeds from sites they don't directly support. I'm on
their support group, so I will be pushing for things like that.
The big news in social networking this week was Google's announcement of
OpenSocial. I'm not fully clear on it's
capabilities, but I gather that it would let developers write applications like those
available within Facebook, but they could be used on any site that implements their API.
We shall see how it develops.
Over the weekend I've done an overdue update on my site. I was a few revisions behind
with PyBlosxom. This version doesn't offer
any radical changes, but is supposed to fix some bugs. I've taken the opportunity to
reorganise the directory structure to make future upgrades simpler.
I'm also playing with some plug-ins. I've had comments for a while, but only just
set them up to email me updates recently. I'm not fully convinced that always works.
I've also finally added one for static pages, i.e. pages that are not tied to a date.
I intend to use these for things like saying something about myself and things I want to
be always easily accessible. I've started with transferring a lot of the content from the
right-hand side to a page linked from the top right. I'll tidy that up later. This should
resolve an issue a friend was having in tracking links to his site. He was finding hundreds
from here as my friends list appeared everywhere.
I still intend to generate my About page from my FOAF
file when I find the time. I've seen some other places doing this, so I may be able to copy
Big thanks to Will for his help in getting my
static page working. He wrote the plug-in and is the main PyBlosxom man. We chatted on IRC
to sort it out. I love the fact that you can have direct access to developers on free software.
We found we had a common love of Philip Glass and I suggested he check out Steve Reich.