Fine, I give up


  • Jabber: DonScorgie ... gmail ... com (you know what to do)

  • facebook: I have no idea how to link to it from here. Search for me. If you can't find me, complain to facebook or tell me how to do it. I swear I did snap and set it up though.

  • Bebo: clicky

  • LastFM: clicky

  • Amazon Wishlist: clicky

  • IRC: DonS on

  • email: Don ... Scorgie ... org (again, you know what to do)

  • Phone number: No. If you want it, email me.

  • Address: See phone number.

Note, I don't regularly check or update some of these (*cough*facebook, bebo*cough*). Now, will people stop asking me for any / all of these? Thank you.
(and the first person that replies with a smart-arse comment along the lines of "you forgot X" ...).

Everyone (or maybe just me) owes Patryk Zawadzki a few beers. It was he that came up with the name Rarian. How's that for eternal glory (and beer when I meet you)?

Finally, to get it out the way:
don@Madaline:~/Work $ history | awk '{print $2}' | awk 'BEGIN {FS="|"} {print $1}' | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn | head -10
94 make
82 yelp
64 svn
44 less
32 /tmp/rarian-4/bin/rarian-example
27 ls
16 emacs
15 grep
12 echo
10 rm

There, am I done?

Random Assortment of Updates

Since I'm not really in a hacking mood ATM, I figured I'd do some pimping / recruiting here...

First: Say hello to the new yelp. Its been a year in the making, but finally it arrived. Awww, it's shy. Come on...
Yelp 2.19.1

There are still a few things to work out, but it's getting there. Now, I figure most people are sitting there thinking "that took a year? It doesn't look that different." but most of the changes are under the hood, which makes it easier for us to do cool new stuff in the future and makes it somewhat faster to load (the manuals are parsed in the background so the first page is available quickly). The above is more to show off our pretty new docbook output, thanks to the wonders of gnome-doc-utils.

Oh, and I'm starting to work through our bugs again (down from 210 yesterday to 180 today). I'll keep ploughing through.


Are you looking for a way into GNOME, but don't know what to do? Well, the doc team is here to offer you options...

Writers: No experience or programming knowledge needed. There are loads of manuals that need updating. Unfortunately, since our current writers are overwhelmed, they don't have time to review patches (and reviewing doc patches sucks), so it might be a bit of a struggle. However, now we're in feature freeze, it's time for doc work to warm up. If you've got patches, annoy us in #docs [1] and we will get around to reviewing it. If you want to get into this, annoy us in #docs [1] and we'll try and help you get started.

Programmers: Yelp has lots of work needed (doesn't everything always?). Two big ones are:

  • Man pages - Someone to start making man page parsing more correct / beautiful would be amazing

  • DBus activation - We would like to provide dbus activation and allow apps to signal us to open a page / manual

Of course, there's loads more bugs to fix and improvements to do as well.

Rarian also has lots of stuff I'd like to see done (which I won't list here).

If you're interested in the above, ping us on the GNOME doc devel mailing list or come into #docs [1] and we'll try and help you out.

Third and finally...

I put my slides up from GUADEC (better late than never). Available here.

[1] on IRC - join #docs . Don't be afraid that we don't seem active. I (at least) do read logs and will answer eventually (if you can't hang around that long, leave an email address)

Hidden things in GNOME

Just thought I'd share 2 small things in GNOME that made me really happy when I found them:

1. "less" scrolling in gnome-terminal. When you less something, the mouse wheel actually scrolls the less output. I can't tell you how insanely useful this is when debugging.

2. The up button for epiphany. Seriously. For months, I've been cursing web browsers, wishing they had an up button. Then shaunm told me epiphany did. Immediately, my browsing life has become so much better. Every program should have an up button (it's in the customise toolbar if you're interested).

Anyone else got other hidden cool features in GNOME that would make my life rock even more?

(This post brought to you by the power of waiting for jhbuild to compile something ... anything)

Short note

marnanel, how could you miss William Shatner's version of Common People? It's the best version by far.
Other than that, about Labyrinth... I'm swamped with yelp / rarian at the moment. Hopefully, by the end of this week that will be over (well, sort-of - the big work will be done) and I should be able to get back to working on it, finishing integrating the changes I have and fixing the bugs in time for a new release. It is in my mind, promise.

That was short, wasn't it?

Back from GUADEC

Figured I should join the flood of "back from GUADEC" posts appearing on p.g.o. GUADEC did indeed rock. I returned yesterday around 4pm (stupid train connections). I managed to watch the Grand Prix (which I had the foresight to record) before flaking out for 13 hours. Then, this morning, back to the real world. Still tired though. Figure it'll take me a few days to get back on form.

Some random notes on happenings:

  • Met some fantastic people. Was quite impressed a few even recognised my name and knew what I do :)

  • I did my talk, which I thought went pretty badly. Teach me to write it the day before. Teach me to actually listen to The Fearless Leader when he speaks of what he knows. [0]

  • Managed (hopefully) to convince Joe Shaw to rewrite Beagle to use Rarian. The entire way through, not just the documentation back-end, joining Tracker (hopefully). [0.5]

  • Also nice to see a (solitary?) KDE developer wandering and seeming interested in getting Rarian into KDE (please? Pretty please?)

  • Like most others, I managed to pick up a cold which, thankfully, seems to be abating a bit. My cough has nothing to do with the cigarettes, obviously.

  • Contrary to popular belief, I am a Doctor, I just don't play one on TV [1]

  • Got back to discover my second monitor has died. I'm now back to single-monitor mode. I don't know how people survive. A new monitor is now high on my list of priorities. [2]

  • Watching the Grand Prix, I was glad to see we weren't the only ones to be hit by the freakishly heavy rain.

[0] Footnotes rock
[0.5] For the people pestering me about why it's on evil proprietary Google Code, it'll be moved over to freedesktop soon, promise.
[1] No, I don't get it either, but 3 people told me this. It might also explain why people seem to photograph me everywhere I go. Or maybe that's just 'cause I'm great.
[2] Possibly right up there with "laptop"

Things that don't end well

At GUADEC (like everyone else). Party last night. Free booze. Always going to end badly. I'm now sitting watching Alex Larson talk with a massive headache. On the plus side, I did have Vuntz declare his undying love for me. Since I'm laptopically challenged I'll not post too much until I get back home. More later. Just say, if you want to speak to me / hug me / buy me coffee, I'm wandering around under the name Tobias. Oh, and Tobias, I want to be me again ;)
Edit: I'm now me again

Bugs, bugs, bugs

*sigh* Why is it that the hardest bugs to track down are the ones with the smallest fixes? For the last week, I've been chasing a bug in my branch of yelp (yes, we are working on it). It was producing an xlib error:
Xlib: unexpected async reply (sequence 0x2fa)!

Which looks a lot like a threading issue, does it not? For the last week, I went through and tried to track this down, adding in thread safety and reducing yelp to a bare minimum, but it still appeared, even doing everything in a single thread and using "--sync". It was beginning to haunt my dreams. Seriously. Then, this morning, I had an epiphany. I came up with the problem. It was so elegant. It explained the problem exactly. It explained why it worked sometimes and fell over other times. It was perfect.

I set about testing this and it seemed to confirm it. I spend an hour putting the fix in and ... still the problem reoccurred. Shame. It was the most elegant problem and solution you'd come across. Finally, I managed to track it down this afternoon. It was nothing at all to do with threads. It was due to libxml reading off the end of an array (I forgot to set the final element to NULL). Why does this cause an xlib error? No idea. Anyway, the fix is a single line. I want my week back, please.

And just to echo Bastien's post. if you're coming to GUADEC from outside the UK, bring cheap smokes. You shall find buyers (at least me).

Annoyance and Request

Annoyance: The "maximise" button being right next to the "Close" button. I know I could (probably) change the theme, but I like the one I've got. I know I could double-click to maximise, but I keep forgetting it. There are some applications I sometimes maximise, sometimes leave running in a smaller window. The number of times I've accidentally hit "close" instead of "maximise" is getting beyond a joke.

Oh, and while on the subject (and related to the next part), what is up with Emacs maximise on Windows? Don't know whether it's Emacs or Windows, but sometimes, it'll ignore the panel and expand past it. You can also move the "maximised" window around. I've never seen another program behave like it. (I put this in to see how many people shudder at the thought of Windows ... running Emacs? Shudder).

Request: Who wants to volunteer? Can someone produce an unholy alliance between Emacs and libvte? i.e. a *shell* buffer that uses libvte? That way I could have the power of gnome-terminal at my fingertips when using emacs and I'd never have to leave it again. Bwahahaha. The world would be mine!!!

(and for the hundreds of responses saying "You should use vi", I say bah. You shall be going straight to /dev/null, not passing go, not collecting 200 $CURRENCY_UNITS)

I return

Hello there. I'm back from my trip. Thought I'd share some pretties with you.

First, for those that didn't know (i.e. probably most people that are reading this) I was graduating on Monday. Obligatory photo:
Me!  Graduating!
The lovely lady with me is my mother. No, she's not a midget. I'm too tall. She's actually normal-sized ;) So, that's it. I'm now a (real) doctor (unlike those fake ones that try and give you pills and such). And, yes, that is a kilt I am wearing.

No sooner had I returned than I discover my article has now been published: linky, which made me happy.

Finally, and on a slightly more relevant (only just) note for those reading through p.g.o, I found this on the side of a drinks carton, which made me smile.
Innocent Bottle Goes Open Source
A full image of the carton side can be found here. It's nice, isn't it? It's from an Innocent Smoothie, which is the greatest drink ever made. For those that haven't tried it, I strongly recommend it. It's expensive (£2.95 for a 1l carton), but really, really worth it (and good for you). If any Innocent people find their way here, do I get free smoothie for promoting you? ;)

Oh, and for other news. Spoon was renamed to Rarian (think of the library name to get the pun [1]), and proposed to replace scrollkeeper in GNOME 2.20. Hopefully a new release soon. I've been busy doing the Yelp rework at the moment, so haven't really had time to work on labyrinth. It's still in my mind but on the back-burner again (sorry). One of the new features (which hasn't landed yet) is html export. An example can be found at this link. It's done using TiddlyWiki, but needs a little more work before I land it.

[1] If you still can't get it, it's librarian. Which is fantastically appropriate. Thanks to reader Patryk Zawadzki (Hope I got that right) for the name.

Dear World,

I'll make you a deal:

I won't subject you to my terrible music is you don't subject me to yours. In particular, on public transport it'd be appreciated if you would use these magical devices called "earphones". I know it's a novel concept, but some of us don't like listening to you're music.

(Yes, I am getting old and crotchety, but when someone else's music overpowers mine, when mine is through earphones, it starts to grate somewhat)

Anyway, on with the competition. Spoon is shaping up well and last week, it hit a special milestone. It can now emulate scrollkeeper successfully. With that in mind, I'm really looking for a new name for it. Something slightly more descriptive than "Spoon". So, here's you're chance to be famous by coming up with a new name for it. I've been playing with "libdocmd" (lib doc metadata), but it's easily confused with "lib do cmd". Anyone come up with something good here? I might even throw in a beer at GUADEC. Email me / leave a comment, ping on IRC or answer on a postcard with you're suggestions. The name should reflect the fact that the library is designed for documentation meta-data access. The only other rule is that it can't have scrollkeeper in the name. Bonus points for any puns.

Anyway, I'm back off to listen to some more terrible music.