Archive for the ‘personal’ Category


OliveYou may have noticed that I have not blogged for quite some time.  I’ve been otherwise engaged… Olive Emmanuelle Tromey was born May 1.  As you can see, she appears to have an outlook on life quite similar to Elyn’s and mine.

We’ve been posting oodles of photos of her on facebook, so if you’re wanting to see more, ask me for a URL or friend me there.


While we were watching a ball in a TV adaptation of Northanger Abbey last night, Elyn hit upon a genius idea: DDR Georgian Edition.  Just the thing for those Austen revival parties!

Therapy Aggregator

Yesterday I set up a new blog aggregator for Elyn. It is called “All About Psychotherapy and Counseling“, and aggregates blogs from various therapists, including her.

Setting this stuff up is pretty easy — I used WordPress, because the hosting service makes it very, very easy to install, and because Elyn already knows how to use it. Then she found a WordPress theme she liked; I installed that and tweaked it a bit with some newfound PHP knowledge. And finally, I installed the excellent FeedWordPress plugin to handle the actual aggregation. There were a couple tricky bits — I had to use a trick to get the author attribution to work properly (I don’t know yet if this is a FeedWordPress problem or a blogspot problem) — but nothing too extreme.

I’m a fan of WordPress.

Go read the new planet.

System Administration Madness

This weekend our wireless router went on the fritz, so I replaced it. Naturally, this turned into a multi-day, hair-pulling ordeal.

First, the new wireless box did not play well with the DSL router. For some reason, it was apparently programmed with an extra error check, so I couldn’t get its built-in DHCP server to hand out addresses on the same network as the DSL server, even though I configured them to handle different ranges. The old wireless handled this just fine… grrr.

So, I subnetted, using Great! Everything is working. Except…

Elyn couldn’t print any more. Looking in the logs I saw the dreaded client-error-not-found. My searches yielded nothing worthwhile — am I unusually bad at searching, or is there just little information out there?

First, I changed the machine attached to the printer to have a (local) static IP. It’s been a long time since I did this kind of thing (I switched to NetworkManager as early as possible), and so this took a while. (I didn’t find a man page describing the ifcfg files — is there one?) A static IP let me hard-code the IP address on Elyn’s Mac without worrying that a reboot would invalidate her configuration.

Oh, BTW — setting up a new printer is a great example of a place where the Mac’s vaunted GUI is not so hot. For one thing, as far as I can tell, you can’t edit an existing printer — you have to delete it and start over. I got really good at typing “”.

It turns out that having a default printer configured in CUPS was not enough to let the Mac print properly. I don’t know whether this is a bug on the Mac or a bug in the CUPS in F8 — I saw requests in the log for “ipp://“, but then CUPS would return the not-found error, and the print job would fail.

In the end I hit upon telling the Mac that the printer queue name was “printers/Name” (“Name” being the name of the printer), and this worked… I think this is amazingly obscure.

GCC Shirt

Thanks to Elyn, my t-shirt design from last year’s GCC Summit is now available.

I made a new GCC t-shirt yesterday, but you’ll have to wait for the summit to see it.

Would you do it again for free?

Thursday night I finally made it to a BLUG meeting. Stormy Peters from OpenLogic gave a talk titled “Would you do it again for free?”

Her talk covered some familiar ground — intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, a list of motivations that free software developers claim (or that are claimed by others), the various methods of payment. Her slides were beautiful; she seemed a bit nervous though not overly so.

She also talked a bit about inequality in projects. She claimed that 40% of developers on free software projects are paid to do so; a show-of-hands at the meeting showed similar results.

OpenLogic is running the Open Source Census — kind of a cross-platform popcon. If you read her blog a bit you’ll see that she uses this information when talking to VCs and the like. That’s a smart idea and I’m generally in favor of hard data over speculation anyhow.

She was using an Asus, kinda cool. And Neil, sitting next to me, was using an XO. Weird times we live in.

Motivation, of course, is a psychological phenomenon, one with which we all have direct experience. That is, everybody has an opinion… so one commenter from the audience rejected most of her list of motivations in favor of — you guessed it — his. I suppose this is the bikeshed effect in a different form.

I didn’t agree with everything in Stormy’s talk. At one point she gave a sort of economic history of mankind which, I think, was badly mistaken on the facts, though perhaps not our experience of them.

After the talk I asked her about the pretty photos and consistent palette in her presentation. She said they were CC-licensed works from flickr and from some stock photo site… nice. (Also I noticed her slowly backing away while we talked. Whoa! Like, I’ve always been afraid of being that person. And now … hard data. Crap.)

She also talked a bit about the relationship developers have with open source. One idea was that a hacker might leave a project (suppose the project dies) — but will just switch projects and keep working. Also, supposedly nowadays open source developers make more money than proprietary developers; but, conversely, often claim that they would take a pay cut to work on open source (the intrinsic motivation thing). Let’s hope our bosses stop midway through that sentence.

I’m fascinated by the social dimension of programming. Partly this is defensive; over the years I’ve developed some heuristics that I use to evaluate developers (sorry. But it is true. And of course I like you.) and projects, mostly to try to keep away from painful experiences. But, I’m also interested in a more general taxonomy of projects — my suspicion is that many of the things we think we know about running projects either aren’t so, or are “don’t care” boxes in the Karnaugh map of administration. What is cool is that the free software movement is so big, now, that we have an excellent laboratory in which to study.

Random Updates

I heard about Dolt recently. This is a minimal replacement for libtool that works only on Linux. It seems like a great idea, long overdue… though of course for new programs you should just use Quagmire, which, as I’ve said before, replaces libtool with two lines of code.

I’m into lisp these days, so much so that I’ve considered ranting about it here. I’ve read CLtL2 and I plan to read another online CL book. Anyway, I ran across this funny-ish lisp comic yesterday.

Elyn’s latest blog entry made me laugh out loud.

Steve Yegge’s new javascript mode for Emacs is now in ELPA — if you use js you should check it out.


LiverA couple weeks ago we had to euthanize our dog Liver. She had a brain tumor and was in a lot of distress.

As those of you who met her will know, Liver was a high-strung and difficult dog; it’s appropriate that she’s wearing her muzzle in the only photo I have to hand.

Now, though, is not the time to discuss Liver’s deficiencies. Despite her fears and consequent overuse of the fang, she had many of the qualities that bind people so closely to their dogs: enthusiasm, boundless joie de vive, eagerness to please, and unquestioning loyalty. Like many dalmatians, she was a clown (if often by mistake); and she is the only dog I’ve met who would come give me attention if I was crying — as if she understood.

So, rest in peace Liver. We miss you.

Elyn’s Practice

Elyn’s new web site for her therapy practice is up and running. We’ve read (mostly in Psychotherapy Networker) that a web site is the second most important advertising resource for therapists, after word-of-mouth. The days of people looking for therapists in the phone book are over… another little detail of how the internet has changed things.

I thought I’d do my part and link to her. If you’re near Boulder, and want a therapist, and don’t know either of us personally, give her a call :-). She’s also started a therapy-related blog, the link is in my blogroll.