Archive for September, 2006

Return the Gift

I’ve been a Gang of Four fan since the very first time I heard “He’d Send in the Army” while watching Urgh. The only other time I imprinted on a song immediately this way was the first time I heard “Evidence” — which, come to think of it, is a similar song in some ways.

Today I found out (I’m not a very active fan) that they got together again and re-recorded their more famous songs and released them. You can listen to the album online.

It is pretty good, though not as raw as their earlier recordings.


Kelvin lent me The Dawn of Amber, so I read it last night.

Avoid! The writing is stupidly flat.

Note to all authors out there: don’t let your estate authorize sequels to your books. This turns out badly. For instance, now I will have to go desecrate Roger Zelazny’s grave.

I only have one story about Zelazny, which is that when I lived in Santa Fe I caught a glimpse of his shoe. I was at the Aztec and as the door was shutting the barrista mentioned that the guy leaving was Zelazny, and I turned in time to see the covering of the last exiting bit of his anatomy.

Eclipse and the Web

Andrew’s post about hacking the spec file editor using eclipse made me remember something I wish Eclipse could do: integrate better with free software projects.

I mean, it isn’t terrible that you have to download a team spec file, or whatever. But, it seems like things could be much better in this day and age.

For instance, simply clicking on a team project set link ought to pull up the project in Eclipse. That way every project on sourceforge could have a big “Hack Me” button.

I looked and I see I’ve written about this before. I’m persistent, or obsessive, or something.

Auto-tools talk

On September 12 I’ll be in Fort Collins, at the NCLUG meeting, giving a talk about Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool.

I haven’t been involved in the auto-tools for quite a while, but I still know enough to give a tutorial :-). I gave a similar talk at the Boulder LUG a while back (a few years now); I’ll dig up those slides and also probably take some thing from Alexandre Duret-Lutz… but if you will be there and there are particular things you want me to cover, post a comment.


I tried compiz on my FC6t3 box today. Fun stuff! I think my favorite effect is the deformation that happens when moving windows around… don’t tell my boss but I spent a couple hours today just dragging a terminal window hither and yon. Surely, I thought, the window would tear down the center if I moved it hard enough. But in the end desktop physics proves deceptive — or windows are tougher than they look.

These effects are a great drug. Every release now seems to have some new GUI gadget that flashes or strobes or vibrates. I suspect that those of us who work on free software every day are becoming increasingly jaded, requiring ever-stronger fixes to achive the same “gee whiz high”.

Fedora Core 23 is going to be truly amazing. Windows will emerge from photorealistic 3-D forests, crouching and scowling. We will use Tarzan avatars to bend them to our wills. As their tails lash we will see progress indications, new blog posts, and stock quotes flicker into being and then disappear in the motion.

Subsequent releases will feature themes downloadable from motion picture and television studios. Angelina or Spongebob will dig through layers of rendered mud — mud which on inspection will be seen to have been constructed from the contents of our home directories — to find shining diamonds. We will peer into the diamonds and, deep within their artificial luminescence, we will behold a galaxy filled with Emacs lisp, each cons a star.