17th level Hacker

SpellBound Firefox Plugin, Dev Version

Apparently Firefox 2 has inline spellcheck right out of the box. Werd, I’m looking forward to it. However, my Ubuntu systems still have Firefox 1.5.x and I don’t want to start mucking around now that I’ve just started accepting I don’t need to build everything by hand. Start pulling on that thread again and whole thing comes apart!

Normally I use a plugin for spell checking, but it stopped working a few updates ago. Firefox or the extension claims that they are no longer friends. So I was very happy to find the development preview of SpellBound, which not only works with the current Firefox releases under Ubuntu, but does inline spellcheck. Double w00t to that one. I have it installed at home, as long as it doesn’t cause any problems I’ll put it in here at work too.

Subversion Book

I’ve been giving myself a svn refresher so that we can move over to it, and I hit this in the maintenance tools documentation page and it made me laugh out loud:

This output is human-readable, meaning items like the datestamp are displayed using a textual representation instead of something more obscure (such as the number of nanoseconds since the Tasty Freeze guy drove by).

You’ve Stayed Up Too Late When

You know you’ve acidentally let your bedtime slip too close to sunrise when you’re flipping through the onscreen TV guide and MTV actually lists “Music Videos” as currently showing. No need to look at the time, when a thing like that happens you know that either the sun is about to come up or you’ve somehow ended up in the 80’s. Flock of Seagulls anyone? Don’t laugh, they’re on tour. On second thought, go ahead and laugh.

Http_load for Request Replay

The presentation that Rasmus gave at OSCON this year seems to have kicked some ass. I missed the conf, but got a bunch of interesting info from the slides. In particular I hadn’t used http_load before. Part of what I’ve been doing at AdMob is taking a look at performance and scaling, so that was a great find. It’s exactly the set of controls and measurements I normally start out with, and it really does run very efficiently in terms of not loading down the system that http_load is running on.

Just about the only thing that didn’t work the way I wanted was the random selection from the url list file. I wanted to replay a set of traffic in order, so I hacked up an -orderedurls option to select from the url list sequentially (repeating the list once you get to the end) instead of randomly choosing. Reading the whole file in and parsing it probably isn’t the way to go for this particular usage, so I’ll have to clean it up when the traffic segments I’m playing get into the millions instead of just the tens of thousands. But it works great for now.

Linux Lappy

It’s just about New Laptop Time. Not quite, but almost. Being a Linux only user it’s always an adventure trying to figure out what hardware to get. Hardware support has definitely gotten better under Linux, but figuring out what actually lives inside the system you’re thinking about picking up at deep discount from Office Max certainly has not. And I’m not a dual-booter either. I don’t have Windows to fall back on should something not work on my laptop. I take a scorched earth approach to Windows on my hardware, and generally wipe and repave the whole thing. Especially if it’s my personal laptop, which is what I plan for this to be.

Currently I’m leaning very heavily toward the Thinkpad X41 tablet. It looks like there’s good X support for a bunch of stuff that’s traditionally a pain in the ass under Linux. Screen rotation seems to be working (without restarting X, thank god), the input driver for the touchscreen, power management (including frequency scaling), and wireless using ipw2200. Anyone out there with an X41 tried Linux and care to toss in some comments before I pick one of the things up? It’s hard to tell from wiki postings just how painful is it to get the thing actually setup, and there’s always the chance that the instructions on the wiki are wrong or incomplete.

On a very much related note, anyone know a good shop in the San Francisco Bay Area that could come up with some Pimp My Ride style dashboard mounting and wiring hookups for my car?

ZeroOne San Jose Art Festival

This week (August 7th to 13th 2006) is the ZeroOne Arts Festival in San Jose. There was a great presentation at Future Salon by one of the ZeroOne staff members where he tossed out a dizzying number of art projects that blend in technology in tantalizing ways. And if the interesting art projects weren’t enough to get you down there on their own, on Friday there’s a Survival Research Labs exhibition:

…it’s monster machine, meets hovercraft, meets huge sculptural creatures, meets fire.

What better way to spend a Friday night? I have just one question.. tickets through Ticketmaster? Is that part of the tongue in cheek techno-social commentary? That despite the rapid advance of technology in general the only way to throw a huge ticketed real world event is to use Ticketmaster? We’ll have to work on a project for the next one that fixes that issue.

A Diet of Monkey Chow

This is pure genius! I’m so disappointed I didn’t think of it first. A guy trying to live on a diet of pelletized monkey food. FANTASTIC! If it works and he doesn’t die I’m definitely doing it. If he does die… I give myself about a 50-50 chance of still trying it. I should start a run of packaging for the new Futurama style “Bachelor Chow” product just in case. I’ll probably have to wait a while to add flavor however.