• Gnome Notifier

    A post in Miguel’s blog mentions a system called Gnome Notifier, which provides a way for applications to use area in the panel to get the users attention rather than using popups. I thought that XChat used to have a panel component that would tell you what tabs had activity, so that you could switch to another desktop and know when to switch back (without having to turn sound on… ugh, I hate notification sounds). But I can’t find the options on my Fedora system, so maybe I just imagined that. I would love to see notifications go to the panel instead of popups.

  • Vagablog 1.9

    As I’m sure most of you already know, I have a package for Palm handhelds called Vagablog that allows posting directly from a Palm handheld to all sorts of blogging services. I finally released the 1.9 version today. I was on the road for the last month pretty much, so I didn’t get a chance to make any of the updates I should have. This release fixes the default hostname, and adds TypePad, B2, and LiveJournal to the list of supported services. I had to reduce the number of unregistered posts to 5 however. Sorry to be a dick, but there was just too much moochin of my l33t0 warez going on. I’ll make up for it by hacking some Open Palm Environment tools this weekend.

  • Visual Timeline (and lineage) of Computer Languages

    Gadgetopia posted about a timeline of computer languges. The chart is actually part of a Computer Languages History page, which has links to all sorts of great info. Taking a look at the chart itself it seems like there isn’t as much cross-pollination of languages as there used to be. I could be wrong, and I’m just overlooking some aspects of the chart. But it seems like many of the popular scripting languages (Perl, Ruby, Python) pulled from lots of original sources and have shot out up to the present, and there are others like C, OCAML, and Scheme that have just been around forever. Is this indicative of stagnation? Or has a nice natural organization been found, and the initial turbulent years where the aberration? The way it looks now, at the expense of overgeneralization, is that there are amalgam languages that have pulled influence from many different sources in order to allow flexability, and there are some languages that stick to a single style. There are exceptions of course, independent languages which allow for programming in many different styles. But have we discovered all the basic programming paradigms (functionaly, imperative, message passing, etc.)? There is still a lot of progress that needs to be made in the software engineering field, we obviously aren’t at the end of the process as a whole. But the progress can come either from lower level discoveries (such as a new basic paradigm for code organzation) or it can come from higher level software engineering practices (use case modeling, CASE, extreme programming, etc.). I’m not convinced that there aren’t more fundamental changes coming down the line. If people were working on them, I would expect to see more languages instability. Maybe it’s just lost in the noise now because there are so many languges out there, and either the next advance hasn’t happened yet or it hasn’t reached mainstream usage.

  • WINKsite blog

    There have been a bunch of updates to the WINKsite blog lately. Dave Harper, one of the driving forces behind WINKsite (which is just one instantiation of the general Wireless Ink technology), has been laying out some interesting topics. Even though it’s one of the older updates, I highly recommend the post about Mobilizing The Masses With “Location Aware” Applications. I’ve added the blog feed to my newsreader, hoping that we’ll see more great tidbits from the east coast crew. Another interesting bit of info, I just realized that one of Dave’s WINK sites has help forums and the WINK blog feed. Check out (WINKsite # 1562).

  • Direction of the Mono Project

    There’s a report by Edd Dumbill about the Mono project developer meeting, and it includes some good information about the long term goals of the project. I downloaded and fooled around with GNOME long before it was part of any distribution, and did some hacking for the Palm Pilot interface. But for a few years my involvment has been limited to running the packaged system made available by RedHat. Lately I’ve started to get more involved in general user applications, and my interest in the projects have started to pick back up. In particular I was looking at Straw, a news aggregator for GNOME, and using Scheme to develop visual applications. Last time I fooled around with it, getting GNOME to just compile was a bitch, and playing with bleeding edge applications burnt a lot of time. This time around I’m hoping that running the latest stable release will be enough that I can experiment with the apps I want. It seems like the developer facing parts of Mono are getting a lot of attention, so maybe it really is the right time to jump back in.

  • IRC Tools

    I’ve been wandering around through various IRC channels on, and while idling in the #scheme channel I saw a message from the lisppaste bot. I had never seen it before, but it’s a bot that allows for pasting content to a permenant location and sending a notification to the channel the paste is for. Given the way the bot is setup, it looks like the usage pattern is something like this:

  • Tiny Linux Computer

    An article over at O’Reilly describes the Gumstix computer, a very small ARM based Linux machine. The systems themselves seem to be quite cheap compared to other embedded system development systems. Information on the sites seems to be a bit spotty with relation to how development tools are made available. Maybe it uses a completely stock gcc ARM compiler and instructions for building the cross compiler come with the board, I didn’t see that question answered directly in the FAQ. It is not an open source design, they aren’t planning to release schematics for the Gumstix systems. But like the author of the O’Reilly article I think the geolocation applications of a system like this are pretty interesting. Given that it runs on such low power in general, if that power supply can be made to last for a long time it would make a great geologging platform.

  • Weblogs as Divergent Thinking

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately wandering around through various blogs and maintaining my own, but during the last two weeks I’ve had more time to think about what I’ve been doing rather than just continuing to do it. Something that really struck me was how many popular bloggers made new years resolutions to not blog so much during 2004. It seemed like the practice of blogging was maybe dying out, having been realized to be a fad by some of the pioneers and picked up as a trade by others. The very nature of writing and reading weblogs seemed to be transforming, and no one really seemed to be sure where it was going. I have no idea what blogging as a whole is going to look like 6 months from now, but I do have some pretty strong opinions on the value that’s been added to web content through the addition of weblog style content.

  • Successful Lisp Online Book

    There was a post at Lemonodor a while ago pointing to the online version of a book called Successful Lisp which is supposed to come out as a real world book some time soon. The post pointed to content at, which looks like another great resource for those looking to learn about Lisp.

  • Aunt Tillie vs M4d Sk1llz

    This is some commentary by me about two articles that Eric Raymond wrote recently. Both focus on difficulty in setting up a printing package under Linux. Part one lays out the general problem, and part two goes into some detail about how to solve some of the issues. I agree with many of the points brought up in those articles, but not the prescription given for finding a better situation. Computer systems can become orders of magnitude more usable if effort is put into improving the configuration and setup systems, but I think it will take some effort separating the technical guts from the setup phase before we see this on a large scale.

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