03 May 2008
Like Riding a Build Cycle... You Never Forget
Picked up on Zwiki again a bit
After some months of above average slacking, I picked up on Zwiki hacking again a bit the last few days. I'm enjoying it, but it took some time to get started again. Where is the stuff again? How did we do this, that, the other thing? We also changed some things in the way we worked, with checkin messages now going to GeneralDiscussion (unfortunately they have to be cleaned up manually).
Speaking of such stuff, I really enjoyed this article called Software Builders by Diomidis Spinellis, quote:
"As much as I nostalgically remember the days when I could
cook and eat dinner while compiling an application, a quick
build cycle can keep developers focused..."
Wonderful! Back to Zwiki, we're (actually mostly Simon is - as mentioned I've been slacking a lot) moving the code base to Unicode for the data storage. Even though it's complicated, I've got a good feeling about it. We also have a Roadmap 2008 now. We've got an -unstable branch, which currently is at the point where it powers zwiki.org without much trouble. At first the Roadmap said that Plone support is to be terminated, but lately it's back, on minimal burner (no, I don't care, as long as I don't have to look at that stuff).
What I really would like next, is to test for unicode/utf8 transitions in our functional tests (built upon zope.testbrowser), but so far I haven't found out how I could do that. I'm talking about going through a cycle of page creation / edit / display page / search page with mixed Greek and German text and properly checking the displayed content at each stage. Problem is, it's all in a text file and my first tries resulted in UnicodeErrors even for stuff that worked in a browser. Of course I'm doing something wrong there.
04 May 2008
Griechische Ostern 2008
Eine Woche danach...
Es ist Wochenende und dass erinnert mich daran, dass letztes Wochenende Ostern war. Griechische Ostern genauer gesagt. Mein Freund Panos hatte uns (International Pizza) ins Haus seiner Familie in "seinem" Dorf eingeladen.
Wir sind mit dem Zug hingefahren (weise Entscheidung, an Ostern ist der Verkehr mörderisch), Panos hat uns vom Bahnhof abgeholt und von da an ging das grosse Essen und Faulenzen los. Essen, obwohl es erst Oster-Samstag war: Aber auch wer fastet, kann essen, zum Beispiel Γεμιστά (Gemista, gefuellte Tomaten), halt ohne Fleisch in der Füllung. Wobei ja der Grad des Fastens nicht von allen Leuten gleich eingehalten wird, bei einigen Leuten gibts am Samstag nix mit Oel dran.
Continue reading "Griechische Ostern 2008"
08 May 2008
Crash Me Real Good
It can happen to any ATM
Came by this crashed ATM yesterday evening (on the way to the one and only Kalamakia place). Somehow these things deeply amuse me. Must be my lifestyle, my work, whatever. Actually I felt a closer relation of this green on black screen, than I feel to most ATM's angry fruit salad colorful "user interfaces".
I have no clue what kind of (operating) system this is. If you know, please leave a comment. Note how nice it is that the date is actually displayed localized with a Greek font.
Unfortunately there was no spill of 50 Euro bills on the floor in front of it, ready for me to pick up. If it was a person who crashed it, they obviously hadn't seen the film "Hackers".
09 May 2008
They are still around!
Perl programmers! Do not despair! Even though your language isn't all the hype of the dot-com era any more, even though "new" languages like python, haskell, lua, java, (...) have taken over all the buzzword space, there are still jobs for you!
Admittedly, the company in the picture (click for a slightly larger view) is something of a "special" employer, you will be perfectly able to "show off" all your assets there. The company name also suggests a certain high level of expertise required (I mean, "diamonds", right?).
Back to real life: The space in question had a sign "for sale or let" with a nice (Greek) mis-spelling for a while, which I had a chuckle with on my way to work. Now it obviously changed hands. The new owner (or renter) hasn't had much more luck with orthography, but what do we expect, if he knew how to spell, he'd probably work in a more respectable industry.
Update ~5 June 2008: Someone seems to have applied a patch... I would not assume that they have read about the bug here, but at least someone seems to have pointed out this nice misspelling.
10 May 2008
Can't determine Purported Responsible Address
Hey, it's just a technicality
Got a support mail from a (very patient) user today. The "please reset my password" mail from one system I co-admin didn't reach them. Checked the mail log and found the mail was rejected from their ISP with a response "550 5.7.1 can't determine Purported Responsible Address". This baby refers to RFC 4407, which I had never heard of. I found some other references on the web, but they were red herrings (no, it's got nothing to do with SPF), the RFC led me to the solution...
Continue reading "Can't determine Purported Responsible Address"
12 May 2008
Test Run The End of Civilization (Part II)
Or is it a "dry run"?
Other countries may have fire drills or even earth quake drills, we can top them. We run drills for the end of civilization. How would that end look like? We're not exactly sure, so we're testing for different possibilities. Last time we tested for the "we will be drowning out in our own garbage" scenario. This time it's something more fashionable: The "there will be no more gasoline to drive our cars" case study.
So, what happened really (in case you're not living here)... the truck drivers and especially the fuel truck drivers are on strike. They do not transport gas to gas stations any more (already a few days now) and they block transports from the refineries. The result so far is that the online news reported yesterday evening already 90% of the country's gas stations having run out of juice.
The picture shows a sign saying "unleaded finished". Riding the bus, I passed another gas station that had a bit of juice still, with a long line of cars and people arguing - unfortunately I spotted it too late to snap a pic.
Since I have become such an eco nut (aka "pedestrian") and anti-car fetishist (not having one any more, still ogling every 2CV that comes along), I can only cheer at the promise of the traffic reduction. Give me air to breathe and roads to walk upon! Today it's hard to tell if there is anything noticeable out of it. It certainly feels like a bit less traffic, but since today the taxi drivers are on strike too and there are about 2 millions of taxis on Athens' streets, what's what's effect?
What are all these strikes about? According to the online papers, the truck drivers demand a 15% rise in their dues, because due to rising gas prices their expenses have skyrocketed. The ministry offered them 5%. Same goes for the taxi drivers btw, they will get 5% and demand 15%.
Wow, 15%. Do you know how to spell inflation? When we still had the drachma, this kind of thing was normal, I mean I have lived through 17% (official) inflation back then. But now we have a stable currency, the Euro. We shouldn't have such games. If everything else goes up, then everything else has to go up too, the result is more inflation. Watch out, Euro countries, we're gonna give it to you too!
Of course this inflation is partially imported: We're paying for the fancy wars of the Americans (heck, didn't these guys ever read Sun Tsu? every war leads to inflation, prolonged wars lead to totally f* up gross inflation).
Another part of the inflation is definitely home made: The productive result of the Greek economy is just too small. Shoveling EU money into the country is just going to make the rich nomenclatura richer, it's not going to change anything in respect to real wealth being produced. Already tired of my armchair economics talk? It's all part of the exercise! Hooking up a wood stove gas generator to the company car is next.
What a Wonderful World This Could Be
Best strike *every*!
The current strike of the truck drivers and especially the fuel truck drivers, in combination with the Taxi driver strike (that one only today) is the best strike I've seen ever. Where the garbage strike got on everybody's nerves, this one is wonderful: It's quiet! The streets are much calmer! The bus home was incredible fast, there were no blocked roads... this is what this city would need!
Of course the results for the economy would be bad, but please, please, could they keep the strike up for a week or so? I'd even ride my longboard to work if I had to, promise! (Or finally buy a bicycle...) I'm not the only one to notice the difference, lots of people mention it in the first words when you talk to them: "Athens is so nice like this!"
In case a prolonged strike is not feasible, I'd honestly suggest east European "socialist" style gasoline rationing. It would do wonders for air quality and ecology (by forcing people to think how they move).
14 May 2008
Got darcs 2 For PowerPC
These machines are still valuable...
The new ZWiki -unstable repository is in darcs 2 format. This resolves a couple of problems sm had with bringing the stable and unstable branches together. On my MacBook it was pretty easy to get a new binary package for darcs 2. But new OS X packages are done for Intel Macs only. At work my dev machine is a trusty old dual-G4 (fast enough for most anything still). Darcs is written in Haskell, so you need the GHC compiler to build it. First I tried to build ghc from macports... after about 4 hours it failed with a compiler error. I gave up for the moment.
Now I had the brilliant (or rather "obvious") idea to get a binary package for GHC. Indeed there is a binary installer for GHC on Mac OS X PowerPC too! Installing that was a snap, and afterwards building darcs 2 with it was a simple ./configure && make && make install game. The result is that I can hack on Zwiki at work again now.
18 May 2008
... und wärmer wirds auch
Also der Taxistreik war nur einen Tag, der Benzinstreik war am Donnerstag auch schon zu Ende, der Normalfall ist wieder eingekehrt in Athen, die Blechlawine rollt. Heute Sonntag ist der Verkehr etwas ruhiger, aber die grosse Veränderung sind die Temperaturen, die sich langsam aber sicher in Richtung Sommer bewegen. Besser gesagt, in der Schweiz wären die 27ºC natürlich im Sommer auch schon gern gesehen. Tja, wenn man sonst keine Lust hat was zu schreiben, dann eben übers Wetter herziehen :-)
19 May 2008
Damn, it's good to have such friends
Some days it's really good to have crazy friends like my friend saad - who just had the crazy idea to order me some t-shirts from half across Europe. What a surprise when a notification for a packet (to be picked up at post office) arrived here on Friday. This morning I dutifully showed up at the post office and got hold of this brown box. At first I thought it was really crazy that someone ordered something from Amazon for me, but then I ripped the thing open, saw the gift wrapping and a card that identified the stuff not as books, but indeed at t-shirts from La Fraise.
As the post office business was done unusually fast, I was early for ork, so I stopped in a park, unpacked everything and took pixx. Let's see, there's the actual box, me cutting the cord, a first glimpse at the shirts... and the actual shirts themselves unfold. Thank you saadz0r!
21 May 2008
find, sed, and xargs in the same command line
How geeky can you get?
A simple problem for some shell fun: I get handed a folder full of folders, each of the child folders containing one font file (.otf file). The child folders names contain spaces. I want all those .otf files in one single folder, but I don't want to go through all the folders with the mouse and drag and drop them over (that's so 1980s).
Instead I spent some time (probably more than drag and dropping would have taken) to try and assemble this puppy of a command line:
find . -name *.otf -print | sed -e 's/.*/"&"/' | xargs -J % mv % ../mpr/
With find, sed, and xargs all in the same one liner, total command line geek fun ensues!
24 May 2008
USB2 Really Is Slower Than FireWire
Don't believe the hype
Who are these people who claim that USB2 is as fast as FireWire? I can't believe these people didn't go and just plain gave it a try. My ages old FW400 momobay box with a 2.5" 120Gig IDE drive beets the pulp out of the 2.5" 80Gig SATA (that came with my MacBook) hooked on USB2 with an A.C.Ryan adapter. Read on for my (totally unscientific etc. etc.) test...
Continue reading "USB2 Really Is Slower Than FireWire"
25 May 2008
Was will mir das sagen?
Beim Gemüsehändler gibt es echte Tomaten.
Dann noch zum Thema Gemüsehändler: Ich kann die eben dort gekauften Aprikosen riechen, obwohl sie auf der anderen Seite des Tisches stehen.
Ich muss mich um zuschlagende Türen kümmern, weil immer mehr offenstehende Fenster in der Wohnung Durchzug verursachen.
Der Sommer-Schlafsack, der immer noch im Eingangsraum rumliegt, erinnert mich nicht mehr daran, dass ich ihn wegräumen sollte, sondern daran, dass ich ihn in eine Reisetasche stecken will, um dann abzufahren und irgendwo an Deck eines Schiffes zu übernachten.
Mit einem Geschenk-Gutschein (noch von Weihnachten übrig geblieben) habe ich Strandtücher und eine Badehose gekauft - was besseres ist mir nicht eingefallen (obwohl ich jetzt schon vier Badehosen besitze).
Η εκδίκηση τον γρήκλης
Ριβαίντζ - H ekdikhsh ton griklis
Κάποτε είδα τα greeklish απλά σαν πρακτικό θέμα: έχω ένα setup με shell που δεν μου επιτρέπει να γράφω σε Ελληνικά γράμματα, οπότε γράφω και διαβάζω greeklish εκεί. Σήμερα τα βλέπω ακόμα σε πιο πρακτικό θέμα: δεν διαβάζονται καλά κείμενα στα greeklish, ειδικά αν είναι μεγάλα κείμενα. Το ότι γενικά είναι άσχημα να μην μας απασχολεί σ' αυτό το κείμενο εδώ...
Μερικές φορές όμως τα greeklish παίρνουν την εκδίκηση τους. Βλέπε την φωτογραφία (κάντε κλικ στην φώτο για μεγαλύτερη άποψη), όπου μια ελληνικότατη λέξη (το Αιγαίο) μεταφέρετε πρώτα στα Αγγλικά (Aegean), και μετά μέσον κάτι αντίθετο από τα greeklish στο πανέμορφο Αιτζίαν.
(Το πλοίο αυτό το είδα μαζί με τον graffic όταν πήγαμε να βρούμε τον r0sk που είχε έρθει από Ισπανία για κρουαζιέρα και βρήκε ακριβώς μια ώρα ανάμεσα στο οργανωμένο σχέδιο για να μας δει. Πως μπορούν να κάνουν διακοπές τόσο οργανωμένα να μην μπορείς να πας να πιεις ένα ποτό με τους φίλους σου;)
26 May 2008
How to add a Zwiki programmatically
Up to your own choices
Zwiki of course has a method manage_addWiki to add a wiki from a script. But this will
add the "basic" standard wiki to your Zope ZODB. We had a plan here where we would add a
special wiki for each user account... wasn't done (yet), but out of it came
a simple code snippet that shows how to do it...
Continue reading "How to add a Zwiki programmatically"
27 May 2008
Open Source Conference in Athens
Yeah, missed that one
Noticed this morning that the 3rd conference on Open Source Software in Athens is under way today and tomorrow. I totally missed the event. Which is a pity since this afternoon for example Diomedes Spinelli is going to speak. The Schedule can be found at the conference site.
29 May 2008
8th European Jazz Festival
28 May - 1 June 2008.. already underway
Another "calendar" type post: The 8th European Jazz Festival is already running here in Athens. Last evening this Sunday, concerts seem to start at 21:00 each night, they're in the "Technopolis" (Gazi). Here's a long description of what's going on at xpatathens-site and a short rundown at monsieurlu.
There's also a free downloadable album from Ειρήσθω εν Παρόδω (Iristho En Parodo), a Greek group performing at the event (thanx to monsieurlu for the tip). Just started to listen to it, and the fusion of Jazz and oriental sounds totally r0xx!
31 May 2008
vim 7.1 with Unicode / UTF-8 on Mac OS X 10.4
Here we go
On my MacBook with Mac OS X 10.4, vim 6 was installed and worked fine with Greek text in UTF-8 encoding. Today I tried to install VST (a package to work with ReStructuredText in vim) and noticed that I need vim in version 7. Downloaded vim, compiled it and VST worked, but... Greek characters didn't work. At first I thought I'd have to compile my own ncursesw and figure out how to compile vim to link in the wide curses, but in the end I didn't need any of that. Only had to specify that I want vim with wide-char support in configure:
% ./configure --with-features=big
configure: creating cache auto/config.cache
checking whether make sets $(MAKE)... yes
.... lots and lots of output ....
.... lots and lots of output ....
% sudo make install
... and then convince my shell to use my "new" vim 7 instead of the standard vim 6. I did that by setting an alias in my shell setup file. Nice bonus: vim now has a spell checker, though I have yet to configure it with a Greek word list. Also on the todo-list: Figure out why I can't generate LaTeX documents with Greek characters out of VST.
Greek spell checker in vim 7
Got it working
A quick addition to the last post: Got the spell checker in vim 7 working with Greek right now. What I did:
As suggested by the vim online docs, go to the Open Office dictionary page, download the file labelled "spelling" in the Greek category. Unpack it.
Open any file in the unpacked directory with vim,
type in this magic incantation:
:mkspell el el_GR
Which will gurgle on for a short while, then result in the creation of a file called el.utf-8.spl
Move that file to the directory .vim/spell in your home directory (likely you will have to create those directories first:
% mkdir -p ~/.vim/spell
% mv el.utf-8.spl ~/.vim/spell
Open any file in vim, (set the encoding to utf-8 if it isn't already), type something in Greek (with a nice typo here and there), now enter this:
:setlocal spell spelllang=el
and check with ]s if it finds the next misspelled word. With z= you ask it for suggestions. The :help spell-quickstart command has an overview about the commands you use for spell checking.
In the end, a shortcut for the :setlocal spell spelllang=el bit could
go into your .vimrc file.