Archive for October, 2005


Track… forward?

Things I’m tracking, hoping for good things:

Open source, GPL implementation of Macromedia Flash 7. The developer has a blog, last updated in July.
Revision Control Software from Canonical, who put Ubuntu together. Successor to Bazaar, which is the successor to arch. Also has a cool set of plugins growing around it, such as bzrk which lets you visualise your branches and then drill down into them, as well a the essential bzrtools.
a couple of bazaar-ng web interfaces
bzrweb (Not yet upgraded to bzr 0.1.1 -_-, you could otherwise see it on my bzr site) and a port of the Mercurial web interface, hgweb which I’ve not tried since it looks like the repository contains bzr as well, and I’m not clear if that’s because modifications to bzr were needed, or what. Also a complete lack of installation documentation, and the TODOs need to be done.
Vega Strike
3d space-flight simulator, along the lines of Wing Commander. Admittedly, I’ve only run this once on a 3d-enabled machine, and I managed to ram a mining station at full speed as I forgot that you need to accelerate against your line of velocity to slow down. But it looks promising. It already looks good.
Asterisk (‘*’)
Open-source PABX software. It does SIP, H.323, IAX2 (their own protocol) as well as interfacing to line-interface cards. I’ve actually got this set up on Keitarou, running SIP, but have no one to call me. I’m supposed to get this ready for voice-conferencing for comittee meetings… I’m also looking forward to further database integration so I can hook this up at BU and sell cheap VoIP calls. ^_^
Anyone who’s dealt with me in an ISP sense (especially if you’re a supplier ^_^) will know I keep asking about IPv6. Because, dammit, it’s the future, it’s coming, and the sooner we’re ready, the sooner we’ll be transitioned. From home, all my machines can connect to Yurika over the ‘net via IPv6 with no speed issues (both here and Yurika are using 6to4 which, if more NAT routers supported along with Neighbour Discovery, would allow basically zero-conf setup of an IPv6-capable host such as Windows XP, MacOS X and of course Linux and BSD flavours.

Oh, the horror!

One last thing. Mad props to John Stanhope for posting and defending his decision to post the federal government’s latest effort in the war on freedom. It’s about time the federal government was reminded that they don’t get to keep laws secret from the people. They’re not a large corporation answerable only to their shareholders with only the board allowed to know everything that’s going on, they’re the elected representatives of the people of Australia, and when they get caught trying to sneak bad bad things past the Australian people hoping no one notices, they deserve all the suffering they get. Mind you, I haven’t read the draft legislation yet. But whoever the government sent to Lateline to try and dissolve the PR fallout did a pretty poor job. He seemed to be in denial that anyone else had seen the draft yet, evading questions like a minister caught deporting Australians for speaking a second language in question time. I can’t listen to question time any more, it’s just too frustrating listening to people arguing rhetoric pointlessly and making enormous leaps of bad logic. But I digress.


A little planet is a dangerous thing

I had a quick wander through Planet Debian and it took to on to such interesting things as progress shots on a graphical Debian-Installer (Not actually from Planet Debian, but I can’t work out where I saw that now), some very funny Sinfest mods (If you’re a Debian person..), an absolute dream-sounding job (Yes, those two’re the same blog. She’s got some good stuff there. Including a capcha that apparently expects you to type ϖ…), A commentary against the patch-management systems that have started be become quite common in Debian, and to which I converted FreeRADIUS as my first post-Sarge task, personally implanted RFID chips, and musical breast implants.

The weirdest thing about that last one is the idea that fifteen years from now, we’ll still be playing mp3s. Hell, an observable percentage of people I know are either .ogg or .flac already. I myself stopped downloading mp3s because I’ve had two hard disks fail from what I suspect was the weight of my mp3 collections. And my laptop only had the most essential 100 Mb or so of mp3s (Cowboy Bebop, Andrew Denton’s Musical Challenge and a couple of random bits like the Blues Brothers’ Everybody Needs Somebody and Abbot and Costello’s Who’s On First. And ガガガSP’s 卒業 single, but I don’t listen to that very often. In fact, I don’t listen to any of these mp3s much anymore. My desktop machine’s no longer in front of a west-facing window, and I’m not towing my laptop to work in the upstairs basement at TransACT anymore.

I’ve also ripped my new Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy soundtrack to flac, because either mplayer or copy protection (it doesn’t say CD Audio on the cover! Aha! Treachery uncloaked!) means it skips every second in my DVD drive. I don’t have a CD-audio cable, so analog isn’t an option, but happily cdparanoia was happy to extract it perfectly to the hard disk. Analog mode works fine in my laptop, but I avoid doing that because I’m sure that the laptop’s DVD drive is dodgy and just waiting to eat something important.

Oh, and I scored a new TV. Well, technically my dad gave me an old TV of his, but it’s an improvement over my old one because it’s larger, it has OSD, it has a remote, and it has AV inputs. So I plugged my gamecube in, and played Resident Evil Zero for a couple of hours. I only get Resident Evil Zero out when I change TVs, it seems (it was still in the gamecube from when I was getting my TV Tuner working in Linux) but the TV doesn’t do PAL60 so I can’t have another burl at The Ocarina Of Time, although I could try and finish Metroid Prime at long last.

On a more personal note, it’s looking more and more like the work at TransACT’s dried up, and I’m starting to think I should start seriously exploring my Melbourne options. I’ve got the JET information evening on Wednesday night, so I’ll have an idea of how many people I’m going up against.

I prolly should talk more about the Melbourne plan here. As it happens, I dropped out of everything else to focus on BU and TransACT, and now that work looks like it’s going to dry up. I can do my BU work as easily from interstate as I do now (technically, I do the work from my flat in Queanbeyan, so I’m already interstate) and frankly I’d like to try living somewhere with trains and other such public transport and try getting a job I actually like (TransACT’s nice, but I need a change). So I figure either Melbourne or Sydney fits so far. I’ve friends in both cities, as well as family in Melbourne, so it’ll come down to the job opportunities. Melbourne’s main advantages are Cybersource whom a friend of mine mentioned are likely to be looking for people, as well as a project a friend of mine is looking into which I’d love to get involved in. When I thought I’d have TransACT work until the end of the year, I was thinking I’d go to Melbourne in February (after 2006) and find a five month job until JET blasts off in July. Now I’m thinking maybe I should be looking to go in December/January… The problem with this plan is that I’ve got a possibly opportunity coming up in Canberra in online shops, and I’d have to break lease on my current flat. And I don’t have any savings to afford to be in Melbourne without a job. And it’s already mid-October. So I’d better get on with it.

On the “actually getting things done” front, I finally submitted a FreeRADIUS 1.0.5-2 which should clear the logjam 1.0.5-1 became when libltdl3-dev started conflicting with libtool1.4 without warning. I’m disappointed in this back-door method of forcing libtool1.4 out, where either a Replaces in libltdl3-dev or a diversion in libtool1.4 would have allowed the libltdl3-dev/libtool transfer of ltdl.m4 without boning me unneccessarily. As it is, the solution became to drag in the relevant parts of the libtool1.4 package to update the in-tree versions of the files. This is bad, but I can’t NMU libtool1.4, and the patch I was given to upgrade FreeRADIUS to libtool 1.5 was unneccesarily intrusive to my mind, and I couldn’t distill the libtool parts from the ‘change how we build the package’ parts.

I’ve also been actively hunting bugs in packages I’m using, leading to patches to libpam-mount (So I can mount my home directory from Keitarou on Mutsumi from XDM and safe from segfaults due to configuration), lftp (so it doesn’t abort when a download finishes ^_^ Upstream didn’t use my patch, but it _was_ a minimal — but not optimal — solution which neatly explicated the problem, I think) and xmame (so I can use xmame with programs with CHD files). In the process, I also submitted bugs to pam and liblircclient0 which are simple non-crashers that valgrind picked up. I’m so glad I started using valgrind, it’s the absolute bee’s knees for finding any kind of memory misuse bug which might otherwise lead to a segfault much later. I also used it on libnifi which majorly improved my memory management and stopped a whole bunch of segfaults. ^_^ I also took the opportunity tonight to point out to the php4 team that libcurl3-dev had disappeared during its autobuild time, much as libltdl3-dev broke FreeRADIUS during its autobuild time. It happened a week ago, so I expect they knew about it, but I was surprised to see absolutely no bug about it.


NDS Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The FlashMe

OK. As mentioned, I am now in a position to run WMB roms (arm9 and arm7 code only, runs from iwram) on my Nintendo DS.

Here’s how:

Equipment needed:

  • Nintendo DS. (Duh)
  • Ralink rt2500-based PCI card. Mine’s a Minitar
    which I purchased from some place in WA.
  • GBA Movie Player. I got mine from Lik-Sang.
  • Compact Flash card. I borrowed a 16MB one from Shane. Obviously you don’t need to borrow one from Shane to make this work.
  • Compact Flash card reader.
  • Screwdrivers.

Software needed:

  • FlashMP by Chishm. I tried Version 2, but it seems to have problems with smaller CF cards, so I ended up with Version 1. I’ll describe both.
  • WiFiMe WMB driver, WMB app and WiFiMe data.
  • FlashMe NDS firmware replacement.

After confirming that the NDS could boot the GBAMP, and uploading the e19 updated for the GBAMP from the GBAMP website, I grabbed the WMB and confirmed that I could multiboot the Polarium USA Demo.

I then loaded up and ran the gbamp2.gba file from flashgb2, which seemed to work fine, could run GBA multiboot files, but not WiFiMe’d NDS multiboot files, giving me a pair of white screens. IRC discussion revealed that others had had this problem with smaller CF cards, and that FlashMP2 couldn’t process a FAT12 partition, only a FAT16 partition. Windows won’t let you make a FAT16 partition on such a small device, but Linux was happy to oblige. This however didn’t solve the problem, nor did removing the partition table and making the whole CF card a single filesystem.

Also on IRC it was suggested that flashmp1 did not suffer from this problem. So I grabbed flashmp1, which worked fine, and let me run both DSLinux, demo1.nds from doublec’s tutorial, and flashme.nds. So I decided I’d risk it, and install flashme, which seems to be happily working now.

Current status is that if I put a _BOOT_MP.NDS file onto the CF card, and put the CF card into the GBAMP, and the GBAMP into the NDS, it’ll run the .nds file immediately, without the health-screen warning. So I’m happy, and ready to move on with the rest of doublec’s tutorials.


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

Hmm, time for my daily update… O_O

OK. What happened in the last three months?

I’ve left ActewAGL now. The projects have been handed over more or less, and therefore hopefully no longer my problem. I hope that doesn’t mean they become no one’s problem, but I guess I’ll not know. Now my only remaining work is for BU.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing some work at cbit, getting the web interface for the SOAP stuff I talked about below (months ago ^_^) going. They’d started one, but the guy doing the work has now been deployed somewhere else And when I say some work, I mean that took me about a week, and so far this week (it’s been short, public holiday on Monday) I’ve just slacked off in the office, waiting for the web interface to break. Lots of time on IRC and email and it’s been a good chance to do some reading. I’ve been reading up on integrating Linux into a Win2K AD Domain, preparing for my return to TransACT, subcontracting via BU.

I did a couple of months at TransACT, and am currently waiting on approval to do more time there. Working on an interesting project, and a less-than-interesting project. Happily, TransACT’s standardised on Debian GNU/Linux as their Linux platform. I like to think I helped that by spreading as many Redhat scare stories as possible in my time there. ^_^ I was originally doing two-and-a-half days a week due to university commitments, but am now available full time…

I enrolled, started, and pulled out again from the ANU. I’ve finally bitten the bullet, and decided I’m not going to get through my final Japanese studies without spending some time there. I’ve applied for an eighteen-month deferment so I can do JET from August 2006, and be back roughly in time for semester two, 2007. I’m disappointed, I made a good run of it for the first four or five weeks, and that segues neatly into my next topic:

I had a four-week bout of depression. I basically only left the house every couple of days to buy more food, and when ActewAGL called me up to come in and do the handover. This was two weeks of uni, and then the two weeks of the lecture break, so a lot of lost work-time. Turns out that I’d neatly finished the TransACT pre-approved work, although I didn’t discover this until three weeks in. I’m seeing the ANU Counselling Centre, which has been helping, as well as making what changes I can myself, including divesting responsibilities. I knew I had too many responsibilities, and it was highlighted by how good I felt when I went to Melbourne and put everything else on hold for the weekend I was there, during these four weeks.

I went to Melbourne for a weekend, to visit friends — Anna and Naoko. Phil and Emma were unfortunately out of town at Phil’s mother’s wedding (Congrats to her) — as well as visit my sister and see her in the MedRevue. It was really really really funny. I laughed so hard. ^_^
I had a good time in Melbourne, it was nice to be out and about without any particular responsibilities. I saw Sin City — Yes, I went to Melbourne and went to the cinema, by myself — ate all kinds of bad for me but very tasty foods, and took mobile phone photos of the places I ate. I need to post them somewhere. I really think that weekend without commitments was a really helpful guide as to how I could break out of the depression cycle I’d gotten into. The only downsides of the weekend were the bus ride from the train station at Cootamunda to Canberra (I enjoyed the train ride from Melbourne to Cootamundra, mind you, prolly more than I enjoy even flying) and the fact that I was out of town for the convention.

Despite my best efforts to avoid responsibility in the conventions, after my poor performance as Events Co-ordinator for, I became Sponsorship and Vendors Co-ordinator for, although I was going to be out of town on the day. I did a pretty pitiful job of that, and probably will go down as the only Sponsorship Co-ordinator who ever managed to get nothing out of Madman for an anime convention. The convention itself went quite well, by all reports, and I’m currently Events Co-ordinator (“in charge”) of, in November (No one noticed this discrepancy for about a month. I originally coined the moniker because we were not sure if we were going to be November or December, kept it because it has a nice seasonal sound to it, and overlooked the fact that November is actually in Spring.) This convention’s been a lot better organised, in large part because we’ve given ourselves a month longer to prepare, and because we’ve picked up a couple of enthusiastic people to look after promotions, volunteers and the website, which were noticably absent from until the week before it was actually happening. Hmm. Now I think about it, the first day I skipped any classes at the start of my depression was the day I met with the just-mentioned enthusiastic people to bring them up to speed on what they’d let themselves in for… Prolly a co-incidence. The meeting was after my skipped class after all. These same people look like stepping up to doing stuff on the ANUAS exec at this year’s AGM, too.

The ANUAS has of course been running along like the large locomotive of anime viewing that it is. I’ve managed to not derail it with a stance of “do as little as possible” which really should have been my presidential election platform. One new thing I’ve introduced is “Saturday Afternoon Drama”, where we hold a marathon screening of a live-action series, one series a month. So far we (and by we I mean I) did Great Teach Onizuka in September (with the movie and OV on October 1st due to a scheduling error on my part) and will be running Gokusen over October 8th and 22nd. I do wish I’d thought of this six months ago, but I was actually inspired during and by the preperation process. The ANUAS AGM was supposed to be tomorrow, but I have been browbeaten into moving it back to the 21st, largely because I completely forgot to check with anyone before calling it. In fact, that’s pretty much the entire root cause of the move. Once the ANUAS AGM is out of the way, I suspect my only official ANUAS executive position will be Video Ad Creator.

I’ve spent a little bit of time knock up video ads, two for and one for the GTO live action screenings. All done on Linux, with command line tools and The Gimp, except the picture-editing for the first “Recruit” video which was done using irfanview. The hardest part was getting them Internet-distributable, which meant finding either Creative-Commons non-NC or Gnu GFDL licensed-content (and you can’t mix these two!), although I fudged the music on the first version of the second ad, because it just seemed to fit the pictures so scarily well. Kinda like the whole “Dark Side Of The Moon is a co-incidental soundtrack to The Wizard Of Oz” thing. The GTO one on the other hand was done just out of Google images one night, so I haven’t put it up on the web for download. My current project involves teaching myself Blender3D, so I can produce a cooler ad. I’ve always wanted to get into 3D programming, and I finally completed the first step (putting Debian onto a 3d-enabled machine of decent speed).

I’m now running Debian when I can on my desktop box. The only things I use windows for now are Quickbooks (I’ve gotta get Quickbooks going in wine, I just haven’t bothered yet) and video games. I’ve got the machine using libpam-mount (with a couple of patches which I submitted to the Debian BTS) to mount directories from Keitarou. I migrated my email from Outlook onto my fileserver with IMAP, and now use mutt-ng for all my email, which is a big improvement. This also means I revoked my old @Pobox.Com PGP key and added the email address to my newer GPG key. I can sync my phone against Evolution, although I never fire up Evolution, and I can print using CUPs happily to my HP LaserJet 1200. The only other thing I can’t do on my desktop machine from Linux is wireless multiboot my Nintendo DS, and I’m working on that.

I decided it was time to spend some money, and I was intrigued by a talk at linux.conf.05 about GameBoy Advance programming, and had heard about recent developments letting people launch homebrew software wirelessly on the new Nintendo DS. So I gave in, and bought one. I played Mario64DS for a bit, and bought Another Code while in Melbourne, all the while getting involved in the DS Homebrew community. I played with my Prism54 wireless cards to get wireless multiboot going, and could get the DS to see my machine, but not boot from it. Eventually I got a hold of the rt2500-based card neccessary to use the only existing publically available wireless multiboot software (includes a custom driver for Windows) and found I could get further in the process, but not by much. I had some spare credit at Lik-Sang, so I got a GBA Movie Player v2, and with a bit of futzing about (which I’ll document here later) I can now load a homebrew rom onto the CF card I borrowed from Shane and the DS will run it. ^_^ So time to start actually programming again. I’ve still gotta get some more work done on the WMB process, but I’m waiting on driver developments in the Linux rt2x00 driver project, since right now they can’t transmit packets, at least in monitor mode, but progress is ongoing. I’ve been documenting the WMB stuff in my wiki.

One of the things that made this blog go quiet was the addition of a wiki to my site. Semi-static stuff (like the SOAP stuff below) is now going in the wiki, and I plan to migrate all the stuff from into the wiki. It’s just such a good platform for publishing stuff categorised, without having to code the HTML. I’m now over HTML coding the same way I’m over compiling my OS from scratch — I did this in 1998, before I’d discovered Gentoo or Debian and got as far as upgrading to the latest libc, gcc and whatever else was in the base Slackware ’96 install, when I discovered Debian, found a use for having a linux machine, and wiped it out in an afternoon in 2000.

Now that I’m back updating the blog, I’m going to have to see if I can make time to update all the old old old The Other Day’s Mew entries. (Mew’s got a new calendar coming, which I need someone to batch into an AmazonJP order for me at some point…) I was actually loading the Japanese text into my blog, but not publishing it because I was having trouble with the translations. This obviously is not a winning strategy. ^_^ Now I think about it, the other challenge to The Other Day’s Mew was I was updating from ActewAGL, where I didn’t have a dictionary handy, nor Japanese input support to use an online dictionary, and then they changed their firewall to block sites with ‘blog’ in the domain.

Which brings me full circle in this long rambling story. ^_^

安座間美優 2006年度 カレンダー