Archive for January, 2007


Conga-line parking

Oh you lucky things, today this blog becomes a photoblog!

Anyway, walking back from LCA07 to International House…

Front-to-rear An unusual sign was seen in a UNSW parking area

Front-to-kerb This is probably what they actually meant…

Scene from a UNSW parking lot They are of course referring to the same parking lot. But at least they’re not in the parking lot of a department which has a large amount of contact with cars and the like…

Identity revealed Oh.

In other news, I may not have mentioned, but I got a Kodak C310 camera for Christmas. Happily, it is supported by gPhoto’s libgphoto2 so I can pull my photos and movies (no sound) in linux


Reviewing Gnash

Just a quick note, Reviewing the Kanji uses a little flash applet for testing/reviewing flashcards. I’m pleased to announce that it works fine with Gnash 0.7.2 on my Debian/unstable PowerPC laptop. ^_^


Things to do in Sydney while the wireless is dead

Well, now that I’m back on the ‘net fairly reliably, I can post on what I’ve been doing for the past few days.

Firstly, I was off the Internet because I was flat-out busy on Saturday, in transit on Sunday, and wireless did not arrive at International House until about 11pm Monday night. That time I did spend on the ‘net today, at the conference, was spent in a combination of processing CBIT emails since Friday, and wrestling with my wireless network card.

My local build of the d80211 version of the bcm43xx driver got signal, would even get traffic through, but when it tried to reassociate to a different AP (all the APs here are running on channel 11… Although I was sitting next to someone who saw one on channel 1, which I’m guessing was rouge… I also saw some IBSS networks on the same SSID….) it would corrupt something nasty, kick the screen brightness up to full and oops with slab errors in short order.

The 2.6.18 (2.6.18-3-powerpc Debian build) bcm43xx softmac driver didn’t crash or anything, but generally performed worse, and when the Debian miniconf’s theatre (Mathews A) was full, my connection suffered or would completely fail to dhcp. >_<

On the plus side, the presentations were great. AJ gave us a rundown of debian-devel (ie 12 months of flamewars) and other significant Debian going-ons. Keith Packard produced a whole bunch of neat X things slated for 7.3 (input hotplugging, dynamic output selection and modesetting, which is exactly what I need to get the projectors I keep plugging into to work better than 640×480…). Russell Coker talked about the various security gaps still remaining in Linux.

In non-conference goings on, I was talking to someone on IRC who’s gotten Second Life Viewer building under Linux/PowerPC (a previously unsupported platform) and I’m going to see if we can get a .deb built. I’ve already created an ELFIO package, and have the OpenJPEG source to try packaging tomorrow. I’ve also sent off an email to the person who ITP’d secondlife-client for Debian already, to see if he wants to co-operate, or if I’m just tooling about.

Speaking of tooling about, I decided it’d be a good idea to upgrade my bcm43xx-d80211 build to something more recent than mid December, but it seems the 2.6.20 workqueue changes mean I can’t compile it against 2.6.19 anymore. The rt2x00 d80211 stack has backwards compatibility macros for the workqueue stuff, but I don’t really feel like hacking those into bcm43xx, it’s already a large and unsteady beast.

BTW, cogito’s update could handle resuming better. Although it happily detected it was resuming a failed update, it had to keep refetching the packs. I eventually realised it would eventually time-out a fetch if I didn’t ^c it and happily try again, presuming I had in the meantime walked outside or reloaded the driver.

Anyway, so I’ve decided tonight (while I was still off the wireless) that I’d finally bite the bullet and build myself a custom dscape.git kernel, to see if the pain I keep suffering from the bcm43xx-d80211 driver is just my cheap-ass backport. That was still building when the wireless came up, and then barfed because KConfig happily let me include both the PCI and SoC versions of the OHCI USB host driver, which provide the same symbols. I must remember to file a bug report about that, or at least check linus’s git tree in case it’s already fixed. (Both drivers recommended yes, but are patently incompatible as they require different endianness of the host interface). I’ve restarted the make-kpkg, hopefully that’ll build overnight and I can try it in the morning.

I also put some time into my Remembering the Kanji book. I was going to do an hour, but after about a half-hour (with a break to configure and fire the kernel build off) I was yawning, and figured I’d prolly left the imaginative-memory zone. I was going to watch some Gokusen but thought I’d take a last wander over to the IH whiteboard to see if the wireless was up. Bizarrely, it was.

So I wandered onto the ‘net, checked email, volunteered myself to package Thousand Parsec for Debian, added the Kanji I studied to Reviewing the Kanji (a web site for reviewing the stuff you learn in Remembering the Kanji) and updated my blog.

Which funnily enough, is where we came in

ごくせん Vol.1ごくせん Vol.2ごくせん Vol.3


Pledges of allegience to free software…

In good news, the pledge drive to raise $10 000 towards a reverse-engineered NVidia DRI-3D-accelerated driver has succeeded. Dave Nielsen, the instigator of the pledge, gave a canned history of the pledge drive on his blog, and handily demonstrated that the free software community are willing to put a little bit of extra cash towards a little bit of extra freedom.

In bad news, the bid to purchase “The Saga Of Ryzom” from failed developer Nevrax has failed. They were outbid by Gameforge AG. A ray of sunshine is that the project looks like it will continue, and there has already been the suggestion that they instead consider Asheron’s Call 2 which closed in 2005 but was apparently quite good.

Co-incidentally, I was in one of the beta tests for Asheron’s Call (I don’t remember if it was 1 or 2), and today beta-testing applications opened for Tabula Rasa. I don’t remember signing up for the mailing list, but I do have a PlayNC account through having purchased Guild Wars, a model I still hold up as being an excellent way to structure a MMOG’s income, at least from a payer point of view. Of course, my job here at Micro Forté is as a programmer, not game producer, so my views aren’t exactly changing the world… but give it time. ^_^

Speaking of Micro Forté, the Gaming Miniconf at LCA2007 is having Paul Murphy from <a href=''BigWorld Tech (MF’s MMOG technology development subsidiary, based in Sydney) as a guest speaker. I’ll prolly have to sneak out of the Debian Miniconf to see that.

Poop. Paul Murphy’s talk clashes directly with Anthony Town’s “State of The Project” address. So there you go, first session of LCA2007 (barring keynotes, which don’t conflict…) and I’ve got a scheduling conflict. >_< Maybe this year the recording will all work…

Edit: Someone floated the open-source Asheron’s Call 2 idea the day it closed…


LCA 2007 Ho!

Well, it’s nearly LCA time again. This is just a quick post mainly to see if my syndication at Planet 2007 is working yet.

I’ve been working at MF (Milestones just seem to come at you faster than the calender would otherwise suggest) and particularly in the last couple of weeks getting a good vector-math workout.

I’ve also been working at picking off RC bugs to try and help Etch along a bit, since kind of hoped to be upgrading to it in the half of January that’s just passed.

I’ve also been looking for a CMS for the ANU Anime Society to try and resolve the fact that our web admins never seem to last as long as we’d like. At the moment, Joomla! is top of my list for trialling, as I’m familiar with PHP and looks to have the relevant modules (forum, calendar, eventing system that’ll need modification to work for screening scheduling). However, I’m open to other suggestions, and will see if anyone at LCA has any useful suggestions.

And of course, by adding Planet LCA 2007, I’ve had to read it. And I came across ThreatNet, which is a distributed compromised computer identification system. It’s actually really simple, you do something to identify a certain IP as a threat (the sample code scans postfix logs for “REJECT: noqueue” which usually comes from “no such user” although I noticed it also comes from greylister at CBIT) and sends that IP address to a nominated IRC channel. I dunno what’s next, actually. Presumably, sites can block that IP address as they see fit, and if the responsible parties for the machine become aware of it, they can take action. I’ll be adding this to my ever-growing list of things I need to consider implementation of at CBIT.

On the plus side, I recently installed Debian on a Slug with a 512MB USB flash stick, and I’m going to see how Nagios performs on it. If it’s up to scratch, I’ll prolly shoehorn in a wireless card and see if I can monitor two disparate networks effectively.