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Juri Pakaste - The Blog [Site] [XML]
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Last Update: 16:17:56 03/06/2006

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First Fetched: 00:16:52 01/31/2004
Last Updated: 16:17:56 03/06/2006


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Thank you
Right, so we got the utter turd of a new copyright law. Here are the results of the final vote in the parliament. "Jaa" is for the new law, "ei" against the law, "poissa" is away. A friendly message to anyone there who might be listening: I won't vote in any election for anyone who wasn't against the law.
11:15:27 October 6, 2005, Thursday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Caboodle 0.3 and 0.4
Two new versions of Caboodle: now it has better level generation logic, it caches level images so the whole thing doesn't get redrawn all the time, it includes a randomize level menu command and an option to display line intersections interactively as you drag vertices around. The last thing will probably grind the whole thing to a halt on larger levels.
03:08:36 August 12, 2005, Friday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Caboodle 0.2
So I released 0.1 and 0.2. Now Caboodle has a menu bar (whee), an icon and a .desktop file. To clarify something: you do not need OCaml or the Gtk+ and Cairo OCaml bindings to run Caboodle, just to compile it. I do not provide binaries at the moment, but if there's demand I can put up a pre-compiled Linux/x86 version.
03:45:03 August 8, 2005, Monday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Caboodle is a puzzle game. See: As you are probably able to tell, it's a clone of Planarity. My excuse for the blatant clone is that I wanted to learn OCaml and the game was a nice, simple project to tackle. And at the same time, I got to learn a bit of Cairo, too. Of course, I was — and mostly still am — totally clueless about graphs and the related math. Still, the end result, even its current state, isn't too bad. It's definitely faster than the original in most aspects, which shouldn't come as a surprise given the ass-kickingness of the OCaml compiler especially compared to Flash. The most significant slowness is due to the currently very naïve redraw logic: every time something moves, everything is redrawn. As you can probably guess, it starts to slow down with a large graph and fast mouse movement. I'll have to see about fixing that. And I'm not totally satisfied with the level generator, even though that's the part I've spent the most time with (no, the math didn't come back ...
09:30:33 August 6, 2005, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
My First Gtk+ Patch
Whee, my first Gtk+ patch — or at least something not completely unlike it — was accepted.
12:12:06 July 7, 2005, Thursday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
River of Gods, The Family Trade
Ian McDonald's River of Gods is absolutely fantastic, it rocked my world. The picture it paints of a near future India is incredibly vivid and compelling. Made me want to visit India. I haven't read any of the other 2005 Hugo nominees, but at least this book is totally deserving. Also, I shouldn't have read (well, haven't yet finished, I've been reading it on the commute) The Family Trade by Charles Stross: now I have to wait for the sequels. It's smart, fun and totally not your run of the mill fantasy. And just the right size: as the author commented on Making Light, short books are the new long.
01:41:21 June 18, 2005, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Notes from a honeymoon to Florence and Milan.
Florence is beautiful. Consistent renaissance style with a few dabs of the medieval and modern makes for a wonderful city. Milan less so, with mostly buildings that are ugly, pompous or both. However, Milan has more greenery, which is nice: Florence could really use a few parks in the center of the city, especially of the non-fenced kind. Milan felt like a real city, whereas Florence had this slight feeling of being an open-air museum and a tourist trap. But with that many tourists in that small a city, it's inevitable, I guess. An awful lot of those tourists were Americans. We got mostly indifferent or unfriendly service in Milan. However, we were there only for one day, so it's plausible we only had bad luck. Florence was better. The weather was totally scorchio. However, a nominally cloudless sky in Milan with 31 degrees celcius was actually a greyish blue. We couldn't figure out if this was because of pollution. Avoid the restaurant of Una Hotel Century in Milan like the ...
02:33:50 June 4, 2005, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
This language thing
Not that I particularly expect this GNOME language issue to be resolved anytime soon, but still: assuming that the choices are Java and C#, do people actually want to standardise/bless/whatever the language, the runtime standard (that is, "JVM" or "CLR"), one particular runtime ("Kaffe" or "Mono"), or some combination thereof? On a totally unrelated note, I always wonder why on earth Microsoft chose a totally ungoogleable name for their language.
09:20:24 May 12, 2005, Thursday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Introducing Lukutoukka
Lukutoukka is a speed reader for the GNOME desktop. Inspired by this post (or really, originally, the Eastern Standard Tribe speed reader.) It doesn't look like much, especially not without animation, but here you go, anyway: The idea is to push words from a text file to the screen one at a time at a quick pace. After a while it feels like your brain is melting, but you do end up reading the text far faster than you would scanning a page because your eyes and mind don't get a chance to wander. Depends on your viewpoint and the text you're reading whether that is good or bad :-) It's also the first significant piece of code I've written in Scheme. I used Guile. It's not the fastest or the most feature-packed implementation out there (compare to MzScheme, Bigloo and Chicken) but it does have a rocking Gtk+/GNOME binding. Oh, and to keep life exciting, I'm using Darcs for version control. And loving it.
07:18:40 May 7, 2005, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Two literary links
From Charles Stross, on why British SF is these days teh rawk. And a great interview with China Miéville. Books by both are highly recommended, by the way.
04:48:03 April 30, 2005, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Ctrl-Alt-Backspace aargh
I've lately acquired a habit of using ctrl-backspace when editing text. I also tend to use alt quite a bit when moving around text, especially if said text consists of sexps. And suddenly I see why the DontZap option in the X server is a pretty good idea.
12:28:21 April 29, 2005, Friday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Not quite adjusted yet
I feel weird running Ubuntu, now that Hoary has been released. I dist-upgraded from sid a few weeks before Hoary's big day, and for the first time in, well, since apt-get first appeared in unstable, my daily apt-get dist-upgrade routine (no, not automatic) is giving me no new packages. And I still start every X session by launching a terminal, starting typing xmodmap .Xmodmap and halfway through going oops, I don't need to do that anymore, someone fixed that too.Also, just to register my opinion, the broken spatialus blows.
09:09:55 April 14, 2005, Thursday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Married and stuff
So we got married last Saturday. Yay! The night after, we started suffering from what appeared to be food poisoning. My mother and one of the bridesmaids had the same problem. That was not so cool. I ended up staying home sick until Wednesday, Minttu the whole week. The honeymoon will have to wait a bit, though. We're going to Florence, and we'd rather go there when it's not freezing in northern Italy.
01:28:51 March 5, 2005, Saturday (PST) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Python is not Java
I recently read some old stuff on Phillip J. Eby's blog, and the Python Is Not Java entry really hit home. I'm not a new Python programmer, I've been using it from around 1996 or so, about as long as Java. But every now and then I see Java-isms creep into my code. It's usually after I try some fancy approach and later on come to wonder why my code stinks. I've been especially guilty about writing completely unnecessary getters and setters and doing (or even converting module level functions to) class methods that end up being just painful to use. The parts that are more Lisp-inspired tend to be a whole lot better. I've never yet regretted returning a function from a function. Too bad about Python's lame lexicals.
02:50:39 January 30, 2005, Sunday (PST) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Straw: moving on
I'm finally giving up as the maintainer of Straw. Since I'm unable to run it at work these days, I usually just read a few planets and a couple of individual blogs to keep up to date, and don't bother to run the aggregator at home. Maintaining software you don't use isn't exactly motivating, so I have been a lousy maintainer for too long; Straw hasn't been updated and I've felt guilty about it. I was hoping to fix up the code base into a better shape before giving up on it, but I realized it wasn't going to happen. Oh well.Jan Alonzo who's been a significant contributor for ages is taking over the job. Hopefully he'll be able to release 0.26 in a not too distant future, it's pretty near release ready. The most important new thing is the much reduced memory usage.
04:39:47 January 16, 2005, Sunday (PST) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Sweet screenshots and various other things
GNOME Launch Box is looking sweet. Well, at least from the screenshots, not that I've tried it yet. I was hacking in the autumn on something a bit similar; it's called Pepper but it sits abandoned for the moment. (For anyone interested, it's written in Python and available with tla at juri@iki.fi--2004a/pepper--mainline--0.1, http://www.helsinki.fi/~pakaste/arch/) If the hack by the Imendio boys is any good, it can stay abandoned. In other news, feeling that PyGTK is becoming mainstream, I seeked out a new ghetto and started hacking with λgtk and SBCL. λgtk is a bit painful to install at the moment, requiring a new core with the sbcl-af stuff for SBCL, but it looks like Brian Mastenbrook is working on it. I was thinking of using OCaml, but then decided that the type inference stuff of CMUCL/SBCL is good enough a compromise between decent typing and flexibility. If anything comes of this project, I'll probably have to take a look at the libglade bindings I pointed at previously and ...
12:38:05 January 11, 2005, Tuesday (PST) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Well, this hasn't yet made it to Planet GNOME, so I'll rectify the situation. Rick Taube has released λgtk, an apparently complete binding of GTK+ for various free Common Lisp implementations. There's also a libglade binding. And there's an example of using in-line lambda expressions for callbacks.
10:30:19 November 25, 2004, Thursday (PST) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Moving, part two
We've now lived here for one week, and it's slowly starting to look like home. We've unpacked half of the boxes and assembled most of our furniture. We even have some curtains, although not quite enough. And we've painted one wall; the rest are still all white, we are going to paint three more walls at some point. The new place is farther from city centre than the previous apartment, but I've discovered it's not quite as bad as I thought it would be. With luck and good timing, you can make downtown in less than half an hour. The commute time varies a lot: I've made it in something like 35 minutes, but it's also taken an hour once.
02:06:42 October 30, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
We're (finally) moving next friday. I'll miss the old apartment, but it'll be easier by the fact that we are, at the moment, living with dozens of plastic boxes full of stuff, with all the bookshelves dismantled etc. Doesn't feel too much like home anymore. We originally ordered 45 boxes, but decided that's not enough and got seven more today. I have no idea how we can have this much stuff. This time around we decided that we won't recruit our friends to haul the stuff and got professional help instead, which should make things quite a bit easier.And Ross, man, your employer going under sucks, sorry to hear about that. Especially nasty if it came as a total surprise; when it happened to me, you could see it coming months in advance. Hope the work situation around London is good.
08:08:19 October 19, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Helsinki lispers' pub night
I went to Helsinki lispers' pub night on Tuesday. Seven of us there, including the largest group of SBCL developers in the world. Not many Lisp war stories were told, which might have something to do with no-one using it for work. GPG key signatures were exchanged, so now I'm part of this web of trust thing.
07:58:35 October 7, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Interesting stuff here: MIME type icons and thumbnails help distinguish files from each other, but the authors of this paper propose to automatically generate distinctive icons for all the files. Specifically, we propose that spatial display of files is not suffient to engage our visual skills [....] While scenery (in the form of custom icon assignments) is already possible in current operatiing systems, few if any users take the time to manually assign icons to all their files. as such, our proposal is to generate visually distinctive icons ("VisualIDs") automatically, while allowing the user to replace the icon if desired.
10:00:51 September 30, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Geeks and cameras
Reading Planet GNOME recently, I'm reminded of something a co-worker said while we were in Prague: It didn't take more than the invention of the digital camera to turn this bunch of engineers into Japanese tourists.I was one of the people who was snapping pictures all the time.
01:52:24 September 18, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Went to Prague last weekend on a company trip. Fabulous city, cheap and decent beer. Culinary side of things wasn't that impressive, although it was better than Lisbon where we were last year. Main point of excitement on the trip was four people of our group getting their luggage stolen two hours or so after our plane landed, when they left them in our minibus and the driver wasn't guarding it. We went to see Faust in a black light theatre. It's apparently a local speciality. As a co-worker put it, it was slightly worse than a piece of shit. We were all in agreement. Never, never again.Also went to see the Czech - Germany world cup hockey match, which wasn't anything to write home about (not that it prevents me from blogging about it.) The result was clear from the start, even though the Czech team played a lazy game. They did win 8-2 or something like that, going on pure routine. It was the second time in my life I've been to a hockey game, and the commercialism was something ...
11:00:39 September 6, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Garth Ennis, Phil Winslade: Goddess
I yesterday bought and read Goddess by Garth Ennis and Phil Winslade. Good thing it was cheap. Not recommended. It was bit of a turd.It had some of the same basic plot elements as Ennis's superb Preacher series — someone gets powers of a god, there's a loony agent guy going after him/her, in the process killing, mutilating and insulting anyone he wants without getting into any kind of trouble — but even more unlikeable characters and pointless violence.The book failed the basic "do I want the protagonist(s) to face a sudden and painful death" test: yes, I did, so it was difficult to get excited about the equally nasty bad guys going after them. Well, ok, not all of the good guys were so bad: three of them, the supposed main character, the teller and a blonde sidekick were totally colourless and uninteresting. The biker / hippie / environmentalist / mass murderer type was the one who got all the character and got on my nerves most. Yeah, it was supposed to be satire, I guess. It was ...
02:34:27 August 14, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Straw 0.25{,.1}
As you have probably noticed if you're interested in this stuff, I did two Straw releases in pretty quick succession. First there was Straw 0.25. I was planning on working on it a bit more, but decided that the tree was in a pretty good shape and it was significantly nicer to use than 0.24, so I went ahead and released it. Of course, turned out that I had screwed up a bit so had to do a 0.25.1 later the same day.Anyway, pretty much the same stuff as in 0.24, with the addition of a lot more responsiveness, mostly due to a simple feedparser optimization (I suspected that a subclass of UserDict might be slower than a subclass of dict would be. I underestimated the effect.) Also a well-placed call to handle pending GTK+ events helps a bit, plus some minor optimizations that are probably undetectable. I was going to make Straw use a GTK+ idle handler for networking, but it didn't really work out. It was called way too often, with the result that CPU utilization shot up. I don't quite ...
12:15:35 July 16, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Straw's character set problems
Oh, and: If you are still experiencing character set troubles (like seeing ** (straw:14064): WARNING **: Invalid UTF8 string passed to pango_layout_set_text()) with Straw 0.24, you should probably try to remove the feed a subscribe to it again. There might be old data in your DB the new version can't do much about.
04:01:32 July 7, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Straw 0.24
Some pretty cool shit here.Subscribe categories to OPML feeds: make Jeff work for you! Create a category, make it subscribed to Planet GNOME's OPML feed, and you'll have an always up-to-date set of GNOME blogs in your aggregator. No support for FOAF blogrolls yet, though. Maybe in the next release.Notification area thingy! If you have unread articles, there's a Straw icon in your notification area that tells you how many unread items you have. And click on it to bring Straw to front and to read those articles.(Mostly) asynchronous subscription process! No longer will the subscribe dialog freeze Straw on you while it's working. Well, not very much at least. And there's less clicking involved, too.No more feed information display in the main window screwing up the layout! Feed link is available in the article header, rest of the stuff in the feed properties dialog.Prettier article view!Overall less brokenness! Hopefully including a lot fewer locale/encoding problems.Get it while it's ...
02:27:37 July 7, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Not quite at GUADEC
I had already decided to once again skip <a href="http://www.guadec.org/">GUADEC</a>, thinking that I couldn't really afford it now. Turns out I'll be almost, but not quite, there after all: work takes me to Oslo on Tuesday the 29th of June and back home the next day. Of course, I'll be spending most of that time in a stuffy meeting room or something. Oh well.
05:55:19 June 19, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Hardware & Me
Every time I have to fight with hardware I wonder if I'm not already old enough to just buy something someone else has assembled. Nothing ever fits together quite correctly. Every time I end up applying more force than I'm comfortable with, given how fragile the stuff is. Usually somewhere where I can't quite see.I think the pantless prima donna had the right general idea.What I was doing this time around was installing a new intake fan, in the hopes that would end the predictable crashes my computer suffers from when doing lots of IO, like playing video with audio or reading images from a digital camera. It helped a bit: this time around, totem's time display had reached almost 13 minutes before the it got stuck. Yay. I think the southbridge is broken.
00:15:39 June 12, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog
Images in the HIG
Running imgsizer on my local copy of the HIG made it so much nicer to read. Suddenly, the browser actually lands in the correct place when you click on a link in the table of contents.
12:17:04 June 5, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Juri Pakaste - The Blog