Captains Log Supplemental

Codes, Designs, and EPI
Big Boss
Today has been a fairly productive day, despite a heck of a lot of interruptions; to the point in fact, that at least 2 hours of work time was lost to it... Thanks ma!

Most of my mental energy was devoted to refining the interface between epi-add and $EPI_WIZARD, and figuring out how best to document it. My original vision for it was using bidirectional communication between finite state machines running in separate processes (the installer and the wizard). Amid the 21,000 interrupts of the day, I've managed to balance out the problem, and have come up with a more interesting solution; one which vastly simplifies the wizard programming interface and grants more freedom to anyone who wants to write an $EPI_WIZARD, which should be easy as pie.

By contrast, most of my code time was spent working on epi-unpack and prototyping ideas for the previous problem. Other then a few changes that I would like to make, epi-unpack is basically done; I'll probably work on epi-verify next, while the others are reviewing the code for epi-unpack. One thing that distinguishes our Encapsulated Package Installer (EPI) system from PC-BSDs PushButton Installers (PBI; formally PcBsdInstallers), is that PBI is a static monolith from the undocumented garage; ours is knit atop a framework of UNIX programs, with standards and manuals to be shipped along with them ;).

I can not lie, UNIX has effected my philosophies on software design—for the better.

Generally, I don't discuses business or classified projects on my Live Journal as a matter of ethics, but since EPI is now public knowledge, I'm free to blog about it's development. The same can't be said of all things SAS or work related lol. Most likely more things will filter through about EPI, so I've created a `tag` for it. Over 3 years and 1500+ entries, and I have never really gotten into Live Journals tagging feature, but have been contemplating it for the last few weeks.

The only way I can ever find my old entries is through Google or sequential search, nether of which are reliable; so utilizing memories and tags would be a darn good idea by now. The problem of categorizing my thoughts, as always remains a problem :=(+).

Outsmarted again!
I sneezed and Willow took off, as usual lol. After a while I looked and she wasn't back on the bed, our the couch, so I started looking all over for her.

Checked under the step stool, in ma's bedroom, under the dining room table, in the kitchen, the bathroom, next to the couch, on ma's couch, heck even under the Parakeet! Guess what!!! Willow was under the covers on my bed, and that was the first place I had looked.... even moved the covers! Yet, sure enough when I walked back into the room it was her head looking quizzically at me, as if to say what the heck are you looking for idiot!

Oy vey!

gdesk? Hehe
Soul Calibur
Well, as something that's been on my eventually to get around deciding; I've setup Google Desktop Enterprise Edition on SAL1600.

Earlier during the last reformat, I had opted into trying a newer Windows Desktop Search, yet found it to be just as useless as the old style search technology that had shipped with Windows XP back in 2001 :-(. In point of fact, I would much rather use GNU Find and skip the useless window dressings >_>.

Googles Desktop search, is not what interests me. In fact, nether does Strigi or Beagle - the only search program that would interest me, is a sexy wrapper around GNU Find (or equivalent) that mates it to a easily scriptable plugin system (think customized grepping) that would enable it to be come aware of any program you choose (think searching chats for pidgin, docs in google, news feeds in pan, blah blah) without having to rely upon someone to code it for you—just write a little shell script ;).

So obviously, I'm a power user who learned how to organise file systems very tightly, although I think that will become a mark of the dinosaurs before Windows 11 >_>.

What did attract me to Google Desktop, is the Gadgets system. Right now I have the sidebar up with time and temperature—never turn the TV to the weather channel lol. Since the only use I really have for Windows main panel, is the integrated system tray and clock, I've now set the panel to minimal height. I run much to many programs to be able to use a "Taskbar" without feeling like I'm dancing with a cement kimono!

The sidebar from Google Docks is also displaying Calendar & Mail gadgets making my life easier, plus Talk is docked for extra value. Since my desktop is never free of having a command prompt and web browser open, the Win+G shortcut for the search bar doesn't matter any 8=). Ok, so I'm a whore for tools that speed up my work time instead of increasing it ;).

Intently interesting me, is whether or not the deskutils/google-gadgets port on FreeBSD works reasonably. While Google Talk lacks a version that'll run on BSD, I don't need it—since I rely upon Pidgon, and wish I did not need Xfire on the windows machine.... since integration would make life easier. It's so funny how I actually have a more integrated system under FreeBSD, then Windows <_<.

OSX, KDE, and Vista have made greater emphasis on the desktop widget/gadget concept in recent years, but to me, it is just very much the modern incarnation of the old as gold dockapp.

It's so funny how new innovation is often an upgrade to the last generations revolution.

Operation Triage: Day 1.1 at the RTM
Last night I setup an account on rtm for evaluating it's usefulness to my todo list problemo. It provides all the features that the gmail/gcal/ig integrated tasks buddy from Google is lacking, and integrates perfectly into their workflows—awesome job RTM!

Remember The Milk (rtm) is a web based application and supporting service, for managing tasks; you could probably keep your grocery list on this thing too, if you had a decent phone. It supports the obvious stuff, due dates, time estimates, repeaters (oy), and combines it with attributes more often found in social systems, like tagging and sharing. The amount of ways to work with rtm alone make it easier to mate with ones workflow on a level, that most web apps on the net could only dream about reaching. Without a doubt, Remember The Milk has been designed to be the supreme queen in web usability, and provides such a nifty set of keyboard shortcuts that give Geeks like me an extra edge on top of it. I almost think my mother could use this website... it's that easy lol. The power-user features also make it well worth learning how to utilise every ounce out of the system. So far the only negative thing I can say about rtm, is that adding a due date on the rtm website doesn't magically add it as an event in my gcal, but alas no one is flawless :-P.

I've imported all my todo list, after filtering the 5 month out of date file through my brain log along the way, plus put in everything everything on the immediate plate; took me about an hour. Everything of major importance has been marked accordingly with reminders scheduled to be sent to one of my Instant Messengering accounts. Three things that attracted me to rtm: the ability for using tags (as fellow delicious & gnolia fans will enjoy) in addition to regular task lists; reminders by most forms of contact like email, sms, and virtually every IM method short of an automated phone call; not to mention integration with Google Mail & Calendar.

Currently I've created Cleaning, Contact, Projects, Reading, SAS, and Writing lists to go along side the standard issue Inbox, Personal, Study, Work, and Sent lists. Tags are being used so I can quickly study what's on the list according to subject matter; this way when any of the various hats needs a quick servicing within a group of tasks, I can dip into those open loops and screen out the others. Smart lists also make it possible to quickly study tasks by meta-criteria; my first smart list is one to show me all open tasks, that have a priority marker set.

As I told a friend earlier, I essentially don't have to do nothin' but stay white and die, the huge ass list of todo's is mostly projects I'm involved with, and usually get clobbered by the fact that I get interrupted 200+++ times a day by the surviving parental unit, until they fade off the days agenda. Fortunately most of my tasks are in the format of, to do before hell freezes over—but most I would like to get done within the much shorter term! That's where Operation Triage comes into play.

Everything is being trimmed back in accordance with what I have time and energy to deal with at this point in life, and to get as much of the stuff that I want gotten done organised so it doesn't "Fall off" the water fall. Continently the only urgent loops being to get my learners permit, tend to SAS business, and my most important projects. Other tasks are growing closer to completion, and RTM will help me keep them in line with reality.

For the most part, these tasks in the rtm system amount to crap I need to read (lower priorities :'() and things that I need to write: which is easily sorted by priority. The hard part is Just Getting It Done without having to threaten anyone along the way with bodily harm :-/. Actually that would be a productivity boost I'm sure, but it is most strongly against my gentle nature 8=). I need to do further study on how best to collate the development tasks, since they don't quite fit into a box, so much as a creative juice meets free time equation.

To do list, I shall conquer you!

Interesting tidbit: IT Snake Oil, Six Tech Cure-Alls That Went Bunk

Shared from Google Reader

IT Snake Oil, Six Tech Cure-Alls That Went Bunk—Slashdot

As fascinating as it can be, I'm sorry to say that calling AI IT snake oil might be a very fair statement to make.... lol.

The referenced articles on /. are well worth the parse in this case.

Interesting tidbit: Microsoft Links Malware Rates To Pirated Windows
Big Boss
Shared from Google Reader

Microsoft Links Malware Rates To Pirated Windows—Slashdot

I'll believe this when Microsoft releases all versions of Windows as Open Source under the GPL, and only makes a profit by selling support contracts—fat chance of that happenin' and you can bank on it.

In the past near-decade of using Windows based computers, the machines in my care probably have one of the lowest infections, compared toanyone I know, who is an "Average, gullable, luser". Do stupid things and your box is trashed, it won't make a difference whether or not you paid for it.

Hmm, if people are going to start blaming outdated pirated copies of windows for the spread of malicious software: how about Microsoft try ditching the pseudo-worthless WGA garbage and making the Windows and Native APIs more restrictive in what they can tamper with?

Oh yeah, just blame other people, real s.m.r.t. idea.

Interesting tidbit: Man accidentally ejects himself from plane

Shared from Google Reader

Man accidentally ejects himself from plane—The Guardian World News

Oh man, this guy is never going to live that down! Sheesh, how stupid do you have to be not to know what's going to happen if you yank the ejection rip-cord seated between your legs? Haha, that just sounds so wrong in of it self!

Here's to narrowly evading the receipt of a Darwin Award, one lucky son of a bitch at a time !!

Interesting tidbit: Adobe engages Apple in passive aggressive warfare with iPhone's Flash message

Shared from Google Reader

Adobe engages Apple in passive aggressive warfare with iPhone's Flash message—Engadget

Flash player, eat your heart out and die!

Well that's another day blown
Soul Calibur
Slept in, since there was no need to get up before noon, I got out of bed around 1100—having originally woken up around 0800. I've yet to solve the sleep problem, but at least I am getting up earlier with much greater consistency, the down side is I don't think I can sleep much longer then four or five hours at a time without waking up... beats the alternatives I guess.

I toyed around with my to do list program for the morning, as a way of passing time until it was time to leave; ma had to see a doctor to sort out some of the post-hospital stuff. So I spent most of my day sitting in a health clinics lobby, in the next county lol. After three or so hours of that was hiking around the supermarket while her perscriptions were being filled—so much for coding today.

Experiments in an SQLite3 based tasks manager are postponed, in favour of using Googles `Tasks` system that is mated to gmail and gcal. Until further notice, it looks like `gtasks` is m new todo management system; I'll also take a look at RTM later tonight, and try to evaluate if it's worth while.

While I don't particularly care for it, I think it's time to re-evaluate iGoogle as a way of integrating a few more things into my work flow.

Personally, I don't care much for being reliant on any company for my resource needs, I do however like good web applications, and Google Mail is exceptional! Docs, Cal, Groups, and Chat also makes things much easier. In point of fact, my preferred contact method is XMPP—which is the backend provider for Google Talk. Life would be so much cooler if the various major instant messenger systems (AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ) could integrate half as nicely as XMPP based solutions do.

I don't need to use an Live mail account to email my friends, why should I need a Live ID to chat with them? Maybe Wave might change that someday.

Playful time passing, computer geek style
Big Boss
database store {
  table tags {          /*
                         * Enumerates all tags in usage
    id        name;
  table tasks {         /*
                         * Stores data for each todo with
                         * tags being a splitable string.
                         * Three date fields are used, marking
                         * when the item was set, completed, and
                         * a special 'mark' field, for things such
                         * as the do by then or piss off dilemma.
    id        tags       task       date_set    date_mark    date_done

Just a simple structured annotation to the SQLite3 schemas that are in my brain at the moment.

Perhaps it would be more effective to encode the tags as a bitmask created from rows, mmm. The real question I suppose is can I actually insert the atribtrary data I want into an SQLite database and be able to query it without hitting any hard limits. Not that I'm likely to hit any there might be, lol.


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