Other online diaries:
Thu, 28 Oct 2004
Cache Time stamps - 18:44
I complained once or twice a while back about time stamp handling in blosxom. My complaints were centred around relying on the timestamp on the file system to work out he date of an entry and the order of all the entries. There are already some plugins that get around this in some manner, such as entries_index by the blosxom author, and entries_index_tagged (not available from the link there, google can find it).
The entries_index plugin keeps a cache of the time stamps of diary entries and uses the time stamps in the cache by preference. It adds time stamps for new files as they are found. This way if the time stamps change at a later date due to an edit or similar the cache retains the old time stamp.
The entries_index_tagged does the same as entries_index and takes it a step further. It allows you to have time stamps in some format in the diary entry header area. Read the code/docs if you want to know the details.
I wanted the capabilities of entries_index_tagged, with a slightly different way to read time stamps from the entries, also using the same format cache as the two already written. This way like entries_index_tagged if the cache is deleted it will still use the saved time stamps in the files rather than the system time stamps when it finds time stamps in the files. The reason I wanted a different format was I had already been adding time stamps to my diary entries since September as an html commented time stamp on the second line of the file (after the heading). For example <!-- 2004-10-28 19:56:32 -->. Also a few people suggested it would be cool if the plugin had the option to add such a tag to the entries if there was not one using the file system time stamp the first time it sees the file.
So I wrote the module, it works fine for all but adding the time stamps to the entries. The problem here is you need write access to the entries in order to add text to them. Also even with write access the utime(2) system call can not change the time stamp back to what it should be after editing the file unless you also own the file.
Anyway I ended up writing a small helper program that could theoretically be run from cron or similar as the owner to add the files time stamps and reset the mtime. This means you have the functionality even if you do not give write access to your diary entries by the web server uid.
With the add time stamps capability you can rely on the first time stamp being added so even if the file system time stamps get messed up at some point all files will have a time stamp and you need not remember to add one to each entry.
That lost feeling of being disconnected - 14:39
Upon returning from lunch I found I was unable to connect to calyx (svana.org), I rang the Co-location people and they said they had some problem with router upgrades (un announced and un scheduled) and noticed the route to the colocated machines was not working. It is now back up, however for a little while I felt all lost and alone, unable to receive email or any of that. Maybe I am too dependant on connectivity, time to go to an IA meeting. <g>
Wed, 27 Oct 2004
Unable to grok %indexes - 14:17
One of the plugins which creates a new entries sub routine is supposed to return %files and %indexes. Looking at the example code of existing blosxom plugins it is easy enough to work out what %files does, however %indexes is beyond me. Fortunately it is only used with static rendering, so I guess I can just leave a bug in the plugin that it will not work with static rendering.
The documentation for plugin developers is not too helpful, all it says is "The subroutine should return references to a hash of files and another of indexes to be built (in the case of static rendering)." and "When run, the subroutine returns references to the files it found and indexes to be constructed when building statically"
I could of course read the blosxom source (only 444 lines) to work it out, though I do not know if I care enough currently, I don't intend to statically render my blog and this is to scratch my own blog itch.
Tue, 26 Oct 2004
Event season is upon us once more. - 11:34
My schedule for the next 4 weekends in a row is as follows.
Mon, 25 Oct 2004
Which doctor? - 15:00
Which pleased me as Tom Baker was and is my favourite Dr Who, however I begin to wonder if, knowing what the aim of the quiz was, did I answer questions (whether consciously or sub consciously) with the aim of this outcome. Anyone else try, or have thoughts on this sort of outcome with quizzes such as this?
Hacking code anywhere - 14:03
Some jobs like for example being an astronaut you can only do in special places like in for example space rockets or outer space or somewhere like that eg the moon. If you were trying to be an astronaut in the supermarket people would just laugh at you and say What Is He Doing Is He Absolutely Barking Mad Or What?Interestingly free software hackers have a similar freedom, more so than those working on proprietary software. Developers working on proprietary software may often be encumbered by limitations on the source code being allowed out of the carefully controlled environments with in the company network/buildings. For free software developers you can hack anywhere, it can be argued you do not even need a computer and network and power to work as you can develop your ideas alone or in discussions in the pub or anywhere else. Being a writer or being a free software developer, you can express yourself creatively just about anywhere.
This all brings to mind the Dr. Seuss story "Green Eggs and Ham".
Would you like them in a house? Would you like them with a mouse? ... Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?
It's official - the Platypus is weird. - 09:25
Thu, 21 Oct 2004
Minutes online wihin 20 minutes of the meeting close. - 20:52
In other news, in what could possibly be a record we got through the business for tonight in 1 hour and 1 minute.
Thu, 07 Oct 2004
Minutes and copious action items. - 21:17
Wed, 06 Oct 2004
Solo Circulation - 23:49
Tonight I had my friend Prue visit who will be supporting me during the race. Preparing food, mixing sports drink, handling charging of light batteries and various other Sundry tasks. Prue seems keen though somewhat intimidated once she realised the size of the event. With around 5000 people at the race site during the start on Saturday, 2176 riders competing in the race, 524 teams, almost 100 of which are solo entrants this is a big event.
Last year over 7,000 laps were completed of a 17 KM course, the distance ridden collectively was over 111,000 KM, or almost three times the circumference of the Earth. The course this year is 19KM to allow for the increase in team numbers from 440 to 520, the stats will go up a bit due to this.
I guess I am rambling to some extent because I do wonder what I have gotten myself into. This race is a lot of fun, I hope it is still fun, though knowing me I will still have fun, I simply tend to redefine my definition of the term fun from time to time.
Hoping the timing works out - 23:41
Other aspects of the program can still be varied, we are considering running some sessions until 6pm, or possibly some lighting talks or poster sessions while other sessions are on. Brad Hards has been thinking of a whole lot of different variations and the pros and cons for a long time now so it will be fun to see what we decide to do when the conference rolls around.
More riding to work - 12:34
Chris commented that for most people it really would be slower by bike rather than car. As an example he suggested someone living in Belconnen and working in the Parliamentary triangle would be hard pressed to take longer by car for the commute to work. He is correct, however just to be sure I spoke with a cycling friend about it to get some figures. Julie Quinn I should admit is not entirely average, being a world champion in Rogaining and a multiple winner of of the Polaris Challenge and the Urban Polaris, among many other achievements. However Julie rides to work at a slow easy pace, the sort of pace mere mortals like the rest of us can maintain. Anyway the commute from Macquarie to the Parliamentary triangle takes Julie about 30 minutes at this easy pace. If she includes her shower and getting changed and settled at her desk it is 50 minutes from the door at home to sitting a the desk. Admittedly in Canberra traffic if it is not peak time, the drive to work is 15 or 20 minutes for Julie. Shower wise many people will need a shower in the morning anyway, so it may not be entirely fair to factor shower time into a bike commute time. Julie can probably do the commute to work in around 20 minutes bike bike if she really needs to. Just as I can commute from home to the Woden hospital by bike in 20 minutes if I really need to.
Anyway Canberra is a bit of a special case as we have light traffic, which makes bike riding more pleasant, however it also allows cars to get places faster and means there i not such a large parking penalty near work places. Due to this I got some feedback from friends in Sydney as to their commuting details. Again both of them are cyclists and it should be taken into account that they both love riding bicycles. John Stevenson works for Cyclingnews and has in the past 20 or 30 years worked for various bike magazines, and bike shops and other such places in the industry in Australia and the UK. Dave Hughes who I also asked for some data is also heavily into cycling and has done 24 hour races solo and other such things.
It will be easiest to simply quote what John and Dave said to me directly.
My run is 26.5km. I've done 57:30, door to door for the inbound and a shade under an hour for the run home. Typically more like 1:05 each way. Interestingly as I have gotten fitter recently the difference has reduced, which says something about the effect of hills on commute times, as it's the homeward run that's gotten quicker.Dave Hughes.
In:So yeah in Canberra lack of traffic can make the bike commute less effective, though I suspect more enjoyable due to not having to fight the traffic so much, and having many options to travel on bike paths or even off road to and from work. Sydney evens the times a bit between car and bike, and even with very good public transport it can be difficult time wise. In Sydney one technique that is fairly effective is riding from home to a train station, getting a train, and riding from the other end to the office. This gives a shorter time and part of the trip by bike. Canberra does not have effective public transport so that would never be an option.
Fri, 01 Oct 2004
Drug testing not open enough? - 18:40
When the news first hit Cyclingnews carried some of the details, in particular this paragraph.
Tyler Hamilton's case is the first ever positive for a blood transfusion, as up until very recently, doping via this method has been undetectable. A powerful blood test developed by Australian researchers was implemented at this year's Tour de France. The test didn't look for a particular banned substance, but instead examined whether there were any abnormalities in a person's blood as a result of artificial manipulation. At the Tour, it was announced that homologous blood transfusions could be detected, but autologous transfusions could not.
Of note is that it is a recently developed test and this is the first time anyone has ever been caught with this test. That would not be so bad, however it appears there may indeed be serious problems with this test. Cyclingnews spoke with Dr Michael Ashenden (this interview also contains a good glossary of terms on the issue). In this interview the Dr was very closed about some details of the test. Today some researchers and specialists in the field commented (search for the letters "The new blood test #1", "The new blood test #2", "The new blood test #4" and The new blood test #5) in the Cyclingnews letters columns.
First it is interesting to note "Clinical trials for a diagnostic product used in a hospital require 10-20,000 repetitions for approval", however if the papers on this method are to be believed this test has only been performed on a sample of 45 people known to have had transfusions and it was not tested on people known not to have had transfusions. Thus there is no knowledge of the possible false positive rate. (the letters I reference above discuss this much better than I). A noteworthy quote from one of the letters.
...in cyclingnews.com attributed to Dr Ashenden of "Science and Industry Against Blood Doping".
I comment on all of this to a large extent as it appears the information about the test is being kept secret and that is in itself damaging the entire process. This whole episode reeks of what computer people call Security by Obscurity, and as we all know that really never works in the long run.