Debian Package Search?

31 05 2007

Search page for Debian

Originally uploaded by eidolon

Seems like a simple request. I’d like to search the Debian packages to find out information about something I want to install. “Oh wait, I can just use the site to look at the package and it’s history.” Hah, how naive I was.

Off to said site I go, I click on search and see… debian search disabled. I can use google, though!

“Wait, I remember this being disabled ages ago. They still haven’t fixed it?” – The text even still says ‘disabled for now, we’re working on it.’ But down at the bottom “Last modified: Mon, Dec 30 03:27:07 UTC 2002”

Boy I want that job. 5 years to make a search work. And it’s still not done yet!

Well, gee. Lets see if the google search they have there is working. Maybe they have it functional, and updating the comment has just slipped their mind. Type in the package I’m looking for (happens to be ‘ytnef’), and click *google search*

And get… a weekly news report in 18 different languages from 2005, which, luckily, includes a link to the package I wanted. If this package hadn’t been mentioned in the news article, I’d never have found it.

Come on Debian. No one in the entire volunteer organization can edit one HTML file?

Getting a release out the door

30 05 2007

It feels good when you finally push a release of a product out the door.
The last 2 months I’ve been spending a chunk of time doing updates on Keystone. It’s always fascinating working on code that is pushing 10 years old, seeing things I remember writing during the dotcom boom, and finding other tidbits that make me go “What the HECK was I thinking?”
This release is interesting in that much of the work was pay-for contract updates from a customer who wanted to see some bugs fixed and a few enhancements added in. It’s nice working on something you enjoy, and getting paid for it as well.
The code is just about ready for it’s next major overhaul though. I’m trying to get up the gumption to rip out the entire database back end code and replace it with ADODB. I wrote my own database abstraction layer back in, oh, 1998-ish, but really, the world has moved on a bit since then. It’s time to move with the times.

Far more entertaining than it should be.

24 05 2007

(thanks, blame, eye-rolling glances to blk for this one.)


22 05 2007

TOTAL geek squee.
Starcraft 2 is official. And it’s not a huge variation from the original game – updated after, what, 8 years, naturally, but same 3 races, new vehicles and ships, new engines, all that, but it’s the same game, redone.
Starcraft was one of the few games that totally sucked me in, and I still occasionally play it, years and years later.
The Wikipedia article on Starcraft II is under heavy editing right now, but the details are there.
I highly recommend watching the full cinematic trailer. It totally rocks.

KDE Gripe Du Jour

22 05 2007

So this sure doesn’t make sense.
I like pushing my desktop around a bunch, seeing what it can do, what it can’t do. To me this is the way good software gets made. Use it, try to do what you want to do with it, find out where it fails. The trick in this approach is avoiding the “I want it to do what {XXX} application does, and do it JUST THAT WAY!” – that will ultimately result in failure. The question you should ask is “What am I trying to accomplish, and how would I do that with this tool?”
Today’s puzzlement was born of humble beginnings. I wanted to change the ‘new mail’ notification sound that Thunderbird uses. Simple enough, eh?

Read the rest of this entry »

Just checking in!

21 05 2007

It’s nice to know some things remain consistent. Every year or two I re-take the keirsey test to find out what my ‘personality type’ is. It’s been remarkably consistent. Tonight, once again, I scored as an INTP (Introverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving).
The test I used is here.

Days of Sunshine, Days of Clouds

18 05 2007

The Linux environment is such a love-hate world for me. In general, it’s mostly love. All the tools I want, speed, eye candy, toys, productivity, it’s all there.
Then there are the cloudy days. When things that should work, don’t, and I can’t figure out how to make them work.
After a couple sunny weeks, I’ve hit the equivalent of spring showers, and the clouds have rolled in.
First, I’m having all sorts of performance problems with Thunderbird. I suspect this is down to some twitchy DNS problem, but I’ve never seen it before, and others have not seen it as well. Right now I’m in ‘suck it up and deal’ mode, but it’s infuriating waiting 5-6 seconds of total GUI lockup whenever I hit Alt-Enter.
Second, I’m still working on setting up the new replacement machine for my roommate. This is a bellwether project for me – can I replace a windows machine completely with Linux. For the most part, we’re ready to go, except I cannot get the VPN to their Windows server (a PPTP connection) to work properly. I had great hopes for a new KDE tool called KVPNC, but either due to the programs’ newness or traditional complexity of setting up VPNs under Linux, I have had no success. At the moment, this is a showstopper on the project.
And last night, I wanted to edit some recordings I had done with my minidisc recorder at band practice. “No problem!” sez I, “I’ll just use Audacity,” an excellent free multitrack editor. BZZT! Audacity refuses to talk ALSA properly, and I cannot play the tracks I’m editing. I’ve used Audacity many times under Windows, and I thought I had also used it under Linux, but now on startup Audacity is yelling about not being able to access the ALSA device. Various forums have said that is because ALSA has sound device locking issues (which I mentally flag as bogus – wasn’t ALSA’s point to allow multiple applications to access the sound device at the same time? Avoiding the dreaded /dev/dsp lock? Frustrating)
So I have 2 projects held up, and one constant, ongoing annoyance. And, over on the side, my windows machine running quite smoothly, without any of these problems.
I want the sunshine back.