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User Journal

Journal: Browsers madness

Journal by benad

I'm now using 4 browsers regularly on my Mac (in decreasing order): Camino, Safari, Firefox and Mozilla.

Thanks to Safari Bookmark Exporter, I manage bookmarks from Safari, synchronize them across machines using iSync, and overwrite all the browsers' bookmarks with what's in Safari.

Though right now I'm a Firefox junkie. Version 1.0PR is really nice, and I love all those "power user" extensions...

- Benad

The Internet

Journal: jabberd2: Well D'uh

Journal by benad
Now that my G4 is back to a sane operating volume, I was able to relax a bit, noticing how much I missed loading web pages in less than a second.

Also, I came over jabberd2, as I had some trouble setting up the multi-user conference module.

While setting up the "muc", I realized that I just added a module without havng to do anything special, and that module is running a separate process. It's as if you could add an apache2 module without having to restart httpd or anything.

So I looked at the source code. And guess what, it seems I'm not alone thinking this way.

The trick is simple: if your process is more I/O bound than CPU bound, use non-blocking I/O and block when you want with select(). That works particularly well if processing the "packets" is done in constant time and that "slower packets" are processed in parallel processes. Like in jabberd2.

I'm fed up of seing every single TCP server using either forking processes or threads on every new connection. You don't have to do neither! jabberd2 has 5 processes, one thread per process, TOTAL.

Anyways, it's nice to see that some of the ideas I had for ANet were not that crazy...

- Benad

User Journal

Journal: Surfing the Web on a 66MHz

Journal by benad
Last week our PowerMac G4 400MHz almost totally broke down (i.e. the power supply's fan was starting to make terrible noises), so we had to send it to a Mac store to repair it. So now I'm stuck doing everything from a PowerMac 6100 66Mhz.

FYI, here are the specs:

  • CPU: PowerPC 601, 66MHz
  • HD: 350MB
  • RAM: 40MB
  • OS: Mac OS 8.6

So how am I going to go on the internet on all those flashy, "you need broadband because we like big JPEGs in messed up HTML" Web sites?

Luckilly for me I found the "wamcom" that offers a supported branch of Mozilla 1.3.1 that works on Mac OS 8.6. It needs 32MB of RAM, which is very tight considering that the OS takes 8-10MB. And don't talk about iCab or Opera: iCab crashes too much the whole OS, and I have Opera for ethical reasons (they treat Mac users like shit).

Also I use TVJab, a Jabber client that works "ok" and lets me use AIM, MSN, Yahoo and ICQ through a public Jabber server.

On another note, I received a brand-new copy of "Renaissance: Awakening" by Dave Seaman yesterday. Apart the fact that this 2 CD album is VERY difficult to find, this is an amazing album. The music is beyond words, the packaging too. For once 2h25m feels too short. As I read on Amazon.com, if you have to pay $90 US to get it, do it (btw I paid $50CAN).

- Benad

Programming

Journal: Testing decentralized VCS...

Journal by benad
So I had "fun" trying this weekend some open-source decentralized VCS (that is, like Bitkeeper, but "free" as in speech). Some of them were listed in this Subversion Anti-FUD page.

SVK, which works on top on Subversion looks fine, but I couldn't test since it's been a while since I made a build of Subversion on my Mac OS X 10.2.8 machine.

I liked the idea of monotone, since it could work in places like Freenet, but then to build it you need to build Boost, which is, IMHO, a total piece of crap and couldn't build properly at all on my machine, regardless of what I did with their crappy "BJam" makefile-replacement shit.

Then you have Darcs, but it is written in Haskell (some obscure programing language), so you need ghc. And to install ghc on Mac OS X 10.2, you can't compile it, so you need to use darwinports to install it. I'll pass.

What remains is arch, a pretty low-level, UNIX-style Bitkeeper-like system. Really nice, but damn it's difficult to learn. It took me a day of learning to understand how you can "push" changes you did on your branch to the trunk server by email (it's by using the "tla delta" command, if you want to know).

After all, arch can be good if you have a hierarchical code development system, like what they do for the Linux kernel. To allow others to "pull" the code, you host your archive files in a WebDAV of sftp server. To push, upwards, either ask the maintainer(s) above you to "pull-and-merge" from your server, or compute the chanset yourself and send it by email.

Yep, you have to learn lots of concepts to use that... So if you only want to replace CVS at work, just use Subversion when it will hit 1.0 at the end of the month...

Let me rephrase that: in two weeks, subversion hits version 1.0, after 3.5 years of development and bug-testing! YES!

- Benad

OS X

Journal: fetchmail-ssl and .Mac

Journal by benad
Before you waste your time, if you want to use fetchmail-ssl from Fink, make sure you use those settings (write all of this on a single line; replace YOURUSER and YOURPASS):

poll mail.mac.com
proto imap
auth password
user "YOURUSER"
password "YOURPASS" is "YOURUSER"
folder "INBOX" fetchall
mda "/usr/bin/procmail -d %T"
sslproto ""

- Benad

Apache

Journal: XSL-FO: LaTeX Advanced

Journal by benad

So I was looking at TestXSLT, a generic XSLT editor and test suite for Mac OS X (wow... how could I lived without it), when I noticed this "XSL-FO" thingy.

You know LaTeX? You spent years learning it? You wasted your time. Read the specs here, and try it yourself here (you only need Java).

So why should we use LaTeX again? Oh yeah, when you want to make a nice math formula... But once it's done in LaTeX, I'll export the PS to a high-res GIF and include that in my XSL-FO, thank you.

- Benad

Announcements

Journal: Spoiling the Surprise

Journal by benad

Today I received two copies of "PLAN", the monthly magazine of the OIQ, Québec's engineering order.

Yes, two. One, because I'm registered in the student section of the OIQ. Two (and in a plastic bag), because it says "Benoit Nadeau, Ing. jr".

I haven't received the official papers yet, but you know what it means.

Yeah... I know... 'Have to subscribe to Slashdot again... 'Have to finish (start) my home page... And yeah, they used the circumflex accent on the "I", which I can't actually type in a Slashdot posting...

- Benad

GameCube (Games)

Journal: Henshin a Go Go Baby!

Journal by benad

Wow. Wow wow.

If you remember this entry, I was waiting a long time to try the game "Viewtiful Joe".

And wow. It's good. Really good. The music too. And the humor. And the style. And the gameplay is perfect.

I really hope this becomes a franchise. As they say: "Beauty is born".

- Benad

Music

Journal: Musical Update

Journal by benad
Seems now that I prefer "Techno House" and "Progressive House" more than anything else. I loved Dave Seaman's GU22, I'm trying to buy Nick Warren's GU024 (even though I only listened to CD 2), and I love Danny Howell's 24:7.

If that's not enough, I'm listening a recording of Howell's live tour for 24:7 on Proton Radio.

At the same time, Conjure One proved to be a good "distraction" relative to house music.

Me, addicted to music? Maybe...

That's why it's good news that Canada's iTunes Music Store is not opened yet, since that "one-click buy" could be dangerous for me...

- Benad

GameCube (Games)

Journal: F-0 Is Better Than F-1

Journal by benad
Been playing F-Zero GX a little too much those past two weeks. It's just too fast. Even if I'm really good, I still need lots of practicing, and my adrenaline level is higher than with any first-person shooter.

I even did a "realism test" by using the estimated length of the "Blue Falcon" (about 12m) to see if the speed (ranging from 0.5Mm/h to 1.5Mm/h; yes, Mega meters per hours) is real. And guess what, unlike Extreme G 3, it is. It's really fast.

It's still odd: When you start the game, you can see both the "Nintendo" and "Sega" logo on the screen, at the same time. Five years ago, that would have been an April's Fool joke.

And I think it's time I update my homepage. I'm now good enough with CSS, XHTML and XSLT to do something good. It may still be ugly, though.

- Benad

Microsoft

Journal: There is no fork...

Journal by benad
Today I spent 45 minutes debugging a problem caused by Perl 5.8 on Windows 2000 (called ActivePerl) just to discover that the problem was with Perl's emulation of "fork()". Ouch.

... In Windows, there is no "fork", and I would assume no spoon either.

- Benad

Music

Journal: Music Intoxication

Journal by benad
So... I actually went shopping for those CDs. Specifically, Dave Seaman's all 3 CDs under "Global Underground" (012, 016 and 022) and "Odyssey - The Remix Collection" by Delerium. That's about 9 hours of new music I listened to in a day.

The PC CD-ROM of GU022 was actually quite difficult to use on Mac OS X, but I was able to do it between two CD rips (to put them on the iPod). You still need VirtualPC to extract the director files (with "Swifty Xena Pro", and then you use "e20 4 Mac" on Mac OS 9 (or Classic on Mac OS X). Painful, but it works.

'Have to go back listening to the music a second time...

- Benad

Music

Journal: Musical XTC

Journal by benad
I switched to another MP3 radio... again. While this one is at 160kbps, it's really, really good. It's XTC Radio London.

Not only I'm starting to love the "Global Underground" CDs, but I'm starting to have some opinions about progressive trance DJs. Sasha is overrated, Paul van Dyk is OK and Dave Seaman is the best I've heard until now. Also, I adore "Odyssey" of Delerium, even though this is not their "standard" style and I dislike their other CDs.

You get the idea: I have to restrain myself from going on a shopping spree on Amazon...

- Benad

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

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