This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
Novell which is an amazing company, and also
Dell who in days of yore provided me with a
free laptop for Gnome development / conferences.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
- Up at 4am, bother. Poked at slab performance again,
6% out of key-file parsing with a handful of lines. Poured over
the profile again, it seems gtk_size_group_add_widget is O(N*N) at
least and you can't do much about it by the way of freeze/thaw or
bulk addition: leading to 35k calls to queue_resize_on_widget, urk.
Apparently another 6% of the time is spent creating & populating
a context menu for each tile on construction instead of at
popup-time, sounds unnecessary.
- Tried unsuccessfully to sleep, surely tiredness is
tiring. Up early, chewed mail - clearly loosing vs. the inbox
- Breakfast, off to building 18 to meet Vijay, great to
understand his role a better. On to building 36 via building 35,
grief it's a big campus. Lunch with Chris, Dan & Brian.
Retired to Brian's office for some compiz & OO.o demos.
- Back to see Norm, sadly taken ill. Into town, up the
space needle - fine meal, back, bed early.
- Up early, sucked in by mail; breakfast, did some a11y
review work, off to Building 85, finally managed to find somewhere
to park the car & met Norm.
- Meetings with Vijay, Masahiro, Norm & Brendan much
of the day around a11y - lots of white-boardage, etc. good fun.
Out for lunch & dinner with Norm.
- Up rather early, off by train to Heathrow. Pleased
by the on-train T-mobile coverage on the Heathrow Express,
nice. Re-built my evolution to fix
343447, poked Srini.
- Some research, tried to download src680m237 in the
airport, Kendy's nice work pulling ooo-build up much appreciated:
unfortunately bandwidth -so- appalling, I couldn't even download
cairo. Interview before flight.
- Watched the latest Potter movie on the flight, really
not very good - increasingly hard to sustain interest, slept a
- Pleased by the amount of space on my system,
ultimately I suspect a side-effect of the Live-CD + necessary
development pieces installation method. Did a chunk of code
review on the plane - interesting.
- Watched the latest Pirates of the Carribean
movie, glad they married; disappointed with T-mobile in SF
airport apparently not accepting credentials from the UK,
bother. Ended up in Redmond nearly 24hrs after waking in
- Checked mail, poked the objectives tool, did the
right set of paperwork this time.
- Horribly frustrated by broken credentials wrt.
t-mobile authentication in San-Francisco: apparently they
work only in the UK.
- Up early, while J. slept. H. sick in the night -
apparently the bug is doing the rounds, and off school.
- Affixed bracket to hold the un-supported work-top
up, sadly not quite a right-angle bracket; corrected with
- Babes to bed around 11, set-too cutting the corner
off the old work-top (to allow us to get around our 8foot table
more easily), got it off, Father's large router cutter extremely
useful to get the end square & flat.
- Spread poisonous glue over everything, waited 15mins,
and positioned it: contact adhesive. Protected the edge &
retired to wait. Cleaned / hoovered chip-board dust up from
- Affixed the microwave shelf yet more firmly with a
piece of bridging ply. Stopped. Caught up with mail quickly,
installed fixed ipw3945 rpms for working wireless, printed out
expense claims, train times etc.
- Slugged in the evening with the parents & packed.
Talked with the lovely wifelet until late.
- Up: to work, sized up the situation. Bruce & Anne
arrived to go on an Ikea outing with a couple of the children. H.
off to school & on an outing - leaving me & Dad to get to
- Unpacked the cupboards & managed to move one
double fitted cupboard set out, and switch it for another single one
with relative ease.
- Headed out to Ridgeons / homebase for spares. Thankfully
the nice chap in Homebase gave us a spare bit of formica trim of the
right colour to finish the edge.
- Repeatedly measured & cut the new work-top to size,
and around the new fridge & fitted that, cut & filed the
aluminium trimming into shape.
- Picked H. up from school on the bike - amazingly it's
easier cycling up the hill with her on-board, since she pedals so
- Cut a handy, similarly veneered shelf
down to size for the base-board, and got it ~all re-assembled by the
time everyone returned.
- Tea & coffee & catch-up with Bruce & Anne.
Knocked up a shelf for the microwave fitting snugly next to the
existing cupboards, got that cut up & installed nicely. Knocked
off for dinner, tired.
- Up late doing a suduko-like puzzle of connecting
'bridges', remarkably fun, albeit requiring concentration. Bed late.
- Up early while J. slept, dealt with the babes, out
to NCC - J. on childrens work, while I was on creche. Mike & Thea
back from Switzerland / Taiwan, great to see them again.
- Back for lunch, parents arrived in the evening, after a
non-existent evensong in Cambridge, helped them unpack, dinner,
talked by the fire. Self immolation ! Are you on fire for God ?.
- Lie-in, J. off to a party, read the Economist, slugged &
cleaned up a little (still recovering from Thanksgiving). Played with
Myriam. Kids back, DVD in the afternoon.
- Myriam insists on wandering around banging her head on things,
like the kid with the bucket in Parenthood (but without the bucket)
- and I believe these are accidental blows.
- Watched Hotel Rwanda in the evening - wow ! an extremely
impressive film, makes you wonder why we're not taking action in Darfur.
- Up early, no breakfast, feeling awful - off of to Newbury -
3 hours drive & restless children. Out for a fine meal with David at
a nice pub behind the Quantel office.
- Back home & on to Mark's funeral, tried to keep babies
quiet - great to see all the family & old friends there & celebrate
Marks' life: Intelligent people are never bored.
- Home via assisting a chap whose car got stuck, enjoyed
ice-creams at David's & set off home: M25 pretty bad, managed to
avoid the worst of it (according to the signs at least). Home, bed early.
- Up, mail; apparently the useful kernel ioctl for getting good
disk layout information: FIBMAP is only available as root (urgh), strange,
the xfsctl equivalent is (rumour has it) available to all [ some great
input from Stewart Smith ].
- Sufficiently irritated by treacle-like performance of mail
moving in evo in 10.3 to dig into the code / trace: some silly around
tree view management.
- Got my new year's Objectives into the relevant tool - at
last I know what I'm doing (or do I ?). Pleased with the interest in
the gnome-menus work, but sadly no time to fix all the breakage. It
will be a great data-point for my "OO.o is no longer slow" spiel
as/when I have the guts to write it.
- Nice, the configmgr refactor just got approved by QA, thanks
to Stefan, and Joerg Sievers. Went into an orgy of expense filing -
good, clean, tiresomeness: only an hour or so. Got fed-up enough with
evo. to create a patch & submit it, failing building it ...
- Out to watch H. swimming in the afternoon while J. prepared
the huge thanksgiving meal for cell group this evening (Julie is our
token American lady, giving us this excuse).
- Back, feeling a little ropey; huge meal, turkey coming
out of the ears, great to catch up with Pete & Shelly & their
vetinary problems: foot & mouth, bluetongue, avian flu etc. Bed
late, feeling bad.
- Up early, H. to school on the velocipede, back - poked
mail, did a little gnome-menu pokeage wrt. deferring TryExec stats.
Updated BCD travel profile. Fixed my flight booking from Redmond,
Oregon to Redmond, WA - only a few hundred miles wrong, thank God I
- Pulled the statting of executables for TryExec out of the picture
and ended up with:
What do you mean you don't see the difference ? (from my 200 line
patch). Well, there are clearly fewer 'red' lines: fewer red lines means progress. On
the other hand, there are still too many: why ? well, Digging into the longer
lines (incidentally iogrind needs
a feature to allow line selection in the scribble mode) - it looks like things
like FireFox, presumably installed/upgraded later have their .desktop files a
long way away, and sadly the inode order is not that helpful anymore to predict
data layout. I guess ideally (and I hope to do this hidden away in GVFS for
all apps) we should sort by inode, then stat, then sort by 1st block offset
- Out for ultrasound scan with the wife, a wonderful blessing of
another pending baby, it seems.
- Ran a callgrind profile on the gnome-menus/slab combo - ~3bn+
pseudo-cycles on startup: that's more than OpenOffice on SLED10.3 (after our
optimisation work) which weighs in at 2.7bn cycles. Luckily, of course - this
is almost certainly just one stupidity piled on another; filed another
8% win, of
course the 6% spent in g_getenv also seems a tad extreme: presumably some
lang specific parsing problem; anyhow lots of low hanging fruit for the
casual kcachegrind user there.
- A quick profile with more details shows that calling
g_get_language_names 65k times, per-key in g_key_file_locale_is_interesting
is perhaps a mistake; should be trivial to fix by caching the result on the
- Call with Rob, poked Jared, Kelli, call with Florian, chat with
Calvin. Dinner. Called brothers - both dancing (strangely), harassed David
by mail & phone.
- Chewed mail, checked flight booking, prodded printer setup.
Timing is clearly so important in investment, and something people tend
to forget: seeing the Amazon Kindle (which seems compelling) it reminds
me of a desktop talk I did way back in 2000 with some very excited
entreprener with some exciting mobile technology, proclaiming the death
of the desktop, and the impending supremacy of mobile phone applications;
some great ideas, hope his investors had really deep pockets to tide him
over to that (still) future.
- Cleaned up iogrind's bison usage: evil hacks around the fact
that autotools only generates a single file dependency, even when generating
two files with --defines.
- Ran iogrind on the application-browser, most interesting:
desktop_entry_load is (as expected) a huge chunk of the time,
and (due to applications dropping .desktop files erratically during install,
the directory is nice and scattered, such that the 'obvious' recursive
iteration over 'readdir' is pretty broken [ though interestingly for some
things like screensavers which install a big block of .desktop files, we
take almost no time ]: picture appended, patch to follow:
- Team meeting, followed by DE meeting. Hacked on & tested a
trivial gnome-menus patch to save
500ms or so (pseudo-time) on app browser startup; should speed up the
old-style desktop menu too.
- Up early, took H. to school, poked mail quickly before setting
off to Swansea; mercifully saw the mail cancelling the master-class I was to
do (in some apprentice role) with Alan Cox, hey ho.
- Chewed mail, call with Florian. Read the news - interesting
indeed, if true wrt.
Android and the reluctance to license from Sun. Open-ness problems
driving fragmentation ? Also amazed to see Sun
marketing their duplication of Kohei's solver (for licensing
reasons: they still won't accept their own choice of license); sad.
- Call with Guy, cut off by Cheryl arriving with babes in
tow, ESC meeting. Filed a bug wrt. esd & authentication - most odd,
and another wrt. seven-swords and borked community repositories.
- Changed, washed children, brushed teeth, put them to bed with
a story: The Phoenix & the Carpet currently - good stuff. Dinner
with the wife, set up for Pregnancy Crisis Group mentoring, and disappeared:
call with Jon - battling calc/drawing layer interactions valiently. Ordered
a new ultra-bay battery to keep me going on long flights.
- Lie in, off to NCC Tony speaking, back. Listened to Louise'
recent radio interviews wrt. her book
Inside I'm Hurting on attachment difficulties in children.
- Fine lunch, J. took Louise home, while I slugged & finished
The Box of Delights - sadly in some abridged form.
- Dinner, tried to get to bed early; unfortunately persued by the
telephone in bed for 1:30, there seems to be an exciting outbreak of pregnancy
among Julia's friends. Baby cried incessantly in the night - apparently
nothing wrong with it whatsoever - an inherited love of it's own voice
- Up early, looked after babes for a bit. J. up later, out to
Cambridge via the park & ride - much excitement from H. & N. at
riding on a bus (double decker too).
- Visited te Sedgwick
Museum (free), lots of fine skeletons - great to see the Hippo skeleton,
and other tropical type animals discovered
- On to Nandos for a chicken & chips lunch; split up to shop,
I fielded Louise from the station, J. bought presents etc.
- Back via market & bus, home. Chatted to Louise, sat by
fire, recovered from the cold. Veggitales DVD for the children, J. &
Louise out in the evening together - baby sat, while prepping the laptop
for IT Wales conference. Bed late.
- Shocking night, M. cried for ~3 hours for no apparent reason,
except a need for exercise; eventually went to sleep again after a sound
telling off, sigh.
- Up early, cycled H. to school in the frost - invigorating.
Chewed mail, booked flight to Provo, avoiding Chicago (home of missed
- Poked at Jan's layout work - nice, starting to test it in
more dialogs, and looking hopeful, identified a troublesome singleton
issue plaguing him. Wrote my LXF column. Reviewed more flannel.
- Call with Kelli, team meeting.
- Lie in, up late: breakfast with Dad - who had walked back
from assembly with Naomi chattering with him. Joined by Mum & Grandma
fresh from present shopping. Quick early lunch for them & bid 'bye.
- Lots of applied slugging, book reading, and playing with
children in the afternoon. Turned mail over, changed sofa delivery &
contemplated life. Fine dinner, bed early.
- Up early, dropped H. at school by car. Set to work on a new
scheme - to fill the hole left by the old fridge, by cunningly shuffling
kitchen units around it should be possible: need more marble-effect
chipboard top: out to get that: 1 week lead time, bother. Back,
re-assembled & stocked a dismembered cupboard as it was.
- Lunch, out to see Bert & finish the guttering on his
side of our shed: discovered a missing tile too (thank goodness for a
handy role of lead abandoned in our garden), fixed that too.
- Mum & Dad off to Kings College for Evensong, read books
to babies etc. Finished Cinderella for the parents in the evening: poked
- Up earlyish, set too with the new fridge: unpacked tool
cupboard, groped about in tiny space removing evil plastic fittings on
the incoming water main. Drilled hole through wall, replaced with nice
compression joints, soldered up elbow for tap on the other side of the
- Lunch, tightened compression joints in a tiny space;
apparently leak free thus far; connected up the fridge - turned it on:
bingo, one happy wife.
- Watched Cinderalla projected onto the wall for Grandma &
the babies, Richard Chamberlain etc. Fire, chatted to the parents, bed
- Up early, cycled H. to school in the freezing cold: good for
the lungs (or something). Read stories to the babes, checked mail. All-day
conf-call in Washington time scheduled for today.
- Extended conference calling, new fridge/freezer arrived today,
thank God for the french windows at the back; more conf. calling. Updated
FTO for the last few weeks & the next 3 days.
- Conference calling until late, parents arrived while sleeping.
- Up early, off to NCC, prayed, Daniel & Michelle leaving
today, sad in a way; spoke. Back for lunch with Mario, Theresa, Jordan
& Lucy - lovely to see them again after several years & catch up.
- Sat by the fire; Hannah, Nick & Joni popped around after
swimming, stayed for lunch, sat by the fire drinking port & enjoying
lazy conversation - much fun. Bed early.
- Up early, set to work on sermon for tomorrow - way too late,
transcribed Gordon's sermon on The First Christians, extensive
massage. Interestingly 'Christian' was a term the disciples/brothers
didn't favour for themselves; though it was clearly later redeemed.
- Call from David with the news of Mark Rye's
passing - a sad time for those left. Mark was one of the richest &
most interesting characters I've ever enjoyed sharing time with; and a
major influence on my decision to follow Christ a decade ago. The
combination of wisdom with humour and a well articulated opinion on
many interesting subjects gave a great mix. Getting immersed in the
Rye family (lodging there over some years), allowed me to have a more
objective understanding of my own family, and learn to love both their
strengths, and weaknesses: invaluable. A man of faith & integrity
who lived, by choice, in a sink council estate, with the people
he sought to reach for Christ. I recall his sorrow as a Religious Studies
teacher, marking the exam papers, where after a full term of Christianity,
many still could not tell whether Jesus was born at Easter or Christmas.
I hope his passion for bus travel, and secret scheme to visit every place
in England (discovered only much later by his children: providing a
hermenutical key for many odd routes & stops during travel) will
find perfect fulfillment in next world. I pray that when I finish my
race, and get called home, we'll meet again.
- Very comforted personally by Christ's
promise to come back to each believer to and take them to be with
him at their death. An extremely good Rico Tice sermon on this is
- Out swimming with the children, for Naomi's birthday, and
then on to the Brighties: helped out while chatting & enjoying an
ale or two. Fine chocolate birthday cake, walked & taxi'd home.
Packed off the babes to bed. Back to work on the sermon until late.
- Up early, cycled H. to school, back contemplated rescue of
laptop FDD, cycled back to NCC, got interesting SATA/EIDE etc. dongle,
returned, entrails of laptop & disk everywhere. The Hitachi lasted
only ~10 months, the Fujitsu ~6 months(?), hopefully this Samsung will
run and run (albeit rather more slowly).
- Beautiful SLED10 SP1 install, it just worked rather
convincingly - nervously transfered most of the system across; got all
the important data I could, great. Stricken once again by the hideous kernel
I/O issue: do some big / heavy I/O operations & other simple
things like touching a file starve.
time touch ~/foo.txt -
11seconds real (eg.).
- Yesterday we announced a new
collaboration with Microsoft
around accessibility. Since apparently either people didn't
find it as interesting as I did, or they just didn't get to the bottom
of the lengthy press release with several pieces; I though I'd expand
on that here.
- Over the last weeks it's been a privilege to be
a small part of the team putting this together and scoping
the work here, and I'm pleased with the outcome.
- What are we doing ? - we're going to
bring the managed
UIAutomation API to Linux over the next months &
years. Of course, obvious questions as to how this interacts
with the excellent existing Free-software a11y work get
raised, so I drew a photograph of everyone working nicely
together (new code highlighted):
Please notice: that if you have some congenital allergy to
Mono, this shouldn't bring on anaphylactic shock - it's a
complementary approach. In addition any work we ship will be
covered by a
Community Promise shielding everyone from patent
problems, in a similar spirit to IBM's recent
Interoperability Specifications Pledge.
- Why are you doing that !?: I think it's
a good thing (of course):
- Clearly making apps accessible that were
previously inaccessible is vital, and no-one I've talked
to in the space seems interested in playing politics with
that. Indeed with this piece the Free S/W a11y stack looks
like it will soon integrate with all the significant toolkits,
technologies & applications around.
- This work will make both Winforms, and in future
accessible on Linux - adding to and improving the
implementations of these toolkits. By extension that should
make various vertical business apps accessible on both Win32 &
- This is a fun space - as we started specing this
out, I remembered fondly the good times of my a11y involvement:
the excitement of getting anything working at all, and the serious
late nights drinking with Bill Haneman, Peter Korn, Will
Walker, the Baum guys etc. at GUADEC(s), the friendly debates
over architecture, all that good stuff; somehow a different
style from OO.o. Then of course, meeting other interesting
Rich, Janina etc.
- More eyes - embarassingly we've had some nasty
snafus in eg. OpenSUSE 10.3, that we want to put behind us,
being able to hire lots of new hackers to work in this
space should make a real impact across the board. With them
we should be able to improve everything from apps, to
infrastructure, to ATs, and into packaging / distribution.
- What about the other hackers here ? - I think it's
important, of course, to give tribute to Sun, without whose tireless work
to make Solaris accessible there would be no Free-software
accessibility stack. I'm looking forward to seeing us work more closely
with Peter, Will & co. here. Unfortunately in the past our interest
has been rather bursty - after a large chunk of work at the begginning,
we settled into maintenance mode, helping out with some intractible problems
here & there, and of course kick-started the native OO.o atk
accessibility bridge. Then of course, there is IBM: with Rich, George Kraft,
and their team, who have done some amazing work here:
making Firefox accessible, funding infrastructure improvements, working
on Accerciser, and of
course IAccessible2 on Win32, driving interest & investment towards
a11y. I'm looking forward to us working closely with everyone here.
- Not another huge spec !? - Anyone who takes the time
to download and read the 4 separate specifications (of which we will
implement only one: the managed part) can make some serious hay with the new
SI unit of spec. complexity: page-count. On the other hand, this spec.
is clearly just a 1st cut. This is the very start of turning it
into something beautiful and, to my mind, that means removing
the thousands of lines of C# and VBA examples that make up the majority
of the headline figure. When instead you read the 1200 lines of
equivalent IDL / and header-file interface description I for one learn
much of what I need.
- What's next ? - I'm looking forward to help getting
this project spun up, people hired, and working with some great guys:
Rob Sinclaire & Norm Hodne from Microsoft to improve the UIA
specification, work towards harmonisation with the existing stack, and
so on. More about how the mechanics of that in the coming weeks. Oh, and
of course - we're now looking for talented hackers in this space to hire.
Mail me if you're interested please, regardless of location. Oh, and of
course, I'm trying to persuade Marco Skambraks (our existing, long term,
star a11y hacker) to start blogging to open up our work on OpenSUSE
here yet further. Onwards interoperability & accessibility!
- Chat with Ricardo about yast2-gtk and code sharing between the
package managers; clearly Katarina would be a better bet; good to catch up
- Up, breakfast, more QTR meetings. Pitched various fun
looking tasks. Lunch at Thai place downstairs. Back for task creation.
Hard disk looking increasingly flaky.
- Back to see Timo to beg a new disk, great to meet Stefan
Behlert, talked things over, conf-call, set off for the airport, hacked
a little on the plane until the disk failed again; read the FT. Back, bed.
- Up at 5am, off to Stanstead again, poked mail, nailed a11y
reference leak bug for Will on the way.
- Hard disk decided to have some cryptic error and become
read-only on the flight: neat, roll on flash disks (for different
- Grabbed a spare desk in Timo's office, caught up with Kelli.
Egbert Eich sacrificed his hotel room for Kendy & myself - (a hero),
out for lunch with the X team, interesting stuff. Back - hacked at
slide-ware for tomorrow.
- Sat in on some talks with the guys, interesting stuff, lots
going on in the world of hardware.
- Out for dinner in the evening to Cafe Bar Celona (bad pun,
ok food), stayed up rather late talking. Back late with Kendy through
the castle, sleep.
- Up rather late, mail pokeage. Team meeting, call with Jeff,
team meeting, call with Paolo - more talking than typing these days.
Poked Simon, Miguel, Larry & knocked off.
- Up early; it has been decreed by the wife that the husband is
not getting enough exercise, dispatched to school on the bike with H. and
lo - it is true, clapped out by a short journey; bother.
- Chewed over mail, admired the wreckage in the inbox from a
week off. Pleased to see the new
openSUSE live CD (with installation), started downloading
- Up-loaded some layout bits from Jan he forgot to take, it's
nice to see the progress he is making. Pleased with the live CD, it
recognised my twisted hardware: good.
- Lunch, followed by conf-calling, timezone changes &
things seemed to scupper some Exchange / GW interaction. More conf-calling
action. Chatted to Federico wrt. various performance improvements.
Call with Marco.
- Dinner, story reading, conf-calls until late.
- Up early, dealt with babes while J. slept, tried to disassemble
and fix spinning top: lots of beautiful enamelled mild steel, and no
user-servicable parts; perhaps Bruce will be able to create a new 'pin' for
it to spin on (integrated with the 'singing' mechanism).
- Off to NCC, Tony speaking. Back for quick lunch, bed again.
- Up lateish, tidied the house until J. returned from the market.
Babes to bed. Out in the afternoon to Lackford Lakes, for a short walk and
some serious play-ground action.
- Back for a conf-call with Greg & Carlos; slugged in the
afternoon, read children's books, bed early.
- Up early, chewed mail, worked away at documents.
Noticed Jody getting mobbed by screaming weenies - of course this is
a great application of a common phenomenon: the less influence you have,
the more vehemently you hold (and articlate) your opinion (you almost
have to I guess). Of course being one of the most patient & clueful
people I know is not all, Jody has worked with both TCs, and I personally
respect his view & contribution immensely, even if we differ a little
over my belief that OpenOffice.org (the code) is the disruptive technology
and the killer feature of ODF (a full, Free software implementation); [join
the campaign for longer sentences here].
- Chewed through some documentation, hmm.
- Off into Cambridge to introduce Jan to the Collabora guys, in
their (fantastically cool) new office. Quick lunch, borrowed their
conference room for a conf-call. Out around Cambridge for some brief
- Back, pizza dinner, sat & talked to Jan for a while,
bid 'bye & another round of conference calling until late.
- Up early, to work, chewed mail - tried 5 hotels in
Nuremberg all fully booked (for Wed 7th) - amazing; anyone with a
softish floor to sleep on there ?
- More work, chewing documents, etc. More intense
training action with Jan. Worked late so we can break early tomorrow.
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Novell, The
Lithuanian Gov't or Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's also important to
realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences,
Michael Meeks (email@example.com)