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
Struggled into the office before 10; read mail, prodded at
the various intractable problems being faced by everyone. Talked
with Jeffrey at length on his return. Out for lunch.
Long round of ad-hoc training presentations, ranging from
IPC, through misc. infrastructure, software stacks, build tooling,
etc. Intel meeting - always good to meet sharp, new people. More
training, out for a western snack.
Back to the hotel, watched a rather fine movie about some
unexpected parenting action; must dig out the title.
Up early, off to a partner's office - great to meet another
team of talented people, chewed over possible areas to collaborate in -
lots of fun.
Out for lunch with Peggy, Armani, and Jeffrey. Back to the office,
chewed mail quickly, met with Bruce from another partner - discussed X / DRI2
Slogged away at the hyper-odd hornsey issue - not showing images.
Out for fine Korean barbeque dinner, and back for a walk-through call. Back
to the hotel; OO.o team meeting - 22:30 is quite late to start a meeting.
More Hornsey chasing, finally, it turned out to be an issue with 'unique'
using the 'bacon' backend instead of the 'dbus' one - fun. Called J. bed.
Not overmuch overnight sleeping, up early, hacked a little;
set off for the office. Met Matt, Joey, Gary, Jeffrey and more in
person - really good to do that. Set out on a marathon training
session: how to suck eggs - for grandmothers.
Out for lunch; ran through customer requests with Armani
and Jeffrey - nearly falling asleep. Back with the team for
collaborative bug chasing - prodded mail, chat with Kendy.
Out for dinner, and back late for Moblin team meeting,
called darling wife, bed late.
Somewhen whilst asleep / travelling / running for the next terminal,
and trying to re-assure the doctors that when I ticked 'cough' in the Swine
flu symptoms list, this was a case of an overabundance of caution rather than
any immenant peril of infection: got a free mask for my troubles.
Blown away by Tor's insanely cool start of porting
the awesome Valgrind to Windows - what better way to teach the best Win32
developers about Free Software.
I lost most of a day, and arrived just in time for bed the next day,
lovely hotel, with free Internet - nice.
To work, chewed through some of the E-mail backlog. Set off
to Taiwan in the afternoon, trains to LHR, flight to Hong Kong.
Up early, lie-in for J. Off to NCC - really good to see
the family there again, wonderful to hear Pete & Shelly's
Back for lunch; tried to de-nail, and saw up lots of
scrap timber, now scheduled for the fire this winter: heat
your house by burning it down in bits.
Got babes to bed; Nick, Hannah & Joni over in the
evening to admire the wood problem, and catch up over some port.
Amazingly M. slept (in my room) like a dream, while the rest
were nightmarish for J. Into York.
Played in the retail-outlet-park-and-ride playground - apparently
the highlight of the day. Into York, wandered around admiring oldish
bits of the town - the place where Constantine was pronounced Emperor eg.
Enjoyed the bus tour, lunch at Pizza Express, more open-top bus
touring; M. fell asleep on the bus - lugged her back, played in the
playground on return. Set off, drove & drove, and some more.
Eventually got home, packed babes to bed, and set off to admire
the new roof structure - we now have two roofs, internal and external -
interesting: be good to get back to just one sometime. House still secure
though - good.
Up early, intense car packing, and house emptying - managed to get it
all in eventually; and H. to overcome her distress at having some sand on her
Set off to meet Jean & Peter - interesting couple from church who
invited us over. Their house is at the end of a 1/4 mile+ drive (between fields).
Admired their interesting family, got chatting with their Son, a trainee doctor,
Ruth - the girlfriend interested in Eastern Europe and human rights law; and
briefly Peter - designing wood chip boilers for people; a happy morning.
Drove, and drove some more - finally got to Brimham Rocks - just as
the parents arrived too. Much nostalgic playing amid the wonderfully shaped
rocks. Managed to get N. and H. to the top of one of the largest rock outcrops
by means of brief chimneying, ledge traversal, scrambling, crawling through
openings in the rock, and other fun - life is easier when you have a Dad to
help you with the difficult bits it seems.
Eventually left, bid 'bye to the parents; and returned to the car -
drove to the ultra-cheap rooms in the as-yet-not-built motel we had booked;
thankfully it it been built by the time we arrived - neat. Very nice, pristine
rooms; disgraceful Burger King dinner - exhausted children at the end of their
tether. Got everyone to bed.
Up late, lazy start to the day. Got to Bamburgh castle beach as the
tide was out; endless fun all day making a monster, streamlined sand castle,
jumping in and out of waves, chasing each other across the hot sand etc.
N. somewhat terrified by various dogs, but overcame her fears eventually.
A wonderful location, modulo some missing toilets anywhere near the beach.
Lunch, waited for the tide to return, castle survived a pleasingly
long time - until sucumbing to eventual innundation and oblivion. Interned
girls in somewhat deep water by then though.
Returned for immediate bathing action of babes; followed by bangers
& mash with the parents; put everyone to bed, and set about packing.
Watched the Beatrix Potter movie - very lovely, albeit sad; bed late.
H's birthday; lots of present opening at breakfast - out
to clean out the local shop from ring doughnuts.
Off to Alwnick Castle - admired some coaches; then got N.
and M. dressed up in some damsels outfits - lots of fun things to
do for kids - avoided far-too-scary dragons quest.
Lunch near some climbable cannons - relics of the pre-rifling,
pre-steel era, apparently good at making castles go obsolete though.
Checked out a museum or two, M. it seems has a new aversion to pretend
people - provoked I think by early exposure to a human statue street
Baby-sat a sleeping E. while babes visited the house and
counted owls; lightning visit - very taken by the library. Birthday
cake in the evening for H.
Texting fun in the evening, chat with Florian, call
with Jared. Watched the end of 'Meet the Parents' in the evening
Up, frantic present wrapping, and card writing. J. arrived downstairs,
her birthday - rather a poor showing present-wise (on my behalf). Packed lunch,
and everyone into cars. Drove to Alnwick gardens.
Queued at length, and started to wander - played at collecting water
in children's tractors; detoured via a rather excellent bamboo maze. Wandered
the rose garden, on to douse the children in the water features. Enjoyed some
of the excellent illustrations of various behaviours of water, soaked the babes
in the hydrostatic fountain, then dried them.
Picnic lunch - in some slight rain. Lugged E. pram and provisions up
the hill, admired the walled garden. Beat a hasty retreat to the extensive
tree-house - with much fun trying to wobble the dual suspension bridges.
Tea & cake, drove home. Out in the evening with J. for a
lovely meal across the road - we don't go out together enough - it's an
outrage. Unanticipated but appreciated birthday cake for J. arrived -
Up early, set off for The Holy Island of Lindesfarne in good time
to get across the causeway that floods at high tide. Parked, admired the
multitude of clear signs with pictures of sinking cars, and the tide tables
at many prominent points.
Wandered the town, admired some new timber framed buildings built on
piles (to avoid destroying the archaeology beneath by digging foundations), with
some massive ply beams to hold them up. On to the post office, and church; into
the ruins of the abbey.
Had fun admiring, and clambering over the architecture of the
ruined monastry and playing with babes of all sizes - E. finally starting
to stand alone for long periods apparently without much noticing she is
doing it. Place scattered with interesting fiducials - presumably to calculate
geometry / movement of the stones from photographs. Some incredible wind /
weather erosion - some stones seem disproportionatly affected.
Breakfast lunch at the cafe; and back to the car to collect bits we
had left. Marvelled at the Sea-King helicopter hovering over the causeway
rescuing the latest hapless, clueless non-believer; hard to see, but apparently
deposited in the car-park at some considerable expense - minus car (passed
in a somewhat wet condition on the way back).
Payed a fortune for a somewhat under-matured maize-maze - which was
nonetheless fun enough, while E. and M. slept in the car with the grandparents.
On to the museum; pleasant, clean display, friendly staff - and a
total aspiritualised tragedy of a display. English Heritage - appear
to rejoice in dates, geography, orthography, illumination - but totally at
a loss to provide a view of the spiritual depth of the amazing men who
followed their God to a land of pagans, and converted them en-masse - what
did they believe ? what did the people believe beforhand ? what was their
social impact ? why did they do it ? what was their theology ? no information.
Saint Cuthbert would presumably vomit on the threshold to discover the
display was more interested in the exact route & chronology of movements
of his coffin - rather than the crucified carpenter, risen and victorious
in whose name darkness and superstition were pushed back. Very occasional
glimpses of their theology show through - that they deliberately walked
through the area rather than riding, to be on the level of people; and that
the regional King, having been converted gave his entire silver service to
the poor - but far, far too little; depressing.
Out for a drink with J. in the evening, at the hotel across the
road - discovered that our cottage is let to us by a chap with a fairground
attraction. Sounds like an ideal synergy - in winter, when no-one wants
to be there - a nice house to live in, and in summer being on the road
anyway can earn from it.
Off to Southview Evangelical Church, nearby over the border.
Packed church, hardly room to stand up - chairs so close together.
Escaped to the creche with various babes.
Met Robin afterwards, to discuss creative commons licensing
of his various material. J. met Jean who kindly invited us to visit
Awoken by sound as of a hammer-drill in the ear: ah, indeed this is
home from home. Microbore plumbing combined with airlocks (?) or the wrong
thermostatic valves yields an interesting acoustic experience.
Breakfast; raining conscientiously outside. Out into Coldstream, admired
the beautiful bridge over the Tweed. Visited free museum about The Coldstream
Guards, with some interesting, though under-explained
exhibits. Some enterprising chap set up a Bible Factory here to reduce the price
of the scriptures in people's hands, and break a royally granted monopoly -
printing 170k in one year - though apparently shut after only 6 years. Played
with the babes, some dressing up clothes there.
Back home for biscuits, and lunch - then out in the afternoon to
Europe's oldest suspension bridge (of it's length, in continuous use,
add equivocation to fit here). Interesting, though somewhat unsafe for
children. More curiously a chunk of the road leading to it appears to
have been washed into the river, and is thus impassable - making the
bridge somewhat less than useful.
Visited a honey farm nearby, packed with character - cafe in a converted
double decker bus, eclectic museum; and had a tour from the owner's
son-in-law-to-be. Back for jacket potatoes, and sleep.
Up at 5am, packed everything - woke babes & stacked them into the car.
Drove to Grantham, admired statue of Newton; breakfast with the babes.
Drove on to Rippon; Fountains Abbey, met up with the parents there, raining
fairly vigorously all the way - fearful driving.
Tea in the tea-shop; drove on to Cornhill nr. Coldstream. Lovely cottage,
ideal for the family + grandparents; fine view, over the Tweed to Scotland.
Tried to run off some of the children's energy in the garden, visited lovely
local shop, across the road. Cooked, packed babes off to bed; bed early.
Up early; carpenters arrived to bang about pleasantly
up-stairs. Amused by Sam V's apparent inability to actually follow
the simple instructions I posted to find, and read the Mono CP
text - it seems if you really don't want to see something,
being pointed directly at it is no obstacle.
Chased down my audio problem;
(obviously) - missing a Master volume setting.
Annoyed that I choose to go on holiday for a week just as
things start to get even more interesting wrt. Oracle & Sun, apparently
Solomon arrived to collect keys for Falmouth St. Back to
meetings. Dinner, put babes to bed, admired the building work - back
to the admin. Optimistic wrt. the future of an Oracle
Sun; go Oracle !
Packing, preparation, panicing - up early tomorrow.
Prodded mail. Builders arrived around midday to start putting
joists into the attic. Played with pulseaudio - why is my audio muted
on boot ? dug into it more and more - interesting, pulse believes alsa
for it's very first set of defaults, and alsa is configured by udev,
and (hopefully) system install. I need to debug system install instead.
Solomon over briefly, for lunch to sign contract. Discussion
with builders to re-assure them that, in fact the metalwork &
pad-stone should fit exactly where it's drawn.
Pulled children's cartoons from archive.org for babes to enjoy on the
road trip to (near) Scotland tomorrow morning. Tried to build 'thoggen'
and was stunned to see sourceforge demanding form
filling with my life story before it would let me download the
source archive - what gives ? - it turns out that the list of
mirrors failed to load, and the form below was a Verisign advert -
amazing. What sort of security concious person enters their personal
details into an embedded advert ? and why hinder people from reading
your white-papers (makes no sense at all to me).
Up early, poked at hornsey - no full-screen photos or
videos - odd, updated bognor-regis - still no joy. Plodded away
at various moblin bugs all day. Clint around in the evening to
admire the problems of resting a big steel beam on a wooden
lintel above a window.
Wrote up contract late, thanks to Charlie & J. for
the initial typing.
Up early, parents popped past for breakfast, J. took H. to school
in the car; admired the builders now correctly sized metalwork. Built and
installed the latest image.
In one of those amazing moments of archaeology; I discovered some
of the history of XEmacs: and I quote
(and this is presumably a very historical 'Currently'):
And, of course personally I support at least joint assignment to
the FSF (or other suitably structured, non-commercial, representative body).
But I'm constantly being told by Sun engineers how no-one cares about copyright
assignment, that it is never a barrier to entry, and that it is a total non-issue;
what fun. It seems clear that some companies, sometimes, have real problems
with it (and that was to a benign non-profit, not a commercial entity).
Why are there two Emacsen?
Hysterical reasons. See the public flames if you must know. Currently the largest
problems is that Sun owns the copyright for large part of the code. It is
copyleft, but they refuse to sign over the changes to the FSF. Some people
think it is good to have an Emacs variant where you can contribute code without
signing any papers. Feel free to disagree.
Since Sam Varghese, while happily calling
Bruce Byfield 'clueless', seems unable himself to use a simple google
search to find that MS, in addition to blogging, added the C# specs to
Promise page last week. A triumph worthy of
Schestowitz, who with a simply mind-bending lack of irony or self-awareness
has taken to griping that other people are using cheap shot(s),
are unprofessional, and give only an illusion of balanced
Slept fitfully on the plane; arrived rather too early at Gatwick,
waited quite some time for the tube at Victoria, and at Embankment; finally
home to the lovely wife & babes.
Slept some of the afternoon, slugged with babes otherwise - good
stuff, bed early.
Guy left in the night - shame; up earlyish, breakfast with
Aaron and Federico - set to work on Moblin again. Filed five obs
bugs in the first minutes, fun.
Fixed a few issues; given the sudden lack of fear
of people writing code - I should point out that (having read quite
a lot of really poor quality code) - we should be quite scared of
at least some people writing code; though, amazingly things like
garbage collection can help hide the incipient scariness of some; go
Also got around to reading Lefty's concerns
wrt. RMS. I rather disagree. Personally, I have few problems with people
mocking Christianity particularly when we can be pretty silly and deserve
it at times, (sometimes for being overly censorious).
I also tend to think that offending me is the least of your problems The
fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (where fear overlaps with awe, or
respect) - it's just silly to mess with the creator. Having heard Richards talk
enough times to not want to bother again (it is extremely similar each time), last
time I heard it, his balance didn't
seem that unreasonable. I have one of those unfair suspicions that the deliberate
inclusion of sexual language in his stock talk, is to make it easier to advance
his declared hobby of 'affection' afterwards - which to my mind risks treating women
as objects; personally I would strenuously recommend finding a life-long equal partner
to delight in, grow with and so on (marriage rocks), and I have no idea why people sell
themselves so short. As such, in my speaking career - I would occasionally
show pictures of my wife (for OO.o Writer), and Damien's for Ekiga, and point out
the obvious aphrodisiac quality of hacking on Gnome - hopefully without
over-offending the polyamorous fringe.
If RMS wants to stand up and broadcast some of his more silly views, that
is fine by me - it is not as if people are unaware of his many foibles. Either
way, I'm prepared to listen carefully to what he has to say, even where I completely
disagree - because of his insight and passion in nucleating the Free software
movement. And I strongly prefer to hear (and give) a talk which captures the
essence and richness of the speaker as a person: warts, obscure political views,
and all. Who would want to attend a conference where software talks cannot be
flavoured with a little personal detail ? As such, I really appreciated Aaron's
non-technical lightning talks at GUADEC, and am sad I missed RMS' talk myself.
Stayed up for my late night flight.
Up earlyish, off to the beach with Guy, Alp & Andrea -
lazy lunch, discussion of cunning new Gnome + 1 scheme. Much
sympathy for an absent Aaron cycling up some huge hill elsewhere.
Took to the water, surfed the waves, lay on the sand all
that relaxing stuff. Decided to attempt the trip back via the center
of the island - somewhat mountainous there. Went through some spectacular
scenery until our road ( after being suspiciously diverted directly
into a restaurant car-pack ) turned into a rock track (which we had a
good slide around on for a bit) and ran out. The local re-assured us
that the last bit we needed was really just not there & we tried
another route. Guy - it turns out was a driving ace in a previous
existence - but this made the hair-pin bends, and precipitous drops
none the more relaxing: fun stuff.
Back for dinner with a large set of fun Gnome guys; saw some
SUSE KDE guys in passing. Got to know Lubos' charming sister a little,
and tried to locate suitable chap to her liking. On to admire the drunken
beach wanderers - and caught up with Philip & met Tina -
which was fun, back to bed late.
Off to the conference at midday, wandered around - caught up
with Srini - good man, disposed of his Disney Truck. Aaron found his
phone - horay. Gnome Foundation AGM was suitably fun and encouraging.
Taxi back, dinner with Stormey - which was fun, great.
Discovered that most of her great work reports get hidden in the
which is both interesting and, well - why, oh why is this not on
Back to the hotel and met David Faure - stayed up rather late
catching up & talking cross desktop code sharing - what a man.
Bastien arrived too to join the fun.
Woken by PR person reminding me of an interview in 40mins
elsewhere - nice job ! lightning dressing, travelling, demo prep
action. Interesting and thought provoking interview, lift with
Ignacio to the conference.
Met up with Jesus - doing cool work with OO.o cross-compilation,
it seems he's really close now, neat. Caught up with Guy; on to Nick's
funky Moblin talk. Quick calls with Kendy & Florian.
Extremely pleased by the Microsoft
action around Mono - personally I think they rock for doing that.
Of course, some will immediately start examining the gift horse's
dental state - while doing that, it is good to examine IBM's
rather similar covenant (NB. cf. the footnotes at the bottom),
and Sun covenant
is (credit where due) the best practice here - though apparently
only available for ODF. Of course - perhaps we should have an arms
race in ever-better, clearer, more comprehensive patent covenants
from big companies around standards. Should the OSI / SLFC have a
stock, recommended text to use ? personally I think the MS one is
briefer and more readable than IBM's, go Microsoft !
Up late; off to the auditorium with Lennart, and sculled
around, out for lunch with some Eclipse-ish Red-Hatters, Alex and
Andrew & co.
Back to the fray, managed to avoid ~all talks somehow, except
Aaron's rather cool lightning talk, Moonlight substitution. Wandered
the sea-front with Owen, Tim Janik, Federico & ended up back at
the hotel, eventually. Out for dinner with the Intel guys, back for
some collective software fun. Bed late.
Packed self up, checked beautiful wife is on survival
trajectory. Set off by train, plane, etc. to GUADEC. Sat next
to interesting mother - Jenny on the plane.
Arrived, caught up with the slate of great hackers
wandering around; met up with the Sun guys, then Guy - out
to the Gnome party - lots of old friends, and interesting
things. Caught up with jrb, bed at 4am.
Up early, picked up Kate & James, deluge of family
arrived, set off to NCC. Dedication of E. - great service, (did
creche), James spoke.
Back for lunch - fed the hordes; tours of the building work
for random passers by; Bruce climed the two storey ladder outside
Dinner in the garden with David, and the parents; bid 'bye
to them all.
Up, off to the hospital with J. - new antibiotics. Back
home. Mum & Dad arrived early afternoon - went to buy much of
Waitrose for party tomorrow.
Up early, roofers arrived, as well as guys to create more
pad-stones. Discovered the roofers planned to seal the roof with
some incredibly cheap & inadequate membrane - requested and got
Prodded mail, image builds, and boot-charts. Off to lunch
with Naomi - her first (induction) day at school, good to see her
world, tried to book app't with docter for J. with no success.
Amused by the Suffolk accent seeping into H. - A noice toiger
instead of a nice tiger.
Explained the structural engineer's metalwork drawings
to the metalwork chappy and Clint, again. Glad I did two years of
general engineering. Lord knows what I'll find when returning
from GUADEC. Janine took M. off our hands for the day - lets hope
no inadvertent vandalism happens to her.
Up early, metalwork guys arrived - started taking the roof
apart and installing huge chunks of steel; many of them in the
right place even. They eventually stalled on one that protrudes
substantially above the floor level - doh. Discovered M. standing by
me cutting my trousers with scissors as I stood at the door - amazing.
Back to work, M. continued her run of fortune by spilling
a pot of paint all over the carpet, bother. Mary Rogers turned up, like
the heroine she is, with a meal for us all - nice.
Got my first high-res boot chart going nicely; now to work out
how best to render I/O & swap latency.
Up early, Mum & Dad got the AA to fix their diesel
heating thingit - on all the time, draining the battery at a rate
of knots. Got some work underway. Richard arrived in the evening
to do some more prep for the metalwork.
M & D left midday; continued mail & hacking on
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)