Boring news about Federico - 1998

Go forward in time to Jan-Aug 1999.

Sun Dec 13 15:52:26 EST 1998

Gnome has been shaping up quickly and nicely. Last Thursday Owen, Jonathan, Raster, and yours truly pulled an all-nighter until Friday to improve things in the desktop. On Friday we were able to make a very nice demo of the whole Gnome desktop running together. This is cool.

Afterwards, to relax and have a good time, we went to watch the new Star Trek movie. It is kind of OK, but nothing particularly earth-shattering.

Tip: if you are flying during the holidays, book your ticket *way* before the date you'll be flying on. I never believed this advice until a couple of days ago, when I had to buy a ticket to fly back to Mexico for the holidays. Boy, tickets are expensive during this time of the year. And flights are packed.

Sat Nov 21 00:47:48 EST 1998

Wheee, new furniture! Marc moved, so he was giving away some of his old furniture, and as usual, the RH crowd flocked for it :-) We got a very nice futon and coffee table for the living room, Owen got a bookshelf for his bedroom, and I got a nice desk for mine. So now I have a nice desk and a nice chair, and now working at home is actually pleasurable.

Amazon.com is dangerous. Very dangerous. It makes it all to easy to spend lots of money without you even regretting it. So the other day I gave in (again) and burned $100 in a book and a CD. Boy, technical books are epensive. Imported CDs are, too.

Owen got an extremely sexy digitizing tablet, a Wacom 9x12. This baby is sweet. He got it working with Gsumi, and we had a lot of fun drawing stuff. Then we plugged it into the labs' pitiful Windows box, and installed the copy of Painter that came with the tablet. I'm impressed with that program. Shame it is not free software. We'll have to clone the features for the GIMP.

Sun Nov 15 20:40:11 EST 1998

I bought myself a chair. The stupid little desk I have at home is too tall for the normal living room chairs.

And I took Nat's port of Dynadraw for Xlib, and ported it to Gtk+. It is a cool little program to play with. Get it from my main page.

Sun Nov 8 17:30:41 EST 1998

So today I lost control, went to the CD store, and bought 4 CDs in one shot. It was just waiting to happen. Now I have enough music until the next silver disk craving. I guess my wallet does not like me. My CD collection is still not as big as jwz's, but I will not be left behind.

It is a lot of fun to watch when your windshield is frozen and you use the water wipers button, and it freezes again. Winter is coming.

Sat Oct 31 11:50:04 EST 1998

Yesterday we went to watch John Carpenter's Vampires. It sucks, and you can save your money by avoiding it. It is not even bad enough to be actually pretty good, like Godzilla or the Volcano movies.

I am reworking the Midnight Commander's desktop handling code, that is, the code that handles all the icons, menus, and drag-and-drop on the desktop. It is turning out very nicely. GMC will be beautiful when Miguel and I are done with it.

Today is Halloween night, and there is a party at Lisa's house. A bunch of Red Hatters are going to be there, so it should be fun. I don't have a costume.

Sun Oct 25 19:26:35 EST 1998

Well, we are back from the showcase. I am really tired, and I need to catch up on sleep. The showcase was a lot of fun! The GNOME booth was pretty busy most of the time, and that is good.

On Friday there was Miguel's talk on GNOME, followed by Raster's talk on Enlightenment. We managed to run to the food court or the Apparel Mart for lunch between the two talks. They did not let us get into the conference room with food, though, so we had to eat outside.

In the evening Stuart Parmenter, Owen Taylor, Travis Melhiser, Mike Shaver, Phil Schwan, Arturo Espinosa, and I decided to get some sushi. Melhiser knew a good sushi place in Lenox Square, so he took us there. We managed to get lost and circle Atlanta on highway 285, so we were pretty hungry by the time we got to the restaurant. But boy, it was good sushi. We all had hot sake, so the last bits of the conversation got kind of hazy. It was a good dinner, though.

On Saturday, Nat gave his really cool talk on GNU Rope (grope), his neat program to reorganize functions in an executable based on call-graph profiling data. This is very cool stuff. Then we all went for lunch, and Miguel bought himself a very cute EOS camera. Speaking of cameras, I forgot my camera back in Chapel Hill, so I could not take pictures :-( I always seem to forget my camera when I need it.

In the evening, after the show had closed, we all went to Max Lager's for beer and dinner. We were around 50 people, at least. Conversation was of course a lot of fun, and then we went upstairs to the bar. The beer they make there is good. Mudslide cocktails are also good, and now I owe Steve a drink.

Today Sunday morning the RHAD people, Miguel, Arturo, and Nat had breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards we just said good-bye to each other, and we the RHAD crowd shoved our luggage into the van and started back for North Carolina. That van's seats are not good for sleeping.

Anyways, I am home now and I need sleep. The showcase was very cool. Don't miss the next GNU/Linux conference.

Fri Oct 23 00:14:05 EDT 1998

Pre-first day of the Altanta Linux Showcase. We woke up early and fearlessly stepped into the rented van to drive to Atlanta. At some point during the trip I decided to hack some stuff on gmc, and after some minutes of working, my laptop happily decided to start beeping like crazy, and then it put itself in suspend mode. This is supposed to happen only when you are running really low on battery, but it was still at 60% or so. Go figure. Of course I could not turn it back on.

So we got to the Apparel Mart in Atlanta at about 15:30, and unloaded all the stuff for the booth. We kind of set it up nicely and rebuilt some stuff. I met Miguel and Arturo over there, so we all need to sync up. We need to update our cvs trees tomorrow morning and rebuild everything, I guess.

Later, Owen, Jonathan, and DrMike went on their own for dinner. Miguel, Arturo, and I went with the rest of the linuxnet gang to the appreciation dinner for speakers and exhibitors (if I am an exhibitor, am I an exhibitionist?). Then we went to look for beer, and we found some about five blocks away from the Apparel Mart.

I am sharing a room with Arturo at the Westin, a cylindrical 70-storey hotel that is a block and a half from the Apparel Mart. We are on floor 33. This is certainly a nice change from the all-flat, no-tall-buildings architecture of the RTP area back in North Carolina. I wish the Labs moved to a big city.

Anyways, the talks start tomorrow. Let's see how things turn around. This show is going to be pretty cool.

Wed Oct 21 20:33:28 EDT 1998

OK, I'm off to the Atlanta Linux Showcase. Hope to see you there.

Tue Oct 20 21:58:58 EDT 1998

I got myself a nice carrying case for my laptop. It was getting annoying to carry it around separately from my normal bag of books and stuff. Office Depot had some very nice leather carrying cases, but they were more expensive than what I was willing to pay for.

Crunching for ALS. I am fixing the Midnight Commander's desktop icons right now. This baby is going to be very cool when it is finished.

Sun Oct 18 14:45:48 EDT 1998

So. My old web page at RHAD was magically wiped out by some spurious file reordering, so I am making a new page to keep people from thinking I was abducted by aliens and taken to a strange planet.

I installed a small CVS repository on my laptop so that I could manage my own stuff more easily. CVS rocks. My web page is now on cvs, so hopefully syncing it between the web server at Red Hat and my machine should be less painful.

I bought myself the Metafont book. Raph Levien has been doing an amazing job on the GNOME printing and font system, so I want to learn about Metafont. Even if we are not using Metafont directly, Knuth's books are enlightening. This man is a genius. I ordered this book from Amazon, because they did not seem to have it at the local Barnes & Noble, and I didn't want to wait the two weeks they take to get the book. Amazon is dangerous — they make it all to easy for you to lose control and buy lots of books. I kind of restrained myself and only bought a Bach Organ CD in addition to the book. I think I will not restrain myself so much the next time — my bookcase here needs population.

I installed the HTML 4.0 DTD on my machine to edit HTML documents using psgml-mode for Emacs. I don't know if this is overkill or not — I am either becoming paranoid, or maybe this is actually the right thing to do. Anyway, psgml-mode is nice enough.

I have been doing too many things at once. I have been fixing the canvas widget, doing more work on Gnomecal, and trying more or less coordinate the GNOME documentation efforts. Have you ever wished days were 36 hours long?

I haven't been able to get my laptop's sound card to work. It is an ESS-something. Please tell me if you have any suggestions; if they work, I'll buy you dinner.

At this point there is a hiatus while I went to work at RHAD Labs, moved my web page over to there, and life generally took a turn. The stuff that follows is from my old web page at the institute.

July 4 1998

Lazy Saturday. I woke up late, went to eat at grandmother's, great food as always. The re-write of GnomeCanvas to use the Gtk object system is finished. Now I am only adding the primitive item types and some extra canvas functionality. This afternoon I am workin on the text item type.

I am a bit disappointed, since I will have to write some form of easy font handling for Gdk. Right now you can't take an already-loaded font and say "make it 60 pixels tall" or "make it bold". Fonts in Gdk are specified using the ugly XLFD strings, and you can't change them afterwards. I want a nice API like font = gdk_font_load ("helvetica"); gdk_font_make_bold (font); gdk_font_set_size (font, 60).

So, for now, the canvas text item type will not scale fonts when you change the canvas scale factor. Anyway. I wrote a little "fifteen"-type game (you know, the one where you have 15 sliding squares and you have to slide them into order), and I need the text item to finish it properly. Right now you can only drag the plain squares. Even so, it is cool that the canvas lets you write interesting programs with very little code.

June 20 1998

Today Miguel and I spent some time looking at Excel and discussing the design of the Gnome spreadsheet program. This is going to be a fun thing to write. Excel is certainly a nice piece of software. There are so many details you have to take care about, it's amazing. The Gnome spreadsheet will have some pretty cool stuff in it, like Perl and Guile integration for awesome scripting capabilities.

I've been slowly working on the GnomeCanvas widget. Sigh, I need to get used to waking up earlier, since getting up at noon everyday is not the best thing for productivity :-)

I've been pretty busy this last month. Linux Expo was insanely fun. Cheers to all who were there! I've been doing quite a bit of paperwork for my visa to go to work at RHAD. If all goes well, I should be leaving next Sunday. Yay. The idea of packing my luggage scares me.

Paperwork has left me with little time for programming. Anyway, things seem to be calming down. I am rewriting GnomeCanvas to use the Gtk object system for the canvas items. Also, it sports a new hierarchical item structure: there are GnomeCanvasGroup objects into which you can insert other items or groups, so you can give your drawings a hierarchical organization. You can also have groups that are not inserted in a canvas and use them as arbitrary item sets. Think of an electronic circuit schematic view; you could have a group with all the stuff required for an adder circuit, and you could also have a non-attached set of all the wires in the schematic, even if these are at different depths in the item hierarchy.

May 21 1998

FUCK. Today my car's headlights and backlights got stolen. Fun, fun, fun. Don't you just love mega-cities sometimes?

Anyway. I am writing the item event binding mechanism for the Gnome canvas widget. This baby will be cool. Yesterday I rewrote the word-wrapping functions used in the Gnome desktop icons and in the icon list widget, and it seemed to turn out fine.

May 12 1998

Wow, it has been a while since I last wrote anything here. Call me lazy. During the past few weeks I worked on fixing Gnome bugs here and there. The background-properties program works great now; it uses Imlib for all its operations. The Gnome desktop is very usable and nice at this point. I am very happy about it.

I am working on a GnomeCanvas widget. It is a Tk-like canvas that will let Gnome developers write a lot of cool stuff easily. This little beast will have a lot of interesting applications.

The weather has been uncomfortably warm here, and it sucks. I have made my really old POV-Ray tutorials available in my raytracing page. Look at them only if you appreciate outdated documentation.

April 19 1998

This week we fixed a *lot* of bugs in the Gnome code. I mean a lot. Things are shaping up nicely. Yesterday wrote part of a chapter on X concepts that may be useful for beginning Gnome developers; after I polish it a bit, I will upload it to cvs. Today Miguel and I started writing the Gnome paper for the upcoming Linux Expo. Don't miss the expo, it will be great!

I spent some time looking at the IRTC entries for the animation competition. As usual, some impressive stuff, some just-ok stuff, and lots of crud. I wish I had time to enter on one of the competitions, especially now that I know about SART, which is so much cooler than POV-Ray.

My brother and his girlfriend got hold of the ``Flight of the Bumblebee'' score for piano (by N. Rimsky-Korsakov), and it kicks ass. I'll practice playing it in my copious free time. Also, Fernando, a very good friend of mine, was kind enough to get me the score for the Tocatta and Fugue BWV 565 (by Bach, of course). I hope to get it soon, as I love playing Bach.

Well, it was a busy week. We more or less crunched on getting out a usable version of Gnomecal, and I think we succeded. This is cool; you can now actually use the program. There is still a lot of polishing and finishing to be done. I think I'll work on the month view and week-busyness views tomorrow. The thing also needs a preferences dialog (you can't configure the start/end times of the day views, for instance).

April 10 1998

I have been working on gncal's full-day view widget. It's turning out pretty cool. I noticed some bugs on GtkText which I already passed on to da-wizard-Owen for him to fix :-) An initial version of the full-day widget should be ready really soon now. I still have to figure out the nice layout algorithm that M$ Schedule and Netscape Calendar use; currently the full-day widget just overlaps appointments and it looks ugly. If anyone knows what this algorithm is, please tell me so that I can implement it.

April 8 1998

For the past two days I stayed home instead of going to the Institute and work there. Call it psychological lazyness due to the fact that this week happens to be holidays around here. I have been doing a little work on the Gnome calendar, and it is coming out just fine. Compiling stuff at home is a pain. A 486 is not what it used to be, sigh.

My activity log ends here. The past is history and just as embarrassing as the above.