Boring news about Federico - Jan-Aug 1999

Go forward in time to Sep 1999.

Mon 1999/Aug/30 19:57:58 EDT

Starship Troopers my ass. I'm swatting bugs in MC, big time. This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Sun 1999/Aug/29 23:21:59 EDT

Today's movie: Xiu Xiu, the Sent Down Girl. Very nice, very sad Chinese movie. Owen went as well, but Diz did not want to go.

Diz made me clean the shower curtain. There goes our carefully constructed mushroom breeding center.

We all woke up late, and Diz slept through most of the afternoon. I was unproductive reading the weekend paper in the web. Dinner at Applebee's, and service sucked. Service never seems to be good at that place.

Sat 1999/Aug/28 20:20:48 EDT

Nathan Laredo, the guy who is making DVD work on Linux, is staying at our place this week. The mold on our shower curtain has changed his visions on the origins of life. He purchased a cool video camera (a real one, not a crappy handycam), and we were playing with it in the morning. Very neat toy.

I have to re-organize some of GMC's drag and drop code to do the right thing. This sucks.

Yesterday's movie: The 13th Warrior Starts off kind of OK, but then turns into a duh-movie. An arab guy goes to a primitive viking-land to kill even more primitive people.

Mon 1999/Aug/23 18:53:17 EDT

Jonathan, Rosanna, Havoc, Amy, Blizzard, and I went to Washington, D.C. for the weekend. We walked around, saw the Air & Space Museum, saw a bit of the Smithsonian, ate *GOOD* food at Legal Seafood, and strolled around. Other than that, it seems that D.C. is completely uninteresting save for the museums and monuments; there is no ‘real city’ feel to it. Still, it was good to get out of NC for a while and go to a more civilized place.

Mon 1999/Aug/09 02:12:21 EDT

I got a nice backpack for my laptop. I hate it that my laptop's old carrying case did not have any extra room for books and such. Got some new CDs and books. Hacked some on my to-be-perfect image viewer and GdkPixbuf.

Mon 1999/Aug/02 09:38:35 EDT

I suck. On Saturday I woke up at 16:30, and on Sunday I did at about 15:00. I went to bed at 04:00 last night. It is 09:thirtysomething right now, and the alarm clock made me awake. And I'm tired. On to the shower.

Thu 1999/Jul/29 22:43:06 EDT

Happy birthday to me. Wheeee! Matt and Owen were extremely nice to pay for dinner at a small Japanese place near here. I guess I'll buy their coffee and movie tickets tomorrow.

I fixed the GnomeIconList widget once again. Now the internal event model is correct and sane. The external API remains a smelly pile of dung, but we cannot change that at this point. We'll need a new icon list for the new file manager, anyways.

I'm slowly writing an image viewer to view large image collections with a bunch of nifty features. I'll put it up on cvs some time.

Mon 1999/Jul/26 19:22:03 EDT

So I am back from Australia, and then from Ottawa, and I am playing with a monster dual-alpha machine. I will write something up with a description of my trip and I will put it somewhere.

Got back to see that Havoc is finally at the labs. This is a good thing. Also got back to see that I have a metric ton of dirty clothes to launder. This is not a good thing. It should be taken care of tonight.

Tue 1999/Jul/06 15:09:40 EDT

Day one of my trip to Australia, to the CALU conference. Day zero, i.e. yesterday, was supposed to consist of getting on a plane from RDU to Washington, D.C., then to Los Angeles, and then to Melbourne. For mysterious reasons, the flight to D.C. was cancelled, so the airline, in their infallible wisdom, decided to re-route me through Chicago instead. So I did. And in Chicago my flight to L.A. was delayed by three hours, because the planes could not take off due to bad weather somewhere else. Mind you, we learned this as we waited inside the plane for three hours, in line for take-off.

Naturally, I missed my flight from L.A. to Melbourne. So I'm here in L.A., where the almighty airline put me up in the airport hotel. Flights to Melbourne only happen once a day, so I am going to be exactly one day late. How's that.

Now my mission, even if I do not decide to accept it, is to figure out just what the hell to do to kill half a day between the hotel and the airport. Fun, fun, fun.

Thu 1999/Jul/01 20:43:14 EDT

I went to California for a couple of days to talk to some very cool people who want to form a company to write free software for GNOME. They asked me not to give out many details, as they will be announcing themselves soon, so I'll just say that this is good. They have a lot of experience with user interfaces, so they will be able to help the GNOME project a lot.

I have been writing a lot of documentation for gnome-libs, and I have been adding some content to the GNOME Programming Guidelines as well. I guess I'm in a writing mood these days. Next Monday I'm leaving for Australia, to attend the Conference of Australian Linux Users, where I will be giving a tutorial on the architecture of GNOME. I'm going to hate the flight, but I'm sure the conference will be a lot of fun.

Tue 1999/Jun/22 16:36:45 EDT

Elliot, Owen, and I have been contemplating the possibility of writing the ultimate program for music notation. This means a program for music typesetting or engraving. The idea is that it would be useful for music composition and to copy public domain (printed) scores and release them electronically so that people can have a good library of public domain music. Lilypond is very nice, but it does not have a GUI, and its little language is a pain and definitely not good for composing — this is why we are not just working on it. We may use some of its source for music layout.

I ordered a bunch of music scores from Powell's, mainly orchestral stuff, to have some ‘real world’ examples of what the music notation program should be able to do. I also got an excellent book on music notation so that I can learn about it and have a reference.

I'm on a quest to clean up the messy code in gnome-libs, starting with the canvas and its items. So far the GnomeIconTextItem is the only Correct™ canvas item; I'll be fixing the rest of the primitive canvas items as I go.

Wed 1999/May/05 15:48:29 EDT

Last Thursday I went to Atlanta to see my mom. She was there for a conference, so it was close enough to here to arrange to meet. It is nice to be in a place with real public transportation, unlike RTP's. We went to the High Museum of Art, which had a very nice exhibition about Impressionism. We went to the botanical gardens, which are nice for strolling. And we went to the movies. It was fun.

I came back last Sunday, and I found that my new laptop had arrived on the same Thursday as I left. This new laptop is nice. It is a Dell Inspiron 3500, and it is working beautifully. Suspend mode works, the CD-ROM works, although the sound card is not yet supported (it is another incarnation of the ESS Maestro 2). Oh well. I'm mostly interested in power management working correctly.

I am writing a white paper about the Gnome Canvas, to be included in the bunch of white papers about Gnome technology. These should help explain programmers why they want to use our stuff.

Thu 1999/Apr/22 18:14:27 EDT

I am cleaning up and finishing debugging the GnomeCanvas code. It still has cruft and bugs from when we hurriedly added in the antialiased features before the gnome-libs API freeze. It is unfortunate that some problems in the canvas cannot be fixed without changing the semantics of some of the API calls. I think I can fix this without breaking compatibility by adding a new object flag for canvas items.

Yesterday I ordered my new laptop, which is a Dell Inspiron 3500. Hopefully it should arrive here by Wednesday or so. I really want to get rid of my Micron laptop, since the stupid sound card is not supported yet, APM is screwy, and it is heavier than I would like. The Dell is a nice machine; Phil has one, and it appears to work beautifully.

A couple days ago I finished writing the first version of the GNOME Programming Guidelines document. If you are new to writing GNOME code, you should read this.

Sat 1999/Mar/06 15:36:23 EST

So we are back from the Linux World Expo conference. We had a pretty good and exhausting time there. We arrived on Friday evening, and our hotel reservations were screwed up, so we had to ask for temporary rolling beds to fit everyone in the labs to the rooms they did have booked for us. On the next day, we got real double rooms.

On Saturday, Dave had the excellent idea of renting a convertible (a cool gray Sebring), and we went to San Francisco. It is a very nice small city. We met a friend of Jonathan while there, so he kindly guided us through SF. We had lunch at a pretty good seafood place, and then we went to the landmark places in the city; Lombard street, the Coit tower, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate bridge, and whatnot. We even walked through the labyrinth in the Grace Cathedral. We had dinner at the Stinking Rose, a very good Italian/garlic restaurant.

The conference went on. It was kind of annoying that they scheduled several interesting talks on the same time slots, so I had to miss some of them — Larry Wall's talk was scheduled at the same time as the GNOME talk, for instance. Raph gave his talk on the GNOME canvas and libart on Wednesday, and it was pretty interesting. I hope I can give such an interesting talk during Linux Expo later in May.

I spent quite a bit of time in the FSF booth giving out demos of the GNOME desktop. People seem to like it, and that is good. The GNOME 1.0 press conference was on Wednesday noon, and it seemed to attract quite a few people from the press. We had a story on the New York Times, which is pretty substantial.

I took a bunch of pictures, which I hope to have developed this week. Being lazy as I am, I don't think I'll scan them all in except for the more interesting ones.

We returned to RTP on the 23:00 flight on Thursday (the "Red Eye" flight), so yesterday I was really tired. I spent most of the day sleeping, and today Saturday I woke up a little after noon. Back to hacking, I guess.

Sat 1999/Jan/23 23:45:38 EST

Today I got a new alarm clock. I left my old one in Mexico during my last trip there. And giving my laptop a command to sleep for some hours and then "while true; do beep; done" is not exactly the best or nicest solution. So I got a nice alarm clock that can wake you up by playing a CD.

And I had left all my CDs in the office. So I succumbed to temptation once again and got four new CDs. That music store must love me.

I hadn't done laundry for two weeks, so today I took a really big and really heavy load of dirty clothes to the washers. I had to use two washers because all the clothes would not fit in one.

I discovered that my Linux Web Button (look at the bottom of that page) is being used on the main page at My life must be complete or something like that, I suppose.

Sun 1999/Jan/17 22:48:04 EST

Today I went to watch Don't Look Now. It is a 1973 movie, and it is really good. It freaked me out. They are re-showing it for its 25th anniversary, so go see it and be freaked out as well.

Yesterday I got an electric razor. I wonder if it will work any better than my trusty old manual razor. I loathe shaving. I always manage to cut myself. Let's see if the electric contraption makes it any better.

There is a weird article about us today. Sadly, the online version does not have the nice pictures of each of the labs members that are present on the printed version. Oh well. Today, the N&O. Tomorrow, GQ.

Sun 1999/Jan/10 23:58:16 EST

I like to save the tickets of the movies I go to watch. Today I went to one of those little theaters where the tickets are small and do not have the title of the movie printed on them. When I get one of those, I write the title of the movie on it as soon as I get home, and I save it with the rest of the tickets. The nearest pen I could find, though, was my trusty old fountain pen. I have a fetish for fountain pens. And it happened to be clogged, so I decided to clean it quickly.

If I want to clean my pen thoroughly, I set up a big glass of warm water and submerge each of the pen's parts after having rinsed them under the tap. I leave them there overnight and the next day the water will be a black mess, but the insides of the pen will be squeaky clean. Today I was lazy, so I just rinsed the different parts of the pen.

This is of course not as good a job as leaving it overnight, and the pen can be more recalcitrant when you want to start it up again. I used a syringe to fill up the ink cartridge (you save a lot of money by buying a small bottle of ink and a syringe, instead of buying individual cartridges). Then came the fun part, to try to make the pen write again.

After drawing a trillion squiggles and strokes on a six-centimeter square of paper, the pen was running smoothly again. And I could write the name of the movie on the ticket, and save it, and store away my pen, in the hope of it not clogging up if the ink stays fresh.

Sun 1999/Jan/03 22:01:06 CST

So I am back in Chapel Hill after going to Mexico for the Christmas vacation. It feels weird or at least deja-vu-ish to be back "home" again.

So my flight was supposed to leave Mexico City at the ridiculous hour of 07:00 in the morning. I was there, hurriedly, and then they had us waiting inside the plane for something more than one hour. There was an awful lot of fog, and no plane could take off. Waiting inside a full plane in coach class is not fun. I just dozed.

During the flight they showed The Mask of Zorro. Nice movie. I had taken my big headphones with me so that I could listen to my CD player and listen to the movie with real headpones as well, but for some reason only the left of the stereo channels worked on the "normal" plug they have on the armrest. After a few hours of flight, during which a, uh, tired little girl decided to use my right arm as a pillow (much to my discomfort, but oh, well), I arrived to Altanta, and the airport was packed, too. They made us do the go-to-gate guess-what-the-flight-is-full run-to-next-gate-with-equivalent-flight dance. The Atlanta airport has this cute little train that takes you quickly from one concourse to one of the billion others. What is not cute is that each concourse is a really long strip, and inside it you have to walk. A lot. And very fast. Otherwise you'll miss the plane.

Finally I got into another packed flight to RDU. After a short flight, I arrived to my final destination. And of course, they took like an hour and a half to get the luggage down. I am starting to hate airports.

Apart from that, these holidays were a lot of fun. It was nice to go back to a real city and see friends and family. And eat good food, and lots of it.

Go backward in time to 1998.