Will >> Will's blog

purpose: Will Kahn-Greene's blog of Miro, PyBlosxom, Python, GNU/Linux, random content, PyBlosxom, Miro, and other projects mixed in there ad hoc, half-baked, and with a twist of lemon
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Thu, 19 Feb 2015

Me: 2014 retrospective

This is belated because I've been busy.

2014 was crazy. It had a lot of epically lousy parts, but also had some good parts. Like 2013, I don't know what I did with my 2014 goals.

2013 involved a lot of projects. 2014 involved fewer.

I also spent time on a bunch of other projects:

At work, I spend most of my time on fjord which powers Mozilla Input.

2014 was interesting:

Challenges for the year:

In 2015, I want to:

That's 2014 in a nutshell!

Wed, 24 Sep 2014

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I've been cutting my own hair since like 1991 or so with two exceptions: a professional haircut before my wedding and one before my wife's sister's wedding.

Back in 1991, my parents bought me a set of Wahl clippers. Over the years, I broke two of the combs and a few of the extensions. Plus it has a crack down the side of the plastic body. At one point, I was cutting hair for a bunch of people on my dorm floor in college. It's seen a lot of use in 23 years.

However, a month ago, it started shorting the circuit. There's a loose wire or frayed something or something something. Between that and the crack down the side of the plastic body, I figured it's time to retire them and get a new set. The new set arrived today.

23 years is a long time. I have very few things that I've had for a long time. I bought my bicycle in 1992 or so. I have a clock radio I got in the mid-80s. I have a solar powered calculator from 1990 or so (TI-36). Everything else seems to fail within 5 years: blenders, toaster ovens, rice cookers, drills, computers, etc.

I'll miss those clippers. I hope the new ones last as long.

Fri, 20 Dec 2013

Me: 2013 retrospective

I had a pretty intense 2013, but overall I think it was a good year. I say that with full knowledge that I had 2013 goals, but I have no idea where I wrote them down. Oh, well.

First off, I started or helped start a lot of new projects this year:

Fredrik is obsolete. Victor was a failed project. Captain Shove and Hy are doing well and other than helping to start them off, I haven't touched either in some time. I work on Dennis, Douglas and Ernest regularly. I'm thinking about Harold, but probably won't do anything with it for a while.

I also spent a ton of time working on existing projects:

I'm probably missing a bunch there. It's hard to keep track of what one did on other peoples' projects.

I got a lot accomplished at work this year:

Challenges I worked on this year:

In 2014, I want to:

It's been a busy year and there are things I should be doing better, but generally speaking, I think I did pretty ok.

Thu, 10 May 2012

Letting it run out

A couple of years ago I applied and was granted membership into the GNOME Foundation. At the time, I was helping out with GNOME Journal and running GNOME Miro Community.

Since then, GNOME Miro Community fizzled out and stopped because it didn't find a compelling reason to exist (wasn't interesting for marketing, didn't do a good job of indexing conference video, ...). GNOME Journal fizzled too and I stopped working on it.

Also, in September, I left PCF where I was working on Miro which uses a lot of GNOME technologies.

Given that, I decided not to renew my membership. I'm a little bummed, but I'm not doing anything. I do wish them well. I will miss the periodic anti-FSF fireworks.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012

I'm 36

Turned 36 over the weekend. It's weird---the number keeps getting bigger but I still feel like me. I'm somewhat bummed I haven't achieved more by now, but so it goes.

Sobering thought: This is the last square until 49.

My brother brought up this cake last night. I always liked how Ned posted pictures of his family's cakes. This is probably not a cake his family would have made, but so it goes:

birthday cake

It seems rude, but I find it really funny and I have a kid, so it's technically true.

Tue, 30 Nov 2010

Status: November 30th, 2010

A week ago, my son was born. Since then, I've been doing newborn-management things and haven't been around to work on projects I maintain, manage or otherwise work on. I'm taking a few weeks off to get adjusted to being a new dad and also because it's the first time in a long time I've taken a few weeks off. Really truly off.

Miro development is going well. I'm out of the picture for a bit, but things are progressing well without me. Ben is managing the Miro 3.5.1 release and that should happen soon. Kaz landed metadata support (which is awesome) in master. Paul landed device syncing a couple of weeks ago in master. Geoff is doing a lot of awesome work cleaning up the code and working on streaming to other devices. Janet is migrating us from Eggplant to Sikuli and filling out other testing infrastructure. I'm sitting on an extensions infrastructure which needs some more work, but I think it could get finished up enough in time for Miro 4. All in all, it's been really busy in master and out of the chaos will come some really awesome improvements. A huge huge thank you to my colleagues at PCF and all the people in the Miro community that I work with to build a better Miro for letting me take some time off to get acquainted with my new son. I really appreciate this.

PyBlosxom is languishing a bit because I need to create some additional infrastructure for the project. I need to spend some time on this and then PyBlosxom will do much better. I did move the server that the PyBlosxom web-site is living on, so nothing's blocking infrastructure stuff except my free time. We've got a bunch of people who are working on fleshing out PyBlosxom 1.5, the documentation, tests, and plugins. It's been really great the last few months to have this level of activity and other than a lack of issue-tracker, I think the project is doing really well.

Python Miro Community has some problems right now specifically with dead file links. I need to work with the Miro Community devs to add some functionality I need to make it easier to automatically query and update metadata for all these videos. Managing 600+ videos by hand is impossible. I'm still sitting on videos from a handful of conferences. In the near future, I'd like to integrate Universal Subtitles which will make the videos accessible to a much much larger group of people.

GNOME Miro Community has more problems than Python Miro Community does because I've spent much less time with it. The focus is a little blurrier for GNOME Miro Community and I haven't put in the time to work it out, yet. I need to talk with Paul Cutler and work out how GNOME Miro Community fits into the rest of things and then I need to be more proactive with the project.

I apologize for leaving things in the state they're in, but I will return soon! If you need me, ping me by email.

Tue, 19 Oct 2010

It's been a good week

The last 7 days have been really great. I was thinking about this last night when it occurred to me that most of the entries on my blog as of late have been notes from dev conference calls for work. So I decided to write this up.

There have been several things that have made the last week great:

  1. Asheesh was hired as a contractor at PCF. I'm really psyched about this. Not just because I think Asheesh is my personal messiah and will solve all my non-family-life problems, but also because he's a great developer, a great person, and a great communicator. I have a lot to learn from him. Having him work in the PCF context will make that learning easier. Plus he's more likely to solve my non-family-life problems because they'll probably bug him, too. :)
  2. Morgan redid the PCF web-site and it's fantastic.
  3. Verizon FIOS finally came to my area and I switched. Prior to that, only Comcast was available for a reasonable broadband Internet connection and they kind of suck. It's interesting to note that the most friendly and most useful customer support person I talked to was the one I talked to after going through their ridiculous menu system and ending up at "leaving Comcast" (or whatever they call it). Now, I've got better Internet service now for a cheaper monthly cost and with better hardware. Plus the Verizon technician who came to do the install fixed up the side of my house. Seriously.
  4. My wife is 36 weeks pregnant. For reasons I don't want to go into, this is a big deal and it's really great.
  5. The church held a baby shower for us filled with wonderfulness, love and all kinds of good community stuff.
  6. I finished building my standing desk. I built it with studs and leftover wood from other projects. It was cheap ($30 or so), works great, and I really like it. I'll post pictures soon.
  7. I've almost finished building the changing table. I finished staining it and now I'm doing a few coats of polyurethane. It looks great so far. I hope it works out because it took a long time to build. I also hope we get a few more warm days because otherwise the polyurethane takes a long time to dry.
  8. My list of things to do before birthageddon is now trending towards smaller (yay!).
  9. Miro 3.5 is almost done and it's looking great and I'm now using the conversions feature fairly regularly. I'm hoping to do the Miro 3.5 release before the baby release, but ... they'll both come when they're ready.
  10. I'm scheduled to play D&D (actually, it's Pathfinder) on Thursday after a two or three month hiatus. I have no clue what's going on in the campaign, but I'm sure it'll be fun. Plus we'll get to use the d20 I bought a few months ago that's all sparkly and pretty.

And all this happened in the last week. It's been a good week.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010

Membership accepted!

I applied to be a member of the GNOME Foundation two days ago and today I was accepted. I'm excited and happy that I was accepted. I hope that my work on GNOME Miro Community helps the greater GNOME community.

Wed, 02 Dec 2009

Team Dragon: The Book

Between the end of 2003 and mid-2007, I played in a D&D campaign that was really fantastic. The campaign ran its course and our stalwart crew of awesomeness saved the world and then we went our separate ways.

During that period of time, I kept copious notes in a MoinMoin wiki of our adventures. It was always a hope that I'd take these notes and do something with them.

I played in another campaign in 2007 and used InkScape to do a comic of the first session or two of that campaign in the style of Order of the Stick. It was a lot of fun, but took forever to do each panel. I decided it'd take me a long time to do 4 years worth of sessions in comic form.

So I started a book version. I wrote a Python script (which I've since lost) that converted MoinMoin format into restructured text. Then I threw the whole thing together with Sphinx. This allowed me to edit in restructured text, compile a LaTeX document, and then generate a PDF from that. Plus I got to spend some quality time with Sphinx to see how well it generates manuals.

That worked really well except for some minor issues.

First, I needed to set the paper size in the resulting PDF. To do that, I set the latex_preamble in the conf.py file to:

latex_preamble = '\\usepackage[papersize={6in,9in}]{geometry}\n' \

That creates the PDF in the size I needed: 6in x 9in.

Second, I needed to fix some images so they were in a table with text. I ended up writing the LaTeX for that by hand.

Third, I didn't think the chapter headings really fit with what I wanted to build, so I changed the fncychap style to Lenny.

While I was editing the LaTeX directly, I ended up changing some of the front matter and removed the index (didn't need an index to a novel).

It took me a year to put the book together. It's around 240 pages or so. Today I finished it up, created a Lulu project for the book and had a bunch of copies printed for the others in the group. Feels good to have that done. I'm looking forward to getting a copy in the mail.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009

bought new glasses

I had an eye doctor appointment a few weeks ago and discovered my prescription had changed. It wasn't a huge big change like last time (I was in grad school), but it was big enough to warrant new glasses. Not to mention that my current glasses were really scratched up and "well-used".

I have a very limited budget these days. A couple of years ago I read Adventures in $40 eyeglasses. I decided to try buying a pair online this time around.

I bought my pair from 39dollarglasses.com. I got the Polermo frames ($39) and figured I might as well get the anti-reflective coating ($24). Add on shipping ($5 or something) and an extra charge because my prescription is screwy ($20) and the whole thing was around $90. I had paid $310 for my previous pair. I think $90 is a good step in the right direction. Next time, I'll probably wait for a special which would have reduced the cost further.

I got them in the mail today. They fit great, they're just as strong and feel as good as the previous $310 glasses and I had completely forgotten I was wearing new glasses a couple of hours after slipping them on.