11 Jul 2004

The Fifth HOPE

So, I went to part of HOPE 5 in New York City these past two days. I left early because we didn’t have any place to sleep and crashing on the convention floor, while doable, wasn’t keeping us very awake during the lectures.

Anyway, it was interesting. This was my first HOPE, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. While there, I saw some of a documentary on past HOPEs and one interviewee mentioned that HOPE was largely a place for engineers and hackers to get together to be technical, that it was in no way political. That may have been true in the past, but the past few years have left our community with the realization that we urgently needed to act soon, or at least act in November 2004.

The whole place was decorated in a very Orwellian manner, replete with Nazi symbolism, big brother references, and WW2-style propaganda posters. The big brother reference, by the way, appeared directly below a giant head that looks somewhat like Bush with a Hitler moustache.

About half the talks were political. There was a talk on how cool having bloggers at the DNC will be followed by a talk on how to best make trouble at the RNC (e.g. volunteer but don’t show or make a salon appointment inside the hotel to get by security). Some other talks focused on digital rights management, 9/11, privacy, file-sharing, Florida in the 2000 election, etc. Kevin Mitnick even gave the first keynote. It was nothing we haven’t seen on Slashdot before, but they were a little bit more informative and all condensed into a few days.

I’m a huge fan of this trend. I have long agreed with Lawrence Lessig‘s position that hackers need to be more legislatively involved. In recent years, thankfully, the combination of terrible laws, terrible leadership, and terrible lawsuits have conspired to get people talking. I think Groklaw is an excellent example of this. Hackers have never been more in tune with their place in the legal landscape. But, we have to make our position known outside of the community by raising awareness of these issues close to our hearts. This can largely be done by simply educating. Mitnick touched upon a major reason why so much crap happens in lawsuits — judges simply don’t understand the issues. Mitnick’s judge was convinced he could dial up NORAD, whistle into the phone, and launch some missiles. And the Microsoft anti-trust trial’s judges could certainly have used a couple hits with a clue bat.

The days when we could bury our heads in the sand and just focus on issues of engineering are over. Patents, lawsuits, proprietary companies, and legislators are not inclined to let us alone. So, please become involved, regardless of your political inclinations; hackers need to make their positions known. Contact your representatives, educate your friends and family, donate to the EFF, and, for goodness sake, vote!

6 May 2004

Multiplication Puzzle

I just released version 2 of Multiplication Puzzle which features autoolization, gettextization, and a name change from Multiplication Game to Multiplication Puzzle. Now I just have to wait for the translations to roll in. 🙂

xpad

xpad 2.0 work is going slowly. But I did release a brown-paper bag release a while ago to at least allow the long-standing 1.13 release to work with GTK+ 2.4.

Work

In other news, I am actively looking for a job. If anyone is interested in an amazing, computer-science-degree-holding employee in the Sunderland, MA area, look at me.

2 Feb 2004

xpad

I’ve hacked up a dashboard frontend for xpad. I’m pleased it was not too difficult, although I doubt that dashboard will be able to do very much with most pads’ contents.

I have also decided that since I’m already numbering the next xpad version 2.0, I might as well go and break everything, just to keep the spirit of dot-zero releases. So, I’ve begun the long and unrewarding task of objectifying the codebase. That is, I am making nice, clean GObjects out of everything instead of one big pile of procedural code. Yay!

In the process of that, I have discovered how cool the whole GObject system is — building OO design into such an antiquated language as C. It’s a nice architecture.

28 Jan 2004

xpad

Work on xpad has been going well. I’ve finished porting it to all the non-deprecated widgets in the upcoming GTK+ 2.4. Thus, the next release will require 2.4 instead of 2.0. I plan to number this next xpad release 2.0, since the base requirements have been bumped up in this manner. Just some bug fixes left to work on, and we’re gold.

In other news, xpad recently got a French translation, thanks to Michel Robitaille. Yay!

17 Jan 2004

OK. First attempt at any sort of blog.

On a lark, I signed up for a Jabber account (mterry@jabber.org) the other day. I must say that the idea of an open standard, decentralized, extensible IM protocol gets me excited. If it ever gains mainstream acceptance, I will be simultaneously shocked and pleased.

I’ve been looking into getting a personal domain name for all my self-promoting needs. It seems the .name tld is the place for this; I just wish I had a steady income to pay for hosting (note — will code for food).

Here’s an unethical, but money-saving idea: go to your local library, borrow several music CDs, and rip them. Genius! For your ripping pleasure, might I suggest Sound Juicer? I have been using it for a couple weeks and I must say I am impressed. The only problems I’ve had are MusicBrainz‘s database errors. Combined with Rhythmbox, I am in music-heaven.