2013-10-23

[Microblog] Best brains

Just started playing Candyman by Aqua and the person next to me asked "Is that Rammstein?" Best brain ever.

[General] Life overwhelming

My life is currently perhaps overallocated.  I currently spend my time on the following things
  • Research (thesis, GRA)
  • TAing
  • Software development (GNOME, GXml)
  • Martial arts (iaido, jodo, kendo)
  • Exercise (pushups, pullups, situps, running, cycling)
  • Reading (John Green, Orson Scott Card)
  • Writing (blog entries, diary)
  • Cooking and baking (at least one meal a day; learning vegan methods)
  • Friendship
  • Nature
  • (Nintendo, anime; I don't get much if any time for this)
Things I'd like to spend time on but cannot include
  • Languages (German, Japanese, French)
  • More martial arts (Niten Ichi-ryū, jujutsu and aikido)
  • Yoga
  • Swimming, skating
  • Archery
  • Traveling and exploring (I actually do get some of this done through other things like GNOME and academia :D)
  • Writing (stories, webcomics)
  • Drawing (webcomics)
  • Software development (websites, mobile apps, games)
  • Zoology and botany (iNaturalist)
  • Wizard moot
  • Philosophy (I'd like to better understand my veganism, Discordianism)
There's so much more, too.  I am doomed to die without ever being bored (well, since I was 15).

2013-10-22

[GNOME] GXml: This Halloween, redundant code dies

XPath, Attr, and a tale most foul
 
I'm working on merging Adam Ples' patch for XPath support (branch: xpath), and I notice that a test failed because they were expecting the GXmlDocument to be able to translate from an xmlAttrPtr to a GXmlAttr.  (GXmlDocument remembers a mapping between xmlNodePtrs to GXmlNodes already to avoid duplicating its proxy nodes.)  The patch's expectation is reasonable, but for a variety of reasons, most of all that xmlAttr != xmlNode (except that they sort of do), GXmlAttrs are not considered "backed nodes" (unlike the other GXmlNode types (like GXmlElement) that have an xmlNodePtr behind them) so we don't map between them (and attrs are handled more just like strings (which we need to do, because there isn't really a xmlSetPropNode in libxml2, for instance).  Also, because at one point wanted to use a more familiar GLibHashTable to store an element's mapping of attribute names to attribute values, rather than the NamedNodeMap that the W3C DOM specifies.  However, perhaps it's worth changing how things are done to support the xpath's code's reasonable assumption.

So I looked over the GXmlAttr, GXmlElement, and GXmlDocument code and realised that if I do treat xmlAttrs as xmlNodes where it's safe to do so, I could greatly simplify a lot of code.  And, also, if I do implement the NamedNodeMap for accessing an element's attributes, I could also remove a complicated kludge in GXml which currently requires synchronising elements' attributes between the GLibHashTable they've been stored in and the libxml2 structures they need to be in when doing tasks like saving to disk or stringifying a node or document.

Consequently, there's a new branch in GXml called newattr where this is happening.  Attr.vala loses 85 lines of code, Element.vala loses 127, and Document loses 38.  NamedNodeMap.vala adds 130, with a big chunk of that being a copyright notice and comments, though. :)  Overall, there's a net difference of 119 lines removed (so it's not that massive, but!), including the complexity of syncing Elements at all (needing to remember to call a method to sync each time you might want to was error prone and a delayed performance penalty), and the reduction in parallel code between GXmlAttr and other nodes.  YAY!

I'm considering offering some GLibHashTable-style convenience methods to GXmlNamedNodeMap (like lookup and size) so anyone who has to port will have an easier time (they'd just wrap get_named_item and get_length, for example).  Let me know if you have an opinion on that!

GXml going forward

The next stable release is waiting for this to happen (since it will include API breaks from the summer anyway).  Also, Owen Taylor provided useful advice to me at the conclusion of the Summer of Code that has led to much more useful documentation regarding memory handling of GXml objects, which is already in git master.  The devhelp gtkdocs that valadoc generates have some oddities that I still need to investigate, but I don't think I'll let that be a blocker.  So, if you use the latest documentation and something's unclear, let me know (by filing a bug!)

[Microblog] Winter is coming

And with it comes NaNoWriMo...

2013-10-21

[Budo] Spot-cleaning hakama and gi

So, my iaijokendo club gets a little social and grabs snacks after practise or enjoys a good samurai anime on many a Sunday, and we don't always change before hand (well, at least not after iaido and jodo practise, but kendo... yeah), so I am embarrassed to admit that I've sometimes gotten bits of food, like faux ramen noodle starch or a slice of apple pie, on my gi and hakama. Regardless of whether you think that's respectful, it helps create a strong connection between we practitioners together with the art.

Anyway, my solution to cleaning out small food stains (even after a week if I didn't notice it before hand O_O) is... vinegar on a cloth, and rub out the stains!  It's super effective.  I usually wash my gi and hakama in a tub with some vinegar and air dry it anyway occasionally.  (The smell disappears as the vinegar evaporates.)

2013-10-12

[Technology] Numix in GNOME



If you're a Linux user and not a fan of faux 3D beveling and flashy gradients, then I strongly recommend the Numix Project: http://numixproject.org/

In particular, I'm using their Gtk+ theme, their icons, a Firefox theme, and one of their wallpapers.

I kept Firefox open for the screenshot because I notice a striking similarity between Numix's aesthetic and Google's style new to last year, which both have squarical flat shapes and colours everywhere.  I like it.

Gtk+ Theme

Download it from the Deviant Art page linked above, and unpack it into ~/.local/share/themes/ (you can find that directory by opening the file browser, and typing in the path directly or choosing to see hidden files and folders and navigating there).  You should have a directory ~/.local/share/themes/Numix (and for ~/.local/share/themes/Numix - Gtk3.4)  now.  Then open GNOME Tweak Tool (gnome-tweak-tool, you may need to install it), go to the Themes section (you might need User Themes extension installed but I doubt it), and set GTK+ theme and Current Theme to Numix.

Icon Theme

Go to the github page linked above.  In the bottom right, there should be a "download zip" button.  Download it, and unzip it.  This should give you a folder "numix-icon-theme".  Go in there and copy the Numix folder into ~/.local/share/icons/.   Then go to GNOME Tweak Tool again and set the Icon them. Next, be delighted when opening Activities view of GNOME Shell.

Firefox

Sadly, Firefox does have great support for this yet.  If set the Gtk theme to Numix, many of Firefox's widgets won't theme at all and will look like GNOME 2.0.  However, that's not so bad. You can at least spice up the tab bar by downloading the Numixy theme by visiting the above link.  Google Chrome apparently has an official Numix theme provided by the Numix Project.

Things wanted

I don't usually put too much effort into theming my environment because a lot of themes grate on me after a while, and because they're often incomplete.  They're not actively maintained.  Someone creates two hundred icons, but then stops creating new ones for new applications.  That's why the Tango project was special, good guidelines and motivated people.

It would be nice to have GNOME Shell itself be themed (I think the Numix developers are Ubuntu users though) and to have better support for Firefox.  Anyway, I'll enjoy it while I can. :)

[General] Tiny lives

Today I volunteered in the Hagen Aqualab on campus under my friend Cara.  She looks after the urchins there.  My task today was to clean the larvae!  They are adorable, microscopic, and look like this:

via Duke.edu
I called them my little Vs.

Cleaning them involved first emptying the large jars they live in using a filtered tube (so they don't get emptied out).  Then we swish the water in the jar around (to get them off the sides and pour their environment into a dish.  We then put the dish under a microscope and use pipettes to identify the "white stuff" (produced by algae in their environment) and we try to suck up all the big pieces without sucking up any of the tiny baby urchins!

This is HARD!  Good pipette control requires a little bit of practise, or you end up sucking up too much, or you end up blowing everything everywhere.  I took about 4x as long as a typical cleaner (hey, it's my first time, and I haven't worked with pipettes since high school!), but eventually I started to feel comfortable with identifying what stuff I needed to remove (I don't need to get ALL the white stuff, just the notable pieces) and how to selectively suck some up without catching larvae.  Regardless, I still went through the discard dish (that I had transferred the white stuff by pipette to) and rescued about a dozen minuscule urchins (including a few that I don't think I discarded :D). 

Anyway, then they went back into their jars (presumably with fresh water).  I poked my head at the adult urchins before running away for a meeting, but it was a great morning.
via ThinkQuest
(Note: the images above are from Google, and not from the lab, as I didn't think to photograph anything while there!)

2013-10-11

[General] Fast, fast, fast!

I used to hate managing my photo collection with F-Spot because it initially took a long time to import and for various reason, I had to do that every few months.  I also hated that it would spontaneously crash and fail.

I've used Shotwell occasionally before.  I realised I hadn't in a while (I've been managing photos through most of the past couple years via Google+'s photo thingy, though I still have local copies), and I wanted to be able to quickly find some photos from a few months ago (and Google+ sort of sucks for quick browsing, being over a network and all).

I'm impressed that it all loaded incredibly quickly, and nothing crashed.  All 54,968 photos!  Whee!

My home on campus

2013-10-05

[Microblog] Transient Thought

Potlucks.  It's communism for dinner.

2013-10-01

[Technology] Vala features

Here are a few nifty vala features I did not already know.

I can run "vala foo.vala" and it apparently does "valac foo.vala; ./foo".

Also, I can have preprocessing directorives like this

"#ifdef DUCK
stdout.printf ("QUACK");
#else
stdout.printf ("Woof");
#endif"

I can't seem to use #define, but I can do
"valac -D DUCK foo.vala"
which will define the symbol.

Hooray/boo for conditional compilation!

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I am aeronautical, vanship-style.  I am olympic and mythical.  I rest on my laurels.