Sunday, 23 December 2007

A surprise

Playing around on my flickr account today I found about flickr stats. Now these stats to turn out to be mostly quite lame and predictable, but the one that caught my eye was the referal sources. In amongst a large number of hits from flickr itself and the main search engines there was a surprising 48 hits direct from (NSFW - stupid!). So, I do the honorable thing and visit the referencing page:


.. to see that low and behold one of my photos is indeed heading the blog entry and has infact been correctly attributed to me, but unfortunately they have suggested that they are using the image under the Creative Commons license.

So I'm a pretty liberal guy, and I really don't mind that they're using this image (that's sort of what the web's all about) - but it does slightly annoy me that they go to the extent of attributing the image to me and then claiming that it's under a license that it has never been issued under.

Still.. I wasn't expecting my name or work to turn up on a sex blog any time soon, so the world still has some surprises!

Monday, 17 December 2007

ikarus ascends

If you follow scheme or lisp news in even a passing fashion you can't have failed to notice the arrival of Ikarus Scheme, the nifty incremental, native scheme code compiler. It's an lovely new version of scheme based around R6RS. That means it supports a nice clean library system (standardised!) and scripting in the manner of Perl, Python and Ruby.

Though it lacks the maturity and library base you'd find in chicken or PLT, it's still a very attractive proposition, and the quality of the product thus far, combined with the nascent community feel around it has certainly got my spider sense tingling. As such I've done the noble thing and packaged it for my favourtite GNU/Linux distribution - Arch Linux.

You can find my package here:

Happy Hacking!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Auf Deutsch

Auf Deutsch, originally uploaded by tealeg.

A little Danish elefant embraces his future in Germany.

I guess everyone knows now that Nic and I are moving to Munich next year.

Monday, 12 November 2007


Schokolade, originally uploaded by tealeg.

Nic and I went to Windsor on Sunday on a whim. I took Nic to Carluccio's for the first time. She was very pleased with the ciocolatte Fiorentina - it's nice that little things make her so happy. :-)

We also wandered round the castle for a bit and took at quick trip to the shops to buy my mums birthday present.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Printing on an HP OfficeJet 6310 from Solaris

I thought this would be hard but essentially it was very easy - I guess and seemed to get it right first time.

You don't need to install CUPS as the SUNWhpijs package already supports Sun's own print system. Simply run:


... as root, choose PRINTER->NEW ATTACHED PRINTER from the menu and then add the printer. I found it to be attached to /dev/usb/printer0 and I had to claim it was an OfficeJet 6110, but essentially everything worked perfectly and seconds later I was printing in colour on A4 paper.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Excellent beer!

Following on from my cider related shenanigans, I've just found a beer I haven't had before that's really improved my evening.

Summer Lightning by the Hopback Brewery. You can get it in Waitrose. It's a nice light flavour with an excellent roundness. Perfect for the glourious summer we're not having here in the UK.

See for details.

Saturday, 4 August 2007



So I'm trying flock out again.

It's been a while since I last looked at it.  All I can say is it's improved massively.  It's actually just like Firefox with lots of lovelly extra interactions with my favourite web sites. So far so impressed.


I haven't drunk cider since a University, but at the Walkabout bar in central Birmingham I was introducer to Kopperburg, Swedish cider (thank you GUADEC!) which was actually really nice.    Since then I've had no end of trouble getting hold of the stuff.  Every place I go either doesn't stock it or is out of stock.  It's a shame because it's lovelly.

Worse than all that however is that I have resorted to trying other ciders to see if I'd just forgortten how good cider is.  I haven't.   Every other cider I have tasted has been unreservedly shite. 

Unless I can find a supplier of Kopperburg in the immediate future I've a feeling cider will be off my menu for at least another decade.


I've got too many projects to work on and that makes it hard to focus.  Right now I have:

  • Reading "purely functional data structure", which in turn requires me to learn Standard ML (can I just say,*yuck*).
  • Working on VonTeese, a DITA handling system in Scheme.
  • Learning about concurrent Scheme programming in Termite.
  • Writing a ELISP to allow me to edit item on a Twiki based Wiki directly.
  • Working out a good data acquisition UI strategy for mobile GNOME devices (via PokyLinux for the time being).

.. plus a whole load of other ideas floating around in my head.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

It makes me mad!

If there's one thing in this world that makes me mad (and there isn't, there's loads of things) it's the portions of the Free/Libre/Open Source Software community who assume that anything to do with the law is inherently evil.

Every time I see this is riles me - from the anti-GFDL people in the Debian community, through the "me too" boys who decry the GPL (and especially the GPL3) as being "less free" than BSD licenses without understanding the effect of either, right down to those whom, even with the best of intentions, make statements like this. So often people make ludicrous assertions in areas where there is either no choice, or a serious ill effect to be incurred by slavishly sticking to a misinterpreted principle.

I'm a serious supporter of free software, a member of the FSF, I care deeply about this and I'll say it clearly - simply choosing to ignore the practical application of the law, or choosing not to protect Free Software Developers from events over which they have no control to satisfy some ill-defined idea of "purity" in freedom is not the way to promote free software or freedom in general.

If Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen, Larry Lessig and Theo de Raadt, all of whom are smarter and more passionate about free software than you are (I guarantee it), can see this and accept it why can't you?


Wednesday, 13 June 2007

ZFS,... again

I continue to be totally blown away with ZFS. This post covers a lot of the reasons why. Every time I explore a feature it's better than I was expecting. The fact that you can send incremental snapshots (essentially the binary different between two points in time) is exciting me currently. There must be the basis of so many applications there - distributed version control and package management are just two ideas that spring to mind.

To that end I've started looking a little at /usr/include/libzfs.h with a view to maybe wrapping it for python and/or some kind of scheme. Shouldn't be too onerous task so long as I can find a decent amount of free time.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Anaïs Mitchell house concert, Turners Hill

Wow. This is turning out to be a good weekend. I've just seen the best concert I've seen in quite some while and tomorrow I'm flying to Lisbon for a weeks holiday.

House concerts are always so intimate that they can make anyone with anything reasonably intelligent to sing about sound like Joni, Dar or Ani. Anaïs is something else though she writes songs that are both beautiful and cut to the heart of the great wrongness of the western world right now. Put that in the context of a house concert and you've got something amazing.

Sat in the front row, a matter of inches from a singer who is so totally absorbed in the act of making music that her whole body writhes around the guitar, or marches on the spot, is an experience unmatched in the world of music. It takes me back to the days when I made music with talented people and we sat and talked and played all night.

Anaïs is on tour in the UK for a while more, you can see her tour dates here.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Project Indiana Wishlist

OK, so many, many people will be saying many things about project Indiana before we ever see anything concrete, and then many more people will inevitably form two camps - the "Indianaphiles" and the "Indianaphobes".

All of that is inevitable and I guess we should just enjoy the ride. However, given the scope for Indiana thus far expressed is "Make a Sun branded Solaris distribution that's a lot more like Linux", and that the top man is Ian Murdoch, I have exactly one wish for this project.

Please, for the love of God, don't make it like, or derive it from, Debian or anything like Debian.

Why? Well, I have a list:

  1. Once upon a time .deb was a great new packaging system. People loved it (it was better than RPM!) and started improving it. Trouble is, everybody had their own ideas and added lots of distinct script to help you do everything you could every want to do. The result is a complex mess of tools with no common design and a steep learning curve for packagers. I've made Debian packages, it's even been part of my paid work. I've also made RPMs, ebuilds, Arch pacman packages and rPath conary packages. Of all of those systems I'd take pacman and the Arch Build System as a preference. This is infact the major reason that I always return to Arch Linux despite enjoying playing with various other distros. It's no more, or less powerful than the Debian system, but it's benefited from being designed from the ground up to do all the things you can do with a myriad of scripts for .deb with a small, clearly defined, well documented set of programs. It's very simple to use (you can learn enough to do 99% of packaging from a single, short man page), and that's led to a strong community building packages to share with each other as well as the primary Arch repositories (see for the Arch User Repository).
  2. We already have a perfectly good Ubuntu derived Solaris distribution. I've used Nexenta GNU/Linux. It's good and as OpenSolaris develops I'm sure it'll be familiar enough to pull over a few Ubuntu and Debian users.
  3. The temptation to pick up ready made Debian packages is too great. Probably the worst things in Ubuntu are where something that's been badly packaged for Debian appears, verbatim in Ubuntu. There are, of course, many things that are packaged excellently by the Debian community, but there are a few shining examples of utter ineptitude. These packages tend not to be the mainstream applications, but some more esoteric things - mzscheme springs to mind. The general populous probably never notices (which is probably a factor in why they remain this way), but if they are applications that you care about then this situation is intensely annoying. If I pick up Solaris with Sun's name on it I want some assurance that it has been put together with the thought and attention of a team of professionals, even if it includes lots of community contribution (I certainly hope it will!).

OK, rant over :-)

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Intel HDA working under OpenSolaris

Another minor victory in my quest to get more familiar with OpenSolaris. I've upgraded to Nexenta unstable, and I noticed a package called sunwaudiohd being installed. That looked like a promising solution to the lack of audio on my OpenSolaris machine - the Intel HDA soundcard has never worked under any version I've used.

Sadly, the mere presence of this driver didn't seem to fix things (it's never that simple). A little research confirmed that it was the right driver, but that this bug had been discovered. The workaround noted:

update_drv -a -i '"pci8086,27d8"' audiohd

...seemed to do the trick and now I have excellent sound coming from my machine again.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Making ZFS work on removable media

I've been playing around with ZFS for quite a while now and I'm very impressed. Everything that's claimed of it holds up under my limited investigation. I've been working with both the OpenSolaris native version (thank you Nexenta!) and the ZFS-FUSE implementation for Linux.

The one thing that proved hard to do was to build a ZFS pool on my USB2 hard drive and move that pool between machines. For a couple of days I struggled in vane to see why I couldn't ZFS export from my linux box and ZFS import on my OpenSolaris box (or visa versa).

It turns out the answer is simple: ZFS-FUSE doesn't recognise that Linux doesn't use /dev/dsk (it even goes so far as to error because of this for some commands). The solution is to tell zpool that you want it to look elsewhere by adding the -d option to each zpool import/export command, eg.:

$ zpool import -d /dev mypool

... suddenly it all works beautifully. Now if only there were better docs for ZFS-FUSE! After all my struggling I word this out based on a comment against someone elses blog entry.