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March 17, 2013

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Editing menus on LXDE

The menus are created from the foo.desktop file for each application.

To find them, you can do a couple of things.

First, using Synaptic package manager, select the package, then click on the “Properites” icon in the toolbar. Use the tab “Installed Files”.

Second, you can use this command line, where the “package-name” needs to be the name of your package. Tab completion works for Bash shell on the name of the package, if you know how it starts.

dpkg -L package-name | grep desktop

I found this out because I needed to change the “EXEC” string in “d2x-rebirth-demo” (the “Descent 2″ rewrite) to:

/usr/local/games/d2x-rebirth/d2x-rebirth -hogdir /usr/local/games/d2x-rebirth/data


February 26, 2013

Ian Ward
excess
excess.org - News
» Iterables, Iterators and Generators: Part 2

This is the second part of the talk I gave January 24, 2013 at the Ottawa Python Authors Group.

Part One introduces Python iterables and iterators and generators. This part covers the advanced use of generators while building an interactive two-player network game.

February 12, 2013

Ian Ward
excess
excess.org - News
» Iterables, Iterators and Generators: Part 1

This is part one of a talk I gave January 24, 2013 at the Ottawa Python Authors Group

Part Two is now also available.

Both parts of this presentation are also available as a single IPython Notebook which you can download and run locally, or view with nbviewer.ipython.org. The complete source is available at https://github.com/wardi/iterables-iterators-generators

January 22, 2013

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Proposed Stack Eschange site for DITA

Anders Svensson has created a proposal for a DITA Stack Exhange Site.
It’s at http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/49912

DITA is an OASIS standard for XML documentation.


January 20, 2013

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» User Group Connect has a new URL

“User Group Connect 2013″ has a new URL. You can find us at ugconnect.ca

If you don’t know about UGC, it is an opportunity for User Group’s in Ottawa to get together and for the Ottawa technology community to get together to meet some of the 30 or so User Groups in Ottawa.

On Saturday February 9, from 10am to 4pm, join us in the lounge at Shopify, 126 York St. The entrance is at the back of the building, from the parking lot.

Accessibility problems – Unfortunately, this location is not wheelchair accessible. It has stairs, and the washroom is up a flight of stairs.

Also, you can still reach the User Group Connect site at the old URL.


Tagged: groups, Ottawa

January 12, 2013

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» New Java 1.7 vulnerability

I found this in my email:

http://www.h-online.com/developer/news/item/Dangerous-vulnerability-in-latest-Java-version-1781156.html

I will disable Java plugin in all browsers on my machines at work on Monday.

Cert.org is taking this seriously: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/625617

This could be used against Linux, Mac or Android, not just Windows, if anyone cared to try. They would not have access to root without further exploits, although popping up a window that looks like your Updater, or Microsoft’s, would catch some inexperienced Linux users.


Tagged: security, software

November 21, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Paula duHamel Yellow Horn and her Snow Duck wing

Dr. duHamel Yellow Horn laid this wing on the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Nov. 11, 2012, Remembrance Day Ceremony.
She laid it to honour her father and two uncles and their participation in the Canadian war effort during the Second World War.
Paula’s father was posted to the factory that made the Lancaster bombers.
Her uncles flew Lancaster bombers over Europe.

The wing is a symbolic gift to the dead, with each part carrying a special meaning

The wing is a Snow Duck wing, with a beaded butterfly on the deerskin binding.
A Turkey feather and a Canada Goose feather are bound in with the Snow Duck wing.

This is a symbolic gift to the dead, with each part carrying a special meaning.
The Snow Duck is a reference to the Native Veterans in Canada, travelers a long way from our land of snow in that war.
The Turkey was a valued food bird in Eastern North America, and carries a prayer that those who have gone to the Spirit world may have all the good things in that world.
The Canada Goose flies high above the world, and looks down like the Eagle from high in the sky. It symbolizes a prayer that her father and uncles may grow closer to the Creator in the Spirit world.

The beaded butterfly on the deerskin symbolizes the transformation from the human form to the spirit form, like the butterfly emerging from its cocoon.

Paula made this memorial herself, with deep meaning and careful crafting, demonstrating respect and love for those who have passed on. As we move into winter, now is a good time to remember our ancestors, living or in spirit, and respectfully acknowledge how their life and work affect our own lives.


Tagged: native, Ottawa

November 3, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» World Usability Day 2012 in Ottawa

(From the CAPCHI newsletter)

CapCHI is proud to present two presentations on Tuesday November 6th, in celebration of World Usability Day 2012 (officially on Thursday November 8th).

Date: Tuesday November 6th, 2012

Time: doors open at 6:00 pm; talk begins at 6:30 pm

Place: TheCodeFactory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa, ON, Canada

1. “Mixed-media Computer Human Interfaces“, presented by Tim Moore, PhD CHFP, Ergosum Ltd.

2. “The Gist of NIST“, presented by Lorraine Chapman, Director of UX Research, Macadamian

Here is the CAPCHI web site:

-  http://www.capchi.org


Tagged: Ottawa, user groups

October 8, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Template Files in DITA Open Toolkit may not be needed

I learned in Eliot Kimber’s “DITA for Practitioners”, after some re-reading, how the integrator.xml ant script works. It looks for template files and creates the corresponding file from it. When the integrator script creates the corresponding xml file from the template, it inserts “stuff” (different for Ant files or SXL files) from all the places that add to that extension point.

As far as I can tell, and this is not explicit in any documentation I have seen, including Kimber’s book, you only need to create a template file in your new plugin when you have defined a toolkit extension point in it. For plugins that you are sharing, you probably want to add extension points to your plugin. For plugins only used in your own DITA deployment, you probably don’t need to do that.


Tagged: DITA, software

April 26, 2012

Ian Ward
excess
excess.org - News
» Gerbi CMS

Gerbi CMS (nee django-page-cms) is a multilingual content management system written in Python and based on the Django web framework. It's currently my favourite CMS software and use it for a number of web sites I administer.

I'll be giving a talk about Gerbi CMS at the next OCLUG and OPAG meetings resembling this article.

February 29, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» paranoia part 2

The software isn’t out to get me, it got me already.


Tagged: humor, software

February 25, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Federal layoff-ment

In the last couple of weeks, I have heard from three people facing layoffs in the federal government. Two are employees. One is in a department that is going to lay off about 8 of 25 workers in the new fiscal year, because their budget went down that much. The second is in a smaller department with fewer layoffs. Apparently there are people calling from other departments because they are in the same boat, looking for a new department. None have official notice yet, as far as I know, but I expect that will arrive at the end of March.

Granted, the larger department might have lost some positions even if the new budget was not cutting jobs, but the message is clear: lots of departments are losing payroll next year.

My other caller was a contractor with a contract renewal at the end of February, expecting to renew until June or July, but the contract is “slow” coming back. Given the employee news, are the contractors likely to be renewed? Some would say yes, but I am not optimistic. I think the contractors will be hitting the streets real soon now, looking for private sector work.

The employees apparently have contracts that allow them some period of months looking for a job in another department before their pay ends. Some of these people will not look to the private sector for some time, so the flood of former government employees may not hit for months, may in fact be a trickle over a year or more. Yeah, that would be great!

Good luck to all those affected, including you and me.


Tagged: computer industry, Ottawa

February 10, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Numeric-only date output? Fail!

Yesterday, I donated blood again.

They have been asking you questions on the computer for the last year or so.
Example: “Have you eaten any pogo sticks in the last 30 days (since 09/01/2012)?”
The accompanying voice asks without telling you what the date was a month ago, fortunately. It was enough of a distraction that they used a different reader or a different room when they added new questions; a computer generated voice would have been actually irritating.

So there was the date, to me it meant Sept 1, and my fast read of it ignored the year which would have made that a future date. The fact that I can’t read is hardly relevant here. :-) The real point is that they used numeric dates, which are always ambiguous.

Take this home and tell your friends:
Complain when computers don’t display or print dates with a 4 digit year and a text month that is at least 3 letters long. Maybe we can get a culture going that actually communicates clearly.

And please take any managers you know from Canadian Blood Services to CapCHI meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at The Code Factory. then buy them a beer afterwards at whatever pub we go to.

Have you ever filled out a date field  in DYM or MYD order? Shame on you! :-)


Tagged: computer, frustration, humor, software, software humor

January 23, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Blog tools in Linux

I decided to look at what blog tools are available in Linux. I want to  use them with my WordPress.com blog, of course, so that is how I tested them.

I have only checked out a couple of tools, but I find them mostly not working very well with WordPress.com. The only one that has worked at all is QTM, so far.

BloGTK

This is the recommended tool for Linux, according to the WordPress site. It won’t install in Oneiric. I expect I could make it work if I fiddled with some settings for apt-get, maybe. But the author is not working on it, so no real desire to try.

gnome-blog

Broken. Intended for Gnome 2. One of the libraries is not compatible with Gnome 3: “python-gnomeapplet”. Maybe there is no concept of applet in Gnome 3?

Drivel

I tried it. Editing a new post worked. There were error messages connecting to WordPress.com. I was not able to post the blog because it could not get permission to write.

QTM

This one was able to post a message, but left the message in the “draft” state on WordPress.com. That may be my fault – there is a “draft/publish” drop down on the app.

Because it was “posted”, it put the file into some sort of archive state, so that the next time I went to edit, I had to fiddle around to be able to see it. Finished editing the post on WordPress.com.

Other options

There is at least one plugin for FireFox for editing blogs. But I was looking for tools for Gnome so I can try out Gnome 3, so I haven’t tried it yet.


Tagged: Gnome3, Linux, software review

January 18, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Wind River layoffs

Sorry to anyone I talked to about working at Wind River.
We were hiring, now we are laying off.

We have all seen that before…

High tech. Gotta love it!

I am still working at Wind River, in the same position.


Tagged: company, computer industry, frustration

January 16, 2012

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Soldering

Today I soldered wires onto a new plug for my computer speakers.
It Worked! – on the second try.

The first try was on a plug that was too small. What are 3/32″ plugs for anyway?


December 19, 2011

Ian Ward
excess
excess.org - News
» Unfortunate Python

.red {color:red}

Python is a wonderful language, but some parts should really have bright WARNING signs all over them. There are features that just can't be used safely and others are that are useful but people tend to use in the wrong ways.

This is a rough transcript of the talk I gave at my local Python group on November 15, with some of the audience feed back mixed in. Most of this came from hanging around the Python IRC channel, something I highly recommend.

[update 2011-12-19: improved "array" critique, add "python -i" suggestion to "reload" critique, add html targets to sections]

[update 2011-12-20: include additional links from agentultra and ffrinch]

[update 2012-01-06: added hasattr and find]

[update 2012-04-09: some links and syntax highlighting]

September 16, 2011

Rob Echlin
echlin
Talk Software
» Gaming day for OCLUG this Saturday

Hi
It’s game day, and Software Freedom Day, for OCLUG tomorrow, Sat Sep 17.
11 am to probably 3pm.
Room T117 at Algonquin College on Woodroffe – that’s in building T.

BZ Flag server v2.0.x will be provided on the local LAN.
There will be some other games for kids, and mine will be there.
There will be some software demos, at least one for ‘R’.


Tagged: games, groups, Linux

September 7, 2011

Ian Ward
excess
excess.org - News
» Pedas Malaysian Kitchen

I've said many times that Malaysian food should be as widely available as Chinese or Indian. It's wonderful stuff: Coconut milk, chili peppers, curries, fish sauce, noodles, pastries and so on. Influences from China, India and Indonesia.

And now there is a new Malaysian restaurant in Ottawa. Please go out and support them. I hope RoC(k)r & Junkii are wrong about Ottawa diners being too timid.

September 6, 2011

Ian Ward
excess
excess.org - News
» New Arevco Site Launched

The third iteration the Arevco Lighting web site is now up.

The old site was simple HTML and images generated from a script, which I quite liked but wasn't the easiest thing for other people to update. The new site has been professionally skinned and is now running a Django CMS with some custom index code for product pages. I used the following:

I've used Gerbi now for a few public web sites. It's a well designed and usable CMS that is quite easy to extend. It also has good multilingual support that will make translating content as easy as editing the pages.