Dave's Free Press: Journal

violence, pornography, and rude words for the web generation


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geeky politics rant silly religion meta music perl weird drinking culture london language transport olympics hacking media maths sport web photography etiquette spam amazon film bastards books bryar holidays palm telecoms cars travel yapc bbc clothes rsnapshot phone whisky security home radio lolcats deafness environment curry art work privacy iphone linux unix go business engineering kindle gps economics latin anglo-saxon money bramble cars environment electronics
Thu, 12 Apr 2012

I Love Github

Github makes accepting patches from other people and applying them soooooo easy!

Instead of having to extract the patch from an email onto my workstation and manually apply it, applying this contribution was a simple matter of clicking on one button.

Thanks Mark - and thanks Github as well!

And I was also amused to see that the new release of Net::Random was exactly five years after the previous one. This adds support for fetching your randomness over SSL.

Posted at 22:56 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | hacking | perl
Permalink | 0 Comments
Thu, 10 Mar 2011

Meet Bramble

Until recently, this 'ere blog was run using the excellent Bryar software, which I maintained after its original author stopped supporting when he stopped being a programmer and went off to Save The Heathen. Bryar fitted by needs and worked well, but it had several features that I just never used, and others that were never fully implemented. I added a few features that I wanted, but it was getting harder and harder to hack on as my needs diverged more and more from Simon's.

So a few weeks ago, I wrote my own replacement from scratch. It's called Bramble, because areas of bramble bushes are sometimes called a briar patch. You probably didn't notice when I deployed it, because it supports all the old URLs so nothing broke*. And by leaving out support for stuff that I never used anyway, it's become easier to add shiny new features. For example, it was about 30 seconds work to make it support wildcards in IDs, so if you want to see all my book reviews you can click here. Naturally, these views of the data are also available in RSS.

* you may have wondered why it re-published everything one night in the RSS feeds - that's because the canonical URLs of all my posts changed. They now look REST-ish, like http://www.cantrell.org.uk/david/journal/id/remixing-insanity instead of http://www.cantrell.org.uk/david/journal/index.pl?id=remixing-insanity. The old URLs will still work though.

Posted at 22:53 by David Cantrell
keywords: bramble | bryar | geeky | hacking | meta
Permalink | 0 Comments
Sun, 31 Jan 2010

Negative keywords

Nearly three years ago I added keyword support to this 'ere journal. Well, now it supports negative keyword filtering. So if you want to see posts that are not tagged "geeky", for example, here's the linky.

Posted at 12:38 by David Cantrell
keywords: bryar | geeky | hacking | meta
Permalink | 0 Comments
Mon, 4 Jan 2010

Broken out of jail

Today I jailbroke my phone, using the stupidly named blackra1n, and following the step-by-step guide here. There were a couple of points during the jailbreak at which iTunes tried to start - presumably something it did made the iPhone appear to have been just plugged in and so iTunes tried to start, and so I killed iTunes each time with extreme prejudice before it had a chance to communicate with the iPhone and potentially brick it. In retrospect, I should have turned that off in iTunes first before doing this.

Everything seems to have worked just fine.

So far I've found and installed the following apps:

  • Backgrounder
  • Categories
  • some five-icon dock thing
  • some five-icons-per-line launcher thing
  • SBSettings
  • OpenSSH

What other apps should I try out?

The quality of non-Appstore apps is definitely lower than that of officially sanctioned ones in the Apple Appstore - a few others that I've tried, in particular Winterboard and Terminal, have been quite buggy and I've removed them. Even so, it's the user's choice to install dodgy software from third parties, and Apple shouldn't make it so hard for people to shoot themselves in the foot if they want to do that. Either they should allow unvetted apps into the Appstore (and have it pop up a gigantic warning every time you try to install one, and segregate them in a ghetto so that you don't accidentally stumble across them) or they should officially support installing apps from third-party sources (again with warnings).

Posted at 00:20 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | hacking | iphone | phone
Permalink | 2 Comments
Sat, 3 Oct 2009

Graphing tool

I made a shiny thing! It can plot arbitrary functions of the form x=f(y) or y=f(x). Under the skin, it just massages its arguments and passes them through to Gnuplot. Here's the source code.

Update: now 48.3% even shinier - see on the right

Posted at 21:35 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | hacking | maths | perl
Permalink | 0 Comments
Mon, 1 Dec 2008


I am ill. I've been ill since Thursday, with a cold. You're meant to be able to cure a cold with [insert old wives tale remedy here] in 5 days, or if you don't, it'll clear itself up in just under a week. So hopefully today is the last day.

So what have I done while ill?

On Friday I became old (see previous post), and went to the Byzantium exhibition at the Royal Academy. It was good. You should go.

Saturday was the London Perl Workshop. My talk on closures went down well, and people seemed to understand what I was talking about. Hurrah! I decided that rather than hang around nattering and going to a few talks, I'd rather hide under my duvet for the rest of the day.

I mostly hid on Sunday too, and spent most of the day asleep. In a brief moment of productivity, I got my laptop and my phone to talk to each other using magic interwebnet bluetooth stuff. I'd tried previously without success, but that was with the previous release of OS X. With version X.5 it seems to Just Work, so no Evil Hacks were necessary.

The cold means that I can't taste a damned thing, not even bacon. So now I know what it's like to be Jewish. Being Jewish sucks.

And today, I am still coughing up occasional lumps of lung and making odd bubbling noises in my chest, although my nasal demons seem to be Snotting less than they were, so hopefully I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Posted at 10:26 by David Cantrell
keywords: culture | hacking | meta | palm | perl | phone | religion
Permalink | 0 Comments
Fri, 3 Aug 2007

Module pre-requisites analyser

As a service to module authors, here is a tool to show a module's pre-requisites and the test results from the CPAN testers. So before you rely on something working as a pre-requisite for your code, have a look to see how reliable it and its dependencies are.

Posted at 20:22 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | hacking | perl
Permalink | 0 Comments
Sat, 21 Jul 2007

Wikipedia handheld proxy

I got irritated at how hard it was to use Wikipedia on my Treo. There's so much rubbish splattered around their pages that it Just Doesn't Work on such a small screen. Given that no alternatives seemed to be available - at least, Google couldn't find any - I decided to write my own Wikipedia handheld proxy.

It strips away all the useless rubbish that normally surrounds Wikipedia pages, as well as things like the editing functions which are also hard to use on portable devices. Internally, it's implemented using perl, LWP, and mod_perl, and is hosted by Keyweb.de.

Posted at 08:09 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | hacking | palm | perl
Permalink | 4 Comments
Sun, 27 May 2007

New Bryar feature

I just added support for specifying keywords (which the cool kids call "tags") in your Bryar postings. Please see if you can break things while I test them on this journal.

Please note that I've not yet added keywords to my old postings. That will take quite a while to do, so please be patient. At the time of writing, keywords 'bryar' and 'whisky' should do vaguely useful things.

You can even subscribe to keyword RSS feeds, like this.

Posted at 22:35 by David Cantrell
keywords: bryar | geeky | hacking | meta
Permalink | 0 Comments
Fri, 26 Jan 2007

XML::Tiny released

I have released my XML::Tiny module. The parser at its core is less than twenty lines of code. Pretty easy to follow code too, I think, and that also includes error handling. One of my aims in writing it was to keep memory usage and code to the absolute minimum, so it doesn't handle all of XML. The documentation says that it supports "a useful subset of XML". Personally, I think it supports the useful subset. It's certainly enough to parse the data I get back from Amazon when I use their web services, and to parse an RSS feed.

Posted at 21:55 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | hacking | perl
Permalink | 1 Comment
Sat, 20 Jan 2007

New Bryar release

As I've been promising to do for ages (it's over a year since Simon said I could take over maintenance of it, and several months since I promised Bob that he could have all the shiny new features I had planned) I've finally got round to releasing a new version of Bryar, the software what provides the brains behind this 'ere august journal.

The most important change is that I released the stuff for filtering out comment spam.

Posted at 22:02 by David Cantrell
keywords: bryar | geeky | hacking | spam
Permalink | 1 Comment