Archive for February, 2002


Basic biscotti, hacked from a recipie on allrecipies.com. Makes about 3 days worth of biscotti for 2 people.Oven @ 375, mine runs a little hot I think.

Mix: 1/3 cup oil, 3 eggs, 1+ cup sugar, 4 teaspoons assorted extracts. (vanilla/almond/etc)

Add: 3 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder. Add couple handfuls chocolate chips. Mix till uniform.

Parchment paper a cookie sheet, roll and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. You’re going to cut across the width, so if you like small biscotti, you may want two sheets, or multiple smaller blobs of cookie.

Cook 25 minutes, till golden. Take out, cool enough that you can cut into 3/4″ thick slices. Arrange cut side up, cook 5 more minutes on each side. The biscotti should be crispy.

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Patch Tool

I’ve released my Patch Tool. It’s the first release of a developer oriented tool that provides patch and diff services for Usertalk developers.

If you’re on OSX, it will do all the work on your machine. If you’re not, it will contact a web service running on OSX to do it for you.

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Patch Tool

Version: 0.16, 9/5/2002

Download: http://radio.weblogs.com/0001179/gems/patch.root
To Install: Put in your Tools folder in Radio Userland or Frontier.
License: BSD. Copyright Eric Soroos, 2002. Released with the permission of SocialEcology Inc.

***What it does

This is a developer tool that provides patch, diff, and cvs integration services for Usertalk scripts in Frontier and Radio Userland. Its integration level is currently roughly that of app glue. There are plans to use this core to provide comprehensive source management.

Starting with release 0.16, there is code to dump the contents of a (nested) database table to disk in text format and to read it back in again. The files are written in a way that allows interoperation with conventional source code management systems (e.g. CVS). This could also be suitable for backup of ueser preference settings. Scripts and outlines are written in opml format, binaries and menubars are written using base64 encoding, everything else is written as plain text.

If you are running on Mac OSX, it will do the diffs and patches on your local machine. If you are not, it will contact a webservice running on differenceEngine.wiredfool.com which will perform the differences for you.

***How to Use

There are two entry points for the difference code:

  • diffString = patchSuite.getDiff(@original, @modified)

    GetDiff will return a context diff of the xml representation of the script. You will probably want to edit the diffString to not include spurious differences in the header properties.

  • errString = patchSuite.applyDiff(@original, @patch, @patchedScript)

    ApplyDiff takes the context diff created in step 1 and applies it to the original script, then places the result in a new script and compiles it. As far as I know, the only formatting that is lost is the outline expansion state. ErrString is the result from the command line call to patch.

There are also two entry points for the file system code:

  • patchSuite.dumpToFileSystem(@table)

    Dump to file system will prompt for a folder to save the contents of the table. It will write out the contents of the table to the file system, With the exception of items with a tab in the address. This excludes the compiled versions of xml items.

  • patchSuite.readFromFileSystem(@destination, flIgnoreCVSLint=true)

    ReadFromFileSystem takes the items in the file system and assembles them into the table at the destination address. The one optional parameter ignores all directories named CVS, which are status repositories for the CVS system and not applicable to Frontier.

***Tweakable Bits

You can change the rpc server at patchData.prefs.rpcServer if you don’t want to use mine.

***Known Issues 9/5/2002

  • (Dump) There should probably be a flag to ignore the tab characters in addresses.
  • (Dump/read) Has been tested well on script, outline, string, boolean, and number types. It chas been tested less well on lists, binaries, and menus (but should still work). It loses formatting on wptexts. It should work on most other types, but the exotic ones have not really been tested. There are probably going to be issues with items in lists where the item length is > 256 characters and anywhere else that [itemTypeCast](string(item)) isn’t an identity relation. Restoring addresses may require that I strip the root portion off first.
  • (Dump/Restore) Fails when trying to dump the running script. Probably will die if it overwrites the running script on a restore. Workaround: copy the script to system.temp and run from there.
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Flow of smoke from incense
Flow of smoke from incense
Flow of smoke from incense
Flow of smoke from incense

I got slashdotted today. Well, not exactly slashdotted, and not my site, but a server I run. But none the less, one of my servers was hammered due to an external media event. And since there’s no mushroom cloud over the hill, you can tell that everything survived.

Loads on that machine were running 3-4 times normal peak loads, effectively maxing out the machine for 30 minutes at a time. Sometimes it was churning smoothly but a little sluggishly, and sometimes it was dragging with far too many queued requests for good quality of service. Looking through the logs, the difference in load level between these two modes was minimal. In the most extreme case took less than a minute to switch from one mode to the other. Or rather, it looks like it took one 15 second page load to slow enough other requests that the requests bogged down in a chain reaction accident for the next 30 minutes.

One request out of thousands. One driver hits the brakes. One pebble in the stream. One puff of air. All enough to take a supercritical flow and kick it from laminar orderly flow to turbulent chaotic flow. Like the fluids gurus, we can find the little chaos generators and painstakingly remove them from the system. But Chaos is a difficult mistress. She shows up in simple systems, and no matter how hard we work, we can only push back the boundaries of the chaotic zone.

Not that I’m going to call my web apps simple systems. Or that I’m going to give up on removing turbulators. A cached value here, a super-plasticizer there, and a little bit of Moore’s law over in the corner. There’s progress to be made shoveling back the chaos.

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Tech Support Pricing

There are going to be changes around here. New tech support rules and all.

If I get an email and my response contains any of the following:

  • What were you doing?
  • What did you expect?
  • What url?
  • Can you reproduce it?
  • Look at the email I sent yesterday.
  • Look in the docs.
  • Can you get anywhere else on the net?

$50. If I get paged or called on my cell, $100. If I get woken up, called in on a weekend, or contacted before sufficient caffeine, $200. For Each Question.

If my response contains:

  • Here’s your problem:


If my response is:

  • Hmm, I’ve never seen that before.
  • Oh, that’s a bug
  • I think you can do that if you try this ugly hack.
  • I’ll have a fix for you in the next version.

Free. I like this sort of report. It’s interesting. It’s not sending back the same 5 questions over and over.

*** Ok

Enough bitching about work. Some days I can just hammer, some days it feels like my brain is over there in the puddle. It would really help if I could be ultra productive on grey days, and not productive on bright sunny days so that I could justify saying that I wouldn’t get anything done anyway, so I might as well be outside playing.

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Shadow Fractal

shadow of a fern on the wall

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— I’m sorry to say that once again, the computer is doing exactly what you told it to do.

— AArgh!

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Googling of History

While diving through my referer logs last night I went to Google to see where I was in a search. Of course, I was there, but so was a bit of ancient history. So ancient that it’s part of my black period.


A manila site that Brent made for me as part of one of the early manila demos.

And not only is it still up, but it’s the #5 hit for “Omar Torrez” on Google. I’m beginning to think that their ranking engine isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be if it’s elevating my posts like that. Of course, this post is probably going to elevate that one.

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Danger!  Looming Targets.

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You are Here

the earth, from afar.


Has links to images of the earth at a full resolution of 21000 pixels square. Now I need a bigger desktop to take advantage of them.

Nasa – providing cool desktop pictures since before the GUI.

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