Yearly Archives: 2008

LCA2009 Talk Picks

Now that the complete schedule for LCA (Including miniconfs) is available, I’ve chosen what talks I can go to. I’m quite impressed, almost every session for the entire conference has something that’s caught my eye, and so I only have one or two slots left to fill per day. Currently, my selections stand as such:

 Monday 9:30-10:20 Is Parallel Programming Hard, And, If So, Why? by Paul McKenney 10:40-11:30 Undecided 11:40-12:30 - PROBABLY -  Collaborating Successfully with Large Corporations by Bdale Garbee 13:50-14:40 How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love ACPI by Matthew Garrett 14:50-15:40 Undecided 16:00-16:50 Kernel Lightning Talks 17:00-17:50 Ask a Kernel Hacker Panel -- Tuesday 9:30-10:20 Beyond Open Source by Arthur Sale 10:40 - 11:10 Future directions for Copyright Law by Laura Simes 11:10 - 11:30 OpenAustralia - Everyday democracy for everybody in Australia by Katherine Szuminska and Matthew Landauer 13:50 - 14:40 Undecided 14:50 - 15:20 Freedom in Focus: CC Photography and Cultural Change by Rachel Cobcroft 15:20 - 15:40 We are the translators! by Jeff Waugh 16:00-16:50 Undecided 17:00-17:50 Undecided -- Wednesday 10:40-11:30 Introducing the Re-Built Linux Desktop by Keith Packard 11:40-12:30 From click to pixel: A tour of the Linux graphics pipeline by Carl Worth 13:40-15:40 Introduction to Django by Jacob Kaplan-Moss 16:00-16:50 Joining the mob: the kernel development process by Jonathan Corbet 17:00-17:50 Cross-distro collaboration: packaging with modern version control systems by Martin Krafft -- Thursday 10:40-11:30 - PROBABLY - AIO: Why is this so hard? by Zach Brown 11:40-12:30 7 Things Lawyers Don't Understand About Software by Anton Hughes 13:50-15:40 The Joy of Inkscape by Donna Benjamin 16:00-16:50 - PROBABLY - the Inkscape LPE revolution! by Andy Fitzsimon 17:00-17:50 Tricks of the Trade: Learning Free Software hacking from clever people by Hugh Blemings -- Friday 10:40-11:30 autocluster - a system for automated testing of clustered systems by Andrew Tridgell and Martin Schwenke 11:40-12:30 Ogg Chopping: techniques for programming correctness and efficiency by Conrad Parker 13:50-14:40 Power management that works by Matthew Garrett 14:50-15:40 Geek My Ride by Jonathan Oxer and Jared Herbohn 16:00-16:50 Open Source for Model Rocket Design by Bdale Garbee 17:00-17:50 Lightning Talks! Yay! 

If anyone’s got suggestions for the talks I’ve not figured out yet, please let me know!

Academia (Blaargh…)

Another semester, another 4 HDs… No idea what to make of that. More specifically, my marks were: 85 for Graphics, 85 for Research, 96 for Real and Complex Analysis, 97 for Topics in Advanced Mathematics. All in all, it’s about what I expected, which is probably the first time that that’s happened for me, and it’s a nice feeling.

19 down; 5 to go.

Growing a Language

I was recently pointed at a talk given by Guy Steele (who, amongst other things, co-invented Scheme), given at the 1998 OOPSLA Conference, entitled Growing a Language.

In it, he talks about the need for Java to add features that will allow the language to grow as users add to it, specifically suggesting two features (one of which has been added, albeit poorly, and one of which is still yet to be implemented); but the real value of the talk is not what he says, but in how it is presented: whilst giving that away would be entirely unfair, I recommend watching at least the first 10 minutes of it, to allow you to figure out what’s going on.

So, if you get a spare hour in the near future, I suggest you watch it.

The Week in Review…

Time for me to enumerate a few things that have happened of late (in reverse order of occurrence, naturally), since it now seems like the time to do so.


I handed in my Computer Science term project today, which, I suppose means that my academic year is now complete. I’m fairly happy with how the semester’s progressed, every unit that I studied (including the two that I chose on a whim) has been excellent, which is more than I can say for previous semesters. Analysis (Real analysis to be specific) was absolutely fantastic, and I’ll be doing my best to enrol in the follow-up functional analysis unit (I’ve had it suggested to me by several people, and I’m convinced), and it’s certainly made the maths major I’m now enrolled in seem like a very good idea.

As far as I can tell, exams went well, but I won’t know for certain until results are released next week (I’m very confident with my two maths units, Graphics is a different story (though I don’t recall doing as badly as the lecturer claims the class as a whole went)).


In other (though slightly Uni-related) news, TUCS (The UTAS Computing Society) had its Annual General Meeting for 2009 last week, and as well as discovering the joy of barbecued* Woolworths’ Quantity Burgers (they’re excellent, really!), I was elected society president for 2009. The rest of the exec are also a truly awesome bunch of people, so the future certainly looks bright.

TUCS T-shirt

TUCS has run some excellent events in its inaugural year: our tech talks were, in general, wildly successful, amongst other things. Thanks to that, we’ve become what appears to be one of the most active societies on campus. I’ll be doing my best to make sure that we can replicate, or even better that next year. (If you’re a speaker, or know any good ones, and would like to give a talk, let me know!)

In related news, we also took delivery of some particularly awesome TUCS-Branded T-Shirts just after exams — we’re particularly happy with how that went and will probably do it again next year.

(*I will definitely be approving funding for a new barbecue for the society… the current one is truly dreadful)


Last week-ish, I had dinner with some members of the organising committee. Though much of what was discussed must be kept under wraps (it’s thoroughly exciting, I promise!), I can tell you that the conference is shaping up to be most excellent, and if you haven’t already booked your ticket, I suggest you do so as soon as possible!

That is all for me for now, more news as it comes (I hope!)

Meme #42

Well, I’ve decided to do the Book Meme from PLOA and Planet Debian etc… Just recapping for those of you who haven’t seen it yet (not many of you):

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST

And mine is:

It is possible to prove that if such a nontrivial square root of 1 exists, then n is not prime.

— Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition.

Fun with Sockets

Whilst doing some coding today for my semester research project I found a need to check for incoming data on a socket without taking any data out of the stream. Here’s the code I came up with:

 cp.sock.setblocking(False) try: cp.sock.recv(0) stuffwaiting = True except socket.error: stuffwaiting = False cp.sock.setblocking(True) 

This code works finely on Linux — you can only receive data if there is data to be received (even if you want to receive no data). Unfortunately, the code doesn’t port to Mac OS — you may receive as many bytes as there are in the socket’s buffer — if there are no bytes in the buffer, you can receive 0 bytes. Therefore, the following fix is necessary:

 cp.sock.setblocking(False) try: cp.sock.recv(1, socket.MSG_PEEK) stuffwaiting = True except socket.error: stuffwaiting = False cp.sock.setblocking(True) 

So, my question for Lazyweb is: is there a better way to do this?