After maintaining my XEmacs overlay for a few months I've decided to take the next step and put in my application to become the official maintainer of XEmacs for Gentoo. I've sent a mail to the recruiting team, we'll see how things develop from there.
Just back from a weekend in Luxemburg I left for a few days of walking on the North Coast of Brittany in France, more specifically the Cote de Granite Rosé in the Cotes d'Armor. Even though there is a fairly well developed bus service in the area, it still can be hard to get around, especially on some of the more remote areas of the coast, so I have been hiking with full gear, including a tent. I must really pay more attention to packing as my pack was a bit heavier than I would have liked it to be.
The northern coast is not really rugged, but still steep enough to be interesting. With the strong tides in this region whole areas are bare during the low tide but may make passing through them impossible during high tide. Camping out was fun, and I was actually glad to have some sea fog on the second day to avoid the blistering sun to some extend. Blistering indeed, I have a bit of a nasty sunburn in the back of my neck.
Traveling took a bit longer than I hoped for, but I did manage to squeeze in a visit to the Mont-Saint-Michel, one of those must-have-seen places in France.
Finally some good news: my camera survived its first drop test.
Last weekend it was time again to pick up on the GR57. This time we started in Gouvy as the part between Le barrage de Nisramont and Gouvy severly lacks in public transport options. We'll do that another time when we have two cars available. The first day took us from Gouvy to Troisvierges through rolling farmland. We took a quick detour towards the highest point of Luxemburg which was just a kilometer or so from the track. Amazing that it wasn't part of the track, even though the whole thing is rather unassuming.
The second day we went from Troisvierges to Clervaux in a different landscape. Most of the day we walked through the valley of the Woltz, with much more forest and quick steep hikes up and down the plateau surrounding the valley. With the high humidity we did not have much energy left in the end, and we were glad we only had to hike a meager 12km. We still took quite a bit of time, mostly caused by excessive picture-taking. I love my new camera!
Today I'm feeling the strain on my muscles from the activity last Sunday. As a summer reunion of my skiing friends we had a Golf clinic at the club Het Rijk van Nijmegen. The weather was great, perhaps even a bit too warm and sunny, and all in all we had quite a fun afternoon. It wasn't my first golf clinic but I think I picked up the most from this one, and I had some really nice swings during pitching. Still, I find the putting part of the game annoying, and since that is where the game is won I won't be picking up golf any time soon.
Last Tuesday cabfab building, where our office is located, was officially opened. Never mind that the entrance is currently still a big mess, but hopefully that will all be finished soon. A good party was thrown and there were a lot of people in the building wandering around. Anticipating on this we decided to pimp up the office a bit with some nice flowers, and I couldn't resist taking some pictures with the new camera. The highlights are on flickr.
The web and beyond was the title of the 10th SIGCHI.NL yearly conference. I've was involved with SIGCHI.NL since its inception, even being one of the signing ACM members needed to get the organization officially started. For a variety of reasons I've not been involved in the last few years, and in fact I had never been to one of the yearly conferences so far.
This year I did go because the topic is close to what we want to achieve with Winkwaves and because my co-worker Mark gave a presentation on our experiences with Wat vinden wij over. It was nice to come back into the community and catch up with a lot of friends from the years past. On the one hand it was like I never really left, but on the other hand many things also changed, most notably the fact that the community was vibrant and a good mix of old and young, also with more business-oriented people than I remembered from years past. It was good to 'come home' but also realize that the community had gone on and prospered with a lot of optimism about the future.
The program to me was only part of the attraction, as I'm always leaning more towards the community aspect, but certainly there were some good keynote speakers. Jared Spool kicked off with a good overview of web 2.0 aspects, with some good examples of past developments and good questions about web 2.0 that we need to solve. Sadly, Jesse James Garett's presentation was lacking in direction and punch. While everything he said was true it was not inspiring and missed out on making a point. The closing keynote by Steven Pemberton stressed the idea of making sure to design (web) standards also from a usability standpoint and to facilitate development of good services so that they would be easy and cheap to develop, and using some of those spare CPU cycles on everyone's desktop to make things easier to develop. He mentioned declarative programming languages as a possible way to make this happen. It reminded me of some of the constructs in Ruby on Rails where simple declarations (e.g. of a relation between two database tables) extends the class objects and makes available a whole set of methods to interact with the data based on this relation. Certainly a big time saver (provided what you do actually makes sense within the assumptions of the framework).
All my previous attempts at making my own bread sucked. Well, at least compared to the latest incarnations. Given that I’ve had quite positive feedback on previous attempts I’m now left to wonder: were people just polite? Truth to be said, whenever I had some of the old kind of bread left I’d toss it. Yesterday I happily ate it with some soup. I guess it’s not so much that my previous bread was good, but that supermarket bread in general is really bad.
But now I think I cracked it (a bit at least). The right ingredients and a good set of instructions make all the difference. Finally I’m making bread that is comparable to what I can buy in a good artisan baker’s shop!
Yesterday there was finally some respite from all the rain that has been falling in the last week, so I took the opportunity to continue my hike on the Grenslandpad. This time the path ran mostly through the Chaamse bossen, which gave some protection against the wind.
Again not so many pictures. My camera is slowly failing on me, in particular the batteries. I feel I'm getting closer and closer to buying a new one...
While I thought that I fixed my previous problems with my Foretrex it turned out that it was only a temporary measure. I think that my tinkering and prodding eventually fried the board in the loader clip-on module. In any case, the unit would no longer recharge or connect to the PC. Tired of dealing with it and annoyed I could not use the Foretrex anymore I ordered a new loading unit from Waypoint which promptly arrived in a week's time. Everything worked out of the box and I've been using the Foretrex again for some of the recent hikes. I hope that my problems were just a one-off and that the replacement bracket will hold out much longer.
XEmacs support in Gentoo is currently less than stellar due to lack of a maintainer. Looking at some of the ebuilds this situations has been going on for some time. Some of the XEmacs lisp packages have not been updated since 2003 and there are a bunch of bugs open for XEmacs-related issues.
I’m not sure I would like to become a maintainer for XEmacs in Gentoo. The process of becoming a Gentoo developer seems a bit convoluted and unclear, and I am also not sure that I can bring the commitment to do this for some time. But having a need for some of the updated packages and hating to see my efforts only being useful for myself I set up an overlay for updated XEmacs stuff. It can be accessed at
http://moving-innovations.com/svn/xemacs. So far I have only added the packages that I have installed myself. Maybe, if things work out well, I’ll also include other packages and an updated xemacs itself. Let me know if you think this is useful or if you have specific requests.