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Friday 31 May, 2002
# Ah, memories
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# It's Comics2002, down in Bristol, this weekend and I've just finished my preparations by folding 100 copies of TRS3. Made it slightly more work than I really needed by folding a sheet of A4 into three, rather than just in half, but it's a nice effect.

Picking up the pubmeet boys in a couple of hours, then off down the M5 for us. Not quite sure what I'll do when I get there as I haven't booked any accomodation, or even bothered to secure a ticket. Something'll turn up.
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Thursday 30 May, 2002
#
Been playing this Half-Life mod today, so have motion-sickness and eyestrain. What a buffoon.

This mod is meant to a have a Vietnam setting, so basically it crushes standard Half-Life fare together with bits of Apocalypse Now and the odd opportunity to massacre people in big straw hats. It's an amusing, if slightly sickening, diversion.

batty_bee said Well nice one bruvva, I'm downloading that as I type. Personally I'm hooked on the Firearms mod - version 2.6 has just been released and absolutely rox. [added 31st May 2002]

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Tuesday 28 May, 2002
#[linkfarm] Powerpoint Syndrome
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# It's my birthday tomorrow. I would like
- some new X-Acto knife blades, no10s by preference
- a new chain for my pushbike, and a link remover
- a contract that'll actually pay some money before I die
angry_john said Well, did you get your swag list ? [added 30th May 2002]
My Mum is going to get me the bike chain. No luck on the others yet :( [added 31st May 2002]

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# Ducks came back last night for a little swim round. The cats sat, fascinated, on the fence but the ducks seemed entirely unruffled by their attention.

The tadpoles are doing fine, John.

angry_john said Phew, I worry about the little fellas. [added 29th May 2002]

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Monday 27 May, 2002
# I ache all over, still.

Through a rather convoluted set of circumstances, I locked myself out of the house when I went to pick up the Bean from nursery on Friday night. For a while it looked like the only way I was going to get in was to break in through the back door. Leaving the Bean in the car, I scaled the gate on a mission to kick the door in.

On the telly, breaking in a door seems to involve little more than a bit of a gentle tap with your shoulder. I gave the back door a right old battering of shoulder charges and thumps with a scaffolding pole, and I just bounced off. That door wasn't shifting, which was annoying but at the same time comforting.

Eventually I admitted defeat, climbed back out over the gate, calmed the Bean down and found out that we didn't need to break in after all.

My shoulder, neck, arms and abdominal muscles all still hurt like hell whenever I move.
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Friday 24 May, 2002
# Ducks on the pond
They arrived last night just as Buffy was starting - I saw them out of the corner of my eye. I nipped out during the adverts to see them. First time they were engaged in some rather frantic looking duck-sex (not fun if your underneath, by the look of things). Next time, they were in a calmer mood, and I snapped this rather shaky picture.

The Bean and I went to look this morning, but there was no sign of them.

angry_john said Your place is like a nature reserve, frogs one minute, ducks the next. How are the frogs getting on anyway ? [added 24th May 2002]

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Wednesday 22 May, 2002
#[Arabica] Cut a new release bundling up all the various fixes and changes I've made over the last few days. It includes the Garden parser, which is a bit wobbly really and probably shouldn't be used for 'real' work.
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#[Arabica] Following a bit of a discussion with Darin Creason, I've added a third template parameter to the MSXML wrapper.

Up until now, the MSXML wrapper has called CoInitialize/CoUnitialize. This is fine for simple uses - where MSXML is the only COM component being used for instance. It causes problems for any one else - using multi-thread apartments and so on.

The additional template parameter allows you to specify how, or indeed whether, the MSXML wrapper tries to initialize the COM environment. The new default behaviour is as before, but if you situation is more 'interesting', you'll probably want to take a look at it.
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Tuesday 21 May, 2002
#[Arabica] I'm off to walk the dog in the rain. My new parser, called Garden, does enough to be useful. It does basic parsing, predefined entities and character entities. Doesn't do DTDs, external entities, namespaces or anything else not in ContentHandler. It's enough though.
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#[Arabica] Just discover that the expat wrapper didn't report processing instructions. Ooops. Fixed it.
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#[Arabica] Over the last few months I've spent a bit of time, on and off, looking at the Spirit parser framework. It's a pretty amazing piece of work which allows you to express parsers pretty much directly in EBNF. Needless to say it uses the miracle of template meta-programming in a pretty remarkable way. I'd always looked at it and thought this is exceedingly clever, but how do I actually use it, until last night. In five minutes, snatched before I put Daniel to bed, I had an aha moment.

This morning, I've used the Spirit framework to put together a new SAX parser, and it already calls all of the ContentHandler functions except skippedEntity. I think that's pretty incredible, given it took me two weeks to write an partial DTD parser and that only has about 5 things to notify. I've got no feel for how it'll compare with expat and the rest, too early, but there's already the obvious benefit of having nothing extra to link.
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# Disclosure May Endanger U.S. - A senior Microsoft Corp. executive told a federal court last week that sharing information with competitors could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. He later acknowledged that some Microsoft code was so flawed it could not be safely disclosed.
But what about all the problems that Microsoft spent the whole of February fixing? How many bugs did they fix? Oh, I remember, those figures are not available.

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# From Effector 15.14
New York - On May 8, 2002, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied 2600 Magazine's request for review of a November 2001 appeals court decision that upheld an injunction against the Web publisher. Major Hollywood movie studios obtained an injunction in 2000, barring 2600 Magazine from publishing or linking to DeCSS software that decodes DVDs.

Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, 2600 Magazine in January 2002 asked the entire appellate court to reconsider the decision that upheld the lower court's injunction.

The case is one of the first to challenge the anti-circumvention measures of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as an unconstitutional restraint on freedom of speech. EFF and 2600 Magazine are considering whether to appeal the 2nd Circuit's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For information on the 2600 case and related cases: http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/

This is really rather bad news - it holds up the DMCA (American laws do have cool names though) as 'good' law. The DMCA is a wide ranging and really rather draconian law. Part of it outlaws the circumvention of copy-protection software. On the face of it, that doesn't sounds to bad. However, by attempting to limit software piracy, it effectively outlaws even the discussion about copy-protection software, or even revealing that such protection is ineffective. True security in software is only achieved by open discussion of algorithms and implementations - only keys need to remain secret. The DMCA can be used, as it was here by the Motion Picture Association of America to stifle such discussion.

This all seems like a bit of local logically-flawed American foolishness - after all the MPAA said the video player would be the death of Hollywood too - but unfortunately the EU is planning similar law. The EU Copyright Directive is not a good plan. It would replace copyright with technology, remove 'first-sale' rights from electronic goods, may well outlaw cryptographic research and bias the software market in favour of large companies, resulting higher prices, ciminalisation of common activities (sell your old games in the small ads? - you're nicked, son), stifling information which probably should be public (let the bank know you stumbled across subscribed details on their website - you're nicked again) and a shrinking of the new economy we're supposed to be so excited about. Hurrah!

Bad legislation comes about through ignorance (both of the public and the of those drafting the proposal) rather than malice. It can be changed - educate yourself by having a browse around the Foundation for Information Policy Research and eurorights.org.
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Monday 20 May, 2002
#[Arabica] Few little fixes today - the expat_wrapper now calls startDTD("[dtd]")/endDTD("[dtd]) correctly, libxml wrapper now uses read rather than getline so should be marginally quicker (and the locator stuff should work better too), and a variety of fixed to the XMLFilterImpl stuff. Put together an initial SAX::Writer to demonstrate the filter stuff.

I also noticed that Xerces reports LexicalHandler event in the wrong order - the endDTD callback happens too early. I'll raises this as a bug tomorrow.
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Saturday 18 May, 2002
#[Arabica] Did some preliminary work on a SAX::Writer class, to send formatted output to an ostream. It's implemented as a a filter, rather than as a straight ContentHandler, so it could be dropped into a filter stack and used for debugging or something.
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#Birds You Don't See At The Reservoir Every Day - An Occasionally Series
A peacock.

OK, so it wasn't actually at the reservoir. It was on the roof of 145 Gillott Road. But that's only 20 yards away, so it still counts.

batty_bee said how strange [added 18th May 2002]

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Thursday 16 May, 2002
#[Arabica] After a bit of a web search, I don't think libxml does validate if you use its SAX interface. At least that's what I infer from this http://veillard.com/Talks/2002Guadec/slide8-1.html. I can't seem to get external entity resolution working either. Poo.
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#[Arabica] Hooked up the declHandler in the libxml wrapper.
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#[Arabica] Rebuilt against libxml 2-2.4.21. I'm trying to get validation to work, but it just doesn't seem to want to.
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#[Arabica] Xerces 1-7 supports the DeclHandler interface, so I've hooked that up too.
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#[Arabica] Back on SAXinC++ at last. That's not actually a good thing, because it means I haven't got actual paying work. Ah well.

Moved the Xerces support to version 1.7, and hooked up setFeature/getFeature. This means you can do things like turn validation and namespace support on and off.
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Wednesday 15 May, 2002
#[linkfarm] Yorkshire
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# Feel like a bit of a code god. Just finished porting this EasyCE library for Windows CE game development to the Qt toolkit, so that maybe this man will let me and Kal build his games for Linux and the funky Sharp Zaurus.
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Monday 13 May, 2002
# John Nathan-Turner - John Nathan-Turner, who has died after a short illness aged 54, was the last and longest-serving producer of Doctor Who, the most successful and enduring British science-fiction series ever. Having served on the show for 20 years, worked with six of the seven Doctors, and maintained strong ties with the fan community, his contribution to the Doctor Who phenomenon cannot be understated.
planetcutie said It's very sad. I heard about it early last week. During the 80s he copped a lot of flak from Whofans because of his 'light entertainment' guest star policy, his 'tacky and glitzy' production style and the awful shirts he wore. Still, his era was the one I grew up watching.

[added 13th May 2002]

EquusBoy [e] [w] said Oh my God! I can't believe he left us! Is Terry Nation still with us? [added 14th May 2002]

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Sunday 12 May, 2002
# A while back, Pete's Dad asked why West Brom are called the Baggies. I've asked around, but no one seems quite sure.
angry_john said Wow, this place is even better for top football gossip than looseeeeeend. Who on earth would have thought it. I'll be staying tuned during the World Cup that's for sure. [added 12th May 2002]
prashton said Thanks, Jez, for the research even if there doesn't seem to be a certain answer. Another piece of trivia, if you assume that West Bromwich is a part of Birmingham (west of Bromwichham a.k.a. Brummagem) then Brum will have three Premier Division football clubs next season. When did that last happen? [added 12th May 2002]
planetcutie said 1986. I had the Panini sticker album for that year, and I remember Villa, WBA and Birmingham being in the 1st Division. WBA were relagated that year. [added 13th May 2002]
prashton said Matthew's right, or is he? 1986 pre-dates the Premier Division, which means next season will be the first season when all three Brum teams will be in the Premier Division! Of course, the old First Division was the premier division, they just hadn't named it back then. [added 15th May 2002]

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# Penalty shoot-outs are terrible things. My brother Ali, a Norwich fan, is going to have a very long journey back home to Edinburgh. I feel a bit of a bastard about it, but I'm pleased Birmingham won (despite my newfound Baggies tendencies). As a kiddie I supported Ipswich (it was easier then, they were good), and I think it's good both they and Norwich are back in the same division.
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Monday 06 May, 2002
# Nat and the Bean are off out-and-about for the next couple of days, so it's just me and the furry family members in the house. Feels very odd - haven't been alone in the house for more than two or three hours since August 2000.

By coincidence I'm listening to Toyah's Phoenix album as I type - it's rather electro-poppy for my tastes, but there's enough of the old magic in there for me to give it a spin now and again.
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Wednesday 01 May, 2002
#[linkfarm] Common API for XML Pull Parsing
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#[linkfarm] Piccolo XML Parser
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#[linkfarm] How do SAX2 parsers perform compared to new XMLPull parsers?
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#[Arabica] Another little bug fix, this time in basic_oconvertstream::no_conversion. Thanks to Darin Creason for this.
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# The council elections are tomorrow, although you'd be forgiven for not realising. The climate of political apathy is such that the Conservative candidate in our ward doesn't have one of his own posters up in his own window.

It's the same guy who stood for Parliament last year, so he's lining up for his third crashing defeat in a row. Perhaps the local party will let him try for a winnable seat next time, although I hope not. Last November he read what I'd said about him after Googling for Ladywood Conservatives and got upset because I'd said he was "about 23".

Your mealy mouthed comments have been pointed out to me. You have no idea who I am am, or why I stood. Ladywood is my home, the place where I live and work, and grew up. As to crushing electoral defeat, that is of no account to me. What is important to me is that an alternative is offered to voters here after many years where there was a total lack of this. You need people like me to sustain democracy. As to any other Conservative having anything better to do, you are utterly clueless as to how political parties work. I had a very dedicated band of workers who battled against huge odds for no other reward than the love of what they did. When did you last do anything for that reason? I may stand again in Ladywood, because I am committed to the place. Therefore an apology for your comments will be welcome.

P.S. I am 26. At least try to do your basic research.

Way to connect with the voters Ben!
smellygit said We need people like him so we have someone to vote against :) [added 1st May 2002]
angry_john said I hope you got down on your hands and knees for him. I've heard Tory boys like that kind of thing. [added 1st May 2002]

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