Hack of the Day: Versioned Tomboy notes

I have a “TODO” tomboy note that I constantly update with little notes, things to pick up at the store, etc. However I don’t like the fact that my history isn’t saved. In one case I had a URL I had plunked in my TODO but hadn’t kept anywhere else. I went to find it recently, and I had deleted it from my note. Luckily I had a backup with the old version of the note, and I was saved.

It would be nice to have a versioning plugin for tomboy (like a wiki) but I’m too lazy to code the solution, so I came up with an Awesome Hack instead: CVS and cron. I turned my ~/.tomboy into a CVS repository, and set up a cron job that would scan my notes every hour and commit to the repository. Now if I want to go back in time I can browse through the revisions.

Having an actual versioning plugin would be preferable to all this, but barring that this is a decent enough stopgap measure.

Amsterdam Photos

Amsterdam photo time!

Pedestrians, bikes, trams, cars

Char and I had a lot of fun in Amsterdam. She did a lot of shopping, and I did a lot of World Cup-watching.

shop shop shop

Amsterdam is a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. Often there will be multiple instances of a chain store on different blocks, adding to the disorientation. Luckily all roads lead to Central Station, so it’s easy to get lost but also easy to find your way back

little public art

Early on I saw the Heineken experience by myself (Char was shopping at the time). I knew it would be dumb and expensive, but I didn’t realize just how dumb it could get. The beginning of the “Experience” is a museum-like area that tells the story of how Heineken was founded. It has the letter the guy sent to his mom (zing!) saying he had bought a brewery, and the marble cornerstone of his first brewery… Except that the letter is a xerox, and the cornerstone is a plastic cast! Totally low-rent.

this is funny, through

The Experience was about twice as long as it needed to be. Half way through you get your first free beer, but then it’s off to more horrible branding experiences. The movie presentation of a first-person view of a bottle being filled with beer was a notable low point. About the time I got to the Pod People section of the Experience, I couldn’t take the horrible green branding of it all and had to leave. Yes, I turned down more free beer!

Near the Heineken brewery is a Pancake restaurant in an old carousel. They had kept a few of the horses, but despite the good pancakes I would have preferred a carousel.

Char and I did some Geocaching in Amsterdam. I had printed out some caches before I left for Europe, picking three caches with increasing levels of difficulty. The first cache was a simple one that led to an interesting point in Amsterdam — a copper plate from which everything is measured. I’ll let this informational sheet explain:


Amsterdam Marker Explanation

Char Touches the Bronze Knob

Water level indicators

I was “warned” before I went that Cafes and Coffeeshops are different things in Amsterdam. As it turns out, there’s no way you could mistake a coffeeshop for a place that serves coffee. The odor and clientele should be enough to clue in even the cluelessest foreigner.

One thing I noticed was that many of the coffeeshops are blatant trademark violations:

The blur is on purpose, folks

Other coffeeshops included The Doors Coffeeshop, The Pink Floyd Coffeeshop, Popeye’s Coffeeshop, Hill Street Blues, and many others. I’m surprised that they are allowed to exist, considering that a big company probably wouldn’t want their “properties” associated with drug use. Yet, there they are.

Char has the munchies 😛

There are cars of all sizes in Amsterdam. I even saw a Hummer

Char poses in the ‘d’ of a large “IAMSTERDAM” logo

logo in back

And of course our favorite sign, which introduced us to a new Dutch word:

Let op! Drempels!


Our Summer Vacation 2006

Char and I went on vacation to Paris and Amsterdam for two weeks this summer. Here are a lot of pictures:

We stayed at a really nice place called Swell Apartment Paris. It’s basically a little apartment in Montmartre with a bedroom, living room, and kitchen, and you can stay there for a week and pretend you live in Paris. We probably wouldn’t have stayed there if I hadn’t gotten my currencies confused. I thought we were paying in Euros, but it was actually Pounds. Oops.

The room didn’t come with internet, but if I put the laptop on the desk I got a signal from an unsecured network called THOMSON. I don’t normally steal internet, so I connected only when I needed to to look up maps, check schedules, or get a weather report. It was really nice to have, but I knew I couldn’t expect it to last. Indeed, on the last day THOMSON had suddenly become a secured access point. THOMSON, sorry I caused the trouble, but thanks so much for letting me in as long as you did.

The guest book records the incidents when these letters have fallen off the wall

Amazing props that wouldn’t look good anywhere else

There was construction going on every morning, but you can’t win ’em all

Char wakes up

Little but very functional kitchen (with washing machine!)

The first thing we did was check out the cemetary at Montmartre. Some awesome monuments here.

There was also a cute cat who had made its home in the cemetary

Next we walked over to Sacre Coeur. It was very crowded and hot, and we had forgotten our sunblock. Luckily we came through relatively unscathed, although Char was extremely close to burning.

Char at Sacre Coeur

Owen in the same place

We saw some obvious sites, like the Arc de Triomphe,

l’Hotel de Ville,

Notre Dame,

and the Eiffel Tower (although we are on it in this shot

We also visited Le Jardin des Plantes, and saw the zoo there. The zoo’s primary residents were birds and hoofed mammals, but they also had some reptiles and one big cat (that exhibit was under repair).

Frog not in the zoo

Outside the zoo we set up the camera and took the only shot of both of us for the whole vacation. I too paranoid to lend anyone my camera, so I needed a relatively secluded area where there was a platform I could place the camera upon. Thankfully the photo is excellent.

One of the many small hoofed creatures in the zoo

Another cute hoofed thing

Sleeping, not headless, owl

Evil-looking vulture

Another evil bird

Both Char and I think this bird looks straight out of The Dark Crystal

I finally meet the elusive cassowary, which I learned much about in Australia. There’s a section of the rainforest in the Northeast that seems to revolve completely around the cassowary. For instance there’s a tree that makes a nut so poisonous nothing can eat it — except for the cassowary. And that tree survives because the cassowary eats it and drops it somewhere else. There were at least five or six examples of this type of symbiotic behavior.

Char meets a very stately individual

There was one big cat at the zoo, a Jaguar. It was pacing around its cage when we saw it

Later on it got all tuckered out

Pandas! Although the non-giant kind. They were being fed just as we got there. That certainly woke them up.

A misc shot:


The illusion. I found out about this online, and used google maps to pinpoint the exact location of this particular curiosity. Let’s say, however, that you stumbled upon the following stretch of road without knowing what was going on:

Hm… grafiti perhaps?

Want to know what it is? Take a guess and then click through to see the answer!

Since this post is damn long, I’ll be posting Amsterdam photos tomorrow.

Continue reading “Our Summer Vacation 2006”

Shake Shake-up

So everyone in the compositing world (defined for me as fxguide.com and This Week in Media) is talking about how Apple has dropped the price of Shake to 500$ (from 2000$) and has stopped development on it. They plan to spend the next two years or so developing a next-generation compositor to replace it.

This is all fine and good for Macintosh users, but as a Linux user I see the writing on the wall: No more compositor from Apple. There is no way that Steve would develop a next generation compositor and maintain Linux compatibility. He’s going to make sure that their new software is going to fit snugly in with the rest of the Final Cut Studio, and that’s absolutely his right.

The support of Shake for Linux was only out of necessity and was half-assed to begin with (not even basic /dev/dsp sound output!) but with this announcement there’s no question about where the Linux graphics market is headed. It’s Autodesk on the ultra-high end or nothing.