Toxic Elephant

Don't bury it in your back yard!

Addicted to Caffeine

Posted by matijs 25/02/2006 at 15h35

Today, I was suffering from a very bad headache. I was curled up on the couch, cursing the loss of a saturday, when I could have been processing lots of overdue paperwork. Then suddenly, I replayed in my head the moment I last put coffee from the bag I buy it in into the storage container. I realized the bag had a blue print on it, meaning it was decaf coffee. Oh no! The two cups I had this morning to satisfy my addiction were in fact decaf! Clearly, the bad headache was a caffeine withdrawal symptom. I immediately made a third cup, this time with the full goodness of caffeine. Now I just have to wait for it to take effect.

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New Year

Posted by matijs 12/01/2006 at 21h42

My resolutions:

  • Answer all relevant e-mail within a reasonable time.

  • Find out what I really want to be doing, and do that.

And of course:

  • Post to my blog more regularly. I’m going to try mondays, but don’t hold your breath.

I realise these are resolutions of widely varying importance.

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Wind-up Grandmother

Posted by matijs 07/12/2005 at 09h44

Uncountably many years ago, there was a toy product called My Little Pony.
I don’t know if it still exists, at least I haven’t seen it in a long time.
These toys were little plastic horsies in bright unnatural colours with
long flowing manes that, significantly, could really be combed. Apparently,
girls like that sort of thing.

At the time, me and my friends, being the sort of people who like that sort
of humour, thought of variations on this product, and came up with what we
then called ‘My Little Bejaarde’. For those readers not fluent in the dutch
language, ‘bejaarde’ means ‘senior citizen.’

We thought of little advertisements, that would mention the accessories
that could be added (like, a wheelchair), and the fact that they had hair
that you could really comb. As a spinoff, a board game was developed (I
have it at home), and then, a computer version of that board game. That
computer game ran on MS-DOS, and crashed (on) Windows. It’s that long ago.

As of this year, thanks to the business genious of Chinese toy makers, this
fantasy is now a reality. My newspaper reports that Chinese wind-up toy
makers mainly work to provide toys to western toy collectors, not children.
In a flash of business insight, they created the wind-up grandmother. She
shuffles about shaking her little had, helped up by that wonderful enabler
of the truly ancient, the rollator.

The toy elderly are finally a reality. But sadly, my chances of becoming
the owner of this marvel are dim: This toy is such a hit, that the shop in
my city that had them is now sold out!

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Scientific American Has a Blog

Posted by matijs 02/11/2005 at 23h37

I just got my Scientific American e-mail newsletter, where they formally launch the new editors’ blog. Cool!

Finding the RSS feed was a bit difficult, since the link for it leads to a non-existing Page.cfm (cfm? ColdFusion? Who uses that these days?), totally lost on a PHP website. A quick view source later, and I have their RSS feed, so I can read their posts in the comfort and superior font choice of my feed reader.

You can also read the blog in your browser of course.

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Upgraded to typo 2.5.6

Posted by matijs 19/10/2005 at 20h20

Success! Since mirroring just the trunk didn’t work for me,
I now have a full mirror of typo’s subversion repository (including my complete local history in the /typo/local branch, yay!). I had hoped svk’s smerge would then make hopping from one release to another using tags a breeze. That didn’t work either.

Luckily, svk info shows me exactly which trunk revisions these releases are a copy of. Using that, I was finally able to merge the changes into my local copy cleanly.

So, my blog has been upgraded. This means less customization of the typo code, since a lot can now be adjusted in the theme.

svk’s merge really needs to be changed to support tagging better.

[Update: svk log shows the log messages that mention the revisions of the previous merge]

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SVK smerge mystery

Posted by matijs 16/10/2005 at 17h18

I’m still trying to track typo’s releases while keeping my local changes. So, I have mirrored the full typo repository, and at some point I did:

svk smerge /typo/mirror/tags/release\_2\_5\_5

Now, I want to update to 2.5.6. Unfortunately, doing:

svk smerge -C /typo/mirror/tags/release\_2\_5\_6

gives me lots of conflicts even for files I did not touch myself. And look at the first line I get:

Auto-merging (0, 651) /mirror/tags/release\_2\_5\_6 to /local/trunk (base /mirror/trunk:433)

This is strange, since:

\> svk info /typo2/mirror/tags/release\_2\_5\_5
Copied From: /mirror/trunk, Rev. 530
Merged From: /mirror/trunk, Rev. 530


\> svk info /typo2/mirror/tags/release\_2\_5\_6
Copied From: /mirror/trunk, Rev. 648
Merged From: /mirror/trunk, Rev. 648

So, I would expect it to start the merge at 530, not at 0:
It’s trying to merge a lot more than the difference between releases 2.5.5 and 2.5.6.

Why doesn’t this do right thing? SVK hasn’t forgotton that I merged 2.5.5, since re-merging that results in an empty merge. A mystery.

[I have put this question on the svk wiki at]

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Customizing Typo

Posted by matijs 27/08/2005 at 18h13

For many reasons, I like to customize the typo program code a little. Much, but not all is customizable by using themes.

I keep my version in a local repository, and I’ve just updated to typo 2.5.5. Here is the way to do these updates, partly so I can remember it myself.

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Debian Update Withdrawal Syndrome

Posted by matijs 27/07/2005 at 22h53

Debian’s ftp-master is down, which is the most likely cause (as far as I can tell, i.e., not very far) for a complete lack of updated packages for the past four days.

What worries me most is that how obsessively I keep checking if anything is happening already, and how uncomfortable this lack of updates makes me feel.

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From Bryar to Typo

Posted by matijs 24/07/2005 at 18h26

As of yesterday, my blog runs on Typo. All in all, I have been quite satisfied with Bryar, but it was time for a change.

I like Bryar because it is simple (no frills, entries are stored as files), and yet easy to customize (to change the layout there's basically one template to update). In addition, it is written in Perl, a language that I like, and that I'm fluent in, so getting it to work the way I wanted was easy. So, I'm happy that I chose it a year ago.

A combination of events lead me to change over to Typo.

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Creating Type1 Fonts Directly From Metafont Sources

Posted by matijs 10/07/2005 at 12h47

I take a great interest in type design. I'm not sure when it started, but no doubt it has something to do with the following: A long time ago, I invented a writing system for the language of my imaginary country. Since then, I've created several fonts for this writing system. Since I'm only an amateur, I can't afford to buy any of the professional tools for font making, so I have had to resort to free tools (for varying definitions of free).

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