Last year at Christmas time, we re-decorated Mack’s room. Emily has wanted her room painted and re-decorated ever since. This Christmas she got her wish, and we managed to totally suprise her. We sent her for a two-night sleepover with Grandma, and spent two days painting (in three different tones of pink), and building and decorating in her room. Jenn’s good friends Shelly and Tanya were lots of help. Emily got a new desk, shelves, storage, chairs under her high-rise bed, and curtains. It turned out pretty cool. The look on her face when she got home and saw her room for the first time was priceless. Her jaw literally dropped.
It was a lot of work, but that look on her face and the hugs afterward were all worth it.
I had a bit of an unexpected windfall this December. I really wanted to get Jennifer an iPod for running in her half-marathon clinic training, but it was just not in the budget this year, until the unexpected windfall, which alowed me to fit the thing in the Christmas present budget. By the time that I found out I could buy one there were no iPod nanos to be had in the city. I called Westworld Computers and they said they might get more in before Christmas, so I called them to pester every morning and lucked out. I got a white 2GB iPod Nano for Jenn. She was shocked and she cried. It was awesome.
I also got one, by splitting the cost with my dad (thanks loads, Dad!). I’m listing to a podcast of Lugradio right now as I write this.
Sir Issac Newton! May the force be proportional to the time derivative of your momentum!
Oh, and Merry Christmas.
I really want to get MailSaver 4 done for year end. I’m thinking I’m not going to be able to have all the features I wanted to implement due to lack of time. Two things are making life difficult for two new features. First, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around using MailSaver while proxying as another user, and second, I have unsuccessfully been experimenting with search folders.
I have successfully added a few important things however, and I’d like to get them into users’s hands, before all my time gets eaten up by the new financial management system server construction in January.
First, I have internationalization working so that the menu selections for MailSaver work in severa non-english versions of GroupWise. This works well for every language I have implemented so far. Second, I have fixed the bug that caused MailSaver to stop processing when it encounters a corrupt file or zero-length attachment in your message store. Third, I have added the feature of saved location retention per Cabinet folder in MailSaver. This makes MailSaver remember the last place you saved a Cabinet folder to, so that it automatically saves to the same place again. Finally, I’ve added a “previously saved with MailSaver” attribute to messages, so that if you use MailSaver on the same folder with the same contents multiple times, you don’t get duplicates of the saved messages.
These features comprise enough for me to be happy with a release, so hopefully I can get things cleaned up enough to package and create an installer for the user-base before the New Year.
At Christmas, everyone gets overdosed with Christmas music. For me, the most painful experience is to be subjected repeatedly to Boney M’s Christmas album. Once per year (or every couple of years) is enough. I’ve been listening to it (involuntarily) at work, on the radio, in the mall, and seemingly everywhere I go, for weeks. Oh, my Lord!
Emacs is the uber-program, a veritable operating system disguised as an editor. I started using emacs in the first half of the 1990s, in emx, a POSIX emulation layer under OS/2. I learned all the keystrokes for basic editing, and since emacs is fairly platform-neutral (exists for Windows, BSD, BeOS, OS/2, Linux, and pretty much any UNIX you care to name) it is available on all my computers and has been for years.
I was recently looking into trying to use emacs as the email editor for Novell Evolution, but sadly Evolution doesn’t support using an external editor. Instead, you can have hokey emacs key-bindings in the Evolution message editor, which is not the same at all.
In the process, I thought, gee, it would be nice to be able to blog straight from emacs. I did some googling and found an emacs lisp package called mt.el, which adds a Movable Type editing system to emacs. I tried it out today and it sort-of worked. Some of the functions didn’t though, so I looked through the blog of the author, Bill Stilwell, found his email address, and emailed him about Movable Type 3.2, the current platform of my weblog. He emailed right back, saying he had only recently updated his blog to MT 3.2, and he would be looking at fiddling with mt.el over Christmas break. Wow, talk about responsiveness.
Anyways, in the mean time, I’ve just decided to modify my shell script newnote.sh, which I used to use all the time to do electronic diary writing before I stated blogging, to make new blog entries, which I can edit locally, and then copy and paste into the web blog entry form in MT. I find I can write much more fluently in emacs than in some web-based form, and I have my spell checking tools, and lovely keystroke editing commands available. I’ll check back about mt.el in the new year and see if it works for me. If not I will have to try to hack it to get it working, because blog editing in emacs is just so much better than the alternatives.
Next I have to see how many other of my day-to-day computer tasks I can integrate into emacs.
This Monday the kids had their waterpolo Christmas party at practice. The premise was, play waterpolo against the parents, and then eat pizza. Sounds good, right?
We had a rousing game of waterpolo, for pretty much the whole hour of practice, using the whole 25 metre pool. I was dogged by two kids on my back for most of the time, which resulted in me being pretty dead tired by the end. Jenn fitted out Mack with one of those “aquacize” belts, and with that thing on he was much better able to keep up with the action. He scored two goals, and was pretty excited. Emily also tried hard to be in position to help out her team and score goals, and coach Tim made a point of making sure she got the ball a few times. Tim played on the kids team. Despite the parents’ best efforts (including a couple of goals by Jenn and me), the kids ruled the pool. Emily scored the game-winning goal against me in net, and the kids won 11-10.
They all scarfed down the pizza, and Tim even put together a little gift bag for each of the kids. It was a well done Christmas party and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.
Tuesday was the day when I paid the piper for all that swimming with kids on my back and ball throwing. My shoulder was (and still is) pretty sore, and my calves, for some reason, were cramping up at the end of the game, resulting in tender legs Tuesday.
We spent the evening with the Brands this weekend, to get together for a bit of Christmas celebration. Our families are both so busy for the next couple of weeks that it was the best time for us to all get together. It’s amazing to see the kids and how much they’ve grown. This is the 10th Christmas we’ve known them as parents (or is it 11th already). Wow, it doesn’t seem that long, but eleven, nine, and six-year old kids are incontrovertible evidence. Evan’s into men’s shoes already, and I’m sure he’ll tower over me before he’s done growing. Likewise for our Emily. At nine, her inseam is almost the same as Jenn’s.
The kids had fun together and exchanged gifts, and we spent a nice but all too infrequent evening just enjoying Mark and Barb’s company. That’s the best thing about Christmas time for me, being with friends and family.
W00t! Finished Christmas shopping already. This is the earliest I’ve ever been done. Amazing. It seems like Christmas is coming very quickly this year, and next year is going to be one heckuva busy year at work. 2005 just whipped by, and 2006 will probably do the same.
I’ve been working on MailSaver 4 today. I managed to get the bug I mentioned in the last post, where MailSaver would stop, fixed. What was happening was that MailSaver would encounter a message with a zero-byte attachment, or with a subject line that had some bizarre character set that it didn’t know how to handle, and it would quit in the middle of processing a list of messages. Now, it just skips the message it doesn’t know how to handle and continues. Much better.
I also spent some time today writing a (gasp) Help file for MailSaver. Yes, there is actual on-line help for MailSaver now available, and it will be included when Version 4 ships.
I’m still trying to figure out if there is a way to get MailSaver 4 to work correctly with proxy accounts, so that if you login as user A and then use proxy to become user B, you will be able to archive user B’s mail with MailSaver. That’s proving kind of tricky, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it to work or not.