Monday, December 10, 2007

Come on ......

Evolution, the size of your preferences window is shameful. I'm using the C locale with a resolution of 1280x800 and the preferences dialog cannot fit completely on my screen. This is a known bug at lower resolutions as well. It appears that the "Mail Preferences" selection in the left frame is the culprit. The "General tab in particular since none of the others occupy the whole window. Please fix this!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I successfully defended my Masters thesis Monday afternoon and my submitted manuscript was approved yesterday. This means that aside from my math final next Friday I'm a free man. I've been using my newly found free time to triage and fix some bugs in seahorse and upload state borders into OpenStreetMap. So far I've uploaded borders for SC, NC, FL, GA, TN, KY, AL and MS. I'm hoping to work my way across the country in the next couple of days.

I have some seahorse features I've decided to work on the next couple of weeks. They are in no particular order: adding passwords to gnome-keyring in the key manager, ACL lists for saved secrets in the properties of saved secrets, and possibly some evolution integration.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Luis: While it would be nice for it to be "open hardware" already, I wonder how long until someone hacks the Kindle to run Gutenburg project texts. Because it runs Wikipedia, I can't imagine it would be hard to do. However, it's very understandable that it would be the antithesis of Amazon's business model to provide quality free content and furthermore would be rude to use the wireless link(supported by buying items) to load Free content on the device. On the other hand, the USB link is fair game. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gmail encryption/signing

I spoke too soon as this signed email does not verify correctly. Google why can't we get this right?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

GMail part deux

I haven't noticed a lot of changes with the new GMail interface that has been recently delivered, which for the most part is a decidedly good thing. However, I decided to test out Seahorse's Epiphany plugin with the new plain text entry box and was delighted when my test email was delivered and the signature was good and the decryption didn't have a problem with the word wrapping. This was a major thorn in my side; preventing me from using signatures with my sent mail. Thank you to whichever brave Googler purposefully or inadvertently fixed this featurebug.

Also, I would like to join the band wagon in thanking the crowd over at Nokia and Maemo for accepting my application for a discounted N810. It will probably lead to an increase in my Verizon tax, but will be worth it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Since the end of August, my friend Kat and I have been coaching Clemson Crew's novice women squad, . This weekend we traveled to Chattanooga, TN to participate in our first competition of the season, the Chattanooga Head Race. While Kat and I are volunteers, we were paid in full for our efforts of the last month and a half by 2 out of 3 of our ladies' boats bringing home medals. Even though the third boat didn't place, they made a valiant effort and were only 6s off of the 3rd place time. We left Chattanooga extremely proud of our ladies and look forward to the next 3 weeks of practice before we again travel to Chattanooga for the Head of the Chattahoochie.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cory Doctorow

Cory made an appearance at Clemson University yesterday and I was lucky enough to break away from work to hear him speak. His talk was titled "From International Standards to Web Practices, IP Mania Has Undermined the Idea of Real Property, of Freedom, of Creativity." It was held at the lovely and historic Strom Thurmond Institute (see picture below).

Cory was an entertaining and informative speaker and I encourage any of you that get the chance to make time for hearing him. While the part of his talk concerning licenses was familiar to me, as I suspect would be to many of my p.g.o readers as well, I enjoyed his history lesson concerning WIPO's formation and how our (U.S.) free trade treaties are forcing developing countries to adopt our draconian IP laws as well as other measures that we would not tolerate in our country. His example of one is our treaty with Russia forcing them to license their optical media presses and be subject to command inspections. Good thing we aren't as worried about their printing presses eh? I thought his call to arms at the end was especially well received and when an audience member pointed out that the talk was being recorded and asked if it would be available, Cory released it in its entirety to the public domain. As such, when I can get a copy, I'll post it on YouTube and add a link from this blog to it.

Thanks Cory for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit us in Clemson!

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionShare Alike Cory Doctorow

Also, because someone on Flickr asked what's studied at the institute, I'll explain it here. The institute houses all of the documents from Strom Thurmond's time in the U.S. Senate. It is much akin to a president's library but less expensive and without the touristy stuff. It also houses the special collections from Clemson's library. The research arm of the institute is concerned with public policy at all levels of government.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Showing the GPG Key


This might be an instance where Seahorse's DBus interface could help you. If a user is part of the web of trust already, the dialog could possibly be skipped completely. Also, the key in question could be automatically acquired using the DiscoverKeys method.

In any case, I agree with the other comments regarding your "signature identifier" field in that the full finger print should be shown. Also, signature identifier is not a commonly used term that I'm familiar with and in any case it's a key identifier and not a signature identifier.

Let us (the seahorse devs) know if there's anything in the DBus interface that's missing that would make your life easier.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Haiku on the Fly

Breeze wafts through the trees
Undulating boughs above
Birds chirp merrily

Sunday, August 26, 2007

OpenStreetMap Presentation

This past Thursday, I gave a presentation on OpenStreetMap at the first meeting of CLUG for the fall semester. While a little long (about an hour and twenty minutes with demonstration) I think it was well received.

The slide deck (in PDF and LaTeX formats) and presentation resources are available from here.
The area used for the demo can be viewed as part of a slippy map here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Glynn, Welcome to the brotherhood of brewers. In the immortal words of Ben Franklin, "There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Linux Success Story

This is my Linux success story. Well, actually not mine because that was long long ago in a galaxy far far away but more of my adviser's. He bought a new desktop computer for his home use and when faced with learning Vista or sticking with XP came to my office and asked about installing Linux on it. At this point, I'm ecstatic with thoughts of seamless transferal of OO.o documents and a return to LaTeX for typesetting his documents.
Being a good member of CLUG it took me all of 2s to decided that our official installfest distro of choice, Ubuntu, was right for him.

After his white box computer arrived I burned an ISO of 7.04 and walked down the hall to get the install going. The live cd aspect of it flawlessly detected all of the hardware on the machine and after answering a few short questions the install was just like imaging a machine.

Post-install, I demonstrated Synaptic to get the Nvidia drivers, LaTeX and added Clemson's repositories for MATLAB and VPN software. I also installed the LaTeX plugin for Gedit which really ought to be packaged in Universe (hint hint).

Due to the short interval before the conference, I couldn't convince him to use Impress or LaTeX for his presentation, but he did generate his figures with OO.o Draw. He really likes what he sees and can't understand why anyone would need Windows. Maybe when we get back from Ottawa I'll get to install it on his main machine.

Cheers to the Ubuntu guys for making the install so painless and all of my favorite Gnomies for keeping the desktop rocking!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I'm sorry that I won't be joining all of you in Birmingham this week as I am in the final stages of preparing for a conference in Ottawa next week. I'm even sorrier that I'm missing the chance to meet my SoC student, Pinar.
She should be at GUADEC, so everyone be very friendly and let her know "Don't Panic."

If any of you are in the Ottawa area next week and want to join up, Hub and I are having a beer BoF meet up at some point you're more than welcome to get in on. Just let one of us know.

Also, I'm up for key signing, impromptu or otherwise, while I'm visiting our great white neighbor to the north.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Research Update

Sadly, there hasn't been much coding of late. I'm no longer blocking on my professor and am working at full speed to get ready for URSI USNC in Ottawa at the end of the month. After struggling with derivatives of Legendre functions, I managed to blitz through a good bit of analysis this afternoon. Hooray! This made up the bulk of the work for one of three papers my prof and I are presenting. The shop has finished 2 out of the 3 prolate spheroids I needed to make measurements and hopefully I will receive the third tomorrow. Making my calibration measurements went well, but I did have to cannibalize a dry cleaning clothes hanger to make a Teflon plug puller. It turns out that no matter how slick you think Teflon is if you have enough surface area friction matters.

List of things to complete in time for the Conference:
  • Prolate Spheroidal Monopole Measurements
  • Comparison of calculated input admittance to measured
  • Rayleigh Series Quasi-static Analysis and comparison to measurements
  • Elliptic channel with PEC cylinder code
  • Elliptic channel figures
It is quite the list but finishing the first three items will satisfy all of the non-writing work needed to finish my masters. Let us all hope I survive to make it to Ottawa!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In response:

I received a couple of comments regarding my last post on Seahorse's GNOME Keyring integration and would like to respond to them here so everyone not following the comments on my posts can see them. :P

Étienne: I would suppose this would depend on how you changed your session/login password if you did it via the About Me control applet, it could probably be modified to change the keyring password as well. I'm not sure how secure entries would be implemented for it without copying code though, perhaps with GNOME keyring's new secure memory API?

- What about thinkfinger integration? It seems like about some of gnome password dialogs support this (gdm,console), some do in a broken way (gksudo) and others don't (keyring manager, gnome-screensaver).

This might be useful but would need to be implemented on the gnome-keyring end. Luckily gnome-keyring is just a generic secret store and can do many such things. Also, I would imagine hardware for testing would be required.

- Why doesn't gnome-keyring just use your user password as the master password? Or, why can't gnome-keyring store my user password and my sudo password? One way or the other would seem more unified and consistent.

gnome-keyring can't simply use your user password unless you enter it as your master password because as a user, you don't have access to the hash of your system password stored in /etc/shadow. Étienne's comment mentioned libpam-keyring, but it's my understanding that you still have to originally set gnome-keyring to use your session password. Although now you should be able to get around the problem mentioned at the libpam-keyring site of not being able to change your keyring password. I suppose gnome-keyring could store your sudo password but I'm not sure that would be advisable (i.e. you might as well always run as root). This would probably require a patch to gksudo/whichever graphical auth library you're using for privilege escalation.

- It would be nice if gnome-keyring had some notion of "important" passwords vs everything else so that it can just go ahead and fill in the right values when I don't care sort of like firefox does when it doesn't have a master password set. Something in between where on a per password basis I can say "Always ask for master" would be cool.

This might be where an editor is needed to be able to set/unset the application access permissions. Right now if you select 'Always Allow' or 'Deny' there's no way to change that.

- Firefox and other apps integration: Firefox reimplements exactly the same functionality. Could gnome-keyring be swapped out in the gnome native builds like they have done for print and file dialogs?

I'm not sure about Firefox, but possibly Epiphany. There are some thoughts on that on l.g.o.

Seahorse - GNOME Keyring Integration

For all of you that have set your GNOME Keyring master password and long to change it, long no more! This previously missing functionality is now available in the 2.19.4 release of Seahorse. The text entries are "secure" in that your passwords will never be paged out of memory onto the disk and with recent upgrades to gnome-keyring itself, they shouldn't be paged out there either (development branch only). Here's what the tab in the Encryption Preferences control applet looks like upon a successful change:

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Behold the power of GNOME!

I'm a little bit behind on my /. reading, but today I noticed an article published Monday about the FireGPG extension for Firefox.

You may be thinking, "This news sounds familiar" and you'd be right sort of. That's right, if you've been using Epiphany and Seahorse, this functionality has been available since September in development versions. That's a good 6 months before a similar extension was available for FF. Behold the power of GNOME!

I wonder if they have a similar problem with GMail inserting <cr> or <lf> into text they want to verify?

Also for the keen observer, check out the FireGPG icon they included in the URL bar: Yep, that's the icon Seahorse provides for use in the GNOME menus and as our window icon. Hooray reuse! I wonder if they could use our DBus API if it's available?

Also, currently we don't have icons for the context menu items in our extension (I'm not sure FireGPG's are the most appropriate for this) but if anyone has icon ideas or better yet icons ;) you know where to put them.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hop to it

Now that I have a charger for my digital camera, I put it use taking some snaps of my hops vines in the garden.

Willamette Hops

Centennial Hops

The trellis itself.

Growing got off to a slow start, but ever since the Willamette vine reached the trellis things have really been taking off!

It's a shame that I've now used that blog title and will now be required to come up with new bad puns regarding hops.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

License Plates

There was a SNAFU with my registration and car tax this past week that led to a trip to the DMV, a trip to the county court house and then another to the DMV. When I made it back to the DMV I was quite ticked with the system. To make up for it and improve my day, I purchased the following plate:

I consider this a response to the "In God We Trust" plates that everyone and their brother is running around South Carolina with:

I would like to thank the Secular Humanists of the Low Country for making such a plate available.

Update (20070516): Hosting my own plate images, let me know if they still don't work.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Long time no blog

I realize it's been almost half a month since my last post, but end of semester duties and such take precedence. So in no particular order...

Seahorse: I've been made a co-maintainer and have mostly been focused on bug fixing and mentoring our SoC student, Pinar.

Open Street Maps: It owns my soul and is my new favorite form of procrastination. There is a warning on one of their pages about mapping becoming compulsive. I apparently read the warning and continued without a slackening of pace. OSM has replaced my attempt to use Google Maps' MyMaps feature to detail Clemson University. I have mostly been prepping for a future job with the NRO and updating the map via Yahoo!'s donated aerial imagery. If you've ever wondered where trains go and come from, the imagery is a good way to find out and why not map the tracks at the same time? I have purchased a USB GPS receiver (I know the box says Microsoft, but the receiver can be used with pure FOSS in the form of gpsd.) and can't wait to hit the trails with my bike to map the Clemson Experimental Forest. This may be the final straw in purchasing a N800, although if some kind embedded developer were to intervene on my behalf I may be interested in performing a Maemo port of Seahorse :).

School: Grades aren't in yet but between a take home exam and an in exam presentation, I can't help but believe the semester ended well. Hopefully, the metal shop will find the time to machine the parts I need to make measurements for my Master's thesis so I can wrap that up in time for August's graduation deadlines.

Conferences: While I probably will be unable to make GUADEC, my paper entitled "Prolate Spheroidal Monopole"
, the subject of my Master's thesis, has been accepted for presentation at the North American Radio Science Meeting in Ottawa from July 22-26. I'm already planning on trying to crash the Ottawa Linux Users Group picnic that week, but if there are any other Gnomies that would be interested in sharing a pint or signing GPG keys that week shoot me an email.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Google SoC

I'd like to join the crowd and welcome my mentee, Pinar Yanardağ, to the GNOME community and Google's SoC. I'm sure her blog will be syndicated in a prominent place soon enough(hint, hint p.g.o admins) so you all will be able to learn about her progress all summer and into the future (hopefully). She's so on the ball she's already created her own hackergotchi:

She'll be working on integrating Seahorse key selection dialogs(libcryptui) into Evolution as well using Seahorse's DBus interface for encryption and such. I'm also hoping to see some rocking integration with the e-d-s address book.

Please join me in welcoming Pinar and all of the other Summer of Coders to our fine community.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Slackware is Hard?!?


I realize your chart is pointed at the newbie, but quite possibly the only part of a new Slackware install that isn't entirely straight forward is partitioning your disk. I admit that the installer isn't graphical in nature, but neither is the Windows installer. For anyone not wanting to manually pick packages to install, the install all option is front and center. Upgrading Slackware is now as easy as Debian with the slapt-get tool. Granted that you can't install and update GNOME with slapt-get, as Patrick no longer builds GNOME and no one provides the appropriate repositories, but the folks over at Dropline GNOME do a fantastic job of keeping GNOME up to date with their installer and update applet.

I admit Slackware's not for everyone, but it's not the great evil it's made out to be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007



Tablet PC implementation? Allow beagle/tracker/whichever to search handwritten notes? Print out handwritten notes as text? Let the madness ensue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Google MyMaps

I've really been digging the new MyMaps feature of Google Maps. I even started working on a MyMap version of my university. However, I have a few suggestions/requests that would make this product even more useful for such a large and complicated area.

  • Allow showing and hiding "overlays" based on the same color. Also, allow a key for what each colored area means. (Residence Halls, Academic Buildings, Parking Lots, etc.)
  • Allow showing all areas and points of interest at once and not just those in the order they were created. Possibly allow sorting of the items allowing non-linear creation. (For instance, all buildings should be shown with their labels all of the time when the buildings overlay is shown)
  • In their blog post, Google indicates making your map public includes it in the search results, but that doesn't appear to be happening at present. (For instance search for "googleplex building 43" which is clearly marked on their example map of the googleplex. Also searching for "Clemson Crew Boathouse" doesn't return my campus map or this one.
I think this product has a lot of potential and makes it easy to get directions for places that don't necessarily have physical addresses, like the boathouse, but I'd like to see a little more functionality for "power cartographers".

Friday, March 23, 2007

Message Area Redux

In response to my earlier post about the message area, there were several more people that voiced the need for such a widget.

In fact pbor in #gnome-hackers voiced a vision I would support:

<pbor> sadam: actually I'd prefer to have a sexyer widget upstream :)
<pbor> sadam: it's something I wanted to try for a while but really can't find the time
<pbor> sadam: I want a GtkCurtain widget that drops down from the top (or the side) and covers the text *without* pushing it down
* lucasr|afk creates the page
<pbor> sadam: obviously it should drop down with a smooth animation and maybe be even slightly traslucent for the crack-addicts :)
<pbor> sadam: maybe it could be part of the "Make some core GNOME modules sexier" SoC proposed by vuntz

Of course I would be happier with a curtain widget that gave the coder the choice of whether to push the text down or not.

Gedit Message Area

Lucas and Gedit developers,

Is there any interest in pushing the message area widget upstream to gtk or libegg? I've looked at it and would like to make use of it for Seahorse plugins. Three of us probably shouldn't be maintaining our own separate copies of the widget.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekend Update

This weekend managed to be fairly productive. Saturday my roommate, Matt, and I tilled our garden and I finished my hops trellis. Sunday we planted the garden and returned our borrowed rototiller. It should only be a matter of time before we are flush with excellent produce. The climate in SC allows for a very long growing season so we'll probably do a replanting this summer to take advantage of the warm fall weather. When my hops rhizomes arrive at the end of the month our garden will be "produce complete".

Sunday night the four of us in the house went to see our friend Holly perform in the Vagina Monologues. We almost didn't get in because of the small theater it was being shown in. The Clemson ladies that performed it did an excellent job and I'd recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

It's good that so much got done this weekend as regatta season for Clemson Crew kicks off next Saturday in Aiken, SC with the Southeastern Regional Collegiate Sprints. In addition to being my first regatta as an assistant coach, I'll be racing the unusually popular Open Men's 1x.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

GNOME Build Bot

I noticed that builds of at least seahorse, gnome-applets, and gnome-power-manager are failing with the following error:
/home/gnomeslave/gnome/work/bin/lib/ undefined reference to `pango_font_description_get_gravity'
/home/gnomeslave/gnome/work/bin/lib/ undefined reference to `pango_layout_get_lines_readonly'
/home/gnomeslave/gnome/work/bin/lib/ undefined reference to `g_thread_gettime'
/home/gnomeslave/gnome/work/bin/lib/ undefined reference to `pango_font_description_set_gravity'
/home/gnomeslave/gnome/work/bin/lib/ undefined reference to `pango_gravity_get_type'

If anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Full Rate, Full Pressure
Straight Down the Course, All Out
Victory For All

Friday, February 16, 2007


Spheroid Radius
Changing the Convergence Rate
Complex Code Ensues

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Numerical Accuracy

Note: When computing values that need to be numerically accurate and calculated quickly carry any integration inside a summation when only one term in the summation contains the variable of integration. This results in a massive reduction of things that need to be computed. That is all. Carry on.

Daily Haiku

Azalea Blooms
Songbird Twitters Cheerfully
Sunlight Filters Down

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Cherry Blossoms Blow
Near a Tumbling Waterfall
Wind in the Willows

Tall Aspen Reach High
Hawk Soars Over the Meadow
Brother Bear Sleeps

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Seahorse Release

We've just pushed a new version of seahorse out the door. Please give us a hand with shaking out any remaining bugs before the 2.18 release by grabbing it and using it. You don't have to even be a 1337 2.17 using hacker to help, all of the new features work properly using libraries available in 2.16 and the appropriate non-gnome libraries, of course.

Monday, February 12, 2007


This morning PhD qualifier results for Clemson University's ECE Department came in. The electromagnetics group had a great showing with all 6 members that took the qualifier passing. Congrats to all of my fellow group members! Now get back to work !

Friday, January 12, 2007

Google RFE

If anyone at Google is bored and needs ideas for their 20% time, look no further!

  • Add the ability to poll confirmed guests to events in Google Calendar. This would be useful when ordering sandwiches or other food items for meetings or deciding where to go out to lunch.
  • In the interest of indexing and making all information available, Google could run an OpenPGP key server that synchronizes with the key server network. When searching for a name with the main search app, a key could be returned as a search result. In GMail, signatures of messages could be verified and a UI element could be presented to the user.
  • Add Google Checkout to Google Apps for Domains. This would allow groups to sell merchandise, collect money for events and trips and accept donations. Perhaps in the interest of not being evil have reduced or no fees for confirmed non-profit organizations as long as they use Google Words on their Google Pages site.
Those are a few of the ideas I have at the moment, but rest assured if I see any of them implemented I'll post more. :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The greatest depression ever!

Given Dave's post on investing with leverage, I'd like to point out that the Great Depression wasn't so much caused by the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as the fact that people had posted their homes as collateral for loans to invest in the stock market. When the market crashed and the lenders saw that they weren't going to be repaid, they started foreclosing on houses and farms set as collateral. With people losing their jobs and homes the Great Depression set in.

Cautionary tale aside, people invest with leverage all the time. In a short sell, one sells stock borrowed from others with the promise to return it by a certain date hoping the price will go down and they will pocket the difference. In a long sell, stock is purchased at the current price with money the investor has borrowed, often from the brokerage itself,
with the hope the price goes up and they will pocket the difference. In both of these cases, the non-leveraged portion of the investor's portfolio is used as collateral. Performing long and short sells requires a margin account with a brokerage of some kind.

Additionally, investors at the Prosper Loan Market Place are using their high credit ratings to secure sub-prime interest loans to invest in other loans on Prosper. Because the loans on Prosper are unsecured, the speculator could be burned if enough of their purchased loans default. They would still be on the line for making the monthly payments on the money they borrowed. I think investing in these characters is attractive for a lot of people because they view it as safer because their money has been lent to a person with a good credit rating to protect. However, one never knows the confluence of events that could occur. The speculator's loans could default and they lose their job leaving them to default on their own loan.

I think the real lesson here is that "investing" with leverage is entirely speculative and as a general rule no more than 5% of your portfolio should be held in speculative investments.

Disclaimer: The above does not construe actual financial advice. If you lose all of your money it's your own fault.