Monthly Archives: May 2009


HP HDX suspend/resume under Linux

If you happen to own an HP HDX series (or other) laptop, and have been having no luck using suspend/resume, help is here. HP released a new BIOS today that fixes a problem with accessing hard drives after a resume. It now seems to work quite beautifully for me. That was the only thing that didn’t work well out of the box with Ubuntu, so I’m really glad it’s fixed.

Here’s a ticket in the kernel bugzilla with all kinds of details about this:
Kernel bugzilla
HDX BIOS update F23A


Collected Facebookings, part 1

(because they’re so bleedin’ precious.)
Steven Ourada pretended to have a dream about being an ‘always-on’ performance artist whose life’s project was to become so bland, inoffensive, noteworthless, timid and unlovable that whenever he left the room, anyone remaining would, if queried, be completely unable to describe any attribute of him. They would not, of course, be so queried.

Steven Ourada needs your money to continue a research agenda to explore the hypothesis that extraterrestrials have discovered a neurological loophole by which they can cause humans to hear snippets of music and jingles that to us seem random, but are actually carefully planned to try to convey an important message. (cont.)

Steven Ourada … Currently, we believe the message to be somewhere between ‘Who wants cake?’ and ‘Left hip pocket, fourth drawer down, 501 Wembly Road’. As you can see, there is more work to do, so please give generously.

Steven Ourada would sometime like to visit the Over Easy universe. You know, that universe in which the laws of physics are sufficiently different from our own as to permit the possibility of cooking eggs over easy. I bet in that universe, Falco had a series of hits through the early 90’s.

Steven Ourada imagines a world in which surfaces of all genera can live in harmony. Yes, you’ll openly point out that cones and spheres are homeomorphic, but who among you will say “And tori, too, are members of this equivalence class!”?


Programming, these days

With the confluence of open source, web forums and search engines, Linux distros, email, etc., it’s certainly a different world in which to program than it was when I was first learning to program 27 years ago. My little experience today was in trying to get a little command-line client to FreshBooks for quickly logging a bit of time.

  • Search for such a thing. No good hits.
  • Search for FreshBooks API wrappers. Don’t wanna write in Perl, PHP, or ActionScript, so I’ll go with Ruby.
  • Get Ruby: apt-get install ruby.
  • Learn how to write some stuff in Ruby with various web searches leading to tutorials, forum posts, blog entries, etc.
  • Learn what Ruby gems are, install the gem installer (apt-get install rubygems), install the FreshBooks API gem (gem install freshbooks).
  • Write some code that fails. Dig into gem code and put some debugging puts’s in there. Find the root cause of the bug in about 20 minutes, try a hack to fix it, it works.
  • Try to report problem to maintainer. Find that the version in the gem whosit is actually an old version written by the previous author/maintainer.
  • Find a link to the new maintainer and the project page on rubyforge.
  • Browse the source and see that the gem is totally different. Uninstall old one, download this one.
  • Learn what Rakefiles are with some web searches, install rake (apt-get install rake), install some dependencies with gem installer, rake it.
  • Adapt my code to one of the changes by reading the code (_not_, I might add, the comments, because the comments were out of date).
  • Find that the code now fails again, which I sort of expected.
  • Repeat puts-based debugging process and learn that the old bug was fixed but a new one was introduced.
  • Hack a fix for new bug, it works.
  • Report problem to new maintainer. He might tell me that it’s my problem and not a bug in the gem, but whatever, I have what I need and maybe the code will be better for it next time someone tries it…

I won’t bother to enumerate all the differences between that and my early experiences with programming, but to give a little taste, here was the scene for 9-year-old Steven: 4kB pocket computer programmed in BASIC, the only I/O being the keyboard and screen, the only contact with the larger programming world being the computer’s 100-page manual, etc.