First time being a Slashdot mod!

This morning I visited /. and found I had 5 modpoints for the first time. I've had metamodding privileges every few days for the past two or three weeks now, so now I've had an experience being a slashdot moderator.

How to become a Slashdot mod in 3 easy steps:
1. Login and set up autologin. You need to login more to become a mod.
2. Get your karma up to at least Good.
3. Wait.



School camp

This week I had school camp on from Wednesday to Friday at Scotts Head (on the NSW north coast). Quite good really, going canoeing, walking along the (several kms long) beach, walking on the beach at 9pm when it's pitch black, walking up the hill next to the beach, using the games room (and adjacent skate park) at the site (just a 100m from the beach), eating food, etc. Only bad part was the mozzies (Aerogard!), the rain and the cabins stunk (we were going to sleep in tents, but it was too wet).



The joys of apt-cacher

It makes creating Debian Live systems *so much faster*!


Debian Live

Debian Live is now at a stage where it is usable and working live CDs can be built. I have built several discs so far and tomorrow I will start distributing them...

I've written some HOWTOs for making new 'flags' for make-live, currently a shell script with the package names hard-coded, on the wiki (http://live.debian.net/wiki). I'm guessing Daniel and Marco are already working on the configuration files and stuff like that (there is a planned program split soon).

As I'm typing I'm building a custom Live CD for a friend of mine who wants to try GNU/Linux for the first time (other than when he came around to my place), which includes KDE 3.5.1, OpenOffice.org, KOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and a few games. Still only around 500-550MB.

When make-live becomes configurable I'll probably start a site where 'profiles' can be uploaded.

BTW, if you're using apt-proxy or apt-cacher and don't know why your live CD build is failing after debootstrap, make sure that you're using and not localhost, because apt-get executes in a chrooted environment where it cannot read your /etc/hosts file.



Rewriting my CMS

I've had an interesting time writing the next version of my LUGs CMS, which still does not have a single live real installation.

Now I've decided to rewrite the whole lot, using a system of storing files in a database, then using translators to change them to HTML, followed by a template to convert the whole lot into something that looks roughly human-readable.

It would work sort of like this -
  1. Request made to http://example.com/index.php
  2. index.php realises there is no pagename therefore it assumes /index.
  3. Query is made to MySQL through DBFS for the file /index.
  4. /index is read, the metadata shows that it is a normal HTML content file, using the built-in HTML translator.
  5. The translator pretty much does nothing.
  6. The template is loaded and applied to the content.
  7. The user clicks a link to 'FAQs' on the main page
  8. A request is recieved for http://example.com/index.php?page=/faqs
  9. Query is made
  10. /faqs is read, metadata shows that it needs the Knowledge Base translator
  11. Translator loaded
  12. Translator makes nice HTML table
  13. Template applied.
  14. Further requests are made to pages like /faqs/Example Category/Example Subcategory/Example Question, for example.
This would be more similar to the way Zope and other application servers work, and would be much more flexible.

The other advantage of this is that only one database table would be needed, and all further config after the database connection details could be stored in a special configuration file.

The first reading part of the file storage system has been started, expect code within a few weeks.



Birthday soon

It's my birthday on Saturday! Yay!


2006 DPL debate, 16 March

The 2006 DPL debate is on the 16th from 22:30 UTC (9:30 am 17th March AEDST) to 01:00 UTC 17th March (12:00 noon AEDST) I've got two questions: How easy is it for young people (ie < 18) to get involved in Debian? and Will you put more emphasis on documentation, especially of Debian specific software? I'm not going to be at the live debate (school : ( ) but there will be transcripts after the event. The debate will be held on irc.debian.org, channel #debian-dpl-debate.



Debian Live Initiative

As Daniel Baumann reported in his blog, the Debian Live Initiative has been started with a basic website and wiki at http://live.debian.net and a mailing list at Debian Unofficial. The project aims to create a fully-Debian Live CD building system, possibly based on the Casper system used in Ubuntu. It will be 100% official Debian, run on as many archs as possible and be easily modified through a configuration file.
I've already suggested sharing at least some of the effort with Progeny's Componentized Linux project, which uses config files and the git SCC system to create a component-based Debian CD at the end. CL could benefit from Live output and Debian Live could reuse some of the config file reading and I'm sure a lot more.



Blogger messes up non-HTML email-to-blog posts

It seems that Blogger messes up posts made using Email Posting if they are not sent as HTML (as Planet LA readers may have seen). Oh well.



Myanmar mission night

Monday our church held a night about church planting in Myanmar (Burma). We had a guest speaker, Thang Bwee, head of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Myanmar, which has recently got a deal with the Australian Presbyterian World Mission.

There were about 60 people there, which was good, and we all learned a lot about the situation in Myanmar, the military government and the poverty. The ERC has around 35 churches especially in Chin State in western Myanmar. To get to these remote villages from Rangoon, it takes 1hr by plane or 2 days by 'express' bus, then 12 hours on boat, followed by 30km walking. Nearly three days! Recently they have been purchasing iron roofing for the churches, with help from APWM.

Of Myanmar's 52 million people only 4% are Christian, most are Buddhist. Many live on less than a dollar a day, and many also live in remote areas only accessible by walking through jungle.

In all it was a good night and we all learned quite a bit about the situation of the church in Myanmar.

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