What would you like to see?

Just a short one tonight:

What would you like to see me cover here? What would you most like to see?

More tech, more personal, less personal, more science, etc?



You're Doing It Wrong: How to report a bug

[Taken from a Google+ post]

Many support requests don't contain critical information needed to actually support.

Learn how to ask for help by following these instructions:
  • Make sure all attachments and power are double checked to be secure connections
  • Look for an error message
  • Google the error message
  • Submit your question along with any error related output, custom settings and most importantly steps to reproduce.
  • Wait.
  • Don't pester.
  • Learn English, it's a lot better if you use proper grammar so that people will understand your problem.

Help!!! My Linux doesn't want print! I need have my no.

My brand x model y printer refuses to print on the grounds that I get the coloured light z and my distribution Q tells me that the reason is W when I try to G and then H. Can somebody suggest what steps I should take to resolve this?

This information has been brought to you by the society of programmers who wish people would learn to report bugs properly.

General update on the current state of my life

Hello everyone!

Thought I'd give something of a general overview of my current October "2016" (but is it really, etc.). Life updates are something I'm really, really bad at, and I thought it would be nice if I didn't just have 140 characters or a broken platform to play with. Not that Google isn't a total joke.

Maybe I'll move this blog over to my real website, which uses Let's Encrypt, which is a free SSL certificate vendor, and offers an automatic client to refresh (since oddly it only gives 3-month certificates).

Job hunting is sour. I had really hoped to be able to carry on getting people to contract me to make websites but I haven't had anything for going on 7 weeks now (gosh, I sound like a mother telling you the age of her child). My usual contract profession is that I build websites for people at home (If you happen to know anyone who needs it, please get in touch), but I am also an avid musician who plays the guitar and keyboard mostly, and am interested in perhaps joining a local band.

I'm making a plethora of new software (mainly because I like coding and I'm often bored, see my GitHub). I was inspired by Matt Parker in his video about letter to number relationships, so I tried to build something automated to see if I could find more. I do love maths and have made a bunch of programs to do a few maths-y things (here are some more!). I've even got myself onto the Online Encyclopædia of Integer Sequences (twice!), and made a Node.js library for accessing it.

A few things I've made that I'm particularly proud of are Project Chaplin (code) the first free software video sharing website, a half finished social network manager, an automated Apache vhost manager, a clever command-line Omegle client,  the beginnings of a first person shooter, with its inspiration in a set of software-rendered demos. I have also made a DeviantArt and Pinterest photo scraper, and had yet another thought about how universal packages should be built.

A few more toys (I wouldn't call them big projects) I've created are a dumb wordoid generator, a Pastafarian finite state machine, a program to play cricket with the input stream to teach me a bit of C++, a few spacey gravity simulators, an equation-based synthesiser, a webcam-based tone generator, a third-party Jamendo audio player, and even a 16 and a 32 bit OS, to teach me assembler and C.

Although hardly started, I seem to love gamepads so much, I made something that looks almost like a game (with free pictures taken from the Internet) that basically does nothing but allow you to test a gamepad.

On the useful scale, I decided I wanted to see how up-to-date a few popular GNU/Linux distributions were, so I made a little tool to find out. I might extend it with something or add automation later.

In the future, I will probably re-make my static silly Linux-based distribution into something more sensible (stay tuned), make something to do fun things with Wolfram Alpha (I haven't decided what yet), and make an automatic web page categoriser based on string matching of page structure, as I did when I used to work for an analytics platform.

Entertainment-wise, I finished marathoning most of the Star Trek (all series) episodes ever. I thought that series 3 of Enterprise was total gobshite. 4 was alright though.

I'm marathoning Doctor Who. It's fantastic stuff, I haven't yet gotten past the lost episodes, but there are plenty of clever reconstructions from photos, occasional surviving clips and the existing (I think?) audio. At least it sounds like the real Doctor (I've gotten up to Troughton, if you're interested). Maybe he's got an impersonator? Who knows.

I play computer games more than usual (which I know is an important life skill). My favourite at the moment is Skyrim. Let me know if you want more on that.

Identity-wise. Oh, wow. Let's see now... so for those who hadn't noticed, I'm Kathie, I'm talking transgender here. You may know of gender dysphoria, but I'm... let's say a little more sure than that. Really, I'd always wanted to be a girl from a young age, but it was only until about 21 did I realise it was even possible. I've managed to talk to my doctors in Newcastle a year ago, and since moving to Somerset (quite a setback) they have yet to sort me out with an appointment with a councillor in Exeter (which coincidentally is round about where I come from). Still, I'm glad to have a family and a girlfriend that supports me and treats me right. I'll not be having any of those "holier-than-thou, demon!" types round here.

I research my family history. I've gone back about 500 years, I'm sure I could even find you. I use Ancestry for that kind of thing and have almost 1000 people in my tree. It's very interesting to me and one discovers pretty crazy things about one's own heritage!

I'm going to see if I can blog a bit more, as it gives me a bit of free reign. Maybe I should do regular segments like discoveries of the week. Yes, I'm definitely a podcast. In fact, I'd rather like to do a tech-related podcast with someone. Any takers?

What else?

If you want social media, here's my twitter. Everything I post from there goes on to other places I'm at.


My favourite font is nonexistent!

I think I'm a bit OCD. When I was growing up, I was shown a way of writing and since have always preferred it. However, there seems to be no such font. This is very particular of me, and the font I'm looking for is close to a "natural" font, or so I've been told.

It is described thusly:
  • Sans serif
  • Single story "a"
  • Round letters (based on circles)
  • Double height "f"
  • Single non-looped "g"
  • Triple-tipped "G"
  • Serif-topped "I" and "J"
  • Non-flicked "q"
  • Inside and outside straight 45 degree Q-tip
  • Double-tipped "t"
  • Asymmetric "Y"
  • Seriffed "1"
  • Non-stroked "7"
Font buffs, do you know of anything? A hint is that it may have been used for educational purposes. I may have to edit a similar font if I can't find what I'm looking for. It's a shame that none of the "describe to find" font websites provide simply free software and open source fonts, or are available on Google's font library.

That's it for my incredibly OCD rant, till next time.


Project Chaplin 0.3.2 point release

Introducing the second point release for the 0.3 series of Project Chaplin.


Project Chaplin is the first fully free software and open source video streaming service, installable locally or usable online.

The software is available through GitHub at https://github.com/kathiedart/projectchaplin/releases.

New for 0.3.2: A demo server has been installed at https://projectchaplin.com for those who wish to test without downloading anything! Please don't hit this server a lot, as it is only hosted on a small server, and is mainly for testing purposes. Please let me know (see below) if you notice any outstanding issues not covered in the issue tracker, and email me privately for any security issues.

The project is always looking for new developers, designers and ideas people. Please contact "viablog032 att projectchaplin dott com" if you are looking for a new project to join. The list of new bugs, feature requests, etc is available at https://github.com/kathiedart/projectchaplin/issues

Changelog (0.3 series)

New in 0.3.2:

Fix the YouTube API/downloading problem

New in 0.3.1:

Get and store access token for Vimeo
Linkify and space-ify descriptions
Set cache lifetime to 30m to wipe old data from remote nodes

New in 0.3:
Adds Docker support and includes a sample Docker file (with a Raspberry Pi release in the rpi branch).
Logs and displays a link to the original YouTube link
Adds fullscreen support to YouTube videos
Makes the setup process more streamlined by starting daemons after setup is complete
Adds Infinite loops a la infiniteyoutube.com
Only imports Creative Commons videos from other services to avoid copyright issues
Fixes YouTube API problems
Shows correct licence on YouTube
Removes old HTML5 requirements to add events to play videos and make them fullscreen - this now exists in all modern browsers
UI improvements
Splits the ORM into a new repository for other projects
Faster loading through use of HTML5 AppCache (where enabled).

Adds Vimeo searching and importing support!