temporary backend breakage, lotgd restarted

One other thing I forgot, was that in moving around all the database stuff this weekend, I also took care of some maintenance on alan-one, the server that hosts spaceparanoids.org, nephi.org and planetlarry.org.  I of course broke the recent scripture atom feeds I was talking about at the same time, but that’s fixed now as well.

One thing I restored at the same time was I finally got Legend of the Green Dragon back up and running.  The old MySQL database got corrupted somehow.  But, it’s been upgraded and the database is good to go once more.  Unfortunately, I lost the old setup and characters so you’d have to start from scratch again if you were playing.

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new gpnl backend

Nothing new on the frontend, but the backend for GPNL has been almost completely replaced now with my updated changes.  The difference in speed alone is pretty nice.  Where it took about 30 to 45 minutes to import the entire tree, now it only takes around 5.  Plus, I’m importing more stuff this time.  That means a lot more flexibility on my end to play around with the code and do some debugging if I have to.

There’s still some minor sorting issues to worry about, but I’ll have that worked out by today.  I’m also working on a really cool proof-of-concept using the postgres database as a backend, that will hopefully be ready soon within a few days.

The next stop is to get GPNL to do some more reporting on QA checks.  I need some ideas of what to look for, but already there’s a few things I can do just by running system-wide queries against the entire tree.  One issue that has come up recently is the splitting of DEPEND and RDEPEND correctly for building binary packages.  Given a list of packages to look out for, I can easily report that.  Another one that phreak came up with was to look at redundant data in the metadata.xml files.  I can also duplicate that with a simple query, so that’ll be easy to track it’s progress in getting cleaned up.

Anyway, I could use some more ideas.  It’s one thing to have all this data gathered, archived and indexed, but it’s another to come up with creative ideas on how to use it.  Looking through the QA bugs usually helps to give me an idea.

random book of mormon chapter atom feeds

I got a poke yesterday on my original random book of mormon chapter post about creating some feeds so that people can pull them themselves. I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time, but always put it off because I’ve never written any dynamic RSS or Atom feeds before. I finally sat down and and figured it out this morning. It took me about an hour and a half to do, and I don’t think my XML is perfectly formed, but at least it works. I’ll clean it up when I have more time.

Here’s the new feeds right here. I have one for every volume of scriptures, from the Old Testament to the Pearl of Great Price, it’s all there. I think it’d be fun to add some for the Gospels and Psalms.

 http://scriptures.nephi.org/feeds.php

Right now the feed will update every time you check it, though I’ll probably come back later and change it to only update every 5 minutes or every hour or something.

To be honest, I’m not real proud of the quality of this thing right now, and I’d like to do it a lot better since I think it has some potential (like anonymous user preferences, or something), but the fact is I’ve been putting it off for way too long and I wanted to get something out the door. Aside from that, it helps me to read the scriptures more often by adding a bit of novelty to the mix.

Some other things I want to do for the feed is to have a link to the MP3 that is offered by the LDS Church on their scriptures website. Each entry feed will already link directly to the chapter page, but the naming scheme for the MP3s is slightly different, so I’ll have to do a bit of poking around before I can throw that together.

Another idea I’ve been toying with for a long time has been a simple “chapter a day” RSS feed, but with a few options for users. For instance, it’d be trivial to add features like number of chapters or verses per day, the update interval, and where to start reading.

Anyway, there’s a lot of really cool potential things to do, and I’m open to suggestions if anyone has ideas. With the database nicely normalized (and still lacking a formal release, sheesh I’m behind) it makes getting the data really simple and easy to work with.

what i'm working on

I just thought I’d send out a random update status on the stuff I’m working on in Gentoo right now.

 alsa-driver: Putting it on life support, going to have a bump here for 1.0.16 pretty soon.

webmin / usermin: I thought someone was taking care of it, they weren’t, so I took it over after finding some annoying bugs.

GPNL: The new code is 99% done.  All that’s left is I need to rewrite checking for masked packages and then find where the code is lagging, and push it live.  Then I can start working on some advanced searches, and starting to run some checks for QA issues.  One I want to put in there soon is checking for RDEPEND/DEPEND bugs.

Sword modules: Kinda dropped the ball on this one, I still have a lot more to add to the tree.

Openchrome: I still need to add that to the tree.

Planet: I’m thinking it’s about time to upgrade our b2evolution.

And that’s about it.

hd tivo

I noticed that Woot today has refurbished HD Tivos for a nice price.  I’d recommend picking one up, if you have been waiting for a good opportunity.   I actually just bought a brand new one last week from Amazon, and I barely got it all setup just yesterday.  It’s been pretty cool, so far, though I still haven’t decided if its worth the extra cost in service fees.

The picture on the Tivo is absolutely gorgeous.  It outputs in every HD and standard format, 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i and can display the recorded or live shows either in its native format or force them to another one.  Don’t ask me how that one works.

The interesting thing is that I had to go to Comcast’s office and pick up a CableCARD for it to pick up the encrypted digital channels.  The first time I went, they gave me a single-stream card.  The way it works is that there are two types of CableCARDs, a single-stream or a multi-stream.  The Tivo HD box has two slots for cards, so you can either use one multi or two single cards.  So, I had to go back to Comcast and pick up a multi-stream one instead, so that I could watch TV on both tuners.

The dual HD tuners is one thing that I already like above my old Series 2 Tivo.  Both of the tuners are in HD, while my Series 2 Tivo had one digital tuner and one analog tuner.  That shouldn’t matter, but some shows, when recorded on the analog tuner, the audio would drop out of one channel, so I’d get mono sound on the left channel only.  Kind of odd.  Now though, I can record two HD streams at once, and I must say, it is very nice.

I’m also on a promotional plan for Comcast right now.  Even though I think all their prices suck, this one was the best I’d seen so  I didn’t want to pass it up.  I’ve got the basic cable for $24 a month for 6 months.  With that I get somewhere around 20 HD channels aside from the local stations.  I can’t remember all of them off the top of my head, though I know there’s stuff like two Discovery stations, TLC, USA, Universal and TNT.  Having all those channels is pretty dangerous, since I’m actually trying to watch *less* TV, not more, and the whole thing has had an interesting side effect — with the HD picture being so gorgeous, every show you watch is just so visually appealing that I want to see it, despite how crappy the actual content is.  So far, it hasn’t mattered what’s on TV, I’m just mesmerized by how nice it looks.  I don’t think that will wear off soon, either.  I was watching American Idol last night and I just kept watching the picture more than the show itself.  :)  It’s kinda hard to get used to.   And to think that I’m still only getting 720p as my best input so far.  I still have yet to see any true 1080p signals.   I wish the stupid prices on the Blu-Ray players would come down.

The Tivo itself is nice, as always.  One thing that really surprised me was that the menus were exactly the same as my Series 2.  Since the HD Tivo is a Series 3, I’d have expected it to be a little different, but the only changes were the additional menu items for HD TVs, and that’s it.  Even the remote is the same, with the only difference being that there is an Aspect button.

I do like the A/V connections on the box, though.  It has both HDMI and Component out for video, as well as SPDIF out for Dolby Digital.  Right now I’m just using the Component output, since the box came with free component cables (I thought that was a nice touch, certainly wasn’t expecting that) and also because I don’t have any free HDMI cables right now.  There is also a port for eSATA if you want some external storage.  I haven’t read up on it, but I assume any old harddrive would work with that.  Then of course there’s the standard Ethernet and phone line jacks, as well as 2 USB slots, then the normal RCA outputs for audio and video.

The only thing I hate about the Tivo is the service fees.  $12.95 a month.  Of course, I hate service fees of any kind.  One thing I’m curious about is I wonder if my Tivo would pick up my local HD channels if I didn’t have the digital package with Comcast.  My HDTV picks them up just fine since they are unencrypted, it’s just that I don’t have any way to record them.  Well, I’ve got my PCHDTV card which I have *never* gotten to work, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.  I guess I won’t be able to find out what the HD Tivo can do until I cancel the service.  I do know, though, that it didn’t pick up any HD channels at all without the CableCARD in there, which also seemed odd.  Chances are that it won’t work unless I’m paying Comcast the big bucks.

So, I still haven’t decided if I’m gonna keep this thing or not.  The picture is absolutely amazing, and it’s really nice to be able to finally (and easily) record HD channels.  TNT has Without a Trace and Cold Case in HD, and it’s a great treat to watch Discovery Theater as well.  I’m just not sure if it’s worth all the extra cost or not.  We’ll see, I guess.