Questions / Wanted

All posts tagged Questions / Wanted

Ok, so I haven't been writing here at all. Why? Well because I have too many different "systems" out there which each get a piece of my attention. So sometimes one of those systems suffers.

I do actually have 40-50 people a day who read something within this blog. While that isn't the quarter million a month from the good old days it's still some people who might care. Or not, I don't actually know. There's no real social aspect to blogging like it seems to exist elsewhere. Well that's something I'll ponder over sometime later. I'm antisocial anyways, so it's low priority.

So seeing as there is at least "some value" in this place, I really should be thinking about it more often. So that's why I'm back and why I'm writing this.

I suppose I may as well do one of my huge essay pieces, since there is just so much background which would need to be understood for a reader to actually "get" what I'm going to try to get across.

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Hobby software being what it is, there is no centralized place to have documentation.  Everyone turns to search engines, which means that user-contributed documentation can go anywhere online.. and it doesn't matter where.

This means that any project which attempts to centralize user documentation will be forced to reach out onto the net and cache their contributions from outside sources.  freedesktop.org is our timely example! (wmctrl)

If the original user documentation is updated, or new documentation is created, then that central resource goes out of date.

But is there hope?  Not at all!  =)

An enthusiastic user can only hope to contribute directly to the project.  Failing that, they have private notes or hopefully blog.. and that's one big mess.

Oh well..

Update: [[Five Things]] is meant to help with this sort of thing.

So at some point you migrate from little scraps of paper to sheets of paper.

Then you migrate to notes in your computer.

Then you migrate to a documentation system.

Then you migrate back to notes in your computer.

Then you migrate to one big note.

Then you categorize your notes.

Then you review and prioritize your notes.

All the while, your notes have been gathering strength, preparing to assault your free time.

You open the flood gates .. and .. nothing happens.  The very notion of a list is intimidating, and actually "doing" anything is based on inspiration.  Priorities have shifted around so much over the years that looking at the list just gives a lot of "yeah, that ought to get done one of these days" instead of the burning-hot passion there used to be.

One of the things that's been a real killer for me using most wikis has been the syntax.  None of them get it right.

MediaWiki has been bearable, and over time I've grown used to it.  The problem is that nobody agrees on a remotely similar syntax.  There were some early efforts to create a generally agreed-upon syntax, and it did fairly well.. but it's still not used everywhere.

I'm not just talking about wikis, but about markup languages in general.  Even something like Ruby's RDoc decided on its own syntax.

And they're all wrong.  Seriously, who thinks  that __this is italicized__ ?

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I act in cycles.  I am inspired by and I work on something new, and that inspiration shifts around.  I also have a tendancy to drop and pick up projects in cycles.  In the past I've dropped ideas for long enough for all effort to become meaningless given enough time, but these days I've been careful to cycle back to earlier ideas to scrape off the cruft and re-launch the project.

When I re-launch a project, I often find myself bringing significant maturity to the table.  I have new ideas and techniques, and I take a kind of sick pleasure in redoing much of my previous work.  This isn't just a programming thing.. it applies to anything that I've been working on.

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The simple way to reproduce this is:

\mkdir  source
\cp     source  target

It's a pretty simple request. I want to copy a directory. I want to copy and not create the directory. I don't want any of the contents (cp -r), I just want the container itself, without using mkdir. I don't want to diddle around with the contents of the directory (moving them around) and then do cp -r. I want to copy the container because I want to match the permissions. I don't want to separately use other commands to sync permissions:

\chmod  --reference=source  target
\chown  --reference=source  target

Why can't cp do this? Oh right, it's GNU .. so it sucks.