About

Michael Zucchi

 B.E. (Comp. Sys. Eng.)

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Wednesday, 06 May 2015, 21:48

post google code post

Well nobody bothered to comment about the stuff i removed from google code apart from the one lad or lass who lamented the loss of some javafx demos.

I had comments open+moderated for a few weeks but got hit by spammers a couple of days ago so had to go back to id+moderated. Maybe something got lost in those 500 bits of snot but i don't think so. The spam was quite strange; most mentioned web sites but didn't provide links or weren't very readable so i'm not sure what the point was. Perhaps they're just fishing for open sites or naive moderators they can then exploit. Like the "windows computer department" that keeps calling and calling hoping i'll not tell them to fuck off every time (sigh, no i don't normally say that although i would tonight).

I've still got the subversion clones but i'm not inclined to do much with any of it for the forseeable future and i'm not even sure if i'm going to continue publishing other bits of code i play with going forward.

Desktop Java, OpenCL, ARM assembly language; these things are just not very common in the Free Software world. Server Java is pretty common but that's just, well, `open sauce' companies sharing costs and not hobbyists. So i think all i'm really doing is providing hints or solutions for some student's homework or help for graduate programmers to keep their jobs. And even then it's so niche it wouldn't be many, if any.

As an example of niche, I was looking up some way to communicate with adobe photoshop that doesn't involve psd format and one thing i came across was someone linking to one of my projects for some unfinished experiments with openraster format - on the first page of results. This happens rarely but still too often. Of course it could just be the search engine trying to be smart and tuning results to the user, which is a somewhat terrifying possibility (implications beyond these types searches of course). FWIW I came to the conclusion photoshop is just one of those proprietary relics from the past which intentionally refuses to support other formats so it's idiot users can continue to be arse-reamed by its inflated price.

It's just a hobby

As a hobby i have no desire to work on larger projects of my own or other established projects in my spare time. Occasionally i'll send in a patch to a project but if they want a bunch of fucking around then yeah, ... naah. In hindsight i somewhat regret how we did it on evolution but i think i've mentioned that before. Neither do i need to solicit work or build a portfolio or just gain experience.

I'm not sure how many hobbyists are around; anyone with remotely close to enough skill seems to be jumping into the wild casinos of app-stores or services and expecting to make billion$ and not just doing it for the fun of it. Some of those left over just seem to be arrogant egotistical fuckwits (and some would probably think the same of me). Same as it ever was I guess.

I suppose I will continue to code-drop even if it's just out of habit.

For another hobby I made kumquat marmalade on the weekend. Spent a couple of hours in the sun slicing the tiny fruit and extracting seeds (2-3 cups worth of seeds) and cooked it the next day. Unfortunately after all that effort it looks like it wasn't cooked quite enough and it probably wont set - it's a bit runny but at least it tastes good. Not sure what i'll do with 2-odd litres of the stuff though.

Tagged beagle, code, imagez, jjmpeg, mediaz, parallella, pdfz, puppybits, readerz, socles, videoz.
Friday, 13 March 2015, 13:25

ahh shit, google code is being scrapped

Joy. I guess it's not making google enough money.

I'll make a copy of all my projects and then delete them. Probably sooner rather than later (probably immediately because i'd rather get it out of the way, i have a script going now). I'm keeping all the commit history for now although i never find it particularly useful. Links in old posts may break.

Some of them may or may not appear later somewhere else, or they may just sit on my hdd until i forget about them and delete them by accident or otherwise.

Wherever they end end up though it wont be in one of the other commercial services because i'm not interested in doing this again.

I need to do the same to this blog, ... but that can wait.

Update: So ... it seems someone did notice. Don't worry i've got a full backup of everything. In part I was pissed off with google and in part I wanted to make it immediately obvious it was going away to see if anyone actually noticed. Who could know from the years of feedback i've never received.

If you are interested in particular projects then add a comment about them anywhere on this blog. All comments are moderated so they wont appear till i let them through but there is no need to post more than once (i'll delete any nonsense or spam unless it makes you look like a bit of a wanker). I will see about enabling anonymous comments for the moment if they are not already on. I can then decide what to do depending on the interest.

I will not be using github or sourceforge nor the like.

In a follow-up post i'll see where i'm going with them as well as pondering the future location and shape of the blog itself. I've already written some stuff to take the blogger atom stuff, strip out the posts, download images, and fix the urls.

(in resp to Peter below) I knew the writing was on the wall when google code removed binary hosting: it's kinda useless for it's purpose without it. This is why all my new projects subsequent to that date are hosted differently.

Tagged android, beagle, code, dusk, games, gloat, hacking, imagez, jjmpeg, mediaz, pdfz, puppybits, readerz, socles.
Friday, 24 May 2013, 11:50

on google

So google have decided to disable downloads on google code.

So I have decided to stop using it.

... although as yet I have no concrete plans or timeline for when this decision will take effect.

Whilst they claim it's about abuse, one can only assume that is just a "likely-sounding excuse" for what in reality is just another straight-up lie from the PR department of a supra-national conglomerate, and it's really just a way to cut costs and promote their 'drive' service (a useless microsoft/apple only service as far as i'm concerned).

Nobody seems to have reported that they have also gimped their POP interface to gmail a couple of days ago. No more UID support. This makes POP a lot less reliable/useful as a mail store (although in honesty it was never designed for that purpose). I proceeded to delete all the mail in gmail to help them free up some disk space.

I guess over-all the writing is on the wall. We all know that at some point 'google account' will mean 'google+', and blogger may be retired at any time.

So it seems my on-going-but-totally-lax search for alternatives to 'everything google for convenience' just got another big kick up the rump-side.

As my projects are all pretty small and low-volume I might look at a local solution because every network based solution faces the same problem. I have a couple of beagleboards doing nothing although getting a running and secure-enough system might be more pain than it's worth.

It's a bit of a pain to have to deal with.

Tagged beagle, dusk, hacking, imagez, java, javafx, jjmpeg, mediaz, pdfz, puppybits, rants, readerz, socles, videoz.
Tuesday, 03 April 2012, 15:23

Kobo

So i've mostly just been using my kobo for reading lately (not a lot, but i'm usually so tired I cna barely go 5 pages before i fall asleep) - and it's crappy software is giving me the shits, particularly when reading text files. I'm not sure I could do much better, but at least I could try ...

It even got me riled up enough to have another go at working out suspend: but again I had no luck. I just can't tell how it's going into suspend mode. If I could work out that I would have enough to keep me happy and I would do some more work on ReaderZ.

But without it i'm just stuck and it just pisses me off.

Update So it occurred to me later that the problem might be more related to the wifi adaptor since I'm always doing this stuff from telnet. If I try to suspend using /sys/ it never recovers and I need to reset the machine.

Tagged hacking, kobo, readerz.
Thursday, 01 March 2012, 19:18

jjmpeg updates

I finally checked in some jjmpeg changes I had lying around, added seeking to JJMediaReader and an icon creation helper (hmmm, maybe that was api bloat ...) and a few other odds and sods.

I've been playing with some interactive video stuff for work and when the video file is in good condition (i.e. seeking works properly) it's quite amazing to me just how zippy it all is - coming from the days of the C=64 I still can't get over just how fast modern machines are. And Java of course makes the multi-threading required to make the GUI very responsive an absolute doddle.

Absorbing rapid events

One idea I borrowed from my experiments on ReaderZ was a fairly simple mechanism to collapse rapidly incoming events. e.g. for a slider bar calibrated in ms, one can get many many updates as the slider moves; more than can be accommodated whilst panning an e-ink display or seeking around HD video. In the past i've either used a timeout, or some other throttling mechanism on the caller end such as a 'i'm busy' flag. This usually needs some other logic to handle completion cases, perhaps cancelling of jobs and other quite complex synchronisation tasks to ensure valid programme state when it's all done and dusted.

In ReaderZ I tried a different approach in order to simplify serial processing:

  1. Incoming tasks are queued as they arrive into a blocking queue.
  2. A consumer thread waits until something arrives on the queue.
  3. The consumer thread then polls the queue for any other tasks waiting to be processed.
  4. Based on the class of the request, jobs are discarded explicitly. For example, if you have a seek followed by an open or another seek, the first seek can be thrown away. i.e. the command is either kept, changed, or nullified.
  5. Then at most, 1 job each of each class are executed in the correct order.
  6. Repeat, go back to 1.

So basically a simplified broken-apart state-machine with explicit state reduction. If a given job is indivisible/can't be ignored (say, 'save current image'), then the collapse processing is cut short, and it jumps to step 5.

This way there's no need for any locking (apart from the task queue): the code is always called from a single thread, with guaranteed execution order and with simple state management. And even when something does take a while to run; it eventually catches up and never does more than less than one lot of extra work. It does need to ferry ALL sequentially oriented tasks through the command queue, but usually one has a fairly limited number of operations required.

Because the same thread is used to decode and play the video for my video player, if it is in 'play' mode, this just polls the command queue after each frame is displayed rather than waiting for it to contain something; but the overall logic is the same.

Also because it's done in one place I can more easily add a timeout if I really want to make sure the system is idle: rather than a separate timeout callback which needs resetting and gets called once things are done, I can just add a timeout to the Queue.poll() invocation. Or just as easily not, for example if it's been faffing around collapsing too many commands and hasn't updated the output for a while.

Speaking of ReaderZ, although I don't have any other plans for it at the moment, I am waiting for the next version of mupdf to be released at which point I will update PDFZ to match that. It should be quite soon.

Although I wasn't going to look into JavaFX too closely, every time I hit a problem in Swing I keep thinking the solution is a dead-end and the time spent on it is wasted. Unfortunately the one thing I need the GUI toolkit to to: i.e. display an array of pixels generated elsewhere: is one of the major things it cannot do yet! It can only read images from a url/disk, and that feature is targeted for 3.0 - about 18 months away. I suppose i'll just have to wait ...

Damn I wish I wasn't so tired. Must be the weather ... Autumn started very suddenly on the 29th.

Tagged hacking, java, jjmpeg, pdfz, readerz.
Tuesday, 07 February 2012, 12:14

Paged layout, busy dot.

After poking around at jjmpeg a bit this morning, I played a bit more with ReaderZ. First I added an animated 'busy' icon for when the reader is busy, and moved the epub html loader to another thread so it animates. It's ugly, but it works. I simplified the use of the event manager as well.

Then I redesigned the BlockLayout code in CSZ so that I could sub-class it to create a paged media layout. It isn't 'conformant' by any stretch, and has a bug with tall images, but at least it forces lines to align to a new page once they've overflowed the viewport.

During this I realised I probably wont be able to get away with a single-pass for the layout. e.g. if you have an auto-sized box, it's size depends on things like the size of floats and the lineboxes inside of it. But you have to lay these all out before you can determine what it is, and then must lay them out again afterwards once you've determined the real size you're working with (also required for things like text-align). I might have to lay out individual words instead so then the second layout can be fast as well as letting the layout be handled separately from the text object.

Tagged hacking, java, mediaz, readerz.
Saturday, 04 February 2012, 16:27

e-reader, epub

Had a mini hack-fest today, and whipped up an e-pub backend for ReaderZ based on CSZ.

I added very basic img tag support as well, as is obvious.

Apart from the code to parse the content.opf file from the .epub archive which was fairly small, I spent the most time trying to work out a URL handler for a made-up 'epub:' protocol. I copied the way the jar: protocol handler distinguises between the base archive and the filename using "!/" - this is so that the normal url resolution mechanism work. But I also wanted to resolve by the manifest ID and I use the url fragment for that (although in hindsight I probably don't need it). But anyway in the end it wasn't much code, and having it there made everything 'just work', which was nice.

I also had to deal with all the crap XML brings along: i.e. dtd resolution.

The actual viewer is a bit unwieldy as it works as a set of html pages. So you need to pan around to read each 'page' (i.e. chapter, or whole book), and changing pages flips between the items in the spine (i.e. chapters or whole book). To do better than that I really need a paginating layout engine: which is something for later.

I have no svg support not surprisingly, so title pages which are pure svg come up a re-assuring blank.

Still a bit slow opening new chapters, but what can you do eh?

It's all been checked in to ReaderZ and CSZ.

Tagged hacking, java, kobo, mediaz, readerz.
Friday, 27 January 2012, 17:54

ReaderZ

I finally got around to checking in ReaderZ to mediaz.

I also tweaked a few things before I did:

The README has all the other gory details.

I also had a good look at the text layout mechanism in Java ... boy what a nightmare of code that is. No wonder it's so slow. I tried to work out how it was doing it when it came down to it, but I couldn't fathom it before losing interest. The kobo html reader is about 10x faster at pagination; which just makes it all the more puzzling as to why the text reader is so slow.

Which has me thinking about C again, and using mupdf's stuff to format and render text instead ... well it would work for latin scripts anyway.

Tagged hacking, java, mediaz, readerz.
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