Monday 31st August 1998
Today has been dedicated to two things: more work on the www.gnqs.org web site, and cleaning up after the power cut Saturday night. Just as well it's a public holiday here in the UK today!
The highlight of the day has to be the Generic NQS logo. I've been racking my brains for months trying to think of a suitable image to represent Generic NQS, and finally I've found it. Quite by accident too. I originally dug the image out to use for the navigation bar to the left, but after seeing it on the page ... well, love it or hate it, it stays until someone thinks of something better.
Annoying feature in MS FrontPage time. I used the stylesrc tag to load up the background and default color information, only to notice today that FrontPage puts an absolute URL in, and not a relative one. So, it looks fine on my machine at home, but once uploaded to the web ... not so good. Kept me up until the small hours going round editing all of the files by hand.
Anyway, whilst I'm nowhere near finished, I think it's time I uploaded the web site so that everyone can see just where the time has been going.
Sunday 30th August 1998
Spent the morning travelling the banks of the Severn and Wye to finish off another roll of film. Ended up using most of the film at Oldbury, and to the south of Tintern.
Don't worry - my new hobby of photography isn't taking time away from Generic NQS. I spend a lot of time out hiking anyway, so I've combined the two. Once I've got the hang of it, I'll put some time into making www.gnqs.org look even better than it currently does.
Besides, come the darker days of winter, my camera and I won't be going anywhere ... (aside from the Brecons next time it snows. Last March, I wish I'd had a camera to take a shot of the Brecons still covered in snow once the lower lying land had thawed).
I spent yesterday (until the power cut we had last night anyway) and most of today continuing to work on the web site.
We're going to start building up the range of operating systems I've got access to at home.
I'm converting the spare bedroom into a machine-room to house a cluster of spare PCs. The idea is that they'll be able to remote-boot into whatever operating system combination I need to test Generic NQS.
As soon as the web site looks presentable, I'm going to be on the scrounge for
This will help me improve the level of support I can provide in my spare time, and is totally unrelated to the commercial support venture.
Speaking of which ... I've started work on the web-based bug-tracking software I want as part of the commercial venture. Once it's complete, I'm planning to allow all GNQS users to register and track problems on the system. Email is just a very poor way of keeping track of problems (especially with the amount I get!).
An advanced warning ... I'm currently planning on disappearing into the wilderness armed only with my camera and a large pile of books for two weeks at the start of October. I'll be totally uncontactable during this period.
Just came across one of the funniest sites yet on the Internet - www.cat-scan.com. Yep, some guy has ran a competition where entrants submit flatbed scans of their cat. It's worth a look just to read the hate mail he's received for it all.
And yes, I love cats myself. The only reason I don't have one atm is because my landlord is allergic to them.
Getting back to Generic NQS ... I've just sent four emails to the NQS-Announce mailing list asking for help in putting together various pieces of documentation for www.gnqs.org.
The response to the Call For Papers should be the most interesting ... I am looking forward to being able to publish other people's views on Generic NQS.
Work on the web site continues ...
Wednesday 26th August 1998
My copy of RedHat 5.1 arrived from the States this morning; spent the day upgrading lanfear, which mainly involved downloading all of the updated RPMs and going round fixing all of the config files which had been set back to their defaults (urgh!).
Also started having a look at PostgressSQL. I want to build a web-based system for reporting, and tracking, problems with GNQS. Email is a poor way to do this; I lose track of what needs to be done, and never remember to notify people when bugs are fixed. Putting it all into a database, and then building a nice HTML front-end to it, must be the way to go.
I ordered two CDs from RedHat; the other was Extreme Linux, the Beowulf software. I've enough old 486s and Pentiums lying around to build up a cluster, and I think that GNQS v4 has to aim at being able to schedule work for Beowulf clusters.
The web site still isn't done :(
Next weekend is a bank holiday; I'm hoping to release v3.51.0-pre5 sometime then.
Friday 21st August 1998
A nice lazy Friday afternoon off work, spent on continuing to put together the new look www.gnqs.org.
At the moment, I'm not doing anything Saturday or Sunday (although I might disappear for a photoshoot for a couple of hours) so I'm hoping I can get enough of the web site done to actually upload it!
Wednesday's night proposal for GNQS v4 so far hasn't elicited much response. I know it's the holiday season and all that, but sometimes I can't help wonder whether the GNQS community really wants much more done (other than getting rid of all of the annoying bugs!).
Monday 17th August 1998
It's been a while since I last updated the diary. And you should see my email backlog!
The reason for all this silence has been the extra hours I've been putting into the day job during the week. It's left me no time during the week for anything at all, so at weekends the last thing that has appealed to me is more work!
Anyway, I've got today and tomorrow off work; hopefully I can at least finish the new-look www.gnqs.org so that I've finally got all of the web pages up to date.
I spent the weekend at the Cropredy Folk Music festival - my first year. We managed to get twelve cars all next to each other in the camping field on Thursday afternoon - quite an achievement.
Spent the Friday and Saturday listening to twenty-two hours of live music (bliss! ;-) I did well - I managed to resist the bookshop on the Friday, although I did buy a mandolin. The mandolin has developed an annoying buzz (the scratchplate is loose) which'll make it a pain to mic up if I want to record with it, but otherwise it's a nice, basic instrument. I'll buy a more expensive one next year if I decide I'm going to write for it.
If you like folk music, then get yourself along to the Cropredy festival next year.
Getting back to Generic NQS ...
I've canned the proposed commercial support work, at least until Q1 next year. I wasn't happy with the way I felt we were rushing it, and I think that showed in what felt like a total lack of interest from current Generic NQS users.
I'm going to leave the commercial-launch mailing list in place, and invite people to join it and discuss what they want to see in the way of technical support, and how much they're prepared to pay for it.