October 27, 2003

Unbreakable

I am amazed when I hear about people who did not think Unbreakable was an incredible movie. I watched it again this past week and although I remember liking it when I first saw it, I found it even more captivating the second time. I just don't get why people wouldn't like it.

I'm running on Panther now, and will probably have to move my work mac (the nightly build machine) to XCode in the next couple of days. That means Camino will probably have to move to XCode as well. Just a heads up. Panther is pretty slick, but worth $130? No way, no day.

Posted by pinkerton at 3:03 PM

October 21, 2003

New bookmarks

Just landed the monster patch from Dave Haas that completely rewrote the bookmark management in Camino, a 10,000 line patch. It's a little rough around the edges, but it should be easy to smoothe them out now that it's all in the tree (finally!). I think there will be a lot of benefits, as well as some new features like "Top 10" bookmarks, validity checking, address book, and rendezvous integration. I'm excited.

I'd like to thank everyone that helped drive this patch into the tree, from testing to reviews, to managing the process, and to Dave for surviving the process and still being willing to contribute patches to Camino.

Damn this teaching gig is hard. Just spent all evening last night grading project two and all night tonight grading the midterm. I still have to come up with a lecture for next week. Does it ever stop?

Posted by pinkerton at 11:08 PM

October 14, 2003

Rain

Strong rain tonight, peaceful. Too bad I'm coming down with a cold.

Last week, my family room A/V receiver, a Sony STR-DA30ES, gave up the ghost after five years of daily service. Luckily, it's still under warranty (go Sony!) but that would take a while to get back to me and would strand me w/out my TiVo for far, far too long. So I did some research and settled on a Denon 2803, the lesser cousin of my theater's workhorse, the Denon 4802.

The Denon was actually easier to plug everything into that the Sony due to a very well-designed back panel. I had my system back up in no time and my TiVo could show me what it has been recording for the last week. However I was left with utter disbelief at the remote's user interface, which can only be described as abysmal. How can it be so bad? For starters, every button has at least two different functions. To switch components, you have to put the remote in "amp mode" and then press not the row of buttons labeled for each component (that would make sense, after all), but one of the numerical 1-9 channel buttons with the component names written in small white letters above them. Try seeing that in the dark.

Immediately, my UI background screamed, "do not corrupt something familiar for a new purpose!" It's true, who would ever expect to use the round, numerical channel buttons, found on every remote almost since the dawn of time, to switch components? It's simply not done. Note that I had to consult the manual to figure this out. Don't even ask me about the next five complaints I have with it. Denon needs to send their engineers to usability school. Now. That's an order. The remote is a disaster of unprecidented scale.

Thankfully, all the remote codes are already in my Pronto from my 4802. At least the engineers are consistent.

Posted by pinkerton at 8:59 PM

October 8, 2003

Camino Review

Asa has set up some new flags on Camino product bugs to make it easier to implement this new process. I think it will help us get rolling quickly. I've already landed a couple of patches, and now that the tree is open for 1.6 development, we can get some of the lingering mozilla patches in (like the patch for slow history we had on the branch).

Here's my plan:


  1. When a patch is ready to begin the process, someone (the developer?) should set the review? flag. You do not have to specify a requestee.
  2. When the first reviewer has looked over and tested the patch to their satisfaction, they change the flag to review+. This will automatically create another, empty, review flag which the reviewer should, as before, set to review?.
  3. When the second review is complete, they should plus the bug and then set the superreview? flag which will email me and alert me that this bug is ready to land.
  4. The approval1.5 flag is reserved for bugs that need drivers@mozilla.org approval. I can't imagine we'll have any.

So this begs the question: how do we know what patches need review? There's a query which lists all Camino bugs with pending reviews. This is the place to start for those interested in performing reviews. It also lists pending superreviews so you can keep track of where I'm slacking.

Anyone who wants to take part in the review process should read the guidelines on mozilla.org, and especially the documents on style guide and reviewer's guide.

Posted by pinkerton at 9:41 PM

October 3, 2003

Communication

A good way for people who want to get together to chat about reviews/patches/coding for Camino is the #camino channel I've set up on irc.mozilla.org. I'm in there during business hours, and hopefully botbot can help keep out the riff-raff

Posted by pinkerton at 3:26 PM

TJSS

As if The Joe Schmoe Show wasn't awesome enough, there's a thread on the TiVoCommunity forums which has posts not only from one of the producers, but three of the characters.

If you're not watching this show, step away from your computer, run to your TiVo (you have one, right?!) and set up a Season Pass for it. You won't regret it. It's laugh-out-loud hysterical.

Posted by pinkerton at 3:23 PM

October 2, 2003

Manifest Destiny?

Fall is my favorite time of year, but I'm amazed how quickly it has stormed into the DC area. Tonight it's going to be in the mid-30s. I had to turn on my heat today! Wasn't it just 90 a couple of weeks ago? I'm waiting for the leaves to start turning. I'll post some pictures when they do.

I have a plan to kickstart Camino development. The main bottleneck is yours truly. For that, I apologize. I know there are a lot of people who want to contribute, and even have contributed, but the culture that smfr and I developed while we were working on it full time doesn't translate at all to the world we're in now. Development has ground to a standstill and people are frustrated. Regardless of why we are in that situation, it's time to move forward and put that lull behind us.

To that end, my main goal is two-fold: to get more people involved and familiar with the codebase, and free me from having to look at every line of every patch. Here's how it will work:


  • For every patch that's submitted for mozilla/camino, two (2) reviews are required. These reviews may come from anyone in the community, but they need to be someone who knows Cocoa. Each reviewer must apply and test the patch and (most importantly) look it over to make sure nothing it wrong with it.
  • Once it gets two reviews, request a super-review from me through bugzilla and I will give it a quick once-over and land it.

The primary benefit is that this frees me from having to commit large chunks of time to each patch. Having two reviewers means twice the opportunity to catch mistakes, and not allow someone to just go get their best friend to rubber-stamp their huge patch. It will also help people get up to speed with the code. As people become more familiar with the code we will relax the rule of two reviews, and some might even be able to get mozilla.org cvs access. That process is cumbersome, so I'm hoping to avoid it in the short term.

Additionally, I still retain the power to veto patches with which I disagree. Camino has reached its current level of success through strong ownership and decisive decision-making. Not every patch is right for this product and I think it would be a shame to lose that oversight.

Patches to other areas of the mozilla tree fall under the mozilla.org rules. I can't control that at all. I think that as we reduce the number of outstanding patches for mozilla/camino, we'll have a better handle on what needs to be driven into mozilla-proper. Also, Mozilla.org is driving towards 1.5 and the tree is locked down tight. Waiting might be easier on all fronts.

I realize that I am still a bottleneck in this new process. However, I'm already an ever bigger one. It is not possible to get worse than it is now. I believe this will get the gears turning again. If two people have tested a patch and agree that the code is good, I will feel much more comfortable and not feel like I have to invest a lot of time with a painstaking review. Instead I can invest it checking in patches, and maybe even fixing some small bugs!

I need the help of the community more than ever right now. It's time to start growing the circle of people who are intimate with the code and its design. The project will fail if we don't all work together.

Who's with me?

Posted by pinkerton at 10:44 PM