Sunday, December 31, 2006

Using tailor to move from hg to svn

First question, why would I want to do that? Actually I don't really want to do that but uses SVN as its VCS and I want to host a project there. I originally used Mercurial (hg) for that project and so I need to get it out of hg and into svn. The ultimate goal is to use either Bazaar-NG (bzr) with it's svn plugin or svk, this is a step along that path.

Second question, isn't that straight forward? No, tailor's hg->svn support is busted. hg doesn't care about directories, svn does and this makes it impossible to move from hg to svn if you have any directories (I filed a bug). So instead I must move everything to bzr first and then to svn as the bzr->svn code seems to handle directories correctly. It seems that one of hg->bzr or bzr->svn makes the directories problem go away.

The following little bash script takes 3 arguments:

  • the path to the hg repo that you want to put into svn
  • the path to the svn repository
  • the name of the svn module that the code will live in
It uses these to output 2 tailor project files, hg2bzr.tailor and bzr2svn.tailor and then it runs tailor twice. #! /bin/bash source=$1 shift svn_repo=$1 shift svn_module=$1 shift # create 2 project files cat <<eof> hg2bzr.tailor [DEFAULT] verbose = True [project] target = bzr:temp start-revision = INITIAL root-directory = $PWD/working-bzr state-file = tailor.state source = hg:source subdir = . [hg:source] repository = $source [bzr:temp] # no details needed because eveything just ends up in working-bzr EOF cat <<eof> bzr2svn.tailor [DEFAULT] verbose = True [project] target = svn:target start-revision = INITIAL root-directory = $PWD/working-svn state-file = tailor.state source = bzr:temp subdir = . [bzr:temp] repository = $PWD/working-bzr [svn:target] module = $svn_module repository = $svn_repo EOF # convert from hg to bzr tailor --configfile hg2bzr.tailor # and then from bzr to svn tailor --configfile bzr2svn.tailor

I invoked it as

./hg_to_svn deep-hg trunk/
and the result is in the SVN repository. Yay!

It takes quite a while to push all the changes and I had to clear out the repo once as the svn command stalled and timed out (server problem I think). Then I made a mess of restarting the whole process (I think it also wasn't helped by me reusing a directory from my test run!). Speaking of the test run, I played around with svk and it seemed quite awkward in comparison to hg and bzr. Not having used any of them for heavy duty work I can't really speak with authority. It definitely seems that svk's branch and merge process (as described in a rather good tutorial) reuires typing more commands and typing more awkward paths than with bzr or hg.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


We brought Ríona for omiyamairi on Wednesday. It's the shinto equivalent of christening but without the water. She and Midori were wearing a beautiful kimono. There are pictures here. We did it at the shrine in West Ogikubo. The sun was shining and the trees were beautiful.

One amusing thing is the girl in the booth who took our details. She is a miko - a servant of God. She is supposed to be a virgin. Miko are involved in/help out with various festivals etc. These days nobody really does it as their job. It's usually a school girl or maybe college student (they need lots of miko around new year) and they're just doing it part-time. What exactly a part-time virgin means, I'm not sure!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

When is it art?

Sometimes artists use materials that are difficult for them to control. So, for example, using a very broad brush means your painting will (can not) capture small details but maybe that's OK or even desirable. So is it still art when the artist is just unskilled with the tools. For example, one day, some artist may discover a technique to capture fine detail with a broad brush. Now anyone using a broad brush can capture fine details and must choose not to (or choose not to learn how to). Does that change the quality of their art? Does it make a difference that they could have conveyed their intent more precisely? I don't think so.

Why am I suddenly thinking about art? I saw a poster for a band in Tokyo called "Bump of Chicken". I have no clue what was supposed to mean but that's not the point. Just because I and other native speakers know how to use English to create "fine detail", does that mean that someone else who only knows how to use it as a "broad brush" is wrong? If this was a public sign then I think the answer would be yes but it's not. A band's name is a (small) piece of art, not a means of conveying practical information and if the artist chooses a medium in which he is unskilled or which is difficult for him then I suppose the result is still legitimate even if it makes no sense to someone skilled in the medium.

So from now on, I'll look on dodgy English usage as abstract art.

Irish people everywhere

We arrived in Tokyo after a rather gruelling flight involving unexpected overnight in Paris and Ríona doing a fair amount of screaming (actually she was pretty good for quite a lot of the trip, she just seemed to be bored for the last few hours). Didn't do much the first day and didn't realise it was Friday (not Thursday) otherwise I would have made a trip to the office to get some bits and bobs.

Anyway, so here we are in Tokyo on Saturday morning and we take a trip out, stopping for coffee. After we order another westerner comes up and orders. "American coffee please". Oh for f*ck's sake, he's Irish. I didn't try talking to him, I assumed he lived here and foreigners living in Japan can be a bit odd, wanting to keep away from tourists but after a while he came over to our table and introduced himself (he heard my accent). He's an accordian player named Jackie Daly (what are the chances!?) and he's playing a few concerts. What's more he's here with Paddy and Bridget, a Japanese couple who live in Ireland and are apparently quite well known and they live a few hundred metres from Midori's parents house!

That's just ridiculous

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cluster bombs in Lebannon

Intersting analysis on the cluster bombs dropped in Lebannon after the cease fire had been agreed. They seem to have used about the worst type of cluster bomb available (in terms of long term civilain casualties) despite having had other options.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Israeli Massacre

This is the second account of the Marwahin massacre I've read. It's pretty shocking. Posting it so I'll remember.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sayonara baby!

Midori has mostly avoided maternity blues but it occurred to her a few days ago that some day, Ríona will leave us. She had a dream that Ríona was packing a suitcase with all her worldly good and saying "Sayonara". Of course in the dream Ríona was still a baby, was mostly packing nappies and apparently said "Sayonara" in a very cute way!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Finkelstein vs Dershowitz

After watching the excellent (and freely available) Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land, I searched around and found a link to a 2-part debate on this blog.

Here's part 1 and part 2 of Alan Dershowitz (D) "debating" Norman Finkelstein (F) on Democray Now about D's new book about Israel. It's trumpeted in some places as a "demolition" by F however I just found it to be incredily tedious.

In essence, F points out some problems with D's references in the book but never really lands a killer blow. To me the problems range from not so bad to not so bad. For example, he uses some not very authoritative sources (like a Sony Pictures movie which was also a book) but the information he attributes to the source is not in dispute. F is right to say that you'd expect better from a professor at Harvard but it's fairly immaterial in the grand scheme of things. There were a few other things but assuming F hit D with his best stuff then really the whole thing was kinda pointless. He did catch him somewhat for his reliance on IDF and other official sources for his stats.

D on the other hand constantly interrupts F while he is trying to make his points. D appeared on The Breakfast Show presented by Eamonn Dunphy last year and Eamonn smacked him down for exactly this type of behaviour. It makes an intelligent debate impossible. When asked by the host, Amy Goodman, about targetted assassinations by Israel and the innocent civilians that are killed in the process, D didn't do much of a job defending them. When D gave an example of Israel's careful approach when trying to assassinate one particular guy, F caught him nicely with how they had killed a whole bunch of civilians with 1000lb bomb in an earlier attempt to assassinate the same guy.

It was disappointing to see F twist D's words slightly. In part 1 there's an argument over deliberate civilian killings by the IDF. D says there are none, F gave the example of a man in Jenin in a wheelchair with a white flag who was shot and then driven over by a tank. D says this was not deliberate (or maybe he says it's not accurate I can't remember). In part 2, F bring this up again when they argue about numbers of civilian deaths except this time, F makes it sound like D didn't count this a civilian death. That's unfair on D, he never denied it was a civilian death, he denied it was deliberate.

Also F kept saying silly things about how he hoped the book wasn't actually written by D. This was completely pointless.

If you didn't already hold a strong position one way or the other before watching this then you will learn almost nothing except:

  1. D is a sloppy scholar
  2. D and F are incredibly annoying and should never be brought together in public again

Oh and wikipedia has a page about the whole thing.

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land

This documentary is a very calm, very rational and unemotive look at how the Israel/Palestine conflict is protrayed in the US media (in case you didn't know, the basic conclusion is that it systematically portrays Israel as the victim and Palestinians as terrorists). Footage from US TV and quotes from newspapers show exactly how the same phrases are applied over and over to make Israel look like it is simply defending itself agsint crazy Palestinians who have no reasonable demands and are only interested in the destruction of Israel. US coverage is put in stark contrast to the BBC's coverage of the situation which is far more even handed.

Everyone in the US should watch this so that they can get a glimpse of what their media are hiding from them and what their politicians are doing in their name, with their tax dollars. Everyone else should watch this because it's simply an excellent documentary.

Us Europeans shouldn't be too smug though. As sites like Media Lens show, just because coverage of these issues is better over here than in the US, that doesn't mean that there is no bias over here.

Crank, babies and fundametalist terrorists.

I went to see Crank with Rob. It stars Jason Statham and has the excellent premise that he's been injected with a poison that should kill him within the hour but that andrenalin slows the poison. Thus begins a highly entertaining rampage as he seeks revenge and adrenalin. There are lots of really interesting and clever touches with subtitles and editing and lots use of Google Earth as the action shifts from one part of L.A. to another. Bit of a disappointing ending but otherwise well worth a watch if you want a non-serious movie.

This is the first time I've been to the cinema since my daughter was born and as I cycled into town I realised something. You might think that babies cry because they're hungry or scared or have some legitimate grievance but actually, they cry because they hate our freedoms. If I stop going to the cinema just because I have a baby then they've already won.

I had a baby!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Trip to Jade

Jade now has a Korean page on their menu. We had cold noodle and oxtail soup which Midori liked and I ordered ning xia lamb which was kinda of like hui guo rou but made with lamb. The problem is that lamb is too fatty and sometimes way too chewy so that gets a thumbs down.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Perfectly imaginable

According to the British police, today's airline security scare would have been "mass murder on an unimaginable scale". This is just nonsense, this whole scenario was perfectly imaginable. I imagined it about 18 months ago and if they were doing their job, airline security experts imagined it years before. This technique has been successfully used already.

In 2002 a man in China took a bottle of petrol onto a plane and ignited it in flight. There were no survivors. I found out about this because I flew from Beijing to Tokyo and was required to check-in my bottles of spirits that I had brought from Ireland. They were also limiting soft-drinks to 1-litre and were even opening and smelling them at the security checkpoint. At first I thought it was just pointless beaurocracy but later I found out about the incident with the petrol.

Using this technique, 30 suicide "bombers" could take out >300 people each, all at the same time. No need for flight school, no need to take control of the plane, no worries about the passengers retaking control and causing the plane to crash before hitting a target. Just a bottle of petrol, a watch, some matches and plane ticket each.

If I thought of this after my trip to China, I presume the rest of the world's airline security people thought of it too but they have never done anything about it. I guess this is because it would simply be too disruptive and too expensive to do anything about it. Instead they decided to hope it never actually happened.

I guess their gamble payed off. The airline industry got another couple of years of profits without a major disaster. Makes you feel really inclined to trust them without your life!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

District 13 (Banlieu 13)

Just saw this movie and was pleasantly surprised. This was the last night and I'm glad I didn't miss it. It's kind of a French Ong Bak which is no great coincidence given that Luc Besson was involved in the western release of Ong Bak. If that wasn't good enough, Warrior King/Tom Yam Goong (which is definitely not Thai for Warrior King!), the follow up to Ong Bak is out tomorrow! I hope it won't be disappointing but it has a lot to live up to.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Things to do in Dublin when you're really bored

Go to Brown Thomas and count how many people have sunglasses on the top of their heads. This is an all-year-round activity. If it's not too hot for carrying a jumper, you might also count how many men have jumpers over their shoulders.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Getting the free BT webcam working under lnux

It's fairly straight-forward under Ubuntu. This shows up as "SN9C10x" and "spca5xx" in dmesg when you plug it in. You just install libpt-plugins-avc and it works straight away in Ekiga. If only the rest of my interactions with Ekiga were as pleasant.

For the record, it's a fairly shit camera, it does nothing to compensate for dark or light, so it's fairly useless except in daylight! Whether that's the camera or the drivers fault, I don't know but the quickcam I played with was heaps better.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Sawdust Shop

Some time ago I was in Mountain View in California and I took a class at The Sawdust Shop. This place kicks ass. They have a big workshop set up with lots of power tools where they teach you how to take a rough splintery piece of warped wood and turn it into pieces of perfectly straight and shiny wood and then turn those into something like this!

I took this class, which was taught by Vic and was amazed at the results. The finished product was almost perfect, a far cry from my previous attempts at wood working at home! I got to use a whole load of the different tools - router, tables saw, jointer, planer, various sanders, scroll saw, band saw and maybe some other stuff I've forgotten. I don't have access to most of these tools but just seeing what was the right tool for each job was great. Also, as important as seeing each tool was seeing the setup that went with it. It gave me ideas about what I needed to do to better use the tools I had.

If that wasn't enough, they went out of their way to accommodate my odd schedule, allowing me to join a couple of different classes and stay late to finish stuff off. Overall an excellent place to go if you're at all interesting in making things out of wood.

Finally, the also have the coolest table saw in the world, the Saw Stop - a circular table saw with a lot of clever circuitry that makes it almost impossible to cut yourself! Watch the Hot Dog demo on their homepage to see it in action, it's so cool!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sunday, March 12, 2006

blocking 465

I never write firewall rules so in case I forget - to stop evolution getting wedged try to connect to 465 on our mail server

iptables -A OUTPUT --protocol tcp --destination-port 465 -j REJECT

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dublin in flames... mine's a pint

Right now, cars are burning on Nassau St as rioters protesting against the "Love Ulster" parade (something about gay rights in Northern Ireland I think) are running amok. I thought it would be an idea to keep an eye on the Irish Times' webcam in case I saw something interesting.

I think the yellow jacketed figures are the police. As you can see O'Connell Bridge and the Quays have been have been cleared of traffic, only essential riot-related vehicles like Foster's Beer Tankers are being allowed to enter!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Caché and shitty subtitling

I went to Caché, a French movie on Saturday morning. I got free tickets from the IFI by responding quickly to one of their newsletters. The film itself was quite good all the way up the conclusion, or should I say the inconclusion. The movie is about a family who receive a series of video tapes of them, their house and other interesting locations (I don't want to give anything away) which basically freaks them out and leads them on a hunt for the perpetrator. The last few moments of the film reveal some vital information about who might have done it but rather than that leading to a dénoument (fuck it, I watched a French film at the IFI, I'm entitled to use words like that), the credits roll and you're left feeling cheated out of 2 and a bit hours of your life. Either that or you're left feeling smug and superior because you appreciate film as a medium and have no need for the cheap emotional kick of a plot resolution - it's enough to simply contemplate this "compelling, urgently relevant, insidiously unsettling masterpiece". If you felt the latter, then I hope you choke on your own goatee.

Such was the frustration that one audience member stood up at the end and said "before we all leave, does anybody know who did it?" A brave move in a room with a high percentage of berrets, neckerchiefs and overly-thick-framed black glasses

The other annoyance was the subtitles. Mostly they were OK but there is one scene where the white subtitles are on a white background and are incredibly difficult to read. It's 2006 for fuck's sake, why do we still have to put up with this crap?

Next time I go to a movie with crappy subtitles I'm asking for my money back, everyone should do the same.