Porting mod_virgule to Apace 2.x – part II

After a little more hacking on Monday, I completed the port of mod_virgule to the Apache 2 API. It’s now running natively using the 2.x APR functions directly – no need for the 1.3 compatibility headers at all. I’m going to bang on it a few more days and then shift robots.net over to it. I’ll post the source later this week as well.

I’m doing the work on a new CentOS Linux 4.0 box that I set up to try out CentOS. Most of our boxes still run Red Hat 9 and since Red Hat’s demise I’ve been casting around for a suitable replacement. CentOS seems ideal. It’s basically a community supported, free (as in speech and as in beer) clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. So everything is exactly where it should be and works like you’d expect it to.

In other news I just got my hands on one of the New Micros TinyARM 2131 boards. It’s a tiny little ARM microcontroller (1″ x 1.3″) with 32K Flash and 8K RAM. Looks like another gcc cross compiler adventure in the making.

Porting mod_virgule to Apace 2.x

I got mod_virgule working on Apache 2.x this week. I started with the patch for the official codebase that James Henstridge did back in early 2004. While the official mod_virgule hasn’t changed much in the last couple of years, mine has continued to diverge due to patches for libxml2 and other requested features. So it took a little tweaking to get the old Apache 2 patch to work but it still saved a lot of time. I’m not planning on keeping Apache 1.3 compatibility, so I dropped some changes from the original patch related to 1.3 support.

I’ve still got a ways to go before it’s ready for release. At present it relies too heavily on the APR compatibility headers. Once I get things cleaned up, I’ll move robots.net to an Apache 2 server with the new code and give it some good testing. A release should follow shortly after that.

It’s nice to play with some C code again after all the website related Perl coding I do at NCC.

Snow and Spam

I better post this while I’m thinking about it. The last couple of weeks have been way too busy. After a slow December, business really picked up in January and based on the number of new proposals we’ve been cranking out, it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet. Anyway, what’s happened in the last couple of weeks that’s worth telling you about? Hmmm…

I sent a mod_virgule patch to Raph a week or so ago that fixes the duplicate article problem which has been plaguing Advogato. Don’t know if he applied it or not but I’ve been using it on robots.net for a while and haven’t had any dupicate posts.

It actually snowed here in Dallas about a week ago. Real snow like we haven’t had in years. Unfortunately, it was typical Texas weather – 60F one day, heavy snow and 30F the next, and back in the 60s again after that. So most of the snow was gone within 48 hours. But I managed to shoot a few nice photos of it before it melted.

In the never-ending fight to block spam, I’ve finally found a suitable replacement for ORBS. After the demise of ORBS, a whole pile of ORBS clones sprang up and I’ve tried a lot of them. Most had tiny databases, bad data, got too many false positives, or were otherwise unsatisfactory. ORDB, however, has turned out to be the best of the bunch; as good or better than the original. Now, if I could just figure out how to pronounce the name! In addition to ORDB, we’re using SPEWS, the Spamhaus Block List, and our own private block list. We usually block 500-600 spams per day with the current setup (about 90%).

News Cars, Old Cars, and Robots

It’s well past time that I get something new posted here! When I left off last I was explaining my list of possible new car choices and describing the test drives. I did finally get the new car and it did turn out to be the Acura RSX Type-S. I expect to get some photos of it up shortly. Actually, not just photos of my new car but my old ones as well.

When I was a youngster in high school and just beginning to drive, an older friend of mine used to talk about the strong emotional ties one can develop with a car. He said what he’d really like would be to keep all the cars he ever owned and just park them in a garage somewhere so he could look at them. Not having owned even one car at the time, this didn’t mean much to me. Now I understand his feelings a bit better and, while it’s still not practical to keep every car, it’s certainly possible to take some photos and build a web page. I’m trying scrounge up photos right now and will be sure to post a warning when my web shrine to great autos of the past goes online.

What else have I been up to you may ask? Well, I continue to make incremental progress in developing the robots.net site. It’s accumulated over 600 users in a very short time and continues to grow by 5 or 6 new users per day. On a related subject, Jim Brown and I have embarked on a crazy new robot project of our own. Jim’s daughter suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and each year Jim participates in Great Strides, the CFF 10k walk to help raise money for CF research. Our plan is to enter not Jim but a biped robot, named CF Walker, in the next walk which occurs in May of 2002. We hope to get companies and indivduals to sponser the robot and raise a nice pile of money for the CF Foundation. We are also happy to accept donations of hardware for the construction of the robot itself (hint, hint). We’ve already received some experimental solar panels developed by TI. Can we really build a large, biped robot in less than one year? Will it be able to walk 10km? Are we insane? Stay tuned.

Lalo Schifrin, Peeps, and BBQ

I better post a news update while I’ve got a few minutes free or it’ll probably be another week before I get a chance! Let’s see, last friday night I stopped by a local Colter’s BBQ to hear some live R & B played by a group that included Kenny Stern on drums along with several of his friends. It’s probably the only place in Irving where you can hear a live band and not many people know about it (which is not suprising, who’d expect live music at a Colter’s!?). Anyway, if you’re in Irving some friday night and want hear some live music, check and see what’s happening at the Colter’s on MacArthur.

On Easter Sunday, we joined my sister’s family for a picnic in Lookout Park in Richardson, TX. A fun time was had by all. I brought along a couple of boxes of Peeps hoping the kids would eat them. Where did I get Peeps you ask? Well, with all the hype about Peeps on the web and Susan telling me of her childhood memories of Peeps, I was begining to feel like I’d missed out on something. So I went to the local grocery store and picked up one box of yellow Peeps and one box of pink Peeps. I ate one yellow Peep and decided that one enough for this lifetime. They are awful-tasting things that look and feel like small bits of foam-rubber coated with a large quantity of sugar. The first thing you notice about them is that they aren’t shaped at all like chicks (my niece and nephew thought they were seals). Anyway, having aquired an excess of Peeps, an Easter picnic seemed an ideal way to get rid of them. The kids ate some, we tried to feed one to a passing dog (and learned that even dogs won’t eat them), and we also tested the fire resistance of a Peep in one of the outdoor grills available in the park (they don’t so much burn as melt).

Hmmmm… what else is new? Jesika, a friend who used to work for one of NCC’s clients, is starting a new media production company called manipul8. Work on robots.net is still sucking up most of my free time. And I’ve been listening to a lot of Lalo Schifrin lately because Susan is on an eBay Lalo-buying-spree.