Monday, November 22, 2004


Not much happening KDE-wise in my part of the world. HEAD is broken, and I've just done a big ol' system upgrade to FreeBSD 5.3, with associated tidy-up still ongoing. 'Twas probably a bad idea to do it when term is still on, especially since the Christmas holiday is so close, when I'll have plenty of time for such things. Anyway, for lack of anything better to write about, I thought I'd summarize my nationality, for anyone who cares, since it's come up in conversation a few times on IRC, and makes a nice little conversational gambit.

If life were simple, I guess I could just say "I was born in Cardiff, in Wales, so I'm Welsh." But that would spoil my little gambit, and it's not quite correct anyway. The first fly in the ointment is that neither of my parents are Welsh: my mum is English, and my dad Indian (although he was born and brought up in Uganda, and has never lived in India). I don't suppose it's too complicated so far, but having a Portuguese surname, when (I assume) I have no Portuguese heritage at all, makes for a little more confusion. When I was applying to universities, I went to an open day at Imperial College in London. On finding the appropriate person to talk to, I told her my name, and was greeted with a stream of something that wasn't English. My brain must have been on form that day, since I managed to realise fairly quickly that she was asking me if I spoke Portuguese. Alas, not a word of it, I had to admit.

That's about it, although if I need a quick answer to a question about nationality, then I'm British - my passport says so :-). Still, it's nice being able to pick and choose between three countries when finding a sports team to support...

Well, KDE is pretty international, so I guess someone can trump me on 'number of plausible nationalities', so go for it! I'd be intrigued to see how many nationalities can be crammed into one person. :-)

Monday, November 01, 2004

'did physics; played frisbee; ate; slept'

OK, so quoting myself in blog entries is probably very bad form, but it's a pretty accurate reflection of what I've spent my time doing in the last few weeks.

I did find some time for KDE stuff though. Aside from hanging around on #kde giving everyone one of my three or four stock answers, I managed to finish up all the stuff for the docs competition. The winners were decided on, they were notified, and everyone's work was marked up and merged into the User Guide. That takes it to 30,000 words, in terms of 'wc -w' output. I'm so proud :-).

Hanging round in #kde has had its upside too: canllaith and StevenR have submitted some great content and screenshots for the User Guide, after my requests for help in the channel. They also demonstrate that it's really easy to get into helping with KDE in general, and docs in particular. Hopefully we're providing quick satisfaction too - I've been updating the online version of the Guide
with each commit, so everyone can see their work as soon as possible. With just a little more work, we'll be ready to move the Guide into kdebase.

I also played around a little bit more with PDF generation. I tried FOP along with the DocBook XSL FO stylesheets, which works fairly tidily, but has the problem that FOP is a Java app, and so it's not really appropriate for distributing KDE stuff with. The other thing is that the output of the DocBook FO stylesheets doesn't seem all that great-looking. I'm sure it's quite easily changed with parameters, but it doesn't seem worth it when the next stage (FO -> PDF) lacks appropriate tools.

That brought me back to db2latex (and dblatex, due to a typo in the location bar). I've got a workaround to the main bug that was holding it back, and I even have a vague idea why it works. There are still a few issues to be ironed out, but hopefully they're more minor. If you know anything about XSLT or quite a bit about LaTeX and want to help, get in touch with kde-doc-english.

That's about it for KDE stuff. Here are some ultimate frisbee photos, if you're so inclined.