Guillaume “Zifro” Desrat’s former blog

Happy birthday !

Filed under: misc — Zifro September 28, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

Today it’s the birthday of someone very important to me, and who comes to read this blog from time to time.
So happy birthday ! o/

In quest of a photo management application

Filed under: misc — Zifro September 26, 2006 @ 9:21 am

Yesterday evening, I was cleaning the mess in some of my most populated directories
(recup/, downloads/ and sandbox/), which, by deleting some unuseful files (what the
hell have I kept a 700 MB livecd.iso ?) and moving some others, helped me grow
the free space on /home from 115 MB to 6.3GB.

Then I started looking at photos/, where I store every each picture I’ve taken with
the camera my parents and my sister offered me, last Christmas, a Nikon Coolpix
This directory is 10 GB heavy, and as I was talking with Clenche, on IRC
( @ FreeNode), he asked us what software we used to handle and sort
our pictures albums.
So I started telling him I would like an application to tag my albums, reorder them,
manipulate a bit the images and stuff (yes, something like Picasa, which doesn’t
run under OpenBSD, even with the Linux binary compatibility activated).

Browsing the Internet, I found digiKam (to shorten all the trolls, yes it has a K
as in KDE).
Download latest stable source, bunzip2, tar, cd digikam-0.9.0-beta2, more README.
Damn, dependencies are a PITA !

– DEPENDENCIES ——————————————————-

AutoConf >= 2.5.x
AutoMake >= 1.7.x
KDE >= 3.x (>=3.5.x recommended)
sqlite >= 3.x
dcraw >= 8.x (>=8.30 recommended)
exiv2 >= 0.9.x
libgphoto2 >= 2.x (>=2.2.x recommended)
libkipi >= 0.1
liblcms >= 1.14.x
libtiff >= 3.6.x (>=3.8.2 recommended)
libpng >= 1.2.x

On Tuesday, 00:07 am, I didn’t want to deal with this… but instead of giving up,
I took a look at the packages.
Great, it exists !
Of course, it’s an old version (0.7.2) but it will help me test it.

[root@september i386]pkg_add digikam-0.7.2.tgz
digikam-0.7.2:gdbm-1.8.3p0: complete
digikam-0.7.2:libgphoto-2.1.5: complete
ddigikam-0.7.2:libkexif-0.2.1: complete
digikam-0.7.2:libkipi-0.1.1: complete
digikam-0.7.2: complete

I love OpenBSD <3

At first launch, it asks you where to store the albums, then it starts.
The interface is clean, but what I quickly noticed is that Album -> Export and
Tools -> Batch Processing are empty.

One pkg_add later…

[root@september i386]pkg_add digikamimageplugins-0.7.2.tgz
digikamimageplugins-0.7.2: complete

The above menus still aren’t filled :(

Playing with it for five minutes, it seems to be very slow, particularly in menus,
but it does its job, and I’ll give it a try for some time, to see if it fits my needs
(at the moment, I can’t make an exhaustive list of them).

If you use a better application for photo management, let me know !

It’s always when you don’t expect it that it happens

Filed under: work — Zifro September 25, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

You may have been told unenumerable times : don’t try to get something, just wait for it to happen or come to you.

Okay, you may have been told that about girls (or boys). It seems to be the same for job opportunities.

fredix, the President of our beloved Ruby France association (yes, there are many French Ruby users), was contacted by a recruiter whovia the website For various reasons, he didn’t want to go further with that company, and then, via GTalk offer me to tell us about me.

So, Teamlog’s recruiter phoned me, for about half an hour (she had a so charming voice that it was a delightful interview) to present me the company for which I would work (Teamlog is a service provider), their goals, their state of mind (the founders are all former Sun workers). She also tested my English speaking for five to seven minutes, and I think I was good enough because she wrote it in the email she sent me back after :)
It seems very interesting ; they deal with European mobile operators and telecommunications, to provide a common web portal for travelers, and want to hire a Ruby/Ruby on Rails/Perl/Python (w00t !) teammate very quickly. The job is based in Grenoble, a nice (but expensive) place.
I sent few minutes ago my resume, converted to Teamlog’s format, and two recent pictures. I’ll soon know much about it (salary, …), and I try not to lure myself.

It’s kind of weird to have been recommended twice recently :-)
Anyway, “wait and see”, and thanks a lot fredix !

Friday post.

Filed under: work, friends, misc — Zifro September 22, 2006 @ 10:30 am

As usual, it’s a pleasure to wake up on Friday, knowing I’ll recover all the lack of sleep the day after. Okay, it becomes a pleasure only after spending a Willpower skill point to achieve the action :)

Anyway, I’m sitting down here , wondering if I’ll manage to debug the copy/paste work I was told to do (yes, it’s one of this company “best pratices” : if it already exists somewhere and it’s not reusable because it’s not a library or a class, copy paste it then !). The biggest fun of it was when I noticed the code I had to merge from two windows (yes, former developers put code into windows) use global procedures for the first and local ones for the other, which had the same names :)
[EDIT : as I keep on working while I write this (or the reverse), I found the bug]
Best of all, I let my project manager know I’m in trouble with the old code, and he said “weird… you just had to copy paste it”. How useful.

He had told me this job would be a good experience, that I’ll learn to solve problems like anywhere else… oh true… sadly true.

If I need some more sleep, it’s partly because I went out Thursday night, to meet a former colleague, who worked with me for more than a year when I was a techie, installing hardware and configuring software in our shops, Europe-wide.
He now lives in Saint Barthélémy, doing quite the same job, for local prestigious hostels and companies, earning more money (but life’s more expensive over there). As we talked about my current company, we agreed that it didn’t fit us both : too little will to evolve and we wanted (and I want) more.

Two girls and a guy from the accounting dept. came as well, the tapas, the sangria and the beer ; it was really nice, and we’re considering organizing new events (a girl offered to go to the paintball).

As my favourite Friday evening party is going to Nîmes‘ car meeting and drag races, I thought I’d enjoy it today. Too bad the weather’s not suitable. This week-end is about to be uneventful.

It doesn’t matter, I have much work to achieve :)

uKR : a framework for developing modular Ruby applications

Filed under: code, Ruby — Zifro September 19, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

As I wrote in this previous post, I’ve started working again on some Ruby code.

I’m currently extracting the micro-kernel part of YAIB to turn it into a framework for developing modular Ruby applications.

The goals of the project (simply called “uKR” until I find a good name) are to provide a complete-but-expandable, clear and clean, well-documented and well-commented, framework for event-driven modular applications.

A modular architecture based on an applicative micro-kernel allows the developers to share the tasks between each others, code separate stuff with a common communication message (read about it on OSNews).

It also allows to intercept crashes : if the sound module of an application has unexpectedly terminated, the micro-kernel is up to detect it, and rerun it a number of time.
It can also handle updating running applications : a module downloads its update, ask the micro-kernel for being reloaded ; its message queue is saved, the module is reloaded, given back its message queue, and run.
Other idea : a module can choose to offer many services to other, like authentication ; it sends messages to other modules anytime someone logs in, like “hey, this one is approved, you can process his/her requests”.

Truly, there are many applications of the micro-kernel paradigm to software applications, not only operating systems. Of course, I haven’t detailed why some people *HATE* them, I’ve just explained why I’ve used it for YAIB and why I’m about to write this framework.
Want examples ?

A multimedia player : one module for the user interface, sending events like “play”, “pause”, “next”, “stop” events to the module playing the music or the video, while another one is downloading the new version of the UI module.

An IRC bot : one module handle the connection to the server while other focus on dealing with channels managements, authentification, serving news to chatters, …

The first work is to clean the code from what hasn’t to be in, and re-design some of the internals, with the developer needs in mind. If you have any idea about it, please leave a comment or email me (zifro@).

I might release it (in an early version) by December (at last !).

YAIB will be based on it - sort of “hey, look, it works” application - as soon as it becomes usable.

PS : thanks anamorph for having motivated me yesterday. You’re a friend to me.

Stats for September 7-13 and 12-18

Filed under: WTH is this post uncategorized ?, misc — Zifro @ 1:10 pm

This site is hosted on the Free homepages server, on which I’ve had an account for years. Though I’m considering moving to a more professional hosting plan, I’m still glad to use it.

I use the Google Analytics service to keep an eye on statistics and trafic analysis.

From September 7th to 13th :

  • Map : most of the visitors are European, others are from Northern and Central America
  • Countries : okay, a bit more than half of the visitors are French… but that’s normal no ? :)
  • Languages : weird, some French have set their accepting-language to EN/US, but it comforts me in my choice to write it in English
  • Operating systems : Windows is the most used (maybe because most of the visitors come from work), but real operating systems are well represented here
  • Browsers : w00t ! w00t ! Firefox wins !
  • Resolutions : just to know if you have big screens^W displays or not

And now, from September 12th to 18th :

  • Map : more Europeans, more US people, still someone in Mexico and a new visitor from Philippines
  • Countries : lesser French (hardly half of the readers), more German, everybody’s welcome
  • Languages : lesser French, more US, more European
  • Operating systems : Linux makes the better progress, but there are still too much Windows
  • Browsers : lesser Firefox users, but still far ahead
  • Resolutions : you still have big displays
  • Number of visit / hit : there are some people reading this blog, thanks :)

And I’d like to thank all of those who told me they liked my blog, its tone, my way of writing how desperate I am, working with WinDEV.

One week

Filed under: work, healthy life, Ruby — Zifro @ 12:33 pm

It’s one week I haven’t updated my blog. Sorry -_-

First, I’m still alive.

Second, I went to the haidresser and shaved my beard, so that I don’t look like this any longer like that (okay, the sunglasses add a bit to the guru/scary effect).

Third, I had much work at the office, related to the project I more or less described here. It will soon be used by one of our stores. I hope it will work :)
Finally, I started working again the evening on YAIB , splitting it into three parts as I may have written here : the micro-kernel, the IRC library and the bot itself.

Tuesday, WinDEV.

Filed under: work, WinDEV, code — Zifro September 12, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

As I was to find out a solution to the big number problem in our software, I imagined I could write the code in Ruby, make it stand-alone with rubyscript2exe, and call it from WinDEV.


The Ruby part went fine (of course), but I couldn’t manage to get something else than 0 when I call it from WinDEV. And then I noticed that I forgot a blank space, so instead of calling “C:\zlab\rlmc.exe 8708″, it was launching “C:\zlab\rlmc.exe8708″, FUCKING SILENTLY !

So after some tests, I went to this conclusion : one of the two signatures of the LanceAppli function doesn’t work (by work I mean raise and exception in such a case).

If you’re interested in knowning more about it, here you are :


(and finally, I coded an int z_modulo(string s, int n) function to keep all the code in WinDEV)

Monday, WinDEV.

Filed under: work, WinDEV, code, Ruby — Zifro September 11, 2006 @ 5:59 pm

I’m currently working on software to help our customers save time, by extracting data from their databases, to generate a big file and then send it to a partner, who’ll print all the letters and checks.

Honestly that’s a big advance for our customers, something like one day work saved.
But as my company will handle some of the administrative part, I have to write the checks parameters, like the name, the address and stuff.

One of these parameters is the (sort of) checksum of the magnetic ligne at the bottom of the check ; it aims at checking the check authenticity.
The algorithm I was given by our bank director office is the following :

rlmc = 97 - (N x 100 - 97) where N is the concatenation of the 31 digits of the magnetic line (check number and two bank codes).

So I code it, run it, and WinDEV : string to number convertion and big numbers handling TADA !
It appears that WinDEV doesn’t handle big numbers (string to number convertion sucks hard too).

So, “just to try”, I typed in the same thing in irb :
irb(main):001:0> s = "6459010034010041908006791980430"
=> "6459010034010041908006791980430"
irb(main):002:0> rlmc = 97 - ((s.to_i * 100).modulo(97))
=> 54

Oh… it works :p

Five years ago…

Filed under: remember — Zifro @ 1:30 pm

As most of you must know, we are on September, 11th.
Five years ago, the biggest terrorist act lead to the death of thousands of people, mostly New-Yorkers, and to the destruction of the two towers of the World Trade Center.

There were many reports, yesterday, on French TV channels. I’ve watched two of them, which I had never seen before, and… it’s amazing, astonishing.

Today, all my thoughts go to those who died, suffered and show their courage on this day.

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