US Navy Retires The F-14 Tomcat

It’s the end of an era for the United States Navy. One Wednesday, the last of the F-14 Tomcats were retired. Most civilians would be most familiar with them from seeing Top Gun. Most aerospace engineers would be familiar with them because of the adjustable wings.

The F/A-18 Hornets have been gradually replacing the F-14s as the Navy’s main fighter since the early 1990s. The F-14 was manufactured by Grumman Aerospace, which merged with Northrop Aircraft in 1994 to become Northrop Grumman.

The F-35C Lightning II will be the USN’s next fighter jet, but not for a while.

Tellico 1.2.3 Released

Tellico 1.2.3 is available. The major fix is for HTML exporting.

  • A bug in the HTML exporter that caused absolute links instead of relative links was fixed. All included files should be copied properly now.
  • The required KDE version was lowered back down to 3.3.1 from 3.4.
  • For some data sources, the Internet search can now retrieve additional results beyond the first batch. A button was added to the dialog to fetch more results.
  • The CSV importer had some focus issues that were fixed.

Keep the Immigration Debate Civil

Arnold actually has a pretty good op-ed piece on illegal immigration in the LA Times today. Like always, he walks the middle ground, but at least in this case, I think it’s a good place to be. I applaud him for calling a spade a spade and actually using the word illegal and I applaud him for reminding people that words can be weapons.

But he does write one odd statement that jumped out at me.

It is hypocritical for Congress to condemn people for coming here
illegally when the federal government has been unwilling to do what it
takes to stop them from coming in the first place.

Seriously? It’s hypocritical to condem law-breaking unless you do enough to try to stop the law-breaking in the first place? What if I said if was hypocritical to condemn shoplifters because the store is not doing enough to stop them in the first place? Would anyone actually buy that argument? I know what he’s getting at, that Congress has implicitly said it’s ok to cross the border illegally by not being serious about enforcing current laws, but the way he wrote that makes it sound completely dumb.

But all in all, a pretty good piece from the Governator, I thought. Like anything in an election cycle, rather short of actual proposals, but it’s something, at least.

Tellico for rare book dealers

I caught a trackback a couple days ago from a rare book dealer who reviewed Tellico and Readerware. It’s a rather thorough review. I can tell he actually used Tellico and tried it out. I appreciate the nice things he had to say about it, too.

Let’s start out with Tellico. The first thing to keep in mind about this application is that it is really a labour of love, and as such is non-commercial. That said, Linux as a whole is quite similar, so this does not mean that you’re getting a second rate program just because it doesn’t cost you anything. Tellico is not just a book cataloguing application, it is useful for organising any particular collection that you might want to catalogue.

One thing he does focus on is the CSV export

Another top feature worth mentioning about Tellico is that it supports a huge range of import and export options. That said, the CSV export does not allow you to custom tailor which fields are exported and in which order.

So perhaps the CSV exporter should offer an option to limit the exported fields to those currently visible, and in the order currently shown. That wouldn’t take too much effort.

Another big downside to it is that ultimately as an application it is of little use to booksellers. While fantastic for the average collector, it is non-relational in the sense that ultimately it is a really fancy frontend to a single flat database table. You can’t store related information like supplier information, or invoicing data etc. Unless for each book you create a massive set of fields and accept that your application is a bit of a hack from a sales point of view.

He hits the nail on the head there. It’s nothing that I try to deny, Tellico started out as an experiment for me, and I don’t claim any level of complexity for it. But perhaps, someday, I can get to Tellico 2 and include some SQL and make the world a better place…

Creating cross-references in Tellico

A Tellico user has blogged about ways of getting cross-references in Tellico. The data model is really flat and simple, so they’re not supported directly. Instead, Marcus uses grouping to have suggested related items connected. It does require a bit of work, to set everything up and maintain it, but it’s something I hadn’t really thought about.

I’m hoping to move Tellico to a SQL backend for version 2.0, possibly along with a switch to KDE 4. Then, I can add relationships and everything!

Tellico 1.2 Doesn't Export HTML

For Tellico 1.2, I switched the HTML exporter to use libxml2 instead of using KHTML to walk the DOM tree. All the image links have to be parsed so the exporter knows which images to copy. I must have misread the libxml2 documentation cause I used the wrong variable in the xmlAttribute struct. The short of it is, the HTML export doesn’t copy any images or the JavaScript file used for searching. Which basically means it’s useless.

That’s been fixed in SVN, and it’ll be in 1.2.3. I guess I’ll wait to see what other bugs pop up, and push that out next week sometime.

An Update on Opportunity and Spirit

The San Francisco Chronicle has an update on the status of our two Mars rovers.

Defying all the odds, the gutsy Mars rover Opportunity is still trundling tirelessly across the Red Planet’s rugged landscape and making new discoveries of ancient water 2 1/2 years after it bounced to a landing on a mission designed to last only three months.

The word trundle always makes me think of the Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison, since it was used several times in there, and I was impressionable at a child.

Anyways, Steve Squyres is still keeping himself busy. Spirit is a bit lamer than his brother, but he’s still chugging along. Go Rovers, go!

Best Predictor of Academic Excellence

Go figure. A research at the University of Washington has determined that Ultimate Frisbee is one of the best predictors for academic excellence.

What is this sport that mysteriously divines a university’s stature so precisely? It’s called Ultimate Frisbee, or more commonly just Ultimate. It is the fastest growing college sport and is already played interscholastically at over 500 colleges and universities. While wildly popular on campuses, relatively few in the wider world have even heard of it.

My favorite quote is

Why a game, requiring such all-around athleticism should so consistently be dominated by universities (and presumably students) with off-the-chart academic credentials, is truly a mystery. The top seven schools for ultimate have a mean graduation rate of 95% and nearly as many total Rhodes and Marshal scholars as all of the rest combined. The names speak for themselves: Stanford, Brown, Harvard, Tufts, Dartmouth, Yale, and Princeton.

Where’s MIT? Hey, wait! OK, it’s true, while we had fun playing there, I can’t say we really excelled at a national level, not at least for the men.

Tellico 1.2.2 Released

*sigh* So Tellico 1.2.1 went out the door with a bug that would cause it to use the wrong temporary directory for writing images. So if you were opening data files that included the images in there with them, Tellico would write those images out to /tmp/kde-*******/tellico****** and then forget where it put them, essentially. (KDE uses unique directory names for tmp files)

It will likely cause data loss if you save the file, and certain options are turned on. If that happens to you, please accept my apologies. Tellico does save backup files with the ~ extension, so look for one of those and open it.

Tellico 1.2.2 is available with a fix. I know it’s just one day after 1.2.1 was released, and I certainly hope I don’t keep introducing bugs like this every day. But this is an important bug fix. Version 1.2 did not have the bug.

Tellico 1.2.1 Released

Tellico 1.2.1 is available now, which fixes a few problems with the 1.2 release. Thanks to everyone who emailed me or the mailing list and reported issues, I do appreciate that.

  • Fixed CDDB bug that read everything as Pink Floyd.
  • Improved image cache performance a bit more, and fixed another memory leak.
  • Fixed a crashing bug in the file listing importer.
  • Fixed a rendering bug with the image gradients used in the entry templates.
  • Fixed a bug with some fields not showing auto-completion in the filter dialog.
  • Fixed CDDB cache importer to use UTF-8, as done in libkcddb.
  • Changed bibtex exporter to add braces or quotations around \url{...} values.
  • Updated pt_BR, thanks to Cláudio Félix.