Dragging & Dropping in Tellico

I’ve added drag & drop support for Tellico in the current 1.3 branch and SVN trunk. What that means is that you should be able to drag a bibtex file, or any other type of file that Tellico supports, into the main Tellico window, and have that file imported. There are still a few rough edges, notably what to do when multiple files are dropped, but the framework is there.

Also, I’ve implemented an importer for PDF files. If available at compilation time, Tellico will link to the Exempi and Poppler libraries for reading PDF metadata (XMP, if you will). If your PDF file has metadate such as title and author, then Tellico should read it. So now you can drag a PDF file into Tellico, and have it be imported as a new Bibliography entry.

Exempi and Poppler are optional build dependencies, by the way. They are not required.

There will probably be a version 1.3 release, which does not use a SQL backend. I just haven’t gotten SQL working yet, it’s as simple as that. And there are some itches I’d like to scratch now instead of waiting. Some of them are involved with better bibliographic support, and reading PDF files is one item on that list. Another is supporting DOI identifiers. I hope to have time to work on that this coming weekend.

Burt Rutan likes JPL!

Discover Magazine has an interview with Burt Rutan, he of SpaceShipOne fame.

NASA does hundreds of wonderful things. They send robots all
over the solar system. They have scientists doing all kinds of stuff.
Some of it is good work. The stuff that JPL [the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California] does is fabulous work.

…But I have a tremendous amount of respect for what JPL does. NASA did
some phenomenal research during the 1960s in response to [Yuri] Gagarin
[the first cosmonaut], and very quickly we were driving cars and playing
golf on the moon. That is something that made me very proud to be an
American who sent taxpayer funds to that NASA.

So I guess we escape his disdain for the general NASA, a.k.a nay-say, culture. I wrote about my feelings on his nickname back when I saw SpaceShipOne fly.

As soon as I make my second million, though, I’m signing up with Virgin Galactic.

Give JPL case a closer look

The Pasadena Star News has an editorial about the JPL being sued over privacy concerns

Creative minds aren’t at their best in an 8-to-5 environment. Throughout their undergraduate and graduate studies, the scientists and engineers have grown used to all-nighters and brainstorming sessions. JPL is a 24-hour campus as well – rovers on Mars and probes
to the asteroid belt don’t run on mundane Earth time, nor do they take any time off. As the rest of us sleep, there are always teams of mission controllers in front of computer screens sending instructions to machinery millions of miles from home.

…But we’re proud of the chutzpah shown by the 28 JPL scientists, engineers and staffers who have questioned some of the details of the almost absurd intrusions on privacy the new background checks involve. They have filed a lawsuit seeking some relief from aspects of the ongoing investigations into every federal employee.

Pasadena Star News

The editorial basically says that the case merits close examination, but it really doesn’t state an opinion, one way or another.

The way space news should be written

This is the way all news stories about space should be written! And look, it’s written by a JPL scientist, even!

The Dawn project welcomes you to deep space! Dawn is operating smoothly on the fourth day of its 8-year adventure. Like new parents, its extremely proud and greatly sleep-deprived Earthbound mission operations team is carefully monitoring its every move.


Dawn launched last week, and we’ve got the signs of congratulations up at both entrances!

JPL, HSPD-12, and Larry Mantle

Larry Mantle, host of NPR’s AirTalk, had an interview yesterday with Robert Nelson, a JPL engineer who is part of a group suing the lab over new security requirements for background checks.

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12 is one of a series of Executive Orders signed by President Bush in 2004. It calls for background checks and fingerprinting of all federal employees and contractors. In August, 28 JPL employees asked a federal court for an injunction to release them from the requirement to comply with the implementation of HSPD#12. According to the plaintiffs, NASA is insisting that all employees sign a voluntary waiver consenting to these background investigations or risk losing their jobs. The arguments for preliminary injunctive relief will be heard in Federal Court in Los Angeles today. Robert Nelson, a JPL employee and lead plaintiff in the case joins Larry Mantle to discuss HSPD#12 and his refusal to comply.

The section about JPL starts about 35 minutes into the program.

The initial hearing was yesterday, and the group’s website has some details about the judge’s initial inclinations.