Monthly Archives: April 2007

potential postgres schema for lds-scriptures 3.0

Well, that was fast. I looked at the schema last night for the MDP Scriptures project, and started cleaning it up, and it went really quickly. I’ve got a postgres dump all ready for review, and this is probably the configuration I’ll use for the next release.

The major change was that I added a new table for the chapters. It seems a little odd having the chapter number in a table all its own, but for a normalized database schema it makes perfect sense. The only thing I don’t like is now you have to INNER JOIN across four tables just to get all the information. Most of the time you won’t need anything but book + chapter + verse, which is only three tables. I did create a sample view called view_verses which pulls them all together so you can easily run a select on some format like ‘Gen 1:1′. The thing I don’t like is that even that view is CPU intensive, so I may have to look at changing some stuff around.

Aside from that basic view, I’ve decided I’m not going to put all my fun ideas for functions and views in the packaged release. Instead, I’ll just have them either as a separate release, or just post them on the website since I’m sure they will evolve.

One really cool thing about postgres that I love is that you can have overloaded functions. I started playing with them a while back on this database, and came up with some cool concepts. One idea I want to implement is being able to run a select statment using a between on two verses. An example query would be: “SELECT * FROM view_verses WHERE verse_id BETWEEN verse(‘Gen.’, 1, 5) AND verse(‘Genesis’, 12); where the verse() function would be overloaded to take between one and three arguments: book, chapter and verse.

It’s pretty cool all the stuff you can do with postgres, and that’s definately where I’ll be focusing my attention in getting the goodies done.

Anyway, if you want to download this test schema, its available here. As always, feedback is welcome.

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Filed under Databases, Religion

thanks, charles

I finally gave the word to my friend, Charles Fry, to cut me loose from hosting nephi.org so I can take it over once more.  I have to publically thank the guy for being so generous and hosting my site for what was probably three years or so, free of charge for almost the entire time.

The only problem that comes with someone else taking care of your baby is that you tend to neglect it, and now that I’m taking full responsibility for it again (as in, paying for hosting myself), it will probably motivate me to get to work on it.

There’s a lot of good projects and ideas that I’ve had for the site for years now, and I have a bad habit of putting personal projects off for an extremely long time.  I’m getting better at it though, and hopefully soon there will be something to show for it.

Case in point, it was exactly a year ago that I setup trac and started filing bugs for my development tracker for MDP.  I really need to get to work, and finish up these things I started so long ago.

I was reading Patrick’s blog this morning, and he mentioned something about QA in general that got me thinking.  “I think most Open Source projects could use a code freeze and a long bugfix-only phase.”  I have to agree with him 100%.  Gaim is a perfect example of that, I think.  Back in the day when they had a release every few weeks, they would always fix some bugs, but add new features and those would introduce new bugs as well.  I kept thinking to myself that I wished someone would just freaking stop adding new features and instead just fix the bugs, and have a stable bugfix release cycle.

Then I got started thinking about my projects as well.  Oftentimes the reason I get side tracked from working on them is because I have in my head all these features I want to add, which can be some genuine hard work and dedication.  You really gotta get in the mood to work on stuff like that, and that’s hard to come by.  However, if instead I just focused for a while on fixing the things I already promised, and half implemented, and are broken and annoying and not working properly, it would make me feel a lot better just getting that part done and done, and I’m sure the users would appreciate it too (GPNL comes to mind … why the crap don’t I have a search button on every page?!).

So, I think that’s what I’m going to do.  I got pinged this morning on the LDS OSS mailing list because my contact email form was broken on nephi.org (and probably was for about, oh, three years), asking about a DB abstraction layer for the scriptures exports.  I replied that I’d be getting to it in the next release, but I’d also be doing all this whiz-bang stuff to add new features like views and foreign keys and relationships and fix the data integrity and yada-yada-boom-boom.  I’ve got a great idea.  How about you *fix* what is broken instead, and keep the same state of features, but just cleaned up and working properly.  That is much easier, and a much shorter task list than taking over the world.  I tell you what, I think I can manage that.

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Filed under Computers

posting and filing bugs

I wanted to take two seconds to mention just a few things on how users can help out developers when filing bugs, or posting them on bugzilla or the forums. I’m sure many other people out there can add to the list of helpful things, but these are the ones that I see the most.

First of all, if you’re posting for help on something that didn’t emerge properly, at the very least post this information: the output of “emerge -pv package” and “emerge –info”.

Yes, I could grep the USE flags you’re using from emerge –info, but that doesn’t help with all the package.use foobery that crops up. Just post “this is my output for emerge -pv whatever” and where it dies, with a verbose error message.   Include about as much as you can, since many times there is too little information. Make it easier for people wanting to help you.

The output of “emerge –info” is really helpful too. It may not seem necessary, but it tells people which arch you’re on, and also your compilation flags as well. I always look at people’s CFLAGS first to see if they’ve got anything extremely funky in there, as that’s commonly a root cause of build errors.

If you’re filing a bug on bugzilla, please always put the full category, package name and version in the subject. This makes it easier for those looking at unassigned bugs to quickly know who it should be assigned to, and exactly where you are having problems. For the subject, just put “foo-bar/package-name-1.2.3 short bug summary” and that works perfectly.

Finally, thank you for actually filing bugs and posting problems. It’s much better than letting them get to you and leaving in a fit of rage complaining about how everything is broken. Besides, this way if there is a serious problem, and it’s not just user misconfiguration, it allows us to get it fixed properly so others can also enjoy a more stable system.

Thanks, guys. :)

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Filed under Gentoo

transcode and dvd::rip

New versions of transcode and dvd::rip just went into the tree.  Transcode saw its first stable bugfix release (1.0.3) for the first time in a year and a half.  Woots!  The 1.1.0 release of transcode is apparently just around the corner, too, so hopefully we’ll see that soon.

I haven’t had any luck getting dvd::rip to work with the newer branch (though I haven’t updated my snapshot lately, either), but I know it’s support is planned.

Anyway, give them both a try … both very mature, good pieces of software.  I always encourage people to give transcode a try as an alternative to using MEncoder or ffmpeg.  There’s a learning curve, but well written man pages will help you out immensely.

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Filed under Gentoo, Multimedia, Transcode

coming soon to my living room

It has been way too long since I did an update on all the cool DVDs that are coming soon, and there are a LOT of them, too. I’m super excited.

Recently Released

Yesterday, Murder, She Wrote, Season six came out on DVD. Can you believe this show ran for eleven seasons? Can you imagine the psychological impact of seeing someone murdered every week of your life for eleven years straight? How does that woman sleep at night? Who cares? It makes great TV!

This is actually one of my most favorite shows ever … and I have no idea why. I really like mystery dramas, and courtroom ones are my favorite. However, unlike courtroom dramas, Jessica Fletcher is a free-wheeling character who isn’t stuck finalizing the plot in the same place every week, so it’s nice because the formula isn’t quite the same, and I’m never sure who the killer is. Everytime I guess, I’m completely wrong, too.

I’ve been watching season four this week, and on one disc there were three really amazing episodes all in a row. I can’t remember now what they were … one was about a wine maker, I think. The cool thing though was that in at least two of them, the person you expected to get hacked off was not who you thought it would be! All three of them really threw me for a loop, and I thought it was cool, breaking out of the mold a bit. It was a lot of fun. There are a lot of great episodes.

The first season of Family Ties came out recently too … well, in February. It’s still on my “Coming Soon” wish list, which means I haven’t bought it yet, but was looking forward to it. I have a lot of wish lists. About 13, I think.

Some other cool stuff that just came out that I’ve gotta get is Batman Beyond, season three (released on my birthday, no less!), 7th Heaven, season four … which I griped about so much that they stopped releasing them after two seasons, and then I don’t go and buy them right away for some reason, and Teen Titans, the third season. One thing I really don’t like is when I have partial sets of stuff that’s already been released. I counted the other day, and there’s 11 of those. Gah. I gotta get caught up. Someone give me some money. :)

This is the coolest release of late though, the entire set of Brady Bunch episodes all in one sexy setup: shag carpet cover. I gotta get me one of those.

Unfortunately, the thing costs $90. Eek! I’m not that excited just yet.

Oh, but the coolest part of it of all is that it’s got some Brady movies on there, including “A Very Brady Christmas,” which deserves an entire post of its own someday.

Summarizing though, the entire Brady family comes home for Christmas, and each Brady kid is having problems in their lives, which naturally get solved over the magic of the season. Except for Dad Brady. Who gets caught in the collapse of a poorly constructed building and dies horribly. Maybe. Watch it for yourself.

Anyway, one of the couples is having marriage issues, and considering getting a divorce. Well, come Christmas morning the couple finally manages to work things out, and while they are talking about things in the bedroom, Mom Brady walks in on them. And then, she has the most classic line of them all … “You two can be late for breakfast.” I don’t know about you, but the thought of any Brady getting it on is enough to make me lose my lunch through a set of striped knee-high socks.

Another great one that just came out was season three of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

I was worried that Warner wasn’t going to release the other ones, since seasons one and two came out a long, long time ago and we hadn’t really seen much aside from the Dynomutt Hour and the Scooby Doo Movies. I’m glad though, that they are available again. That’s another one I gotta snap up soon.

Coming Soon

Sheesh, I certainly didn’t intend to write about stuff that had already come out .. it’s just that I haven’t been in acquisition mode lately at all, so I’m really behind on my regular collecting.

I did, however, update my collection online, and I had a lot more sets than I realized … and I know that list is still missing some I forgot to add. So, for now, I’m at least at 101 box sets. Crazy stuff. Just don’t ask me how many of them I’ve actually watched. I think I’ve sampled almost all of them, but I usually watch one at a time and stick to that for a while.

Still some cool stuff to come, though …

Get out your tan pants and bad puns, it’s time for CHiPs, another classic 70s sitcom that I can’t wait for. Man, I absolutely loved this show as a kid. It just speaks for itself in awesomeness. I thought it’d never hit DVD!

I have really vague memories of the show, actually. I can remember bits and pieces of it … but remember the nasty helmets pretty well. The opening sequence is great, too, both the music and how they cut to different parts of their bikes, their boots, etc. It must be fun to be a crazy California cop and have all those fun adventures.

Next up, it’s back from the 80s … Silver Spoons is making it as well. This is another great show I loved as a kid, and watched regularly. Looking back now, it occurs to me that maybe I watched a lot of TV regularly. Oh well, good times. :)

I liked this show a lot … I remember that much. I also remember being really jealous that this guy had a toy train running through his living room as well as some arcade games in there. What a crock! All we had was … uh, paintings.

Last one I’m gonna cover this time (and there’s lots more, believe me… I’m just running out of steam) is the Powerpuff Girls! Whee!

I can totally imagine the pitch for this show … “We’re going to have a cartoon about three little girls that are cute, and nice … and kick the living hamstercrap out of every villian and then giggle about it afterwards.”

If you haven’t seen this show, you are really missing out. It is so funny, because it’s so violent, and these girls really do beat the stuffing out of everyone (and get kicked around t themselves, time to time). Absolutely classic stuff. I hope stuff like Dexter’s Laboratory isn’t too far behind.

That’s it for this episode of Steve is poor and can’t afford anything, so sucks to be me. There really is a lot more cool stuff coming out, which I’ll cover later. In the meantime, I have to pay for other necessities of life… like … something.

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Filed under Entertainment

cleansing of the leper

I was just channel flipping tonight looking to see what was on TV, and I stumbled on the very last part of a talk being given on BYU TV about types of Christ. I didn’t catch very much, but the speaker did go over something really cool that just blew me away — he covered a few verses from a chapter in Leviticus and showed their symbolic and spiritual significance. It was just so cool I couldn’t sleep and just had to document what he said as best as I can recall.

The passage was from Leviticus 14:1-9. If you read the verses, you’ll see that they seem rather boring and plain from the offset:

1. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2. This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:

3. And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;

4. Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

5. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:

6. As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:

7. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

8. And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.

9. But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

Now, I’ve read the Old Testament, and it is full of stuff like this that on first glance seems completely uninteresting and just plain weird, to be honest. And the speaker mentioned that reading this late at night, it would be easy to miss out on the significance of the message.

Take a look now at the same verses, but this time with a perspective on the spiritual side instead of the physical. I’ll try and document as much of his comments as I can remember, and add my own in as well.

2. This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:

In this case the leper represents not really a person, but the sinner, or someone who has sinned and is seeking repentance. He must go unto a judge in Israel (the priest) who has the priesthood from God.

3. And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;

Sometimes the priesthood brethren must go out and seek the sinners. Going out of the camp also illustrates that the sinner in this case has been disfellowshipped, and cannot fully participate with the congregration. The priest then looks, and as judge, can determine if the sinner has fully repented or not.

4. Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

One of the two birds represent Christ, which will be made more clear pretty soon here, and the other the repentant sinner. The cedar wood is a symbol of the cross, the scarlet of the scarlet robe that was put around Him, and the hyssop the sponge given him when He thirsted on the cross.

5. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:

Christ came to earth to die for our sins.

6. As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:

7. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

It is Christ’s blood again that saves us. He also mentioned in his talk that seven is, symbolically, a number representing perfection … something I’ve heard before, but I’m not really clear on the concept, or even understand how or why (though you definately see it used often).

Once the leper is pronounced clean, he is set free and welcomed back into the congregation (I think … probably muddling that one up, I remember it slightly differently .. he said something about the open field I can’t properly recall).

8. And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.

9. But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

Now this is the part I really didn’t understand, and couldn’t wait for him to explain. The other stuff made some sense (sacrifice, a priest intervening) but shaving off all your hair? I couldn’t imagine.

The answer is that a newborn is typically born without any hair, and this symbolizes the leper becoming born again as a baby. I never saw that one coming.

Absolutely fascinating stuff. I love reading the Old Testament, and it’s such a cool set of scriptures to read. There have been so many plain and precious truths removed from the Bible, but there is so much symbolism still there, and it’s always an awesome treat to find it and understand what it means. This is the stuff in studying scripture that I get really excited, is finding the types and shadows of Christ. Absolutely fascinating stuff. I wish that I had the ability to look past what I’m reading about and see the symbols more clearly. It’s so difficult to do, but it would just make everything make so much more sense if I could do it.

I hope I didn’t sound preachy on this post, that certainly wasn’t my intention. In fact, if anything, I completely butchered the presentation that was much nicer. I do just love studying the scriptures though, and it’s one habit I really need and want to get back into. There’s so much cool stuff to learn.

It looks like I found a copy of the talk, too. It’s called “The Power of the Atonement to Cleanse and Heal: Atonement Symbolism in the Old Testament”, and it was given by David Ridges at BYU Education Week on 8/19/02. You can find it here on their broadcasting site. They don’t have an individual link just for the talk, so you’ll have to search for it. I did find a direct RealPlayer audio link though, here. Good stuff

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Filed under Religion

nephi.org migration

Something else I’m working on, related to alan-one, is I’m finally moving nephi.org back to my own hosting so I can properly take responsibility for it once more.

Most people have probably never heard of the site, since I never mention it, and my interest in working in it dropped off sharply about three years ago, and has been sputtering since then. The Nephite Network is basically a collection of small LDS websites that I like to put together on my own.

One reason for making it oh so long ago was that I noticed it was incredibly hard to find gospel websites related to my religion that were clearly non-biased and actually produced by faithful members. Hopefully it’s evident on this one which camp I belong to.

I realize right now that the content is extremely slim. In fact, the two major sections have been taken down to be revamped — Gospel Art Gallery and Family Theater Old Time Radio. I’m working on getting them back online … at least, I’ve got some ideas mulling about in my head and I’ve got to get to work on them, so hopefully sometime this year they will reappear. That’s my goal at least.

The one I’m really excited to work on, and it’s always been an extremely fun project for me, is the Scriptures website, where I have imported the entire canon of LDS scriptures into a few databases and then made them freely available for download. My last real big release was two years ago, almost to the day, and I’ve learned a lot more about databases since then. In fact, it is absolutely amazing to me how I managed to get so much stuff done with such a limited knowledge before. It just stands as a testament to me that the Lord has been helping me out. I honestly can’t take any credit for the milestones I’ve achieved.

I’m also planning on poking at the Mormon Documentation Project again. Since we just had General Conference the other week, it’s gotten me interested in working on the CDDB files again. I have no idea if anyone uses those or not, but I find them helfpul, and I’ve got almost all the disc sets anyway, so I don’t mind cleaning them up and passing them along. Also, the timeline project I started on so long ago looks like it’d be really fun to pick up again. I’ve been getting it in my head that I want to go back to doing a serious study of the scriptures again, and having a little project on the side to categorize my findings helps me both understand what I’m studying and motivate me to move along as well.

I don’t know how many of these lofty goals I’ll be able to actualy attend to, but I’m glad that the interest is at least buzzing once more … that for sure means that something will happen pretty soon. I tell you what. :)

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Filed under Computers, Religion

dvdnav forked

Good news. The folks at MPlayer have forked libdvdnav, the library responsible for navigating menus on DVDs.  Upstream has been dead for quite some time now, but it’s still widely used and it’s a shame it hasn’t been getting the loving care it deserves.

There is already a new mailing list and subversion repository for the forked version.

Hopefully we’ll get to see some improvements and modifications real soon now.  If anyone can handle the task, it’s those crazy mplayer devs.  Thanks, guys. :)

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Filed under Gentoo, MPlayer, Multimedia

alan-one update

Something took my server offline recently, and I didn’t even notice it till last week, so I have no idea how long it’s been inaccessible.  I’ve been meaning to move stuff to my new server for like three months anyway, so I finally moved most of it over this morning.  Once the DNS updates, you should be able to access Space Paranoids again.  The GPNL website should work again, but is probably going to be out of date until I can get some time to get it up and running again.

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temple square visit

I was walking around late last night on Temple Square, as I often do when I want to go somewhere and just think of stuff, and there were freaking flowers everywhere.  It was pretty crazy.  Anyway, I was walking by the Church’s main office building, and saw a statue of Joseph and Emma Smith.  I thought I noticed something odd, and sure enough, as I got closer I saw that someone had picked some flowers and put them in Joseph’s hand.  It was really cool, and for some reason kind of inspired me a bit, that I took a little photo on my cell phone.

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