The Dark Doodad

Dark Doodad

It's been a while since I did a blog, so after twiddling the way the front page of the site displays, it's time to post a new one.

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The Dark Doodad


I added the memcache module to my Drupal this morning.

Mine is a stand-alone install, so I can test it without affecting all the other ones, that run via a shared codebase.

It requires an updated PECL extension (the default one in Hardy is too old and doesn't support multiple memcache servers) and some code patching as well.  The latest version listed in the patches/ subdir is Drupal 5.8, but it runs fine on 5.14. Sofar anyway.  If you can't read this, it's possibly broken ;-)

xmas surprise

ITelescope got a bit of a surprise last night.

It was decided some time ago that we wouldn't do presents, but instead all put a set amount of money into a piggy bank, to spend on a suckling pig banquet early next year.

However, just as we were about to go, I was herded into a room with a huge box, which turned out to contain a 650mm f/5 newtonian "zoom lens" on an equatorial mount, for use with the digital camera :-)



For some time now Yarra Trams have had a little form on their website that allows you to get the arrival times for the next three trams for a specific tram service at a specific stop.

Unfortunately their site renders extremely badly on Firefox 3 and they don't provide a documented API, so the only way to get this data is to scrape it by submitting the form on their site and parsing the results.

inkscape is cool

I thought I had blogged about this, but I can't find a post mentioning inkscape, so I guess I didn't.

LA at VITTA/2008Some time last year Donna and I wanted to see if we could create posters for a Linux Australia stand at a tradeshow. We wanted to use the Dot Tux image by Daniel Patterson that won the t-shirt competition. Unfortunately there is only a fairly low quality jpeg available, which isn't very helpful for making say an A1 sized poster. For that an SVG would be ideal.

Enter inkscape!

I created a document with the original JPEG sitting in the background and over the course of a few days both Donna and I spent a few lost half-hours putting about 9,000 dots into a layer above the JPEG, resulting in a perfectly scalable Dotty Tux.

We used the cloning facility to create the dots, which means we have ten master dots sitting off-page. All the rest are clones, so by changing any attibute on the master - say colour or size - you will automatically also change the dots in the Tux. This way you could easily create a psycho coloured Dot Tux if you wanted!

Dot Tux (in originalish colours)

The SVG is attached to this blog post (or click the tux above to grab it) so you can play with it.The master dots are sitting on a purple square background above the top of the page.

If you want to use it for promotional acivities, please contact Linux Australia for permission.