zab is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Zach Brown
Member since: 2000-02-28 20:02:02
Last Login: N/A

FOAF RDF Share This



I live in Montreal and am employed by Zero Knowledge. I'm currently making Freedom go real fast.

Previously I've worked at Red Hat and held sysadmin jobs all over Portland, Oregon, where I grew up.

I blame my dad and the NES for my ending up in this career.

Recent blog entries by zab

Syndication: RSS 2.0

Alright, I'm tired of navigator dieing while I'm composing these things. From now on its vi/paste, baby.

Hey, another three months since my last entry. Maybe I've stumbled upon some natural zach-diary-frequency.

The maestro3 driver seems to be working for most people with no hard bug reports. Hooray. Getting input working is the next big chore, and then I'd like to clean it up and make it use Jeff's sane oss_audio rather than the disgusting hand done OSS support code it currently has. People are forcing me to care about the maestro2 as well. It needs the same sort of driver cleanup as the m3.

The snow has finally kicked in, and its lovely. I walk through a park to get to the subway that I ride to work, and I got to see little squirrel dudes jumping around in the snow. It was cute, even if squirrels are scary.

Last weekend I flew to Toronto with Phil, George, Mike, and Tyla to go to this year's cocktail party. It was a blast. This year's was a masquerade, it was fun to see everyone all dressed up with outrageous masks. Most had lots and lots of feathers, but Phil and I settled on plain black masks that made us look like train robbers. A really nice train mind you, given that we were wearing tuxedos, but still.

A few weekends ago Digweed held a show for haloween. (some may remember him from his cameo in Groove. Mang came up and we dragged Steph along, it was tons of fun. Nothing like dancing for a few hours in front of big ass speakers to clear your mind.

But again, more of the same. Lots of movie going, lots of eating out, lots of video gaming.

Three months from my last diary entry. Wow. Time flies.

Streptococcal Pharyngitis sucks in a major way. I, for one, didn't quite realize how handy a fully functional throat is. A week of apple sauce and jello? Cool at first glance, but really..

The good news is that my ESS guy is being particularly kick-ass recently. I phoned him a few weeks ago asking about the status of the release of maestro3 information. After the phone call I had source in my inbox and the next day a happy fedex arrived with all sorts of gear, including 4-speaker maestro2 setups. Sound hacking can begin again! Of course, the aforementioned strep took the wind out of those sails for a good week. The maestro3 mixer is working now, and I think I've wrapped my brain around how their DSP software works.. we'll see. The part has lots of potential, but again lack of quality documentation can be quite frustrating. I'd love to lock some ESS dudes in a room with 3com or adaptec doc writers for a few weeks.

Will took a break from his insane work schedule to mail me the BeBox bootstapping tools. Hooray! This most notably includes the befs bootdisk that has a teeny piece of code that netboots a kernel image. I'm so happy to remove the fd burn from the compile/test/swear/edit/ cycle. So yet more hacking now possible. When it rains, it pours.

Work is fun. We finally did enough dancing with lawyers to decide that its OK for me to write packet forwarding code for the Freedom protocol that happens to include crypto. While that was going on I happened to find a copy of The Puzzle Palace at the local Indigo. Sigh, proud to be an American :/

Montréal is still kicking all the ass. Mang visit recently, which rocked. My little sister and californian parental units also visited. All good.

Oh, and just so people don't think I actually have a life, I should point out that Homeworld Cataclysm is a freaking gorgeous game. Go nowhere near it if you want to leave the house.

So, really, more of the same.

Wow, am I a slack-ass or what. Almost a month and a half since my last entry. At least I lasted longer than rth. OK, so, I guess if people care about anything here they might care about the state of my geeking.

I'm still flailing around trying to get maestro hardware so that I can fix up the known problems in the OSS Maestro driver. The APM hacks it has are not playing nice with ACPI, there are playback problems that feel like they're due to APU accessing races, and supporting FM synth and MIDI would be nice. Then there is the Big Bad Maestro3, aka Allegro, that is being shipped in lots of machines now. The bad news is that we can't get full docs on its DSP core. The good news is that the sparse docs that exist seem to be enough to get Sound Blaster emulation working. Yes, we're taking a PCI DSP and telling it to be probably the crappiest sound chip known to man. Go Team. All of this is made even more interesting by the fact that I don't have the hardware :) I have a fellow playing with the allegro remotely. I also have various people (including ESS) trying to get me hardware. It will sort itself out in the end.

I packaged up what little code exists for Matofali and put it up on Maybe some adventerous soul will pick it up and run with it.

I sent a note to the NSPR list saying that I had a neato IO abstraction model and it felt like it might be fun to include it in NSPR. I got two responses. One of the form "duh, we have something like that over here.." and "ACK, wrong wrong wrong." The former wasn't too surprising, but the code they have is nowhere near ideal. The latter proved to be quite interesting indeed. A fellow at Netscape sat me down and explained to me why the IO engine API I had come up with was on serious crack. Given our discussions, I'd love to sit down and write an IO engine. But I need some sort of real world daemon to use it. FTP is tempting, but... Anyone have any bright ideas?

The BeBox is still lying idle. I still don't have the infrastructure to be happy coding on it. Someday, someday.

I've just put Gnebula up on Its incomplete, but there you have it. I always wanted to make it a real Etherman clone, but I just don't have the patience for interface design.

Another phhttpd release is pending. Chuck is cleaning up his patches that make the event loop much more clear and fix the signal queue failover.

Is that it? I guess so. Real Life is as fun as usual. I'll tell you about it sometime when we're nowhere near computers.

Ok, so I've taken to doing this weekly. Sue me.

I've been having lots of fun entertaining visitors. A few weekends ago Mang, Willy, and Ben visited. We went to an Astral Projection party. It was hilarious. I'd never seen so many glow sticks. But we had Gummy Bears to tide us over, so we survived just fine. We got home as the sun was coming up and hit one of the three 24 hour cafes near my apartment. *yawn*

Deb is here in Montreal now. Hooray! It turns out there are uncooperative buildings that are foiling our plans for wireless goodness, but maybe we can run some cat5 through the sewers or something. We're only a few blocks apart.

My insane friend Andrew is visiting this weekend. We worked together on the Netaid project. It was a riot. We're going to go to IKEA so that I can buy shelves for my poor computers that are sitting in a pile right now. That much closer to a proper working environment at home! DSL is still waiting for Bell to pull their head out, I'm sure.

Ryan visited a while ago too. We had fun, except that I drank way too much. I thought I had learned not to drink on an empty stomach after the inagural Matt Shawn Wilson party, but apparently I was mistaken. Ung. I'll never drink vodka, tequilla, or sake again. Well, for a good few days, anyway.

On the Geek Front, Chuck's Scalable IO paper is now available near CITI's linux-scalability page. At least, I thought it was. I can't find it now. I know it was there somewhere :) Anyway, its a good paper. The world needs more Chucks.

Along those lines, the library I'm writing to abstract IO state engines is coming along nicely. I'll probably plug Chuck's /dev/poll hacks into it soon and try and release it under a sensible license. Teaching matofali to use it will be so cool.

Out of no where, Wil Sowerbutts recently sent me some mail. One of these decades I really do intend to take his initial work and finish the Bebox linux port. It just needs some PCI and SMP loving. The Bebox would make the most hilarious test box. Its SMP with no L2 cache and big endian SMP PPC. It will break drivers left and right. But doing this requires making my computer room not suck, which requires the shelves mentioned above. All in good time.

Man has it ever been a long time since I've updated this. Bad Zach.

We went to a rave last weekend. A good time was had by all, except when we had to stand outside waiting in line to get in. That was cold. The music wasn't as clear as I would have hoped, but there were a few moments of clarity. Glow sticks. Have I mentioned glow sticks?

I have a futon-couch now. It is pretending to be The Couch until I can afford a real one.

We had an exciting time driving to the US border and back to do some immigration paperwork. On the way back Footloose came on the radio. Stefan "smart-ass" Brands pointed out that I was about 7 when the movie first came out. For the rest of the song he kept saying things like "I can see you dancing around in front of the mirror in your little room. Is this the part where you jumped off the bed? Admit it!". I can look back at the situation and laugh now. Did I mention we drove to the border in the Zero Knowledge Van? We turned a few heads, I think.

Many projects still pending DSL and a proper machine room build-up at home. Until then I'm playing lots of games under Windows. Whee!

14 older entries...


zab certified others as follows:

  • zab certified pjones as Apprentice
  • zab certified blizzard as Journeyer
  • zab certified mang as Journeyer
  • zab certified Adrian as Journeyer

Others have certified zab as follows:

  • alan certified zab as Journeyer
  • lmb certified zab as Journeyer
  • uzi certified zab as Journeyer
  • pp certified zab as Journeyer
  • jes certified zab as Master
  • cmacd certified zab as Journeyer
  • mang certified zab as Journeyer
  • mkp certified zab as Master
  • garrett certified zab as Master
  • graydon certified zab as Master
  • scottj certified zab as Master
  • pjones certified zab as Master
  • aeppert certified zab as Master
  • Adrian certified zab as Master
  • davidw certified zab as Master
  • Marcus certified zab as Master
  • schoen certified zab as Master
  • marcelo certified zab as Journeyer
  • jimd certified zab as Master
  • bneely certified zab as Master
  • digdude certified zab as Master
  • rth certified zab as Journeyer
  • starshine certified zab as Master
  • sad certified zab as Master
  • acme certified zab as Journeyer
  • fenrus certified zab as Master
  • harinath certified zab as Journeyer
  • msw certified zab as Journeyer
  • kgb certified zab as Master
  • jpick certified zab as Journeyer
  • eMBee certified zab as Journeyer
  • splork certified zab as Journeyer
  • wcooley certified zab as Master
  • jeremyw certified zab as Master
  • davej certified zab as Journeyer
  • cwinters certified zab as Master
  • bvermeul certified zab as Master
  • hch certified zab as Master
  • mharris certified zab as Master
  • ara0bin26 certified zab as Master
  • pcburns certified zab as Master
  • drwat certified zab as Master
  • tclark certified zab as Master
  • liammcfarland certified zab as Master
  • malone certified zab as Master
  • linuxata certified zab as Master

[ Certification disabled because you're not logged in. ]

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!

Share this page