Saturday, 5 February 2011

Chinese New Year's day

Heard crackers going off out the window, saw some chefs standing at a bench which had oranges and other indeterminable objects on it, and then these dudes rocked up and danced to some drums. Then they got handed something, perhaps some cash, and they hopped back in their van and popped off again. Would have gone down to watch, but they were performing right in front of the doors of the next hotel, and I wouldn't have been able to see the best of it anyway.

2011-02-03 - Hotel view - Dragon performers

Glico hot welsh onion biscuits

I've probably done these before.

2011-02-02 - Glico hot welsh onion biscuits - 01 - Packet

They taste mostly of a mild tomato-cheese flavour, with undertones of something designed to resemble onion. There's a little tang.

2011-02-02 - Glico hot welsh onion biscuits - 02 - Packet contents

I give these an 8/10 on the tastes like it was made in a factory scale.

Friday, 4 February 2011

New Year junk food

Came back to the hotel room and found these things on the table. Two large mandarin things, an envelope with some faux-colate coins and a box containing a rice cake.

2011-02-02 - Hotel New Year gift - 01 - Table stack

Individual packages for mandarin things, sweet.

2011-02-02 - Hotel New Year gift - 06 - Individually packaged mandarin thing

The problem with chocolate in China, is that it often tastes nothing of actual chocolate. In this case, eating these faux-colate coins reminds me of dirt. I have no idea why I ate them both :-)

2011-02-02 - Hotel New Year gift - 02 - Coin candy

This isn't some soft pudding. It is a heavy solid brown lump. I have no idea what it is, but I hope it doesn't taste as innocuous as many other things do to my western palette.

2011-02-02 - Hotel New Year gift - 07 - Rice cake box

This should illustrate how solid it is. I could drop this out the window, and have it land on a car leaving a fair dent.

2011-02-02 - Hotel New Year gift - 04 - Solid rice thing

Here's the cooking instructions. There's a variety of ways in which it can be prepared.

2011-02-02 - Hotel New Year gift - 05 - Solid rice thing cooking instructions

Thursday, 3 February 2011

California prunes

It's to be expected that snacks I find palatable are so hard to find in a Chinese supermarket, that I find myself buying prunes.

2011-02-02 - Supermarket food - 01 - California prune packet

Unfortunately for the environment, I am becoming quite a fan of the individual packages. It slows down the eating, which for some snacks can be as quickly as they can be shoved in the mouth.

2011-02-02 - Supermarket food - 02 - California prune inner packets

These aren't prunes though, they're prune-like things with stones inside and seem to have been marinaded in some standard Chinese vinegary snack flavouring. To me they seem like they've been soaked in something to discourage people from eating them, kind of like the stuff you put on kids fingernails in order to discourage them from biting them.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Enthought's reStructuredText editor

With the Stackless Python 3.1.2 branch more or less working on both Ubuntu and Windows, I can concentrate on doing the few remaining tasks. One of these is to translate the Stackless documentation to speak the Python 3.x syntactical dialect. Because there's always some exercise in procrastination to choose, rather than get on with a task, I choose to look for aids in editing reStructuredText on Windows.

There are numerous excellent and free text editors on Windows, unfortunately none of the one non-niche ones support reStructuredText. Why is this? There are commercial text editors that support syntax highlighting for it, but all text editors are at some level an arbitrary set of features with an arbitrary look that work in an arbitrary way. The feature of restructured text highlighting isn't worth the price in effort and convenience of using another arbitrary text editor, let alone paying money to do so.

Searching for free custom targeted editors, led to three candidates:

  • ReSTedit - Looks unmaintained, and doesn't look user friendly enough to warrant spending an unknown amount of time.
  • rsted - Looked really good, but as Catherine Devlin describes, the process of getting it working is a long and torturous one.
  • reSTinPeace - Lots of dependencies including PyQT, only source available.. sorry but I've wasted enough time on that rabbit hole with rsted.

In the screenshots on the blog post, this looks very well done albeit clunky in the way open source GUI toolkits are. While a standalone text editor for reStructuredText editing is non-ideal and frankly cumbersome, the functionality this promises seems more than work it.

Here's the glorious screenshot from the Enthought blog post:

However, let me save you some pain, do not waste time trying to compile and install this. Following the instructions given on Catherine's blog, and also by one of her posters I encountered lots of problems getting the dependencies installed. And in doing so, it turns out those instructions are now wrong. rsted does not come in the AppTools egg anymore. And should you fetch and run the rsted source after installing all the dependencies, you probably end up without a working preview pane.

My instance of rsted is still sitting there waiting for the heat death of the universe to occur. At this point, I am questioning whether I really need WYSIWYG editing of reStructuredText. The only thing that would convince me to try this editor again, is a Windows installer that just installed this tool ready for use. But what I would really like, is a plugin for one of the existing non-niche open source Windows text editors. Of course, neither of these things are likely to happen.. so time to get back to editing raw unhighlighted reStructuredText.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Bug reporting energy depleted

Today's lesson: If you search the Python bug tracker with a word directly relevant to a bug you are considering reporting, that you do not get any matches does not mean there isn't a bug squirreled away somewhere.

I'm doing the Stackless merge for 3.2 and one of the problems is a crash in Lib\test\ where Windows pops up a dialog resulting in the pausing of the unit test execution until the user deals with it. I googled for reports of the problem, and I searched the Python bug tracker.

So I proceeded to register an account and submit a bug and seconds later, it was closed as duplicate. All that effort wasted, but considering that my main concern was that the bug would simply sit there and never be looked at, it's a much preferable result.

I went back to the search page, and did a search there on "all text" (which looks at message bodies and titles). No dice.

One last try, the direct title search.

There we go. Somethings rotten in the state of Denmark and all that. I admire the speed at which bugs are dealt with on the Python bug tracker, and I don't know how many bug reports you get let alone duplicates that have to be closed, but you might be able to save yourself some work if you can get the main search gadget doing better searching. I'd submit this to the bug tracker bug tracker, but this has drained too much energy from me which I need to get the Stackless merge out of the way. Passive reporting via Planet Python is the way it is going to have to be.