Saturday 31 December 2011, 21:43

It's the end of 2011, and I'm writing this from my parents' home in Nanaimo, where I'm visiting over the year-end holidays. If you ask me how this past year has gone, I'd have to say it's been mixed. Some good things have happened; some not so good; and my current situation is what I'd call metastable.

Ideographic Description Sequences: some thoughts

Monday 19 December 2011, 15:14

I went through a bit of a crunch to get Tsukurimashou 0.5 out the door before my year-end vacation. With that done, and at least 99 kanji to do before the next planned release, I have a chance to sit back and think about some longer-term and spin-off projects. Here are some ideas on kanji searching.

UPDATE: A prototype implementation of the system described here now exists as part of the Tsukurimashou project, and you can check it out via SVN from there. Packaged releases will be available eventually.

Tsukurimashou 0.5

Friday 16 December 2011, 19:15

This is an archived old announcement, for a version of Tsukurimashou that is no longer the latest. You can find the latest version in the Tsukurimashou project on Sourceforge Japan.

I've released a new version of the Tsukurimashou fonts (project home page). This one contains 776 kanji, including all those taught in the Japanese school system through Grade Two and half of Grade Three. The bigger news, however, is that I've also added a set of fonts for the Korean hangul writing system. Those should now be beta quality - you should now be able to write the standard modern Korean language in its entirety. Downloads: source code; precompiled fonts; demo PDF files.

These fonts are far enough along now that I'd really like to create a bit of "buzz" around them; that's part of the sneaky plan behind my recent technical postings about my experiences building the fonts. I'm hoping that a lot of people will read those, and, especially, share them on systems like Twitter and the other one. In the new year, after I've posted a couple more (I'm aiming for weekly technical postings), I'll evaluate whether they are attracting third-party traffic and whether I want to continue them. They take up time I could be spending on writing code, but having people use the software is important too.

Building a build for something weird

Monday 12 December 2011, 22:39

Here are some thoughts on the Tsukurimashou build system. You can find the code, and some documentation of how to use the build system, in the package, but this posting is meant to look more generally at some of the issues I encountered while building a build for something weird.

The thing is, Tsukurimashou isn't a piece of software in the normal sense, but a package of fonts. It's written sort of like software, using programming languages, but the data flow during build doesn't look much like the data flow during build of the usual kind of software package. As a result, although it seemed like using Make was the thing I wanted to do, the way I've written my Makefile doesn't look much like what we might expect on a more typical software project. Working on it has forced me to see the structure of the project quite differently from the way I'd usually look at software, and maybe some of the ideas from that can be applied to other things.

On begging

Wednesday 7 December 2011, 18:06

December 2011 on Earth, but it is eternal midmorning on the third layer of the Astral Plane. THOMAS OF AQUINO, NICHOLAS FLAMEL, and K'UNG FU-TZU sit at a card table, in that order clockwise around the table. At the fourth, otherwise unoccupied, spot sits an ominous blue-painted Chinese porcelain ginger jar.

Code refactoring by combinatorial optimization

Monday 5 December 2011, 14:56

I encountered an interesting problem on the Tsukurimashou project recently, and some inquiries with friends confirmed my suspicion that if anyone has solved it, they've done it in a language-specific way for ridiculous languages. It appears I have to solve it again myself. Here are some notes.


Thursday 1 December 2011, 17:30



  • チーズ
  • ペパロニ
  • 円やかなソーセージ
  • 砕けるベーコン
  • ビーフの薬味
  • 『畏服』

Manitoba Writers' Guild opposes fair dealing

Thursday 17 November 2011, 16:42

I just got a message on the Manitoba Writers' Guild mailing list that disappointed me; it was forwarded from the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, and opposed Bill C-11's expansions to fair dealing. Here's the original message (I think that's a publicly available posting, but if not, let me know and I'll post a mirror); my response is below. I don't know that anyone over there will read it - I'm not sure who reads the mailbox that is the "From:" on these mailing list messages - but maybe readers here would like to see it.


Sunday 13 November 2011, 13:50


Solved: Compose key doesn't work with SCIM, anthy, and Xorg

Monday 31 October 2011, 10:12

Posting this for the benefit of people who may have the same problem, and for my own future reference if it happens to me again.

The problem: Xorg (new name for XFree86) installation, configured with SCIM-anthy for Japanese-language input, and I want to also use the Windows keys as Compose keys when not in Japanese input mode. Compose and Japanese input both work in GTK applications, but in QT applications (notably, Konsole), Japanese input works and the Compose key doesn't. The Compose key is properly configured in KDE, xorg.conf (XkbOptions setting and UTF-8 locale), and xmodmap. If I disable SCIM entirely, then Compose works everywhere, but I lose Japanese input everywhere also.