Tag Archives: OSS

RescueTime’s 22 Gigabyte notifier.debuglog Log File

I did find it weird that I kept running out of disk space recently. That hasn’t happened in years, and most of my big files go on another HD. On top of that, this box has been sluggish lately, even taking into account the fact that it’s ~4 years old and I always have 5-6 desktops filled to the brim.

I finally found the culprit. RescueTime‘s (unofficial) Linux client keeps a log of every single window that has gotten focus, EVER. I figured this would be cleared when the notifications were sent out, but apparently it wasn’t. My failed/ dir is nearly empty, so I know the notifications are getting sent out. The file is named ~/.rescuetime/tmp/notifier.debuglog

It might be that the client only clears the log when the app is closed? That sucks, because I don’t shutdown or reboot (or log out of X for that matter). Aside from the handful of kernel-update reboots (yeah yeah I could just init level down to preserve my uptime), I literally haven’t kept my PC off since 2006.

I don’t mind the disk space, but how the hell are you opening, seeking and writing to a 22gig+ file literally every single time focus is switched? I swear to the Gods I was one CC digit away from ordering a Mac.

notifier debug log rescue time picture

RescueTime is a great service/app, but I’ll keep the client off until this is fixed or they release an official client. No offense to the guys working on the Linux client (<3), especially considering it’s probably their pet project, and I’ve had no other problems with it thus far. Hell, maybe the debug log could of easily been turned off.

I’m using version 90 (newest release as of 11/16). This may have already been fixed in trunk. I’ll check/submit a bug report… eventually.


Learning to Read and Grok Other People’s Code

One reason many people don’t contribute to open source apps is because they find it daunting to look through somebody else’s code. Some might even think that it’s just simpler to write something from scratch than to study someone’s work. This isn’t true, and reading foreign code is something get used to and excel at over time. It’s a necessary skill for every programmer, and has many benefits.

A huge benefit is the massive amount of information you learn and get accustomed to in a short period of time. There’s no way to download O’reilly PDFs into your brain just yet, but grokking source code written by those much more experienced than you is one of the fastest ways to see and practice everything you’re been learning in theory (books, sites, classes).

It’s certainly overwhelming to jump head first into a huge app trying to understand every line. I think it’s common for people to open up some code, read it for a few minutes and then never touch it again because they don’t understand it. This was the case with me when I began programming. Here are some ways i used to justify putting off the need to read third party code.

Their code style didn’t suit my taste, i.e., they add the opening curly bracket under the function definition, and I would find myself changing their brackets and formatting more than I spent time actually looking at the logic.

I told myself I would learn much more by re-inventing the wheel, or have more control over my app if I built it from scratch. This is only partial true, but the cons outweight the pros. Reinventing the wheel means diviating from writing program logic and having to learn something that might not even remotely be related to the project I intended to start or finish. Here’s an example that used to be common.

Continue reading Learning to Read and Grok Other People’s Code

A free, self-hosted, and open source alternative to Basecamp

In my search for a Basecamp alternative – because it’s not free, and I’d prefer something I can host on my own server – I have come across an excellent piece of software called ProjectPier. This is a branch from ActiveCollab — an open source project that later became a commercial product. ProjectPier is simple, speedy, and it works!

What I like about ProjectPier:

  • Free/open source
  • Self-hosted
  • Comes with a bunch of nice themes out of the box
  • It’s fast (well, depending on your server)
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to navigate
  • … see reasons on the official site

Features & Requirements: http://www.projectpier.org/manual/tour/features

Screenshots: http://www.projectpier.org/manual/tour/screenshots/ (Default theme)

Download: http://www.projectpier.org/project/projectpier

What project/team management software do you use and/or recommend?