Its been an exhausting month – my son was born on October 7, and everything takes longer when you’re trying to bounce a baby with one hand and type with your right hand!

I’m moving to a slightly different system – putting out a pretty stable release and keeping a less-stable bleeding-edge version as well (basically, the version I’m using). YMMV. So, without further ado:

Pantograph 0.5 changeLog (yeah, we’ve got that too)

  • the GUI has been thoroughly replaced by a Blender user-interface.  Its a little spare, but its growing on me and the experience is much smoother running it from Blender.  pyGTK is no longer required.
  • The clipping has been re-written  – with the hopes of dealing with the memory hole for larger meshes.
  • There’s now a “raster fill” option – you can use a rendered version of the scene (a PNG file, to be exact) as a clipped fill – you get sharp linework but also soft shading, textures, shadows.  You could take this into Inkscape and poTrace your way back to resolution independence.
  • There’s now a proper frustum cull – things outside of the camera view are clipped and not rendered.

Known Bugs:

  • The Blender GUI doesn’t yet work properly in Windows – to get changes in buttons to register, you have to raise another window and then go back to Blender.  Works fine in Linux.  Upstream bug?
  • There’s a mysterious, unrepeatable seg fault that happens every once in a while, though I’ve only noticed it in Linux.
  • SWF output is broken.  No, its just not hooked up yet – I’ve been developing on a 64-bit system, and Ming is only 32-bit… if people are clamoring for this, it might happen sooner.

Happy Halloween,



I have a new full-time job (yay!), which means I haven’t had nearly the same luxury of time to work on Pantograph (boo!).  I have, however, been patiently working through the debugging of Pantograph 0.5 – I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the Summer, if not sooner.

Spurring things on is the discovery that pyGTK doesn’t seem to work with Blender 2.46.  Since 2.46 hasn’t hit the Ubuntu repos yet, I didn’t realize this until people started complaining.  The new version will have a Blender-native GUI, so this should fix the problem.

I’ve also started to look at re-coding parts of it in C or C++.  Very preliminarily – I haven’t written much C since college, and the thought of all those semi-colons makes my head hurt.  At some point it would be great to get help/advice from somebody who has experience cross-compiling between Windows and Linux, or even just somebody who has experience compiling from source in Windows.  I have a copy of MS Visual Studio, though I have to admit I’ve never even installed it.

monkeywenn250506_300x450.jpgI updated Ubuntu to 7.10, despite my previous encounter with its untamed ways. My wireless problems seem to be gone, and things generally run smoother overall. The CPU frequency adjusts correctly according to the temperature, but I miss the raw power and slight burning smell from before. We’ll see how it goes…

I wonder if my previous problems were strictly related to the kernel that Feisty Fawn was built on – my past experience is that changing kernels can have unexpected consequences with hardware functioning or not – and not in a linear, always-improving progression. The nice thing about Gentoo is you got over the fear of replacing your kernel – sometimes, problems just went away with the next version or even the next release.

feisty fawnI think I may have found the fatal flaw in Ubuntu – not enough gurus! After posting to the forum and to the Launchpad bug tracker about my mysterious NetworkManager bug (my laptop has been freezing inexplicably on Pratt’s wireless network – found other people with the same problem, but no solutions ), my post and my bug have been untouched, going on 48 hours or so. The forum posts that get reponses? Mostly basic installation questions (I fried my x.org, help!) and discussion of new features.

This is not acceptable! Maybe I’m spoiled by the Gentoo forums, but you could at least get flamed for not posting the correct log file with your bug! I’m wondering now if Ubuntu’s vaunted “community” is very broad but very shallow.

I switched my laptop to Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon this weekend, thinking “I can handle Gentoo ~x86, this should be no problem!”. The Gibbon is still very alpha – lots of start-up (and shutdown !?!?) problems – definately not ready to take home to Mom.


Last night I re-loaded it with Feisty Fawn and I’m very happy.