Setting up my Radiant Blog

I just started setting up my personal Blog after forays into WordPress and Mephisto I have settled on Radiant. Radiant is a very flexible system with lots of development. The folks in #radiantcms are extremely helpful and the entire site is in ruby and uses the rails construct.

How did I set up GIT?

Which submodules did I install?

What is the best way to get radiant to function with a blog?

Why use disqus?


Dragon Naturally Speaking on Windows 2008 Server

Recently, I purchased the upgrade to Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 for Windows
and experienced some difficulty installing the software. Officially, the web-site
lists the following supported versions:

  • Windows Server 2000
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP SP2 or higher, 32-bit
  • Windows 2000 SP4 or higher
  • Windows Vistaâ„¢ or Windows Vistaâ„¢ SP1, 32-bit
  • 64-bit OS not currently supported

I started the installation on my virtual box which is running Windows Server
2008, but when I clicked on the setup.exe, I was greeted with the following

From a google, search it looked like DNS 9.5 successfully installed:,
but I was not able to find out much help with version 10. It is clear that DNS
10 required, the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package, which I
downloaded here.
After downloading, I tried the setup.exe again with the result of the same error
shown above. At this point I turned to the forums on,
which provided a pdf of quick-tips found here.
From this pdf, I found the following directions:

1. Click on the Start menu> click on Run> type in msconfig and hit Ok
2. Click the Startup Tab then note all items enabled
3. Click Disable all
4. Click Apply then close and restart computer as prompted
5. Download
6. Extract to a location on your system.
7. Open the DragonInstall folder that was created in this location.
8. Double click the install_vcruntime.vbs file and follow the installation through
to the end
9. Once finished, double click the install_dragon.vbs file.
10. Answer YES on the prompts on where the Dragon NaturallySpeaking installation
files are located.
11. Follow the Dragon NaturallySpeaking installation through to the end.
Note #1: You may still see an error but the error will ask you if you want to
cancel the installation, click no and
continue on.

Steps one through three produced:

After reboot I downloaded,
unzipped and ran
You’ll see something like this:

But when I clicked on the install_dragon.vbs file, I got:

I tried another approach. From looking at the install script: install_dragon.vbs,
I tried to manually run the msi:

directory listing

But this resulted in yet another error that is missing (which
you can clearly see above).

I know windows server 2008 is not supported, but I think I really should be able to figure this out. If anyone can help, please put comments below and I’ll update the entry to help out any others.

Generating PDF files with RTeX

I love LaTeX and I love ruby/rails. I want to use rtex, it seems perfect for me. But, I am having trouble and am looking for help — once i get this working i’ll make a blog post for the world.

First, do i have what it takes?

tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ which pdflatex
tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ which latex
tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ which rtex
tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ which pdflatex
tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ rails -v
Rails 2.2.2
tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ ruby -v
ruby 1.8.7 (2008-08-11 patchlevel 72) [i486-linux]
tim@polycarp:~/test_rails$ more /etc/lsb-release

Now I need a rails app to test this with:

rails test_rails/
cd test_rails/
./script/generate controller make_pdf

i was getting a sqlite3 error and I had to

sudo gem install sqlite3-ruby

Now I needed a model to work with, so using the scaffold generator:

./script/generate scaffold Item name:string purpose:string next_step:text
rake db:migrate

in emacs, i created, app/views/layouts/application.pdf.rtex



i also created: show_pdf.pdf.rtex in app/views/make_pdf

     @items {aaa01f1184b23bc5204459599a780c2efd1a71f819cd2b338cab4b7a2f8e97d4}>

now i create the controller:

class MakePdfController < ApplicationController

def index

def show_pdf
    @items = Item.find(:all)


but from ./script/server and went to http://localhost:3000/make_pdf/show_pdf.pdf

Routing Error

No route matches "/make_pdf/show_pdf.pdf" with {:method=>:get}

I thought i might need to initialize the gem as a plugin

test_rails$ rtex -i .
Installed at ./vendor/plugins/rtex

but i still get the same error after restarting mongrel

after adding config.gem "rtex" to my environment.rb and getting a nasty stack error (caused because i enabled a gem and a plugin). i realized that i can't use both together and commented out the config.gem "rtex".

in discussions with August Lilleaas on IRC, it became clear that I needed to add:

map.connect ":controller/:action.:format"

to my routes.rb.

Now, this is very close to working -- when i load: http://localhost:3000/make_pdf/show_pdf.pdf in firefox, I can open or save. If I save, all I get is simple text:




if I try to open (in ubuntu using document viewer) I get:

File type TeX document (text/x-tex) is not supported

As an interesting aside, I wanted to test that rtex was actually working.

Creating a textile file test.textile with some basic textile.

rtex -o output.pdf -f textile test.textile

generates output.pdf, which is a true pdf formatted file.

After some excellent help from Bruce Williams, I was able to get it working just fine -- just download the new gem (rtex 2.1.0, and you should be fine)

getting git-svn up and running on ubuntu

tim@polycarp:~/web_apps$ git svn clone
Can't locate SVN/ in @INC (@INC contains: /usr/local/share/perl/5.10.0 /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/perl/5.10.0 /usr/lib/perl5 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/perl/5.10 /usr/share/perl/5.10 /usr/local/lib/site_perl .) at /usr/local/libexec/git-core//git-svn line 29.

so i realized i needed to install the perl git-svn libraries:

 sudo apt-get install git-core git-svn

did the trick. enjoy.


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My first blog post

Today was a sad day. Sad because a friend left. This friend gave me much and I feel that I gave so little in return. The whole day seemed so surreal. There were many who stood up and said things and I sat there stuffing my face with food. I was aware that I was utterly and totally selfish and there didn’t seem to be a thing that I can do about it. I seem to be an outside observer and I felt very lonely. I seemed to be standing still while the world rushed by. And not just lonely, but I also felt ashamed, ashamed because I invested my time in so many things that are of lesser importance.

In my life I seek to gain for myself and this drives and fuels my motivations. I just feel so obligated to improve myself. This in itself is not true problem. The true problem is that I wish to improve myself in order to impress others. The sad thing to be seeking my own improvement for the benefit of phantom individuals who I can’t pin down. It is amazing how very linear time as. Each moment creeps by and there’s nothing you can do to get it back. Thinking about life in this way can make someone paranoid in a very short period of time. It’s not that life moves so fast — it is that it just moves so incessantly forward. The inability to redo the past impacts how we should act and live now. Some of the reason in this particular case is helpful because it teaches me to be a better person, but this reason is at war with my insides and my very being which cries to be recognized, to be exalted, for glory.

I know that I want to be a better person, a better husband, a better father. I want to be a more moral person. I want to be someone who’s more open to friendships push more happy to invest in others, who is willing and able to love. I had such a hard time today making small talk with people in the office. I just can’t stand to invest time in a way that is not going to produce something. I feel so totally, completely, overwhelmed. Next week I’ve got a right to final trip report for the homeland air and cruise missile defense study and I have to write this statement will work for the new money that we’ve received for the model that I’m managing. I’m dictating this and I can write fairly quickly when I’m dictating. However, I cannot write that quickly as subject that I know so little about and that, in particular, is the statement of work with which I am now concerned. This is going to be very difficult to work through and I have got to cure up for a very difficult week. At least I trained myself today to get some exercise and enjoy some things. However, I know that there is much more balanced needed in my life and much more place is needed for God to speak into my heart and into my reason. This is the most difficult thing because I see very little value in studying God and giving God a place to speak in my life. Yes, this appalls me and shocks me to my core. It shocks me to my core because it reveals what my heart really is. My heart is obsessed with myself and this makes no sense and results in no goodness. This is my first blog entry and perhaps this represents the nadir of my spiritual, and personal, life. I truly hope to move on to a better mindset. Perhaps the only place from here is a. All is not lost. I still have my family, most of my external integrity, and my wonderful daughters. There’s a lot more that I could mess up and a lot that could happen if this selfishness continues unabated. I know that I can reign it in, but it’s going to take a lot of work. I’ll try my best to document on this blog and hopefully these words will be useful to others who are struggling with the same issues and perhaps are in the same place.


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