HR 607 — Selling Out Amateur Radio and XeTeX


A new bill as titled by Peter King R-NY above seeks to transfer the 420 MHz – 440 MHz amateur radio spectrum to commercial interests in the US. I can’t say that I am particularly impressed with this, but neither am I surprised. Amateur radio does not generate any funds for the federal government, but cellular and commercial auctions do, and quite a bit at that. Nevertheless, I am hoping that a strong lobbying effort from the ARRL will get the bill buried or amended before it comes to a floor vote. Additionally, the spectrum is used by the military for PAVE-PAWS to detect incoming missiles to the US. I can’t imagine they can very easily discontinue that operation. I'll be following it closely over the next few months.

I spent a large portion of the day trying to debug my xelatex install. Silly though it may seem (and probably is), the fact that it currently does not work is a serious irritant, mostly because I cannot for the life of me figure out why it doesn’t. Running strace and ltrace show me the failure point, but I can’t figure out why specifically, or what I could do to fix it. The truly peculiar thing is that the whole operation runs fine if I have xelatex generate an xdv file, and then use xdvipdfmx to convert it to pdf. It just doesn’t work if the program does it internally. It give an out of memory error, though it prints to stdout that it can’t write to the file. Bizarre. It's probably a misconfiguration, but I have no idea where.

I guess I am hoping that all of the sed, awk, bash, js, etc, hacking will help me accomplish some of the more tedious tasks at work right now. I process a lot of numbers and reports, and do a lot of integrity and consistency checking, and the more of that I could offload into perl and SQL, the better. Easier said than done. However, so far, all of the practice lately has made me better at scripting ad-hoc solutions, so I’ll keep with it for now.