Saturday, March 24, 2012

Farewell Tim

It has been just over two weeks since my little brother Tim was killed. He was hit by a drunk driver while cycling - training for the Ride For Youth, a charity ride raising money for young people at risk of self harm or suicide.

The ride for youth requires serious dedication from those participating, riding 640km over 5 days. They are expected to train with the team at least 3 days a week for 6 months. In the week before his death Tim rode over 400km. My Dad has been doing the ride for several years, and this year was going to be his last and Tim's first. Tim was athletic all his life, but with this training he was fitter than he'd ever been.

Tim had an amazing group of friends. He touched so many lives. We've had messages of sympathy and support from all over the world. We estimate somewhere between 700 and 1000 people attended his funeral. Through his studies and work as Chemical Engineer he lived all over the world: Perth, Brisbane, Dubai, Wales, Switzerland and more. Everywhere he went he made great lifelong friends. To Tim everyone was a potential friend.

Tim was also intelligent. He had left his work to pursue a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, and was considering upgrading that to a Ph.D. Amazingly Tim was using many of the tools I'd studied in my Ph.D. and post-doc. In the last year we'd had conversations about such esoteric topics as "Convergence and Stability of Finite Element Methods."

Finally, Tim was an amazing uncle to my daughter Kira, and my son Grant. Even after a training ride of 140km Tim would still have the energy to run around the table with Kira playing chasey. He'd leave the social events early to take Kira to the beach. Kira is going to miss him terribly, and I'm so sad that Grant will never get to know him. I was so looking forward to Tim teaching them both things like surfing and basket ball. (Both of which I'm useless at.)

If you want to support Tim's cause, don't send us flowers, donate here:

Some further information about Tim and the accident can be found here:

I don't know what else to say except

Goodbye Tim,
We're really going to miss you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Installing node.js on OS X 10.5

The binary distributions of node.js no longer work on 10.5 (at least no distribution I could find.). So I went about building my own from source. There's several pitfalls I had to overcome, so I figured I'd list the solutions here.

Step 1. Download the source. I did this using:

git clone git://
git checkout origin/v0.6.11-release

Step 2. Patch the included v8 source. If you dont patch it you get an error about missing symbols for Dictionary::SlowReverseLookup, although they may be mangled, so it's not to obvious.

diff --git a/deps/v8/src/ b/deps/v8/src/
index 88ebbf4..c4aea1c 100644
--- a/deps/v8/src/
+++ b/deps/v8/src/
@@ -10012,6 +10012,9 @@ template Object* Dictionary::
 template Object* Dictionary::SlowReverseLookup(
+template Object* Dictionary::SlowReverseLookup(
+    Object*);
 template void Dictionary::CopyKeysTo(

Step 3. Download a new version of openssl and build and install shared versions. I downloaded version 0.9.8t and built it using:

./config shared
make install
On OS X by default this installs to /usr/local/ssl If you try to use the default version of openssl then you get a bunch of errors:
../src/ In member function ‘bool node::crypto::DiffieHellman::Init(int)’: 
../src/ error: ‘DH_generate_parameters_ex’ was not declared in this scope 
../src/ In static member function ‘static v8::Handle node::crypto::DiffieHellman::ComputeSecret(const v8::Arguments&)’: 
../src/ error: ‘DH_check_pub_key’ was not declared in this scope 
../src/ error: ‘DH_CHECK_PUBKEY_TOO_SMALL’ was not declared in this scope 
../src/ error: ‘DH_CHECK_PUBKEY_TOO_LARGE’ was not declared in this scope 
If you forget to build a shared version then node will almost compile, but complain about missing symbols at link time for the final binary.

Step 4. Build node using the changes you've made:

./configure --openssl-includes=/usr/local/ssl/include/ --openssl-libpath=/usr/local/ssl/lib/
make install

Now hopefully you'll have a running version of node installed.