Search Results: "falk"

13 October 2023

Scarlett Gately Moore: KDE: Snaps move, KDE neon unstable broken OMG! Fixed, and Debian updates

Kitties keeping warm!
It s that time of year already! We have hit our first freeze of the year. While the kitties keep warm by the wood burning stove, I have been busy with many updates and fixes in a variety of projects. KDE neon: It s true, Neon unstable has been very unstable. Due to a few factors including a builder being out of space, timed with a new Qt release. There is a cost with living in unstable land with bleeding edge releases. It takes time and finesse to get everything happy, especially with major transitions such as Qt. The drive issue was just bad timing. We worked night and day ( quite literally with people spanning from the US, Europe and Australia ) to get everything happy again. I know it s frustrating when things are broken, but please keep in mind, most of us are volunteers. I am happy to report, it is once again stable. If you continue to experience issues please report them on there have been a few cases where there were rogue apt sources lists creating issues. We also have the User edition which is much more stable!
KDE Snaps: The big move to snapcraft files per repo continues. With that comes a new version 23.08.2. This big win this week was Audiotube! I have finally got this snap working. With a combination of snappy-debug and snap run gdb audiotube I was able to find all the hidden dependencies such as yt-dlp needed to be built with ffmpeg support and it needed a newer ytmusicapi as the version it called for was broken with gettext translations. I also had to fix the dbus name as it was not the standard The final fix was it required the alsa plug and layouts adjusted to point to the snap alsa libraries ( which fixed the very important sound feature ). Who says you can t teach an old dog new tricks. Unfortunately, it still requires devmode to run, as it has one last network issue even with all the network plugs. I have to set it aside for now, as I have many more snaps to migrate. However, if you want to enjoy youtube music with this super awesome app you can, just append devmode when installing. Enjoy! The following apps have now migrated to their respective KDE repos and have the snap recipes in launchpad for automated builds: A new content pack with the latest Frameworks 5.110 and Qt 5.15.11 is complete and the neon extension update will follow after the required global autoconnect is approved from the store. Debian: I have caught up on my dashboard with new releases, fixed test failures, and FTBFS on the more obscure arches. The following debian packages have been uploaded to unstable:
If you have made it this far, thank you! As you can see I am quite busy and there is still much to do. If you can possibly spare a donation so I can continue my efforts in KDE neon / KDE Snaps / and Debian, it would be so appreciated. I enjoy doing this work and I hope it benefits someone out there. Have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by. Donate

31 March 2023

Scarlett Gately Moore: KDE Snaps! Many new releases, more to come.

I have been extremely busy the last 2 weeks churning out KDE snaps! All of the have been tested and released on AMD64 and Arm64 architectures. If you run into any problems please file bugs @ and feel free to assign me. Thanks!
KDE Krita snapKDE Krita snap
Krita Version 5.1.5
KDE Parley snapKDE Parley snap
Parley Version 22.12.3
KDE Kate snapKDE Kate snap
Kate Version 22.12.3
KDE Okular snapKDE Okular snap
Okular Version 22.12.3
KDE Haruna snapKDE Haruna snap
Haruna Version 0.10.3
KDE Granatier snapKDE Granatier snap
Granatier Version 22.12.3
KDE Gwenview snapKDE Gwenview snap
Gwenview Version 22.12.3
KDE Gcompris snapKDE Gcompris snap
GCompris-qt Version 3.2
KDE Bomber snapKDE Bomber snap
Bomber Version 22.12.3
KDE Falkon snapKDE Falkon snap
Falkon Version 22.12.3
KDE Ark snapKDE Ark snap
Ark Version 22.12.3
KDE Blinken snapKDE Blinken snap
Blinken Version 22.12.3
KDE Bovo snapKDE Bovo Snap
Bovo Version 22.12.3
KDE Atikulate snapKDE Atikulate snap
Artikulate Version 22.12.3 There are many more snaps coming your way! As usual, I hate to ask, but if you can spare anything we appreciate it, even if they are just kind words, thank you!

20 October 2022

Scarlett Gately Moore: KDE Gear Snaps round 2

As a continuation of Todays releases, tested on both amd64 and arm64, are: This week has also been a busy week gardening snap bugs in They are all over the place  I am trying to sort out getting them there own section. I have assigned all snap bugs I have found to myself and requested that this is default. If you have bugs, please report them at , for now under neon / Snaps. More coming next week!

19 October 2022

Petter Reinholdtsen: Managing and using ONVIF IP cameras with Linux

Recently I have been looking at how to control and collect data from a handful IP cameras using Linux. I both wanted to change their settings and to make their imagery available via a free software service under my control. Here is a summary of the tools I found. First I had to identify the cameras and their protocols. As far as I could tell, they were using some SOAP looking protocol and their internal web server seem to only work with Microsoft Internet Explorer with some proprietary binary plugin, which in these days of course is a security disaster and also made it impossible for me to use the camera web interface. Luckily I discovered that the SOAP looking protocol is actually following the ONVIF specification, which seem to be supported by a lot of IP cameras these days. Once the protocol was identified, I was able to find what appear to be the most popular way to configure ONVIF cameras, the free software Windows tool named ONVIF Device Manager. Lacking any other options at the time, I tried unsuccessfully to get it running using Wine, but was missing a dotnet 40 library and I found no way around it to run it on Linux. The next tool I found to configure the cameras were a non-free Linux Qt client ONVIF Device Tool. I did not like its terms of use, so did not spend much time on it. To collect the video and make it available in a web interface, I found the Zoneminder tool in Debian. A recent version was able to automatically detect and configure ONVIF devices, so I could use it to set up motion detection in and collection of the camera output. I had initial problems getting the ONVIF autodetection to work, as both Firefox and Chromium refused the inter-tab communication being used by the Zoneminder web pages, but managed to get konqueror to work. Apparently the "Enhanced Tracking Protection" in Firefox cause the problem. I ended up upgrading to the Bookworm edition of Zoneminder in the process to try to fix the issue, and believe the problem might be solved now. In the process I came across the nice Linux GUI tool ONVIF Viewer allowing me to preview the camera output and validate the login passwords required. Sadly its author has grown tired of maintaining the software, so it might not see any future updates. Which is sad, as the viewer is sightly unstable and the picture tend to lock up. Note, this lockup might be due to limitations in the cameras and not the viewer implementation. I suspect the camera is only able to provide pictures to one client at the time, and the Zoneminder feed might interfere with the GUI viewer. I have asked for the tool to be included in Debian. Finally, I found what appear to be very nice Linux free software replacement for the Windows tool, named libonvif. It provide a C library to talk to ONVIF devices as well as a command line and GUI tool using the library. Using the GUI tool I was able to change the admin passwords and update other settings of the cameras. I have asked for the package to be included in Debian. As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b. Update 2022-10-20: Since my initial publication of this text, I got several suggestions for more free software Linux tools. There is a ONVIF python library (already requested into Debian) and a python 3 fork using a different SOAP dependency. There is also support for ONVIF in Home Assistant, and there is an alternative to Zoneminder called Shinobi. The latter two are not included in Debian either. I have not tested any of these so far.

30 November 2013

Russell Coker: Links November 2013

Shanley wrote an insightful article about microagressions and management [1]. It s interesting to read that and think of past work experiences, even the best managers do it. Bill Stone gave an inspiring TED talk about exploring huge caves, autonamous probes to explore underground lakes (which can be used on Europa) and building a refuelling station on the Moon [2]. Simon Lewis gave an interesting TED talk about consciousness and the technology needed to help him recover from injuries sustained in a serious car crash [3]. Paul Wayper wrote an interesting article about reforming the patent system [4]. He also notes that the patent system is claimed to be protecting the mythical home inventor when it s really about patent trolls (and ex-inventors who work for them). This is similar to the way that ex-musicians work for organisations that promote extreme copyright legislation. Amanda Palmer gave an interesting TED talk about asking for donations/assistance, and the interactions between musicians and the audience [5]. Some part of this are NSFW. Hans Rakers wrote a useful post about how to solve a Dovecot problem with too many files open [6]. His solution was for a Red Hat based system, for Debian you can do the same but by editing /etc/init.d/dovecot. The use of the /proc/N/limits file was interesting, I ve never had a cause to deliberately use that file before. Krebs on Security has an interesting article about Android malware being used to defeat SMS systems to prevent bank fraud [7]. Apparently an infected PC will instruct the user to install an Android app to complete the process. Rick Falkvinge wrote an interesting article about how to apply basic economics terminology to so-called Intellectual Property [8]. Matthew Garrett wrote an interesting post about the way that Ubuntu gets a better result than Debian and Fedora because it has clear fixed goals [9]. He states that many people regard Fedora as a playground to produce a range of niche derivatives , probably a large portion of the Fedora and Debian developers consider this a feature not a bug. Ming Thein wrote an interesting article about the demise of the DSLR [10]. Bruce Schneier wrote an interesting post on the detention of David Miranda by the British authorities [11]. It s mostly speculation as to why they would do such a thing (which seems to go against their own best interests) and whether the NSA even knows which documents Edward Snowden copied. Jaclyn Friedman wrote an interesting article on Mens Rights Movements (MRAs) and how they are bad for MEN as well as for women [12]. Rodney S. Tucker wrote an insightful article for the IEEE about the NBN [13]. Basically the Liberal party are going to spend most of the tax money needed for a full NBN but get a significantly less than the full benefit. Lauren Drell wrote an interesting article for Mashable about TellSpec, a portable spectrometer that communicates with an Android phone to analyse food for allergens [14]. I guess this will stop schools from banning phones. Katie McDonough wrote an interesting article for Salon about the Pope s statements about the problems with unchecked capitalism [15]. His ideas are really nothing new to anyone who has read the Bible and read the news. It seems to me that the most newsworthy part of this is that most Christian leaders don t make similar statements. Daniel Leidert wrote an interesting post about power saving when running Debian on a HP Microserver [16]. Most of it is relevant to other AMD64 hardware too, I ll have to investigate the PCIE ASPM and spin down options on some of my systems that are mostly idle.

31 October 2013

Russell Coker: Links October 2013

Wired has an interesting article by David Samuels about the Skybox, a small satellite (about the size of a bar fridge) that is being developed to provide cheap photographs of the Earth from low orbit [1]. Governments of major countries will probably try to limit what they do, but if they can prove that it s viable then someone else from a different jurisdiction will build similar satellites. Alice Dreger gave an interesting TED talk about the various ways that people can fall outside the expected genetic sex binary [2]. The short film Love is All You Need has an interesting way of showing the way that non-straight kids are treated [3]. The Guardian has an interesting article by Ranjana Srivastava about doctors and depression [4]. Don Marti wrote an interesting post about believing bullshit as a way of demonstrating group loyalty [5]. Zacqart Adam Green wrote an interesting article for the Falkvinge blog about the way that the Ouya gaming console can teach children about free software and political freedom [6]. Read more at [7]. It s a pity that the Ouya is not conveniently sold outside the US and the UK, with shipping it would probably cost a lot more than $99 in Australia. Tim Chevalier wrote an interesting post for Geek Feminism about the unintended consequences of some codes of conduct [8]. Tim Chevalier wrote an interesting Geek Feminism post about Wikipedia describing how the Neutral Point Of View is a way of representing the views of people in power [9]. Ramin Shokrizade wrote an interesting article for Gamasutra about the Free 2 Play (F2P) techniques [10]. The concept of F2P games is that the game can be installed for free but requires regular small payments to make the game easier, apparently some people pay $3000 per year or more. The TED blog has an interesting interview with Jack Andraka, a teenager who invented a new test for pancreatic cancer (and also ovarian and lung cancer) that is cheaper, faster, and less invasive than other tests [11]. The blog post also has a link to Jack s TED talk.

31 July 2013

Russell Coker: Links July 2013

Wayne Mcgregor gave an interesting TED talk about the creative processes of a choreographer [1]. The dancing in this talk is really good. Melissa McEwan wrote an interesting article on whether being an ally to members of a disadvantaged group is a state or a process [2]. It seems to me that the word ally is a problem here, maybe a word like supporter would be more useful. Ken Murray wrote an insightful article How Doctors Die about the end of life choices that people with medical experience make [3]. He makes a good case for rejecting the type of treatment which has a low probability of success and a certainty of lowering the quality of life. It would be good if health insurance offered patients with terminal illness an option of $1000 per day party funds if they chose to reject the expensive and painful methods that might extend their life, that might even save enough money to allow cheaper health insurance! Rick Falkvinge wrote an interesting post about the copyright to translations of the Bible [4]. I used to think that copyright issues with religious works was only a problem with cults Joshua Foer wrote an interesting article for the New Yorker about the invention of the language Quijada which is designed for maximum precision [5]. It also has a lot of background information on constructed languages and the way that they are used.

31 March 2013

Russell Coker: Links March 2013

Russ Allbery wrote an informative post about how to determine which charities are worth donating to [1]. He has a link to another article about the charities to which he donates and concentrates on ways of analysing the effectiveness of charities. So someone who has different ideas about which types of charity are worthy of donation could still learn a lot from his post. Adam Green wrote an interesting article for The New Yorker about Apollo Robbins who is one of the world s best pick-pockets [2]. Apollo picks pockets as a magician to entertain people and always returns what he steals. Now he is working with neuroscientists who are devising experiments to determine why his tricks work. Rick Falkvinge wrote an insightful article describing the way that the copyright monopoly is in direct opposition to the freedom to make contracts [3]. It s a good rebuttal of a common argument in favor of copyright law. Seth Godin gave an interesting TED talk about the problems with the education system, how and why it teaches conformity and little else [4]. One of his suggestions for improvement is to have students spend their evenings watching lectures by experts and class time asking questions. He also says that everything should be open book and that there is no value in memorising anything it s a bit of an overstatement but it s essentially correct. Cory Doctorow wrote an interesting article for The Guardian about positive externalities and copyright law [5]. I think that he didn t choose the best way of framing this issue, but he makes some very interesting points anyway. Andrew Norton wrote an interesting article about how to reduce corruption in the police force and other government agencies [6]. A large part of this is based on making them subject to the same laws as everyone else, which seems to be a radical idea. Valerie Aurora wrote an insightful blog post about suicide [7]. Emily Oster gave an interesting TED talk about the factors that determine the spread of AIDS in Africa [8]. It s quite different to what you probably expect.

7 February 2013

Russell Coker: Links February 2013

Aaron on Software wrote an interesting series of blog posts about psychology and personal development collectively Titled Raw Nerve , here s a link to part 2 [1]. The best sections IMHO are 2, 3, and 7. The Atlantic has an insightful article by Thomas E. Ricks about the failures in leadership in the US military that made the problems in Afghanistan and Iraq a lot worse than they needed to be [2] Kent Larson gave an interesting TED talk about how to fit more people in cities [3]. He covers issues of power use, transport, space use, and sharing. I particularly liked the apartments that transform and the design for autonomous vehicles that make eye contact with pedestrians. Andrew McAfee gave an interesting TED talk titled Are Droids Taking Our Jobs [4]. I don t think he adequately supported his conclusion that computers and robots are making things better for everyone (he also presented evidence that things are getting worse for many people), but it was an interesting talk anyway. I Psychopath is an interesting documentary about Sam Vaknin who is the world s most famous narcissist [5]. The entire documentary is available from Youtube and it s really worth watching. The movie Toy Story has been recreated in live action by a couple of teenagers [6]. That s a huge amount of work. Rory Stewart gave an interesting TED talk about how to rebuild democracy [7]. I think that his arguments against using the consequences to argue for democracy and freedom (he suggests not using the torture doesn t work and women s equality doubles the workforce arguments) are weak, but he made interesting points all through his talk. Ernesto Sirolli gave an interesting TED talk about aid work and development work which had a theme of Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! [8]. That made me think of Mary Gardiner s much quoted line from the comments section of her Wikimania talk which was also shut up and listen . Waterloo Labs has some really good engineering Youtube videos [9]. The real life Mario Kart game has just gone viral but there are lots of other good things like the iPhone controlled car and eye controlled Mario Brothers. Robin Chase of Zipcar gave an interesting TED talk about various car sharing systems (Zipcar among others), congestion taxes, the environmental damage that s caused by cars, mesh networks, and other things [10]. She has a vision of a future where most cars are shared and act as nodes in a giant mesh network. Madeleine Albright gave an interesting TED talk about being a female diplomat [11]. She s an amazing speaker. Ron Englash gave an interesting TED talk about the traditional African use of fractals [12]. Among the many interesting anecdotes concerning his research in Africa he was initiated as a priest after explaining Georg Cantor s set theories. Racialicious has an insightful article about the low expectations that members of marginalised groups have of members of the privileged groups [13]. Rick Falkvinge has a radical proposal for reforming copyrights with a declared value system [14]. I don t think that this will ever get legislative support, but if it did I think it would work well for books and songs. I think that some thought should be given to how this would work for Blogs and other sources of periodical content. Obviously filing for every blog post would be an unreasonable burden. Maybe aggregating a year of posts into one copyright assignment block would work. Scott Fraser gave an interesting TED talk about the problem with eyewitness testimony [15]. He gave a real-world example of what had to be done to get an innocent man acquitted, it s quite amazing. Sarah Kendzior wrote an interesting article for al Jazeera about the common practice in American universities to pay Adjunct Professors wages that are below the poverty line [16]. That s just crazy, when students pay record tuition fees there s more than enough money to pay academics decent wages, where does all the money go to anyway?

4 January 2013

Russell Coker: Links January 2013

AreWomenHuman has an interesting article about ViolentAcrez and the wide support for trolling (including by media corporations) [1]. Chrys Stevenson wrote an important article for the ABC about the fundamentalist Christians who are trying to take over the Australian education system [2]. Tavi Gevinson gave an interesting TED talk titled A teen just trying to figure it out about her work starting Rookie magazine and her ideas about feminism [3]. Burt Rutan gave an interesting and inspiring TED talk about the future of space expploration [4]. One of his interesting points is that fun really is defendable in regard to tourism paying for the development of other space industries. Stephen Petranek gave an interesting TED talk about how to prepare for some disasters that could kill a significant portion of the world s population [5]. Some of these are risks of human extinction, we really need to spend some money on it. John Wilbanks gave an intresting TED talk about the way that current informed consent laws prevent large-scale medical research [6]. He says I live in a web world where when you share things beautiful stuff happens, not bad stuff . Joey Hess was interviewed for The Setup and the interview sparked a very interesting Hacker News discussion about workflow for software development [7]. Like most developers I prefer large screens with high resolution, I have an EeePC 701 which works reasonably well for an ultra-portable system but I largely don t use it now I have an Android phone (extremely portable and totally awful input usually beats moderately portable and mostly awful input for me). But Joey s methods are interesting and it seems that for some people different systems give the best result. Jeff Masters gave an insightful TED talk about the weather disasters that may seriously impact the US in the next 30 years [8]. Governments really need to start preparing for such things, some of them are really cheap to mitigate if work is started early. Bryan Stevenson gave an inspiring TED talk about the lack of justice in the US justice system [9]. Wouter Verhelst wrote an insightful article about some of the criticisms of Linux from Windows users [10]. He references a slightly satirical post he previously wrote about why Windows isn t ready for desktop use. Paul Carr wrote an interesting article comparing disruptive business practices of dot-com companies to the more extreme aspects of Ayn Rand s doctrine [11]. In reading some of the links from that article I discovered that Ayn Rand was even more of a sociopath than I had previously realised. Lindy West gave an amazing Back Fence PDX talk about dealing with nasty blog comments from the PUA/MRA communities [12]. After investigating them she just feels sorry for the trolls who s lives suck. Hang from the Vlogbrothers explains gender, sex, sexual orientation, etc [13]. Rick Falkvinge wrote an interesting article about recent political news from Brazil, they had a proposed law that was very positive for liberty on the Internet but it was sabotaged by the media and telcos [14]. We should try to avoid paying any money to the media industry so that they can go away sooner. Amy Cuddy gave an interesting TED talk about body language, power, and the imposter syndrome [15]. Caleb Chung gave an interesting TED talk about toy design which focussed on Pleo a robotic dinosaur with a SD card and USB socket to allow easy reprogramming by the user [16].

14 August 2012

Sven Mueller: UK going completely crazy on cryptography law.

It seems that the UK government recently passed a law that makes it illegal to be unable to decrypt what the law enforcement entities think is encrypted: From
But it s worse than that. Much worse. You re not going to be sent to jail for refusal to give up encryption keys. You re going to be sent to jail for an inability to unlock something that the police think is encrypted. Yes, this is where the hairs rise on our arms: if you have a recorded file with radio noise from the local telescope that you use for generation of random numbers, and the police asks you to produce the decryption key to show them the three documents inside the encrypted container that your radio noise looks like, you will be sent to jail for up to five years for your inability to produce the imagined documents.
This is just insane. Edit: The law was created several years ago, but the blog post somehow made me think it was more recent.

23 November 2009

Martín Ferrari: Movies

Just wanted to share comments on some movies I've watched recently. Tags: Planet Lugfi, Planet Debian

25 March 2009

Cyril Brulebois: Things I love

A couple of things I loved in the past few days: : Unfortunately, I can't seem able to find a related webpage. Its member: Inge Hager (violin), Elke Hager (cello), and Enrico Pompili (piano).

18 April 2008

Russell Coker: Preparing for a Collapse

Rick Falkvinge (leader of the Swedish Pirate Party) has written his predictions about an economic crash in the US [1]. Predicting that the US economy will crash is no great stretch, it’s gross failures seem obvious. The Pirate Party [2] is a one-issue political party that is based on reform of intellectual property laws. It derived it’s name from the term Software Piracy [3] which originally referred to using software without paying for it, but in recent times has been broadened in scope to cover doing anything that copyright holders don’t like. The term “Piracy” is deprecated in the free software community based on the fact that it’s unreasonable to compare armed robbery and murder on the high seas (which still happens today and costs between $US13,000,000,000 and $US16,000,000,000 per year [4]) with copying some files without permission. But that battle has been conclusively lost, so it seems that the mis-use of the term “Piracy” will continue. The majority of the acts which are considered to be “Piracy” are well accepted by the community, the acts of the music industry in taking legal action against young children have only drawn more public support for the “Pirate” cause. Such support is increasing the changes of the Swedish Pirate Party getting a seat in parliament at the next election, and has caused the major Swedish parties to change their positions on IP legislation. Now Rick’s background related to Intellectual Property issues causes him to analyse the IP aspects of the current US problems. His claim is that the US economy was trashed during the Vietnam war, has been getting worse ever since, and that the US position on IP legislation is either intentionally or accidentally helping to finance the US while it’s production of useful things is steadily decreasing. He also claims that some multi-national financial customs (such as using the US dollar for the international oil trade) is propping up the US currency and effectively allowing the US government (and the US residents) to borrow money from the rest of the world. Dmitry Orlov’s presentation titled “Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’: the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US” [5] provides some interesting information on what happens during an economic collapse. He also has some specific advice on what can be done (by both governments and individuals) to prepare for an impending collapse. However he doesn’t mention some issues which are important to people like us (although not as important as food, water, and shelter). On my document blog I’ve got a post with some ideas of how to run an Internet Infrastructure after a medium-scale collapse of the economy as we know it [6].

15 April 2008

Amaya Rodrigo: The absurd farce

It happens that when I get burnt out by Debian (I might blog about that later, but then I just might not) I am forced to face the real world just to learn that Debian was not so bad to begin with. Oh, the irony! I need to smoke more so that I spend less time involved in this crap nobody can change. It is hard enough to change Debian, I don't even want to think about the rest.

If you want to understand the world crisis you are living in...

14 December 2007

Martin F. Krafft: Finally on the right track

It's now three weeks since I am officially a Ph.D. student at the University of Limerick, but I've been too busy to do anything about it. Today, I finally updated my research webpage and sat down to tell you the tale of how I successfully defended my research, but failed to leave the country the next day. As is customary in the British system, I initially enrolled at UL as a Master student. In October, I then applied for a transfer to the Ph.D. track, submitted a transfer report and prepared for a live defence, according to the UL code of practice. On 23 November, I presented my research to my examiners, Dr. P r gerfalk and Patrick Healy, who found my work to be at Ph.D. level and approved of my transfer. I was moderately nervous going into the presentation, not really knowing what was expected of me. In the end, however, the presentation went well and the ensuing discussion provided valuable feedback. Thank you, P r and Paddy, as well as Norah (who chaired), and Brian (my supervisor) for all your time, help, and support. After the defence, Mel waited outside with a beer in hand, and it being Friday and all, I happily popped the cap and drank. Plans to head to The Stables gave way to chilling on the couch in 110 (my home away from home), before we headed to town for the Kila gig. We arrived early, had some beers, enjoyed the show, had some more beers, went home, and had some more beers to Guitar Hero, and when I crawled into bed, I was shocked to find out that I had lost all track of time and it was in fact already 5:30 on Saturday morning, instead of the perceived 2 o'clock. See, the source of this shock was a plane that left Dublin the next day around noon, and a rental car that was to get me there, leaving the house at 8. But when my alarm shattered my drunk dreams at 7:30, it quickly became clear (or well, everything was blurred, actually), that I would have a hard time getting into the car, and I would certainly never manage to navigate it to Dublin, a three hour drive. So I called up the airline and the rental company and rescheduled for the next day (only one flight from Dublin to Zurich a day), and went back to dreamland. I am entirely unsure whether my Ph.D. transfer defence was enough of a reason to get smashed. I still had a good time, though as always in Ireland, especially with this crowd NP: The Flower Kings: The Rainmaker

26 July 2007

John Goerzen: OSCon Thursday

First off, this guy is walking around handing out free fudge. Neat idea, but I can't quite figure out why!

Bill Hilf from Microsoft spoke today. He started by saying "I guarantee you won't agree with a lot of things I say today."

Nat introduced him as "our man on the inside."

Microsoft is submitting their Shared Source license for OSI approval. I don't know if this means that MS will have to actually make any modifications.

New website today:

Bill invited feedback from anyone at billhilf at microsoft dot com.

He got some fairly pointed questions from Nat about software patents. Bill said two things about that: 1) Microsoft flubbed the communication with the press and that their intent isn't to sue, and 2) Microsoft is learning and he's working to help them learn.

Rick Falkvinge from the Pirate Party

Funny and informative talk about why they've started a Pirate Party in Sweden.

Originally copyright only impacted public places, but now it impacts people's private lives as well.

Copyright is protecting the entertainment industry -- funded by luxury purchases -- at the expense of privacy and individual freedoms.

"The Norwegian Liberal Party forked our platform into Norwegian"

"Political donations in Sweden are not regulated", so you all can contributed

Steve Yegge (Google)

"Google will probably fire me for this talk"

Neither Steve's mic nor his laptop appear to work... after his line about being fired, someone shouted "Google is very powerful!"

"A brand, in geek terms, is a pointer."

GTE was, for a time, the most reviled brand in the US. Then they invested in improvements and ran commercials basically saying "we don't suck anymore", but nobody believed it.

"The single biggest branding problem in Open Source is the name 'Open Source'."

5 June 2007

Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho: Book selections

A friend recommended me Steve Miller and Sharon Lee’s Liaden books. The first question, reading order, was not very easy to find an answer to. I went with publication order within the Agent of Change sequence – Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, and I Dare. In retrospect it would have been better to start with Conflict of Honors followed by Agent of Change, as this corresponds to story chronology, and AoC and CD have the same protagonists while CoH doesn’t. The story speed between Plan B and I Dare was too fast to break the sequence, but it might have made the latter book fuller if I had read the first batch of prequels Local Custom and Scout’s Progress before it. The second prequel sequence Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon works well at any point in the series, as does the third (single-book) prequel sequence Balance of Trade. I’m still reading Fledgling and the first short story collection. Confusing? I thought so, but it definitely is worth the investment. Instead of all the usual superlatives, I’ll say something unique to this series: These books changed my perspective in that I now cannot read (in any fiction) about a character bowing without asking in my head “in which mode, dammit!?”. (Update on 8th June: The friend referred to above, after reading this section, said (I paraphrase): “In the peculiar mode of humans, of course”.) The Liaden books are romances in a (very good) science-fictional setting. With two exceptions, each book creates at least one new lifetime romantic pairing, and they’re in my opinion convincing romances. One of the exceptions deepens one of the earlier relationships, so there is no lack of romance there. The only place I know where one can get all the novels reliably is Webscriptions, as e-books. Some of the paper books seem to be hard to find, and the recent closing down of the main publisher Meisha Merlin cannot help there. * * * The promotional material for The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle includes a quote by Robert Heinlein: Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read. It is hard for me to disagree with that statement (including the qualifier, in all honesty), having recently read this book. Mote is a complex first-contact story, set in Pournelle’s alternate history (originally future history) universe. It begins in the year 3017. The recently created Second Empire of Man gets a visit from the aliens, leading to a counter-visit by humans to the aliens’ star system. The aliens seem friendly, but are they? What could they possibly be hiding? In retrospect, the Moties remind me (in style, not in detail) of Orson Scott Card’s Piggies (Speaker for the Dead and sequels); I would be surprised if Card had not read this book before writing his. The sequel, The Gripping Hand is not the masterpiece that Mote is, but I had no trouble enjoying it. The solution to the Motie problem has held for decades, but it won’t hold forever, and it might actually be breaking down now. The mission: save both humans and Moties from an eventual assured mutual destruction. * * * I actually started reading Pournelle’s alternate/future history from the cronological beginning. This is another series where reading order becomes a complicated matter, as many of the books tell parallel subthreads of the story; and it becomes even more complicated by the fact that there is an omnibus edition in which the story is told in chronological order, this having been accomplished by breaking the books down into chunks and then arranging the chunks in chronological order. My reading order went as follows: West of Honor, The Mercenary, Prince of Mercenaries, Go Tell the Spartans and Prince of Sparta. This is a good reading order; my only problem with it is that the protagonist of West of Honor fails to appear in most of the other books. The following is not in my opinion a real spoiler, even though it reveals certain key events of the series. The premise is that sometime between the 1970’s and the early decades of the 21st Century the United States and the Soviet Union form a union, called the CoDominium, which dominates the international politics of the Earth for most of the 21st Century. In early 21st Century, faster-than-light travel is discovered, and the CoDominium starts to colonise other star systems, first with voluntary colonists and then with convicts and involuntary colonists. The series takes place in the final decades of CoDominium, and focuses on the actions of one John Christian Falkenberg (though he is not the protagonist of all the books), first as an officer in the CoDominium (extraterrestrial) military, and then as the Colonel of a mercenary outfit, Falkenberg’s Legion. The Legion is at the center of events that eventually (after the events described in these books) leads to the creation of the first Empire of Man. The books are entertaining military science fiction, solid, enjoyable journeyman pieces.

29 March 2007

James Morrison: Speeding up the internet

I had some conversation this weekend about what makes the internet slow. The following snippet from my /etc/hosts file shows how I've managed to keep the internet fast and avoid some rather annoying blinking websites:

14 October 2006

Norbert Tretkowski: Fscking hardware

Yesterday evening, shortly after I fired up a build of gcc-4.1 on one of my alphas to test a patch from Falk Hueffner, the filesystem was mounted read-only and the kernel barfed: scsi(0): Resetting Cmnd=0xfffffc000b449b80, Handle=0x0000000000000202, action=0x2
scsi(0:0:0:0): Queueing device reset command.
Looks like either the harddisk or the SCSI controller is dying... :-/