Older blog entries for Burgundavia (starting at number 188)

A time to vote...

As a Canadian, I watch usually every US election with a sense of dread, especially in the last few years. Today, I am filled with hope. If Obama does nothing else good as president (and I am going to assume we are not going to see a repeat of Dewey/Truman) and he will do many good things, he has already accomplished one thing: got young people out to volunteer and vote.

So please, if you are in the US, go and vote today. Don't let anyone stand in your way, be it registration or other dirty tricks.

Vote Obama.
Californians, vote No on Prop 8 and Yes on Prop 1A
Seattlites, vote Yes on Prop 1

And then I was crazy and decided to become a politician

Seems I have a burst of insanity and decided to enter politics. Specifically, I am running for municipal council in Oak Bay, one of the smaller cities that make up Greater Victoria*.

Why am I running? To promote bicycling, transit, a greener world and similar ideas. As such, I am running under the Green Party banner.

I won't bore the rest of you to tears with campaign stuff, so check out my campaign website at coreyburger.ca.

* Victoria, the city that most assume is one, is in fact 12 different fiefdoms, ranging from 5,000 to 105,000. Oak Bay is one of those. See Greater Victoria on Wikipedia.

Victoria mapping party redux

The OpenStreetMap crew met here in Victoria again tonight. We ended up short a few people, due to that evil thing known as work, so it was only Jason, Tobias and I. After just over two hours of driving and walking, pretty colours were made:

Tobias & Jason's tracks in purple and green, respectively and myself in yellow.

Tobias and Jason ended up walking around Cedar Hill Golf Course and all the little connecting trails to the roads, as well as driving east of Mt. Tolmie while I biked just south of Cedar Hill X Rd and also just south of McKenzie Avenue.

Sadly we just missed the planet dump day, when the default rendering gets redone, so we will have to wait another week to see our work there.

We didn't decide on the next date, due to lack of people attending, so the announcement of the next party will have to wait.

Victoria mapping party

The OpenStreetMap crew met here in Victoria tonight. We had a pretty good turn out. Aside from Sam and myself, who have been meeting for mapping fairly regularly now, we also had Tobias, Jason, Justine and Ryan. Of them, only Jason had any mapping experience and the weather didn't help:

Ironically, the weather report says it will clear tomorrow.

Regardless, we still went out mapping, Sam braving it on foot, Justine, Ryan & I in Ryan's car and Tobias & Jason in Jason's. After just over two hours of driving and walking, pretty colours were made:

Sam's tracks in blue, Tobias & Jason in orange and Justine, Ryan and I in yellow.

Better yet, we agreed on the next mapping party. We are meeting on August 13th at 6pm at Little Thai Place. We will be meeting for dinner, followed by some mapping, rain or shine. For the forgetful, the Victoria mapping party event on Upcoming.

Victoria OpenStreetMap mapping party

The various OSMers in Victoria are holding a mapping party this coming Thursday, the 17th, at 6pm at the Starbucks at 4077 Shelbourne St. (Map of the Starbucks)

The event is open to all. Even if you are only curious about OSM and don't want to map, please show up and ask questions. Those that want to map will spread out all across Gordon Head for the next two or so hours, collecting data as they go, before meeting back at a point of our choice, likely a pub, for a pint or two before heading home for the night.

If you do that Facebook thing, I have created an event. I finally bit the bullet a couple of weeks ago. Much easier to contact my fellow students this way.

29 Mar 2008 (updated 29 Mar 2008 at 04:25 UTC) »
J. Leslie Canty (1925-2008)

Rest in peace beloved grandfather. You will be missed.

Ask (the web) and ye shall receive

Jonathan, I agree that I should have filed the 1st bug. But why work when you can get the lazyweb to do it for you? In this case, Ryan Prior with LP bug 193578.

The 2nd point, about the freezing, I simply didn't have enough foo to determine where (and if) the bug existed. Lazyweb to the rescue again. Although I haven't tested it, Jeff Schroeder has told me it is likely due to a scheduler bug. Explanation, more, and yet more.

4 Mar 2008 (updated 4 Mar 2008 at 00:44 UTC) »
Laptop Stickers for Canada

For those of you that had been patiently waiting, I finally got a huge amount off on Sunday. I still have a few left to do, which I will finish this weekend if school doesn't get me.

Hardy is crap under heavy load

I have been having major issues with Hardy under heavy load. Here is what I am seeing:
1. Page loading and scrolling in Firefox 3 causes Rhythmbox to freeze playback (but not freeze Rhythmbox itself)
2. If free RAM is low and something RAM intensive loads, such as Evince or OpenOffice.org, the entire system will enter swap hell and never leave. Sometimes this will cause compiz to crash. But ironically, this state will not cause Rhythmbox to freeze playback.

This might just be a hardware problem on my laptop, now nearing 3 years old, so I am wondering if anybody else is seeing this. Please tell me about it if you are. I should note I have never seen this specific bug(s) with any prior version of Ubuntu and it is pretty much repeatable, at least on my machine. A possibly related issue was raised by Seb, mentioned under "Other Business" on this Desktop Meeting report.

A bucketful of awesome...

29 Jan 2008 (updated 29 Jan 2008 at 01:06 UTC) »
So then I got the N810...

Seems Nokia was kind enough to give one of the developers discount codes. After a bit of a wait as the Canadian store had a few issues to sort out, I have this shiny little device in my hand. Well, I did get on Thursday and writing this blog post a few days later. And what do I have to think? Well, here, in no particular order, are some bits:

The Good

  • Size & Weight - It is thinner and heavier than I expected, but about the same size as I had imagined.
  • Screen - It rocks. Truly, it is bright and huge, at least for something this big. I have an old Palm Tungsten E and the screen on the N810 runs at about twice the resolution and is only a little bit bigger
  • The basic screen layout - Very well thought out, with nice low contrast icons
  • The GPS I was pleasantly surprised to see that the resolution of the GPS compares favourably with my Garmin CS. Having it built-in is very cool.
  • Word completion - learns as you go, thus my completion now includes words like "maemo" and "openstreetmap". I don't think I need to say more
  • Amazing battery life - This thing will go a whole day, even with near constant usage in class, walking around, etc.
  • Working power management - I guess I am just used to Linux devices with crappy power management. All this just shows what happens when the OEM gets involved from the ground up.
  • "Gentle" notification system - If the screen has gone black, there is a little LED in the upper corner that pulses if somebody has messaged you or something simliar. Only if it is fairly major like power issues or networking disconnecting does it beep at you. Nice for in class or quiet meetings.
  • Hardware QWERTY keyboard - Like any small keyboard, it takes a bit of getting used to, but overall the feel is nice. The keyboard is backlit as well, nice for those dark areas.
  • Integration of Telepathy and evolution-data-server - This is what we badly need on the desktop. Contacts are contacts, regardless of what app you use them in. However, see below for the ugly side to this.

The Bad

  • No native editing software for OpenStreetMap - This is pretty much the perfect device for editing OSM. Built-in GPS with touch screen running Linux.
  • No tab key - In this era of endless web forms, where is our tab key? If it is there, I haven't found it yet.
  • No hardware scroll buttons on the main body - I keep looking for something like the Blackberry's scroll wheel or even just up and down buttons. Yes, there is a joypad-ish type thing on the keyboard, but you need to pull down the keyboard for that.
  • No camera app by default - I see camera but no way to use it by default.
  • No tomboy-like app - Given one of the major uses of this type of device is basic note taking, lists, etc., you would think a tomboy-like autosaving desktop wiki would be a first. Not so and no Tomboy .deb either.
  • Telepathy is not completely mature yet - I had a few issues with bouncing on and off on my home wireless and by default it only supports SIP and

The Ugly What seperates the bad from the ugly? The ugly are really really stupid things. Small mistakes are not ugly, failures to think, stupid legal issues, hardware that doesn't work, these things are ugly.

  • No Pimlico I badly want Pimlico to be shipped by default. The default Contacts app uses evolution-data-server, so most of the working bits are there, but there are some issues. Ross from OpenedHand has more
  • Terrible package management - Yes, it has Ipkg and repos. So compared to similar WinCE/Symbian devices it is miles ahead, but that is really enough. There are a whole host of issues, including lack of definitions for categories, millions of repos and more. Makes me feel like I am running Red Hat circa RH8.
  • Hardware volume keys don't work - Right. I don't think I will say more
  • Default OS is closed source - The default OS, OS2008, is actually Maemo + closed source bits, including drivers. Given they have already dropped support for the N770, how long before I get pissed off at Nokia for dropping support for the N810?
  • No OGG support - More CYA from Nokia legal (likely the same issue with eds and pimlico). It also looks like it doesn't use gstreamer, which means the fix has to be hacked in.
  • Crappy default media centre, Canola is closed source - The built-in media centre is not the greatest and the closest thing to replace it, Canola, is closed source. Umm, what?
  • No sync from GNOME to N810 - Given this is running a huge amount of the same bits as my Ubuntu desktop, where is my sync? Why can't I sync my contacts to and from the device?
  • Default notepad app crashes on save - not everytime, about 1 in 3. BUt the worst part is that when it crashes, it truncates the files. So each crash leaves you with less and less.


Would I buy one of these things at full price? If I had the money, absolutely. The hardware and software are slick, excepting the issues above. The legal issues surrounding Pimlico and Ogg are not the Maemo teams fault. Nor are some of the hardware decisions, I imagine.

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