Older blog entries for Zaitcev (starting at number 428)

Regarding the flap around Keith, I'm not as concerned about the exact value of the cutoff as with not having a mechanism to raise those who fall below it. For example, argp suddenly decided to use the common language yesterday... which is welcome, but his rating is 2.4 as seen by my account.

10 Jul 2008 (updated 10 Jul 2008 at 17:06 UTC) »

Follow focus nazi

I have a laptop with Synaptics touchpad, and one of the biggest annoyances in its implementation is how the "wheel" strips act upon the GUI element where the mouse is pointing regardless of the current focus. It took years to beat focus-follow-mouse people into a marginal submission, yet they still find every crack to seep through, like kerosene. Naturally, this behaviour is not tunable.

Another retardity in this area is the behaviour of the panel. Some genious came up with an awesome idea to flip windows if panel receives a wheel click. The problem with that is, a strip on the laptop is difficult to make to deliver just one click, so the function is useless to me. Also, it is too easy to hit the strip accidentially (which would not be a big deal if not for the enforced focus-follow). So, for one reason or the other, I would like to disable this behaviour. I don't even want to seek excuses for this wish. Just do it. But it's impossible.

So far the only group that displayed a clue in this was, strangely enough, Mozilla. They fixed bugs I filed and in general had an understanding of various input and display technologies, despite only being browser people. You'd think desktop developers would know how a touchpad differs from a wheel mouse.

UPDATE: Chris pointed out in comments that a fundamental reason exists why wheel behaves this way: the extra button events are mouse buttons, and those go where pointer points. I knew it, but it didn't click. I still think that applications should be able to work around this, although perhaps at the cost of some extra events being delivered.

Syndicated 2008-07-09 23:23:04 (Updated 2008-07-10 16:36:39) from Pete Zaitcev


Here's what new pulseaudio does after update in Rawhide today:

VLC media player 0.8.6h Janus
E: core-util.c: Failed to state home directory /q/zaitcev/.pulse: No such file or directory
E: core-util.c: Assertion 'fn' failed at pulsecore/core-util.c:1086, function pa_lock_lockfile(). Aborting.

Talkative library functions are bad enough, but aborting and taking down whole application?! How amateurish.

Syndicated 2008-06-21 07:16:45 from Pete Zaitcev

Go Seth!

I cancelled a yum update because I suddenly remembered that it's Friday and I had to download Tower of Druaga finale. It seems like only yesterday doing so involved ^a-c and kill -9, but today two ^c were sufficient. Yay.

Syndicated 2008-06-21 02:22:45 from Pete Zaitcev

Jim's strategy

Jeremy posted a shorthand of a meeting with Jim, our CEO. I think it's pretty interesting, although it's not very new for me, because it's consistent with his internal message and I've met with him before.

Jim talks about the need to involve companies (and their member individuals) into the Open Source in general. I quite agree, although in my like of work I see it in a very narrow way. I interact with all kinds of customers. Some are used to the old, "black box" way. If a test round is needed, I send them a kernel, they run it, collect the results, I think about it, change something, send it again... etcetera. Other (for example, Stratus, Fujitsu) chose "open box" approach: they look at my patches and produce feedback on patches.

Even though I never play favourites with customer problems, "open box" people tend to come to solutions much quicker.

I used to think that there must be some downside to "open box", because they have to have some expertise in-house to deal with source, and expertise costs money. But it is more and more apparent that basic reading of the source is not black magic. Customers always have engineers who can read it. Sure, they may not have intimate understanding of it, but that's what they pay Red Hat for. The basic advantage is essentially free for them.

Another thing Jim talks about is taking a high road relatively Ubuntu. From ethical standpoint, he is right, of course. But I keep thinking... Ubuntu is popular. Not as popular as Windows, I guess, but it is a success, and you never argue with success. Fat lot of good will it do to Free Software if everyone moves to Ubuntu. Fortunately, Fedora is a success too, for now at least. But it looks like Jim just believes that truth will always prevail... I am not so sure. It is not how the world works.

Syndicated 2008-06-21 02:03:35 (Updated 2008-06-21 02:23:48) from Pete Zaitcev

Whitelist your cookies

I followed the suggestion at DaveJ's comments as an experiment, because I visit way too many forums and other identity driven sites, but so far it worked very well. There was not a single case of website failing to work with explicit permissions to set cookies, and the work required to add permissions was not too onerous.

It would be even better if Firefox threw up a dialog or something, to let me whitelist a website on the fly, without opening the preferences dialog with its tabs.

Syndicated 2008-06-12 18:35:03 from Pete Zaitcev

10 Jun 2008 (updated 11 Jun 2008 at 02:18 UTC) »

I will never fly

I took a glider ride at Moriarty, NM on Sunday. It was pretty incredible. Also, I suck as a pilot so much, it's incredible too. I don't think I had the string centered for more than 3 seconds at a time, if at all.

We took a tow to about 1800 AGL or 8k and from there climbed above 15k, where we caught the mountain wave. My pilot, Dave, said that on a good day people fly from Moriarty to Colorado and back, by hopping from a cloud to cloud.

One unexpected thing is just how loud the wind noise is. Even when doing 40 knots I have to raise my voice above it to be heard.

UPDATE: A Google search unearths an interview with my pilot, Mr. David Sharp.

Syndicated 2008-06-10 19:42:37 (Updated 2008-06-11 01:46:00) from Pete Zaitcev

3 Jun 2008 (updated 4 Jun 2008 at 05:09 UTC) »

Firefox and CPU

On my main laptop, running Rawhide, Firefox burns CPU when idle (firefox-3.0-0.65.cvs20080416.fc10). It's not much, top shows 5..7%, but it's persistent. Bram asked about [tools to debug] this just recently, and Jeff Daly replied that Mozilla is working on it. Apparently there is an add-on for it already.

Syndicated 2008-06-03 20:48:38 (Updated 2008-06-04 05:09:21) from Pete Zaitcev

3 Jun 2008 (updated 3 Jun 2008 at 21:11 UTC) »

Games... I remember those

I did not play any games in years and years, and the last on I played was Myth. But a couple of days ago someone threw together a game where I was the main character (ok, my alter ego inspired the main character). I just had to try it.

Doing so quickly reminded me just why I'm not a gamer. First, I had to find and attach a mouse to my laptop. The game is based on the RenPy, but mostly consists of 3 shooting galleries and a couple of puzzles. So, to pass with a touchpad is next to impossible. And next, my arm hurts. That's right, I'm an official ninja, yet my arm hurt from playing a computer game.

As for the game, I laughed myself out of my chair, but it was fun in an inside joke way only, so don't bother downloading. For a kernel guy, the equivalent would be a gallery where you shoot Hans Reiser, Adrian Bunk, and Dick Johnson in the face. Nobody too famous, but notorious.

P.S. This episode got me thinking about the open-source gaming (yes, I know, I'm becoming an ESR, drop dead). Speaking of RenPy, I enjoyed Starlight, but so far I've never seen anything anywhere where people would bunch together and do something. The RenPy based VNs and games are usually carried out by one creator, so they tend to be one-offs. Starlight, for example, haven't seen the next chapter yet. Maybe I should check out Wesnoth... Develop those underutilized arm muscles. I heard Rusty poked at it.

Syndicated 2008-06-03 19:30:46 (Updated 2008-06-03 20:42:53) from Pete Zaitcev

Attack of Sqlite

Recently it became fashionable to link Sqlite everywhere (for example, yum uses it). The awsum workout that Firefox gives to your kjournald is also Sqlite. But now I see a little problem. What if anything happens to the database?

XML was bad enough, but it is repairable, if with a bigger difficulty than plain text. When GNOME eliminated battstat-applet, and started to throw an funny dialog, I was able to fix it by removing a few files and directories in my ~/.gconf (Thank you, Federico).

Now my Liferea develped a problem. One of the feeds has a phantom item in it: it shows one unread even if there aren't any unread items. If I click "Mark All Read", Liferea crashes. How am I supposed to repair this? I suppose there may be some command line tools coming with Sqlite which allow to issue SQL statements, but without knowing how the database is laid out, I cannot formulate such statements.

I expect this kind of thing to become more common as more people jump on the bandwagon.

Syndicated 2008-06-01 21:11:07 from Pete Zaitcev

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