30 Jul 2001 ajt   » (Master)

Random venting.

Apple iBooks are sweet. Nice, small, solid, smooth, fast, little things with excellent battery life. Very happy with that purchase.

Not so happy with my ADSL. Telstra's BigPond sucks. They're incompetent at doing the install (three months before I even get an appointment, which is then cancelled because hey, they didn't mean to make the appointment in the first place, sorry about that, do you remember the name of the guy who called you by any chance? and another month before the actual appointment, then another week or two before the installation), they're incompetent at keeping the underlying routing sensible (trying to ping other local ADSL users gets me one response, then nothing until I leave it for ten minutes, at which point I can get another response, then, again, nothing; and large packets sent to me simply get dropped somewhere upstream from me (and no it is not my MTU or MRU), they still haven't managed to work out how to offer static IP addresses), they're incompetent at support (responding to reports a couple of days late, which happens to be after the problem's been fixed, escalating reports to email addresses that don't exist, managing to let reports just sit around for weeks without any updates, and insisting that I not only use a Windows box, but that I cold boot, and reinstall it before they're willing to even bother checking if the problem might be on their end), and they're even incompetent at billing (their printed invoices list an account code without a leading 0, that their pay by phone services insists must be present). Sprinkle all the above liberally with curses, swear words, and insinuations about animal ancestry and illegitimate parentage, and you have a vague idea how irritating this is. Or get broadband yourself. Bah.

Is it just me, or does anyone else fail to see the relevance of this .NET and mono nonsense? Linux's answer to .NET? Pfft. It may be rude to answer with a question, but a better response would've been "Who cares?". .NET's features are purely market related and non-technical. Sure, there's a bunch of new implementations of old ideas. You can upgrade software off the internet easily! You can write a program and then run it on different computers! You can have your software run remotely rather than locally! There's nothing new here: I do all this every day, right now. What's new is --- well, to be honest, what's new is you can do it on Windows. It's nice to see some, what, twenty year old features might finally make it to the world's premier software platform in the next couple of years. But hey. What's really new is the way all these things are tied straight back into the good ol' Microsoft monopoly. And quite frankly, who cares about that? Personally, I'm not even vaguely interested in what Microsoft wants to do to maintain it's monopoly. If there were some interesting technical features here, sure, it might be worth looking at, or thinking about, but there aren't. Mono is nothing more than Samba, something that might be useful for interoperability, but provides almost no real benefits of its own. Technically, it's a pointless distraction, that doesn't even deserve diary rants like this one.

Jef Raskin's book, The Humane Interface is nifty. A zooming file or window manager (one where you get to move north/south/east/west and zoom in and zoom out, but don't get to "open" things) would be very interesting to play with.

Question of the day: when was the last time you found a problem in some free software, tracked down exactly what caused it, and sent the author a detailed report on why it was a bug and how to reproduce it? When was the last time you complained about some bug, but didn't do the above?

Thought of the day: if we don't charge anything to let people use or modify our software for their own use, is it too much to ask people to go a long way out of their way, just to submit a bug report or a feature request?

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