Older blog entries for dwmw2 (starting at number 221)

I wanted to update a Nokia E71 to the latest firmware. So I booted a Windows 7 VM, went to the Nokia web site and downloaded the update tool. It took about quarter of an hour to download 33MiB over my crappy ADSL line.

When it finally finished downloading, I installed it and rebooted as it asked me to, then tried to start it using the icon it had installed on the desktop.

It told me there was an update available, and I couldn't use it until I updated. I muttered darkly at this idiocy, but let it update. It spent another quarter of an hour downloading, and only then did it check and tell me that it couldn't proceed because it needed to be run as Administrator.

So I right-clicked on it and used the 'run as Administrator' option, and watched it download itself for the third time. But still it failed, complaining that I had to run it as Administrator.

So I logged out completely and logged in using the Administrator account, and I ran it again. After downloading the entire thing for a fourth time it failed again, still complaining that it has insufficient privileges and needed to be run as the Administrator.

I am stunned — Nokia really ought to be ashamed at this crap.

A while ago, I reluctantly took over maintaining the get_iplayer tool: http://www.infradead.org/get_iplayer/.

When you search for it by name, my page isn't very high up on the list of results. Hopefully a few syndicated links to it from various planets that carry this will help...

30 Jul 2010 (updated 14 Sep 2010 at 13:33 UTC) »

Got bored of having to run 'make install' when hacking on Evolution, partly because libtool insanity makes it take too long — as for some reason it relinks everything as it installs it. Perhaps that was needed for FORTRAN77 programs on OSF/1, but it isn't needed on my modern Linux system. I hate libtool. But even without that, re-running 'make install' every time you change a line of code is a pain.

For a while I took to manually symlinking the libraries and executables I was working on, from my build directory into their installed locations. But I kept missing some out and that was a pain too.

My current solution, which excited mbarnes sufficiently that I felt I ought to share it more widely, is to re-run autogen.sh with the --enable-fast-install argument, then build it and run 'make INSTALL=install_symlink.sh install'. Then all files get installed as symlinks instead of being copied, and all I have to do is hack code, type 'make', and run evolution again.

The script is a dirty hack and there are much better ways to do it — some of which would even cope with filenames that have spaces in. But it works for me, and makes Evolution hacking a little easier.

[UPDATE: fucking libtool. I think you also need to do 'sed s/need_relink=yes/need_relink=no/ -i libtool' in your build directory, then to stop it fucking you over again also 'sudo chattr +i libtool'.]

Things I hate today include:

  • Symbian on my Nokia N97 — for spontaneously rebooting as soon as I got off the ferry.
  • Google Maps — for not caching the map tiles I'd carefully downloaded while I was on the free ferry wireless, showing my route to the hotel.
  • Mobile phone networks — for the insane amount of money it will have cost me to re-download the same map tiles again, as I was driving.
It's almost as if it's a conspiracy — especially between the latter two.

I really need to get myself an N900 and start using maemo-mapper again. Every time I try to use non-free software, it hurts.

I've just been working on Evolution's reply code, and have added a couple more of those annoying "nag pop-ups", including this one which I expect a lot of people will appreciate when they don't get the resulting mail:

Evolution nag pop-up for replying to too many recipients

It's currently set to trigger if you hit 'Reply to All' on a message with more than 15 recipients; unless it's a mailing list message. And of course you can see that it's trivial to turn it off if you never want to see it again.

I've also taken a moment to write down and post some thoughts on the 'Reply to All' vs. 'Reply to List' debate for mailing list messages.

Yay Brazil!. They're making it illegal to use DRM to prevent "fair dealing" with copyrighted works, or access to works which are in the public domain. It's also legal to "crack" DRM if you're only doing it for the purpose of "fair dealing".

So, for example, it would be legal for me to crack the DRM on the eBooks I buy, which is necessary just so that I can read them. Currently I have to break the law just to be able to buy and use eBooks.

UK citizens, go here and add your vote; it's very simple to register if you haven't already done so.


What was wrong with the SOCKS server that SSH provides? Playing transparent proxy tricks is cute, but why not make it work using SOCKS and then it would be more generically useful?

Better still, you can use an otherwise unused corner of IPv6 address space for your dynamic proxying so you aren't messing with the client's Legacy IP routing at all.

My God, I've been vaguely aware of the HTML5 video train wreck but I hadn't realised just how much of a fucking abortion the rest of the HTML5 'standard' is.

I had the misfortune to read the section on character encodings over the weekend, and it almost made me lose my lunch.

Not only does it codify the crappy and unreliable practice of applying heuristics to guess character encodings, it also requires that a user agent deliberately ignore the explicitly specified character set in some cases — for example, text explicitly labelled as US-ASCII or ISO8859-1 MUST be rendered as if it were Windows-1252!

It justifies this idiocy, which it admits is a 'willful violation', on the basis that it aids compatibility with legacy content. By which of course it means "broken content", since this was never actually necessary for anyone who published content correctly even with older versions of HTML.

But that doesn't make any sense — surely legacy content won't be identifying itself as HTML5? It might be reasonable to do these stupid things for legacy content, but not HTML5. The complete mess we have with charset labelling is a prime example of where the RFC1122 §1.2.2 approach of being lenient in what you accept has turned out to be massively counter-productive — if we'd simply refused to make stupid guesses about character sets in the first place, then people would have actually started getting the labelling right.

The sensible approach to take with HTML5 would just have been to say "All content which identifies itself as HTML5 MUST be in the UTF-8 character encoding. A conforming user agent MUST NOT attempt to interpret content as if it has any other encoding; any invalid UTF-8 byte sequences MUST be shown using the Unicode replacement character U+FFFD (�) or equivalent."

Or, if we really must continue to permit the legacy crap 8-bit character sets, it should have said that the content MUST be in the character set specified in the HTTP Content-Type: header or equivalent <META> tag.

Keep the stupid heuristics for legacy content by all means, but it should be forbidden to render HTML5 content in a character set other than the one it is labelled with, and all invalid characters (including the C1 control characters in ISO8859-1 which in Windows-1252 would map to extra printable characters like the Euro sign) MUS be shown as U+FFFD (�). And then the people who publish broken crap would see that they're publishing broken crap, rather than thinking it's OK because the browser they use just happens to assume the same character set as the system they're publishing from.

To me, HTML5 looks less like a standard and more like a set of broken hackish kludges to work around the fact that people out there aren't actually capable of following a standard.

Eww, this country is uncivilised. Just got back to my hotel room and my clothing reeks of smoke. I'd almost forgotten how horrid that was.

mjg59 writes:
"If the offence was unintended, an apology should be cheap."

An apology is cheap, it's true — but it's also counterproductive, because it reinforces the false belief that such an apology was necessary or appropriate.

Pandering to these people just contributes to the utterly idiotic culture of political correctness which blights our society.

Let's take a look at what he actually said, for crying out loud...

“A release is an amazing thing; I’m not talking about the happy ending..”: 3:02
It's crude, but I don't see it as being sexist. The terms 'release' and 'happy ending' could just as well be used to describe the female experience as the male experience, although ladies are less inclined to make such reference to it in public. It's not excluding women; it's excluding prudes.
“Your printer, and your mom’s printer, and your grandma’s printer”: 35:30
Oh, for crying out loud. Would it really have made that much difference if he'd said 'dad and grandma', or 'mom and grandpa'? No, it wouldn't. Some people must have been trying really hard to find something to take offence at.

Of course your mum is likely to be less technical than your dad. That's just the way the world is. Does your mum complain when she gets cheaper car insurance? Men and women are different, and we shouldn't be burned at the stake if that fundamental fact of life affects the minor details of how we phrase what we say.

My own mother died a few years ago; did I cry myself to sleep after Mark's keynote because I felt excluded by his choice of words? No. I didn't. Some people really do need to grow up.

“we’ll have less trouble explaining to girls what we actually do" at 35:55

There's another one which excludes me. I'm not single, so I don't spend my time trying to impress girls. Should I have been offended? Of course not.

In this context, I'd usually have said "normal people", meaning non-geeks, rather than "girls"; I tend to be quite self-deprecating about my geek nature.

But when I say "normal people" I often have to then explain what I meant by it. It makes more far sense to say "girls", because then people instantly recognise what I'm trying to say.

So I think it's entirely reasonable that Mark said "girls" in that context. When trying to communicate to a room full of people, of course you communicate in a way which will be understood by all of them without having to go back and explain yourself.

He certainly didn't mean to say "Hey, I think the Linux community is entirely comprised of single (or philandering) males, and lesbians."

If you draw that inference, then you are being bloody stupid!

(I should probably point out that the 'single or philandering' qualification in my above sentence applies to both males and lesbians. I didn't mean to suggest that lesbians aren't capable of a monogamous relationship. Please put the torch down and back away from my front door. But thank you for demonstrating just how stupid some people can be when they're looking for a way to take offence.)

There are problems in the geek community which make it hard for females to join in, and there are real problems with some of the things that people say sometimes. The geek feminist lobby certainly has a point, in the general case.

But Mark's keynote was not an example of this. By throwing their toys out of the pram over Mark's keynote, they cheapen the whole debate and perform a stunning ad hominem on themselves.

If you want to be treated with respect and integrate into the society, you don't achieve that by behaving like a Jemima and kicking up a fuss over nothing. You could try contributing to the real debate, like talking about some of the other crap Mark was spouting in his keynote.

So no, I don't think an apology is a good idea. Unless it's offered by the people who have been making all this stupid fuss — and it's offered both to Mark, and also to the people who really want to promote the integration of women in the community.

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