July 2004

Good chair for bad back

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I want it!

Check out this neat demonstration.

UPDATE: I received it, and it’s pretty sweet.

Mbox de-duper patched

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I wrote a quick patch for the mbox-dedup.pl script I found online awhile ago. Basically, the author wrote a script that takes an mbox and creates a new mbox with all duplicate messages removed. I have to deal with duplicate e-mails constantly due to some weird incompatibility between Evolution and my Argosoft Mail Server (Windows), which I’ll have to figure out some day soon.

This script is just a temporary solution. I modified it so it now creates three files: $f.bak, a backup of your old mbox; $f, your new, dupe-free mailbox; and $f.dup, which is a mailbox which ONLY contains messages detected as duplicate. You can probably get rid of f.bak and keep f.dup around in case there were any mistakes in duplicate detection (which is what I’m doing). How annoying through. Anyway, if this bothers you, download the script, but use at your own risk.

Good article on programmer productivity

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Read it here. It encourages programmers taking breaks to think about the bigger issues and reduce code bloat.

I understand now why programmers end up so conflicted. They have to work to meet deadlines, but often problems could be solved much more elegantly if there were extra time.

If I ever did run a software development company, one of the rules would be that everyone runs Workrave, a great free tool that forces you to take breaks from your computer every once in awhile. Not only does this reduce your chance of RSI/Carpal Tunnel, but it also provides a way for you to sit back and think about a problem in the abstract, rather than code your way through it.

I know deadlines are a reality. But in a perfect world, programming projects would be done “when they’re done.”

It actually crashed

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

Man, Linux actually crashed. My little Workrave window was about to come up telling me to take a break, and before it could be drawn by GTK, the whole computer hard-locked. That teaches me to run a development kernel (2.6.6-rc2) when there is a newer, stable release out.

Luckily I didn’t lose anything since I constantly save my work. But hard-locks are exactly why I switched away from Windows, so this was disheartening.

Once August rolls around I’ll upgrade my kernel to something more stable. crying

Unfahrenheit 9/11?

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

So, Christopher Hitchens has written this response to Fahrenheit 9/11. I just finished reading it.

(Silly side note: I bookmarked this link before I saw the movie, so I that I could read it afterwards. I really didn’t understand the title at all, until Olivia informed me that it’s meant to be pronounced “Unfair – enheit 9/11.” I felt silly, but I guess it comes from the fact that I pronounce it FAR-EN-HEIT, rather than FAIR-E-HEIT. Apparently, I’m not so insane, since my pronounciation is Dictionary.com’s recomendation, as well. They recomend pronouncing the “a” like “father” or “pat.” Not that this means anything in particular, I just think an editor could have come up with a better title!)

So, for the most part, Hitchens’ article does present some of the problems with Mike’s film. We all know (all of us who have seen it) that it was a bit dramatized, a bit over the top, and a bit of propaganda. It was meant to be an emotional rollercoaster: to get us angry and sad, riled up for election time. In this sense, the film was effective. But I can see why you might find it unfair. Mike shows us every clip he can find of how the Iraq war is horrible, of how Bush is a horrible president, etc. without ever throwing in clips that speak to the opposite conclusion. I guess the problem with Mike’s film is that it is not “balanced.” It is simply not the way I would have set out to direct a similar documentary. But, in all honesty, Hitchens’ article is similarly flawed…

Spike in the geekiness curve

Thursday, July 1st, 2004

Just got back from Northampton today. Was able to do some work remotely but not as much as I wanted, so I’ve been working late into the night. Still much to do, but at least I got JavaMail working properly and am finally, finally, finally finalizing my form design with JSP/Servlets on the UAC project. In the meanwhile, in Noho I was able to use my notebook to put together new form designs to be plugged in later.

But in more interesting news (not much more interesting)…. Wow! Lots happened while I stayed out of touch with the major news websites. Eclipse 3.0 (including new native builds) is well-received. Mono 1.0 was released. Java 1.5 (or, ahem, 5) Beta was released. Looking Glass was open sourced. Apple’s OS X Tiger was previewed and is now being scrutinized by Mac lovers. Wow, wow, wow, wish I had more time to explore all this good stuff.

Man, Dashboard is what gdesklets should be. sad Once we have a solid X system that is actually 3D accelerated in Linux, then we’ll be able to have more fun on the desktop.

Spotlight seems very cool, but I think Gnome Storage will be better. This may be an armchair code pundit speaking, but I think Linux geeks know how to do searching better than Apple geeks. Spotlight’s integration with Finder will look nicer, but Gnome Storage will actually find me my files. wink

Argh, gonna lay off this blog for a few days ’till I can say work isn’t bogging me down.