I’m plainy lots of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath.
Yesterday a friend was here, and we played the obligatory Burnout 3 and then discovered to our delight that Pikmin 2 has a two player mode that is fun.
I was looking for a shop to print T-shirts on. I had noticed one of them in the neighbourhood and tried to find their site. It took me quite a while, because there’s so much stuff having to do with “T-Shirt” and I had gotten the address wrong, searching for “Stauffacher” instead of “Kasernenstrasse”. I finally discovered that the shop belongs to a globalised corp – Bang-On. I link to their site because I liked their graphical design very much. It has some useless flash animations, just ignore those. Enjoy the pink backgrounds, the poster aesthetics, etc.
I’m looking for a hotel during Wikimania in Frankfurt am Main…
Update: I will be staying at the Hotel Primus for 39€ per night, toilet outside in the aisle. Haven’t had that for a while! But I felt it was not worth an additional 16€ (about 50%) just to sit on the loo for as long as I want.
(When I showed the above text to Claudia, she thought it was my confirmation mail to the Hotel…)
I moved the Program to Wikimania 2005.
I think I’ll rename this blog to “E-Commerce is Pure Hype”! Today I wanted to increase the coverage of my household insurance from CHF 40k to CHF 60k. Quick, determine the guy’s email address, and send it off. But oh no! There’s no such user anymore. And the emails are not being forwarded. Ok, check the company website. There a form. It is long. They want my policy number and my contact details. Huh, doesn’t the one automatically determine the other?
At the end, there was the question: Do you want to be contacted by us? And it asked me to enter either a phone or a fax number. No email?
Suddenly I imagined my mail getting lost in the mess and decided to make a phone call to start with. Done in two minutes.
Email, Web, and happy customers? Forget it. I got the phone number from a piece of paper. Email and web are a waste of (my) time when it comes to (them) making money.
I would have liked to print an Oddmuse T-Shirt or two for Wikimania.
I feel like a denizen of the last millenium!
Right now I can start a little server, connect to it via the command-line client cadaver, and print the list of pages using ls.
What I did was create a new Filesys::Virtual::Oddmuse and implement such trivial functions as test, stat, and ls. While this will be limiting when implementing more functionality such as browsing older revisions, at the moment it seems like the method that promises quick small wins. And since most people will be interested in mounting a wiki as a filesystem, it would make perfect sense.
When I tried to connect to the server using the OSX Finder, it just hung until I killed by little server.
I just read an article on the WOZ frontpage by Josef Lang, national counselor for the Alternative party in Zug, representative of the Green fraction in the security commission:
It seems that the improved relations with the USA were an important argument in favor of these deals when economy minister Joseph Deiss put forward his motion.
Claudia’s Pakistani friend send her a joke via SMS. I offered her to search for a counter-joke on the web. After some googling we found something funny and shortened it down so that it would fit into 2 × 168 characters.
Then we looked around some more, and here’s one I really liked  – I guess I must be too intellectual…
I started to use Bloglines to read my feeds after a recommendation by AadityaSood.
Indeed. Podcasting clients should include torrent clients, and publishers should publish torrents instead of just the files. Swamp the P2P networks with legal MP3 files and prove the suckers wrong.
TelePolis writes about the current reform initiatives and correctly notes that most of these will not make the UN significantly more democratic.  I think everybody except the permanent members of the security council agree on the need for reform. The question is twofold: What do we want, and how do we get it?
At the moment it seems that alternatives to the UN are gaining ground: Groups of nations coordinating their efforts independently. While they are thus weakening the UN as a platform, they are also rather ineffective, I assume. But then again the UN itself is rather ineffective.
That leads to the next question: What kind of structure do we want that is effective? We should agree on the ways to exercise power first, I think. Here’s what we currently have:
Only with the necessary power in the background, can you negotiate effectively. That’s why we need a way to exercise power even if we want to do nothing but negotiate. Like a state, we need a way to pass laws, and the means to uphold them.
Unfortunately, I have yet to read of a convincing proposal. And neither do I like war or economic sanctions.
At Wikimania 2005 I had a talk with a blogger about tagging. I claimed that tagging was useless because the broad tags I was using (Wikis, Web, Switzerland, Iraq) are good for organizing my blog, but no good for finding related information.
The blogger then said that he used it a lot for his own research on a daily basis, but with a lot more detailed tags: Names of people, locations, and events.
But how to add this automatically?
TelePolis writes that the mayor of Baghdad has been ousted by another public figure with the help of some armed men. The new man, Masen A. Makkiam, was the head of the city council. The article goes into the political positions these people had, the overlapping responsibilities, etc. What saddened me most was that there seems to be no official reaction whatsoever to this undemocratic act. 
Some numbers cited in TheRegister:
Webbink is Mark Webbink, Red Hat’s deputy general counsel.
Writing a WebDAV client using CGI only. The first question is: Will calling methods other than GET, POST and HEAD work?
Here’s a test script:
#!/usr/bin/perl use CGI; print "Content-type: text/plain\n\n"; $q = new CGI; print $q->request_method, "\n";
Here’s how you connect:
alex@alpinobombus:~% telnet localhost 80
The server responds:
Trying ::1... telnet: connect to address ::1: Connection refused Trying 127.0.0.1... Connected to localhost. Escape character is '^]'.
Now use some weird method:
FOO /cgi-bin/methods HTTP/1.0
And you get the response showing that the CGI script was called with the appropriate method:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 00:19:25 GMT Server: Apache/1.3.33 (Darwin) Connection: close Content-Type: text/plain FOO Connection closed by foreign host.
I’m spending a few days in Austria an may not be online for about ten days.
I will be taking my laptop along, so who knows, maybe I’ll be able to spare a minute or two online. ;)
There’s an interesting article on TelePolis summarizing a DVD about a conference:
I enjoyed it very much. I’m not sure I want to watch about 6h of video and read all the material for 100€, however. Maybe I ought to.
I’m trying to copy another DVD for Claudia, and again I’m running into problems because I’m getting input/output errors while reading the files. I remembered a similar incident and tried to run apropos(1) with some query terms, trying to find the tool that I had used at the time to recover files from defect media. No luck. When I started to search my blog, however, I quickly found what I was looking for on 2005-06-19 Software. How cool is that? recoverdm is what I was looking for.
Update: Turns out that it didn’t help. mkisofs refused to make a DVD image based on the files. And when trying k3b to copy DVDs, it aborted at the very end when trying to read the original disk. I showed Claudia how to view the .vob files using the software players we have.
But there’s more: I absolutely hate it when I am about to leave the house and decide to load some new MP3 on my player, switch on the SlackWare box, try to mount my player, and keep getting error messages about the player being not being a valid block device, the super-block being corrupt, and I don’t know what else.
What’s going on? This used to work! At least I think it used to work…
Has Apple borked the filesystem of my MP3 player? Is my cable broken?
I hate this.
Don't visit the United States if you can avoid it.
TelePolis schreibt über die Rechte von Ausländern in den USA bei Zwischenlandungen auf US Flughäfen.  Es gibt nämlich kaum welche. Das hat mich schon lange beschäftigt und dieser Artikel bestätigt meine Ängste. Wieder einmal geht es um den Kanadier syrischer Herkunft, der in den USA entführt, nach Syrien gebracht, und dort 10 Monate festgehalten wurde.  Dieser Kanadier führt nun einen Zivilprozess gegen die US-Regierung.
Und da tönt es dann wie folgt:
Kein “gross physical abuse” wird die Staatsanwälting bei CBC zitiert  – mehr Rechte aber auch nicht!
Und warum nicht? Ich habe schon mehrfach versucht, Leuten zu erklären, dass Flughäfen “extra territoriale” Gebiete sind, dh. eigentlich gilt dort nur das Hausrecht des Flughafens. Der CBC Artikel bestätigt das:
Besonders vielsagend ist das Ende des Artikels.
Erstens soll der “Torture Victims Protection Act” nicht gelten:
Dann wird behauptet, die USA foltert nicht und liefert auch keine Gefangene an folternde Länder aus:
Hierzu muss man allerdings wissen, wie Folter definiert wird:
Wenn ich mir da kurz überlege, was da alles nicht dazu gehört, wird einem ja ganz übel. Auspeitschen? Elektroschocks? Zigaretten auf der Haut ausdrücken? Fingernägel ausreissen? Führt Finger überdehnen und brechen eigentlich zu Schmerzen, die auch im Zusammenhang mit Tod oder Organversagen entstehen können? Was ist das eigentlich für eine Definition?
Da kann man nur noch feststellen: Hier ist offensichtlich das Todquälen verboten, das Folter aber durchaus erlaubt.
I’m in Austria at the moment, and tried to connect my iBook to the Ethernet of my sister’s. She has an iBook G3, 128MB, with OSX 10.1 – that was quite interesting to see. But back to the network: It just doesn’t want to connect. DHCP doesn’t want to work, and therefore DNS does not work.
And yet, when I switch the cable back to my sister’s notebook it works again. She has DHCP, uses ethernet, no client ID, no username, no password, no proxies… WTF? I think I had the same problem back home until I got it to work the first time. But I don’t remember what I did back then. I plugged the cable modem out a few times, trying to reset it.
But no luck.
Am Kuschutnaturm aber ohne Helm und Seil also werden wir den Klettersteig nicht machen…
Auf diesen Berg rechts sind wir nicht ganz rauf… Zu steil und Nieselregen.
My sister has only OSX 10.1, and it turns out that Firefox 1.0.6 crashes when trying to open the bookmark menu. Ugh. When I edited the bookmarks.html file manually, however, deleting almost all bookmarks, it no longer crashed. Maybe live bookmarks make Firefox crash.
At the same time I’m still trying to get my own iBook with OSX 10.3.9 connected at my sister’s home. It seems that I’m not getting a DNS-Host, but everything else works. What I’ll try now is to copy the DNS-Host from my sister’s laptop and set all the info manually.
Hm… sometimes my cell phone sends corrupt images per mail! I wonder whether there’s a firmware update to be had anywhere. Perhaps the images are corrupt on the cell phone, too, but corrupt in such a way that the browser on the phone can still display them.
Why don’t the suckers have a simple USB mass storage interface??
Ich stehe vorn auf der Bielschitza und der Vater kommt nach…
I’m really enjoying Little, Big by John Crowley – I’ve been reading it during my holidays. Faeries, mysteries, the ordinary world, love, death, birth, kids – all of it very fascinating. I must confess, however, that the beginning of the book has been better than the end.
I really need to change that procmail script so that the MMS sent to the correct address from my mobile phone. Right now it creates a text page for the text part of an MMS; it should, however, append the text as a comment to the picture page.
Here’s what I wrote:
I really need to find a way to better keep track of conversations using blogs. My current system sucks. I rarely go back to those odd blogs where I post comments to read replies. That’s so sad.
I reintroduced the CSS for RSS feeds – so now you’ll get a decent-looking page when looking at Self:action=rss. Check out Oddmuse:RssStyleSheet. I don’t remember why I abandoned it so long ago. Maybe because I realized that it would never have working links.
I was inspired to reintroduce this feature after finding a link to Making Your RSS Feed Look Pretty in a Browser by Ben Hammersley in StefanBucher’s del.icio.us feed (which he merges with his regular blog feed).
I like her.
Hehe, curious! When I visited the MSN Games site, it said:
Thanks for the warning.
Then I visited Yahoo Games, looked at Arcade games, picked Zuma, and got this warning:
I’m starting to see a common trend, here…
When I tried Cubis:
When I tried Diner Dash, it just hung there…
Update: I finished the Runescape tutorial!
TelePolis writes about the constitution in Iraq and interprets it as Shia and Kurds getting a hold on the oil fields, leaving Sunnis in the middle bereft of the resources they have enjoyed up to now. And it seems that the US is supporting this. 
It just doesn’t match at all what Riverbend and Faiza have been saying in the past: That ethnic and religious rivalries were never strong in Iraq. Was it wishful thinking? Or has the war and the occupation prepared the grounds for these simplistic solutions? Or is oil and money corrupting people?
I’m not opposed to federalism – after all Switzerland shows that it can be done – but just as clearly the so-called “Finanzausgleich” (perequation/financial compesation) behind the scenes is a delicate subject in internal politics. If some of the cantons had oil and others had not, I’m sure this would make it even more difficult. As it is, some cantons have the banks (eg. Zürich), some cantons have the pharmaceutical industry (eg. Basel Stadt), some have international politics (eg. Geneva), some have agriculture (eg. Aargau), and most of the others are in trouble.
So before being able to say anything about federalism, the exact politics and financial tools have to be discussed as well.
As for the use of religion, my position is clear: I’m an adherent of a secular state.
The Register writes about Google filing a patent for ads embeded in syndicated content (RSS files).  Do we get to choose between two evils: More spam or more patents?
Hm, travel agent just called and said Air India changed their time tables, so we got rerouted: Instead of flying Zürich → London → Bombay → Bangalore we’ll be flying Zürich → Paris → Bombay → Bangalore. I think we’re still arriving at the same time, eventhough our arrival times in Bangalore remains unchanged, I think: We’ll be arriving in Hindustan Airport, Bangalore, on Nov. 10, 5:00, and we’ll be leaving from Indira Ghandi International Airport, Delhi, on Nov. 30, 6:45.
As for the details arround our visit to Himachal for the marriage, I’ve been talking to Sriharsha, Noufal, and Alok.
It seems that Noufal might not be around because of some project taking him into foreign lands; since we do not dare brave the Indian wilderness alone, I’ve talked to Sriharsha about his plans. We have tentatively agreed on the following plan:
I’ll have to start planning the stuff we want to see in Bangalore before this long weekend. I’ve mentioned a visit to Mysore. If people from Bangalore want to come along, doing a weekend trip might be better. That leaves two options: The weekend 2005-11-12/13 or 2005-11-19/20. I think leaving on 2005-11-12 for a longer trip might be a bit sudden since we only just arrived on 2005-11-10. So maybe start with a smaller trip on that first weekend… So Mysore on the second weekend unless somebody wants to come along and can only do so on the second weekend. Maybe Claudia and I would stay some days longer, eg. 2005-11-19 to 2005-11-22/23. Then return for one or two nights in Bangalore before leaving Himachal. Maybe two is better than one. ;)
And let us not forget shopping! I’m sure Claudia is looking forward to that Saree… :D
I’ve also started clicking on those Google ads for hotel rates… Scary! Some prices between USD 60 and 70 per night, the rest up around USD 200 per night… 😟
StefanKrempl cites the Washington Post:
All this talk of retreating from Iraq has fueled my fear that Iraq will get the worst of both worlds: 100k or more dead, the country left in ruins, and another dictator to guarantee “stability”.
Hm, maybe I should start coding applications on clients again… Using PyObjC for Developing Cocoa Applications with Python. But then again, web apps seem so much more interesting.
IraqTheModel has some interesting thoughts on why the three sides in Iraq are failing to reach a conclusion in their discussion about the new constitution: The Sunnis have nothing to loose, and in a next election, they will be stronger and the other two will be weaker… 
Spanien hat mich ja nie so gross interessiert. Vor einiger Zeit fand ich krass, das die Folter in Spanien eine erwiesene Sache ist (TortureInSpain), aber das wars dann auch. Nun schreibt aber TelePolis schon wieder über die sogenannte “Aufklärung” über die Anschläge von Madrid:
Wird ja immer besser.
I should start thinking about extreme usability myself and put it up somethwere. Maybe I should put it up on the site they used for the sprint: flossusability.org. I’ll have to read some more pages on that wiki. I think I’m hooked.
(I would have liked to call it “stuff that works” but then again I don’t think I have enough actual experience to prove it.)
Stuff I read on the ExtremeUsability page:
Heise reports that the big labels want to get more money from online music sales. Apple is selling songs for about USD 1, which I think is already far too expensive. Buying an entire CD worth of music costs you more than the real CD, and you get no CD, no booklet, no jewel case, and damned DRM on top. And the labels are already getting USD 0.70 per song! Their greediness is apalling. Now they want Apple to ask up to USD 1.5 for popular songs. And when iTunes Japan opened, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group were no longer part of the deal… 
Mehr hierzu auch bei TelePolis:
ChrisAnderson also writes about it, and thinks that variable pricing is good:
Chris Gilbey responds in a comment, saying what I feel to be right:
So basically: They’re not getting it. Instead of embracing the Internet way of selling music, they will not abandon their old ways and thus will have to finance their entire marketing, manufacturing and distributing departments all the way.
And Barry Ritholtz chimes in and asks the right question:
Barry also links to some of his own blog posts on the subject, so I’ll have to go and have a look.
(More power to them for getting it right and living in a country that has resisted WIPO pressure until now!)
Gerade heute hatte ich mir überlegt, ein Hörbuch/Podcast zu machen in dem ich Thukydides vorlese – aber natürlich sind alle deutschen Übersetzungen urheberrechtlich geschützt. Und auf Projekt Gutenberg (deutsch) findet man auch keine Kopie mehr, deren Urheberrecht abgelaufen ist…
Was ich auch klasse finde:
Steht auf der Projekt Gutenberg Seite! Vielleicht sollte ich denen einfach meine Bücher schenken…
(Gutenberg Project, English)
Tags: [[tag:Copyright]] [[tag:Audiobooks]]
Die GEMA – Musik Verwertungsgesellschaft in Deutschland, zeigt sich von der sturen Seite – genau der Seite, welche einem das ganze Internet verleiden möchte, der Seite, der es vor allem ums Geld, um Rechte, ums Recht haben, um Anwälte, macht, und in keinem Fall um die Musiker, die Hörer, die Jugend, die Kreativität, die Kunst, oder sonst etwas geht…
ImageWell seems to be the ideal solution for some simple photo manipulations – the alternative to starting up the Gimp.
Gratis, but not free.
Anyway, ImageWell allows you to save to a WebDAV server. So I fiddled with my WebDAV extension. And it works! Notes on Oddmuse and WebDAV.
I just got a mail from one of my Oddmuse users regarding CSS naming conventions. What he is trying to do is getting blog and wiki developers to agree on “a standard way of laying out divs” so that “a theme designed for one could be easily applied to a website created from a different program”. 
I’ve been playing God Of War on my PS2. I don’t know. It got rave reviews. But: I haven’t been intrigued by the game. At all. Run. Slash. Nice enough graphics, nice enough animations, but so much gore, so much dark gray depressive scenery… What the hell happened to games like Jet Set Radio?
Fable and Jade Empire didn’t need this kind of stark background to succeed. I feel like I’m playing the games of a fourteen year old’s dreams… 😟
Interesting developments in Iraq reported by IraqTheModel:
I’ve argued before that I like federalism as practiced here in Switzerland, but acknowledged the fact that federalism doesn’t end all arguments (2005-08-24 Iraq). Financial compensation turns into a constant tug of war in the political arean, so now you have to make sure that the political arena is bound by the constitution and maybe a counstitutional court.
Note that Germany has a constitutional court, for example, but Switzerland has not! This can be problematic because in Switzerland people can only change the constitution using an initiative – they cannot propose new laws. And since normal courts rule according to the laws, it is quite possible to have the constitution say one thing and the courts ruling another way.
What I find encouraging in Sistani’s comment was the rejection of factionalism. One of the darkest futures ahead would be federalism spinning out of control and some form of ethnic/religious cleansing starting to happen à Yugoslawia or India/Pakistan. Just because we had so many wars in Europe followed by ethnic cleansing doesn’t mean that we cannot learn from these mistakes. I really hope that Iraq will be able to avoid this.
I used to be torn with respect to image editing on my iBook with OSX. iPhoto takes a long time to start but it an interesting picture management approach. I’m not yet sure I like it, but it certainly intrigues me: User interface, startup times, etc.
For real work, I am using The Gimp. Unfortunately, it requires X11, which is slow to start. And the Gimp itself is slow to start as well. And my iBook has only 256MB of RAM that other applications need. So I need an alternative for the simple stuff.
I talked about ImageWell before (2005-08-29 Software). While gratis, it is not free. And today I found Seashore on my desktop. I must have downloaded it together with ImageWell and it took me a while to take a look at it.
Less power but similar to The Gimp – I’m looking forward to it.
I spent the day coding a little script that can be used on the InterMap to link to Emacs Manual and Emacs Lisp Reference index entries. The script needs to be initialized and will parse a few URLs, building a database. The list of URLs is fixed, and some of these HTML files need an aweful lot of munging before they can even be parsed as HTML. Once inside XML::LibXML, however, working with the data is cool. XPath is absolutely lovely when working with XML.
I installed it on EmacsWiki right away.