Page Collection for ^2005-10

2005-10-01 Comics

I am reading volume 2 of Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa. Claudia finished all four volumes a while ago and is now reading Hiroshima by John Hersey. Since she read the comics, it is now my turn.

What can I say?

I find it hard to understand that the men and women that make up the governments of nuclear powers do not cry themselves to death in shame for not giving their best to get rid of nuclear weapons.


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2005-10-01 Oddmuse

Gah, the patch I’m working on is growing larger and larger!

At first, I just wanted to remove the default CSS and use the lines gained (remember the 4000 lines limit I set myself) for a simple interface to set up the style sheet for a new wiki. Basically none of the wikis I saw “out in the wild” used the default style sheet, and lots of people complained that the default style sheet looked crappy.

If I want to save the style sheet on a page, however, I will have to know which pages exist at the very beginning of every single script invokation. This makes a whole lot of optimization unnecessary that the old UseModWiki code already included: No file was read unless absolutely necessary – and that included the cache of all pages. So by default, Oddmuse did not know what pages it “had”. This kind of initialization on demand was used for NearLink”“s, InterLink”“s, PermanentAnchors, and RSS URL to interwiki moniker translation. I decided that all of it could be dumped. If somebody felt like saving some CPU cycles, let them set the variables that indicated successful initialization.

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2005-10-01 Skype

February 24, 2005, I bought !SkypeOut calling worth €10.00. I used a tiny amount of it once for a phone call that failed due to bad quality. Today I wanted to use it again. It was gone.

What the fuck?

My Skype Credit Balance 0.00 remaining Skype Credit. You have days (until ) to use this balance.

Oh, so the money just disappears if I don’t use it? Looks like robbery to me!

When I click on the “Buy Skype Credit” button, this is what I see:

“Apologies, but due to security measures, we can not process your request at this time. As a new !SkypeOut user, you are restricted to one purchase at a time. The option to purchase more credit will reappear well before your existing credit runs out. Thank you for using Skype.” [1]


Luxembourg, November 26, 2004

When Skype first launched our !SkypeOut service, we didn’t realise exactly how long 10 Euro would last. At our launch, we announced a policy that unused credits would expire after 180 days (6 months). Well, we’re soon reaching 180 days from our beta launch, and can see that many of you still haven’t used all of your original credit.

As a result, we are pleased to tell you that Skype has revised our policy. We won’t be clearing any balances until 6 months after you have made your last !SkypeOut call. So, if you make just one paid call every 6 months, we’ll not touch your account of unused credit.

However, if you don’t use !SkypeOut (that is, don’t make any additional purchases nor place any !SkypeOut calls in 6 months), we’ll zero your Skype balance, simply to ensure that we aren’t using expensive systems to maintain accounts for people who don’t need it. Your Skype Name will be unaffected and you will be able to still use free Skype-to-Skype calling, file transfer, and all of the other free services you’ve come to enjoy.

We believe this policy is both market leading and the right way to keep our costs down, so we can pass savings on to you. [2]

I can’t believe this…

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2005-10-02 Wikis

I’m giving Egg Plant Farms a try for hosting CommunityWiki. At the moment I’m testing the new setup…

This will finally use the domain name I have had for so long:

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Comments on 2005-10-02 Wikis

Alex, I recommend them with all my heart and soul. EP Farms are far and away the best hosts I’ve ever had, including ones costing 100 times more. No joke.

All of my sites are hosted at EP Farms. While their Admin insterface is…….um………..rough and ready, anyone with a decent knowledge of Linux and the command line should have no problems at all. It’s a fair guess that you fall into that category :)

Very occassionally, the servers do lock or fall over, but it is a rare occurrence (thankfully), and they do get things back up and running pretty quickly.

There are too many reasons to list why they’re great so I won’t clutter your blog up any more. All I can say is - good choice!

GreyWulf 2005-10-02 10:32 UTC

Thanks for the feedback! :) At the moment they seem ideal for what I have in mind: Another one of Claudia’s friends has expressed interested in “learning Internet and Web” – I think that some of them might want to create their own websites, but without the necessary knowledge, they feel overwhelmed. These seem to be the kind of people I want to target. ;)

The CommunityWiki move is also done and seems to work, so I can relax now.

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-02

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2005-10-03 Web

I like Writeboard’s scope (sharing single pages of text on the web, no markup, diff, private or public) and design (small, elegant).

Like very very simple one-page wikis, private or public at your discretion. But I like their FAQ:

; Is this some sort of wiki?: No way. Not at all. Nope. Wikis are icky. Writeboard is about writing and editing solo or with others. It’s all about the words. Wikis are about way more than that which is why they are generally pretty confusing to most folks. [1]

Aaaargh! The verdict has been spoken.

They do use formatting rules. :)

It is interesting to note that both services provide text-editing for free. I really think this kind of thing should push MS Word over the edge. I use MS Word at work practically every day for specifications. The entire concept of Word documents sucks. (Note that MS Word in itself has gotten a lot better than it used to be ten years ago.) The concept sucks because it is unwieldy, complex, bizarre, byzantine, opaque, and confusing. The sad thing is that I often feel that most other people I know who don’t know anything but Word are much worse Word users than I am. And I don’t even like it!

Anyway. Compare Writeboard pricing with Writely:

; Writely plans: Our plan is to have the basic service be free, but extras will require a reasonable subscription fee. As we add those extra features to the site, we will include some kind of indication that they will be subscription-only in the future. We will also be charging license fees to corporations, partners, and for custom installations. [2]

; Writeboard: Writeboard is completely free. You can create as many writeboards as you’d like and invite as many people to collaborate on the writeboards. There are no limits. [3]

; Word 2003: New User Price – $229 US [4]

I like how Writeboard doesn’t promise any new features.

I would like this to be FreeSoftware, and would totally hope that they would succeed by selling services alone.

Just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding. I don’t like it because it is somehow part of the “Web 2.0”. I don’t like it because it somehow uses AJAX (does it?). I like simple design. SimpleSoftwareDesign, actually…

I gave it a try. Check it out. The password is “alex”.

They offer a RSS feed:

I see that the feed is currently invalid: pubDate must be an RFC-822 date [5]

On the other hand the UTF-8 decoding bug is probably mine. Damn. :/

Update: Not true! reports: Your feed appears to be encoded as “ISO-8859-1”, but your server is reporting “UTF-8” [6]

Update: SynchroEdit is (going to be) both a service and free software!

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Comments on 2005-10-03 Web

The Secret Sauce of Writely on O’Reilly Radar says “If there’s a secret sauce to Writely, it’s this merciless focus on the user.”

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-06 07:37 UTC

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2005-10-04 Music

On my player, I had the following:

  • Bands Under The Radar Podcast #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5, to be kept for another round
  • Eminem, 8 Mile, to be deleted
  • Everlast, to be deleted
  • a single Manu Chao song, Machine Gun, to be deleted
  • Massive Attack, Mezzanine, to be deleted
  • Two Arabic CDs
  • Coldplay, to be deleted
  • Moby, Play, to be kept for another round
  • Sigur Ros, (), to kept for another round
  • Powderfinger, Odyssey Nr 5, one more round
  • Morcheeba, Big Calm, one more round
  • Added a single song by George Wassouf, Ana Msafer
  • Added Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Yanqui U.X.O.
  • Added Goldfrapp, Felt Mountain (not the new album!)
  • Filled the rest of the space with a random selection of tracks I ripped from BigUp Radio


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2005-10-04 Patents

Nice article in the Herald Tribune with lots of annecdotal evidence for the ever increasing cost of our current patent regime. The chairman of the International Optical Disc Replicators Association says:

“There already are hundreds of patents on this generation of DVDs. What will happen when the companies launch the next generation of discs and start claiming thousands of patents?” [1]

via Tim's Radar

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2005-10-04 Software Comic

Learn Lisp using an online Lisp interpreter and an online Comic. [1] Awesome!

via Lemonodor's post on porting the game to Ruby… ;)


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2005-10-05 Oddmuse

Got Apache 2.0.54 running on my iBook with mod_perl 2.0.1 and Perl 5.8.1. At last! Oddmuse revision 1.607 will work in that setup and I documented it on Oddmuse:Using mod_perl.

The code I checked in today was rather large. I am determined to get mod_perl right, finally. And I added a feature whereby users can download CSS files from a server and install them locally. Since I cannot determine (and write) to a document directory on the web server, I store it on a page and link to it from the HTML generated. This will of course invoke the script twice for every request, even if the second call just returns a 304 Not Modified. I used to inline such pages because I felt that saving on number of processes and CPU usage was more important in a shared hosting evironment. These days I no longer agree – specially in a mod_perl environment, this is no longer important. Bandwidth turns out to be the limiting factor (and the cost of bandwidth).

Also note that a lot of tests are broken at the moment.


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2005-10-05 Wikis

My Banned Content Network no longer includes the MT Blacklist.

; Jay Allen says:: “We’re all in this together and I was glad to help. But at this point, you’re costing me a hell of a lot of money and bring my webserver to it’s knees. Hence, the master blacklist is down, gone, no more.”

See BannedContentDiscussion for more info about the copying of the banned content lists…

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2005-10-06 Poetry

The Invaders was another superb poem I got via the Minstrels mailing list. Thanks, NoufalIbrahim, for recommending it at the time. :)

The Invaders

Coming by night, furtively, one by one
They infiltrate according to the Plan,
Their orders memorized and their disguise
Impenetrable. With the rising sun
Our citizens welcome them. Nobody can
Think that such charming creatures might be spies.

So feeble, so helpless, no one could suspect
They come to make this commonwealth their prey;
So few, they pose no threat; their cohort grows
So imperceptibly that we neglect
To notice how it musters day by day
And, unalarmed, we watch as they impose

Themselves, make friends in all directions, take
Impressions of all keys. They gain access
To all our secrets; learn to speak our tongue
Like natives; profit by each false move we make;
Work on our weaknesses; observe and guess
The sources of power and study them to be strong.

And when it happens, there will be no fuss,
No streets running with blood, no barricade.
We shall simply wake one morning to discover,
As those who ruled this city before us
Found by each door a headstone and a spade,
That a new generation has taken over.

       -- A. D. Hope

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Comments on 2005-10-06 Poetry

Sure. I haven’t been reading the list since I moved to my new company. Still have to set some old things up. :)

NoufalIbrahim 2005-10-07 06:36 UTC

I should link to the ones I really liked, then! :)

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-07 21:05 UTC

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2005-10-08 Oddmuse

    689 passed, 1 failed.

Slowly things are stabilizing again! Phew. mod_perl support was moved into another file. I can’t remember the reason why mod_perl support had been part of the main script in the first place. But lazy as I am, I would not have made the move if I had not been stumped with the problem of converting the following use into a require:

    use Apache2::Const -compile => qw(OK);

I asked about it on #perl on freenode, pasting five lines of code. Got an unfriendly lecture on using the pastebots for pasting five lines! I wonder how #emacs or #wiki feel like for newbies. I like the two channels. I sure hope we’re not unfriendly to newbies. But since the newbies you’re unfriendly to leave, you can’t just ask the ones that stayed. :)


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2005-10-09 Games

Tonight we played Time Splitters 2 (yes, the older one), and enjoyed it very much. When we tried it ages ago, we must have missed some essential features of the game.

Later, we played Dead or Alive 2: Ultimate and the nail of my right thumb is now red and blue and hurts as if it had been hit by a hammer.

On a related note: I don’t play MMORPG. Maybe I should.


Comments on 2005-10-09 Games

du armer! ich weiss nicht, ob wir wieder spielen sollten - auf jedenfall ohne konsole. vielleicht wäre ja go wieder mal etwas. da hast du auch die letzten paar mal gut abgeschnitten. ;)

das kampf spiel hat jedenfalls sehr viel spass gemacht. und ich freue mich auf burn out revenge. :D

– zeno 2005-10-17 12:18 UTC

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2005-10-09 Oddmuse

So, all tests work again, the modules have been adapted, the script works with and without mod_perl, 1.611 is a release candidate! :)

I bit the bullet and installed it on my sites, too.

Update: 1.612

Update: Done!

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2005-10-11 Emacs IRC Software

Yeah, I moved back from Colloquy to an Emacs-based IRC client: rcirc. Easy to install (one file), easy to hack. ERC turned out to be somwhat unwieldy, mentally. Getting the autoloads right wasted a few minutes every time I had to reinstall it. I do that from time to time as I move to a new developer machine and install Emacs. Having a very simple setup of external packages is a bonus in such situations.

Anyway, rcirc was so hackable that I added two features I missed in no time: Giving nicks unique colors – something I got from a Colloquy theme by Les Orchard of 0xDECAFBAD! I liked it, I wanted it. rcircColoredNicks.

The other feature was /ignore. rcircIgnore.

And being able to talk to RyanYeske as he developed a new solution for rcircAutoAuthentication was also cool.

So basically, Colloquy has the features I need and a Cocoa interface, where as rcirc has the features I need and uses Emacs.

Give me Emacs any day! :)


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2005-10-11 Podcast

Hah, new episode on 12 Byzantine Rulers – at last!

Maybe I should reread the corresponding chapters in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.


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2005-10-11 Software

Stowe Boyd has some guestimation on InformationOverload via email [1] (via LifeHacker). I hope more of that starts showing up! We need numbers.

What I did for most of 2005 was trash email with a quick hand, rarely double-check spam filters, but I never emptied my trash folder. So I should be able to get some interesting numbers at least for the second half of 2005. Now that would be cool.

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2005-10-13 Software Web

Hugh Macleode writes the global microbrand rant and mentions something I’d like to achieve: Live decently at 2% of the stress level of urban life. I’m currently at 80% of the stress level during 8 months a year, at perhaps 5% for the remaining four months. And that’s already pretty good, I think. :)

So how would I do it, what am I good at? I like to work on Oddmuse, hack Oddmuse configurations, write CSS for Oddmuse, and produce websites for other people. I also know that I’m good at SQL and talking to people. What a weird collection of talents. I’m also a pretty fast reader.

I remember that I once had a page where I tried to write an intro page “Internet for Women” where I imagined myself selling wiki setups to middle aged women in their forties and fifties. I tried to think of the ones I knew, they seem to like my style, some of them have a family, some of them have a job, they don’t like to handle computers, they’re still interested in the Web, they don’t chat or email much, etc.

Using a silly title in terms of technical correctness (Internet ≠ Web) and emancipation (as if Women were per se somehow Internet challenged) allowed me to focus on the target audience while writing and rewriting. I abandoned that page and that little idea of mine, by the way. All that remained is my current “beige-red” CSS. :)


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2005-10-14 India

Got our visas today. I sure hope aadis’ hometown was not affected by the big earthquake. It looks just far away enough…


Comments on 2005-10-14 India

Yeah, you are right. His place did not have any problems.

V 2005-10-16 05:20 UTC

That's a relief.

Looking forward to see you here. I'm going home for Eid around the time you'll be arriving so I won't be there at the airport when you land. :)

NoufalIbrahim 2005-10-17 07:13 UTC

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2005-10-14 Music

On my player, I deleted Play by Moby, Felt Mountain by Goldfrapp, and Big Calm by Morcheeba. I added the two CDs from Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven by God Speed You! Black Emperor.

Thanks to LawrenceMitchell for recommending God Speed You! Black Emperor years ago on the EmacsChannel. :)

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Comments on 2005-10-14 Music

Actually the name is “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, which was previously “Godspeed You Black Emperor!”. If they felt the need to change their band name just to move the exclamation point, I guess the location is important ;P

AnonymousCoward 2005-10-14 18:47 UTC

Thanks for your attention to detail. ;)

I fixed it. And thanks for the link to Wikipedia.

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-14 19:52 UTC

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2005-10-15 Oddmuse

I spent a long time in the last two days tracking down a double unquoteing issue of named entities such as © (normally this displays as ©, but recently it got unquoted twice and displayed as ©).

This was introduced by a recent safety feature: The results of a GetParam call are now always HTML-quoted (to prevent HTML/script injection via parameters). This has an effect on saving, because there used to be a feature that HTML-quoted new text, unquoted entities, processed the page, retrieved the text again and saved it without quoting and unquoting.

Today, there’s a slight difference: When retrieving the text again, it is automatically HTML-quoted. I therefore HTML-unquote it again before saving. The problem is that HTML-quoting still unquotes entities. When saving, this text is unquoted again. So entities are unquoted twice due to a “feature” that no longer serves its purpose.

I think 1.615 should have it fixed. I got distracted because some tests failed, but I think that the tests were wrong. Entities are no longer spared quoting. Instead, there’s a defaul text formatting rule now which does the unquoting for named or numbered entities.

Today I spent a long time tracking down the reason why file uploads no longer seemed to work.

This was a due to a wrong encoding type for forms. For file uploads to work, we need “multipart/form-data” instead of “application/x-www-form-urlencoded”. I removed the manual override from Oddmuse in a recent checkin. The reason was that the manual override triggered a bug in newer versions of The attribute would be listed twice per form element, resulting in invalid XML. Removing the override relies on defaults, however, which again seem to depend on the exact version of in use.

I’m using start_multipart_form instead of start_form, now. I’m sure this is not supported in all versions of, but at least the versions I am confronted with at the moment seem to know it.


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2005-10-15 Software

I upgraded my desktop from Slackware 10.1 to 10.2. Everything seemed to work – just follow the instructions in the UPGRADE.txt file. But now I discovered that USB is not handled correctly. No more external USB drives. Huh? I’ll have to look into this.

See comments on this page for the story about conflicting kernel modules messing up my USB access.

It took me more than two months to realize that the default X11 setup was wrong, too. See 2005-12-27 Software.


Comments on 2005-10-15 Software

I’m in the middle of upgrading from (a very modified) Slackware 10.1 to 10.2 right now. Looks like we both have great taste in operating systems, Alex :)

GreyWulf 2005-10-16 10:53 UTC

Heh. :) Here’s what I found:

root@confusibombus:# lsmod Module Size Used by Tainted: P ath_pci 38160 1 ath_rate_onoe 3880 0 [ath_pci] wlan 81240 1 [ath_pci ath_rate_onoe] ath_hal 133744 1 [ath_pci] root@confusibombus:# modprobe usb-storage modprobe: Can’t locate module usb-storage root@confusibombus:# uname -r 2.4.29 root@confusibombus:# ls -l /boot/v* lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 18 2005-10-15 02:47 /boot/vmlinuz → vmlinuz-ide-2.4.31 rw-r--r- 1 root root 1256566 2005-06-06 05:37 /boot/vmlinuz-ide-2.4.31 rw-r--r- 1 root root 1341464 2004-11-08 08:24 /boot/vmlinuz-ide-acpi-2.4.26 </pre>

It seems that there’s a new kernel 2.4.31 around by my lilo is still booting an old 2.4.29.

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-16 13:57 UTC

I’ve just finished upgrading and it worked a charm. Mind you, I used -r -l 2 -u slackware-10.2

instead of the “official” route. I’m now in the middle up upgrading the “non-standard” packages as well.

It looks to me like you are indeed still using kernel-2.4.29, but the upgrade will have installed the new kernel headers. They (of course) won’t work with the old kernel. Hence, no USB.

Your ls for /boot has been cut off, but I’m guessing /boot/vmlinux is symlinked to your old kernel, not the new one.

I suggest you edit /etc/lilo.conf by hand and add in the new kernel, then run


by hand. Reboot into the new kernel and all should be well. If it works, you can alway clean out the old kernel, put the symlink over and tidy up /etc/lilo.conf later. Always remember to re-run lilo though, or it’s bye bye bootloader :)

Hope that helps!

GreyWulf 2005-10-16 14:16 UTC

Sure enough, when I booted the 2.4.31 kernel, USB storage devices started working again. But wireless stopped working! The cause was easy to find: The wireless card needs this custom ath0 module, which I had to make and install. Worked flawlessly. Phew!

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-16 14:17 UTC

grin: All’s well that ends well, eh?

Is is my imagination, of is 10.2 significantly faster than 10.1? I’m even running KDE and it’s blazing along……..

GreyWulf 2005-10-16 14:18 UTC

I have no idea. I rarely use my desktop these days; I’m on a laptop with about ¼ the CPU power and about ¼ the RAM of my desktop, and a non-free operating system. ;)

The desktop has been blazing along for a long time, now.

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-16 15:17 UTC

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2005-10-17 Kochen

Weil der Abend mit zwei Gästen so schön war… :)

1 Tasse Chana-Dhaal (halbierte Kichererbsen)Die Linsen drei Stunden in Wasser einweichen.

Das Einweichwasser abgiessen, die Linsen in einen Topf geben, und mit 2 Tassen Wasser auf kleiner Stufe eine halbe Stunde kochen lassen

Erdnussöl, 1 TL Senfkörner, 1 TL Schwarzkümmel (Kalonji oder auch Zwiebelsamen genannt), 1 getrocknete Chilischote (oder etwas gemahlenen Chili)Nach etwa 15 min Linsen kochen kann man schon mit dem nächsten Schritt beginnen: Öl erhitzen, Gewürze anbraten.
1-2 Tassen Spinat (tiefgekühlt ist kein Problem)Hitze reduzieren, Spinat hinzufügen, bei Bedarf etwas Wasser beigeben, und mischen.
1 TL klein geschnittener frischer Ingwer (oder mehr!), 1 TL gemahlener Koriander, 1 TL gemahlener Kreuzkümmel, 1 TL Salz (oder etwas weniger), je nach Masochismus noch mehr ChilipulverGewürze zum Spinat geben, mischen, und ca. 10 min auf schwacher Hitze einkochen.
Saft einer halben Zitrone (oder etwas weniger)Inzwischen sollten die Linsen auch fertig sein, unter den Spinat mischen, Zitronensaft dazu, mischen, anrichten, fertig.


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2005-10-17 Oddmuse

Oddmuse:Despam Extension kept crashing on EmacsWiki. Grrr.

I did a large search-and-replace operation on Emacs Wiki the other day, and this large group of edits somehow crash the despamming extension. I worked around the problem by limiting despamming by the cronjobs to one day only, but basically the problem remains unsolved.

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2005-10-17 Oddmuse CSS

2005-10-17 Kochen shows that I need to work on the CSS: The logo somehow prevents the table from expanding to the right when printing, and there’s an extra hr at the end of the table.


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2005-10-17 Software

Internet Explorer sucks so incredibly much when using it for HTML form work (Wikis, Web Mail). If you switch back and forth in the history, your current state is lost. No matter how much time you spent writing it.


Comments on 2005-10-17 Software

<i>No matter how much time you spent writing it.</i>

It would be funny if it maintained a timer and restored state only if you spent more than *x* amount of time working on it. ;)

-- [ NoufalIbrahim] 2005-10-18 06:44 UTC


We sometimes joke about our applications showing strange behaviour when particular usernames are used...

-- [[AlexSchroeder]] 2005-10-18 14:55 UTC

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2005-10-17 Work

Joel Spolsky writes about cubicles vs. private offices. I work offices together with 4 to 6 people, usually. Joel writes:

[…] the one advantage of open space which people keep bringing up is all the accidental, serendipitous knowledge transfer that takes place when everyone overhears everyone else. I think it’s not worth the productivity loss caused by an increased number of interruptions. [1]

I think he’s right. I hate interruptions.

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2005-10-18 Web

Is JakobNielsen right when he recommends Using Link Titles to Help Users Predict Where They Are Going? I’m not sure. I think it would be even better to provide enough context so that relying on link titles is not needed at all.

I just use it for NearLinks; there, I indicate to which site the link will take you.

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2005-10-21 Grenzen

SuShee zitiert die deutsche Ausgabe des MondeDiplomatique zum Thema Reisepässe. [1] Ich fand im gleichen Artikel auch eine spannende Passage:

Genau darauf zielten bereits die Passgesetze des 17., 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts ab. Sie dienten nicht der lückenlosen Überwachung und Erfassung, sondern dazu, den oder die Reisenden dem Zwang zur Kontrolle zu unterwerfen. Aus der Sicht der kontrollierenden Obrigkeit ist der perfekte Ausweis deshalb derjenige, der ein kleines Fehlverhalten seines Besitzers oder seiner Besitzerin dokumentiert. Ein fehlender Stempel, eine ungültige Gebührenmarke, eine versäumte Frist zur Verlängerung der Gültigkeitsdauer - eine kleine, aber signifikante Verletzung der Regeln. Der Beamte kann entweder großzügig über sie hinwegsehen oder sie ernst nehmen und sanktionieren. Identifikation als Kontrolle heißt, den Kontrollierten in einen Zustand zu bringen, in dem er bereits einen Fehler gemacht hat und ihn daraufhin dauernd verdecken, verbergen und sich dafür entschuldigen muss. [2]

Die bittere Wahrheit des Papierkrieges! Egal ob Steuern, Niederlassungsbewilligung, Einwohnerkontrolle, Visas – die Logik des Staates unterscheidet sich von der Logik der Datenschnüffler im Dienst von Kommerz und Versicherungen. Dort wird gesammelt und zusammengestellt (Zielgruppen) oder ausgeschlossen (Risiken). Beim Staat funktioniert es anders: Es werden tausend Regeln aufgestellt, damit die danach folgende Beamtenwillkür abgesegnet ist. Zum Glück bin ich bis jetzt noch nie so richtig unter die Räder gekommen.

Meinem Vater ist das aber schon passiert: Nach zwei Jahren Auslandaufenthalt in Thailand meldeten sich zwei Behörden. Die Steuerbehörde behauptete, dass der Mittelpunk des Lebens trotz Abwesenheit die Eigentumswohnung in der Schweiz sei; die Fremdenpolizei behauptete, dass die zweijährige Abwesenheit die zugestandene Frist für seine Niederlassungsbewilligung überschreite, und ihm diese deswegen aberkannt werde.

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Comments on 2005-10-21 Grenzen

Dass du dich an dieses Detail so gut erinnerst das ueberrascht mich. Ich kann nur noch ergaenzen: die Steuerbehoerde hat gesagt, ich bin ins Ausland gegangen mit der “Absicht, des dauernden Verbleibens in der Schweiz” (also ich komme wieder zurueck in die Schweiz zu meinem staendigen Wonsitz, eine Eigentumswohnung) und deshalb muss ich in der Schweiz Steuern zahlen. Das war auch so und das habe ich verstanden. Was ich nicht verstanden habe, dass die Fremdenpolizei gesagt hat, ich bin ins Ausland abgereist und habe damit meine Aufenthaltsgenehmigung verloren. Und so war es auch, da half kein Reklamieren. Man erklaerte mir, das sind 2 Behoerden, die haben nichts miteinander zu tun. Man zahlt Steuer, weil man ja wieder zurueckkommt, trotzdem verliert man die Niederlassung (Genehmigung C)! Zum Glueck hat es die Firma wieder geschafft eine Bewilligung B fuer mich zu bekommen, sonst haette ich mit der Familie in ein anderes Land auswandern muessen. Auch wenn ich es vorgehabt haette, mit dieser Logik haette ich nie Schweizer werden koennen. Dazu musste man als Oesterreicher mindestens 10 Jahre gemeldet sein. Nach einem Auslandseinsatz fing ich wieder bei null an.

– Helmut Schroeder 2005-10-26 01:24 UTC

Bist du sicher, dass du danach ein B bekommen hast? Ich glaube, wir haben damals alle unser C behalten. Sonst hättest du mir doch nachher mit 18 nicht die Frage stellen können, ob ich Schweizer werden will.

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-26 06:28 UTC

Fuer Jugendliche war es viel leichter Schweizer zu werden. Da galten andere Bedingungen. Vielleicht hast du recht und ich habe die Genehmigung C behalten. In Thailand war es komplizierter, da habe ich die 2 Jahre um ein paar Wochen ueberzogen weil ich bei einem Folgeauftrag fuer die Firma noch mitgearbeitet habe. Dann hat sich noch die Firma in der Schweiz in Aarau fuer mich eingesetzt und so war die Wiedereinreise gesichert. Aber Steuer habe ich gezahlt.

– Helmut Schroeder 2005-10-26 23:16 UTC

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2005-10-21 Oddmuse

I fixed the Oddmuse:Local Names Extension today after noticing that it did not work on my site. I noticed that something was not right. Then I wrote two simple test cases which worked, wrote some more, and when they failed, I fixed the code to get the working again. Automated testing rules! While it is often difficult for me to do for new code, it works very well for many bugs I’m discovering later. :)

I haven’t found a way to write mod_perl tests that don’t involve an entire web server setup and assumptions about URLs etc. :(

At first I had tried to isolate the local names bug on my local mod_perl instance. This proved to be very difficult. Resetting the code was also difficult. So there were bugs in the code, old code not being updated on the server, etc. It was very tricky to work with. When it all worked in an ordinary CGI environment again, and I did some testing involving the creation of new files using the mod_perl instance, everything started working again. I think having both the CGI version and the mod_perl version use the same database is a bad idea. :)


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2005-10-22 Podcast – includes faculty lectures! Cool.


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2005-10-22 Schreiben

StefanBucher hat eine kleine Liste von Webseiten aufgestellt, welche beim Schreiben helfen. [1] Und er hat auf die Word Nerds verlinkt. :) Und ein Kapitel zur Verwendung von RSS in seinem Online Buch geschrieben. [2]

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2005-10-22 WiFi – a CD for setting up a public WiFi called !ZoneCD. Based on free software. Does not require expensive hardware. Does not even require an installation.

The CD is based on Morphix which is based on Knoppix.

The creator of the CD gets it:

The sharing of code so that the next developer can pickup and take the software in a new direction is what makes open source work. [1]

I like this part. But it got me thinking. What’s so hard about setting up a public WiFi? Is it hard to set up? Certainly the !ZoneCD doesn’t require much:

The piece of hardware used for the !ZoneCD can be any PC with a minumum of 128MB RAM, two etherent cards, a floppy drive, and a CD-ROM (see system requirements). [2]

It seems to be easy to setup in “open mode”, ie. no logins, no filtering, etc. I’m not sure what “closed mode” requires – fancy setup, or access to their “control server”. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding. I’m in favor of Open WLAN, so all I think we need are more people offering access points.

That should be easy to setup using a self-sufficient access point. I’m very happy with my Apple Airport Express for up to five people. And they have a bigger one, the Apple Airport Extreme for up to fifty people.

So what would !ZoneCD give you beyond that? Control! I think that’s the point:

  • Protected: ALLOWS traffic on 80, 443, and 110. Content filter enabled.
  • Liberated: BLOCKS traffic on 21 25 445 1214 3689 6667 6699. Content filter disabled.
  • Trusted: Firewall disabled. Content filter disabled.
  • Super: Given network priority, pre-empt’s traffic from other classes. Firewall disabled. Content filter disabled.

I prefer Trusted! :)

Via JanneJalkanen.

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Comments on 2005-10-22 WiFi is another nice free software package to make a wireless (or non-wireless) hotspot.

adulau 2005-10-23 17:03 UTC

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2005-10-23 Music

  • Removed Bands Under The Radar shows #1 - #5
  • Removed the two Arab MTV CDs
  • Wanted to add lectures from – but then I noticed that they were M4A files which my player cannot play! So I have to convert the suckers to MP3. :(
TitleTimeSpeakerLectureRatingSquandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq1:34:16Larry Diamond, ‘74, MC ‘78, !PhD ‘80Regional Speaker Event (Denver)★★★★ Perception, Decisions, and Reward: Toward a Neurobiology of Decision Making2:00:35William T. NewsomeBio-X: Talks in EnglishPopular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review1:15:13Larry KramerRegional Speaker Event (Monterey)The United States and the World58:28Philip ZelikowFreeman Spogli Institute for International StudiesU.S. Foreign Policy: The Road Ahead53:29Samuel R. BergerFreeman Spogli Institute for International StudiesLooking Ahead: A New Nuclear Arms Race1:24:38Scott Sagan, Christopher Chyba, Hans BlixFreeman Spogli Institute for International Studies★★★★ Gurus, Hired Guns, & Warm Bodies1:29:27Steve BarleyManagement Science & EngineeringPresidential Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy1:53:50Coit Blacker, Larry Diamond, Judith Goldstein, William Perry, George ShultzReunion Homecoming 2004★★★

Copying the MP3 files from iTunes proved to be impossible. iTunes insisted on copying the M4A files instead. This program truly is teh suks!

That’s how innocent geeks like me end up writing command lines like the following:

for f in /Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Music/*/*/*.m4a; do f=`dirname $f`/`basename $f .m4a`.mp3; echo $f; cp $f .; done

This assumes that you converted all your M4A files to MP3 and want to copy them all to the current directory. This works for me because the Standford files are the only M4A files I have.

OSX also sucks when used for removable drives such as MP3 players, because deleting files will just move them to a hidden directory on the same device, so you’re forced to empty the trash if you do that. And emptying the trash will empty the trash for all devices. Teh suxs – I’m telling ya’!

I found out how to delete the M4A files: After converting the files, they are still listed in your Stanford music store folder, but in your library, each title is listed twice. With no indication of which file is the MP3 file and which file is the M4A file, I took some random samples and decided that the second file is the one I want to delete. Manually mark these, and delete them, moving the files to the trash, then double-check there (sort by date and try to find your files in the messy list).

The longer I work with the system, the more I am convinced that this is not what I consider to be usable software. All tasks except sorting, playing, streaming, and downloading tricky and convoluted, involving a lot of manual clicking, double-checking and experimenting. Yuck!

I noticed that the MP3 files I listened to seem to end about a dozen minutes early. I’ll have to listen to the discussions at the end on iTunes and check that the M4A files are complete.


I generally believe in writing text instead of simple scoring. Therefore:

  • Larry Diamond – well said, but nothing revolutionary. Cut of towards the end of the discussion.
  • Hans Blix – some interesting questions touched upon, some analysis of US foreign policies that I was not aware of, Hans Blix talks for about 40min, the other two for only 10min each according to the introduction, but the MP3 file ended after about 40 minutes, so I only heard Hans Blix talk.
  • George Shultz – nothing new: Get rid of dependence on oil, shallow criticism of the UN at the end, I don’t agree with his national deficit explanation at the end, his assessment of the Israel/Palestine conflict; William Perry – nothing new: More international cooperation; Judith Goldstein – interesting perspective on the unchanging nature of international economy; Larry Diamond – not very interesting with his “what if” beginning, his plans for changing USAID to a nation-building is interesting but I think that mixing humanitarian aid and nation-building will result in bad humanitarian aid, and his call for more democracy and human rights in the Near East is good, but somehow his speech only started to pick up in the second half, it seemed overly simplified in the beginning; the very long introduction with a list of Stanford accomplishments was not too interesting. Maybe this makes this track the very interesting, because it is not perfectly easy to just agree with all panelists.

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Comments on 2005-10-23 Music

Where can I get the one by “William T. Newsome”?

V 2005-10-24 11:23 UTC

Unfortunately I am getting the feeling that you must use iTunes to download the lectures. Ouch!

AlexSchroeder 2005-10-25 15:46 UTC

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We had a day or two without Internet access at home. I started reading a new book! :)

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2005-10-25 Books

I am very much enjoying The Last Light of The Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay. But you know I like the guy, helped finish the Silmarillion and all that. :)


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2005-10-26 Web Oddmuse

Via StefanBucher’s delicious bookmarks:

“We’ve observed that it’s almost always the case that if a user is clicking on global navigation, it’s because they are completely lost.” [1]

I wonder how many users ever click on About, !BlogRoll, CSS, New, and Calendar. :)


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2005-10-28 Oddmuse Wikis

Today I brought OddWiki back up, upgraded modules, fiddled with the setup and now users can have a CSS file per namespace.

I also improved the maintenance script such as to mark wikis for deletion that have not been touched in 180 days.


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2005-10-30 Astrology

Somehow talk turned to Chinese Astrology and some people being proud of being a Tiger instead of a Buffalo:

Those born under the sign of the Buffalo (also known as the Ox) are usually hard-working, methodical, patient people. Though they can often be found in positions of leadership, they can sometimes be loners. People born in the year of the Buffalo can also be stubborn to the point of being rigid, and at worst they can be jealous or vindictive.
The Tiger is a noble, courageous creature, as can be the people born under this sign. They are protective and passionate as well, which compliments their sensitivity. Tigers can be hotheaded at times, even to the extent of becoming quarrelsome and acting rashly or hastily. These characteristics can lead to vain, uncompromising or unruly folk.

Now: Who is who??


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2005-10-31 Wikis Spam

Hm, time to look at Eaton and drop BannedContent support from Oddmuse?


Comments on 2005-10-31 Wikis Spam

Nice. Vote me a yes! :)

GreyWulf 2005-10-31 12:13 UTC

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