Just a test

This is a test.

A great test.

A test of valour!


24fps as authentic.

We're also stuck with blurry, juddery, slow-panning 24fps movies forever because (thanks to 60fps home video) people associate high framerates with camcorders and cheap sitcoms, and thus think good framerates look 'fake'.
xkcd: HDTV

Aha! I cannot recall which, but I've recently seen a film in 60fps which had that effect. Hehe. I will try to do better.


Fun research

More on the GM Electric Networked Vehicle.

Blogger: so mature after a decade

I'm not sure that it's really more mature, but it is more annoying. My last few posts were large, single paragraphs. Why? I don't know: there are newlines in the compose view in Blogger. If I check the HTML, though, they don't translate into line breaks or new paragraphs. Awesome.

Enhanced History: not as bad as Trac

So, the other day I determined that the Enhanced History plugin for Pidgin was responsible for my girlfriend's instant messenger freezing when new conversations were initiated as it spent multiple seconds reading a large archive of log files.

I went to Pidgin Plugins' website today to report it, and had to recover my password via e-mail. I now have over 200 new passwords in my inbox with verification URLs. Each time I click one, I get another 30 or so new passwords. Sigh.


I have finally converted my template for this blog from a bunch of HTML and CSS and Javascript (which was fine) but peppered with old Blogger variables to one that can interact with Blogger's new template system. It's not a complete conversion, as most of the Blogger style variables were just commented out in favour of my own, consistent style.

I am optimistic that Google will one day provide one of the best platforms for publishing online. I like Blogger, but the rest is a bit lacking still :)

Green and Clean

Yay! I needed a cleaner for a soap-scummy bath tub and shower, so I opted to go with Clorox Green Works bathroom cleaner. In part because I wanted something that didn't generate hazardous fumes (since I distrust the ventilation in this bathroom), but also because I wanted something that would biodegrade easily. Anyway, I will say that a harsher substance might have helped remove the soap scum more easily or with less cleaner, but that purported environmental benefit and the minimal threat to my own health, as well as the fact that it was effective in achieving the total removal of the soap scum, delights me and leads me to recommend it to you, who are most likely a search engine bot, rather than one of my 3 readers.

Also, Drano has an enzymatic build-up remover now called Drano Prevention. It's supposed to not be sufficient to eat through a full clog. Our drain was draining incredibly slowly and was approaching clog status, though, and it was able to handle that. The water flows freely once more. So yes, another "green" product to recommend.

Also, baking soda does wonders on making sinks shiny again. Just saying.

Let us party

Victory at last. (See the fourth slide at IEEE Spectrum)

Yes, self-navigating vehicles have long been a dream of mine, as any sort of vehicle was for some a century ago.  I wonder how well this Electric Networked Vehicle operates with non-networked vehicles driven by humans, or with deer jumping ahead of you.

Thank you General Motors for the photo.


Presume to feel about technology

I think I'd like to read more about the Theory of Unix, the Theory of Linux, the Theory of Open Source, of the Web, etc.  I want to read more about the technologies I love.  They have character, personality, goals.  I want to see more of that.  It's why I love reading Planet GNOME.  It comes out in that.  But when I go to look for books on such, there is very few.  Technical manuals will sometimes discuss the spirit and history of some technology.  The Wikipedia articles do a slightly better job, but there's very little Computer Philosophy I can find.

I'd offer to write some, but that would be incredibly presumptuous of me at this point.

Pidgin freezes when opening conversations for new incoming messages

(Short version: the Enhanced History history plugin can cause all your log files to be read and result in the UI being blocked for, in our case, up to 10 seconds, when new conversations start)

This is a problem my girlfriend has had for months.  Pidgin freezes on her when a new window (or tab) opens up for a new conversation that someone is starting with her.  She has consequently used Empathy a bit more lately. 

I decided to investigate.  I'm not too great with strace, but first I did an "strace -c" to find which functions it spent most of its time in when it was frozen.  In this case, it was "read".  Doing IO, eh?  I then did a plain "strace" during a freeze, and saw flying by dozens of reads to the chat's log files.  Why doesn't my freeze then?  I figured it might be some random problem with how the files got layed out on disk.  Before testing that, though, I asked to hear what plugins she was using.

Comparing our plugins, we quickly identified Enhanced History as the likely culprit.  Indeed, disabling that plugin resulted in the freezing ceasing.  Hurrah


Google Wave not working for over a week

I'm not sure what's wrong, but it just keeps telling me that there are Unsynced Waves. I can add a bunch of new content to a wave, but if I refresh, it disappears. Stupid Google Wave.

Neat, avatars across Google

I updated my chat avatar in Pidgin, which updates all my accounts' avatars, and which has for once succeeded in updating most of my Google avatars. I used to find that those avatars wouldn't all update together. I haven't found one that failed to update to my new avatar. Neat!

Interlocutor is working!  Well, its prototype is anyway.  I created a quick command-line Instant Messaging client using the Smack XMPP library and am using google-api-translate-java to translate incoming messages from A to B and outgoing from B to A.  Right now, I'm holding a conversation with myself, with one window entirely in English and the other entirely in German.

My goal is to write a plugin for Pidgin to do the translation for me there.  The translation library I'm using, though, is in Java, and I'd rather use a C library.

One defect so far is that I have to set both their language and the local language.  Ideally, their language could be autodetected.  I know Google Translate allows that through their web interface, but I'm not sure that anything else really does.

I think I might be able to use seed or gjs from Pidgin to connect to their Translate API via JavaScript.  Ah well.  It's fun for now.



I've been speculating over what sort of interface I would like to my computer, particularly for writing, and I think I have it.  A very thin and minimal personal log, which creates entries with titles.  The idea is that this common writing interface will give me options to send my bits and pieces to different places.  I can choose to send one to Facebook as a note, as a wall post, to identi.ca as a quick note or status update, to one of my blogs as an update, to an e-mail address, to a file, to a PDF, etc.

I think I dislike having all these different forms and textareas and text editors to work on.  I think the variety is distracting and creates mental resistance.  It probably wouldn't be so bad if I could still be using the same interfaces I was using 5 or even 3 years ago, but software and websites keep changing.

A lot of my web activities, though, are in response to other people's writing.  So, should my ideal interface pull in threads from Facebook, from GMail, from Google Reader, and let me see them there and reply to them?  Or should I pop up my interface when I click on a textarea or form in a browser and type it in my interface which will send it to the textarea or form when I'm done? 

I've often wondered why so many websites re-implement rich text editing.  Don't most computers come with relatively simple rich-text editors?  Why can't browsers just embed that, or feature their own implementation of a rich-text editor that websites can pull up?

I'll have to think about it some more.


Spell checking with multiple languages

I do most of my writing in English but I am learning German. Consequently, I try to keep my computer's user interface in German. GNOME applications often have spell-checking built in, though, and since my user's locale is set to German, so is the spell-checking.

I have long intended to write a patch for the spell checking library, enchant, to be able to automatically detect which language you're typing in based on n-grams. However, ever busy and lazy, I have instead decided to copy my English word list to be my German custom words dictionary.

So, on Fedora 12, I installed the package "words" and then copied the file at /usr/share/dict/words to $HOME/.config/enchant/de_DE.dic. Tada. It now thinks that 479829 English words are custom German dictionary entries.


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