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Fri, Aug. 8th, 2008, 04:47 pm
Shadowrun 4th Edition - Unwired

http://www.shadowrun4.com/gfx/covers/cat26004.jpg</a> On its way to my house right now. I pre-ordered it the day that it was available online. I actually really love this new world of book buying where I can buy a version for my computer right now and still get a hard copy later. I figure it's also really helpful to the game companies since they can get more people to hand them funds before they have to fork it over to the publisher.

Thu, Aug. 7th, 2008, 10:56 am

I'm checking out this new service that's making the waves and the splashes. I don't know how I feel about it yet, but here's the beginning of a pro/cons list:

Pro - Supports OpenID well. Other than a small bug with the way that livejournal implicitly translates http://gnu_lorien.livejournal.com to http://gnu-lorien.livejournal.com, the only data I had to give rejaw.com was an email address to activate. No passwords, nothing. It is great.

Con - No text messaging support. This is where Twitter became a wonderful application for me. It's a microblog as often as it's an SMS multiplexer.

I'll let you know as my opinions evolve.

Thu, Jul. 24th, 2008, 05:56 pm
Minor Life Updates

I don't tend to update with many life things on this blog, but I sort of want to post some of them. I'm getting married next month on August 17th. Last weekend I had an engagement photo shoot. In general, these sorts of things bore me, but our photographer was interested in the idea of going to an abandoned building to take the pictures. I don't have them back yet, but you can check them out at Jody Burnett's photo blog.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I think of them. It seems like I may just look too intense, but, then again, we weren't exactly trying for the traditional feel anyway.

Tue, Jun. 17th, 2008, 04:20 pm
Problems with MozillaParty.com

It seems I'm a registered user with MozillaParty.com that has no way to access their account!

Seeing as how I hate coming up with a new username and password for every site that I go to, I take the OpenID option whenever possible. I followed this same process with MozillaParty.com. Unfortunately, I started the registration process with http://gnu_lorien.livejournal.com. LiveJournal seemed to understand this syntax, but then returned http://gnu-lorien.livejournal.com. Well, according to MozillaParty.com, this is an invalid URL. I cleared the website field and somehow I now have an account with no valid OpenID to log in with and no password.

I bring this problem to the web mostly because I couldn't find an email address for anybody on MozillaParty.com to try and sort this problem out. No "Contact Us" anywhere!

So, does anybody out there know who to get in touch with, or maybe even the solution to this problem?

Tue, May. 27th, 2008, 12:13 pm

I just want to take a moment to laud this LoudTwitter for two reasons:

  1. They help me maintain a link between my microblogging and my regular blogging.

  2. It is the only website I have experienced that actually implemented OpenID properly.

You heard that right folks. I was able to set everything up with just my livejournal credentials. I was worried for a moment because a page asked for an email address, but, in noted that OpenID users could skip right by!

Finally, a web site that allows me to use a centralized identity rather than just pretending too and creating another password for me to remember.

Mon, Apr. 28th, 2008, 07:06 pm
Analysis: The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment

As with most articles that put a Windows user in front of a GNU/Linux box and the GNU/Linux box isn't decided as the emphatic winner, The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment is making the rounds. Reading the responses to these articles is tedious because their are just so many, so, I'm responding separately.

By and large I find these sorts of usability experiences enlightening and useful. Rather than bog myself down in the finer points of the debate about which of Windows, OS X, and Ubuntu GNU/Linux sucks the least, I prefer to focus on the flaws discovered that are very clearly flaws. In a lot of cases, the most experienced of us have simple solutions to them. The problem with these solutions is that they are mostly invisible and it's hard to find out about them without the right expert around. I will present some of my ideas on what the things that are clearly weaknesses and the solutions I'd like to see to the problem.

Read more...Collapse )

Wed, Apr. 16th, 2008, 05:51 pm
Drama Following

I think I could make myself a big name in the open-source world if I put together an awesome visualization for the blog and mailing-list drama that all of these developers share. I know I love to follow it and read about it. Looking at kerneltrap.org and LWN the articles that follow developer arguments are the ones that I flock to.

Yesterday's post of mine transformed into a rather well-written article by Jonathan Corbet. I don't think I can write as well or put it together as well, but, a visualization would be nice. When you look at the framing of that article there's a distinct time-line wrapped amongst it that is lost. Neither the full article or the mailing list threads can seem to capture it.

Then there are other developing dramas that have no centralized place to watch them unfold. Such is the disadvantage to blogs, and the nature that drives RSS feeds.

Ryan Paul of Ars Technica fame wrote this article about GTK+ 3 development. Personally, I loved it. Thomas Wood, however, didn't agree. Ryan, being a member of the GNOME community and a blog watcher, didn't take these comments silently. Thomas, wanting to have the last word, defended himself against Ryan's attack of sorts. Seems both of them have a standing issue with the other's use of language, but, Thomas doesn't seem to like the threats of less coverage coming from Ryan over the whole matter.

These sorts of flows interest me a lot, and, I wonder how they might be transformed into something more visible and trackable. At the very least, what if I forget about this? These things are often settled quietly amongst blogs and, I think, this may actually be a core source of where so much misinformation comes from. We tend to assume that the heavy visibility of the whole matter makes the truth obvious. Ultimately though, there's a flood of information that's not easy for people to follow, even if they know exactly where to find it.

Tue, Apr. 15th, 2008, 03:59 pm
Thoughts on a kernel thread

Kerneltrap thread archive

From: David Miller <davem@...>
Subject: Re: Reporting bugs and bisection
Date: Apr 14, 1:43 am 2008

From: David Miller <davem@davemloft.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2008 23:39:59 -0700 (PDT)

> I wrote or merged in ~10 bugs in the last hour, for example.

Bug fixes!  I meant "fixes" I swear!

That's quite a Freudian slip if I ever saw one.

Overall what we're looking at is a fairly classic debate between process vs. quality vs. code contribution. Looking at the individual pieces and steps, the conversation doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Miller and others don't want to be bogged down and think they are on the wrong track. Morton just wants to keep everybody on the right track and nobody else seems to agree that there's a problem.

I like conversations like this that manage to stay civil because they keep attention on the problem. People are pulling out data, solving problems, and doing everything they can to convince Morton that there isn't a problem. This, is a good thing. It's the sort of bureaucracy that the lkml represents: No process, but lots of arguing and attention to keep things going. That passion drives it. Somewhere I imagine Morton smiling as all of these developers jump on to fix bugs and prove him wrong. Maybe he wasn't right in the first place, but, if more bugs get fixed, should he even care?

Wed, Sep. 5th, 2007, 05:50 am
Email Clients

It seems everybody and their mothers are trying to do email the exact same way, or pick a paradigm I just don't care for.

Gmail and the Conversation

Gmail started with a wonderful idea: People often think of emails with each other as a conversation. You have all of the emails under a certain subject header grouped together in one continuous view. For times when you're talking to just one or two people, in order, this is fantastic. If it becomes more complicated than that it's just plain bedlam.

I'm on a number of mailing lists which have huge amounts of traffic and people respond to emails as they see them. This means I essentially get a random mixture of responses all simply ordered as they arrived in my inbox or as they were sent from the other person's. Take into account how YahooGroups! will sometimes send emails out in random order and it's just impossible to sort.

Because of how hard it is to comprehend where you are inside of these conversations, it encourages people to top-post, as that leaves the most of the previous message in tact. This, in my opinion, is probably the worst thing that can be done. Gmail uses a few ingenious methods to cut the cost of top-posting when trying to read the emails, but an important caveat is that we're still punishing everybody in the world that doesn't use gmail with these ridiculously huge emails.

Threading Done Mostly Right

For most things I prefer threaded views. It scales much better than conversations. Also, I rarely interact in threads where only two or there people are speaking.

YahooGroups! actually has one of the better thread views that I've seen. Gmane uses a threaded view that's just as functional and more spartan. I tend to like the way that YahooGroups! summarizes posts, but I understand wanting to use the gmane style view for huge mailing lists.

The Last Vestiges of Failure

I like the threaded view, but what's the biggest problem with it? Thread views seem to be entirely dependent on what the other person sending the email is doing. If they have a broken mailing client that doesn't mark the new post properly, then your entire thread view is fragged.

A much worse example is when you just have people that don't know what they're doing and rather than sending a fresh email to a list, they hit reply not realizing that some people's clients care who their replying to. This results in either strange and entirely off-topic posts, or brand-new posts that are buried in a thread from six months ago.

What do I want?

In something like Thunderbird, we shouldn't have this problem. All of the information is stored inside of a local mbox, so why can't I just move emails around to associate them between threads? This would mean that at least I can reorganize when the list gets too long or pull out somebody that sent a re: Blah [was: Mrah] that gets lumped in with the original thread. Maybe I want them lumped in? Who knows, but sometimes the engine is wrong and needs help.

The other thing that would be nice is some sort of flag to bring new emails straight to the top that seem to be to dead threads. We have spam detection and scam detection. Why aren't we also detecting potentially incorrect email listing? Chances are that a new email to a thread that's a year old doesn't belong. There could easily be a tweakable metric based on email volume to help decide how quickly a thread should be considered dead. On some lists I'm on, a thread is dead after a week.

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