June 2004

Jenna’s Ballet Practice

Yes, Daniel, perhaps we should set up a Planet Little Sister 😉

Two days ago, Jenna had her first ballet practice. We thought she’d be scared or something, like some of the other kids in there, but she ended up really enjoying it. She can’t wait for next week.

It was fun to watch, since she didn’t really know what she was doing, but attempted everything. I took some pictures, but since we were behind a window, they turned out rather grainy and blurry in some cases. I’ll nuke the bad ones later.

She’s begging me pretty constantly to push her on the new play area we set up for her in our back yard. I think I’ll have to actually do that soon, before she gets frustrated 😛

Jenna’s Firsts

Today was a first for my little sister Jenna in a couple of ways. We went to the local bowling alley for my brother’s birthday party. It was Jenna’s first time bowling, and she had a blast. She used one of those little ramp things for kids, which I remember using in the past once or twice. However, unlike when I used one, she actually carefully aimed it. She did a rather good job, I’d say, since she got a number of strikes in a row, and a number of spares. She had it down pretty well.

After Jenna’s first strike, she jumped up and down with her arms in the air and shouted, “SCORE!” 🙂

Later, Jenna asked me to show her how to tie her shoe. She’s been eager to learn this lately, so I went to help show her. She insisted on actually doing it herself, but needed guidance in some parts. All in all, she had the process down, but just had trouble getting the shoe lace to move how she wanted it. With only minor help from me, she succeeded in tying her shoe. It was a Kodak* moment.

* Kodak is a trademark of Kodak. Slogan used entirely without permission. Please don’t sue me.

Perfect timing, Yahoo

Yahoo has blocked third party clients again. This is part of their master plan to drive away users, I mean, fix the spam issue. Not that I’ve experienced a spam issue yet, but I’m probably just lucky. Most third party clients use the same authentication code to connect, and Yahoo just exploited a bug or lack of something in the code.

This is all great timing, because we’re releasing Gaim 0.79 tomorrow. For now, we are using the web method to connect, but this has a number of disadvantages. For example, you can’t add or remove buddies.

Despite Yahoo’s attempts, I’m sure they realize this is only going to keep third party clients off temporarily. Sure, they’ll change it again. So will we. Yahoo, some people don’t want to use your client, and your Linux version quite frankly sucks. Don’t push us away. Share the love!

Galacy Scam

We got our phone bill this month, and my parents noticed a charge from a company called Galacy Web Hosting. Looking back, it seems we’ve had this charge for awhile, but never noticed it (don’t ask me why). Anyhow, they called up ILD Teleservices, who Galacy was going through for the charge it seems. They were put through to Galacy web hosting, and the guy there played back a recording from January of me agreeing to sign up for web hosting and to the fee.

I remember the conversation. I did agree to do the survey, but never to web hosting. Why would I need web hosting? I do it myself, and if I grew tired of that, I know people at places who can host me for free. I am pretty confident they have digitally altered the conversation, rearranging parts of it to make me sound like I was agreeing.

I’m not the only person this has happened to. There’s a whole list of complaints about them and Integratel (they appear to be related).

My mom got the service removed, but apparently, we couldn’t get the account creditted. So I called them back. I started by calling ILD. When I mentioned Galacy, the girl on the phone just kind of sighed, and said they get this a lot about this company. They said they’ll make sure it’s off our account, and to call up Galacy. I called up Galacy and got the same person my mom got this morning in the billing department. He recognized our number immediately, and quickly said he would credit all past bills. I made him confirm this. It’s a shame I didn’t get it on tape though.

We’ll see what happens here, but if anybody gets a call from Integratel or Galacy Web Hosting, hang up immediately. Even if you don’t agree to anything, you may be agreeing to everything.

New monitor! Galago update!

I headed to Best Buy today to look at new monitors. I wanted a second head for my computer, but it was going to require a DVI-to-VGA adapter. After looking at the very crappy selection of CRT monitors, and realizing that I didn’t really have enough room to fit another CRT on this desk, I bit the bullet and bought an LCD monitor. It’s really nice, though a bit on the expensive side. It took quite some time for my eyes to adjust to the text on the screen, but now it’s just beautiful. Excellent purchase 🙂

Oh, and I just put up the latest weekly Galago status report. The past week was productive 🙂

Random stuff

Video Card

My new ATI Radeon 9600 dual head video card came in the mail today! Although I must say, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting a new toy like this and realizing that the DVI-to-VGA adapter you thought was coming with it actually doesn’t come with it. One more day…

A second monitor is going to really help with things. I find too often that I have a few desktops full of terminals, another couple desktops of documentation and web pages, and so on. Sticking the documentation and IRC on a second monitor will really help with the clutter and constant desktop switching.

Planet Jabber

Ralph Meijer just announced the creation of Planet Jabber. As Ralph said, Jabber is more than just IM, and this Planet should be very interesting to watch.

Mmmm Bandwidth

It was pointed out to me a few days ago on IRC that SBC’s Business DSL service, which we’re on, now has faster speeds. Our service was capped at 1.5Mbps down, 128Kbps up (although we ended up getting close to 160Kbps). The new service (same price as our old) is capped at 3Mbps down, 384Kbps up. Of course, they didn’t automatically switch us over to the new speed caps, so I called them up today. By next week, we should be at the new speeds 😀 (“should” being the keyword, from my experience with DSL companies).

Gmail Invites

Seems that Gmail users just got 3 invites to use. I’ve used one up already. Going fast! 🙂

Updated: Sorry guys, they’re gone.

Package management, autopackage, and “The user interface vision”

I just finished reading Mike Hearn’s article The user interface vision. It’s an interesting read on his views of what the UI for package management can evolve into. I like the ideas, although some things need fleshing out more (as he also states).

If we really want to get Linux on the desktop, this is an area that needs to be tackled. Sure, Gentoo’s method works great for Gentoo. Debian’s method for Debian… The thing is, the average person who buys a computer for school or entertainment or whatever shouldn’t have to care what distribution they’re using. I’ve seen this many times in Gaim. A person will come in asking how to install Gaim, saying he downloaded “the file” from our site, but can’t run it. We then have to explain package management, the commands required, and tailor it to the distribution they’re using. A better solution is needed, and it’s about time we figured something out.

About a year ago, various people who were/are involved in package management (Mike Hearn from autopackage, Jeff Johnson from rpm, Alain Penders from Gentoo, myself from GNUpdate, and many others got together to discuss package management and a way to standardize on meta-data (such naming conventions, dependencies, etc.). We had some good discussions, but in the end, not a whole lot came from it. Although disappointing, it wasn’t unexpected. The differences between various package systems is not only technical, it’s political in some cases.

So far, Mike’s autopackage is the first possible solution that has impressed me. While it has a ways to go, it’s providing an interesting distro-neutral form of packaging, and appears to be well thought-out. I’ll be supporting autopackage in the first release of the Galago software.

I guess only time will tell. A lot of effort will be needed, as well as cooperation, if we’re going to solve this problem.

Gaim’s MSN and Buddy Pounce Improvements

One of our Gaim patch writers, Felipe Contreras (AKA shx), sent in a wonderful patch today that he’s been working on for some time. Aside from cleaning up a lot of the MSN code, we now have support for MSN buddy icons and file transfer! There are a few bugs to work out, but it’ll still be a couple of weeks until we release, so they’ll be sorted out.

I finally got fed up with the default events and actions for buddy pounces. The defaults were to send a message (which is blank, and therefore does nothing, by default) when the buddy signed on. I felt they could be smarter than that.

Now, when you right-click a buddy in the buddy list and add a buddy pounce, it will automatically pick some sane defaults. If the user is currently idle, “Return from idle” will be enabled. If the user is away, “Return from away” will be selected. And finally, if the user is offline, “Sign on” is selected. “Sign on” is the default if no other defaults were chosen. As these are, I believe, the more popular options, and fit the scenarios people use the buddy pounces for best, these “smart” defaults should save some time.

Also, the default action(s) are now set based off the previous pounce’s enabled action(s). Those of us who always unchecked “Send a message” and checked “Popup notification,” or something similar, should rarely have to change the actions anymore.

More productivity than I thought

I finished up this week’s Galago status report, and it turns out I did a lot more than I thought I did. Sometimes I wonder where I am mentally when I work on these things.

Now comes the real trick. Before I can get a release of the core Galago components out, I have to fix up some critical bugs. The problem is figuring out what’s causing them. I’ve spent several days on each of these, but I haven’t come a whole lot closer.. Yet. Maybe I’ll have some luck tomorrow.

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