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jon.dowland.name log

jon.dowland.name log
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vimspell

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 07/10/2009 - 1:10pm

I've been suffering a really annoying bug in VIM recently: when repeating an action that introduced space characters to the buffer (that is, single-byte 0x20 ASCII-compatible space characters), the action would insert Unicode non-breaking space characters instead (0xc2ac).

A new wheel for 2009

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 06/10/2009 - 8:38am

Forgive me if I'm missing a nuance here, but consider this quote from the article "Developing for the Apple iPhone using Flash":

We created a new compiler front end that allowed LLVM to understand ActionScript 3 and used its existing ARM back end to output native ARM assembly code. We call this Ahead of Time (AOT) compilation—in contrast to the way Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR function on the desktop using Just in Time (JIT) compilation.

archfs build dependencies

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 28/09/2009 - 11:13am

build-dependencies using an XML manpage

build-dependencies using an nroff manpage

Ruby vs. Python

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 28/09/2009 - 8:10am

Pablo Lorenzzoni writes to defend Ruby in response to Kanwei Li's April post about dropping it in favour of Python.

Kanwei's post has some questionable points that Pablo rightly picks up on (being forced to use ternary operators?) and some that he doesn't ("LOC matters, people.").

FAC-1

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 25/09/2009 - 9:17am

This is my first attempt at homebrew. It's from a stout kit, purchased from the Elderberry Home Brew Centre, which you can find at 28 Station Road, Whitley Bay. The fellow there is very helpful and gave me lots of advice on starting out. I'd recommend anyone interested in beer or wine making in the Newcastle or North Tyneside area to make the journey.

win7 window management

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 23/09/2009 - 11:33am

Since I've started today writing about UI issues, I might as well continue. I stumbled across a satirical review of Windows7 on kuro5hin (who knew kuro5hin was still being updated?) which highlighted one or two new window management features:

You can drag a window to the top to maximize it, which is surprisingly useful. Dragging it to the side maximizes it to use half the screen, which is great for two Explorer windows for moving stuff around.

GIMP UI failures

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 23/09/2009 - 9:17am

Finding usability failures in GIMP is not exactly needle-in-haystack difficulty. Today's frustration: it appears to disable your ability to minimize the Toolbox and related windows. I can't imagine why that was considered a good idea.

chromium

jon.dowland.name log - Thu, 10/09/2009 - 11:08am

For the last few weeks I have been using the chromium browser as the main browser both at work and at home. There's an Ubuntu PPA containing .debs of nightly chromium builds which works fine on Debian sid AMD 64 (as others have mentioned).

exploring git repositories

jon.dowland.name log - Sat, 05/09/2009 - 5:25pm

I am in the process of moving the Doom packages that the Debian Games Team maintain from subversion to git.

I started with a small native package called game-data-packager. The clone operation took hours to run and resulted in a 90-odd Mb git repository. Since game-data-packager is a relatively small collection of shell scripts with a recent history, I have reason to believe that git svn has imported much more of the Games Team SVN repo than just the game-data-packager bits.

debian bbq 2009

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 31/08/2009 - 9:18pm

Thanks to Steve for a great BBQ this week, as always. It was great to catch up with everyone. Until next time!

A bank holiday find

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 31/08/2009 - 9:15pm

Awesome bank holiday find.

bing

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 03/08/2009 - 11:16am

I've been trying out the Bing search engine (http://bing.com/). I like the fact there's a different picture on the homepage every day, with some interesting facts. I rarely see the homepage of a search engine though, as I tend to use a browser search toolbar.

new headphones

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 03/08/2009 - 8:59am

A few weeks ago I bought myself some new headphones: some AKG K512 cans from Richer Sounds. These were the cheapest cans available from my local shop, and the salesman was trying his best to get me to buy a better/more expensive pair. I was planning to use them in the office where I am unlikely to listen to a full song without having to interrupt it for one reason or another, so I didn't see the need to splash out on a nicer/more expensive pair. That, and I couldn't make my mind up as to what the right price/results balance was for me.

mail for mail

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 21/07/2009 - 9:55pm

On a new Debian stable install, exim4 will accept mail for local user "mail", and save it to /var/mail/mail. If you also tell exim4 that you want to use Maildirs rather than mbox files, it will create and populate /var/mail/Maildir instead. I'm not sure whether this is can be considered a bug or not, but if you don't want this, add

mail: :fail:

to /etc/aliases. I've just discovered 1,664 spams on one site sitting in /var/mail/Maildir.

Rumours of drive death exaggerated

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 20/07/2009 - 9:18pm

Whilst drafting a log post about different hard drive manufacturer's return policies in follow-up to my lament about a dodgy drive, I read through Hitachi's troubleshooting guide which recommended trying a different cable. Lo and behold, switching out the SATA cable for the drive that is complaining and several hours of read/write tests later, not a single CRC complaint.

Is my Hard Drive dying?

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 17/07/2009 - 10:29pm

I have a SAMSUNG SpinPoint T166 series SATA hard drive. I have been getting some worrying output from smartctl for this drive, including

199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       651

and

SMART Error Log Version: 1 ATA Error Count: 531 (device log contains only the most recent five errors) ...

However, SMART selftests (short and extended) all complete without error.

Periodically I get some IO lag and the following on dmesg:

Debian Developer

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 01/07/2009 - 10:10am

I am now a Debian Developer. Yay! Thank you to everyone who helped and supported me through this process, which (depending on exactly how you count) took between 3, 4 and 8 years. I would have given up long ago without the encouragement and well-wishing I have received along the way.

introducing ufo

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 29/06/2009 - 9:14pm

For the last two years, I have been quietly working on a computer game influenced heavily by the classic UFO: Enemy Unknown.

The game is nowhere near complete and probably of little interest to most people. However, I have recently had the urge to write about things which have come up during development of the game. I've held of doing so since I hadn't actually announced the game.

explicit amazon

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 24/06/2009 - 10:59am

Amazon "kindly" suffixes ' [Explicit]' onto the track names of mp3s it sells where the album qualifies for parental advisory (as well as the album title itself).

I corrected this by adjusting the ID3v1 tag for each track. So far so simple, but the files have an ID3v2 tag too. I don't need both, so I thought I'd remove the ID3v2 tags:

handbrake

jon.dowland.name log - Fri, 19/06/2009 - 2:41pm

handbrake (or specifically, the ghb front end) does not honour the GNOME network proxy settings, nor the http_proxy environment variable. In addition, it runs in one thread and dials home on startup, using synchronous calls, so in an environment where outbound port 80 packets are dropped, it freezes up:

third coat

jon.dowland.name log - Wed, 17/06/2009 - 9:08pm

After the third coat, I think I'm done.

git remote branch boggling

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 09/06/2009 - 5:40pm

Create a local branch with git:

git branch **name**

Push this branch up to the remote, so it has it:

git push origin **name**

The local branch does not track the remote branch, however. I recall seeing a command to achieve this but I have forgotten it. You can, however, do

git branch -d **name**
git checkout --track -b **name** **origin/name**

Deleting remote branches only works locally: they come back.

mod deflate

jon.dowland.name log - Tue, 02/06/2009 - 10:50am

I was surprised to learn that Debian's apache2 package does not enable mod\_deflate by default. This is the module which implements compression.

Once enabled, I needed to add application/atom+xml to the configuration in order for it to apply to atom feeds (which are the most consistently fetched URI on my site generally, although right now the image from my last log post is in the lead by a huge margin).

first coat

jon.dowland.name log - Mon, 01/06/2009 - 4:54pm

I'm painting the alcoves in my living room. The first coat is done!

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