07 Apr 2006


ok, i've had enough of this boot camp business. can we just get on with our lives? since maybe 5% of the mac's 3% market share actually has an intel mac. if my maths is working correctly, that is 0.15% who might care. then factor in how many of those people are hard core mac users and therefore would not even touch a copy of windows xp without going to a confessional. maybe if i had a macbook pro i would start caring, but the care factor on the internets is way too high. maybe this is compensation for apple not doing anything on their 30th anniversary, so all these people would like to jump on any apple news they can get their hands on


on my last count, my "ignore boot camp" smart list had 46 rss entries that mention "boot camp", and thats only for today.

do i sound a bit bitter? yeah, not a good day today.

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07 Apr 2006

blogging about someone else's purchasing decisions

this is something i can blog about because my friends don't blog (or at least i can beat his gf to it). my best friend just bought a car. well, he bought a lexus SUV, the RX350. i don't read much about lexus, and mainly because if you search for "lexus rx350" in google, the official site doesn't even come up at all on the first page.
 Images Articles Toyota Rx350 01B

you know what i suspect? australia always gets the left over cars that the rest of the world doesn't want. for instance, australia is the only place i know where there are more two door mitsubishi lancers (google) than anywhere else in the world (notice most of those sites are australian.) there are no two doors in japan nor in hong kong. i didn't manage to see one in the states either. the reason why that happens is because australia is the dumping ground for failed car models. and that is what i think the RX350 is. because if you go to lexus' uk homepage, there is no RX350. there is only RX300 and RX400. so RX350 must be like a failed aborted attempt at RX400 or worse, the bastard offspring of RX300 and RX400.

ok that was a joke, sorry chris :) actually there have been alot of other RX3xx's around, i just never knew about them because i'm not into SUVs, even less interested in lexus SUVs.

for a while he was convinced that he wanted to ugly monstrosity that is the range rover sport. i complained on and on about that car, and he finally got something else. to a certain extent, i would like to take credit for that. but to be honest, i doubt i had anything to do with it. more like it was an impulse buy for him. (btw, i like range rover, just not the sport model, because when i hear the word sport, it means its got sleek lines, looks fast -- not like a box)

of course, i would of preferred if he actually followed through and got a lancer evo x (or whatever mistubishi lancer evolution is up to now, last i heard it was 8.)

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07 Apr 2006

back to basics with posting pointless sites

i'm sick of all this weeee-b 2.0 stuff. the next person who talks to me about a ajax website that solves a non-existant problem will, i dunno, have to write my thesis for me.

anyway, a bunch of funny stuff i've come across tonight.

 Cgi-Bin Image Templates Germany

the second largest beer can collector in the world (via neatorama via make). ok, i can see gaps there. c'mon people, help this guy out and fill in the missing cans - either that or he got thirsty and drank them. or of course, he might of taken it down for the 5c deposit you get for recycling.

people who know me, know that i hate gucci, prada, lv, d&g and all those other my-bag-is-more-expensive-than-the-items-it-holds brands. so it is funny when there's an art project to satires this:

 Yyy Luxurygarby
(via we-make-money-not-art)

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04 Apr 2006

on indestructible powerbooks

on the weekend, a friend conveyed to me a story about him being in the apple store in london and someone dropping a powerbook from the first floor and hitting the ground floor. i presume accidentally, or maybe just frustrated or wanting an excuse to buy a macbook pro.

 Uk Retail Regentstreet Gallery Images Stairs8908

allegedly the powerbook survived in one piece, and no one got hurt. it puts the shame to me making a big deal about denting my powerbook.

on a related note, scott stevenson showed a photo passed around via email with a thoroughly abused powerbook.

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03 Apr 2006

nss_ldap's undocumented nss_reconnect_tries

after a recent ~x86 update and reboot, i managed to find my gentoo work box stalled on boot at the udev stage. there may be a related bug in bugzilla, but i thought i would document it here as well because it is quite interesting.

the reason for the stall is because i use ldap on my box at work, more specifically, nss_ldap. turns out that udev was trying to look up some groups that don't exist in /etc/groups, and therefore was trying ldap over the network.

however, because udev comes up before the network devices are initialised, none of the ldap stuff is working. to add more problems to the mix, nss_ldap is set (for whatever reason) to try indefinitely until it gets a response.

so after googling a bit, a helpful suggestion from someone who also encountered this problem was to set "bind_policy soft" in my ldap.conf. what that does is makes nss_ldap return a negative result if it cannot connect the ldap server, rather than retry indefinitely.

turns out that the solution worked for my udev start stall. but it produced another problem -- i couldn't login through ssh. it turns out that nss_ldap would mysteriously (but reliably) fail somewhere during the ssh login process to look up either a group or user name, and that would throw sshd off.

so the situation is that if i set "bind_policy soft", i can boot up, but would fail unpredictably when a large amount of nss_ldap requests is generated. so i decided to trawl around the nss_ldap source code, and found the offending part that produced this error:

sshd[32527]: nss_ldap: could not search LDAP server - Server is unavailable

armed with that, it turns out rather than blindly getting nss_ldap to refuse a retry, we could limit the number of retries using nss_reconnect_tries. in the changelog, it was added in version 241, but oddly undocumented. i wonder why.

241     Luke Howard <lukeh@padl.com>

* new, more robust reconnection logic
* both "host" and "uri" directives can be used in
* new (undocumented) nss_reconnect_tries,
nss_reconnect_sleeptime, nss_reconnect_maxsleeptime,
nss_reconnect_maxconntries directives

anyway, that was my solution, set the retries to something that is not infinite which means udev should have a proper error thrown at it when it tries to lookup the non-existant groups, and that i can still tolerate one or two refused ldap connections because i've reached the connection limit.

i don't know if it is just my situation or what, but hope that might help someone.

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01 Apr 2006

japanese/korean food in cambridge?

has anyone seen this "fuji food store" in cambridge?

i was trying to find the korean food shop on mill road, to see if they have opening hours online and came across this one.

 Images Local-Map-(Full-Screen)

seems to be well hidden, so i might give it a go some time next week.

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30 Mar 2006

date weirdness on liquidx.net

i've been having some problems with dates in blog entries after i switched the timezone on the django settings from UTC to Europe/London. i've just gone and fixed some of the border line cases where the date has suddenly crossed into the next day so that the urls stay consistent. that is the problem with encoding the date into the url, if you change the date on the entry, all the urls become invalid.

so if you were experiencing missing pages, or weird updates in your feeds, that was me screwing around with article dates. all should be ok now.

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24 Mar 2006

self advertising is annoying

don't you hate it when a tv channel advertises itself on the same channel you are watching? hey, i'm already watching your damn channel, there's no need to remind me what channel i'm watching.

this stuff extends a bit into the online world as well. recently, after the release of netnewswire 2.1beta, i registered for a newsgator account. the reason is i work on a mac and linux machine, and sometimes i want to procastinate a bit on my linux box and check out my rss feeds -- and the nice way to save time is to use newsgator to sync what i have read online and use their free online version on linux using firefox, and netnewswire on my mac.

problem is newsgator online is javascript heavy, and therefore really slow when switching between feeds. when i say slow, this is compared to bloglines, which has a basic interface, but is surprisingly snappy. i get around 5 seconds of complete ui stall every time i switch feeds or click on "mark all as read". the upshot is that it looks nice, i couldn't stand the ugly bloglines interface.

today i started getting this advertisment that is not clickable and uninformative:


if you read it, it says:

coming soon to newsgator online. we are making some significant changes to newsgator. these changes, are driven by user requests, are coming soon to a computer near you.

you will be able to add feeds by selecting the "add feeds" link:
lack of capitalisation is my edit. reason is i can't cut and paste that message because they decided in their infinite wisdom to put that stuff in an image. there are two problems with that passage above:

1. OK!! i get it!! you are working to improve your service, that is is great, especially for a free product. but do you really need to tell me that or do i really need to know? i'm already using it. why don't you talk about that on your front page and and advertise that to people who are "considering" to use your service?

2. second thing is, your so called "improvement" is already there in the version i'm using -- the add feeds link is right there on the top left. so what is different? am i getting some weird ad rotation?

see, i wouldn't mind if they advertised newsgator for outlook, their paid version. but even then, i would think that they have user agent details and can tell that i am using Linux rather than Windows, so there would be no point advertising to me. given that they know so much context about me because of the feeds i subscribe to, you would think that would be a good place to put a relevant ad, somewhere that a tech company might think of buying. because if you are using newsgator, chances are you are pretty clued in about computer related things, and therefore maybe a group of people that advertisers are trying to reach.
the equivalent of this would be microsoft windows having a popup every time you open IE saying, "hey! you know what, we're working on IE7, but it won't be ready until, well, 2007. so hang tight there buddy. we're going to give you an even more horrendous interface for a browser."


oh don't get me started on how incomprehensible IE7's interface is. why the hell did they decide that the address bar should be above the menu bar? what piece of ui research did they use to think that is a good idea? the mind boggles.

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24 Mar 2006

a scanner darkly

i just came across this movie called a scanner darkly through a vidcast from coolhunting's interview with the animators. it just blows my mind. they've managed to meld animation with real life actors like you've never seen before.


the screenshot doesn't do it justice, you have to check out the trailer and the interview to see how they've managed to meld the animation world with real life characters. and their cast includes woody harrelson keanu reeves, winona ryder and robert downey jr.

i'm definitely going to check this out when it comes out, in july.

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23 Mar 2006

sweet canvasgraph usage

while graphs and webpages are on my mind with my recent plotkit stuff, i just found a cool demonstration of how people should be using graphs. hirenj just showed off a neat way to represent his music listening habits. he's has a showdown between two different genre's of music on a week by week basis. the slider stuff is also very cool.


this is exactly the thing i was hoping for, a new interesting way to visualise data.

i also know of the graphing stuff being used in someone's thesis work. now that's scary.

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