Older blog entries for ask (starting at number 142)

2 Dec 2003 (updated 2 Dec 2003 at 20:07 UTC) »
iPods
<The 5th Wave-2003.12.01 - Why can't you just bring your iPod like everyone else?>

(from Robert)

New York Times Magazine had an interesting article about Apple and the iPod a few days ago, The Guts of a New Machine.

I didn't expect much when I resorted to asking, in so many words, whether he thinks consciously about innovation.

''No,'' [Steve Jobs] said, peevishly. ''We consciously think about making great products. We don't think, 'Let's be innovative!''' He waved his hands for effect. '''Let's take a class! Here are the five rules of innovation, let's put them up all over the company!'''

Well, I said defensively, there are people who do just that.

''Of course they do.'' I felt his annoyance shift elsewhere. ''And it's like . . . somebody who's not cool trying to be cool. It's painful to watch. You know what I mean?'' He looked at me for a while, and I started to think he was trying to tell me something. Then he said, ''It's like . . . watching Michael Dell try to dance.'' The P.R. minder guffawed. ''Painful,'' Jobs summarized.

# | Comments

qpsmtpd review in Linux Journal
Lots of things happened in my life in the last ~2 months. But they've all been either too personal to post here or too insignificant relatively to the important things for me to want to take time to write them. I considered writing about the more personal things, but I decided against it. I think I might be about ready to pick up the stream of nonessential random tidbits again though... We'll see. The December issues of Linux Journal includes a review of my smtp daemon in the "At the Forge" column. Reuven Lerner entirely gets it when he focuses most of the review on how easy it is to write plugins for qpsmtpd and how flexible that system is, that's exactly the point and by far the best reason to use qpsmtpd.
I was able to write a new, working plugin within a few hours of downloading qpsmtpd, despite the lack of good documentation, and I'm sure that many other readers will have similar experiences. The fact that qpsmtpd is written in Perl means you have fast, easy access to everything that a usual Perl program would, as well as any CPAN modules that could make development easier.
I have been using qpsmtpd for about a month, and the amount of spam in my mailbox has declined rather impressively, even from the low amount that SpamAssassin was letting through. If you run your own machine, I strongly encourage you to look at qpsmtpd. It is an excellent example of how to write software to take arbitrary plugins, and as a bonus, you will receive only the mail that you should receive.
I haven't taken time to tar up a new release since June, or even kept up with all the ideas and new plugins posted on the mailing list (mail qpsmtpd-subscribe@perl.org to subscribe). However Matt Sergeant has been making lots of improvements and applying patches. I'm very grateful for that; without him development would look entirely stagnated in the last months. I started work on qpsmtpd a bit over two years ago just to have an easily hackable smtp server to use at perl.org. The first version was more or less just colobus changed to speak smtp instead of nntp. After using that for a while I got it built out to have an Apache like API system for writing modules, or plugins as I call them. That made it surprisingly easy even for people who had never done perl work before to hack up useful enhancements or test new spam fighting ideas. It's very amusing, interesting and satisfying to see a community grow and thrive around something you've built.

# | Comments

Still here ...
Almost. Apparently. Approximately. Assumably. Hopefully. Imaginably. Likely. Maybe. Mostly. Perchance. Perhaps. Possibly. Presumptively. Probably. Proximately. Roughly. Seemingly. Sorta. Superficially. Supposedly. Tangibly. Theoretically. Stepped <strike>outside</strike> inside for a minute. Will be back soon.

# | Comments

So dizzy I can only fall

Then I came back from where I'd been.
My room, it looked the same -
But there was nothing left between
The Nameless and the Name.

All busy in the sunlight
The flecks did float and dance,
And I was tumbled up with them
In formless circumstance.

-- Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs

# | Comments

California Recall election
Don't forget to vote today if you are so enabled. The Sacramento Bee is reporting that recall polls are differing widely so your vote just might actually mean something! Too tired to write anything sensible now, but in brief according to me you should vote:
  • No to proposition 53 (which will tie money to construction projects and thus make the politicians unable to juggle the budget from year to year -- no wonder they can't balance it with stuff like this). In my ignorance I didn't know about this, but Viridiana just explained it to me, of course it's entirely likely I got it wrong... mmnn).
  • No to proposition 54 (Racial Privacy Initiative). At first it might sound like this would give less discrimination, but it's the other way around. Please say no.
  • No to the recall. It's just wrong that anyone with a couple of million dollars can make this kind of chaos.
  • Vote on someone. With the current polls I'd probably put a not very enthusiastic vote for Bustamante. If the Arnold-Riskā„¢ wasn't looming over us I'd suggest voting for Camejo as his values fits much better with mine.
In any case, it'll be exciting to see how it goes. If Davis is recalled, when will the next election be? (assuming we won't get yet another recall). Entirely unrelated, I was listening a bit to Henry Rollin's Think Tank again tonight. So much fun, so much energy. :-) I don't think I've listened to any of his spoken words for a couple of years, but listening to it again I memorize all too much of it... mmmmn, maybe I shouldn't have had it (and the other albums) on repeat so much in the past. :^)

# | Comments

1 Oct 2003 (updated 1 Oct 2003 at 18:58 UTC) »
iSync my stickies
<sticky>iSync is great. I use it very happily to sync phone numbers to my mobile phone and to keep bookmarks, calendar and the address book the same on the 'book and the mac at home.

I usually don't keep my todo list in iCal. It just doesn't quite work for me. Stickies are much better for me. But they are not synchronized. The alternative the stickies for me is to just keep the list as a text file on one of the Linux or FreeBSD boxes, but those tend to "get lost". So what I do is maintain the list in a sticky or three and then "sync" those once in a while with a text file... No, it doesn't work very well.

It would be so very nice if the stickies could be automatically synced between systems... Maybe some day.

# | Comments

29 Sep 2003 (updated 29 Sep 2003 at 22:30 UTC) »
LoTR: Return of The King trailer
A few days ago the new Matrix trailer was exciting. Ha, that was then! The trailer for the last movie in the Lord Of The Ring trilogy, Return of the King, is out! But why oh why is the "large" version a puny 480x208... If I'm going to play these three minutes in loop from now to Christmas, at least they could have made it in a higher resolution. Oh dear, it looks so cool. Where's that time machine when you need it most?

# | Comments

25 Sep 2003 (updated 25 Sep 2003 at 11:03 UTC) »
This American Life - Unusually Amazing Radio
Since I don't have a tv I listen to the radio quite a bit. I really like the radio. There are so many awesome programs. And I'm not even thinking of the cool music programs my radiostation are running (sadly often late at night - I need a radio TiVo).

While looking for the story I linked in the last posting I got reminded how many amzing stories they have at This American Life. I can't emphasize this enough. I want to include language they can't use on TV to make it clear to you, dear reader, how great this program is. But I'm not the cursing type unless I'm unusually upset, so I can't today.

I've listened to maybe 50, 100 or maybe even more of them over the last years and it's rare it hasn't been 59 very enjoyable minutes. I was considering linking to a few of my favorites, but if I had started you'd still be downloading this page because there'd be so many links. If you haven't heard the show before then read their introduction and then check out some of their own favorites.

Or you can go to their front page and just browse the archives for stories catching your interest. If you don't think you'll relate well to something called "American Life", you should reconsider. "This Life", the name in their URL, is really more accurate.

# | Comments

25 Sep 2003 (updated 26 Sep 2003 at 02:46 UTC) »
From the minds of the Direct Marketing Association
Some confused judge in Oklahoma decided that Congress had given the FCC but not the FTC authority to make a the Do Not Call registry. So it's temporarily being blocked; otherwise it's supposed to take effect from October 1st. (Of course the legislators are saying that everyone is behind it and they'll get any legislation needed set up in a matter of days).

The best part of the NYT article:

The Direct Marketing Association acknowledged that the court ruling did not solve its public relations problem.

"We're pleased the court has agreed with us. On the other hand we're concerned about consumers who think we want to make calls when they don't want to receive them," said Bob Wientzen, chief executive of the association.

So we shouldn't be concerned that they want to make calls we don't want to receive? What kind of awkward spin is that? Of course it can't be easy to be the head of an organization of companies that everyone hates (act five, about 41 minutes into the show).

# | Comments

If you liked Verisign's Sitefinder ...
For those of you who liked Verisign's Sitefinder .... huh? Noone? Alright then. For the rest of us: Mark Fowler brings us Acme::VerySign - make unused subroutines useful! "Useful" in the ever popular VeriSign sense of course. In related news, ICANN asks VeriSign to suspend sitefinder. Geez, just revoke their contract already! (via CircleID)

# | Comments

133 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!