Older blog entries for rillian (starting at number 86)

bad phone karma

So we moved recently. To a bigger, nicer place. Which is great. But along with our address, we changed our phone number.

You see, our previous phone number was previously (previously) the fax number of a modelling agency. When we first got the number three years ago after moving back from London, we got about 30 faxes a week. We figured it couldn't last, so we didn't immediately complain. However, as of two months ago we were still getting 5-10 a week, often in the middle of the night. Certain websites' disinterest in removing our number from their agency listings probably didn't help.

We therefore asked for a new number when moving. That was fine, and while not quite as memorable as the old number, it was still pretty good. We got a few odd wrong numbers the first week, but didn't think much of it.

Well, it's been a month now, and we're still getting a consistent few wrong numbers a week, and S finally figured out what was going on, from the tone of voice one of the callers used. Turns out our number is listed in the new, just came out last month yellowpages as...an escort agency!

Yup, someone just called. "Hi, I'd like to hire an escort."

Well, that explains a few things. You'd think they'd fallow these numbers for a few months! Sigh. OTOH, if this was their normal call volume, I can see why they went out of business. And at least we know how to answer the phone now. S has been practicing her derisive laugh.

robogato, thanks for enabling multiple posts. It makes it a lot easier to have conversations through the recentlog.

Zaitcev, sorting topicality for different syndication points is what tags are for. Most blog software where generate tag-specific feeds, but it's not clear livejournal is among them. I'm not aware of a standard for including the tags in RSS items themselves, but there's an atom:category element that looks like it's for this. So maybe some combination of using a tag-specific feed from a blog and filtering by atom:category on the advogato side would work?

It's a pity so many people seem to have left, but it's also nice to be able to read the complete recentlog again. :)

SteveRainwater have you changed the "multiple posts in a day clobber each other" behaviour? I think the planets have demonstrated the value of letting people have multiple entries.

Hooray, Advogato has been saved. Thanks StevenRainwater.

nutella, certs are entirely one way, and they're always a positive assertion. The idea is that trust flows along certification links, so a spammer can create as many accounts as they want, but unless a significant number of people already in the trusted group can be pursuaded to certify those accounts, they will still be cut off because they look like an island.

So fake accounts making some random certs of real accounts makes the fake accounts look a little less fake, but actually hurts their chances of being trusted. As long as most people cert based on their knowledge of another person's work, the trust metric will continue to work.

All this spam cleanup is just about cleaning up the pool of untrusted user accounts, and preventing spreading google juice where it doesn't belong.


Whoever was hammering the advogato person index page this (wednesday) morning, please don't do that again. It's an expensive page to generate and, well, you brought poor apache to its knees.

That's bad for your karma.

Was in San Francisco yesterday for an Artifex staff meeting. Had dinner with raph and Silvia Pfeiffer who runs the annodex project. They've been strong supporters of free and open multimedia for some time and it was great to finally meet here in person.


We're looking for someone to help out with Ghostscript integration in Free Software, on a part-time contract. Yes, that means paid work. Help sort, review and update patches from the distros into upstream, write a Firefox plugin, that sort of thing.

Please send interesting resumes to giles@ghostscript.com.

whacky medieval latin

raph and nymia, google suggests ojusdem might be eiusdem, the third person, singular, feminine, genitive pronoun.

So inter omnes curvas ojusdem longitudinus might be "between each of its curves lengthwise." But I know exactly enough Latin to be extremely dangerous with a dictionary. Caveat lector.


freetype, the comment about phasing out M4 was from atai, not me.

I don't actually mind M4. The syntax is an odd marriage, which made it hard to learn ("even more fun with quoting!") but it's just a macro substitution language, and I'm not sure what a better alternative would be given the goal of outputting portable sh. You can't even define subroutines in portable sh! (that's why configure scripts are so big)

No, as I've said before, the complexity comes from the fact that you're trying to write an expert system in a combination of sh, M4, and the code of the autotools themselves. Most of the knowledge is embedded in code, and in many different locations and formats. That makes it difficult, and brittle.

As far as replacement goes, I can see wrapping the old macros in a newer scripting language like perl or python, so that the original M4+sh still gets expanded and run in an external shell, but newer code could be written directly in a nicer language. That way you could port macros one at a time and not lose the vast store of knowledge accumulated in the GNU autotools and builds that use it.


freetype doesn't give any examples of what autoconf is used for that GNU make + pkg-config can't do, but when I said that I was thinking more about autotools as a whole, not just autoconf.

Re configure scripts in repositories, I guess I'd always considered "lack of portability" of configure scripts to be a bug; having autoconf generate a portable sh script is the whole point. The valid objection to checking them into a source repository is that they're not source.

As machine-generated code, it's ugly, irrelevent, and if developers are using different versions of autoconf et al. it can generate a huge amount of noise in the diffs. The only advantage I can see (besides the mentioned working around buggy configure scripts) is that it removes some dependencies for random people building straight out of the repository.

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