Polish movie distro

There is about a 1EUR difference in the price of a magazine with and without a DVD movie.

Movie bundled with magazine

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In Poland

What’s good:

  • Food
  • Krakow
  • Surprisingly Warsaw, with it’s Palace on water
  • Jewish quarter/history in Krakow is interesting
  • Flowers everywhere
  • Average breast size being larger compared to Finland
  • Salt mine near Krakow
  • London style crusty bogies…

What’s not so good:

  • UHT milk is the norm, whilst I’m accustomed to fresh milk(1%)
  • Beer gives me a hangover
  • Spelling in Poland is abysmal
  • Lots of private security firms is not encouraging
  • Marketing and advertisements are brash
  • Neither roads or pavements are EU standard imho
  • Everytime I used my credit card they printed the full CC no. on all receipts. DUMB.
  • Mall culture in Warsaw

Another thing that surprised me in Poland, is that there are no black people to be seen. I wonder how that will change. Isn’t Fashion TV just WEIRD? Check out my Polish pictures. Couldn’t embed them in here as a couple of interesting ones have corrupted EXIF headers, and hence their time is screwed up.

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Consistency

Did you support the War on Afghanistan?

Did you support the War on Iraq?

If you answered yes or no in both questions, you’re consistant. If not, I will rip you to shreds.

It’s amazes me how many people out there answer “yes” to the first, but “no” to the second. The justification for War in both cases are the same. To solve humanitarian problems and give freedom, stop torture, return rule of law and so on.

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Validation is not the last word in conformance

Validation is not the last word in conformance, as Ian Hickson excellently reminds us.

It all started when a coffee room discussion ended with a test that shows a tricky ambiguity in XML. Mika Raento‘s email has more:

> On Tue, Apr 27, 2004 at 10:05:20AM +0300, Mika Raento wrote: > > and you can't disallow the a-b-a with an XML DTD. > > I didn't know about that XML limitation. That's quite a serious one. :-). Well, you can have a look at the relevant writings but the basic idea is: SGML: _complex_, described in a 400 page ISO standard, _does_ include so called exclusions and inclusions so that you can say: b: all inline a: all inline _excluding a_ XML: _simple_, described in 40 pages. Much simpler content models. The good thing: XML is _a lot_ easier to write software for. The bad thing: since XML is upwards compatible with SGML they couldn't go to another kind of grammar. So to be simple they had to give up a few things, although we could have had more flexibility without the complexity. See Relax NG. A good starting point is http://xml.coverpages.org/topics.html#grammar If you are interested in these topics you are very welcome to participate on the tree-grammar course I and Miro are holding next autumn. > > Surely a security issue too? Someone can create a maliciously malformed > XML document, and pass it through the doctype as valid. Or am I missing > something? Well, with almost any kind of grammar you have restrictions that you cannot check on the grammar level. Think C: a syntactically correct program might still not _link_. These have to be checked in some other way - you just have to be aware of what these are. Validity just means that you don't have to check the stuff that _can_ be expressed in the DTD. So my point was really: XHTML doesn't remove the possibility for ambiguity in the document structure and doesn't remove the need to make judgements on the application level. But I agree with you that there is a big difference between the kinds of HTML docs normally on the web and with the strictness of XHTML. What I _don't know_ is how significant this difference is.

It always amazes me how much XML can burn you…

Sauna

There are two things I feel that people get wrong with Saunas:

  • time
  • temperature

You do not have to count down 15 minutes in the sauna whilst watching a sand clock.
You go in and leave the sauna when you feel like doing so. I have a personal routine of going about 5, 10, 5 minutes with a couple of minutes break between with warm showers. You generally have to wait at least ten minutes after the last turn to prevent “sauna sweats” when you have all your clothes back on and resume your normal activities.

On regards to temperature. It does not have to be like 100 degrees! Most saunas I goto are around 80 degrees celcius after steaming up the place a fair bit with warm water on the hot stones.

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Maxdox

I am slowly writing a thesis about the Mobile as an Information Appliance.

Basic question I’m answering is whether the mobile can be an information device yadda yadda, and make a pitch for webstandards. Today I noticed a poster in my department about Maxdox and their “Squeeze” competition.

They seem to be pushing a proprietary format for mobiles, which by looking at it’s feature list looks like its aiming at something between XHTML, Flash and PDF type functionality. Great looking documents they say. More likely another proprietary patented vacuous content free flashy visual format. Something for graphic artists rather than authors.

CAN YOU JUST PLEASE LEARN? Proprietary formats are not part of the web aka Information space. Contribute to and implement W3C webstandards, and lets build a commodity market place for content creation and services!

I tried to download their developer tool, but there is no telling if it runs on a developer platform such as Debian. The terms and conditions are scary for their competition. Do I have to sign an NDA? Will I own my work once I submit it? Will you eat my brain for a camera prize?

After trying to register in order to see their tool I get an email with:


Your registration is now being reviewed by our support staff and you should receive your login name and password within 1–3 business days.

Just when I get all excited about an era of accessible scalable W3C technologies for mobiles et al and this s*** comes along.

Mouse

Joey Hess has blogged about using the Ion window manager. Teemu Hukkanen initially spread the word about Ion to me about a year ago. I think Ian Hickson uses Ion too, I remember Ian saying something like "I wet myself" when he first come across Ion. ;)

Hehe. If you are sick of the mouse I recommend Ion. It’s just another Window manager like vim is just another editor and mutt is just another email client…

Thinking about the mouse as an input device has me perplexed. It obviously doesn’t suck completely as I think the majority of people seem to use it without complaint. Although I’ve observed my parents who have trouble moving the mouse accurately or choosing between single or double click.

Then Plan9 has a very mouse driven interface, but it tries to seperate the costly painful constant switching between the keyboard and mouse common say while browsing. But then again, there is no getting away from the browser interface. So maybe that’s the problem really. The cost of switching between mouse and keyboard is something that needs to be addressed. Although I think I would be happy with a text driven browser, or rather using type ahead find. Although there are problems using the keyboard. I find the scrolling isn’t as pleasurable as the mouse wheel, and mouse is better at taking focus. Also I often can’t recall how to flick between tabs (probably rebound the keyboard combination to something else), so I often painfully result to the mouse.

I remember using the mouse possibly first with Sierra games. The earlier text driven interface games were more enjoyable for me than the odd mouse interfaces born from later King’s Quest games. Although Day of the Tentacle was a superb mouse driven game. So is Warcraft. So is Quake. Ok the mouse is here to stay, but beware! They can bite.

Now you have to wash your mouse pads

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Downtime

On the 16th of May this machine went down to be moved to a new location.

I elected to get up on a Sunday morning to help move and troubleshoot any problems. Unfortunately I was there for a couple of hours and still the main router at pannuhuone wasn’t up, so I left for lunch and prayed my machine would come up. It didn’t for almost a week. Here’s why:

  • I switched to a stock kernel and forgot to `echo via-rhine >> /etc/modules`, so the NIC driver didn’t load and the interface didn’t come up!
  • The DNS control panel at domainmonger and gandi SUCKS
  • DNS changes take upto 2 days to propagate. Oh fantastic. So if you’ve made a mistake, wait 4 days…
  • Apache of course can’t serve until it can dig the domain. You need to restart it once it can.
  • I didn’t realise that the old IP address was in the httpd.conf and I forgot to change it (NameVirtualHost)
  • pannuhuone was really slow to update the PTR record for daidalos.pannuhuone.org which a ton of stuff relies on
  • Finally I forgot to `sudo dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config`, reconfigure exim MTA.
CONSENSUS

I learnt if you want free access to UAProfiles of mobile specifications, I need to go for comprehensive commercial implementations. UAProfiles is such a joke. No ordinary person is going to out their way to adapt content to the myriad of (almost) unparsable UAProfiles. The whole profile thang indicates a poor technology.

Now an announcement about CONSENSUS on w3-di list, tells of RIML and the CONSENSUS consortium. I am always SUPER wary of new XML based languages, and even more so of a consortium doing web related specifications which is not W3C.

Hmmm, there seems to be a position paper indicating it is from those playas Nokia, SAP and IBM (amongst others).

Ok so looking at RIML… it seems to implement some webstandards and UAProfiles in Java with an opensource (IBM) license. From what I can quickly see it uses UAProfiles to group various mobile devices into DeviceClasses and then serves hard coded content to them.

What's adaptive about this picture code? You still have to define resolutions by hand.

What's clever about mixing content and adaption definitions WITH tables? (They really should have used a definition list IMO, as it tends to flow text better. Tables really suck for device independence.)

Alas, no surprises. I would like to demo their services, or at least see some screenies. To me, it’s unimpressive. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a dig at the implementation. I am more dissapointed that people actually bothered to implement UAProfiles. The real problem is the User Agents. There is no way you can expect people using UAProfile adaption engines to categorize and serve content to quirky heterogeneous mobile phones UAs. If there was a central repositry where people can pull out info to deal with broken UAs then fine. That’s a workable hack. But if you expect everyone to do it, then you are BONKERS. It’s never going to work.

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TBL

TBL… Timberlake, I mean Tim Berners-Lee recently wrote a great essay about why TLDs SUCK. I have (initially) titled my WIP thesis the “Mobile Information Appliance”, and TBL eloquently puts that today’s mobile, might be tomorrow’s kitchen wall fixture. Each word of the title of my thesis has problems:

  • Ok, I’ll eventually define mobile as small handheld wireless computing device.
  • Information. Oh no… Is the web information? No…
  • Appliance? Hip term or what? Reasoning behind it is that mobiles are difficult to upgrade/maintain, unlike a machine. So it needs to replaced like a toaster. Hence appliance. Although that too might change in the future. The reason why it is difficult to update say a Nokia phone I have been told is because new version of the Symbian operating system would mean porting all the quirky drivers, which is expensive. Any other views?

Back to TBL! He will be here in Finland to collect his 1 million euro prize. Great, I would like to attend the ceremony and perhaps listen to the other interesting bits and pieces at this technology conference. After all, I am a technologist. However Posted

Glossary in Latex

Glossaries list difficult or specialized words with their definitions. In XHTML that’s acronym (not abbr).

I can’t help but use strange terminology in my profession, although I think it is important to explain myself as well. Often I lose track of the meaning of acronyms I use every day.

BTW acronyms, abbreviations and glossaries all mean the same things to me right now.

It took me a while, but I managed to add a glossary to my texed thesis.

I used nomenclature package as it was installed on my system. GlossTeX wasn’t.

You need:

\usepackage{nomencl}
\makeglossary
\renewcommand{\nomname}{Glossary}

In the top of your latex source. Somewhere between \documentclass and \begin{document}.

Then you should make definitions of terms when you use them in your document:

\nomenclature{BTW}{By the way}

Then right down at the bottom before your bibliography definition.

\addcontentsline{toc}{section}{Glossary}
\printglossary

Finally you need to throw in something like:


makeindex $(FILENAME).glo -s nomencl.ist -o $(FILENAME).gls

Into your Makefile. Usually I would have put this super tip into my Tips&Tricks, but this blog seems to get much better google treatment. Perhaps I will move the tips someday here to blogland.

Cryptography, a Tool for Today

I found an old 1997 link about good essays on the web whilst in a googlefight with Jamie Kitson.

It is an essay about cryptography I wrote in my first year of my Computer Science degree in Bath. Seven years later, I am writing my Masters thesis in Helsinki.

If you don’t have Word, you can use something such as antiword. I chose to summon Openoffice 1.1.0 and see what it could to the proprietary document encoding.

  • It renders Word document perfectly
  • It converts Word to really ugly HTML. And even then it’s not very good.
  • It exports to PDF just fine. You are unable to view it in Openoffice. :/ Acroread shows great results, although xpdf shows a garbled mess!

If anyone can tell me how to convert Word documents to XHTML and CSS with images stored neatly as PNG in an images/ directory, I would love to know.

Updated: Cryptography, a Tool for Today , by Kai Hendry. Google DOC version

Debian Display

It’s not easy being a Debian user when it comes to displays.

I still have not managed to direct rendering to work on this ATI Radeon based chipset. Yes, I have radeon and agpgart in lsmod. There are so many critical issues with displays in Debian systems… I am going to ramble here.

Drivers are complex beasts nowadays. Non-free is not an option. That means Free software users are out of this 3D gaming loop.

Xfree86 and XF86Config-4 is… arg… you know…

hendry@scrooge-15:/etc/X11$ apt-cache search fonts | wc -l
332

Do we really need so many? xfont, truetype, font servers… It’s too complicated. :/

Unicode(ISO 10646) is such a pain in the ass. Many fonts do not have all the glyphs. What’s worse is you can’t tell easily how complete and compliant a Unicode font you are using has all the glyphs you might need. Is there some certification scheme? And I assume fully unicode fonts are quite hefty on the memory (and hard to find!).

I would like a policy where fonts on the system were just a couple good scalable complete fonts. A default Debian font! One for fixed width and one for variable. I should post a coherent version of this to debian-devel.

Anti-aliasing should be looked at. Yes, I have that stupid package mozilla-xft. On my display it makes fonts look blurry. I want my font’s sharp and defined. I want them to be able to scale. Small fonts look crap typically on my display. And then you get different types of hardware powering the display. CRT, CRT Flat, TFT… argh! Madness.

I want uniformity. I want the same font and the same readable size on any of the many different workstations I might use.
Right now will my uxterm font:

UXTerm*Font: -efont-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-16-*-*-*-*-*-iso10646-1

set in my ~/.Xresources, work on a RH machine? Will it be the same readable size as it is right now on a 1024×768 display as it is on my thinkpad’s 1400×1050? Btw, I am not terribly happy with “efont”. I would like zeros crossed like profont. Efont also looks a little oddly square to me. At least it’s readable right now. The previous default wasn’t. I found the details of the mystic line from a post on a Unicode mailing list somewhere. I should have found it with xfontsel, but didn’t. It sucks.

Now a little about how I like to have my display setup currently. Ion providing two vertically split windows. Uxterm providing the unicode terminal with at least 80 columns wide. 80 columns seems to be a magical limit of how long a line can be for puny humans. Finally the terminals are running bash with screen. I have about four virtual desktops I move between. One for IRC/Email. One for hacking on the local machine, and one for a remote machine I am working on. Final desktop is for Mozilla. I would love to teach ion to set this up for me when I log in. When I log in via xdm, I have to waste time setting up windows, connections and waiting for Mozilla to start. Grrrr….

Here is a screen shot of my setup, showing some details about my X display:

Screenshot

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Wordpress 1.2

I think I might NMU Wordpress 1.2 with Wordpress 1.2 Debian packages I made to close my bug.

Here is the rough basis of what I find useful for making multiple blogs in debian.

So after a setup a subdomain, I go into /web/natalian.org and run:

scrooge-15$ cat wpsetup.sh 
WORDPRESS=/usr/share/wordpress/
for i in `find $WORDPRESS -maxdepth 1 -mindepth 1 -type d`
do
NEWDIR=`echo $i | awk -F/ '{print $NF}'`
mkdir $NEWDIR
ln -s $i/* $NEWDIR/
done
for i in `find $WORDPRESS -maxdepth 1 -mindepth 1 -type f`
do
ln -s $i
done
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