mwolson.org Blog - Everything

Thu, 18 Sep 2008

When not to use Gmane

Gmane is a handy way to follow mailing lists, especially those with a large volume of messages. There are cases when it is not a good idea to use it, however.

Maintainers of a project should definitely not use it to follow mailing lists for their projects. The same goes for active contributors. The reasons are as follows.

  1. If your main computer breaks down and you have to rely on just websites, you would have to visit the Gmane web interface for each mailing list that you're a part of. This would mean you can't easily keep track of which messages have been seen, and becomes a hassle if you're involved in several projects.
  2. More things can go wrong. Most people use something like leafnode to download messages from Gmane. I recently ran into a bug where leafnode was not fetching messages for any newsgroups (after about three weeks of being without internet access) until each newsgroup was visited and had all of its messages read. I just don't have time to investigate such things.
  3. If your mailing list has a policy of sending replies both to individual senders and the list itself, this is nontrivial to do.

Sun, 07 Sep 2008

Coffee, take 2

I've come up with my own way of preparing coffee. The goal is to make something that tastes decent, takes less than two minutes to prepare most mornings, and only occasionally requires brewing. This is similar to my earlier post on this topic, but with an improved formula.

Dependencies

Equipment

Ingredients

Directions

Preparing a batch

  1. Follow normal coffee-making directions, but with the following proportions. Make sure to place the medium-roast coffee into the coffee-making apparatus before adding the espresso coffee.
    • 5-6 cups of water
    • 1/4 cup of medium-roast coffee
    • 1/4 cup of espresso coffee
  2. Let prepared coffee cool, and then pour into 1-liter container and store in refrigerator.

Preparing a single cup

  1. Fill cup about 1/4 full of refrigerated coffee mixture.
  2. Fill cup with milk to about 2/3 full.
  3. Heat cup in microwave between 1 minute and 1.5 minutes, depending on desired temperature.
  4. Add creamer to taste. I usually add around 3 teaspoons of it.

The resulting cup of coffee has a nice flavor from the scalded milk, and the espresso adds a much-needed note of authenticity.

Thu, 07 Aug 2008

No more PGP signatures

I'm going to stop using PGP signatures in email messages that I send. While it can be satisfying to sign off on every email by entering a PGP passphrase, it is just not worth the effort anymore. Not enough other people use them, and many of those who don't use them get confused when they receive these messages, due to their email clients sucking.

Wed, 06 Aug 2008

The next big thing: sharing GUI windows

I think that the next big thing in GUI apps should be the ability to take the exact contents of a window and send them to a remote machine. The use case for this is: you start an app at home, go to work, ssh (with X forwarding) into your home machine, and realize that you need to use that app again. Normally you'd kill the app and restart it. But what if you could just "clone" the window so that it appeared on your work machine, responsive to new input? I'd love to see functionality like this being added at the toolkit level (i.e. GTK, Qt) so that application developers would not have to do any work to activate it.

One of the nice things about running many apps in Emacs is that I already have that ability. I can just use the multi-tty support in Emacs 23 to open up either a terminal window or a new GTK frame, and then switch to the buffer that contains the app.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008

Disabling the suspend button

I have a keyboard with a suspend button. I also have a desktop which I'd like to remain on all of the time, despite accidental presses of this button. Here is how I protect myself from the fumble-finger freeze.

For a while I thought that this event was managed by acpid, but in fact it is managed by HAL, hence the need to change it via gnome-power-preferences.

Mon, 21 Jul 2008

Org mode likes and dislikes

I watched the Org-Mode Google Tech Talk video recently. It helped me to understand more of what Org-Mode was about. I thought I'd share some likes and dislikes concerning Org-Mode.

Like:

Dislike:

Open questions:

Sun, 13 Jul 2008

Spice and Wolf

I came across a most excellent anime series recently: Spice and Wolf. The main character is a laid-back and calculating trader, and the his companion is a cunning, mischievous, yet fierce wolf goddess. The back-and-forth between them is enjoyable. The plot mostly concerns the trading ventures of the main character, and the distractions to the guy's normal routine due to his new traveling companion. The music fits very well, and reminds me a little of Haibane Renmei. It has been a while since I've liked opening and closing themes for an anime this much. I am very much looking forward to picking this one up when it becomes available for US distribution.