Jun 252014

Lately I’ve noticed a trend in mobile apps that started on iOS, and even is understandable there due to the sandbox nature of that os.

“Every mobile app will continue to evolve until it contains a web browser, antivirus, and anti theft features, no matter what is initial purpose was.”

In German we call that “eierlegende Wollmilchsau“.
An animal that produces wool, milk, eggs, and meat.
Sure would be nice to have for a farmer, but can’t be done.

So what is the connection to mobiles?

Well, look at this: right now I have on my tablet the different apps that can provide me with anti theft services, but only one of them had that when I installed it.
Same goes for anti virus, two of those, only one had such a feature when I choose to install it.
Or how about memory and storage cleaning… two again, one when I started with them.

Like I said, on iOS this can be understood, since the sand box nature of ios separates apps from each other to a much higher degree than on android…

But android should be different, its Unix after all, where the long standing tradition is to have small tools that do one job really well, and let them talk to each other.

Feb 072013

KDE 4.10 has been released, and I have upgraded my old desktop computer that sits on a shelf in our home server room and runs a NoMachine server to have KDE 4.10.0 on it.

First attempt: migrate my existing KDE 4.9.5 desktop environment.

First result: failure. Basically nothing related to kontact/KDEPIM works after this.

Second attempt: delete everything kde related from that home folder (basically ~/.kde*, ~/.local and ~/.config) and try again.

Second result: after going through the “wizard”, kontact/KDEPIM still needs too many additional steps to be actually usable, but after that it sort of works. I have no idea how much of it will still work if ~ is on a nfs drive, though.

Overall opinion: I hope that KDE 4.10 has matured enough once openSUSE 12.3 rolls around with it as the default KDE desktop.

Jan 162013

I have several wordpress blogs installed. All on the same webserver in different vhosts, same wordpress version, same plugins.

On two of them the plugin that does the tweeting/plurking/facebooking/googleplussing of new blog posts works fine … on two it does not.

And with no root access it is fiendishly hard to find out what’s wrong.

Oct 122012

I hate it when a mandatory update takes away functionality. In this case: twitter tools for WordPress.

The latest update now uses the “Social” plugin which integrates your blog with not only Twitter but Facebook as well. But it also takes away the option to have specific hashtags in your tweets about new blog posts.

Sep 042012

I just read a newsflash about an automated system shutting down a video stream because the video stream contained copyright protected material.

Sounds OK to you too? To me it does, until you dig into the details:

On September 2, the Hugo Awards ceremony took place, and was broadcasted live over the internet. Just in case you don’t know the Hugo Award, it is huge (pun intended). It’s a yearly award given to the greatest achievements in Science Fiction. I’ve put a link to Wikipedia in for anyone who wants more details.

So there is this huge ceremony, and halfway through awarding Neil Gaiman the Hugo for a Doctor Who episode he wrote, the video stream of the ceremony that thousands of people were watching all over the world gets cut off by the stream provider, UStream. Turns out that UStream is / was using a third party service to detect copyright violations in streams, and this third party flagged this Doctor Who episode, which was of course running in the background, as copyrighted. Which of course it was, but the decision to show it there had been made with the agreement of the copyright holder, so it should have been OK.

Later, UStream released a PR blurb explaining what happened, and also said that Ustream couldn’t restart its own live feed once Vobile had shut it down. (Vobile is the third party service; UStream for now has suspended using them after this incident).

So here’s where the scary part begins. Aparently, there are already cases where machines have more control over things than the people who originally employed the machines. Skynet, anyone? The Matrix, maybe?

What would it take to make those “machines” inter-operate, and suddenly decide that human postings on the net contain statistically way too many copyright violations to be allowed at all?

What is there to determine whether any given piece of information that you read was actually written a human being? How do you know that it is, in fact, true?

In seemingly unrelated news, a German court has decided that even the 160 characters of a twitter “tweet” can be enough to violate someone’s copyright. And even retweeting an offending tweet can make you a copyright violator. How many ways are there to tweet “I love you” at your girlfriend that have not been used already in romance novels?

Welcome to the new world – but I know you’re not going to like it.

Nov 142011

It seems that “the community” consists of three separate groups of people:

  1. the people who loudly demand features
  2. the developers who loudly debate the ethic, moral, technical religious impacts if the features demanded by 1. would be implemented
  3. the small group of developers who watch 1. and 2. and at some point say “Oh for crying out loud. What a noise over 5 lines of code.”

As an example, look at the discussion over the feature request in kmail where someone wants kmail to be able to remove attachments from mails.

As another example, look at this one. Some people would like to see single-sign-on in KDE4. The discussion was long and loud.

And, if you Google a bit, you find that the wallet daemon has had the required dbus call since KDE 4.4.2, for crying out loud!

Just that noone has bothered to point a finger at the required pam modules and helpers.

I’ve packaged them for openSUSE, get them from my OBS project and configure them as described in the readme files included in the packages, and you have single sign on.

Note: single sign on only happens if you actually enter a password on login. The typical suse setup with an user session starting automatically on boot can’t work with this.

Note: this seems to work only for local useraccounts, but not in a NIS environment.

Oct 082011

For various reasons I had to setup a Debian box. Debian 5.

For building software that would be distributed in binary form and should run on any linux.

The original software that mine derives from is being built on a debian 5 system.

So, I needed one as well.

Enter: VirtualBox for Mac + Debian 5 netinstall.

So far, so good, until I actually cloned my hg repo onto the deb box, and found that the clone had two heads.

… debian uses mercurial 1.0.1 on debian 5.



that is old.

very old.

It’s a miracle that debian has heard of unicode by now.

At least I think they have heard of unicode …

gotta check that.

Aug 032011

Lately I’ve come to think that there are two separate Internets out there, existing side by side and with little interaction between them.

One of them is the internet that we all know, populated by people who write their little rants about anything they care enough about.

The other is a scary place where semi-intelligent bots imitate human behaviour by auto-generating streams of gibberish aimed at each other, making it look like strangers talking to strangers.

Case in point: get a twitter account. post any random tweet but add “popular” hashtags. Observe the behaviour of “the net”. Pay special attention to some of the new followers you’ll get… do you really believe that someone follows 25000 people?

Who made up this “You have to be on twitter and facebook to be a successful company” fad, anyways?

Related: If “Search Engine Optimization” worked, none of those self-proclaimed “SEO Experts” would have to spam twitter… they would just be found with google.


Aug 022011

OK, so now I did a clean install on some old work laptop.

openSUSE 11.4, fresh off the DVD, on an empty harddisk.

KDE 4.6 or whichever version comes on the DVD worked fine, using the GSM/UMTS/EDGE card that my company gave me works fine too.

So I’m using that UMTS network to upgrade KDE to 4.7, and after that, plasma crashes every time I try to connect through UMTS… terminating the connection.

So, this time, not even a rollback to 4.6.5.


Jul 282011

ok, so KDE 4.7 is out.


After updating to 4.7, kmail complains on startup (which takes ages, btw) that “the server does not support TLS”. It sure would help to know which server. It also would help to be able to get at my mails at all; all my folders are completely empty. Oh, and deleting a mail from one of the folders that are not empty doesn’t work either.

rollback time.


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