The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

Archive for January 2007

Firefox bug: causes relationships to break up

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Found this while searching Bruce Schneier’s blog for something:
Bug 330884. From the report:

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Create 2 unique user accounts (for steps sake, let’s call the two accounts Joe and Mary) in Windows XP Home.
[...]
7. Log-in as Mary and open Firefox.
8. Browse, browse, browse… but you don’t really have to. Just go to “View Saved Passwords,” click on the tab that will show you sites to never save passwords for, and you’ll see whatever painful site Joe denied to save a password for.
9. Break-up with fiancé.

Ouch.
(Of course, the comments on the bug report include people giving relationship advice.)

Written by S

Wed, 2007-01-31 at 21:20:56 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Firefox bug: Autocomplete bookmark keyword queries

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Steps to reproduce:
1. Use “g” (or something) as a keyword for some search.
2. Type “g long query goes here which is too long to type every time”.
3. A couple of days later, start typing it again, and notice that although URLs auto-complete, these bookmark keyword queries don’t.

It would be nice if they did. The Autocomplete Manager extension (doesn’t work on Firefox 2) seemed at first to be a solution, but it is not.

(I heard that there is a long-ignored bug filed about this, but I couldn’t find it…)

Written by S

Wed, 2007-01-31 at 00:26:55 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Nutritionism

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An article called Unhappy Meals in the New York Times Magazine. Nearly 10000 words, every one of them worth reading.

Something (possibly unrelated) Freakonomics quorum on the obesity epidemic.

And Dean Ornish’s TED talk and an article.

Some more links I haven’t carefully read: Is nutrition science not really science?, Junk Food or Junk Science?, Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus.

Also, What if it’s all been a big fat lie?, and (heh) The Physics diet.

Written by S

Wed, 2007-01-31 at 00:25:06 +05:30

Greasemonkey script

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Via Lifehacker:
Eliminate extra exclamation points!!! on Zieak’s Blog. (Is 7144 on userscripts.org.)
Fixing things at the wrong end?

Written by S

Tue, 2007-01-23 at 23:27:55 +05:30

Posted in funny

What to do with a Debian/Ubuntu source package

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A Debian source package (something like this) often has files like xxxxx.orig.tar.gz, xxxxx-1.diff.gz and xxxxx-1.dsc. It wasn’t clear what to do with them, so I gathered courage and asked in #debian, and despite all the stories I’d heard about the channel, a couple of people were actually nice enough to answer: do dpkg-source -x xxxxx-1.dsc, which will extract the .tar.gz (don’t do it yourself) and apply the patch correctly. Then you have the source directory, where you can go and configure, make ….

Written by S

Mon, 2007-01-22 at 18:39:44 +05:30

Posted in compknow

The Firefox right-click bug

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I was having a bug with Firefox where right-clicking in some places would bring up two context menus, a sort of double-menu with one on top of the other, and with both of them working (but clicking somewhere else outside dismisses only one of the menus).
I searched around on Google a bit and found no mention of it… Recently, one of my friends had the same bug, so we knew what to do — look in the list of extensions that we had both installed, and find which one was causing it. The culprit turned out to be Image Zoom. I uninstalled it, and now everything works fine.

Update: There is a video of this behaviour.
Update: It seems (seems) to be fixed: here.

Written by S

Mon, 2007-01-22 at 18:24:44 +05:30

Posted in compknow

Indian music in the west: Ravi Shankar

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Indian Express article on India in the west, including the “disastrous” Woodstock.

The disastrous “non performance” was at Woodstock, the greatest pop jamboree ever. But, alas, it was too noisy for classical music. Worse, the flower children closest to the stage took their clothes off and proceeded to make love in the spirit of hippie freedom, even as Allah Rakha closed his eyes and covered them with his hands.
On this, the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, it is worth our while to remember the distinction between cultural “fusion” and cultural “confusion”. Ravi Shankar at Woodstock represented the latter.

From Wikipedia:

Ravi Shankar has been critical of some facets of the Western reception of Indian music. On a trip to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district after performing in Monterey, Shankar wrote, “I felt offended and shocked to see India being regarded so superficially and its great culture being exploited. Yoga, Tantra, mantra, kundalini, ganja, hashish, Kama Sutra? They all became part of a cocktail that everyone seemed to be lapping up!”

From an interview with Rolling Stone:

What did you think of “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”?
To tell you the truth, I had to keep my mouth shut. It was introduced to me by my nieces and nephews, who were just gaga over it. I couldn’t believe it, because to me, it sounded so terrible.

Did you like the Monterey Pop festival?
I was shocked to see people dressing so flamboyantly. They were all stoned. [...] Then I saw Jimi Hendrix. I saw how wonderful he was at the guitar, and I was really admiring him, and then he started his antics. Making love to the guitar. And then, as if that was not enough, he burned the guitar. That was too much for me. In our culture we have such respect for musical instruments, they are like part of God.

Do you miss the big audiences you had in the ’60s?
When George became my student, I got a new audience: the younger generation. And, of course, they came like a flood because the whole thing happened together with the hippie movement and this interest in Indian culture. Unfortunately, it got all mixed up with drugs and Kamasutra and hash and all that. I was like a rock star. The superficial people who just came because everyone else was going dropped out. Those who stayed are still there. They’re in middle age, and they don’t have beads or long hair, and they’re free from drugs. I never said one shouldn’t take drugs or drink alcohol, but associating drugs with our music and culture, that’s something I always fought. I was telling them to come without being high on drugs. I said, “Give me the chance to make you high through our music,” which it does, really. I think it’s good I made that stand, and that’s why I’m still here today.

Written by S

Mon, 2007-01-22 at 04:37:22 +05:30

links for 2007-01-21

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Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-21 at 06:05:19 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

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Getting stderr in a different colour

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This is the idea. Look at the posts in the thread called “coloring STDERR to terminal” here. Actually, Spliterr, linked to in the first one, doesn’t seem to be working… it prints all the stderr, then all the stdout, then crashes.

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-21 at 01:03:50 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Civility, Netiquette

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David Pogue posts about it here, and a followup here.

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-21 at 00:52:41 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

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Web Design: Accessibility

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Look at Dive into Accessibility; another site of Mark Pilgrim’s.

Some interesting things:

  1. The table trick. It is explained very well here
  2. To test how it works in Lynx: Lynx viewer
  3. To test how it works in other browsers: Browsercam (paid), or browsershots (free).
  4. To test how it looks to colour-blind people: Vischeck. Colour vision is also examined here and here.
  5. Group funding: fundable.org
  6. Using relative font sizes: here, here, and here

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-21 at 00:51:00 +05:30

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Cheating, history

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Via Bruce Schneir’s blog:

1933 Article on Crooked Gambling TechnologyIn every generation, criminals are near the leading edge in applying new technology to steal things.

Also see: The Chess-playing Turk
Wikipedia Category:Hoaxes

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-21 at 00:47:45 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

I think I got this del.icio.us thing set up…

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I tried to register on del.icio.us, was told that my username, tried the password that I might have used then, logged in, and now I think that thanks to the instructions here, I’ve enabled daily posting of links from del.icio.us to here. Let’s see how this works…

Update: Ok, it works, but there are several obvious problems:
Things to watch out for:

  1. The del.icio.us syntax for tagging a bookmark with multiple tags is to use spaces to separate them, not commas
  2. If you update your bookmarks (edit their description or their tags), it doesn’t get reflected here (obviously).
  3. The categories on delicious are unrelated to the ones here (again, this is obvious, too).

All things considered, I’m probably giving up on using del.icio.us… let’s see.

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-21 at 00:38:27 +05:30

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Tabs in Emacs

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Here is an incredibly detailed page on Tabs in Emacs, and I’m sure it doesn’t even explain the issues completely :-)

Written by S

Sat, 2007-01-20 at 22:46:00 +05:30

Posted in compknow

JavaScript, etc.

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Chris Heilmann posts on teaching the language v/s its usage. Another post with not-to-dos. A (free) book on Unobtrusive JavaScript. A feature article about the importance of maintainable JavaScript on Vitamin (whatever that is), and Digg comment thread (unlikely to be useful, but…). Also, an article/tutorial/book called From DHTML to DOM scripting (but the words may be related). A chapter on Best Practices.
By other authors: Some stuff at quirksmode.org,

Written by S

Sat, 2007-01-20 at 19:26:30 +05:30

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The trouble with the b-word

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Just now, I wanted to look for something that I had seen recently — a couple of months ago — and it took me a great deal of searching on Google to find this. This is exactly the kind of thing I’m trying to avoid by using this WordPress thing, so I wondered what went wrong.

WordPress.com is actually a “blogging” platform, and is not really intended for the kind of use I’m putting it to — as a bookmark manager where I can add annotations. This shouldn’t affect me, but I think it somehow did. I didn’t record that link I saw because I felt having only that link would somehow be unworthy of a “blog post”. This is stupid, as no one reads this “blog” anyway (except the 50 or so people who come here everyday through Google searches), so there is no need for me to care about polluting the “blogosphere” (ugh) with garbage. I’m going to stop doing so. There is also the “private posts” feature to make better use of…

Written by S

Sat, 2007-01-20 at 18:52:38 +05:30

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Materialism and “affluenza”

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There is an article in the Guardian on “affluenza”.
And I also recall Philip Greenspun’s quote:

Not being a materialist in the U.S. is kind of like not appreciating opera if you live in Milan or art if you live in Paris. We support materialism better than any other culture…

Written by S

Fri, 2007-01-19 at 02:07:50 +05:30

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Tagged with ,

Usability

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Tassilo Horn’s blog set me off.
http://xwinman.org/ is a useful guide to X window managers.
dwm is a dynamic window manager (screenshot) (IINM, “{dynamic,tiling} window managers” are the same thing.) Stumpwm, of course, is well-known.
[Update: As tiling window managers go, XMonad is definitely what you should use.]

The first part of this post, linked to from the ion wm manifesto, makes a distinction between usability (easy-to-use) and approachability (easy-to-learn). That in turn linked to the paper called “The Anti-Mac interface” [ACM]. I felt this was very well-written; it is something everyone should read.
There is a post called “Towards the Anti-Mac” which makes some points and claims that some Free Software is already moving in that direction. I didn’t read it very carefully, but it didn’t seem very convincing.

Offtopic: A post that says that “windows users are actually very very patient and willing to go through much work in order to get a particular application or peripheral to operate.”
Finally, a bunch of stuff that makes fun of Jakob Nielson. I didn’t know that he had made enough controversial statements to be made fun of, or even was famous enough.
(And from one of them, some Flash defenders.)

Written by S

Thu, 2007-01-18 at 19:29:35 +05:30

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Funny warnings and signs

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I shouldn’t have read this Slashdot article. I did, and a couple of hours of my life are irrevocably gone. As usual.
MLAW, the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, has for a long time now been collecting silly lawsuits and stupid warning labels, as in this list here. (“Do not eat toner”, “Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover”, etc.) I also remember wasting time many years ago at dumbwarnings.com, who (IIRC) are related somehow to the book Wearing of This Garment Does Not Enable You to Fly.
Given the nature of Slashdot, and my nature, I was soon looking at creative pictures of warnings (also here), outright bizarre warnings, and, eventually, just funny signs in general. I remembered finding a very comprehensive collection about a year ago, so I found it again: Start here and keep clicking on next. There are 180, so it will take quite some time. I love the totally arbitrary Total 4663 sign. (BTW, I have it on Snopes’s authority that at least this one is real, and a few others as well.) There’s also Child Bear: try guessing what that is supposed to be without reading the Hindi!

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-07 at 15:03:59 +05:30

Posted in funny

Either it’s irony, or it’s sad

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From the changelog in The 60 Minute Network Security Guide by NSA:

These updates where to fixes grammar and syntax.

Meanwhile, 99.9% of Proper Grammar Is Obsolete, an article that claims to be a parody but is frighteningly close to the truth.

Written by S

Sun, 2007-01-07 at 11:40:46 +05:30

Posted in funny

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