Archive for April, 2006

Another firefox rant

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Ok. I know my usage of firefox doesn’t confirm with the norm. I usually have 5-10 open firefox windows and each of those might have 5-10 (or more) open tabs, and I usually keep the damn thing running for several weeks at a time. This might not be normal, but it used to work just fine. These days, I’m having to override the caching behavior on every damned install.

In fact, even that isn’t good enough. Firefox suddenly likes to use more memory than it has in the past and it’s pissing me off. So this laptop doesn’t have a gig of memory – it’s “only” got 512MB, but firefox shouldn’t be causing me to contemplate physically upgrading the memory in my machine. Come on guys, fix that memory footprint problem in post-1.5. It just sucks.

Thrasy thrasy goes the box…


I’m shocked

Monday, April 24th, 2006

According to the BBC, it is claimed that the “Vatican may relax condom rules“. According to the former Archbishop of Milan, using condoms where one partner has HIV/AIDS is “a lesser evil”.

Well, I’m surprised. Right after I said I’d ignore the Pope until he said something constructive about condom use for AIDS victims in Africa. I never thought the Vatican would enter the 20th centuary, let alone the 21st. I also don’t believe they’ll actually go forward on the right path – but I hope I’m wrong about that. What’s next, female priests? Married to male priests? (shock, horror!).

What remains to be seen is whether they’ll publish a report and then silently ignore it, or adopt a more pragmatic position and help people in some of the most afflicted parts of Africa. They could even have those sea planes that go out to try to convert people and tell them God will forgive them (but without helping to avoid infection) carry a few million condoms too.


Whitehouse protests at Chinese visit

Friday, April 21st, 2006

The Chinese President Hu Jintao is in the United States being entertained at the Whitehouse as he continues to contemplate ways to exploit Chinese economic growth. During the welcome parade, a lone protestor (who had gotten in on a one day press pass) began shouting and was removed by the Secret Service. They charged her with disorderly conduct, but obviously decided not to press similar charges against Hu Jintao.

I loved the US media reaction to this. CNN criticised the Chinese media for “blacking out” screens when the protestor began speaking and for removing all reference to her actions. Yet, this is the same media that routinely delivers non-news, wouldn’t discuss Iraq properly for the longest time, and generally are a huge bunch of hypocrites on a level approximating Faux News.

The most amusing gaff came from the Whitehouse announcer, who announced the “National anthem of the Republic of China”. That’s Taiwan to the Chinese (who don’t like the ROC much because they decided they didn’t want to be repressed by the PRC any more) whereas the “correct” name for China is a People’s Republic. Of course, what do you expect? They’ve got overgrown kids running the Whitehouse (the Bush Administration), so it’s not surprising.

I’ve been working on a list of countries that I’d have a problem visiting. The list includes China, Turkey, and a few others that generally repress the right to free speech that their peoples don’t have in the first place. Turkey needs to join the EU like I need to join the People’s Republic.


Queen will never give up the ghost

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

According to BBC Breakfast news this morning, the Queen will never abdicate from her role as pointless monarch. Why should she? I mean, the King or Queen has historically been given carte blanche by God the almighty (in some kind of mumbo jumbo fashion) to do whatever they feel is right. And everyone in this country drank the koolaid so thinks this is perfectly fine (hint: the US had a point when they created their alternative system).

I particularly love the interviews they’re running with many misguided people who marvel at the Queen’s life and reflect upon how special she is. Yes she is special, special because she was born into the job. i.e. required no qualifications and was completely unelected by any of us. And she’s free to continue until she feels like giving up or dies. Then one of her equally pointless offspring will take up the valiant banner and continue the quest.

It’s not that I don’t think the Queen has a sense of humor (she did stand on the balcony of the Old State House and read the declaration of independence in 1976) it’s just that I think her job is redundant, deprecated and should have been removed long ago. The only viable option in any sane society is to have fully elected officials. Elected. As in, I voted for them (or not) but there should be no option for magical births into special jobs. Yes, the wealthy are often born into likely positions of future power but they still (at least in theory) need to get elected by some regular person. Yes, I’m bitter, no I don’t want to be the King.


On Upgrading firmware, getting fit, joining a community

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

So, I pushed out a trivial one line patch that introduces MODULE_FIRMWARE as a kernel API. If it (or something like it) is accepted, then we’ll be able to have drivers announce which firmware files they require rather than just hope they’re around at runtime. Most people seem to think this is a good idea, though one or two complain that this only helps modules. We’ll see.

I joined Fitness First today, forking out £65 ($115 US) of “we don’t charge a joining fee, but we have a startup fee” and roping myself into a regular monthly contribution. But hey, at least now I can (in thoery) go down to the gym on a morning/afternoon and burn some chocolate/whatever. Seriously, working from home means I really should do something like this to keep myself fit and active – I don’t have enough energy right now and it’s not all down to the virus that’s knocked me off kilter.

Finally, I started using gale after contemplating it for a while. Right now, I’m while I wait for the keys for to get signed and returned – we’ll then have a gale server on dmesg too for printk people. It’s an interesting community and the technology is somewhat different from other IM.


P.S. Apparently I have a virus, so there’s nothing they can do except tell me to come back in a week if I don’t feel better.

wasted weekend

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

I seem to have managed to get infected with something on my travels. And it’s not clearing up so easily either – so I’m going to a doctor in a few hours (once they open basically) to get some drugs in an effort to find a more heavyweight solution to this ongoing problem. I have swollen glands and what I would assume is a chest/sinus infection of some kind. Lovely.

Anyway. Aside from all the religious mumbo jumbo crap that was the official excuse for the long weekend I lost out on due to feeling crappy, I did get some things done. On Friday night, I finally got pissed off enough to fix whatever stupid ALSA bug was causing hangs (it’s in -mm now) every time I loaded up wine/cxoffice e.g. to play a video or (my favourite) indirectly by clicking on a hypertext link and having the corresponding plugin crash out my box. Not very useful for development – neither is the fact that VMWare doesn’t support 2.6.16.blah so I need to run for the moment (yes, I know about any-any, no it doesn’t work for me, no I don’t have time to figure out why at the moment – it’s not annoyed me to that level yet).

Obligatory rant about Easter

I’m not religious. In fact, those of you who know me to any degree know that I don’t buy any of it one bit – that doesn’t mean that I’m not sensitive to other people’s beliefs, just that I have no time for any of this stuff myself. I’m happy if people want to spend Easter contemplating the live and death of Jesus Christ – just don’t expect me to even feign interest in any of this stuff (other than purely from an analytical standpoint). So, I feel it’s rediculous the level to which this country is skewed in favour of traditional Christian festivals like Easter even in today’s multicultural society (which, by the way, is a very good thing). Yes, people who celebrate Easter probably includes a lot of the populous, but I don’t seem to be seeing prime time BBC TV shows covering Muslim festivals to the same degree, for example.

The pope should STFU and stop trying to tell Iran to play nice. I’ll listen to him when he agrees to sending contraception into AIDS ridden Africa, but until then, I have no interest in anything he has to say about how other countries should run their affairs. And he should know better about trying to tell the US how to behave – or has he forgotten all about the Crusades and the many other similar events through history?

It’s about time the UK fixed its national holidays around a non-religious base. In a similar vain, I agree with the NUT calling for an end to the creation of Faith Schools in the UK. I feel that those that are already in place should be compelled to offer a completely non-religious basis to their curricula. Like politics, education should be completely unbiased and not motivated by private enterprise or the apparent will of higher powers. By all means teach the stuff, but let the next generation have a chance to form their own opinions. Believe me, I went to a Catholic school – I know about this stuff first hand.

I used to enjoy Religious Studies lessons a lot because they were heavily skewed towards the Catholic viewpoint on almost all issues, and I wasn’t buying most of it. None of the other kids seemed interested in putting up a resistance or in doing anything much beyond inflating plastic hand gloves and letting them loose, or other similar time wasting activities. I loved debating original sin – the concept that even newborn babies have sin – and the second coming of Jesus Christ. I once kept the class pacified after someone asked me to get the group out of a test – so I got the brother teaching us into an 80 minute discussion on cryopreservation and its implications upon the second coming. If someone dies now, is frozen and is later brought back from the dead at some future time, have they risen from the dead?

Football, innit, wot syndrome spreading alarmingly

Apparently, up to 25% of voters in certain districts may vote for the BNP, the white supremicist party that has infected the UK over the last few years. The reason most often cited seems to be something to do with immigration and asylum seekers and how they’re stealing jobs or something. Yet I bet most of these people who claim to be “affected” are in fact merely annoyed that people coming to the UK will take jobs they won’t do (because why work when you can live off benefits the rest of us pay for, then complain when asked about the changing population) or in fact aren’t actually asylum seekers at all. Many people from Eastern Europe have come to live and work in the UK over the last few years – this is a good thing, it’s Europe working at its best. We’re free to do the same ourselves.

Anyway. I’m pissed off with this country’s voters at even contemplating voting for the BNP. By all means hate Labour, but don’t reduce yourselves to the level that you think you’re doing anyone a favour in voting those fuckwits into office. Just in case you don’t already know, I support the Liberal Democrats in the UK and the Democratic Party in the US. I’m pragmatic – I don’t think these guys have all of the answers, but they have some good ideas about how to improve upon the status quo.


breaking firefox

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

Apparently, in order to stop the stupidly broken in-memory cacheing, you can add the following to your user.js file in your firefox profile:

// Specify the amount of memory cache
user_pref(“browser.cache.memory.enable”, false);
user_pref(“browser.cache.memory.capacity”, 8196);

I turn it off, then force it to 8MB just in case. Whoever wrote that code either riddled it with memory leaks or just has a broken notion of knowing when memory is running low (read: my machine and those of other people swap themselves to death with firefox, just like good old bloatzilla always did – which is why it got its very own oom killer policy module).

I wrote a quick hack for kswapd to send events on low memory that I’ll clean up and push out but that’s a heavyweight way to fix this bug. Anyway, I love the way they describe this hack on their FAQ pages. You need to refer to 2 other pages just to know where the user.js file should be.