Friday, January 22, 2010

Are You?

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Browser Discipline

I love tabbed browsing, but I found that I usually wound up, after a number of hours, with a bazillion tabs, lots of duplicates, and I'd occasionally "lose" a tab I was trying to do something with after having opened up another tab to go hunt down some piece of information that I needed to do whatever in the first tab.

Firefox and Chrome can both get weird when you open up too many tabs in too many windows, occasionally disastrously so. I commented on this, on someone suggested that it "sounded like a workflow problem", and on consideration, I decided that was probably so.

I finally solved the problem by instituting a browser discipline: I have six browser windows, no more, no less, except perhaps for a few minutes at a time:
  • Personal Stuff: my Gmail, the sites I use to study Japanese, etc.
  • Work Stuff: like it says
  • Programming, Web design and site admin: I throw this stuff all in one place. It ranges from control and admin panels for various sites to my web analytics stuff
  • Blogs and blogging: Blogs I write and ones I read
  • Social media: Twitter,, YouTube, Facebook (which used to be on my "Personal Stuff" page, there's a reason for that which may become clearer in time), and articles and postings related to social media...
  • Interesting Stuff: any miscellaneous things I turn up and want to remember to look at, but can't easily categorize otherwise. Google News, TechMeme, and some other similar sites are usually on here, as is miscellaneous reference stuff...
The number of tabs I have in these windows varies, from a minimum of six, usually, to twenty or more, depending on what's going on.

This has made life a lot easier, and saved a bunch of wasted time and frustration. I don't know whether anyone else rins into stuff like this, but if you do, give it a shot, and let me know how it works out for you...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shane Fagan Corrects Misapprehensions About GNOME 3

Shane Fagan has a good post on "debunking GNOME 3 myths", which unfortunately is syndicated to Planet Ubuntu, but not Planet GNOME. You should read it if you have an interest in the plans for GNOME 3.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A New Survey!

I'm conducting a new survey, this time on attitudes around FLOSS and proprietary software. I expect people who felt the previous survey to be less than entirely even-handed will find this one somewhat more to their liking. Please pass around the link to the survey below as widely as you can: we got over 1500 respondents to the last survey, which was terrific!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Free as in "Free of any factual value whatsoever"

Once again, my management has received a lovely letter from a "freedom-lover", making a variety of exciting claims, such as the following:
Your employee David N. Schlesinger has in public admitted to publishing stolen pornographic photographs. This behavior of his looks very bad indeed for both ACCESS, Inc. and the Gnome Advisory Board which ACCESS pays $10,000 per year to keep Schlesinger sitting on.

Fun stuff. I've also had fraudulent DMCA claims and ICANN notifications from the very same "freedom-lover" to deal with this morning. It's terrific the way that folks who like to tell you how they're are all about "freedom" find means to justify their apparent ends.

In more immediately relevant news, the suggestions that using the VirtualServer directives in Apache's httpd.conf was a better way to go turned out to be true. It also turns out that avahi won't do DNS on a subdomain without heroic measures.

Also, the "First ELSE" phone, which is based on the ACCESS Linux Platform, and incorporates an extremely cool UI based on clutter and other GNOME goodness, is getting a lot of positive notice based on its appearance at CES. Congratulations to the Moblin team for a good showing at CES as well!

(Also, Blogger is a idiot. If you add an "<" in WYSIWYG mode, it thinks you're entering a tag. And then is adds a "/VirtualServer" closing "tag". If you type "&lt;" in HTML mode, it does the same! You have to type "&lt;" in WYSIWYG mode for it to work. Grumble, grumble.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

mod_rewrite Problem Apparently Solved!

Thanks to a pointer from Niko Sams, I seem to have gotten my configuration issues with Apache and mod_rewrite sorted out. What finally worked in the .htaccess file was the following:

RewriteCond %{http_host} ^(.*)\.karasu\.local
RewriteCond %{request_uri} !^/+(karasu\.local)/?
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://karasu.local/%1/$1 [L]

Thanks So, now "http://karasu.local" serves me /var/www/index.html and "http://live.karasu.local" serves me /var/www/live/index.html. Cool.

Okay, off to try to debug storytlr's Twitter notifications!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Any .htaccess/mod_rewrite Pros Out There?

I'm playing around with setting up a storytlr test server (Linux Mint "Helena", effectively Jaunty, with the usual LAMP stuff and avahi for ZEROCONF mDNS service) for debugging purposes here—posting notifications to Twitter is broken, broken, broken—and I wanted to put the installation in a sub-domain mapped to a sub-directory, e.g. http://live.karasu.local --> /var/www/live/. I'm running into issues trying to get mod_rewrite to do its magic.

You'd think there would be good examples of the right combination of RewriteCond's and RewriteRule's to accomplish this, and there may well be, but I'm mostly turning up more evidence that I'm not the only one who's had a lot of trouble with this, as well as a few things that seem, at first glance, plausible, but which fail disastrously in practice.

Anyone got a good canned solution for this? storytlr gets very unhappy if it doesn't believe it's in a top-level directory, and I'll just install it there if I don't come up with a better solution, but it's aggravating me that an (apparently) simple problem is so difficult to solve.

Oh, the following is for He-Knows-Who, He-Knows-Why:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Here's a Nice Christmas Present...

eschnou and alrdw in Belgium, the folks at, which was "not a startup, just a fun project" who had been offering their interesting social media aggregator as a service, decided to fold up their tents at the end of 2009, and as a sort of parting gift, released their codebase under the Apache license, as they had planned to from the outset.

storytlr, written in Javascript and PHP, was inspired by Loïc Lemeur's call for a "centralized me", and allows the aggregation and streaming of content from Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Flickr, Google Reader,,, Picasa, Qik, Joe Random RSS Feed, Seesmic, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, TwitPic, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube favorites.

Entries can be "mashed up" into stories, as well, and it seems easily customizable in a variety of directions.

Installation is pretty straightforward, although it does not seem at all to want to live anywhere other than a root directory: I need to fiddle around with the rewrite rules to get it to live in a synthetic subdomain. You'll need PHP5, plus mcrypt and curl. Handy tip: set "debug" to 1 in the config.ini file when you start it up, or you'll likely be looking at a blank page and scratching your head for a little while.

The initial drop of the sources is at, and it's well worth taking a look at if you're interested in this sort of thing...