move along, move along

This is not the exciting recap of my travels that you’re all waiting for. This is my contribution to the improvement of the world, specifically that part of the world that keeps Xft apps — such as my beloved Thunderbird — from crashing like a crashy thing because the font cache is out of date. (more…)

would you mean this please, if it happens

I’ve been thinking about switching the mail system on bitchcake to use maildir instead of mbox format, mainly so that I can use a version of webmail that doesn’t take six months to open my wife’s old inbox. “This page”: makes it sound like a man of even my meagre talents could handle it, and probably without losing anyone’s mail!

Should I be resisting this urge?

couldn’t happen to nicer guys

“Mike Hoye”: is having a bad computer day, for which I have great sympathy. I’m sure he’ll tell us all about it. (I’m mildly inspired to set up something to protect other people from this sort of bad computer day. Wonder if I’ll find the time)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Zach is having a wonderful time with some drivers he’s trying to integrate into something or other:

< zab> I would have first identified this code as satire

I almost feel guilty; I had a pretty decent day, myself, though the gym would have been better if I’d eaten more of a breakfast beforehand.

the longer I’ll have to catch up

If I’ve promised some computer-administration task to you in the last little while (likely configuring Movable Type, the way my scribbled post-its look), now would be a good time to remind me. I have a vague feeling of enormous backlog, and can’t remember which favours are yet undone. Humour me; I have a bad movie.

how rude

I have a large collection of Tragically Hip bootlegs, which I store on this machine for my easy access from work and home and abroad. It’s not linked to from anywhere that I know of, but apparently “Google found it”: So some guy (, I don’t love you any more!) was pulling down MP3s as fast as the ISP’s link would take it, which is to say substantially faster than I would have liked. Kids these days, I tell ya.

friends like these

I have a Word document that I have to read. Sure, it’s just two pages, and it just contains text with no markup whatsoever, but the author used Word to hammer it out, so here I am. In order to view it, I want to install “, that’s what they call their software)”: on my laptop.

I have at my disposal two tools designed explicitly for the purpose of fetching this sort of software, and its dependencies, with minimal hassle. (more…)

with friends like these

A big part of every programmer’s life is debugging. Easily the majority, in my experience, and I like to think that I’m not a lot worse than average at this programming thing. Given that so much time is spent on it, the tools used can have a material impact on the quality of life of a debugging programmer.

On Linux, the debugger of record is “gdb”:, which is often to the practice of debugging as a gasoline aquarium is to fire prevention. I’ve been playing with “some C++ software”: over the weekend, and this has given me occasion to experience the “joys of gdb”: anew:

(gdb) p *this
Segmentation fault

[...time passes, work is repeated, hopes build again...]

(gdb) p _server
Segmentation fault

Maybe “6.0″: will be better, but then maybe not:

Specifically, if you set a breakpoint in a constructor or a destructor, gdb will put a breakpoint in one of the versions, but your program may execute the other version. This makes it impossible to set breakpoints reliably in constructors or destructors.

I wonder how much MSVC costs around here.

it’s not smuggling if they aren’t paying attention

At the best of times, I’m a pretty soft touch for interesting gadgets, and when “my”: “good”: “friends”: start acting as “enablers”, well, there’s not a lot that can be done. So I came back from Boston with a shiny not-quite-new iPod, and now I’m stuffing its abundant music hole with the most reckless of abandon. (2.8 gigs of Tragically Hip bootlegs from the year 2000 alone!)

On the way back, I clearly and righteously marked my toy’s value on the customs form, and was then somewhat surprised when they didn’t ask me to pay any duty; I had exceeded the 48-hour limit by a fair margin, and was three days short of the next allowance up (which would, in fact, cover it). I didn’t think it was my job to tell them their jobs — though I am often assertive about such corrective measures, I am pretty much never thusly inclined when dealing with customs and/or immigration officials, duty-owing or no.

I’m enjoying the iPod (30GB, “refreshed” with full warranty, touch-wheel, dock, middlingly-slim) quite a bit so far, which should not surprise anyone familiar with the concept of “new gadget honeymoon”. Tyla seems to like it too, which is an endorsement of a subtly different kind. If the Linux firewire support doesn’t go completely asshat on me tomorrow when I try to attach it to my desktop at the office, I will consider it an unqualified success.

a disturbance

There was a little bit of hard-knocks learning on the system that hosts this site today, on the topics of recursion, filename globbing, and permissions. I think it’s all better now, and I think we’re all set in case of a nation-wide apology shortage, but if you notice weird stuff here, or you run a service or something on the box and you notice weird stuff there, drop me a line.

Of course, I’ll be at our landlord’s cottage this weekend, so a fat lot of good that line-dropping will do you.

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