Entries from October 2007 ↓

Universal online identity

Apparently Linden labs (makers of Second Life) and IBM are collaborating to let people take their online identity and avatar between virtual worlds. It’s about time, but I really hope they pay attention to things that already exist like OpenID.

Desktop for linux needs to be more intuitive and actually work

This is all I’m saying. I spent ages trying to work out how to change the default application a file is opened with (in Gnome, for nautilus, Ubuntu fiesty).

You’d think system->preference->”preferred applications” would be the place to go. Or failing that, you’d go “right-click on a file”->”open with…” and then when you select an application it’d have a check box saying “always use this application for this type of file”. Maybe something similar to what Windows has. But no… instead, it’s under “right click”->properties for a file. Which makes no sense because it’s a global settings, not a setting for JUST that file, which is the only kind of thing that should be in a file’s properties window. I thought that lately, Gnome was all about usability?

And after wasting time on that, it turns out selecting from the list of applications doesn’t work. Just marvelous.

I actually stuck with the default Gnome setup for Ubuntu because I thought it’d be less bug prone then if I started using obscure software like I usually do. Turns out it doesn’t make any difference. I think I’ll go back to screwing around with Enlightenment, at least then I’m wasting my time doing something interesting.

I used to be very patient with linux. But as I have much less time to waste getting things working, I’m about ready to just stick with windows.

(I also spent 2 hours trying to get audio multiplexing working through alsa with dmix. It works alright, but 1. Multimedia Systems Selector has somehow disappeared from my Preferences menu, and 2. if I run gstreamer-properties manually, it doesn’t actually save any of the changes I make, and I can’t find the config file to edit it manually. Frankly I don’t know why dmix isn’t the default alsa device in a fresh install unless you’re one of the rare people that have a hw pcm-mixing audio device.)

I think people are still doing great work with linux, but it doesn’t seem any more usable then when I started using it in 1996. However, at least then I had the time to waste days playing with it.

Debian seemed to work much better, but perhaps I just expected it to require some setup? Whereas Ubuntu is touted as being ready for desktop users…

Portal page operational

I finally got around to (mostly) finishing my portal page. I still have to write my bio, and add an up to date resume, but it’s some progress at least!

This also means I fixed the lifestream link on the menubar. For those who haven’t heard the term before, a lifestream conglomerates RSS feeds from various sources. So my flickr pictures, my blog posts, etc. are all listing chronologically.

Drugs compared to mountaineering

The article linked below calls for the general public and policy makers to talk about drugs openly, and stop negative rhetoric about them, and actually discuss the issues instead of fear-mongering (via Tatjna).

In particular, the comparison to mountaineering is quite nice:

The truth is that recreational drug taking is like mountaineering. When all goes well, as it does most of the time, the experience can be fun and even profound. Not only can the experience be great, it can also give the adventurer insights into his or her own character and the workings of the brain, insights that can be applied to the rest of life. But drug taking, like mountaineering, can be dangerous.

Let’s all grow up, stop pushing lies and have an honest debate about drugs

Free Burma!

Today is the International Bloggers’ Day for Burma. More than three thousand bloggers around the world are participating to raise awareness of the Burmese junta and its oppression of Burma’s people. The protests may have been stamped out,and the monks murdered or imprisoned, but the international community must continue to pressure the Burmese regime to improve its human rights record and restore democracy.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you sign the Avaaz petition calling on the UN Security Council and the Chinese government to take action. It has half a million signatures already, and they’re aiming for a million. If you want to take more concrete action, Amnesty International will be holding protests in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin this Saturday as part of the Global Day of Action for Burma. Alternatively, you could also email the Burmese embassy expressing your disapproval, or write to or email members of the Burmese regime urging them to respect human rights and release political prisoners. But if you’re reading this, please do something. We can’t do a lot from so far away, but every email, letter, and voice raised helps.

Text borrowed from No Right Turn, and via mundens.