Well I don't know who did what, but the new unstable release of Evolution (2.7.4) sure had a kick up the ass somewhere - on my set up (connecting to a locally hosted IMAP server) it feels like greased lightning compared to previous versions. Great job, whoever's responsible. If you're on the bleeding edge of whatever distro you run, give it a shot...

Peeve of the day

My peeve of the day: the widespread wrong usage of the word "refute". See this headline:

Cingular Wireless refutes lawsuit claims

If you look at the story, it's very clear that Cingular did not refute the claims. They rejected them.

Refute is a term with a specific meaning in terms of formal reasoning: it means to demonstrate that an argument is invalid by showing that either its premises or its conclusion are faulty. It does not just mean saying you think an argument, or a claim, or whatever, is wrong. If Cingular had in fact refuted the claims, they would presumably have won the lawsuit already.


When I hate my job, it's mostly like this. But then I don't hate my job very much, so that's all OK. :)

I love Americans

You gotta love the Americans...

I watched the Canadian Grand Prix this morning. Another fairly dull F1 race, but provided a nice contrast to what followed. I remember one driver coming into the pits with a damaged nose cone, the team switched it out for a new one in about fifteen seconds.

Then I happened to catch the start of a Nascar race at Infineon (Sear's Point). After a big smash caused by some terrible driving on lap 1, five cars ended up totalled or in the pits. When they finally managed to clean the damage up several laps later (I've never seen any accident in F1 take more than two laps to clear up, and that was considered terribly lax), one of the cars was still in the pits. Cut to a shot of the pit crew frantically bashing on the hood with hammers. Commentators: "...and they're still working on the car..."

Well, yeah, that's one way to describe it :). Still, less professionalism, much more fun...


"The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says."

I think I must be asleep already. I'm sure when I wake up that won't be a real quotation any more. Please, for the love of all that's sane.

From here.


It occurred to me a while ago now that one of the most interesting features of internet discourse is the rise of the ellipsis. Particularly the trailing ellipsis.

If you read message boards, comment threads, forum posts, blogs and the like you will see dozens upon dozens of occurrences of this - sentences, paragraphs or posts ending with ' ... '. What it all adds up to, to my mind, is a rather nasty form of intellectual laziness. It's almost always used to hint "well, this is obviously not the WHOLE of my brilliant idea, I have much more, but I simply can't be bothered to write it all down, so I'll stop here, leave a few dots to encompass the rest of the post, and go do something more interesting". Which is really a bit of an insult to the reader. The next time you're thinking of ending a post with ... , stop. If there's really nothing else to the post that you're leaving out, why use the ellipsis? Just use a good old period. If there is more that you're leaving out, then do the world a favour, and write it down.


So I'm personally not quaking in my boots at the competition with this round of releases...

SUSE 10.1 won't install in VMware. It just won't. First it refuses to believe there's any software on the DVD ISO (which VMware shows it as a DVD drive), then you can work around that by dropping to the text interface and validating the DVD first, but it then coughs up its guts trying to format the swap partition. I'm rather surprised that they didn't, it seems, test the darn thing in VMware before releasing it - it's a fairly common use case. (Google suggests I'm not the only one encountering these problems).

Ubuntu 6.06 - the 5.10 to 6.06 upgrade process went quite smoothly, they have a nice little in-place update system within the software update tool, but it inexplicably failed to update gcc. Or the kernel headers. Both of which I had installed.  This meant that on reboot, X broke (because the VMware mouse driver wasn't there any more) and the network broke (because vmxnet wasn't there any more), which I'd expected, but I couldn't rebuild them because the tools weren't there. I went back to the default mouse driver and got going again, then had some trouble restarting the network - Ubuntu's network config tools don't appear to be up to much, they just no longer believed the connection even existed although all its configuration was obviously still there, because when I manually loaded the pcnet32 module, the connection popped up fine. Seems the config tool will only work when the connection's working, which is somewhat...pointless. I was then able to manually update the kernel headers and gcc and get things back in shape, but it's a bit messy, really.

Ah well, back to the coal face.


Baseball's a strange world sometimes. Recent goings on with the Mets:

First, we make a low-risk trade for a veteran pitcher (Jose Lima). He has past success (1998-1999 in Houston, pitched over 230 innings each year, 37 wins combined, ERA under 4) and a poor recent record (2005 in Kansas City, only 5 wins with an ERA of 7). He comes to New York, makes a few questionable starts (three starts, 14.1 innings, 18 hits, 8 walks, 10 strikeouts, 3 losses and an ERA of 8.79 - marred by some horrible umpiring) and is more or less hounded out of town by a lynch mob.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.

We make a low-risk trade for a veteran pitcher (El Duque). He has past success (several good seasons with the Yankees, though only going over 200 innings in one season, plus his famous post season run) and a poor recent record (9 wins and 9 losses in 2005 with the White Sox, only going 128 innings, ERA 5.12; 2 wins and 4 losses in 2006 with Arizona at an ERA of 6.11). He comes to New York, makes a questionable start (5 innings, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, over a hundred pitches, ERA 5.40) and is promptly wreathed in laurels.

The only difference? The offence and bullpen picked El Duque up and the Mets won his start; they (and that terrible umpiring) let Lima down and we lost all his starts.

Like I said. Strange world.


So I lost the first round of the Coquitlam Open 3.5 yesterday 7-5 6-2, mostly due to some extremely dodgy calls on the part of my opponent. First up, I'm serving 30-40 down at 1-1, second serve, a ball from the next court rolls onto our court, he stops play to send it back, then doesn't call a let (this is a standard rule of courtesy in tournament play). I'd already done the same for him in a previous game. I stood there and looked at him for ten seconds, he didn't say a word. I promptly double fault. OK, so he just forgot, it happens. Fine. Then at 5-5, 40-30, I hit a point-winning first serve: good deep serve into his body, he parries it with a backhand that hits the net. I take a step towards the bench, and he calls a let. It wasn't a let, first of all. SECOND of all, you do not call a let AFTER you've hit your return and watched it hit the net. On the changeover he makes up some lame excuse about the floodlights not illuminating the net on our court (what the hell? They're exactly the same as the lights on every other court). Finally, in the next game (so he's serving at 6-5), 30-40, I hit a clean forehand passing shot that lands right on the baseline and he calls it long. I was standing at the net (I hit the shot after he hit a drop shot), so I saw it land very clearly; it's not possible to call the far baseline if you're standing on your own baseline, but from the net, you can see it easily. He goes on to win the game and the set. Three blatantly bad calls on game or break point: that's more than a coincidence. I don't know why people play like that, I really don't. I've never made even a close call in a tournament game, I follow the proper rule of always giving your opponent the benefit of the doubt. Does it make people feel like they've accomplished something to win like that? :\ I've got my first match in 3.0 today, I'm bloody well going to win that one at least.

So, in other news - sorry I've not been posting lately - work has mostly been tied up with finishing off Inside #2. Also Helio is back and fixing Kiosk's KDE bugs, yay. I also received a box of 50 nice printed copies of Mandriva One to give away to reviewers, new users etc: cool stuff. Unfortunately they're pressed from the early version of the ISO (the one distributed to Club members), not the final updated version, but still cool.

Yesterday I got my shipments from Amazon and YesAsia - the final series of Red Dwarf (which I remember mostly sucked, but you have to have the whole thing...), and a couple of albums, Salyu's Landmark and Mika Nakashima's Glamorous Sky. The Salyu album is gorgeous, just like the recordings she did as Lily Chou-Chou for the movie All About Lily Chou-Chou: she has such an intoxicating voice. The packaging is cute, too - the lyrics are included, not as one booklet, but as a set of individual picture cards.

The Mets are still winning. What the hell is up with that? Of course, there's bad news too: Victor Zambrano did his usual trick; just as almost everyone was finally agreeing that once and for all, yes, definitively, he DOES suck, he pulled his one good start of the spring out of his top hat and thus secured his presence on the starting roster for another few months while the argument starts up again. Sigh. I'm amazed he manages to keep fooling people like this: it's been going on long enough that people should have worked out by now that a stinky pitcher who manages to reliably pull off one good game every two months is still a stinky pitcher, just a frustrating one. Dump him already.