31 October 2006

Web Photo Scams Across the Ocean

Just read Daniel's post about aigars.co.uk and web shop scams, particularly in the photo camera world. Nice find Daniel. Photo retailer web scams have been a problem on this side of the Atlantic and haven't heard much about this practice in the EU.

As an example of similar stuff going on especially in NY, check this news report[annoying NYT advert] about the PriceRitePhoto.com scandal. Mr. Don Wiss has been taking snapshots of these dealers' stores and puts them on a web page dedicated just them. The last time I saw a major scam come to lime light was when Thomas Hawk had a brush with PriceRitePhoto.com.

In light of this I tend to buy my photo equipment by going to the store in person :)

30 October 2006

Long web pages and mousewheel

Long web pages are very common in this age of planets and forums and it becomes annoying to scroll the mouse wheel multiple times to go up and down these pages. Firefox does not have the extravagant preferences interface as its venerable big brother to change the number of lines the mouse wheel scrolls on a page. In case you want to change/increase the number of lines scrolled with the mouse wheel all you need to do is to change the following settings in Firefox's about:config.

mousewheel.withnokey.numlines -> 5
mousewheel.withnokey.sysnumlines -> false

The first option controls the number of lines scrolled by one mouse wheel scroll event (default is 1). The second option tells Firefox to use the system's number of lines scrolled by the mouse wheel scroll event. So to remove the dependency on the system settings, I changed it to false (default is true). After these changes, try scrolling a long web page and see the decrease in amount of effort it takes to go down the the bottom of the page.

Happy scrolling :)

PS: Bought a basic optical Microsoft wireless mouse on a deal for $9.99 as a replacement for the last roller-ball mouse on my music server.

29 October 2006

The "Debzilla Affair" - II

Following up on my last post about the Debian-Mozilla affair which is still making the news. It has been going on since around March 2004 when Debian contacted Mozilla regarding trademark issues. Much has happened between then and now, and still continues to happen. I had followed the issue a couple of times when Gerv was representing Mozilla.org. More recently the communication has been going on between Debian and MoCo. As it is difficult to keep track of what taken place in this long ongoing process, I cooked up a page on the main highlights of the affair. You can find it here. Add to comments if I missed something to keep the chain of events intact.

Comments should be kept on topic i.e. regarding the chronology of the ongoing matter. This is not a place to give ideas about what either side should/must do get a resolution.

27 October 2006

The "Debzilla Affair"

Documenting the chronology of the Debian-Mozilla affair which is (unfortunately still) going on. More on this later.

26 October 2006

Release Marathon

It has been a marathon week for different release of open source software. Tuesday, the 24th of October, saw the release of the shiny new Firefox 2.0 and the newest offering of the Fedora Project, Fedora Core 6 (Zod). Today is the birthday of our small but strong new candidate, the Edgy Eft. Edgy Eft is the latest release of Ubuntu Linux featuring lots of improvements in addition to a brand new GNOME 2.16, new artistic artwork, curvy window corners, the new upstart init system, localizations for almost everyone, etc.

So get yourself a gift this fall and install Ubuntu. You can get it from the download page. Although I am still getting the 6.06 download links, the download mirrors should soon synchronise and give you the 6.10 i.e. Edgy Eft. If you use bittorrent, now is the time to take advantage of the distributed sharing technology. Download an Edgy Eft torrent and start up your client. It will ease up the load on Ubuntu's download mirrors.

I just can't wait to install Edgy Eft for a friend this weekend :)

24 October 2006

Mozilla Confusdation™

Haa, BBC is also reporting that Firefox 2.0 has been released. Their ticker on the top says: "LATEST: A new version of popular web browser Firefox is launched". The link sends the user to the news items saying Firefox 2.0 debuts on 24Oct.

Plus BBC has a link on the right side with the text "Mozilla Foundation" but the link goes to Mozilla Corporation website. The image below shows the target link on the status bar when the mouse is hovered over Mozilla Foundation hypertext. So much for the release confusion that this post is named "Mozilla Consfusdation™".

Firefox™ 2.0

No, it has not been released officially yet. But it will be in a few hours when the website updates according to the PST. There have been announcements on popular websites about Firefox™ 2.0 builds appearing on Mozilla mirror network. And as usual people are pounding the mirrors already!

The early news being released on other websites and the detrimental effects it can have on the Mozilla mirror network has annoyed/angered the Mozilla network/release team once again. But did they really expect the ever vigilant community to not post the news the very first chance they got? If they did, they haven't learnt from the previous releases. No matter how much you tell people not to put direct ftp/mirror links, they will. Ok, maybe some won't but many will, to have the same detrimental effect. The naughty kid will always find the jar of cookies/candies unless it is locked away. So Mozilla please stop crying and deal with the 2.0 release.

The question now is not how to hide the releases till the release time, but to have a stratergy which prevents/reduces any early linking mal-effects to the mirror system. Other large OSS projects like Fedora Core, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. also make releases and their mirror systems are under heavy loads during the first few hours if not days. Maybe Mozilla should consult with them on how they can manage during those phases more efficiently.

That aside, I can't wait to start using the new Firefox™ 2.0 which my friend told me has a cool spell check feature and remembers the tabs across sessions.

PS: yes, I was whining about Firefox™ in the last post. But hey, this is 2.0 time now. Lets see how it works under pressure :)

PPS: I'm wondering when it will hit the debian repos? ;)

23 October 2006

Grrr ...... Firefox™

Before closing Firefox™

~/tmp$ free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 775880 768184 7696 0 5660 330800
-/+ buffers/cache: 431724 344156
Swap: 979924 38612 941312
~/tmp$ ps uax | grep firefox
u1 13606 2.7 22.7 472800 176276 ? Sl Oct21 80:17 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox-bin
u1 18930 0.0 0.0 1644 524 pts/7 R+ 16:22 0:00 grep firefox

After closing Firefox™

~/tmp$ free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 775880 582932 192948 0 5900 329048
-/+ buffers/cache: 247984 527896
Swap: 979924 38612 941312

Wow! Closing Firefox released about 210MB of RAM! Ksysguard was showing a memory usage of about 450MB for the firefox-bin process! That explains why it acts like a drunk homeless guy if you run it for more than a day.

18 October 2006

Doing Updates

I'm finally took the plunge and started the pending updates for the MBP. I thought I should do these to have enough time to get it repaired before some travel plans which seem to be just around the corner. A friend of mine did the updates to her Macbook and ended with a blue screen of death!

Almost done now..... rebooting..... and basic updates worked fine. Now for the biggie 10.4.8

Dumb and Dumber and ...

Daniel: you will definitely need to use some French superlatives after using Dumb and Dumber for Iceweasel and Icedove. Iceeape (Seamonkey or Mozilla Suite?) and Sunbird's new avatar seem to be coming out some time in the near future.

Dumbrer is good only for the likes of Harry/Lloyd!

16 October 2006

Introducing Icedove

This came in today:

~/$ apt-cache show icedove
Package: icedove
Priority: optional
Section: mail
Installed-Size: 30936
Maintainer: Alexander Sack
Architecture: i386
Replaces: mozilla-thunderbird, thunderbird, mozilla-thunderbird-offline
Provides: mail-reader, imap-client, news-reader
Depends: ...snip...
Suggests: ...snip...
Conflicts: mozilla-thunderbird (<= 1.5-2), thunderbird (>=, mozilla-thunderbird-offline ...
Description: free/unbranded thunderbird mail client Icedove is a
unbranded Thunderbird mail client suitable for free distribution.
The goal of Thunderbird is to produce a cross platform stand alone
mail application using the XUL user interface language.
Icedove/Thunderbird leaves a somewhat smaller memory footprint than
the Mozilla/Seamonkey suite.

Let the flame wars begin :p

Update: somebird would have suited better for a rename ;)

12 October 2006

Windows XP and Ubuntu

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine told me that his laptop's hard disk seems to have died. Various efforts to revive it enough to get back the data (precious images) were unsuccessful. The hard disk was not even detected by the BIOS and was making an awfully loud noise when power ON. So it was time for a new hard disk (the warranty expired a week before the carsh!!).

The hard disk was delivered pretty quickly by newegg.com. My friend wanted a trustworthy installation and so I suggested dual-booting it with Ubuntu and using Windows only when needed. He agreed :)

Out of the 80GiB hard disk, he used 55GB for Windows and left the rest for Ubuntu. I walked him through the installation, over phone - about 2hrs, and the results were awesome. His Intel 2915 wireless chipset was automatically detected and he just had to put in his hex key to start using the uni's internet! After that I asked him to install ssh server and I was able to logon remotely to his machine. I installed other small packages e.g. flashplayer, acroread, etc. and it was all ready to be used. The whole process of installation of Ubuntu required only 1 reboot, and another one only to use a newer kernel. Everything was working: sound, video, wireless, Fn+ buttons for volume, brightness, etc.

After that I told him that everything is done and he can freely use Ubuntu. Then he asked me to double check if everything was installed on the Windows partition too. The Windwos XP installation had already required atleast 3reboots, and then it required a reboot after he installed the antivirus, wireless drivers, graphics drivers, etc. And then a few more reboots for windows updates!!

I'm amazed at the state Linux has reached especially Ubuntu and Debian that it can be installed by someone with almost zero knowledge about Linux, some help via telephone, and that most of the drivers are automatically installed. Kudos to Ubuntu and Debian too.

3 October 2006

Urban Flying Training

The last time I saw a helicopter hovering near my building, I found out it was due to the shooting. So obviously I was surprised to see them hovering over downtown again. I can still see 1 of the helicopter just hovering at a distance and (at least) two fast helicopters doing rounds over downtown. Update:There was a public service annoucement regarding this practice.

It turns out that the armed forces are doing some kind of urban flying training. That is good to hear but I have noticed that people on the streets are looking upwards as I was and look surprised. I hope people driving vehicles are looking straight ahead!

PS: Will get some pics up here soon.