Caffeine Peter Colijn

February 06, 2007 (link)

I'm sorry, you can't put that much brown in a product and give it a name that rhymes with "poo" without expecting some juvenile feces jokes.

In any case, I just recently bought a new x86_64 machine and decided to go with Ubuntu because, although I like Gentoo, the amount of maintenance required is a bit high. So far, I'm pretty impressed. The 64-bit hell has been much milder than I expected. I got flash working in my 64-bit Firefox by using some nspluginwrapper thing that was pretty painless. I also installed quake3 and had it running easily by simply running it and the installation programs using the 'linux32' command. So far, so good.

One thing I'm anticipating though is wanting to install software that's not in the repositories. You can sometimes find third-party repositories with broken dependencies that will happily screw up your system beyond repair, but I'd rather not do that. What I really love about Gentoo is that if you want to install some custom thing that's not in the repository, it's incredibly easy to just write an ebuild for it and get it managed by the package manager. In Ubuntu or Debian, you either manually maintain a pile of crap in /usr/local or build your own packages. And I never really got the Debian packaging system; it always seemed so much more complicated than RPMs, which in turn are more complicated than ebuilds.

So what do you, dear LazyWeb, do when you want to install some thing that's not in the official repositories? /usr/local, find some sketchy third-party repository, build a deb?

February 20, 2007 (link)

On Airports

Should you ever have the opportunity to fly into our out of EWR, I heartily recommend avoiding it at all costs. First it's a PITA to get to, being in New Jersey, otherwise known as that sucky place that's far from Manhattan where the subways don't go. And the trains that do go there suck badly. I had to wait over an hour to catch one tonight. Then there are the crappy check-in machines that happily tell you to go see the check-in people while, during the course of being slow and annoying, 10 more people get in line ahead of you. Finally, there are the sucky airlines that like to cancel flights due to winds. Seriously, winds? What kind of lame-ass excuse is that? And it's not like this is Vancouver or something; this area gets its fair share of snow and other annoying weather. Sigh.

DTW, on the other hand, is sparkly clean, well-labelled and easy to use. You always hear about how much Detroit sucks, but at least they have a nice airport. I have a theory that goes approximately like this: niceness of airport is generally inversely proportional to popularity of destination, in North America at least. NY has 3 airports, all of which are ghetto and inconveniently located. Detroit? Nobody wants to go there, but hey, they've got a great airport. I guess if people like your city enough you don't need a good airport to woo them, is that it? Similarly, YYZ is geaawdawful but YYC is fairly pleasant. In Europe and Asia I have found good counterexamples (AMS and HKG, respectively), but none in North America. Anyone care to help me out? SFO is kinda okish, but pretty far from the city and still kinda ghetto, especially the domestic area.

February 23, 2007 (link)

Vertical monitors

I flipped my monitors vertical today at work. This is damn hella awesome. 2 80-char terminals side by side on each monitor, and over 120 lines in each window using ion. Meaning I can have 480 lines of code on screen at any time. Nice for reading big long web pages too. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner; I might try it at home too, though I only have one monitor there (so far, anyway) so it might not work as well...

February 24, 2007 (link)

Opera Mini

The chumps over at Opera decided it would be a good idea to make Yahoo the only search available in Opera Mini. Actually, Yahoo paid them to do this. On the one hand, it's a free product, you can't really blame Opera for trying to pick up a little cash this way. On the other hand, the fact that there's absolutely no way to change where the search box goes totally sucks. It would be one thing if you could use whatever you liked, but they defaulted it to the highest bidder. Of course I didn't even notice it wasn't customizable until Yahoo became the default, but now the browser is pretty much useless to me, since I have to make one request to get to the Google home page, and another to see my results. Anyone who's ever used the web on a phone knows that every page view is precious, because they take so bloody long. It's like a freakin' 28.8 modem. The alternative would be to memorize the URL pattern for a Google search and just type it in each time, which is also not exactly fun on the Tréo's tiny keyboard. Sigh.

On Yahoo

Why not juse use Yahoo? It can't be that bad, can it? Aside from the ridiculously obvious bias I have by working at Google, I do genuinely find their results worse, and on a phone their pages take longer to load. There are genuine reasons, other than my obvious bias, that I prefer Google. Of course, you know, take that with a grain of salt, since I do work there. If you like Yahoo better, yay for you.

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