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karltk's neck of the woods
I like Firefox a lot, even though it's slow. And I like Thunderbird, despite its many small annoyances. I have both programs running all the time. I also use KOrganizer a lot. Wouldn't it be great if somebody came up with a suite that integrated all of these into a complete suite with:
- Web browser
- Mail reader
- HTML editor
Anyway, enough sarcasm. Today, I decided to go with the hype and test Flock today. I haven't used it enough to make up my mind yet, but the blog editor seems to be decent enough so far. It connected straight out of the box with my Movable Type server (though I had to install XMLRPC for Perl, server side, to enable the remote interface).
Flock seems to follow the new trend of mostly minimalist interfaces (though not as crippled as those now found in GNOME), which suits me just fine. The actual skin is a bit boring, but I can manage.
The only major flaw I've found so far is that Flock does not understand Movable Type categories. When modifying the posts created by Flock, I also noticed that the resulting HTML is anything but pretty.
Technorati Tags: gentoo
Believe it or not, but we are now focused on producing some high-quality documentation for Stratego and the XT tools.
As the situation is, I've mostly finished all the man pages for the XT tools and hope to have the API documentation for collection/list done this weekend. Eelco has been doing a fantastic job with the examples and the tutorial, while Martin was the guy who started this manual in the first place, when the original Stratego Book halted. Martin has contributed all over the place, as usual, while Rob has been instrumental in getting xDoc working (xDoc is great!), and also written parts of the manual.
This project has been percolating in the background for quite some time, so a lot of documentation has already been written. It's not like we're starting from scratch. That being said, there's a lot of work left to do before our deadline of Nov 1st.
I encourage all Stratego users to monitor our progress by checking the Stratego Manual regularly. If you find omissions, errors or other issues you would like fixed, please don't hesitate to open a bug in our issue tracker.
I det nye forslaget, sies det at regjeringen vil skape en positiv utvikling i hele landet og vil derfor øke satsingen på samferdsel. Hvis noen trodde alle de tøvete setningene og flosklene vi måtte øve på i norskfaget var til ingen nytte, må disse noen tenke om igjen.
Om få dager vil Aetat strømme over av ministerpostannoenser der floskelmakeri er alene en kvalifisering nok til tidsbegrenset (~4år) ansettelse.
From reading the comments, there seems to be a bit of confusion, but also many interesting ideas about program transformation transformation. However, I think there is a distinction between the mindset behind macros, meta-programming and program-transformation that is not being expressed clearly enough.
My article for the upcoming ACM Crossroads issue on Programming Languages was accepted today. This issue will be published in the Spring of 2006. Good thing I renewed my ACM subscription yesterday:)
I will link to the final result once it's published.
Somebody couldn't make it to the FunCom talk this Tuesday. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you did not miss all that much. A lot of the time was spent showing video previous from various fairs (such as from E3) and marketing pitches.
While some of these videos (perhaps in particular the first Dreamfall pitch) may be very difficult to get online, the most recent (and dazzling) editions are available. Same goes for some of the screenshots and concept art. I think we got to see some unreleased concept art, but compared to the material online, it was just more of the same.
The actual slides of Jørgen's talk are not online, nor his opions about the MMORPG market, etc. As an outsider, I did not find anything particularly stunning there. They (FunCom) were clearly motivated by making loads of money, and having fun in the process, and it was rather obvious that Blizzard's World of Warcraft was the measuring stick, in terms of size.
In short, there was a lot of eye candy, but no spoilers. They didn't tell us anything which isn't public if you dig a bit. The slides referred to a "game #3" after Dreamfall and Age of Conan, but Jørgen would not say anything about this project.
I'm one of the guys who don't like spending time on writing GUI code. I know that GUI designers are frowned upon for many reasons, one of them being the poor code they generate, and another being that they cannot deal with manual changes to the generated code.
The topic of the day, Creative Industries -- Gaming, 3D, Videolog & networking, was a series of five presentations by various companies/organizations from this sector, four of them from UK. The most fancy was by FunCom, who presented their upcoming Age of Conan and Dreamfall games. Cute graphics, but no spoilers.
Another rather interesting presentation was by Chris Peck of OuterLight on their upcoming online multiple game, The Ship. Basically, it's the live roleplaying game Killer, only online, on a ship. Seemed like a cute concept, and with a lot of rather interesting twists, even for one like me who's not much interested in first player "shoot-em-up"-likes.
While these were nice visuals, the main theme of the presentations was how to start and run businesses in the "creative industries". The common experience seemed to be: start in the bedroom, do springboard marketing, don't make too many missteps.
I enganged Chris Peck in an offline chat about the gaming industry and their game, The Ship. His studio is a comparatively tiny studio, now producing their first title (as far as I got it). Charming person. He more of less reconfirmed my suspicions about the cutthroatness of the gaming industry, and how difficult it is to Get It Right on a launch. It ended with me thinking the usual: what do I want to do in the long run?
The comic relief of the evening was Kenneth deciding to squirt substantial amounts of his soda pop into the necks of the four people in front of us (entirely by accident, he claimed). They were certainly not amused, but we were.
My IBM X31 laptop -- the main development machine I have these days -- has an AC adapter that started acting funny in the middle of August. Out of the blue, it decided to make a high-pitched squeal, modulated by the activity on the computer. If I downloaded something at high speed using the built-in Ethernet adapter it changed frequency ever so slightly. If I pinged something, each ping would result in a short burst of static coming from the AC adapter.
After about a month of suffering through this, I decided to register the incident with ESC+, IBM's support system. I logged the request around 14:00 on a Wednesday, and rated the incident as having the lowest priority. Twenty minutes later, an IBM support technician called me back, asked for the FRU number of the adapter, and said he'd send a replacement immediately. The call took about five minutes, mainly making sure that all address and contact details were correct. A few days later, I came in to my office to find the new part waiting on my desk. Along with the replacement, there was also instructions for how to return the old part for proper disposal, free of charge.
Contrast this with my previous experience with Apple.
Just after Christmas 2002, I decided to buy an iBook from AppleStore. I regret this day still. To make sure I got some sort of student discount, I called them instead of ordering via their web site. After a bit of back and forth, I arrived at a configuration that they could deliver within two weeks. Among other things, I had to forego ordering the external VGA adapter, since that would put back my order about six weeks, and the timeframe was very important. I stayed with my family during Christmas, but would be moving back to study just over New Year. However, I did not have a place to stay yet, so I could not provide AppleStore with my future address. As I wasn't moving for another three weeks, I figured they had ample time.
Naturally, the order never arrived before I moved. As soon as I found a place to stay, I called AppleStore and updated them on my new address. They replied that this change of address wasn't a problem, since my iBook wasn't off the production line yet. A few weeks later, my mother called me and informed me that a somebody was at the door with a huge box from Apple. Evidently, my new address was not in the system after all. After a phone call to Apple, I was told to settle the issue with the shipping company myself. They would cover the extra costs. This took a few calls back and forth, to obtain the correct tracking numbers, but I finally succeeded.
When calling back and forth between AppleStore and the logistics company, I found out that AppleStore had an erroneous mobile phone number for me. One digit was off. I had them correct it.
The package finally arrived. W00t, I thought. A spanking new iBook with OSX and everything. This was in 2002 when OSX still seemed rather nice. Afraid this shiny new toy would break down like a ceramic doll, I treated it very gently for the first week. Then it broke down. It turns out I had received a unit from a series of bad batches which had serious motherboard flaws. (I believe there was a class action suit in the US about this.)
If I had thought obtaining the iBook in the first place was tricky, what was coming next was going to be something of a challenge. Getting the defective iBook properly fixed would turn out to be impossible.
I called up Apple Support and explained the problem to them. Even though the computer wouldn't even start, they insisted I try boot it with the installation CD. Sometimes, I got the impression I was talking to a bad Eliza program where everything was scripted.
Aside from the ritualistic manner which the support requests were handled, I was also quite unexpectedly bit by a language barrier. Apple Support for Norway is manned by Scandinavian people (who are located in call centres in France and Ireland, I believe). So, even though I'm a Norwegian, I mostly got to talk to Swedes. No problem for me, since I have good working knowledge of Swedish, though I don't speak it. However, I don't have a mainstream Norwegian dialect, and this confused these poor support technicians. They mostly had a really hard time understanding me. Switching to English usually turned out to work rather well, though sometimes even that was too challenging for some.
The breakdown happened when I was visiting my girlfriend on Oslo. Therefore, it was decided that I should return the defective iBook to the service center there. With good help from my girlfriend who borrowed a car from her relatives, we dropped it off promptly the day after the breakdown.
A few weeks passed, and I finally got the machine back. All was good, with a few exceptions. The Airport card no longer worked, and the CPU fan made an insanely loud noise when it kicked in. I called up Apple Support again, who as usual, didn't quite comprehend the situation. They eventually promised to call back, which they never did. Turns out they hadn't managed to update my phone number after all. This eventually turned into a game: Whenever I called Apple Support, I had them read back the telephone number they had on me, and invariably, it would be the initial number that was wrong. I always had them update it, but the update never stuck.
A few days later, I called them again, and got transfered to second line support. Finally I got to talk to somebody who knew something (he even knew Norwegian), and he concurred with my analysis that the Airport card was indeed defective. He promised to check it out, and call me back. I gave him my number. He must have taken it down on a post-it or something, because an hour later, he actually called back and suggested I drop the machine off at a local service centre in Trondheim.
This centre was of course located in the middle of nowhere, so I had to catch a bus to get there. They looked at the box, tested a replacement Airport card and said "yup, it's broken", and then went on to say that I had to contact Apple Support again to get it replaced. Ugh.
I contacted Apple Support yet again, insisted they should pick up the defective box, and send me an entirely new one, instead of trying to fix this pile of junk. They eventually agreed, and we arranged a date and time for pickup. The time and date passed. A week later, the logistics company called me back and said they were at the place we had agreed on, but that there was nobody there. I told them not-so-politely that they were a week late, which made them apologize and show up where I found it convenient and picked up the defective box.
Then I contacted AppleStore and told them that the defective unit was picked up. Almost three months had now passed since I placed the initial order. During that time, I had enjoyed a working machine for all of five days. If I were to order a new machine for the same money, I'd get a better configuration. After some haggling, AppleStore relented and upgraded my order, then shipped me a new box. To my mother's address. Yay.
When she called and said there was a guy with a package for me. I told her not to accept, and to reroute the package to me. Again, I had to take care of the details with the logistics company, but I had some experience, so this time it was a slightly smoother ride. Or so it seemed. After a week of waiting, I called the shipping company and asked where my package was. They weren't sure, and couldn't tell me. A few days after, they called me and asked if I had received it. I hadn't. A few more days passed, and they called and asked me again if I had received it. I still had not. Eventually, they found out that somebody had stolen it in transit from one of their hubs (that was at least the story they gave me).
It took a bit of discussion with AppleStore to convince them to call the logistics company to get a confirmation that the package was indeed lost in transit. A few more days went by, then I decided that this was no fun. I cancelled my order, and demanded my money back. That part took only three days.
I promptly placed an order for an IBM X30, which arrived on my doorstep a week later and has worked flawlessly for two and half years, now in the hands my said girlfriend. I myself decided to buy another IBM (the X31) which also has worked flawlessly with the exception of said AC adapter failure.
Update: I did not mean to imply these cases were endemic to IBM and Apple support in general. Certainly, there are probably bad encounters with IBM support as well. In my case with Apple, the ordeal lasted about three months, so I got a good (or rather, bad) impression of how Apple Support for Scandinavia worked in the 2003 Q1. They may have improved since then.