Wed Mar 31 16:51:57 CEST 2010


Today and yesterday have been an impressive exercise in frustration. My goal was really simple - set up an IMAP email account in a client, receive emails, reply to at least one of them, send reply.

kmail is currently unusable because I'm using KDE 4.5 built from svn, and that is in the middle of a complete rewrite.

Thunderbird silently fails to fetch mails. Not even an error, it just quitely resigns and walks away. Plus I found at least one crashbug and three UI bugs just adding an account. Can't read emails, so it is disqualified.
Plus that retarded crap idiocy of an account setup wizard ... it is wrong. I think I see the idea behind it, but the execution is just so ... augh. Please. Disable it. Think about what it does and rewrite it properly.

Claws manages to read mail. But it suffers from excessive brain damage - when sending emails over SMTP it only ever manages to write a sad "Error occurred" and never offers to explain how, where, why ... so I can't fix it.
Plus the UI is the equivalent of a train wreck in the middle of a highway with two steamboats crashing into it. Really seriously bad.

Sylpheed also manages to read mail. But that's about all it can do, plus it only has a modal dialog "Error." It feels like the developers just gave up halway through and said "well, we've written enough code, no need to finalize these features".

Opera is mostly a webbrowser, but also has a mail client. But (1) it doesn't even manage to properly connect over IMAP (2) the config dialogs and wizards are badly broken (3) it can't explain what went wrong and just gives an unmotivated "error" like the others.

So 4 out of 4 email clients have no proper logging and don't pass the needed info to the user. Plus they fail at having a tolerable UI. They are really amazingly useless. I do wonder how I am supposed to work with such tools, but maybe my demands are too high. No crashes, reading mail, sending mail - is that really demanding more than these applications can do?

telnet here we come. At least that works ...

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Mon Mar 8 18:25:51 CET 2010

ah yes ...

J'ai les goûts les plus simples du monde, je me contente du meilleur
That describes it well ...

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Sat Mar 6 21:38:18 CET 2010


So I've noticed one strange thing - we use large plots of land for cemeteries, celebrating death and decay. But we rarely do the same for things we create.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a place like a reverse cemetery? I call it ... a creationary.
When you've had the most brilliant idea or met the love of your life or if you just got a dog ... buy a small memorial plaque to put the world can remember your creation.
Creating is fun!

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Thu Mar 4 14:04:31 CET 2010

Stupid Supermarkets

I'm pretty annoyed with the idiocy that's happening in the supermarkets here at the moment.
Today I wanted to buy Fishsticks. There's two package sizes, 10 and 15. So I think "I don't need _that_ many" and grab the smaller package. Then I hesitate and look at the prices. Well, took me some time to find them because they were put very far apart to hide this ...

Guess what. Both package sizes cost exactly the same. WTF?

Same with bread, where the 250g and 500g sizes only differ by a few cents - 0.75 vs. 0.79.
The rational choice, then, is to buy too much and risk throwing away some. As long as you eat more than half of it you benefit.
The next game I've noticed is the price per unit - because package sizes may differ the prices are given in x Eur per 100g or per kilo ... randomly. The 250g bread has the price per 100g, the 500g has it per kilo, so comparing becomes confusing.

This is really extremely annoying. I don't want to go shopping with a calculator.
I don't want to buy the extra large pack because it is CHEAPER than the small one.
I don't want to get the feeling that you are trying to rip me off.

If you want to keep your customers happy (and avoid them going somewhere else) treat them fairly and communicate openly. Otherwise they won't even feel bad about, err, you know, five-finger-discounts and similar legally questionable things. Hey, you tried to rip me off first. See how that is not in your interest?
And I don't guess your customer service will even UNDERSTAND what I'm trying to say.

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Tue Mar 2 15:28:04 CET 2010

Weird Virtualbox failures

Title says it all, I had some weird failures getting VirtualBox to boot things properly. Worst "offender" was OpenSolaris, which died a horribly funny death early in kernel boot.

The problem, thanks to some good pointers from the nice people in #vbox, was kvm being loaded (or in this case being in the kernel directly). At the moment kvm unconditionally grabs the virtualization bits (svm in my case) and prevents anyone else from using it, which made VirtualBox quite unhappy.

(1) Don't use kvm and VBox at the same time
(2) make sure that kvm modules are _not_ loaded when starting VBox

Ah, how I love debugging weird failures :)

Posted by Patrick | Permalink