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Just trying out the Android app for Blogger.  It actually seems pretty nice.  Maybe it will convince me to actually use this blog again.
The only complaint I have so far is that it doesn’t let me pick labels from a list which is a problem considering the fact that I don’t remember any of the labels I’ve used in the past.

I haven’t posted any code in way too long.

I hope to write more about org-mode real soon since I am very impressed with it (and it is nice to take care of one of my more important computing tasks (todo lists) in emacs) but for now, here is the blurb about this python code from my download page. I realize I could probably do this using emacs lisp, but I’m a bit (or more than a bit) better with python than with lisp.

I depend on my todo lists pretty heavily. At one point I used the
palm todo list (and jpilot for syncing on my computer). Eventually
I switched to Apple’s iCal (I could never get Mozilla Sunbird to
work reliably enough). This was kind of annoying since I’m not
really a fully time Mac user (I still prefer GNU/Linux or at least
UNIX cmd line stuff). For some things (grad school and work) I used
some perl/LaTeX thing which is a bit cumbersome. So I was pretty
excited by Emacs org-mode. I wrote some python to convert my ical
files to emacs org-mode. I tried to make it general enough that the
todo class would be a good start for a python-ical interface. If I
feel motivated, it should be fairly easy to expand this into something
more. For now, it is just to get iCal todo items into a python data
structure and can write it to orgmode todo items.

read_ical.py

I’m not exactly what you would call a “good” blogger. I can go months without actually posting anything (I blame facebook and twitter for taking care of my desire to talk to myself). So I found it a little odd when I started seeing a few comments on some old posts.

I didn’t delete them immediately because I didn’t initially understand them. In one case, there was a comment from an Anonymous user on a two year old posting about video game consoles. The funny thing was the comment was sort of on topic and had no links in it. Then a day latter there was another similar comment.

Finally, a day after that there was a post that starts out by apologizing for being off topic and has some sketchy looking links in it. The links have their href tags (or some attempt at a blogger shortcut for that) messed up which does not help make it any less sketchy.

Then next day, another identical copy of the same comment shows up (and I hadn’t removed the first one yet at this point).

I’ve removed those comments, but it seems like a lot of work just to try and slip in a few sketchy links onto a blog that gets basically zero traffic.

Just makes me wonder if a tiny boost in page rank is really worth that much to people.

Of course it would be really funny if I was wrong and those were actual people, in which case I would have some apologizing to do, but I doubt it.

Having taken care of movies years ago, it was clearly time to move on to other media.

So, here is my brief debut on Goddard’s Astrophysics Division’s Podcast (which may be an even worse made-up word than ‘blog’), Blueshift.

I talk for under a minute at the very end about the last step in how Fermi data gets to the scientific community. Here is the official page with an mp3 and transcript. It is also available on iTunes (it is the June 30th one). I don’t know if that iTunes link works or not but it can’t hurt.

Well, despite not actually using this blog, I decided to move it so the URL is on my site.

So now instead of

http://netpurgatory.blogspot.com

it is

http://blog.netpurgatory.com

Still hosted on the google servers but I prefer having things at least at my own URL. And they seem to redirect everything correctly which is nice.

If only I could remember to post here occasionally.

I understand the desire to make error messages more friendly, but I’m not entirely sure about this one:

[ 297.708539] Uhhuh. NMI received for unknown reason 3d on CPU 0.
[ 297.708556] Do you have a strange power saving mode enabled?
[ 297.708558] Dazed and confused, but trying to continue

That would be the end of the output from dmesg on my Ubuntu desktop after I restarted it from a strange failure. That message was the only interesting thing in the log but sadly, it doesn’t really help.

Since I haven’t written anything in months I thought I would put something semi-informative here.

I’ve been slowly capturing all my family’s VHS home movies onto my computer and making (even slower then the capturing) DVDs. My main goal right now is just to get everything digital since the VHS aren’t exactly going to improve as they age (and some of them already look kind of bad). I may describe how I capture later but right now I want to talk about burning DVDs a little.

I make the DVDs on my Mac (a G4 powerbook running Leopard). I was trying to burn DVDs of three tapes before last weekend and ran into some very annoying trouble. I used iMovie and iDVD to make menus and all that and then made a disk image with iDVD. Then I tried to burn the dmg file using Disk Utility.app (the standard Apple thing).

The disk got through the burning fine but then would fail in the verify step every time. This lead to a pile of discarded DVDs before I looked into it closer. Disk Utility.app gave no useful info so I checked the log file it pointed it. And for each failed verify there was an error

0x80020063

Oddly, these failing DVDs all played just fine in a DVD player or a computer. Thanks to the error code this seemed like something I could google pretty easily. But I was wrong. Some people claimed it was due to bad media. Others claimed you need to repair disk permissions. A few said it was because of corrupted plist files (but they wouldn’t say which one). Made me really miss how useful the gentoo forums were where people actually know things and will share info.

In the end I tried the permissions and plist things with no luck. Finally, I tried burning a different brand of DVD and amazingly, it would verify fine. I’m not sure why the FujiFilm DVD-R fail at the verify step while the other disks worked. It could be related to the brand. Or it could be related to the -R and +R difference. I don’t have enough different disks to figure that out.

It seems to me that the verification error 0x80020063 is pretty much worthless since disks can fail that and still work fine. I’m not thrilled with this conclusion, but for now it’s all I’ve got.

I don’t understand why for the most part I need to open my mail program to see how many new emails I have. Mail notification programs like UNIX biff have been around since ~1980 (4.0BSD according to the man page) and yet things don’t seem to have progressed much since xbiff.

Unfortunately, biff and xbiff only work with local mail spools making them totally useless if your mail lives on a server somewhere (like pretty much everyone’s does). There are some single purpose things like gmail notifier or something like that but if you don’t use that mail service (or use more than one service), guess what, it is useless.

There was a program called MacBiff that was very nice. It would stay in the menu bar on top (making it totally friendly towards people who can’t live without multiple workspaces) and check IMAP accounts. But it hasn’t been updated in years and refuses to talk to my NASA work account (which talks IMAP just fine).

For the GNOME desktop there is gnubiff which claims to do everything I want, but just doesn’t work (and the code did not look worth messing with).

I can almost accept that I can’t get a single solution for Mac and Linux. Almost. But I have a lot of trouble accepting that there are no programs that can do this right at all. I know mail programs like Thunderbird and Mail.app can probably do it but I already have a mail client (alpine) that I am very happy with.

I’m almost starting to think that it is time for me to just suck it up and write something myself.

Either everyone on the internet decided to take the day off today, or Bloglines has failed me for the last time.

I guess it’s time to try google reader.

I was very sad to learn that Richard Wright from Pink Floyd passed away today.

I’m going to go listen to “Wish You Were Here” now which was always my favorite Pink Floyd album despite my normal aversion to long songs.