March 27th, 2008
Posted in Geek
Open letters from the insides of companies are always enlightening, and here’s one that’s absolutely scathing. I knew Motorola wasn’t doing very well, and was rapidly turning from a radio and electronics powerhouse into, well, something worse than a Samsung wannabe.
Engadget posted a fantastic letter about the state of Motorola today – and it’s depressing. Tales of incompetence, irresponsible change, and being completely out of touch with the state of technology today.
Your [Greg Brown] appointment to the position of chief executive gave me cause for hope, and I reached out to you; I knew you were one of the main drivers behind the enterprise acquisitions, and that you had zero expertise in consumer devices. Surely you could use some help in turning Motorola’s flagging cellphone business around? But apparently different from the rest of the incompetent senior executives at Motorola—except instead of merely being inept, you’re actually actively killing the company.
While I’m sure there’s more than one side of this story, the rest of the letter makes for fantastic reading.
March 21st, 2008
Posted in Funny, Melbn
Oh those nutty funsters at the Herald-Sun. Publishing a page that shouldn’t be published
Thanks to The Daily WTF for this gem.
March 20th, 2008
Posted in Geek
I try to avoid using Word, but since there’s very little competition for Excel (especially in dealing with large amounts of data quickly), I’m stuck using it quite a lot. It could be that all the good stuff happened in Word and PowerPoint, but I kind of doubt it.
- Excel still gets confused when a second monitor goes away. New documents open on the second monitor that isn’t there anymore. I have to quit and re-open the application to get my windows back.
- Even though it’s now native for Intel Macs (took bloody well long enough), it’s just as slow on my MacBook as the previous iteration (irriration?) of Excel.
- Text file importing still has a horrible selection-display bug, where one is never sure what’s selected and what isn’t.
- What’s with the ugly proxy window resizing, people? It’s 2008! WTF!? Live window resizing is the way to go.
- Nonstandard icon bar at the top of the window? Have these people even used other Mac applications?* Speaking of the top of the window, what’s this “Sheets / Charts / SmartArt / WordArt” crap? That’s 40 vertical pixels I’m not getting back, people. How can I get rid of it? I can’t? Shoot.
- The Exposé-minimised windows don’t highlight properly when I hover over them.
- Speaking of Exposé, palettes are supposed to disappear, not be selectable. Oddly, the top part of the palettes highlight properly, unlike the document windows.
- It takes nearly 10 seconds to copy a simple number out of a large spreadsheet.
I can think of one single good thing: it does away with the 65,000-row limit and the 256-column limit. That’s it, that’s all. What were they doing for all those years?
March 13th, 2008
Posted in Geek
I’m always forgetting how to do this. So here we go: how to set up two computers so that you can SSH (or SCP) between them without using a password.
Standard security disclaimer applies! If you set things up so that computers can connect without a password, computers can connect without a password. Right.
First, make sure that you can actually connect to the remote machine:
If that’s fine, check to see if you have a public key already on the local machine. It would be called
id_dsa.pub by default, and be located in the
If it’s not there, make a new one! Here’s the command:
ssh-keygen <del>t dsa. It will ask for a passphrase make sure to leave that blank, otherwise, you’ll be prompted to enter it at every connection, which is the problem we’re trying to avoid here, right? Right.
Once that file has been created (or if it was already there), you need to send it over to the remote computer. Here’s the command I always forget:
ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub email@example.com. It’ll ask for the password, then copy the public key over to the remote server.
Now test the connection:
ssh firstname.lastname@example.org. You should be in without a password. Dance and sing, for the world is now slightly less secure, but at least your cron jobs won’t hang.
March 12th, 2008
Posted in Geek, Life, Melbn
TPG, probably the best-known, um, “budget” provider of Internet access in Australia, has released one of the coolest information design pieces I’ve seen in a long time. They’ve mapped out all of the telephone exchanges in the country on a Google Map (in itself a useful thing). They’ve overlayed that with the regions the the exchanges service (also quite useful). Then, as the coup de grâce, they’ve used actual data from their DSLAMs in each exchange to show the speeds that their customers in certain areas get.
I live about 5km away from the exchange I’m connected to. There are actually two other exchanges that are physically closer to my house! Turns out, for connection speed, I’m about average. I’m relieved to note that pretty much everyone else in my neighbourhood also gets lousy Internet access.
March 7th, 2008
Posted in Funny
(I can’t take credit for this, but I forget who did it. If it’s you, gentle reader, I apologise).
March 3rd, 2008
Posted in Life
I bought cat food today.
Don’t you just love the Internet?
March 2nd, 2008
Posted in Melbn
I’ve mentioned the public transport ticketing debacle here before. It’s now worse – or better, depending on how you look at it. The overpriced, late, broken new system is still overpriced, late and broken; but it looks like the current system is very close to being broken, too. It seems that we’re running out of spare parts for the ticket vending machines. We might get free public transport, whether they want to give it to us or not.
Here’s what I would do:
- Cancel myki – or at the very least, fire the company that’s supposed to be installing it. Don’t give them any more money, this is just throwing good money after bad.
- Find out why there are no more spare parts for the current system. Can we replicate them locally for less than $500 million dollars? I think so.
- Fire the project managers involved in myki. They obviously have no idea what they’re doing. Additionally, find out why the structure at the ticketing commission is so broken. Well-run organisations don’t let this kind of thing happen.
There’s something wrong with the way the whole system is set out, I think. Rather than trying to work together, all the different parts of the transport system are competing for money. The $500 million (or more) that’s going to ticketing is $500 million less for new trains, new signals, new tracks. That’s the problem right there.