Archive for February, 2007

idea: make systray behavior standard

February 22nd, 2007

I have akregator and amarok in the systray. Both are minimized, and when restored one covers the other because they occupy the same area on the screen.

  1. I'm looking at my desktop when I click on akregator, it appears.
  2. I click on amarok, it appears on top.
  3. I click on akregator, it appears on top.
  4. I click on akregator, it gets minimized, amarok appears.
  5. I click on amarok, it gets minimized, showing my desktop.

Akregator and amarok respond the same way to a single click, this makes them easy to use interchangeably, I can go from one to the other and both do the same thing. But not all applications behave like this, for instance some require double clicking to appear. If that's the case, I have to remember which one uses a click and which uses a double click.

Wouldn't it be nice if all applications had the same systray behavior? KDE and Gnome could set up the wiring and provide a default for this. Then an application could override this if it really needed to. :)

the cult of the leader

February 20th, 2007

I was watching some clips on Youtube and I stumbled upon some good old Apple clips among others. It's amazing how Youtube sucks you in, you're only looking for one specific thing but then you end up watching tons of "related" and "recommended" stuff. Oh well.

Anyway, it made me reflect on some of the biggest personalities in the IT industry. Not necessarily the most influential, but certainly the cult figures if you will, the billboard faces.

First up, Bill Gates. Bill is a deceptive figure in many ways, in interviews and talks he comes across as such a normal person, so much like any engineer. There's also something about this normality that gives him charisma, I have to say I find him quite a personable figure for some reason. Of course he stands at the head of a company that has built up a portfolio of shall we say practice we file under various degrees of "unethical". But still, when he talks about his visions for technology, it comes across as something a technically minded person would think about. And beyond that, being a superbly successful businessman, he seems very unassuming, very humble. The kind of guy you could talk to, and disagree with on many things, but also find agreement on many points.

In contrast, Steve Jobs just freaks me out. I don't know if you've seen one of those keynotes, but the whole thing is not unlike some religious cult. Steve's there speaking, with this strange light in his eyes, as he regards his minions and feels the power of his persona. When he speaks, he gets an immediate response, of cheers or boos (rarely), it's like a Gospel church.

And along with himself, the company image is so conceited as well. "I think you always had to be a little different to buy an Apple Computer. You had to think different about computers. I think you had to think really differently when you bought a Mac. And I think the people who do buy them do think differently. And they are the creative spirits in this world. They are the people who are not just out to get a job done, they're out to change the world." Btw, talk about the least creative company name ever.

Then there's Steve Ballmer. This guy is the creepiest company chief I've ever seen. I mean they actually made the guy from this old commercial head of the biggest company in the world, how insane is that? Ballmer has this odd quality to him that just makes him seem totally and completely unpredictable. Like a ticking time bomb and you never know when he's going to go off. It's basically the nut running the nut house. The chair throwing incident (unfortunately couldn't find the video) is really famous, but it doesn't stop there, he's just stark raving mad.

the passions of childhood

February 18th, 2007

Children are in a position of disadvantage, they are absolved of power. As a kid there aren't that many things in life you can really decide on, because your mandate keeps getting overruled by a higher office all the time. It would be nice to have some autonomy in this totalitarian regime, but in practice it takes a lot of negotiation and concessions. It's pretty fine diplomacy because of your great disadvantage, it's like Luxembourg negotiating with France. A kid would make a fine political adviser.

Of course, when you're a kid you deal with this everyday, all this is self evident. But people grow up and forget. When I was a kid, I vowed never to forget. Never to become one of those parents who don't understand kids and just pass arbitrary laws. Students are in this position too, they have no power. I always thought that if I ever became a teacher, I would remember what it was like to be a student.

Well, so far I haven't actually put those theories to the test, I'm neither a parent or a teacher. But sometimes I'm reminded of how my values have changed over the years. The other day I saw a couple of people standing in the street. One was holding a bike, the other was standing very close. Since they were far away and both wearing big coats, I couldn't make out what they were doing. "Is it a couple? Are they hugging?" The angle made it hard to see. "No, it's a father and a child sitting on the steering. But why are they just standing there? Oh of course, they're watching the crane!" There's some road work being done in my street these days, they've been digging and they even brought in a crane to help out.

It's hard to remember your values once they're no longer your values, you have to be reminded. One of my biggest moments in early life was operating a small digging machine in an amusement park. I have a picture of it, and it clearly shows how focused I was on what I was doing. When you see a kid, suddenly these things come back to you.

MPAA stealing intellectual property

February 18th, 2007

As if the MPAA's (Motion Picture Association of America) credibility wasn't eroding quickly enough, in a recent stunt reported on reddit, they were busted cold for taking free blogging software, deliberately removing all references to its origin, thereby violating its user license.

what operating systems say

February 16th, 2007


Computers are Windows, and Windows are computers.

Running Windows is like being given birth to, how could you possibly exist without it?


When you use a Mac, just the fact that you own one will make you look savvy, you don't even have to know what all the buttons do. Macs are designed to be really comprehensible to idiots, but they work great for advanced users too, we promise!!

And you get to look down on Windows users in contempt for supporting the evil ogre.

(We sell PCs now, but please do still call them Macs. Just watch our extremely low budget tv commercials.)

We nearly went bankrupt selling "better" computers, now we sell "cooler" computers.


We are the latest and greatest technology. The two marketing empires pretend like we don't exist, but nothing is more powerful and flexible than Linux.


If you're happy using the kind of flaky, unstable crap that comes out of a toy store and calls itself Linux, that's fine with us. We believe in stability and longevity.

It's not a BSD if it doesn't have 3 years of uptime.

Also, fuck Linux for thinking they are the only show in town.


We used to be proprietary, but now we're open and free. And totally hip too, look we use.. ehm.. gtk.


Latest release: 2004. That's right, if it's not broken don't fuck with it. What kind of pansy needs make 3.0 anyway?

Gnu Hurd

We just have a few kinks to work out and then we'll be much better than Linux, just wait and see. Stay tuned for our upcoming first release circa 2313. Off the record: it will include Enlightenment 18.