Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Monday 28 February 2005

Jef Raskin

Jef Raskin passed away this week-end.

He was one of the co-inventor of the Macintosh, one of the computer products that really revolutionned the computer world.

Saturday 26 February 2005

LWN and gphoto2

LWN has an article about libgphoto2 and gtkam. It also talks about gThumb and Digikam.

Wednesday 23 February 2005

New Linux Powered device

A new gadget: a Linux Powered media storage device targetted at professionnal photographer to unload flash cards and review their content. What makes it different is that there is a SDK released as open-source software.

Source: Slashdot

Monday 21 February 2005

Software Rant

  • I'm ranting about Evolution, its speed and its antispam (see bug 72411), I'm not alone. Someone should really start to replace this antispam by what we find in Thunderbird / Mozilla, including flagging as \Junk over IMAP (I couldn't find any reference in RFCs and couldn't find the code in Thunderbird, anyone has an idea?) see bug 72547. For reference, marking one message as junk on my laptop take 15 to 20sec, even if the message is local.
  • I'm ranting about MacOS X memory usage, I'm not alone. With 256MB the MacMini is barely usable. I'll get a 1GB memory...

Saturday 19 February 2005

Picture of the day, February 19th, 2005

Some eye candy for this evening. We still haven't finished our tour of Périgord, so I return to my slide archives. Back to the Cadouin Cloister (fr), facing the inside yard and tower:

Still taken with my Canon Elan 7 on Provia 100F, around September 21st 2001.

Fighting DRM in court... Episode I

Apple and Sony are being sued in France by UFC-Que Choisir, the major French consumer association, for breaking the law against bundle sales. The lack of interroperability beetween their DRM system and requirment to use their device is the reason.

Looks like Microsoft DRM system could benefit as they sell it to anyone who wants it, but nobody use it :-)

Source: Boing Boing, DLFP (fr).

New Canon gear

New Canon gear announced this week:

  • EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM. Announcement. The EF-S part upsets me because I don't really see the interests, but since it is compatible with extension tubes, it may be able to be used on a film body with those extensions. Needs to be tried.
  • Digital Rebel XT / EOS 350D. Announcement, Preview at dpreview.
  • EOS 20Da, to be used for IR photography. Announcement at dpreview. Apparently Japan only.

Friday 18 February 2005

F-Spot and libgphoto2

Wow F-Spot 0.0.8 supports using libgphoto2 to import pictures from the camera. Congrats guys !

I'll have to try that.

Tuesday 15 February 2005


When I opened this blog, I decided to not talk about personal stuff. But this is too much.

This week-end (really early Saturday), a very good friend of mine Deniz Sarikaya has suddenly quit us. Pierre and I spend most of our time these last day too help handle the situation. We'll all miss a very good friend and at the office we'll all miss a wonderful co-worker and QA engineer. Life is so unfair. She turned 27 just 10 days before.

Goodbye Deniz.

Sunday 13 February 2005

Back to MacOS X coding

Just a quick note: I started to work on AbiWord for MacOS X again. That does not mean I'll stop using GNOME, au contraire.

Print photos from GNOME

GNOME Photo Printer is a little application that allows you to print multiple photo per pages, which is quite convenient. I haven't tested it yet as I don't have a printer, but I had to mention it.

Source: Newsforge and Footnotes.

Saturday 12 February 2005

Interroperability B.S.

Microsoft posted some interroperability B.S.. Read more with Hakon Lie open response; Hakon Lie is Norway based Opera Software's CTO, co-inventor if CSS. Standblog also has a good comment (fr) on this.

Napster fight iPod

Forbes has an article about Napster where Napster explain they want to beat up the iPod with a "rent-a-song" service, that is not compatible with iPod, because "It's exactly what consumers want to do.". Off course this DRM system is made by Microsoft who still do not appreciate the success of the iPod...

I myself still don't understand this. I have CDs that I bought in 1987 that I still listen to. Why would I want to buy some music that expire? That does not mean I would buy music for iTMS as well as it would expire differently, with the availability of the compatible players.

Source: Slashdot

Thursday 10 February 2005

Montreal in Winter, around the corner - Picture of the day February 10th, 2005

So my scanner is working fine, I can provide you with some new film pictures:

This is around the corner from my place. The light was so good, I couldn't resist finishing the roll of Provia 100F I had in my Olympus mju-II (aka Stylus Epic). Yes, this comes from a point and shoot camera. The 35mm f2.8 lens on this camera is awesome for the price, that's why I bought it.

See the whole partial gallery.

Should you shoot in RAW mode ?

I'm tempted to say everyone should, as says The Raw Truth.

From my perspective, I'll start shooting RAW when I'll have bigger memory card ; my 512MB is simply not enough. I still have the option to do it on a case by case basis. But I'll shoot in mixed mode: RAW + JPEG best quality. Some benefit of shooting in JPEG (all but low size of the files) with full benefits of RAW shooting: you can still process the RAW file later, but you have a ready to use JPEG file. The only problem is that the memory capacity of your flash goes down dramatically. On my EOS 20D, I go from 110 frames to 38 frames (average) on a 512MB CompactFlash.

That said, I was already questionning myself if I should do that, this article just made me see the light.

Wednesday 9 February 2005

Google maps analyzed

Mapping Google explained, or how they achieve on the client side. These people are smart. Other map services do worse using Flash. Thank you jgwebber for the info.

Source: Slashdot

Oh don't reply to the people that complain about the lack of Europe, I'd repeat that this service is beta, and I expect Google to provide more maps. Canada works already.

All mailers suck....

Some just suck less than the others.

I have been alternating beetween Evolution and ThunderBird on Linux over a couple of month:

Thunderbird has the following issues:

  • When showing message header, you can't scroll. Bug 223132
  • Does not handle mailing lists: does not have "reply to mailing list" Bug 45715 and Bug 233417 as well as RFC 2369 conformancy.
  • Does not allow changing the SMTP server for outgoing messages, despite the UI Bug 161117
  • Expunging folders on IMAP is not easy (Evolution has Ctrl-E shortcut) Bug 127888
  • The lack of "quote using selection" Bug 23394
  • Still default sending HTML e-mails, which is bad, bad, bad.Bug 47140

Evolution has the following issues:

  • Does not allow specifying a global SMTP server for all mail accounts Bug 71145. I often send directly with my local postfix SMTP server, but some retarded ISP here block outgoing TCP/25 making impossible to send yourself your mail. And their SMTP is unreliable.
  • Heavy, slow and memory hungry. I still use a G3/400 PowerBook laptop.
  • Antispam really slow and CPU hog, unlike Thunderbird's. And less efficient. Bug 72411
  • Various editing issues, but probably relate to the fact that I run the development release, because Ubuntu pushes me to use it.

In short I'd say that I'd use Evolution more than Thunderbird.

Maybe I should try again Mutt, which I really like, but which was not convenient with multiple IMAP servers. Mutt made me love and require mail threading.

Update: note to Nat: I thread by default in Evolution. Otherwise I wouldn't even consider it.

Tuesday 8 February 2005

Google do understand

Look at Google Maps. They really understand what web software can be. I'm stunned. This is better than mappoint, obviously.

Google seems to have the best Javascript programmers.

Newton nostalgia

I haven't been a Newton owner, but sometime I dream of a rebirth of the Newton. I have a Palm, and I really miss the handwritting recognition and the globalization of stored objects. For example, in my Palm, I still can't attach a note I previously wrote, to a new appointement in my agenda. The Newton did do more than that, but the Newton got steved. Probably too ahead on his own time and probably suffering from Apple's own marketing.

Here is some nostalgia from Engadget.com:

Software Patents Evilness

The main MS-Word competitor in Japan is in Jeopardy because of a software patent lawsuit.

Monday 7 February 2005

Gtk and MacOS X ?

Now that Qt has been released under GPL on Windows (link provided by glazblog (fr)), it runs freely on UNIX/X11, MacOS X and Windows. But where is Gtk ? Gtk-2.x runs on UNIX, on Windows, but still require X11 on MacOS X not making it really friendly. There is a port of Gtk+1.2 on MacOS X using Carbon done by the CinePaint team, but this is Gtk+1.2 while everything is currently using some 2.x version; and the project seems to be dormant.

I don't understand the lack of interest for this port by the MacOS X community. They are the first to whine about The Gimp being not well integrated with MacOS X, but porting Gtk+2.x to MacOS X without using X11 would probably resolve most of the issues. And it would also resolve the issue of lack of decent not overpriced and/or closed spreadsheet by allowing to port Gnumeric. This lack of interest is still visible with the lack of developers for AbiWord on MacOS X. When I had to stop developing it due to lack of hardware, nobody did anything until FJF took over. And it is not the lack of interest from people, it is just the lack of skilled MacOS X developers willing to work on Open Source projects.

Saturday 5 February 2005

How Microsoft works around the law

Microsoft got condamned by the EU to release Windows without Windows Media Player, as a ruling to a triel of monopoly abuse and unfair competition. Microsoft decided to no appeal and just following the ruling. According to Liberation (fr), they'll release "Windows XP reduced media edition" as a result. But the pricing stay the same as the version with Windows Media Player and the name make it explicitly considered as a stripped down product. So why would OEM pick it up as they can get more for the same price. Currently, there is no way to make Microsoft change there pricing, but this really looks like they are trying to mock the European Comission.

And justice for all...

Thursday 3 February 2005

The iPod phenomena when it is not corporate

Hide your iPod, here comes Bill or when Microsoft employees prefers iPod to players that support the company's DRM and audio format WMA, as wrote Wired, shows that iPod is a real phenomena that starts to annoy Microsoft. Even more when Microsoft employees seems to have benefit on WMA music, and that they don't use it because they have an iPod.

No matter what happen there, I see more and more people with iPod in the subway and in the streets.

Thanks to Luis Villa for the link.