4 ohloh improvements I’d like

I am a stats junkie so I like my stats in large amounts. But I like the stats to be right and as accurate as possible, and when I look at what ohloh produces I like the concepts and ideas in general, I just think their implementation is lacking in a few vital areas that need improvement:

1. There are no dependencies or hierarchies between packages, so “I use this” counters get worthless since people mark end-user packages they use. Low-level support packages and libraries that are used indirectly don’t get many “use counts”

2. Doing very few commits in a very well used project with few authors gives you way way more points than doing a bus-load of commits in something less used with many fellow contributors. This makes the top-list of people very skewed as some of the top-64 people only did a few hundred commits ever. I doubt many mortals would consider someone who only ever did 300 commits to be a top community person. At the very moment I write this, the #1 ranked person has done 20 commits during 5 months…!

3. Too few versioning systems are supported, leaving out huge chunks of the open source world. Bazaar, mercurial and a few more are a bit too popular to be ignored without the results getting skewed.

4. I’d like to see the “number of users” of products as a percentage, as the total number of users they show include all contributors to all projects. Out of the 140,000 users (which undoubtedly include a lot of duplicates), it would surprise me if more than 10,000 have actually registered what products they use. I’ve tried to find the exact number but I failed. So 3,000 users don’t mean 3,000 out of 140,000 but 3,000 out of 10,000…

My Firefox Add-ons

I simply need to have this list somewhere so that I can find out my own add-ons again when I’m running Firefox away from home!

Adblock Plus – since ads are too annoying these days

DownThemAll – because I like to be able to get whole batches of images or similar at times

Fission – just a silly eye-candy thing

Forecastfox – I like weather forecasts!

FoxClocks – helps me keep track of the time my friends around the world have at different moments.

It’s All Text – makes web based editing/posting a more pleasurable experience by allowing me to edit such contents with emacs!

Live HTTP Headers is a must when you want to figure out how to repeat your browser’s actions with a set of curl commands.

Open in Browser allows me to open more stuff within the browser itself, even when the Content-Type is bad.

Right-Click-Link is great when you quickly want to browse to links you find in plain text sections.

Torbutton lets me quickly switch to anonymous browsing.

User Agent Switcher lets me trick stupid server-side scripts into beleiving I use a different browser or even operating system.

What great add-ons did I miss?

(Some nitpickers would say that I don’t run Firefox since I use Debian and then it is called Iceweasel, but while that is entirely true, Iceweasel is still the Firefox source code and the Add-ons are in fact still Firefox Add-ons even if they also run perfectly fine on Iceweasel.)

Fujifilm FinePix F100fd

Ok, I bought myself a Fujifilm FinePix F100fd camera the other day, as it fulfilled my requirements pretty good:

1. It’s compact, noticeably smaller than my previous Sony one.

2. While not a 3″ LCD it features a 2.7″ one, which is a tiny bit larger than my previous’ 2.5″.

3. Image Stabilizer. And in my test shots it seems to make a difference. I’ll admit I haven’t yet played a lot with it on and off, but especially when zooming it seems to do some good.

4. Good low-light images. Yes it does. I’ve so far seen it go down to ISO1600 on auto and while that isn’t the best pictures, using flash is certainly not a good way to achieve great pics either (in general).

5. It accepts SDHC cards. I put a 4GB one in to start with as it costs virtually nothing. My previous camera had 512MB so it’s still 8 times the size. Of course my Sony was 5 megapixels and this does 12 so it will of course produce larger image files.

Possibly I’ll try to make some comparison pictures with my old and my new cameras later on.

Snooping on government HTTPS

As was reported by some Swedish bloggers, and I found out thanks to kryptoblog, it seems the members of the Swedish parliament all access the internet via a HTTP proxy. And not only that, they seem to access HTTPS sites using the same proxy and while a lot of the netizens of the world do this, the members of the Swedish parliament have an IT department that is more big-brotherish than most: they decided they “needed” to snoop on the network traffic even for HTTPS connections – and how do you accomplish this you may ask?

Simple! The proxy simply terminates the SSL connection, then fetches the remote HTTPS document and run-time generates a “faked” SSL cert for the peer that is signed by a CA that the client trusts and then delivers that to the client. This does require that the client has got a CA cert installed locally that makes it trust certificates signed by the “faked” CA but I figure the parliament’s IT department “help” its users to this service.

Not only does this let every IT admin there be able to snoop on user names and passwords etc, it also allows for Man-In-The-Middle attacks big-time as I assume the users will be allowed to go to HTTPS sites using self-signed certificates – but they probably won’t even know it!

The motivation for this weird and intrusive idea seems to be that they want to scan the traffic for viruses and other malware.

If I were a member of the Swedish parliament I would be really upset and I would uninstall the custom CA and I would seriously consider accessing the internet using an ssh tunnel or similar. But somehow I doubt that many of them care, and the rest of them won’t be capable to take counter-measures against this.

Solaris 10 ships libcurl

I fell over this document named “What’s New in the Solaris 10 10/08 Release” and it includes this funny little quote towards the end:

C-URL – The C-URL Wrappers Library

C-URL is a utility library that provides programmatic access to the most common Internet protocols such as, HTTP, FTP, TFTP, SFTP, and TELNET. C-URL is also extensively used in various applications.

The project is cURL, the tool is curl and the library is libcurl. There’s nothing named C-URL and it isn’t any “wrappers library”… And the list of protocols is also funny since it includes 6 protocols while a modern libcurl supports 13 different ones, and also if you build libcurl to support SFTP you also get SCP (which the list doesn’t include) etc.

It just looks so very sloppy to me. But hey, what do I know?

Nvidia chipset audio now works

I’ve mentioned some of my audio problems on my Linux desktop before, and just the other day a friend suggested I should remove ‘esd’ (“apt-get remove esound”) as a means to fix one of my complaints and frequent annoyance (to get the sound working I had to kill esd first, then reload some drivers etc).

Recently my standard “trick” to get the sound brought to life had started to fail so I needed to get a new angle at this and boy, when I did a reboot now without esound installed my on-board sound works! And this without me doing any manual fiddling at all.

My motherboard’s sound info is displayed like this with lspci -v:

00:10.1 Audio device: nVidia Corporation MCP51 High Definition Audio (rev a2)
Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Device 81cb
Flags: bus master, 66MHz, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 22
Memory at fe024000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
Capabilities: <access denied>
Kernel driver in use: HDA Intel
Kernel modules: snd-hda-intel

curl presentation video

I held a 38 minute talk (in English) at the FSCONS conference 2007 about curl and libcurl, and now I’ve realized that the recording from that event is available online in various forms and ways.

You can get the pure Ogg Theora video files by using these links:

The slides from the presentation are still available.

fsfe.org hosts the complete collection of videos from that conference.

I haven’t yet had time and oppurtunity to watch it myself. I figure I’ll do that soon to see and learn from my own mistakes and odd habits when talking in public… and try to not get disturbed too much by my own accent!

Cure coming for Wrap Rage?

This phenomena you thought you were alone to experience, the rage and anger you feel when you’ve bought some new toy and you get it packaged in tight and nearly un-enforceable plastic that demands a decent amount of violence and persistence to crack. It’s called Wrap Rage.

I’ve been told the packages (called blister packs or clam shells) are designed to be this way to be able to show off the merchandise while at the same time prevent thefts: it is hard for a customer to just extract something out of those things in your typical physical store.

Amazon’s initiative Frustration-Free packaging is indeed a refreshing take on this and apparently an attempt to reverse this development. Online stores really cannot have any good reasons to use this kind of armor around products since there’s no risk of stealing. I wish others will follow to make the manufacturers realize that there is a market for this. This needs to be done by manufacturers of stuff, the stores cannot be made to repackage stuff due to warranties and what not.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you could even find cheaper ways to package products once you let go of some of the requirements that no longer apply for online stores. Visibility of the products once packaged is another thing that is pointless for online stores but I would expect is very important to sales in physical stores. I’ve always thought it is pretty pointless and expensive that every single package is made to be able to be a display model. To be able to attract customers to buy it. When you buy the thing online it’s no longer just pointless, it’s plain stupid.

Imagine a future when you can just open your new toy without getting bruises or scratch marks!