Several very annoying things

These annoying things are all somehow related.

1. School. Tomorrow. Moral of the story: two weeks is never enough.

2. Chemistry assignment. Researching metals. Due Friday, this Friday. Around 10% complete.

3. Several weeks of distance ed work to catch up on for software design and development.

4. Broken ADSL modem. Overheating, dropping connection every minute or two. Buying new D-Link modem tomorrow.

Now of course 2 and 3 become harder because of 4. Warning: Do not buy Netcomm modems, especially not NB5580W models. They are a risk to your safety and a fire hazard. And they tend to fail sporadically because of the overheating. A friend of mine has to switch his modem off every night because the heat causes problems the next day.



Xara Xtreme

I've just been trying out the Linux port of Xara Xtreme, the professional vector graphics program recently GPLed by Xara, and it has very quickly become my favourite graphics editor, even though it still has some major major bugs (porting bugs, obviously).

It's much more feature-complete than Inkscape, probably because of its history as a commercial program. I really can't imagine doing some of the things given as examples (e.g. a nearly photo-realistic cross-section of a car, with nearly everything modelled in) in Inkscape or any of the other vector editors for Linux.

With Xara you can literally create all sorts of things, e.g gel buttons for websites, company logos, etc. from scratch in less than 10 minutes. It's a great project with a lot of potential for Linux-using graphic artists (people unlike me.) My only major problems at the moment are the instability (which will hopefully clear up within a few weeks) and the lack of SVG support, which is a big problem if you want to interoperate with other programs. The one major feature it misses at the moment is a colour editor, although the developers say that will be there given a few weeks in the next recommended build.

You can download Xara Xtreme LX from http://xaraxtreme.org.



Artists who are actually against DRM

The Canadian Music Creators Coalition are against DRM. Good!



Where did the .root TLD come from? (Part 2)

Ever heard of the .root TLD? For those who haven't, visit this blog post by Karl Auerbach.

For those who have, I've done some research and found something quite interesting.

dig vrsn-end-of-zone-marker-dummy-record.root in any no longer returns a result. .root is no longer there apparently.

But look at the last few lines of the InterNIC root zone file.

From http://www.internic.net/zones/root.zone:

L.EU.DNS.BE. A P.NIC.EU. A VRSN-END-OF-ZONE-MARKER-DUMMY-RECORD. TXT plenus ;File end: -19353 ;End of file: 2006042401

Now read the third line carefully. What the heck? Who authorised this?



Debian Live gets a second entry in the Debian Weekly News

"The Debian Live Initiative that aims to produce a pure Debian live CD summarises links to mailing lists, ISO images and other resources on their <a href="http://live.debian.net/">website</a>."

That is officially my first item in DWN.



Stupid fibre cable outage yesterday

If anyone experienced slow internet from around 2am to 10am yesterday, you're not alone. As it turns out there was a problem with the Southern Cross cable link between here and the US, and Optus, Powertel and MCI (all the backend suppliers my ISP uses) have at least part of their international capacity supplied by the SX link. As a result browsing was extremely slow on many networks as they had reached capacity.



I decided to ask right from the top...

This is a letter I sent through the Prime Minister's Office when I felt bored today. I don't expect a reply but if I get one I'll post it up.


Does the Howard government have any views on Free Software (in the meaning given by the Free Software Foundation, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html) and Open Source, or any plans to implement laws to protect them?

With the signing of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the infamous Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the problem of software patents are coming to Australia. The DMCA just encourages 'piracy', rather than discourage it, and also infringes on fair use rights.

Software patents are not going to help the software industry, but rather threaten small developers of both proprietary and Free/Open Source software. All the lobby groups that are pro-software patents are funded by large, tens of billion dollars proprietary software companies that 'innovate' by acquiring rather than actually inventing, then patenting very obvious ideas like double clicking and that sort of thing. All of them face a major threat from Free Software alternatives like GNU/Linux, Samba, Apache and MySQL and wish to enforce their patented 'ideas' against them.

If these laws come to Australia they will only discourage competition and encourage violation of copyright. Does the government have any plans to protect our fair use rights and protect Free Software as well as proprietary software developers from patent suits, many of which result in hundreds of million dollars settlements, leaving companies and sometimes individual developers bankrupt and reducing competition?

(More information on the problem of software patents can be found at http://nosoftwarepatents.com.)



I just decided to clear out the over 1000 spam messages in my spam filter box - it shrunk my mailbox by 20 megs.

There's way too much spam now - around one sixth of my mail is spam. Just as I deleted the last message from my spam box another one arrived.

On a related note, my ISP had to shut down their mail servers for half an hour this morning because 26 customers has virus-infected PCs sending out 30000 messages over 8 hours - that's 3750 messages per hour, which is 1.04 messages a second, along with all the real mail that had to be sent.

Some people just like to ruin it for everyone...



Qt 4

I finally finished compiling Qt 4 from KDE SVN and it is good! It looks much better than Qt 3 did. Currently compiling everything else now...



Qt 4 SVN...

Crap it's huge! 24 megs bzipped2 and taking even longer when downloading by actual SVN. Then on my system it takes 1hr 20mins just for Qt 3.3, longer for Qt 4.

Someone on #debian said this was why they didn't use Gentoo...



The end of school (at last)

The holidays are here! Only two assessments and three weeks of Distance Ed work to do! Unfortunately.



I got my wireless (at last!)

Just yesterday I got a note from Startrack to say that my order from EverythingLinux Pty Ltd had arrived. Went down to the Industrial Area, picked it up, stopped by at a computer store on the way home to get an ethernet card, got home, opened up, removed crappy old modem, installed shiny new ethernet card, and did the easiest installation of *any* network hardware I have ever done.

Then came the hard part. D-Link products seem to use IPs in the range of 192.168.0.x, while Netcomm uses 192.168.1.x. I had a D-Link DWL-810+ wireless-to-ethernet with a Netcomm NB5580W router. And a computer whose OS had *never* been exposed to any form of external network. Combined with a person that doesn't know a huge amount about Unix network configuration.

Luckily I had network-admin installed... Yesterday I messed it up, this morning I tried again, and finally after I came home today I had it set up in about two minutes. Turned out I had to assign an IP in the 192.168.1.x range, set it to not use a gateway, and set the subnet mask to

After all that, it works...



Slashdot has officially gone crazy!

See http://images.slashdot.org/slashdot_fool.css.

Firefox users: Install Web Developer so you can turn it off.

Re Hemos' birthday:

(4, Funny) by algae(2196)

$ while true; do
> mail -s "HAPPY BIRFDAY HEMOS!!!!!" hemos@slashdot.org done

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