It’s a Start: vFolders hit Mozilla

I was looking at the release notes for Mozilla 1.8 alpha 4 and took notice of one of the new features in the Mail component:

Still in “alpha” state, the new Virtual Folder allows you to save a search as a folder (either a search within a single folder, or an account-wide search, or a search of a folder and its sub-folders). (bug 11051 )

So vFolders finally come to Mozilla; how long till this hits the Thunderbird builds?

date:2004-09-30 09:51:26

How to maintain your monopoly

This afternoon I had the strangest experience. Comcast, the cable and internet giant, treated me like I mattered. I came home from class, attempted to download my e-mail and found that my connection was, well, dead. This isn’t anything new; for the past month or so I’ve had to “reboot” the cable modem every other day or so to get a connection. I knew that I would probably have to talk to Comcast eventually about the problem, but like dental work without anaethesia, I wasn’t looking forward to it. So I rebooted the modem, and an hour later, when it still hadn’t connected, I knew today was the day. Mentally rearranging my schedule to account for the afternoon of work I was surely going to lose, I dialed Comcast on my cell. Funny, you never think about times like this when you sign up for Vonage.

After navigating the automated menus, I was finally connected to a tech after waiting for…. 30 seconds? OK, so it’s mid-day, they must be slow. I’m sure he’ll be ignorant and unpleasant. I described what I’d done and what the symptoms were.

“Yup, sounds like a dead modem; my COM21 did that too about a month ago. Would you like me to schedule a tech or would you like to go pick up a new modem at your local office?”

Uh, excuse me? You’re not going to make me wait 36 hours for a surly, under-educated, condescending technician? [Note: I’m not trying to make blanket statements about Comcast technicians here, only about ones I’ve interacted with in the past] Still suspecting something was afoot, I replied “Well, I’ll just go pick it up; do I need to call back then?”

“Nope, just plug it in and it should be up and running.”

Yeah, right. So I went to the office, still suspecting the desk clerks were going to look at me incredulously when I asked for a new modem. Instead, she says, “Oh, you talked to tech support? OK, let me get that for you.” Finally, to add insult to, uh, injury, when I returned home and plugged it in, it did actually work. Total time spent: 45 minutes.

I’m trying not to read too much into this experience. After all, Comcast has a long, rich history of pimping customers around, unfulfilled promises, and out-right lying when you call tech support. Ike can’t just buy Tina some flowers and expect all to be forgiven; he has to grovel first. And to further abuse the metaphor, I paid for the flowers myself, in the form of incredibly expensive service. But I suppose if you have to be a soulless, blood-sucking, government-enforced monopoly, you can at least give your customers the illusion of dignity. Thanks, Comcast!

date:2004-09-23 14:15:12
category:my life

What a Night

Last night’s concert was absoluting amazing. Byrne and Gil both did amazing sets, and even did a couple of songs together. In particular I liked Byrne’s rendition of “Once In a Lifetime.” And the after party was cool, too. OK, so I spent most of it feeling completely out of place, but I did get the chance to chat with Mike and Matt for a while. Oh, and who would have thought that I’d be able to say, “David Byrne? Yeah, I had a drink with him.” And by “with him” I mean we ordered a drink at the bar at roughly the same time, and I got the knowing-nod.

There was, of course, the incredibly weird conversation with Drunken-Latin-Cute-Guy:

DLCG:So, you work for Wired? NRY:No, I work for CC. DLCG:What do you do at Wired? NRY:Actually, I don’t work for Wired; I work for the Creative Commons, writing software. DLCG:Oh, cool; so you’re a genius, huh? NRY:No, just lucky, I guess. DLCG:So do you only write about software and technology for Wired, or do you write about other shit, too? NRY:[smiling to say “you’re an idiot”]No, I just write about software. Enjoy your drink.
date:2004-09-22 20:09:34
category:my life

Wrapping Static Text in wxPython

In addition to packing for NYC this morning, I’m working on getting a new release of ccTag out the door. I’m working on lots of UI issues at the moment, and part of that relates to wxPython’s StaticText widget (“Label” to you recovering Win32 programmers). Unfortunately, the StaticText widget doesn’t support automagic word-wrapping, so I’ve derived a new class which may be of interest to others.

StaticWrapText acts like a regular StaticText widget, with the exception that it will attempt to word wrap it’s contents as it’s resized. This makes it much easier to use a single XRC across platforms where font sizes, etc may impact line breaks in a normal StaticText widget. You can find the source in The source includes the widget class, an XRC resource handler, and a very simple sample which will execute when you run directly. The sample demonstrates how to use the XRC resource handler.

There are a couple areas that could use improvement. Currently the resize is only called when the widget receives an EVT_SIZE event, so it’s possible that your app could start with the text unwrapped. I’ve worked around this by manually calling OnSize on the widget when I create it. Not an ideal solution, but one that works for now.

Second, the word wrap algorithm I wrote is, well, stupid. But it was quick and dirty, so I ran with it. I’m open to suggestions and improvements.

date:2004-09-17 11:35:35


After being under the weather yesterday, I’m feeling better today. Which is a good thing, because there’s lots to be done. Tuesday is the concert in New York City, and I’m leaving Indiana this evening. I’ve never been to NYC, and before the gay police come and take my membership card, I figure I need a weekend in the city.

So here’s the plan: get into New York late tonite, explore the city tomorrow and maybe take in a show and nightlife. Sunday, more exploring, more shopping. Monday and Tuesday, CC stuff for me, god knows what for Garrett (I’m guessing shopping). And Tuesday, drinks and a concert. All that, and back in time for class on Wednesday.

date:2004-09-17 07:35:27
category:my life

follow your heart”

Meg has decided to become a chef. I’m always in awe of people who take chances like this, and maybe a little jealous, too. And today I’m reminded that even after reading an entire book on the subject, I’m not sure I’m any closer to an answer to the question of what I want to do with my life.

date:2004-09-15 15:08:03
category:my life

Peer to Peer Calendaring

Catching up on some infrequent blog reads, I see that OSAF has abandoned the idea of peer to peer calendaring for Chandler. While I understand Mitch (and OSAF’s) reasoning, I’m hopeful someone will step in once a dog food release is available and re-implement the idea.

Why? My partner works for a small university counseling center, and they currently use GroupWise, the campus standard, for scheduling. While GroupWise does great for basic scheduling, it’s not extensible in a way that allows them to track additional client metrics in a convenient way. Let me rephrase that: if it’s extensible, it’s beyond my skills and the services offered by the university IT department. So I was hopeful that I would be able to quickly add metric tracking to Chandler to create a peer-to-peer, vertical solution for their office. HIPPA and other privacy concerns rule out using a 3rd party server, as Mitch proposes in his post, and the university is queasy about running WebDav servers internally. So I guess Garrett’s Access app which currently tracks metrics lives to see another day.

date:2004-09-15 14:58:29

Outfoxed, Out-licensed

Lessig reports that Robert Greenwald, Producer/Director of the anti-FOX News polemic (and damned fine film) Outfoxed, has released the original interview footage under a Creative Commons license. The footage is available for remix at the Internet Archive and on torrentacracy. Very cool.

Hopefully we’ll see more filmmakers, and especially documentary filmmakers, licensing their source material in order to create a wider variety of works that will help promote discussion and conversation on important issues. Hmmm… does that imply that CC licensing promotes “fair and balanced” coverage of an issue?

On a slightly related note, after seeing Outfoxed, all I want to see is a remix of the Blackeyed Peas hit single “Shut Up” featuring footage of Bill O’Reilly. Now that would be quality entertainment.

date:2004-09-15 14:46:56
category:culture, geek