Had to share it…

Doing my usual slashdot reading and couldn’t help but laughing at a smart response to a rather pejorative comment. Doesn’t really matter which country the original commenter was referring to, but you’ve got to love that response!

The vast majority of their population still live like animals.

As opposed to some other country, where the majority of the population live like plants? I guess you’re right: too many USA residents have become couch potatoes.

Linux is not good for you…

A friend of mine was telling me how she went to buy a new computer, asked to have Linux on it, and was told “Linux is not good for you at home” and that she shouldn’t worry, they’ll just install her Windows XP and all the things she really needs, “for free”. Yes this happened in China, but it probably already happened elsewhere.

Don’t worry she’ll install Linux all by herself I am sure, the real problem is no longer that consumers are not aware nor ready for Linux, sales persons are not! It’s probably harder for them to get familiar with Linux and make an effort to learn something that’s good for their customers rather than launching Norton Ghost, partitioning the disk into Nx20GiB partitions (that’s how they prepare PCs here…) and copying all the virus, spyware and malware infected bootleg versions of Windows they’ve been distributing for ages.

This friend of mine is no tech person, just uses a computer and I guess, has been hearing about Open Source, Linux and Software Freedom. So it’s nice to see that our efforts are paying off. Now how can we reach those stores in China (and elsewhere) and get them to become familiar with Linux installs, and… why not… even do Linux promotion?

Binary watch

Binary watch - 12:23Spent my (western) New Year visiting my family and shopping in Hong Kong – great sales by the way, even at normal price every branded stuff is way cheaper than China – and found something that can only please a geek: a binary watch. Didn’t know it existed and wanted it as soon as I saw it. The only draw back is that you need to push a button to be able to read the time (it switches on the LEDs), but the rest is really cool. And I guess only another geek would steal it from me, as anybody else will probably not be able to read the time (they still added the bits value on the PCB though, for non-geeks I suppose). The upper LED row shows the hour, coded on 4 bits, and the lower row the minutes, coded on 6 bits.

And in case you were wondering, it was 12:2312:27 (thanks Julien) when I took the picture! 😉

Dokuwiki on Debian

dokuwikiWent through my n+1 installation of my preferred wiki, dokuwiki on a Debian server and for the first time run into a small error, a warning actually, that would systematically be displayed on the wiki page header:
Warning: mb_strrpos() [function.mb-strrpos]: Empty haystack in /../../inc/pageutils.php line 142
Warning: mb_strrpos() [function.mb-strrpos]: Empty haystack in /../../inc/pageutils.php line 155

The error was there whether I used aptitude or manual install and I couldn’t find anything online or in the bug tracker about it. Finally went under Dokuwiki IRC channel and with the help of “Chris–S” narrowed down the problem to either mb_string overloading or stricter error checking.

The fix? Changing:
mbstring.func_overload = 7
to
mbstring.func_overload = 0
in php.ini and restarting Apache. This is a system wide change, there is also a way to change it per site using a .htaccess file. Hope that helps someone.