Blaise Alleyne

Toronto, Canada

Technologist, musician, writer, theology student, free culture/software advocate.

  • Thunderbird has... 1-2% Market Share?

    2015-10-05T16:10:50Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I knew Thunderbird had low market share... but for some reason I'm still pretty surprised to see only 1% from 2012 or 2% from 2015.

    I guess everyone just uses webmail anyways... it'd probably be more meaningful to ask what percentage of the desktop mail client space Thunderbird has... since that's already a minority of users.

    testbeta likes this.

    In my workplace (University Engineering School, ~300 users) we recommended Thunderbird for Windows users (although we allow them to install the one they choose) and I think we have had more than 40% share.

    Two years ago our webmail system migrated to RoundCube (yay!) and since then, many people just used webmail. Many others, unfortunately, configured their (University) account in the Gmail webmail (IMO it should be forbidden to do that, specially for teachers/researchers, but it's difficult to get those policies written, and even if yes, more difficult get people following the policy).

    This year I would say we keep at least 25% share in Windows desktops, but I have no actual figures (just estimating from the user help desk requests).

    I've never seen a Windows user that migrates from other client to Thunderbird regret that decision later (except for the migration to webmail cases).

    Laura Arjona at 2015-10-05T17:44:20Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    I wonder where mutt (or others like alpine) figures.
    Yeah webmail is defacto people don't get that email should have its own dedicated desktop application, I didn't. It's until disruption begins.
    mozilla is plummeting, be it firefox or thunderbird.
    thunderbird has rivals in claws and sylpheed, both recommended by crypto tools, like gpg and gpg4win and co.

    testbeta at 2015-10-05T19:16:14Z

    debexpert likes this.

    Yeah, that's true -- there are some communities with huge uptake, and even a small percentage of email users is still millions of people worldwide when the pie is as big as "email users."

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T20:01:51Z

    I use Enigmail with Thunderbird, but yeah, Thunderbird has been pretty stagnant for years now...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T20:02:24Z

  • Innovation happens at the intersections

    2015-10-05T01:55:05Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Why some of us don't have one true calling

    Fantastic TED Talk, though I really hate the term "multipotentialite." I've been thinking for a couple years of a better term to describe a multidisciplinarian, someone with multiple specialties... and not just in an additive way, but in the sense of interdisciplinary integration... and a word that's in the same genre as "specialist."

    • Integrationist / Integrationalist?
    • Multidisciplinarian?
    • Intersectionalist
    • Jack of all trades, master of some (phrase, not name...)

    Obviously, coming up with catchy names isn't one of my specialties.

    testbeta likes this.

    Reinassance person? :)

    Martin Weller talks about interdisciplinarity in "The Digital Scholar", maybe you like that chapter (I found the whole book very interesting, even when I am not a scholar).

    Laura Arjona at 2015-10-05T18:11:23Z

    testbeta likes this.

    Polymath just sounds like such a technical term. And I think most people would be confused by the "math" part. But it is an applicable term for sure.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T19:59:03Z

    Cool, I'll check out the book!

    Renaissance person is accurate, it just sounds like... child prodigy or genius or like something that is extraordinary and super special and inaccessible to the average person, contrasted with a commonplace word like specialist. But maybe that's my own hangup!

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T20:00:19Z

  • WordPress and Privacy Badger

    2015-09-25T14:01:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Yikes. I install Privacy Badger, and the standard WordPress admin is loading a ton of stuff, like Bootstrap from a CDN, Google Fonts, etc.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Olivier Mehani , Olivier Mehani , Olivier Mehani shared this.

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    if you think wordpress is bad you should check out some of the news sites. they are really bad

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-09-25T14:13:07Z

    I guess I just expected a bit better of WordPress. =\

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-09-25T14:16:28Z

    Try running NoScript for a while :-)

    Sazius at 2015-09-25T16:49:31Z

    Douglas Perkins , jrobertson like this.

    If a web page doesn't load properly without JavaScript then it is not a web page in my book it's a web application for viewing select information  among other things.

    jrobertson at 2015-09-26T11:26:41Z

    Douglas Perkins likes this.

  • Digital Ocean launching Toronto Data Centre

    2015-09-24T14:40:23Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Super excited that Digital Ocean is launching a Toronto Data Centre! VPS options in Canada are pretty lousy...

    Efraim Flashner likes this.

    Interesting that the ones in the US are data centers

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-09-24T15:19:39Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

  • Free Software for Live Musical Performance

    2015-09-20T20:43:00Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm so glad I have a presentation at our small Toronto Software Freedom Day gathering yesterday, put on by LibrePlanet Ontario.

    I didn't feel ready, but the deadline forced me to get ready enough. I've been working on putting together a mulit-instrumental live music station powered by free software for about a year now, and yesterday I performed three songs with this rig for the first time! It's still very much a work in progress, but it's usable now...

    Hoping to do more of these performances in future, and to write about my set up.

    olm-e , Charles Stanhope , B. Ross Ashley , Greg Grossmeier like this.

  • 2015-09-19T02:36:00Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Last minute preparation for a presentation on software and music tomorrow. I don't feel ready... but I think I can give an interesting alpha preview to my evolving live music rig centred around live music production. We'll see how it goes...

  • My Name Is Noah

    2015-09-06T00:39:06Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The first true jam session between me and my son (3 years born):

  • Guitar effects pedalboard 10th anniversary

    2015-09-05T15:28:01Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Bought a Digitech Whammy V, reconfigured my pedalboard on its 10th anniversary. New favourite pedal now (though waiting for the MOD Duo).

  • Parts of my job that I hate

    2015-07-15T16:45:53Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Troubleshooting a Windows 8 machine that I never wanted which now has CryptoWall on it and is suddenly my problem.

    Urgh, sounds terrible :-(

    sazius (old account) at 2015-07-15T19:49:26Z

    My condolences :\

    JanKusanagi at 2015-07-15T23:40:57Z

  • Data Roaming in the US

    2015-07-09T15:31:26Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I can't tell which is more amazing: that WIND Mobile's unlimited US roaming is only $15/month... or that its default US data rate is only $0.05/MB. o.0

    For any other Canadian carrier, the border is that magic line where a mobile computer transforms into a touch screen calculator... likes this.

    >> Blaise Alleyne:

    “[...] that magic line where a mobile computer transforms into a touch screen calculator... [...]”


    JanKusanagi at 2015-07-09T15:35:31Z

  • My mom the Games Doctor

    2015-07-08T14:34:42Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Super proud of my mom, Chief Medical Officer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Para-Pan Am Games.

    Here's an interview she did this morning on CBC Radio:

    George Standish likes this.

  • 2015-06-24T14:33:42Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    My wife just now, re: cover of LV011: "Is that Richard Stallman? Because it looks like Robert Baratheon."

    sazius (old account) likes this.

    they do both have big, wild beards

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-06-24T15:02:56Z

  • The death of a laptop (hard drive)

    2015-06-24T02:32:13Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I think the hard drive on my ThinkPad T61 is totally dead.

    It's a 750 GB drive that was still my primary digital home... I have my files backed up, but I'm not even sure where to put them now...

    • Do I get another large drive? I'm addicted to the speed of the SSD I've been using in my X60, and had barely been touching my T61 as a result...
    • Do I move my files to ownCloud? I'm using it more and more, but a bit wary of putting important stuff behind a web accessible login page...
    • Do I move to my living room computer / server? This is where my backups sit already... access via SFTP or something from whatever machine I'm using?
    • Do I refurbish or abandon the T61? The fan needs repair (or maybe just cleaning), and the keyboard has a few serious issues (sticky e and space bar, non-working PgUP...)... but otherwise...

    Also, kinda sentimental... that hard drive housed my first GNU/Linux install, which carried me from Ubuntu 6.06, through failed upgrades, across three physical machines, for a good 7 years. (Though, I'd stopped using it daily in favour of Debian and an SSD... so maybe it's about time.)

    This probably forces only the third time I've every reorganized my digital home base in my life... the first time from a family 386 to my own Windows machine, then the second time when switching to GNU/Linux 7 years back...

    deep breath

    One step at a time...

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

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    @Douglas Perkins: Right, that's kind of what I mean... I shouldn't have said "log in" in particular... it's more that I'm hesitant to expose all my personal files to a web-accessible PHP application!

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:13:05Z

    Lars Wirzenius likes this.

    @Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) oh, cool, I didn't know those existed! Will check that option out for sure...

    The ThinkPad T61 has an UltraBay which has an optical drive in it now, but I can potentially use that for a second hard drive too... I was considering the dual hard drive thing before... but a combined drive might be simpler.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:15:45Z


    A 1TB hard drive will cost you about $60, and it should last for 5+ years. SSDs have lower latency, are silent, and suitable for the professional who has more cash to burn.

    The main reason I can't imagine running off a non-SSD anymore is that these laptops are also old.

    For me, spending some extra cash on an SSD for my X60 was actually a money saver because it made my X60 lightning fast and killed any immediate need for a new machine. I would avoid my T61 with the non-SSD a lot of the time because, even though they had otherwise similar specs, it'd be ~5min to logged in session versus 30 seconds, and everything else just felt so painful and slow... The SSD was the single biggest boost to performance I've ever made, and made me quite content to continue using these old 2007 machines.

    A local file server is essential if you intend to keep backups, whereas a local cloud server is more helpful if you're setting up a media library for family members etc.

    My living room computer is kinda of all of the above... it receives backups via rsync/ssh, I can connect to it via SFTP (locally or remotely) as a file server, but it's also running ownCloud (and a few other web applications). I'm somewhat tempted to make that my home base... just access it via SFTP when I need to get into long-term storage files or something, maybe even just stream my music collection... but I'm really not sure yet!

    Thanks for the feedback. :)

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:22:27Z

    @Laura Arjona true, true. Maybe the first step is just to get my backup accessible so I can use my files and buy some time to think about fixing up the laptop. It's the keyboard bit that seemed a bit expensive to repair on a 2007 machine, but I only started looking into it... If the repairs aren't too expensive, I'm much more inclined to get it working well again rather than look at a new machine... (It's pretty freedom friendly hardware, aside from the wireless card...)

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:26:19Z

  • Toronto Transit Commission phasing out tokens/tickets

    2015-06-23T13:27:52Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    TTC phasing out tokens/tickets for Presto card... which collects "accurate usage data," i.e. tracks you. Et tu, TTC?

    Ottawa switched to using Presto card a couple of years ago, it's pretty handy. Re:Tracking, if you purchase with cash, and don't register your card - it can be rather anonymous.

    George Standish at 2015-06-23T15:48:18Z

    In many cases, your home/work location pair alone can identify you uniquely. =\

    I'm sure there will be some big advantages. And I'm tracked way more by my mobile, and my payment cards, etc. I just mourn the loss of the good old fashion token a little bit as a truly anonymous option (I guess minus security cameras!).

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T02:23:19Z

  • Android-based mobile device recommendations?

    2015-06-10T02:58:53Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    My wife's Nexus 4 has been having a ton of problems over the past couple weeks. Some hardware, some maybe software, but we're looking at a new mobile computer as an option... but I haven't been paying attention to or looking at Android-based computers for a couple years...

    Recommendations for a relatively friendly and decent Android-based computer? She won't be running Replicant, but I may be able to set her up with CyanogenMod (or other recommendations?) this time around.

    Hardware specs wise, the Nexus 4 served her well except for the non-expandable 16 GB of storage.

    (Also, we're WIND Mobile customers, so AWS frequency support is a must... same was T-Mobile in the US.)

    Any advice appreciated!

    Just moved to a Nexus 5. At $400, the price tag is still hefty, but it runs like a charm (CM11 or 12). The only issue IMO is the lack of an external SD card support.

    Olivier Mehani at 2015-06-10T10:08:12Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    Interesting, thanks. At least it has more storage than the Nexus 4, but that lack of expandable storage is frustrating... I wonder if Google doesn't care much for it because they want you to be putting more things onto their servers or something...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-10T19:42:25Z

    That said,
    cm11/device/lge/hammerhead ((remotes/github/cm-11.0))$ wc -l proprietary-blobs.txt
    234 proprietary-blobs.txt

    Olivier Mehani at 2015-06-11T00:17:46Z

  • Debian upgrades...

    2015-06-10T02:55:44Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    On several servers today: s/wheezy/jessie/g...

    Olivier Mehani likes this.

  • Magento makes me feel dirty

    2015-05-31T19:09:04Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I always feel so dirty every time I work with Magento.

    The most recent reason is the following workflow that seems to happen all the time:

    1. Buy a proprietary extension (since Magento is open core, that sets the tone for the whole ecosystem, which is just full of proprietary software...);
    2. It includes some phone-home DRM licence scheme and "free upgrades" for about 6 months;
    3. Encounter some problem with that proprietary extension (e.g. they change their phone-home licensing service and it doesn't work with an old version of the extension!);
    4. Contact that company for support;
    5. The company says they can help you out, but they just need FTP access and admin access to the backend of your store.

    ... is this how people live??

    Olivier Mehani shared this.

    Not to mention that all these proprietary extensions have their own way of doing things, so it feels like installing software in Windows: your menu turns into a mess of vendor names...

    And each vendor has their own way of managing modules, notifying about updates, or trying to enforce licenses, etc...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-05-31T19:15:40Z

  • Toronto gigs this week

    2015-05-06T16:37:59Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm playing a couple new cover tunes solo at UofT on Friday night in support of CAFEX, and on violin with Dave Borins and band for our weekly residency every Wed 6-8pm in May/June at The Cameron House!

  • 2015-04-27T17:39:21Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I've been getting him with spam users on a few Drupal websites I admin, but this one I can appreciate: "New User: john.snow"

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Stephen Michael Kellat like this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    That user knows nothing!

    Arcee at 2015-04-27T18:38:44Z

    Blaise Alleyne , B. Ross Ashley like this.

  • hello world

    2015-04-19T23:16:06Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    My wife bought this onesie for our newborn daughter as her first outfit to wear.

    der.hans , lard , Douglas Perkins , Efraim Flashner and 1 others like this.

    Now she only needs to grow up to be a programmer =)

    JanKusanagi at 2015-04-19T23:19:09Z

    Douglas Perkins , George Standish , Blaise Alleyne like this.