Lars Wirzenius

  • 2015-03-01T09:53:25Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    My decision, years and years ago, to put the hostname in the shell prompt just saved me from rebooting the wrong machine. Twice.

    I'm a bit of a minimalist, but this prompt bloat was definitely worth it.

    deejoe , , lostson , Douglas Perkins and 1 others like this.

  • 2015-02-20T16:35:56Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I am shocked, shocked I say, to learn that there is a piece of software written by and for enterprise users that makes things more difficult than they need to be. Shocked. Absolutely, utterly, and totally shocked, to my very core.
  • 2015-01-31T19:05:53Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Should it be illegal to lie about what copyright and trademark law allows and prohibits? I'm not talking about gray areas or corner cases, but clear lies? Say, saying that you can't tape a sportsball programme such as Super Bowl? See this article from Ars Technica:

    I don't actually think it should be illegal. Making it illegal would be a fairly severe freedom of speech limitation. However, the behaviour should be ridiculed and the general population needs to understand that they are being lied to.

    (In other words, once again, the response to bad speech is more good speech, not limitations of speech.)

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Douglas Perkins , Charles Stanhope like this.

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

    I think when companies lie about the law, they undercut their own reputations. That has real long-term consequences that well-run companies would and do care about.

    Douglas Perkins at 2015-01-31T22:18:56Z

  • 2015-01-25T12:01:15Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I have too many books on paper, and it seems difficult to get rid of them. Throwing them into recycling would be sacriledge.

    Definitely a first world problem, I admit.

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    Show all 6 replies could donate them to your local library

    Freemor at 2015-01-25T15:47:45Z

    At least in these parts, libraries don't take used books. Neither do used book stores, except very specific kinds of books. Hospitals might, but it depends. There is no organised book donation anywhere.

    Lars Wirzenius at 2015-01-25T19:08:35Z

    To set books free into the wild with tracking. (look for book exchange)

    To arrange for new homes.

    Reminds me I never did check what happened to the Ted Nelson book that I registered with bookcrossing and shelved next to WWW for Dummies at the local library..

    joeyh at 2015-01-25T19:51:28Z

    I've tried bookcrossing a couple of times, but I don't want to litter the streets with the volume of stuff I want to get rid of. Also, it and goodreads are yet more web sites to sign up for...

    I thank everyone for the advice, but I don't really need it. I know how to get rid of the stuff, I'm just whinging about having to do anything about it. (But I sorted things into piles of keepers and otherwise, and did a bit of sorting based on which of my friends will be getting heavy presents this year. Bwahaha.)

    Lars Wirzenius at 2015-01-25T19:56:25Z

  • 2015-01-01T10:10:18Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I need a smart way to store cables at home so that they're easy to find (which type of USB cable is this?), don't get tangled, and easy to put away again when no longer needed.

    It's too bad wirelessness isn't feasible.

    not even close to ideal, but I have a random cable and adapter bag that I dump my cables in, and then when I need something I go looking for it. For cables I use everyday, I keep it connected, in my backpack or in my pocket (usb -> microusb for cellphone).

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-01-01T11:04:53Z

  • Attention to detail is sometimes appreciated

    2014-12-30T11:48:24Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The phrase "I will resign soon" is ambiguous in the context of Debian OpenPGP key transitions. Some people resign, because they realise they don't really work on Debian anymore. Other people promise to sign everything they signed with their old key with their new key as well.

    Eugenio M. Vigo , sazius like this.

    I encourage people to say "I will sign everything back soon" if they're not planning to resign from their DD position.

    Eugenio M. Vigo at 2014-12-30T13:11:15Z

  • 2014-12-28T09:41:09Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I've not yet read that paper, but in their commentary they note that "TODO" comments in code rarely get acted upon. Immediate realisation: such comments could have reference a ticket and an automatic CI job could fail if no ticket is referenced (or the ticket doesn't exist or it's marked as done).

    Of course, if you have the ticket, the "TODO" comment in the code may be unnecessary.

    Greg Grossmeier likes this.

    I consider TODO comments something to consider when refactoring the related code.

    Ilpo Nyyssönen at 2014-12-28T12:26:18Z

  • 2014-12-26T09:28:29Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers is a web site that blogs, though slowly, of important research and findings about software development. It's one of the most interesting sites I've found recently, possibly for a long time.

    I disagree with the term "software engineering" to describe the software development that happens today. I don't think it's accurate, and indeed I think it's too much of a fantasy to be used seriously. For software development to be an engineering discipline, it needs a strong foundation based on actual research. In short, we need to know what works, what doesn't work, and preferably why in both cases.

    This website is one example of how that's now changing, and that's good. As a practicing software developer, I want to know, for example, whether code review actually helps improve software quality, the speed of software development, and the total cost of a software project, and also under what the limits of code review are, how it should be done well, and what kind of review doesn't work. Once I know that, I can decide whether and how to do reviews in my development teams.

    The software development community is full of anecdotal evidence about these things. It's also full of people who've done something once, and then want to sell books, seminars, and lectures about it. That's not been working too well: it makes software development research be mostly about fads, and that's no way to build a strong foundation.

    Now I just need the time to read everything, and the brain to understand big words.

    Luis , Amitai Schlair , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Greg Grossmeier and 6 others like this.

    Mike Linksvayer , mnd , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Ilpo Nyyssönen and 1 others shared this.

    The software development community is full of anecdotal evidence about these things. It's also full of people who've done something once, and then want to sell books, seminars, and lectures about it. That's not been working too well: it makes software development research be mostly about fads, and that's no way to build a strong foundation.

    Yes, by far the most annoying thing about software development is encountering the "* school preachers".

    Will actual data solve that? It doesn't seem to solve it outside of CS, but it does seem to help one separate what's real from what's poppycock.

    So, anything to destroy the development school preachers and priests... I'm for!

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2014-12-26T16:33:49Z

    I was recently led to find the same site as a result of having been greatly impressed with the speaker in

    Amitai Schlair at 2014-12-29T03:04:49Z

    Lars Wirzenius likes this.

    I recommend Wilson & Oram's book about three times a week for similar reasons.

    Sumana Harihareswara at 2014-12-29T20:16:55Z

    Charles Stanhope , Lars Wirzenius like this.

  • 2014-12-23T09:53:51Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    That feeling when you run backups for the first time after re-installing your machine...

    Normally it will take a really long time. Although, I wonder with obnam it might not if you use the old repository and it has many of the same files (or data chunks)? (I have just started using obnam myself, so haven't experienced this myself.)

    sazius at 2014-12-23T10:11:44Z

    Aye, Obnam re-uses the existing chunks and metadata as much as it can.

    Lars Wirzenius at 2014-12-23T10:19:02Z

    That's what I like about obnam. I currently backup both my desktop and laptop to the same repository, since they have a lot of the same files anyway.

    sazius at 2014-12-23T10:26:24Z

  • 2014-12-22T19:48:19Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I've been remiss about announcing new Yakking posts. They are, after all, fairly regular: every Wednesday at about noon UK time. However, we decided to do an extra Monday post, this week:

    (Yes, it's mine.)

    Charles Stanhope likes this.

  • 2014-12-21T15:25:40Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Hellloooo, Debian jessie + xfce4 + xmonad.

    joeyh likes this.

    I hope you don't greet your friends this way when you meet a group ;)

    JanKusanagi at 2014-12-21T16:45:04Z dunno what xmonad is but I'm on jessie+xfce4, so hello

    Dani at 2014-12-21T17:26:20Z

  • 2014-12-17T20:37:51Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Too many books on paper I have. Carrying them not fun is.

    I've been stocking up on thin, light books for my Christmas traveling. Since I refuse DRM, most of my books are still on paper.

    sazius at 2014-12-17T21:07:02Z

  • 2014-12-16T10:08:58Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I see sunlight and a blue sky. It's kind of like summer.

    I told my colleague we should have the day off from work that one day per month when the sky is clear :-)

    sazius at 2014-12-16T10:11:10Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Lars Wirzenius like this.

  • 2014-12-14T18:28:38Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I may be the only geek in the world who doesn't like Interstellar.

    Ambrose Andrews likes this.

    What is “interstellar”?

    Debacle at 2014-12-14T19:10:29Z

  • 2014-12-13T13:34:34Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I've been elected to the board of Effi for 2015.

    Greg Grossmeier , Efraim Flashner , Timo Kankare , sazius like this.

    Greg Grossmeier shared this.

    Congratulations! Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the Effi meeting, but I'm glad to hear it went well :-)

    sazius at 2014-12-13T14:22:50Z


    Laura Arjona at 2014-12-13T17:09:23Z

  • 2014-12-12T12:19:44Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Friday afternoon project management lesson: When you impose fake deadlines to get developers to work harder, and move them whenever the developers fail to meet them, you teache developers that deadlines are always flexible, and never need to be considered seriously.

    Missing real deadlines means bad things happen. A comet is within reachable distance of the Earth only during a very specific time window, and no manager decision will move that. If you miss the time window, you can't land your probe on the comet. That's a real deadline.

    Real/fake is a different axis from hard/soft.

    Real deadlines might be moveable, when they're the result of negotiations between multiple parties. For example, legislation might impose new rules for something that come into effect at a given date. That date is moveable, if enough parties convince the legislative body to change it. But it's not easy. And if you miss it, you break the law, and that has consequences.

    Deadlines don't make things happen faster. Motivated developers who're confident they understand what the end goal is tend to work fast, without being whipped by deadlines. If you impose fake deadlines, you reduce developer happiness, and thereby motivation, making development go slower.

    A manager who imposes fake deadlines just makes the whole software development profession worse.

    That doesn't mean deadlines are a bad thing, per se. But they should be real, not fake.

    mnd , , Douglas Perkins , Amitai Schlair and 1 others like this.

    In my opinion, deadlines should be negotiated *before* the task begins. Afterwards, it shouldn't be moved unless there's a really really good reason to do so (which should be improbable if the previous negotiation was done in a sensible manner).

    Eugenio M. Vigo at 2014-12-12T12:31:55Z

  • 2014-12-12T08:03:26Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I have accidentally shown that I can listen to Maylynne's "Track 03" on repeat for a long time without realising. Great music for working.
  • 2014-12-10T15:08:26Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Rule of software architecture design: Everything will change, including what you're promised never will, unless it's something under your complete control, and even then it probably will. Deal with it.

    Timo Kankare , Debacle , Ilpo Nyyssönen , mnd and 7 others like this.

    cmhobbs , Freemor shared this.

  • 2014-12-09T13:51:06Z via Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Happiness is putting a sign saying "not here, in cyberspace doing magic" on the door, and then emerging four hours later with a 20 page document explaining all your thinking about how to re-architect everything.

    I need a new brain now, and possibly new fingers. But the Lenovo Thinkpad external USB keyboard (X230 style) is lovely.

    sazius , Ilpo Nyyssönen , Christopher Allan Webber like this.