ChatZilla 0.9.80 released

ChatZilla 0.9.80 is now available from and the homepage.

Notable new features include:

Notable fixed bugs include:

There is a full list for the curious among you.

ChatZilla, now with extra cool

Thanks to Silver‘s hard work, current ChatZilla trunk now features draggable tabs! Due to a slightly older patch the userlist is now much faster, and there’s some other API backend work going on to make things (even) more stable, fast and usable. Don’t hesitate to grab a nightly build and try things out!  As always, bugzilla is there for your bugfiling needs.

In other news, I will be away until January 2nd, I’m off to Taizé’s European Meeting in Geneva.

Venkman back amongst the living

Venkman was made public by an editor a few hours ago. It was released a few days after, which turned out to have one major regression: adding more than one watch expression through the “Watches” UI no longer worked. This regression had been present on trunk versions of Venkman since June this year. That is 5 solid months of nobody noticing major pieces of functionality being completely broken. As far as I’m concerned, there are two important lessons to be learned:

  • The lack of a testing framework means we don’t catch regressions immediately. I don’t have time to fix this, as I’m a full time student whose major Mozilla commitments are elsewhere anyway. If anyone is interested in making this happen, let me know and I’ll try to get you started.
  • Hardly anybody uses trunk versions of Venkman. I guess the set of users includes trunk SeaMonkey users, but that’s about it. This, too, is really really bad for quality. I’m guessing some sort of nightly update system would help alleviate this, but to my knowledge it is impossible to have more than one “update channel” for an add-on, short of changing the add-on’s ID, of course…

Finally, something I’ve said before and am saying again now: Please report problems. There’s a bug database, it’s there for a reason. If you have clear steps to reproduce, I promise to try to give the issue attention, but I need to hear about it! Too often I hear people complain that “I could never get it to work” or “It randomly breaks”. That sucks, but if things don’t get more specific than that I’m not going to be able to do anything about it. So, give the latest version a whirl, and let me know about any issues you have with it. Thanks!

Ubuntu Gutsy: complaints

(posting to planet in the hopes that some kind soul has a clue what’s going on)

So most eyes these days seem to be firmly focused on that other operating system release, but I want to talk about Gutsy for a bit. A few nights ago I updated my machine to it, and there are quite a few new problems, and also quite a few old ones that are still not fixed.

Update 2007-10-31: Most of the below is now fixed. For explanations, see the comments at the bottom of this post.

  • [FIXED] Somehow whenever I boot, my system believes it’s necessary to make my harddisk churn continuously. It didn’t use to do this on Feisty, I have a gig of RAM on this machine and am only running a webbrowser and Gnome Terminal, so I doubt my ‘extreme use’ is the cause of it all. System Monitor manages to tell me that udevd is eating CPU, at least (I can’t figure out how to monitor harddisk activity). “man udevd” seems to be telling me “it could be anything telling me what to do, I’m just a humble event daemon”. So no clue where that’s coming from.
  • [FIXED] I can’t mount my other partitions anymore. Windows has no trouble finding them though, and Feisty had always been fine with them. The three partitions in question are formatted using NTFS (1) and FAT32 (2). Running “sudo mount /winC” manually gets me:

    fuse: mount failed: Device or resource busy
    FUSE mount point creation failed
    Unmounting /dev/sda1 ()
  • [FIXED] Somehow I now have a huuuge submenu “Other” in my Applications menu, containing things varying from “Browser Identification” to “Zeroconf Service Detection” to “Fonts” (twice) to “AdBlocK Filters” (To my knowledge, I’ve never installed this) to “Joystick” (I don’t have a joystick). This didn’t use to be there on Feisty, either. It doesn’t seem to serve any purpose whatsoever. Why did it pop up?
  • [PROBABLY FIXED] It seems to believe that, if there is still a cd(-rom) left in the drive, using the Eject button on my cd/dvd-rom drive really means I want it to show me how fast it can open and close the drive in succession. I’ve almost lost a cd like this, and have no clue where to look for info on why it behaves like this. It shouldn’t have any reason to keep the disk in there – it’s not writable, so there are no writes left so unmounting should be quick and painless (and even if it weren’t, it should keep the drive shut tight, instead of being all weird about it).
  • [POSSIBLY FIXED] GRUB sucks, or Ubuntu’s use of it sucks. Whenever I update this machine, it adds two boot entries for the new kernel (one is ‘normal’, one is “Recovery Mode”). It doesn’t remove old entries. If I remove entries manually, they reappear the next time the kernel is updated. I have edited menu.lst to boot my windows install by default. Whenever these two entries get added, the default boot index is off-by-two, causing it to start memtest86 if I’m not at the machine to correct it. Why is it smart enough to remember the value I set it to, but not smart enough to update it when it changes the list?
  • This machine is slightly over two years old. Ubuntu is still not able to shut it down correctly – I always have to press and hold the power button for five seconds after I hear the harddrive shut off (without Ubuntu telling me “you can now turn your machine off” – it seems to think this will happen automagically). Back when I just got this machine, I installed debian stable on it (I believe that was Sarge, back then, but I’m not sure). It never had a problem with this (nor does Windows). So clearly it’s not just that it’s not possible, but that Ubuntu somehow isn’t using the right version/type of acpi or whatever. This machine has an ASUS P5AD2-E motherboard, if that is any help.

All in all this means I really don’t want to use Ubuntu anymore, as it’s downright painful to get anything done (without access to my windows partitions, most of my documents, patches, photos and other personal things are out of reach, and with my computer busy with some invisible SomeThing, getting other work done becomes painfully slow, too). Solutions appreciated. 🙁

Venkman rescue meeting

So yesterday, there was a small gettogether on IRC in #venkman to discuss the future of Venkman. Right now the trunk builds are not fully functional anymore, and the last checkins were several months ago. So in fact, it’s in a pretty miserable state.

On to more positive things:

  1. There is a raw log of the conversation on IRC for those interested.
  2. WeirdAl and I will be going through the current list of open Venkman bugs today (2007-09-02) starting 12pm PST (noon) – and we need your help! Please drop by in #venkman on IRC if you want to help out doing triage and all that.
  3. We will try to prioritize the open bugs so we get a reasonably usable trunk build back, and get a new release out ASAP. We can’t currently make promises about how long this will take, as it will depend on how easy it’ll turn out to be to fix some of the current bugs – but we are aiming for a new Venkman release on AMO within about 2 weeks.
  4. We will try to make a todo list on a wiki somewhere (probably to keep track of what will need to be done.
  5. We will try to get the MozPad folks involved to support Venkman as it is currently one of the only reasonable debugging tools for chrome-level JavaScript (as Firebug doesn’t work there).

All in all, we hope to get Venkman back to usability and happiness very soon, and to keep it there. If you can help out, please do! Drop by in #venkman, leave a comment here, or on WeirdAl’s weblog. Any help is much appreciated!

Disable Thunderbird inline attachments

So after actually getting a complaint about it, I finally got fed up with Thunderbird sending text file attachments as inline attachments. I’d already been annoyed at GMail displaying things I sent myself inline, making it hard to copy diffs (because the amount of whitespace at the end needs to be exactly right) or easily save files.

Here’s how to tell Thunderbird to always send attachments as attachments, instead of inline:

  1. Open the Thunderbird Preferences (this is under “Preferences” in the Edit menu, or “Options” in the Tools menu, depending on your OS).
  2. Go to the Advanced section, and the General tab on there.
  3. Click the Config Editor button on there.
  4. Enter mail.content_disposition_type in the filter box.
  5. Double-click the only item in the list (with the exact name mail.content_disposition_type, obviously), and enter 2 as its value (instead of the 0 it’s on originally).
  6. Close the Config Editor with the [x], and close the Preferences with [OK].

You’re now done. Thunderbird will now send plain text files as an attachment. Any other non-binary files will still be sent inline. If you want all your files to be ‘real’ attachments rather than inline attachments, set the pref to 1 instead. Tip-of-the-hat to Marco for the tip about using 2 instead of 1.

All this information was obtained from LXR and the MozillaZine KB.

Why we need better AI

I needed to find “two key papers on the future of Computer Mediated Communication” (and then summarize them and write a personal opinion on where we’re going).

The University of Amsterdam fortunately has a digital library you can access over VPN which allows you to search in lots of major databases. So I duly searched for:

“future” in Title AND  “Computer Mediated Communication” in All Words (after some failed other searches), in the “Informatiewetenschappen” subject area (“Information Science”, basically)
5th result from JSTOR:

“Promising the Future: Virginity Pledges and First Intercourse” by Peter S. Bearman.

No comment.

My University seems to think students can split themselves up

My University Schedule

I’m not sure who made this joke up, but it’s not funny. I already blew at least one of the courses I had the first part of this semester (because thanks to United Airlines I missed the exam), and now the schedulers have been conspiring to make me fail more of them this part of the semester. Oh, and I don’t know if this is just me, but there’s this day called “Friday”, which you can actually USE if you’re having trouble scheduling…