Inside 736-131

Existential Pontification and Generalized Abstract Digressions


Ubuntu Quantal upgrade (Thinkpad/Xmonad)

October has come, and with it, another Ubuntu release (12.10). I finally gave in and reinstalled my system as 64-bit land (so long 32-bit), mostly because graphics were broken on my upgraded system. As far as I could tell, lightdm was dying immediately after starting up, and I couldn't tell where in my copious configuration […]

  • October 24, 2012

So you want to hack on IMAP…

(Last IMAP themed post for a while, I promise!) Well, first off, you’re horribly misinformed: you do not actually want to hack on IMAP. But supposing, for some masochistic reason, you need to dig in the guts of your mail synchronizer and fix a bug or add some features. There are a few useful things […]

  • August 31, 2012

OfflineIMAP sucks

I am going to share a dirty little secret with you, a secret that only someone who uses and hacks on OfflineIMAP could reasonably know: OfflineIMAP sucks. Of course, you can still use software that sucks (I do all the time), but it’s useful to know what some of its deficiencies are, so that you […]

  • August 30, 2012

How OfflineIMAP works

As software engineers, we are trained to be a little distrustful of marketing copy like this: OfflineIMAP is SAFE; it uses an algorithm designed to prevent mail loss at all costs. Because of the design of this algorithm, even programming errors should not result in loss of mail. I am so confident in the algorithm […]

  • August 27, 2012

Ubuntu Precise upgrade (Thinkpad/Xmonad)

It is once again time for Ubuntu upgrades. I upgraded from Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot to Ubuntu Precise Pangolin (12.04), which is an LTS release. Very few things broke (hooray!) The Monospace font changed to something new, with very wide glyph size. The old font was DejaVuSansMono, which I switched back to. Xournal stopped compiling; somehow […]

  • May 18, 2012

Reduce Ubuntu latency by disabling mDNS

This is a very quick and easy fix that has made latency on Ubuntu servers I maintain go from three to four seconds to instantaneous. If you've noticed that you have high latency on ssh or scp (or even other software like remctl), and you have control over your server, try this on the server: […]

  • March 24, 2012

How to build i686 glibc on Ubuntu

An “easy”, two-step process: Apply this patch for i686. (Why they haven't fixed this in the trunk, I have no idea.) Configure with CFLAGS="-U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -fno-stack-protector -O2" (this disables fortify source and stack protection which Ubuntu enables by default but interferes with glibc. You need to keep optimizations on, because glibc won't build without it.) You’ll […]

  • December 18, 2011

Transparent xmobar

Things I should be working on: graduate school personal statements. What I actually spent the last five hours working on: transparent xmobar. It uses the horrible “grab Pixmap from root X window” hack. You can grab the patch here but I haven’t put in enough effort to actually make this a configurable option; if you […]

  • November 28, 2011

Ubuntu Oneiric upgrade (Thinkpad/Xmonad)

I upgraded from Ubuntu Natty Narwhal to Oneiric Ocelot (11.10) today. Lots of things broke. In order: “Could not calculate the upgrade.” No indication of what the error might be; in my case, the error ended up being old orphan OpenAFS kernel modules (for whom no kernel modules existed). I also took the opportunity to […]

  • November 24, 2011

A new vision for Mendeley

I use Mendeley because it lets me easily search for papers I care about. Unfortunately, that seems to be all Mendeley has been doing for me... and that’s a damn shame. Maybe it’s because I’m an undergraduate, still dipping my toe into an ocean of academic research. Mendeley was aimed at practicing researchers, but not […]

  • July 6, 2011