Category Archives: Culture

Dear git: STOP CHANGING DEFAULT BEHAVIOUR!

My struggles with git have been well documented. One thing I didn’t touch on is its tendency to suddenly change the behaviour of core commands from release to release. I’ve got used, over the last months, to seeing this:

mike@thor:~/git/other/kindle-backup$ git push
warning: push.default is unset; its implicit value is changing in
Git 2.0 from ‘matching’ to ‘simple’. To squelch this message
and maintain the current behavior after the default changes, use:

git config –global push.default matching

To squelch this message and adopt the new behaviour now, use:

git config –global push.default simple

When push.default is set to ‘matching’, git will push local branches
to the remote branches that already exist with the same name.

In Git 2.0, Git will default to the more conservative ‘simple’
behavior, which only pushes the current branch to the corresponding
remote branch that ‘git pull’ uses to update the current branch.

See ‘git help config’ and search for ‘push.default’ for further information.
(the ‘simple’ mode was introduced in Git 1.7.11. Use the similar mode
‘current’ instead of ‘simple’ if you sometimes use older versions of Git)

But today I saw this as well:

mike@thor:~/git/other/kindle-backup$ git add .
warning: You ran ‘git add’ with neither ‘-A (–all)’ or ‘–ignore-removal’,
whose behaviour will change in Git 2.0 with respect to paths you removed.
Paths like ‘documents/._pg10554.mobi’ that are
removed from your working tree are ignored with this version of Git.

* ‘git add –ignore-removal ‘, which is the current default,
ignores paths you removed from your working tree.

* ‘git add –all ‘ will let you also record the removals.

Run ‘git status’ to check the paths you removed from your working tree.

mike@thor:~/git/other/kindle-backup$

What the hell, git? This is simply not the way rational software behaves. I don’t get in my car and find a message saying “for your convenience, the functions of the accelerator and brake pedals have been swapped”.

Sheesh.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a fine example of how copyright is failing us all

I read this recent piece on how Harper Lee has finally allowed an e-book edition of her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, to be produced. Of course, in the absence of an authorised e-book that readers can pay for, there are plenty of unauthorised ones — it’s trivial to find on any torrent site. My eye was caught by a comment on the article, discussing the existence of these pirate e-books:

This is sad, but doesn’t surprise me. Its the reality of the world we live in today. I suspect the biggest purchasers of this e-book will be over the age of 40 – those under don’t tend to realise the purpose or value of copyright.

That is exactly wrong.

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Who is this for?

I just saw an advert for THE UHU GLUE ADVISOR FOR SMARTPHONES:

uhu-glue-advisor-500pxWho is this for? I’m genuinely interested. Is it an if-you-build-they-will come kind of a gig, or is there a ready-made community out there, all thinking “Oh, if only I could get a UHU glue advisor app for my smartphone”?

As J. B. S. Haldane so presciently observed, the universe is not only stranger than we imagine; it is stranger than we can imagine.

My response to the Privacy and Security inquiry

I found out only today that The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament is soliciting evidence for its Privacy and Security Inquiry. As this is one of the most important issues facing the UK at the moment, I made time to write a response, and if you’re British then I encourage you to do so as well. See also this excellent response from Glyn Moody.

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… Or maybe they’re doing web-site registration completely right

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that DeviantArt are getting web-site registration completely wrong by asking for the email address (which you can see as you type it) to be repeated, but not requiring confirmation of the password (which you can’t see).

deviantart-registration-small

A lot of people in the comments (both here and at Hacker News) pointed out that I was wrong.

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TalkTalk want £10 for a 13-month-old bill

I’m putting together my expenses for running the small home office where I do my work. One expense is my phone line. I went to the web-site of TalkTalk, my phone provider, only to find that they won’t show me the older bills unless I pay them £10:

Screenshot from 2013-10-29 12:00:52

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Turn up the volume!

Back in 2005, I won a first-generation iPod Shuffle at a conference for being the most engaged participant or something (i.e. for being a loud-mouth).

IPod_shuffle_1G

The Shuffle is a horrible piece of kit, of course. It has no display, no way to navigate between albums (only track-at-a-time), no EQ, only the crudest battery-state indicator (OK vs. not-OK), and Apple’s appallingly clunky proprietary disk format which means you have to wrestle it to the ground before you can add songs.

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