Transformers

Wow. Is it possible that Michael Bay’s reputation could be… uh… transformed by his new film? A whole two thirds of the film went by before his trademark gratuitous slo-mo action shot!

It turned out to be a solid, popcorn-worthy action/comedy flick, with lots of amusing homage to the original Transformers. There was a smattering of gash dialogue, silly characterisation and the usual landslide of casual cultural imperialism, but I was able to suspend my gag-reflex for the most part.

John Tuturro plays a hilarious supporting role as an obnoxious bad guy, and here’s hoping Shia LaBeouf replaces Tom Cruise in everything. Even Katie Holmes. :-)

Ultimately, it’s a bunch of great big robots blowing shit up and crashing into each other… with a few mildly amusing humans along for the ride. Worth seeing on the big screen.

Mako joins the FSF Board!

A very welcome surprise: Mako will be reducing the average age of the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors, after the recent resignation of long-serving director Eben Moglen (and the likely departure of Lawrence Lessig in the near future).

Sadly, Mako will be leaving the SFI board, but I’m sure his involvement in the FSF will bring the organisations even closer. Congratulations, Mako!

There’s an ever-growing list of things to celebrate on Software Freedom Day this year!

Update: Clarify Larry’s status on the FSF board.

Speaking with customers

Today, Pipka came home with a story about a customer who was considering moving to a 100% Windows environment because he was merely unfamiliar with Linux.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend the strategy she used in the general case — in fact, I’d find it hard to recommend it under many circumstances at all — but here’s how she began her successful save today:

“Have you seen the film, Independence Day?”

Update: That’s not an IMDB or Wikipedia link… :-)

Measuring Blackouts with Cacti

Every zero point on this graph — which represents the last two months of uptime on my laser printer (!) — is the result of a blackout.

The first was kind of disappointing. The rest have just been annoying: Getting up late with 05:14 flashing on the alarm clock, asking Pipka to set the time on the microwave (because I can’t figure it out — seriously) and working out which other devices didn’t manage to start properly…

Printer Uptime Cacti Graph

This is where technology fails us. Not because the lights went out, but because there were only about thirty seconds between, “Huh, I bet the SNMP thingy in the printer can tell me its uptime” and having it beautifully graphed with Cacti.

… and now because I can see my laser printer’s uptime, I care about my laser printer’s uptime.

Well, I would. If it had any.

Update: It should be noted (mainly for California readers) that blackouts are an odd occurrence here.

Filing Google bugs… but where?

Is there a place to file Google bugs? I couldn’t find one, so here is a report I uploaded to the cloud. :-)

Description of the problem: Google returns feed URLs in search results. These are rarely helpful to searchers in general, but downright mystifying to those who don’t know or care what feeds are in the first place. When using the main Google search interface, I’d imagine that feeds are not high on the list of desired results for most users.

Steps to reproduce the problem: Google for “wordpress mysqli”, and look at the second primary result (your milage may vary, considering Google’s various customisations of search results).

Actual results: Feeds appear in Google search results, sometimes even prioritised over their html document parents! I took a screenshot to illustrate:

Evil Google search results

Expected results: Removing the feeds altogether might be over the top — it depends, of course, on the context of the search and the feed. But where they might be useful, Google could provide one of its signature unexpectedly awesome features. Maybe something like this (though I probably should’ve snipped the summary in this case):

Suggested Google search results

How often does this happen? All the fucking time!

But I still love you guys.