Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why do podcasts have a freakin XML extension.

Now, I know that podcasts are written in xml. But really, does that actually matter. How hard would it have been in the specification to have the file extension for the xml file to be oh I don't know. . . .pod, or .pdc, or .pd, or anything other than .xml?

Why does this matter do you ask? It matters because I'm working for a radio station and no one knows what to do with the podcast link. They say "what is all this gobledy gook code when I click on the podcast hyperlink? If there were a unique extension even if it was still holding a standard text file with all standard XML code in it, you could bloody well associate it with Itunes, or songbird, or amarok, or any number of other audio players that support podcasts. This seems like a major oversight, and I haven't seen anyone deal with it yet. Tell me this is up for some sort of rewrite in the next version of the podcast spec. Oh wait, probably not.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Linux and my spleen on a stick.

Ok, now I know no one will ever read this because who cares about my little bloc, but I'm going to rant anyway.

LINUX SUCKS!!!!!!!!!

Ok there I have gotten that out of my system. Now I don't really believe this, it's just the intense intoxication of the past few days talking. Intoxication brought on by nothing working in either of the Linux environments I was working in.

So first I download freespire. I have been chomping at the bit for the final release of this baby. I'm sick and tired of everyone moaning and complaining about the fact that freespire is including proprietary software with their distro. Cry me a river. I understand they had to get licenses, and I understand Ubuntu and Fedora and everyone else wanting to play it safe legally. I run Kubuntu normally (though I will get to why I am fed up with them soon). And up until recently have been very satisfied with the experience, but seriously if Linspire wants to put out a different product don't rip them for it, just don't use it. It doesn't serve the geek segment. It isn't targeted at the geek segment, and they even made an all OSS version for the geek segment. So stop thrusting your silly little idealigical paradigm on all the non geeks. They end up resenting us for it.

So I boot up the freespire live CD to find out of it supports my particular wireless card and I am greeting with a list of the wireless networks in my area. YAY!!! The drivers work, I won't have to install windows on my linux box when my boyfriend goes back to the dorm. I can use my apartment complex's wireless networks. . . . Oh wait never mind I can't get an IP. So I search the freespire forums. I see tons of other wifi problems (this makes me oh so optimistic about what it's going to be like if I actually fix my current problem). I sadly find nothing on my problem. So I do a general linux wifi search and find one problem that looks like mine and it says that when I leave eth0 enabled sometimes it messes with other network connections. Now this is just brilliant. Freespire has a profile manager to deal with this sort of thing, but say I don't like freespire and I take the time to make ndiswrapper work and I try to be able to accomodate my wireless network at home, and the various wireless networks at Starbucks, Bloomington Bagel Company, the Airport, my friend's house, random hotels, and occasionally accomodate the random hotel networks that require you to plug into an ethernet jack in the room. I was in such a hotel just a couple months ago and this was at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, so they aren't that obscure. This is a pretty big problem if I don't want to spend all my time enabling and disabling random network interfaces. Which for the record I don't.

So I disable eth0 and oh it still doesn't work. Bah. I decide I'm sick of it take the liveCD out of my boyfriend's computer and let it boot back into windows where I know my wireless will work I'll just have to deal with everything running at a third the speed it should because Microsoft hasn't cared about OS efficiency and productivity since . . . oh wait nevermind.

So now I jump back to Kubuntu where I boot up with a new mouse. It has a scroll wheel which my last on didn't, and it's a standard ps2 mouse. Kubuntu now looks like satan has taken over as random input from the ps2 interface completely overwhelms the KDE interface and random programs start and stop in a constant dance of insanity and hate. Time to try that freespire liveCD again as I need to burn some files off of my ReiserFS hard drive. So I boot into Freespire and my mouse is mostly fine. There is a little twitch to it that makes me think maybe the hardware is a little flakey, but when I say twitch I mean the cursor shutters a couple millimeters every now and then and then goes back to normal. This is hardly the manifestation of Beelzabub that showed up on my screen in Kubuntu. So I go to burn my anime so I can be distracted at work during the slow periods an activity which my employer is perfectly kosher with. The first 4 episodes I need burn slowly but they burn. The next three will not. Now my CD burner drive is old and has personality so this I will not blame on linux, it is totally not the OS's fault. It however leads me to another interface abomination that really is the OS's fault. I throw in my USB key, so I can grab at least one more episode to bring with. It won't fit. I get 95 percent and boom it's out of space. Now does it tell me it's out of space? No, the file transfer stalls and nothing more happens. I'm sorry, I don't care what weird wacked out world you live in. No OS, not even windows 3.0 has any excuse for not being able to tell when you've maxed out a supported file system. So I cancel the file transfer. Go in and shred the partial file. I'm a touch peeved that Freespire didn't do this for me when I canceled the file transfer. Again this is windows 3.0 functionality here. Come on people. Then I delete a couple other things so I can get my Loki fix, and I try again. I only get about 6 megs transfered. NANI?!?!?

After one more attempt where I get 3 megs transfered I take a look at the available space on my key, and there is none. I shredded the files. It tried to put them in the trash can but I stopped that right away because maintaining a trash can for a USB disk is sort of idiotic. Post shredding Linux didn't update the file system. Now I know Unix saves deletes and file reorganization for when the system isn't busy or for shutdown. It just logs that it needs to do it. I remember from back in my RedHat 6.0 days that this is a big part of why you never want to just kill your computer. Proper shutdown is a must. This is a server mentality. Servers have lots of resources to work with in the way of disk space, so a little virtual linking dosn't hurt anyone, and the performance hit of actually altering a file system while the computer is being actively used makes a difference on a server. This is a desktop OS. No one in their right mind is going to say Freespire is designed for server work, and it's a freaking mounted USB thumb drive. I mean come on. When I say shred the file shred the damned file. I shutdown stuck my thumb drive in my boy's windows comp to make sure things weren't damaged and everything was fine. What if I had taken the thumb drive out before shuting down though? As this would be the normal situation. What if?

I could go on about my complaints over the past month with at least 3 other distros including DMS, Puppy Linux, Vector Linux, and Xubuntu. All these were attempt to make my boyfriends old 500 Mhz 60 Megs of Ram laptop usable again. Which I finally pulled off with Vector linux, but only after working around one of the more idotic bugs ever.

Linux is fine for tinkering, it's great for servers, but until these really basic interface stupidites are worked out it's never going to be Year of Linux on the Desktop. Are there ways of working around these problems. Sure there are. There are always ways of working around problems. But the fact of the matter is why is the averag user going to want to put in that extra effort when they don't have to with windows. Will linux run faster, sure it will, but you know what unless you're doing a bunch of multi tasking and high profile computing which means you are more likely to be a linux or Mac person to begin with then who cares. The computer will run fast enough, even if it's only a $299 e-machine. I expected more from the community distro run by Linspire, which is supposed to be one of the linux for the masses distros. If they can't get stuff this simple right then we might as well lay down for Redmond now.