Michael Weber: Random Bits and Pieces


2009-06-14 :: /rants

Some assembly required:

Bag of screws

Evidently, this did not not originate from the IKEA School of Furniture Construction…

We recently released a new tool (LTSmin) which caused me to spend two days in autohell, the Hell (with capital "H") induced by autotools.

Raaah!!1¡! Why does this still SUCK SO MUCH?

If only Unices would have shipped with an interpreter for a sensible language instead of shell scripts, then I would not have to write macros for basic language constructs (why hasn't anybody else?!):

#   AX_LET([VAR1],[EXPR1],
#          [VAR2],[EXPR2],...
#     [...])
m4_define([AX_LET_AUX], [dnl
m4_if([$#], 2, [$1
$2], [dnl
$2="[$]ax_let_$2_[]AX_LET_counter_[]_tmp_"], m4_shiftn(3,$@))

[m4_define([AX_LET_counter_], m4_incr(AX_LET_counter_))dnl

That is all. Also, another proof that you can write Lisp in any language.

UPDATE 2008-11-07: Post Scriptum

…and don't get me started on the umpteen ways to make gcc compile with pthreads on different platforms, or what will happen when you want to combine pthreads with MPI on AIX (think cc_r vs. mpicc). Thankfully, it is unlikely that we have to support AIX anytime soon.

…or that developers appear to assume you can mix options and file arguments in the rm command. Which MacOS X's rm does not support.

Your Vote Decides!

2007-05-13 :: /rants
Eurovision Song Contest 2007 (Logo)

Quoting from the article Radical Serbia speaker steps down (source: The Beeb, emphasis mine):

Earlier, opposition MP Nenad Canak said Mr Nikolic's nationalist and anti-European stand no longer had a place - especially as Serbia had just won the Eurovision Song Contest.

Mr Canak said Serbia's neighbours had all awarded his country maximum points in the contest. But Russia, described by Mr Nikolic as Serbia's only friend, had only awarded his country five points.

Clearly, five points are not enough to prove friendship, don't you see?

Karma/Rage Correlation Graph

Dear overly correct Nederlands politie officer,

thank you for going by the letter and showing no common sense at all. I am sure you had no better things to do, like, uh, stopping real crime.

Instead, you chose to harass me while I was unpacking heavy boxes and furniture from my car, and hence had it parked directly in front of the door of our new home. Yes, on the sidewalk. At 23:30 hours, when there is virtually no other traffic. Anyway, my car was in no way on the street, thus not obstructing even potential traffic. Neither was it on the bike lane, thus not impeding bikers. And the sidewalk in front of our new apartment is wide enough that my (small) car fits there, plus there is enough space left for, e.g., moms with oversized twin buggies. And I was running around there, carrying stuff, so I could have put the car away, if there would have been urgent need.

I was really almost finished with unpacking. Yet you still insisted on me leaving RIGHT NOW and my asking for five more minutes to unload at least the heaviest boxes (you unload the heavy stuff last because it is below everything else, right?) fell on deaf ears.

It was particularly hilarious that while I was standing there, listening to your speech how poor pedestrians (I haven't seen any) would not be able to pass due to my car blocking the sidewalk, a biker came riding along there, between my car and the wall of the house. On the sidewalk (did I mention the huge bike lane which I left completely free?). With no lights. Against the traffic direction. Through the too-narrow-for-pedestrians gap, huh? (Yet all this was ignored.)

So, nevertheless you made me leave and bring the car to a parking lot. Which costs outrageous sums per hour even at night, yet recently the only sane way of paying (Chipknip electronic cash terminal) was removed, leaving only coins as payment method. Good luck trying to find somebody at this time of day who can change you a bank note. (Did I mention that I did not see any pedestrians?) And I had just not enough coins so that the next morning they will probably come and put a clamp on my car, while I am waiting for de monteur. Which we know from experience is always dependable and on time...

But I digress. Now, for some more fun, my car recently acquired an odd little quirk: it does not start well the first time after I drove on the highway... After the first successful try, everything is well again. Anybody wants to guess where I was driving before unloading the car? Yes, 250 km highway. So, I tried to start the car and the first N times it did not work, of course. I could already see in their faces how police thought I was doing it on purpose... Only instants before they would have left their car (surely to give my car a push, right?), I managed to start it and drove to the parking lot, under supervision.

Where were you then?

Dear officer, with your precision, I wished you would have worked instead at my local municipality, which gave me wrong information and sent me through half the city for nought; or maybe you could have helped out at Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND), which were unable to find my computer record for weeks with lame excuses, and only after I called there a hojillion times on expensive 0900 numbers with hours in the waiting loop and tracked myself who could have potentially lost the record, they suddenly found it between two calls on the same day, which surely had nothing to do with me homing in on the culprit.

Or perhaps at KPN who misplaced my ADSL order, so that my seamless internet connectivity transition during the move remains a pipe dream, because it takes them 14+ days to flip some switches?! (Time for that starts running after the second try of ordering, of course).

Or, you could have worked at IKEA Amsterdam, preventing them from being twerps who were lying to me about the availability of their furniture. Only recently they admitted that it eventually might take five instead of the promised two weeks until the bed arrives, leaving me sleeping on the floor for 15 days. THE REASON WHY I ASKED ABOUT AVAILABILITY WAS THAT I WOULD HAVE ORDERED SOMETHING OR SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THAT CASE!

Or you could have helped out at LTU International, who were apparently unable to handle my zipcode for credit card validation, causing my return flight not to be booked (the outward flight and another flight was booked fine with exactly the same data on the same day with LTU Germany, just as every other flight I ever booked with any other airline). And while other airlines call their customers to recheck if something goes wonky (after all they request phone numbers when booking), LTU International feels no need for that, and instead relies on sheer luck that I called there preemptively. And then I needed to call another couple of times for a confirmation email because they first managed to scramble my email address in their database, and then finally sent an email message looking exactly like the spam which funnily passed my spam filter more often than not during the last couple of days. This time it did not, being 0.2 over the threshold. I was of course suspecting something like this, so I grepped for "ltu" in the mail server logs, but helpfully, LTU sends their confirmation emails from pop3.amadeus.net, as I know now. Yeah sure, go ahead and tell me it is my fault that I use a spam filter...

I guess, my story with the health insurance which lost my application as well and as compensation taking extra long to process the reapplication is already too old so I won't ask you there, but...

Where were you overly correct nitpickers instead of doing your job properly during the last three weeks when all the other shit happened?

Well, I did not get a ticket at least, and hey, it could be worse, I could live in a war zone or something...

UPDATE 2006-09-25: Karma Sequel

The judges are still out on whether Telekom and freenet processed my cancellations. (It is not looking good for freenet, but I still have high hopes for Telekom after going there twice.)

Tony Blair warned of the arc of extremism and called for an alliance of moderation instead of export of instability (all found in a single article, no less).

Let's see... Axis of evil... where are my Political Bullshit Bingo cards?!

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