Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Improvements to the PQM continuous integration tool

Daniel Watkins has been working on improving PQM (the Patch Queue Mananger), a continuous integration tool for Bazaar, and is getting great results.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Welcome, beuno

Martin Albisetti is joining Canonical, to work on user experience. I'm very happy about this because he's been doing great work on Loggerhead, the Bazaar branch viewer, as can be seen in this view of the Loggerhead source.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ubuntu hd4850, and a minor triumph of usability

My desktop machine's video card (a GeForce) died recently, producing rather pretty but also quite disturbing patterns on the screen. I replaced it with a Radeon hd4850, which seems to work well under Ubuntu Hardy. This machine also boots Windows, and I'm amused to see the NVidia uninstaller refuses to run unless you have an NVidia card in the machine. Nice.

"Charity" phone spam

Recently I've had a run of phone spam from people promoting charity raffles. The 'charity' connection is somewhat tenuous - I believe less than half the money actually makes it to the charity - but it does let them evade the Australian Do Not Call register requirements, which have a blanket exception for charities.

According to Sue Dunlevy, the Spastic Centre who called today are one of the worst offenders. A family friend has a child with cerebral palsy so I sympathise with their work but annoying people on an industrial scale is a stupid way to raise funds. More to the point, while this law stands in Australia you shouldn't ever buy a charity raffle ticket, unless you want to get onto a spam list from which there is no escape.

(The lovely Spastic Centre representative hung up when I started to ask about this, and the regulation says they're not required to disclose details or remove your name. I used to be polite; now I think I'll just hang up.)

Another problem with this whole concept is that raffle tickets are not tax deductible. So not only is this annoying telemarketer getting a hefty chunk of the bill, but so is the tax office. (Or rather, if you made a regular donation you'd get a tax refund which you could either also donate, or keep for yourself.)

I think the rational thing is: hang up on these callers, don't buy raffle tickets, set a fraction of your spending that you think is reasonable to donate, and do that as a lump sum in June so that you will get a tax deduction soon afterwards.