Category: "Programming"


  16:08:00 by Joe, Categories: General, Programming

I recently got this amusing little piece of email from a motel chain:

As a Wyndham Rewards member, we hope you know how much we value you. But what you might not have known is that your membership is about to expire on NaN/NaN/NaN.
To keep your Wyndham Rewards membership active, you have to have a redemption or earning once every 18 months?which gives you -108 days to save your membership.

They obviously went with the most junior database programmer they could find. Probably somebody who just read a "Teach yourself database programming in 24 hours" book :D

Update: They sent me another email, claiming that the previous email was sent in error:

So if you just got a message from us saying your account was about to expire, well, that's our fault?and we're extremely sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

They didn't address the "NaN" (Not a Number) database query error, though ;)


  22:52:00 by Joe, Categories: Programming

As CNet and Groklaw have documented, Sun Microsystem's then CEO Jonathan Schwartz was ok with Google using Java in Android, even without Google paying licensing fees.
This throws a big wrench into Oracle's (who bought Sun Microsystems) efforts to extract fees from Google...
I am sure Larry Ellison is fuming right now :>>


  23:05:00 by Joe, Categories: Programming, Open Source, KDE, Slackware , Tags: icq, kde, kde 3_5, slackware, yahoo

Earlier this year, Yahoo changed the login protocol for the Yahoo Instant Messaging service.
This resulted in Kopete, the instant messenger tool for KDE, to no longer being able to log into the Yahoo IM service. The background is explained in detail here.
There was a quick fix for KDE 4.x available, but people like me who are using KDE 3.5 and don't think KDE 4 is ready for primetime yet (or who just don't want to change an otherwise perfectly running system), were left out, essentially forcing us to use another IM client, like Pidgin.
Eventually, though, somebody created a patch for KDE 3.5 for Ubuntu, which solves the login issue.
I am using Slackware, not Ubuntu, though, so I used the Slackware build system to create a kdenetwork package for Slackware 12.2 that contains the fixed Kopete.
I used the source code from the Slackware 12.2 DVD, just adding two files in the source/kde/kdenetwork directory: a shell script which applies the patch during the build process, and the patch itself.
The final Slackware 12.2 kdenetwork package is here (12MB.) It can be installed in two steps:

1. Remove the old kdenetwork package: removepkg kdenetwork-3.5.10-i486-2.tgz
2. Install the new kdenetwork package: installpkg kdenetwork-3.5.10-i486-2-yahoo-login.tgz

Update: The ICQ protocol also is broken in the latest kopete for KDE 3.5.
Using the patch from here, I have now created a new Slackware 12.2 kdenetwork package that re-enables both the Yahoo and the ICQ protocols. It is just another patch that gets applied to the normal source package. The resulting binary package, with both patches applied, is here. Similar to the instructions above, it can be installed this way:

1. Remove the old kdenetwork package: removepkg kdenetwork-3.5.10-i486-2.tgz
2. Install the new kdenetwork package: installpkg kdenetwork-3.5.10-i486-2-yahoo-icq-login.tgz

Update 2: Since sometime in October or November 2010, ICQ connections started to fail. As it turns out, this has nothing to do with the protocol. AOL recently sold ICQ, and as a result, the server URL has changed. In the Kopete configuration for ICQ, in the account preferences, the default server needs to be overridden and changed to The port number stays the same.


  10:42:00 by Joe, Categories: General, Programming

Every techie and a lot of non-techies by now know about the infamous Zune freeze on New Year's Eve, 2008. It's been all over the news, even on mainstream media.
Somebody has now posted the source code of the bug (thanks to Ars Technica for the pointer.)
It actually was a rather simple endless loop.
I think Microsoft's QA should have caught that.


  10:25:00 by Joe, Categories: General, Programming, Open Source

Apple recently seems to have taken a hint from Microsoft, and turns to be evil.
They have sent cease-and-desist letters to people who try to figure out the hash in the iTunesDB database that is part of every iPod.
I have three iPods, a 1st gen Nano, a 2nd gen Nano, and a 2nd gen Shuffle. I am using Linux, and Linux only. iTunes doesn't run on Linux, so I have been using gtkpod to put music on my iPods.
I am ready to buy a 4th gen Nano, but I need to be able to use it under Linux. Apple's strong-arming of independent developers prevents that.
So, I'll be spending my money somewhere else, until Apple comes to its senses. In these economic times, they should be happy that others try to increase the market for their devices, instead of sending in the lawyers...


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