Archive for April, 2007

Jet lag

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Do migratory birds get jet lag? Does it depend on whether they have used the jet stream?

Stalked by bees

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Bee (Eden Project)Call it spooky coincidence if you will, but I will call it synchronicity. Certain topics or words that keep coming up, in unrelated places. There is always a background level of coincidence, but at the moment it seems to be a higher level than usual. This week it’s bees.

A month or two back it was Edinburgh. We have a conversation about Edinburgh (for some reason) and then there’s a programme on TV about Edinburgh. A book my wife randomly picked in a library is set in Edinburgh, and other small coincidences such as that. But in the last week or two everything seems to have been about bees.


Paper-out detection

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

You wouldn’t expect it to be difficult for a printer driver to detect that the printer is out of paper. Having spent several days trying to work out the Linux usblp kernel driver, I have all but given up trying to fix it myself. Hopefully someone will show interest in the bug report I filed.

Until that’s fixed I’ve had to put a work-around in the CUPS “usb” backend, but at least now it detects paper-out correctly. Today I took a look at the “hal” backend and fixed not only the paper-out detection but something even more basic: retrying the job if the printer isn’t switched on yet(!).

Happy Danes

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

The BBC Magazine is running an article about Denmark, and how “happiness” surveys show that they are generally happier than the rest of us Europeans (I’m including Brits in that). But, in classic BBC style, they need to tell both sides of the story; except in this case I’m not sure what they’re trying to say:

But there are others out to savage the myth of the happy Dane, arguing that low expectations of life account for their unusually happy disposition.

Whether the Danes have lower expectations or not, the assumption is: high expectations trump happiness. That if you’re happy, but it’s because you are content with less, it somehow “doesn’t count”. What rubbish!

Printer status feedback

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

The print job manager applet is now part of system-config-printer, starting with Fedora 7 test 3. I’ve been working on making it better for after Fedora 7 is released, specifically by getting it to tell me when the printer is out of paper, low on ink, on fire etc. It uses the IPP printer-state-reasons attribute for this.

Now it puts little alert symbols on the status icon, as well as using libnotify to alert the user to the problem. (By the way, libnotify is really easy to use!) Here are the screenshots:

Error notification