Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

Greek private sector

September 22, 2014

29/7: παραγγέλνεις καινούριο laptop (via Amplus)
12/9: επιτέλους το laptop φτάνει αργά το απόγευμα στα γραφεία της εταιρίας.
16/9: το παραλαμβάνει η Γενική Ταχυδρομική για λογαριασμό της UPS. Το παραδίδει στη UPS στην Αθήνα μετά από τρεις μέρες. Σε επικοινωνία μαζί μου ορκίζονται ότι ήταν μεμονωμένο περιστατικό (αλλά φυσικά δεν κάνανε καμιά προσπάθεια να καλύψουν το όποιο κόστος παράδοσης μες στο Σαββατοκύριακο ούτε προσφέραν κάποια επιστροφή χρημάτων σε αναγνώριση του κάκιστου επιπέδου υπηρεσιών)
22/9: μετά από ένα τιτανοτεράστιο mixup η UPS επειδή είμαστε καλοί πελάτες το παραδίδει τη Δευτέρα και όχι την Τρίτη που θα έφτανε κανονικά.
22/9: ανακαλύπτω πως οι box movers^W^W^W η εταιρία πληροφορικής όχι μόνο έκανε 45 μέρες να φέρει ένα laptop, αλλά η εξτρά μνήμη που παραγγέλθηκε ουδέποτε τοποθετήθηκε.

Όλα τα παραπάνω θα είχαν πολύ πλάκα αν δεν ήταν τυπικός ελληνικός ιδιωτικός τομέας και αν εγώ είχα επιτέλους μετά από 55 μέρες το laptop που παρήγγειλλα.

UPS Greece, you suck

December 27, 2011

Dear UPS,

I am not really certain if your Greek subsidiary is a partner that just carries your trademark or a full subsidiary … but it just outright sucks. And you may want to look into it.

I could waste a number of keystrokes on the matter, but a picture is worth a thousand words:

2 working days (20 & 21 December) for a package to travel from the US all the way to Greece. Hopefully 4 … FOUR! working days (22, 23, 27, 28 December) for the package to travel another ~440km from Athens to Katerini (1 hour away from Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city of Greece).

Selinux & POLA

July 21, 2011

Selinux is crap.Sorry redhat fun boys but its true.Not even in redhat’s documentation doesnt have enough info.

via E.Balaskas

My own experience with SELinux today? A Virtual Machine with a forgotten root password. OK, that’s easy, boot in single user mode, type passwd(1), enter the new root password, reboot. I mean the process is documented in a shitload of pages (example) and has been working like that since … I don’t know 1996? Should be a piece of cake, right?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

You see this is SELinux. There are procedures to follow, “passwd root” just won’t work in single user mode and will exit immediately without a prompt. A well-defined procedure that has been working for ages is now broken. Oh well …


# echo 0 >/selinux/enforce
# passwd root
Changing password for user root.
New password:

Oh-well I am fairly certain that there is one out of more than a billion parallel universes where SELinux just works. Just one though.

References: POLA

XML is like violence …

April 18, 2010

There is an infamous quote that goes by:

XML is like violence. If it doesn’t solve your problems, you are not using enough.

It’s only a pity that the guys working on the new OpenSolaris Automated installer have either not heard of it or are either fraking morons. I mean I really can’t explain a good reason that they have replaced something like:

# wc -l ramu/sysidcfg
9 ramu/sysidcfg
# wc -l profiles/default
10 profiles/default

20 lines of simple and easy to edit text with:

# wc -l *
100 ai_manifest.defval.xml
496 ai_manifest.rng
171 ai_manifest.xml
87 default.xml
854 total

almost a thousand lines of a big and ugly PITA to edit set of files. Which can’t even do what Jumpstart can yet.

And I will be kind enough not to comment on IPS; not now at least.

Πράσινα τέλη: μια απλή πρόταση

December 29, 2009

Τα πράσινα τέλη είναι μια καλή ιδέα. Επιβαρύνεις το περιβάλλον με το αμάξι σου; Πλήρωσε.

Το θέμα είναι να πληρώνεις όσο επιβαρύνεις. Δεν μπορεί ένα Getz 1100cc εξαετίας να πληρώνει πράσινα τέλη και μια Cayenne διετίας να έχει έκπτωση. Πόσο μάλλον όταν το Getz κάνει 15000km το χρόνο και η Cayenne 70000.

Και ορίστε και μια απλή πρόταση:

  1. Τα περιβαλλοντικά τέλη πληρώνονται στο ΚΤΕΟ
  2. Υπολογίζονται μέσω μιας φόρμουλας που λαμβάνει υπόψιν τα χιλιόμετρα από τον τελευταίο έλεγχο ΚΤΕΟ και τη μέση τιμή των ρίπων ανάμεσα στον τρέχον και τον προηγούμενο έλεγχο

Το αν η φόρμουλα πρέπει να είναι γραμμική ως προς τους δυο παράγοντες, εκθετική, πολυωνυμική, λογαριθμική αφήνεται ως άσκηση σε περιβαλλοντολόγο. Ο όποιος συντελεστής ως άσκηση στο Υπουργείο Οικονομικών.

Γαμώ τα Phd σας κ.κ. Μπιρμπίλη και Παπακωνσταντίνου πόσο δύσκολο είναι να το σκεφτεί αυτό κάποιος;

Sony satio: epic sync fail (almost)

December 25, 2009

From a first impressions perspective, Sony satio didn’t dissapoint. That said the trend didn’t continue.

A phone should be foremost a phone. So instead of rubbing the GPS or trying to figure out if the Satio is an excellent music station like the rest of the W series I hooked up the USB cable, mounted it as a USB storage device, downloaded the Sony Ericsson software, installed it to my Vista workstation, restarted for good measure, removed the USB cable, hooked it up again, selected PC suite mode and …

FAIL! EPIC FAIL!

I think I wasted something like 3 hours trying to get my Satio to sync its contacts with Outlook with little luck. It was a funny little experience:

  • Connecting the phone in USB storage mode was not only a success, but the PC Suite successfully detected the phone as connected in USB storage mode (and prompted me to reconnect in PC suite mode)
  • Connecting the phone with Bluetooth resulted in the PC suite successfully indicating the phone as connected and allowed me to setup an Internet connection through the phone

Still, syncing my contacts remained an impossible task. Syncing contacts over Bluetooth didn’t work and the USB PC Suite connection failed altogether. Using MyPhoneExplorer (suggested by @poetic_justice) was similarly disappointing, failing with similar symptoms: the phone was not recongnizable via USB, and while it did seem to work via Bluetooth (I was even able to see things like latest calls) contacts sync continued to fail. Restarting windows a couple of times for good measure didn’t help. Blaming my Vista laptop didnt’ help, since things failed similarly with my Vista and Windows 7 workstations at home. And thus I had ended up with a 500€ Symbian PDA that was of little use as a phone.

When all else fails, flash a firmware upgrade (slightly paraphrasing @gmavrikas)

Having nothing to lose I followed the above sound advice. The firmware upgrade worked like a charm, as with every other thing except the contacts sync. I then tried to sync again, not really expecting much and in a typical Christmas spirit I exclaimed:

Now I have a phone. HO-HO-HO

Still it had been a severely disappointing experience. Syncing your contacts to a new mobile phone should be a straightforward painless experience, not one that brings out such strong emotions [1][2][3][4][5][6][7] and definitely not one that required a firmware upgrade.

P.S. Thankfully I didn’t pay for the damn thing. But that is a different story.

On usability

January 8, 2009

You can tell that the usability of a system has a serious problem when a very simple task takes at the very list thirteen arcane commands in a Unix prompt. You can also tell that you need a usability expert/committee of some sort when this problem is there for many years (if not more) and noone has done something about it.

P.S. Just because there isn’t a huge market around them (like web sites) doesn’t mean that command line tools cannot be (un-)usable.