The version control system Subversion comes with a handy function to copy or move an already versioned file from one place in the repository to another: The command svn move.

This is particularly good (and superior over, for example, CVS which is unable to do so) because the version history of the file is kept, and also the copy on the server is done lazily, meaning just because the file was copied there won't be a second physical copy created on the server (yet, until you write to it).

A drawback of the command, though, is that it is only possible to move one single file or directory at a time. If you have a lot of files to be moved, this can get very tedious.

However, if the files you want to cover have something to be distinguished by, you may try the following (which I blog here mainly so I can get back later when I have forgotten the syntax again ;) ):

find . -name "06*" -maxdepth 1 -exec svn mv "{}" 2006/ \;

Note that I am filtering by name here (everything starting with 06), with a maximum tree depth of 1 (to avoid pulling in the .svn folder) and I am moving the respective files into the (recently created) subfolder 2006/. Also note that the the -exec flag of the find command wants to be terminated by a semicolon, but since that is a reserved character for the Bash shell, you need to escape it. This is something I trip over every time.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

Read more…

Looks like it's George Orwell's lucky day: Microsoft has filed a patent application for "a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure." (The Times, emphasis added).

Needless to say privacy experts are not particularly enthused, especially over here in Germany where the data protection laws are slightly on the strict side anyway. What I though was interesting is a quote by a German privacy expert, who said that while Microsoft may earn money from selling the product eventually, the companies who use it almost certainly won't profit from monitoring their employees: She referred to a study made by the London School of Economics for Microsoft in 2003 which states that monitoring employees decreases their productivity and creativity. As such, the privacy expert says, Microsoft's idea is "absolutely outdated".

Considering the document was filed in June 2006 already and has only just came to public attention, the "outdated" claim may not be too far off after all.

Side note: As always, my blog represents my opinion only, and not Mozilla's or anyone else's. Just in case this was not perfectly clear to begin with.

Read more…

Dear readers!

I wish you a merry Christmas and a good and successful year 2008. I hope you had fun reading my blog this year and thank you all for your helpful comments and constructive input. I hope you'll still bear with me for a long time to come!

Now get back to your Christmas feasts but make sure to not drink and sing (instead, always choose a designated singer!), or you may end up like this guy: ;-)

(The song being so graciously interpreted here, by the way, is a German Christmas song that goes "silent, silent, silent, because the child wants to sleep...")

Read more…

Yesterday, Apple released a system update that is supposed to fix the severe "keyboard unresponsive" bug in OS X Leopard:

Update for the Apple Keyboard Bug(s)

With hardly 800K in size, the patch is a lightweight that could have a big influence. If that's not the right place to use the word of the year, where else: W00t.

I just installed it and so far, the keyboard works fine, but of course I haven't sent the box to sleep yet, so by now I can't tell yet if the patch actually fixed the bug. Of course, the reboot the update asked for promptly resulted in a kernel panic (great start), but luckily, another reboot went through without problems.

If you like, please let me know in the comments if the patch worked for you or not. Good luck!

(Thanks Justin, Jean Pierre and Marc, who all told me about the update being available.)

Read more…

Douglas Karr at the Marketing Technology blog has an interesting post about the web servers the election candidates for the U.S. in 2008 run.

Hillary runs Windows 2003, for example, while Guiliani trusts his website to a CentOS+Apache install. An exception seem to be Barrack Obama and C. Todd, who are the only ones to run FreeBSD on their webservers.

The percentage difference between Linux/Apache (48%) and Windows/IIS (43%), seems to reflect the Internet not too badly (which is about 50% Apache vs. 35% IIS), but when you look at the two parties, there is a much more clear bias:

It’s fascinating to me that the Dems are predominantly Open Source… except for Hillary Clinton and the Republicans are predominantly Microsoft with the exception of Ron Paul, Jim Gilmore, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

I wonder what makes Republican candidates go so strongly for closed source products, but I'll leave this up to your speculations ;) .

When I look at the hosting companies, I don't recognize many names -- only one came to sight: Republican candidate Jim Gilmore gets his Linux box from 1&1 Internet, Inc., a subsidiary of 1 und 1, one of Germany's largest internet companies who have big facilities in my university town Karlsruhe. /me waves from here.

Will this knowledge influence where the average geek's makes their cross on the ballot? Probably (or rather, hopefully) not. Yet it is interesting to see what technologies the candidates trust into. Now I'd only like to find out which browser they are using. But this will likely remain unresolved forever...

Read more…

Johnny Lee from CMU shows off a low-cost digital whiteboard built from a WiiMote and a pen with an infrared tip.

I so want this (hint, hint, readers looking for a Christmas present ;) ). Also, if I was still on-site, I'd absolutely volunteer to build one of these for Mozilla :)

(Thanks for the Link, Kai!)

Read more…

It seems to me like some people have a little too much time at their hands: I recently notice a bunch of hand-crafted spam coming in to my blog, mainly as comments to the famous (infamous?) cake article.

The comments look something like this:

Hand Crafted Wordpress Spam Some hand-crafted wordpress spam, notice how the comment makes sense but the supplied URL is quite apparently promoting spam content.

Interestingly, most of these comments actually link to pages that promote some sort of shady pyramid scheme. Looks like these people desperately surf the web searching for well-visited blog posts and drop spam in there -- by hand.

Yet, even if they manage to get through comment moderation, they are not likely to squeeze any "search engine juice" out of it, since Wordpress marks commenters' homepage links as nofollow by default.

And though I would like to tell them they can save their keystrokes and that they are wasting their time (and, more importantly, mine too), I can probably drop that, since chances are, none of these people will ever actually read the blogs they are spamming...

Read more…

Today I sent a support request to the computer pool admins at my university's CS school, so they upgrade Firefox to version 2 any time soon. The Fedora Core instances on these boxes are still on Fx 1.5.12.

I mean, it's only been out for a year and Firefox 1.5's lifetime has ended for half a year now, so that sounds like it's about time for an update.

Interestingly though, the Fedora Project seems to keep version 1.5 until they can switch to 3.0 (therefore completely skipping Firefox 2). And unless I am mistaken, the pool computers still run FC 6. So my request may not be successful after all. But unless Fedora backports security patches to the 1.5 branch (which may arguably be more work than just switching to Firefox 2?) I strongly oppose keeping unsupported software versions for any significant time. Especially in a university setting with hundreds of users happily surfing the web on a daily basis. And especially for a web browser, which by definition constantly gets its hands dirty with possibly harmful code.

Let's see what they say -- I sure hope it'll be more useful than your average "just boot into Windows, then"...

Update: Just about half a second after I blogged this, the pool people answered that Fedora still backports patches into Firefox 1.5, and soon (that is, once Fedora drops support for version 6), the pool computers will get an upgrade to FC 8, which will also contain Firefox 2 then.


Read more…

As Adobe's James King has blogged yesterday, the PDF format (in its version 1.7) has just become an ISO standard (number 32000). The final standardization document is expected to be published in early 2008.

Almost a year after the work on the standardization has started, the ballot was passed yesterday with 13 vs. 1 votes. The only country to oppose the motion was France, and Russia abstained.

PDF as an open standard: For the file format landscape, I believe this is a good move. As members of international teams have already known for a long time (at least since the Tower of Babel), you can only really work together if you speak a common language. Standardized, open file formats are the common language of the internet age. Now, PDF is in good company, along with the Open Document File format that has already been standardized in 2006.

Read more…

Rumor has just recently hit the blogosphere that Google's GMail was to introduce clickable and colored tags for emails. Today apparently my account was added to the test group (or was it generally released? I don't know).

I think I like the feature, since it has also become a one-click operation now to remove a tag from a mail; a feature that comes in very handy when you accidentally mis-tag a mail and want to fix it quickly:

GMail: Clickable Tags

That being said, now Google only has to come up with a faster way to actually assign tags to emails. For me, neither the dropdown list in the single mail view nor checking a bunch of mails and then using the dropdown list in the mail list view are particularly appealing ways of categorizing emails. While it is not too tedious or unbearable, there may be quicker ways to achieve this. One idea would be suggesting a handful of existing tags in the mail view (addable with one click), judging by the similarity of the current mail to the ones that you have previously tagged with a particular tag. This would have the charm of being both fast for the user and also suggesting classification of emails into categories, even from people who have never sent you a mail before and before you have even thought about making a filter rule to auto-tag similar emails. (And I just made this up off the top of my head, so please feel free to yell at me in the comments if you dislike my suggestion).

By the way, the CSS for the tags seems to render them too low (see the screenshot), with the Firefox 3 nightlies. I wonder if this is a Firefox rendering issue or a bug in the CSS Google uses.

Read more…