Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Please abandon daylight saving time

It's quite possibly the most stupid useless "invention" of mankind, and not even worth a lengthy rant. Let's just get rid of it and never talk about it again.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

cmake sucks the camel dick dryer than the Gobi desert

There. I said it. Short post, I know, but it needed to be said.
cmake is like a Microsoft product. Very appealing in the beginning, almost enchanting during the first steps where everything works great and surprisingly easy. But there comes a time, it's not an if, it's a when, when it does not do what you need out of the box, and you have to convince it to bend to your will. That's the point where you hit the brick wall, and from this point on there is a steady increase in the number of workarounds and manual additions to the build system, until you eventually notice "Overall, it did not save me any trouble compared to plain old Makefiles."

Except if the dev ecosystem was your own choice to begin with. Then you know "I should have used Go right away."

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Waiting for ages, and it finally happened!

Now this comes as a surprise. After years of demonstrating to the world that they can screw up software in any product, it's finally here:
Samsung executives blame lackluster software for company’s problems.
Admittedly, the timing comes as a surprise. Yes, the phone market has been less fortunate for Samsung compared to previous years, but still ok compared to some competitors. Anyway, recognising and acknowledging a problem is the first step towards solving it.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Browser source tarball size again (hopefully transient)

While I still hope that this is just a minor transient glitch in the tarball's creation process, chromium's source tar size has recently increased from ~327 MiB to 1367 MiB in 47.0.2526.106. Yes, that's correct, we are talking 1.33 GiB now. A quick look indicates that it contains lots of binary files for multiple architectures. Hopefully this gets removed again in upcoming releases. Source tarballs should be just that: source.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Now I am relieved

Praise the magnificent creativity at Google's Android team! Recently, we learned from this article that Android has been an emotional wasteland. Not any more! Thanks to the new and awesome minor Marshmallow release bump (6.0.1) we have more than 200 new emoji. Now I can really express myself. This is the most compelling reason to buy a Nexus device in Europe for a very long time! I'll  quickly browse to Google's device store asap and hope I get one of these precious things before it's sold out!
Sorry, I really could not resist this one.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Music streaming sucks - Winter 2015 edition

Some of you may remember that about half a year ago I wrote a rather lengthy rant about music streaming. The bottom line was: "I go back to buying music."

So far, I didn't change my mind and was quite happy to buy albums as carefully selected as before.

Having said that, it seems a bit as if the major streaming providers are trying hard not to earn any money from customers: Next to the albums I am happily purchasing through classic distribution channels as well as some online stores which sell (Hi-Res) FLAC files, I continue to enjoy streaming without paying a dime so far.
First, I received a mail from my friends at TIDAL, indicating how sad they were to see me leave the service and they are happy to give me another 3 months for free, in which I may consider staying with them.
Then there was a Chromecast offer to test Deezer premium for 3 months. From my last posting it was clear that I had not tested Deezer so far. So I saw this as a good opportunity to test the service and compare it to the ones I have been using for the last two years. So, after two months of using Deezer almost daily, here is my review:
  • Summary: Run away!!! Of all services I tested until today, this is by far the worst overall experience.
  • Noteworthy pros
    • They recognise how important non-music elements can be for a portfolio: There is a recommendation system in pace for audiobooks, which I appreciate very much. Also they offer live streaming (audio only) of Bundesliga matches, which my lady appreciates.
    • It streams to Chromecast.
  • Noteworthy cons
    • Playlist management is barely existent. It is so bad in fact that my current hypothesis is that they want the users from maintaining playlists. This is actually understandable, because if you don't have any playlists, you don't notice the volatility of the content catalogue (which is still my main point why streaming in general sucks).
    • The Apps (Android, iOS) are the worst kind of software engineering that I have seen for years. Spontaneous bluetooth disconnects, playing different songs than displayed on the UI, displaying "Pause" mode when something is in fact playing are totally normal. Offline content is totally dysfunctional: There is even a "repair file" entry in the context menu because downloading files for offline use is so broken that more often than not skips and holes disturb enjoying the downloaded files. Of course, you do not notice this before you are in a train without internet connection, which is why you downloaded the album in the first place. Apparently, the Deezer dev team never heard of checksums before, as this would help to ensure that a downloaded file isn't corrupt.
  • Summary repeated: Run away!!! Of all services I tested until today, this is by far the worst overall experience.
Next test in the line: Spotify just offered free 3 months premium testing since it now supports streaming to Chromecast as well.
It seems, the streaming providers really do not want any money from us these days ...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Probably our phones belong to some evil supervillain anyway

I really don't feel like writing an elaborate rant about how tech companies do not learn from others' mistakes and instead opt for doing the same mistakes on their own. Please judge for yourself whether a browser should have administrative privileges on a machine in the first place. Because if it has, this is eventually going to happen:
Given what our mobile devices know about us, it is seriously unsettling to know they have this level of security. Anyway, it's a weekend. I'll have a beer.