January 5th, 2010

  • evan

your vcs sucks

I've been hacking on some Haskell stuff lately that's all managed in darcs and it's reminded me of an observation I made over two years ago now (see last paragraph), which is roughly: git is used widely enough that to get pretty much anything done with free software today you'll end up using git somewhere. So if your project doesn't use git, that means I get to learn git and whatever it is your project uses. (This issue comes up a lot for me, so much that a story about it is one of the few non-technical things I host on my website.)

I used to use darcs a lot. I get it, it's different, it's got some cool mathematical models and UI stuff, git's UI is terrible. I maintain it's not different enough from git to really matter.

And now I have to dig through manpages whenever I want to figure out trivial stuff like "did I forget to add any files in this commit?" (that's darcs whatsnew --look-for-adds) or "what files are in the repo?" (I recall using some sort of "inventory" command but after a lot of poking around it appears to be darcs show files -- tricky, putting it in a subcommand).

I'm especially looking at you, bzr users: you have no excuse. At least darcs is trying a different approach to how patches are managed! As far as I can tell bzr is "like the other ones, but slower".
  • evan

muni android app, watch synchronization

Mostly of interest to San Francisco residents: I wrote an Android app that scrapes nextmuni arrival times a while back. I never announced it (I think?) or published it since they officially disallow scraping, but now there's an API so I don't feel so bad.

(sorry for the mouse cursor, bad screenshot from the emulator)

download link
source code

My friend Joe did a truly awesome hack with muni data as well: he can pick a stop on his phone, then his bluetooth-speaking watch will display up to date arrival times. I remember thinking, "huh, neat" when I read about it on his blog, but now that I have seen it I can assure you my reaction was "AWESOME!"
  • evan

running as root

We've had a surprising number of bugs reported against Chrome by people running as root. For example, running via sudo doesn't change $HOME so all of your $HOME/.config files end up owned by root and unreadable by your normal user. We (sensibly, I hope you'll agree) haven't much tested that because it's a bad idea, but that doesn't convince people to not file bugs. Consider for example this fellow, who inexplicably suggests you set up a shortcut to run via sudo without giving a reason for it.

I've been tempted to just make the thing refuse to run as root but the counterargument is that it's the unix way to let you do dumb things if you want to. What do you think?