Had a great Brunch with Guy, Luis and Krissa at Au Pain Quotidien. The yogurt was so incredibly good, I smuggled some back in my luggage.
I flew back to Boston today on Air France flight 322. I always board first due to my superior cunning and scintillating personality and near-native French-speaking ability, but as soon as I got onto the jetway they stopped me and did a frighteningly thorough search of my baggage and person.
This is a bit unusual in France, so I was pretty annoyed as I stepped on the plane . . .
. . . and saw John Kerry standing there! He was chatting with the security people. “Au revoir,” he said to each of them, “Merci.” He went to first class, and I went to my usual seat in the “blue zone” near the bathroom (seat 47Q).
I got out my headphones, put Modest Mouse on, and slept the entire 7h40m flight. When I got to baggage claim in Boston, Kerry was standing around the belt waiting for his bag. There were hundreds of people waiting for their bags too, and they all kept nervously glancing in his direction.
After a few moments of consideration, I went up to him and we had a little conversation!
It went like this:
Senator John Kerry: No, that’s not my bag. Mine is blue, and it’s wrapped in cellophane. Police Escort: Senator, this one is blue and wrapped in cellophane. Senator John Kerry: I think it has someone else’s name on it. Nat: Excuse me, Senator. Police Escort: You’re right, it says “Property of Belinda someone.” Nat: Excuse me, Senator, I just wanted to say hello. Senator John Kerry: >turning to greet the dapper young man<
Nat: I am a big supporter, and it’s a great honor to meet you, sir. Senator John Kerry: Good, good. It’s good to meet you.
Nat: Yes, I contributed to your campaign, and — Senator John Kerry: Great! Keep up the fight. Nat: Anyway, I was wondering if you could possibly reimburse me for my contribution. Senator John Kerry: … Nat: So, if you want to just write me a check now, we can call ourselves square. Police Escort: I think this is your bag, Senator.
Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead from taking pictures of the bookinistes along the Seine, so the great moment was not caught on film. It seems he was coming back from the Middle East, and yesterday (the day before he met me), was hanging out with Jacques Chirac.
(Yes, I’m kidding about the check.)
My hotel room in Phoenix on Monday had this super-fancy CD-playing alarm clock. It had two separate alarms (“A” and “B”), and you could configure it to buzz-wake you with “A,” or radio-wake you with “B,” or vice versa, or do a combination buzz/radio alarm, but only on “B” for some reason.
Setting the alarm required holding down either the “B” or “A” button and then using the CD player track changing buttons to change the displayed time. And then configuring whether the alarm should be silent, radio, buzz or radio/buzz was a matter of pressing the “A” or “B” button repeatedly to change the setting. And of course the volumn knob was unmarked, so I couldn’t tell whether I had it full-on or full-off without figuring out how to turn the radio on first to test it.
After I finally got the alarm set I didn’t trust it very much, so I did the standard sleep 5h; mpg123 *.mp3 maneuveur just to be sure.
After spending five years being told that the Linux desktop is too hard to use, these fucking alarm clocks boggle my mind. If ordinary people can really figure out how to set the alarm at a hotel, then we are going to make OpenOffice default to vi keybindings in the next Novell Linux Desktop.
I wouldn’t have mentioned any of this, but last night at a hotel in Germany, I encountered the best alarm clock interface I have ever seen, and the contrast between Thursday’s hotel alarm and Monday’s hotel alarm just happens to be one of the most exciting things happening in my life right now.
The only question that picture might raise is why I was setting a 7:00 alarm at 4:11 in the morning. A good question.
Okay, I wrote all the above on an airplane from Germany to Paris, where I was connecting for my flight to Boston. Let’s just say that you cannot make a connection between terminals at Charles de Gaulle airport in 55 minutes. So, Paris tonight. Poor me!
In London, en route from Phoenix to Nuremberg. Don’t ask.
Some cool things:
Back from Mexico.
I spent some time last night going through the open source desktop bounties that we launched about a year ago.
I haven’t given it a try yet, but his tarball is still available [evolution-ipod-sync-0.2.tar.bz2].
This is pretty handy for jumping to the archives for the mailing list for a particular mail you’re looking at, or for unsubscribing.
The prolific David Trowbridge built a weather data source for the Evolution calendar, so that you can have actual/forecast weather events show up in your calendar for a variety of cities.
A full list of all the claimed bounties so far is here. To date, we have distributed $12,200 in payments for 21 claimed bounties.
During tonight’s clean-up of the bounty web page, I eliminated several of the bounties that don’t have very much value. In most cases, this is because they are so underspecified as to be unimplementable. In two cases, the bounties were eliminated because ineligible Novell employees completed them. The eliminated bounty bug numbers are 127528 127517 127559 127524 127555 and 127543.
These eliminations freed up about $3,000. Some of this has been redistributed among the remaining, unclaimed bounties. Note in particular that the calendar publishing bounty is now worth a lot. We’ll probably create one new bounty with the remaining cash.
This bounty project has been controversial for various reasons, but I think that it has led to a number of great hacks being introduced to GNOME, and has attracted some new developers to the project.
I am still in favor of the creation of a general bounty system for open source projects. The idea is to allow anyone to act on their “I’d pay $50 if someone fixed this” impulses. SourceXchange and others tried to do this years ago, but I think they were too early, and to date no one has done this well.
I think a general bounty system should start with a simple, clean interface wherein:
I had been thinking that we might want to create a link from the bug to the bounty, but I think this actually would seem like spam to the people who are using bugzilla.
Instead, we could have the bounty website periodically poll the bugs for which there are bounties and alert anyone who has pledged on that bounty if the bug status has changed.
This is an interesting matter of policy. If more than one person has pledged money against the bounty, should everyone get a say in whether or not the bounty has been completed?
The key is probably to have a very fast, simple, clean UI.
My friend Rhett Creighton has been interested in this topic. He suggested that the site be generalized beyond software, so that it can be used for things like the Ansari X Prize, James Randi’s paranormal powers challenge, and other similar things. That would be cool, but I think this should start with software.
One thing I’ve considered doing is specing something up, and then putting a bounty on someone implementing the spec.