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Sven this is because in some locales the alphabet is ordered “AaBbCc….Zz”, and in others it uses the ASCII ordering of “ABC…Z…abc…z”. This depends on the LC_COLLATE environment variable (usually specified as part of LANG). I remember having a discussion about this a while backon the ILUG mailing list, but I don’t remember when or with who.

For this reason, using A-Z for caps is usually ill-advised. You are better off using the character classes [:lower:] and [:upper:] if they are supported (they’re a posix thing and most old seds won’t have them). The alternative way is to use ‘[ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ]’ which isn’t that long for a regex…

Mayo got thrashed. And I didn’t even get to see the match because the only Irish pub in Lyon with an Irish satellite subscription (illegal) has been having problems and the guy on the other end of the mobile phone number they have for “service” didn’t fix it in time. Double bummer.

Update: Interesting experiment – I just set LANG to fr_FR and put a bunch of characters in latin-1 (like â, ä, Ã&plusmm;) into a file, and they are all matches by the [:lower:] character class (try it – one character per line, then run grep ‘[[:lower:]]’ testfile). With a similar file, try grepping for ‘[A-z]’, ‘[a-z]’, ‘[A-Z]’. It seems like sed here collates properly for a-z, but it doesn’t pick up anything for A-z. Funny, that.

Update 2: Not funny at all, actually – it seems that fr_FR collates lower-case letters before upper-case letters, with the result that ‘[a-Z]’ picks up all the letters.

Update 3 (the last one, I promise): I should have read PlanetGNOME more closely – looks like Mr. Love got there first.

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I finally got around to getting my holiday photos off the camera. The great thing about holiday photos is that you smile and go right back to the places you were photographing, and somehow the memories are even better than the real thing. The worst thing is realising that the camera’s lens had a stain during the entire holidays, so all your photos are slightly blurred, with a ghost-like figure hanging around the top left corner. That sucks.

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Here’s hoping that Kerry gets beaten.

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Real estate agencies

These are one of the few groups of people in the world where no-one is happy with what they do. If you’re a home owner in a “copropriété” (residence), anapartment owner letting through an agency, or a tenant of one of those apartments, no-one seems to be able to get satisfactory service from these guys.

It’s one of those domains where everyone knows that when you ask for something, it’ll take twice as long as it should, when they ask for something, they charge you for every letter they send you. When you change company, the new one is just as bad as the old one.

These are people who play both ends against the middle, who get rents from tenants and then tell landlords that the tenants haven’t paid yet so that they get use of the money for an extra couple of months. And they take pleasure in sending you bills in the most confusing way possible, so that you couldn’t possibly understand, and you don’t notice when they are overcharging you.

Why the hell does “Creation of dossier” cost €108? And since when does the sending of a reminder letter cost €18? And even more relevant, why can’t I get anyone on the phoen to explain it to me?

These guys are vultures, except without the wingspan and plumage.

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I think I’ll call this the Bush strategy

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Why I hate US politics

So – there’s no getting away from it. It’s an election year in the US, and you guys over-pond get to pick the next Lord Protector of the Free World in a few weeks.

I was going to be positive, but I’ve just read some stuff on some US politics sites, and I haven’t got the heart to.

If you were to believe the way the campaign is going now, the top 3 issues are:

  • Who did what in the Vietnam War?
  • Who is the “strongest” leader?
  • A distant third, who is best for the economy?

I may be getting these wrong, simply because I’m just getting a window on the campaign, but the key phrase coming out of the Bush campaign now is “flip-flop”. Bush & Co. have worked out that the flaw in Kerry’s character is that he changes his mind in the light of new evidence (or new political realities, whichever you choose to believe). It seems to me that the Republicans are being allowed, as so often happens, to dictate the agenda for the campaing.

So I got thinking – why do people think Bush is so bad outside America? And why don’t Americans see it that way? And how is Kerry different?

So here’s the top 3 reasons Bush is not liked outside the US

  • He went to war on Iraq, when everyone was telling him he shouldn’t (in fact, Saddam had agreed to let UN inspectors back into the country in the days leading up to the war), and lied to his own people about the reasons for that war.
  • He doesn’t care about anything outside the US borders (except maybe oil fields) – he has spurned the International Court of Human Rights, the Kyoto Agreement, and hasn’t moved an inch to remove protectionism of American farmers. On top of that, he has acted unilaterally in the face of overwhelming international opposition on Iraq.
  • He has hijacked the attacks of September 11th to advance a personal political agenda, and is moving towards a police state in the US.

So what Kerry needs to do to distance himself from Bush is call Bush on these things – he lied, he abused his power, he has obliterated long-standing alliances, and explain to the American people how he will be an improvement.

The hardest thing to do is say what he would do, when elected, in Iraq. There’s going to be a mess there for years whatever happens. But he needs to stick to the punchlines – Bush lied to the people, he abused their trust, he cost America friends.

Instead, what do we end up talking about? Bush would be a stronger leader, Kerry’s bogged down in Vietnam. We end up talking about how Edwards’s country origins go down in the South and mid-west, how Bush is doing in the latest polls (since when are polls an election issue?), and of course we talk about flip-flopping. But when is the Kerry campaign going to start calling Bush on why people think he is so bad? Or are they already doing that, and just not getting the news cycles?

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I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.

Brian Clough, funniest football manager ever. RIP.

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The maint is dead, Long Live the maint!

Are you a new GNOME user who would like to get bug mails about your favourite application, but don’t know who to ask? Are you a developer who has been waiting for 2 weeks for someone to get around to adding you to a list alias? Are you a sysadmin who is snowed under with work, and has better things to be doing than checking out mysterious CVS modules to add a user to an alias? Then this blog entry is for you…

A subtle, and mostly untrumpeted, change came in with the GNOME Bugzilla upgrade – the ability to watch other users. It is possible to get all the bugzilla mails they get, as well as your own, by simply adding them in your e-mail preferences page.

This has brought about a change in policy for the Bugzilla *-maint mail aliases, which is great news for anyone who has ever waited for days or weeks to be added to one because someone was on holiday, busy or otherwise occupied. Each product (and on request, even modules) can have their own “dummy’ bugzilla account, created by bugzilla-maintainers. This account will be a bit-bucket, rather than a mailing list. And the users who want to “follow” the bugs of a product or module simply add this -maint user to the list of users they are watching.

No more shall you wait for a sysadmin intervention! No more shall new users need to get to know the maintainer to get on a -maint alias! Power to the people!

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Jamin: Show-off. ;-)

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jamesh: In the version of STV that I know, there are a couple of differences to that which you describe.

The main one is that surpluses are not distributed as you describe exactly. It would be more accurate to say that 80% of campd’s votes would be distributed at 100% strength. You cannot have partial ballots.

Another minor difference is that if a candidate gets pushed over the quota by someone else’s surplus or elimination, then only the votes which pushed them over the top get examined for surplus redistribution. This is a pretty controversial practice, which almost certainly changed the result of at least one constituency in Ireland last time around (Dublin North Central, IIRC).

Correction: It was Dublin Central. When Joe Costello was elected by transfers from Jim Mitchell, the surplus distribution favoured Dermot Fitzpatrick, even though the total vote for Costello would have favoured the more left-leaning Keho. The fact that the surplus came from Mitchell, a center-right candidate, skewed the next preference down.

There is also a GPL application to handle STV counts, which would make the task easier: pSTV. So perhaps the idea of having people do the 2004/5 election using the existing system, but specifying preferences as a test-run of STV, would be an interesting experiment.

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