Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Email thread replies

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

A pet peeve of mine: many people do not realize that the email you are replying to is in the email header. (Specifically the “In-Reply-To” and “References” headers)

This feature makes it much easier to thread emails. It is easy for a mail client to tell that message X is in reply to message Y. It also has the side benefit that you can change the subject of a conversation without breaking the thread, if the subject of the conversation changes.

With that said, often people construct a new (non reply) email to a mailing list by

  1. Reply to an email sent to the list
  2. Clear the subject and contents of the email, and any recipients other than the list itself
  3. Set a new subject
  4. Write the email

When you do this, your email shows up as a reply to the original email! This is bad — your email might be missed as a reply to an older thread, and you leak information. It clutters up the thread information; neither you nor I want your email nested among the old thread. It makes it harder to read old threads. As such, I go through and manually fix the problem in my mailbox — which means that you’re making me do extra work!

The A correct way to send a new non-reply email to a list

  1. Create a new message (not a reply)
  2. Set the To: field to the mailing list address
  3. Set the subject to whatever
  4. Write the email

You can, of course, start with a reply and strip out the relevant headers, if your mail client lets you do that easily.

Note that the converse is also true — it is not correct to construct a reply by creating a new message and copying in the contents of the old one. However, the most common cause of missing reply headers is broken email clients rather than misinformed users.

Laundry Race Condition

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

It turns out the dryer in my apartment building has an interesting race condition: if you put more money in right when time runs out the dryer will not notice and stop, just as if you hadn’t put any additional change in the machine.

It just cost me $1 to discover this interesting bug.


Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Apparently Endianness comes from Guilliver’s Travels.

Furthermore, apparently its shocking that I did not know this. Doubly so since I read (most of) the book 15 years ago.

This will make it easier for me to keep straight that big endian means big end first, which is something I had trouble remembering until recently.

The Power of Chuck!

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

My clothing was imbued by the power of Chuck!

On the 4th of July, I joined a bunch of Oliners to watch the Boston fireworks from the Charles river.

We brought a bunch of inflatable rafts and launched into the river. Unfortunately, I slipped out of my boat and fell into the river while boarding it, thus imbuing my clothing, cell phone, and wallet with Chuck water.

My phone went through its death throes and would not power off. I have not yet disassembled it, but it looks like it is dead…

We rowed downriver towards the fireworks, somewhat behind everyone else. Meanwhile, most of the rest of us got kicked out of the river by the coast guard for not having life vests… so, when we caught up we disembarked at the Harvard bridge and watched the fireworks from the side of the river.

Quite a spectacular display.

Now, I need to decide what to get to replace my Hiptop/Sidekick 2. (SK3? iPhone?)

Left of Way

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

During my crazyland Boston visit this week, I am just struck by how different the pedestrian/car interaction is here from Chicago, or even Champaign.

As I understand it, the point of “right of way” is to clarify who should yield to whom. Being polite is suboptimal, because that just leads to confusion when people can’t decide who should go first.

In Boston, traffic tends to

  1. Fail to notice pedestrians
  2. Assumes pedestrians will ignore traffic lights when convenient

The latter gives pedestrians, in the absence of immediate traffic a sort of “left of way” when entering intersections here. Sure, it’s technically jaywalking, but it strikes me as unproductive not to do it. I’m just a little more conservative about it than the natives…

A first post

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

This is a first post; more coming soon.