Solved: Compose key doesn't work with SCIM, anthy, and Xorg

Monday 31 October 2011, 10:12

Posting this for the benefit of people who may have the same problem, and for my own future reference if it happens to me again.

The problem: Xorg (new name for XFree86) installation, configured with SCIM-anthy for Japanese-language input, and I want to also use the Windows keys as Compose keys when not in Japanese input mode. Compose and Japanese input both work in GTK applications, but in QT applications (notably, Konsole), Japanese input works and the Compose key doesn't. The Compose key is properly configured in KDE, xorg.conf (XkbOptions setting and UTF-8 locale), and xmodmap. If I disable SCIM entirely, then Compose works everywhere, but I lose Japanese input everywhere also.

Air Canada's bug letter

Saturday 29 October 2011, 12:15

I got the bug letter from Air Canada in response to my complaint about the Typhoon Roke aftermath. They say they "regret" what happened, but they very noticeably do not acknowledge any wrongdoing at all on the part of any of their employees; they claim what was done was in accordance with their policy. They spend a few sentences chiding me for not giving them a cellular phone number - as if it were somehow my fault that they didn't keep me informed, and as if that had any relevance to the lack of announcements in the actual airport terminal - in the same paragraph where they explain that they would only have phoned me anyway if the cancellation were announced at least three hours in advance of the scheduled departure, which was not the case here. They conclude by offering me a discount code good for 15% off on a future booking. This isn't an apology because it lacks the critical defining features of an apology: it doesn't acknowledge that what was done was wrong, and it leaves open the possibility of doing it again.

Chessudoku (much) cheaper

Monday 17 October 2011, 17:25

Without my permission, Lulu.com changed the downloadable version of my book Chessudoku from a "download" to an "eBook." It'd still be a PDF-format file; the only practical difference is that they'd pay me a lower royalty. So in other words, they just told me (except they didn't really tell me, I had to find out when I logged in just now) "Hello, we are going to pay you less than we promised, thanks!" I think that's a violation of the spirit of their contract with me, even if they might technically have been within the letter of fine-print terms reserving the right to change their pricing structure.

I've removed the "eBook" version from their system. I've also lowered the price on the hardcopy version a little bit, to US$12.50. I'm considering removing that from their system too and terminating all business dealings with Lulu, but at the moment I don't have a suitable replacement and it'd be a shame to take the hardcopy version out of print entirely.

I'm posting the PDF version here on Ansuz for free. It is Creative Commons licensed. If you like it, please share it.

Tsukurimashou 0.4

Sunday 16 October 2011, 12:54

This is an announcement for an outdated version. More recent versions are available; see the Sourceforge project for the latest one.

I'm very happy to announce a new release of the Tsukurimashou font project, version 0.4. See files from this release on the Sourceforge releases page, and the summary for the project. The current glyph counts are 2021 overall, 573 kanji; this version now includes all the grade-school kanji through Grade Two. あなたもは、7歳みたく書きことができますよ! (You, too, can write like a seven-year-old!)

Now, somebody restrain me before I add the 11172 Korean hangul syllables.

Security issue

Monday 10 October 2011, 09:05

Folks, we had a break-in on this Web server. I think it's cleaned up now, but if you have created a "visitor" account (I think very few people have) it would be wise to change your password just to be on the safe side. Discussion below.

Another thought on the Astrolabe copyright thing

Friday 7 October 2011, 08:54

It may have been inevitable that this or something like it would happen, because the astrological community has a long history of making extralegal claims on factual information. Many algorithms have been published in books with copyright notices claiming that if you implement the algorithms, then you can only use the resulting software for non-profit purposes. That's a transparent attempt to claim software patent protection (inherently questionable already) without having a patent at all, using copyright law as the basis instead, so as to get the much longer term and lack of review applicable to copyrights instead of patents.

Astrolabe announces change in business: was astrology, now copyright trolling

Thursday 6 October 2011, 22:13

The Unix time-zone database - necessary to the operation of Linux-based computers and many other systems around the world as well - has been withdrawn from distribution because of a lawsuit filed by Astrolabe Inc. I'm really saddened to hear of this, because I liked Astrolabe. They've been in the business of selling astrological software for a long time, and they make many popular products, some of which I have used and recommended. But now I can't give them any more money nor can I recommend that others do so, because they have attacked the basic infrastructure of global computing. The word "terrorism" is so overused now as to be practically worthless, but attacks on infrastructure are often mentioned when people try to define it. Shame on you, Astrolabe.

MetaPost serial-number bug link target

Wednesday 5 October 2011, 14:04

This entry summarizes the current status of the MetaPost serial-number bug. This bug is relevant to the Tsukurimashou project, and I need a consistent URL to link to in the documentation when I discuss this issue. I'll update this entry from time to time with the latest news.

On being missed

Wednesday 5 October 2011, 12:15

I recently visited Seth Godin's Web log to dig out his item about yak shaving, and while I was there I saw this recent posting about being missed. He asks the question: if you didn't show up, if you suddenly went away, who would miss you? And he proposes that it might be a valuable goal to make it so that a lot of people would miss you. That's certainly an interesting and important question to ask, but I think it's really the wrong question to ask.

Regarding Billiken

Thursday 29 September 2011, 19:50

In my coverage of the Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka, I mentioned the Billiken shrine at the top. Wikipedia's article on Billiken is of some interest. Note that they refer to him consistently as "the Billiken," although the basis for doing so seems to be flimsy (some sources do it, and Wikipedians think that is the last word). He was always referred to without a "the" in the English-language materials I saw in Osaka, just with "Billiken" used in the normal fashion for a name, so I'm not going to add a "the" here.

Billiken apparently originated in St. Louis, Missouri, with a woman named Florence Pretz, who saw his image in a dream and designed and patented a doll based on it in 1908, predating Kewpies, which came out in December of 1909. Wikipedia claims (with a "citation needed" note) that he "sprang from the height of the \"Mind-Cure\" craze" and links "Mind-Cure" to New Thought, though I'm not sure how legitimate that link is. But it's certainly interesting to know that anybody thinks there's a New Thought connection.

Note that Pretz is also the name of a Japanese snack food made by Glico; it's basically a long pretzel stick, somewhat similar to the popular Pocky but without the frosting and salty instead of sweet.