Saturday, April 30, 2011

Diaspora: First Impression

Myles Braithwaite invited me to the first Disapora site, joindiaspora. Diaspora is still in alpha so one can't be too critical, but I think there is still a lot of work to be done before I would put a beta sticker on it.

For example, after I signed up I got another email that Myles wanted to share with me. When I followed the link in the email, it went straight to my joindiaspora home page, but Myles was not added to my contact list. Now what? Mousing over some items I found the notifications icon but it did not indicate that there were any items, so I ignored it. Later, after getting nowhere, I opened the notifications and there was Myles' offer to share. Much later again, I discovered that the notification indicator does work. So why it not work with the very first item?

Another example is the invite counter. I got ten invites so I asked five people to join. The dialog allowed sending to multiple people so I entered all five email addresses at once. Now the invite counter reads eight. Um, 10-5=8 now? Should I assume that some of the invites were not get sent? If so, which ones? It seems the only way to find out is to ask the invitees if they got it, which is kind of annoying.

My basic rule of programming is: fix the obvious problems first wherever possible. It seems the programmers behind Dispora have a different philosophy. Thankfully this only alpha software so I'll report back when things improve a little.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wikileaks Canada

This week Wikileaks released many diplomatic cables concerning Canada. It seemed like perfect timing with only three days to the election. So what did the Canadian mainstream media have to say about the cables?

The CBC had decent coverage of the entire release. The Globe and Mail picked a cable with an unfavourable view of Ignatieff. This choice is not surprising. The Toronto Star focused on one cable about Laura Harper. Yeah, they went for the really important stuff.

Outside the mainstream, Micheal Geist examined the copyright and intellectual property comments in a few of the cables. There is little doubt that the US is influencing the IP debate in Canada. And as an indication of Geist's importance in that debate, there's even a cable about him. ^^

Thursday, April 28, 2011

DomainKeys Identified Mail

I configured my Postfix mail server to sign emails using the DomainKeys Identified Mail protocol. Postfix does not handle DKIM internally so additional software is needed. I tried dkim-milter and opendkim, which is a fork of the former. Both worked but opendkim seems to be a little more actively developed, so I choose it.

There are plenty of tutorials on the Web so set up is not very difficult. The problem was the signature would not verify. It's a good thing DKIM has a test mode!

I suspected that the signature was broken when the From: header on the outgoing email was rewritten with the my public email address. There were only two solutions: sign after rewriting or rewrite before signing. Because of where Postfix connects to the DKIM filter in the processing flow, the first solution requires a dual queue configuration which sounds complicated, although I have not investigated it.

The second solution uses a different Postfix mapping table which is much easier to configure. I moved the rewrite rules from the the generic map (examined for outgoing mail), to the canonical map (examined for incoming mail). Amazingly, it worked! Always use the simplest solution first. ^_^

(Note: Gmail and Yahoo support DKIM but Hotmail does not. Surprised? I'm not.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Promises Promises

Micheal Geist has summarized the digital policies of the three main parties. As with all campaign promises, making them is easy, keeping them is what counts. Unfortunately, since it looks like we will get at least another Conservative minority, I actually hope they don't keep their promises in this case. It looks like the first steps towards a surveillance state to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sender Policy Framework

The Sender Policy Framework is a simple and easy to use method to prevent email address spoofing. Of course, someone has to muddy the waters. Hotmail uses a protocol called Sender-ID, which looks an update to SPF ("spf2.0") but is in reality a competing experiment from Microsoft.

There are a number of problems with Sender-ID. The worst problem is that it expects certain email headers which may not be present in a legitimate email that follows the established standards. Microsoft refuses to address this problems and as a result, both SPF and Send-ID have stalled in the standardization process.

Sigh. Some things never change.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Perfect Browser?

The Chromium browser still has no built-in ability to manage certificates. You have to use command line tools, which isn't really a problem, but it means that Chromium does not work properly on any site that installs a certificate automatically. It's one of those things that makes me wish someone would develop a browser which combines the best features of Firefox and Chromium. That marriage might just be the perfect browser.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter WIth The Family

I spent Easter at my sister Pat's home, along with most of the family. We were missing my other sister Jean and my nephew Max, both because of work. The dinner highlight was the beef curry that Pat made. It was yummy. ^_^ I haven't had beef curry since leaving South Africa as my sisters usually make chicken curry, which is also delicious but the bones are a little annoying.

I got into a lengthy discussion with my nephew Doug about why Hollywood produces such crap these days compared to just twenty or thirty years ago. I think we hit the main reasons quite nicely (basically a reliance on gimmicks: action, CGI, and now 3D). Not that our opinion matters since neither of us are in the the target demographic these days.

As usual the festivities wrapped up much too early (I was home by nine), but most people have to work tomorrow so it was to be expected for Easter Sunday. The next full family gathering is the BBQ in July.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The Wolverine anime is loosely based on the the first Wolverine comic, a four part limited series. You will note that I said "loosely". I never read the original but based a couple of reviews (here and here) of the comic series, the anime does deviate considerably from the comic in several areas.

Notably, while the comic was a turning point for the character, the anime offers nothing that deep, which is odd considering how tragically the anime ends. But then again, the ending is completely opposite from the comic as well. Another major difference is that every female character in the anime dies, which is kind of peculiar.

Oh dear, perhaps even "loosely based on" is too strong. Maybe "insipidly inspired by"? ^_^

Nevertheless, the Wolverine anime is very entertaining, delivering breathless, almost non-stop action. In fact, I feel the pace could have been a little slower, which is the opposite of how I felt about Iron Man. Maybe X-Men will be just right. ^_^

(Apparently, Blade has also been added to the Marvel-anime experiment.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lawyers Or Engineers

These days it seems that businesses spend more time in court fighting over "intellectual property" than they do creating innovative products. This would a great opportunity for small companies to fill the product gap but then they risk being sued too. No matter what anyone says, nothing will convince me that "intellectual property" promotes innovation. It is just a tool to suppress competition.

All of this makes me wonder: is it cheaper to sue or to create a new product? Who costs more: lawyers or engineers?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Linux Skype 2.2 Beta

I installed the minor update for Linux Skype on Debian sid and it seems to be working fine. It is a minor update but you can never be too sure, so I had the the old .deb package handy just in case.

Skype may be closed source but at least they provide proper .deb and .rpm packages, which ultimately is the best way for to install software on Linux. A further curiosity is that Skype actually provides separate packages for Ubuntu and Debian, an indication that the latter must be a noticeable portion of the user base.

A few years ago I heard that Skype was planning to release a library which would enable others to write front end GUIs. Nothing concrete was ever announced so I guess it was just a rumour.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You Broke My Eye Candy!

It is a fact that the Mesa OpenGL support on Linux is currently a bleeding edge work-in-progress.

Now, I can understand getting a little annoyed when it breaks. I've experienced this myself. However, it has never upset me to the point where I have to vent in a long rant. And, it would be completely over-the-top if the rant is about how Mesa broke my compositing window manager, which is basically just eye candy.

And yet, that is exactly what the lead developer of KWin felt he needed to do. Some people take their eye candy very seriously. I liked the one response which suggested turning off the eye candy until Mesa is a bit more stable. Well, duh!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP Elisabeth Sladen

The actress Elisabeth Sladen, well known to Doctor Who fans as Sarah Jane Smith, has died. Sarah Jane was my favourite companion. Sladen recently reprised the role as the title character in The Sarah Jana Adventures, which was a very enjoyable series.

Sladen was only 63 but apparently had been fighting cancer for some time, which makes her performance in SJA even more special, as it was quite a physical role. Half of the stories for series 5 of SJA were were ready completed. It is uncertain if these episodes will ever be aired.

Monday, April 18, 2011

F1 China 2011

What a thrilling race! Hamilton became the first driver of the season to beat Vettel. Even Webber seemed relieved. ^_^ But the best part was Hamilton did it as a true racer would want to, by passing people on track, including his team mate. However, while Hamilton's win was brilliant, Webber's drive was absolutely stunning. Starting eighteenth after a shocking qualifying session, and yet still finishing third was a fantastic achievement.

Tires and strategy created one of the most unpredictable dry races ever. Look at Hamilton. He started third but was in second before the first corner. He led the race briefly until his first stop, after which I actually lost track of him! After his third stop, he popped up in fifth position again! And yet, he still won the race, even after moving up and down the running order like a yo-yo.

The difference was that Hamilton's tires were a few laps newer than the cars ahead of him after his third stop. Webber had a similar advantage at the end of the race and was over two seconds per lap faster than the front runners. The drivers on a three stop strategy were basically mugging those who did two stops. The conventional wisdom was that the fewer stops, the better. Whether this was a peculiarity of this circuit or a new trend, is anybody's guess.

Even though Webber had a great finish, he had a torrid weekend. His problems started when his KERS started smoking during the Saturday morning practice. The team scrambled to find the problem, but could not fix it before qualifying. Then the team over estimated the car's performance on the harder prime tire, which left Webber unable to graduate from session three. Thankfully, even an ailing Redbull is much faster than either Lotus, Virgin, or Hispania, which avoided the embarrassment of being out qualified by them.

So who had the best car in China? Despite Hamilton's impressive win for McLaren, there is little doubt that the Rebull is still faster. On equal tires, Hamilton's job would have been much more difficult. Look at it this way: which team had two drivers on the podium? Which team had a car start eighteenth and finish third?

On the other hand, what this race clearly demonstrated is that, this year, having the best car is not the only way to win a race. Strategy can make up the difference.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Unmotivated Work

I worked most of the weekend on a little project although it was difficult to get motivated for this one. First, the project was kind of boring and second, it was covered by a support contract, which means there was no extra pay involved. Nevertheless, motivated or not, the work still has to be delivered.

Ah, the exciting life of a contractor. It would make a great movie. Not! ^_^

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Star Driver

While Star Driver is not a great anime, it is still very entertaining. The story takes place on a remote island and revolves around a secret society (Glittering Crux) that is trying to bring a number of alien mecha, which are trapped in an another dimension called Zero Time, into our reality. That's the entire plot in one sentence. ^_^

The main character, Tsunashi Takuto, is fighting to prevent this from happening, ostensibly to protect his friend, Agemaki Wako, who is one of four "shrine maidens". They carry marks that seal the other dimension. Naturally, Glittering Crux needs to capture the shrine maidens and remove their marks in order to unseal Zero Time. When the series begins, they have already broken one seal. As they break additional seals, the mecha in Zero Time become stonger, and Takuto's battles get tougher.

The action is enjoyable and very well done, but Takuto's battles against Glittering Crux are too formulaic and repetitive. It was the weakest part of the series as there were very few times that there was any doubt that he was going to win.

Other characters, including Takuto and all the members of Glittering Crux, have marks as well. The mark is what enables them to control a mecha in Zero Time and also connects them to the aliens that created the mecha, although the how and the why is never explained. The aliens are left as a mystery but we are told that they are observing the current events, but will not interfere.

My plot-in-one-sentence is not completely correct, as the last episode throws it out the window when we find out what was really going on. While this could be annoying, it makes sense. The story focused on Takuto and not on who was behind the cult, so there was not way to reveal these details until the real bad guy was revealed. Until that point, he was just another member of the secret society.

Anyway, the sudden change set up a great surprise ending, which made the whole series worthwhile.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Regulated Oligopoly

Businesses that operate in a protected and regulated oligopoly environment, become weak and uncompetive. For examples of this effect, look to the businesses in the Canadian broadcast and telecommunications industry: Bell, Rogers, Shaw, etc.

Two years ago, the CRTC held the new media consulations which asked if TV delivered over the Internet should be regulated. The response from the afore mentioned companies was unanimous: no. They even declared that the so called "over-the-top" services were not a threat. (I have no idea why they call it "over-the-top" service.)

Now that Netflix is operating in Canada, those very same businesses have changed their tune and are appealing for the CRTC to regulate TV delivered over the Internet. At the first sign of competition, those companies run to the regulatory body, like little children crying for mummy when the game isn't go their way. It is completely ridiculous that they didn't even try to compete. They have access to the same, if not better, technology as Netflix.

Here is Micheal Geist's point by point comparison of what the companies said two years ago versus what they are saying now. It is really quite sad.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Disaster Ratings

Chernobyl and Fukushima now have the same rating for nuclear disasters. Seven is the highest disaster rating and is correct for Fukushima, based of the state of the plant. However, as this Wired article points out, there is order of magnitude difference between Chernobyl and Fukishima. It is an excellent example of how a simple rating system "dumbs down" a complex problem to the point where it is meaningless to the people the system was meant to inform.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I had a problem which was very similar to something I had solved a few years ago on another project. Ah, ha! thinks I, I'll just use my notes from that project so this won't take too long. It'll be easy! Yeah, right. A few hours later, I'm scratching my head and wondering how I got it to work in the old project. It turns out that the old notes was missing one command. One whole command! Assuming something is going to be easy is the kiss of death, I tell you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plan 9

At this month's GTALUG meeting, Scott Sullivan gave an introduction to Plan 9, developed as a research project at Bell Labs in the 1980s as a possible replacement for Unix. Plan 9 is mainly of interest to OS researchers and hobbyists. For the rest of us, the OS is quite limited. Someone asked if you could read your mail on Plan 9 but never got a clear answer as to how you might do it.

Linux incorporates a few concepts from Plan 9. Some, such as /proc, /dev, and /sys, are obvious, while others such as FUSE or unionfs, are less so. Linux directly supports Plan 9's 9p protocol, although no tools were mentioned that actually uses it. The Glendix project intends to run a Plan 9 user space on top of the Linux kernel.

Despite Scott's enthusiasm for Plan 9, in the end I was not inspired to look at it more closely. Plan 9 has some interesting concepts but none of it is very useful to me. Just being cool is not enough.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Out On The Bleeding Edge

This Phoronix article demonstrates the advances that have been made in the open source ATI/AMD drivers for the R500 and older chipsets. For R600 and newer chipsets, the story is a little different.

Most of the performance improvements in the Phoronix tests came from the Gallium3D driver in the Mesa OpenGL library. When the Debian package for Mesa 7.10 enabled the Gallium3D driver, people with R600 and newer GPUs quickly noticed problems. I saw frequent GPU lock ups but 3D graphics was still functional. Others had more severe problems.

Needless to say, Gallium3D has been disabled in the Mesa package for now. You can only go so far when you are out on the bleeding edge, then you have to back off.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

F1 Malaysia 2011

Well, we are still looking for someone to beat Vettel who took both the pole and the win again. Hamilton looked like a contender when he missed pole by only 0.1s after he made small mistake on his qualifying lap. Unfortunately, while his pace was good in the early part of the race, he was not able to maintain it throughout the race. However, McLaren have clearly drawn closer to the Redbull, which is encouraging.

Redbull's weakness is KERS which completely failed on Webber's car, and had to be disabled during the race on Vettel's. Without KERS, Webber was a sitting duck on the start where he lost six places and on the long straights the lack of KERS boost was very obvious. Redbull still has an overall performance advantage which is what enabled Vettel to score the win, but Mclaren is improving quickly so Redbull's advantage may not last long. They need to get KERS sorted out soon, like by next week end! Lack of reliable KERS will hurt in China, as the Shanghai circuit has the longest straight in F1.

Despite the loss of of KERS on his Redbull, Webber drove an excellent race and recovered from the poor start to finish a respectable fourth. With a few more laps and fresher tires he might even have passed Heidfeld for third. While it was only a modest success, he was clearly miffed in the post race interviews, instead of focusing on the fact that he scored the most points that he could have given the condition of his car. It's an important skill and it's a shame that he brushed it aside to easily.

Renault had the most incredible start, with both Heidfeld and Petrov hurtling through the pack from sixth and eighth respectively. With a longer run to turn one, it's entirely possible one of them could have taken the lead, which would have been very entertaining. It was actually one of the cleanest starts when consider how tightly packed everyone was through the first few corner ones. One the other hand, Petrov's exit from the race on lap 52 was spectacular (and a little scary).

Unlike Australia where tire wear was not very high, in Malaysia we got to see the true impact of Pirelli's high-wear tires. Each set of tires only has an around 15 laps of useful life before the performance "falls off a cliff", so there were lots of pit stops and strategy was very important. Of all the changes introduced this year, there is no doubt that the tires are going have the greatest effect on the racing.

This is good because it makes the racing less predictable. The bad side is the high number of the pit stops also makes it a little harder to follow the race. Martin Brundle mentioned that there is talk of adding the tire compound that a car is using to the timing feed. This is actually useful information now as it might explain relative performance differences a little bit better.

Does DRS work? Absolutely! It created many more passing opportunities than we usually see in a race. What most of the nay sayers don't seem to realize is that DRS only creates the opportunity for a pass. Getting along side is one thing, but actually make the pass stick is a totally different matter that depends on many more factors, such as driver's skill, aerodynamics, and tires.

DRS is new, though, and some teams are having problems getting to work right, which means that the benefits are not evenly distributed yet. There is also a loop hole. If a car passes another between the DRS available and enable lines, the passing car still gets to use the DRS, which allows it to pull away easier. This is unfair and hopefully will be disallowed later.

After only two races, I'm going go out on a limb and predict that this season will be better than the 2010 season was.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Insserv: The Final Word

I updated my two Debian sid systems to insserv and dependency based booting today. The update was on hold for so long (over a year!) that it was growing a fungus. ^_^

After the positive experience with the Debian squeeze upgrade, and the fact that some packages are now depending on insserv (shudder), I decided that not updating was likely to become troublesome in the near future. The one thing that you should never do on Linux, is fight against the package dependencies, even if you don't agree with them. Thither lies dependency hell. Trust me, you have better things to do.

Hopefully, this will be the final word on insserv. Unless it breaks, of course. ^_^

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blogger Chromium Weirdness

I use the following HTML/CSS snippet when I want pre-formatted text with an automatic scroll bar if the text is too wide:
<pre style="border-left: medium solid rgb(127, 127, 127); padding-left:0.5em; width:95%; overflow:auto;"></pre>
It does not work with Blogger and Chromium 10.0.648.204 where it always wraps the text instead of adding the scroll bar. It works with w3schools and Chromium. It works with Blogger and Iceweasel 4.0 (and Firefox, presumably). It even works with Blogger's preview and Chromium.

And that is a really trivial piece of HTML and CSS, too. It's a good thing I'm not trying anything complicated. Hey, maybe that's it! Yeah, maybe some JavaScript will fix it! ^__^

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cosmetic Bug

I noticed these messages in BIND's logs today:

managed-keys-zone ./IN/internal: loading from master file 3bed2cb3a3acf7b6a8ef408420cc682d5520e26976d354254f528c965612054f.mkeys failed: file not found
The messages started after the upgrade to BIND 9.7.3 on Debian 6.0. I had not checked the logs before because BIND has worked fine since the upgrade, but new messages should always be investigated.

Thankfully, the message is the result of a cosmetic bug and is no cause for concern. BIND will only generate the file if the managed-keys statement appears in the configuration, but BIND checks for the file even when the managed-keys statement is missing, which renders looking for the file pointless.

Creating an empty file is the simplest work around, but I decided to leave the messages in the log, since I now know they are benign.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New And Shiny

When Google announced that they were pulling the plug on Wave, one of the replacement options was Novell Pulse. At the time it was not available to the public yet, so I signed up to be notified when they were ready to accept new users. I got the email today and as usual with something new and shiny, I wasted way too much time with Novell's new toy, which has been renamed to Vibe.

First thing I noticed was that Vibe has nice, tidy URLs compared to Wave which had truly monstrous URLs. This makes it easier to find people and groups. Vibe's group feature makes it easier to create communities with a common interest. This capability was lacking in Wave. When Wave first opened to the public, it had no permission system at all and it had to be developed quickly once the trolls showed up. I was glad to see that Vibe will not have this problem. It's permission system is very good, which is not surprising as Novell hopes to sell Vibe to the enterprise market.

Vibe's web UI is a little confusing at times. For example, I'm in a group and select a topic to read. When I'm done with the topic and I want to go back to the group, I either had to reselect the group from the "Who I follow" panel, or click the group name in the topic's participant banner. Neither of these options is that great if your "Who I follow" list is long or there are many participants in the topic.

Wave's best feature was the support for gadgets and robots. Vibe has both as well. Currently, there are only five known gadgets. You can enter an URL for a gadget, and Wave gadgets are supposed to work, so I tried a couple. At first it did not work, but then I realized that the URL was getting munged by the copy and paste. Once I sorted that out, both gadgets worked! I was quite impressed as these are quite complex gadgets. I'll have to test some more to find out just how well they work but this looks promising.

Robots, or remote applications as they are called in Vibe, are a different story. Simply, there are none at the moment. Remote applications have to be registered in Vibe by the site administrator, which implies that some kind of developer registration process would be required as well. I haven't found any indication that Novell has called for developers yet.

The source for Vibe is here. Apparently it used to call Teaming. How many names has it had? The source contains examples for a remote application, but I stopped short of downloading it because Vibe is written in Java (why! why!) and requires Tomcat (runs screaming from the room!). Thankfully, remote applications can be written in any language since they communicates with Vibe over HTTP. The developer documentation is here.

Finally, Vibe is still very much beta software and the site went down while I was checking things as wrote this post. User beware!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Understanding insserv was easy enough but I am still not convinced that dependency based booting should be the default. It is a choice best left to the sysadmin. Anyhow, what's done, is done.

I solved the problem of NFS depending on DNS by creating an override file in /etc/insserv/overrides/nfs-kernel-server:
# Provides: nfs-kernel-server
# Required-Start: $remote_fs nfs-common $portmap $time $named
# Required-Stop: $remote_fs nfs-common $portmap $time
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# Short-Description: Kernel NFS server support
# Description: NFS is a popular protocol for file sharing across
# TCP/IP networks. This service provides NFS server
# functionality, which is configured via the
# /etc/exports file.
and running
# insserv nfs-kernel-server
to update the start up order.

My rtorrent initscript is based on this one, which does not have the dependency header that insserv requires. I used the header from the initscript included in the SABnzb+ package since it seemed reasonable that rtorrent would have the same requirements. I inserted the following into the rtorrent initscript:
# Provides: rtorrent
# Required-Start: $local_fs $network $remote_fs
# Required-Stop: $local_fs $network $remote_fs
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# Short-Description: rtorrent BitTorrent client
and ran
# insserv
to activate the script. I didn't bother using an override file since the script is not part of a package.

And thus ended my first squeeze upgrade. Extrapolating this experience, my customer's servers, which are very heavily customized, will likely require much more work than the previous upgrade. Oh, joy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Progress (Or Is It?)

I upgraded one of my Debian servers to 6.0 (squeeze) today. This system is currently not that critical (it won't kill me if I can't watch TV ^_^) but it is about to become my new mail server, so this seemed like an appropriate time to do the upgrade.

The upgrade went smoothly but I miss the the good old days when a Debian upgrade consisted of three steps: change sources.list, run "apt-get update", and run "apt-get dist-upgrade". Although the upgrade completed successfully, there are still a few bits to be ironed out.

One of the problems is that the new dependency based initscript system (insserv) causes the NFS export to fail, because the DNS server has not started yet. The old System-V-like system never had this problem. The easiest solution is to use IP address in the /etc/exports file, but hard coding IPs seems backwards to me, so it looks like I'll be digging into the mysteries of insserv.

This is OK, since I have have a custom initscript which also has to be integrated with insserv, so learning it was unavoidable. The mildly annoying part is that insserv is already slated to be replaced in the next Debian release. It says a lot about the old, equally broken but well understood, System-V style startup which had been around since forever. Ah, progress!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Breaking Habits

I'm trying to break the habit of staying up late for no reason. I have tried to do this several times before but usually slipped back into the late night mode without realizing it. Which basically proves that it is just a habit with no conscious purpose. It would not be so bad if I was productive at night, but that rarely happens any more. Just another sign that I'm getting old, I guess. ^_^

Saturday, April 2, 2011

WRC Portugal 2011

I've never seen Loeb lose his cool as he did after getting caught in the dust behind Hirvonen. It was another indication that Loeb is feeling the pressure this year. On the other hand, if Loeb had not played tactics on day one, he would not have been behind Hirvonen. Loeb was completely responsible for his own road position.

Hirvonen drove very well but mechanical failures put him out of contention for a win or even a podium finish. On day two, the suspension broke and on day three, a drive shaft snapped. Latvala also suffered a drive shaft failure on day two. With both Hirvonen and Latvala driving so well, it was a shame that Ford could not give them reliable equipment.

Petter Solberg's bad luck continues. He had an unbelievable four punctures on day one, which used all his spares for the day. He returned on day two under the SuperRally rules but the 10 minute penalty put him out of contention for a podium. I wonder if there was a problem with Solberg's setup as four punctures in one day seems excessive even for the rough stages of Portugal.

The good news is after three events, there have been three different winners. When was the last time the WRC was this competitive? Even better, the Citroen and Ford are very closely matched and they were trading fastest stage times throughout the rally. When the Ford was working, that is. The Citroen does appear to have a slight edge in reliability when compared to the serious breakages on the Fords.

Friday, April 1, 2011

That's No Prank

TekSavvy posted a new Acceptable Usage Policy today. For an April Fool prank, it was a good one, except that it wasn't a prank: it was real. (^^;;;)

Thankfully, before things got out of hand, the CEO posted that it was an error on their part, which had been corrected. That was a relief. Let me tell you I was having heart palpitations for a while. I'm sure I was not the only one.