GitWeb Hacking.

Recently I setup gitweb on one of my servers to allow a web-based frontend to any git projects which the users of the server place in their ~/git/ directory.

After playing about with it, I noticed that it allowed for placing a README.html file in the git config directory to allow extra info to be shown on the summary view, managed to get it to pull the README.html file from the actual repository itself, and not the config directory, thus allowing the README.html to be versioned along with everything else, and not require the user to edit it on the server, but rather just edit it locally and push it.

New Phone – T-Mobile G1.

Recently I acquired a T-Mobile G1 to replace my old T-Mobile MDA Vario 2 (HTC Hermes).

All I can say about this phone is that it is quite awesome. I no longer need to run an exchange server to keep my contacts/calendar synced somewhere as the G1 syncs everything to Google Mail/Calendar.

Its a really good phone and I recommend it to anyone who is thinking of getting a new phone, the integration with Google is especially useful, and the full-html (including CSS and javascript) is very nice.

JDesktopPane Replacement

As as I mentioned before I’ve been recently converting an old project to Java.

This old project was an MDI application, and when creating the UI for the conversion, I found the default JDesktopPane to be rather crappy. Google revealed others thought the same, one of the results that turned up was:

So, I created DFDesktopPane based on this code, with some extra changes:

  • Frames can’t end up with a negative x/y
  • Respond to resize events of the JViewport parent
  • Iconified icons move themselves to remain inside the desktop at all times.
  • Handles maximised frames correctly (desktop doesn’t scroll, option to hide/remove titlebar)

My modified JDesktopPane can be found as here part of my dflibs Google code project.

Other useful things can be found here, take a look and leave any feedback either here or on the project issue tracker

GMail – apply labels to email from group members

NOTE: The information in this article has been superceeded by this one.

As Noted by Chris recently on IRC, Google Mail lacks a feature in its ability to automatically label/filter messages - you can’t do it based on emails from people in a contact group, short of adding a filter with all their email address on it.

At the time it was mentioned this didn’t affect me, however later when I got round to adding loads of labels/filters in gmail (yay for, nicely coloured inbox!) to nicely separate things for me I also ran into this problem, so came up with the following python script that does it for me.

It checks messages, sees if the sender is in the contacts, then checks each group to see if there is a label with that group name that is not already set, then checks to see if the contact is in the group, and finally sets the label if everything matches up.


I was recently looking at converting an old application from VB6 to Java that used MD5 in its output files as hashes for validation.

The first thing I did was to make a java class that read in the file and checked the hashes, I tried it on a few files and it worked fine, then I found a file that it failed on.

Now, this app wrote all the files using the exact same function, so it seemed odd that 1 of them wouldn’t parse and the rest would.

When I looked at the file closer, I found that this one contained some symbols in the output that the others didn’t - I eventually figured out that the symbol that was causing the problem was the pound sign (£).

Without going into too much detail, this presented a major problem, the string in question was used as part of the password validation for the app (the output files are encrypted using the password as a key), and the java code was getting different results than the old VB6 code, and was unable to decode the file as a result.

So, this sparked my curiosity a bit, the VB6 code I was using wasn’t a built in, it was code I’d gotten elsewhere and used, so I assumed it was faulty code (not that this helped me much, as I needed to get the exact same output, but ignoring that).

Virtualbox Bridging

Edit: This is now pretty much unneeded, the new version of VirtualBox seems to handle this all nicely on its own.

As I mentioned in my last post, One of the useful advantages of the network boot setup is that I can use it to quickly install virtual machines.

Now a few things:

  • My Desktop is a lot more powerful than my server, so I run the virtual machines on it.
  • I use virtualbox rather than vmware.
  • All the network boot stuff is on my server not my desktop (obviously)

So in order to allow this, virtualbox needed to be setup to bridge to my existing adapter, this was quite straight forward, pretty much exactly as the manual said.

Email Woes

On a daily basis, I get around 800 emails to my email accounts, of which most of it is spam.

Now as good as thunderbird is at detecting spam, even it fails at a lot of the spam I receive, leaving me with around 100-200 spam per day that gets into my inbox.

I’ve dealt with and accepted this for over a year now, before a discussion on IRC made me decide to do something about it. (When I say discussion, I mean Chris pasted one line showing how good the UTD-Hosting mail server was at preventing junk getting to him)

So, I recently (Today and yesterday) started prodding my postfix config to help with the problem.

Linux Desktop

With the release of windows vista, comes the start-of-the-end for Windows XP. with its EOL (End-Of-Life) date now set at January 30th 2008 (that’s less than a year away), people (by people I mean windows users) who are unable to upgrade to vista (due to Lack of computing power or so) or don’t want it (its crap, proprietary, riddled with DRM and probably bugs - Microsoft are already producing SP1!) need to start looking for alternatives, unless they want to stay using an unsupported (this means no more bug/security fixes) Operating System.

Imo, The best alternative is some derivative of Linux. (Although there is others such as MacOS x86 although its not supported on non-mac hardware, FreeBSD but I don’t think its desktop oriented, and others such as beOS or so)

As of Saturday 27/1/07 I have started using KUbuntu Linux as the main OS on my desktop, as a trial to see how well I can get by without my “trusty” windows installation.