Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

I will be on vacation from this Friday (16-September) through the next week on the outer banks of North Carolina; I’ll return on Monday, 26-September. I do not intend to check e-mail at all during my vacation… If you need reviews for patches targeted at the 1.8 branch, please request them ASAP.


Monday, August 29th, 2005

Friday, I received in the mail a check for $5,000 from a bank I had never heard of before. My wife went through the mail, and when she read the fine print on this check, she discovered that it was actually a five-year loan, at 27.199% interest. In case you don’t have a financial calculator, the total cost of the loan would be $9,176.

Leaving aside the deceptive practice of disguising a contract in the form of an unsolicited check, this loan offer is a truly despicable form of usury. For some reason I don’t understand, it is no longer fashionable to call anything usury. But usury is not only immoral, it is still a crime in most states. Unfortunately, the U.S. congress gutted state laws against usury in 1980 by exempting federal banks from state usury laws. The did this under the guise of protecting banks against inflation, but it was actually a neoconservative triumph of laissez-faire economics over decency and justice.

It is amazing that Beneficial has posted a document on responsible lending practices which seems to be so much at odds with their actual practices. Just because this bank is probably not doing anything illegal does not mean that we should tolerate deceptive and usurious practices that prey on the poor, mentally retarded, and elderly. I encourage you to write to the bank and tell them what you think:

HSBC – North America
Corporate Headquarters
2700 Sanders Road
Prospect Heights, IL 60070

I also encourage you to write to your congressman and ask them to add them to toughen U.S. usury law so that state laws apply, or at least a reasonable interest limit is applied.

Nothing, in the Pursuit of Perfection

Saturday, July 9th, 2005

I have fallen into the most dangerous trap of a computer programmer: doing nothing in the pursuit of perfection. When I left my job at Saint Patrick’s I promised that I would have my new weblog running very soon, and promised an exciting new development to boot… which was silly of me, because I had great plans but no working code to go with those plans. So I have not had a weblog for almost six months, because I kept telling myself that I would get up one day and my new weblog software would magically write itself.

I have given up those silly perfectionist dreams and returned to WordPress on my new website, and found a nice surprise: WordPress is a lot better than it was, and it has solved a lot of the complaints I originally had with it. I will be looking into WordPress extensions to make this blog even easier for you (my readers) to use: please let me know if you have suggestions.

It is good to be blogging again, because I have lots of ideas and decisions that I need to talk about. I have a backlog of ideas that I’ve wanted to blog about for the past six months, so expect some serious blog output in the next few days while I get caught up with myself.

Most importantly, the Mozilla Foundation has hired me (working remotely from Pennsylvania) to take XULRunner and libxul by the horns and wrestle them into a workable software solution. I am also spending a significant amount of time on the build system and such for localizations.

I’m aware that my website has broken links here and there, and that the import of the old blog database has left some dangling links. I’ll fixup what I can when I can, but it’s a low-priority task ;-) .

Claire Jane Smedberg

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Suzanne and I are pleased to announce the birth of Claire Jane Smedberg, born 27 April, A.D. 2005
7 lbs., 10 oz.

Moving On

Friday, January 28th, 2005

Dear readers,

As some of you may already know, I am leaving Washington D.C. and my job at St. Patrick’s, effective this Sunday 30-January. I will be joining the expanding biosphere of hackers who are paid to work on the Mozilla products and platform. I will be working full-time for the mozdev group, inc., a consulting company that specializes in software solutions based on mozilla technologies.

I am saddened to be leaving St. Patrick’s; I have made many good friends here, and learned a tremendous amount about music, worship, and life in general. I could not have asked for a better job coming right out of college, or a more beautiful church or organ.

I am excited to be moving on to the new challenges of software development. As most of you are aware, I have been significantly involved with the development of Mozilla Firefox, serving as the volunteer coordinator of localizations for the 1.0 release, and writing a decent amount of the backend code that makes loading extensions possible. My work with mozdev group is full of exciting challenges. And I intend to continue development of the XULrunner, the next-generation runtime for XUL applications, or applications which wish to embed the gecko rendering engine.

Suzanne and I will be moving to Johnstown, PA on 3-Februrary, and so I will probably be out of touch for most of next week. Our new mailing adress will be

221 Hemlock St.
Windber, PA 15963

I also have a new email address, effective immediately: Please update your address book accordingly.

Also, the location of my weblog will be moving soon to I will try to set up a decent number of redirects so that this current location continues to get you somewhere useful. However, old blog post links will not continue to work, because I do not intend to use WordPress for the new blog. Stay tuned for some exciting developments there.

Another Inbox Bites the Dust

Monday, November 29th, 2004

I read Ben Goodger’s note about losing an inbox with vague interest a few days ago. Then it happened to me, almost exactly the same way it happened to him:

I routinely get upwards of twenty thousand virus mails, junk mails, undeliverable-return-to-sender return envelopes for messages I did not send, and other crap mail per week. A large portion of these should be caught by my ISP virus filter, but oops! Covad doesn’t have an email virus filter. I have six manual filters that catch about 80% of the mail and delete it automatically, and about another 15% is caught by the Mozilla mailnews junk mail filter. That leaves about one thousand junk mails per week that I have to delete manually. What I didn’t notice is that the junk mail and auto-deletion filters don’t cause compaction of the inbox mbox file. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I left my mailnews client running in a VNC server, but I didn’t shut it down or tend it at all. During this time period the mbox file for my Inbox, Junk Mail, and Trash folders all went above 2G. Apparently this causes mailnews to go crazy and die. It tried automatically rebuilding the MSF file for my Inbox several times, and then keeled over and deleted the entire Inbox.

So, I have a couple questions for mailnews cognoscenti:

  1. Can manual filters really delete mail so that they’re not even in my Trash?
  2. Can the junk mail filter delete mail, instead of moving it to Junk Mail?
  3. Can mailnews automatically detect that a folder is really large and compact it before it hits 2G?
  4. Or at least stop retrieving new mail when it gets close to 2G?
  5. Are there other “workaround” automated ways to avoid dying when I’m away from my email for a few days?

The Important Stuff

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004

I keep blogging about Mozilla and not about the important stuff:

Picture of Eleanor Park Smedberg

A New Baby!

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Baby Eleanor's cute face, just after birth

Suzanne and I proudly announce the birth of Eleanor Park Smedberg, born June 15, 2004 at 9:33 a.m. Her birth weight was 6 lbs., 6 oz.

The happy family

She is so cute.

Sleeping Eleanor

Suzanne is doing well, and will be coming home from the hospital (GWU) tomorrow:

Sleeping Suzanne and Eleanor