Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Currently Viewing Posts in The Web Sucks

Blogging again? Software update.

David Jeske has inspired me to upgrade MovableType on radwin.org to a more modern version. Pretty seamless upgrade so far to MT 4.12 personal, but good golly, that’s a way different UI than I’m used to.

[Update: Damn, I need some anti-spam comment plugins. Now that I’m back on a more modern version of MT, the spammers are back.]

Changing default Yahoo! language from English to Spanish

My cousin is spending quite a bit of time in South America, and he wants to change his Yahoo! Mail account to display user interface elements in Spanish instead of English. He asked me for help, and sure enough, there was nothing useful at the Yahoo! Mail Help site. I tried it out on my account, and these are the steps I had to go through to get it to work:

  1. When you go to Yahoo! Mail, at the top of the screen next to the Yahoo! logo, you’ll see a link that says “My Account”. Click that link.
  2. The next page says “Review My Account Information” and it has a section entitled “Member Information”, right below the Name/Yahoo ID, Yahoo Mail Address/Password section. Click the “Edit” link to the right of the “Member Information” to go to the next page.
  3. This page should say “Edit Member Information for: johnsmith” at the top. The third section says “General Preferences”. It says “Preferred Content: Yahoo! U.S.”. Click the “Yahoo! U.S.” link.
  4. On this page, find the “New Setting” pull-down menu and pick the choice you want (“Yahoo! U.S. in Spanish” or “Yahoo Argentina” or whatever). Click the “Finished” button.
  5. Accept the new terms of service (which should be displayed in Spanish) by clicking the “Accepto” button.
  6. Click the “Terminado” button to complete everything and go back to Yahoo Mail. It should be displayed in Spanish now.

It’s good that you’re able to do this (I imagine that some webmail sites won’t let you change your language preference at all after registering) but it shouldn’t be this hard.

Sorry for wasting your time. I’m just new with java.

Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2005 17:58:38 -0500
From: Richard … <…@hotmail.com>
To: michael@radwin.org
Subject: Java.io and java.util

I know you don’t know who I am, but I’m trying to get help with Textpad. I’m

trying to use java.io and java.util and can’t seem to get it to work. Are

those classes that need to be in the same folder or what. Sorry for wasting

your time. I’m just new with java.


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Photography & the Where 2.0 Conference

Where 2.0 Conference I’m at the O’Reilly Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco today and tomorrow. The conference is really interesting; Udi demo’d the A9 Maps product (which they finished at 2am last night) and we also got to see a splashy marketing-oriented preview of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth poduct.

As a recent Flickr subscriber, I was intrigued by the use of Flickr to host Where 2.0 conference photos. It’s a great way for the official conference photographer to post his pictures online, but other people can also publish their own images there, too. Kinda like a shared blog, or a visual messageboard, or something.

Adding EXIF data to Treo 650 cameraphone pics

I just got a Flickr Pro account and I’ve been uploading my digital photos. My Treo 650 doesn’t stick EXIF data in the JPEG images it captures, so Flickr assumes that the “posted on” date is the same as the “taken on” date.

The file attributes of the Photo_MMDDYY_NNN.jpg files accurately reflect what time the picture was taken, so here’s a short Perl script to embed that data into the EXIF part of each file:

#!/usr/local/bin/perl -w

use strict;

use POSIX ();

foreach my $file (@ARGV) {

my $mtime = (stat($file))[9];

my $ts = POSIX::strftime("%Y:%m:%d %T", localtime($mtime));

system("exiftool", "-P", "-DateTimeOriginal=$ts",

"-Make=PALMONE", "-Model=Treo 650", $file);



I tried using the jhead tool to do this, but it won’t create an EXIF header if one doesn’t already exist. The Image::ExifTool perl module had the functionality I needed.

There’s certainly a way to use the Image::ExifTool perl module directly, but it was easier to just shellout to the command-line utility.

Battleground, MN

battleground-minnesota-dvd.gif I just watched the 8-minute web video of Battleground Minnesota. It’s a Get Out the Vote documentary aimed at young voters which aired on public television last fall.

We didn’t know why Gabriel had been so delinquent in updating his blog last year. We figured he was working on some other project. Now we know he was busy directing a rather cool documentary and inspiring Drew Barrymore to do the same.

If you like the video, vote for it at INdTV.

Or buy the video of the 30-minute version for $14 plus shipping & handling.

Perl or PHP modules for XLIFF?

Do you know of any good Perl or PHP modules for parsing XLIFF?

I’ve gotten a couple of emails from folks asking about making a French version of my Jewish Calendar Tools website. They’ve volunteered to do all of the translation work themselves if I send them a file to be translated.

Most of the site uses Perl CGI.pm, although parts of it are written in PHP.

The way I see it, I have a few options:

  1. GNU gettext message catalogues. Easy interface with CPAN Locale::gettext module and PHP gettext extension.
  2. Hack something together myself. Send the nice French people an Excel spreadsheet of all of the strings on the site and have them send it back to me. Export to CSV file, then import into whatever format I want (probably BerkleyDB or maybe some custom XML format). Repeat the exercise for a future Hebrew version.
  3. Use XLIFF (XML Localisation Interchange File Format), which is a hip new standard and happens to be what ICU (International Components for Unicode) uses for its message catalogue format.

Option #1 has been around for a long time, but has its warts. Option #2 is what I would’ve done back when I wanted to write everything myself. But I want to learn more about ICU anyways, so I figured XLIFF would be the right place to go.

I expected to find a Locale::XLIFF module on CPAN or a Translation_XLIFF package on PEAR, and was surprised when my searches turned up 0 results.

Cygwin vs. UWIN

I got an email last week from AT&T Labs saying that UWIN 4.0 had been released.

I must’ve signed up for the uwin-announce mailing list a long time ago, because there hasn’t been a message sent to that list in over four years. Last I remember, UWIN 2.2 was hot off the presses during the summer of 2000.

Does anyone actually use UWIN anymore? At one point, you had to pick between UWIN, the MKS Toolkit, and Cygwin. They were all brand new technologies, and all competing for mindshare. But it seems to me that Cygwin has developed the largest community over the years. It’s what I still use on my Windows laptop.

Someday I’ll be like all of the other cool kids and have a Mac laptop. Then I won’t care about things like Cygwin or UWIN.

A new spin on Yellow Pages

A9 launched a beta of Yellow Pages this evening. They’ve got the same DHTML interactive map that Yahoo has, but differentiating feature is an image of every business listed.

For example, one of my favorite LA restaurants is Real Food Daily. Apparently they acquired these images by driving trucks with digital cameras and GPS around 10 major US metros. [Read more…]