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Recent blog entries

Disabling Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) in Airbnb

In many travel-related web sites for airlines and hotels, there is some attempt to sting the customer with an extra fee by performing a currency conversion at an inflated exchange rate. Sometimes it is only about five percent and this may not appear to be a lot but in one case a hotel was trying to use a rate that increased the cost of my booking by 30%. This scheme/scam is referred to as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). Sometimes the website says that they are making it "easy" for you by giving you a "guaranteed" exchange rate that "might" be better than the rate from your bank.

Introducing elfpatch, for safely patching ELF binaries

I recently had a problem with a program behaving badly. As a developer familiar with open source, my normal strategy in this case would be to find the source and debug or patch it. Although I was familiar with the source code, I didn't have it on hand and would have faced significant inconvenience having it patched, recompiled and introduced to the runtime environment.

Drone strikes coming to Molenbeek?

The St Denis siege last week and the Brussels lockdown this week provides all of us in Europe with an opportunity to reflect on why over ten thousand refugees per day have been coming here from the middle east, especially Syria.

Databases of Muslims and homosexuals?

One US presidential candidate has said a lot recently, but the comments about making a database of Muslims may qualify as the most extreme.

Improving DruCall and JSCommunicator user interface

DruCall is one of the easiest ways to get up and running with WebRTC voice and video calling on your own web site or blog. It is based on 100% open source and 100% open standards - no binary browser plugins and no lock-in to a specific service provider or vendor.

On Debian or Ubuntu, just running a command such as

Quick start using Blender for video editing

Updated 2015-11-16 for WebM

Although it is mostly known for animation, Blender includes a non-linear video editing system that is available in all the current stable versions of Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora.

Here are some screenshots showing how to start editing a video of a talk from a conference.

In this case, there are two input files:

Migrating data from Windows phones

Many of the people who have bought Windows phones seek relief sooner or later. Sometimes this comes about due to peer pressure or the feeling of isolation, in other cases it is the frustration of the user interface or the realization that they can't run cool apps like Lumicall.

Frequently, the user has been given the phone as a complimentary upgrade when extending a contract without perceiving the time, effort and potential cost involved in getting their data out of the phone, especially if they never owned a smartphone before.

How much video RAM for a 4k monitor?

I previously wrote about my experience moving to a 4K monitor.

I've been relatively happy with it except for one thing: I found that 1GB video RAM simply isn't sufficient for a stable system. This wasn't immediately obvious as it appeared to work in the beginning, but over time I've observed that it was not sufficient.

Aggregating tasks from multiple issue trackers

After my experiments with the iCalendar format at the beginning of 2015, including Bugzilla feeds from Fedora and reSIProcate, aggregating tasks from the Debian Maintainer Dashboard, Github issue lists and even unresolved Nagios alerts, I decided this was fertile ground for a GSoC student.