Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in October, 2003

Saving daylight?

No comments

(Um resumo, em português, deste post está na minha página principal)

It’s that time of the year again when the Brazilian government decides, by decree, when and where Daylight Savings Time begins. Last year Mac OS X users in Brazil had serious problems with that, as Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) had the wrong dates inside the Unix tables that most of the system uses, and another (different!) wrong date inside a legacy table embedded into one of the frameworks, which was used by the Finder and some other applications.

In 2002 I published a patch to fix the Unix tables but couldn’t change the framework table. In addition, some – though not all – users reported a problem with their system snapping back to normal time on New Year’s eve. So this year, I’m waiting until someone else publishes the correction…

At this time, I haven’t got a system running Jaguar in order to test what will happen this year. The legacy table was finally removed in Mac OS 10.3 (Panther), so at least it will act consistently for all system calls and applications. However, it seems that Panther is considering DST as starting on Oct. 12 instead of the decreed date of Oct. 19.

Mac OS 9 users will have no problems, as there is a convenient double checkbox in the Date & Time Control Panel to allow the user to set DST manually. I’ve filed an enhancement request with Apple to put a similar checkbox into Mac OS X, but there’s little or no hope of this being done anytime soon (if ever).

The problem in Brazil is even more complicated, as DST is observed only by certain states in a manner not consistent with the timezones used when DST is not in effect. Additionally, the government may decide to extend or abbreviate the DST period at any time. So a manual checkbox would certainly be the easiest way around the problem.

…or perhaps a GUI viewer/editor for the timezone files… if only I had the time…

Young coconuts!

No comments

The ever-interesting J-Walk Blog writes about a site which features, you guessed it, Young Coconuts:

I guess all of the coconuts I’ve eaten have been old coconuts.

Indeed, all coconuts I’ve seen in the US are old (ripe) coconuts – they’re usually sold with the hard brown shell exposed, have relatively little milky-white water, and the white flesh inside is about 10 mm thick. The site talks at some length about the superior virtues of “young” coconuts and then directs you to look for them at an Asian or Mexican market. Failing that, they offer to ship coconuts in from Thailand.

Here’s a picture from the site:

They apparently whittle the coconut down to a candle-like shape before shipping. Here in Brazil you usually buy what they call “green” coconuts, as shown in the background above. Also, from the picture I deduce that their coconuts are older than we’re used to here; green coconuts have even less flesh than those, often it’s just a millimeter-thick layer of transparent jelly. But the water is very abundant and completely transparent.

Their prices are of course outrageous: US$7.99 for one, US$46.99 for a case of nine… we pay between US$0.17 and US$0.30 each at the local fruit market. This already has a few thousand Km shipping (by truck) built in, as they usually come from the north-east coast.

Jon Udell points at an Ars Technica article called The Nigerian SCO Connection:

DEAR SIR/MADAM:

I AM MR. DARL MCBRIDE CURRENTLY SERVING AS THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE SCO GROUP, FORMERLY KNOWN AS CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, IN LINDON, UTAH, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I KNOW THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOUR BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD NO PREVIOUS COMMUNICATIONS OR BUSINESS DEALINGS BEFORE NOW.

MY ASSOCIATES HAVE RECENTLY MADE CLAIM TO COMPUTER SOFTWARES WORTH AN ESTIMATED $1 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS. I AM WRITING TO YOU IN CONFIDENCE BECAUSE WE URGENTLY REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE TO OBTAIN THESE FUNDS.

…THEREFORE IT IS OUR RESPECTFUL SUGGESTION, THAT YOU MAY BE IMMEDIATELY A PARTY TO THIS ENTERPRISE, BEFORE OTHERS ACCEPT THESE LUCRATIVE TERMS, THAT YOU SEND US THE NUMBER OF A BANKING ACCOUNT WHERE WE CAN WITHDRAW FUNDS OF A SUITABLE AMOUNT TO GUARANTEE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS ENTERPRISE. AS AN ALTERNATIVE YOU MAY SEND US THE NUMBER AND EXPIRATION DATE OF YOUR MAJOR CREDIT CARD, OR YOU MAY SEND TO US A SIGNED CHECK FROM YOUR BANKING ACCOUNT PAYABLE TO “SCO GROUP” AND WITH THE AMOUNT LEFT BLANK FOR US TO CONVENIENTLY SUPPLY.

They stopped short of using the Nigerian fractured syntax, unfortunately.

If you have no idea why this is funny, here are some news articles about SCO.

I think it’s about 10 years since my company received what we believe to be one of the first Nigerian scam letters to make its way into Brazil… by snail-mail, yet! Unfortunately I didn’t keep it. At the time their standard tale about hidden funds was quite plausible and I remember one of my partners seriously arguing for answering the letter. icon_lol.gif

Photos licensed by Creative Commons license. Unless otherwise noted, content © 2002-2021 by Rainer Brockerhoff. Iravan child theme by Rainer Brockerhoff, based on Arjuna-X, a WordPress Theme by SRS Solutions. jQuery UI based on Aristo.