The Android EMail app on ICS

In the review of the Email app of Android 3.2, I com­plained that the message-list moves in a way that the select­ed mes­sage is in the first place of the message-list. This was annoy­ing for my work­flow. In the Android 4.0.4 app (at least as it comes from Sam­sung for the Galaxy Tab 10.1) this changed so that it is the sec­ond item in the list in some cir­cum­stances (this does not hap­pen always). This is bet­ter (some­what accept­able) for my work­flow, but still, I would pre­fer if it is at least con­fig­urable. Do not move the list when I select a mes­sage, except for mak­ing a par­tial­ly vis­i­ble list-item com­plete­ly vis­i­ble.

The oth­er point I did not like about the 3.2‑app was the fold­er list moved so that the inbox is first when return­ing to the list. Thank god this changed too.

The two big dis­ap­point­ing points I had about this app are most­ly fixed in the ICS ver­sion.

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New oppor­tu­ni­ties in the lin­ux­u­la­tor

Last week­end I com­mit­ted some dummy-syscalls to the lin­ux­u­la­tor in FreeB­SD-cur­rent. I also added some com­ments to syscalls.master which should give a hint which lin­ux ker­nel had them for the first time (if the lin­ux man-page I looked this up in is cor­rect). So if some­one wants to exper­i­ment with a high­er com­pat.linux.osrelease than 2.6.16 (as it is need­ed for a Cen­tOS based linux_base), he should now get some ker­nel mes­sages about unim­ple­ment­ed syscalls instead of a silent fail­ure.

There may be some low-hanging fruits in there, but I did not real­ly ver­i­fy this by check­ing what the dum­my syscalls are sup­posed to do in lin­ux and if we can eas­i­ly map this to exist­ing FreeB­SD fea­tures. In case some­one has a look, please send an email to

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Cheap process mon­i­tor­ing (no addi­tion­al soft­ware required)

I have an old sys­tem (only the hard­ware, it runs -cur­rent) which reboots itself from time to time (most­ly dur­ing the dai­ly periodic(8) run, but also dur­ing a lot of com­pil­ing (por­tup­grade)). There is no obvi­ous rea­son (no pan­ic) why it is doing this. It could be that there is some hard­ware defect, or some­thing else. It is not impor­tant enough to get a high enough pri­or­i­ty that I try hard to ana­lyze the prob­lem with this machine. The annoy­ing part is, that some­times after a restart apache does not start. So if this hap­pens, the solu­tion is to login and start the web­serv­er. If the web­serv­er would start each time, near­ly nobody would detect the reboot (root gets an EMail on each reboot via an @reboot crontab entry).

My prag­mat­ic solu­tion (for ser­vices start­ed via a good rc.d script which has a work­ing sta­tus com­mand) is a crontab entry which checks peri­od­i­cal­ly if it is run­ning and which restarts the ser­vice if not. As an exam­ple for apache and an inter­val of 10 min­utes:

*/10 * * * *    /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache22 status >/dev/null 2>&1 || /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache22 restart

For the use case of this service/machine, this is enough. In case of a prob­lem with the ser­vice, a mail with the restart out­put would arrive each time it runs, else only after a reboot for which the ser­vice did not restart.

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No phone @Work since a week…

Since a week we (7−10 peo­ple) can not make or receive phone calls with the phones at work. Luck­i­ly this is only the remote-half of the team which works for this client, the onsite peo­ple do not have this prob­lem.

As bad as this is from the client-relations side of view, I have to say this makes it qui­et and relax­ing here ATM… We get requests via EMail or our ticket-system (or a cowork­er pro­vides some info on the mobiles) and we can han­dle them with­out much dis­tur­bance.

Before you think bad about the com­pa­ny I work for… we are just a sub­con­trac­tor, the phone lines are not han­dled by us (but I was told that the issue is now looked at by the big boss).

The run­ning gag of the week is mak­ing the error-noise of the phone.

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