Thursday, June 29, 2006

notification-daemon

notification-daemon displays those "you've got 10 minutes of battery left" dialogs. To launch it, you send a dbus signal. A file in /usr/share/dbus-1/services launches the servicce when the dbus interface is called.

An interesting thing I noticed today: if I kill the notification-daemon process, I can still get messages. The process just gets relaunched by dbus. Why the hell doesn't the process quit when no notifications are active? This would save 3.1 MB of memory on my system.

Filed here.

Google Checkout

Google Checkout was released today. In the great slashdot tradition, the story is sold as "Google is releasing an X killer" where X is a product that does something similar but has a totally different goal. (Google Spreadsheets the "excel" killer, etc).

Two things about Google checkout are very interesting to me. First, the ability for Google to provide the user with some sort of confidence in the checkout process. I never really liked Froogle all that much because it'd point you at some random store that just happened to have a website.

The second thing I like is that Checkout offers an anonymous email service. The ability to shut off email from a seller if they get out of hand is very, very nice. (as I understand it, it also offers the ability to forward email for the inevitable email address change. However, it seems the main functionality is being anonymous).

Of course, there's always a down side to things. I'm quite sure this will cause an increase in phishing emails for Google accounts. With that said, it looks like Google is using smart measures to make sure a stolen password won't be of much use. Also, I'd think that gmail users would be especially safe from phishing (when GMail team gets a phishing report, I'd assume they can retroactively filter it).

The checkout support site also has some (basic) information on what the anti-fraud team does. I can assure you, the process is much more complex than that site makes it sound :-).

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Powered by Google Maps

While Google can't find you a date, with the combined power of Maps API and somebody who has way too much time on his hands, you can tell the world what happened (and where it happened) after you got one.

Friday, June 16, 2006

onmousedown and performance

While checking my email on my coporate GMail account today, I noticed that when I clicked on a button in GMail (eg, Inbox, or on a message), it starts to open when you press the button down, rather than when you release it to make the full click. This is not the typical behavior of a site (try it on any other hyperlink).

After pondering for a while, I realized that this must be a performance thing. It must take 50-100ms for one to complete a click. However, pinging google.com from here (home, on a wireless connection) takes about 70ms. That head start by capturing onmousedown must be enough to hide most of the delay in fetching stuff.

With a bit of further investigation, I found that Google Search uses the same thing. If you look at the html for a typical query, you will see onmousedown="return rwt(.... rwt appears to be a function that sends a request to google.com/url with a query string that tells what result was clicked. This would make sense in collecting stuff about are the best results really on the top position. It's genius that they slip this tracking in the onmousedown so that it does not affect user performance.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bad situation #153

You print out the design for something you need to use. The first line is:
Status: CURRENT (as of November 19, 2003)

It's time to start grepping the source code for what I need.