The only thing worse than being defeated in a game is being refused a game. Except maybe when someone else is not interested in the game. Or something. We will let Nitto, SonikkuAmerica and topyli try and demonstrate how tragic this can be.

ttoft36-sad saga

#ubuntu-offtopic is often quite funny, but we’re really all just accidental and often oblivious comedians. This is why levo decided to bite the bullet and simply ask if anyone might be aware of something more professional. Turns out this valuable piece of information is the sole property of IdleOne, and it ain’t cheap. For shame!

tftot #35: premium content

The best part of free software is community support of course. Whatever your problem, someone will surely be able and willing to help. However, not all problems can be helped in support channels. Most importantly, almost no problem has been successfully fixed in #ubuntu-offtopic! mc44 disagrees with topyli and gord, but that’s just what he does.

Sometimes, new people /join #ubuntu-offtopic. They do! Some of them are directed from #ubuntu because they are chatting away on subjects that don’t belong to a support channel. Sometimes malicious friends tell them that #ubuntu-offtopic is lots of fun and thus trick them to /join as a practical joke. Most of the time, I suspect it’s just a simple typo in the /join command, or perhaps an elusive Pidgin bug.

Sadly, most people never read the channel topic upon /joining, which is very sad and leads to a lot of confusion. Then again, some people are so devoted that they even check the topic on #ubuntu-offtopic. Go figure! Naturally, those who are not familiar with the channel culture and do read the topic, will be very confused. For the past few months (since April at least), the #ubuntu-offtopic topic has contained the greeting, “Welcome to the new, more optimized #ubuntu-offtopic!” which has caused some nervous giggles and a lot of questions. Since #ubuntu-offtopic regulars never answer a question (at least seriously), I decided to try and take a stab at this mystery.

(Disclaimer: please do not take this as a promise of public parsing of any other parts of the topic at this or any future article. I can try for my standard, very high, consultation fee, but the gratis public service only covers this one freebie.)

Some people speculate that the “optimization” of #ubuntu-offtopic is a friendly jab at the famously efficient build process of Gentoo binaries. Others claim that it refers to the quality of conversation on the channel, very thoroughly stripped of sanity, detached of any real phenomena, and lack of requirements to coherent language. Some say it’s just a random thought added to the topic by an unstable operator on a Monday. All of these are very plausible and educated guesses.

However, my extensive empirical studies have lead me to conclude that the optimized nature of #ubuntu-offtopic refers to this ambitious vision developed by rww and mc44:

Sadly, we have not really seen this optimization effort bear fruit. Channel regulars keep blabbering pretty much as inefficiently as before, and new users almost never take the time to investigate the optimization algorithm. Instead, they are content with just having a short laugh at the topic and join the discussion about LOLcats, comparative flashlight brightness, popular music and the evils of proprietary software.

The failure of a majority of users to adopt this very efficient mode of conversation might be due to reluctance to search for suitable XKCD strips to express their point of view, and the extra work required on the receiving side of communication for checking the corresponding strip. Granted, this presents a fairly steep learning curve in the beginning, but anyone can see how highly effective our offtopic chatter would be after all the comics are memorized. Think about the reduced workload and bandwidth savings on freenode’s servers if idle chatter is conducted using the rww/mc44/xkcd protocol! These savings could be redirected for the benefit of support and development channels, and everybody wins. As a side effect, one of the greatest winners would be Randall and the XKCD web site. Think about the increase in page views!

I say, laziness is no excuse for inefficiency!

What is the Web 2.0? Friending, voting, and above all, comments! In the first installation of the new decade of tales from the offtopic, meet the luddite gord, and 2.0 enthusiasts Pici, rww, and mc44.

Yesterday, I announced my official approval of the “inverted” Clearlooks theme to be included in the list of usable things. Everyone was happy, no doubt. I hope the theme creators are recovering from the resulting party nicely. Always concerned with the quality of Ubuntu’s IRC services, elky inquired about the certification status of #ubuntu-offtopic. I hope this installation of tales from the offtopic clears everything out, and everyone can continue enjoying their time on the channel!


Edit: I guess you’re probably thinking, “pffft there’s no such thing as a topyli starburst sticker of approval!” Guess again! Of course there is one, kindly (and 100% officially) created by mc44.

Note to self: when organizing a debate, pick a subject on which some of the participants disagree.

The supposedly big news yesterday was Skype suggesting that their Linux client will be liberated shortly. However, I feel that in communications, open, standard protocols are more important than client implementations, so the news did not make all that big an impression.

The correct way to handle VoIP calls is using open protocols such as SIP or XMPP, no matter how the client side is arranged. Gizmo and Google have gotten this right: both have their own respective desktop and mobile clients, while the protocols are standard enough to allow us to hack together our own client implementations such as Empathy or Ekiga.

I wanted to see how our distinguished community feels about this and decided to start a debate on #ubuntu-offtopic. I failed miserably, and the discussion ended up being rather short. Please allow topyli and gord to demonstrate, if you will.


In a group effort of humanist logic, I’m pretty sure our team made everyone on #ubuntu-offtopic feel a bit less insecure and much more comfortable about ourselves. Bugs in our logic are not welcome, but we accept donations. Beer, cookies and hugs would be nice.

logic for human beings

This intellectual achievement brought to you by magnetron, pantsman, netyire, aprilhare and topyli.

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