Friday, May 27, 2005

Webmail and internet cafes

I'm in Dumaguete, at the SurfShop (an internet cafe right by Silliman University). They have kindly allowed me to use my own laptop for going online. I asked the other internet cafe just a house down (MC )and they didn't let me do the same.

It's nice to be able to work with an internet cafe that knows what they're doing, or at least are helpful and flexible (it's likely that the other cafe is run on fascist leadership lines, something far too common in the Philippines, so that the staff won't allow anything they don't explicitly know is allowed, and they won't call the owner to check if they come across something that's not allowed, here at the SurfShop, they called the owner.

Now, I'm perfectly willing to just surf around on insecure internet cafe PCs (they're invariably windows and, i'm sure, just chock full of viruses and spyware no matter how fascist the security posture because, well, it's just basically impossible to secure windows computers that are open to be used by the public), but I'm just not going to trust any important passwords to internet cafes. As it happens, I had to send an email, so I just created a throwaway email address ( and used that to send the email, and then all I did was surf around.

But now I brought my laptop over and I'm online, so it's downloading my gmail and I'll read and reply offline (that's around 2 weeks worth of email and there's going to be a lot of it).

Saturday, May 14, 2005

evolution spamassassin and gmail on slow links

I'm on camiguin and the internet access here is slow. I was trying to download my gmail to evolution and it wasn't working, I was getting frequent timeouts (gmail would stop responding). Finally I thought to turn off the automatic spam checking in evolution. Now, the CPU isn't pegged at 100 percent and i'm getting my mail. The mail still takes a while to arrive, but at least I'm not getting disconnected from gmail so often.

I'm using the 2.6 kernel's CPU frequency scaling control functionality to set my laptop at only 300Mhz. that's not why i was timing out though, since even at 2.4Ghz and with remote checking disabled, it was still timing out. SA is just fat and slow and should be disabled when checking gmail on slow links.

I'm running at 300Mhz because this laptop runs so hot (it's not a low power CPU) that it would burn my thigh. I work around that by putting the laptop on top of a hardbound book, but then the CPU still runs so hot when i'm doing CPU intensive things (e.g., compiling postgresql, or the kernel, or even just some modules in the kernel) that the laptop will beep three times and turn off without giving me the opportunity to shutdown properly. Running at 300Mhz lets me do anything I want (albeit slowly) and not run the risk of heat related outage. I've tried at .600,.900 and 1.2 Ghz and those all work too, but i'm being conservative since i don't really need all that power anyway.