Happy Babbagemas Everyone!

Turns out that the day after Newtonmas is Babbagemas, the annual celebration of Charles Babbage’s birthday on 26th December 1791. As well as having something to do with computers he also had a good understanding of your common or garden politician and their scientific understanding:

On two occasions I have been asked, – “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?” In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower House put this question. I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

It is traditional (starting from now) to celebrate Babbagemas by blogging on the day.

Dependency Problems with KDE 4.6.0 RC1 Packages for Ubuntu 10.10 (FIXED)

Update: this issue has been fixed by the packagers. See the bug for more info.

I saw the notice about the KDE 4.6.0 RC1 packages being released for Kubuntu 10.10 today and decided to look at upgrading (or at least grab all the packages with aptitude dist-upgrade -d) and got a surprise that it wanted to remove 250 packages due to dependency problems. The issues were:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
   libqapt-runtime: Depends: libpolkit-qt-1-1 which is a virtual package.
   polkit-kde-1: Depends: libpolkit-qt-1-1 which is a virtual package.
   kdelibs5-plugins: Depends: libpolkit-qt-1-1 which is a virtual package.
   libgpgme++2: Depends: libgpg-error0 (>= 1.10) but 1.6-1ubuntu2 is installed.

Turns out that libpolkit-qt-1-1 and the newer version of libgpg-error0 are in the alpha for the next version of Kubuntu (Natty Narwhal) but not in Maverick (10.10), hence the chaos. The bug is reported as LP bug #694053 and thanks to Murz for spotting that you can just grab and dpkg -i the missing packages – see the bug report for details and links!

US Rental DVD’s Starting to Have Features Removed – What About Accessibility ?

Apparently some DVD rental outlets in the US are starting to distribute DVD’s specially made by the movie companies to lack the “extra features” of the standard DVD’s you can buy in the shops – things like the “making of” short, directors voice over, subtitles, etc..

In an apparent effort to give customers a reason to buy DVDs instead of renting them, movie studios have begun disabling certain features of new releases on discs rented out by Blockbuster and Netflix.

The subtitle issue is an interesting one for accessibility by people with hearing issues, as Media Access Australia notes:

It appears that deaf consumers in the US may have become the victims of a move by some DVD rental outlets there to block the special features section of a DVD. This is to encourage people to buy the DVD instead to receive the full viewing experience.

Some of the commenters on the original blog post have wondered whether or not this contravenes the US’s “American’s with Disabilities Act” (ADA), but having a look at the summary on the ADA website doesn’t seem to support that. Even so, cutting off a segment of your market by excluding them from DVD rentals doesn’t seem a particularly smart move for the movie companies. Let’s hope this doesn’t get to Australia anytime soon.

(Via the ABC Ramp Up disability twitter feed)