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Things that hamper my productivity

Almost each day I’m facing obstacles that cut my workflow, make me go around or just make me go mad. Here are some that repeat every once in a while or just happened recently:

  1. 1. Firefox crashing
  2. 2. Google Apps multi-login failure
  3. 3. Linux terminal
  4. 4. Liquidweb routing
  5. 5. Xorg server killing keyboard
  6. 6. stuck SSH sessions

Ok, let’s go into details:

1. Firefox crashing

One of the best features Firefox has is crash-recovery, and that with a good reason. However, it still is not perfect. It happens often that I have 10+ tabs open, one of those crashes FF and when I restart all my GMail sessions are lost (see point 2. for more pain), I have to log in again. Same with some other websites. Sending report to mozilla takes forever, and even though there are sites I reported like 50+ times while using FF 2, 3, 3.5 and 3.6, it still crashes FF 4. I wish Chrome was easier to install on Slackware and if it had all the extensions I needed (TamperData, Firebug, RequestPolicy, Screengrab are a must)

2. Google Apps multi-login failure

Having to log into accounts in exact order is painfull. What’s even worse, once browser saves the cookie it is impossible to login into any of domain-based accounts directly. You have to log into regular GMail account first. Maybe I should take a job offer to go to work for Google and help them fix this ;)

3. Linux terminal

I spend about 20% of my working time in terminal, mostly using ssh to access remote computers or using make to build/install programs and packages. KDE’s Konsole is the best tool I used. However, these is one problem with resizing. I still haven’t been able to determine the exact way to reproduce it, but switching from 80x25 to fullscreen at some point starts a strange behavior. Parts of typed text get lost, overwritten. This happens only when command cannot fit in 80  characters. Maybe it happens when you get one command that is too long for the fullscreen terminal, and after that something gets messed up. I never managed to catch it, but it does annoy me. The only was to get proper line wrapping back is to normalize the window size so that the terminal is 80x25 again and then you should forget about fullscreen until you log out and log in again.

4. Liquidweb routing

For more than a week, there has been some routing problem in Liquidweb, and it does not look like it’s going to be fixed any time soon. Searching on Google yielded some results, i.e. other people see this problem, but it seems to be only sporadic in US, and I guess LW does not care about the rest of the world. Some of my websites are hosted at DTH and I’m accessing from Europe. Using some different ISP in Europe makes it work, but traceroute shows completely different path that does not go through LW at all. To cut the story short, I don’t have access to our main bug/issue tracker, 3 company websites, and one web service I’m using. I have to build SSH tunnels to my other servers and reconfigure my local system to deal with this. It’s not unsolvable, but it’s a major PITA.

5. Xorg server killing keyboard

When I’m working all day at full speed, I get this at least once. It only happens on my 2 desktop computers, the laptop running same version of Linux kernel and Xorg works just fine. At some time the keyboard simply stops responding. I can you the mouse though. I tried replacing the keyboard, mouse and motherboard, problem is still here. This leaves the only conclusion: it must be software. It’s either Linux or Xorg. My guess is Xorg, because I can use mouse to log out of KDE, and then keyboard magically starts working again and I can type password at KDM login to log back in.

6. stuck SSH sessions

I guess there is some configuration on my client’s network routers to simply “lose” stale network connections. I log in via SSH and some 20-30 minutes later the session is stuck. The connection is not dropped, it just stays there, waiting.

Do you have some stuff that really get’s on your nerve on a daily basis? Please share…

Milan Babuškov, 2011-06-16
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