If like me you deal with your typical Japanese administration office on a regular basis, you probably receive your fair share of documents, some of them occasionally packaged as a Zip archive

If also like me, you are not using a Windows machine, but a Mac running OS X or some flavour of Linux, you routinely end up with files bearing such poetic names as “Åuäwà ò_ï∂ä÷åWèëófiíÒèoìÕ.pdf”, “äwà ê\êøìÕÅyÉfÅ[É^Åz.xls” etc. This is due to some incompatibility between the way each system stores Japanese characters1 and the fact the Zip format was never conceived to handle such differences. Not a big problem if you have one file, bit tedious if the archive contains 300 of them.

In the spirit of sharing the fruit of my last productivity-sink effort to fix that problem, I present you with a small script that takes such a Zip archive as input and correctly extract all the files (with their properly encoded filenames):

  1. To be specific: Windows seems to be using good-old antiquated Japanese-only SJIS, whereas OS X and others prefer spiffy universal encodings like UTF-8. []

Geek news warning: sane people and anybody for whom such acronyms as PHP or GPL merely evocate some brand new drugs the kids might be into these days: you are probably better off skipping this one.

I’ll try to keep it short.

Spam Karma 2 is now released as GPL v.2. This essentially means you can do anything you want to it, except claim you made it (copyright and attribution notice must remain there). You should also note that any attempt at deriving some ill-deserved profit from it through harebrained web marketing schemes will earn you both my long-standing scorn and a nut-shriveling decrease to your actual karma.

I suppose another angle to that post’s title could be:
Officially discontinuing Spam Karma’s development: so long and thanks for all the fish
as this is what this truly is about.

But, such a title would be slightly misleading (and no doubt heavily quoted out of context): Indeed, I am hereby officially announcing that I will no longer support, maintain or further develop Spam Karma (beside some very occasional, very limited poking, until the transition to a self-maintained project is completed). However, thanks to the magic of free software, all the unsung heroes of the Open Source world will soon rise to take over and bring you a stronger, better, more closely supported version of Spam Karma!

Okay, what’s more likely to happen is that nobody will really bother taking over, except perhaps a handful well-intentioned but utterly clueless beginner coders who will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the task and next be seen running away screaming at the top of their lungs. Hey, I’m not blaming anybody: I wouldn’t waste my time on a non-paying, open-source community project either…

But on the off-chance that you would (and trust me it won’t do anything to help you get laid either), I have set up a Google Code repository, which could become the jumping point to some magnificent community-based development effort (or not). If you are interested in participating in any way, contact me (mail or contact form) with a *brief* description of who you are, what you can do and what you wanna do. I don’t need a resume (I am not hiring), just a very quick idea of what level of responsibility you’d be willing to take on the project. I’ll put in the first couple people that seem to know what they are doing (and do not sound like they’ll be selling everything to Russian mafia-owned spam sites) as administrators of the project, and hopefully from there on, things will work by themselves…

If you think you’d like to tackle any aspect of SK2 development (including possibly porting it to other platforms), here is your chance. Speak now or go back to more fruitful and life-rewarding endeavours forever.

Oh, and as for the “reasons”, well, here they are:

Wherein the author enumerates much meaningless data and uses them as springboard for some slightly more topical meandering…

  • 1,059 WordPress plugins currently sit on wp-plugins.net. Not bad for a project that was half-shunned by the official WP pubah(s) from the very beginning. Kinda getting worried by the amount of bandwidth this is eating off my quota right now (read: somewhere in the 200% vicinity). But we’ll cross that bridge when it starts falling.
  • 11,232 SK2 downloads for the year 2006 so far. There again, not bad for a plugin that doesn’t happen to be the one packaged by default in WordPress 2.0.
  • 968 comments (mostly Trackbacks and Pingbacks, as I closed comments on this page a while back) on SK2’s homepage. Can’t help but notice an uncannily high percentage of posts from Germany. Is SK2 like, the David Hasselhoff of anti-spam plugins?

As you can tell, despite being on cruise-control mode, the Deliverables Department of UnknownGenius Corp. is doing nicely. As for where it’s heading, I suppose I may use the occasion to offer a quick update:

The short answer is that it is going nowhere.

The longer answer is that, ultimately, I will be phasing out all WordPress development (and most web coding, actually) from my activities.

For those who care about the Why, I will try to provide some elements without delving too deep into the multiple layers of frustration and unrelated motives for my general disinterest toward WordPress at the moment:

Picture CIMG1039.jpgPicture CIMG1042.jpgPicture CIMG1045.jpg

I just got a brand new handheld Japanese dictionary. It’s very complete, using one of the best database out there, smaller than a few credit cards stacked together and I paid 20,000 yens for it.

Oh, it also plays mp3s.

And movies.

In fact, it does a whole lot of things, pretty much anything I want it to do, provided I have time to write a program for it.

It’s an iPod Nano, running µClinux, thanks to the brilliant work of the iPod Linux team.