Saturday, 28 January 2012

Getting conned: eBay/Paypal fun

After seeing, this article about "How secure is Paypal for eBay sellers" in this morning's Guardian, I'll share my personal experience with you.

In October, I sold my first generation MacBook Air on eBay, and got a buyer within a day for the £500 "Buy It Now" price. "Buy It Now" requires using Paypal, and the £500 (minus commission) appeared in my Paypal account¹. After a bit of to and fro, the buyer got in contact, and suggested that he come and pick it up. Saving about £30 of shipping, and sorting out the sale faster, strike me as good ideas.

The "buyer" said he couldn't come, sent one of his "employees". A very courteous man came to pick the laptop. In hindsight, he seemed slightly uncomfortable, and looked like he was very happy to see how easy it was going to be.

The spooky thing is that within 40 minutes -- note, not 3 hours, not a day after, not the day before) -- within 40 minutes of the laptop getting picked up, the holder of the eBay and Paypal accounts submitted an "unauthorised account activity claim", leading to "payment reversal" (me owing £500 to Paypal²).

During my call to eBay's customer support, I was told that "I had nothing to worry about" (I'm guessing that would be the case as long as I repaid the £500). Paypal promptly sent a mail mentioning they needed my help, but with very little possibilities from my side ("no courier tracking number? Give us the money now").

Surrey Police failed to find the culprits, with the 2 mobile numbers associated with the con only being pay-as-you-go phones (topped up in a little convenience store in North London that only keeps a day's worth of CCTV).

So my advices:

  • If you sell anything via eBay using Paypal, send it recorded, and keep the receipt.
  • If you bought a MacBook Air first generation with the serial W88500DJ12G, it's stolen, send me an e-mail.

And as opposed to Mssrs Lodge and Reakes, Paypal didn't reimburse me anything, and I'm £500 out of pocket.

¹: I'll pass you the details on eBay referring to a closed Paypal account that meant I got conned two days later than the "buyers" anticipated.
²: On an account that was already closed, see ¹.

Update: Added mention of eBay's ludicrously bad customer service.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Wacom tablets in GNOME 3.4

Working from designs.

The cool stuff first

Cosimo Cecchi presents the updated Wacom settings

Go to YouTube directly if you can't see the video here.

A new arrival

As mentioned by Cosimo, we have a new library to help us implement the settings you saw: libwacom.

libwacom is there to give us metadata about tablets, whether or not they are connected to your system, the list of styli it supports, as well as information about the styli themselves. As you can see from the UI, it's pretty important that we know:

  • whether the tablet is builtin (so we know whether you can calibrate it)
  • which form factor it has
  • the list of styli it supports
  • for each stylus, its full name, the number of buttons, what it looks like
In the past, all this information was only available within the drivers (as comments), exported in different ways (sysfs attributes), non-machine readable in public documentation, or, worst of all, hidden in Wacom's internal drivers for OS X or Windows.

So if you have a Wacom tablet, send us a definition file for your tablet, so you can configure it with the impression that the software actually knows about your device.

Where's that configuration again

After knowing what each tablet had to offer, we had to have a way to match the definitions to XInput devices, assign settings per-tablet, and importantly, switch stylus configuration when the user switches stylus. This is done using the new GsdWacomDevice and GsdWacomStylus objects, shared between gnome-settings-daemon (which will apply the configuration) and gnome-control-center (which will set the configuration).

This also means we have a few debugging applications, such as list-wacom in gnome-settings-daemon, to show you the attached GsdWacomDevices, or test-wacom in gnome-control-center, to test display of particular tablets if you don't own them (this is the place where I spend a lot of time).

What's next

Peter Hutterer, my input buddy at Red Hat, who made the original Wacom panel for GNOME 3.2, and the first version of libwacom, is currently spending a lot of time on Multi-Touch, and fixing bugs I report in the Wacom driver.

Jason Gerecke, from Wacom, who did most of the initial work on calibration support, is working on the related display-mapping. This will allow choosing whether a tablet's working area is the whole desktop, or a single monitor when in multiple monitors are used.

For my part, after fixing the layout bugs that so annoy me in the settings panel, I'll be starting work on tablet button mapping. I look forward to making the LEDs on the tablet match up with the selected keyboard shortcut!

Many thanks to Cosimo and Monty for helping out with presenting the work, and doing the video.