Category: "General"

Happy New Year

Another lap of the Sun done so I'd like to wish all my readers a happy new year.

The ten most popular entries on this blog are...

I've been doing a bit of tidying up late this afternoon, and a bit of optimizing to a lot of the stuff on the server (I halved the size of the database running these blogs wooo), moved a bunch of old websites around a bit and put them into read only mode (aka I'm never going to touch them again mode). Anyway since I was digging around there I thought I'd check out and see what the most popular entries on this blog are, for some reason it's not exposed via the interface anywhere.

The most viewed entry is: The Earth is older than 6000 years with 49,170 views.
2nd: Holy Combat with 44,094 views.
3rd: d3dx9.dll is missing or not found or installed with 43,352 views.
4th: Hamad Darwish's Windows Vista wallpapers released with 25,336 views.
5th: Windows Vista DRM nonsense with 18,630 views.
6th: Command & Conquer 3 problems with standard user with 13.626 views.
7th: Apple iTunes copying Microsoft again with 13,380 views.
8th: Why the iPod sucks with 9,439 views.
9th: Configuring AVG Free 8 anti-virus for the best experience with 8,957 views.
10th DreamScene Preview now on Ultimate Extras with 8,890 views.

Classic intertubes: Diary of an AOL user

I've just been routing around the dark depths of my file system, and came across this gem from back in the olden days.

The newbies who think the internet is the web probably won't get most of this. Regardless, here it is.

July 18 - I just tried to connect to America Online. I've heard it is the best online service I can get. They even included a free disk! I'd better hold onto it incase they don't ever send me anther one! I can't connect. I don't know what is wrong.

July 19 - Some guy at the tech support center says my computer needs a modem. I don't see why. He's just trying to cheat me. How dumb does he think I am?

July 22 - I bought the modem. I couldn't figure out where it goes. It wouldn't fit in the monitor or the printer. I'm confused.

July 23 - I finally got the modem in and hooked up. that nine year old next door did it for me. But it still don't work. I cant get online.

July 25 - That nine year old kid next door hooked me up to America Online for me. He's so smart. I told the kid he was a prodigy. But he says that's just another service. What a modest kid. He's so smart and he does these services for people. Anyway he's smarter then the jerks who sold me the modem. They didn't even tell me about communications software. Bet they didn't know. And why do they put two telephone jack holes in the back of a modem when you only need one? And why do they have one labeled phone when you are not suppose to hook it to the phone jack on the wall? I thought the dial tone sounded funny! Boy, are modem makers dumb! But the kid figured it out by the sound.

July 26 - What's the internet? I thought I was on America Online. Not this internet thing. I'm confused.

July 27 - The nine year old kid next door showed me how to use this America Online stuff. I told him he must be a genius. He says that he is compared to me. Maybe he's not so modest after all.

July 28 - I tried to use chat today. I tried to talk into my computer but nothing happened. maybe I need to buy a microphone.

July 29 - I found this thing called usenet. I got out of it because I'm connected to America Online not usenet.

July 30 - These people in this usenet thing keep using capital letters. How do they do that? I never figured out how to type capital letters. Maybe they have a different type of keyboard.

JULY 31 - I CALLED THE COMPUTER MAKER I BOUGHT IT FROM TO COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT HAVING A CAPITOL LETTER KEY. THE TECH SUPPORT GUY SAID IT WAS THIS CAPS LOCK KEY. WHY DIDN'T THEY SPELL IT OUT? I TOLD HIM I GOT A CHEAP KEYBOARD AND WANTED A BETTER ONE. AND ONE OF MY SHIFT KEYS ISNT THE SAME SIZE AS THE OTHER. HE SAID THATS A STANDARD. I TOLD HIM I DIDN'T WANT A STANDARD KEYBOARD BUT ANOTHER BRAND. I MUST HAVE HAD AN IMPORTANT COMPLAINT BECAUSE I HEARD HIM TELL THE OTHER SUPPORT GUYS TO LISTEN IN ON OUR CONVERSATION.

AUGUST 1 - I FOUND THIS THING CALLED THE USENET ORACLE. IT SAYS THAT IT CAN ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS I ASK IT. I SENT IT 44 SEPARATE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INTERNET. I HOPE IT RESPONDS SOON.

AUGUST 2 - I FOUND A GROUP CALLED REC.HUMOR. I DECIDED TO POST THIS JOKE ABOUT THE CHICKEN THAT CROSSED THE ROAD. TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE! HA! HA! I WASNT SURE I POSTED IT RIGHT SO I POSTED IT 56 MORE TIMES.

AUGUST 3 - I KEEP HEARING ABOUT THE WORLD WIDE WEB. I DON'T NOW SPIDERS GREW THAT LARGE.

AUGUST 4 - THE ORACLE RESPONDED TO MY QUESTIONS TODAY. GEEZ IT WAS RUDE. I WAS SO ANGRY THAT I POSTED AN ANGRY MESSAGE ABOUT IT TO REC.HUMOR.ORACLE. I WASNT SURE IF I POSTED RIGHT SO I POSTED IT 22 MORE TIMES.

AUGUST 5 - SOMEONE TOLD ME TO READ THE FAQ. GEEZ THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO USE PROFANITY.

AUGUST 6 - SOMEONE ELSE TOLD ME TO STOP SHOUTING IN ALL MY MESSAGES. WHAT A STUPID JERK. IM NOT SHOUTING! IM NOT EVEN TALKING! JUST TYPING! HOW CAN THEY LET THESE RUDE JERKS GO ON THE INTERNET?

August 7 - Why have a Caps Lock key if you're not suppose to use it? Its probably an extra feature that costs more money.

August 8 - I just read this post called make money fast. I'm so exited. I'm going to make lots of money. I followed his instructions and posted it to every newsgroup I could find.

August 9 - I just made my signature file. Its only 6 pages long. I will have to work on it some more.

August 10 - I just looked at a group called alt.aol.sucks. I read a few posts and I really believe that aol should be wiped off the face of the earth. I wonder what an aol is.

August 11 - I was asking where to find some information about something. Some guy told me to check out ftp.netcom.com. I've looked and looked but I can't find that group.

August 12 - I sent a post to every usenet group on the Internet asking where the ftp.netcom.com is. hopefully someone will help. I cant ask the kid next door. His parents said that when he comes back from my house he's laughing so hard he can't eat or sleep or do his homework. So they wont let him come over anymore. I do have a great sense of humor. I don't know why the rec.humor group didn't like my chicken joke. Maybe they only like dirty stuff. Some people sent me posts about my 56 posts of the joke and they used bad words.

August 13 - I sent another post to every usenet group on the Internet asking where the ftp.netcom.com is. I had forgot yesterday to include my new signature file which is only 8 pages long. I know everyone will want to read my favorite poem so I included it. I'm also going to add that short story I like.

August 14 - Some guy suspended my account because of what I was doing. I told him I don't have an account at his bank. He's so dumb.

Use of the Olympics as a political weapon

The press has been running seemingly endless anti-China stories, almost every article on the BBC website has an image of a policeman to go along with any story about the Olympics. How about reporting the news for a change instead of creating it?

Today two Britons are being held by Chinese police after putting up "Free" Tibet banners near the national stadium, a number of other protests have gone on around the city by small groups of people.

These people then have the nerve to suggest that China is using the Olympic Games as a propaganda tool.

We've done this action today to highlight the Chinese government's use of the Beijing Olympics as a propaganda tool

Completely and utterly backwards, it is the western media, all these "Free" Tibet supporters running around, and the religious fundamentalists who recently carried out an attack on the border post in Xinjiang who are using the Olympics as a propaganda tool.

The "Free" Tibet supporters just don't know how ridiculous they look to people in China. It would be like thousands of people coming over here in 2012, putting up banners, and climbing street lights and shouting "FREE CORNWALL!", we'd think they were barking mad.

What these people seemingly don't understand is now the hardliners in the Chinese government will use all of their actions of late to justify every anti-demonstration law, every control on foreign journalists, and they'll have the support of the significant section of the Chinese population who will believe it is necessary to control these disrespectful foreigners that are running around. Congratulations, you've just weakened the more liberal wing of the Chinese government.

Should I start using Twitter?

I've been toying with the idea of microblogging for a while now. I'm leaning into the direction of trying to start up microblogging simply because I don't always have time to do a full blog post on a particular topic, but when I'm limited to 140 characters it is much easier to quickly touch on something.

Typically I would just host it myself, like I used to do with my moblog. But Twitter gives a few advantages, a large community of users, plus it won't clutter my RSS feed with tiny little entries. Twitter of course has its disadvantages, uptime being one of them. Twitter also doesn't seem to be on a very fast release schedule, there are loads of features I would want to see added in, but little progress seems to be made.

Two obvious features would be a separate advanced/hidden field to include co-ordinates for latitude and longitude, and an ability to embed an image. There's ways around that such as using shortened URLs and 3rd party services like TwitPic and Live Maps. But in many cases that dramatically increases the amount of work that needs to be done, at least with the clients I've looked at, and fills your posts with ugly looking URLs.

Speaking of clients, if anybody has any recommendations for a good Windows Vista Gadget client, and a Windows Mobile client feel free to leave them below. I haven't touched any Gadget ones yet, but I've got Twitula, Tiny Twitter and ceTwit on my phone at the moment, I'm playing around with all of them. None of them seem to do what I want. I'd like an ability to automatically use TwitPic and include an image. Also I'd like the ability to grab data from a GPS receiver, or if no GPS hardware or GPS lock is available for it to fall back to determining your location by which phone towers are in the area, in many cases that would be accurate enough (usually to within a kilometre or two) and shorten it up and include the link in the entry.

Even technology permitting, there's still the issue of it having any real point to either the blog, or any of my followers on Twitter, which is probably a bigger issue than the technology weaknesses I'd like to see sorted, is there any real point to it? I don't want to start doing something unless I am confident it has a purpose and that I can continue through with it from then on. Feel free to leave any suggestions below (especially on mobile clients that do the above).

Would you please not undermine the union?

I was tempted to stick this under politics, but I think its too obvious for my political readers, and it is more of a rant than anything so it is going under general.

I was reading Phil Plait's (aka the Bad Astronomer) blog, as I do every day. One of his entries was titled "Wipe England off the map".

On a brief side note, I do wonder what sort of feedback he would have got if it said wipe Israel off the map. He goes on to say:

Here’s a bit of apocalyptic fun: simulate dropping an asteroid on the UK.

[...]

Too bad the simulator only uses a map of England, because obviously if this were to really happen in England the Doctor would save us.

Well he seems to be using England and the UK interchangeably, I have always found this extremely irritating, and it no doubt helps reinforce Welsh and Scottish nationalist sentiment, worse still is when some people refer to the whole of the British Isles as England.

Funnily enough one of the comments left on this entry tried to clarify what the United Kingdom was.

Just to clarify:

The United Kingdom is a combo of England, Wales, Scotland, and The Republic of Ireland

I'm sure the Queen would be somewhat confused having a republic as part of her Kingdom. Anyway...

What he's talking about this website here, which is based on a Java applet I ran across several years ago which would calculate the damage from an impactor upon the Earth. This new version has a couple of graphics, showing the size of the crater etc.

The best bit comes next....

Yes, it's not even a map of the United Kingdom, nor England. It's a map of Wales! Uragghh.

Here's the deal. Americans, sort yourselves out or else I'm going to start referring to the United States as the District of Columbia, and start calling you all Columbians, yeah you Wyomingians had better make sure them Columbian folk aren't taking you for a ride, no I mean the other Columbians.

I don't know what's worse, Americans who think a map of Wales is England, or the "Free" Tibet (how ironic) supporters not even knowing where Tibet is.

Update: The Bad Astronomer has updated his site with the appropriate corrections - thanks Phil.

Hopefully now his corrections will go on to further educate those Americans people (who may or may not be Americans) who don't understand what the UK is, nor Great Britain, nor what England, Wales and Scotland are and their relationship with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (sorry had to add all that to further clarify what I meant when I used Americans, before I get more comments from my American readers), and to try and resist any further attempts at upsetting the Welsh nationalists by referring to their corner of the UK as England. Phew........ Right back to my inbox.

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