Archives for: "September 2006"

Madonna grounded

The Russian Duma (parliament) came to the only obvious course of action and voted against allowing Madonna to be launched into space, idiot Duma member Alexei Mitrofanov, put forward the idea of booking her a $20 million seat on a launch on Soyuz in 2008.

The only acceptable courses of action would be 1) blowing the rocket up with her onboard, 2) depressurizing the space craft while in orbit 3) throwing her in jail for being retarded.

To some up the two main retarded things she has done recently (that I know of):

She claims to be on a quest to reinstate Pluto as a full planet. Yeah like that's gonna happen.

She also claims to have magic water, called Kabbalah that can eliminate radiation from nuclear waste, which she claims is a huge problem and the Earth will be destroyed within 50 years because of all the nuclear waste, uhh whatever. She doesn't specify why or any details to back up her claims, but luckily a British government official who she had been harrassing came out and said "the scientific mechanisms and principles were just bollocks, basically".

Right and why hasn't she been deported?

The destruction of the internet

Catherine ^_^ said to me a couple of days ago that her e-mail wasn't working, turns out the POP service had fallen over, restarting the service didn't do the trick so I rebooted the server. Problem solved. I had dismissed it as being linked with the amount of traffic my blog has had over some recent posts about Apple and left it at that.

But then it happened yesterday too, which did strike me as being weird, the blog got about double the traffic it usually gets - which shouldn't be enough to bring down a service. One off sure why not, but twice, no way something is up. So anyway I rebooted and started having a look around, memory usage was a bit higher than normal but no weird processes were running and there wasn't an unusual amount of traffic on the line.

Few hours later I found the cause, about 30 machines had been pumping spam into the comments section for on the Oblivion files pages. They left several thousand spams about 170MBs worth.

Comments were disabled, and the database emptied, their IPs blocked. So sorry all the people who used the comments properly, but the scum of the Earth have a way of screwing everyone over.

The blog has been transformed because of spam, we used to show where people were coming from right there down the side, it was a cool feature, a feature that brought people together, trackbacks are an awesome feature, but had to go due to abuse, comments first had to have a captcha, then went under moderation, the hassle of this however will mean most future web developments that would of normally had comments, won't anymore.

The openness of the internet is being closed up by these capitalist bastards. The difference this time unlike with e-mail is large corporations aren't losing out, they're not having their employees having to spend 30 minutes each day dealing with spam so it will be much less likely for us to have anti-spam laws to protect things like blogs and other websites as we have with e-mail. If there were the same sort of laws that deal with spam e-mail they'd have little effect anyway.

The destruction of the internet by crippling spam is perfect example of how capitalism works. There's a market there for a bunch of capitalist assholes to make some money they move in and the only thing that matters is profit. Do you think your grandmother who's just setup her first blog won't be put off a little by finding 300 spams there the next day? Guess what, they don't give a shit about your grandmother, they don't care that she might be offended, they want "their" money.

Before the loons say capitalists invented the internet you're wrong, the internet was put together by the US government, it was a public development. Even the US government aren't so stupid to let capitalists get away with something like that. Hell we'd all be paying per byte we transfer, or for each byte we receive we receive an advertising byte to go with it.

The internet is being destroyed by spam, we're having to fortify our websites and our inboxes which do impact legitimate uses, I want to use trackbacks, they rock, but it’s simply not possible without deleting 100 spam trackbacks for every legitimate one.

The awesomeness of the internet to connect people is being threatened, and the users of the internet must organise and take things into their own hands. These spammers should be hunted down, beheaded and have their heads put on spikes to remind any other bastards not to mess with the people.

No I'm not a fan of capital punishment, but I'll make an exception for these guys. The good news is Catherine's e-mail should work OK tomorrow. ^_^

You think Norton is slow?

Check this out, Norton IS slow! Over on ThePCSpy they take a look at how different software effects the Windows boot time. Here's their worst 5 pieces of software they tested:

Norton Internet Security bloatware

Not surprisingly Norton slows the machine down by 58% adding 43 seconds to the boot time, for more details on the results and the other software tested check out their article itself.

How many millions of man hours have Symantec wasted with their utter bloatware?

International Space Station

Here's an image of the International Space Station, if Atlantis wasn't delayed it would of been falling alongside the ISS at the time of this photo.

International Space Station

But on the plus side it means I've got a good reference to measure any gain in brightness from adding the new components to the space station. In theory it will be easy to track progress over the next 4 years or so with the station finally be about 7 times brighter than it is at the moment, around magnitude -4 compared with -1 today.

Apple ripping off Windows Media Center

Apple have recently announced iTV (the name is going to change or else ITV won't be too happy). This is a $300 white box that hooks up to your TV and allows you to stream video and music to it from a PC.

Wow, this is just the sort of innovation Apple does such an awesome job at. Taking an existing idea, reducing the feature set and charging twice as much.

The idea seems somehow familiar to me... Hmmm I seem to recall Microsoft 3 years ago announcing Media Center Extenders which not only stream music, video and pictures, but also TV, that's right! iTV has no support for recording TV etc, I guess they call it iTV because you can plug it into a TV not because it is a TV.

As per usual the Apple press are foaming at their mouths over Apple's latest "innovation". Seemingly not realising that my Xbox 360 has been doing the same and more for nearly a year already, and all the people with the 1st generation extenders for even longer.

Ed Bott writes a brilliant article on this whole issue:

Apparently, every copy of Mac OS X comes with a Cognitive Dissonance add-in. This feature allows Mac cultists to loudly accuse Microsoft of ripping off features when it's convenient, and to blindly miss the ripoffs that go the other way.

Basically what Apple are doing is letting you give them $300 for a white box that plugs into your TV, but doesn't let you record TV but instead lets you buy $15 films from iTunes, cool right? Oh they're only 640x480, oh and $15 what a rip off! Xbox 360 can handle HDTV both 1280x720 and 1920x1080, and you don't have to pay Apple for the TV shows, you just record them when they're on the TV and if they're not on the TV, any compatible video on your PC from any source will play too, or you could even watch a DVD, yeah that reminds me iTV can't play DVDs either.

The Simpsons Recorded TV on Windows Media Center

Sorry I'd rather pay $300 for an Xbox 360, have all the games and all that stuff, and have a Media Center Extender that lets me do so much more.

Robert Scoble talks a bit about it also:

Now, do you remember when I met Steve Jobs on a street corner in San Francisco? Remember what he said to me? “Nice to meet the guys who are copying us.” (Us being Apple, since I was there with Dean Hachamovitch, executive at Microsoft, he was saying that Apple leads, Microsoft follows.

Well, Steve, the honor turns out to be mine! Your UI looks an awful lot like Windows Media Center. Almost a total copy. So, who is copying whom? What’s next, a Tablet PC copy?

Did you hear that funny noise? It was my irony gland exploding. Microsoft have been very busy over the last 5 years, Steve Jobs makes a point of noting all Microsoft have been trying to do is ship one version of Windows, yeah whatever Steve. Microsoft have been busy pushing boundaries back with technologies like Media Center and Tablet PC, looks like Apple have just realised they're being left behind and are trying to catch up with half-finished over-priced products.

Things aren't going too well with their stronghold of iTunes either, with users reporting serious flaws with version 7. Could Apple's mini empire be built on shaky foundations?

Slashdot and Internet Explorer

Ed Bott mentions what one of the /. admins said concerning IE support on the new discussion forums.

IE doesn’t work (patches welcome, but since only a quarter of you use it, it’s not a huge priority)

This is exactly the sort of double standards that really bug me. People like this, I know perhaps not this guy specifically, but the general Slashdot crowd for nearly a decade complained at web developers for only supporting Internet Explorer.

If you're going to be guilty of shunting IE because only 25% of /. readers use it then don't complain at a web developer for not supporting or hurrying out fixes for a browser with only 5% market share.

Perhaps what's really at the heart of the matter is not one of supporting in a timely fashion a minority web browser (on both sides) but of complete hatred for Microsoft and sinking to the low of any old excuse to take a stab, even when the same can be said about you?

I test and make sure everything is working great on the browser with the largest marketshare on whatever site I'm working on, sure its not perfect and in an ideal world standards would be enforced by law. But I don't then bash somebody for doing exactly the same as me just because they're on the opposite end of the spectrum. That's what I fear is happening here; I'm allowed to bugger over minority web browser, but you're not.

It's just the same as the Firefox and Mozilla fanboys complaining for years at how some websites would only allow IE, and then after Firefox crawled up to 10% they go and block IE from their website, even if IE had no issues with displaying it!

Windows Vista RC1 opinions

Just a few quick opinions from a few random blogs I've come across (and Nick's).

WebNV:

The second thing I noticed when RC1 started up for the first time was the new mouse pointers. The standard mouse pointer now has a shorter stem and looks much more sleek. Also the 'waiting' mouse status was changed. Instead of getting the old and standard hourglass, you now get this nice little swirling circle that looks a lot more modern. Some very nice touches just to the mouse.

Another change is the Starting and Exiting screens we get with Vista RC1. Those screen were present in Beta2 but not very pretty. Especially the text. It looked kind of old and non-standard with the rest of the OS. But with RC1 the text is bigger, and smoother looking. A nice and welcome change.

Satisfy Me:

As I noted previously, I moved our home desktop PCs to Vista. More accurately, to dual boot on two of three PCs - I am still holding off the migration of the kid's PC (lots of legacy games installed there), family laptops and Media Center (due to a known driver imcompatibility).

I found that my experience with Vista RC1 over the last week at home and at the office has mirrored a number of reviews I read last week [...] Overall, I have found that many problems I ran into in builds at the office are gone, and stability is up dramatically.

The .NET Guy:

Last night I put build 5600 (RC1) on my now "old" 20" iMac so I could test its stability as a development platform. Virtually everything worked out of the box, and the BootCamp 1.1 drivers covered what didn't. The inbox audio driver thought it was the right one, but it output no sound, so I had to resort to the XP audio driver (bummer, because the new audio stack is hands down the coolest new feature in Vista to me).

Scrapped:

Also after the initial start of the install I didn't require the cd anymore which was pretty cool. The startup time (boot) is much slower than Windows XP Professional and if you are wondering, there is also no splash screen at this version during the startup. The new login screen is amazing and the graphics are just wow!

To some up everything in one sentence. Windows Vista is nearly there.

Microsoft release Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh

If you're running the Beta 2 build of Office you probably want to patch it with the Technical Refresh Microsoft just released a few hours ago, especially if you're running Windows Vista. Some improvements include:

Improved support for the minimized Ribbon
Visual redesign of the "Northwest" corner of the programs
Double-click the Office Button to close the window
Silver color scheme
Redesign of the PowerPoint Home tab
Improvements to default styles for all objects
Quick Customize Menu
New product icons
Usability improvements to the Office menu
Send button in the form in Outlook
Over 1000 changes (most minor) to the content of the Ribbon

2003 UB313/Xena now named Eris

The IAU today has named the dwarf planet 2003 UB313 the official name is Eris, after the goddess of discord. I'm pleased to see the nickname Xena, which several astronomers and the press have been calling it, didn't stick.

Its moon has also now been named, previously dubbed Gabrielle, is now named Dysnomia, after the goddess of lawlessness (Lucy Lawless played Xena! *freaky music*).

Here's an image of Eris from the Hubble Space Telescope:

2003 UB313/Xena now Eris from the Hubble Space Telescope

The announcement also hints at two new objects being given dwarf planet status, which would bring the number to five. Charon and Seyda (2003 VB12) maybe?

Awe inspiring

From APOD today:

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description. Pictured above, the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off to visit the International Space Station during the morning of 2006 September 9. From a standing start, the two million kilogram rocket ship left to circle the Earth where the outside air is too thin to breathe and where there is little noticeable onboard gravity. Rockets bound for space are now launched from somewhere on Earth about once a week.

I'm just annoyed it was delayed, preventing me from getting a picture of it. Oh well there's always the Progress module which hopefully will be up with the ISS on a favourable pass overhead towards the end of the month.

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