Everything, Everything - July 2006

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Exporting IE7's RSS Feeds
Monday 31st July, 2006 15:49
I knew there had to be an easy way, it's just hidden (like the rest of the menu bar). Hit the "Alt" key to bring up "File", then look for "Import and Export..." and you can probably work it out from the wizard there. Now I have a nice text file containing the info from my work laptop that I can import into my main computer.
Monday 31st July, 2006 15:29
There's a thread on Dave's forum about electricity bills, and I (somewhat jokingly) suggested the other day that if people were that concerned about their electricity bills they should cut down on other luxuries and/or install solar panels and wind turbines. Well it seems Currys want to bring solar panels into the mainstream. Currys will stock the Sharp panels in Croydon, Fulham, and West Thurrock. Panels come with a 25-year performance warranty, nine panels (about £9000) could cut a three-bedroom house's electricity bill by half. I\'m not sure the price tag makes it cost effective, but it might help people feel better for doing their bit. I must admit, I\'d be tempted if I had some money spare. And my own house. And it were sunny here.
Monday 31st July, 2006 15:24
It's not often you'll hear me praise MySpace for doing "the right thing", but I was pleasantly surprised to read that they've changed (or clairified) their terms and conditions.

Billy Bragg had been campaigning for MySpace to change them, as they seemed to give rights to music posted on MySpace to the Murdoch-backed company. Late last week the site did change its rules to reflect Bragg's wishes.

"With respect to the guys at MySpace I have to accept that within a week of me writing a letter to Music Week they had complied with my suggestion to change their terms and conditions, so more power to them, I respect that," Bragg told OUT-LAW. "I think MySpace acted in the spirit of the internet."

The new terms and conditions make it clear that the company renounces all ownership rights to musicians' material. Previously, the rules had seemed to assert the company's control over material posted there, though the company claimed that that view was a misinterpretation of the rules.

Previously, the rules said that a user would "hereby grant to MySpace.com a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services."

The new conditions read: "MySpace.com does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, 'Content') that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose."

The new terms and conditions state that posting material automatically grants MySpace a limited licence to use and modify the content, but says that this is purely a technical issue. "Without this licence, MySpace.com would be unable to provide the MySpace services," said the terms.
More Dilbert
Monday 31st July, 2006 14:13
I\'ve got nothing against the sales and marketing people that work here, but I still thought this was quite funny. I nearly emailed it to a few people at work.

RSS Feed
Sunday 30th July, 2006 16:06
I told you I\'d get around to making one eventually for the site. It appears to work okay, I had to fudge the pubDate a little (I don\'t store the seconds in the database, and I always store the localtime rather than GMT, so BST means at times it\'ll be lying) and the pound symbol is being replaced with GBP (I think I could fix it by forcing the feed to UTF-8 or something, but I don\'t really care enough to do it properly).

You can see the RSS feed here, if you\'re using IE7 just click on the link and subscribe to the feed, otherwise paste the link into your RSS reader of choice. I\'ll eventually add the link into the page so you can click the little orange RSS feed buttons in Firefox and IE7. It\'ll look odd in IE6, so don\'t use it.
Sunday 30th July, 2006 13:12
I\'d never had this problem before, as I\'ve only ever had 512MB of RAM in my systems for the last 6 years or so, but it looks like computers with a large amount of RAM (e.g. more than 1GB) have trouble hibernating with Windows. With my new computer (2GB of RAM) I would occasionally get a balloon popup in the corner saying "Insufficient System Resources Exist to Complete the API" so I decided to do a quick search with Google and came across KB909095.

The computer occasionally does not hibernate and you receive an "Insufficient System Resources Exist to Complete the API" error message in Windows XP with Service Pack 2, in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, or in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

It would appear that this is a known issue ("This problem occurs because the Windows kernel power manager cannot obtain the memory resources that are required to prepare the computer to hibernate"), but because it involves modifying some pretty important files, they\'re a bit reluctant to roll out the hotfix (it looks like it may appear in SP3, but that's ages away). You\'re meant to contact them for the file, but I managed to get it via other means ;) and I installed it last night. Since then, I\'ve not had any trouble hibernating my PC (although I\'ve only hibernated it twice so far), even with all my programs open - I found that closing stuff down would often help avoid the problem, but didn\'t always work. Anyway, if you also have trouble, the file you\'re after is WindowsXP-KB909095-x86-ENU.exe and you are meant to get it from Microsoft. They should provide it for free if you explain about the KB article/known issue/hotfix.
In It To Win It
Saturday 29th July, 2006 20:04
Watching it on BBC1, the woman's doing really well, she's very impressive. She's even better than me! She's got £55k now all by herself, and looks set to make that £60k.
The Recruit
Saturday 29th July, 2006 18:09
I remember watching this about 3 years ago (ah yes, it's a 2003 film according to IMDb), it was pretty good - although I am biased as I usually like Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. I might watch it later tonight as it's on BBC1, assuming I don\'t find anything more interesting to watch (I still have the third season of Lizzie McGuire on DVD to watch). It must be a boring Saturday, all that's on are films, like Back To The Future on ITV1, and the sort of shows that you watch when you\'re get home early, like Flog It on BBC2.

Ooh, just spotted this on IMDb about The Recruit: during the title sequence of the movie a website is shown where Clayton posts information about his missing father. If you look at the address bar of Opera's browser, it points to a local file.

Hehehe. I\'m watching The Weakest Link, I\'m doing okay, but the questions are still quite easy. Amy definitely would have been able to answer the "over the... ?" question.
New Graphics
Saturday 29th July, 2006 17:59
It took a bit of tweaking, but I\'ve added a couple new graphics and modified another, and because I\'m using CSS it was dead easy to implement. I also tweaked a couple other things, but hopefully you won\'t notice. At this rate the site will look good by... Xmas.
Why Can\'t I Sleep?
Saturday 29th July, 2006 01:08
It's probably due to the heat. Should be cooler tomorrow.
Friday 28th July, 2006 14:37
I really fancy a Starbucks coffee right now. Their grande lattes are big enough for me, but I have tried the venti (it's huge!!) before now. Took me forever to drink but I wasn\'t in a hurry at the time. I\'m sure they\'re not as good for me as the coffees you can buy at Costa or Caffe Nero. I guess I\'ll make do with a free instant.

This morning I pushed a 50p coin into the drink vending machine, tapped in the numbers for a can of coke, then spotted the A4 piece of paper taped onto the front of the cans section that told me the cold cans weren\'t working and an engineer had been called. A split second later, my cool can of coke popped out of the machine. It's the small things that make me happy. Although big things help.
Life On Mars
Friday 28th July, 2006 13:32
It seems hard to believe that the first season of Life On Mars was only on our screeens a few months ago (it feels a lot longer), but the second season has almost finished filming, and should be on BBC in autumn.

However, "John Simm and I are pretty adamant that we don\'t push the show beyond its natural shelf life," Glenister told US journalists this week. "We think that's probably sooner rather than later. Whether we wrap things up at the end of this season, or whether we have a two-part special afterwards, we\'re not quite sure yet."

Ah well, it was good while it lasted, and at least I still have a whole season to look forward to laterr this year.

I was never a big fan of Extras, which is also due back for a second (and final :D) season. Ricky Gervais has said that the next series, due to start in September, won\'t just be the last of the show, but the last ever sitcom he\'ll produce. Ricky will, however, continue to work with writing partner Stephen Merchant - but it\'ll be all serious. "We\'d like to do drama," he told the Sun. I know, I know, I\'m trusting something that appeared in The Sun, but it doesn\'t sound too ridiculous.
Thursday 27th July, 2006 14:25
Yummy, I\'m on my second pack today. I also bought a couple packs of Opal Frui... Starburst sweets as they were on offer (BOGOF).
Thursday 27th July, 2006 09:31
After sending my email to the nmap-dev mailing list, I\'ve already had a few replies.

One came to me personally, and I\'ll test it in a bit when i can sit in my office (I\'ve been kicked outside as it's full today, so I\'m on the corporate network and can\'t do any scanning):

On 7/26/06, Rob Nicholls <robert@refreshdaily.com> wrote:
> Forgive me if I\'m doing something silly and haven\'t realised it, but I\'m
> getting inconsistent results when performing -sS and -sT scans against
> port 21/tcp when using win32 versions of nmap.

Does your scanning machine have Windows\' Integrated Firewall enabled?
If so it's been my experience that it will always return 21/open no
matter what IP address you scan.

Friends don\'t let friends scan from Windows.

I had a feeling I\'d get some backlash for using nmap on Windows, but it's not like I don\'t use Linux either.

I also got a reply from kx asking if I could reproduce it with the latest nmap 4.20alpha4. Well, I\'d stated in my original email that I could reproduce it with "different versions of nmap (4.01, 4.03, 4.10, 4.11, 4.20Alpha4)" but "Professor Messer" was able to confirm it, and prove I wasn\'t imagining things:

Rob -

I\'m getting the same thing in my Windows XP SP2 box with the latest nmap
4.20 alpha 4. A quick check also shows the problem in nmap 4.03 for
win32. My packet trace confirms that the -sT scan to a non-existent IP
address doesn\'t even respond to the ARP, but nmap shows port 21 as open.

If I scan a device that does exist, port 21 still incorrectly shows
open, but the trace file and nmap output show some odd things:


As the verbose output shows, there were some "unknown errors" and I
didn\'t get an nmap packet-trace. 11.297 seconds is a bit long, too.


You can see that port 21 is attempted three times, and the delta times
keep increasing. Weird one.

I got nothin\'. Anyone?

James "Professor" Messer
Author, Secrets of Network Cartography: A Comprehensive Guide to nmap
Wednesday 26th July, 2006 14:15
I don\'t use them, for a couple reasons, but they\'ve made a nice advert featuring The Hoff.
Bug Report
Wednesday 26th July, 2006 13:39
Hopefully I haven\'t made a huge fool of myself, but I\'ve sent an email to the nmap-dev mailing list to let them know about the odd behaviour I\'ve found: a Connect() Scan against port 21 will come back as open without it sending any network traffic. It seems reproducible on any Windows host, but the Linux hosts give the correct results.
Vista Confusion
Wednesday 26th July, 2006 11:12
I\'m very confused now. There are two ways to do a TCP scan with nmap, either using the very quick -sS command or doing a full connect with -sT. Normally they give exactly the same results. Bear in mind that I had Vista's Windows Firewall allegedly blocking all incoming connections.

>nmap -sT xxx.xxx.xx.xx

Starting Nmap 4.11 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap ) at 2006-07-26 11:00 GMT Standard Time
Interesting ports on xxx.xxx.xx.xx:
Not shown: 1679 filtered ports
21/tcp open ftp
MAC Address: 00:0C:29:71:C5:D5 (VMware)

Nmap finished: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 104.250 seconds

>nmap -sS xxx.xxx.xx.xx

Starting Nmap 4.11 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap ) at 2006-07-26 11:05 GMT Standard Time
Interesting ports on xxx.xxx.xx.xx:
Not shown: 1674 closed ports
80/tcp filtered http
135/tcp filtered msrpc
139/tcp filtered netbios-ssn
443/tcp filtered https
445/tcp filtered microsoft-ds
3389/tcp filtered ms-term-serv
MAC Address: 00:0C:29:71:C5:D5 (VMware)

Nmap finished: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 3.826 seconds

I don\'t even have an FTP server installed on that box, just IIS 7 running a web server on 80 and 443. At least the -sS one returned what I expected to see. I don\'t like inconsistent things, especially when I don\'t know why they\'re inconsistent. I wonder what happens when the firewall is off...
Wednesday 26th July, 2006 09:48
I checked my email, since I went to bed last night I had 61 of them arrive in my inbox. I\'ve kept a grand total of 0. I hate spam.
Tuesday 25th July, 2006 18:31
My RAID array died on me as I drove home (although I didn\'t find out until I\'d parked the car), my mobile got the text message to say it had fallen over, and with the spare drive I\'d recently setup, I wasn\'t too worried about losing any data, as it should rebuild onto that disk. And it wasn\'t like the data was bad on the disk that had dropped out. I was more concerned with the beeping that would be coming from my flat.

It turns out, with the cut up case badge sticker, it wasn\'t that loud, and if I closed the door to the room and moved the cupboard doors closer together it was almost quiet enough to ignore. I was watching the progress over Remote Desktop and I decided to try the "unplug" button on the disk that appeared to have failed. Suddenly it stopped responding. My screen faded to various shades of grey. The computer had stopped responding, so I walked in and held down the power button until the computer turned itself off. My guess is the computer either locked up from overheating (as it was trapped) or hitting the unplug button caused Windows to have a big hissy fit. Either way, I\'m not doing either again.

SO, I powered back up, hit the return key a few times, and expected everything to be fine. It wasn\'t. It turns out the drive that had dropped out was on the controller, but not in the spare pool. Not too bad, you might imagine, as I can add it back to the RAID array. Except it wouldn\'t let me. Because the array was broken. Yes, I panicked a little, and it turns out that one of the disks didn\'t get picked up, so I only had 6 out of 7 disks, and one of those disks was the "spare" that hadn\'t finished rebuilding. 5 out of 7 disks means you\'ve lost all your data in a RAID 5 array (you can tolerate losing one disk). So I rebooted, hoping that it\'d pick up the missing disk.

It didn\'t. Not only that, but it couldn\'t find another disk either. That means I had 4 complete disks out of the 7. That's really bad. So I shut down, crossed my fingers, waited for things to cool down for a minute, and poked and prodded the cables to see if any were loose. I powered up, I did the Remote Desktop thing, and OMFG it worked! It picked up the missing disks, saw they contained all the missing data, so now I\'m rebuilding the data, and I have a disk back in the pool again.

Morals from this story:

Don\'t copy large amounts of data on the hottest day we\'ve had this year
I\'d started a 100GB transfer, ironically to backup data so I wouldn\'t lose any important files, and was well over halfway through - the current observation on the BBC website says it's 31 degrees here. I dread to know how hot the hard disks were.

Don\'t keep all the windows and doors closed to make the beeping quieter
And preferably stop running CPU intensive programs like SETI@home. It\'ll just hasten the demise.

Let the computer beep
Restarting the computer while it's trying to rebuild the array is potentially dangerous, as you can lose everything. Wait two hours and then reboot (although I\'ve yet to find out if it stops beeping after a reboot).

Cut up sticky badges don\'t make the beeping much quieter
It looks like I\'ll have to break open the plastic cover and properly kill the speaker. There doesn\'t appear to be a jumper to neatly disable the beeping. At least it was a lot quieter than I remember.

RAID arrays are not particularly safer than keeping data on lots of separate disks
Although I suspect in an air conditioned environment, like work, it\'d be fine. I think you can get portable air conditioning units from about eighty quid, I may have to buy one.
Size Matters
Tuesday 25th July, 2006 16:54
Or more specifically, length. Lots of people talk about complexity being incredibly important when it comes to passwords. It's definitely useful, and makes life harder for those naughty people that want to obtain your passwords, but length can make it a lot harder if you\'re going for a brute force approach. There's been a nice discussion on a mailing list, but I\'ll just steal the interesting mathematical part.

The possible combinations of 6 character passwords using only lowercase letters of the alphabet are

26^6 = 308915776

The possible combination of 16 character passwords using only lowercase letters are:

26^16 = 43608742899428874059776

The possible combinations of 6 character passwords using a-zA-Z0-9 and your favorite 32 punctuation:

95^6 = 735091890625

You can see, in n^k, increasing k means increasing the outcome much faster than increasing n. Increasing the possible combinations means increasing the time to discover the password through pure brute force methods.

Once humans are introduced, it becomes more complicated than this.

That final sentence is true, especially if you use a dictionary, as the simplest way to remember a 16 character password would be some form of sentence made up of real words (e.g. thisismypassword). Having said that, I regularly use fairly random passwords that are 10 and 11 characters long that I can remember (and haven\'t written down under my keyboard), so it's not impossible.
Windows Firewall With Advanced Security
Tuesday 25th July, 2006 13:53
I\'ve been playing with Windows Vista Beta 2, and I\'ve noticed some odd things to do with networking.

Since XP SP2 was released nearly two years ago, I\'ve been a big fan of the Windows Firewall. It's doesn\'t make your system grind to a halt (yay!), it silently drops things (a good thing), and it doesn\'t let anything in that it shouldn\'t (people have complained about the lack of outgoing filtering, but by then it's too late and it's fairly trivial to add exceptions in most other firewall software).

Along came Vista Beta 2 (I never properly tested Beta 1 as I figured the code might change). The firewall now supports outgoing filtering (I suspect to keep people happy, more than anything else). Vista itself now natively supports IPv6. The problem is this brand new network stack and improved firewall don\'t appear to work very consistently with each other. But it does block access to the things you disallow, so it could be worse.

When the Vista's Windows Firewall is on, instead of silently dropping requests it sends back a reply so you know that something is listening on that port on the other side of the firewall. Quirky, but it's probably something that can be fixed by getting the firewall to silently discard those requests. The thing I noticed today was UDP scanning. In the past Windows didn\'t behave like Linux or Unix, so UDP scans of default ports with nmap could be completed in well under a minute. The RFC says this shouldn\'t happen, but Microsoft have ignored this for years. Well with the Windows Firewall off Vista behaves like Linux, and the scans take about 20 minutes instead of 30 seconds. Very good, I thought. And then I tried it again with the firewall back on. 30 seconds later and I\'ve completed a scan. Hmm, odd, I thought to myself, but perhaps it's another example of the firewall sending replies to the things it's blocking (just like TCP). So I kept the firewall on, but I allowed all incoming and all outgoing traffic. This means that the firewall is on, but it shouldn\'t be stopping anything. It should behave exactly the same as having the firewall off. 30 seconds later, I\'d finished my UDP scan again. It seems that the core Windows networking code handles requests properly, but the firewall doesn\'t match the behaviour. It doesn\'t even match the behaviour of XP SP2's firewall. It's basically a mess. I hope they sort it out by RC1.
Monday 24th July, 2006 15:16
I finally did it, and updated the site so all the recent comments fit the new design. The code is a shade untidy in places (I\'ll redo it a bit more like the diary page at some point), but at least it works. It's not bad considering it supports posting comments and displaying two different layouts. Let me know if you see anything that's broken.
Monday 24th July, 2006 13:35
My eyebrows are getting a bit long again. I sometimes trim them with my big orange scissors, but it's a bit of a tricky job and I have to be very careful not to lose an eyebrow. It's made more difficult because you can\'t use that eye to see what you\'re doing, as you might get hair in it and that hurts. I might give it a go later tonight, especially if I get bored. I often do silly things when I get bored, people should keep scissors/shavers away from me and my hair.
Complexity Sucks
Monday 24th July, 2006 09:22
I was reading an email sent to the bugtraq mailinglist, which was a reply to a challenge to crack a Windows password (he gave the hash of a 15 character password). The challenger wanted to prove that all password hashes can easily be cracked with the right tool and dictionary. He also expected the first challenge to be cracked first. In the real world, the attacker would not have been given all the clues that he gave, but he wanted readers to understand how hard this would be to do even if you had all the clues a real cracker would need to begin the attack. It was a proof of concept of password length over complexity, if someone were to break the first one before the second or third he said he\'ll know he's wrong.

But most people replied immediately to agree that length is better than complexity! And I agree. If it's less complex, it often makes it easier to remember. I registered a new domain name last night that redirects to this site (I was impressed, it was registered and redirecting about 10 minutes after I\'d paid), but I had to get a password reminder emailed to me as I\'d totally forgotten the password for that account on that site (I used to save it in the browser, but on my new machine it wasn\'t saved). It turns out it was very complicated (random letters and numbers) and even now I can\'t remember it. Anyway, here's the reply:

I\'m saying if faced with increasing the strength of my passwords, I value length over complexity.

Case in point, a large city I consult for said they are moving their passwords from 5 character minimum to 8 characters and complex. (yeah, I had to stop coughing too...but 5 character minimums aren\'t that rare in very large environments).

I argued all day long that they should go to 12+ characters and forget the complexity. Mathematically and practically, I know I\'m right, but the world is all about complexity and less about length despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary that length is better overall.

For instance, I was creating a login account for my stock holdings today, and password requirements were six character minimum with 3 of 4 types of character complexity (normal for most complexity requirements). So even though my passphrase of idratherbetakingpicturesofsharks is much harder to crack, it will not be allowed. I have to choose a weaker, harder to remember, password to meet their password complexity requirements...and to tell you the truth, I\'m sick of it.

So, I\'m making my wake up call.

Do the math, do the cracking, length is a better defender than complexity.

Even when people are required to go complex, their complexity is pathetically predictable (32 characters cover 80% of all users), defeating the whole purpose for the complexity, no many how many characters can be used. So require increased length instead, forget complexity, and enjoy stronger protection.

Then all you have to do is convince your users not to give away their password to a complete stranger for a $2 chocolate bar.

That last line is the killer, so many people will hand over their details without thinking "why do they need to know that?".

I bet that dollar symbol will screw up the XHTML. I\'ll write/fix the special characters code someday.
Sunday 23rd July, 2006 15:18
I\'m fairly certain I need another filling. My bite didn\'t feel right a minute ago, so I rinsed my mouth, and now I can feel (and see) the corner of one of my back teeth is a bit rough. I guess I\'ll have to see how quickly I can sort something out with my dentist at home, and see if I can take time off work. I guess it's been about a year since my last filling, so it was about time. I was due a checkup.
Thursday 20th July, 2006 11:54
Everyone likes praise.

Roughing It
Thursday 20th July, 2006 10:53
Susan Bradley's been blogging again.

So how did I end up?

Booking a room with no highspeed, no Starbucks nearby... and no open wireless in the neighborhood that I could hang off of ...man I "AM" roughing it...aren't I?

That sounds like me. This might be why I like hotels like the City Inn Westminster, as they give you free broadband in the room, there's a wireless connection across the hotel, and there's a Starbucks around the corner (okay, so it's a short walk down the road). And you get nice towels. And I love the showers there, they're so big and powerful and warm. Maybe I'll head down there one weekend for a mini-break, I think you can get a room quite cheap on a Friday night if you book online.
Wednesday 19th July, 2006 20:50
I was shopping at lunchtime. As I walked into the store I saw a man sitting there with one of those donation tins (made of plastic) and I felt a bit bad for not donating anything as I knew I had a load of change in my wallet, but it was a small change like 2p and 5p. My shopping trip cost me £6.05 and I had the extra 5p so I had four quid change. I decided to give £1.50 and the man gave me a leaflet - it turns out the information leaflet tells you about the local charity and has a suggested price of £1 so I felt a lot better. It kinda makes up for not sponsoring the girl at work for one of the fun runs (because I didn\'t know her). It\'s not often I sponsor or donate things, but I don\'t mind joining sweepstakes at work that\'ll make a donation.
Phone Whore
Wednesday 19th July, 2006 13:10
The worst thing happened: A phone whore sat down next to me.

In case you are not familiar with a term that I just made up, a phone whore is a woman who goes to the airport with no magazines, laptops, books, puzzles or other means to entertain her. All she has is a phone, and she?s going to use it, no matter how many people are annoyed.

Scott Adams makes me laugh almost as often as Amy makes me smile.

I\'ve finished the report I was working on this week. I didn\'t expect to finish so early, but the hosts I were testing haven\'t really been updated in the last year, so it was mostly a case of checking that the problems were still there. I don\'t know what I\'ll do for the rest of the week now, I\'ll have to make sure I look busy, and see if I can leave early on Friday or something. Maybe I\'ll even get to enjoy the glorious weather instead of being stuck in this air conditioned room wearing a jacket and drinking coffee to keep warm.

I think I\'ll go outside, warm up, and buy some food at the local shop.
Tuesday 18th July, 2006 10:45
The poor little things! They\'re slowly dying due to the pox.

The news comes after a red squirrel was confirmed to have died of squirrel pox virus in Ainsdale, Merseyside.

The virus is carried by grey squirrels but does not affect them. Red squirrels have no immunity to the disease.

Talking of cute things, Amy showed me her adorable little hamster (his name's Buster) last night. He's very fast, and is good at hiding under the sofa.
Tuesday 18th July, 2006 10:40
Not all of this strips are hilariously funny, but I found this one amusing.

No Shorts
Tuesday 18th July, 2006 09:36
I was thinking I might wear shorts today, but the little voice in my head told me to wear trousers (I don\'t really hear voices, by the way). It looks like the aircon has now been fixed, but I must have missed the email that arrived yesterday afternoon (I don\'t check my email that often when I\'m on the other network).

If the air conditioning does not get fixed today, we will get some fans for tomorrow. However, you can dress down if you wish (casual smart as on a Friday - however no shorts)

See, I knew they were socially unacceptable!

I managed to sign into my other MSN account today. I was having real trouble last night (I\'d give up after it repeatedly said connecting for over 2 minutes), although I could sign into my main one very quickly (5 seconds?), and even once I was in it said there was connection trouble - I was having the odd issue with my contact list too.
Stupid MSN
Monday 17th July, 2006 22:44
Why does it take me forever to sign in to Windows Live Messenger? I thought they\'d fixed the slow login times a while back?
Monday 17th July, 2006 11:38
Scott Adams made a recent blog entry that I suspect he\'ll remove at some point, as he sometimes does that with the controversial ones.

People understand that athletes need a little assistance in the writing department, so it's no big deal when they use co-authors. But as a writer, I wonder why I can\'t try out for the NFL using a co-athlete. I\'d bring the intangibles, such as my desire to make my co-athlete work extra hard in the off-season to stay in shape. I\'d also be willing to make him play hurt. The jumping and running and catching are the easy parts. It's the "competitiveness" that I\'d bring to the mix, and you can\'t put a price on that.

In fact, I can think of lots of jobs I could do as long as I had someone else to do the actual job. For example, I could get a job on a bomb squad and send my co-deactivator to the bomb site while I stayed home and enjoyed a nice toasted bagel. Again, I\'d contribute the intangibles, such as volunteering my co-deactivator for the most dangerous assignments.

I\'m not totally heartless. I\'d only work with a co-deactivator who had a horrible life to begin with. That way there's less at stake. And I\'d save a ton of money on training him when to cut the blue wire or the red one. It wouldn\'t matter that much to either of us.

I\'m always thinking.

It made me laugh, but only because I know he's not serious. I believe some countries train rats and mice to detect landmines, but even that's a bit too cruel for me (normal vermin might be fair game, but if you\'ve trained them up they\'re clearly smart and obedient and deserve respect). I say we build an army of robots that we use to deactivate bombs and clear landmines. Sure, it might be expensive, but you can\'t put a price on life. We\'d have to program them with enough bugs so they only last a few days, as we wouldn\'t want some kind of Terminator style uprising. Maybe that's why Microsoft have so many bugs in their software. They\'ve recently announced some kind of robot programming API, so we should be safe for now.
Monday 17th July, 2006 10:30
An email was sent around the office today.

We have just been advised that there is a technical problem with the cooler plant (perfect timing unfortunately).

Engineers have been summoned and will sort this out as a priority.

Facilities will keep us all updated; but in the interim we suggest you open windows where possible and patronize the water coolers

It's nice and warm here today, I\'m quite comfortable, possibly even too hot (I had to go buy myself a cool can of coke). Everyone else here seems to be hot. Weirdos. :)
IP 2 Location
Sunday 16th July, 2006 20:34
Interesting, all the IP 2 location type online tools say my IP address works out as Sweden.

You\'re located in

Obviously, I\'m not.
Blame Amy
Sunday 16th July, 2006 04:11
You can also blame Amy for the new design taking so long to appear. She keeps distracting me by chatting for hours on end over MSN. I told her I probably wouldn\'t mention her on here, as I don\'t like to gossip too much about my close friends, but she's so lovely. She does like mushrooms though. Yuck. Ah well, no one's perfect. She comes extremely close though.
Nearly There
Sunday 16th July, 2006 03:56
I couldn\'t sleep, so I decided to put the rest of the site into the new design. I still need to do the comments page in the new style (and work out which ID needs to present the new look - looks like 536), but the rest of the site should now match. The old diary entries (2002-2005) keep their old designs, but all the 2006 posts look pretty. I also sorted out the login page, so it should automatically redirect you to the diary page (without any delay) after a correct login. I think the CSS causes some issues in IE6/IE7, but usually a page refresh will sort anything out. Other things, like the list of past entries on the diary page, will appear once the page has finished loading the content.

I thought it was interesting (others might not) to see that the Dilbert cartoons push the middle box across to the right in IE6, but Mozilla shows the graphic going outside of the box. Mozilla also displays the long text outside of the box too (IE breaks it up at the open parentheses). This shouldn\'t be an issue unless your monitor displays 1024x768 (like my dad's). I usually view this site at 1280x800 or 1680x1050. Most people probably use 1280x1024. I still think my dad's crazy to have my decent Radeon 9800 pro with DIV output hooked up to the old 17" monitor via the VGA cable, while the 17" higher resolution TFT with DVI input sits with the worst computer that outputs VGA from a very old and basic graphics card. Ah well.

I really must delete the old Dilbert cartoon entries on here that now have broken links to the graphics. The Dilbert site only keeps the last month online (unless you pay for access to the whole back catalogue).
New Design
Friday 14th July, 2006 12:19
I finally did it, although it's just the home page right now (that I\'m going to consistently call the index page from now on). It looks a lot cleaner, and I think it looks better. There's still some tweaking to do, but it shouldn\'t change too much. Once I\'m happy with it I\'ll see about updating the login page (should be a 2 minute job) and then look into replacing the diary page's code so that all 2006 entries look like this. You can all blame Amy, I was telling her that I don\'t get a chance to be creative anymore and she asked me why, and I couldn\'t come up with a good answer. I\'ll hopefully do some even nicer looking graphics sometime, and maybe some different ones too (rather than reuse the same one repeatedly). What do you lot think of the new look? I might even look into updating the site so it\'ll replace emoticons on the fly (e.g. :) and :p) and perhaps allow some bbcode in the comment boxes (I should have some code from the BeerSoc site that\'ll let me do that). I\'ll have to find some emoticons I can use though.

Mmm, chocolate donut...
Friday 14th July, 2006 11:40
I noticed last night that my new design that I was messing around with a while back now works fine when viewed online in IE7 (maybe I should test it locally again lol). So I might get around to switching this site to the new look later tonight, as I\'m bored of the current look. I might just do it for the 2006 posts. It should work in both IE and Firefox (I haven\'t bothered with any others yet, but I should install the new version of Opera sometime to try it out and check out the site again).
Friday 14th July, 2006 09:48
I\'ve decided to try recreating one of my RAID 5 arrays as a set of 7 disks, leaving one spare, instead of the original set of 8. The idea is that if the RAID array were to fail because it lost a hard disk (yes, I know, how exactly do you lose a hard disk when it's still plugged in, spinning, and secured in the case with some wires and screws?), the system would rebuild itself on the spare drive. I don\'t know if the system would then beep for the 2.5 hours or so it\'d take to rebuild, or even if it would keep beeping after it's been recreated, but it's got to be a bit safer to have a spare lying dormant - I believe Chris has this setup with his drives. This meant I had to delete the old array, which didn\'t have that much data on it, but I\'d brought my 120GB disk back and left the 200GB one at my parents. I could have waited until I got back on Sunday, after collecting the drive this weekend, but I decided to cram as much as I could onto every spare drive (and a couple of DVDs) and I\'ll just sacrifice the rest. Most of it's old stuff I have on some unhealthy CD-Rs, some are things I can get away with losing. I\'ve only lost about 40GB worth of stuff - probably as big as some people's hard disks are - and the new array is building itself up as I type this.

If it does work, I may take a screwdriver (or is there a jumper on the cards?) to the loudspeakers on the RAID cards and permanently disable them. I\'ve set it to notify me by email, and I\'ve even setup a system where I can get SMS messages sent to my mobile if an error occurs, so it's not like I won\'t know about it if something goes wrong.

The good news is that I\'ve only had errors recently, I haven\'t had the array fail (touch wood), and I\'m wondering if it's because I changed power management to never spin down the hard disks (my theory was if it didn\'t spin up quickly enough the array would drop it). Chris reckons it could also be SMART that is causing issues, but to disable it I\'d have to connect each SATA disk up to access it directly - going through the RAID controller hides the disk from the software that lets me configure SMART - and this would take forever and involve undoing a hideous amount of wires. I\'ve also got several fans in the case to try and keep the disks and controller cards cool, two fans I\'m quite proud of (neatly and clevery attached with a Zalman bracket), the other 3 are just resting, as the case is on its side right now. I\'m still trying to work out what causes the random errors, but at least they\'re just errors, and not the death of the array. They only seem to occur when writing data, which suggests the problem lies with the controller card when it writes the parity data, so if this new smaller RAID array still has issues, I may be tempted to switch to software RAID with Windows, and if that cures the problem I may try and move the other array to software RAID - after obtaining the 200GB drive (and maybe some others) from my parents\' house, so I don\'t lose any data this time!
Thursday 13th July, 2006 13:45
I popped out to the shops to stretch my legs, and caught Jamiroquai on the radio (You Give Me Something) as I waited to pay. Now it's stuck in my head. I wonder if they have a greatest hits album out, as I\'m sure they could. There's probably about 3 great tracks on each album.
End Of An Era
Thursday 13th July, 2006 11:16
No, I\'m not on about the demise of Windows 9x (good riddance to it!), I\'m on about AOL, as they might be about to quit the ISP market, according to an article on The Register. UK press reports claim that a new front runner has emerged in the race to acquire AOL in the UK, with France Telecom said to be wanting to add AOL UK to its Orange broadband service, for around 1.2 bilion dollars.

The list of bidders is believed to include British Telecom, Carphone Warehouse (the mobile phone retailer and a recent entry in the broadband market), Telefonica's mobile phone service O2, BSkyB, and Orange, with broker Citigroup saying the deal is likely to be agreed by the end of July. AOL Germany and France are also thought to be on the block.

AOL used to be one of the most popular and best known ISPs. Sure, many people hated their proprietary way of doing things, but they did help a lot of users get online with minimal fuss. And for free, thanks to giving away several billion CDs with so many free hours.
Thursday 13th July, 2006 11:16
Dilbert Cartoon

Poundsaver shops were a good idea, but there should really be something for rich people too, like millionpoundsaver. I\'m not sure they should sell hugs though, but if they did it\'d be for a huge margin.
Wednesday 12th July, 2006 15:57
Such a pretty phone. I think I want it.

Sony Ericsson K800i
Poor Microsoft
Wednesday 12th July, 2006 12:21
Okay, so they\'re rich, and can afford to pay these fines, but I think it's unfair that they should. At the bottom of this BBC News article they mention the previous fine that was imposed by the EC ("The judgment also called for Microsoft to debundle its Windows Media Player from its Windows operating system, and slapped the software firm with a record fine of 497m euros"). Microsoft provided this version, Windows XP N, and no one has bought it. I\'m not joking, the facts are here on Microsoft's site (last updated April 2006): "Sales figures indicate that there has been virtually no demand from PC manufacturers, retailers and consumers for Windows XP N, the version of Windows XP that does not include multimedia functionality provided by Windows Media Player technologies"

Here are the damning facts:

XP N sales represent 0.005 percent (1/20,000th of one percent) of overall XP sales in Europe.
No PC manufacturers have ordered or preinstalled Windows XP N on PCs.
Only 1,787 copies of Windows XP N have been sold to retailers and distributors in Europe.
The number of copies actually purchased by consumers is not tracked; many may still be sitting on store shelves. The French retailer FNAC, the single largest retailer to order XP N representing 46% of the orders, has stated that it sees no consumer demand for Windows XP N.
By comparison, 35.5 million copies of the fully functional version of Windows XP were sold in Europe during the same nine-month period.

So who else thinks it's unfair that MS had to pay a fine of half a million euros for an OS that less than 2000 copies have been sold, and most of those are probably still sat on retail store shelves? It would be cheaper to give each person a normal copy of Windows XP and 250 euros in compensation for the inconvenience (effectively making it a free copy).
Wednesday 12th July, 2006 10:19
There's an article on BBC News about cyclists in Oxford being knocked off their bikes in a fit of "cycle rage". I don\'t hate all cyclists (Ian and Jo both cycle, and I think they\'re fine), and I wouldn\'t hate the inconsiderate and dangerous ones enough to knock them over, but a small part of me thinks perhaps they\'re being targetted because the few that have been attacked are really bad cyclists. It looks like Oxford does have quite a few, although this other BBC News article was a while ago: "Many cyclists are inconsiderate to pedestrians and ignore rules of the road, according to police".
Tuesday 11th July, 2006 20:11
Why do my pens keep running out on me when I play sudoku?
Monday 10th July, 2006 11:29
I love my K750i to bits, but I spotted that the K800i is out, and it looks lovely. There's a couple other new models that are out soon, like the W950i that appears to be an ultra slim version that plays music but lacks a camera, and the W850i that's a bit thicker but has a 2 megapixel camera (essentially an update of the W810i, I think). The K800i looks like it's very similar to the K750i, but it has a 3.2 megapixel camera, and the screen looks slightly bigger (I\'ll compare dimensions later). It also supports 3G. Perhaps I\'ll buy it, and start using my K750i with my work mobile's SIM so I don\'t have to work out how to use the the Nokia phone.
Things That Make Men Proud Of Themselves
Thursday 6th July, 2006 21:20
Let them have their little moment of glory.

She's struggling. You take it from her hands, open it effortlessly and pretend she loosened it for you. She didn\'t. Jars are men's work.

Especially policeman but even saying it to kids makes you the man.

Beckham free kicks - camp. A Stuart Pearce tackle is the pinnacle of the game, simultaneously winning the ball and crippling the man. Magic.

Blunt, is it? Hand it here love. No, I don\'t need a sharpener, I\'ve got a knife thanks!

A manly act which combines driving, lifting, and as you thrillingly drop your rubbish into another huge pile of other rubbish - noisy destruction.

Specifically, rising from the table, slinging your coat on and downing two thirds of a pint in one fluid movement. Then nodding towards the door, saying, "Let's go" and striding out while everyone else struggles to catch up with you. You\'re hard.

In the shed, solely to stir paint with.

Ideally it\'ll be a facial knife wound, but even an iron burn on the wrist is good. "Ooh, did it hurt". "Nah".

When birds have been partying they just whinge. You on the other hand have physical evidence of your hardness, sprouting from your face. "Big night?" Grr, what does it look like.

A moment's eye contact is all it takes for you to share the unspoken bond. "We\'ve not seen eye to eye in the past", it says, "but someone's got to keep the little scrotes in line".

Slightly more powerful than you need or can safely handle. Pneumatic drilling while smoking a fag? Superb.

Clang-g-g-g-g-g-! Stick that Becks, I kick so hard I set off car alarms.

And everyone cheers you. It doesn\'t mean you\'re popular, it just means your mates are pissed. However, the rest of the pub doesn\'t know that.

Fat is a feminist issue, apparently. Brilliant. Pass the pork scratchings.

And saying "are you a leg or breast man?" to the blokes and "do you want stuffing?" to the women. Congratulations, you are now your dad.

Turns women to putty. Doesn\'t it?

Ideally, B&Q would have little changing rooms with mirrors so you could see how rugged you look with any DIY item. Until then, we\'ll make do with the shop aisle.

Okay, so its for paying the plumber later, but with that much cash you feel like a mafia don. The only thing better is peeling notes off the roll later.

Unlike birds, we get straight to the point. "Alright? Yep. Drink? Red lion? George, it is then. Seven. See ya."

Bosh, straight in. First time. Can Schumacher do that? No, because his cars got no reverse gear which, technically, makes you the worlds best driver.

Since the dawn of time, men have toiled in the fields in blistering heat. Why? So when it's over they can stand there in silence, surveying their work with one hand resting on the beer gut while the other nurses a foaming jug of ale. Aaaah.

Especially if you didn\'t make a fuss. "Why was I off, nothing much, just a brain haemorrhage".

"A Phillips? For that? Are you mad, bint?"

A visual code that says \'that's right, I\'m going in there for a huge, long man-sized poo\'
Nuclear Power
Wednesday 5th July, 2006 15:45
Tony Blair has all but expressed outright support for a new generation of reactors to meet growing energy demands and climate change obligations ahead of the soon to be released DTI Energy Review. He has admitted an about-face on expanding nuclear power since the last policy review in 2003. Blair told the Commons liaison committee yesterday: "I\'ll be totally honest with you, I\'ve changed my mind."

I came to the conclusion back in 2003 that nuclear power was necessary, and I haven\'t changed my mind.
Random Blog
Wednesday 5th July, 2006 15:02
I came across a blog that raised some interesting ideas (I\'ll save the email one for later):

Sure you can encrypt the drive, you can install firewalls, web application firewalls, and anti-virus, but can you protect it from spyware? Lots of spyware is not detected by anti-virus for some reason (to this day, I really don\'t get why). Instead they sell different products which are not standard, or worse, let the user fend for themselves. So they end up downloading stuff like Microsoft's Defender or Ad-aware (if they know to be paranoid about it). I haven\'t yet seen one corporate laptop with anti-spyware installed by default for users.

So true, I didn\'t have anything on my work laptop, so I stuck Windows Defender on it, which means I installed software on here, which I\'m not allowed to do. I was also told by my office that I should use encryption - again, this involves installing software. This wouldn\'t be too much of a problem if they didn\'t give us admin rights on the machine to install software, but that's exactly what you get, so I created a local account that isn\'t an Administrator.

And the other point, is why don\'t anti-virus products detect and remove spyware? There seems to be a very fine line, some AV products remove things I would call spyware, while others don\'t (some spyware just spys, some are partly malicious, some propogate [like a viral infection?], some do everything). Some people market suites of software that do both as two separate products, but why not consolidate them? Otherwise your anti-spyware tool will scan the files, which will first be scanned by your AV software if you have on access scanning enabled (and I hope you do?), assuming the AV software doesn\'t remove the nasty virus first.

The other entry that I liked was this one:

Forgive me because I can\'t find the source, but the jist of it was, "Hello, we are your bank. Your token has expired. Please mail us your username, your password and your token so that we can insure that it gets replaced."

Can we stop talking about this now? You can\'t save your users from stupidity by asking them to adopt security. They\'ll find a better way to bypass your security with their ignorance. Trust me!

I\'m surprised by how many users will fall for a popup browser window saying something along the lines of "You\'ve been infected by spyware, run our free tool to [remove the infection/scan your computer for spyware/infect your PC with even more spyware]". Okay, where to start. If a browser window says you\'ve been infected by spyware, stop and ask yourself this: "If it's detected spyware on my computer, why do I need to run an additional program to scan for more?". Okay, the less stupid of you will want to ask yourselves: "It's a browser window, how does it know what's on my computer?". It doesn\'t (well, short of running an ActiveX control, which it should have prompted you to do unless you\'ve messed with your default settings - although spyware/viruses may well do that). It's guessing that most people are stupid enough to just believe what people say. And you know what, it works most of the time! Oh, and if you have to pay for a tool to fix your computer, don\'t do it. There are plenty of free ones that\'ll do the job for you. Okay, and finally, don\'t trust everyone that says they know what they\'re doing. Sometimes it's sensible to admit defeat and reinstall Windows (because, almost invariably, you\'ll also be running Windows) and copy your documents back across from trusted - and virus scanned - backups. Possibly off a CD, to avoid any NTFS nasties. If you have questions, as this is a fairly random post, leave comments.
No Frills
Wednesday 5th July, 2006 14:20
It looks like Universal might sell cheap CDs so consumers can buy the real thing and then rip it to the music device(s) they own. That sounds perfect to me, but a small part of me is upset that the packaging is going to be cheap and nasty. CDs should come in jewel cases. Mind you, I used to think games should come in big boxes andnot DVD cases, but I\'ve changed my mind now (not that I buy many games). If it's cheaper to buy the cheap CDs in the stores, I might stop buying so many online. Unless the online stores sell them even cheaper? I could do with buying some new music. And some more books to read.
Bad Week
Wednesday 5th July, 2006 10:03
I noticed my email had stopped working, so I got in touch with Jonathan, who coldn\'t see what the problem was (nor could I) so he tried restarting the mailserver, wich failed. So he threw a ticket into support and a bit later on I had email again. Hopefully I haven\'t lost anything (except maybe spam, as that rarely tries to resend) and the emails will slowly trickle in now that they\'ve stopped bouncing.

So, in typical fashion, shortly after that was resolved, my internet connection went down. Chris\' connection also went down at 2am, he told me this morning, so it's clearly an ISP issue. I\'m starting to get quite annoyed with FMN, I never had this kind of trouble with Telewest (sorry, NTL: Telewest, or soon to be Virgin).

Jessica told me yesterday that a friend from school's mum has just died, which is really sad. I\'d only met her a couple times, but she seemed really nice. She was a hard working single mum, and I don\'t think it's fair that my friend should lose both parents so early on.

And this morning I came across a message on Dave's forum from the guy I bought my new PC off. His dad went into a coma last night (this is the same friend that had his girlfriend break up with him the other week). I hope it all turns out okay.

So where's all the good luck gone this week?!?
Firefox Quirk
Wednesday 5th July, 2006 09:59
I was just reading the following message, and couldn\'t believe that the open source browser could be so badly written (my code, I can well imagine being inconsistent, but not an increasingly popular browser).

Ordinarily, when you have a window object containing a document from a thirdparty domain, you are not allowed to reference any kind of objects inside this window. Using a DOM 0 approach, window.frames[0].contentDocument will give you a security exception. However, reading the contentDocument property of the DOM element instead of the through the frames collection will give you a reference to the document object inside the thirdparty domain and even allow you to overwrite native DOM methods without throwing a security exception, such as document.getElementById("thirdparty").contentDocument.getElementById=function(s){alert(s)}. This also holds true for window.frames[0].document.getElementsByTagName and any other methods on the document object.

Functionally, the document and contentDocument properties both reference the same object and should obey the same security context rules, however Firefox differentiates based on how you reference that object and thus allows you to overwrite native DOM methods on a thirdparty domain, broadening the potential attack scope by allowing you to interfere with the operations of existing script code inside that thirdparty document.
Perl Arrays
Tuesday 4th July, 2006 15:49
I was trying to sort an array of non-unique values into a sorted array of unique values. Originally I sorted it and then compared each key against the next one in the array and added it to an additional temporary array if it was unique and then assigned the new array over the old array. It worked, but it wasn\'t particularly elegant. I used Google and came across this idea, you create a hash based on the array and then output the hash back as a sorted array. I\'ve just replaced a screen length of code with 3 lines. Nice.
Time For Lunch
Monday 3rd July, 2006 12:53
It's so f**king freezing in the office today. Sometimes, like now, I hate air conditioning (Jessica says I sound like Nikki off Big Brother, and thinks I\'m mad for not loving air con like her). Sometimes, like over the weekend, it was great. I ended up driving about 400 miles on Saturday and Sunday, as I headed down to Exeter, back up to Cheltenham, and then back to my flat via Bristol (to see Fab). I\'m fairly sick of driving now, and might take the train for the rest of the week. I had meant to meet up with Tania on Saturday evening, partly to make up for being too busy to see her in London the other weekend, but by the time I got back and installed Windows XP on a spare hard disk, I was too worn out to leave the house. Jessica finally (although she did apologise for neglecting me, awww *hug*) left me another email on Friday, which really brightened my day. while I was at Fab's he offered me coffee, it was surprisingly decent considering he only had soya milk. They seem to have switched the instant coffee at work from Nescafe to some cheap Kenco(?) stuff that doesn\'t taste too great. I wish they had proper coffee here. I was reading in the paper either on Saturday or Sunday that there's a formula for working out how many cups of coffee you need to get you through the day when you\'ve not had enough sleep, but it seemed quite extreme - that much caffeine can\'t be good for you. Talking of Big Brother, I caught some of it on Friday, and I hate to say it, but I want to see what happens as Ashlene votes people out of her current house into the main house and then has to face the music when she joins them again (as she doesn\'t know they\'re being moved across rather than evicted)! This year seems to be more like Bitchy Brother than Big Brother!

And here's a quick list of some cool apps:
Pure Text 2.0 - Convert rich text in your clipboard into plain text!
Paint.NET - a free .NET application that's much better than Paint
ISO Recorder - might have mentioned it before, really cool for quickly creating ISO images
Monday 3rd July, 2006 10:09
She's gone on holiday this week, but I saw this question and thought of her: In spain, do they call it "?Yahoo!"?

Apparently they don\'t.

Yahoo! Espa?a
IE7 Beta 3
Monday 3rd July, 2006 09:58
Oooh, I just read that you can reorder tabs in it. I installed it on SilentBobX (my new main machine, bought off a friend over the weekend), but havent really played with it much yet. I\'ll have to stick it on the rest sometime - especially as I think my other machine is still running IE7 Beta 1!
Monday 3rd July, 2006 09:24
I was reading an article about MySpace and I couldn\'t help but agree with the sentiment.

This astonished me. Here I was, only 23 and childless, and I was telling adults how to parent their teen! At that point I realized the awful truth: lots of people just don\'t know how to raise their kids.

The same situation holds true for MySpace. The company can hire all the security officers it wants, and it could replace every ad with a flashing banner that says "DO NOT TRUST RANDOM STRANGERS!!!", and send fliers to every parent in America ... and bad things would still happen to kids connected to MySpace. A lot of parents aren\'t very good at parenting, and part of being a teenager is saying and doing stupid things (I\'m example number one for that particular precept), trying to socialize as much as possible, and worrying at the same time about your hair and your weight and your zits and your clothes.

We can sure try to educate kids and parents and schools about MySpace, but I\'m just not certain how effective we\'re ever going to be. That doesn\'t mean we shouldn\'t try, but it also means that we can\'t expect perfect success. Any time you allow humans to come into contact with each other, there's the potential for exploitation. That doesn\'t mean disaster is guaranteed, however. It just means that we need to try to keep a cool head and not allow blind emotion and fear to cloud our better judgments.
© Robert Nicholls 2002-2021
The views and opinions expressed on this site do not represent the views of my employer.