Everything, Everything - June 2006

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Sunday 25th June, 2006 19:10
I was meant to head into London yesterday to meet up with some friends, but I was busy sorting out something for work - plus I only have one set of keys and my brother was taking the train home in the afternoon. I\'m nearly there on this template for work, I haven\'t worked out what was breaking things, but I\'ve managed to work out the bits that are fine, and I know things a lot better than before. I\'m probably about 5/6ths of the way there now. It's really frustrating and boring, but it needs to be done as we\'ll probably have to use it in a few weeks.
RSS Feed
Friday 23rd June, 2006 12:54
They\'re all the rage nowadays, maybe I\'ll do one for this site too. It can\'t be that difficult to write.
I Want One
Friday 23rd June, 2006 11:55
Intel's Core 2 DUO E6600 - it's a 2.40GHz Conroe chip, one of these should be as good (if not better) than my dual 2.4GHz Xeon fileserver. And it should run a lot cooler too. It's a bit expensive though, but not as bad (or presumably as hot) as the Extreme Edition that's 2.93GHz and 3x the price!
Thursday 22nd June, 2006 11:08
Scott Adams caused some controversy the other day with a recent Dilbert cartoon, about a place called Fecalruba.

Man, did I get angry e-mail from Aruba when that comic ran. Apparently the Arubans, or Arubians, or Arubitarians - whatever they call themselves - think that Fecalruba is my way of mocking Aruba. Apparently they\'re still quite touchy about the bad press when American Natalee Holloway disappeared there.

The blog entry is quite funny, but I think the prize has to go to one of the comments:

Maybe you could mollify them somewhat by doing another strip where the residents of Fecalruba want badly to go to Aruba, but get turned down for visas because they haven\'t committed any unsolved murders

But the biggest complaint is the strip itself, and Scott's misuse of the apostrophe. With mistakes like that, no wonder kids are using "txt msg" abbreviations in their exams, and making mistakes when spraying graffiti on walls around the corner of my office (apparently, "Adam is a cunut").

The other day Ian asked us in the office how we spell misconfiguration, as Word's spellchecker complained it wasn\'t a real word. I said the correct spelling; someone else suggested a hyphen, so I threw the hyphenated version into Google, and up comes the message:

Did you mean: misconfiguration

It's good to be right. Just a shame I don\'t have a spellchecker on here, as I\'m forever making typos, and if I use my mobile the predictive text often makes me write nonsense.
Doctor Who
Wednesday 21st June, 2006 12:54
I really liked the last episode, as it was different, tragic, but also funny. It also didn\'t feature much of The Doctor or Rose, which is probably a good thing.
Tuesday 20th June, 2006 16:56
I\'m not the only person that loves television, Scott Adams has confessed his love for it too. I\'m glad I\'m not the only one that enjoys movies aimed at kids either.
Windows Live Messenger
Tuesday 20th June, 2006 12:08
Microsoft has finally released Windows Live Messenger, available at http://get.live.com/messenger/overview, one of the first of more than 20 new Windows Live services to launch globally over the course of the year. I\'m glad it's finally lost BETA from its name. The release date of Messenger Plus! Live will be officially announced tomorrow - Patchou says the software is completely finished, but the translations and website are still being worked on. It looks like we might eventually be able to get email addresses at live.com and windowslive.com domains.

For those wondering what will happen to MSN Messenger, it will live on "for people using operating systems older than Windows XP (on which Windows Live Messenger is not supported)". Bear in mind that 98 and Me are no longer officially supported (or at least as of next month), so that only leaves Windows 2000, which ended mainstream support a year ago, and was never meant to be an operating system used at home (although I rush out and buy the student pack so I could run Windows 2000 Pro, the first Microsoft OS that I really liked). So I can\'t see MSN 7.5 lasting much longer.
Monday 19th June, 2006 17:19
I got fed up of the plugin I initially installed in Winamp, as it only read ID3v1 tags, so long thing got chopped off (not very pretty). I looked into one that looked nice, but it sent data as an array (and I only care about the artist and name). So I found a very basic one, and it does the trick perfectly. Look out for the long titles on the homepage. I plan on updating the code so it\'ll show you the last two (or more?) tracks. Now I just need to install and configure the plugin on my other machine(s).
Reality TV
Wednesday 14th June, 2006 12:29
Is it really reality? Someone posted on a blog: "just a month ago I was at a nightclub in Hollywood when Gene Simmons, of KISS, showed up to film for his reality series - and wrestled gogo girls in a tub of lube". If he wasn\'t filming for a reality TV series would he really be wrestling girls? I doubt it (actually, maybe he would, but you know what I\'m getting at). How about Big Brother? How can that be reality when they\'re locked in a room without normal day to day items like the internet, TV, random people calling your mobile. And they\'re all lunatics, normally an office or room is full of mostly sane people (and often boring) people. I guess live TV isn\'t quite as catchy, and doesn\'t really apply as BB is meant to be timeshifted by about 30 seconds on the live feed, and the daily shows are a summary. Trash TV might be a more suitable title.
Tuesday 13th June, 2006 13:36
I was reading SBSDiva\'a blog again:

Sometimes it's the little things in life that make you smile... like the line to the men's bathroom at TechEd...

..when of course the women's restroom has no line..

If I were there I\'d have put on a skirt and nipped into the women's. Or perhaps just nipped into the women's.
Monday 12th June, 2006 09:59
Whenever I see someone with a Blackberry (the device, not the fruit) I don\'t know if I hate them or if I\'m secretly jealous. I never used to want a mobile phone, and managed to go years after most people had one. I only took my brother's old (chunky and gold coloured) one to uni with me in case of an emergency. But then I started using it to text friends (and then I lost it and missed it), then I had a new one that was small and pretty (Nokia 3210) and then I got my first real love: the SonyEricsson T610. Now I couldn\'t live without my SonyEricsson K750i (the camera takes really good photos, and I can browse web pages). So I suspect I\'ll probably end up getting a Blackberry, or something similar, at some point. There are people in the office here that have them - some were using them during our last big meeting, and they got told off a couple times - but a lot of the users arcan be quite rude. Perhaps that's because the only people that could initially afford them were the type of pushy and arrogant people that do well in the world. I think they\'re dropping in price now, so I\'m sure more people will start to adopt them. Anyway, today's rant on Blackberries was inspired by today's Dilbert cartoon.
How Old Is Your Installation Of Windows
Sunday 11th June, 2006 00:13
To find out, go to the Command Prompt and type (or paste)

systeminfo|find /i "install date"

Here's what I get when I run it:

Original Install Date: 10/01/2003, 17:04:47

Just over three years and five months. Not bad, eh?
CDex Is Back
Saturday 10th June, 2006 00:32
Kinda. There's a new version out (1.70b1), and it looks like Albert Faber is back, and there's meant to be a new manager. Yay.
Thursday 8th June, 2006 15:47
Sometimes it's the little things

I enjoy reading Susan Bradley's blog, and came across this recent entry:

So this morning the power was dropping and the lights were blinking.. so we called PG&E and got them to come over and look.. I was joking that it was due to changing out our old Scientific America cable box with the new digital one that takes a rocket scientist degree to figure out... and I have to reprogram the Pronto remote (ugh)...

So PG&E came out and it was....

the squirrels.. they had eaten through the cables again....

Sometimes it is the little things that make your technology not quite work right...

Aawww, squirrels. They\'re so cute, how can you hate them. I think they were to blame when one of the halls (Birks?) lost their network connection at Exeter uni.
Thursday 8th June, 2006 15:38
I just read that Windows Vista allows you to install the drivers from a USB storage key (you couldn\'t do it with XP, you needed a floppy drive). Now it should be fairly simple to install SATA and RAID controller drivers in order to detect the drives - rather than get to the next screen and scream at Windows because it has now detected the USB pen drive and is prompting you to install Windows on there (rather than the huge hard disks you were hoping to use). That should save me from having to slipstream CDs.
Thursday 8th June, 2006 13:56
I came back from a quick lunch and had an even quicker chat with Holly. She's just rediscovered that \'90s track Would You by Touch And Go, and now I\'ve got it stuck in my head too.
MS SQL Server 2005
Thursday 8th June, 2006 12:33
I know MS SQL Server 2000 hasn\'t got a fantastic reputation (perhaps deservedly), but the more I look into it, the more impressed I am with 2005. A default installation appears to be very well configured, with many potentially dangerous things disabled (and with SQL Server Surface Area Configuration and SQL Server Configuration Manager it's easy to enable them). Mind you, even though I\'m impressed, I\'m still not very excited by it. You\'d have to be a bit odd to get excited by database software. Most of my friends seem more excited by Crysis, but one look at those screenshots and you can understand why, they nearly look real. Perhaps I\'ll even get myself a new PC and a better graphics card so I can play it. I\'m thinking of holding out until Vista is finally released and getting myself a lovely Conroe (Intel's Core 2 Duo) based desktop - hopefully with Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. Unless I buy a laptop instead. Decisions, decisions.
That Damn Number Again
Tuesday 6th June, 2006 22:56
My work mobile had a missed call from that Cardiff number - 02920 368700 - the same one that tried cold calling my personal mobile last month.
Evil Adobe
Monday 5th June, 2006 17:07
There's an interesting article at The Register that says Microsoft is digging in for legal action from Adobe after the two fell out over the inclusion of a "save as pdf" feature in next year's Office suite. It doesn\'t surprise me, but (for once) I totally agree with Microsoft and want them to win (okay, maybe not for once, that Eolas patent is also rubbish, and I hate having to click to activate ActiveX controls now).

Microsoft associate general counsel Horacio Gutierrez told the Reg: "We\'ve been discussing this for several weeks, and of course have been partners for many years, but talks have now ended. It concerns Office and the "save as" feature. In the end we agreed to remove the features and make them downloadable by customers, but Adobe felt this was not enough.

Gutierrez said: "They want us to charge our customers even though pdf is a royalty-free license - it's free in Star Office, in Open Office and in Apple, so we\'d be the only ones charging for it.

I gather Adobe like to charge some commercial products that create PDFs, but it seems to allow open source products to use it without any trouble. I think Microsoft were more than reasonable to remove the feature and make it a downloadable option (hey, it was good enough for Europe and the silly Windows Media Player case - okay, so maybe that's a third thing Microsoft should have won), but I guess Adobe are greedy. That's the problem with a royalty-free license, once people have a similar/better product available for free, you\'re basically not going to make any more money. I expect Microsoft will hit similar problems with XPS, but then again they\'re not bothered about money, they just want to try and help tie people into using Windows. Which I don\'t mind, but I know some people will (it sounds like a good format, but I\'m not sure it can fit into a market that's already got enough good formats - look how long it took PNG to gain popularity, even despite the GIF patent problem).
No More Ransom
Friday 2nd June, 2006 09:39
The Archiveus virus is the latest example of so-called "ransomware" that tries to extort cash from victims. Analysis has revealed that the password to unlock the file containing all the hijacked files is contained within the code of the virus itself.

The 30-digit password locking the files is "mf2lro8sw03ufvnsq034jfowr18f3cszc20vmw". Using the password should restore all the hijacked files.

Archiveus was discovered on 6 May but it took the rest of the month for the first victim, Rochdale nurse Helen Barrow, to emerge. Ms Barrow is thought to have fallen victim when she responded to an on-screen message warning her that her computer had contracted another unnamed virus. The virus asks those it infects to buy drugs on one of three websites to get their files back.

If I remember rightly, when I first heard about the story it mentioned that her anti virus definitions weren\'t up to date, so it's hard to be entirely sympathetic.
Friday 2nd June, 2006 09:14
Nice to see they\'re doing something right. A vulnerability has been found in IE (shocking, I know) that will make the browser crash when you click on it. It looks like it's a stack overflow in inetconn.dll, but it's most likely not exploitable because the DLL is compiled with /GS. There are no other interesting variables to overwrite between the buffer and the return address. It would probably be exploitable on older systems not compiled with /GS, but the code was added in XP SP2. Not only that, but it looks like it's already been fixed in IE7 (7.0.5346.5 on XP is apparently not vulnerable). It's bad that you can crash the browser, but it's good that it doesn\'t look like it can be used maliciously. Now if only they could sort out the memory leaks in IE7 Beta.
Thursday 1st June, 2006 16:25
I often read comments left on Scott Adams\' Dilbert Blog, and he asked religious people how "God" talks to them (and suggested that "Satan" could be pretending to be "God", slowly building up your trust until he asks you to shoot an orphanage with a bazooka/kill your son - apparently the latter won\'t happen anymore as there is a little deal known as the New Covenant that Jesus made which means that Christians no longer have to perform sacrifices to God: Jesus was the sacrifice). Anyway, I\'m a geek, so this made me laugh.

He emails me. Don\'t get me started about his misuse of the "urgent" flag!!

And another person left a quote from House (one of my fave TV shows).

"You talk to God, you\'re religious. God talks to you, you\'re psychotic."
IE7 Tabs
Thursday 1st June, 2006 11:09
I finally noticed that there are shortcut keys for IE7's tabs (Vista told me when I clicked the down arrow, I was about to just tell it not to show me the info ever again, so it was good that I paused to read it). Now I can quickly close the current tab without messing around with the mouse.

Open links in a new tab in the background CTRL+click
Open links in a new tab in the foreground CTRL+SHIFT+click
Open a new tab in the foreground CTRL+T
Open a new tab from the address bar ALT+ENTER
Open a new tab from the Toolbar Search Box ALT+ENTER
Open Quick Tabs (thumbnail view) CTRL+Q
Switch between tabs CTRL+TAB/CTRL+SHIFT+TAB
Switch to a specific tab number CTRL+n (n can be 1-8)
Switch to the last tab CTRL+9
Close current tab CTRL+W
Close all tabs ALT+F4
Close other tabs CTRL+Alt+F4
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The views and opinions expressed on this site do not represent the views of my employer.