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Messages - Ralf Maximus [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Signs You're a Crappy Programmer (and don't know it)
« on: December 01, 2007, 09:04 PM »

10. You remove all the comments you find because they take up valuable RAM.

9. You've locked yourself out of your own garage because you've misprogrammed the remote.

8. You discover all the error handlers in the project are named after you.

7. Instead of errors, your compiler generates terrorist alerts.

6. Your proudest achievement: Lead Developer for Windows ME Microsoft Bob.

5. The title on your business cards: "Shit For Brains".

4. You have your own security detail -- as protection from the QA team.

3. Your idea of "optimization" is to delete the stuff you don't understand.

2. You get flowers and expensive gifts after each software release.  From the competition.

1. Your version of "Hello World" crashes.

Site/Forum Features / Re: Subscribe to certain posters
« on: December 01, 2007, 08:43 PM »
I think SETI's hit pay dirt with that transmission.

General Software Discussion / Re: Are you testing XP SP3 RC ??
« on: December 01, 2007, 06:05 PM »
Also, any processes running as "Exploder" should be flagged as suspicious.

Living Room / Re: Help Name Our Cat!
« on: December 01, 2007, 06:02 PM »
What, you want to see my pu--

Nope, just can't say it.

General Software Discussion / Re: Maybe Vista doesn't suck?
« on: December 01, 2007, 06:00 PM »
I often think about the advent of the audio cassette in the late '60s and the video tape in the mid to late 70's and wonder if there was this level of paranoia about piracy.

You betcha.

General Software Discussion / Re: Maybe Vista doesn't suck?
« on: December 01, 2007, 02:53 PM »
There is a slim possibility that the whole DRM fracas will die down soon and the media companies will drop the whole thing in favor of some new approach.  Perhaps they will discover a sane way to license music and movies without treating the customers as crooks.

It happened with cassette audio tapes, and again with VHS in the 1970s.  For years they struggled to embed lockouts in tape machines to prevent users from illegally copying tapes, or recording from source.  That eventually stopped when the numbers came in and they paid attention: consumer recording actually ENHANCED interest in the licensed materials.

Maybe the wrinkly old bastards in charge will take a lesson from history and back off on DRM.

Unfortunately, your profile fits that of a spammer.  I.E. on your very first post you talked up a product or service, which is (usually) very suspicious.  Not saying you *are* a spammer, just pointing out the appearance to somebody who doesn't know you.

Generally speaking, it's safer to establish yourself on a forum by posting and replying for awhile before posting a positive review of anything.

Living Room / Re: Gamespot Editor Fired for Writing an Honest Review
« on: December 01, 2007, 02:46 PM »
I am surprised that anyone is surprised at this.

Living Room / Re: Help Name Our Cat!
« on: December 01, 2007, 02:44 PM »
Women and animals, apparently, from the pic.

What I want to know is: who fixed my webcam?

Truly, if "how often you crash" is THE golden measure for operating systems, then Unix wins hands down.  I mean, geez... if it crashed every day, that'd be something to bitch about.  But twice a year?

Personally I accept the fact that computers are complicated (and getting moreso) all the time, so the occasional crash is expected.  It's all designed and maintained by humans.

My point: jumping up and down about this metric as if it's the only one is kind of silly.  Focusing on value, usability, performance... those are all more meaningful to me.

Living Room / Re: Another cody spotting? CAPTION THIS PICTURE CONTEST
« on: November 30, 2007, 12:22 PM »
"This is the biggest damn gold coin I've ever seen.  How the heck am I gonna move it?"

General Software Discussion / Re: Are you testing XP SP3 RC ??
« on: November 30, 2007, 11:12 AM »
And so far: stability?

Living Room / Re: Looking for email SERVER
« on: November 30, 2007, 09:58 AM »
SurgeMail - I can't see how to make this retrieve POP3 from my GoDaddy. Also, I'd really prefer a GUI admin interface rather than CLI

SurgeMail has a wonderful GUI, all web-based via its internal HTML server.  It's similar to the web-access email client you can configure for users, but with administrator control panels.  EVERY feature can be configured via the HTML interface, most without needing a restart.   Looks a little like Yahoo's web 1.0 mail client; simple but effective.

And while it's not an email client (and thus isn't designed to retrieve mail from other servers) there's a shootload of add-ins that do all sorts of clever things.  Don't write off SurgeMail quite yet.

Find And Run Robot / Re: Programs not running
« on: November 30, 2007, 09:48 AM »
Could be some users have installed the URI patch from Microsoft?  Would explain why not everyone's experiencing this.

Find And Run Robot / Re: Programs not running
« on: November 30, 2007, 09:25 AM »
What's the difference between "launch directly" and FARR's default mode?

Living Room / Possessed Hardware?
« on: November 30, 2007, 09:18 AM »

Today I came downstairs to my office and heard an odd "thrumm thrumm thrumm" noise eminating from the corner of the room where the paper shredder lives.

Seems the durn thing had started spontaneously during the night and had been running unattended for hours and hours.  There was a thin cloud of blue smoke in the room, with the definite tang of burning metal.  The case was too hot to touch, so I yanked the cord.

After checking its paper bin for body parts and blood, I plugged it in again and... it's dead, jim.  Maybe the thermal sensor finally triggered and it's gotta cool down for awhile, or maybe it's really and truly toasted.

I blame Satan.

Here's another one: a few years back, a friend who moved here from a cold weather climate woke up one morning to the sound of his car running outside his apartment.  Rushing out to thwart a carjacking, he discovered that the car was indeed happily idling... but there was nobody about, and all the doors were locked.

His theory: sometime during the night his cat had jumped on his key fob, initiating the car's remote starting feature.  There's no telling how long the car had been sitting there, patiently running, awaiting its owner.  He didn't remember how much gas he had when he parked it, so his worst case estimate was it'd been running most of the night.

Theoretically the remote start shouldn't have worked, since for safety, it requires the user hold the button down for many seconds.  And cats don't have opposable thumbs.

Again, I blame Satan.

Any other Satanic hardware sightings out there?

Living Room / Re: Maintain control in your presentations
« on: November 30, 2007, 09:01 AM »
Excellent!  Set toupes on fire, burn holes in memos you dislike, and reheat your coffee -- all with one convenient tool.

A useful low-tech technique is to look the trouble-maker in the eye, opine that "the one-legged chicken doesn't scratch up the barnyard", and then move on.
(I've used this one several times at boardroom level -- it's worked for me!)

How does that work exactly?  Do they back away slowly, leaving you to complete your presentation in solitude?

Living Room / Test Your Internet Connection for Packet Spoofing
« on: November 30, 2007, 12:35 AM »
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published step-by-step instructions for determining whether your ISP is playing games with your packets.


According to EFF findings, Comcast has been performing "packet injection" whereby they slip an additional extra something into your data stream, their fake packets pretending to be your packets, and thus hosing up BitTorrent and other P2P transfers.  Why?  Because P2P sucks up as much as 95% of overnight bandwidth.  And here, I thought it was the pr0n.

You'll need a friend with a computer and a copy of WireShark (the world's best free packet sniffer) to play.  Instructions for Linux, Mac, and Windows included.

Living Room / The Doppelgänger Effect
« on: November 30, 2007, 12:14 AM »
I stumbled across this interesting read at the Fortean Times, your usual stop for UFO news, bigfoot sightings, and other paranormal treats.



(I stole the LOL cats from I Can Has Cheezburger)

The article chronicles the weird coincidences surrounding paranormal investigators where somebody who looks and/or sounds exactly like them shows up on the scene and starts meddling in the investigation.  One of the most heavily documented events was during John Keel's investigation of the Mothman during the late 1960's.

Anyway, this article ought to have you jumping at your own mirror reflection, or (god help you) if you're really a twin, looking at your sibling with eyes all slitty like. 

It's fun stuff, and the whole Fortean web site is nifty too -- in small doses.  If, one day soon, your view of Sasquatch is blocked by fleets of UFOs abducting cattle near Area 51, you should probably take a break.

And now, a Doppelgänger personal account!  Yes, this really happened to me.  Twice.

Back in the late 1980's I lived in Houston, Texas.  There was a club there (Fitzgerald's) my friends and I would visit occasionally for live music and beer.  We'd go maybe three or four times a year.

One day I'm meeting my best friend for lunch, and when he arrives he starts quizzing me about where I was last night.  In fact, he's a little irritated at me.  Turns out he was at Fitzgerald's and saw me there!  Went over to talk with me (find out why I didn't invite him along) and half way through the conversation he realizes: this "me" doesn't know who the hell he is.  He's getting that "why is this stranger talking to me?" look on his face, like the next moment he's going to run away.  My friend gets very confused, assumes I'm being weird, and backs off.

Remember, this is my best friend.  We'd known each other for years.  He swore it was me, right down to the hair, eyeglasses, and what I was wearing.  After the Twilite Zone moment passes, we shrug it off and move on.

Here's where it gets weirder.

Another pal of mine calls me a week or so later and says she saw me at the mall.  Uh, what?  I've been here all day... haven't been to the mall in weeks.  She insists it was me, because "I" was wearing my favorite leather jacket.  After the prickles die down, I quiz her closely: the guy had my hair, glasses, and (according to her) moved like me.  She tried talking to "me" but I just walked off.

So... in the late 1980's my doppelgänger was alive(?) and functioning in Houston, Texas.  He had similar tastes in live music and shopping venues, and was probably sleeping with my girlfriend. 

Anyone here ever meet their evil twin?

Living Room / Journey to See the Center of the Earth
« on: November 29, 2007, 11:20 PM »
From the marvelous BLDG BLOG, comes this riff on the Ice Cube project: man's latest attempt to peer at what lurks in the center of earth.


What I like about BLDG is the tangental approach to science and technology.  Within the same article is speculation that maybe machines like this already exist and we've looked right past them, what would happen if the face of Jesus is revealed, Eggo waffles, and C4 explosives.

All in one magnificent link-strewn blog posting.  Check out the whole site; it's worth it.

General Software Discussion / Shut Up About Vista, Already
« on: November 29, 2007, 09:49 PM »
Found this HappyJoyJoy article about Vista on CyberNet, culminating with the suggestion that we should all quit whining about it.



You know my opinion of Vista by now, and I'm sure you have one too.  Whether you love Vista or think it's the new WindowsME doesn't matter; everyone has their own expectations and experiences, which is as it should be.  In other words, you are perfectly correct to love or loathe Vista in whatever fashion suits you.

I hold this article up, however, as a piece of propaganda.  Here's the core bit:


Got that?  Because people complained about XP when it came out, that invalidates the complaints about Vista now.  That's a little like getting mugged at the airport, and when it happens again people just roll their eyes and say, "there he goes getting mugged at the airport again; quit whining about it."

Ignoring the fact that even their examples are flawed (Vista's been out for 13+ months; business adoption rates for Vista are tanking; most Bird Flu victims are Vista users) the conclusion is jaw-dropping, especially for a technology web site.  Generally speaking, if customers are complaining, there's something wrong.

Finally, the two linked articles at the end are choice reads also.  One's a link to a happy Vista-using magazine editor who debunks the myth that Vista has slow bootup/shutdown times.  His methodology? He tweaks the test machines to remove functionality, in one case unplugging a USB drive.  See, because the drive had a FAT partition on it, it slowed down the boot.  What?  WHAT? Isn't that kind of normal to have multiple partitions on a drive?  Isn't that a FEATURE?  Good god, what would Vista do if there was a Linux partition on that drive?  Explode?

Oh, and here's another Knowledge Knugget: your browser boots faster if you uninstall the plug-ins.

See?  It's not Vista causing the problem... it's all this crap you people keep installing on it!  Vista'd be just fine if you'd leave it alone.  Leave poor Vista alone, you animals!  *sob*

By stripping down his machine so it boots in 90 seconds he proved anyone bashing Vista is an idiot.  And Vista users: you can even make money by selling those useless USB drives on eBay!

Look... I know Vista's not one of the signs of the Apocalypse.  Microsoft will get its act together and fix things and by this time next year workstations will be faster so we won't notice what a bloated sweaty pig Vista is, and eventually all the teeth gnashing will die down.

Just as it did with XP. 

But dammit, *I* will be the one to decide when I am satisfied, and I reserve the right to cast disdain on products that do not meet my expectations.  Ignoring the problem, drinking the Kool Aid, and giggling over how pretty Vista is will not make things better.

Living Room / Re: A BIOS with musical taste
« on: November 29, 2007, 08:27 PM »
Speaking of musical interludes from unusual hardware, I used to have a program for my Commodore 64 that would play "Daisy" on the floppy drive... by thrashing the stepper motor back and forth a zillion times per second.  It generated a variable frequency buzz that would make your teeth ache.

It was something you always demonstrated on other people's hardware.

It sounds like there's a bunch of bored programmers at Acronis adding features just because they can.  Is any of that new stuff seriously necessary?

Converting a backup into a VM?  Consider: even if "conversion" takes zero time, it would destroy the backup image in the process.  Which means you probably need to make a copy of your image before conversion, so I'm still gonna sit around and watch 40 gigabytes spool back and forth.  Where's the convenience in that?  Much simpler to just load the backup into the VM.

Consolidating archives?  Why?  Disk savings?  But incrementals don't take much at all.  But I figured out how to consolidate my incrementals a long time ago: it's called making a new full backup.

Browsing without mounting?  Now THAT's kind of cool... except then they don't give me access to explorer.   So I might as well mount the thing to use it, especially if I'm going to go tear-assing around looking for a specific file.

They need to stop tweaking True Image before they wreck something important, like... I don't know, its ability to reliably make backups and restore them.

What a seriously amusing rant! 

And informative too: I learned more about Leopard's new features (and what they're supposed to do) than in most of the press releases.

Morticia! You spoke French!

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