Archive for category Internet

The only constant is change

I had been running this site off a Linux server in my basement for the last 7 years or so. At the time, I got the fastest connection available: 768k DSL. I later upgraded to 1.5Mb DSL. Now life has different priorities. I spend much of my free time with my family, and I no longer had time to maintain the machine or the OS. I have moved the server to a hosted space, disconnected the DSL and turned off the server after all this time. I can safely say that my basement is now devoid of the whine of fan motors. We also have a much speedier 16 Mb connection thanks to Comcast. Qwest had sent us advertisements over and over again saying that Fiber was coming to our neighborhood (with 20Mb service), and even went as far as to put flyers on the doors of the whole neighborhood saying that it was available. Calls into Qwest proved fruitless in that regard. Their loss.

For the curious, the previous site was run a dual processor Pentium III 450 that I inherited from a previous job on Gentoo Linux. I only had one crash the whole time it was up, and that was because of unexpected power loss and damage to the motherboard. I’d recommend a UPS for any computer without a built in battery.

The site goes on. Whee.

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Yahoo Autosync needs an update

Yahoo Autosync must be a low priority item for Yahoo. I am running Vista, and it isn’t usable. Looking at the help page for Autosync related to supported platforms, it is pretty obvious that it isn’t something Yahoo values (or they don’t update help very often):

What are the system requirements?
Currently, you need Windows 2000, Windows XP Pro, or Windows XP Home.

You also need at least a Pentium Processor, 128MB RAM, and 40MB disk space.

Note: Vista/Outlook 2007 are not currently supported. We hope to have this by the end of 2007.

Last time I looked 2007, and 2008 have come and gone.

I guess I shouldn’t complain. I didn’t pay for it. 🙂

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A moment of mirth

Muppets and Kuberick, two great tastes that taste great together?

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Internet VD

There are a group of internet sites that exist for the sole purpose of generating advertisement hits. I see a lot of examples in the spam that gets filtered out of my blog.

While speaking with friends the other day, we came up with a term to describe these sites. They often contain no real content, and just referrals to other sites. Thus the term “Vacuous Destination” (along with its abbreviation “VD”, which has a whole different connotation, but I think appropriate as well) was hatched.

I hesitate to give examples of this stuff, as I don’t want to generate ANY revenue for them. If you have misspelled web addresses before and ended up at some odd search site, you might have seen one flavor of them. Another more obnoxious variety is the type that “hires” writers to provide “articles” so they have “content”. The articles are usually just a bunch of fluff, surrounded by advertisements. The best way to eliminate this sort of content from the internet is to not visit it AT ALL. Don’t certainly don’t click on any of the advertisement links on the sites.

Only you can prevent the spread of internet VD.

,

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Community Intelligence evolves

One of the aspects of the internet is starting to bear real fruit: community intelligence. Up until recently (from my perspective), the internet has been primarily used in a community sense for discussion boards (newsgroups, mailing lists, chat boards), and self indulgent websites (like this one). I frequent a couple of sites that are aiming slightly higher than the others.

One of them is the CAPS facilities provided by The Motley Fool. For years, The Motley Fool has promoted discussions on their stock boards, which I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to. The CAPS facilities provide a lot more than just simple discussion. They actually allow you to weigh your stock picks against the market, as well as weigh your stock predication abilities against other people. This becomes a community effort because you can post comments along with your picks that other users may end up reading (and commenting on). This has spawned a whole new community around these simple concepts. They have recently partnered with MSN, which has expanded the pool of users a bit. It is interesting to see how things grow and progress in that environment. I’m skeptical that the data gleaned from the site has merit, but that is remained to be seen.

The other site I have been frequenting is a site devoted to community reviewed wine called Cork’d. In addition to wine reviews, they also allow you to keep an online catalog of what wine you have stored, and provide the opportunity to search for online vendors to purchase wine. It is interesting to see how other people react to the wines Lisa and I have tried. Especially the bad ones. There are a few jokesters who rate wines inappropriately (Mad Dog with a 100 rating for example), but a lot of people put significant time and energy into their entries. Check the sites out if they sound interesting — there’s always room for one more!

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Yahoo Messenger 8.1 DOESN'T fix that annoying bug

The REALLY annoying bug that I posted about before has reappeared. Since Yahoo doesn’t seem to respond to any support requests on the subject, I thought I might try to help them debug the issue. Here are the Window’s messages that are processed by the main window every second or so:

<00002> 000B09E8 P message:0x0466 [User-defined:WM_USER+102] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00003> 000B09E8 P message:0x052E [User-defined:WM_USER+302] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00004> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00005> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00006> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED lpwp:0012F23C
<00007> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED
<00008> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00009> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00010> 000B09E8 P message:0x0466 [User-defined:WM_USER+102] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00011> 000B09E8 P message:0x052E [User-defined:WM_USER+302] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00012> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00013> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00014>000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED lpwp:0012F23C
<00015> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED
<00016> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00017> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00018> 000B09E8 P message:0x0466 [User-defined:WM_USER+102] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00019> 000B09E8 P message:0x052E [User-defined:WM_USER+302] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00020> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00021> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00022> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED lpwp:0012F23C
<00023> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED
<00024> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00025> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00026> 000B09E8 P message:0x0466 [User-defined:WM_USER+102] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00027> 000B09E8 P message:0x052E [User-defined:WM_USER+302] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00028> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00029> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00030>000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED lpwp:0012F23C
<00031> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGED
<00032> 000B09E8 S WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING lpwp:0012F23C
<00033> 000B09E8 R WM_WINDOWPOSCHANGING
<00034> 000B09E8 P message:0x0466 [User-defined:WM_USER+102] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203
<00035> 000B09E8 P message:0x052E [User-defined:WM_USER+302] wParam:00000000 lParam:00000203

Another bit of information that I thought was interesting: When this bug is occurring, Yahoo Messenger won’t pop-up in front of Command Prompt windows. Start->Run->cmd. As long as they are in the foreground.

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Yahoo Messenger 8.1 fixes that annoying bug…

Yahoo has released version 8.1 on the Yahoo Messenger page that seems to fix that annoying bug I posted about earlier.

Given my experience with this issue I think Yahoo! could learn a few things about software distribution:

  1. Respond to user queries through your customer service.
  2. Tell users when there is a new version of software.
  3. Put a release notes document on the messenger page so you can actually figure out what to expect in the new version.

Of course, you get what you pay for, and Messenger is “free” software.

I like the features of the Yahoo! software (Messenger, and Jukebox), but they are both resource pigs. I stopped running the Jukebox regularly because the thing chews up so much RAM.

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You are being watched…

There are some pretty dramatic views available on the new maps.live.com site of Portland. One of the features of this site, aside from the map, and satellite views that google maps and Yahoo Maps provide, is the “Bird’s Eye View”. I have explored the results of this for a few places in Portland, and in Las Vegas too. They have an amazing amount of detail, and being able to look at the given location from four directions is pretty impressive as well.

Check out these links for some samples:
The Hawthorne Bridge
Pioneer Place
Airplanes at the airport

It would be interesting to know how these images were captured. I assume from the angles that it had to be an airplane.

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Yahoo Messenger 8.0 has a really annoying bug

It looks like I’m not the only one that has run into this issue. I’ve had to stop running Yahoo Messenger 8.0. It has a bug in that it steals focus from all applications running, including its own windows. If you minimize it when you are signed in, it pops right back up. Even if you aren’t signed in, the window keeps popping up in front when you switch to another application. I have noticed that when you aren’t signed in, you can minimize the window and it doesn’t appear anymore.

I’ve turned on and off (it was already off) the “keep yahoo in front of other applications” option. It doesn’t help. The odd thing about it is that it seems to be some interaction with another application. It seems to happen less often if I launch YM before other applications, although it has started happening after it has been running for a bit. I tried to submit a defect report through the menu option, but the main window kept stealing the focus from the defect report window. I had to keep clicking in the defect window between each letter I typed (including spaces). It took me over 10 minutes to type a couple of sentences. In the link I mentioned above, someone has been seeing this issue since September, and I couldn’t find anything on the Yahoo site about it. Are you listening Yahoo???! You are losing users over this issue.

Updates:
Yahoo Messenger 8.1 fixes that annoying bug
Yahoo Messenger 8.1 doesn’t fix that annoying bug

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Weather Related Investigation

With the recent chill in the air — it was 25 degrees Farenheit, I wondered why we get goose-bumps. At the marvelous Wikipedia, I found an answer. It is a vestigial response. Come to think of it, “Vestigial Response” would make a good band name.

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