Monthly Archives: May 2006

Various stuff

Jeremy Zawodny theorises that NoFollow was a waste of time, making no difference to comment spam, and discouraging legitimate commenters.

Coding Horror has some more details on the Microsoft anti-piracy (Ahoy!) nag screens that we mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Google Australia has jobs available in Sydney.

I’ve been thinking… I wonder if someone would write a Greasemonkey script to correct Charles Wrights’ personal pronouns? we -> I; us -> me; our -> my; ours -> mine.

Tim O’Reilly responds on the fuss over O’Reilly partners CMP sending a cease and desist letter over the use of the term “Web 2.0” for a conference.

Windows Automatic Updates

The following question is clear, with the answers easily and quickly selectable.
Ask me once, fine. Ask me every fricken ten mintues, I kill you! I kill you!
But if you pick “Restart Later”, it obviously means “Ask me in another ten minutes”. Which is tiresome over an eight hour day.

I now understand how toddlers get all that candy they eat.

Top Ten Stock Photography Cliches

Ha! But, I guess that’s why they’re the Top Ten Stock Photography Cliches. But, still, funny.

An observation: iStockphoto has about an order of magnitude more photos that Yotophoto. Perhaps it’s because the photographers get rewarded for the photos used from iStockphoto.

DIY Digital Picture Frame

Full, step-by-step instructions (with pcitures) on building your own cheap and easy Digital Picture Frame. Answering an unasked question on the selection of componentry, the author says:

Why a toggle switch? Because toggle switches rule, that’s why. We don’t want no puny sliding power switches. Oh no, this power switch is 25 percent functional, 75 percent hardcore awesome.

But why do this? You can buy one for a few hundred bucks. I guess it’s just the whole DIY thing, isn’t it? I guess you’re also recycling unloved tech into totally hardcore awesome tech.

What is that process?

For those of you who pull up task manager with a View to a Kill, check out the list of processes at – drowned in ads for inappropriate stuff, but the information is worthwhile.

The 25 worst tech products of all time

According to PC World, here’s the 25 worst tech products of all time.

My quick rants about some of the top 25:

The all time number 1 is AOL… the ISP whose damn software still shows up in unlikely places. Such as the free copy of Broderbund’s 3D Home Architect that one of my kids convinced me to try out the other day (came with the latest issue of Australian Personal Computer). Hint: I’m in Australia… I don’t need, want, nor can use, an America Online trial. I’ve certainly had a few AOL coasters in my time, too. (By the way, the short-lived AOL Australia got bought by Primus. I like the way the info page for their dialup offering is broken.)

#2 — RealPlayer. Oh yeah, I hate RealPlayer, but some of my favourite content providers (such as ABC and BBC) still use it. Fortunately there is now a reasonable alternative (a codec for Windows MediaPlayer).

#10 — dBase IV. I had a theory years ago that version 4 of anything wasn’t very good. It happened with DOS 4.0, VB4, dBase… and others, I’m sure.

Anyway, have a read of the entire article.

Windows System Reqs. 1990-2006: More For Less

The price of a minimally speced Windows box keeps going down. So the portion of the price that is the OS keeps going up. I predict that eventually Microsoft will just give you a computer with each of copy of Windows. Oh, they already do that: it’s called the XBox!

Too scared to wipe your machine just to improve performance?

If you’re too scared to wipe your machine just to improve performance, follow these
instructions for keeping your old installation in a virtual machine.

Seriously, you’ve got to check out the screenshot of this guy’s Start Menu. Don’t believe them when they say size isn’t everything!

Watch the freaky zoom-in photo mosaic

Watch the freaky interactive zoom-in photo mosaicphoto mosaic – makes upgrading to the next version of Macromedia Flash worth it!

htaccess Generator

Daniel would love this htaccess Generator, not that he needs it, what with him being a htaccess-loving-geek and all

Wow, how did I miss the Mechanical Turk?

Amazon Mechanical Turk is an astonishing idea – an Artificial AI marketplace. Basically, there’s an API you can call to get humans to do tasks (oddly enough, they want to be paid). Currently, a big favourite for the tasks is transcribing podcasts. I can see that it would be a cheap way to truth a set of training data for AI systems, like number plate detection / recognition.

An artist has used the Mechanical Turk to acquire 10,000 hand drawn left-facing sheep and put them on a site for your viewing pleasure – plus, there was an exhibition of the collectable stamp sheets etc (you can buy the as stamp-sheets for only $20 a sheet). Given the images cost less than a cent each to acquire, he may be a bullshit artist.

The Turk is an example of what Wired calls Rise of Crowdsourcing – Remember outsourcing? Sending jobs to India and China is so 2003. The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D. It’s about the markets, people. These are markets for micro-transactions – micro in their repeatability, or micro in their value.