Monthly Archives: June 2006

Escher + Legoâ„¢

Sweet merciful mind-melting God! Photos of Lego implementations of Escher drawings are back on the web.

People People People: the pural of Lego is Lego. Like with sheep. In fact, I think Lego likes their bricks to be called “LEGO bricks” (yelling and all), to distinguish from the company.

Where did my Security tab go?

Directory securityI’m thoroughly used to the security options on resources (files, directories) that has been around in Windows (XP, 2000, NT) for years.

So it completely threw me when it vanished from the new XP SP2 installation I set up on the secondary PC. I was trying to get Midtown Madness 2 working for non-Admin users, and couldn’t find anywhere a way of making its directory writable to everybody.

The Security properties would only show me some dumb-arse sharing options that related only to sharing across the network. I didn’t want to do that.

“Put the directory in the Shared Folders!” said the help. Uhh yeah, like that’s gonna happen. It’s in smegging C:\Program Files.

I checked the drive format. NTFS; should be fine. I checked it against my other PC, which was showing the security tab for every file system object. Why was this not appearing?

With Jeremy keen to play the game, but me not keen to let him loose on an Admin account (even for a few minutes; it’s not a habit we should be encouraging), I searched MS support. Nothing. I Googled.

Finally I found it… some obscure yet useless setting called “Simple sharing” was turned on. Default if you are in a workgroup, apparently.

Simple sharing is so useless it must be designed for Simpletons. And I can’t understand why the Windows Help and the MS support web site were unable to give me the solution — (at least, until I knew the magic words Simple sharing).

Bloody Microsoft.

Advertising in web addresses

Got a well-known brand? Why bother with consistency? Instead, change its name and/or web address for advertising purposes!

It’s not Yahoo Australia … it’s Yahoo!7

Just when you thought you’d got used to, it’s changed back to

It’s not, it’s

It’s not, it’s (just in case you forget what the G stands for)

Within domains it can be a mess too. Microsoft’s site always makes sure the default pages don’t end in / but instead in whatever their latest web server technology is. It used to be /default.asp, then /default.aspx, now it’s /default.mspx. It must be a nightmare of forwarding, to make sure anybody who has bookmarked in the past still gets to where they want. Go to now, and it flickers past about 4 old addresses to get where it’s going.

Once upon a time, was the IE page. That one just produces an error now. Idiots.

Google browser sync

Google browser syncI love the idea of Google’s Firefox sync for keeping my bookmarks and so on synced between my work and home computers. It works really well.

But I’m rather less keen on sitting waiting for it to do the update when starting Firefox. Sometimes it seems to take ages. Thankfully you can cancel it if you’re too impatient.

More quickies

Smegging frelling goit! A list of fictional expletives. (via Jekke)

The security problems related to AJAX and mashups.

Believe it or not, there are guidelines for what makes someone notable enough to have a Wikipedia page.

You must have seen the Dell exploding laptop by now.

PS. Wednesday. Exploding laptop update: Dell gets hold of it to investigate, and confirms it was one of theirs; declines to name the model.

iPod pricing

Have you noticed that iPod pricing is suspiciously consistent across retailers?

The Trade Practices Act prohibits price coercion, doesn’t it?

How are Apple getting around this?

I suspect that there’s next to no margin on the iPods themselves, but the accessories are high margin. So there’s no room to discount, but the profit comes from the impulse upsell. But this theory doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to me, unless Apple’s making their money on iTunes rather than the iPods.

Shut the window!

Jensen Harris remarks that many people still double-click on the top-left of a window to close it.

How do you most often close a window in Windows?

  • a. Double-click top-left
  • b. Click on the Close X, top-right
  • c. Use the menu via keyboard or mouse: File / Exit or Close
  • d. Alt-F4 (and Ctrl-F4 closes individual document windows — w00t!)
  • e. Alt-Space, then choose Close on the menu
  • f. Right-click on the taskbar, then Close
  • g. (Going to the extremes now) Open Task Manager, go to the Applications list and End Task
  • h. (Even more extreme) Task Manager / Processes / End process
  • i. I never shut any. I just fill the screen up with windows until it runs so slowly I have to reboot

Or some other way I haven’t thought of? Or some other way on another operating system?

Ode to Windows

Microsoft team, 1978As Bill Gates prepares for semi-retirement, The Guardian has looked at where the other original(*) ten members of Microsoft are now.

(*)Okay not quite original, but those in the picture taken in Albuquerque.

The article doesn’t make comment on how many of them still have facial hair.

Most amusing: Ode to catastrophic failure in Windows XP

Stop Ian Frazer turning your daughter into a Wanton Slut

Ian Frazer (born January 6th, 1953) is an Australian immunologist, best known for his work on the development of a cervical cancer vaccine, which works by protecting women from Human papillomavirus (HPV). In January 2006 he was named Australian of the Year. — Source:Wikipedia

Now, this is a vacine, not a cure. It will only protect you if you get vacinated prior to exposure. HPV is a STD transferred regardless of condom use. It is also transferred mother-to-child in the birth canal.

In another example of misogynistic intervention, the Christian Right in the USA is opposing mandatory vaccination against the Human papillomavirus vaccine. I can imagine economists wanting to block it (at USD$300-$500 per patient), but they’d have no leg to stand on (USA: 4K deaths/pa @$1m each =$4b; that buys you 8m-12m vacinations per annum, which is more than the number of people you’d be looking to vacinate – figures go higher if you count number of non-fatal cancer cases, lower if you lower the value of the affected lives). The administration in the US is leaning towards the Christian Right’s views.

Katha Pollitt thinks that blocking this vaccine is the stupidist thing imaginable:

Raise your hand if you think that what is keeping girls virgins now is the threat of getting cervical cancer when they are 60 from a disease they’ve probably never heard of.

She rants like someone who cares. Cares a lot. Read her article.

“Sailorman” says that by not mandating this vaccine, the US government isn’t being rational:

I am a parent. And I confess that even though I KNOW the statistics, saying “sex” and relating it to “your 10 year old daughter” gives me the heebie-jeebies. But you bet your ass I’d have her in there for the shot.

He then goes on to give a detailed logical analysis that leads to the same conclusion as Katha Pollitt’s “Raise your hand” opinion.

CSL (an Aussie company) have been trying to make this vaccine fly:

CSL is working with Merck and Co. Inc (USA) to develop a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is based on proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) technology developed at the University of Queensland. This technology produces virus-shaped particles which mimic the real virus to produce a safe and effective immune response. The vaccine has four VLP components covering the HPV types 16, 18, 6 and 11. Following smaller scale clinical trials, the vaccine is now in advanced trials aimed at demonstrating its safety and effectiveness in tens of thousands of subjects.

I wonder what the Australian government’s position on this is? What would you guess? After all, Ian Frazer was named Australian of the Year.

Update: In 2007 the vaccine was listed in Australia for teenage females, and from February 2013 all 12 and 13 year olds are immunised.