Category Archives: General

Stuff that doesn’t fit into existing categories

Earth-Destruction Status

I think we can all agree there are many issues with life on earth. A solution that may not have occurred to many of us is total destruction of the earth.

This is not a guide for wusses whose aim is merely to wipe out humanity. If total human genocide is your ultimate goal, you are reading the wrong document. There are far more efficient ways of doing this, many which are available and feasible RIGHT NOW. Nor is this a guide for those wanting to annihilate everything from single-celled life upwards, render Earth uninhabitable or simply conquer it. These are trivial goals in comparison.

Current Earth-Destruction Status

Some brief stuff

Good news for our friends across the Tasman: iTunes NZ just opened.

Speculation that the death of CNet editor James Kim can be attributed to bad advice from an online mapping service, which didn’t know the road the family took was dangerous in winter. I’ve previously noted faults in trip planners though the worst I encountered was trips that would take too long, gain you a traffic ticket or were physically impossible.

By the way, for those in Melbourne, Metlink now have their Journey Planner plotting more trips, and showing you maps, including walking to the stop.

Microsoft’s RSS blog featured a pr0n image for a short time due to a Flickr image owner protesting over use of his picture without attribution.

No Need To Standalone

Web developers have been using the very handy IE standalone for a while now. It gives access to IE versions dating back to IE3. While a handy tool to check backwards compatibility there are some limits and drawbacks.

Now Microsoft, yes, Microsoft, have come to the party and released a virtual hard drive that comes with a licensed copy of Windows XP SP2 and IE 6.0 installed. While targeted for the cross over time as people update from IE 6 to IE 7 it’s an incredibly handy (yet large) download. All you need is the, also free, Microsoft Virtual PC and you can have fully functioning IE 6 and 7 on the same PC. Hopefully further down the track they may release the 5.0 versions as an alarming number of people are still using these dinosaurs.

I like traffic lights

In case you’ve ever wondered…

Vertical slats are used to prevent people in the wrong spot seeing the light, eg for diagonal intersections like Camberwell Junction.

Horizontal slats are used to prevent people at a distance seeing the light, when they should be concentrating on a closer one.

Mesh can be used when both are a problem. Which is probably not very often.

Amazon’s data loss

Amazon has lost historic data. Sales data. Data for profiling customers.

I know. They lost mine.

I found out because it wouldn’t let me look inside The Complete Far Side because I don’t have an account that’s bought stuff – according to their records.

Except now I can look at the excerpt, but still they reckon I haven’t bought anything.

Weird.

Brief stuff

It’s a bit quiet here this week, probably because I’m busy and Josh is away offline somewhere in Gippsland.

Google have announced the Anita Borg scholarship programme is now running in Australia, offering A$5000 scholarships to women studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level in computer science in Australia.

One of the oldest games software houses in the world, let alone Australia, Melbourne House is in trouble, and likely to be sold/offloaded by Atari in the near future.

Another example of where being geek luddite is good: Dans Data on why the latest and greatest X mega-pixel cameras aren’t good value for money. I’m sticking with my 3.1MP Canon A70, thanks — for web and domestic use, it’s great.

Nothing lasts forever. This page logs the deaths of free email services: Free email DeathWatch.

Girls, music, and virtual PCs

Hmm, a calendar of Australian IT women, in the name of encouraging more women into the industry. Available online at itgoddess.info.

If you’re more at home with mucking about on Virtual Machines, then you might be interested to know that Virtual PC is now free.

Billy Bragg has applauded MySpace for backing down on their T+Cs imposed on artists who used the site to distribute music. “I am very pleased to see that MySpace have changed their terms of agreement from a declaration of their rights into a declaration of our rights as artists, making it clear that, as creators, we retain ownership of our material.”

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.

Snippets of geekitude

Gmail geekitude — In GMail with US English set, when you delete mail it goes to the “Trash” folder. Set it to UK English, and it’s “Deleted Items”.

TV geekitude — See how the ABC News titles look with no stories and no voiceover.

Google Video geekitude — Lots of snippets of info here, including the fact that Google’s video format is pretty much just a renamed DivX AVI.

Webmail geekitude — My web mail (Horde) puts a little flag against the country of the domain name of the sender. Of course it’s a little misleading when a message from someone using fastmail arrives, as it reckons it’s the Federated States of Micronesia…

Web design geekitude — The best freebie DHTML menus I’ve found so far are here. (Which I’ve implemented here and here. I reckon without too much trouble, WordPress’s categories could drive it automatically. Maybe something to put on the list for Geekrant 2.0.

Bored with Rubik’s cube?

So is the standard Rubik’s cube so easy that you’re bored with it? Can you solve it in 12.1 seconds?

Well, try your hand at a 4D Rubik’s cube.

Then, if your head hasn’t exploded, check out the 5D Rubik’s cube! From the site: “In the spirit of taking things too far, here is a fully functional 5-dimensional analog of Rubik’s cube.”

Sadly, 5 people have already solved the 5D cube. You can’t be first.

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.

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.