I happened to come accross this article and I wasn't surprised.

First of all go read the article. It's a bit long, I know, but it's well written and it kept me interested.

Anyone reading this will be of the same opinion that this is totally unacceptable. I am not against companies taking measures to protect pirating and such but they still have to follow certain rules. It appears that if a company has a lot of cash, an in-house legal department and the balls they will certainly try to infringe on basic human rights to increase profits and make the fat cats fatter.

They might be able to get away with it, so why shouldn't they try? Who knows how many of these little projects are tried and tested? Everyone's doing it.

Don't even get me started on datawarehouses and the techniques used to gather the data...

Well, it seems to me that the main argument by conservative people is that:

"pornographers will be given even more opportunities to flood our homes, libraries and society with pornography through the .xxx domain."

Do these people need a wake up call? The net is already pretty saturated with pornography and I doubt it will become any more so by having the .xxx domain. If anything, at least there will be an attempt made to put all the filth in one place (although I doubt that will ever be achieved).

Prostitution isn't called the oldest profession in the world for nothing. Does anyone honestly think that this 'problem' of pornography will ever disappear? There will always be demand for it, best have it all in one place than have it spread all over the place.

Some links on the topic:
The battle over triple 'x' Mar 22 2004
Bush administration objects to .xxx domains Aug 15 2005
Internet Board Again Delays Ruling on XXX Pornography Domain Sep 16 2005
ICANN


On a side, is this the most off topic, irrelevant thing on the topic said to date:
"The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children,"

Expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children... I just have to reread that quote more than once.
1) He is stating the obvious, its not exactly a secret that people express concern on the matter. Doesnt have anything to do with .xxx.
2) 6000 letters from a population of 295,734,134, thats a whopping 0.00202885%! They are really listening hard to hear what they have to say, and act upon it.

This certainly looks like a nice little christmas/birthday present. The supplied software for it is, however, very bad.

This interesting article explains how to make your own software for the gadget.

I have been making a website to give as a present for my sister. It was a learning experience. I had to get to grips with apache, PHP, MySQL and CSS, none of which I was familiar with. I do have a good SQL and programming basis, though, so I was able to get to grips with it fairly easily. I also registered a domain name. It was 4.84 EUR (5.84 USD) for a .net name for a whole year! For those interested, I got it here.

On a side note, PHP is a dream to work with. I found it very flexible and was able to do some nice things, like using JPGraph. Also, coding HTML and leaving almost all of the layout issues to CSS made for easy going.

Anyway, back on track. So I made a website for my pregnant sister. She is three and a bit months along now and I was asked to be godfather. This spurred me on. I decided to make a website where people could register, login and vote on what the gender and and date of birth would be. There was also to be a guestbook. All the data nicely being stored in the database.

I made everything from scratch, didn't download any scripts. And so when it came to registering, I just did the usual checks and then pumped it all into the database, cleartext.

Meanwhile, 11 people have logged in and voted. Curious as I was, I had a look at the database and saw all the passwords people were using. And I saw their email addresses.

I am certainly not a malignant webmaster, but I checked to see if people would actually use the same password everywhere. I shouldn't have been surprised, but of the 11 so far registered users about 4 of them used the same password for my site as their email.

I realise that in register scripts the passwords would first be made into an md5 hash and then entered into the database. This would probably be the case for most reputable sites.

I wonder though, how many less scrupulous webmasters have actually snooped around other peoples' emails, perhaps even taking information from them and using it to their advantage?

This is quite an obvious thing I am stating of course, passwords have to be stored somewhere and the databases have to be administered. But seeing it for real is another kettle of fish...

So beware!

I was on holiday all of last week, to my sister in England, very near Blackpool. On a side note, I went to the horse races at Chester. If you ever get the chance to go to horse races, place a few bets, follow the show, it is a great experience.

Back to the point of this post. We went by plane and they reminded us that the use of cell phones wasn't allowed and that they should be switched off. The thing is, we were sat on the plane for a while, on the ground, because we had lost our take off slot and we had an half hour wait by the gate.

So, we were just sat there. My girlfriend took out her mobile and decided to text the person picking us up, saying we were delayed. I am sure others did that as well. No harm done, switched phone back off. In front of us there were people there with a PDA with GPS on I think. He switched it on (as far as I could tell).

Now, shortly after that the pilot said over the intercom: "We can tell someone is using his cell phone, it's interfering with our instruments, please turn off all cell phones. If anyone is caught using his cell phone they will be removed from the flight and arrested."

Well, I had always thought that cell phones don't interfere. There is an interesting read on wikipedia on this: Mobile phones on aircraft. I have read other stories and seen programs on this which confirm that there is only a very small chance of mobile phones disturbing the flight instruments.

It just goes to show though that there is a danger of interference when using certain other wireless devices. I think, however, that this problem could be solved by just installing a jamming device in the cabins.

It also reminds me of the fact that you are not allowed to use electrical devices in petrol stations. There is absolutely no chance of a cell phone or laptop ever causing a spark. I saw this on TV and you practically have to rip open the battery for a spark of any kind.

My girlfriend asked me a question recently: "Is there a way to set my general printing options to default 'black and white' and 'draft', without them changing back." Her default Paper/Quality was set to 'Normal' and 'Color'.

You can change the settings for a session of Word for example, but once you close Word and re-open it, you will see that the settings have been changed again to what they were before (the global printing preferences).

Obviously I went straight to control panel, printer and selected properties of the printer I wanted to change the settings for. On the general tab you can select printing preferences and go to the Paper/Quality tab to select the default quality and color settings which you want to be applied for the user.

Well, that was the problem solved. Still, I can imagine this being a little intimidating for a more casual computer user so I have set out on a little quest to make a prog, probably written in vb.net, to set the quality and color settings for the default printer.

So far I have come across some pretty intersting things, for example, run this:
rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /?

Look at all the options available to you in the printer user interface. Nice to play around and experiment with some of those. I tried this:
rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /Xs /n "" ?
I found out some new and intresting ways of setting options.

Also, this site offers some good links and tips for all things related to printing settings: Undocumented Printing

Anyways, I am just tracking down the actual registry settings which I would have to change directly so I can implement them in my program.

If I can get it to work you can expect a post from me on this in the near future.

I have to report some strange behaviour exhibited by my mouse when it is near a cell phone*.

When I put my cell phone near my screen and my computer speakers (and mouse), the phone occasionally sends a signal. This doesn't always mean that I am receiving a text message or that I am receiving an incoming call. I think it's just a "see-I-am-still-here-and-alive" signal of some sort.

Well, you are probably all aware that when this signal occurs you can hear a kind of ticking sounds coming from the speakers and the monitor flickers a little with lines, as if it was in tune with the incoming/outgoing signal.

The strangest thing occurs though, when there's a incoming/outgoing signal it (sometimes) causes a left click of the mouse button. I can see the computer reacting as though I actually physically left clicked.

I have a cheap optical Logitech mouse, with cord, and I have a Samsung SGH-v206 phone. I haven't had time to do any substantial testing as to when it actually occurs and if it also causes a right click.

It's certainly very strange...

*cell phone (US) = mobile phone (UK) = GSM (Belgium).

Over here in Belgium we do like our cafés. They oose character and are a great place to sit and relax. Especially in the summer. You can sit outside on the terrace of the café and enjoy a good beer.

The weather was good today. Lots of sunshine and the forecast for this weekend is only better. So today I enjoyed a fine beer with my girlfriend. One thing I did notice, however, was that, as the tables were quite close together, people smoking on one table meant that other tables were getting the billowing smoke blown over their tabel.

Now, I am all for the rights of the smoker. I agree to the fact that you shouldn't go to a bar and expect there not to be smoke. Don't go to the bar if you don't want to be in a smoke filled room. For that matter, people can smoke as much as they want, who am I to say what anyone can or can't do.

I start getting more of a problem when it impacts my own personal space, especially when in a public area. Outside smoking should not hinder or impact anyone else in your surrounding. If I were to sit on a park bench I'd have a serious problem if someone started puffing away next to me.

I am of the opinion that there should be mutual respect for all people(s). A minority smokers, however, feel the need to blatently disregard any consideration for their fellow man and more often than not I find myself getting irritated by a smokers' behaviour.

Is common decency a thing of the past?

Lately I've had kind of an affinity for Asian movies. I don't mean films where Jackie Chan or some other Asian star gets put in a Western situation.

Everyone must have seen a Bruce Lee movie when they were younger, well, that's also how I first got introduced to an Asian star. The movies in which he starred were ultimately Western concoctions, but I did enjoy them. Move foreward a couple of years and I went to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (before it received an Oscar). That started me off in my interest.

Then I went looking for Asian movies, those made more for the Asian market. I wasn't disappointed. Here are some movies which I can highly recommend: House of Flying Daggers, Hero, Spirited Away, Zatoichi, Oldboy and others which I can't remember right now.

Also, on Belgium's MTV* on Friday and Saturday night from about 10 pm there's Asian Screen. It shows a random smattering of Asian movies. Don't get me wrong, not all movies are good, but they all have an aesthetic quality which I appreciate.

Well, I hope I have motivated some of you to go and watch an Asian movie. Give them a chance.

*Well actually it's the Dutch MTV, beamed across Belgium; don't get me started on the language issue or the lumping together of the Dutch and Belgian market.

I've used the scroll button for selecting pages in my favourites to open up in a new tab for a while now. However, one time I missed the intended favourite link and selected a folder with favourites in instead. And lo and behold, it opened up each of the links contained in the folder in a new tab. I managed to crash my browser doing that as it wanted to open all at once about 30 tabs. Not very healthy.

I have found some use for it however. Just as Dylan's tip lets you have multiple home pages start up in seperate tabs, once the tabs are closed, I now use my 'folder scroll button click trick' to open up those 5 or so pages again, ready to be viewed in seperate tabs.

That title is a bit of a mouthfull. But I think it describes perfectly what mean.

I am no real webdesigner, I have dabbled a little and made a few projects. But the times I have tried to develop a website, I have always got hung up one way or another on the colourschemes. Or lack thereof.

I can spend hours fiddling with colours, which ones to choose, mixing and matching for all I am worth. The hours of experimenting have by then blinded me to blindingly obvious that I truly lack any talent or insight and so I end up with a colour combination which is just plain awful.

So, surfing the net, as you do, I came across colr.org. A real help for me, and I hope it's of some use to you, the (mostly) anonimous readers. I came across the link from mambofrog.com, there's also lots of other goodies there for your consumption.

Tonight I am going to watch Starwars III. On Belgian tv there has been a very active advertising campaign to promote the film and there is one line that haunts me which is said in one of the trailers:

"But you were the chosen one." - Ewan McGregor

When you know the background story a little (no need to be an expert), this very line, the way it is said, the moment it is said, just sums it all up: the dispair, the incredulity...

Is it the timbre of his voice? Is it his acting skills? Is it my background knowledge? I don't know. But I watched the trailer and remembered it and thought about it later and posted in my blog about it.

And it's not always a line which resonates, it can be a situation, an expression. One thing that is true for each case, is that when it is seen/heard out of context, it still has impact.

These moments are what I look for in a good flick. So next time you watch it, at that very moment, when that very line is said, you are still taken away by it.

I think most people at some time or other have worked with windows or are still working with windows. So most people know quite a few of the shortcuts available.

I came across one today which I didn't know about. Quite often I have a need to have several programs running but need them tiled vertically or horizontally. I used to drag and resize with my mouse until they were tiled. Well, there is a faster way.

Press ctrl, select in the task bar with your left mouse button the programs you want tiled, then right click on them and select your desired option.

Thats it. Is pretty handy.

*Disclaimer: The title of this articke "Tip Of The day" implies a daily contribution by the author. The author holds the right not comply with the implied timeframe.

In a recent little project I made a little java app which did this:
1. Check if a URL was present on the windows clipboard.
2. If so, connect to tinyurl.com and request it be made smaller.
3. Once the smaller URL was returned it would auto put it on windows clipboard again ready for pasting.

This turned out to be quite simple (I liked using a bit of regex to extract the made tiny url) until I wanted to add 2 more features:
1. Have it work in the system tray.
2. Have it catch the key-combo when minimised.

This wasn't quite as simple as you would think. The java prog is of course isolated from the native system by the JVM. For a novice working with native code and java turned out to be quite a challenge. I first tried to figure out JNI. Don't get me started on that. The tutorial on java.sun.com isn't that clear (for me) and JNI caused me a lot of headaches.

Anyway, I finally solved the problem by letting java start up a native app as a process and using streams from that app to deal with with the native events. I unfortunately didn't have time to implement this solution.

Well, this story is not really why I am posting. I just wanted to post the alternatives to tinyurl.com I came across while developing the above app:

I still prefer TinyURL although I also have found some good use for URLCutter which lets you make custom urls.

What is it with people and their inability to read emails longer than 1 sentence. And I am not talking about spam or unwanted mail. I am talking about emails in projects which have been going for 6 months and now the deadline looms.
Do these people really think that they have a gift of foresight? "Never mind the rest of the mail, from this one sentence I am sure I can blag my way through any conversation which relates to it."
Still, I guess its better than those people who dont read _any_ mail and are blissfully unaware of the team around them growing in contempt.

Hi all, just a quick intro to who I am. I am studying ICT, in Antwerp and have 1 year to go. I have many intrests and like being active with my girlfriend.
I do on occasion make tucking fypos and I hope they won't interupt anyones reading speed. I prefer cats to dogs, I prefer Fanta to Coke... I think i am just filling space here.
Well, I am gonna try and keep up blogging and see if I enjoy it. I think my posts can probably be divided in 3 main categories: Rants, Observations and What-The-Hell-Is-He-Talking-About.
Right, I think I'll leave it for the moment.

More posts can be found in the archives.