is it safe?

December 31st, 2005

If you buy a brand new windows machine then there are ten steps to keep it safe. Well, as brand new as those tips appear to be, even if you do so, you can get your Windows PC infected simply by visiting a website.
one of the many articles disscussing the matter
If you are so unlucky and use a Windows PC then you could have been infected by clicking on that lick. Of course the link above is legit. But do you trust me? How many links do you click on?

I have written this again and again: I use no firewall, I use no virus protection, I am in the internet 16 hours a day and leave my computer on 24/7. I jump on every wifi that I can find if I need to. I visit all sorts of websites. Really everything. My cookie list reads really disgusting, that’s for sure. Various reasons, not really what you think. Point being that I behave extremely ‘dangerous’ and never had a single problem. No spyware, no virus, nothing. My computer runs what I want. No a single bit more. Always have been.

I am not particularly lucky nor smart. It’s just that I don’t run Windows.

It’s one of these things that make you shake your head if you look at it in clear daylight: You can even buy ‘virus protection software’ for OS X. People are so used to think that Computers need some extra protection that they miss the point that the whole switch will get you out of the mess that grew around Microsoft Windows.

The other day somebody told me that it was funny to watch me becoming such a Mac zealot. I think it’s more a passion for the alternative, that is less fucked up. Apple sucks in many ways: I am writing this, with a Microsoft mouse attached to my PowerBook6,7 since the trackpad goes stale till the next reboot. I have open bugs with their ‘pro’ division, and they didn’t come up with a solution. At all. But getting a new computer and having to go through ten steps to make it somewhat secure? Clearly I have an easier life. Imagine you buy a car and then have to go and get brakes and seat belts and a lock for it from somewhere else.


December 30th, 2005

the perfect Urban Myth

With real ones it does not even matter if they are true or not.

I could ramble how products are mere substitutes for game. How shopping might be like hunting.

very scary

December 30th, 2005

american beauty

this is all it takes

December 26th, 2005

What the current Pirate Bay looks like. More than 800K registered users. One rack that makes the RIAA and MPAA cringe.


December 23rd, 2005

Business 2005 and blink

December 21st, 2005

In 1999 a company callled blink did social bookmarks.
It’s founder reflects what went wrong

Web 1.0 vs. 2.0: Same basic concept. 12 Millon VC money vs. 1 guy and a mysql server and tags.

dear morons at Kodak

December 21st, 2005

“If you would have been not asleep at the wheel for the last fifteen years, then you might have gotten ‘digital’ and would be able to stay in business without ridicolous and pathetic marketing attempts.”

Thinking about it for seven more seconds, I can not believe that this real. Somebody must have ironed on some logo’s on some panties for whatever reason. It certainly is a stupid idea.

misc links

December 21st, 2005

things on a poster via veer

one blogger dreams

another blogger dreams

Fast Company about the future of Hollywood

worth the click for the first quote alone. I didn’t know that one, but I like it. Of course.

dear Santa

December 20th, 2005

never mind, one day I will get myself a 85mm 1.4 Nikkor

quick links

December 19th, 2005

the other ichat

crawling out of the uncanny valley

maybe I should pick up hacking again
celebrity hacking.

intro instead of ads

December 18th, 2005

The recent update (Version 92) to BlogsNow will go mostly unnoticed for most people. If you have never clicked on a BlogsNow link then you see a very reduced menu and an intro instead of ads. If you are new to BlogsNow then this should make understanding it easier.

If you are a veteran BlogsNow user and you don’t see the full meny anymore then you probably have cookies disabled.

Update 12/19/05 : looking at my numbers I decided to skip ads entirely for now.


December 17th, 2005

Andreas Pavel invented the Walkman

I knew about this story for so long and told it to so many people that at certain points I wasn’t even sure anymore if it was real or an urban myth.

black is the new black

December 17th, 2005

I am surprised that this is news or a rumor. Of course there will be black laptops from Apple. Or any other color that sells. It was never about ‘apple is the computer maker whos cheap laptops are white’. It was about ‘apple cares about design’.

Apple’s design is alright. It does stand out, since all the other computer makers just make crap.
The only other nice laptop that I saw was an IBM one.

apple and microsoft in 2006 and beyond

December 16th, 2005

I am not sure if Adobe is that important.

But the underlying question that Apple is indeed challenging Microsoft’s operating system monopoly is interesting. And not news to me.

What I had not realised is the vertical integration depth of all those Office applications and macros arouund it. This will most likely not go away. Ever. Vista will have a chance if all those tiny little visual basic thingies continue to work.

Those IT monsters will not go away. They rather turn the internet off of safety and glue the CDROM drives shut before they try to migrate those tangled webs of IT gopher tape to /anything/ that is different.

iTunes and vilodex

December 16th, 2005


simply click on this link.
Works with Firefox and Safari on Mac OS X 10.4.3 and iTunes 6.0.1

Before I thought this was slick:

Again it is so easy:

1. Open iTunes
2. Select “Subcribe to Podcast …” from the “Advanced” menu. ( it really is simple)
3. copy paste:

into the window and hit “ok”

Now your computer will make sure that you always have all the latest vilodex videos.
Never have to wait for a download again.

Those videos could be downloaded to an iPod, but they don’t have to.
The files can be found under your home directory:

iTunes Music

or you copy paste this into a terminal window:

open Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Music/Podcasts/vilodex/

to get a finder window.

make your own posters

December 16th, 2005

National Geographic had a nice idea.

HP or Canon or any color printer manufacturer should have done this a long time ago. Before yhey should have given you a DVD with lots and lots of images in super high resolution and a decent and fast way of browsing them. Gets you in the habbit of spreading that ink generously. But no, good ole NG had to come up with this one. And it might never dawn on Canon and Co what they are missing out on.

Beats me why HP has not signed deal with deviantart for instance.

those simple passwords

December 15th, 2005

elvis elvis
elvis elvis321
elvis elvis123
elvis 1
elvis 12
elvis 123
elvis 1234
elvis 12345
elvis 123456
elvis password
elvis passwd
elvis test
elvis test123
elvis sivle

unix is secure. But only as secure as your passwords: Just came across this lame rootkit on some computer.
Above the passwords that it seems to try for all users it seems to be frequent enough. Pretty lame, but it seems to work.
If you think you are smart and have a password like ‘usermane’ then think again.

twexus on PSP

December 15th, 2005

I picked up a PSP just after it came out. Finally I got around and upgraded firmware on it. And now there is a web browser. The pairs mode of twexus runs nicely one it. 10 pixels get cut off, but that is fair enough for a website that I wrote three years ago. It actually looks decent. This is what my webserver says in the agent column:

Mozilla/4.0 (PSP (PlayStation Portable); 2.00)

when the PSP comes along.

Box office year 2005

December 14th, 2005

It has been a bad year for the US movie box office.

Now everybody jumps to conclusions. Me too. Of course the theatre owners point to everything but themselves. I think they share much of the responsibility for their demise.

People stop going to the movies, and theatre owners blame the bad Hollywood product for it. Maybe they should buy some diversity instead. Maybe -gulp- they should take some risk? Only few theatres have more character than a chain restaurant. Most of them are generic as it comes. And then they show dismal ads.

Cinema also lost the arms race in quality: For the average consumer the picture at home can look as good as it does in the cinema. And this is mostly pre HD DVD we are talking about. The audio at home already is as much 5.1 as it can be in a cinema. Plus that the volume will be always right, and there is no talking person next to you. Or if there should be then that is your own choice, and there is always the pause button.

During the 50s TV took away the cinemas monopoly of showing moving images. Colored movies got a boost from this, but Hollywood and the theatres went one step further: They changed their own format to widescreen. This was costly for production and theatres. But seperated the movi experience from the pale 4 by 3 Black and white TV set. Content adopted to what worked well in cinema. Some Movie genres surrendered to “I Love Lucy” and the likes,
new ones like the Cinemascope Western thrived.

Nothing like this happens right now. The movie theatres have the same whinning tone that we heard from the recording industry for years. They seem equally unable to adopt. Media habbits are changing. Games, DVDs, Internet are booming.

Just like the recording industry the Theatres blame piracy for their demise. Which is the classical looser argument. It’s not going anywhere. It does not help to search your audience for camcorders.

Theatres would have a chance though: They could make movie going an experience. Something that is fun and cool. With bad projection, bad seats and dirty theatres you will loose against any big screen TV. If movie theatres don’t make the show an event again, then they will go away. With the advent of color TVs in the early 70s many cinemas in Europe started showing porn in their struggle. I don’t think that this strategy would help US theatres right now.

If (young) people would start dressing up to go out and to the movies then theatres would have a market that nobody could take away from them. People want to celebrate an evening. Current multiplex generic mall type popcorn outlets are not the right offering for this.

xbox 360 and King Kong

December 14th, 2005

It’s called gamma stupid.

Funny that this kind of simple thing can happen. But then again you never know how much of the real issue is left once the BBC got a a hold of it.

no dns -> no blogsnow

December 14th, 2005

yikes, for the last two days I had the weird feeling as if the earth stood still. It turned out that the DNS stopped working on blogsnow. No DNS no crawl. Of course. So I started to read the same things in the paper that I see on Blogsnow.

Now it’s fixed and things should change soon.

And of course email did not work either during those two days. I could not forward to gmail.
Almost got me into trouble.

roll your own

December 13th, 2005

roll your own search engine

Imagine it would have been google doing this and not Alexa. Google and Apple are both brands that, if they do the smallest thing get the biggest attention. Poor old Alexa changes the world, and nobody cares.

pringles canon

December 13th, 2005

Home made macro

apple shortcut

December 12th, 2005

I did not know about

command option i

in the finder. It can indeed be handy. Found here

Air France // inflight entertainment

December 11th, 2005

Flew with Air France from Boston to Paris. I wasn’t a fan before, but this time the food was actually allright. Maybe 30 Atlantic crossings with KLM created a “oh - please - no - nothing - thanks” reflex whenever somebody asks me “chicken or pasta”.

The A340 had an ok inflight entertainment with a medium choice. My current ranking of inflight entertainment options:

1. Lufhansa LAX / MUC A340
Wifi / Internet with the Boeing Connexion system
It does cost 20US$ but it is worth it. Internet on the plane, nothing can beat that.

2. KLM AMS / NY Boeing 777
Inseat Video with on demand library. Decent Selection of movies. Unfortunately
not letterboxed.

3. Airfrance BOS / CDG A340
Inseat Video. 8 movies Loop. Similar systems I saw in the mid ninetees in business class. Back then the movies were hi8 based.

4. JetBlue (only by heresay)
Cable TV including premium channels. It’s TV, but at least there is HBO from wha t I have heard. Inseat.

5. Song
Cable TV without premium channels. Inseat.

6. Inflight TV on monitors
Most have it. Usually worth avoiding.

7. Inflight domestic
Projection screen, colors and contrast are all over the map. United wanted some money
for headphones. The “Feature presentation” was a very mediocre US family movie.
The worst of the worse.

lego global differences

December 11th, 2005

Whenever I return to Germany my kids get some gifts. My son wanted a Lego Dino Hummer, I picked one up in LA. Interesting that the US Version is featuring a shooting device where the german one has a cage. Kill or capture. That’s the Euro / US choice.


December 8th, 2005


I think “Narrenfreiheit” is one of my most favorite german words.

gmail mind read

December 8th, 2005

gmail starts to put custom feed items on top of my email box.
Nice and not nice. The 5 different ones that I saw fly by
were tailored pretty close to what I care about. Of course:
gmail knows about me. I prefer not to realize that. And
I would like to do things at my pace, pick up information
instead of having it pushed my way.

good thing you can turn those things off …

update 12/9:
“Note: Clips of your favorite RSS and Atom feeds are displayed randomly, and aren’t targeted to the contents of your mail.”

so it say in the Webclips answer part of google.

os x server: 10.4 and I still hate it

December 5th, 2005

File servers. No big deal. I am dealing with kind of thing since more than ten years. And it works.
We tried OS X Server 10.2.8 a while back, and it was bad. Now I have to deal with it again: OS X 10.4.3
and it still is junk. It is broken. Things don’t work as they should. Apples way of doing things is
incompatible with everything. It is such a waste of time. If they add a guy then they should leave
the way things are done underneath as everybody would expect them. XServers get bought by people
for their shiny facade. Which is all ok for me. Just that the inner workings of it are simply rotten.
The non server version of OS X is much more consistent with having all features in the system preferences

it’s all gory details. I don’t even want to go into it. It was broken with 10.2.8. With 10.4.3 it is still broken.
Fileservers are not THAT important that you want to waste your entire worklife administrating them.
And with Linux (or even SGI for that matter) you don’t have to. You learn the meaning of a few commands and
are done with it.

It really is bulshit. If you consider to get a server, don’t get an Apple one. They are too expensive and work not in a way that would make any sense …

Boston Hotel

December 4th, 2005

If you should ever stay in Boston and don’t need the generic upper class marble stuff. Or don’t want it, or can’t afford then I can wholeheartly recommend the

Newburry Guest House
261 Newburry

800 437 7668

Very nice rooms, decent atmosphere.
I like it allot.

song thong bong

December 4th, 2005

flying song. They have baby colored plastic utensils, colorful plastic seats, and the TV in front of your nose. 24 channels of not even basic cable channel line up. No HBO nor Showtime. The aspect ratio on those LCDs is not 4:3 so everything is squeezed and everybody looks real fat. Movies on demand are five dollars, the soso turkey sandwich is 8. Not much more choice on the menu. I remember ads with sushi. There are supposed to be 1600 mp3 that you can add to a playlist. The interface for this is beyond dismal, and the music choice looks rather dull. at best. NWA says you can not collect miles on ‘Song’. So far the general song impression.

My specific one was even more horrible:
The flight was supposed to leave at 10:30am, we entered the plane at 4:30pm and took off an hour later. During those 6 hours they pushed the departure time hourly and requested that we stay at the gate. In the first 3 hours
I had once the opportunity to get a drink served, despite the decimated passenger count of forty people. All that nice marketing money: Down the drain. Song simply sucks. Just in different plastic colors.
When I got to get a drink myself I realized why the flight attendants never showed up: I found them both being maniacally engaged in a minesweeper/tetris like game that they must have discovered on their iPaqs. Those Song had given them to process all those food purchases.


December 4th, 2005

Watching commercials: ‘easy’ is a very prominent word these days. Maybe stuff becomes too complicated for the average consumer so that now things need to be ‘easy’.

quick quicktime

December 4th, 2005

if you like explosions


December 3rd, 2005

Amanda was asking people in NY if they prefer IE or firefox, and then why that is. I wonder if it smart from Microsoft to call IE7 “internet explorer”.
The brand is fucked. It stands for virus, exploit and popup. There are two internets out there: The one you use with “internet explorer” which is hell and the other one is the ‘take back the web’ one in Firefox. “take back” from whom? Certainly not from Microsoft, they are still no force on the internet. But their monolithic market dominance combined with technical ignorance towards the threats of the net degenerated the Internet user experience for all those people being stuck at IE. Browsers are actually no big deal, unless they suck. And only IE sucks royally.
Safari is a browser by Apple. So, who cares? You can use it or not. It’s a minor detail, since it works well enough and is secure.

Maybe it’s the name that bad? “explore”
Now you like to “explore” things if you are confident, and what you are going to find is worth the risk. Since the Internet is a pretty mean djungle these days, most people don’t feel like “exploring” the net. Too often they can into trouble when they did so. The “Ford Explorer” is in trouble too. It’s sales are down by roughly half, despite that there is a new model. IE is as stupid as an SUV. But maybe “exploring” was something you would like to do in the end of the last century: venturing out there into the future. Now all there seems to be waiting are Oil companies reaping record profits and sites that will take control of your machine, just because you visited a simple page with Internet Explorer.

I looks like that it shares the fate of the “Ford Explorer”, which does not want to sell.

fony sony

December 3rd, 2005

Let’s call Sony a brand in motion

a swedish campground and some other links

December 3rd, 2005

where the apple key symbol comes from. So they say. Nice story.


not bad

if George does Karls job

December 3rd, 2005

Nothing is ridicolously enough that you wouldn’t find people repeating it .

What’s next? “Intelligent Math” ?

how news is made

December 3rd, 2005

Boingboing I didn’t like as much as I used to for various reasons lately. But they score for publishing this.

And no, it’s not about the recently discovered efforts of the US Army to teach those Iraqi’s a lesson in media and democracy.

longhorn news

December 3rd, 2005

Yes, I know they call it Vista now. It’s just fun to mess with branding campaigns by ignoring them.

No more reboots sounds like a great concept.
No, I mean that. Especially if it comes from a company that used to require a reboot for a change of the IP address. I am _that_ old: Windows 95 was my last -and actually only- Windows machine. Side by side with an SGI O2. I cloned that machine yesterday: It’s a funny feeling to suddenly see yor desktop again after five years.

Back to ‘no more reboots’: I liked the concept, until I read “… Restart Manager will work with Microsoft Update, Windows Update, Microsoft Windows Server Update Services, Microsoft Software Installer, and Microsoft Systems Management Server … ”
Reading monster word heaps like this I am so glad that I don’t need to undertstand what it means. I spend 80% of my waking times with my computer during those weeks away from the my family. And I am so god damn glad that I don’t have to deal with any of this junk. The names alone make me cringe. I would hate my job if I would need to deal with stuff like that.

In other news Microsoft released SNARF today.
Bill should hire The Word Company.

ajax where to and where not to

December 3rd, 2005

for what it’s worth

internet where are you?

December 2nd, 2005

What I really want is something that I can copy paste this list for instance into, and that gets me those songs. All of them and without further ado and at no cost. Into my iTunes. I don’t mind if it takes ten minutes, as long I can start browsing the tracks as they come in. As they say “We have the technology”

Do I really have to write it myself?
No I am not the biggest Disco fan on earth. It’s just that it would be nice to operate on culture in an approiate way.

generation @

December 2nd, 2005

Business Week writes about MySpace and the likes. The article is better than the usual hype-treadmill-word-boilups that you can read when people from traditional media try to get a handle on yet another internet base phenomen. They write that 15 to 18 year olds spend six and a half hours a day with any form of visual media on CRT/LCD sccreens: the big 3 TV, games and internet. When I was that age, we spend that much time having sex. Probably only on three or four of the 1424 days that you have between fifteen and eighteen. The rest of time we tried to get there. I have never looked at mySpace but I suspect that the basic motivations in the lifes of teenagers have not changed that much. They are so basic that they are not worth mentioning I guess. Or, maybe, times really have changed?

Well Murdoch payed almost half a billion dollars for MySpace. Better than twenty bugs on friendster. Which one of the things I liked about this article: It does not only cite events that supports one underlying current. Friendster tanked. They still mention it, even though this would not fit into the rosy ’social networking’ boom picture that they paint otherwise.

p&g allegdedly started a social network around a scent or spray. No, really. They spent some money on that. The really sad part about that is, that those responsible probably still occupy their corner office, despite the fact that they burned millions on a project that was as viable as, well, hm. I really tried to come up with something that would be as stupid. Couldn’t find anything.

apple media

December 2nd, 2005

Thinksecret has a wet media dream involving Apple (of course) and the download of media. Whenever somebody starts raving about ‘intel technology’ and how enabling it is I have to roll my eyes: Intel makes great CPUs and other things that other people make as well. I might be uttterly ignorant but I never saw that any of those Intel plans where either new innovative or sucessful for that matter.

Reading Apple’s media delivery ambitions it should be pretty clear that OS X 10.5 aka Lepard will be available for non Apple hardware also commonly known as ‘PCs’. If Apple makes money with media distribution they might as well give the OS away. They might charge for support.

When the OS X on Intel was announced people usually said that Apple would want to protect it’s hardware business. I think that is /bs/. I think it is entirely strategic, that Apple pretends to let OS X only run on Apple hardware. First of all it is a bargaining chip. Apple, flush with cash from the ongoing iPod sucess, can sit at the sidelines of the PC-market of 2006. Apple will close see how Longhorn is doing. Technically and in the market place. If they feel that Microsoft’s position is vulnerable enough then they make a move. Or they get a deal from Bill for not moving. One thing they don’t want to do though is to openly declare that they are going into the PC operating system market. But technically they can. Not they that would or need to, but they would have OS X running on 70% of all machines that Dell sells within a week. I am sure that Dell would like this as well: Competition changes the price. Lepard might be in a good position to take a big chunk out of the Longhorn market: The latest Redmond OS has significant hardware requirements. If people perceive the upgrade from whatever Windows they run now as a ’switch’, then they might as well switch to another brand.

vsftpd is great …

December 2nd, 2005

… just don’t expect it to listen to a killall -HUP vsftpd. At least under Fedora Core 4 you need to do a /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart if you would like to see changes in /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf to take effect.
Which is no problem if you know. Now you do …


December 2nd, 2005

Don’t tell George, but you can create masses of people in the computer. Pretty easy:

Massive is a software that will generate crowds for you.

Of those commecial I really only like the this PSA . Otherwise it appears as if digital crowd duplication is this years ‘frozen moment’. A visual effect that is nice at first, but if not backed up with content or meaning it becomes a yawning experience as long as it serves a replacement for an original idea.

In a supportive role it certainly can save some money by replacin lots of people.

The Carlton ad is alright as well. Carmina Burana. Like in the late eighties. But that one I have seen too often. It’s made it’s rounds.

The Aids PSA reminded me of another PSA. That one did not use Massive.

animated favioncs

December 2nd, 2005

If you use Firefox then try this site. Nothing special, just that the pink cross will start spinning. Firefox can display animated gifs as favicons. Yes, there is no point to this. Now, the good news is, that once more people start cluttering a simple information system like a favicon, there will be an extension for Firefox to make them stop twitching if you so desire.

A favicon is a one-look information confirmation. It helps you to get very very quickly where you are. When it starts moving it does not at to this functionality. It actually breaks the purpose of those sixteen by sixteen pixels: First of all it’s distracting. Something moving is a visual cue. We are evelotunary trained to look at moving things: If it moves then we might want to eat or fuck it, or it might want to do the same to us. No, favicons probably don’t. But our visual perception system does not know that. So we look at it.

But there is nothing to see. Which is the second problem of this juvenile Firefox feature: What’s the point? You can not really make a meaningful animation at this size. Animation can help the meaning of signs. An arrow symbol can be suported if it moves. An animated favicon is like a moving letter. There is a reason why animated type is not the default setting, even though computers could jiggle letters around at ease. It’s annoying, distracting and simply pointless.

Which is the third and final problem of those 256 pixels playing quick chameleon: if you need eye candy like this, then you might be a little bit insecure if the actual content and your site is worth remembering. It’s the equivalent of a loud dress. It’s fad, and it will come and go. Dancing Baby, moving icon. Seen that. Ignored that.