byzantine

November 16th, 2014

byzantine

Sunday morning, and Breakfast will only be served in 15 minutes.

Not feeling to open a book I visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random

A song comes up. Turns out I don’t have it, but I like it.

The iTunes music gave me grief before. So I use Amazon.
Or, let’s say I try to.

A song with a wikipedia page is obviously easy to find.
I can preview it. Yes, it is what I thought it would be.

No surprise that the purchase button is easy to.

They have a new player / app they like to push.
The old amazon downloader did not cause any troubles,
so I choose that one.
The file downloads in no time. That USED to be the problem:
Getting those large files to your computer.
Clicking on it, the mac tells me that this app is from an unidentified
developer.
In system preferences I tell it to open it anyway.
It does, but shows an empty screen.
In my downloads is still the amazon file. I click on that one.
Nothing happens. Well, not really nothing: The downloaded file
vanished.
Then I go in Amazon to my purchases music. The song is not there
either. The 0.89 USD I spent will probably the only memory of those
3:18 (the length of the song) that I spent to get this song.

Buying music should be easy in 2014. It turns out in my specific
way of trying this it totally is not. I don’t buy music often. So I don’t feel
like researching all that might be involved.

I rather ramble here about it. Also since it is quiet symptomatic:

The actual act of copying a couple of bits to my computer is such a
small part of the overal action. It used to be that DRM was part of
the problem. It no longer is. Still have I have to deal with interfaces
and software that changes / breaks every time I like to use it.

The background is that the people running and maintaining these
systems do not care for the “Alpha to Omega - Experience” enough.

The late Mr Jobs was really good at making sure that things ran
as smooth as possible for certain flows from start to finish. If you don’t
then with computers and systems lots of ‘stuff’ will creep into the flow.
And the system will start depending on this extra stuff of other parts of
the system.

If you think that Byzantine bureaucracy was horrible then you have
no idea how our digital future will be.

Good Bye Firefox

May 2nd, 2014

OK - I really am a laggard. Using Firefox in 2014 was not really the best thing to do. But it got me where I needed to be. Other browsers are of course always part of the mix of things to use. Comes with the job.

But with Firefox 29 today they finally pushed me over. As usually it is a minute detail: I like to have around 20 things 1 click away. Firefox used to be able to ONLY display those bookmarks without the favicon.

Since I identify those things by 1 or 2 letters it makes a big difference if I have the favicons visible or not. With Chrome I never found a way to get rid of them. Now with Firefox they just poppped in.

So I might as well use Chrome, and maybe look for a way to get rid of them there. There is no way that I will invest any of that into a browser that it is declining. These days Internet Explorer actually causes less troubles than Firefox.

Turns out there is a solution for Chrome:

Remove Chrome Bookmark Favicons

It is not ideal since it leaves the space AND the site itself looses the favicon as well, but it is never the less better than Firefox.

I doubt I will ever look back …

Internet Security Companies

April 24th, 2014

Between January 2012 and March 2014 more than 160 giga dollars were spent for Internet security. You would think that much of it would care about Encryption. One would further think that some of this money would go into evaluation of the actual code of library mostly in use: OpenSSL. Apparently not enough.

There are between 3 and 10 contributors to OpenSSL, which provide a total of around 50 code commits a month.

If the security Industry would spend only 0.01% of their earnings on these code commits, then each one would have a review budget of 10 kilo dollars.

network solutions - how to ruin a company

April 2nd, 2014

Since I have been on the Internet for a while I unfortunately have domains registered with Network Solutions.

They were the first company that one could register domains with.

They are so bad, it is not even funny.

With having your domains there you can also have DNS service with them. However: Their DNS servers go away. That is really really really bad.
That’s like your car stalling at random times. And doing so repeatedly.

The example with a car is not the right one, since most DNS providers are simply never down. They just work work work. While Network Solutions Servers don’t.

But that is -unfortunately- not the end of what is wrong with them:

Their web interface sucks. Much like with Godaddy its main purpose is to sell you more crap. Not to let you do what you want to do. That is really hard.
Imagine the DMV but having hundreds of beggars, peddlers and the like trying to push something on you while you wait.

Their phone system is just as awful as most phone systems are.

How rotten Networksolutions is I learned today:

I happen to have a .com domain with them that will expire (thank god!) in 2 months. Today I got 2 mails: They thanked more for my order of the corresponding
.info domain. They didn’t want any money for it. But it is ridiculous since I had to cancel this domain that I didn’t want.

What are they thinking???

Domain registration is EXTREMELY lucrative. For a couple of bytes one pays good money.

Network Solutions had more money than god. They had lots clients. Serving them just average could have kept them
in business for a long time.
Instead they tried to make even more money.
And all they accomplish is to royally fuck this up.

Register anywhere you like. Hell, if you don’t mind being exposed to half of the rant-points here, then even use the dreadful Godaddy. But Never Ever use Network Solutions. Really.
You will regret it. They gotten so continuously worse during the 15 years that I tolerated them in my life, I can only envision in horror what they future will bring …

jetset without overplay is dull

February 17th, 2014

Finally followed advice from a good friend and got overplay. Was super easy. Support was stellar. Netflix releasing House of Cards while I am on the wrong contintent?
Who cares …

Nice planet. But parts of it are a bit boring without any access to netflix etc.

Media consumption in 2014

February 10th, 2014

4 months after I moved I connected the BluRay player. Turns out it was worth it: “Save the Tiger” is worth watching.

blocking facebook on OS X

December 19th, 2013

It is quiet easy to block a website if you run a mac and are not afraid to edit system files.
Simply adding

127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com

in /etc/hosts takes care of all facebook traffc. Not only will the site be not accessible navigating to other page that run embedded facebook will also no longer tell Mr Zuckerberg & Co where you are going on the Internet.

Hey Flickr …

May 23rd, 2013

Hello Flickr,

next time that you remember that I did set up an account in 2006 and send me an email please make sure that your stuff, actually, well, how I can put this: works.

I knew about you. All along. I didn’t us you. Many reasons. Now there is 1TB of storage. That’s great. Just that I was unable to upload anythings since your uploader is broken.

Maybe wait another 7 years, and content me again if you have something else worth looking at. You had my attention. Bummer that you were not ready for it.

- your truly

“Fight Club” in 2013

January 27th, 2013

Watching “Fight Club” again today is a strange and very interesting experience.

So much has changed since the book / film came out. It is clearly set in a different epoch.

Its character ‘Tyler Durden’ says:

God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables;
slaves with white collars.  Advertising has us chasing cars
and clothes, working jobs  we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. 
	
…
	
We've all been raised on television to believe
that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods,
and rock stars. 
	
But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact.
And we're very, very pissed off.

It seemed fitting at the time. What happened since then?

Many of those jobs are gone. People in that slice of society
make less money today. Sometimes even in absolute dollars.
Certainly corrected for inflation. In the same time the share
of the upper sliver of society on the other end of the wealth
distribution has nothing but exploded.

So why seems the portrayed unrest even further removed
from reality than less than a score years ago?

The answer might lie in the proliferation of computer games and the Internet
during that time.

Both soak up all that extra male testosterone and time that would
otherwise find not much constructive application in the world of 2013.

Oh, and it looked absolutely awesome. I miss movies shot on film.

hover is awesome

September 15th, 2012

Hover is just awesome.

With Godaddy and Network Solutions I have to battle through an ever increasing amount of screens that try to sell something when doing even the simplest things.

Yes, it’s as painful as that last sentence.

Hover is a wonderful. Even if the others were OK Hover would still stand out. It is really nice.

A domain would auto renew next week. I don’t need it anymore. So Hover sends an email asking me what I would like to do. The others just auto renew.

I really like that. Treating your customers right. Looking for what they could want. Instead of looking for upsell opportunities.

Very very nice.

waste of time: news

September 9th, 2012

I found this today on a web site of a pewspaper:


Countless publications show the same AP story.

What is the problem with this?

According to the latest numbers China grew by 8.9%.
Since this is China one could also say: grew only by 8.9%

The US GDP grew 1.7% in the same time.

The headline of the AP story says something else.
So does the first sentence. And 8.9% growth are being called ‘anemic’

This is a very simple thing: growth did decline by 0.3%. Growth did. NOT the actual output.

I wonder what happens to the 99% of topics in the news that are more complex and faceted than this China statistic.

After I wrote this I went back to google news. On CNN one can read that the economy slowed:

I think following this kind of ‘news’ is a complete waste of time.

time to …

February 6th, 2012

It is time that we start taxing sugar. R. Lustig and C. Brindis published a very compelling opinion piece in the current issue of Nature. (Vol 482)

It is ALSO high time that Nature stops paywalling ALL articles. Op pieces like this one SHOULD be public on the net.

Science and Nature are both on this idiot pay-wall trip. They need to get over that.

The should be ways so that they have their content online for all and still give extra for people that pay now for the content.

medical imaging

December 16th, 2011

So glad I found this great introduction and overview of medical imaging.

I liked the article since it gives a great overview of different techniques together with their genesis. Stuff like a PET scanner does not rain down on humanity. Lots of people needed to work hard to realize it. Ideas, Patents and -as it turns out- the Beatles were needed and involved.

I personally found it fascinating how much ample computation power has enabled. Nothing that mattered in the last 40 years would have been conceivable without massive numerical processing. Even 99.999% of computing power is wasted on Facebook and games it is just awesome that we people deviced instruments to compute so cheaply.

It is probably impossible to estimate the impact that technologies like DfMRI will have on our knowledge and picture of ourselves. The microscope changed the world and each of our lives in the most radical ways. Which might only have dawned on people in the 17th century.

Of course the link was found in Wikipedia. After having set up a monthly donation to them and knowing how good it feels now and will do in the future I wonder why I did not do so earlier. Specially learning new things most Wikipedia pages allow a quick overview about the topic. What I personally really love is how detailed yet concise even very specialized topics are being documented. Quiet brilliant.

ecoli map germany

June 5th, 2011

I made a map of the current ecoli outbreak in Germany.

There is actually also a german version: Ehec Karte Deutschland

IP to Name lookups

February 1st, 2011

Ars Technica describes how an IP address gets turned into a name at Comcast and TWC.

mail me later

January 31st, 2011

I really like email. It works well for me. One thing that I grew accustomed to was the abillity to postpone email. To set up quick reminders easily. I used ‘replylater.com’ for this. Unfortunately last month they stopped working for me.

I decided to just implement the same features myself: Mail Me Later works pretty much like replyater.com.

The ‘problem’ is, that once a tool works for me I completely start to rely on it. Having a topic delegated to a service like ‘mail me later’ means that I will entirely forget about it. Good since it saves hassle, really bad if that service fails.

Having this part of me workflow now in an environment where I can quickly verify its operation makes me very happy.

bing is better

December 9th, 2010

I found the first case where Bing is the better search engine. Which is good, since that means that there will be competition in search. The case where I found bing results to be relevant is a specific one. It is about an ongoing / developing story. Google is really fast with getting new pages into the index. But their ranking does not show them on the first page. (Ever since they added preview the ability to see 100 results has gone away, sadly). The term in question is ‘SORBS’. If you search for this in twitter you get a good glimpse about what is going on right now. SORBS is a blacklist that is broken. Since November 29th. And they are unable to fix it . Basically since it is a hack written by one person in perl. GFI bought them last year for around 0.5 Million. But that didn’t result in any improvement. So as a searcher you are most likely looking for the current state of SORBS. Bing does a good job in that it links to this comprehensive writeup about the SORBS debacle. Google however does not show this yet on the first page. Only 6 links that are not from SORBS itself are on that page. Not many people click through to the next page.

I should rephrase the title in saying “bings first page is better than googles first page”. Right now.

google, bing, maps, military.

November 5th, 2010

People trust those pixels a bit to much: Nicaragua / Costa Rica Border

paging don norman

October 3rd, 2010

Allot of work has probably gone into the creation of this comparison chart of Javascript UI libraries. Which is great and appreciated.

Tragically the author didn’t specify the meaning of the X axis. With benchmarks both can be the case. (Here it is apparently shorter is better). The comments on the post do point this out. Oddly the author did not fix the page. Would have taken 1 minute.

It might also be that not having a meaning on the axis’ caters to the biggest audience: People looking for this page might already have a favorite. So, let’s say you embrace YUI (shivers) then you come to this page, look at the long bars and click away just having confirmed that YUI is best. (Firmly ignoring what should have been a give away that protoype does even have longer bars).

People probably roam the Internet looking for ‘information’ that confirms what they were thinking all along. Since the Internet is pretty vast this works better than it ever did in history. There are 22,000 pages about unicorns and postage stamps.

hft

September 30th, 2010

A new cable gets dropped into the atlantic to save 5ms on a 60ms delay. And High Frequency Trading will pay for that. You know that it really has taken off when they start considering a straight tunnel between London and New York. As impossible as it is, it WOULD save at least another 15-20 ms.

Is Wiredrive using Isilon news?

September 29th, 2010

Wiredrive is a system that operates in a similar space as INTERDUBS. Naturally their press releases get my attention.

The last one announces that
Wiredrive recently dumped its open source, clustered storage system in favor of Isilon
.

I don’t think that it would be appropriate to go into detail here why INTERDUBS uses a different storage solution. Or why I think that such details do not matter for the clients, as long their data is 100% protected. Isilon works, I would not exactly title it meaner and leaner myself, but people can feel about what they do in any way they want and express it accordingly. Would not be worth the blog entry.

The question that is worth being raised is how Wiredrive using Isilon is newsworhty at all. This Wiredrive document outlines how Isilon is in use. While it itself is not dated it references the 2006 Olympics and 250GB hard drives.

picture of the Internet

September 15th, 2010

one picture

some nice pictures

August 12th, 2010

We bought some very nice pictures for our living room:

I really like the work of Siebe Warmoeskerken. It is nice these days that one can buy things directly from the artist. No need for a Gallery getting in the way.

vodafone websessions and OS X

July 17th, 2010

In order to operate the ZTE K3565-Z under OS X 10.5 or 10.6 you need to set the
network preference settings yourself. The Software defaults are wrong and will not work.
Vodafone phone support refers to debitel for this product. Debitel charges $1.55 a minute for support.
The bigger problem is that they don’t support OS X. They just say that they don’t know anything about it.

In the end things got working with these settings collected from the Internet and applied with a bit of luck:

When you insert the USB stick you get a volume with

Vodafone MC Installer

I ran this. I think it is needed. Also since its distinct crappyness will give you a taste of things to come. After you installed this the volume will no longer be mounted when the stick is being inserted.

Under 10.6 I got lots of messages about extensions not being working / being compatible. Both after the install and after the reboot this POS installer felt it needed.


Vodafone Mobile Connect.

should launch after the install. It fails the first time under OS X 10.6, complaining that it can not find a the stick. Just start it again.

The Vodafone Mobile Connect junk-app is good for one thing only: it lets you enter the PIN of the stick. The “Activate” / “Aktivieren” button is actually plain evil:
it will overwrite the network preference settings for the K3565-Z with non working defaults. Don’t click it.

Since we are talking crapware here the Network control panels gets populated with three devices for the ZTE stick. You can ignore / remove the ones ending in ATPort and DiagPort.
One should read “Vodafo…565-Z”. The number is *99***1#. That’s ok.

In order to make the ‘Connect’ / ‘Verbinden’ button sing for you have to change settings under ‘Advanced …’ / ‘Weitere Optionen …’.
In the Modem tab choose for the

‘vendor’ / ‘Hersteller’ the setting ‘Generic’ / ‘Allgemein’

then for the

model pick “GPRS (GSM/3) ”

for the

APN: event.vodafone.de

just like your Grandma always told you. Make sure to hit “Apply” / “Aendern” before you try to connect. If you “activate” the card with the mobile connect crapware then your settings will be overwritten.

no surprise here

June 2nd, 2010

people don’t know how fast their Internet is

I hope that it takes a while before the couple of last mile vendors adopt their upgrade plans accordingly.

youtube videos in gmail

February 25th, 2010

Naturally my son wanted his own computer. He is 11 so isn’t it a birth right to have one? I only pointed to a stack of parts, being left overs from some upgrades and told that he could have one if we can put it together himself. He looked and me with this “Dad, I love you, but wtf is wrong with you + and what on earth have I done to deserve to be treated like this” look. He actually said “But I am eleven years old”. My reply was “yes, you are eleven years old”.

After a couple of days he realized that that I was serious about what I had said. Funny, since the previous 11 years might have given him a hint about that one. So he got the parts out. Had a good look at them, connected them in a way that made sense, connected them wrong, cursed, cried (of course not), asked questions and he ended up with:

I gave him a hand to put things in a case and everybody was happy.

But wait, there is the Internet, there is an eleven year old boy. An awesome one. But still!
I have not seen any software that would be able to protect my child from all the rotten stuff that is a couple clicks away on the internet.
The solution that we came up with works better I think. I explained my worries to him. He understood. I asked him if it would be
OK if I would look at where he goes at the net. He had no issues with that. Since Firefox stores visited URLs in sqlite and he
naturally runs an ubuntu machine this was easy to do. Each day that he used his computer I get an email from it that shows me
what he has been up to. He is totally aware of that and does not mind at all. And I never had anything to worry about.

Today was the first time that I saw in the end of such an email:

Which helps me quiet a great deal in what I have to do. Nice to see gmail getting better. With Buzz and Wave being what they are it became en vogue to bash google. It is nice to see that they continue to add nice features as well.

facebook login and the madness of crowds

February 14th, 2010

Readwrite web wrote about Facebook login

Which happened to bring them high in the google search results for “facebook login”.

Then facebook did a re design. I didn’t notice much difference. But some people got confused and looked for the “facebook login” on google. And as we all know
clicking on the first result is what one should do (not). Enough people were so convinced that what they actually saw was facebook they got very mad and left comments in this direction.

Two things become apparent:

Everybody has computers now. And I mean everybody.
And many people delegate everything (including their thinking) to google.

No wonder adsense scams are so profitable.

Got a reel?

February 9th, 2010

Eric Alba shows some shelfs

And -as so often- he has a point.

cool IP, hm, maybe not so

February 3rd, 2010

As we are running slowly out of IP addresses addresses are being used that were deemed to be reserved. This wouldn’t be the internet if this would go smooth. See pollutions in 1/8 for the details (thanks David for the hint).

Turns that out that 1.1.1.1 and 1.2.3.4 and not so awesome choices for an IP. Others thought so before.

corporate video

November 17th, 2009

Remember the look of corporate Videos?

Well, things change.

I found this video for Cooper Union on The C47.

In the right hands you can make some very compelling images with a camera body that retails around 2.700 $US.

I had hopes that miniDV would spawn new content, due to the leap in quality of the recording technology. It didn’t work out that way.
I am hoping again that the 5D Mark II and similar devices do that.

At least wedding videos will look better than they used to.