Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Scott Adams

From his blog:

According to the news, former FEMA head Michael Brown is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm. Readers of Dilbert could have predicted this. If you’re infamous for being slow to act, your best bet is a job that bills by the hour. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he used to be a lawyer.

I wonder how someone in the corporate world explains to his boss that he’s recommending the Michael Brown disaster preparedness consulting firm. “He only ignored one part of the country that was completely destroyed. And besides, he’s also a lawyer, so we know we can trust him.”

Sounds like a tough sell.

And here is a great post about the responsibilities of cartoonists.

I find scotts blog far more interesting and amusing than his commic strip. I really wonder what the guys is like in real life..

Sub Culture

I forgot to write down my thoughts about Sub Culture. So here goes, all in all, had a great time, nice event. Ben Sim's, James Zabiela and Dave Lea made my night.

Arrived to find a different line up from the advertised, which annoyed me quite a bit, but it wasn't too hard to re-arrange my night. Not being a big breaks fan meant I didn't enjoy the headliners all that much, and unfortunately the tech took priority over the drum'n'bass, so I didn't see too much of that.

Started off the night with Marco V, who was, well, Marco V. Commercial trance stuff, nothing really amazing. Then spent some time at Phil Hartnol, who did a very nice job, but I didn't like much of his harder stuff, enjoyed the start of his set. There was some guy doing 2-step which was really good, but I had to leave as I can't dance to that stuff. James Zabiela was next on the list, and he delivered a great electro break/big beat set, I throughly enjoyed that, whilst everyone else had to stand around pretending to have fun just to humour me.

It got to be time for the real techno then, caught the end of Mauro Picotto's set - which was some really nice techno. A welcome change from his dodgy trance set from the last time he was here. The middle of his set was a bit too pots'n'pans techno from 99 sounding for my likeing, but the end was what you would expect from Mauro with a nice electro style touch.

Ben Sims set was nothing short of brillient. An absolute master piece as far as I was concerned, pulling out old favourites from techno (devilfish, man alive) and some of his old housey style stuff, a nice mixture of harder techno and recent releases. Absolutely fabulous, made my night.

After that it was propellorheads - who were good, but just didn't have the appeal to me as much as Dave Lea, who actualy delievered a really great hard trance/tech set. He played a tune I absolutely love, but unfortunately I have no idea what it was called. My music-knowledgeable friends were with me at the time, but unlike other occasions they too could say nothign other than "yeah its a good tune. no I dont know what it is." (Bah! whats the point in having friends?)

I should probably also mention every DJ I saw delivered a technically flawless set. I didn't hear any big stuff ups. What a relief. (Zabiela was making some funny noises at times, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt that it was deliberate)

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Software Development

Software Development Illustrated.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I can NOT believe it. My sister wanted to use the PC to check her bank account details. I said 'sure', while I looked at her bank details, and she tapped away at the keyboard. In seriously less than 30 seconds, she had somehow managed to start installing a whole bunch of applications onto my PC. I have NO idea how she managed this.
There must be some kind of magic elf in every PC which detects a novice computer user and just starts installing wierd applications.

I dont think anyone I know who is a serious computer user would be able to replicate this behaviour that quickly. No wonder people have a hard time writing anti-spyware/anti-virus applications. It's almost impossible for educated computer users to get themselves into these kinds of dodgy situations.

I've never seen ANYTHING like it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Company Names

Some amusing domain names. UWA's filter has often flagged me on:

Some more ones:

People spend a lot of time thinking up their children's names. It's just a
pity they don't always think as hard about their domain names.

Firstly there is Who Represents?, a database for agencies to the rich and


Second is the Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can
exchange advice and views:


Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island:


Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder:


And there is an Italian Power company, Powergen Italia:


Finally we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Creating a 4k Windows intro

Stumbled accross these old articles:

Creating a 4k Windows intro - Part 1
Creating a 4k Windows intro - Part 2

They were really good, and obviously still are. Learn something you didn't know about VC++.

WindowsXP : Fix your CD Drivers

Got some funny filter drivers acting up? (Hello winamp!)

Heres how to remove them.

System Internals

First of all, this is one of the best sites for low level windows programming:

Secondly, here is a blog entry about the voyage of discovery to find sony's evil DRM software.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Updated MP3 tagger

Well now that discogs is back up I can cofirm the tagger works with and without the search system. Did some general bug fixes as well as updated the file renaming features as well as id3 comments. Most noticable change is support for optional renaming for duplicate artists names in the discogs database.

Check out the shell based MP3 tagger, and the mp3 organizer, for batch processing of artists and labels.

This stuff is getting unmaintainable, really needs a rewrite, but so far, I don't think many people use it anyway. Maybe if I get some requests.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Video Games: Profit

Remember that guy who bought a bunch of virtual video game property for 13,000 pounds? Well apparently
he broke even. Only took one year, nnd now its going to be profit profit profit. No doubt the developers pushed a little to make sure he made his money back, just for the coverage it would generate, but still. Not a bad effort, now I wonder how much profit he will make.

This is turning into the future of video gaming. Already seen a lot of this in warcraft, where people are selling items like crazy. As more and more people move into virtual worlds we might see people spend less money on physical crap. Greenpeace might be happy?

MSVS Express (free)

I forgot to mention the VC8 news when it came out, but now you can get the whole bundle of MSVS products in the express format.

I for one welcome our new Visual Express overlords.

Windows Updates

The worst thought through feature in windows : windows update "restart now/later" dialog box. Why exactly did the need for this to steal focus and then have a keyboard shortcut for restart? Just to piss you off. I can't think of any other reason. Well, it works. Of course, Microsoft wants you to give in and restart your PC. No chance.

Heres how to disable the "Do you want to restart your computer now?" message:
Start -> Run -> gpedit.msc
Then select Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update -> Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations

and press DISABLE. Never again will you need to worry about that message. Unfortunately the effects aren't instant, so to get rid of the message now just disable the service.

Start -> Run -> sc stop wuauserv

Or go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
and disable it from there.

I think I did this update at 9 am, its now past midnight, so I've pressed the 'later' button about 60 times now.. oh so very annoying...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cheap, fast, ADC

Apparently you can get up to 896000 samples per second.
Bt878A: ADC. Less and less need for custom DSP boards these days.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

MSQL 2005

It's out.
Get it here

Opera & Blogger

For some reason Opera has started to post empty blog entries. Now I have tpo fire up IE to blog. Very annoying. Opera has a number of annoying bugs in it, las.fm doesn't work properly, along with most other big sites. I'd seriously consider moving to another browser if they didn't all suck so much. Maybe I can find some firefox extensions to do what I want. (Webpage rescaleing & multiple tabs is a must)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Scott Adams Blog

A friend told me Scott Adams has a blog now. It's not bad, worth a read.

He's got a great post about the legal system dealing with celebrity offenders.

Probably Guilty : Just give his money to the victim’s family.

Slight Chance He’s Guilty: Set him free to date women who have inexplicably bad judgment.

0% Guilty : Execute the prosecuting attorney

It’s the last one that’s the real money saver. Before long, you’d weed out the prosecutors who really shouldn’t be in those jobs wasting our tax dollars anyway. It’s not a crime to attempt sending obviously innocent people to jail, but it should be. My plan would right that wrong too.

Now we just need to execute the remaining attorneys. ha.. ha..

Bird flu is going to kill you!

Oh noooooooz!

But it's so pretty,..

Thursday, November 03, 2005


First of all, take a look at these guys.

Now ask yourself if you trust them with all your code...
There the .NET 2 development team...

Heres a scary opener:
Bugs opened, reviewed and fixed or closed : 11,831

Some more stats..
Test executables run in final test pass: 546,940
Test cases run in final test pass: 3,548,056
Devices used in final test pass: 94
Apps tested for app compat: 326
Performance scenarous tested: 230

Meanwhile read what joel has to say about microsoft live.

This isn't exactly the response I was talking about. How did I know that MS would learn all the wrong leasons from google. This is just like the whole network computer thing come back to haunt us. Someone at Microsoft needs to hammer it home to the executives. Microsoft just is not a "hot" "sexy" company. We don't care if they did "google" earth first, because google did it nicer. I hope one day Microsoft gives up on these ventures and goes back to being a buisness company.

Operating systems

Last time I checked this was the market share.

Things haven't changed much..

2005 Win XP W2000 Win 98 Win NT Win .NET Linux Mac
October 70.2% 15.0% 2.8% 0.4% 1.6% 3.3% 3.2%

www browser stats page

Random stuff..

Theres a nicer tutorial of an older version of the infra red camera stuff here. The old one is here.

New southpark episode out aswell, gay marriages is the topic, worth a look since they actually cover some of the "arguments". Not as funny as the last episode though imho.

Google is down

I never realised how badly this impacts me. But my work has pritty much grinded to a hault because something is wrong with google.. Never thought it would have such a major impact on me. You forget how much you use google, ohwell, yahoo gets a visit again for a while.

Pinging www.yahoo.akadns.net [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=358ms TTL=48

Pinging www.l.google.com [] with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.

Tracing route to www.l.google.com [] over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 2 ms 7 ms 3 ms SVEASOFT []
2 178 ms 108 ms 169 ms lns4.wa.westnet.com.au []
3 696 ms 176 ms 86 ms gi1-2.atm.perth.westnet.com.au []
4 301 ms 338 ms 466 ms Gigabitethernet2-2.wel19.perth.telstr.net []
5 44 ms 56 ms 88 ms GigabitEthernet7-0.wel-core3.Perth.telstra.net []
6 264 ms 309 ms 232 ms Pos-channel2.way-core4.Adelaide.telstra.net []
7 345 ms 194 ms 219 ms Pos-Channel1.exi-core1.Melbourne.telstra.net []
8 791 ms 158 ms 319 ms Pos15-0.chw-core2.Sydney.telstra.net []
9 253 ms 92 ms 244 ms 10GigabitEthernet1-0.oxf-core1.Sydney.telstra.net []
10 478 ms 131 ms 233 ms 10GigabitEthernet2-2.syd-core03.Sydney.net.reach.com []
11 356 ms 590 ms 269 ms i-2-0.sjc-core01.net.reach.com []
12 401 ms 362 ms 414 ms unknown.net.reach.com []
13 * * * Request timed out.

Neat huh? www.google.com.au still works,..

Updated MP3 tagger

Updated my shell based MP3 tagger.

Fixed up since discogs.com search engine went down, so I was suprised to see my program crash since it had been stable for a while now. I guess this just goes to show you how hard it is to write a fault tolerant program. You might think a website may go down, and consider that, but what if part of a website goes down...

Anyway added a few features, here's the list of updates:

  • 1.12: Allow direct url search (paste in a discogs.com url to manual search option), search engine down error message bug fix.
  • 1.11: Error message if Discogs search engine is down, also added display of current directory in help.

On the fault tolerance note, you'd think when you bugfix something to make your program fault tolerant you'd do it right. But no, clasic example of a bugfix introducing new bugs - it would now incorrectly detect certain artist releases as failed search results. *sigh*. *fixed*.

I'll upload it all once I can confirm it still actually works with the new search engine update..

Programming: Compiler Error: Solution

Figured I'd start blogging all the wierd compiler errors I get from time to time.
Ever seen this:?

shell32.lib(shguid.obj) : fatal error LNK1103: debugging information corrupt; recompile module

Happens because your mixing Platform SDK versions. Solution? Build with the new one, link with the old one. (In other words, move the new platform SDK to the bottom of the directories list in include & link)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Space: Student Satelite

Another student satellite launched. This time more of a deliberate effort, rather than a lets-see-what-we-can-pack-into-the-spare-space thing. (Nanosatellite / Milk box satellites)

I'm sure someone clever will one day come up with some kind of swarm mini satellite system. How hard can it be anyway? A bunch of pinging satellites with their own propulsion, and a big rocket to blast them to the right orbit, they use their own power to get to the right positions and you have yourself a localized GPS system, maybe to be used for giving you extra accurate positioning for a short period of time. Presumably the miniature sizes would make them hard to shoot down too..

Programming: GCC and CORBA

GCC4 has been out for a while now, but I still haven't gotten around to looking at it. I came across some GCC compiler optimizations I wasn't aware of. Specifically "__builtin_expect (!!(x), 1)", which means you no longer have to guess that the first conditionals get evaluated first. Nice.

Here is a copy of the optimization header file:

#if __GNUC__ >= 3
# define inlineinline __attribute__ ((always_inline))
# define __pure__attribute__ ((pure))
# define __const__attribute__ ((const))
# define __noreturn__attribute__ ((noreturn))
# define __malloc__attribute__ ((malloc))
# define __must_check__attribute__ ((warn_unused_result))
# define __deprecated__attribute__ ((deprecated))
# define __used__attribute__ ((used))
# define __unused__attribute__ ((unused))
# define __packed__attribute__ ((packed))
# define likely(x)__builtin_expect (!!(x), 1)
# define unlikely(x)__builtin_expect (!!(x), 0)
# define inline/* no inline */
# define __pure/* no pure */
# define __const/* no const */
# define __noreturn/* no noreturn */
# define __malloc/* no malloc */
# define __must_check/* no warn_unused_result */
# define __deprecated/* no deprecated */
# define __used/* no used */
# define __unused/* no unused */
# define __packed/* no packed */
# define likely(x)(x)
# define unlikely(x)(x)

Looks like GCC finially hit some optimization standards, long way to go yet.

Oh yeah, and VC8 is out. I've been using the beta. Its awesome. (both the IDE and the compiler FYI).

And a note on the CORBA front, TAO is my implementation of choice. A bit of a pain to compile since the VC6 workspace is a bit munted, but its much cleaner than omniORB in my very limited opinion. Work on the component system continues..