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Posts Tagged ‘Computers’

An interesting look inside Mac Business Unit at Microsoft

April 21st, 2006 No comments

One of the guys from the Mac Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft has posted a picture tour on his blog. Its quite interesting, and worth a look, even if you aren’t a Mac fan. (Via TUAW)

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This is ridiculous

April 13th, 2006 No comments

OK, I don’t get this guys logic at all.

He’s building his own projector rig for his computer (I’m guessing that he wants to do the whole media centre thing, or may be he just wants to looks at things just that little bit bigger – I don’t know, it’s not the issue though).

So, he decides to take the hard disks out of his case, put them on the floor, and cool them using 4 fans with LEDs on them. He then posts instructions on how to create a switch to turn the lights off.

Why? I mean, why didn’t he just buy fans with no lights on in the first place! It would have been cheaper, plus you’ve made your “cool looking rig” look rubbish by having a huge switch box taped to your desk with loads of leads coming down!

And besides, does a hard disk generate that much heat? To me, it doesn’t really, and if it does, then if it’s outside the case, then it probably doesn’t need cooling, but at most 1 fan should do it!

And I don’t get me started on the whole case mod thing – it’s a collection of Chavs making their computers look “cool” by putting stupid lights on them and making them insanely cold, which won’t affect the performance that much. All the Chavs have done is migrate the “lets de-badge my Saxo and put a skirt and a big exhaust on it – it’ll make it go faster” ethos to their computers!

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How Did I Miss That!

March 21st, 2006 1 comment

Just been looking at the PHP documentation for the mysql_query function. I couldn’t possibly imagine the number of times I’ve used that function, and the number of queries that I have written.

I’ve just discovered this little bit in the documentationThe query string should not end with a semicolon.Wow! I’ve always insisted that it is present! It certainly works if it is present!

Now I’m thinking ‘Why not?’. I mean, it’s part of the SQL language to put a semi-colon on the end, so why shouldn’t I do it when I execute a perfectly valid query from with PHP?

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How Can I Take This Seriously?

March 14th, 2006 No comments

Thanks to reddit, I found a guide on when to use the correct image format for the web. Technically, the article is correct, and I agree with the cases the guy puts forward for each image type. It’s maybe the not the way I would go about describing the situation, but it’s not factually incorrect.

However, what really worried me was the end of the first paragraph:Yes, this does require a fair bit of reading and understanding, so if you aren’t going to be bothered close your browser now and save my bandwidth.Erm…. too late! It doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to appreciate the technical knowledge of this guy, when his first paragraph gives you a huge clue that the guy doesn’t know how web pages are delivered to browsers! Oh well.

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OpenStreetMap

March 7th, 2006 No comments

I think this has to be the ultimate in the “Open Source, Working Together” philosophy!

OpenStreetMap is a site that takes GPS data from users, and allows others to create road maps out of that data. In this respect, the work is free of all copyright, and should be correct as far as the data is available (i.e. no errors, and no fake roads added to ensure copyright status). For more information, follow the “Help/Wiki” link on the left of the homepage.

I don’t personally have a GPS receiver, so I’m probably going to have a go at joining up nodes and labelling roads!

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A Crash Course in Character Encodings

March 1st, 2006 No comments

This article, “A Crash Course in Character Encodings“, has certainly cleared up a lot of issues that I didn’t understand about Unicode character encodings!

I must admit it was the one area of software engineering that I was very grey about! Although the article is written for a Python audience, it still makes sense to me (although I looked a Python, I’m not a Python Developer!), and the principles are easily transferable.

If you need instruction in this area, read the article – it makes a lot of sense out of a confusing area!

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Interesting Article

February 23rd, 2006 1 comment

I’ve stumbled upon an interesting article this morning called “I hated php back when it was cool“, which kind of vocalises some of the gripes I recently developed with PHP.

Namely, the language has grown exponentially, but without a structure to tie the language together effectively. I just love the description quoted in the article:Aristotle Pagaltzis makes an interesting point when he says how PHP suffers from a lack of initial design. … Basically PHP seems to have started out as a pet project, and had its features battered on with a staple gun, rather than included in the design.. Everything is done with a series of functions, most of which have different patterns of behaviour or different parameters depending on what version of PHP your running. This makes coding effective sites an absolute nightmare!

My other chief gripe is classes. Despite the recent changes to the whole class handling system in PHP, it’s still rubbish, and most of the time, I can’t use the improvements that PHP 5 brings because no bugger supports it!

To me, when the PHP people get to writing version 6, they need to stop, and quite literally start again. I really mean that – it doesn’t matter if the “newer” PHP code is not backwards compatible – it isn’t very BC at the moment, and so they should take more time, consider their direction, and plan ahead.

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Adaptive Firewalls

February 2nd, 2006 No comments

I’m thinking of building an adaptive firewall on my Linux router at home.

I’ve noticed that people are scanning the ports on the computer, and running HTTP requests to see if they can trip several known security flaws (e.g. in AwStats).

I did a little reading up on how to build an IPTables based adaptive firewall, and I’m beginning to concoct some ideas in my brain.

Basically, what I want to do, is constantly scan the requests that are made to Apache, and maybe some other server apps, and build some rules to pick out naughty behaviour. Once I’ve done that, I can get the IP address of the offender, and build a list of banned IP addresses. I’ll only want to “ban” (i.e. block at the firewall) those IPs for a set amount of time (e.g. 24 hours), but the response time of the firewall must be quick in order to catch these people in the act, and so I must rebuild my IPTables rules in reasonable time. After the 24 hours is up, I then need to clear any expired IP addresses down again whilst still keeping blocked IPs and my other firewall rules in place.

I’m therefore thinking that producing a series of scripts based around Cron is not suitable – you can’t schedule it to work more that once every minute. It could mean that I need to produce some server program (either using a UDP socket, or UNIX-type pipe) to receive IP addresses as soon as possible, and to store the data for 24 hours.

Anyone got any good suggestions?

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Here’s A Question

January 17th, 2006 1 comment

Are all software bugs repeatable? As in, if you discover a bug in a piece of software, is there any type of bug that could not be repeated?

My answer is “Yes, all bugs are repeatable”. Bugs depend on circumstances, so as long as you can repeat the circumstances, then you can repeat the bug.

I’m betting Richard thinks otherwise…. 😉

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iWeb Produces Crap Code!

January 13th, 2006 No comments

OK, so iWeb was launched the other day, as part of the new iLife ’06 package, and as soon as it was released people started using it and testing the output.

It appears, according to this post, that it produces some pretty nasty output – or should I say that it is not good engineering practice to produce the same output as iWeb!

However, I think that someone has nailed the situation pretty much on the head in the commentsWell, iWeb was built so that you didn’t have to write any code at all, so why care?

So what if there is some unnecessary code? It is a brand new application, and it gets the job done without the user having to write a line of code.

Posted by: Appleologist at January 12, 2006 09:42 PM

My point is this: Yes, it generates some pretty nasty code (although, full credit to Apple, it does parse correctly and conforms to standards), some of which could be cleaned up easily. But, as quoted, the people that will want to use this application are those people who don’t have enough web experience to develop this kind of site on their own, and so don’t care about what it generates – just as long as it looks good on their screen. The site will use up more web space, and more bandwidth, in order to host it, but not that much more.

The people that are commenting on the quality of the code, are going to be those people that know how to produce websites efficiently and correctly, and are people that care about the amount of bandwidth that their company uses, because bandwidth costs money.

Not having used iWeb, I can’t really comment on the use of the application, or it’s intended market, but from the evidence that I have seen, and my perceived target user based for the app, I would say that it does a pretty good job.

(Note To Apple: Please just tidy up the code a little, and get rid of that damn “Generator” tag – that thing just stinks of “Frontpage”!)

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