Posts Tagged ‘Computers’

Quite A Productive Evening

January 11th, 2006 No comments

Last night, I had quite a productive evening.

After months of neglect underneath my desk at home, I finally managed to get around to finish building my new home server/router. I’ve got the basics working: NAT Routing, DHCP and DNS services working, something that I had had great problems with.

It’s all reading to go now, and I can provide a simple switch with my existing router/server box (currently running SuSE 7.3 because it’s too old to run anything newer!). Once it’s in place, then I can start organising some more of the other services that I use (CVS, LDAP, SAMBA, that kind of thing). My only hold back now is getting files of the old box, and getting all my client computers to switch things like outgoing mail servers to the new IP address.

I’ve also come up with a good way of making sure I back up the necessary files if I ever need to reformat the machine: Keep copies in a directory in my home directory – I have also made notes of the other processes that I have done. Makes sense I suppose!

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This Is Pretty Handy

January 1st, 2006 No comments

This website is probably the best introduction to BSD socket programming that I have seen. It breaks down a lot of the information into clear chunks, and even explained somethings that I still had some questions over.

The only slight problem with it is that it falls into the trap a lot of other tutorials have, and does not properly use PF_INET and AF_INET in the appropriate places, and instead just uses AF_INET (which is wrong, but will still work).

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Oooh, Good Point

December 16th, 2005 No comments

I quite often read “The Old New Thing“, one of the Microsoft MSDN blogs – it actually contains some quite useful Windows API programming info, as well as quite a nice insight into the workings of Microsoft, and the historical reasons for the way Windows works.

Any, today he’s posted about why running applications off of a USB memory stick is probably not a good idea.

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Article: Either Support Safari, Or Lose Customers

December 13th, 2005 No comments

This article, entitled “Either Support Safari, Or Lose Customers” makes a lot of sense, but I don’t think it gets to the point well enough. In summary, the article says that unless website designers do not support Safari, then they will alienate Apple users.

My point is this: I don’t understand how a website can do this. To “not support” Safari, requires specific logic to detect the browser specifically, and refuse entry. Why have they not designed the site against a recognised W3C standard? In short, Mozilla Firefox (and other “Sea Monkey” derivatives), Konqueror and KHTML (which Safari is based on), and now several other browser engines all conform to W3C standards for the most part of XHTML, and CSS. In fact, it is Internet Explorer that does not parse web sites correctly. However, given a standards compatible site, Internet Explorer will do a pretty damn good job of rendering it.

So then, the logic follows, instead of making a website that looks good in one browser only, why not make a website that will appear good in the new wave of browsers (which will include Internet Explorer 7 when it is released) but won’t look terrible in the one browser that doesn’t go by the book? That way, there would be no need to alienate users of operating systems, or alternative browsers, that you haven’t thought to cater for.

I used to code the other way round – make sites that look good in IE, and just check that they work OKish in Netscape. Now, I flipped that around. I develop my sites for (and using) Firefox, and get them to validate. During the process, I then check the site design in IE, KHTML, and now that I have my Mac, Safari and Camino too.

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A Lot Of Hate

December 13th, 2005 No comments

There seems to be a lot of hate today, from people in the Linux community.

It’s strange that, in my experience, the developers of Open Source Software (in this case, and from my experience, I’m talking mostly Linux here), don’t really care too much if people use their “product” or not – they just want to make it the best that they can.

If someone in the tech community makes a statement criticising OSS, it is the users that jump up and down, and start to get angy. It also appears that it is those people who make the least valid point (as is so wonderously demonstrated here).

From my experience of developers’ reactions, their come back is some what more subdued – it tends to be more along the lines of “OK, fine. You don’t like us. I can still sleep at night” – as is so brilliantly described here.

What I don’t get though, is why the users are so determined to defend OSS. My opinion is “Sure, it’s great. I use it a lot and I certainly appreciate all the work that people have gone through to get this to me – Well Done. But it does have it’s faults….” – it just seems that some people cannot see that OSS does have faults, bugs, etc, just like any other piece of software, so why do they get so uptight when someone points it out?

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This is truely amazing

December 13th, 2005 No comments

You need to understand the story of this one, and have an understanding of how relational databases should work for it to make any sense.

This guy “Jay”, should be fired. That’s not a joke. If he is using a relational database system, and he is creating a new table per order, then he does not understand any of the principal rules, and workings, of an RDBMS. I would hate to think what his code would look like, and the speed at which the information would execute is just ridiculous. Essentially, he has created a new file (with the database table overhead, once per file) for every single customer order – that is just wrong, incorrect, and incompetent.

Fire him!

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Hmm, damn spammers

December 12th, 2005 No comments

OK, so I now get quite a lot of comment spam. It’s not exactly a torrent, but none of it ever gets through my 100% effective filtering system (i.e. Me).

However, I did think about automating at least some of the process, and so at the weekend I started recording IP addresses and User-Agent strings, in a futile attempt to at least get some kind of handle on this.

What I’ve seen disturbs me. Effectively, the spammers are “spoofing” their User-Agents to the extent that it is possible to exclude them based on their User-Agent string, but I could also be excluding a large proportion of my audience.

For example, one of the strings is “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows NT Windows CE)”, however, looking it to this string here (fifth entry down), you can’t really do that. I’ve seen some examples of .htaccess files that seem to limit some of these things, but even these get it wrong – in both my quoted examples, you will see that the completely exclude “Maxthon” which is a legitimate tabbed shell around the Internet Explorer Active X control, and you can also see an exclusion for “AtHome021” – an extension added to the end of Internet Explorer’s User-Agent string by the “At Home” ISP.

I’m thinking about integrating some kind of pattern recogniser to work out the “routes” through my website that legitimate users take, and the routes that spammers take, in order to work out some kind of trail.

I’ll keep you informed.

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New Kernel!

December 10th, 2005 No comments

I’ve just updated the Kernel version on my MythTV box to 2.6.14, from my distro’s default 2.6.11.

I did actually have 2.6.13 installed, but I found that the DVB support had not been compiled in, unlike the stock Fedora Core 4 2.6.11 kernel, so I went back to the older version.

Having just updated to the latest version, I’ve found that it’s now suitably configure to work with DVB TV cards, so I’m sticking with the new version!

What I need to do now, is get LIRC working properly so that I can use the full range of keys on my remote control.

In researching the above though, I discovered a good reason why Fedora Core 4 doesn’t seem to work with Samba and Mac OS X – it’s all detailed here.

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December 9th, 2005 No comments

I’ve found my own, personal, Holy Grail!

Basically, everyday at work, I open my applications in a certain order, that way I know how things are organised, and they are sorted so that the things I use the most frequently are positioned in the middle of the taskbar (Power User!). Anyway, if something ever crashes or I close something by accident, I need to restart it, but then that stuffs up the order on the taskbar.

Today, I’ve found two applications that solve this problem for me!

Task Commander, and Task Arrange let you rearrange the order of items on the Windows Taskbar. I’ve tried both out, and Task Commander isn’t really that good (and automatically sorts all items into alphabetical order when you start it up, with no way of changing it back!), but Task Arrange is just about perfect (it features an “Apply” button, miles ahead of Task Commander). It’s definitely going to stay in my collection of tweaking applications.

If you are like me and are fussy about where you applications sit, I would recommend you give it a try.

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December 7th, 2005 No comments

Jesus! How dodgy is this bit of code?

  * $Id: clearmem.c,v 1.1 2003/06/29 20:41:33 decibel Exp $
  * Utility to clear out a chunk of memory and zero it. Useful for  flushing disk buffers
int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
     if (!calloc(atoi(argv[1]), 1024*1024)) { printf("Error allocating memory.
"); }

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