• Climate Change and the Covid-19 Pandemic

    I recently read an opinion article in the local paper arguing – rightly – that that climate change is a much greater threat than the pandemic. But unfortunately it lead off by saying that climate change caused the pandemic.

  • Star Citizen

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about a video game.

  • Everything I know about photography I learned from Ken Rockwell (part one)

    Bones of the Sky I walked outside on a spring day in 2018 and saw this great sky above me. I didn’t have my camera so I just used my iPhone. I shot literally straight up into the air. I turned it into black and white afterwards using Apple Photos. Nothing fancy. View on 500px

  • Urban density is more complicated than you might think

    Density is often seen as the cure for what ails our cities, our mental health, and the environment, and rightly so. Density is great for all those things. But density is also complicated. There is good density and not-so-good density. Staying in an Airbnb on the 37th floor of a Toronto highrise last week reminded me of why.

  • A textbook example (Semacode)

    My first startup was Semacode, the world’s first downloadable QR Code scanner. When I tell people my entrepreneurship story, I tell them that my first company was a technological and press success, but a business failure. We were covered in Wired and the Economist, and we did make some money, but not that much. Ultimately, we never figured out how to make a business out of it. That was a big mistake. I thought I had a product, but actually what I had was a technology.

  • My very own CVE - Safari Security Update 2017-03-27-2 Safari 10.1

    I’m famous!

  • How to make emacs understand nginx files

    I started using emacs about 20 years ago, but I never mastered it. I learned most of the text editing keys, but I never bothered to understand modes, commands, modules, or how to use it to read email, surf the web, or emulate videogames.

  • Stephen Elop, Nokia, Microsoft, and the Trojan War

    “What happened to Nokia” I was just wondering obviously the answer is like BlackBerry they were blinded by the magnificence of their own operating system and didn’t realize that they are a hardware company and can’t write an OS for shit.

  • Awesome totally enclosed sets in Sci-Fi movies

    All the best sci-fi movies built fully enclosed sets. What’s a fully enclosed set, you ask? Imagine the Firefly, the hero ship from the cult series, and you imagine walking around inside this beautiful, grungy interior, staircases, ladders, the bridge, the kitchen. The actual firefly set is exactly as you see it. If you climb up the stairs from the med station you get to the kitchen. If you go back from the bridge you pass the crew quarters. The actors and crew spent their days inside this magnificent and fully built set that occupied several floors of a massive soundfloor.

  • Augmented Reality devices = Broadcast narcissism

    Long ago, Ivan Sutherland created a head-mounted display for pilots. It was clunky and bulky, but for shooting your enemies it got the job done. Fast-forward 50 years and we’re now talking about using similar tech to shoot pool or possibly pick out the best hotties at the bar. It can’t be long before some reasonably OK-looking AR glasses are available on the open-market.

  • Me: "We terrified engineers into secrecy"

    A lazy article to be sure, since it's all taken from Quora. There's some variation in the perspectives, because different people worked in different parts of the company. If you were in engineering, you had individual power even as a lowly coder. In any other department, not really.

  • xRIM: The Virtuous Cycle

    What would happen if a handful of ex-RIM employees started up new companies? Food for thought. Thousands have been laid off, we could get dozens of new startups. The groups would be experienced, knowledgeable, compatible, the ideal for a founding team. They would be connected to former colleagues wealthy from stocks from RIM's early days, making it easy to raise seed capital.

  • How to interview well at Google

    Some friends of mine have been interviewing at Google and I’ve been helping them prepare. After some practice interviews, I drew up this flowchart for them to take with them (mentally) to the interviews.

  • Scientific American infographics or chartjunk?

    This data graphic isn’t just crazy, it’s misleading.

  • Amazing comment spam

    I got some really awesome comment spam recently. Here’s an example, from my post on Nerdcore music (I deleted the comment because it contained a spam link):

  • How to buy speakers

    A friend just asked me for some advise on buying speakers – should she get Bose or Paradigm? Well, I had a few words to about that, so here’s my response:

  • How to embed a 480p YouTube video

    Google doesn’t provide any “official” way to embed a YouTube video in 480p. It always drops you down to 360p by default, and that just looks crap. You can embed in HD so why not 480p? No one knows. But don’t despair, there is a way!

    Here’s some code for you:

    <object width="853" height="505">
      <param value=";hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0" name="movie">
      <param value="true" name="allowFullScreen">
      <param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess">
      <embed width="853" height="505" allowfullscreen="true"

    That will give you an “HD width” 480p video. Just change “MOVIE_ID” to the ID of your video (e.g. “J-lHxxToCfo”) in both places. The width of the embed will be 853px, which is 16:9 for HD video.

    What if your video is 4:3, i.e. 640x480? I can’t find any clean way to embed at exactly that size, if you use the above code you’ll get black bars on either side. However you can use a negative margin to get a box of the right shape. Just wrap your object like this:

    <div style="width: 640px; overflow: hidden;">
      <div style="margin-left: -107px;">
        <object etc ... ></object>

    The controls will go off the screen but at least the user will still be able to click the centre of the video to start and stop it. Here’s an example:

    My column width is less than 640px but hopefully you get the idea.

  • CS Rap / Geeksta Rap / Nerdcore

    I’m not convinced by gamer nerdcore but good CS Geeksta Rap is cool. Finally some street beats that talk to me!

    Monzy’s Kill -9 (video) is pretty entertaining. Check out Dale Chase Coder Girl. “She’s not another shallow copy I can sudo” heheh.

    I found a few new lines in a dream recently. Don’t know if they’ll ever fit into a rap though.

    Java or Scala it doesn't matter to me
    If you want I'll even write your app in PHP
    10 PRINT "HELLO"
    20 GOTO ONE-OH
    Your bytecode is subject to my interpretation
    Use my RJ-45 I'll put a packet right into your ass
    If you don't do what I want then I will fork your git
    I'm fully dedicated but you just can't commit
  • Why condition your battery once when you can do it three times?

    MacBook users have started to discover over the last few years that their batteries can take a total nosedive into uselessness in just a few months. The first battery on my 2008 MacBook Pro was dead by the end of 2009, flat dead, and out of warranty too. Damn. Cause of death? Lack of “battery conditioning” also known as “calibration”.

    If you want to know how to calibrate your battery, you can refer to this hard to find guide from Apple:

    To calibrate the battery:

    1. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter and fully charge the MacBook or MacBook Pro battery until the light on the MagSafe connector changes to green and the Battery icon in the menu bar indicates that the battery is fully charged.
    2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for two hours or longer. You may use your computer during this time as long as the power adapter is plugged in.
    3. Disconnect the power adapter with the computer on and start using it with battery power. When the battery's charge gets low, you’ll see the low battery warning dialog on the screen.
    4. Continue to keep your computer turned on until it goes to sleep. Save your work and close all applications when the battery's charge gets low and before the computer goes to sleep.
    5. Turn off the computer or allow it to sleep for five hours or longer.
    6. Reconnect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged. You may use your computer during this time.

    Pretty easy to understand, right? Yeah, the only problem is that even though you’re supposed to this every month or two, there’s no facility on the mac that actually, you know, prompts you to do it. Nothing, nada, zap diddly doo. You’d think that Apple with their vaunted usability standards would pop up a message at the right time saying “hey, now would be a good time to condition the old battery, here’s how to do it”.

    Also, Apple’s instructions are missing two other key pieces of information. The first is that you should immediately download a wonderful app called Coconut Battery. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It will tell you how crap your battery is and you can save the data to get a history over time.

    Second is that that condition is not something you can overdo. Don’t just do it once. Do it twice, three times even. Keep doing it until you stop seeing  capacity gains in coconut battery. Most recently, my first condition went from 71% to 76%, and the second brought me up to 80%. I’m going to see how high I can get.

    All in all this is a bit of a failure on Apple’s part, and it makes you wonder if perhaps they are making a load of money from selling replacement batteries. It doesn’t seem in character for the company. More likely, they just haven’t put the time into designing a proper monitoring system that detects when you need to condition. Hopefully we’ll get that soon.

  • Warning: May Cause Earthquakes

    It seems like things that cause earthquakes are the ultimate in evil or hyperbole. But now we’ve achieved that end: human technology can cause earthquakes. Hurray!

  • How Apple could fix Mac OS X

    Mac OS X 10.7 – the OS that no one is talking about – should be the next major release of the venerable Mac OS X (since 1989!) So, what will it look like? Seems like nobody knows. All of the focus has been iPhone and iPad for so long that it seems like everyone has forgotten about the old desktop/laptop computers.

  • Another job opening :-) iPhone developer – learn on the job

    My iPhone custom software development business is expanding yet again and we need more part-time programmers. The last round I hired two people, now we need more. Our recent apps include Unitron’s uHear to test your hearing, OurKids, the Kik chat app, and others.

    You must:

    • know C, C++, pointers, object and object-relational patterns already
    • be ready to learn the iPhone SDK fast (we'll help)

    I’ve personally been programming on the Cocoa SDK since 1998 back when it was called OpenStep, so if you can pick things up, we can get you up to speed in a few weeks.

    Demonstrate your qualifications by answering 2 out of these 3 tricky questions:

    [Question 1] (C Pointers) Here is some slightly odd C code, but it will produce an (int) result, provided that you make some small changes in order to make it compile. What is the result going to be, and why?

    int * a = 1990;
    int result = &5[a];

    [Question 2] (Database design) Create an entity-relationship diagram for a small subset of the Facebook database. In particular, include in your diagram:

    • User
    • Photo (including who is tagged in the photo)
    • Wall Post

    Focus on the relationships/associations between these three objects, and only include one or two of the most important static fields (like a person’s name). Make sure to indicate the cardinality of a relationship e.g. one-to-one/one-to-many/etc.

    To get an idea of what I’m looking for see:

    Here’s a tool you can use to draw it online: Gliffy. Then just send me a screenshot. Or feel free to use ASCII art or draw on a piece of paper and photograph/scan, as long as it’s very clear.

    [Question 3] (C++ Objects) The C++ program below has just 2 compile time errors, 1 runtime error, and there is 1 single line missing. Send us a fixed version that compiles and runs correctly. The errors will test your knowledge of object use and management in C++, and the missing line will test you on abstract/virtual inheritance.

    SEND TO: Include your answer(s) and some source code that you have written, whether it’s open source, for assignments, for fun, or whatever.

    REMUNERATION: Competitive.


    (PS Please keep the answers to yourself)

    //// File: futurama.cpp ////
    #include <iostream>
    class Drinker {
    public: Drinker(); void drink( int potency ); int _numberOfDrinksSoFar;
    private: virtual int cantDrinkAnyMoreThan() = 0;
    }; Drinker::Drinker() { _numberOfDrinksSoFar = 0; }
    class Robot : public Drinker { int cantDrinkAnyMoreThan() { return INT_MAX; } };
    class Human : public Drinker {
    void Drinker::drink( int potency ) {
      _numberOfDrinksSoFar += potency;
      if( _numberOfDrinksSoFar > cantDrinkAnyMoreThan() ) { std::cout << "I'm all done." << endl; }
    int main (int argc, char * const argv[]) {
      int beer = 5, coffee = 3;
      Human fry;
      Robot * bender;
      for( int i=0; i<6283; i++ ) { bender.drink(beer); }
      for( int i=0; i<100; i++ ) { fry.drink(coffee); }
      std::cout << "Bender: " << bender->_numberOfDrinksSoFar << "  Fry: " << fry._numberOfDrinksSoFar << std::endl;
      return 0;
  • Maybe Nokia just can't make good software?

    Nokia looks to be in serious trouble. They’ve delayed Symbian^3, which was supposed to be the sort or basic catch-up version of their main smartphone OS. Symbian^4 is supposed to be the move ahead again version and who knows when they’ll release it. Meanwhile, Maemo or whatever they’re calling it these days is more like vaporware even though theoretically it’s out on a couple of devices.

  • Review of Resonance by Daniel Stepp (mac os x/windows)

    Once upon a time while tripping across the ‘net I stumbled upon a piece of software called Resonance. The web site is cryptic:

  • Bug Points

    An incomplete list.

  • Real or Fake?

    It’s getting harder to tell. Be sure to watch it in fullscreen:

  • 14 Errors in anti-Light Rail thinking

    I’m part of a group called Hamilton Light Rail which has been pushing for the development of a european-style light rail (aka Tram) in Hamilton. Recently the Hamilton newspaper The Spectator published an anti-LRT rant by a businessman who owns, among other things, a car wash. His opinion piece is so full of factual errors that I couldn’t resist making a list. I actually found 14 factual errors (that is errors that require no argument, simply a correction of information from easy to access sources). So, without further adieu (sic) here it is:

  • Reise Zum Mars film

    Mucho thanks to The Cartoonist for discovering this lovely Steampunk film “Reise Zum Mars” (journey to mars, in german). Made by german film student Sebastian Binder, along with Fabien Grodde and Alexander Schumann, it’s a short film based on a draft screenplay by Walter Dexel, an early 20th Century Constructivist. But don’t worry, it’s just music and action, so there’s no need to know any german to watch it. And what’s more, the lyrics to the song are in english anyway.

  • Mobile phones access agricultural market price information in developing nations

    The most critical piece of information for any farmer is what to grow. What grains are going for good prices at the market. What is overproduced and what is underproduced. What is in demand. Farmers must know this information in order to make a living, hopefully a profit.

  • A little ToneMatrix Music

    AndrÌ© Michelle, inspired by the TENORI-ON, created a grid-sequencer called ToneMatrix. It’s an interactive experience written in Flash 10 that merges graphics, visualization, interactivity, and music. There are also iPhone knock-offs such as the free TonePad. As for ToneMatrix, click here to check it out and create your own tunes. Here’s one of mine.

  • How to prepare a build for distribution in the App Store using the Program Portal, XCode, and iTunes Connect

    Apple does a pretty good job of explaining how to prepare the meta-data for an app submission in iTunes Connect, but it’s not completely obvious how to prepare your actual build in XCode.

  • something I found written on a piece of paper

    I don’t know what it means.

  • What happens when you don't understand open source licenses?

    I was just checking out a TextMate-like editor for Windows called E Text Editor. It looks pretty good, but I was a bit surprised when I read about his “Open Company License”.

  • My university can't draw.

    This is their idea of a good new logo.

  • Maemo is coming

    So according to what everybody is saying, Nokia is going to start using the Maemo operating system + SDK in their high-end smartphones. This is good news. Symbian is basically a smoking pile of junk. It’s too old, and too crap, to be fixed. Toss it out the window and good riddance.

  • Who Will Get What? -- a US healthcare infographic

    Who Will Get What? This is an information graphic based on Health Insurance Reform in Three Steps by

  • Google: what is zero?

    Apparently it’s 1.15463195 * 10^-14.

  • Saying goodbye to Guido Sohne

    Some people’s deaths hit me harder than others. When Douglas Adams died in 2001 I was devastated. I also took it pretty bad when Guido Sohne died last year. I’m glad that he’s now been rewarded with a post-humous award – in his name – and triggered a belated reaction to the original news.

  • Where have all the great actresses gone?

    Movies are great for many reasons, but having a superstar actor/actress can make even a half-ass movie bearable or even good. There’s lots of great actors who can pull it off these days. To give a few random examples. Benicio Del Toro. Bruce Willis. Brad Pitt. Clooney. Clint Eastwood, after all these years. … much as I hate to admit it, Leonardo DiCaprio.

  • Praise for uHear

    I still think that the uHear application I made for Unitron is pretty cool. So do some other people.

  • Closures with return values in Java

    Here’s how to get everything you need from closures today in Java, without waiting for the big foreheads to argue over how to make it nice and perfect.

  • Something I found written on a piece of paper

    I’m not sure if it means anything:

  • Singin' in the Rain's crazy dream ballet sequence

    I just watched the movie Singin’ in the Rain… and by far the best part was this sequence where Gene Kelly dances a ballet with Cyd Charisse. Wow!

  • An awesome little flash game

    You’ve got to try this.

  • The Entire Cast of Futurama — someone should make a poster

    Here is as close as we’ve ever got to a poster of the entire cast of Futurama… from their most recent direct-to-DVD movie Into the Wild Green Yonder. It’s notable for two things in my mind: first, it doesn’t include most of the principles (they would be easy to add) and second, wow, Futurama just doesn’t have as many characters as Simpsons. Simpsons has a LOT of characters. What do they say, 50 active on-going basis? That’s a lot.

    And now my fellow Earthicans … More Futurama is Coming

    Comedy Central was happy with the specials and with the 72 produced episodes of "Futurama" it acquired from 20th Century Fox TV in 2006. "Yet there is nothing like new, self-contained episodes week to week," said David Bernath, Comedy Central's senior vp programming. "This is all about reinvigorating the franchise, giving it a new burst of energy."

    In other words, futurama pays.

    OK, this is stupid but I came up with this joke for Zap Brannigan.


    ZAP: Ahh, do you remember me? I'm Zap Brannigan.
    Captain Zap Brannigan. I put myself in your charge.

    SOMEONE: How generous of you.

    ZAP: By which I mean I put myself in Charge. Of You.

    Lame joke? Maybe. But I don’t see YOU making up jokes and blogging them for everyone to see.

  • How many programming languages do you know?

    List of programming languages that I know* that appear on the Official Wikipedia List of Programming Languages**.

  • Nokia blows it on the N97

    Nokia’s new N97, I was hoping it would be the next great phone. But looking at a review in AAS, it looks like they totally blew it on the keyboard. There are only three rows of keys, which means that the space bar is in completely the wrong place. Gak!

  • StartupCamp Waterloo Numero Six

    StartupCampWaterloo6 will be… is … was. Yesterday in fact.

  • The old server was always crap, but...

    % uptime
     00:59:46 up 607 days, 14:13,  2 users,  load average: 0.06, 0.17, 0.36
  • How to make samba on ubuntu use your unix passwords

    You need something called “password sync” … obvious right?

  • Incredible Hulk easter egg: Nick Fury letter

    So there I was, watching the Incredible Hulk titles again in slow-motion, because I’m always curious as to what the special effects people write into the various fake news stories and computer graphics. Sometimes it’s funny. And I came across this little easter egg which seems to have been missed by fans on the net.

  • Why do people on eHarmony close with "I am pursuing another relationship"?

    I have a theory about this one. Because they can easily go to Matching and turn it off temporarily. But I think that some people leave it on, because they want the ego boost, even though they’re going to shut down the match anyway.

  • How to do rails tests when running with restful_authentication

    The Restful Authentication plugin seems to be the standard right now, although I’m staring to wish I’d tried something else, maybe AuthLogic… because restful_authentication is kind of poorly documented. One serious error of ommission is how the hell do you update your tests so that you can run them on controllers that require a logged in user? Well, I have had the pain, and so you can have the quick answer, here it is.

  • Don't use porn in your slides at a tech conference

    So Merb developer Matt Aimonetti made a presentation at GoGaRoCu heavily laden with soft-core pornography and some people got upset. In particular, a woman got upset – Sarah Allen. It didn’t help that she was one of only six women at a 200 person conference. Holy shit!

  • sudo apachectl stop && sudo apt-get remove apache2 && sudo apt-get install nginx

    I binned apache finally on It was easy. A little bit of “this is really the last straw” frustration with mod_rewrite and I ditched it.

  • Intelligent humour

    Intelligent online cartoons:

  • How to really URL encode an NSString in Objective-C, iPhone, etc.

    Trying to encode URL parameters on Mac or iPhone? Frustrated because NSString stringByAddingPercentEscapesUsingEncoding encodes non-URL characters but leaves the reserved characters (like slash / and ampersand &) alone? “Apparently” this is a “bug” apple is aware of, but they haven’t done anything about it yet, and so, here is a solution that actually works.

  • trusted user status on Daily Kos

    Well, apparently I’ve achieved the vaunted and much-desired “trusted user” status on DKos. That means I can rate people down, as opposed to just up. I’m probably not going to do it much, just like I rarely troll rated people when I had privs on SlashDot (back when /. was interesting…)

  • The better way to code error-handling routines

    There’s an excellent guide to Rails 2 that I’m reading through right now, but I don’t like this bit:

  • Simplelog-X... is coming...

    So I just made some major updates to the software running this site, which for now I’m calling “Simplelog-X”. And the source code for simplelog-x is now on github.

  • Dubai, I'm shocked!

    So Dubai isn’t a wonderland and actually is a vast petrol- and credit-funded nightmare that is on a knife’s edge of sinking into the sands, forever gone? I’m shocked! Who could have thought it.

  • New server for


  • Welcome to the World of Tomorrow!

    When I was just a young tyke, getting beat up by my peers every day, I retreated to the little school library to immerse myself in visions of the future. Little did I know that some day the mythical year “2001” would come and pass in a blaze of … nothing spectacular. Well anyway, I think it’s fun to look back at those visions of the future and look in awe at the coolness of how we should now be living.

  • Under the lid of a power line conditioner, the APC H15

    I just acquired an “APC AV H15 Home Theater 1500VA Power Filter and Power Conditioner”, which is usually just called the APC H15. It’s a pretty popular device basically to smooth out the AC power for home theatre type systems, and also protect your equipment from any kind of bad power juju. Some people buy these kinds of things to make their speakers sound better, but my system probably isn’t good enough to notice at this point. My concern was that my apartment has bad power, and I’ve been having random computer shutdowns, blown lightbulbs, and even weird lines in my new LCD TV. Fortunately I got this silver H15 less than half price because they’re moving from silver case to black case.

  • The Shape of Things That Hum

    The Shape of Things That Hum is a series of 11-minute short documentaries about different electronic instruments. It goes through a bunch of classics, most I recognize the sound easily but never knew the name or the story. Here’s the proper order:

  • Urban camouflage / hiding in plain sight

    Check out this artist hiding out in an Ikea store using a unique urban camouflage. Watch as he disappears in plain sight!

  • How To Save the World Without Destroying It (Too Big to Fail. It's True.)

    Cross-posted in my Daily Kos diary, where it will be almost certainly ignored (because kossacks mainly care about breaking news).

  • iPhone programming: how to switch to a landscape view at the moment of your choosing

    Maybe someday, Apple will make it easy to rotate manually into a landscape view. But right now it’s been causing me enormous headache with hideous frames issues. Running an app in landscape the whole time is easy, but doing just some views in landscape is insane, especially if you’re trying to switch while in the middle of a navigation controller.

  • The StartupCamp Report - StartupCampWaterloo5

    So last night was StartupCampWaterloo5 – the Original Startup Camp with the Best Format(tm). We had on the order of 60-80 people in attendance. We didn’t do formal count of startups this time, but there were 12 proposed demos on the whiteboard, and I know of at least 3 other groups that were represented. As usual we had a keynote speaker: Mark Evans, who among other things runs the mesh conference in Toronto. He usually talks about social media, but he focused for us on communication, highlighting good and poor first impressions and public communications strategies of various websites.

  • A "short" list of financial market crimes

    It seems like the truth is slowly emerging about all of the horrific things that went on during the boom times and are now emerging from the muck as the swamp is drained. Someone like Bernie Madoff can always cover his debts while the market is rising, but suddenly his ponzi scheme fails when it crashes. It seems that there is now a laundry list of semi-legal crap that is similarly being outed.

  • Wondeful joy! Mix Ruby and Objective-C with MacRuby

    How great is this. You can use any language you want in your MacRuby projects. Want to add in some code you already wrote in Objective-C++? No problemo!

  • How to make an iPhone button highlight (hold state)

    Here’s how to use iPhone SDK to make a button hold it’s on/highlighted state when you click on it:

  • What is the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy really about?

    The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is about life, the universe, and everything, … and the fact that it makes no sense. Life makes no sense. Nothing that happens makes any sense. There is no purpose, to meaning, no answer, just an endless series of coincidences, catastrophes, and occasionally good times which we just have to put up with until we die. This is the thesis of HHGTTG, and also a good bit of Douglas’s other work.

  • I just realized that "Bachelor's Degree" is sexist

    Crazy eh?

  • What happened to Sphera Software?

    It was a mac shareware company that made some great games: Scramble in particular, was a lot like the current Word Challenge game on Facebook, and then there was Spin Crisis, and a CHM reader called Chimp… and now they are gone without a trace. Their old domain takes you to some band.

  • Lego + Eddie Izzard = Death Star Canteen

    Hilarious video, great animation, Lego + Eddie Izzard in the Death Star Canteen

  • iphone objective-c pain ... give me ruby, bastards!

    I’m writing an iPhone app in Cocoa Objective-C and really wishing that I could be writing it in Ruby instead (cocoa-ruby on iphone anyone?).

  • Great percussionist video: Evelyn Glennie

    Evelyn Glennie is a deaf percussionist. I guess that this is possible because percussion creates vibrations that you can feel with your feet, your hands, your fingertips, maybe even your whole body. She is now one of the few or only professional solo percussionists in the world. Anyway, the TED conference gave her a 30 minute session which is reproduced here in high definition (definitely consider plugging into decent speakers or headphones). Evelyn Glennie on “How to Listen”. Click on the High Definition link under the video to get the real video.

  • My home theatre: Audioengine 5, Airport Express, Sharp Aquos 32D64U, and a Mac Mini

    Someone asked me recently to describe my home theatre. I’ve put quite a lot of thought & work into it. But not a lot of money. My goal from the start was to achieve the maximum return with the minimum of complexity.

  • Spotlight does Math (but not conversions)

    Mac OS X has Spotlight (Cmd-Space) which rocks for not just finding files but launching applications (just start typing the name). I just discovered it also does math, just like google. For example, try typing in 5*9+pow(sqrt(10),3) . Nifty.

  • Ruby on Rails Feed/RSS Aggregator (35 lines)

    I wrote myself a feed aggregator for my front page. And… voila! I’m finally satisfied with it to post it.

  • New version of FractalTrees X (FTX) 2 beta 1

    So after something on the order of 4 years I’ve finally upgraded my FTX program that draws fractal trees in 2 dimensions. I’ll update the program’s home page later, but in the mean time, here’s the download link, with source code included.

  • Yummy FTP for Mac OS X: still good, still ignored

    Yummy FTP is a great Mac FTP program with side-by-side browsing, sychronization, remote editing, etc. I’m not a huge fan of the icon but other than that it’s great.

  • Atheists most discriminated against group in the USA

    Hard to believe… But so says wikipedia. I wonder why this doesn’t come up more often. Would being “outed” as an atheist be as bad as being “outed” as gay or muslim or . . . whatever?

  • Facebook are idiots

    In my email:

  • Mesh networking 5 years later

    The last time I blogged about mesh networks was 5 years ago (almost exactly!). I was pretty pumped about the possibilities in those days – like the idea of creating a 2nd internet using mesh protocols, routing from house to house using WiFi, circumventing ISPs…. hey, it’s still a cool idea, and maybe even possible still, especially with the excess capacity that we have with e.g. 802.11n. Latency would probably be pretty high..

  • Getting a "Secure Rip" (a perfect/high-quality mp3 rip of a CD) on a Mac

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a perfect CD rip on my mac. The problem in a nutshell is that ripping CDs is “unreliable”, in other words, it is impossible to be sure when you rip a CD that you have the correct digital data. How good a copy you get depends on your drive and the software you use.

  • BarCampWaterloo (November 2008 Edition) roundup

    Yet another BarCamp in Waterloo came and went. Phun. Saturday we talked about Windows 7, what’s the best platform for mobile development, and a wide ranging debate on programming languages. Learned more about Haskell. A little bit. Was possibly only person to have heard of Scala or Groovy. Wild. Also there were other discussions too, including a nice chat I had with Ali A. (missed a presentation for that one).

  • BlackBerry storm clicks, I like it.

    One of my biggest dislikes with touch-screen devices is the total lack of tactile feedback. There are other things I don’t like about them, but that’s a biggy. So when I played around with the BB Storm’s clickable screen. I liked it. I only played with the browser, which was competent, actually quite good, and very close to as good as the iPhone. So I can’t provide an overall review of the Storm. But the clicking, that’s good.

  • Thank god

    That’s all I have to say.

  • Vuze (Azureus) search template for The Pirate Bay (TPB)

    Vuze provides a built-in search function to make it easier to find bittorrent files that you want to download. And, it’s extensible, so you can add new search “templates” for torrent sites beyond the ones that they support by default.

  • Good advice from Futurama

    Futurama, possibly one of the best TV shows ever made, say some people. And full of good advice for every day situations too.

  • A bit of torrent

    This week on A bit of torrent

  • Apple are idiots

    I just tried to open my old XCode project for FractalTrees X in XCode. No dice – XCode doesn’t even recognize the “pbproj” extension any more, and that’s only from 2002… Then I try to open my NIB at least? And it’s totally toast. Nothing. Won’t open. Won’t upgrade in ibtool. Nothing.

  • How to program a computer, for children ... II

    A while ago I wrote “How to program a computer, for children”. I was actually inspired by Ming’s efforts along the same lines. I just read it and decided to take a slightly different tack, doing it all with math (since programming is all math anyway).

  • My Sharp Aquos TV runs linux

    I was reading the manual for my HDTV (I know, who the hell does that?) when I noticed a GPL license notice and acknowledgment for among other things, “linux kernel”. Wild.

  • Did some fixing of the site, and got some comments!

    Well I just cleaned up some bugs in the site, mainly in the static content area (so stuff in the Software and Content sections works now!!!)

  • Useful software: PDFCrack, Map.Hamilton iMapper, and Skim for PDF annotation

    Some miscellaneous useful software.

  • Cool URIs should never change ... & site updates

    I’m a terrible person. When I upgraded to Rails I totally broke a zillion URIs on this site, in particular most of the weblog links. I also probably lost a lot of google juice in the process. Well, now I have restored all of the weblog archive links in accordance with Cool URIs don’t change (and I should practice what I preach…)

  • It should be required reading is for idiots

    Number of books that “should be required reading”: 855,000.*

  • Best movie links (...the answer is Citizen Kane)

    I just went for a walk in the rain. It was nice and mellow. Nothing with me, no keys, no wallet, and best of all, no cellphone.

  • My eHarmony Procedure

    Yes, I use eHarmony. I have my match distance set to something like 200km so I get about 5-8 matches a day. I try to sift through them pretty quickly to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here’s my current procedure:

  • - Convert FLAC files into 320 kbps MP3 files

    Convert FLAC files into 320 kbps MP3 files. Someone might find this useful. I call it It will take every .flac file in the current directory and convert it to MP3 using lame’s “insane” preset (which shows what the lame people think about mp3…)

  • the ultimate cut out book

    You have probably seen the book with a space cut out to hide a knife, a gun, another book… but what about a house?

  • Jesse Rodgers's blog

    Who You Calling A Jesse?

  • Because I can

    Open Source Software for Mac. Lots of Good Stuff. Very nice.

  • The Loudness War

    What the hell is the Loudness War? It’s music business, baby. Put it this way. Everything is getting LOUDER.

  • Azureus's stunning visualizations (Vuze)

    In order to get around Bell Sympatico’s bittorrent throttling I recently switched to Azureus (aka Vuze). If you switch to the “classic” UI mode, it has some stunning visualizations of what’s happening with your torrents.

  • Hacking the java compiler: using anonymous subclasses as closures

    UPDATE: new more comprehensive post on this subject: Closures with return values in Java.

  • ALL NEW "Simon Says" content RIGHT HERE

    Wow, WYM Editor is so cool that I can just like type in a new blog post whenever I want to. Wild!

  • Restoring the old posts

    OK, here’s a test of how WYMeditor works, because I’m going to try to copy/paste some code in here. I just had a little foray into my past with XSLT. I had 344 old blog posts (starting year 2000!) to convert from XML to SQL. Nothing better than XSL for the job! Here it is.

  • Blogging on Rails

    Hi there.

  • The Quick and Easy Guide to moving your project from CVS to Subversion

    So you want to use SVN? Fine, it’s easy to move a project from one to the other.

  • Tinselman

    Tinselman is the very amusing blog of the co-creator of Myst, Robyn Miller. It’s a bit iffy on a daily basis … and very eclectic. A bit like this blog, but better.

  • A bit of torrent

    police squad

  • an unusual Mac OS X graphics bug

    When I first saw this, I thought, hey cool! Then I took a screenshot and when it came through in the screenshot, that was even cooler. It’s not often you get something like this. Memory corruption, maybe, not terminal, and not detected by the graphics software. My laptop gets hot sometimes, maybe the memory got corrupted that way? It happened on wake from sleep. Anyway, bug

  • New features on the blog: pagination, save to digg,

    I just added two new features. First, now you can finally page through the posts 15 at a time (or whatever # it’s set to show on the front page), using the “Previous Page” and “Next Page” links at the bottom. Second, you can save a specific post to Digg or delicious by just clicking on the appropriate little icon in the meta-data at the top of the post. As if anyone would want to do that. I don’t, but I saw it on a bunch of other blogs so I thought I’d do it to.

  • Some fun with Saxite, a logo, my first "font"

    So Saxite is the new name for my siteware project. For those of you not paying attention, it’s all written in XSLT and XML and it runs on AxKit.

  • The "quest for colour"

    Although I love graphic design, I’ve never been able to get the hang of colour. I usually work in black and white. My colour palettes usually suck. The colours on this site are nice but that’s a very lengthy evolution and they could still be better.

  • A bit of torrent

    This week on “a bit of torrent” …fast show

  • tags tags tags

    I just spent a whole bunch of time sorting my tags. Because I have the best tag browser ever and so I’m having some fun going through and tagging my content and making my tags better now. For example, I had no rhyme or reason for uppercase, some were mixed-case, some were uppercase, some were lowercase. I decided to make them all lowercase.

  • dailykos uses my graphic as the "open thread" image

    I came up with this image yesterday when I was thinking about Disney’s role in the fantasyland movie that ABC just broadcast (Disney owns ABC and apparently backed the film).Disney Politics Logo Hack - colour

  • Even better tag browser!

    Well now I’ve got an even better tag browser . In fact I think it’s the coolest tag browser ever. It’s better than the flickr tag browser and the technorati tag browser and amazingly, even then tag browser . And what is delicious for if not tag browsing. Well.

  • Linkdump: cousin Suzanne, "Me", Excel little graphs, The Grooming of the Woodside Man

    A bunch of links and things.

  • I can't get enough of ravenblack quizzes!

    I just can’t get enough of these quizzes! They’re so awesome! The author is a genius!

  • Some links between Republicans and Vets for Freedom

    I was just reading this article on The Vets for Freedom faux grassroots movement . If there’s one think that I don’t like, it’s astroturfing. See why at wikipedia . Especially political astroturfing, the worst kind.

  • nifty animated information graphic

    Imagining the Tenth Dimension is a cool, flash-animated information graphic. Unlike a lot of flash graphics, this one really needs to be animated, the movement really adds to the explanation power of the graphic.

  • Customizing CSS with the Sympa Mailing List manager .. and CFH 416

    I recently decided to customize the CSS style sheets on my Sympa mailing list manager -based forums . It wasn’t quite as easy as I think it should have been. The “instructions” in the Sympa docs are not exactly friendly. However after puzzling through it myself I found that it wasn’t too hard. Here are the notes I made in the process.<pre>set css_path in robot.conf e.g. css_path /var/www/ #filesystem path css_url #fully-qualified URL! then set chmod the css directory, chmod a+rw so that sympa can change it then on “skins admin” page do “install static css” (static = not generated on the fly by tt2, I think) it will install style.css and some other .css files in the css directory then set the css directory back to whatever permissions you want it to have then modify the “static” css files however you like </pre>

  • Two-level tags

    I’ve thought before about putting in a two-level tagging system on my blog. I guess that it comes from that I’m dissatisfied with “tags” per se. They’re just not rich enough. With a simple tagging system, it’s hard to organize your tags into groups, for example, which to me is a big problem.

  • Can you still hear?

    Here’s a flash app that you can test your hearing , how high it goes at higher frequencies. Best to start at the top and then notice when you can start to hear something. For me, it’s 18 000 Hz which is pretty good considering how bloody old I’m getting. How about you?

  • Videos from JavaOne SF 2006

    /shared/saxinc/movie.xml href=/weblog/media/2006/20060518-paul-yerba.3gp
  • A bit of torrent

    will ferrell
  • Fake or real?

    Can you tell the difference any more?man

  • I got 400 spam mails yesterday

    Does that seem like a lot to you? It seems like a lot to me.

  • Possible circumvention method for Apple's new iTunes 6 Music Store DRM

    jhymn icon
  • Useful resources for Ultimate (the disc sport...)

  • Concert band recordings from March 19, 2006 concert "Celebrities"

    …and here they are, finally, the first mp3 recordings of the McMaster Concert Band ever made public. Share and enjoy.<ul><li>1. Celebration … composed by Donald Coakley (3:56) </li><li>2. Soliloquy and Dance … composed by Philip Parker (7:28) this is the good one* </li><li>3. The King of Love My Shepherd Is … composed by Alfred Reed (4:50) </li><li>4. The Fisher Who Died in His Bed … composed by John Herberman (11:08) </li></ul>

  • New camino concept drawing: Bookmarks browser with preview pane

  • Looking back at an old Camino interface thingy

    I actually made up a design for a unified drawer design for the Camino browser, ages ago, which I thought was pretty cool at the time. Unfortunately at this time Camino was about to ditch the drawer (against my wishes). I don’t browse full screen, and I think most people don’t … but I lost that argument.

  • A bit of torrent

  • Camino ships 1.0

    I’m on an enforced work holiday which gives me lots of time to blog. So aside from a lot of work on the tagging system here at Simon Says , I’ve been going through old bookmarks and recent news as well. Here’s a good one.

  • marquetry, ancient cylinder recordings, ISOC's undemocratic board

  • Lauds by Ron Nelson, on mp3 ... and all the rest of it too

  • A bit of torrent

  • Turing machine

  • band vids

    /shared/saxinc/movie.xml href=/weblog/media/2005/20051110-band.3gp
  • Six WikiConjectures

    wikipedia logo
  • Seagull

    /shared/saxinc/movie.xml href=/weblog/media/20051017-seagull.3gp
  • Mac Band - Divertimento by Roger Cichy (+ MP3s)

    So another concert band season is upon us (I play percussion )… and so it’s time to go through the old repertoire and mine the internet for publicly available MP3s and recordings.

  • Canadian Architect and Builder

    house drawing
  • New tag browser

    My CLEVER little blog now has a better tag browser , more like the one you are used to seeing in flickr and so on. Also the tag browser is finally fixed so that it actually displays all of the tags that I’ve used… the previous one had a little bug in it, which I will totally blame on the XSLT FAQ s article on Grouping which completely didn’t work for me in this case. And their technique made no sense.

  • Environmental construction

  • Oliver Byrne's amazing information graphics

  • jargon is useful

    I was just reading Larry Borsato’s blog (from seeing the Communitech Chapter 3 blog …) and I saw his post about jargon . Jargon actually does have a useful function as culture. For example, recently I’ve been writing a business plan for my company and I’ve had to learn some new words, like valuation. Valuation is a bit of a jargon word since it really means the appraised price. The person on the street knows what “appraised price” means but not “valuation” … but that’s actually valuable because it’s a cultural clue. If I go up to someone and start talking about valuations it tells them that I know about business culture, VC culture, and whatever.

  • Bottlenose

    What do you get when you mix HTML, CSS, Javascript, Asynchronous Javascript, a web server, a web browser, interprocess communication, and native application views?

  • I christen thee CLEVER

    The blog finally has a name. It’s CLEVER. Now when you refer to my blog, you can say, “as written on CLEVER”, or “on CLEVER (by Simon Woodside)” or if you like, “on Simon Woodside’s CLEVER blog” ;-)

  • Hilarious MacHomer podcast

    Ewan Spence has an awesome podcast: The Edinburgh Fringe 2005 Show with MacHomer . MacHomer is this crazy guy who does impersonation of all the Simpsons characters talking about a production of MacBeth. It’s hilarious. Ewan does a really good interview.

  • African grey parrot

    Look at this magnificient parrot - wonderful plumage!

  • For once I agree with Cory Doctorow - Apple's DRM is no good

    Cory dumps on Apple’s decision to use Hardware DRM in OS X . Cory is smart but sometimes I think he’s dead wrong about stuff. OK, mobile phones and mobile computing specifically. But I have to say that I share his dislike of Apple’s move to hardware DRM in the official developer version of OS X on Intel. It’s nasty. It’s not right. It shouldn’t be done.

  • Buckminster Fuller's dymaxion map of the world

  • More flickr embedding, this time using the flickr badge

    So actually the flickr badge code is pretty flexible. More than I realized before. I think It’s better than the flash thing I tried before . Here I will embed 10 random pictures from my trip to barcelona.<div></div>

  • Amazing video footage!

    Well, ok, maybe it’s not amazing. But it exists. I wish I could do all this through flickr but I can’t because they suck and don’t handle 3gp video. Not that I really blame them since it’s still really blurry and stuff, but hey, it moves and you can hear stuff. Anyway I just implemented a way to throw these videos into my blog and pages much more easily (using the power of XSLT) so here are two that I took this last Sunday.

  • Some interesting flickr keyword searches (or tags whatever)

    Just though of looking at some interesting words in flickr. I just saw some persons blog where they were talking about the power of words. Well, I’m a person with a fairly large vocabulary. Not that I deliberately use pedantic words (like in monty python:<blockquote><pre>[customer] I was just sitting the local library reading … by Hugh Walpole when I came over all peckish [shopkeeper] Peckish sir? [c] esurient [s] eh? [c] eeoooungrylike [s] ahhh… hungry [c] precisely. And so I curtailed my walpoling activities and sallied forth to infiltrate your place of purvayance in order to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles. [s] come again sir? [c] [very clearly] I want to buy some cheese. </pre></blockquote>

  • embedding of flickr

    I’m testing the use of an iframe to embed a flickr photo slideshow into the weblog.

  • sed

    This thrillingly exciting unix tool also has a great page about it, Sed - An Introduction and Tutorial . It starts with “The Awful Truth about sed” which is simple … “the documentation is terrible”.

  • mobile CSS

    I decided to revisit the mobile CSS situation today. It’s actually pretty good. HTML Dog has a pretty good update as the to the situation but I’ll summarize it for you.

  • It's tags after all

    Well I changed my mind and decided to call my categories “tags” after all. Just seems to make more sense. On the other hand, my siteware allows me to use multi-word tags.

  • Categories are here!

    Well, it’s been a long time, but I finally added categories to my blog software. You’ll notice the category browser up there at the top. Also, each entry that has a category indicated will list them at the bottom in [square brackets]. So you can for example view all my posts on the subject of Apple . Or whatever.

  • Manhattan, greenest city in the USA

    Follow das link, below, to learn why Manhattan is ultra green. Here’s the first two paragraphs of the monograph. Got this from Veritas et Venustas a blog about smart growth and, if you want, US baseball.<blockquote>

  • mailman RSS, and virtual hosts on localhost

    In 2003, on the W3C www-rdf-interest mailing list, Dan Brickley wrote :<blockquote>I just stumbled across this after an #rdfig discussion about adding RSS support to Mailman, the popular list management and HTML archiving package. Turns out the patch exists already (but wasn’t intergrated yet). It took me less than 10 minutes to patch my Mailman installation and rebuild the archives for rdfweb-dev. I now have generated automatically. See for the (trivial to apply) patch and related info. Just cd into the Mailman/Archiver/ directory and do ‘patch < ~danbri/rss.patch’ or whatever, then re-run bin/arch on your archives. The markup exported is fairly basic, but sets things up nicely for future extensions – you could add in richer descriptions of the mailing lists fairly easily, though I’m not sure how best one would hook such information up to Mailman’s www-based frontend. </blockquote>

  • Configuring awstats for Debian Sarge

    It seems that AWStats is without a doubt the best stats package out there these days. And you can get it easily enough on debian with apt-get. But it still requires a bit of configuration. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

  • The good CVS book

    There is one good online CVS guide and manual, and it’s this one: Open Source Development With CVS . It’s also a real book, and although the version I’m pointing you to may well be not the latest edition, it’s still really, really good.

  • Ming's Daily Journey to EPFL

    Ming took these nifty pictures of his daily trip to EPFL, the university in Switzerland where he’s doing a PhD.

  • RSS is back

    RSS went away there for a while. I think that when I changed my back-end of the weblog a few months ago I broke RSS and never fixed it. Then forgot. So now I fixed it. But actually I don’t know how, well, actually I did make this one change. Well.

  • Metro WiFi and Converged Phones slides

    For my talk today, the slides are available . Lots of pretty pictures! I didn’t do the three about WiMAX, WiFi mesh and WiFi though.

  • TELL THE WORLD! I was Mr. Marklar

    OK, I’ve been waiting for four long, long years to tell you this. My “Secret Project” at Apple was Marklar aka OS X on x86, finally announced today! I’m not going to say today whether I think it’s a good idea or a bad idea, or what, but I will say this. In 2001, my job at Apple was Program Manager for the Marklar project. When I started, Marklar was relatively moribund, being nursed by a handful of Core OS engineers. Lots and lots of new code had been introduced in OS X from the old Mac side, and new code written, since the last release of Rhapsody worked on Intel.

  • WSIS: civil society vs. the government of Tunisia

    Choosing Tunisia for the 2nd phase of the ITU World Summit on the Information Society … good move? or not?

  • New Nokia thingy - Nokia 770 - why?

  • From Darwin to Dawkins: the science and implications of animal sentience

    It was a conference held in March in London. Subject: Animal intelligence. Obviously (if you’ve been reading this blog) you know that it’s a subject of great interest to me, particularly information entropy , or more generally, information theory . But I was concerned when I read this:<blockquote>that the burden of proof should not be on those trying to prove the sentience of animals, but rather on those seeking to disprove it! </blockquote>

  • Massive Change

    Massive Change is a web site + travelling museum exhibit (currently in Toronto!) about … well …

  • Why Your Code Sucks

    It’s so true …….

  • AxKit mailing list archives

    Google doesn’t seem to be able to find these mailing list archives, so… <ul><li>axkit-dev mailing list archive - the only up-to-date archive of that I can find. </li><li>axkit-users mailing list archive - this seems to be the best archive of There are others - the official one would be here but it never seems to be up to date at all. </li></ul>

  • CG people getting really really close to photoreal still people

    Follow the link to see what I mean. UPDATE: this is a computer graphic image, not a photograph!

  • watch out for wireless VoIP (

    Witness the first mobile phone + wVoIP . This is a mobile phone with two radios, one for GSM and the other for Wi-Fi. So when you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot, you Skype. When not, you cell. It’s brilliant.<div class="floating_right"></div>

  • state of the server

    The official server, froodily hosted by Paul Schreiber went down at 2005/04/26 at 9:30 PM (Eastern) and came back up at 2005/04/28 at 12:40 PM, after which time the web server was still not responding for some hours. Paul is travelling and anyway he lives in California while the server is in Toronto, so there’s always a bit of lag time when it needs to be physically rebooted.

  • PTT is stupid and will never be popular

    OK, I’m tired and I still haven’t really started digging into my email pile, so here’s my prediction of the hour. Push To Talk on mobile phones will never be popular. Mobile operators seem to want this to happen, but it’s not going to. It’s just an unwieldy way to communicate. It will probably keep a niche in field staff verticals but otherwise, forget about it.

  • email death spiral

    I’m caught in an email death spiral. I have so many emails that I can’t read them all without some serious pain. So I don’t read them. Then more emails come in, and the situation gets worse!

  • Nokia's Red Screen of Death

  • How to decompile and obfuscate in MIDP on OS X

    OK, just some notes. To decompile any java jar, use something like this:<pre>javap -c -classpath ./semacoderead.jar org.semacode.imagerec.Ecc200Decoder </pre>

  • HOWTO develop Symbian apps using Mac OS X

    I just posted a HOWTO for building Symbian C++ apps on OS X. It’s based on the previous HOWTO for OS X and Linux but heavily modified. My goal has always been to do everything on OS X and now I’ve achieved that goal. So, check out the link to see the howto and get going with Symbian dev on OS X already.

  • Success! Built Symbian C++ app on OS X!

    Sweet. I just build and installed and ran the series 60 “form” example app .. from Mac OS X!

  • make bittorrent go faster

    I never realized this before, but you can in fact make bittorrent go a LOT faster if you are behind a NAT box by correctly configuring port forwarding. All you have to do is make sure that ports 6881-6899 (or if you like with newer versions, 6999) get forwarded to your local machine. You can get your local address, if you’re on OS X, using the command ifconfig.

  • How to program a computer, for children

    Part 1. Instructions

  • more great infographics

    Birds-eye views of various forts and other notable places.

  • marie neurath

    Check out this amazing book “Around the World in a Flash” with Marie Neurath’s brilliant information graphics.

  • I've got DRM in my DNA

    God doesn’t want anyone to steal his (or her) work.

  • Jason Garlough is back on the map

    I lived across the hall from Jason Garlough in first year university. In second year we stayed connected but then he kind of drifted off (to be a tin-smith, I think actually) … didn’t much like UW I guess and well, neither did I but I missed my cue. So now you know who’s the wiser one.

  • photo of Chaska Potter by Paul Schreiber

    chaska potter
    Paul took this photo of Chaska Potter (of band Raining Jane ) and I think it’s pretty good. Also see the original full-rez image .

  • the latest in web oddities

    I was snooping through my logs last night and I found the following oddities. Search terms (in google): retractable claws will bring up my page on Roarians, in my ever popular (actually surprisingly…) Edion Sourcebook ; km vs miles and all the variants you can think of bring dozens a day to another part of the sourcebook ; surprisingly my nokia hs-4w review brings in a few dozen more, in fact my review is apparently the 2nd most popular page on the site at the moment.

  • java headless on OS X

    Want to run some command line java app on OS X, but tired of getting the whole dock-launch app-icon thing? Just add -Djava.awt.headless=true to the java command line!

  • the band's new repertoire

    Here’s some recordings I found out there on the web for our new repertoire. Unfortunately the Hannaford Overture (which I quite like, by Canadian J. Scott Irvine), and Dance Sequence (by Marco PÌ_tz) I can’t find.

  • McMaster Concert Band

    I play in the McMaster University Concert Band. I’d really like them to release the recordings they make on the web as MP3 files.

  • Nokia HS-4W review

    Before I start this review, I want to say that I really like Nokia’s products. Nokia’s stuff has a kind of overall product integrity that reminds me very much of Apple. All of the Nokia phones I’ve owned have had a very solid feel. Their interface design is solid too. They seem to focus on quality more than flash. Notwithstanding some funky phone designs, they went through a bad start to 2004 and are now in a strong start to 2005.

  • Disruptive Technology unmasked

    disruptive graph

  • Unpack Nokia SDK 2.1 on Unix

    Ever wanted to install the Nokia Symbian Series 60 SDK on your Linux or Mac OS X box? Now… you can. Follow the link for details.

  • psst -

    Symbian programmer? Check out #symbian on freenode’s IRC network.

  • Installing UIQ on Linux / sdk2unix

    I’ve had these notes lying around for a while with the intention of fixing them up and making a proper how to. I never have. Maybe because my whole experience with UIQ was altogether less pleasant than S60 (basically, I just don’t like it). Anyway, here are the notes in the form that I made them, some time in the fall of 2004. <pre>- installed UIQ_21 on windows
    - zipped it up
    - transferred to linux
    - got from
    - downloaded sdk2unix-1.2.tar.gz
    - [target-directory] should be something like foo/bar/symbian/uiq_21 or foo/bar/symbian/6.1 for series 60 toolkit
    - I ran sdk2unix installer and got this error: ### Configure, compile & install mkdir obj cd obj; sh ../src/configure –prefix=../uiq_21 –target=arm-epoc-pe >/dev/null 2>&1 Unexcpected error: aborting.
    - I ran that command without the redirect and found that a directory name was different from what the installer expected, the directory expected was “Documentation/Packages/UIQ_70” the actual name was “Documentation/Packages/UIQ_2.1”.
    - the name change is probably the result of a patch I applied from Sony-Ericsson on the windows side
    - solution: renamed the directory from UIQ_2.1 to UIQ_70 - problem: rcomp says: “Failed to write UIDs”
    - solution - rcomp.exe needs to find uidcrc.exe and can’t. I can’t figure out how to set WINEPATH to point to paths outside the fake windows directory. So I did - cp uidcrc.exe ~/.wine/fake_windows/Windows/
    - in fact, I copied this from symbian/6.1/Tools because it’s not even included in the uiq_21 distro!!
    - see: for a different solution
    - genaif complains unless the .aifspec file is at least 2 lines apparently …… </pre>

  • hijacked

    Anyone who’s been around the internet since before the web will know the name Panix well as they were one of the very first ISPs ever. Well, their domain was hijacked yesterday by means currently unknown (see ). Check the link for NANOG thread. If this was a cracker attack it indicates a very serious infrastructural problem. If it was an administrative attack it indicates a huge domain administration problem. Either way, anyone who owns a domain should be very worried, and everyone on the internet, because: <ul><li>Panix is going to go out of business if this isn’t fixed ASAP </li><li>All of Panix’s users are having their userIDs and passwords stolen as we speak </li><li>All email to Panix’s users is being intercepted as we speak </li></ul>Panix has a large and sophisticated user base, and those passwords could potentially be used to comprimise a wide range of systems. The obvious solution at the moment is technical - the DNS operators should revert the domain ASAP.

  • another bad pun

    Since the world needs more bad programming puns,
    Did you hear what the version control professor said to the computer language committee?
    “submitting to Cvs C++ and Cvs Java arguments commits Subversion of RCS curriculum”
    (if you don’t get it, try saying it slowly, out loud)

  • a little joke

    Did you hear the one about the catholic closed-source programmer?
    She prefers the cathedral to the bazaar.
    (Where’s my pocket protector? I need it to keep all my puns.)

  • gecybershaft

    Susan Crawford blogs Mary Ann Allison’s neologism “gecybershaft”. Germans are horrified . But the transition of your personal society from village, to friends and family, now to your attention and purpose groups is worth looking at. A lot of this is related to what Rheingold was saying 10 years ago with virtual communities.

  • apple denouement

    Here’s some really lame copy from the iWork page

  • photoshop forensics: iHome pictures fake

    In response to my post Rui noted some pics of what purports to be an Apple ‘iHome’. The photos aren’t photoshopped, but it looks to me like a mock up. I did some “forensic analysis” in photoshop (I’ve been doing a lot of image processing lately).

  • Will Apple's new box be a PVR?

    I’m going to throw caution to the wind and make another prediction ( see previous ) about Apple. I think that their new headless system is going to be a PVR (like TiVo).

  • My iPhone article makes it big

    I wrote an article for MobileWhack with some iPhone predictions . Amazingly enough, I’m now on the first page of google results for “iPhone” (although it may not last).

  • a crossword puzzle

    I created this small crossword the other day. It’s done in the style of the NYTimes crossword, basically, but with some 2-letter words. The difficulty I would say is medium (my parents play-tested it).crossword

  • Whacked!

    MobileWhack saw fit to publish my article about the rumoured iPhone. Now that I haven’t worked for Apple for 3 years, I can feel free to speculate madly about the company without fear that my “predictions” will actually come from prior NDA-covered knowledge.

  • Soft pr0n and puppies

    pr0n and puppy
    OK… technically, this is not pr0n. It’s probably about as close as you can possibly get with a bathing suit on and hands off, though. I mean, c’mon. But the real deal is the puppy. What is this? Is the puppy supposed to make it all OK? Is the puppy for women to look at? Is that the idea, that men will get the hussy with her ass in the air and women will get the puppy? And this thing is all over the net. I guess it sells…

  • Surreal compliments

    Man, I would love to get the source for that and re-implement it in XSLT. And make it into a web service or something. Maybe I could scrape and reverse-engineer it (but copyright, copyright…).

  • maxfixit: how to import contacts from OS X Address Book into new Nokia phones

  • Good news for Kenya's internet and VoIP

    I’ve been tracking the efforts of Brian Longwe for a few years now (and communicated with him a few times). I just got this via Balancing Act Africa the essential african internet weekly news email.<blockquote>It all hardly seemed possible for as Brian Longwe of AfrISPA remarked in the opening session: “Three years ago who would have thought that VoIP could be mentioned in public, let alone that we would be talking about the business implications of it?” But Sammy Kirui of the Kenyan regulator signalled the end of the beginning: “We have come from a regulatory environment that was dictated by–consciously or unconsciously–the protection of the incumbent’s revenue. That obsession even though its revenues fell anyway was like trying to hold on to an illogical scenario…If you have restrictive clauses in your licences, bring them to us and we will delete them.” </blockquote>

  • Nokia will make a Series 60 phone with QWERTY keyboard

    I was just listening to Antti Vasara’s talk (realaudio) from Nokia 2004 Capital Market Days . It’s not on the slides but during the talk he said that<blockquote>there will be Series 60 phones with QWERTY keyboards </blockquote>Will these be shaped like the Nokia 6820 ? Certainly when Series 60 gains the ability to flip from horizontal to vertical, which will happen I guess in the next year, a Series 60 phone in that form factor seems likely.

  • my thresholding is getting pretty good

    My thresholding algorithm for semacode is getting pretty good I think. Check out these results on the classic “Barbara” computer graphics test image.barbara

  • more flickr

    Class at Erin DHS
  • Cassini!


    The pictures from the Cassini spacecraft have been awesome. Here’s an example. From Astronomy Picture of the Day .

  • is mine

    So I’m hanging out on the #mobitopia channel and aeden was on there talking about his new site for .mp : Get.MP where you can register on this new TLD. Well, what do you know, there’s still plenty of 3-letter domains left, so I went with the trent and got myself . I don’t really have any plan to use it but I figure I can sell it off at a profit someday.

  • Apple will not make a phone

    So I just woke up and noticed that Russell Beattie says that Apple’s going to make a smartphone. They’re not going to make a smartphone.<ul><li>The smartphone business is already full of excellent products. Nokia is almost exactly like apple and has the same corporate character and sensibilities. apple can’t compete against nokia. Nor can they compete against Sony-Ericsson, who make very pretty phones as well. </li><li>apple has no experience with making cell phone radios, and it’s not trivial </li><li>cell phones are going to eat MP3 players anyway, but it’s going to take some time, maybe a few years. </li></ul>

  • apple

    I was dreaming about Apple again last night (which I often do, since I worked there in my capacity as a busybody). If I were in charge of apple, here’s what I would do.<ul><li>their core business is selling computers. the main competition to computers is smartphones but apple is safe because smartphones have small screens. until roll-up large screens are made, apple is safe. </li><li>they pick small markets with low-hanging fruit. Easy pickings. what’s next? a video camera is next. the video cameras on the market suck. apple already has experience with optics from the iSight. they’ll make a video camera </li><li>they lose tons of money on Mac OS X. they spend upwards of $100 mil a year on it, but make almost none of it back. instead they make money from the computers. OS X is a loss leader. </li><li>they aren’t doing squat with weblogs. that needs to change. </li><li>they will not make a cell phone. cell phones are fine, there’s lots of good cellphones already on the market </li></ul>

  • iMovie to ffmpegX to DivX encoding

    How to properly use the kick-ass ffmpegX (for OS X, a wrapper for all kinds of open source tools) to encode your iMovie movies.<blockquote>It is very important, that you do NOT choose the “Full Quality DV” Setting when exporting from iMovie. This just makes iMovie glueing the 2GB chunks together in which it records movies. Mencoder can’t handle that. Here’s what to do: Choose “Expert settings”. Click “Export”. Choose “Movie to Quicktime Movie”. Click “Options”. In “Video Settings” choose “DV PAL” (or NTSC, if you are on that TV System). In the Audio settings, choose uncompressed 48khz Stereo. Uncheck “Prepare for Internet streaming”. Make sure the output file has .mov as extender. Now the recording is reencoded as a single movie which Mencoder will encode completely as AVI. </blockquote>

  • Dance of the Suger Plum Fairy

    I always liked this song. Now I can play it (I mean the full orchestra version ;-) The first 4 bars (repeated 5 times). Performed by yours truly, on my powerbook keyboard, with Garageband, MidiKeys, the Steel Xylophone SoundFont from HammerSound (free), the Pizzato Strings sound from the QT library, which is lame but I can’t find a SoundFont for it yet. I didn’t use any quantization in order to get that live performance feel to it. I mixed the stereo so that it’s like a real orchestra - Violins on the left, Cellos on the right. The Celesta is in the middle though, since it’s solo. The sheet music is from mfiles (also free), that’s what I worked from. The Orchestra Layout image file. The piece, is by Tchaikovsky.

  • I bought Myst and downloaded it too

    I bought Myst IV, Revelation from but you know, they’re a bit slow here and it’s not going to arrive until next week. So, having paid I felt no problems about logging into SuprNova and snagging the bittorrent for the game. Sure, it’s taken 2 days so far and I still won’t get it until tomorrow, but at least I’ll be able to start playing this weekend :)

  • Myst IV sound hacking

    I just downloaded the Myst IV Revelation demo (it’s free there) and it’s very cool. It brings back memories of Myst and maybe (I can hope) it will be as good as Riven was. Anyway, I guess I’m going to buy it as soon as I’m done writing this, but first, some obligatory info on hacking the sound files out of the demo.

  • RDF explained in a way that makes sense to XML people

    RDF explained in a way that makes sense to XML people

  • Sunset

  • GarageBand: Black & White X 5

    My version of Black & White X 5 by Bill Conti. I bought GarageBand as part of the iLife package, more to get the latest iMovie. But last night I fiddled and lifted this song from the Thomas Crown Affair soundtrack. It’s a piece for piano - so I tried to play it on the piano - and then discovered it’s actually a piece for five pianos. I don’t have a MIDI keyboard so I used MidiKeys . Follow the link to hear it, 1:10 minutes. LAME encoded. Sigh, the second piano is way too muddy. I’d have to go back in and manually edit the AUMatrixReverb to make it work right.

  • New Map of North America

    Apparently, instead of taking over Canada, Americans now want to join us.

  • Al Qa Qaa satellite images

    I have located the satellite imagery of the Al Qa Qaa that I was looking for while writing this timeline at Wikipedia .

  • today I learned about MPEG-4

    First, it’s nowhere near as simple as I thought. Second, it’s nowhere near as complex as I thought. Well, here’s how it works. MPEG-4 is a way to define a codec. So, when you go into quicktime and it says, save as MPEG4, you’re not saving as MPEG4, you’re saving as “Apple’s MPEG-4 codec”. Which, by the way, sucks compared to basically any other option . There’s actually a whole bunch of MPEG-4 codecs, including Divx, Xvid, 3ivx, and a whole bunch of high end professional codecs that cost a lot of money. In theory, any MPEG-4 player can play any MPEG-4 codec. In practice, not so much. But also, in practice, VLC and MPlayer can play them all.

  • What's your radio name?

    Mine’s Sierra Whiskey …

  • W believes

  • Book-a-minute SF/F

    Book-a-minute SF/F Read a science fiction or fantasy book in one minute. Pretty damned funny. This summary of “God Emperor of Dune” is good:<pre>Leto II: Infinity. Reader: Ouch, my head just exploded. </pre>

  • programmer and artist

    The Gallery of Computation

  • subversion

    The word on the street says subversion is finally ready for prime time . You may recall some bizarre IP disputes – apparently these have been resolved at this point. Apparently it’s much like CVS, basically designed to be “a better CVS” and they’ve kept the CVS syntax except in areas where it really needed to be fixed. They’ve fixed versioning to work across file renames, directories, binary files, improved merging and branch support. Comparisons to the best commercial products come out favorably.

  • Esther Dyson and her office photo

    I’m a bit of a fan of her , here’s a fantastic picture I just found of Esther Dyson in her office .

  • Now I can get a G5

    Virtual PC 7 is out and it supports the G5 finally. I use VPC to emulate Windows and Linux for symbian development. I mount the drive in Mac OS X so I still get to use XCode :-)

  • axkit almost 2 years later

    It’s getting close to the 2 year anniversary of when I first started using AxKit . Ever since Matt Sargent posted his success story on axkit-users I’ve been thinking about my own success story with AxKit, it’s been highly satisfying.

  • watch the debate in realvideo

  • Listen to my grandfather, Willson Woodside

    I’m told that if you’re old enough (like you were older than 16 when WWII broke out) and you live in Canada, you may remember the name Willson Woodside. He was my grandfather and gave a five-minute report every evening on the news for the CBC, from Europe, about the status of the war. He died when I was I was young, and was sick for a long time before that, but this voice out of the past still has a somewhat familiar sound (and familiar mannerisms definitely). It’s an archived report on the CBC from 1950, where he analyses the Korean War. I’m happy to say that his foreshadowing of an escalation of that war failed to occur! I also just wrote an article in Wikipedia about him, and it’s incomplete, so fill in the details if you know them (or email them to me and I’ll do it). (Fast forward to time index 4:32 to hear him.)

  • 50 years of graphics

    A cool timeline with pictures .

  • W visual explanation, version 1.1

    This is an updated version of the graphic from this earlier version .reserves

  • infographics

    An infographic / information graphic is a visual explanation. The point is to visualize some data, information, wisdom, story, etc, into a form that appeals to the visual centers of the brains. A well made infographic, in my opinion, can explain some concepts much better than text.

  • W's air guard record in visual format

    Update: There’s a new version 1.1 now that’s a lot easier to read (but shows the same data).

  • Rove tactics infographic

    Here’s an image I prepared based on a story about Karl Rover’s smear campaign tactics in . My graphic illustrates the story’s claims. I haven’t personally fact-checked it at all.

  • A totally new way to play

    This is really cool. It’s called Block Jam and it’s a sony design project . There’s a video you really should watch but maybe play with the flash demo first. My comments: It’s hard to learn, but once you do, it’s really neat the way it works. Use lots of starter blocks to get the cool effects.

  • OS X color picker paean

    Yes, it truly is cool: paean on the OS X color picker .

  • american but not in america? you can vote

    If you are an American citizen, but you live outside the US, you can still vote . Basically it’s really, really easy. Just follow the link at the end of this post, and fill in the easy questions. They’ll do all the work. All you have to do is add a stamp.

  • cell phones galore

    whee, I just unlocked my Nokia 3600 using this free nifty tool that I found using Google Groups (formerly known as USENET…). It had a SIM lock which meant that when I took my Fido SIM and stuck it in, no go I got the “SIM not valid” message. Now that’s fixed. Not that Rogers should complain since I’ve spent so much money on them. In other cell phone news, I just bought a P900 and I’m going to sell my P800 which I never used anyway. The P900 is just better for a development platform. I should actually make back a pretty substantial amount of the money I sunk into the P800 when I sell it on eBay. I hope.

  • why lisp

    Why lisp .

  • downgrading debian packages

    So I kind of managed to screw myself recently by upgrading gcc on my debian stable installation to the testing version to get gcc-3.3. ( First of all, will someone explain to me why gcc 3.3 still isn’t in stable yet? That’s just bizarre. ) So it turns out that the upgrade left me with a non-working symbian toolchain ( something’s wrong with wine? it’s hard to be certain ).

  • more symbian errata

    I’m now porting my Semacode DLL SDK over to windows so that I can build a WINS (emulator) library and DLL file. Needless to say there are some small hiccups. Here’s one. I’m using Visual C++ .NET, which while it apparently works, is not like the standard. They still consider VC6 to be standard I think. So when I get this error:<pre>LNK2019: unresolved external symbol __ftol2 </pre>

  • Top Notch Idiots

    So I just finished sending letters of complaint to VeriSign and a certain online vendor that shall remain anonymous until I’m sure they flushed my CC number from their system. These guy are really, really stupid.

  • RFID privacy

    The main problem with RFID is remote hacking. You can just walk by someone, or aim an antenna at them, and pick up their RFIDs. So in this example a malicious user can find out a kid’s unique ID, and potentially their full identity, just by walking by the kid.

  • Better reading with google

    So let’s say you are reading along and you want to read MIT’s Technology Review article: A Remote Control For Your Life . And then they want you to pay and you don’t want to pay. OK, fine but how is it that the content of the article got indexed into google in the first place? Well as it turns out, they just check the User-Agent string on the HTTP requests. So if you were clever you would just do this:<pre>curl -O -A ‘Googlebot/2.1 (+’ ‘’ </pre>

  • Wireless and Mobile WorldExpo

    It’s not too often that there’s an interesting conference on Mobile technologies in Toronto. It’s also pricey … about $1000 for both days and $500 for one day. I’m kind of hoping that one of the two days (July 21, 22) will be clearly better than the other one, and I’ll just make a day trip out of it.

  • XSLT code to create XML output from XML in an <xsl:variable>

    Here’s some code I just wrote in order to parse out XML from a string in XSLT. In XSLT, URL parameters are received in the string type. You can’t just copy them into the output because they will be fully entity encoded. So, let’s say you wanted to have a form field where someone could enter XHTML, and then you’d store that into an XML file. Of course you don’t want to store <p>whatever…</p> into the file. So you have to actually process the incoming string and then create output XML elements as you go. In order to get you started here’s some XSLT code that does an OK job of this:

  • Steve Forrest gets a livejournal?

    Did Steve Forrest start a livejournal ? Yes he did. It seems however to be mostly about the elections so I am not sure if he will ever use it again.

  • it's been done already

    picturephoning writes about Fujitsu’s “new” technique for embedding a barcode into an otherwise normal looking image. It has, however, already been done. At least one example, Dataglyph , was developed at least as early as 1995 (see citeseer ) and maybe earlier, I haven’t tracked it all the way down yet. These techniques all amount to essentially the same thing, which is steganography . The main disadvantage of this technique for the kind of applications that Fujitsu, PARC, and others imagine is a simple matter of UE, user experience . If the users can’t see the message, how do they know it’s there?

  • My first trackback to

    On the continuous quest to make this handrolled blog work better with other people’s blogs, I added today the ability to track back to other people’s blogs. You can’t trackback to me (yet anyway). But I can do it to you :-). So, my last post was my first trackback.
    There’s a lot of stuff to do. Next I need to configure it to ping Technorati as well.
    How does it work? It’s my special brew. ALL XSLT. All the time.

  • spotcodes

    Spotcodes are kind of low bandwidth compared to semacode, but they are kind of pretty. I think the video they put out of using the phone as a mouse was kind of silly since you could just use a touchscreen. But what do I know?

  • internet to the rescue

    So I’ve been dealing with this Finnish company and I have this absolutely crazy problem that I can’t pronounce half of their names. I feel really bad about it but I’ve never seen a name like Yliharju and when I call their office I have to spell it out for the receptionist. So now I googled for “finnish pronounce” and found this awesome site, How to pronounce Finnish names . It soothes me by saying:<blockquote>Many Finnish names seem quite long and contain strange letters which doesn’t make figuring out how to pronounce them very easy. But now this huge problem which has bothered the greatest minds of the world for years has been finally solved :-) Just select one of the nine categories below and click on the name you want to hear and you’ll soon pronounce Finnish names perfectly! </blockquote>

  • high speed is back

    Finally. After a week in dial-up hell, I’m finally back online for real, ethernet-style. What a relief.

  • speed up big xslt data sets

    A recent thread on axkit-users brought me this tip. If you have an XML data store with a large number of nodes, you can use xsl:key to pre-create an index on the table. David Nolan (of CMU) wrote (link not available, sorry)<blockquote>

  • series 60 flip phones

    Finally some series 60 flip phones are coming out. Weighing in at only 95g is the panasonic x700 and the dimensions are 87 x 47 x 24 mm, 80 cc. It’s a kind of standard silvery phone and it has a small external screen which is nice. Next up we have the just-announced Nokia 6260 at a much heftier 125g. Also it’s kind of a monster for a flip phone, 102mm x 49mm x 23mm, 109cc. I’ll have to see them both in person before I can really decide if the nokia is just too big, but I’m thinking that one of these phones is a phone that I would actually buy, for my own, personal use. That’s saying a lot, since the last phone that really caught my eye (and I’m still using it) is the moto startac. All in all, it looks like the Panasonic has the advantage.

  • scopetime

    This Scopetime is a nifty flash gizmo. It’s like a new way of displaying time. I like the presentation as much as the idea. I don’t think we really need new ways of displaying time, but on the other hand, I think this idea does actually work, which is pretty unique in this category of “inventions”. In other words, I could actually see having a clock that works like this. Anyway, I like the flash.


    ACCESS … check this out! by Marie Sester

  • more dll

    One of the programmers on #mobitopia was kind enough to build the simple, DLL-based guiengine example from the Nokia SDK for me on windows. I’m using it to test against my linux build. I copied all of the files (the .app, .rsc, and .dll) over to the phone and it works. Then I copied over my own .app file, built against the windows .lib, and that ALSO works. Yay! Now I see that my linux build isn’t making the necessary .rsc file. Why not? Oops, that’s my fault, when I took out the AIF file from the makefile I also removed the RSC. I just need to remember to copy the .rss file into the src directory next time. OK, I can make a .sis file for the application side of guiengine now on linux and it works OK.

  • dll madness

    I’m still trying to figure out how to build a DLL for symbian on Linux. sdk2unix didn’t do it “out of the box” so I’m learning, learning, learning about how DLLs work, how symbian builds DLLs, etc. Here’s one: if you include a DLL’s lib stub file in your makefile, it still won’t link to the .app unless you actually use something from the DLL in your source code.

  • all I need to know I learned from

    such as what the heck all those different UIDs are for . Here’s a quicko primer:<ul><li>The first UID indicates the structure of the file </li><li>The second UID indicates the outermost “interface” provided by the file </li><li>The third UID indicates a particular instance of the object identified by the other two UIDs </li></ul>

  • hamlet meet scooby doo

    Hamlet meets Scooby Doo . Rather funny I thought.

  • graphic, DHL

    Well, I finally added a graphic to my website. Do you think it looks OK? I had this sudden inspiration and here it is, weighing in at 1.4 Kb. Also, my sister’s birthday present in now in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It was shipped there by accident by DHL.

  • udell's random access streams

    Jon Udell is trying to figure out how to get random access to video streams off the net. He seems to have gotten somewhere using, amazingly, SMIL .

  • explanation of how's LSA-based spam filter works

    How’s LSA-based spam filter works . Finally an explanation I was able to comprehend. It’s data mining after all :-)

  • fuck you very much the FCC

    "Here's a little song I wrote the other day while I was out duck hunting with a judge... It's a new song, it's dedicated to the FCC and if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars."—Eric Idle
  • Quick uptake for Symbian Linux

    That was quick. Is there some kind of unmet, pent up demand for Symbian Linux solutions? My Symbian / Linux HOWTO is now the #1 result in google if you type in symbian linux or symbian "OS X" . I’ve had 623 referrals from google so far this month, probably mostly for that. huh.

  • me and yaacov

    featured in this feature . believe it or not, progress is being made.

  • HOWTO develop Symbian apps using Linux and OS X

    I finished writing up my HOWTO on using Linux to develop for Symbian. Specifically, it covers Series 60 but the tools can be used for other variantions of Symbian as well.

  • daypop top 40 for semacode

    semacode made it to the Daypop Top 40 Links today. We’re number 18 right now. With an up arrow. And some green bars below. I have no idea what that means. But other people have blue and red bars and some gray ones. I think green is probably good.

  • semacode coverage

    I released semacode a few days ago. And it’s been pretty well received so far. Here’s a round up of the coverage.

  • 20000

    My web counter from has just crossed 20000. Actual number, probably much higher, since digits seems to miss quite a few. While I’m at it, here are more details. I won’t bother with “hits” since it’s such a misleading number. But so far this month I’ve served about 400 pages and had about 100 visits … per day. Maybe as much as half of those are hits on my rss.xml file though. By a long shot my biggest referrer this month has been google. With 91 hits for the search string “d” ? What does that mean. Other search strings I got a few times are “expat os x” which makes sense, “iambic quadrameter” which makes less sense. “libxml mac os x” and “sdk2unix” seem reasonable.

    Here’s one that’s interesting. Trivia, symbian is a british company. So, you know, those crazy brits (and canadians too) spell some words differently. So when I wrote up my solution to the symbian initialized data problem, I copy/pasted from the output and they use the spelling “initialised”. I got a few hits for “.app has initialised data” (I’m first in google for that) (I’m second for just “has initialised data” (with the quotes)).

  • more tales from a symbian programmer

    Programming for symbian may be a hassle, but it’s kind of cool to write apps on this device. The smartphone is really a completely new platform, with new possibilities never really achieved on any other device. I mean, if you were writing for a vertical market, you could conceive of doing something like this on a PDA before but the number of net-connected was never very high. Whereas there are maybe 10 million smartphones with cameras already sold, and the number should continue to skyrocket.

  • determine symbian app UID

    How to determine an app’s UID on Symbian: just download the application’s .sis file and open it in a hex editor. The first four words will be the Uid in reverse order.

  • series 60 about box

    How to make an about box in Symbian Series 60.

  • spam

    The idea that legislation is useless against spam has reappeared on my radar. It’s a ridiculous notion. Many spammers are operating in the open and they need to be caught and fined and shut down. Nay-sayers on spam legislation argue that there are too many spammers, that they’ll just move off-shore and make it harder to catch them. Harder? If you’re not trying to catch them in the first place, there is no harder.

  • grr

    I just spent like an hour debugging this stupid problem with a resource file for symbian. Turns out when you get this error:<pre><empty>(0) : Link name not found </pre>

  • tales from a symbian programmer

    Now that I’ve got my semacode app marginally working. I say working, because it does actually work. You can click on a symbol (I mean, photo a barcode), and it will take out the URL and then you can launch the URL in the browser. It’s slow and ugly but it works.

  • Direct connect on Mac OS X

    Direct connect is yet another p2p file sharing program. But unlike Kazaa, it’s available on OS X, partly because it’s an open protocol so there’s a number of application developers out there writing clients and servers. It’s vastly superior to Gnutella in my opinion, both in terms of the number of results you get and the speed of downloads and uploads.
    There’s a couple of different clients available for OS X. The first one was the NeoModus client for OS X which quite frankly, is a nice bit of work. Too bad it hasn’t been updated for like 2 years or so. It’s a very, very clean, sweet interface but the functionality is just sorely lacking these days. And, it’s not a very popular client with the server operators, who like to see you using a more modern client with tags, and many will kick you off without them.
    The newer option is the DCGui-qt client. There’s a “native QT version” available which runs out of the box without any need for extra libraries or X11. As a Mac user you will most likely be highly offended by the user interface. It takes a bit of getting used to. It’s, to put the brightest face on it, clumsy. But, behind that not-so-shining exterior is a heart of gold. This puppy is seriously powerful.
    The power is hidden away in the search window. Type in your search term into the “Search” tab and then click on the “Hubs” tab and change it to “Public Hubs”. Now go to the hubs window and make sure to update it to a fresh list. You’ll see more than 10,000 public hubs listed, many with thousands of users each. DCGui lets you search all of them in one click. It’s such a big search that it can take almost an hour to complete, but the results start showing up right away in the “Results” pane. Note that there is a trade-off for this power, currently, you can only perform one search at a time.
    Using this feature it’s possible to find very obscure videos and get enough duplicate results to make a “multi-download”. This is where you are downloading from many people at once, getting a much higher speed. I can typically saturate my DSL connection and pull down files at a rate of about 150 KB/s.
    The learning curve is steep. I actually gave up once on dcgui before coming back to it (and then I discovered the “public hubs” search feature). It’s under active development so we can expect more good things in the future with version 0.3.

  • some amusing french

    Read the french carefully ;-)

  • weblog archive

    I just added more of a proper weblog archive that actually lists out all the entries in a list format, providing link-throughs to each entry on a separate page. Now you can see all of the entries at a glance. It’s not as good as a by-the-year / by-the-month view would be, but it’s a lot better than what I had before which was just every single entry, full text, all on one page.

  • symbian learning curve

    I feel like I may be slowly getting on top of the symbian programming API. One thing you have to do is enable the full error codes for leaves and exceptions. There’s a SIS file you can download to turn it on (sorry I don’t have the link on hand). Then you can look up the errors from untrapped leaves and the system panic codes . Oddly, the term “panic” is used for user level application crashes. These would usually I think be more accurately called exception codes.

  • Japanese made comprehensible

    Here’s some brilliant stuff from Bob Myers on Kuro5hin (who thought anything useful would ever show up there???). It’s a primer for Japanese for Geeks . It presents the japanese language in BNF form and wow, it makes so much sense. You know, I took a year and a half of japanese and never understood the grammar half so well as I’m starting to now. Here’s the second part and let’s hope that he soon delivers part III… and maybe even more?

  • Virtual PC icons

    If like me you are forced to use Virtual PC, well maybe you still remember the good old days of Connectix. Back in those days VPC was like a badge of honour for Mac users, that a Mac company could be so clever to make it work. And you could install Linux on VPC and stick it to the man. Well, now you have to pay M$ cash to get the software but you don’t have to put up with having their beige boxes and logo sitting in your dock any more. Introducing Tux’n’tosh , the perfect icon set for VPC. Personally, I chose this icon and now my screen is free of beige boxes once again.

  • programming for symbian (tips)

    Programming for symbian isn’t very sexy. J2ME? That’s sexy. But Symbian C++ is NOT sexy. First, at least in theory, you have to use Windows, and windows is NOT sexy. Two, it’s C++, and frankly, although C++ may have had some sex-appeal in the mid-90s, it’s all gone now. Three, it’s poorly documented. What documentation exists is terse and seems to have been generated from header files. It rarely explains how to use the API. So for any kind of help understanding how to do it, you have to go to the examples, which are fairly limited. Next you can try NewLC: they have articles and forums . Next you might want to try searching the Forum Nokia discussion area . And finally, be sure not to miss the newsgroups. No, they’re not archived anywhere on the web, which is a real pain. But you can access them through your favorite newsreader at . Only the NewLC postings are archived in google, which is a major hassle. There’s also a small number of web pages and even some source code floating around on the web with some useful symbian C++ info. So there is some information out there, but you really need to dig to find it.

  • I own my name

    I just did some ego-surfing and for the first time I own the first page of results for Simon Woodside . Oh yeah, that’s me baby.

  • Solution to making VPC network with OS X

    I found a solution to my long-standing VPC problem today. The trick was to add “airport” to my google queries. That quickly turned up this useful posting on macosxhints. It’s a little bit complicated. You have to remember to go into VPC preferences and specify “built-in ethernet” for the network connection. For me, it’s worked perfectly for both Windows 2000 and Linux (debian). I run smbd on linux, mount_smbfs the share onto the mac side, load up an XCode project for my symbian development projects, open an SSH window into the debian virtual machine to run ‘make’ and I’m all set with an environment that’s almost like having everything on the mac.

  • Virtual PC 6 sucks

    I just got off the phone with “Daniel M.”* from Microsoft technical support. I called them because I was having trouble setting up a network connection between VPC and the host Mac OS X machine. Specifically, Windows 2000 and Panther. But I also had the same problem with a Linux (debian) system I also set up on Virtual PC.

  • sdk2unix makefiles

    I think I’m travelling relatively untrodden turf with sdk2unix . So here’s another thing I got hung up on and figured out. Probably someone with more makefile experience than I have would have got this instantly, but under OBJECTS you have to have applicationname.o FIRST or else it might not work. That’s because the way it’s set up, that particular rule will fire off the creation of the .rsg file which is some kind of generated resource file your source code needs or it won’t build.

  • tracking down uninitialised data in sdk2unix

    If you’re writing symbian C++ code you might get an error like this from petran:<pre>ERROR: Dll ‘MENUITEMS[10008AD0].APP’has uninitialised data. </pre>

  • Huge eucalyptus trees

    I was doing a quiz over at FunTrivia (which is very cool, and run by Terry Ford ), and I found out about these amazing trees, the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus Regnans) . They grow up to 100 m tall. In this picture (left) you can see them relative to a car.

  • fun with porting

    Today I ported the decoding porting of my semacode application from java to C++. As a part of the process I first went to ANSI C++, using C++ strings and couts to output to the console. Then, I make my own simple character buffer class and eliminated the C++ strings which aren’t supported in Symbian. Symbian has it’s own system of “descriptors” which are O-O and to my noviciate mind seem horrifyingly complex. So my software spits out its result as a simple char* C string.

  • weblog permalinks

    I’ve been playing around with the site a little bit. Apart from the obvious cosmetic changes, I also implemented, finally, real permalinks for my weblog. So when you click that little # after each entry it will take you to an individual page for the entries from that day. Also, my webcounter seems to be approaching 20,000 hits. Doesn’t seem like that long ago it was 10,000. here it is . In another note, google updates its image of my weblog really frequently. For example, if you enter symbian C++ linux I come up with my weblog entry as #4 at the moment. I wonder what will happen when it slides off the front page though?

  • posted from phone

    Hello world! I’m typing this in using the tiny numerical keypad on my 3650 and i have to say it’s pretty damn awkward! I am using putty, an ssh client for symbian.

  • dictionnaire francais

    Ever since the Hachette dictionnaire francais disappeared I’ve been hoping to find a replacement. There are plenty of good translation dictionaries available. For example there’s the incomparable Grand dictionnaire terminologique where you can find technical words translated and categorized by field of endeavour. Fantastique. But now I found another source for a straight french dictionary, with definitions in french: Tresor de la langue francaise informatise . Surprisingly it’s not in DMOZ yet.

  • sdk2unix for symbian on linux

    After a week of messing around with windoze and linux toolkits, I finally did a successful build and run of an example app on my nokia 3650 using Symbian C++. Was it any of the toolkits I’ve already mentioned that I used? No, it was sdk2unix , a seemingly wonderful (hey it works!) distro by Rudolf Koenig and distributed at the Knowledge-Intelligence AG site (some kind of german company). They’ve got howto’s for a bunch of symbian platforms, but note in particular the Series60 (SymbianOS 6.1) SDK on Linux/Unix HOWTO which is what I followed.

  • gnupoc

    The project named GnuPoc a Symbian SDK for GNU/Linux. What is this? It purports to allow you to develop all your Symbian C++ code on linux. I installed it this week on a fresh debian system. Installation, I have to say, was not exactly trivial. There didn’t seem to be any particular HOWTO that covered the Nokia 1.2 SDK very closely. I installed, configured, and built the series60ex/helloworld project finally, got the thing to generate a .sis file, installed it on my 3650 and… nothing. “System Error”. That’s all. So what gives? I have no idea.

  • Technorati profile

    Technorati Profile . I just listed my blog with technorati and they want me to put that link into as a flag for their spider or something like that. Are they trying to boost their google results or something? Who knows.

  • Pagerank odd

    My links page has no pagerank. Neither does my writings page . But my AxKit HOWTO has 7/10. What’s up with that?

  • Windows hassles

    After years, years of avoiding serious Windows use I’m finally having to wrestle with two Microsoft products. Windows 2000 and Virtual PC. Although the “Virtual Switch” mode of VPC is specifically intended to allow you to log into the windows box as a separate entity from the host Mac OS X box, this only kinda sorta works. I can log into VPC from a different computer – the iMac in the other room for example. No problem. But I can’t log in from the same machine (the host). So for now my workaround is to create a circular connection where I mount the windows drive on my iMac and then mount that on my powerbook.

  • VPC 6.1

    I just installed Virtual PC 6.1 and it’s actually faster than 5 was by quite a bit. Also my google pagerank is 6/10. Is that high? I can’t remember what it was last time I checked.

  • How creative is that?

    It’s just an anecdote, but<blockquote>

  • wireless-longhaul mailing list

    My goal with the wireless-longhaul mailing list was to create a truly global list for discussing Wi-fi over long distances. Urban and rural. This month there was an exchange that I think shows it’s worked at least somewhat. Looking at whois and google, one poster is from Istanbul, one is I think in Congo, one is in New Zealand and another is in California. Four people, four continents, and all different kinds of society.

  • The problem with dolphins

    It’s not the dolphins. It’s the people who study them. The whole field of people who are interested in dolphins are slightly weird. It doesn’t take much googling to divide into some special camps: the protesters, the romantics, the healers, the fun-seekers. The noise makes it difficult to find useful information on the web.

  • Dolphins

    How fast can dolphins swim? Very fast, as fast as the fastest boats. What’s their average cruising speed? According to [1] it’s about 8 km/h. They do sleep and when they sleep they don’t move much. It is difficult to track dolphin travel over long periods of time but lately there’s been some progress it seems. Check out this graphical view (“Track the dolphins”) of three dolphins around Bermuda. Even with tracking the crew reported difficulty in actually finding the animals with their boat.<blockquote>

  • What is it like to be a bat?

    I never wondered about that until yesterday. But now I have the perfect hook for one of the stories that’s been swimming around in my head. Follow the link.

  • salon, 3600 reset

    I got a “free gift subscription” to salon that I can give away. If you’re a close friend or family ;-) email me if you want it. I don’t know how long it’s for though. Also I soft-reset my Nokia 3600 using Russell Beattie’s instructions. Hopefully it will fix it. It was just randomly disconnecting calls for the last few days.

  • panther update hassles

    I upgraded to Panther (OS X 10.3) a week or so ago and I started having troubles with my development environment. Not so much XCode, that seemed to be working fine. But I coulnd’t get AxKit to work. And mozilla / camino to build (but that might be another story). So anyway I’m trying to build AxKit and getting horrible error spews when I try to install the XML::LibXML perl module. I try to debug it and I find there’s just too many versions of libxml installed. I can’t figure out which one it’s trying to use. So after pruning out some versions, that didn’t help, things seemed even worse. Finally I decided to nuke my entire fink installation. Someone said that fink gave problems when upgrading to panther.

  • New way to speed read, and Axkit OS X update

    This is amazing: A Speed Reader for some books by Cory Doctorow. It’s based on some kind of PARC research. Try it out. Then compare how far you went in the normal book form. I was really surprised.

  • Wedding movie

    I just posted the wedding movie from my cousin Dave’s wedding last september. Relatives might be interested.

  • My camino history patch has landed

    Mike Pinkerton, lead for Camino, just landed my history patch. This is my first major patch to go into Camino, it’s about 1000 lines of code changes or so. It fixes the history view so that you get to see a flat, time-ordered listing with daily folders.

  • server is back

    The server is back online. It was never really down, so mailing lists on kept working, and maybe some other stuff. But AxKit was down because mod_perl was down. Now apparently an update of apache has fixed the problem. I remind you that debian dist-upgrade is NOT something you should be running every week.

  • FTXSaver alpha 4

    I just posted another alpha of the screen saver. This one fixes the anti-aliasing problem and adds a requested feature to speed up colour animation. Get it here.

  • server broken again...

    So my sysadmin has broken his server again. No, this time it’s just mod_perl that’s broken. I think he uses debian package distupgrade without actually paying attention. Not a good idea. So none of my sites work. I have forwarded this site to my own computer for the duration of the outage.

  • screen saver with openGL

    Do you have Mac OS X? Download my screen saver . It’s powered by OpenGL. It draws about 60 000 primitives per second now on my machine. I suppose to make it any faster now I’d have to look at the math logic and method passing. Also in this version is the option to draw points instead of lines. It’s on by default because I think it looks better.

  • screen saver

    My new screen saver is AMAZING. Not what I posted yesterday, but what I’ve got now. It’s wow. I’m running it on my desktop right now. I’ll post it later.

  • My first screensaver

    I just released my first ever screensaver. Get it here .

  • new FractalTreesX

    I just released a new version of FractalTreesX . It’s a total alpha, complete with loads of bugs and some very odd behaviour when the size of the tree changes, but it’s a LOT faster. I think it’s probably about 3-4 orders of magnitude faster now. And the code is completely rewritten and I am MUCH happier about that. I would even say go and read it, because it’s pretty good looking. I removed the total spaghetti that someone (initials are MYI…) told me was a good way to do it and replaced it with a nice simple multithreaded engine.

  • undersea fibre cables

    The case of the monopolized undersea cable . Fibre optic undersea cables are the backbones of the internet (and the whole telecommunications structure of the world). So what happens when they build a new one but one single company controls a monopoly over the landing station where sea meets land? Read this to find out. This same situation is occuring in Africa as well, but it’s not as well documented.

  • Digital IQ

    This is kind of fun. The “Digital IQ Test” . I scored 196. There really isn’t enough discrimination at the top. Also, apparently they think that “Most files on the Mac can be read on a PC” is true, which I would disagree with.

  • Yowza, CSS

    IE for Windows’ problems would be cute if it wasn’t so popular. So it turns out that @import directives in a CSS file aren’t supported in IE… if they contain a media type. Which mine did … so anyone looking at parts of the site in IE was getting a seriously garbled output. Well, I “checked” in Virtual PC just to be sure things were looking OK and they weren’t. Now it’s fixed. I still love that shade of red .

  • US spam bounties

    US government is finally taking action on spam. Now we can set up “spam bounties” … I would love to see bounty hunters going after companies that use spam, at $1000 a pop :-)

  • a particular shade of red

    Do you like that shade of red as much as I do?

  • open source and open spectrum

    Imagine there were some kind of mysterious link between open source and open spectrum. Now read this .

  • Camino drawing bug

    Mike Pinkerton says that he’s making some progress on the Panther drawing bug. That’s good because any kind of 0.8 release of Camino would have to have that fixed. Also since I don’t actually have panther yet, I hope that I don’t have to upgrade to look at this problem since I’m still happy waiting for other people to make sure panther doesn’t have any big stupid mistakes in it.

  • What is open spectrum

    I just had this brainstorm that open spectrum should be thought of like an open source license. So that, the government would issue an open spectrum license for anyone to use a specific technology (e.g. spread spectrum) on a specific set of frequencies (e.g. 2.4GHz). But what would be the “Free Software Guidelines” for open spectrum? What is essential and what isn’t to have open spectrum. If you’re interested in the intersection of open source and open spectrum, check out (and reply to please :-) my post on the Open Spectrum mailing list at .

  • Civil Society flexes its muscles at the WSIS

    The Civil Society group at the World Summit on Information Society issued a powerful media statement today. Read it here . They basically say that the governments aren’t going anywhere and that CS is going to go off and do it’s own thing as a response to that. They don’t need the governments ;-) For those of you just joining us, there are three main groups at WSIS: business, government, and civil society.

  • I'm published by Development Gateway

    Improving internet access in developing countries is a special report from the Development Gateway. It’s special to me because they included my paper on Wi-Fi for rural communities. You can look at their copy (PDF) or at my copy (HTML).

  • mesh networks newslog

    Useful “newslog” on mesh networks

  • IXP required reading

    This should be required reading about IXPs (internet eXchange points): L2_Route_Reflector_IXP_v0.4.pdf

  • Connectivity is not the right word

    Connectivity is not the right word

  • Fate sharing

    I was thinking recently about fate sharing in a number of contexts. One of them is this server. It goes down occasionally. What’s nice is that a number of people who all have the technical expertise to make repairs share the use of the server. So, when something happens, any one of us can step in to make repairs. Each one of us is motivated because we all share the same fate. If the server is down, it’s down for all of us.

  • fox

    You probably have to pay to read that. I don’t know. I paid a long time ago for Salon. I think it’s the only US journalism worth reading. Anyway, the story is an interview with a guy who used to work at Fox, and described the ways that they slant their news.

  • I'm a hero for a week

    Lisa Rein says I’m her hero this week :) OK, yeah, it’s nice to get credit :) And yeah, I was pretty patient ;-)

  • credit me

    My Camino bookmarks patch .

  • funny comment on slashdot

    OK, make that funny but TRUE:

  • You've got to be kidding me

    Read this and then ask me whether or not I’m going to insert the rdf:about attribute into my weblog’s RSS 1.0 output. I’m not going to repeat the same damn link URL twice in my data just because some RDF weenies think there’s a difference between a URI and a whatever even if they are both the same, character-for-character. Since the name “link” just makes more sense, and it’s used by more people, I’m using that.

  • Tribute to Marilyn Monroe

    For some reason I’ve been having a mini Marilyn Monroe kick these last few days. Well, inspired (or maybe bored) by an out-of-inodes failure on I dashed off this little piece of contretemps: Inodes are a girl’s best friends .

  • magic email fixed itself

    My email magically fixed itself today. The estimable Mr. Paul Schreiber is a bit miffed because he lost his error logs and now he won’t get a chance to yell at Yahoo! or the team or whoever was responsible for my emotional distress.

  • how to log

    To log’s activity on a specific port, launch it from the Terminal. Use the option: -LogActivityOnPort ## where ## is the port number you want to watch. 25 is for smtp, 110 is for POP.

  • the video cell phone

    MIT’s Media Lab has a weblog by interactive cinema group , where they use Nokia 3650 camera phones to make little videos. The videos are stored in a format that ends with .3gp and thus presumably has something to do with 3GPP. But they use the H.263 codec. The video is tiny, and the sound is poor, but it’s a start.

  • Ludovic's weblog, camino

    Ludovic Hirlimann has a weblog where he talks about Camino sometimes. And for the rest, practice your French ;-)

  • serious email problems

    I’m having serious email problems receiving email. I just got off the phone with one of Apple’s OS engineers who also happens to be a friend ;-) and we’ve determined that it’s definitely not my fault ;-) I’m blaming both Apple (makers of my client) and Yahoo (I use their paid POP access for much of my email) for screwing everything up. Not only is the POP data coming from Yahoo corrupted somehow (we looked at the protocol stream) but also managed to actually DELETE messages and corrupt others. So, if you wrote me in the last 2-3 days, please send it again! I may have lost it…

  • World Cycling Championship

    Today I have a new movie of the World Cycling Championship up on the site. It was shot this afternoon and edited this evening in iMovie. My camera is a Sony TRV22. Here’s the blurb that I wrote up for the page, and you can go straight there by clicking on the title of this entry. The music, I nicked from a 1983 german classic.

  • Yahoo killed my email

    I’ve been having SERIOUS problems with Yahoo! mail in the last 24 hours. I pay extra money for their POP service. But some kind of wonky message got stuck in on OS X and I’m pretty sure the problem is Apple’s. Almost as soon as I had that working again, though, suddenly I started having trouble accessing my Yahoo mailbox, even through the web interface. I just couldn’t download my messages. I’ve been getting partial downloads as well. It’s really annoying.

  • In their words: a CECS.Online timeline

    I wrote this timeline of the UW CECS.Online project up over period of time but actually I was able to assemble most of it from past research I had done. I refrained from editorializing so far in the post on UWS (which they posted to reader-directed content without telling me…) and on uw.general but now I’m going to do it here.

  • Taking the pulse of XML editing

    Taking the pulse of XML editing

  • Alexandra thoughts

    After the first release of Alexandra, I discussed with several people a major flaw, which was that it did not preserve the RNG order as given in the schema when it added or changed elements. I was concerned I would need to use some sort of database update-type scheme. I wasn’t keen on this as the only xml update project that seemed to be anywhere near a state of completion was XUpdate and it wasn’t very complete, and also seemed like a hassle. I realized later that I could generate XSLT to do the update. More recently I was working on how to pass through the positioning information for both elements that are already instantiated and ones that aren’t. I seem to have that completed now. So, at this point I believe it is possible to generate only RNG-valid instances using alexandra.

  • Photos of Kenya

    Sudhakar “Thaths” Chandra posted some amazing pics of his visit to Kenya . Wow! Via silklist

  • The parable of the net

    The parable of the net , a new article on ICT. The nets people use to catch fish are a lot like the nets people use to catch information. A net is a big thing made of lines with lots of holes in it.

  • Economist on software patents in the EU

    The Economist :<blockquote>Moreover, as software is often built on the achievements of others, writing code could become a legal hurdle race. By analogy, if Haydn had patented the symphony form, Mozart would have been in trouble. </blockquote>

  • weblog software update

    I just updated the weblog on this site to the axblog release. In addition I have converted over the front page from displaying full blog entries to just a synopsis (just the first 200 characters for now). You can view the whole entry directly by clicking on the […] link or view the most recent weblog entries all in one go by viewing or clicking “What’s New” or whatever.

  • VoIP disambiguation

    By the way, my point with all of this VoIP nonsense is to point out that it’s not one thing, it’s two things, IP Telephony vs. Voice Chat. That’s my opinion.

  • AxBlog 0.2

    An update of AxBlog to what I use currently here and on openICT and

  • The VoIP paradox

    The VoIP paradox . Voice over IP is paradoxically both internet and telephony at the same time. Presents the paradox and background information.

  • Never winter

    A friend of mine bought me NeverWinter Nights for the Mac as it was released about two weeks ago. Well, obviously I’ve been playing the game ever since then, I finished it yesterday as a matter of fact. I played Barbarian. Spoilers ahead. I was very happy to be playing a berserker since it’s my favorite style of play anyway. I like to just charge into combat and hack away. My solution to traps was just to walk through them, I had a huge number of hitpoints and so on. My henchperson throughout the whole game was Sharwyn, the bard.

  • SoBig.F

    Not only does this virus generate annoying quantities of spam from a single source, but it also causes stupid virus scanners to generate annoying replies to the wrong people. Something along the line of “your email was rejected because it contained a virus”. Don’t they realize that the sender address was forged? Grr.

  • Mobile phones vs. GDP

    The Cellular Operators Association of India claims that for every one percent increase in telephone penetration there is a three percent increase in GDP.
  • VSAT alphabet soup

    I’ve been trying to grok the VSAT alphabet soup lately. This post on isp-satellites seems like a pretty decent summary of the different two-way VSAT flavours. Basically it sounds like SCPC and DAMA are connection-oriented protocols with call set up and dedicated bandwidth during the lifetime of the connection. Of course I’m translating into internet terminology here ;-) On the other hand, MF-TDMA, which other people call FTMDA and which is used by DVB-RCS, is more like a packet-oriented connectionless protocol. The mapping onto the cell phone networks makes sense.

  • Camino

    I’m involved in the Camino project for Mozilla. It’s a pretty face for the Gecko engine basically. Recently the whole Mozilla project was transferred to a new foundation. Mike Pinkerton was moved to a different job at AOL but he’s got the nightly builds going again and I’ve been testing out David Haas’ rewrite of the bookmarks manager. Looks good so far. It includes some novel features that I think might be cool, like a top-ten list, and Address Book integration. Could you manage all your bookmarks in the Address Book?

  • Windows is stupid

    So I kinda sorta have a computer that’s finally capable of running WinCrap32 on my powerbook, and what do you know I need to install service packs. Galore. It’s so precise that it tells me exactly how many and how big they will be:<blockquote>Total: 19 = 10.600000000000001 MB </blockquote>

  • I need a bio, how's this

    Simon Woodside hacks on computers for a living. All of the computers he hacks on are his own. He has done time as a program manager for an operating system that recently won Best Product from the 2002 Technology of the Year awards from InfoWorld. Prior to that he suffered through an education. He currently pursues interests as they come to him, while trying to patch together a workable lifestyle.

  • Basic transit and IXP peering

    Basic transit and IXP peering . Just the facts, ma’am.

  • Peering vs. Transit

    What is the different between internet peering and internet transit? Peering is when you connect with another ISP for the SOLE purpose of exchanging traffic that is going DIRECTLY to that other ISP. On the other hand, Transit is a connection that will carry traffic anywhere on the internet. So, how do you choose which one, or what mix and match of the two to use? Try this 127 page thesis .

  • Still Life movie

    There’s an original (very) short film now available from this site. It’s called Still Life and you can view it right here (2.6 MB, 48s). It’s encoded in MPEG-4, ISMA compatible format with a low data rate but I think the compression looks pretty good. I think you should be able to watch it on any system that has QuickTime 6 installed, Mac, or Windows. Not sure about Linux. If you are unable to view it PLEASE contact me. Enjoy.

  • The trouble with telephony

    I might as well have called this entry voice chat != IP telephony. I’ve been think about Voice over IP for a while now and reflecting that the IP telephony people are kind of wandering around in the giggly weeds because they keep taking about crazy things like sending DTMF tones over the internet, and needing special hardware and all kinds of crazy stuff that totally goes against the e2e (end-to-end) principles of the internet. I mean, why bother with all that when you can just set up an e2e connection between two computers and start talking? Finally I got the answer, which is that internet telephony people are not talking about voice chat, they are talking about telephones.

  • New computer and Camino

    Got myself a new computer now. The old one was getting pretty old (2 years old almost exactly) and sloooooowwww and not enough disk space. I was actually at the point where I had to build mozilla on the other computer because I didn’t have enough space. Now I’ve got 60 GB of space, and a nice new faster 1 GHz processor and some other nifty unexpected benefits like more pixels on the screen (although the size didn’t change) and some other stuff. I think the battery lasts longer.

  • New feature, view the docbook source

    So, I added a feature to view the docbook source for those documents that actually have it. So far it’s only activated in the ICT section but I’ll probably turn it on for the other parts as well. The idea is just that you can add ?show_source=YES to the end of the URL and get the DocBook (XML) source. If it’s not DocBook, nothing will happen because everything else is just XHTML anyway, you might as well just view the source in the browser.

  • Wi-Fi signal strength vs. channel

    I was having all kinds of trouble with my Airport base station, the signal just wasn’t cutting through the house and I would keep losing my signal and Mail would just complain and Camino would complain etc. So I switched the channel from 11 to 6, and now, no problem. I have four bars where I used to have nothing.

  • No more .php

    It’s all gone. It’s all AxKit now.

  • DocBook: What's not to like???

    Everytime I read about DocBook there’s one thing everyone says, it’s complicated. Well I don’t get it. DocBook is not complicated. I mean, sure it’s got a few hundred different elements, but you don’t actually need most of them. You basically need, book, article, section, title, para, ulink, table, and informallist. That’s it. All of those, except for section and title, map directly onto XHTML. Section and title, are actually better than HTML once you get used to how they work, and they make the magic that makes DocBook so much better than HTML because it’s structured, not just presentational. Then there’s the awesome XSLT stylesheets from Norman, so all you really need to do is make a few changes in the params.xsl file and write up a CSS file, and you’re set to go. It’s got all kinds of nice features like automatic table of contents building, indexing, etc. And if you ever discover you need to add a reference, or a quotation, you just pull out the reference and it explains what to do (with examples). You insert the right tags, and the XSLT does a nice baseline formatting job for you automatically. You can tweak to your heart’s content.

  • Latent Semantic Analysis

    It’s the technique used in Mac OS X’s Mail program to catch spam, it’s patented :-( and it’s described in an awesome paper An Introduction to Latent Semantic Analysis (PDF) by Landauer, Foltz and Laham. Wow, check this out:<blockquote>

  • My magic box

    I just read Soekris Router Project . Soekris in case you haven’t probably heard of it is a little company that makes these fantastic little PC-compatible chipsets that are totally solid-state, no moving parts, DC power, just the basics, a couple of ethernet ports, a PC card slot or two, a CompactFlash slot for the media, and a nifty-looking box.

  • Reboot videos

    Reboot is a tiny little conference held in Denmark somewhere, but they got all kinds of cool speakers this year and made videos of them all. Based on the cartoon summary I I wanted to watch the video of Tim O’Reilly s talk. It was good .. I recommend it. He talked about open source, and the move from software- oriented world to a data-oriented world. (via multiplicity )

  • Not long ago

    In a galaxy close, close by, my hit counter moved into five digits. Woo hoo!

  • i18n L10N etc.

    Find out how KDE is doing at translating their system and documentation into 40 different languages, look at the pretty picture .

  • A while ago but...

    The COOK report interviewed David Hughes about Wi-Fi .<blockquote>

  • post

    I just released the 0.01 (pre-alpha) version of Alexandra , a roundtripping forms system that uses RNG (Relax NG), XSLT pipelining (using AxKit of course…;-) and presents in HTML forms. There’s an interactive demo to play with as well.

  • post

    Just for the first time, I saw a posting on slashdot signed with a female name. (It was Allison.) This is the first time I can ever remember seeing that.

  • Notice anything different?

    Yeah, I changed the font from verdana to just sans-serif. That means you, that’s right ‰ÛÓ you! ‰ÛÓ are now responsible for choosing a good default sans-serif font for your system. If you’re on Mac OS X, may I recommend Gills Sans for sans-serif and Hoefler Text for serif? They look very nice.

  • RSS moved and some other deltas

    I just moved the weblog stuff into /weblog, and so the RSS Feed also moved. I also lost an entry I think. Oh well. Also more stuff validates now. Though not the weblog id’s I’m using. That’s too bad. But I don’t want to change them, because I think they are nice.

  • post

    If you’re coming here from slashdot you might want to look at this other site I’m involved in .

  • Yay!

    I just did some major updating in the “D&D subsite” of this website and amazingly enough, after moving around a LOT of files (seriously) everything still works. And, the Edion Sourcebook is now 100% XML … DocBook that is. Well, my aim is for Simplified DocBook but I used an automatic converter so I’m not sure. The docbook stylesheet set is huge and it takes it a few seconds to convert the docbook to XHTML but due to the magic of Axkit’s caching there’s no delay as long as the text doesn’t change.

  • post

    Now read this … Steve Deering gave a brilliant talk at the 51st IETF meeting called Watching the Waist of the Protocol Hourglass . (PDF) Fundamentally it’s about end-to-end networking, which relies upon a very simple, ubiquitous protocol to run the internet. A protocol that’s called (believe it or not) the Internet Protocol. IP is very important. Then, when you’re done reading the incredible slides, go over to this page and watch the video! 22 minutes, Real , MPEG-1 .

  • post

    Heh… this site was static content for like a week there because somehow AxKit got hosed when paul tried to upgrade it using debian apt or dselect or whatever. Man! What a nightmare. The only reason the site was still here was it was delivering from cache – content generation was totally broken. Now I’ve got all the code loaded into my home directory and all of the libraries and perl modules are under my home directory so now I have total control and I was able to hack it back into working shape after a few days and some fudging with the server .conf with paul. It’s back!!!

  • post

    If you don’t know me very well, you will probably benefit from reading World of Ends .

  • post

  • post

    Some recent stuff. The wireless-longhaul mailing list hosted at (a new site). The Longship project to do community development on Chimera. If paul ever gets AxKit 1.6.1 installed :-P then I’ll be able to update with some nifty new axkit features.

  • post

    It’s a bit of a ramble, but The Realities of Online Reputation Management gives a very, very intelligent cross-section analysis of why the internet changes the world.

  • post

    Ceci n’est pas une pipe – enfin je le comprends. C’etait vraiement quelques semaines que j’ai venue de comprendre le message de cette image. Voila un collection brillant des peintures Magritte, debutez-vous ici mais prenez soin de faire voire toutes les images.

  • post

    Wise words about UE :<blockquote>

  • post

    Yeah… just made some fairly dramatic changes to the XSLT for the blog… I managed to get rid of all the custom XML tags that were being spewed as part of the HTML output, so we’re a little closer to validation here. Now I just have a small problem of IDs not being well-formed.

  • post

    Just successfully moved this whole site into CVS, canned the site, checked it out and here it is. Now I can access the cvs from home and it’ll be so much easier to do updates and also I don’t have to be paranoid about losing stuff anymore. Cool. Also, I added the Creative Commons license (Attribution) to my ICT essays . Also, yes I know this site doesn’t verify as HTML right now, because some of my custom XML tags are still showing up. Keep bothering me and I’ll fix it eventualy.

  • post

    Some very smart stuff about software and infrastructure .

  • post

    Two new chimera mockups, “Mockup5C1” and “Mockup5C2” … they are both the same, the second one shows how the “Others…” QuickMark works. Comments welcome!

  • post

    What do you think of this hypothetical user interface for Chimera ?

  • post

    Some thoughts on Using the open source model for (ICT) development . That would be information and communications technology, and the development in this case is the “international” kind.

  • post

    Looks like I’m not the only person “switching” back to HTML 4.01. Here’s why I did it. Oh yeah, and because actually everything’s XML on the back end now and it just gets converted into HTML 4 at the very last minute by an automatic process that’s part of XSLT. Actually on the server side, all of my markup being served by AxKit is either my own custom XML or XHTML right now. If you care.

  • post

    I just switched the IT@UW weblog over the AxKit . So now it has the three most recent entries on the “front” page and the “archives” page has the complete set of entries. The data is being stored in the archives page and pulled from there to the front page using XSLT .

  • post

    I finally grokked the difference between XSL and XSLT. XSLT is a subset of XSL that is just for transforming XML into different XML. That’s basically what I’m using (XSLT). XSL adds a lot of other stuff for styling documents. I’m not using any of that (right now anyway…) and plan to continue to use CSS for presentation purposes.

  • post

    You are looking at this index page generated by AxKit. This What’s New entry is in XML. You can look at the what’s new stuff all by itself , but you’ll see HTML there too right now. I’m typing this into my own handrolled XML format that’s parsed by three XSL style sheets in a pipeline before being display, all processed courtesy of AxKit .
    By the way, the output appears as HTML 4.01 transitional but I’m moving to an XML backend with XHTML for content for now. I’m just converting it to HTML in the output.

  • post

    How to install AxKit (and by dependency, Sablotron ) on Mac OS X 10.2.

  • post

    I’ve been tinkering with the CSS to try to get it to work in IE/Windows. With the help of friendly people from the css-discuss list I should have it working now. People on Windows, what do you think ? I won’t see what it looks like until Tuesday, or maybe after the new year.

  • post

    Tee hee. I finally have AxKit working on my home computer and pretty soon on this server too.

  • post

    Just completed a major overhaul of the way my styles are organized - I factored the style sheets out so that they are more encapsulated. Also I fixed up my huge Edion Handbook so that it’s XHTML compliant and properly styled. Also my webcounter claims I’m about to have my 5000th hit. (Analog says I’ve had more.)

  • post

    I just moved the IT@UW blog into it’s own directory . Change your bookmarks, yada, yada, yada.

  • post

    Have you heard of AxKit ? Neither had I. But I’m looking at tools for developing web applications. I’m lazy so I want to do as little work as possible. AxKit seems like a possible answer. Oh yeah, and it has to use perl ;-) No php or java for me. In fact, this site is all php, but really I’m just using it for SSI. Funny thing is that my server has PHP enabled but not apache SSI. Oh well.

  • post

    I made a mistake in the final copy of the IT Review Letter, so I corrected it and re-sent it to the Review board. Fortunately just ahead of the deadline!

  • post

    Apparently people are having trouble viewing this site on windows IE. What can I say? It’s web standards compliant. Anyway, I added a little blurb to the top of the page that only shows up for me on IE for OS X, but is hidden in Mozilla/Chimera (i.e. webstandards compliant browsers). Hopefully it will show up for IE win people too. Also, I added a 404 page, that you might like. Or you might not. Anyway, you can see it by entering gibberish into the URL bar after the

  • post

    I’ve revised the letter to the IT review board a few times.

  • post

    Draft of an Open Letter to the IT Review board at the University of Waterloo. You can print a nice copy directly from the page if you have a web-standards compliant browser (try it) that can handle CSS2.

  • post

    Now I’ve added another style sheet to support printing. Try printing this page or just use print preview. Oh yeah, also I installed a hack on the left-hand navbox sidebar, so that it won’t leave trails behind in Chimera (it’s called hackbox if you care). Oh yeah, I looked at this page on a windows with IE 6 (on XP) and it was horrible. If you’re on windows, check out Phoenix which is a Mozilla variant.

  • post

    What the heck happened to this website? Well, if your answer is nothing, then congratulations, you are using a standards-compliant browser (XHTML and CSS2). If your answer is anything else, get a new browser. I redid the site in CSS2 and XHTML, and, wow, isn’t it nice to get rid of all that tables crap? The only thing I don’t like about XHTML is that I have to close all of my paragraphs. Oh yeah, I only did the root pages, so the FTX and D&D pages won’t verify until I get around to them.

  • post

    Added a few Imprint articles that I wrote but weren’t attributed to me by name. Mostly co-op related editorials.

  • post

    I just updated the flow of the site a bit by collapsing the Imprint section into the “writings” section. I also updated the Imprint section so that it’s more complete and in chronological order – so those of you interested in reading the complete archive of S.W. Imprint stories will be very pleased I’m sure.

  • FTX on 10.1.5

    Circumstantial evidence (in the form of emails from users…) indicates that FTX 1.5 didn’t work very well on Mac OS X 10.1.5. Well, that’s what I get for upgrading all of my computers to 10.2. However with me making fixes and sending off test copies to the helpful users, it seems I’ve squished the bugs for now. Hence the updated FractalTrees 1.5.1 release. Oh yeah, and it’s open source software now too ;-)

  • FTX 1.5

    Check out the Fractal Trees section of the site for a new version of FractalTrees X . The new version 1.5 is lots more fun to play with. Written in the only practical GUI application environment, Cocoa.

  • post

    I just had this crazy idea. Could Mozilla be the next great word processor? I mean, what is there to a word processor? There’s a typing interface, a data format, a display engine, and various support tools. Mozilla is a display engine that follows industry standards very well. Those standards – especially with CSS2 support – make HTML a fully qualified data format for a word processor. Mozilla has an HTML editor that could be modified to make a good typing interface, so all that’s needed are the support tools. The documents are HTML pages with CSS, so that they can be viewed in any browser, published on the web instantly, and edited in a wide variety of editors as long as they support the standards.

  • post

    D&D fans rejoice … I just updated the Edion Sourcebook as well.

  • post

    Well, the transcript project seems to be dead after getting a good 40 minutes down on paper. However, today I bring you an updated D&D subsite … ye-haw! OK, there’s no new content, but the Edion Handbook is substantially easier to navigate and read online now, and the pages are streamlined.

  • post

    Microsoft / University of Waterloo EngSoc Forum transcript project . A project to transcribe the mp3 recording made by the Feds.

  • post

    Updated the layout of the site and a bunch of the miscellaneous pages. I discarded some of the really old stuff. You might also want to check out Semacode . Or, you might not.

  • post

    Updated the ol’ site design. Yeah, it looks exactly the same in most browsers, but it’s now fully good-looking in Mozilla (on OS X) and it’s better designed. Most of the pages meet the W3C spec so I added that to the bottom.

  • post

    FractalTrees X 1.2 is now available .

  • post

    Lots of updates. (the Open CECS Online) website appears to be dead, so I removed that link. I revised my sidebar so it should be more logical now. The old links there are now on the links page, and I put up some new useful links.

  • post

    I revamped the D&D section of the site a lot because there was starting to be too much stuff there for one page. Now it’s a subsite. There’s also new material there that I’m not going to talk about here.

  • post

    Updated the design a bit. Maybe this will make it a bit easier to read.

  • post

    Today I fixed up the layout of the site a bit. Now more recent stuff is higher up in the list on the sidebar. I also added a new poem to the site, so I made a new section called Stories where you can find that and the old short story as well.

  • post

    I added a section for Dungeons & Dragons (3rd edition) for info about my campaign. Also some links to some good stuff. See the sidebar.

  • post

    Finally back up again after a long hiatus. Never mind what happened, it’s complicated. Right now everything’s back except for the music, and the movies, I’ll upload them later.

  • post

    The Vacuum downloads section was broken so I fixed it.

  • post

    Douglas Adams R.I.P. (My hero)

  • post

    Wow, this site is really ugly. I guess I should redesign it again.

  • post

    Wow, this site is horrifyingly out of date, and likely to remain that way for a long, long time. Sucks to be you.

  • post

    I’ve updated the style sheet so it works properly on Netscape now.

  • post

    I just redesigned the look of the page. Like it? I do!

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