June 30, 2004

Holy spam

I just received a totally different sort of spam. Its source is (of course) Nigeria.

Short summary:
It's about a crist who was a legal adviser to someone and managed to get his hands on thirty million US-dollars through someones last will.
But he fell off of Christianity and shipped the money abroad for invest. Then he somehow converted back to Christs believe and now needs somebody to help him to get the money back into the country to spend it to a ministry for the work of God.

Now they even go for your belief.

Well, I'll post his email-address here to be picked up by spammers, dialers and porn lists. Perhaps his inbox will fill up and he'll stop buggin' people.

Hm, should I put him on som high-load newsletters myself?

June 29, 2004


Fastest release ever, 38 minutes including testing. Yeah.

Well, it just went so fast because shutting down the old software took only seconds instead of up to half an hour because it crashed during the shutdown, but I don't think that anyone noticed much. Downtime was less than 40 seconds.

Release it baby!

Yeah, today (in 5 minutes) there is again a release at a customer.

But this time it'll just a small one, no dangerous DB changes involved.

Should be finished in about 1.5 - 2h.

June 28, 2004

A new C++ Journal

The C++ Source is a new online journal which tries to build a “new peer-reviewed online ‘zine for the world of C++”. It runs in the realm of Artima Weblogs which has always good articles around web- and general development in the IT branche.

Some other C++-development related sites:

June 27, 2004

Turkey into the EU?

"Bush urges EU membership for Turkey"

Why does G.W. always have to say what other states have to do?

He states, that Turkey meets all requirements for a membership in the EU, but of course he always thinks of himself. Trying to be friendly to Turkey just before he needs their good will for the NATO.

But perhaps he also has not so obvious interests: the EU is currently quite busy calming down from the recent expansion and is itself not ready to integrate another state of the size of Turkey.

Perhaps he hopes that the EU destabilizes itself with Turkey, giving the US back some of the influence in the world market and politics it had to give to the EU...

June 26, 2004

New Seti@home version

SETI@home has now a new version available: SETI@home BOINC.
This version now has some new functionalities, as automatically downloading new algorithms or better integration on each machines ressources (CPUs/RAM) instead of a static client. See the details.

The new version is currently running simultaneous with the old one but the old one will be turned off after a testing period.

My current work unit count: 3476 results received.

June 24, 2004

Birthday success?

My Birthday yesterday was the worst one I ever had.

In the morning, I took my girlfriend to her home to be taken to hospital for check by her mom. But her mother didn't care to drive her, so I had to bring her there myself and then taker her to school. This took me ~120 km and 2-3 hours of work.

In the evening then my girlfriend and her mother ended up in a conflict which originated in my girlfriend turning the volume on the TV set down a bit (her mom suddenly turned it up quite loud without any aparent reason) and ending with girlfriend moving out from home.

And then she asks me, why I'm not happy on my birthday, I just reached one of my long-term goals, to take my girlfriend to my home.

Yes, I reached that goal, but I didn't want it to happen in THAT way.

Why do both women always have to have the last word in a conflict? No one can leave the last sentence of the other unanswered.

June 22, 2004

Wikipedia dump

Since last friday I'm trying to suck down a HTML dump of Wikipedia.

I'm using the Wiki2static perl script and the latest Wikipedia database dump for the english language.

The initial download took almost the whole weekend, I left it running at work computers. On Monday I found a nice local edition of the Wikipedia on my HDD.

Just a few glitches:
- the Main Page detection had not worked, because the file format seems to have changed since the script was written
- in the DB dump there are many lonely "\n"'s, which confuse the script in many ways (especially link and list detection)

Currently I'm trying to invent some regular expression to fix up those lost "\n"'s.

Everything else seems to work quite fine, the final dump including redirects has currently a size of 4.71 GB, just right to be burned on DVD :)

June 18, 2004

Teitan upgraded

Just jumped over to Teitan to look for something new and yes... there is something new!

Teitan upgraded his words from text to a nice black&white image. But in a corner, he added some more words ordered top to bottom, rightbound (without commas):
"you, areso(?), infinite, mylove, nothingyou, meanto, everythingto, proveme, isright" (the second word is a bit unclear). Some parts of the words are colored brighter: "in my nothing you mean everything to me".
The background of the image is somehow structured like rough cloth. And the whole page has a new title: "devotion"

Similar happenings on bizas page. Image, Black&White, text to image, small text in corner: "schon immer, noch immer, f?r immer". Title: "addiction".

For me the fascinating thing on bizas image is that somehow in the background a structure looking similar to a crying face with closed eyes is visible. And the general backround structure seems to be smoke and fire.

Well, if teitan or biza stumble across my comments, they might think "What the..." or why I mention the changes of their sites. Hm, I don't know exactly. Perhaps it is because one can do so much interpretation on the synchronized evolution of both pages, or perhaps it's just because I'd like to know something of my friends, even if we don't meet very often anymore. Perhaps it's also just curiosity.

Teitan&Biza, keep up doing, what you've been doing so far :)

The better Blu-Ray-Disc

Just a few minutes ago I read an article about a new DVD-like storage disc, theDigital Multilayer Disk. It's a new invention from D Data, which work largely like today's DVD technique, but provedes up to 15 Gigabytes of storage. It makes this possible by packing more layers together, not with reflective but fluorescent data layers.

To learn more about it, look at their technical page.

I personally think, that this is a better successor to the DVD than the Blu-Ray Disc, just because it makes more efficient use of current technology without having to invent (and go through all the try-and-error cycles of) new and advanced techniques.

Joel on Microsoft loosing API War

Yesterday I picked up a very interesting article from Joel.
Joel on Software - How Microsoft Lost the API War

Short: He talks about what Microsofts strength had been until a decision was met, that they dump backwards compatibility.

Microsoft grow big because almost all old software was able to run even on the most recent operating system thanks to Raymond Chen and the guys around him.
And now they have decided to drop backwards compatibility with that .NET stuff.

What I miss a bit in Joels article is what he thinks what effects this can have to the IT world.
But I think he'll get loads of email on this article and will soon post a follow-up with some comments.

June 16, 2004

Future proposal for WLAN and Telephony

I don't know if anybody already had the idea to combine the Ad-Hoc-Networking of WLAN, where client devices build up networks dynamically, and the VoIP-technology.

A'la Walkie-Talkie-Style ;)

I don't have thought into that deeper, but there could be many possibilities of usage.

June 15, 2004

Teaching C++

Last week a co-worker asked me if I could help a friend of his brother with some C++ homework. I agreed.

I found out that he was attending distance learning and was completely new to programming and C++.

He gave me the homework examples and I wrote them for him so that he can view them and hopefully learn from it.

We'll meet soon and I'll install Visual Studio on his computer and learn some more.

I just didn't draw the structograms which were needed for some examples, I was just too lazy first off and later I had not enough time anymore.
Just told him that I couldn't find my papers from school anymore to fresh up my structogram-knowledge, which is not exactly the truth but not a complete lie. I really don't know some aspects of structograms anymore.

June 14, 2004

Power outage = Computer suicide

Over the weekend there has been a power outage at the companys location.

I recognized that this morning when I had to re-logon on my two Windows-stations and my Linux-station was completely down.

While the Linux and one Windows computer got up again without problems my working Windows computer spit out lots of filesystem problems and unknown errors (during chkdisk???).
Of course it was my main Windows computer.

Surprisingly I got a new HDD for backup almost without problems and within 30 minutes. Now I'm installing Win2k again on it and then I'll back up everything what's left from the old HDD before secure erasing and giving it back.

Again, almost a whole day just setting up computer because of power fluctuances.

June 11, 2004

Pro7 - The better state TV station?

I don't know, but does anybody have noticed, that the TV station Pro 7 does more for the people than the other stations in germany?

I mean, I'm just watching "Geniale Erfinder", a show presenting the results of the "Wissenspreis" challenge, which pushes young inventors in germany.
And then I thnk of the "Red Nose Day", "Galileo, "Welt der Wunder" and some other minor shows (regarding lifestyle and news, see the Pro 7 Wissen- und Livestyle Portal).

Why is a non-state station better in providing general knowledge and encouragement than even a most state-driven TV stations?

June 10, 2004

Pope reprimands Bush

Yes I know, I'm late.
The pope taunts Bush for his actions in Iraq. See some headlines from the press.

June 8, 2004

Trying new software testing methods

Today I tried to get an overview of the code coverage with our testcases using gcov but failed because it is not possible to compile shared libs with the needed compilerflags '-fprofile-arcs -ftest-coverage' and link them to an executable.

It always complains about a "hidden symbol `__bb_init_func' in /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linux/3.3.3/libgcc.a(_bb.oS) is referenced by DSO". Strange, and all information I found regarding this is a post which tells about problems with gcov and dynamic c++ libraries.
The proposed solution there doesn't work, at least not for me.

I gave up on gcov and tried another tool, Valgrind and this worked immediately and gave me quite a list of leaks and uninitialized memory in our applications. And almost all are direct visible in the code if you know what to search for. But I doubt we could have found them without an automated tool.

June 6, 2004

Muscle ace

This weekend my father, my girlfriend and I were working in the upper floor. We pulled up a new wall for our slowly growing own apartment.

I can feel many muscles in my body crying for careful massage. If I had to guess, I'd say I have moved about 500 kilograms 2 meters upwards on a dangerous looking construct of ladders and planks on the side of the wall.

Lifting up 20-25 kg bricks and tubs of concrete all the day only with my bare hands and arms leaves its signs.

Going for a nice shower...

June 5, 2004

New pets

You must not let your girlfriend go shopping alone. No, don't do it. Never.

Two days ago she drove to an animal shop to buy a new fish because an old one died.

What did she bring home? Some pharmaceuticals for the fishes (because the fish died on illness) and...
two little bunnies in a huge cage.

June 3, 2004

Random quotes

No specific topic currently, just a few points. I now get paid out a lot of my overtime hours and keep record of the new ones quite strictly. It seems that my department leader is a bit surprised now how many people do overtime hours for the various reasons.

It's strange, you should avoid overtime hours, but get your work done for specific dates.

Yesterday the machine cluster where TaskZilla (and other of our internal tools, as i.e. TWiki) sits on suddenly disappeared. Later I found out that one of the Sysadmins wanted to do something with the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) of the cluster and suddenly the cluster stopped making noise ;) There was some trouble during re-startup of TaskZilla like missing mountpoints, wrong database-links, wrong webserver config, etc., but after about 1 1/2 hours, everything was up again. Luckily the database files seem to be unharmed.

Just a simple switch has died in the electronic shock, so TaskZilla is not reachable from some networks anymore, should be fixed by noon today.

Today will be a meeting with some project managers and development managers. The meeting has been called in because a customer wants an upgrade of its current system to support a new technology. The problem is that we can't (well, we can, but it's too risky in everyones eye) replace the whole system with the new one but we have to integrate the new one into the old one. Of course there are many small things to do and we already guessed their duration but aparently the overall duration is too long for the project managers and today in the meeting there will be a discussion how to lower the development time or invent another solution which takes less time.

But I don't think that the time can be lowered that much. There is work which has to be done and we already told how long it would take. We can't do it faster just because the cost is too high for the project manager. Either we take the time for that or it won't be done in an acceptable way. In the first case the cost is too high in the last the customer will have much trouble and we will need more time again to fix these troubles.

Of course I personally want to make it right, because on the long run it gives the customer a better quality software with less trouble but somewhat higher cost. And then he hasn't to pay afterwards for upcoming bugfixes and repairs.

Dammit, there is no clear solution which would satisfy the project manager AND the developers.

And (of course) the initial development should be finished in a month and without overtime hours ;)

I personally want to hold the deadline in a month to give the customer a great experience but that would need an almost uninterrupted dedication from our side which is more than improbable. And it would be too expensive for the project manager ;)