29 September

Brave new world...

"New output content protection mechanisms planned for the next version of Microsoft® Windows® codenamed "Longhorn" protect against hardware attacks while playing premium content and complement the protection against software attacks provided by the Protected Environment in Windows Longhorn."

Output Content Protection and Windows Longhorn is quite an interesting page. Looks like all Windows users need to get new audio and video equipment in order to play "premium content". I can't find my newspeak dictionary, so I'm not sure what premium content means.

It's fascinating how many tricks the entertainment industry comes up with to protect itself from its customers.
Posted by thomas at 08:43:08 - No comments
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20 September

Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP)

"Communicating Sequential Processes, or CSP, is a language for describing patterns of interaction. It is supported by an elegant, mathematical theory, a set of proof tools, and an extensive literature. The book Communicating Sequential Processes was first published in 1985 by Prentice Hall International (who have kindly released the copyright); it is an excellent introduction to the language, and also to the mathematical theory."

Another online book to read when I have spare time.
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12 September

Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle

Nice report by Richard P Feynman about what caused the Challenger disaster.

Should also apply to how software systems are designed and built.
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18 July

Managing for Creativity

Yes, I'm still alive and jotting down things I should read when I can find the time. This time a piece from the Harvard Business Review (again from /.) about how to manage for creativity.
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09 June

Painless Software Schedules

Could software development schedule management be this easy? Using Excel?
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15 April

Wicked Cool Shell Scripts

A book that contains (or claims to contain) some wicked cool shell scripts. Examples included.
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07 April

Proof and beauty

An article from The Economist about how mathematical proofs in the future will be done by computers rather than humans. Will read later.
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17 March

I knew it!

"Large enterprises should not use Linux because it is not secure enough, has scalability problems and could fork into many different flavours, according to the Agility Alliance, which includes IT heavyweights EDS, Fuji Xerox, Cisco, Microsoft, Sun, Dell and EMC."

Linux is insecure and unscalable state the usual suspects. I knew it. I guess I'll just delete it now and go back to using Windows. Oh, wait...

The other day I needed to retire one of the hard drives of my work computer. It was old (from around 2000), only 8GB and had started making suspicious noises. So rather than letting it crash completely, leaving a complete reinstall as the only option, I decided to move the contents of it onto a new partition on the other, large harddrive. I have done this procedure many times on my Linux box(es) and it's usually a quick and painless procedure.

Obviously, Windows does not come with standard tools that let you do useful things. So, out comes Partition Magic to shrink my F: drive to make room for the current C: drive. Before this adventure started, my system drive was C: (master on IDE1). Then the CDROM drive was D:, CDRW drive was E:, and large HD (slave drive on IDE1) was F:. Lots of programs plus Windows' page file was stored on F: since it has plenty of space.

So, once PM had done its magic and shrinked my F: drive to make room for the old C: drive at the beginning of the harddrive, I copied the old C: partition into the newly created empty space on the slave harddrive, powered down the system and removed the old, faulty harddrive.

Now I had pretty much the same configuration as before. Two harddrive partitions, and two optical drives. So everything should be fine and boot up nicely. Oh, wait...

Of course, since I have moved the partitions onto the same physical harddrive, Windows has decided that it must randomly swap the drive letters around to ensure that at least something goes wrong. And it does. As I mentioned previously, the Windows page file was set up on F: since the old C: partition was nearly full. Since the drive letters have been swapped around, F: is now either non-existent or an optical drive and either way it does not work for swapping.

So now I can't log in. I enter my name and password, but after a minute of pondering Windows simply returns to the login screen. "Ok, I'll just manually configure the drive letters" I, naively, think. But since I cannot log in to the damn system I can't configure the drive letters, and the thing won't even boot to command line. So out comes the install CD, and I go into rescue mode. Nope, no way to inform Windows what the drive letters really should be there either (oh, how much easier this is in /etc/fstab). Hours of blood, sweat and tears follow.

Final solution: Get a new HD from storage. Copy old system partition onto new harddrive. Make two small dummy partitions on new HD to act as D: and E:, which made Windows' random drive letter assignment agent leave the old F: as F:. My optical drives are now G: and H: and Windows boots. I dread the next time a program installed from CD wants to read something from D:.

So.. while this certainly is not an enterprise class problem, it clearly demonstrates how Windows isn't quite ready for the desktop yet. It's still lacking proper system tools, and looks like something you'd buy in the Fisher Price section of a toy store. And is about as useful. But at least it only comes in one flavour..?
Posted by thomas at 08:30:16 - No comments
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11 March

How to Start a Startup

Yes, I'm still here, even though updates have been relatively infrequent. But since I mainly use this page as a reminder to myself of things that I should look at when I have time, it only means that I haven't had much time to find things lately.

But today /. links to an essay by Paul Graham about How to Start a Startup. Sounds quite interesting. Coming from a man who's made a load of cash on his own startup it sounds even more interesting. Will read later (when I'm not at work, the essay is long)...
Posted by thomas at 08:13:06 - No comments
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09 February

The Cell Processor

Article from ars about the latest processor venture of Sony/IBM/Toshiba.

The hype is good, wonder if the processor is, too?
Posted by thomas at 09:23:17 - No comments
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31 January

PMD

Note to self: Check this out. Integrates with both Eclipse and Emacs. Nobody knows what PMD stands for, but apparently they think it's great.
"PMD scans Java source code and looks for potential problems like:

* Empty try/catch/finally/switch blocks
* Unused local variables, parameters and private methods
* Empty if/while statements
* Overcomplicated expressions - unnecessary if statements, for loops that could be while loops
* Classes with high Cyclomatic Complexity measurements"


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Hacking Open Office

Slashdot links to a story about Hacking Open Office that should be interesting. Would be nice to customise the application slightly, as it contains a few annoyances (like the default style..).

Posted by thomas at 09:29:20 - No comments
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03 January

Safecracking

The frontpage of Slashdot links to an article (pdf) about safecracking from a computer scientist perspective. Looks like an interesting read, always fun to see how other professions tackle security issues (and maybe I can learn how to break into a safe, too :)
Posted by thomas at 10:03:27 - No comments
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15 December

'Essential Highlights' by lyngtun - DPChallenge

Well, my entry to the 'Yellow Revisited' challenge made it in the top half at least, 146 out of 399 submissions... View the image here.

Got quite a few nice comments, and even some top ratings. I like to think that my entry was rated down because it wasn't commersial enough ;) I'll try again later, but will skip the 'People and their pets' challenge.
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10 December

A radical cure for the ailing U.S. patent system

Slashdot links to an IEEE article about how the US patent system can be fixed. Long read, but looks interesting so it's probably worth the while.
Posted by thomas at 08:47:17 - No comments
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