Site status

by Mark Zaugg 30. November 2006 22:26

I just want to let everyone know, you're doing GREAT. 

I'm pretty much certain that I account for 92.6% of my traffic. 

And 7.1% of my traffic are people lost on the information traffic jam.

That leaves precisely 3 visits I can't account for who haven't been forced to be here or who haven't been searching for "fuzzy orange fetish" or some such.

And I know that at least one of them came from Trever.  And Brian made a reference, so I suspect he's one of 'em.  And I discovered an old buddy's blog.  (Actually, Art, I was at your blog before I knew it was you...  Strange things, this world.)

I just want to say unequivalently that I have failed in my quest to achieve two readers by December.  My ego is in check!  I am the greatest blogger ever!!!!!!

Geez, I need that in annoying colours or something, don't I?

I have no life, and I must scream.

New Babylon 5? Ooooh!

by Mark Zaugg 14. November 2006 02:02

Looks official to me

I'm so happy.  Mr. Straczynski, please batter me about the head until I'm incoherent.

MORE incoherent.

Can I get an amen from the congregation?

by Mark Zaugg 13. November 2006 22:26

1.  I shall not teach others my vocabulary. 
2.  I shall not open the board to my lessers. 
3.  I shall examine my options and not lay the first word I see. 
4.  I shall not play games less than 30 minutes in duration. 
5.  I shall ensure that "ratsofrass" and "coner" make it into the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.  

Idiots.  I hate them.

Brian: 264.
Me:  191.

All hail Brian.  Brian is good.

The Vista in Novemba is Mainla for the Buisnessa

by Mark Zaugg 2. November 2006 08:25

And while I've been talking about the browsers, I notice that Microsoft is releasing it's newest operating system Vista to businesses at the end of the month.  Regular people will be able to get it at the end of January 2007.

It's been pushed back to a November 2006 release date.  Nice to see they're squeezing it into this month.  (They have plenty of egg on their face because they've been so late with this - and they still probably deserve plenty of ribbing.  But they also deserve some credit for getting it released at the end of the month.)

I am not testing Vista.  I don't have the hardware, likely no one will be making the jump until they get a new computer unless they're really serious about it.  Business-wise, I don't expect to see our customers moving to it for about a year anyways.  We're just starting to see people using SQL Server 2005 (most are using the SQL Server 2000 version).

But it's coming too.  And if you thought I was complaining too much about the interface in IE7...  Well, we're seeing the changed based on the changes coming in Vista...

Stay tuned, I'm sure it's going to be bumpy.

I'm browser obsessing...

by Mark Zaugg 2. November 2006 07:41

I've been taking a lot of time over the past week or so messing around with Firefox and Internet Explorer 7.0.  My particular interest has been IE, primarily because I don't understand it as intricately as I do with Firefox.  IE7 is a big change from IE6 and when you make the upgrade, you'll need to take some time to learn what's changed.

If you use Firefox, you'll probably be productive pretty much immediately with Firefox 2.0 (as compared with Firefox 1.5).  And if you're making the transfer from IE6 to Firefox, I believe it's actually an easier switch than moving to IE7.  After a week of using them, I still have to force myself to use IE - I don't like the interface and I don't enjoy the way it forces me to do change how I do things.  Others very much like it.  You should try it for yourself.

I'd put in screenshots, but I'm doing this from home and I'm not eligable to install IE7 here.  There's beef #1.  It's worth repeating.  Unless you're running an up-to-date Windows XP (or Windows 2003 Server which none of you surfing here should be) then you cannot get it.  In the simplest terms possible, click on Microsoft Update, and make sure you're system is fully up to date.  If you are not running Windows XP SP2, then you should also click on Get Firefox.

One of the things that I've found disturbing over the past week is the grandstanding over finding bugs in IE7 and Firefox 2.0.  If you're less technical, this is causing some confusion.  Should you be upgrading?  You said it was safer, and yet there are bugs being found even in the new versions!

If you are using Internet Explorer 6.0, yes you should upgrade.  You should upgrade immediately, you should not wait two weeks for it to be pushed out to you.  First, you'll look cool being the first on the block.  Second it is truly a much better program over all.  And those bugs in IE7 that have been reported?  They're minor, all things considered.

This bug, reported October 25, for instance.  It's been enjoyable listening to Secunia and Microsoft argue over it, but in essence it's been a battle over esteem.  The question is, "Who will be the first to find a flaw in Internet Explorer 7.0?  That will make you seem really smart!"

In layman's terms, this is someone pointing to a house and labelling it as a bank.  The house may even have a facade on it to make it look like a bank, but if you really look there are tell-tale signs it's not really a bank at all.  Not even the tellers are wearing uniforms and that safe at the back - why I think it's made from styrofoam!

On the other hand, the bugs from IE6 (like this one, for an example) have been the equivalent of leaving your keys in the door.  We're not labelling your house a bank, we've just left it wide open for anyone strolling by who's actually smart enough to look for keys dangling out in the open.  Sometimes, they even jingle in the wind, so it tends to be easy to find houses with their keys hanging out.

I have absolutely no doubt there may be some serious bugs in both IE7 and Firefox 2.0.  Being first to report a bug is an ego boost, but there has been too much mountain making of IE7's mole hills.  Firefox, too, has some ugly warts that need to be cleaned up.  Historically, Firefox has been quicker to repair the problems, I'll be interested to see if that continues.

The other issue I've run across is, "Our computer guys won't let us install anything."

I'm the "computer guy" for my company of "computer guys."  I need to be first out the gate for things such as this to make sure that others don't run across problems.  Chances are, your computer guys are doing the same thing.  There will be very few reasons places which will not upgrade because there are so few reasons not to upgrade.  (Reason number one:  Your company still uses Windows 2000 - the funny smell comes from Microsoft's direction for that decision.  Get the feeling that really bugs me?)  Talk to your computer guy about upgrading to IE7 - he'll probably tell you it'll happen on November 14th or 15th.  If you ask about Firefox, he probably will tell you either, "Yes, I use it at home" or "Yes, I use it myself here" or "No, I don't like it very much and I make everyone use the IE instead."

Bottom line, everyone who can needs to upgrade to IE7 as soon as possible.  If you can't upgrade to IE7, get as up to date as you can and use Firefox 2.0.  If you prefer Firefox 2.0, you can use that even if you have IE7 already.  And be cool - like me.

Hello, my name is Mark and I'll be your host this afternoon..

by Mark Zaugg 26. October 2006 08:30

So it's a weekend with the kids, Firefox 2.0 is released, and it's the perfect mix of "something to do" and "let's celebrate for the sake of celebration."  And "Lethbridge had one scheduled, but Edmonton still doesn't."  ;-) 

If you're not aware, the Calgary Zoo has just won a significant award for it's program to re-introduce (pdf warning!) the Swift Fox back into the Canadian wilds.  It's considered to be one of the biggest successes of a re-introduction of a carnivore back into the wild.  Very cool, and the Swift Fox is a handsome little devil, at that. 

So my poor little brain connects (muddles?) "Firefox" with "Swift Fox" and I think, "Hey, let's get the kids to make up head bands and I'll hot glue some construction paper ears and write on them and we'll throw a party.  Out in public, everyone's welcome, just show up. 

So it's become official.  Firefox with the Swift Foxes.  Saturday at 1:00 PM at the zoo.  The Swift Foxes are over at the Cequel Energy Lodge in the Canadian Wilds exhibit.  It's a little back out of the way, so please show at the gates with a few minutes to spare so you have time to walk back to the lodge.  Come as you are, I'll try to bring enough ears for everyone.

Just a little messin' around...

by Mark Zaugg 5. October 2006 01:36

Here ya go, Bug. 

Signed, sealed, delivered.

Created (if you couldn't figure it out) at  Go play now.

The follies of HP

by Mark Zaugg 13. September 2006 22:27

Almost half my life ago, I tried to come up with a code of morality that I would choose to try to live by. 

Somedays I do better than others.  But like the Thirteen Virutes of Benjamin Franklin, they serve as a guide to all I do.  Frankly, had I known Franklin's ideas (heavy reading alert) earlier I would have saved myself the trouble. 

I decided the four cornerstones of my life was to be honourable, trustworthy, as equitable as possible, and respectful towards others.  Every day isn't a perfect one by any stretch, but I readily admit I am not a perfect being. 

Hewlett Packard was a company founded by two of the most respected men in the business of geekdom.  Bill Hewlett and David Packard were brilliantly gifted, deeply principled and showed extra-ordinary vision creating one of the best, forward thinking companies of our time.

How deeply it has fallen.  There are official biographies on the HP company website, but I don't want to link to them.  The company has become morally destitute in my eyes.  The news has pretty much hit all major news outlets about the absolutely shameful conduct of HP's Board of Directors.  The very people who are to give the greatest judgement and moral guidance have demonstrated themselves to be entirely bereft of precisely the values they are supposed to endear.

If you hadn't heard, in the efforts to discover a leak to the news media, HP's Board of Directors hired investigators who lied their way into obtaining phone records of members of the Board and (so far) nine journalists.

The latest is from the Financial Times where Kevin Allison reports "HP spy scandal extends to  (two) employees."  They have taken what was once considered one of the best companies to work at and made it into a shambles where they lie in order to spy on their own people.

This is sobering and shameful.

It's a little bit of old news to me - I first heard about it from Groklaw.  Pamela Jones (PJ) started her blog to talk about technology and the law - the big boost was the lawsuit of the Litigious Bastards vs. IBM.  (Okay, that's a joke.  At one time when you searched for "Litigious Bastards" on Google you were sent to SCO's website.)  One of the fallouts was that SCO wasn't very pleased with PJ's opinions and the good work Groklaw was doing to expose the arguments being presented.

PJ was targetted by this very same sort of attack.  It was unwarrented, it was improper, and it was every bit as unethical as what is going on at HP right now.  PJ understands better than almost anyone I can think of what is happening on a legal, moral, and personal front.  Go to Groklaw and follow the news there.  You'll get amazing insight there - and you're free to skip through what you don't understand.  It's going up on my links page as soon as I finish posting here.

Having thought about it, I feel very honoured that I have - in a single post - included Benjamin Franklin, David Packard, Bill Hewlett and Pamela Jones together.  These are some of the people I admire.

The ultimate blog

by Mark Zaugg 11. September 2006 01:18

Why should I have to explain a blog anymore when Lore Sjöberg has done all the hard work for me?

Thanks Lore.  How can I refuse to link to you when you've got insight such as: 

 "Creating your own blog is about as easy as creating your own urine, and you're about as likely
to find someone else interested in it." 

Excuse me, I think your dog just piddled on my spewage.. 

Here's a Bombe we can all welcome

by Mark Zaugg 11. September 2006 00:28

Enigma fascinates me. 

Not just any enigma, although they are pretty interesting too.  Enigma was the breadbox sized cipher machine used to encrypt messages (most famously) by Nazi Germany during World War II.  I've even downloaded and played with a simulator to encode my own messages.  It's very cool, just for it's own sake. 

A very brief explanation is that it made code sorta like A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.  Except it doesn't take much of a rocket surgeon to guess what's going on.  The Enigma worked because it could change the codes, and so long as the sender and receiver knew where to begin setting their wheels, they could read the message.  So the Enigma may say A=1, B=2, C=3 one time, and the next day it would be A=21, B=3, C=12.  The whole arrangment could change and it would be very hard to figure out.

Psst:  Want in on a secret?  The British figured it out.  Hey, I think it'll even help those Limeys win the war. 

The British worked out how to use a crazy machine - an "electromechanical device" to crack the code.  They called it the Bombe and that image is what I think of when I think of passing secrets in code.  It was one of the very first computers - although it had almost nothing to do with the computer you're using to read this with right now because it was Top Secret until the 1970's.

It started off with the work of a Polish cryptologist ("math whiz") Marian Rejewski.  His work was later used to create the British version, created by Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman.

Simply, it worked by being wired like the Enigma machine, except it had a motor attached to the wheels.  Instead of turning the wheels to encode a secret message, the Bombe spun the rotors to get possible guesses as to what the message could be.  It made it much faster to get possible messages, although it was also faster to find a blind alley.  Speed was of the essence of the war, though, and the British used it well to gain the advantage.

John Harper led the reconstruction of the Bombe machine.  My hat goes off to you, John.  You're every bit the hero that Alan Turing and his compatriots were in my eyes.

Heavy duty reading worth the time can be found in this thread.


Change is the only constant.

Welcome to the semi-exciting new look, same crappy blogger.

All comments are still moderated, I'll approve everything that isn't spam or offensive.  Agreement with His Dorkasaurus is not necessary.

What has changed is that I don't have 1000 junk accounts clogging up the system that I have to go through one by one.  Yes, you too can set up an account and no longer need to wait for me to notice you posted.  Completely optional.

As always:  Have fun, be respectful.


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