The Food Chain

A friend blogged yesterday about Microsoft finally releasing the specifications for the binary Office formats recently - I welcome that Microsoft is finally opening  up on these formats, even if it’s largely irrelevant from a technical perspective now all the reverse-engineering has mostly been done, the patent protection for reimplementations is a major boon. It  kinda made me think that maybe,  just maybe Microsoft are starting to realise that opening all standards related to critical business data is what customers really want.

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I can’t be the only person amused at the prospect of the Village People taking an offensive stance against Pirate Bay. For a start, although I know it’s all just legal wrangling, I have this mental image of 6 slightly camp men dressed as native americans, police officers, construction workers etc storming a pirate stronghold, an image which will probably keep me chuckling for days. Maybe they’d resolve the whole thing through a Zoolander style walk-off.

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I’ve been thinking about subscribing to an online backup service for a little while; after all while a scheduled backup system to an external drive / NAS is all very well, if something should go seriously wrong (heaven forbid), you really need an offsite backup of your most critical data. There’s only so long you can go burning DVDs or removing hard drives and persuading friends / family to keep them at their houses before it starts to get unwieldy.

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I like Eclipse a lot. As many of you know, I’ve developed business software for just as long as I’ve been doing graphics software (and learned a lot from both worlds), and through that I’ve used Eclipse in various forms over a number of years - it’s really quite incredible how far it’s come in that time. If you discount the language dimension (Visual Studio is still my preferred C++ development environment) Eclipse is easily my favourite IDE to use - although in practice you have to be a Java developer to really get the best out of it.

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Nasty Surprises

I don’t have as much time with it as I’d like, but over the last six months or so I’ve grown to like OS X. It’s slick, easy to use and generally just gets out of my way, and I keep finding neat little tricks I don’t expect (like dragging the icon on the title bar of the current window to create a shortcut to the document you’re viewing - nice).

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A lot of people have been getting their panties in a bunch over the last 24 hours because of the Beta 5 drop of Google Toolbar - which can now present a custom 404 page to its users, which contains a Google search button. My reaction was ‘so what?’, but it appears that the typical Internet misinformation train had already kicked in and people are claiming it’s an evil act that is deliberately set up to harvest people away from websites to ad-driven pages, and that webmasters are powerless to stop it.

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Yesterday’s Ubuntu install didn’t exactly go entirely to plan, but today I spent a little time trying to resolve things. My overall approach to this is to try to use the most user-friendly tools available first before starting to hack on the command-line - as a fan of running Linux servers which don’t even have an X server running this might seem odd, but I really want to know how well Ubuntu does as a user-facing OS while I’m doing this.

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A Gutsy Fighter

I haven’t had a lot of time to play with much lately, but while I processed some OGRE patches (ie during the times I was waiting for builds) this morning I finally got around to installing the latest Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on my new test box. It already has XP and Vista on it, so it’s getting quite cosy in there, but since the box is only for testing I can afford to burn a fair amount of space on OS overhead.

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Burnout Paradise has polarised opinion in gamers, to an extent that perhaps only gamers can be polarised (well, religeous zealots too, but they don’t quite have as many online forums yet), driving a steel-tipped wedge between the people who are quite happy to go with the flow of the alternative direction Criterion took with this instalment, and those who consider it to be a defilement of a gaming icon, equivalent to ram-raiding a convent and doing donuts in the nearest cloister.

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Trying out reCAPTCHA

In the last week or so, the amount of comment spam being fired at this blog has been getting out of hand - it’s now averaging at about 100 every hour (or one every 36 seconds). Askimet does a pretty good job and automatically junks all but about 2% of these, but the remainder end up in my manual moderation queue and are starting to get really annoying (25 in the last 10 hours).

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