Geeks With Blogs
pemo (Notes from a Small [Academic] Island) ++++++++++++++++++ It's all academic! ++++++++++++++++++ June 2004 Entries
NewsGator Cool Feature
I like NewsGator - for one thing, you can rename feeds to suit yourself - so as to give them a personality/significance/title that you're more happy with – rather than that proposed by the author. For example, you could (say) rename 'Formula One Discussion' to 'Michael Always Wins', 'Microsoft WebBlogs' to 'Whatever He Just Said Over There I'll Paraphrase Here' (or 'Me Too' perhaps), and 'Spoutlet' to 'Pretentious Orifice' – neat eh! Oh, for NewsGator users, what's the difference between ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 30, 2004 5:32 PM

NewsGator Cool Feature
I like NewsGator - for one thing, you can rename feeds to suit yourself - so as to give them a personality/significance/title that you're more happy with – rather than that proposed by the author. For example, you could (say) rename 'Formula One Discussion' to 'Michael Always Wins', 'Microsoft WebBlogs' to 'Whatever He Just Said Over There I'll Paraphrase Here' (or 'Me Too' perhaps), and 'Spoutlet' to 'Pretentious Orifice' – neat eh! Oh, for NewsGator users, what's the difference between ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 30, 2004 4:53 PM

POP Goes The GMail
I'm really getting to love GMail, and it's interesting to see the targeted advertising (which is pretty subtle) appearing. However, I'm completely taken by PGtGM – and I just hope that Google doesn't close the web-service side of things (that this uses). From Google's point of view, it's hard to see why they wouldn't shut this down – I mean, unless they start inserting advertising-links directly into emails, they're not going to get many click-throughs are they ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 29, 2004 11:45 AM

Virtual Oxford
I really like this stuff (you'll need QuickTime installed) … Go to http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/ox... then click a college name. Then click a hot-spot on the college map ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 29, 2004 11:00 AM

Who Do You Want on Your Team?
A real serious question this: A while back, I asked about 'titles' - http://geekswithblogs.net/p... And many thanks to those that replied – sadly though, there were too few to make many deductions. Recently, I've starting chatting to one of the original Windows developers, and partly because what we've been chatting about, I'm starting to think very much about developers, and developing code (in general). So, here's another related question, with a proviso … say you were ......

Posted On Monday, June 28, 2004 3:50 PM

Intentional Programming - Dead?
Someone's blog recently reminded me about Intentional Programming (IP) - thanks, whoever you were! I'm pretty certain that IP died a death at MSR around 2001 - shame :-( See here for an old Microsoft Research video on what this 'was' all about. However, let's not give up all hope just yet - IP may still become a reality someday! I sure hope/pray that it does - it's a wonderful concept! ......

Posted On Sunday, June 27, 2004 11:54 AM

Misc.
GMail was playing-up something rotten yesterday – I'm pretty glad that, at the mo, I don't have to rely on it always being there. However, it IS a beta thingmy, so one shouldn't expect completely smooth operation and availability just now I suppose! Had a faculty BBQ here yesterday – great fun (although today my head hurts (again)). Had some early evening (read sober) time to talk through some interesting ideas on how (some) clustering-algorithms could be combined with JC's ideas on wide-coverage ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 23, 2004 1:34 PM

(Computer) Death at the Speed of Light
Antivirus programs cannot truly protect you and, at worst, may even lure you into a false sense of security. The 'State of Play' Today (via some history): Wayback, computer-viruses were transmitted via floppy – this meant that they moved slowly - from one machine to another.Once detected, and if the destination machine had an up-to-date anti-virus program on it, further spread could be prevented with a simple virus-scan. Then came networks – but these too could be kept reasonably safe ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 22, 2004 11:48 AM

The Good Ol' Days ...
It was really interesting, listening to Anders Hejlsberg talking about his 'early history' My past is, to a degree, somewhat similar – like, I too wrote assemblers/disassemblers, editors (folding!), compilers, and EPROM-blowers for quite a few early machines - like the Z80-based machines that were around at the time (esp. the Tatung Einstein: I used to work for Tatung - a long time ago (Zaks, and Lance Leventhal are your friends (Eeeek, those tomes are still on my bookshelf!)))! Sorry for all ......

Posted On Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:27 PM

Preventing Spam at the 'Source'?
On way to reduce spam is to stop it being generated in the first place (rather than detect it after it arrives)! Now, I'm sure that a lot of (most?) spam is generated because ones personal email address appears in a web-page (of one sort or another). Well, here are the barebones of an idea that could prevent email-addresses being harvested by spambots in the first place (maybe)! Plus, it could be automated to a very large degree (100% even). (any) robot/crawler will typically spend very little time ......

Posted On Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:54 AM

How Google Might be Improved
Two suggestions – both to do with Google assessing its own performance (and improving upon it) – one long, one short… 1. Google should remember what you search for, as it doesn't learn anything about how humans refine search-expressions (unless it IP-logs or something). Currently, Googleites enter a search-expression, and Google returns n-pages of links to what, it considers, are suitable pages. However, sometimes, what's returned is, for a variety of reasons, inappropriate - so ......

Posted On Saturday, June 19, 2004 8:18 AM

Our Ultimate End (just a thought)
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. - Albert Einstein So, along time ago, there was this point - somewhere in the void. The point (a blackhole) exploded in what we call the big bang, and from it came all of the observable universe – and of course, in time, you and me. From what we can see, detect and measure, the initial explosion will continue to spread the stuff that the point originally contained evermore thinly, and push it all ......

Posted On Friday, June 18, 2004 4:20 PM

Who Are You - Who Who, Who Whooooo...
Maybe this Schön thought he was this Schön? BTW, Macroscope is a brilliant read -based on 24 reviews (go and get it!) ......

Posted On Thursday, June 17, 2004 6:23 AM

Talking for England
It was my mum's 67th birthday today. I lover her dearly, but talking to her is like surfing the internet! On each 'page' of dialogue, she seems to be triggered by certain keywords; and as a result, she hits mental-hyperlinks - and disappears off into another subject. She even does this when I say that I have to go, as dinner's being served – "Oh, do you remember that dinner we had on my 70th? Wasn't it nice! And, guess what, that hotel we had it in, well, they've changed the owner there now ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 16, 2004 5:57 PM

Why Web Sites Suck
The original plan behind HTML pages was that they should provide a rapid access mechanism to shared documents – research papers etc. Moreover, through hyperlinks, these documents could provide a mechanism for referencing other works: so, the plan was to create cross-referenced documents - period. However, these days, web-pages have mostly metamorphosed into programs, where a document acts as a real front-end to some application or another. Two points – web-pages weren’t meant to ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 16, 2004 8:47 AM

Dangerous Drivers in England
In order to assist other motorists in identifying potentially dangerous drivers, it is now compulsory in England for anyone with a lower than average driving ability (or IQ) to display a warning flag, comprising of a red cross on a white background, attached to the top of at least one door of their vehicle. For drivers of exceptionally low ability (or IQ), additional flags are required ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 16, 2004 7:24 AM

Everyone should have a domain name!
One of the best bits of value I get from the various (and diverse) domains I own is that when I sign-up for something, and the procedure requires an email address, – well, I just go and create one: just for whoever's asking (and, let's face it, most everyone does require a valid email address these days (I wonder why!)) It's really useful when used this way - for two reasons: 1. You can just remove your 'used' address after you've been 'verified' 2. You can monitor the email sent to it, and ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 15, 2004 5:25 PM

Good News!

EzSniper finally got me a 256MB USB memory stick thingmy at a decent price!
Tip: (non-EzSniper) - in WinZIP, check the checkbox labelled 'Open Explorer Window' (an option when you hit the extract button)  - you won't regret it!

Posted On Tuesday, June 15, 2004 4:24 PM

Process (Startup) Monitoring
Does anyone know of a tool/app that can monitor process-startup under Windows XP? Ideally, it'd ask you if you want to allow the process to start - and provide you with its path/version-number etc. If you say 'yes', you should (of course) also be able to say, 'and don't ask me about this process again'. Really ideally, the OS should provide such a service/facility - for one thing, it'd be a damn good way to prevent seperate-process viruses etc. Surely, someone's already done this ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 15, 2004 4:18 PM

Unappreciated :-(
I bought F a new mouse (I'm such a nice guy): F - (Opening the box) "Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse ... Someone doesn't know how to market their products! Whatever happened to Deluxe? Ok, so it means the same, but 'Basic' is such a pejorative term to use!" F - (Disappearing under her desk) "Oh, can I just pull out the old one, or will I need to re-boot or shutdown the machine?" P - "No, I think XP supports the 'hot swapping' of this kind of thing" F - "Hot swapping!" F laughs, plugs in the mouse, ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 15, 2004 11:05 AM

Is it Time to Give C++ to the Garbage Collector?
"... I never realised how powerful this construct was ..." - Powerful = Cryptic (and unnecessary) " ... the power of C++ never ceases to amaze me ..." - You're easily amazed – check out something like Haskell, or F#! Now, I too love C++; but it's just so overused - so, here's a rational (rant) on the subject ... Is it Time to Give C++ to the Garbage Collector? C++, like its forefather, ‘C’, is a low-level language. Like C, its main design goal is to act as a kind of 'portable assembler', ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 15, 2004 9:44 AM

What's in a name?
I'd be really very interested in hearing what anyone who programs considers themselves to be: 1. A Programmer 2. A Software Engineer 3. A Developer 4. A Computer Scientist 5. A Hacker 6. A Coder 7. A ????? I'd also love it if you would define the title you picked ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 15, 2004 8:21 AM

Ants

Damn - I really wish I had more time: this really looked liked it'd be a lot of fun (if you like programming, and problem solving that is!)

Posted On Monday, June 14, 2004 4:59 PM

Paxo - oops, I meant Plaxo!
Ok, I use Plaxo (no, it's not something you stuff chickens with! (does that 'port'**?)) However, Plaxo currently bugs me - perhaps terminally so. For one thing (the main thing!), it knows that a lot of people in my address book have disappeared – it knows this because 'update' requests to them bounced. Ok, so, what would you like to do with 'duff' contact info – bin it right? However, Plaxo doesn't offer an option to delete these (now) useless contacts (duh, like how did they overlook ......

Posted On Monday, June 14, 2004 4:51 PM

Common-Room Whiteboard

Nobody is a genious
I'm Nobody
Hey - I'm a genious!

Posted On Monday, June 14, 2004 4:21 PM

Misc.
Geek Stuff ... I don't know if this is common knowledge (I know it's public domain though), but ... Microsoft is working on something called the Spec# programming language - basically, safe-programming for C#. Essentially, they've built a version of C#, c/w a refined type-system, contracts, compiler and run-time (so checks can be both static and dynamic)... The approach is both about methodology and tool support. All good stuff (but very Eiffel-like, or SPADE Pascal/SPARK Ada)! I think there's only ......

Posted On Monday, June 14, 2004 4:18 PM

Depressed
On the linguistic side of things, the first part of this is somewhat similar to what I'm trying to do (link to Lucy Vanderwende's home page (the researcher mentioned)). I think I should also send a link to her thesis to someone else I know - he's working on inference (semantic-interpretation in-context really) using noun-noun compounds – but if I send it to him, he'll be partly pissed off about it I'm sure. We're, I don't know how many years away from being able to build HAL: we haven't really ......

Posted On Sunday, June 13, 2004 11:50 AM

Misc.
I use NewsGator, LookOut and Plaxo add-ins for Outllook, but I'm wondering if there are others that I could be using just as much - any recommendations? Here's a nice idea - PidgeMe - this one obviously only works for Oxford students - but it's a idea that might catch on (if this isn't 'old news' itself I guess) ......

Posted On Saturday, June 12, 2004 3:33 PM

If you're into this kinda thing ...
Apparently this is quite good:
 
C++ Gotchas: Avoiding Common Problems in Coding and Design

Posted On Friday, June 11, 2004 5:13 PM

Argh!
Hello. I wonder if you could give me a contact email address for Peter J Morris, author of "Understanding the VB Compiler ....". The email address in the document I found (peetm) doesn't appear to be valid any more. Alternatively, if you could pass on my original message, below, I'd be grateful. For the record: I don't 'do' VB anymore! And I certainly do not do 'commercial' anymore! I now do 'esoteric stuff' (read: impenetrable/impossible) - hey, "If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be called ......

Posted On Friday, June 11, 2004 4:15 PM

Getting through 15,000 Mice (per year)
Had the chance to sneak on to a Life-Sciences trip to the Mouse Genome Centre today. A fascinating trip – although I didn't follow two of the six or seven brief lectures we had (hell, I'm no biologist!) However, the most interesting bit (for me) was the lab-tour; to see the microarray gene-expression equipment, and related software. The software sucked (or, so it seemed to me!): and it made me wonder if the demand for this amazing technology is low(ish), simply because it takes so long to get ......

Posted On Friday, June 11, 2004 3:56 PM

Knickers
Why is it that, when sitting, women in jeans often make a display of their knickers? I've been conducting a survey around Oxford, and whilst the women often have their thong-tops peeping out of their jeans, the men don't reveal their boxers (to be honest, I haven't actually checked the men yet – as I'm still conducting my feminine-centric research) Is this down to tailoring, the female shape, or a mixture of both (or is it that I'm just a letch) ......

Posted On Friday, June 11, 2004 3:32 PM

P2P Woes
Oops! I wanted to download the 'new' Xandros Open Distribution, and they insist that you use BitTorrent to do this (or pay them $10 to use HTTP – to (reasonably) help pay for their bandwidth bill) So … as you do, I got BitTorrent/BitTornado and started the download; but I couldn't restrict my uploads - others uploading the partial-image off my machine - to anything lower than four. Why should I want to do this … well, the trouble is that the university, um, doesn't like people using ......

Posted On Friday, June 11, 2004 12:10 PM

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