free geoip December 2004 - Jayson's Blog -
A conduit to the voices inside my head.

December 2004 - Jayson's Blog

  • Make Firefox Faster -- Enable HTTP Pipelining

    Bob found a great resource for making Firefox faster for broadband users.  So why is pipelining disabled by default?  Shannon sent me this link explaining some of the caveats involved.  I did all the tweaks mentioned except adding the custom "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" key in about:config...I am ok with changing existing keys, but if a key isn't listed, there's probably a good reason as to why it's not.  I've already noticed a huge increase in speed on pages with more than a trivial amount of images.  Caveat emptor.
  • The Blog Ate My Homework

    Over the years I've grown accustomed to losing saved stuff on my machine...I (usually) have backups, so it's not a big deal.  This is one of those rare times when I don't, and one of those rare times when I want to throw my machine out of the window...ok, maybe not the entire machine, but one specific piece of software (who shall remain nameless for now, but it won't be too hard to figure out which application it is).  Relax...take a deep breath...don't take it out on friends/pets/family.

    I have been working diligently on a writeup for Firefox for oh...about a month now.  I'm not saying it was an impressive writeup (though it was quite in depth), but I spent quite a bit of time on it.  I finished it up earlier, hit the "Post and Publish" button, got a runtime error (something about specified cast is not valid...this exception shouldn't make it to production code IMO), the app promptly crashed, and I lost the entire post.  After doing a couple shots of tequila and half a pack of smokes later, I decided to accept my post's fate and suck it up and deal with it (all of that's true by the way except for the tequila and smoking part).  Oh, and to post about the experience .

    As I stated before, I've lost documents before...since it was usually work related I would have a silent hissy, then start over.  Some of the time this actually worked in my favor as I was able to start fresh, and perhaps with some different insights.  Point is, it had to be I did it.  In this case, it's a personal project (and not one that will impact me or others financially) trying to get some steam behind starting over on the post is...well, kinda difficult right now.  I think the main thing driving me to write it again is that I really like Firefox and just want to get the word out.  It's been a while since I've come across an application that impacts the way I use my machine on a day to day basis like Firefox's made interneting fun (and safe) again.  So, with that being said, I will redo the post...and perhaps with a different direction, perhaps for the better.  I had higher hopes for the posting software I use, but it's crossed me for the last time...I'll probably start using Word as a holding pen for posts, then just cut/paste and post from this app rather than putting too much reliance on it.

  • Trillian -- Version 3 Released

    Trillian version 3.0 was released yesterday (more info here, slashdot picked it up here).  I don't exactly remember when I started using Trillian exclusively as my main messaging client (a few years now), but I know that since I started I haven't looked back.  It's also one of those rare pieces of software that I didn't mind shelling out the extra 25 bucks for (even though there is plenty of free (as in speech/beer) packages that accomplish the same thing).  Yes, there are some incompatibilities between the Trillian client and the respective messaging clients (AIM, MSN, Y!, and ICQ...I don't use IRC so I can't comment on it)...I get some file transfers that hang, webcam usage pretty much doesn't exist (I can't remember the last time I needed that anyways), and there are probably other ones that I don't know about as I haven't used any of the individual clients in some time...but I'm really not what I would consider a hardcore messaging type person.  I have approximately 150 contacts, and the majority of them are business related, so I really don't need all that extraneous crap.  Basically, it supports everything I need (and perhaps more than I need and I just don't know about). 

    The main selling points for me are:

    • Single point of sign application, and a fairly modest footprint to boot.
    • Skinning.
    • XML configuration...if I install Trillian on another machine, I can just copy over the necessary XML files and I'm off and running with an identical install on every machine I need it on (mainly, contact grouping).
    • I can dock my contact list to the side of my screen...this works great at 1600x1200; I can monitor my contacts without having any annoying pop-up "toasts" to distract me.
    • Container grouping, i.e. I have all of my message windows (or any type of window actually) in one container with a tab based interface.  This cuts down on desktop clutter drastically.
    • Plug-ins.  Pretty much any (3rd party) app these days that doesn't support custom plug-ins will never make it to my machine.  From my docked Trillian window, I can monitor mail for each account, monitor stocks, monitor as many RSS feeds as I'd like (I keep about 10 crucial ones loaded up), monitor local weather, create tasks, etc...each via a plug-in.  There are plenty of other plug-ins out there, but those are the main ones I find useful.
    • Message history.  Yes, most of the other clients have finally caught on to this, but Trillian reigned king in this area for quite a while.  Information management is a crucial part of anyone's day to day ordeals, and like most I receive probably half of my info via it's good to have a trail laying around somewhere.
    • Consistent, simple unifying interface across all messaging mediums.  Again, I don't need all the bells and whistles of each individual client, just give me what I need and make it work...which Trillian does a bang up job at.

    So what's the point of this post (besides giving accolades to a great product)?  The million dollar question (well, 25 dollars in this case):  Should I upgrade to the newest version when the previous version works great, and even more, should I shell out another 25 bucks (which I don't mind, so long as it's worth it...this is a major release, so it's to be expected) for the Pro version?  As always, I value feedback.  Anyone gone through the upgrade process?  Any snags?  Any killer new features?  I do know one thing, I absolutely will not upgrade until a port of the great Aikon3 skin is complete (which should be soon from what I hear).  Sounding board is on.

  • Navarro and I See Eye to Eye

    I feel like a giddy school girl; I asked Dave Navarro a question and he answered it!  I promise not to react like this every time (if indeed he answers any of my other drivel).  Click here (question 5):

    5. Who are your picks for best drummer (both classic and modern)?

    Hard one. Classic: Bonham and Moon. Modern: Smith, Grohl and PERKINS!

    My picks for classic are Bonham and Bozzio.  Modern; I go with SmithBeauford (trained by the great Buddy Rich), and Quest Love (believe it or not, he's simply phenomenal live).  I'm definitely a Grohl fan, but not a Foo Fighters fan (of course, I was way into Nirvana...Grohl was great with them).  I asked Navarro about jazz drummers as well, but he didn't include an answer so I'm assuming he's either not into jazz or just missed that part of the question .  Jazz drummers are a whole other ball of yarn, and a seperate post.  Regardless, 2 out of 5 isn't bad.  Thanks Dave!

    Side note:  I have dozens of solo mp3's by the above artists if anyone is interested.

    Filed under:
  • Mozilla Firefox Ad -- Very Cool

    Great job on the long awaited New York Times advertisement from Firefox...looks friggin' awesome.  I've done my part by downloading and installing it, have you?

    [Excerpt] From the email I received concerning the announcement:

    A preview of the ad:

    The complete PDF:

    The press release:


    The SpreadFirefox announcement:


    The Mozilla Store is offering a limited edition, high-quality poster of the ad perfect for your wall:


  • Dave Navarro Has a Blog -- Incredible

    I feel like I'm always late to the party.  For those of you taking notes, famed guitarist Dave Navarro has a blog.  In case you were living in a cave in the 80's/90's (or have never heard of Jane's Addiction or Red Hot Chili Peppers), here's a brief bio.  Like most other celebrity blogs I've come across, his is very down to earth and relaxed...just another person in the blogosphere.  I like just goes to show you that they're people like everyone else, plus I like his writing style.  Plus, he's married to Carmen Electra...ok, so maybe that one eclipses most of us.

    I grew up listening to both Jane's Addiction and the Chili Peppers (granted, Navarro was not yet with the Peppers when I was really into them...John Frusciante was pretty kick ass in his own right though; I liked him enough that my fake last name on my fake ID (when I was 15) was Frusciante...pathetic eh?).  Two of my all time favorite rock albums from the 80's/90's belong to the Peppers:  Mother's Milk ('89) and Blood Sugar Sex Magik ('91).  I played bass in elementary/middle school, so it was a natural progression that Flea was one of my idols (and still is actually)...he's arguable the best bassist out there. 

    I lost track of what Navarro has been doing musically since he left the Peppers, but after reading over his blog, I'll be remedying that soon.  Anyone have any recommendations on his new stuff?

  • Blockbuster Dropping Late Fees

    Per CNNmoney (full article here):

     Blockbuster Inc. announced Tuesday it is abolishing late fees on all its video tapes, DVDs and video games as of Jan. 1.

    This is another prime example of a brick and mortar store feeling pressure from similar internet based businesses; namely NetFlix.  Neither model really suits me (I'm a Blockbuster member (who isn't), and I was a NetFlix member for the first few months of their launch a few years back)...I like owning stuff.  I will only rent a DVD A) if it's something I haven't seen, and B) if there is a remote chance that it will suck.  When I was a member of NetFlix, I just didn't really use it as much as I thought I would, though I remember their selection being leaps and bounds above Blockbuster.

    Why rent when you can own?  I take pride in my collection and am always looking to add new titles.  A model that I would consider is renting a new DVD (original/complete jacket, paper media, etc) for a nominal fee (say, 5 bucks)...if I like it, that fee is debited from the full price, and the DVD is mine.  Blockbuster used to do this with used DVD's, but I stopped buying used DVD's from Blockbuster when they started putting them in generic plastic jackets (though for a while, they were in packaging just as if new...sans the plastic wrap that takes 10 minutes to get off (could they make them any harder to get into?)).  So, while this may be good news for the procrastinators out there, it won't have much impact on me.

    Side note:  The first DVD I ever purchased was Heat (back in '99).  Even now it's hard to find a flick with that many good actors, and the shootout halfway through the movie is still one of the best engineered scenes (sound, scenery, flow) I've's simply awesome in 5.1 surround.  Favorite title in my collection?  A toss-up between American Beauty and Magnolia.  The one title I bought and then took back immediately?  Bruce Almighty (what was I thinking).  Cheers.

  • How Many Stanford Researchers Does It Take... analyze 5.7 million lines of Linux code and come up with a crock of sh*t?  According to this article, 5 researchers...4 years...for a combined total of 20 man/years.  What that means is that if I started a line by line analysis of the Linux kernel when I was 6 years old, I would have just recently finished the task.  Their conclusion?

    "... the Linux kernel programming code is better and more secure than the programming code of most proprietary software..."

    First off, to substantiate this claim, the same team (or a team with the same evaluation constraints) would need to evaluate a similar subset of proprietary software code (in this case, the NT kernel in Windows)...without this type of comparison, their "conclusion" holds no water whatsoever.  Yes, I'm sure the Linux kernel code is indeed better and more secure than most (generic) proprietary software, but I'm pretty sure the equivalent Windows kernel code has been pretty well groomed over the decade + of its existence and is better than most proprietary software as well.  That's beside the point though as ultimately they are trying to compare apples to oranges...the article goes on to say this:

    "Commercial software typically has 20 to 30 bugs for every 1,000 lines of code, according to Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab Sustainable Computing Consortium. This would be equivalent to 114,000 to 171,000 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code.

    Note that the link to Carnegie Mellon's CyLab leads to a generic page...where are the real numbers behind this?  And besides that, there is a huge difference between "Proprietary software" and "Commercial software"; i.e. Windows is both proprietary and commercial, whereas Linux (the kernel) is neither...Red Hat/Suse/Mandrake (ad nauseum) shipping their own distros of Linux are commercial, but not proprietary.  Thus, the first italicized statement above simply cannot be substantiated until a similar code analysis can be conducted on a similar proprietary system.  I guess the ultimate point I'm trying to make is that both Linux/Windows OS kernel code > general commercial software quality.  Attempting to compare either kernel to general commercial software is a claim that simply cannot be made.  But the author does just that...she equates MS code with generic commercial software, but puts equivalent Linux code into a class of it's own; above and beyond commercial software.  It doesn't get more biased than that, and it's kind of disturbing that any reasonable editor of any dignified tech site would let an article like this get published.

  • Oracle to Acquire PeopleSoft

    [Update] More coverage here.

    From the New York Times:

    The Oracle Corporation announced early yesterday that it would acquire PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion, ending a bitter takeover fight that had lasted more than 18 months.


    It's amazing how 10.3 billion can make a company hum a different tune in the end.  Well, I guess firing your CEO (who was against it) helps a bit.  I wonder how this will affect stock prices?

  • Copy/Paste DDL From SQL Server Ent Mgr

    Scott came across a cool trick to get DDL from SQL Server Ent Mgr (post here):

    ... from the Tables listing, hit Ctrl+C on a table name and then go to a text editor and hit Ctrl+V and get the appropriate CREATE TABLE SQL syntax for the “copied” table (which includes constraints)...

    Gave it a whirl with the blog_Content table of the database that drives this blog, and it does indeed work correctly.  DDL generated:

    CREATE TABLE [blog_Content] (
     [ID] [int] IDENTITY (145, 1) NOT NULL ,
     [Title] [nvarchar] (255) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NOT NULL ,
     [DateAdded] [smalldatetime] NOT NULL ,
     [SourceUrl] [nvarchar] (200) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [PostType] [int] NOT NULL ,
     [Author] [nvarchar] (50) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [Email] [nvarchar] (50) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [SourceName] [nvarchar] (200) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [BlogID] [int] NULL ,
     [Description] [nvarchar] (500) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [DateUpdated] [smalldatetime] NULL CONSTRAINT [DF__blog_Cont__DateU__075714DC] DEFAULT (getdate()),
     [TitleUrl] [nvarchar] (255) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [Text] [ntext] COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
     [ParentID] [int] NULL CONSTRAINT [DF__blog_Cont__Paren__0ABD916C] DEFAULT ((-1)),
     [FeedBackCount] [int] NULL CONSTRAINT [DF__blog_Cont__FeedB__0BB1B5A5] DEFAULT (0),
     [PostConfig] [int] NULL CONSTRAINT [DF__blog_Cont__PostC__44CA3770] DEFAULT (0),
     [EntryName] [varchar] (100) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,

    Good find Scott!

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