Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Extension Repository

There is a new repository for OOo extentions.

What I like - from the first look only - is, that it is not only categorized, but also tagged.

Friday, September 28, 2007

New Software update for Nokia 6233

Yet another software update for the Nokia 6233, v 5.43 to replace my 5.11
Get it here.
Not only does Google Maps continue to work, but now one can link (Java) applications directly into the GoTo Menu...

Thanks Nokia.
And yes, thanks, for having me re-configure the active standby yet again...

3365 unconfirmed Thunderbird bugs

Yesterday I opened a Thunderbird bug/enhancement. While I was in bugzilla I ran quick query and found that
3365 bugs against Thunderbird are currently still unconfirmed
. (btw: FireFox has 5406 which is - relatively speaking - less)

Ahem... about time someone started to work on them...

Strikethrough in OOo vs MSOffice

Yet another nice little story on Office shortcomings. PowerPoint cannot strikethrough. They rather recommend to manually put a (graphics) line over the text.
see details at m³s online Pamphlet

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Excel bug

Boy am I glad that I run StarOffice, not MS Office. A new bug was discovered in Excel that runs like this:

850*77,1 = 100.000

instead of 65535.
Of course I immediately tried in StarCalc, and it does it correctly.

Wonder, if Microsoft users consider this an incompatibility between Calc and Excel...

See the explanation and discussion here, and also the explanation by Joel Spolsky.
So, it is a display bug only... and it is (I fully agree) extremely rare and unlikely...

But still fun ...

Thanks to for the pointer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

eCommerce how NOT to...

I spent the last 30min of my online life ordering to tickets to a Toumani Diabaté concert in Vienna.

Now - I love to be able to do that online... but I think it would have been faster through a booking call center - that usually takes only 5minutes.

Walking through the order application took about 1-2 minutes per page -- but not user time, no. HTTP Response Time.
And the worst part - guess what...

The final message, where the final confirmation should appear was an asp error...
That's bad.

Real bad.

StarOffice 8 now includes Google Search

Update 8 of StarOffice 8 - released just this week - now includes what I'd call the 2nd part of the Sun/Google deal around StarOffice:

It comes with google search integrated.

Both Web and Destkop - Cool.

Btw: Sun still kept their branding in, because the web search runs through

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Best order confirmation - ever

Here's the order confirmation I just received after I placed an order for MOO cards for my flickr photos:

Hello Roman

I'm Little MOO - the bit of software that will be managing your order
with us. It will shortly be sent to Big MOO, our print machine who will
print it for you in the next few days. I'll let you know when it's done
and on its way to you.

Please do not remove the photos you have chosen from your account until
your order has been printed, or some pictures may come out blank.

You can track and manage your order at:

Please note, as your order will be shipped via Royal Mail First
Class/Airmail, it should be with you in around 10 working days, but it
won't have a tracking number.

Remember, I'm just a bit of software. So, if you have any questions
regarding your order please first read our Frequently Asked Questions

and if you're still not sure, contact customer services (who are real
people) at:


Little MOO, Print Robot

MOO "We love to print"

Order details as follows:

It is clear. It has all the information necessary. It tells me what to do and what to expect.

And its fun...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How to kill a dragon with various programming languages

There's a beautiful princess, prisoner in the highest tower of a castle, guarded by a mighty dragon, and a fearless knight must rescue her…

This is how each language would manage to rescue the princess from the hands of the dragon

  • Java - Gets there, finds the dragon, develops a framework for dragon anihilation with multiple layers, writes several articles about the framework… But doesn't kill the dragon.
  • .NET - Gets there, sees the idea of the Java developer and copies it. Tries to kill the dragon, but the monster eats him.
  • C - Arrives, looks down at the dragon, pulls out his sword, beheads the dragon, finds the princess… And ignores her to see the last checkins of linux kernel cvs.
  • C++ - Creates a basic needle, and gathers funcionality until he has a complex sword that he can barely understand… He kills the dragon, but gets stuck crossing the bridge because of memory leaks.
  • COBOL - Arrives, sees the dragon and thinks that he is too old to kill a monster that big and rescuing the princess, so he leaves.
  • Pascal - He prepares for 10 years to create a dragon anihilation system… When the moment comes, he discovers the program can only take lizards as an entry.
  • VB - Builds a dragon destruction weapon based on several components, jumps to the back of the dragon and in the most critical time he discovers that the sword works only on rainy nights…
  • PL/SQL - Gets data from other dragon slayers, creates tables with n ternary complexity relations, tridimensional data, OLAP, takes 15 years to process the information… And by then, the princess became a lesbian.
  • Ruby - Arrives with massive fame, saying he is the best at anything and when he faces the dragon, he shows a lame motion picture of himself killing a dragon… The dragon eats him out of boredom.
  • Smalltalk - Arrives, analyzes the dragon and princess, turns around and leaves, they are way too inferior.
  • shell - Creates a very powerful dragon slaying weapon… But in the moment of truth, he can't remember how to use it.
  • shell(2)- The guy approaches the dragon with a two line script that kills, cuts, disembowels, impales, chops to pieces and packs the beast, but when he runs it the script grows, it fattens, irritates and puts alcohol in the fire of the dragon…
  • Assembler - He thinks he's doing the right and most efficient things… But he writes an A instead of a D and kills the princess to end up f***ing the dragon.
  • Fortran - Arrives and develops a 45-thousand-code-line-solution, kills the dragon, meets the princess… But she calls him a weakling and runs after the Java programmer who was elegant, and also rich.
  • FOX PRO - Develops a dragon killing system. It's gorgeous and works on the outside, but it's really patched inside, so when he runs the dragon anihilator, he realizes he forgot to index the DBFs.
  • PROCESS ANALYST - Approaches the dragon with two tons of documentation, develops the unified dragon-killing process, he develops a DFD to free the princess and marry her, convinces the dragon that it's the best for him and it won't hurt. When he executes the process, he estimates the effort and the damage he will cause with a plan signed by the Pope, Buddha and Michael Jackson. Then he buys a couple of nukes, 45 cannons, an aircraft carrier and hires 300 heavily armed men… When all he needed was the sword he was holding in his hand in the beginning…
  • CLIPPER: Sets up a routine that loads a codeblock array to insult the dragon, serenade the princess, load the sword in memory, beat the crap out of the dragon, clean the mess, prepare a raspberry milkshake for the princess, make love to her, take a bath, start the car, put it some gas and come back home. When he runs it, he gets a "Bound Error: Array Access" and the dragon eats him with fries.
  • Lisp, where the famous knight-errant, after speaking with numerous experts in dragon-killing, and modeling the knowledge they posess, he programs the system, and when he runs it he realizes he forgot a bracket (bender the offender).
  • HTML: Mounts a web on famous swords used to kill dragons, but he ignores the W3C standards. When he meets the dragon, he finds out the code isn't compatible with his browser, so he's left swordless. The dragon eats him as an appetizer.
  • Prolog: Thinks he needs a weapon to kill the dragon. Searches in a catalog for 182014 weapons. By the time the princess dies of her age, he's achieved to know how to make every weapon starting with A: Atomic Bombs, Anti-Air Weapons, Arches, Ammunition, Axes...
  • PHP: Creates a web page that when he executes it would eliminate the $dragon selecting from a weapons databese in MySQL over an Apache server. Nevertheless he forgot the WHERE in the DELETE query and kills the princess, the dragon, the peasants, the witch, the sorceror and the programmer himself.
  • JavaScript: The programmer tries to kill the great green dragon that spits fire throug his mouth. He creates a script that will delete the dragon when he loads a webpage, to create seconds after, some damsels to throw him flowers and make clapping sounds. Unfortunately he didn't take into account the DOM structure of the lizard, also known as Mozilla, and the only thing he gets is to fill his console of errors and that the Book of Mozilla tells how he was devoured.
  • ActiveX: The programmers create a tunnel to enter the dragon's lair from the castle and run a program that will kil the dragon from a safe and prudential distance. The dragon discovers the tunnel, eats the workers who dug, the dragon slayers, and enslaves every servant in the castle. The castle becomes a dragon-breeding place, full of little dragons that the dragon sends in pop-ups to other castles. The untasty remains of the knights are put in cans of Spam and sent to other castles as well as a warning. (aquelquesiente)
  • Basic. He creates a weapon able to kill paper dragons, but no matter how they improve it, they discover it's not good enough to kill any dragon bigger than a baby poodle.
  • Matlab: They create a loop that calculates the trajectories to shoot a giant arrow at the dragon. The program works flawlessly. What they need now are the voluntaries caoable to launch tha arrow with the necessary strength and accuracy.
  • Videogame Programmer : Spends two years programming a state-of-the-art sword with shaders and all. When the time comes to kill the dragon, he finds that half the knights aren't strong enough to raise the sword. Then someone programs a patch that reveals the sex scenes with the princess and Hillary Clinton makes it a scandal.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Is an application server needed for transaction processing? (Eric Newcomer's Weblog)

Excellent thoughts by Eric Newcomer...
Is an application server needed for transaction processing? (Eric Newcomer's Weblog)

Any by the way - he's updating his book.

iPhone in Austria on T-Mobile

Rumors and media reports are growing that in Austria (as well as in Germany) T-Mobile will be the exclusive partner for the iPhone.
Which is
a) not good, because I'm on A1 mobilkom (but I'm not really sure if I want to convert to the iPhone anyway)
b) quite exciting because it might eradicate the paradigm #1 of the Austria mobile operator landscape, being that "mobilkom will always be #1".

With T-mobile having acquired tele.ring and they got quite close to mobilkom in regards of number of subscribers. For Q1 the regulator reported mobilkom at 3.7M subscribers and T-mobile/tele.ring at 3.2M. The trend for Q2 and Q3 I personally expect is that the gap would become narrower.

Now if T-Mobile had the iPhone exclusively the one customer segment they never managed to get from mobilkom is getting more available to them: the business users.
Which in turn could make them #1.

A thrilling fall is ahead... ;-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Do Banks use the Internet?

From a recent discussion, I wonder whether financial institutions acutally make use of the internet when rating customers.
Does my bank google for me when I apply for a loan/mortgage?

LinkedInOr do they check Xing or LinkedIn to see how I am connected in my job? XINGIt might be possible to find indicators on how secure my job (in general) is, or how easy I find a new one, etc...

Does my insurance company check the internet? E.g. flickr to find out how much I'm travelling abroad?

Does anyone look at myspace or (more likely) facebook?

Do they learn from the information I give them anyway?

Friday, September 14, 2007

RSS becoming dominant

I just noticed, that RSS (or rather the RSS reader, google in my case) is becoming more and more important as a means of accessing content.
I really "read" more Flickr updates through Google Reader, than directly in Flickr. One reason is, that it is easier and faster to navigate in a feed oriented reader.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hell just froze over

Microsoft Windows and Sun x64 Servers and Workstations:
"Sun and Microsoft Expand Strategic Alliance Sun and Microsoft have announced an expanded relationship including Sun becoming a Windows Server OEM. Sun will soon resell Windows Server 2003 with select x64 systems."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dilbert 2.0

so true...


IBM to join

IBM joins the community to develop and promote technology

Welcome, guys.

from and Simon and CNET


UserFriendly Strip Comments

From one to many

Last weekend I (again) discovered what every programmer / architect knows anyway:
The step from doing something on ONE item to doing it on MANY items is the hardest.
And there's an add-on:
Moving from ONE to TWO (in the above sense) is more complex than from TWO to MANY (unlimited).
The reason for the latter is that (to me) "2" is still not as generic as "n", or as I like to put it:
2 is just a special case of 1
quite often if you (in code) have to do something specifically twice, you don't use any loop or iteration construct, you just do it twice.

only if you have to push beyond 2 people start to use collections and iterations.
for (Object o: somecollection)

just for 2 objects, no-one bothers to create a collection, they just instantiate two objects.

At least thats what I usually do - and I know others as well.

But - as I said - I experienced the "from 1 to n" problem last weekend - let me elaborate:

In our neighborhood we have a great service that delivers a box of vegetables right to our home.
There's also a website, where you can check this weeks contents of the box.

Unfortunately, though, the site does not offer an RSS feed.
No problem, I just create(d) my own, with a simple job, that runs daily:
  1. connect to the site
  2. scrape the contents of the site
  3. re-format them
  4. and put them into a (static) RSS file, hosted on my homepage.
Put that RSS URL into iGoogle and have the contents right there in my personal google portal.


Just 2 weeks ago, we decided to have 2 boxes (one with vegetables only, one with vegetables and fruit) on alternating weeks. So I had to re-write my little thing to handle two different "boxes" instead of just one.
(Frankly, I just went for the n-solution, not the 2)

I more or less had to totally re-design the whole hack... About the only thing that remained quite stable was the core RSS handling (through Rome) and the scraping/parsing of the HTML (using HTMLparser).
What I had earlier looked more like a classic C (not C++) program, with almost everything done in main()... I knew it was a bad design... but I did not anticipate the initially.

So, this was a really good lesson for me again, to "design for n" early.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

How not to do Social Networks

Mashable is reporting a disgusting (for lack of other words) behaviour of social networking website Quechup: namely, sending out emails to your contacts (in your name) without your explicit permission, or without even telling you, it does.

Cardinal sin/offense