Installing & Securing Windows XP (is a tedious task...)

Moving in is such a boring thing to do. Almost as much as moving out. You waste time reinstalling everything you had before, but in different places. You also realize some items don't fit their purpose anymore or don't fit into your new place at all... |-|

I was already feeling bored about this when I crashed my PC, just to make it complete! >:(

Yeah yeah I hear you thinking... a backup saves the day (actually the month), right? I actually had a pretty decent backup... and did not loose any personal data. It's just that reinstalling the whole system & apps is such a pain (no, I had no 'disk image' backup) that I decided I would make the most out of it by switching to XP as a replacement to my aging W2K... That's where it started to hurt! XX(

Actually, I had an XP CD+license available from another PC where I had not installed it... The only problem is that CD was 3 years old. The original flavor of XP.

When you install a 3 years old Microsoft OS, the first thing you gotta do is a comprehensive Windows Update and virtually redownload all the files in a newer version, right? That was my plan...

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Follow up on all kinds of stuff (move, WiFi, Sendo, etc.)

Done with the moving. Done with the painting. Almost done with the unpacking.

And it’s already mid August… 2004 :!: (Last time I remember time going by slowly was summer 03… when it was so hot there was nothing you could do but wait for it to end XX( )

Still no DSL access in the new appartment. Why does this have to take so long!? There is no single other procedure in moving that takes that long! Not even the whole organizing, sorting, packing and labelling extravaganza! :crazy:

My new appartment is quite near to my parents’ house actually. When positionning the elements carefully, it’s close enough to use a DECT phone from one place to the other… and of course you would expect that what works for DECT also works for WiFi! Don’t they share the same frequency range anyway?

Oddly enough, 802.11b only works in a slighly shorter range than DECT. No way for me to squat my parent’s DSL from my appartment! Their computer is too far away… and moving it closer to the right side of their house will not only make them kinda angry at my interference, it will probably also unplug the DSL cable from the wall socket, which would defeat the purpose. :-/

I’m using an ad hoc network here. So I came up with this – crazy? – idea of placing my laptop in the middle of the distance to act as a WiFi ad hoc relay! :>> I checked: the laptop can see both other computers: the one that I want to use as an Internet router, and the one I want to work on in my appartment. Somehow I had imagined that the ad hoc protocols of 802.11b would relay Ethernet packets accross all nodes in the wireless networks… but apparently that was too optimistic! There is no way for me to ping from one end to the other!

The solution would probably be to split the network into two distinct IP networks and setup the laptop as a router between both IP networks. The only problem is that it takes quite a few trips from one house to the other to change parameters and run the tests. After a couple of back and forths I found myself in the desert street, feeling bored and realizing I would not even have time to use that setup before I leave for Germany on Sunday. And when I’ll be back, the DSL should finally be activated too.

I started walking through the streets, just too see if I could still recognize the places I grew up in and left nearly 15 years ago. Attempting that in the dark of night doesn’t really help… but still, it was a nice walk… especially when I pulled out my much anticipated but finally available (and promptly aquired) Sendo X and used the mp3 player to put a soundtrack on my memories. “Moments in Love” by Art of Noise made it just perfect (It lasts 10 minutes!) I gotta remember to get “Lili was here” by Dave Stewart & Candy Dulfer onto that SD card for next time. :D

That kind of reminded me that offline technology can still be very enjoyable too! :>>

Offshoring/outsourcing software development

This thread in Ask Joel is the most interesting discussion I've ever read abut offshoring/outsourcing software development!

It's getting incredibly long though, so it's really hard to read through. But the first 25 comments are definitely worth reading.

My personal take on the subject is roughly this: I believe software is art more than science. I think the best approach to make it look like engineering is something along the Unified Process - that's what the IT world has learned the hard way for the last 30 years! One golden rule of UP is to have the users and the coders communicating, to have them understand each other's constraints...

This doesn't mean I think nothing can be outsourced, but you certainly cannot carelessly offshore a whole IT department to a place with a radically different culture and expect that communicating with specs will "just work"! :|

If offshoring software development is ever going to succeed we'll need a whole new set of skills and tools (internet being one of them) to master it, and we're not even close! However, I think the experience of open source software projects developped by an international community are an interesting experience to this.

I would probably elaborate on this if I wasn't this busy reading the thread at Joel's right now! :>>

b2evolution, Movable Type and WordPress

Just realized I barely haven't posted anything to this blog for the whole month and this is my last chance to pop up on the calendar page for May! :P

So what has happened for the last few weeks?

Well, for the most part we polished and we released the much anticipated b2evolution 0.9, got a lot of feedback and made it even better (0.9.0.5 so far).

Incidently, at the same time, as you must have heard by now, Movable Type changed their licensing scheme, disappointed a lot of their users, created a tidal wave of blogtool evaluating, comparing and switching all over the blogosphere. With slashdoting and everything. |-|

Funny actually, because the new license isn't really that much different from the previous one. Looks like people just opened their eyes and suddenly realized what it really was about! :>

At least, with a license like b2evolution's GNU GPL, users can rest in peace. (It's so Free actually, commercial companies like SCO would like to get if off the surface of the planet! >:-[ But since it's being used by tens of thousands of free open source projects, I really don't see this happening anytime soon... :>> )

Well, anyway, I think one of the most interesting "replace-your-MT" comparisons was provided by Owen in his - now famous - Blog Software Breakdown [Page gone].

Owen eventually decided to go with WordPress for himself and explains his choice. Interesting. Of course I wish he'd gone with b2evo, but I guess he didn't need the extra functionality. It's never too late though! ;D

Anyway, I hope Owen is going to maintain his chart in the future because it's a valuable resource... as long as it's not outdated. ;)

Well, apart from that... the world is still screwed as usual in its grotesque pattern of self destruction... but that's a topic for another day!

Charset conversions (i18n)

Yesterday, I came accross this interesting table which lets me know what conversions I need to do when I paste text from Word into a textarea and further want to use this text on the web...

To be accurate, this table is useful for conversion from the default windows charset (windows-1252 aka CP1252) to the default web charset (ISO-8859-1 aka Latin-1). Nethertheless, this allowed me to check the conversion in my b2evolution software and I noticed that it was missing one conversion (in a total of 27).

Anyway, the world actually extends way beyond cp1252 and Latin-1, so how would one deal with other languages? :?:

For example, how do I convert Latvian from Windows-1257 to iso-8859-13 (close match) ? Or Russian from Koi8-r to iso-8859-5 (funky match) ? Check out this awesome character set database provided by the Institute of the Estonian Language. (Wouldn't it make sense if unicode.org provided this? :crazy:)

By the way, how do I know what charsets are to be used for a particular language? Here's a page by the W3C, but it's a little sparse... Another one.