Category Archives: freedbacking

your website sucks in so many ways

Well, maybe not yours, but if it qualifies for the following rules, it does. So check em out.

  1. You can’t store my name. My name contains something called an umlaut which is used in Germanic languages like German (duh) and Dutch for instance. My name either turns up with a missing letter, or I get a funky character instead. It sucks. It means you can’t handle unicode or encoding properly. It sucks.
  2. You send me my password in plain text email right after I register. Well, ok, the email used HTML encoding, but that doesn’t make it any better. Email is not safe. Really, it isn’t, so I’m glad I didn’t use a password that looked anything like a password I use anywhere else. This makes me think your coders don’t know what they are doing.
  3. You chopped off my password after n characters and didn’t even warn me about it. Yep. As soon as I’m done registering I get this error message that my password is wrong. I just gave it to you silly twat, and it’s still in my copy buffer dammit, so it can’t be wrong!? Guess what happens when I do that password recovery thing by the way. Oh yeah. I get my password in plain text again, in my mailbox.
  4. I find out there are some privacy settings in my account settings which where not presented to me when I created my account. How odd? Not really. Apparently I automatically opted-in on a bunch of possibilities to commercially exploit my info. Nice… not. I hate spam. It sucks.

Most of these are so easy to come by that it’s sad to see these practices still in use. Try any good web 2.0 service and you’ll see how to avoid these pitfalls, and learn about encoding dammit. Also if you’re registered to the Belgian newspaper site of Het Nieuwsblad, make sure you check your privacy settings, and skip on some of the spam-features they have. They suck.

Photo by Sinsong, cc-licensed

still a windows geek

Originally this post was called “I’m a Windows geek”, and was about how I installed Ubuntu after not being able to reinstall Windows XP because something was making the hardware detection lock up. Using Ubuntu I did manage to get through the hardware detection, and eventually diagnosed the problem to be able to reinstall the Redmond OS.

I spent a few days in Ubuntu back then, as it was the only running OS on my machine, and I thought that was a good time to find out if I could do everything I did on my Windows machine. At first I was impressed. Ubuntu installed without a glitch, basic software was installed and the UI was slick. Problem was I had to find replacement Linux tools for all the stuff I was used to in Windows and then I started noticing I’ve gotten quite used to the WinWorld apparently.

Little things ended up being very frustrating though. Shortcuts that work different in FireFox, mouse wheels that didn’t work at all… A lot didn’t feel intuitive coming from an MS system.

Eventually I managed to reinstall XP, and I totally gave up on the Ubuntu setup. A number of months ago I retried the Ubuntu path, upgraded it to the latest version and give it another shot. I Just noticed that it has been a few months again since I even booted it…

No matter how much Linux pwnz the Windows OS according to some, when you’re used to it, you kind of expect the same features. It sucks having to give up your favourite programs for alternatives that aren’t quite the same. Some of them are in essence equally good, but it doesn’t have to be that different to start sucking compared to what you’re used to.

WinAmp for instance totally rocks. I haven’t seen anything quite as good on Linux (or on Windows for that matter). Maybe I’m wrong though. I haven’t spent quite as much time searching for software tools on Linux than I have on Windows, I have to admit that. But luckily things are getting better at that front. Since I used a lot of FOSS software, and a lot of that is being ported over both platforms, I don’t have to stop using my beloved FireFox, GIMP, Open Office or VLC, which is great. So migrating is becoming a lot easier because of this, but not quite easy just yet.

One other huge frustration is that in Linux some things simply don’t work. ATI video cards anyone? Dual head displays? In fact, one of the differences between Windows and Linux in my eyes is this:

On Windows I’m surprised if a new piece of hardware I got doesn’t work.
On Linux I’m surprised (and happy) if it does.

I’ve gotten used to my OS to just work for me. I don’t feel like spending most of my time figuring out how to get something basic to work. It can be fun digging into configuration files and advanced settings if you have the time to do so, but in most cases I just want to run Setup.exe > Next > Next > Done and start using the damn app. By using Ubuntu I rediscovered how easy it can be to setup a Windows system.

So I guess I’m still a Windows geek for now.
Vista here I come? Oh crap…

Photo by Andrew Mason, cc-licensed

how to resize or reallocate space on disk partitions

When initially setting up my PC I decided I’d go with the trusty old formula of keeping my operating system, my installed software and my data separated. So my C became my OS partition, D is where the software goes and E holds all my precious data like mp3’s, pictures, code etc.

This works fine, until at some point it turned out that I underestimated the amount of disk space greedy Windows and all of it’s components need. For instance if you want to send your PC into hibernation mode, you need enough space on your C drive to take a full memory dump (sounds nasty doesn’t it).¬† Sometimes, when installing software, some simply don’t let you choose where you want to put it, and they arrogantly nestle themselves on your C drive. Yes, I’m looking at you Google. Oh and the .NET framework also takes quite some space, just to name another one. If that isn’t enough already, some apps also store their settings on your C drive, in the folders provided by Microsoft of course, and that can also take up a lot of space. Picasa for instance stores it’s thumbnail database on your C drive. Google Earth also takes up a lot of space there.

So lately I kept seeing that annoying popup telling me I was low on diskspace on my C drive, but I had spare space on partition sitting next to it. How do I designate those free gigabytes to my C drive I wondered? And while I’m at it, some to my data drive as well, which is also getting kinda stuffed. Archiving all your CD’s to high quality mp3’s will do that.

Well, the GParted live CD is all I needed, and it’s free too. Awesome! Together with this step by step guide, you can easily resize and reallocate space from one partition to another by moving them around a bit. The whole process of moving a good 160 GB around did take about 8 hours to complete. So make sure you can leave your machine running for that long if you’re planning an operation like this.

But I don’t mind if my PC has to churn data for a few hours. It saved me from wasting even more time having to reinstall the whole system from scratch to get a larger system partition. In the meanwhile I could just enjoy a lazy Sunday, watch a movie, eat some pie and surf on my spare laptop. Not bad for a free tool right?

Photo by Daniele Muscetta, cc-licensed