Category Archives: rant

ip-cam considerations

Security Camera SystemsIP cams are great. They keep an infrared eye on your stuff while you’re not around and find out what keeps pooping on your driveway (a cat it turns out). But sometimes things can get a little out of hand.

So here’s a list of things that will trigger the IP cam motion detection you didn’t think of:

  • Cats parading on your driveway like they own the place.
  • Spiders shaking their arachnid booty in front of the camera while doing their webbing thing.
  • Spider webs moving in the wind, up close. All f-ing night.
  • The occasional bird.
  • The occasional insect in mid-flight. Sometimes even a mot at night caught in the infrared beams.
  • Trees and bushes shaking their leaves and branches cause it’s windy as hell.
  • Shadows of trees and bushes shaking their leaves and breanches because it’s windy as hell and sunny too.
  • Rain showers. Possibly in combination with freaky winds blowing it horizontally in places you didn’t think rain could get at.
  • The sun playing peekaboo with some clouds, causing abrupt changes in light levels.
  • Car headlights lighting up random bushes, walls and other stuff as they pass by your house.
  • Reflections of cats in the cars shiny exterior (what a great excuse for not washing your car).
  • Reflections of moving clouds in a puddle on the concrete at the right lighting conditions.

So watch out where and how you send those automated alert emails from the camera. GMail for example doesn’t like it when you send hundreds of emails a day using one account. They find it rather spammy. When this happens, they can block you from sending any more messages that day. This really blows if you have an urgent mail to send. Other mail providers have similar rules.
Uploading the images to a remote FTP server is another option. But make sure you have plenty of space there, and download those images regularly if you don’t want to run out of space.

Photo by Armend Krasniqi, cc-licensed.

bursting out of the search bubble, or not

Space Helmet Bubble!

The search bubble. That thing where Google puts you in so your results are tailored to your preferences and habits. It’s kinda creepy and cool at the same time isn’t it? One of DuckDuckGo‘s main features is that they don’t put you in a bubble. So they don’t track your past queries, they don’t spy on your social media accounts to figure out what you read, like or retweet and they don’t tailor your results.

This video shows pretty nicely what that Google bubble looks like btw.

Scary isn’t it? The problem is however… it works so damn good too.

I know my results are customized, but when I look for .NET related stuff (which I do all the time at work for example) whatever I’m looking for is usually in the top 3. I know it’s biased, but heck, it works like a charm.
Outside of the bubble, I get more stuff I don’t want or isn’t what I’m looking for.

So it all depends on what you want doesn’t it? But it is a good thing to know that the bubble is there and that it learns from your queries. It’s also good to know that you can escape the bubble if you want to. And just logging out of your Google account probably isn’t good enough.

Photo by Rachel Titiriga, cc-licensed.

it ain't cool if you just dump your files

One thing that continues to bug me about some software is that by trying to be user-friendly and idiot-proof, assume they can just make choices for you. Like where to install the software and where to store the files or databases created by it.

The installation folder for example is something I like to choose myself. I also do not like it when everything is just stored by default under the “Documents and Settings” folder. It might be common policy, but some databases or files just grow to damn big to be stored right there.

TomTom backups for example. The damn things go in your Documents folder FFS. Or the Picasa picture database. Too damn big I tell ya! It’s bad enough already that Windows keeps downloading service packs and Internet Explorer updates and stores them by default somewhere on the system drive. But if everyone starts stuffing it’s data on the classic C-drive where your temp-folder and your profile folders are also located you’ll be running out of disk space in no time.

So please think of the poor people out and their limited hard-drives and put one of those nifty questions in there that allows you to select a folder where you want them to put your stuff. You know what? You can even suggest a default location if you don’t want to bother the user with making choices. How awesome is that? I think I’ve even seen that a few before actually.

Photo by scottog, cc-licensed