Category Archives: rant

ie8 finally caught up

Did you see the puke commercial Microsoft has running to promote IE8? They pulled it already on their own site but it’s on Youtube now so it’s gonna stay out there for now. But the thing is that they are throwing some big bucks at it to promote their latest IE release which bring us the awesome novelty of… euhm… nothing I guess.

Microsoft has been playing catch-up when it comes to it’s browser of years and they finally built a new version which can compete with Firefox, Chrome and Opera. So basically now they also have tabs, crash protection, phishing protection, pr0n- euhm.. privacy-mode and can-you-fucking-believe it web standard compliance! Microsoft built a standard compliant browser! Amazing isn’t it?

Anyway they clearly feel like winning back some of that lost browser market share as they duke it out on a comparison page with a big ad campaign and some other browsers. I say “some” because they left out Safari and Opera which are at least equally big as Chrome right? But hey, I guess they wanted to stand face to face with their nemesis Google I suppose. Some of the comparisons are biased and funny. Like the security one. If you click through to that NSSLabs report it shows that IE 7 was scoring the worst of all. The tests also match IE 8 RC1 with Firefox 3.0.7 Not Firefox 3.5 which was also out around that period in beta form which is a pity and makes the report a tad incomplete IMO.
This item is particularly funny in another comparison:

Internet Explorer 8 is more compatible with more sites on the Internet than any other browser.

That’s not hard now is it, if most website builders had to make sure their site works on your older non-standard-compliant crappy browsers because 90% of folks where serving using IE back in the day.

The good thing however is that there is finally a safe IE version out there that non-techies can use to safely browse the web and not get their systems infected with malware, trojans and virii.
Cause when that happens it’s up to us geeks to go over there with our disinfecting USB-sticks and waste our time to to get that PC back up and running again.

Time we could spend better on writing cool Firefox add-ons for example.
I still recommend Firefox 3.5 though which now has tear-off tabs, the awesome bar, anti-virus software integration, massive customization possibilities, a spell checker, full zoom (images and stuff as well), support for hundred of search engine (or Wikipedia etc) and so much more.

Photo by Garry, cc-licensed.

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

note to all web site builders concerning belgians

Belgian Royal Palace in Brussels

This is something I’ve run into a few times by now, and it’s getting a bit annoying. This is a tip to everyone who builds a website and who wants to present localized pages to its users. This is a tip in particular to deal with Belgians.

Some think Belgium is a made-up country, used as a scapegoat to explain European drug and illegal arms trafficking, but nothing is further from the truth. What is the fact however, is that Belgian is a small fucker of a country, but it’s also a very complex one. How else would you explain a country of only the size of Maryland which has 1 federal government, 5 regional governments and 3 official languages. Yes, that’s right! 3 whole official languages, and a shitload of dialects too.

So if you get a Belgian on your website, what language do you give them? “French” is not the right answer! But for some reason, and I’m looking at you Yankees here, people tend to think we all speak French over here. To make matters worse, the wealthiest part of Belgium (Flanders) has Dutch as the official language, so you’re bound to have one of those hit your site anyway, and so you present him the wrong language. Boooh!

Honest mistake? Well, there’s another thing you should know about Belgians. We don’t like being addresses in the wrong language. You might have heard about those communitarian issues we’re having between the French and Dutch part, and so we don’t really like to be “mistaken” for being a part of the other side of the country. Don’t get me wrong though. I don’t have anything against our French-speaking neighbors. In fact, I love going over there and enjoy the countryside and the quarries for an occasional dive. But I just don’t like being addresses in French. You should study Belgian history to figure that out. Start around 1302 and you’ll get a clue.

So what I’d like to do, is choose my own language from now on. So I can pick Dutch, or English, whatever I want. But don’t force-feed me French kthx.

Oh, and don’t mistake us for the Dutch either. They might speak the same language, but live in a completely different country to the North, and love to paint everything orange at certain times of the year.

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

why youtube rocks… well, sort of

Have you noticed that every music video seems to be on Youtube these days? Now Youtube isn’t the most kick ass, neat looking and coolest video service out there, (that’s Vimeo)¬† but when it comes down to content, they seem to have it all

No matter what video clip you’re looking for, it’s probably there. Like this silly video they played on a local music station lately. It was a top 10 of the worst haircuts from the 80’s. Well, that makes sense doesn’t it. What the hell where those barbers thinking back then anyway? At the top position there was this song which I had heard before long ago (in the 80s probably). It had this guy that looked like he was related to the lead singer of that watered down rock band Tokyo Hotel. Yeah. Lots and lots of hair is what I’m talking about.

I didn’t catch the groups name, but I searched a lyrics phrase on Youtube and guess what? Of course it was on there. Shared it with my pals of course, and we laughed our ass off. Turns out there’s even a Manson cover of it. Funny.

I don’t get how they can host so many music video’s without getting RIAA on their asses though. I mean, seriously. Check out the amount of Metallica vids on there.

the infection is spreading

Photo by Scott Robinson, cc-licensed

I’m writing this post because I want to warn you about a virus that is slowly but surely infecting people’s brain. In the last months I’ve been seen this creep up all over the place, infecting all sorts of people around me.

Do you think it’s normal that for some reason people from all over are starting to use the same behaviour for all kinds of things? When writing emails for instance, or for printed pamphlets or leaflets. I’ve seen it happen in PowerPoint presentations by respected members of society, and even complete web sites!

At first I thought it was pure coincidence, but I’m beyond that now.
It’s even worse than that. I suspect one of the biggest IT companies in the world is behind this all. Perhaps this is a first and successful mind control experiment of it’s users. Chances are big that even you, yes YOU, have been already exposed to this malicious virus one way or another, as they currently controlling about 80% of the web browser market, just to give you a hint.

It manifests itself as a harmless trait, but it certainly isn’t. You can be sure someone is affected if for some odd reason that person starts using the “Comic Sans MS” font. Why would anyone in his right mind use this silly looking unprofessional typeface you ask? And a right thing to wonder it is indeed! There are surely better fonts to choose from when you want to use something which stands out of the standard Arial, Verdana or Helvetica right? It’s the first significantly different one if you scroll down the alphabetically sorted list, so maybe that’s it? Why not Bodoni then? That’s before Comic, but you hardly see that one being used do you.

No, it’s quite clear that this font’s typeface has some sort of viral quality that makes people want to use it over and over again, like a crack addict, and thus expose colleagues and bystanders to it as well, spreading the malicious infection even further.

It’s time to take action and avoid infection my dear reader. So navigate over to that font folder using your Windows Control panel and erase those cursed files from your hard drive for ever. If you’ve been using it already perhaps your mind is still strong enough to withstand it’s lure and change the fonts to a better one right now. Don’t hold it off, tomorrow might be too late!

I wish you good luck in your fight against the Comic Sans Zombiefication.
We’ll need it.