Friday, July 30, 2004

My Dinner With Bill Gates
An intern's blog post on meeting up with Gates at his house. Fascinating.

Steve Ballmer doing a dance...

Four alternative Linux window managers

Newsforge article on 4 alternatives to Gnome and KDE.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bash 3.0 released

Slashdot mention that Bash 3.0 has been released.

Poetic Spam

Register - Spam Poetry
Compendium of poetic filter dodging spam snippets such as
Upon neat cheerleaders, return not yet reconcile uniquely And what is a woman, but a scary loaf?

See What You Share

See what you share showcases material found on peer to peer networks. Everything from police reports to U.S. military photos from Iraq.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

OSNews:How desktop Linux should behave

Damn Small Linux
Small enough to fit on a 50mb business card CD

Microsoft Quotes
Includes links to some Ballmer videos.

MyDoom returns

The latest version of the MyDoom could be just the first stage of a two-stage attack targeting Microsoft's main website according to the Register.

"MyDoom-M (AKA MyDoom-O) is a mass-mailing worm that opens a back door - Zincite-A - on port 1034/TCP of compromised PCs. This gives attackers remote, unauthorised access to infected PCs. First spotted on Monday afternoon, MyDoom-M has spread like wildfire, causing availability problems for leading search engines because of its use of sites such as Google to hunt for email addresses to attack.

Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure is reporting the spread of a new worm, Zindos, which works together with MyDoom. Zindos-A is now hitching a ride on the back of the MyDoom, using the infected machine lists and the backdoors prepared by MyDoom-M, to spread. Zindos's payload includes a denial of service attack on Once Zindos has infected a machine it causes the machine to request the domain in an infinite loop, with 50ms delays. This behaviour could help to explain the difficulties some Reg experienced visiting the software giant's website earlier this week."

The GOOGLEHOUSE is an online process that builds a house with images of domestic rooms (living room, tv room...)
picked up on the internet using an image search engine.

Why Windows still beats Linux
Groan.... Author makes such obvious mistakes in the article - like talking about compiling software, when the reality is that Mandrake's Urpmi or Suse Yast automates these tasks painlessly. Then he launches into an oft repeated circular reasoning argument about Windows and it's popularity.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Parody site not funny according to UK gov

Parody site of UK government emergency warning campaign

El Reg story here

Microsoft "innovation" in action

Billions of dollars per year in r&d , thousands upon thousands of programmers, and Microsoft ends up copying the Google news site

Why PHP 5 Rocks!
O'Reilly LAMP article by Adam Trachtenberg.

Netcraft : Will Firefox repeat Netscape's mistakes?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Google prices IPO, announces ticker

Register story here

"Google has set the pricing for its public flotation. Trading under the stock-ticker GOOG, the company will make 24.6 million shares available for between $108 and $135 a share, of which $14m represents new equity. This represents nine per cent of the company, a stake worth $2.6bn and $3.32bn, which values the company at a minimum of $24bn and as much as $36.25bn."

Google watching sites:
Google IPO Central
Watching Google Like A Hawk
Google Blogoscope
Unofficial Google Fan Club
Google Weblog

The Official Google Blog

Open Source Myths
Not intended to be anti-OSS, the author tries to dispell myths and tired dogma.
Skype goes global
Skype to landline on the horizon.
Messenger probe launch next week
Will be the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.
UK newspapers jump on music download bandwagon
The Sun and Evening Standard start offering downloads.

How do you do that in Linux?
Great collection of tips/notes covering general Linux stuff + Myth TV and the Zaurus.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Linux with a Telewest(Blueyonder) Cable Modem

Register: UK Gov IT an appalling waste of public money
EDS in the firing line.

Ronny Klein : Why i prefer Gnome over

Gnome versus KDE brawl breaks out in his comment board.

IceWM - The Cool Window Manager
6 page article on IceWM, the lightweight window manager.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Mandrake 10 - The Book

Mandrake linux - the definitive guide to 10.0

If you ever need to buy a book on Mandrake 10, then this is the one to get. More oriented towards doing things in the GUI , it's NOT a hardcore Linux hacker book.

But it's darn useful to pass onto that relative of yours who you've just converted over from Windoze.

Ebay Scam victim strikes back

Interesting article on Slashdot on how someone got their own back on an Ebay scammer.
A Slashdot poster links to, where someone who was scammed got his own back on the scammer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Getting fully wired au Francais

French ADSL coverage
Handy map tool (left side) that allows you to view the coverage by department.

Guide to Mandrake software installing

Came across this superb guide on using Mandrake's software package manager, rpmdrake. It's loaded with screenshots.

Mandrake 10.1 beta released

Tuesday LinkDump

Tag, track, watch, analyse- UK goes mad on crime and terror IT
Sloppy banks open the door to phishermen
Booze blamed for MS staff
Gnome 2.6 Usability Review
Macromedia: More FUD About SVG
The BookMachine: On-Demand Book Printing in 3-5 Minutes
GNU/Linux Clears Procurement Hurdles
Using Linux To Burn CDs?
KDE 3.3 Beta1 Experiences
Questions about Blogging Time and Effort

Gmail RSS feed

Looks like somebody has hacked an RSS feed script for Gmail.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Service Pack 2? Try Linux instead

Service Pack 2: Patching the unpatchable

"while Windows drags around its unprotected past there's really not much point. It's like Lockheed designing a fighter where only the cockpit has stealth protection: the wings and engine remain flapping in the breeze, liable to any old whoosh-bang-nasty. "

"If Windows can't so evolve, then we must change our operating system. It could be Longhorn, if Longhorn is fierce enough, it could be Linux: even the Mac OS could be ported to the PC and be presented as a fair competitor to the mess we've inherited. What we cannot do is accept the status quo or any variant thereof: Service Pack 2 is no answer. "

Hello pot? It's kettle on line two

Microsoft settles with Linspire on Lind--s trademark

For founder Robertson, chutzpah has paid off handsomely ($20 million).
"All I know is that I'm being sued for unfair business practices by Microsoft. Hello pot? It's kettle on line two," he said when Microsoft first opened fire two and half years ago.

The long-running saga has catapulted Lin---s into prominence over rivals such as Xandros and Lycoris, and given Microsoft lawyers some cause to worry whether Windows™ isn't really simply a generic term for a window--g system.

Monday, July 19, 2004

RSS - "similar to a DoS"

Netcraft reports that is experiencing a flood of RSS requests at the top of every hour.

"If I didn’t know how RSS worked, I would think we were being slammed by a bunch of zombies sitting on compromised home PCs," Dickerson(of Infoworld) writes. "Our hourly RSS surge has all the characteristics of a distributed DoS attack, and although the requests are legitimate and small, the sheer number of requests in that short time period creates some aggravating scaling issues."

Open Office 1.1 slowing down - solution

Found on alt.os.linux.mandrake

"Back in the good old days of Jan 04, it would launch in about 15 sec, and now it takes more than a minute."
"The delay will increase as time goes by. It's due to OOo rebuilding its font cache each time it starts up. To fix the problem permanently, make sure OOo is not running, open your favourite file manager and navigate to ~/openoffice/user/psprint and delete the pspfontcache file. Now start up OOo and immediately shut it down again. You should see a new pspfontcache file. Make this file read-only, either using your file manager or with the command line: chmod -w ~/openoffice/user/psprint/pspfontcache

If you've done all this correctly, OOo should take much less time to start up and that time won't increase."

NOTE: Other distros (e.g. Mandrake) the OO directory in question is in
/home/username/.openoffice - thats DOT openoffice

Switch to Firefox

The site details the reasons you should switch from IE, along with several case studies, questions , and lots of pro-Firefox propaganda.

Monday Linkdump

Brits unimpressed by e-Gov
First PocketPC virus found
New MusE Release, A Step Toward The Linux Studio
Dell CEO Tells All
Mozilla Foundation Seeking Switch Success Stories
Remixing News Video On The Fly
Doom 3 has gone gold
Stratagus: Open Source Strategy Games
Introducing Screen

Kexi 0.1 beta 4 released
MS Access clone for KDE. Screenshots are here

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Hidden history

Operation Mars
Fascinating , in depth article on an enormous Soviet defeat in Nov 1942, that was hidden for 50 years.

World's Best Dressed Linux Backer Leaves Sun

World's best dressed Linux backer leaves Sun
Ex-Cobalt marketing wiz, Peder Ulander, moves to MontaVista.

Sun - A CEO's last stand
Mentions the Cobalt aquisition.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Sun cosy up to Microsoft

Sun setting on an era
Extraordinary article on Netcraft. Considering how anti-Microsoft McNealy has been, this U-turn is just astonishing. However, the Netcraft article does point out an obvious fact - Sun (with it's Solaris operating system) and Microsoft have a common enemy - GNU/Linux.

Plankton cool off with their own clouds
"A recent study funded by NASA's Earth Science Department shows that the tiny sea plants release high quantities of cloud-forming compounds on days when the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays are especially strong. The compounds evaporate into the air through a series of chemical processes that result in especially reflective clouds. This, in turn, blocks the radiation from bothering the phytoplankton."

Online games a massive pain
I Robot - No Deep Thinker

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

PHP 5 Released

The much anticipated and eagerly awaited PHP 5 has been released.
Key features include:

  • The Zend Engine II with a new object model and dozens of new features.

  • XML support has been completely redone in PHP 5, all extensions are now focused around the excellent libxml2 library (

  • A new SimpleXML extension for easily accessing and manipulating XML as PHP objects. It can also interface with the DOM extension and vice-versa.

  • A brand new built-in SOAP extension for interoperability with Web Services.

  • A new MySQL extension named MySQLi for developers using MySQL 4.1 and later. This new extension includes an object-oriented interface in addition to a traditional interface; as well as support for many of MySQL's new features, such as prepared statements.

  • SQLite has been bundled with PHP.

  • Streams have been greatly improved, including the ability to access low-level socket operations on streams.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

419 scammer gets scammed

How to make $80 off a Nigerian 419 scammer
Incredible, but it was actually reported by the BBC today.

4 new extremely critical IE vunerabilities

Mandrake -> Gentoo
"Mandrake Expatriate Syndrome" by Greenfly.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Monday linkdump

Corrugated Tunnel
New electronic left-field music from Dublin , Ireland
PC Magazine reviews Firefox and Opera
URPMI for Fedora Core 2
Getting closer to cross-distro RPMs?
Slashdot : Ask Wikipedia
Inquirer: "The devastating case for Windows against the devastating case against Longhorn"

Looking Glass source code released

A create your own adventure XML tool, for making multi-choice driven online adventure games.

whine, whine, whine, moan, moan, moan

419 scam 'bank' bites the dust
Offshoring backlash spreads

Dommain Directory checker
Also does a search engine optimization check on your site.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Microsoft Responds to IE Criticism
"Looks like there was an online free-for-all on Microsoft's chat servers yesterday with Internet Explorer engineers" according to Slashdot.

UK gov blamed for web diallers
E-commerce legislation brought in by the (UK) government in 2002 has been blamed for the dramatic rise in premium rate fraud hitting dial-up Web users.
Security flaw found in Windows version of Moz/Firefox/Thunderbird
Fix available here

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Microsoft in a mid-life crisis

Microsoft's Worst Enemy: Success
Interesting article on Businessweek on Steve Balmer's attempts to "rally the troops" in Microsoft. They aren't as "nimble" as they used to be , is the core message.

Building a Better Mozilla With Plugins
Beginning C
Linux helps make weather forecasts more accurate
Fedora Core 2: Making it work
The Weblog Effect

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Greg Martin wallpapers

You can find some superb wallpapers for your desktop at Greg Martin's site. Thanks to MandrakeMag.

Handy KDialog script

This script is quite useful for relatives/friends of yours who are brand new to KDE or even Linux in general.
The plethora of options in the K Menu can be intimidating for new end-users - so this script is a useful acclimatisation tool. Anytime they log into their KDE desktop, a pop up menu selector will appear on which there are a selection of easy questions which then launch their relative programs (e.g. "Browse Web" opens up Konqueror).

Place the script in .kde/Autostart (that's DOT kde) in your home directory
e.g /home/harry/.kde/Autostart and call it

chmod it to make it executable by typing:
chmod u+x

Make sure you have ownership - so if your username is harry type:
chown harry

Log into KDE using the "harry" account and you'll see the pop up selector menu once KDE loads.

# Script using kdialog to prompt program selection choices

select_prog=`kdialog --menu "What would you like to do today?" a
"Play Solitaire" b "Listen to Music" c "Chat" d "Browse the Web
" e "Check E-Mail" f "Use Office Software" g "Organise Your Finances"`

if [ $? -eq 1 ] ; then
exit 1

case $select_prog in
"a") kpat;;
"b") xmms;;
"c") gaim;;
"d") konqueror;;
"e") kmail;;
"f") oocalc;;
"g") gnucash;;

In the chair: VMware
Dell denounces desktop Linux dealer
The CD roars back from the dead
Wikipedia Hits 300,000 Articles
HP Markets Cheap 4-User PCs To African Schools
CLI for noobies: Midnight Commander
MEPIS 2004.b05
The State of KOffice 1.3
Mandrake 10.0
Investigating Firebird with Helen Borrie
Clarifying Yahoo

Waffle, waffle, waffle, Whine, whine, whine

What DMOZ is to websites , Rss hopes to be to RSS

Dell clarifies reports of Linux PCs in Europe
A PC dealer in Europe has begun selling Dell desktops equipped with Linux, but Dell emphasized that the systems were customized by
the dealer.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Dell Launches Desktop Linux Line in Europe

Slashdot are talking about it here

gmail phishing

If you have gmail, you might get an email from asking you to change your password. DONT.

When you press submit on the form, you end up at this non-google site:

Obviously a gmail phishing scam.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Greece win Euro 2004

Greece have created one of the biggest shocks in football history by winning Euro 2004

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Cassini reveals the surface of Titan

NASA have released a set of images of the surface of Titan taken by Cassini, using infrared filters to pierce through the smog of the athmosphere.

Remember folks , this is just the start of a 4 year long mission.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Spacecraft Sends Back Images of Saturn (AP)

Getting your Gmail with Python
Handy python hack for grabbing those gmail conversations.

Internet Explorer Is Too Dangerous to Keep Using
Yes, I know all of the tired, old arguments about how if open-source programs were as popular as Microsoft's products; they'd be just as
vulnerable. You know what? I don't have time today to deal with the fundamentally inane idea that security by obscurity is somehow the best
way to secure software. The bottom line is that for all practical purposes for today, open-source browsers are inherently more secure than
Internet Explorer, and I still have half a dozen more workstations to switch over to Firefox. Go ahead, stick with Internet Explorer for
everyday use. It's your funeral.

Cassini Achieves Historic Orbit Around Saturn (Reuters)
Spacecraft Cassini Enters Saturn
Heads roll but Blueprint stays - Sun
Commodore - Back In The Hardware Biz At Last?