Terence Tao 

Then there is Terence Tao, who should get a Nobel. There is no way to get a mathematics Nobel outside of Fields Medal [1] which he's gotten already.

Amadeus #Mozart, go Bob Dylan!

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fields_Medal


Categories:  Articles | Personal
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 5:56:50 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Bing Daily Image - A Bing Image of the Day Download Tool 

Ever wanted to have your Windows desktop background look sharp? Like, Bing Gallery sharp? Let me help you.

Here's a little tool I'm releasing today that allows you to:

  • Get daily Bing Image of the Day to your desktop
  • Perform bulk downloads, multiple images at a time
  • Add image title and description to your wallpaper [1]
  • Run it as a service

It's all in one tool. Small, simple, efficient.

Here's the parameter model it supports:

BingDailyImage v1.0 - Download desktop wallpaper images from Bing
Copyright © 2021, Matevž Gačnik

Gets Bing Picture of the Day images for today and a specified number of days back.

Usage: BingDailyImage [-c] [-d [days]] [-f folder] [-t [top|bottom]] [-b]
   -c             Get current Bing image
   -d [days]      Specifies number of days to fetch.
                  If you omit this parameter the tool will download
                  last two weeks (14 days) of Bing wallpapers.
   -f             Set download folder
                  If you omit this parameter the folder will be
                  set to  - '%USERPROFILE%\Pictures\Bing Wallpapers'.
   -t             Add text (image title and description) to images
                  You can specify text position [top, bottom]. Default is bottom.
   -b             Set last downloaded image as desktop background
   -s install     Installs BingDailyImage as a system service
                  Use -f to specify service download folder path
                  Use -t to let service add text to images
   -s uninstall   Uninstalls BingDailyImage as a system service
   -s start       Starts BingDailyImage service
   -s stop        Stops BingDailyImage service
   -s query       Queries BingDailyImage service state
   -h             Displays help

You can just do a BingDailyImage.exe -c to get the current daily image. By default, it will not tamper with background images, so you'll get the highest resolution available (1920x1200 or 1920x1080), like this:

BingDailyImage v1.0 - Download desktop wallpaper images from Bing
Copyright © 2021, Matevž Gačnik

Downloading Bing Image of the Day for 2021-12-16.
Image date: 2021-12-16
Image title: Old Town in Salzburg, Austria
Image description: When it's lit up like this with a cozy glow, we can admire… When there's a mountain in your city… We're looking at the Old Town portion
of this Baroque city…
Downloading background... Background for 1920x1200 found.
Saving background... Done for 2021-12-16.

Or do a BingDailyImage.exe -d 10 -t to get the last 10 and add a nice, transparent background text to them.

Hell, do a BingDailyImage.exe -s install and forget about it. It's going to download new images once they are published to Bing's servers. All you need to do now is set your Windows 10/11 desktop background to be fetched from the download folder. Done.

Here's the download.

Here's a sample of a downloaded image.

download original image]

[1] You might be surprised about the fun facts you'll learn every day.

Categories:  Other | Personal | Windows 10
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 7:05:46 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Twitter Handle 

I am more active on Twitter lately, finding it amusing personally.

Handle: http://twitter.com/matevzg

Categories:  Personal
Sunday, March 27, 2011 5:54:45 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments



DOW is down almost 700, again. And...

... I just have to post this. Especially when almost everything (besides devaluation of the safe currency) has already been done.

If you had bought $1,000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.

Enron, you would have $16.50 of the original $1,000.00.

MCI/Worldcom, you would have less than $5.00 left.

If you had bought $1,000.00 worth of
Miller Genuine Draft (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drunk all the beer then turned in the cans for the 10-cent deposit, you would have $214.00.

Based on the above, 401KegPlan.com's current investment advice is to take that $5.00 you have left over and
drink lots and lots of beer and recycle.

Via: http://401kegplan.com/keg/

We are going over the edge. We as a world economy.

And yea, I opened a keg of Guinness.

Categories:  Personal
Thursday, October 9, 2008 9:29:37 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Accreditus: Gama System eArchive 

One of our core products, Gama System eArchive was accredited last week.

This is the first accreditation of a domestic product and the first one covering long term electronic document storage in a SOA based system.

Every document stored inside the Gama System eArchive product is now legally legal. No questions asked.

Accreditation is done by a national body and represents the last step in a formal acknowledgement to holiness.

That means a lot to me, even more to our company.

The following blog entries were (in)directly inspired by the development of this product:

We've made a lot of effort to get this thing developed and accredited. The certificate is here.

This, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and those are direct approvals of our correct decisions.

Categories:  .NET 3.0 - General | .NET 3.0 - WCF | .NET 3.5 - WCF | Other | Personal | Work
Saturday, July 5, 2008 1:18:06 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Calculating Outsourcing Project Cost 

Wow, Stephen.

This is one of the best ideas I've heard of hedging against the dollar in terms if IT outsourcing cost. And I mean it.

I'm not in a position of valueing the description made, but I am willing to take the pill, no matter what.

What everybody needs is only to get to one million sterling project, taking half a year.

That's it, hedging done or not.

Categories:  Personal
Monday, February 18, 2008 11:01:39 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Mr. Larry Lessig 

Mr. Lawrence Lessig is a founder of Stanford Center for Internet and Society. He's also a chairman for the Creative Commons organization.

Lessig is one of the most effective speakers in the world, a professor at Stanford, who tries to make this world a better place from a standpoint of stupidity in terms of the copyright law.

The following is published on the CC's site:

We use private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. ... We work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them — to declare “some rights reserved.”

Therefore Creative Commons stands for the mantra of some rights reserved and not all rights reserved in terms of meaningful usage of digital technology.

Being a libertarian myself, I cannot oppose these stands. Balance and compromise are good things for content and intellectual products, such as software.

Watch his masterpiece, delivered at TED.

Categories:  Personal
Friday, November 9, 2007 11:59:24 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Oh my God: 1.1 

Shame? Nokia?

Same sentence, as in Shame and Nokia?

There is just no pride in IT anymore. Backbones are long gone too.

Categories:  Apple | Other | Personal
Wednesday, August 29, 2007 5:40:16 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Oh my God: 1.0 

This post puts shame to a new level.

There is no excuse for having Microsoft Access database serving any kind of content in an online banking solution.

The funny thing is, that even the comment excuses seem fragile. They obviously just don't get it. The bank should not defend their position, but focus on changing it immediately.

So, they should fix this ASAP, then fire PR, then apologize.

Well-done David, for exposing what should never reach a production environment.

Never. Ever.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Wednesday, August 29, 2007 5:35:38 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Apple vs. Dell 

This is why one should buy best of both worlds. Mac rules on a client. Dell is quite competitive on the (home) server market.

We don't care about cables around servers. Yet.

So? 'nuff said.

Categories:  Apple | Personal
Wednesday, August 8, 2007 7:37:18 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Problem: Adding custom properties to document text in Word 2007 

There is some serious pain going on when you need to add a simple custom document property into multiple Word 2007 text areas.

Say you have a version property that you would need to update using the document property mechanics. And say you use it in four different locations inside your document.

  • There is no ribbon command for it. There was a menu option in Word 2003 days.
  • There is no simple way of adding to The Ribbon. You have to customize the Quick Access Toolbar and stick with ugly, limited use icons forever or so.
    • You need to choose All commands in Customize Quick Access Toolbar to find Insert Field option.
  • This is not the only limiting option for a power user. The number of simplifications for the casual user is equal to the number of limitations for the power user. And yes, I know, casual users win the number battle.


  1. Right click The Ribbon and select Customize Quick Access Toolbar
  2. Select All Commands and Insert Field
  3. Add it to Custom Quick Access Toolbar
  4. Click the new icon
  5. In Field names select DocProperty
  6. Select your value, in this example Version

Yes. Ease of use.

Please, give me an option to get my menus and keyboard shortcuts back.

Pretty please.


Categories:  Microsoft | Personal | Work
Monday, July 9, 2007 9:44:50 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 NTK 2007: About Being Better 

Having posted a disturbing post last year, I have a moral obligation to repost my current state of mind.

This year's NT conference was way better, especially regarding fun-activating activities. It's not my cup of tea, when things are being cut, but I was impressed by the plethora of activities that were not present this year.

Yeah, I know. When you've got activities that are not present, you're in it deep.

Clarifying it, here it goes.

I like it when things are not there (regarding fun during the NT conference).

  • I like the fact that sponsors and partners were not given a carte blache.
  • I like the fact that there were no naked ladies running around. Doh!
  • I like the fact that I like the fact that there were no naked ladies running around.
  • I like the fact that there was not enough free beer.
  • I like the fact that parties were not too 'lomaniac.
  • I like the fact that we, speakers, were pressured again.
  • I like the fact that, above all, this was a step forward.

What I don't I like (in 2007 incarnation):

  • I don't like keynotes that have (almost, sorry) no content.
  • I don't like keynotes that have no cues, allowing people to leave with no impression.
  • I especially don't like keynotes that, having a plethora of technology to show, don't make attendees drool their asses off.
  • I don't like 30 minute breaks. Sorry, too long.
  • I don't like that attendees have no free evenings. It's just to reflect on what they've heard.

And, as stated previously (and again) I don't like parties happening every evening on a technical conference. But that might just be the rule I have.

If NTK continues in this year's fashion, we all did a good job. If only next year, they would get some pre/post conference options (hint) for the technical savvy.

Luke, Kamenko, this is a major contribution to being on the right track again. Kudos.

[This post can and probably will, position me into the nerd crowd. It is not my intention. For you, who know me personally, you know what I'm talking about. At a certain point of fun, everybody has enough.]

Categories:  Personal
Monday, May 21, 2007 11:13:24 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Resizing Image Attachments in Outlook 2007 

Well, it took me awhile to figure out, but here's a way to bring back the dialog which allows you to resize image attachments you send in Outlook 2007.

It's hidden the behind right arrow of the Include box. Right here:

I knew it must be there somewhere. And it is, it's just a click away.

It must be me, but I was looking for this option for a couple of months. It was one of my beloved features in Outlook 2003, since sending snapshots of something allowed me to get them down from 5MB to 100kb by just clicking an option.

There is a special checkbox called 'Show when attaching files' there.

Turn it on. Now.

Who decided it's a good thing to leave this thing off by default?

Categories:  Microsoft | Personal
Saturday, May 5, 2007 10:59:10 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Hana Re 

Our gift came yesterday evening. Baby girl. Hana Re.

As perfect as possible, mom included.

0.003255 tons, 0.00052 kilometers



Categories:  Personal
Friday, March 16, 2007 9:05:36 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Using Dark Room 

If you need a distraction free writing environment, grab a copy of Dark Room. I found it after a few years of using WriteRoom, the original, on a Mac.

I write most of my draft documents in it. Then I move them to Word and apply formatting. I write all blog entries - exclusively in Dark Room - every post.

It does what every text editor should be doing first. It makes you concentrate on the subject.

And, best of all - it's small footprint, single .exe app. Xcopy it to your path. Bam.

Categories:  Other | Personal | Work
Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:19:35 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Rebuilding Success 

Well, my site was down a couple of times during the weekend. Had to buy a new server, since my old machine's power supply tanked and took the motherboard with it.

So, this week started on some serious hardware, a Dell PowerEdge 2900. The migration took a couple of tries, but it was mostly due to reconfiguration of RAID arrays. This beast has 10 SAS drive bays, so I opted for two RAID 5 arrays, mostly due to expandability.

Kudos go out to Alldea guys who suggested, tested, configured and helped me get the server in time (actually, I got it in 12 hours). Their service is flawless and if you are buying a Dell in Slovenia, give them a call.

We configured the machine with a quad core Xeon and left another processor slot empty. There are still two hard drive bays unattended and 8 RAM slots available. And since my old machine faulted because its power supply tanked, this one has two. Redundant ones.

It should give at least 5 years of service, me thinks.

Categories:  Personal
Monday, March 5, 2007 9:59:12 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 BITS Download Manager: Version 1.1.0 Available 

I updated my BITS Download Manager yesterday, making it even more Vista compatible.

Well, the compatibility was there from 1.0.2. But now, it shouldn't make any unnecessary UAC prompts go off.

If not for large HTTP based file downloads, I use it to track podcast downloads RSSBandit makes when using the new feature set.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 4:26:14 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 I Found Sunsets 

There were a couple of sunsets lying around on Rožnik yesterday.

Thought I would make them available, because they make quite a desktop wallpaper.

Wallpaper One Wallpaper Two

Download: Here [Nikon D200, Nikkor VR 18-200 DX]

Categories:  Personal
Monday, November 6, 2006 5:45:53 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 The curse of Vista x64 

This post has been cooking for quite some time, quietly sitting on my desktop. Since Miha started the debate, I'm letting it go...

I've had a pleasure to work with the Acer Ferrari 4005 machine for a while. It was a great machine: AMD Turion 2.0 GHz, 64 bit, 2 GB RAM workhorse. Until I left it on the roof of my car and drove off...

Since then, I've been hammering on IBM Lenovo ThinkPad T60p, same specs, although x86 architecture. This is, in all terms, a great machine.

Having said that, I was running Windows XP x64 SP2 + Windows Vista x64, and Ferrari is actually one of the best machines to be on, when running x64. They have flawless driver support.

Let me get straight to the point.

Current prevailing architecture is x86. It's not going to stay that way for long. In the beginning of next year 99% of machines sold will have x64 support. Core 2 Duo is going to sweep the x86's dusty history.

The problem is, the majority of consumer base will decide by comparison, as always. It's just the magic of numbers, again. Imagine all the talking going on inside different computer stores and online forums, speculating how much better x64 is. In reality, x64 is currently (and for at least a couple of years) not going to be substantially faster - in the consumer space - than x86.

Nevertheless, a lot of people, who will now own the x64 chip, will want to run a x64-based edition of the OS. And here the problem lies.

Consumer Windows drivers have not been known for their robustness in the x86 world. There are devices that have real trouble running on Windows XP x86. Even though Vista will require signed x64 drivers, their availability is subject to questioning.

So the situation is this:

  • You get the latest and greatest hardware, including a Core 2 Duo
  • You get the latest and greatest software, including Windows Vista x64
  • There are numerous well known problems with running apps in WoW, on x64 machines
  • Currently, general device support is, well, flawed
  • The drivers that exist have not been tested - for the consumer market.

Enterprise x64 market is quite different. There are a lot of production systems running Windows Server x64 successfully.

People are going to be pissed. It's Vista x64 and it is not going to launch successfully to the customer base.

Categories:  Other | Personal | Windows Vista
Saturday, September 9, 2006 2:05:56 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Google <> Microsoft Perception 

There was a sincere and simple remark on Carl Franklin's blog, posted yesterday by Jonathan Parker, a CS student from down under.

If one recaps what he wanted to push through, it was this:

Microsoft's general public perception sucks.

He writes:

Earlier this year I had the privelage of attending a lecture from a Google employee and also one from a Microsoft employee. They were both open to all CS students and staff. The Google lecture was packed! My estimate is over 300 people (I sat on the floor most of the time). The Microsoft lecture had about 15 people. :(

He is right. Microsoft is trying to keep up with the coolness factor, all to no avail. Microsoft is not cool. Apple is cool. Google is cool. Myspace is cool. Microsoft should stop trying to be cool, this charade should stop. They should be doing what they do best in the world - write platform software. Zune, anyone?

In Jonathan's analysis on why Google is nowadays more popular than Microsoft, he writes:

I think the whole Web 2.0 thing is in Google's favour because they know how to run a business that is free for the consumers of their software.

Also I think that Google's software is much more discoverable than Microsoft's. If you want to learn more about Google you just go to their site and click on more. If you want to find out more about Microsoft you just go to their site and click your way around in circles for hours finding nothing.

True. Google's site is so much simpler, more intuitive and easier to navigate. But then, they only ship like a dozen products. Microsoft ships dozen squared.

His thoughts continue:

Open source is good for end user software. That's why Google is seen to be on the open source side of the fence even though Google is not open source in any sense of the word. All their code is tucked nicely away behind their servers. Yet people associate google with freedom of information. This is because there is not much use in installing a google search engine on your PC at home.

A general misconception is that open source equals free. Open source is far from free, especially in the enterprise space. And, as Jonathan states - I hope - Google managed to inject itself into this line of thought in general public.

There are two things that are wrong with this (general public, that is) way of thinking:

  • Google/Apple is not open source
    Google took a lot from open source, but returned little. Read carefully - they returned little to Open Source, but gave a mountain to the public and the internet as a whole. Remember? Google is a good company.

    There is a difference between Apple and Google in this sense. Cupertino also took a lot from Open Source, but didn't contribute to it, nor release anything free to the public.
  • Google is not percieved as a good company because of it being open source - its public perception is good, because everything they do is free
    If anybody does something really useful and keeps doing it for free, you just can't criticize it, right? Right.

If only there would be a simple formula to get Microsoft's public perception to even being average. I hate to say it, but, returning it back to good, is not possible. They were not there yet.

For the record: I do not percieve Microsoft as a bad, nor cool company. Microsoft makes the best fat client software in the world, period. They have the best development platform for any software, full stop. You can't fool the market over 20 years.

Categories:  Personal
Sunday, August 13, 2006 9:13:05 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 BITS Download Manager 

There is Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) present in every Windows XP/2003/Vista setup. BITS manages Windows Updates downloads, but is also capable of transfering other files.

More on BITS can be found here.

Since the infrastructure is there, I wrote a lightweight application, which manages the user queue of the BITS service.

Here are some screenshots:

BITS Download Manager

Menu in system tray


System tray 'Download Complete' notification

Main features:

  • Download files in the background
  • Fire and forget
  • Handles dropped connections
  • Handles system downtime
  • Handles bandwidth usage
  • Can start download from IE (IE right click integration)
  • Can autolaunch at system boot
  • System tray notifications
  • Harmless, small footprint
  • Windows Vista support

You can download the installer or a ZIP version. If you grab the ZIP, you should change the installation path inside the .html file for the IE integration to work properly.

Download (Version 1.1.0):


BITS Download Manager will quitely sit in your system tray and wait for you to give it something to download. When you initiate the download, it will progress in the background only if there is enough bandwidth available.

I use it to download large files over HTTP, being from my own server of those damn Windows SDK 1GB downloads which seem to break every now and then.

Update: Version 1.0.2 available [2006-07-04]

Minor bugs fixed regarding appropriate single instancing when launching a download from IE. Context menus fixed when no downloads are in progress. You do not need to uninstall version 1.0.0 before installing this one.

Update: Version 1.1.0 available [2007-02-20]

Minor bugs fixes, Windows Vista support.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Tuesday, July 4, 2006 11:46:21 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Hibernation Issue on Windows XP SP2: >1GB RAM 

If you happen to run Windows XP SP2 on a machine with more than a GB of RAM, you may likely see the following notification appear on the system tray:

Hibernate Error on Windows XP SP2

This happens after hibernation is attempted. The error is: "Insufficient system resources exist to complete the API."

The solution is Q909095. There is a hotfix available, but you have to call Microsoft PSS to get it download the patch. It includes a new OS kernel which works flawlessly on my ThinkPad T60p with 2GB.

Knock knock. 

[Update 10/17/2006, Download available]

Categories:  Other | Personal | Work
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:24:15 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Adobe's Fiefdom 

There's a ton of hot press stories going around today about Adobe not letting Microsoft implement the PDF export functionality in 2007 Office System.

While I can understand that Adobe is running scared by even the thought of everyone producing PDFs without a licensed Adobe Acrobat, I cannot understand the differentiation of source.

It's no secret that Apple uses PDF functionality in the base OS and its applications. You can export everything as a PDF in MacOS X. Hell, even the UI engine uses PDF technology to render those beautiful OS X windows.

Quartz based on PDF


PDF Export in MacOS X

And this is not the only case. There are nearly 2000 products out there which can use PDF and this is a GoodThingtm for a public specification.

WordPerfect Office has already implemented the same functionality Adobe is complaining to Microsoft about.

OpenOffice has already implemented the same functionality Adobe is complaining to Microsoft about.

While I am among the precious few, who condone IP ambivalence, this is not an IP issue, nor is it a licensing issue. Adobe can and will, as it seems, use their right to stop Microsoft in implementing their specification. And it is their specification, with all the rights the owner gets.

It seems that 'Save as...' functionality is indeed too much for Adobe to swallow when a 98% office productivity market share player gets real about it.

Categories:  Personal
Friday, June 2, 2006 11:49:14 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 NT Conference 2006 (NTK) - Distraction Overflow 

This year's NT conference has closed its doors. And it's a big event, this year around 2.150 attendees came. NTK is the biggest IT conference in Slovenia, hell; it's the biggest conference in Slovenia.

This is not without cause. Gathering 1 in 1000 from the complete country population is not simple - there has to be at least some additional fun present to pull this off.

As Dejan writes, some Microsoft partners went overboard this year. Having said that, one has to acknowledge that there are at least four profiles present at every conference:

  1. Those who get there to have fun
  2. Those who get there to have fun and learn a lot
  3. The speakers
  4. Other

Now, satisfying the first class of people is simple. Since NTK is a technical conference, one's expectation of a non-stop, 24 hour party is diminished by the fact that that is not appropriate for the conference of this caliber. These guys have fun with Nr. 2 and Nr. 3 guys during the conference evening events and make up their own things of interest between session hours.

Satisfying number 2 is harder. Anyone who wants to learn a lot and still have fun has some issues with the current agenda. There are fun things to visit during session hours and if you're a guy who wants to learn a lot, but still have fun, you have to decide what is more important. Now, why would someone want to make you, the paying customer, decision-ambiguous?

Number 3 can be satisfied by a couple of things. Technical readiness should be top-notch, and this year it was even better. The second thing speakers like is that their attendees are present and in good shape to follow the sessions. There should be no, or at least a minimum amount of distraction present during the session hours.

I am not discussing the 'Other' category, since its heterogeneous enough to make any relevant observations.

It is easy to see that a couple of speakers have some issues with the way things worked out. I am one of them.

Overall, NTK is one of the best Microsoft IT events in Europe. This year, it was just stunning - no major issues with the event organization, smooth transitions, and great evening events. If there is a solution to the problems raised, one would get the right quotient between pleasure and work.


Categories:  Conferences | Personal
Friday, May 26, 2006 10:23:41 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Google goes AJAX: Positive addiction in the framework space 

Today, Google released Google Web Toolkit, which is an alternative to Microsoft's Atlas.

Indeed, Hell is freezing over.

Industry at large is competing for every piece of programming world. The idea of having ability to influence programmers into using your platform has become eligible for every vendor.

These situations are prevalent even on smaller markets. What we see is that companies are willing to offer their frameworks to big clients for a couple of reasons:

  • They can, because they own them (frameworks, that is)
  • They want to, because it is, remember, free to distribute (and hell to develop)
  • They want to, because addiction is goodtm

There is a special case of positive addiction present in the development world. I call it tool addiction, because it's actually not bound to a specific framework and/or platform version.

No one wants to use notepad.exe during development of a serious solution, right? We do need that Intellisense after all. Although it's just a bunch of programmatic schema definitions, one gets addicted to it. Platform vendors know this. This is the main reason tools are becoming free. The addiction flu is spreading out of the platform world, into the tool space, and as it seems to specific framework space.

Anyone who is offering anything for free has a background plan. They are not that stupid. Vendors know that once you get hooked it's not easy to be abstinent.

Categories:  Personal | Work
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:51:10 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Compare this 

I've always wanted an Aibo. There are two reasons:

  • I wanted to play with it, and see what turns up
  • I wanted my dog to play with it, and see what turns up

Now, Genibo is around the corner. I thing I should buy at least one robot dog, considering we have this sleeping besides us.

Compare this:

With this hunger-stricken dog:


What would happen?

I wonder what Lupus (with his ~150 pounds/70 kilos) would do with a plastic, whining and moving monster?

Categories:  Personal
Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:46:49 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 On Windows compared to 'other' OSs 

Having an option is always a good thing, right? But there comes a time when we all have to face the truth of the free (economic) world. There are things that just do not fit in common line-of-though agenda.

Like this one (Rob Enderle, link):

Windows is free to the OEMs. In fact, not only is it free, but Microsoft, in effect, pays them to take it. Regardless of the cost, Windows is a logical choice, and a straight pass. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) pays about $80 for it and typically charges about $80 for it. There is rarely much of a mark up. If Microsoft were to lower its price that lowered price would be reflected in virtually all desktop hardware immediately.

Microsoft provides a number of services which include development support, service support, marketing support, technicians, classes, databases and support materials, and it picks up a lot of the service load as well. In addition, it provides marketing co-op dollars, incentives for early adoption of new products, and ensures a somewhat level playing field (which could be good or bad) for the vendors.

This is the world we all live in. Market share is made by a conglomerate of superiorities. Not necessarily just technical ones. We do need to acknowledge that sometimes market can be gained by offering better business environment for the complete food chain. One needs to respect the box movers too, they need those extra dollars. They need the extra revenue.

Now, here's the question. What if RedHat/Apple/Ubuntu had Microsoft's position? What would happen then?

Short term? Lower prices - better quality of life.

Long term? The same thing.

If Apple had an opportunity to excell at Microsoft's position, I bet they would exercise it! Actually, they are doing it already.

That's why I (mostly) agree with the quoted article.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Thursday, April 27, 2006 7:47:07 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Stuck in Frankfurt 

Do you believe that it can take 12 hours to get from Ljubljana to Cambridge, UK?

I didn't.

It took me around 12 hours and a half. But considering that I only had  (2) flights, that combined do not take more that 3 hours, I was emotionaly destabilized.

Now I'm on my crusade back home.

I left Cambridge at noon. It's 10h22 PM and I'm in a small subfrankfurter town called Mainz sitting in Atrium Hotel Mainz. The place is nice, but it's also a EUR 2.98 / hour internet joint.

My flight back from London Heathrow got delayed. That's why I missed my Frankfurt-Ljubljana flight and had to stay the night in Frankfurt. So now, if I calculate, it took me almost 12 hours to get from Cambridge to Frankfurt, but the crusade back home will eventually be more than 24 hours long.

Leaving tomorrow at noon, again.

Categories:  Personal
Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:26:09 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Regarding Origami 

Well, as more news bubbles up, there's a couple of things the 'Origami consortium' should do:

  • It should pull a Steve Jobs on Origami: "... and it's available today for $X99."
  • It should NOT discuss the follow-up models. I just do not want to know that in 6 months a better Origami will surface. One with a keyboard and 12 hour uptime, for example.
  • It should make sure that the Xbox 360 launch does not replay itself in terms of market congestion.

Tommorow at 9-12AM GMT a new Origami video will be available on Channel 9. I'm watching that space.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Wednesday, March 8, 2006 7:50:39 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Origami Mistery 

After several weeks of me following the Origami story, I'm now really dazzled.

Tried everything to find more details. RD/MVP channel is numb. The web is full of speculation. Nobody knows the details - it's being kept as a real secret.

Now, if Scoble says it's good, one has to concur. I'm so jazzed up, I'm thinking of buying one even if it sucks cat's eyeballs.

Is just can't suck that bad. It has to be something worth spending money on. I'm seeing it in person in Hannover, later this week.

Categories:  Personal
Monday, March 6, 2006 8:38:29 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 New Year, New Blogger 

A fantastic presenter, but an even better friend had a news year's day epiphany.

It came out as a resolution: 'I should start blogging'.

Dušan Zupančič, welcome to the blogosphere. Keep those <asp:*> tags flowing..

Categories:  Personal
Tuesday, January 3, 2006 10:19:40 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Acer Ferrari 4005 WLMi 

My old laptop died on me this past weekend. Even though it wasn't much of a machine lately, it was dependable to the very last moment, when it decided to stop working completely. Dell Inspiron,  RIP.

My new workhorse is a fabulous machine: Acer Ferrari 4005 WLMi

It's a 64-bit machine, based on AMD Turion 64 processor. It looks splendid, although I have to admit that if it would be possible, I would remove the Ferrari logo during my meetings - even though I am a Ferrari F1 fan.

I'm running Windows Vista December CTP x64 edition, including VS 2005 + .NET Frameword 2.0 x64, WinFX RTC December CTP x64, Windows SDK x64, etc.

Running Indigo in a 64-bit process is a breeze. :)

Anyone deciding between Pentium M and Turion 64 based machine should read: Clash of the Titans: Dothan vs. Turion

The article compares Intel Pentium M 760 (Dothan) and AMD Turion 64 ML-37. It's a great article considering the shift to 64-bit is currently underway.

Categories:  Personal | Work
Wednesday, December 28, 2005 12:39:48 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Installation issue with December CTP of WinFX Runtime Components 

If you are planning to install or have already done so, there's an issue with the automated install of December CTP of WinFX RC (Runtime Components).

The following link will install November 2005 WinFX RC:


And to make it even more complex, if you happen to install it in Windows Vista December CTP, there is no way to remove it and have a clean machine afterwards.

Use the complete download link, ie:

How do you know if this thing screwed you up? You will not be able to install a 1GB pack of Windows SDK (December 2005), which also includes WinFX docs and samples.

Another proof are filename timestamps of for example System.ServiceModel.dll and friends, which are 11/18/2005 - equaling to November 2005 CTP dates.

Categories:  Windows Vista | Other | Personal | .NET 3.0 - General | Work
Thursday, December 22, 2005 1:25:33 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Apple <> Intel 

I've said it before - in the last two years I have become a huge Apple fan.

It all started with me being inquisitive and buying a peace of furniture - Apple iMac G5. It went on with iPod nano.

I love Apple hardware. I like Apple software. There are known limitations inside the Mac OS X platform for it not being able to compete with Microsoft in terms of development experience and development technology adoption. They are ages behind in some critical areas, but also a couple years ahead in terms of OS GUI experience. Things like search, metadata, clean user inteface or, in general, end-user things work perfecly in the current builds of Mac OS X 10.4.3.

Now, it seems that Apple is trying to push out new Intel based laptops in January. I am definitely reconsidering when it comes to having the best of both worlds.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Thursday, December 15, 2005 2:32:41 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Book requests 

There have been quite a few book requests in the last 14 days, while I was away.

If anyone who requested the latest book still didn't receive a copy, please write another email, because it is entirely possible that it got lost somewhere.


Categories:  Personal | Work
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:28:50 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Software patents: CII directive 

I was in Brussels on Wednesday the previous week, spending time at the European Parliament. We had meetings with our 7 MEPs (Member of the European Parliament). I can only agree with the general points Clemens made in his blog entry and with the fact that MEPs have a hard time deciding on this.

We did, however, manage to present our opinions on the CII directive successfully. There is still a strong pressure inside some of the EP groups not to support the directive. And there are still groups which are deciding on whether to only support it with certain amendments.

The problem is that, as it seems, this directive will not be voted by MEPs individually. All groups will decide internally and then go for a group vote. It is therefore of much importance that anybody with access to their MEPs voices his/her opinion. Anybody can do it. Here's the link.

CII should be supported in its current form, without any "force of nature" or "interoperability" amendments. They will make things much worse over time and help paralyzing the patent system in EU.

Our viewpoint on this is available in English on my download site: http://downloads.request-response.com/cii.zip (118KB).

I strongly believe that the majority of opponents seem to think this issue is one of large vs. small companies. It is not. It has nothing to do with an impact on the bureaucracy work too. The CII directive only helps - is a first step toward - harmonizing the patent system throughout 25 member states. And again, it does not allow software patents per se. It makes me quite sad to see that most of the arguments are strongly voiced having only a populistic stance over the CII directive. It is a good thing to have, a good thing to support innovation and a good thing to enforce ones rights over his/her invention.

I have also included the draft version of CII in the above ZIP file.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Thursday, June 30, 2005 10:17:37 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Apple Goes Intel 

Oh my god.

Have to admit. We own this and this and she loves it.

Steve Jobs (Apple):

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far. It’s been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel’s technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years.”

Roz Ho (Microsoft):

“We plan to create future versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac that support both PowerPC and Intel processors. We have a strong relationship with Apple and will work closely with them to continue our long tradition of making great applications for a great platform.”

Glad they agree. Join the teams. Passion and market penetration always resonates.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 1:12:07 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Book feedback 

A bunch of you wrote emails to get my new book. And that's great. Love it.
If you missed it, you can do it again.

I also got some strange feedback:

  • "Why do you distribute it for free?"
  • "I'd love it, by why do you distribute it for free?"
  • "I would buy it, if you are selling it."
  • "I'm gonna make sure I buy it."
  • "I'm gonna make sure we buy it."
  • "I can't believe that you believe in open source."

<rant mode="on">
I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it to distribute thought, knowledge and/or religion. This book is free, as long you are not making direct profit from it without making me a part of it. You can, though, contribute to local general religion awareness anytime.

There's another line of thought happening:

  • "I have a problem with chapter X.Y.Z. I can't believe you believe this is the right way to go. In any case, I would chose B over A anytime."
  • "Second paragraph in chapter X is just too general. I can't relate to that."
  • "Having spent the last two months on this technology, this just can't be the best way to go."
  • "There's a specific problem with X in chapter Y if you want to do it in our environment."

Over these, I have no control whatsoever. I strongly believe that scenarios are different in everyones lives.

I have to stress again that English reading/speaking audience can NOT benefit from it, since it's written in Slovene.

Categories:  Personal | Work
Tuesday, May 10, 2005 2:10:53 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Thanks Goran! 

Goran wrote a thumbs up review of my second book. I'm glad you find it interesting. Thank you.

Too bad your blog comments are disabled.

Categories:  Personal
Monday, May 2, 2005 11:09:30 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Modern .NET Architecure: Book Done 

Having spent the last two weeks tweaking my diagrams and pictures with a book designer, I learned quite a lot about differences in a design and development environment. To get facts straight, they live in a DPI-based world, which is nasty. And since my designer uses MacOS X platform to do the design stuff, a lot of interesting issues arrised. Again.

What I wanted to convey is: The book is finally done.

Title (in Slovene): Arhitektura sodobnih rešitev Microsoft .NET - Načrtovalski vzorci

Its physical incarnation should be available to general developer/architect public in a few weeks, but most definitely here.

Everyone who managed to send me an email after my previous blog post, will be getting a copy in his/her mailbox today.

If you would like a copy (electronic one, that is), drop me an email using this link.

Here's the TOC, up to level 3, (in Slovene):

2    UVOD
3.3.1    Začetniki koncepta načrtovalskih vzorcev
3.3.2    Načrtovalski vzorci v informacijski tehnologiji
3.3.3    Načrtovalski vzorec: Windows DNA
3.3.4    Porazdeljene transakcije
3.4.1    Strateški pomen Enterprise Services
3.4.2    Prihodnost Enterprise Services
3.4.3    Hitrost COM+
3.4.4    O .NET Enteprise Services
3.4.5    O porazdeljenem transakcijskem koordinatorju (MSDTC)
3.5    KJE SMO?
4.1.1    Ideja
4.1.2    Porazdeljena aplikacija potrebuje nivo fasade
4.1.3    Porazdeljena aplikacija potrebuje nivo dostopa do podatkov
4.1.4    Objekti entitetnih storitev validirajo poslovna pravila
4.1.5    Ločeno upravljanje transakcij
4.1.6    Procesi
4.1.7    Kje smo?
4.2.1    Namen
4.2.2    Struktura
4.2.3    Stran začasnih naročil
4.2.4    Objekt DataSet
4.2.5    DataSet <> DataTable <> DataAdapter
4.2.6    Kje smo?
4.3.1    Namen
4.3.2    Struktura
4.3.3    Razredi
4.3.4    Dodajanje novega naročila
4.3.5    Kaj pa transakcije?
4.3.6    Dostop do podatkov
4.3.7    Kje smo?
4.4.1    Namen
4.4.2    Struktura
4.4.3    Primer poslovnega pravila
4.4.4    Nivo dostopa do podatkov
4.4.5    Validacija poslovnih pravil
4.4.6    Naprednejši koncepti validacije poslovnih pravil
4.4.7    Kje smo?
4.5.1    Namen
4.5.2    Struktura
4.5.3    Kdaj uporabiti?
4.5.4    Razmislite o spletnih storitvah
4.5.5    Kje smo?
4.6.1    Transakcije in .NET v splošnem
4.6.2    Namen
4.6.3    Struktura
4.6.4    Kako deluje?
4.6.5    Kdaj uporabiti?
4.6.6    Kako uporabiti?
4.6.7    Kje smo?
5.1.1    Načrtovanje komponent
5.1.2    Razredni in članski atributi
5.3    KJE SMO?
6.1.1    Dedovanje iz System.Object
6.1.2    O finalizaciji
6.1.3    Kdaj uporabiti finalizacijo?
6.1.4    Oživljanje
6.2.1    Kdaj klicati metodo Dispose?
6.3.1    Podatkovni nivo – osnovna komponenta
6.3.2    Podatkovni nivo – ostale komponente
6.3.3    Komponente drugih nivojev
6.4.1    Podatkovni nivo – osnovna komponenta
6.4.2    Podatkovni nivo – ostale komponente
6.4.3    Komponente drugih nivojev
6.5    KJE SMO?
7    VIRI

If you still don't have my previous book, Arhitektura spletnih storitev - Usmeritve za načrtovanje, you can write to me using this link.

Thanks again to all the reviewers and especially to Microsoft gals who had to read this technical, unreadable text during the proof reading process. Thanks to Mateja from Alten, for doing a fantastic design work.

Categories:  Architecture | Personal | Work
Monday, April 18, 2005 12:21:06 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Dog <> owner relationship 

Well, it's a well known fact that dog owners and their companions act similar in lots of situations.

It seems to be true for me too. I just took a quiz at http://gone2thedogs.com and I came out as a Great Dane.

This is the result:

Dog Name: Great Dane
Origins: Germany

Amongst the tallest of dog breeds, the Great Dane is known in its native Germany as the Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff). Often referred to as the Apollo of the dog world, this statuesque dog has existed in Britain for many centuries and is said to be descended from the Molossus hounds of ancient time Rome. In the middle Ages it was used to hunt wild boar, fight bulls and event employed as a bodyguard.

Just take a look at this fella. He pulls unreasonable stunts on me. While he definitely wouldn't like to fight a bull, he's taking his bodyguard job pretty seriously.

Categories:  Personal
Monday, April 18, 2005 9:17:03 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 On book writing 

This week I'm clearing issues and fixing mistakes of my current brain child.

It's a book.

The second one.

It's a book on application architecture.

During the review process that I spawned last week, I noticed the following:

  1. Reviewers are strict, which I like a lot
  2. Most of them focus on layout, which is fine and helps a lot
  3. Chapter flow seems to be my weakness
  4. Discovering technical issues requires a lot of time, not everybody has enough cycles to go through it
  5. A lot of people seem to think the draft is ready for print, which is actually not the case. By far.
  6. Everybody wants a special chapter on the must-have technology and/or methodology

I value all opinions and learn a lot from them. Kudos go to all of you, you know who you are.

The book is called: Architecture of Modern .NET Applications - Design Patterns (Arhitektura sodobnih aplikacij .NET - Načrtovalski vzorci)

It's supposted to be available by the end of January 2005. Published by Microsoft Slovenia and distributed to all Slovenian architects and lead developers.

If somebody would like a copy of final cleartext, please send me an email. And yes, it's NOT written in English.

Categories:  Personal | Work
Monday, December 20, 2004 8:02:22 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Google Did It Again 

In one of my previous posts I said it will take three years for Google experience to come to the desktop.

It's here now. The other company I dearly love did it. Experience it, it will change the way we think about fast local searching.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Friday, October 15, 2004 9:09:46 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 What I use Gmail For 

Gmail is wonderful. It gives you around 1GB of storage space for no-spam email. It can give you even more.

How I use it:

  • When I get my mail to my laptop, I do not delete it from the server
  • When I get mail on my main machine, I have it setup so that messages are deleted after a month of residing on the server. Yes, Outlook has this option. This gives me more than enough time to grab the messages from the server with my laptop, before they are deleted.
  • I have a message rule on my main machine which forwards all incoming messages to my Gmail account


I love having all messages stored. And I have everything stored on my main machine. But, since Gmail has 1GB of fast-search-capable storage I prefer browsing through my mail using remote Gmail than my local Outlook. Implicitly I get web access to all my email.

We're probably more that three years away from achieving this on our local machines.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Monday, August 30, 2004 9:09:20 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Changing faces 


They just changed its face and turned Mother Teresa.

They are now going to donate code to open source community while being one of the fathers of closed source initiative.

And if they are planing to donate their database product, why not donate DB2 instead of Java based Cloudscape?

[via ft.com]
IBM will continue to offer its own version of Cloudscape. It believes that some customers will use it in preference to the open source version in order to take advantage of the company's technical support.

What? If the idea is to offer some code to people who want to learn concepts and improve, why don't they want to participate in the game?



Categories:  Other | Personal | Work
Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:27:16 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Sun Worries 

I'm a little bit scared of this.

Not because of SuSE aquisition. It worries me because of Mono aquisition.

Categories:  Mono | Personal
Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:09:53 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Andrej has a blog 

I just found this out today that Andrej Budja blogs.

I hope your team does well tommorrow at Microsoft CCC 2004 cup finals.

Categories:  Personal
Sunday, March 14, 2004 12:00:38 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Microsoft RD & MVP 

The year 2004 started good for me.

It's official, since both contracts/NDAs have been signed. I'm now a Microsoft Regional Director for Slovenia and a Microsoft MVP in XML.

Thanks to everyone at a local Microsoft sub that nominated me and supported this decision. I feel honoured to be in RD/MVP company.

Categories:  Personal
Wednesday, March 3, 2004 9:31:10 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 IIS horror story 

During preparation for a work presentation for a complex project (designing transport level secure, distributed, endpoint independent web services) I needed to install some benign certificates to an IIS 6 machine. All hell broke lose when I did it and (production) machine failed completely. IIS Admin service would not start, UDDI Services went down, nothing worked.

After numerous hours of trying to fix at least IIS I got an idea of what was wrong.

Apperently the MachineKeys folder, which holds machine account private keys was screwed. No matter how hard I tried reinstalling IIS nothing worked. The solution was in manually deleting MachineKeys folder, encrypting it and setting appropriate permission set.

So, if you are ever in a situation where IIS Admin service would not start causing one of the following errors and you suspect MachineKeys is the reason for it, consider the steps below:

  • The system cannot find the file specified.
  • The handle is invalid.
  • Not enough storage is available to process this command.

Try this:

  • Uninstall IIS
  • Backup files in MachineKeys folder (c:\documents and settings\all users\application data\microsoft\crypto\rsa\machinekeys)
  • Delete MachineKeys folder
  • Create new MachineKeys folder
  • Assign Administrators group, SYSTEM account full permissions
  • ENCRYPT THE DAMN FOLDER (Properties, Encryption)
  • Copy keys if necessary
  • Reinstall IIS

Good luck.

Categories:  Personal | Web Services
Tuesday, March 2, 2004 9:59:25 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 DRM protected single bought 

I just bought a new George Michael single - Amazing, which is distributed as a Windows Media 9 audio using DRM protection. The process works flawlessly:

  1. Enter credit card number, pay $3
  2. Get PIN number
  3. Download the single
  4. Open the single using WMP9
  5. Go through WMP personalization process, get license
  6. Enter PIN
  7. Store license
  8. Play

This gives me more control of what I own. Bye bye ITunes...

Categories:  Personal
Friday, January 23, 2004 9:44:04 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 42" Plasma Screen 

I just forked out for a new plasma screen.

This baby will be installed in my living room in two weeks time. Used to present ideas on the big screen and of course DivX and DVD.

Categories:  Personal
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 9:40:56 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Motorola MPX200 

This is what was bugging me when I was at the PDC. Since I wasn't able to bring it home, I wrote some emails asking about the local availability.

It turns out that the new Motorola SmartPhone will be available in Slovenia in about two weeks. EUR 700, with no plans for any operator chipping in.

Categories:  Personal
Thursday, November 20, 2003 10:52:34 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 The sum of all fears 

It happened. My laptop died on me and thankfully it wasn't a hardware failure, but my self assurance in knowing everything about the drivers I installed. A few months ago I turned off the Restore feature of XP, gaining a few hundred megabytes via deleted restore points. Well, it was a mistake done once, and it hurt a lot.

I needed to reinstall it completely and it took me two days to tweak everything back. I'm running the divine Windows Server 2003 now.

During the reinstall phase I played with the thought of dumping VMWare 4 and installing the new Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 (I'm currently using 8 VMs, not concurrently). I managed to read through the official newsgroup and found a lot of problems regarding Linux installations, so I decided to give it a little time. Being a Microsoft oriented person, I like to follow the other platform too. When the time comes, I'll change the setup to be run from my main server, and not locally on my laptop. It seems to me, that there are only a few places without internet access around anyhow.

Categories:  Personal
Thursday, November 20, 2003 10:46:28 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 VRoots Changed 

Since I went through a main server reinstall I also moved my sub-sites to new domain names. Lupus is now listening on http://lupus.request-response.com and my little playground page is located on http://playground.request-response.com.

Redirects from http://www.request-response.com/lupus and http://www.request-response.com/playground are not available and will probably never be. If anyone has a permanent endpoint on RSS Query web service, she will know soon. ;)

Categories:  Personal | Web Services
Sunday, November 9, 2003 1:55:12 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Newest dasBlog 

Since I have a new server I also upgraded from v1.2 to v1.4 of dasBlog.

I like it.

Categories:  Blogging | Personal
Sunday, November 9, 2003 1:11:41 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Pete Cole had the same problem 

Based on my previous posting I knew someone else would be affected too.

Today it was Pete Cole.

Categories:  Other | Personal
Monday, September 8, 2003 7:55:41 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Site reorg 

I finally found some time, so I reorganized my site layout and updated some old, old pages with the new design.

Check out the playground section.

Since vdirs have been changed, my RSS Query web service is no longer available on http://www.request-response.com/webservices/rssquery/rssquery.asmx.

It has a new home: http://www.request-response.com/playground/rssquery/rssquery.asmx.

Categories:  Personal
Saturday, September 6, 2003 9:08:11 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Swapping cars 

My dog made me swap my car. He's just too big right now (height ~65 cm, 40 kg) to be comfortable in the back seat. So I'm changing my car, which is a limousine version of Audi A4 for a caravan (Avant) Audi A4.

Hope everything goes though today. I'm just too busy to let this one take a week.

I hope Lupus stops at 85 cm. I wouldn't like driving him around in a bus. Speaking about dogs and cars, this just doesn't fit.

Categories:  Personal
Tuesday, July 15, 2003 11:20:19 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Leaving for vacation 
I'm gone for 10 days.

Vacation on Hvar, Dalmatian island. Been there last year and decided to revisit.
Categories:  Personal
Sunday, June 29, 2003 10:55:59 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Post using NewsGator 1.2 

Well, if you’re reading this, then NewsGator 1.2 is working for me. If you don’t know it already, it allows you to use Outlook as a weblog reading and posting platform. 

Categories:  Personal | Other
Wednesday, June 25, 2003 5:36:02 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Towards a spam free future 

This is an executive email from billg, regarding Microsoft's efforts to stop the cockroach of the internet [Source]. If God would choose between various mailers, I hope he/she would choose Outlook 2003, which will include an efficient spam filter (I hope).

I categorized this to Personal and Other, since it nags me and others.

Towards a spam free future

Email is such an integral part of business and everyday life today that we tend to forget how recently it became popular. The first email program was developed in the early 1970s, but for two decades the technology was hardly used except by computer scientists, researchers and hobbyists.

Not until the mid-1990s, when the growing popularity of personal computers converged with easy access to the Internet, did email become truly pervasive as a way to communicate at work, with family and with friends. Today, email is as easy to use as the telephone, and just as vital for keeping people in touch, and for improving business productivity.

Yet email's popularity has produced one very troubling side effect: spam. Unsolicited commercial email is a spreading plague that feeds off the unique power of the Internet to connect hundreds of millions of computer users around the world, at virtually no cost. Generally unwanted and often pornographic or with fraudulent intent spam is a nuisance and a distraction. Like almost everyone, I receive a lot of spam every day, much of it offering to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It's ridiculous.

What's more, spam is a drain on productivity, an increasingly costly waste of time and resources for Internet service providers and for businesses large and small. It clogs corporate networks, and is sometimes a vehicle for viruses that can cause serious damage.

Spammers often prey on less sophisticated email users, including children, which can threaten their privacy and personal security. And as everyone struggles to sift spam out of their inboxes, valid messages are sometimes overlooked or deleted, which makes email less reliable as a channel for communication and legitimate e-commerce. Spam is so significant a problem that it threatens to undo much of the good that email has achieved.

At Microsoft, as part of our drive to create a more trustworthy computing environment, we are significantly stepping up our efforts to fight spam and its pollution of the email ecosystem. Although there is no easy fix, we believe that spam can and must be dramatically reduced. We're working toward this goal on many fronts, through technological innovation and in partnership with other leaders in industry and government.

Creating New Anti-Spam Technologies and Strategies

Because spam affects consumer and business users of many Microsoft products and services, we have been working for several years on spam filters, and on tools that enable people to block unwelcome senders and designate others as safe. These tools have become available in recent versions of products such as MSN, Hotmail, Exchange and Outlook.

Recognizing the increasing urgency of the issue, we recently created a new Anti-Spam Technology and Strategy Group that brings together specialists from across the company and integrates all of our anti-spam strategy and R&D efforts.

We are building on advanced work at Microsoft Research in fields such as machine learning the design of systems that learn from data and grow smarter over time. This kind of technology is vital to the fight against spam because every defensive action causes spammers to change their attack. Technology, to be effective, must continuously adapt, without requiring a team of people to examine messages one by one. With machine learning, a "smart" spam filter can automatically adjust to spammers' shifting tactics.

A smart filter can also be customized to suit the preferences of an individual user. This is important because, although a lot of spam is pure junk, not all of it is clearly distinguishable based solely on broad, global criteria. Deciding precisely where to draw the line must ultimately be up to the individual. However, a smart filter can learn from a user's personal preferences to create a unique, anti-spam immune system that is much harder for spammers to work around.

Already, filters on the servers at MSN and Hotmail block more than 2.4 billion messages a day, before they ever reach our customers' inboxes. And to help deal with mail that survives this first hurdle, MSN 8 software includes a smart filter that becomes more effective over time as it learns the characteristics of mail that an individual customer regards as spam. This month, we updated MSN 8 with further improvements in its spam technologies, giving customers an option to block offensive images in email, and adding the ability to filter mail in languages besides English. We will offer more technology advances in a new release of MSN software later this year.

Meanwhile, we are working to create new anti-spam technologies that are even more precise, easier to use, and adaptable. And we are working to integrate them into more of our products, particularly Outlook and Exchange.

To help, we have assembled a massive and still growing database of spam, collected from volunteers among our millions of MSN and Hotmail subscribers. This database will prove invaluable later this year when we release Outlook 2003, which will include a new, smart filter that will access the database to recognize and block spam more effectively. The filter in Outlook 2003 also will be updated frequently and easily, as with Windows Update today.

Exchange 2003 includes a host of anti-spam features, including an Application Programming Interface that enables third-party providers of spam filters to easily supply solutions for Exchange customers. We plan to add our own smart filter and continue building more anti-spam capabilities into the Exchange messaging infrastructure. Our goal is to do everything we can to secure email systems with servers that monitor and control the points of entry.

As we develop new technologies, stemming the tide of spam also requires a multi-faceted approach that includes industry self-regulation, effective and appropriate legislation, and targeted enforcement against the most egregious spammers. It also calls for cooperation among the major players in the email ecosystem. In April, we joined with AOL and Yahoo! in announcing a wide-ranging set of initiatives to fight spam together. Since then, Earthlink and others have joined the effort, which involves promoting business guidelines, best practices and technical standards that can help curb spam sent or received via any online service or computing platform.

Stopping Spam At the Source

Every major provider of email services has rules against spamming. Microsoft puts significant resources into investigating consumer complaints about spam that may have originated from accounts on MSN or Hotmail. We are firm in shutting down those who violate our anti-spam account policies.

There are other challenges. For example, spammers set up many different email accounts to avoid detection, and, once detected, they move to other services. To put an end to this shell game, we are taking steps to prevent spammers from creating fraudulent email accounts in bulk. We also are working with other service providers to share information so that we can keep tabs on roving spammers and shut them down more effectively.

Government policymakers also have a role to play. We support U.S. federal legislation that would strengthen the ability of service providers to shut down spammers by suing them on behalf of customers. And we believe that the use of automated searches to harvest addresses published on the Web and in Internet newsgroups should be banned, making it much more costly and difficult for spammers to assemble mailing lists.

Bringing Spammers into the Sunshine

Government and industry working together also can put an end to spammers' deceptive practices. Spammers go to great lengths to conceal or "spoof" their identities. They relay their mail through multiple servers to hide its origins. They open multiple accounts and change to new ones frequently to avoid drawing the attention of service providers, and to improve the chances of their mail passing through spam filters. They lure unsuspecting readers by faking sender addresses ones that appear to be someone inside the recipient's company, for example.

Microsoft is working with others in the industry to identify and restrict mail that conceals its source. For example, we are working toward a system to verify sender addresses, much as recipients' addresses are verified today. The Internet addresses for all incoming mail servers are published as part of the Domain Name System, the Internet's distributed directory. That's how mail gets to the right destination. If domain administrators could also publish the addresses of their outgoing mail servers, then the receipt of a suspected forgery could trigger a relatively simple, automated verification process. Incoming servers would then be able to confirm whether senders are who they say they are.

To help fight fraudulent or otherwise illegal spam, we are cooperating with other service providers to create better mechanisms for preserving electronic evidence of spammers' activities. And we are coordinating civil lawsuits and other enforcement actions for greatest impact. On June 16, Microsoft filed 15 lawsuits in the United States and the United Kingdom against companies and individuals alleged to be responsible for billions of spam messages sent in violation of state and federal laws.

These efforts would be helped and consumers would benefit from legislation that would include clearer prohibitions against using misleading sender addresses and other false header information.

Isolating Spam

Part of the challenge in curbing spam lies in accurately identifying legitimate commercial email. What would help are guidelines defining, for example, whether and when an email is legitimate based on a previous business relationship between the sender and recipient. By drawing a clear line between spam and legitimate mail, guidelines would enable spam filters to work more precisely, and make it easier for honest businesses to stay on the right side of the line.

Developing such guidelines is the focus of talks involving Microsoft and other technology leaders, responsible marketers and consumer groups. We favor the idea of setting up independent email trust authorities to establish and maintain commercial email guidelines, certify senders who follow the guidelines, and resolve customer disputes. Similar authorities already help in protecting people's privacy online, with organizations such as TRUSTe and BBBOnline providing certification for Web sites and companies that follow guidelines on the use of customers' data.

Self-regulation needs to be supported by strong federal legislation that empowers consumers without threatening the vitality of legitimate e-commerce. Our proposal is to create a regulatory "safe harbor" status for senders who comply with guidelines. The guidelines would be subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission. Compliance would be confirmed by a self-regulatory body. Senders who do not comply would have to insert an "ADV:" label, for advertisement, in the subject line of all unsolicited commercial e-mail.

Computer users could then customize their spam filters to either accept "ADV:"-labeled mail or automatically delete it. Enabling consumers to regain control of their inboxes in this way would dramatically reduce the volume of spam by creating strong incentives for businesses to make sure their communications are consistent with best-practices guidelines developed by industry itself.

Changing the Landscape, Soon

These and other efforts across many fronts should lead to a world where we are less troubled by spam. As less of it reaches recipients and violators face stiffer sanctions for illegal activities the financial incentives for spammers will decrease, and spamming will lose much of its appeal.

At Microsoft, we're strongly committed to the goal of ending today's spam epidemic.

Bill Gates

Categories:  Other | Personal
Tuesday, June 24, 2003 9:11:30 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Cool machines 
If one is enjoying his work as much as I do, one forgets about innovations in other fields of technology. Since it's damn hot these days - at least where I live - I decided to invest in an air conditioner. It keep me from getting insane and allows our apartment never to increase over 24 degrees celsius. It works, and it works quietly. It drips water boldly from the outside unit. I love it, my girlfriend loves it, dog loves it. All for EUR 1000.

Isn't it obvious? When it comes down to money, everything is a bargain compared to feeling lousy.
Categories:  Personal
Monday, June 23, 2003 7:21:32 PM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Lupus turns 30 
Our dog - Lupus, just turned 30. Kilos. Around 60 pounds. It is a special day today, since Lupus achieved 40% of his projected body mass.

Breed? Great Dane.
Age? 19 weeks.
Categories:  Personal
Sunday, June 22, 2003 10:25:09 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


 Politically correct 
Well, starting with a self definition. I belong to this camp. I do a lot of work for this camp.
Categories:  Personal | Work
Friday, June 20, 2003 11:08:28 AM (Central Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments


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