General Internet/Links

10 Years of freedom…

Ok, so I had to make at least one post with that title this year… No matter how much that slogan is beginning to irritate the heck out of me, I just had to do it.  (Anyone know if there is a “Slogans Anonymous” or something like that I should check out?)

I saw a link via slashdot about Press freedom, which linked to the Third Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index.   And South Africa is listed 26/167… So we’re in the top 16%.

Ok, so I just now thought I should probably check to see where we were last year (2003)… We were 21/166 (Top 13%). And in 2002 we were 26/139 (Top 19%).

So the over all trend is that we’re moving up in regards to press freedom, not that I guess you could draw too much of a conclusion from only three year’s data, especially since comparing by % kinda gets affected by how many countries were ranked. Anyway… At least we’re kinda free. πŸ™‚

Development Geek food General

Feeling better…

I read Craig Paterson‘s post “I feel so much better…“, and checked out the link to “YOU ARE NOT INADEQUATE” by secretgeek.  Its really cool, and something I think a lot of us need reminding of.  I’m glad someone came out and just said it. πŸ™‚

General Humour

File extensions…

Ok, so this file extensions quiz is doing the rounds in the blogs, so here’s my result…

You are .cgi Your life seems a bit too scripted, and sometimes you are exploited.  Still a  workhorse though.
Which File Extension are You?

Now I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing or not… Is that really me?

[Update: Ok, so I took the test again… now I come out as….You are .mp3 The kids love you.  You get along with just about everybody except the music industry.  You really make yourself heard.
All just by changing 2 answers (IIRC)… Now comes the dilemma… which one am I?  Oh the strain, how will I live with this double life?  When will it end?  Who am I really? *sigh*

Ok back to reality – I wonder how many different personalities I could get if I keep answering that quiz?  Could be fun. :-)]

Geek food General

Language “syntax” pronunciation

Some time last week, I heard two programmers talking about data types in SQL, specifically VARCHAR.  Now while that might not be an odd occurrance their pronunciation of that word “varchar” intrigued me.

I prounce it “v-are-ch-are”, while they pronounced it “v-are-k-are”.

How do you standardise on such vital components of life as this? How do you enforce everyone to use the standard?

I mean, I might want to pronounce it like I pronounce its full name (“Variable Character”), so I’d pronounce it “v-air-k-ah-r” (the “ah-r” sound being the same as the start of the word “arrow”).

To me, the “ch-are” pronunciation seems to come from how I learned to say the “char” data type in pascal.  I just read it as it is written. (i.e. the “ch” became a “ch” sound, as opposed to a “k” sound) 

Now that I think about it, I’ve heard the word “variable” pronounced “v-are-i-ha-bill”, and “very-able”.

Personally I think I hear more people saying “v-air-ih-ah-bill”, “ch-are”, and “v-are-ch-are”.  What do you hear?

[Note: Your understanding of this may vary based on how you pronounce “are”, “air”, “arrow”, “able”, “very”, “ch” and “k”.  If all else fails, imagine how a brittish person would say it… well ok, not any brittish person, perhaps someone like prince charles – definately not a dock worker or cockney. (although I’ve never quizzed prince charles on the vagaries of programming vocabulary pronunciation, nor have I ever quizzed dock workers or cockney’s, nor am I trying to say that dock workers are cockneys (or vice versa), and … (I’m slowly realising that this whole post is a minefield of misinterpretation just waiting for some unwary traveler to step on it only to find their various body parts whizzing past their ears as their brain tries to piece together not only what happened and how they’ll rectify the situation, but also literally how it will manage to find all the bits and put them back together. (kinda like humpty dumpty, which is another rather culture dependant analogy for which I can provide no simple alternative)) … Basically what I’m trying to say is that YMMV, and I don’t guarantee anything regarding the coherence of this post.)]

.Net Stuff Development General

SA Developer has a new site!!!

I just saw the news that SA Developer .Net has a new look website, so I checked it out and its awesome! πŸ™‚

They’re using components from Telligent Systems’ Community Server Forums, which is really cool.  Check it out.



I finally got Telkom to put a phone line in at home.  Now that I’m finally able to connect to the internet on my home PC again, I thought I’d find a copy of XP SP2 to install on my pc.  But so far the “techies” at work have told me its a BAAAAAAAAD idea.  It aparently caused one of the PC’s at work to have so many problems that they had to re-install it, and they claim that its caused many hassles for other companies.

Since I didn’t really need to install it on my home PC till now, I haven’t been reading much about XP SP2’s stability… but their reports do worry me a bit. I say “a bit” because I tend to take their advice with a bag of salt since they’re not always known to the most skilled techie’s…. it once took them 3 days to realise that our work’s internet connection was down.

Any comments?

Geek food Internet/Links

WWDN, an Emergency signal, and IE crashes less?

Three cool items I’ve read recently…

Will (from WWdN – for the uninformed :P) posted some links to a reading he did at Gnomedex 4.0 in his post entitled “Just A Geek audio and video from gnomedex” – its a really great listen, and quite humorous.

I loved the brief mention of “Poser geeks” at the end – those who label themselves geeks because its the “in thing” or it “seems like a good idea” instead of simple just BEING a geek.  Anyway, as one who started with computers at the tender age of 6 (or thereabouts), I can fully understand the desire to distinguish between the “true geeks” and the wanna-be’s. πŸ™‚

The next thing that I found really cool was on Slashdot (I’m sure they don’t need any more google juice so I won’t link to them directly, anyway its not like I have much to give them and as a third reason – “they’re not part of the borg, nor do they tend to sympathise with the borg in any way so therefore they shall not be linked to”) Ok, but back to what I was really saying… they had an article about the TV that was producing an Emergency Signal which was picked up by a sattelite(?) and relayed back to emergency services in the US, and so the poor owner ended up with various members of the law enforcement community at his door… (At least the manufacturer gave him a new TV)… [It looks like local news has picked it up too, coz I just saw it on IOL too]

And finally, who say’s IE is buggy… Well, perhaps its buggy in many obscure ways which are not necessarily likely to be the first features thought of when its time to test the product.  But as an e-mail to BugTrack entitled “Web browsers – a mini farce” details.  He created “a trivial program to generate tiny, razor-sharp shards of malformed HTML.”

So basically the test was to see how the browsers handle bad input. His summary “All browsers but Microsoft Internet Explorer kept crashing on a regular basis due to NULL pointer references, memory corruption, buffer overflows, sometimes memory exhaustion; taking several minutes on average to encounter a tag they couldn’t parse.”  And he also says “It appears that the overall quality of code, and more importantly, the amount of QA, on various browsers touted as “secure”, is not up to par with MSIE; the type of a test I performed requires no human interaction and involves nearly no effort. Only MSIE appears to be able to consistently handle malformed input well, suggesting this is the only program that underwent rudimentary security QA testing with a similar fuzz utility.”

I guess its a small consolation in the light of all the other security flaws in IE.  IE does the basics right, but seems to have some hassles with the more complex stuff (like “security” :P), while the rest all fail with the basics.  But then if they can’t get the basics right, how do you know that the more complex stuff isn’t just as bad?


SA Developer .Net “Code-Off”

I just saw a blog by Rudolf about the Code-off that’s gonna happen in November.  He linked to an SA Dev post about it.  Sometimes I really wish blogger’s would have a “location” displayed somewhere in their blog because I was getting all excited about entering, only to find that the post on SA Dev says its an SA Dev Western Cape initiative, so us poor souls in JHB can’t enter.  (Well, I guess we could if we were to fly down for the day, but that would just not be worth it)

Come on Gauteng/JHB SA Dev leads, lets get us some of that Cape town initiative and get something going here too. πŸ˜›