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User Journal

Journal Journal: AIM again kills bots it doesn't own

For a while now I have been running a bot to serve out RSS feeds. The bot runs on four networks (AIM, MSN, Yahoo and Google talk) and is subscription only. A few weeks ago I noticed that it was having problems connecting to AIM. It was reporting the username and password were incorrect. I was puzzled as I hadn't changed these since I created the account. I tried mailing AOL to attain why they killed the account with no reply. So I created another account to serve the bot and again it was killed, and again no warning or response from AOL. This is somewhat insulting as AOL added its bots to the friend list of all their users yet they kill other peoples bots without any explanation.
User Journal

Journal Journal: IM BBS: news directly to your instant messenger

I have been working on this IM BBS idea for a couple of weeks now. Its basically a bulleting board which you can connect to using your instant messenger. Currently the most useful function is the direct RSS link delivery. Every time there is a new entry in an RSS feed you are subscribed to the thing messages you the story and a link. Much more convenient to receive an interrupt than polling by repetitively hitting refresh on the slashdot page.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Shocking! People who drink coffee like Java

I have had some time off recently so I concentrated on my pet projects. One of these being a "mapper" to find people who are similar and group them together. Its working quite well and the php frontend is very easy to write. So far I have just made up some little pointless questions (a lot of them were submitted by others). Strangest thing is the correlation between the different maps.
For example this is a map of Tea vs Coffee has a very similar layout as the C vs Java
Shocking! People who drink coffee like Java

User Journal

Journal Journal: Google spying 1

I noticed today that Google seems to link to redirection pages rather than directly to the sites. This is a strategy used by many search engines to get more information about the search hits. Although I don't mind google using information of my browsing habits, I heavily rely on the recently seen links appearing in a different colour. This behaviour appears to be cookie based and only one of the four accounts I use seems to be affected. The redirection address is in the form of "" I'm not sure as to what the e=??? is about nor do I know how to turn it off (without clearing cookies). I do hope this is not the end of google as it tries to squeeze every last penny out of the site.

User Journal

Journal Journal: KMD a nice graphical debugger

I have finally released KMD version 0.9.11 under GPL.

KMD is a graphical debugger. It can debug hardware over
serial ports such as the Manchester ARM Board or with software
emulators (ARM and MIPS emulators are included in the project). Using the
pipe option you can debug over the network or any other communication
medium. It can load many executable formats such as ELF and display and
follow the original source even from multiple source file programs. There
is support for breakpoints and watchpoints which can trap specific
instructions (such as loading or executing specific instructions).
Support for other features such as FPGA's is also available, allowing
loading or any control required to drive a specific hardware device. The
project uses chump to allow
disassembly and line assembly. Chump also allows
new architectures to be easily added without the need to recompile the
system. Communication with the backend is done using two pipes/fifos using
a simple set of codes. Back end communication program can be created using
very little memory on the target device.


Journal Journal: Scary Scary Sci-Fi icon 1

Is it just me or is the Sci-Fi logo the scaryest thing ever? Whenever I see it I an just skip past the story as I am too scared to look at it. Just look at it! Look at its evil eyes! It wants to suck out your brain.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Distributed Mirror Project (Stop the /. effect) 3

I was thinking about doing this for some time and after considering some rather complex methods I decided that this one is as good as any.
"Distributed Mirror Project" is a method of creating mirrors and distributing the information that you are hosting a mirror to others. There are two main sections of it.
Firstly there is your end. Using a script you can easily make a mirror of a site and then submit the information that you have a mirror of a site or a file to the server site.
The other end is the server site which collects the information about the mirrors. It then allows users to search for mirrors of sites or files.
Its really as simple as that. The download a site and submit the information to a mirror server script is three lines. The server end is a little more complex but I am very happy about the way its working so far.
Try it out. (It won't work with some characters yet but thats next on the todo list)


Journal Journal: China's 64bit homegrown CPU

EE Times is reporting on China's BLX IC Design Corp nearing the completion of their first 64-bit CPU. Based on the MIPS instruction set the 500-MHz Godson-2 microprocessor is aimed toward distributed grid computing. To avoid MIPS patent issues, several instructions (unaligned loads and storeds in the 32 bit version) have not been implemented but with the support of over 60 software providers such as Red Flag Linux and the ability to tweak compilers to not use these instructions this should not be a problem. The Godson-1 processor (also patent free) was announced last year and was aimed at the embedded market. Although there are no patent issues MIPS have been known to be very aggressive toward people who try to create compatible systems.


Journal Journal: USB power with everything 3

When I was making the webcam the only way to get the power out of the PC was to do this. I was wondering why there is no external power connectors for things such as modems, hubs, external zip drives etc. I concluded that none of the companies would agree on the standard and there wouldn't be that much demand for it anyway.
A couple weeks ago I decided to buy a tiny ikkle network hub. I went for the Gigabyte SW005 and as a very cute feature it not only comes with a power adaptor but also with a usb power lead. As you can very easily use up two extension leads to plug in two computers along with all their peripherals I thought the idea was great.
And what happened to my theory that there simply isn't any demand for power from a PC connections? Well how far can I get from the truth. You can now get lights, toothbrushes, heat blankets and hot drinks cups (note it works on Mac as well as Win!). All all wasting valueable USB ports (only one or two on a laptop).
So what does Mr "No one will want those" have to say? I think they will start making USB power only connections on planes, in hotel bathrooms, and coffee shops. Everything will be USB powered. One of my least liked connectors powering everything and me being frustrated because I can't tell which way is up on the things. Ah well, at least I don't have to carry those plug converters.

Sun Microsystems

Journal Journal: Sun reveals UltraSparc road-map till 2005 2

Two (interestingly similar) articles from zdnet and businessweek report on Sun's revelations of future processors during an analyst conference in San Francisco. The UltraSparc IV will have two UltraSparc III cores on chip and will ship in 2004 on a 130nm process. UltraSparc V will arrive in 2005 and promises 5x more throughput than current processors. But the most exciting processor seems to be the Niagara server on chip. It uses several simpler cores on chip to allow fast execution of multi-threaded processes. The Niagara will also "extensively utilize asynchronous circuitry" as will UltraSparc VI and VII according to the register


Journal Journal: I <hart> perl 2

I wrote this cool little link page and thats when I had the realisation.
Yes finally after years of denieing that interprited languages are useful I had to admit that I may have been wrong. I started writing perl.
Its been many years since I said "everything should be written in assembly" (I regret this now). I then moved to C and now I accept that perl is nice. I'm in two minds about this.
Eather like getting older you move towards the right wing politicly and become more of an arsehole.
Or you become older and more wiser and are no longer so bigheaded to try the "dark side" and accept that although it you might not pour it into your tea every time it still tastes nice. (as a change)


Journal Journal: Where are all the quickies gone? 1

Lawrence Lessig
A great talk by Lawrence Lessig at ASCON 2002. Listen to it on my site or the original. He discusses the history of copyright and its impact on today's society. To be taken with a pinch of salt but very interesting. Makes a refreshing change to see a lawyer trying to make the world more fair and free rather than only caring about money. (I am aware it was already on slashdot).
AARRGGGG its war!
This is a real popup I got today. This is fantastic stuff! Its like being in the 50's and digging nuclear bunkers but with a deeper capitalist twist. Do you want to kill your children? Luckily in the UK we have a ton of these pills (Iodine) to be distributed to the public.
Where are all the quickies gone?
Well where are they? I always liked them. They were sort of not so serious quick breaks from work. I want them back! Join me comrades in this quickie revolution and establish the return of the quickie!

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Am I allowed to express my opinions?

A few weeks ago I was on slashdot reading and replying to comments on the asynchronous computers story.
As someone who researches asynchronous logic I get a little excited about stories like this but also feel this strange compelling desire to help morons try and fight their inability to find the other side of the coin.
I sent a few posts explaining to people that maybe the stuff that they have learned about at school electronics and thus making them the world expert of the matter and dribble on on slashdot for hours explaining why everyone is wrong might be in fact NOT the only method of doing things!
But even worse than the typical slashdot geeks who recall their school education and believe in nothing else than what "Mr Smith my IT teacher said" are the sad geek wannabees.
You know the ones. The ones who have no idea about the topic but are very very keen. Unfortunately due to their total lack of engineering skills they didn't make it as engineers.
But luckily their five minute memory span was exactly enough to remember and regertutate what someone told them is going to be the "next big thing".
Having no recollection of what happened more than five minutes ago helped them to predict and convince their managers that the future is in: Java, Intraweb, .net, C# or anything else some marketing presentation decided to stick in their heads.
After all not only are these people easy to convince but they themselves are very convincing to others. You cant get a better liar than someone who doesn't know they are lying.
Unfortunately there is enough of these trend followers that you can get the whole world to do anything you want. Lets say you want the world to only use my: OS, ID cards, mechanically recovered chicken burgers ...
Spend all your money on the marketing presentation. And the product? Well who cares about it until its accepted anyway? By then you will be rolling in it so you will be able to spare some cash that way.
Except for one little thing. Patents, patents and more patents. You might not know what your product is yet so your patents will have to be very broad.
So how do you convince the world with no products? That's the simple part, once you have gained a critical mass of idiocy then the others will fall with the rest.
Who cares if your product has its already been done? As long as you have enough people believing in you the little people thinking you might be wrong get destroyed on the sidelines.
Trying to convince the people at the top who have never been wrong to not go down the route some marketing presentation has showed is quite difficult. And probably impossible. But I stupidly try again and again.
So when I read a message like "What about company X? I went to their presentation and they told me they were the best so I will tell everyone else." where I have also been to company X's presentations and read about 10 of their papers and found their approach to be based on marketing hype I cry.
Unfortunately I didn't just cry. I was feeling stupid so I decided to inform the party that company X was pants and their contribution to the real world was somewhere between nil and confusion.
They then replied showing exactly what I feared. They did just go to one presentation and their whole perception of the real world was based on the one maybe two hours exposure to this company's corporate strategy.
This is where I should have stopped, why should I care if there is one less moron with his foot stuck in an animal trap? They will just jump head first into another one.
But something inside me said 'This person cares, they want to know the trough, tell them, tell them'.
So I explained the company's basis and why its wrong. I didn't stop there. I also stated my belief that they seem to also apply the business strategy stated above.
As a little aside. I advise you not to do this. Although companies will state this fact to future investors as these company models make a hell of a lot on money they don't want everyone else to know.
So phrases like "We have developed an aggressive patent program" is ok. It tells investors that their business will be profitable but doesn't reveal any wrong doing.
But phrases like "Patent now think later" is not ok. They have spent considerable amount of time trying to confuse everyone into submission and do not appreciate their drones being shown the light.
So how do you stop someone badmouthing your company strategy online? Well you have two options.
The first is to ask the person directly for evidence of their opinions and if they cannot produce any then ask them to withdraw their statement.
The second is much more interesting. You don't have to threaten the person directly. After all a lawsuit will cost you more than the person is worth.
You simply plead ignorance and claim you thought the person was speaking on behalf of the company where top people sat down in a meeting and after several hours of deliberating they decided to send a comment on a random web site.
But Im not bitter. Its not as if any of this has happened. And companies like that don't exist anyway. Why would good people believe and suck up to them anyway?
These aren't even my opinions, at least I dont think I am allowed them. They sure as hell are not opinions of my employer.

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