A fun ride through the cyperspace
Archive for December, 2006
I don’t know where Dirk found this list, but for summing up the year it seems an adequate collection. So here we go:
- Gained or lost weight?
Gained – but stable now
- Longer or shorter hair?
- Nearsighted or farsighted?
Recent check showed increased nearsightedness – as a result I got new fancy glasses (which I intended to blog about anytime soon)
- More money or less?
- Spent more or spent less?
About the same, or maybe a slight increase. More savings though.
- Moved more or less?
More. Was able to bicycle to work more, and doing workout once a week.
- The most stupid plan?
Getting rich by AdSense
- The most dangerous endeavour?
International business travel within one day back and forth, resp. driving home from business trips after a 20h day.
- The best sex?
What is sex?
- The most expensive purchase?
Two projectors, screens and audiovisual equipment for the company, and a new dishwasher for my appartment.
- The most delicious meal?
The “4 seasons buffet” during a Canon roadshow
- The most impressing book?
“Seeker” by Jack McDevitt
- The most impressing movie?
Haven’t been to a movie theater in a while.
- The best CD?
“Love” – Beatles remastered by their original producer
- The most impressive concert?
The Celebrate! tour concert by Fiddler’s Green.
- Spent the most time with…
- Spent the most quality time with…
… my kids
- Predominant feeling 2006?
- Done for the first time in 2006?
- Done again after a long pause in 2006?
Played electric guitar
- Three things I could have well done without?
Common cold, the office move – the third is too personal for this blog.
- The most important thing I wanted to persuade someone of?
The need for PPC campaigns.
- The nicest present I gave someone?
A Rosenstolz concert ticket.
- 2006 summarized in one word:
Shortly after I moved into this new appartment, the landlord put a shared satellite dish on the roof. Given the technical infrastructure in this house all I could install was a single receiver, so the switch to satellite-TV (all I ever had before was cable-TV) brought some previously unknown inconveniences, especially the need to program TWO devices (the receiver and the VCR) in order to save a movie to tape. I followed developments of PVR’s, but the device I envisioned (combining receiver, harddisk, editing software and DVD recorder) seemed only be possible with a do-it-yourself solution based on a PC running Windows or Linux. This didn’t appeal to me due to the cost and work involved, and the “Woman Acceptance Factor” of such a solution is pretty low.
Then I found the ZapMaster PVR CI, a receiver for DVB-S (digital satellite TV) with a 160 GB harddrive and a USB-2 interface. Programming is as easy as point-and-click thanks to the internal electronic program guide (EPG), and the internal harddrive can hold approximately 40 full length movies. Recordings can be watched off the harddrive (like my weekly Stargate episodes *blush*), and every once in a while I can attach the device to my PC and download the movies I want to keep. Those movies can then be recorded to DVD-R an even be equipped with a menu and freed from ad-sections.
By far the most liberating feature however is timeshifting. At any given point during a broadcast, I can hit “Record” and from then on the current movie gets saved to the harddrive. Then I can hit “Pause” and the picture freezes, until I hit “Play” again while the recording continues in the background. The effect is stunning. I am no more the slave of the stations schedule, but it is ME who decides WHEN a movie starts. I can take bathroom breaks whenever I need them, I can take phonecalls without the need of being rude to the caller, I can grab something to eat without waiting for a commercial break. The digital VCR has freed me, and TV watching has become much more relaxed.
Well, that was quite difficult. Timeline of events:
July 2006: A co-worker started to use FON and made me reconsider the idea. As a matter of fact I had issues connecting my Laptop to the internet with my PC as router, so the idea of using FON’s Linksys router seemed a good one.
August 1, 2006: I signed up with FON, and ordered the Linksys router.
August 6, 2006: The Linksys arrived. I spent several hours to set it up, but it never worked. The documentation was “sparse” at best, and in the end I gave up. I asked my co-worker the next day, since we share the same ISP. He told me that there was a bug in the PPPoE part of the firmware, and that I have to get in touch with FON support to get a beta version of the firmware – just as he had.
August 10, 2006: I received the beta firmware, which had exactly the same version number as the regular release. I installed the firmware, and ISP logs show that it has actually connected. Still it was not possible for me to connect either with the Laptop or the PC with the internet. I emailed support again, who began asking the very same questions as before.
August 14, 2006: Again I got the beta firmware sent. Again it had the same version number. I installed it nevertheless (not trusting serial numbers anymore), but again nothing worked.
August 16, 2006: My co-worker gave me the personal email address of a FON support employee, who was told to be very helpful in similar situations. He replied a few days later, asking for specifics. Again a few days later I got the beta firmware again (same version number).
August 29, 2006: After countless emails, I gave up.
September 6, 2006: The FON support employee emailed me that the new official firmware was available on the FON website. I went there, only to find that it was still the same version number. Needless to say it didn’t work either.
September 19, 2006: FON announces the new WLAN access point “LaFonera”. In Germany, you can order it completely free (not even shipping costs). I ordered one.
October 2006: My co-worker told me his LaFonera arrived.
November 2006: Anticipating the arrival of my LaFonera, I downloaded the OpenWRT firmware for my FON-Linksys and flashed it. Configuration took less than 5 minutes, and after that the Linksys did exactly what it was designed for without anymore hassle. Finally, after 3 months, I was able to use the unit to access the internet via WLAN.
November 25, 2006: I found time to install the LaFonera. Again I ran into trouble since it used the internal network 192.168.10.x – but this was the same network the OpenWRT-Linksys used. Since LaFonera downloads its configuration from FON’s webpage upon boot, it took me a bit to set it to a different network (I needed to remove the internet connection for that), but finally I managed. But finally I could connect to the internet AND offer FON service.
Bottom line: 3 months, 17.40 EUR, countless emails, frustration and two devices instead of one – but finally it works. Given the fact that I am running a (admittedly small) part of the FON infrastructure, some more dedication in firmware development and a more responsive and skilled support would have made a whole lot of a difference.
I had a lengthy email conversation with Brian Layman a few months ago about security issues in WordPress, and the need to motivate WordPress users (who more often than not are laymen [no pun intended] themselves) to upgrade. Brian is a bit desillusioned how security issues are handled by the WordPress core team. He compiled his research and his thoughts into a rather long post, which is a must-read for all WordPress users.
If you have not updated your WordPress, do so, and do it now! Brian has a very helpful script, that allows you to update WordPress in 35 seconds. What are you waiting for?
The most recent issue of the Google Friends newsletter contained an explosive piece of information:
Finally, orkut no longer requires an invite — anyone can sign up for an account.
Sorry, Google, but nobody cares anymore. Orkut was in elitist beta for too long. Now social networks like MySpace have taken the lead. Better luck next time.
I had a speaking engagement in Frankfurt the last two days, and I decided to take the ICE train. The ride to Frankfurt was nonstop and took exactly 99 minutes, at a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), and since we started rather early the better part of the journey was during sunrise. About half of the ride was in fog, and that gave the whole travel a ghostly/otherworldly athmosphere.
On the ride back I was seated immediately behind the “cockpit”. In the image, the bag on the left side on the last seat is mine. The view was spectacular, and the feeling of speed was much more present than from a normal seat. Unfortunately, I could only ride until Cologne and then had to change trains, so that the journey back took almost twice as long as the ride the day before.
The speaking enagegement at the German Reprographic Association went pretty well. I enjoy speaking to crowds as well as to small groups, and the attendees on both days were very attentive, had intelligent questions and were responsive to the subject.