June 2005 Archives

I obviously feel my weekly posts about The Inside can get a bit repetitious, but I can't tell you enough, how after last week's less than fantastic episode, this week's was spectacularly on the mark. The character interactions within the team were particularly wonderful this week, all of them. And very very very funny. "Cuz that's what I do".

But yes, Jane Espenson episode, which begs the question who did the very similar episode in Angel. Nanny from Wonderfalls is the featured guest, which turns out well. Their problematic endings are a particular weakness, but the episode was still very good, if only because the interplay of the characters' dialogue was wonderful. And the fluttering flag over the fence. "Either one of you? No."

They're lighting Rachel Nichols differently, more harshly I think, which is probably their assuredly subtle way of signalling her role in the episode.

TorrentSpy is your friend. I'm not sure, but I get the feeling that the ratings did, at least marginally, better. Apparently I was wrong, it's more or less been holding steady at what's considered a non-competitive dismal.

Apparently my Aunt has started a little e-mail campaign to get extended family members to vote for my cousin Alex (who I've not seen in years), who helped design this display. It's all part of this Design Awards thing, where they're having a people's choice award - having actually already given out all the awards that are worth a damn (my cousin's got a gold award). My cousin's team's contribution is the Ambient Experience for Healthcare - the idea of which is actually quite wonderful.

What it is (from what I understand) is an effort to make the experience of an MRI machine less intimidating. As anyone who's watched any medical drama (House in particular), MRIs can be very stressful - leading to a great deal of claustrophobia and stress at the very loud noises and enclosed spaces that accompany it. Ambient environments would then have a genuine medical application, from what I understand, since people who are more relaxed will tend to move less - and the less movement there is, the more accurate the scan will be. Which is good too for the patient, not having to go through the experience again to get a proper scan.

But yes, I always point out (rather silly-ly) that it's a Philips MRI machine in House (well, most of House season 1 anyway). That's the wages. So while it's probably unlikely that my cousin had that much to do with the machine itself (or not, whatever), the display here seems like a worthy enough thing to vote for. Certainly better than Apple Fanboy-ware (who would have thought, eh?) - the Smack-Mini and the iPod-Snuff-Film.

Despite the fact that I really quite like both the idea and the implementation, I can't begin to describe what must the immense amount of vote rigging that must be going on for their display to currently be in the lead - to a comical extent. Once you've voted (for him of course), you'll see that they are currently leading at 57% of the vote in what is really a very crowded field. And I mean I have no particular compunctions on the rigging of votes in this case - if it can be rigged, whose fault is that; just as long as the fuckers from Apple don't get it.

Notice though, that in the Environments category, my cousin's team got Gold to Team America: World Police's Silver.

My Intellimouse's scrollwheel was acting up, so I decided to take it apart. The article was very helpful, mostly by pointing out that the screws you need to take the fucker apart are underneath the back feet - mine didn't have front screws. The rest are instructions on how to fix the cabling issues you might get, which I don't because I have fasteners on my very lovely func.net mouse-pads. I might have to get more of this stuff before I go over. But yes, easy as pie, once you know how. I feel it gives me mastery over my mouse now. But contrary to my earlier beliefs, no extra weight - though I'll have a look at the others to make sure.

nigella.jpgJust for fun I thought I'd upload Nigella's interview off NPR, which I found via her Wikipedia article. It's at points rather moving, and she gestures in a way that I find quite wrenching.

I had been reading up on her in part because I've been watching very early episodes of HIGNFY, and they seemed to take great delight in pillorying Nigel Lawson, her father, who was, or had just recently ended his tenure, as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I don't wonder that she would have turned out as conservative as she probably is. Or that her appearance on HIGNFY so many years later would have had the tenor it did. Though certainly it could well be the case that nothing had really anything to do with anything.

So yes, sure you could listen to the stream but this way you can keep the file - though you could as easily rip the thing with NetTransport, as I did. You'll probably have to register first, and then say hi to me, so I can make you a VIP.

Image from the BBC, found via my new favorite thing, the MSN image search.

This was really just the last straw:

The Supreme Court ruling is set to have a devastating effect on P2P networks. Though hobbyists may continue to write file-sharing software away from American jurisdiction, reputable investors are likely to steer clear of any commercial P2P operations for fear of legal repercussions there. The legitimate uses for P2P technology will suffer a severe setback and developers of any future technologies will have to consider possible illegitimate applications before unveiling innovative software or gadgets.

Those "hobbyists" are the ones who actually do most of the work of software authoring, whether for pay at their day jobs, or as contributors to Open Sauce Projects. To be honest I'm glad that corporations can no longer participate in the grubby business of bundling spyware into half-assed P2P apps. As critical as I can be of Open Sauce, when it comes to the eyepatch-jockey stuff, there's really no beating them. If you want the bleeding edge stuff, you're doing to find it in eMule and Azureus, not from Microsoft.

One of ISOHunt's taglines pithily sums up the reality of the situation: "Where did half the internet's bandwidth go?"

If people are moving to using crippleware services, that's up to them, but the overwhelming majority (let me say that again: overwhelming majority) of what is going on is still going on far beyond the ken of geriatrics. People who say otherwise are just plain lying and spreading FUD - or worse, don't even know they're lying.

There are times when you might think the Economist is simply trying its best to steer a moderate course through extremity; but sometimes they are just cluelessly, and comically, out of touch. And they had to annoy me with that fucking hair.

One word, 3 letters: Arr.

I must have somehow missed all this stuff, or I'm just on the wrong feed. All of which is untrue, because for some reason the categories in ISOHunt aren't definitive when it comes to indexing this stuff, apparently - either that or they were hiding somehow, because they didn't show up on TorrentSpy, much to their chagrin. Which is all the more annoying, since these are all on prominent trackers/aggregators, like Piratebay, or Mininova.

Anyway, here's a list of the shows, most of which can be found searching through TV.com, or sheer ingenuity:

The Loop, Still Life, The Robinsons Lost In Space, Reunion, Just a Phase, Bones, Rocky Point, Prison Break, Supernatural, Everybody Hates Chris, Like Cats and Dogs, Out of Practise.

Torrents for you to torrent with can be found this convenient ISOHunt search results page.

The Weekend In Opera

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The reason, presumably, why so many news organisations do "features" on the weekend would be because there's literally no news. Though from the looks of it, still readers, simply unable to find fresh content. I'll probably have to endeavour to do more feature-like posts on the weekends then, since I've got to find a way to amuse myself. Hopefully idle people like me will do similar things, for all our collective amusement.

But yes, everyone is away from work, including journalists, and presumably most people who have lives decide that smurfing is something they tend to do at work to skive-off rather than anything else.

People like me, however, try their hardest to think up of story ideas about Opera, and what next to write about. Hence what I've posted in the last day or so. I actually write down ideas and go back to them when I run out of news being reported.

For better of worse, the ideas I've been having are often derived from the West Wing. One is to retell what occurs between Stackhouse and Bartlett, where Stackhouse relates being told by Josh a story about the tendency of new pilots. The other is about Josh and the civil rights lawyer up for confirmation as Asst. Att. General, Breckenridge I think - ie: Dixon from Alias; talking about the Pyramid on the back of the dollar bill.

In case you didn't know, Opera Composer has just been relaunched for Opera 8, so that if you are an ISP or company, you can distribute your own customised version of Opera. Basically it's a way for companies to provide their own skin for Opera, since that's the part of the process that allows for the most customisation. So you can have your own company's graphics showing up etc. If only to remind them that Big Brother sees all smurfing :).

Other fun things include the ability to activate the personal bar by default, and add certain links/urls to it. You could even provide your own custom bookmarks file, though for some reason that doesn't include an option to turn on the personal bar. Most fun of all, you can even rebrand the browser, such that people could now be going around smurfing with their own customised fallingbeam.org browser.

I suppose the point of Composer is more towards showing off what Opera can do rather than a be all and end all tool for companies. I'd assume that if your company wanted to populate its thousands of seats with Opera, Opera would step and customise it up the ying yang for you. So they're offering a limited version of what can be customised for the benefit of the small to medium sized business, that still likes to do things themselves, and know how.

Now my problem with that is that I'm sure companies that want to do it themselves would probably want quite a bit of control over the product that's sent to their workforce. Just one example would be the ability to customise the search.ini. I'm not saying that Opera should disregard its bottom line and not put the paid default searches there, I'm just saying that allowing people to insert, even as default perhaps, a search field to search their company's website etc.

I mean, I'm sure it can't be difficult. The last I checked, the Opera installers I downloaded are simply archives with the installation files inside, so if they could be edited in the archive, that would be a nice way of tweaking without giving away too much of Opera's intellectual property. Certainly a little documentation couldn't hurt. If you could just drag and drop customised .ini files, skins and setup files into a folder in the install archive, that would really be the bees-knees.

Though it's now occurred to me that why Opera might not do this is that it could be abused by people putting dodgy (ie: malicious) files in the installers - but they they could just as easily exploit browser flaws in the default bookmarks.

In the end though, I think at the very least, there might be options to enable the personal bar when you have a custom bookmarks file, simple things like that, that seem like inconsistencies within the Composer interface, would make companies think just a bit longer about how easy Opera makes it for them to switch. And really, it would project a much more robust and professional image for Opera to put forward to its potential big customers.

Basically what I'm saying is that if you can upload a opera.adr file to customise, and can upload a custom created skin, why not allow that functionality for any number of .ini files?

On The Fidelity of Status

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Boo Hoo, Poor Me, I have too many friends. 2 things for you, "Busy" and "Ban User?".

I know that some people are particularly conscientious, putting themselves as "On The Phone" or something when that's the case. Annoying people, however, do one of two things. They set themselves as perpetually "Away", or as perpetually "Online". The particularly annoying ones set themselves to sign in as Invisible. Anyway the Away thing is very evident in MSN, since you've applied the mess.be patch, and can differentiate between when a use is Idle, or setting him/herself as Away. But regardless the effect is much the same, to discourage people from sending you messages.

Telling people to fuck off has always been effective enough for me, you should try it.

I always feel like an idiot messaging people when I'm not sure whether they're in front of their computers or not, and it's pissing me off. Sure people can pounce on you - Deal with it. And then set yourself to "Fuck off and stop pouncing".

Gave your work colleagues your personal IM account and regretted it? Get another one. Or use another protocol, like ICQ or something.

Considering AOL used to own Mozilla, this is all the more infuriating. Basically you need to ID as IE to get in. Something that wasn't exactly mentioned in the Inq's otherwise glowing review of the service. After signing up/in for the service, I appear unable to do anything complicated, like say read mail or change settings.

If you don't ID as IE, you get sent to the wonder that is their "supported software" list, which doesn't provide for any way to move forward with your registration.

This might be an annoyingly big deal, especially as Opera tries to break further into the US market, where AIM claims a large portion of the IM scene. Who would have thought someone could get it even more wrong that Microsoft? At least Hotmail works now, even if we can continue to ignore MSN.com, because, well, it's rubbish.

AIM.com. I started a thread. Since it's one of my pet peeves, I'll point out the knuckle-dragging idiocy, not to mention the hideous double standard, of the fact that sites insist that they are able to support SoFurry on the Mac, but can't get their act together for Opera - especially since their market shares aren't that dissimilar (and especially not if you consider the potential inaccuracies of how those stats are derived).

Edit: huh, it appears Proxomitron was at fault in blocking the page loading properly - but the blocking of non-IE-ID'd Opera is bad enough, and made worse by the fact that it might otherwise work (vaguely, it was crawling while I was trying it out). - now that it's not crawling quite as much, I was right above, reading/writing mail is too difficult for them to make work.

If you want an e-mail service that isn't stupid, and offers you free IMAP as well, check out the wonder that is Fastmail.fm. Or get your own domain and hosting and offer other people the chance to get fallingbeam.org e-mail accounts.

Edit 2: I suppose I should make clear that personally I'm of the opinion that Webmail is for fuckwits. I take issue with browser sniffing here mainly on principle.

On close inspection, I can do enough in Opera so that I can use the AIM.com address for IMAP, and they helpfully provide SMTP, which is nice. So really if you wanted to think of it that way, if you desire a free account, you'd go for GMail for pop3 and AIM.com for IMAP. Theoretically you'd be able to use them without ever seeing the web interface except to sign up.

But at least GMail works in Opera. But GMail still functions on invitation only, whereas AIM. I can guarantee you your favoured fallingbeam.org account isn't taken up yet :).

Microsoft Update is supposed to be the new be all and end all place to update your MS software - superceding Windows Update. You can access it, I think, by going to http://update.microsoft.com, or you can convert your windowsupdate link in the IE toolbar (tools, windows update) by using the IE link, and then following the instructions on the right hand side boxes about Microsoft Update - it'll install a MS Update in your start menu and convert the link in IE. Basically it saves you going to both Office and Windows update. (yeah, update.microsoft.com doesn't do anything special quite yet, you have look at the "news" section on the right hand side of the Windows Update page, and move your computer to MS Update manually)

Updating Windows is not optional. If in doubt, make sure you have a clean bill of health from XP's (SP2) Security Center, under Control Panel. If you need free antivirus, at least for 12 months at a time, try the one that has the least drain on system resources, from Computer Associates.

@Max Tray Player is a wonderfully small and easily tucked away in the system tray (screenies on the site), so that I don't have to use WMP to play music. Very spanky and worth a look - esp if you don't want to lose your place in your video file just to play some music. And the interface is so tiny and tucky.

In case you're curious, the updated keygen for XP SP2, that generates the valid product keys, manages to bypass all of this nonsense of people having problems validating, and genuine advantage blah blah. How I would know that, I couldn't tell you.

I can't remember quite what exactly sparked it off in my head, but I suddenly felt the need to listen to a particular Jessica Simpson song. Of course I know it because, unlike the rest of you, I wasn't some silly Newlyweds-come-lately. Of course Louis always seemed to have a particular fascination with the whole female teen pop thing that for so long obsessed so many - epitomised so much by Britney and Christina. So being who I am, I decided to explore the lunatic fringe of blonde female pop singers of the period - and hence, Billie, Hoku, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, M2M, even perhaps that spooky one that did unforgivable sinner.

So yes, I wanted to listen to this song off of Irresistible, but not the one that channeled whoever I thought it channeled at the time (I think it was Michael Jackson), Hot Like Fire, or one of those. I wanted to listen to What's It Gonna Be - which sticks to me because I associate it so readily with Mariah's own unforgettable summer anthem, Always Be My Baby. I sometimes think to myself, and I can't remember if it was Tupac who said it, but someone (ODB?) said that having been in prison really made you understand what you were missing when Mariah came on the radio, and that those who poohed it just in some way didn't quite get it.

But yes, Jessica Simpson's song wasn't the first of that kind, and obviously there was a reason for that, because she was, in Tommy Mottola's mind, the next Mariah, so she was given all the same shapers and mouldings that Mariah was. And she was still married during Fantasy. So previously there had been I Think I'm In Love, which I found out later samples Jack and Diane, a John Mellencamp song that is widely known and popular.

John Mellencamp I bought an album off of the strength of the one single he put out, which sadly was a cover, and which I approached because of the association that song had with Me'Shell NdegéOcello - who I had seen If That's Your Boyfriend off of. Wild Night. And that video, the former, had featured a rather hot blonde woman slipping rather fetchingly into a pair of jeans in her undies at the beginning of the video before she went of to be a cab driver, as you do. The latter had been poor babied by Madonna, who just told her to get on with it and she did.

I should have been married to Mariah at 12.

The Chills of Dave Gorman

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I can't tell you how wonderful it is, this thing I've just watched. It's cosmically and artistically breathtaking, and it's also unerringly funny. I can't stress enough to you how blown away I was at watching this. I got it off UKNova, but you might want to try these off TorrentSpy, though I can't be sure they're the right ones.

The premise would just sound silly if I told it to you, but if you must you can search for it online, I think the search will really just augment the experience.

I'm telling you, really, watch this, you won't regret it. I haven't watched the subsequent episodes yet, but as with so many things, within the first couple of minutes or seconds, I knew, from that tiny sample, that this is something was wonderful, that I would want to watch, and that I would watch.

Apparently security only applies to things that IE deigns to consider as flaws - so when a new way comes out to exploit design flaws in a browser that is many many years old, you just point to the sign on the door that says - bugs? patches? security? you do realise we're *Microsoft* right?

I mean, to be fair, just because a security firm says something is dangerous doesn't mean it is, but surely there can be no harm in helping out the people who buy your products? I can't see how Opera's way of handling the flaw is anything other than an enhancement of the browsing experience.

And as I've mentioned, if it's not a big deal to patch something, even if you/other people don't see it as a flaw, why not just do it as a gesture of good faith, as a concession to the public's (perhaps sometimes irrational) fears? I mean it's not as if IE is refusing to patch on principle to fend off the wages of paranoia.

And so there's a reason why it's worth it (yes, this is a Loreal ad) to use a browser that actually is in active development, rather than waiting for the vapourware that is the perpetually phantom IE 7 - which won't even begin to catch up with the features and agility of Opera.

Check the box, whoa-oh.

Apparently we all should fall on our knees and thank the Advertising Gods that we are allowed the *privilege* of having Flash, animated gifs, viagra ads etc. peddled to us on a daily basis. I'm shaking so hard I came in my pants.

I've done very extended spiels about my attitude towards ad-blocking, in particular, ad-blocking in Opera. Basically, despite the fact that I'm an unflinching supporter of rationalisation, ie things paying for themselves, I choose to block ads like they called my momma a ho.

If you want to block ads so aggressively your head will start spinning, have a look here. Opera certainly isn't going to help you out there.

So yes: Hey, cocksuckers - no one actually *likes* ads. Neither do I like you threatening me - view my ads or I'm going to take the InterWeb away. Pull the other one, you fucking moron.

Until I've lived in your apocalyptic world where newpapers (what are those anyway?) are $5 - following which the skies will open up and rain blood - you can bite my shiny metal ass. Kill all humans.

Advertisers really have to discover for themselves that they've got to stop annoying the fuck out of people long enough for them to give a flying fuck.

Between proxomitron and bittorrent, I haven't seen an ad for months.

I wonder whether they realise how absurd they can seem sometimes spouting the nonsense that they do.

theinside_gallery.jpgNow that I've got the drama that is Opera out of my system I can get back to the joyful act of writing about The Inside.

This episode wasn't quite as good as the others so far. That said, there are some things that are intensely enjoyable about it, not least Katie Finneran and Adam Baldwin getting very very gratifying moments.

And of course a post cannot go by without my mentioning how lovingly the show presents Rachel Nichols - though in this episode it wasn't quite as fluent, and wasn't quite as rigorous as it has been. Much too much of a concept episode - particularly in establishing the premise of the show - but those are normally the episodes they just have to get out of their system before they move on.

Whatever it is, if you're not already watching it, you must be waiting for me to mercilessly mock you into doing so. Anyway, I like making things just that bit easier, so even if you've missed the first two, you can still catch up.

Edit: Apparently the ratings aren't getting any better, basically getting creamed by Dancing With The Stars, and below even that of the reruns. I don't know what it bodes, but they're showing back to back episodes of it next week, July 6th.

I posted this on Haavard's bog, but I'm just so clever I can't help quoting myself,

My perspective on what the reporter did is simple. You guys were using them to get your message out. They use you guys to get a good story. What exactly is it about that arrangement that you guys pretend not to understand? http://newblog.fallingbeam.org/blog/archives/2005/06/opera_crimes_mi.html

There's times when people rending their garments about how the media treats them becomes very much like a surreal version of crying wolf.

The idea that Opera and Firefox are going to hold hands and skip is simply a rather carnivalesque fantasy. My suggestion is that you put a leash/muzzle on your CEO, and learn how to put a more professional face on what it is that you do (and do well) - after all, you guys (unlike other attack dogs) are the ones getting paid for it.

You see, that's what happens when you don't do trackbacks.

Olli replied, so I replied back:

I'm not saying you asked ZDNet to write you a rather ambivalent article - that'd be just silly. Someone approached someone and you guys had a chat - the understanding being, on your part at least, that you were going to get good press about the fact that you have a good browser (because you do).

But in case someone didn't tell you, reporters write stories they think will interest people, they don't re-print press releases for you. The press aren't the people with whom companies like yourselves hold hands and skip.

Of course what he said was entirely true (which I made very clear in my post) - that's not the point. If you say the words, they will print it - that's what they do.

Lashing out at the press is probably as helpful as your lashing out at browser stats companies - I'm sure you could get a lot more done if you asked them nicely. And if they say no, then you can wail about it in public. I again refer you to: http://newblog.fallingbeam.org/blog/archives/2005/06/opera_crimes_mi.html

The fact that the issues raised are still there to be raised, begs the question why these things aren't already resolved. If there was no tension, no notion of Firefox and sugar daddies, he wouldn't say the words, even in jest, and the reporter wouldn't bother - it's only juicy because there's something behind it and people can smell it. Which part of this being called "browser wars" don't you guys understand?

You guys do great things when you throw down the gauntlet and challenge the other browsers - like Hakon did with CSS compliance - but you have to be in the driver's seat, not being taken for a ride by some hack of a journalist.

Sometimes their media strategy is fantastic, like how the ended up handling the whole PCWorld debacle (not how they got into it though) - but sometimes they're just nowhere.

Nigella on HIGNFY

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Honestly it had been the reason I actually got the whole wodge that got shoved, and well worth it. Nigella really is so very fetching, so very tartly regal in her minxy saucy manner. It must have been that period when those shirts were in vogue, since she was stretching out Delia's name. She didn't really say that much, but she looked so very focused and determined, and not a bit defensive, not a bit conservative. I suppose wafts of antipathy encourage those things. Very much the face of a younger conservatism, desiring not to suffer fools.

And she really does look like - :D. Less disperse, one would suspect.

It really was quite enjoyable, very squeal-worthy.

Thanks to OperaWatch's rather helpful Link Blog, the Holy Grail of Opera Fanboy-dom has come my way. Basically some poky company or other (whose website doesn't validate, by the way) claims that 1 in 10 sites fail to provide access to smurf-tools other than IE. And that this potentially leads to a loss of revenue and users for those sites.

It's amazing how they can do a piece on this (and the company can do a survey on it) USING ONLY FIREVOLE. They didn't even have the temerity to include Safari, as seems to be the trendy thing nowsadays. Opera user's litany has always been that we are, if not the cleverest and most well endowed of all smurfers, at least (like SoFurry's Mac-Tax paying heathens) the ones who are most comfortable spending money - and spending money online.

Not that their rather alarmist tone isn't a bit welcome, and that other than with regards to browsers sniffing, I've yet to see a FireVole compatible site that Oprah can't handle - but Oprah users well know that the vast majority of spites work fine (if not better) in Oprah. The only real anemones are the ones that specifically work to block Oprah with their annoyingly silly sniffing fetish. Oprah even holds developers' hands through their user-string, and still the bastards don't listen. Will there never be justice in the world?

Apparently SciVisum (sounds dirty doesn't it?) has been sounding the gong for a while now, as their Press page (which strangely enough denotes the Other Plaice under that description) shows.

This standard disclaimer seems strange: "SciVisum is independent of all web technology providers, and do not build or manage web sites" - well, honestly, it shows - and they need to check themselves before they wreck themselves. Word.

I've never found Ctrl-Alt-V quite so useful before :) - it allows Oprah users to validate pages.

As I mentioned, I had wanted to do a piece on Opera's very conscientious handling of security - on all fronts, especially the way they handle their relationships with security firms. The new (admittedly minor) phishing exploit that just popped up, seems as good a catalyst as any.

I was surprised to find, and perhaps even more annoyed that most "news" organisations failed to mention, that Opera has this already fixed in 8.01. Presumably, as I think most of these things go, the various vendors had been informed of this some time ago, but most figured it was too small an issue to be addressed like there's no tomorrow. And obviously Opera was already issuing a security release in the form of 8.01 for 3 other vulnerabilities, so the fact that they plugged the release before it was even publicised could well be seen as coincidence.

That's not how I see it.

Opera takes security seriously. There's hardly been a case where they haven't released an update in prompt anticipation of the security company publishing the exploit. With most other browser vendors, it's normally the other way around, the exploit gets published and then the company/foundation is shamed into fixing it - even though they would have been told about it for some time previous (that's how Opera can time their updates). Everyone should be able to do it as quickly and simply and conscientiously as Opera does - but they don't, and that's one of the many reasons why Opera is a safer browser - it's produced by a good company who takes these things seriously.

And really, it doesn't seem as if the fixes are that difficult, or rather they just shouldn't be. The exploit is simple, all that's involved is that the javascript popup (available on the Secunia proof of concept page) hides the small window that launches the popup - so that you think you're otherwise at google.com. All 8.01 does is ensure that the malicious window is made very evident (did I err? - see edit below). Personally it doesn't seem like the most superb of fixes - but then it's not the most superb of hacks either - and people who fall for it might not know what's happening, unhidden window or otherwise. But those people are just stupid anyway.

Regardless my point is this: Opera manages to maintain a superb relationship with the people whose job it is to find flaws in their software, a relationship you might otherwise think inimical. Opera are not coy about the fact that software (not least their own) is inevitably insecure (though they could do a better job of communicating that). And even when the flaw isn't the most earth-shattering, they make the effort to get the good report card that they so assiduously maintain. As opposed to *ahem* other browsers.

But I wouldn't be me if I didn't also point this out - that Opera's very cordial and productive relationship with Secunia just makes their inability to make things work with the browser stats companies all the more frustrating.

And so remember kiddies, even though Opera is your online prophylactic (I didn't use contraception, since you're not getting anyone pregnant online), it isn't 100%. The only way you can be really safe is to not be online. But no one will keep your browsing safer than Opera will (cue Trojan Man jingle). But as with all condoms, online or off, best to use one that's fresh (ie: update your software/browser).

Opera - not 100%, but at least it won't tear, and it won't make your hands sticky.

Edit: I stand very much corrected (by myself no less). News.com.com.com (and all CNut related appendages) managed to get it right that Opera 8.01 is not vulnerable - though it was naughtily saying that Opera "claimed" this to be case, whereas it's as plain as day on the Secunia site.

More importantly though, Opera's fix is much more elegant than I realised - they not only maintain the window so it's not blocked by the javascript, but they put the url of the script's page on the popup itself - in this case www.google.com.secunia.com - so if you can spot the classic signs of getting pwned, Opera gives you an extra leg up. How spanky Opera really is. I hadn't noticed it, mainly because I took it for granted - till I saw how the exploit worked in FireBadger.

But despite the Opera spokesperson saying (charitably I'm sure) that people supposedly scramble to fix these things - I don't see much hustle except from Opera (oh, snap/oh no you di'n't).

I had actually planned an editorial (which will still appear eventually) about how well Opera seems to have handled, for instance, security companies such as Secunia; cooperating about the timing of security announcements etc. And then this came along. As I've said before, there's a point at which I'm not sure if Opera is doing the right thing,

Surely Opera has been in contact with the peddlers of these stats - they seem to be large firms(?), and there can't be that many of them. I agree with most of the assessments Arve made, but this discussion has been going on for a while now, surely you've contacted these people to set them straight?

Because it makes more sense to me that you'd want to complain about it rather than help them get it right and sign off on their stats - if they still ended up saying your (our) market share was as tiny as it is now. If you're willing to contact sites that write broken code, wouldn't you want to set these stats people straight? Or is it more difficult than I could possibly imagine?

(Arve's post on the problematics of the stats is here.) I'm just wondering why the stats companies don't just count according to "unique users" as well as hits, in order to present a more broadly accurate picture of which browsers view the most, and how many people use each browser. Of course that would be misleading in an of itself - Firefox users might browse more enthusiastically than anyone else, or Opera users might browse more efficiently with their search boxes; though in most cases it just makes sense to differentiate between usage (ie: hits) and users (adjusted for dial-up changes of IP etc. of course).

Basically Opera are doing what they've always done, which is to attack these stats-gathering firms, saying that their stats aren't accurate. This was an issue with browser sniffing, and it's an issue now with pre-fetching. All kinds of caveats have been raised, I'm just not sure why they haven't quietly been addressed between Opera and these firms, and presented as an accomplishment on both sides - rather than complained about, by both, to the detriment of both, in the way that it has. And if Opera were rebuffed privately, why haven't they made more hay about that, rather than the stats themselves?

And whatever happened to "what is good for FireFox is good for us"? Unless Opera are grumpy about Asa pointing out their really rather egregious mistakes, I don't see where all this is coming from.

Supposedly Jon was misrepresented in the article; that it was a much longer and detailed conversation, but this is what got printed - presumably because it's sexier to talk about the recent fracas. Though there's really only so many ways to spin the "sugar-daddy" comment.

Which doesn't change the fact that Opera has been going on about something without having made the effort to compromise with the stat companies on a mutually agreeable means of accounting. And you can't be misquoted if you don't talk bad about people. Though to be sure, all that Jon said is simply factual - there is no doubt (in anyones' mind) that pre-fetching and browser sniffing affect the stats. Perhaps all his sentences from now on should begin with "Firefox are our friends, but..."

I want to be upset with the reporter, but I don't doubt that there wouldn't have been a story without the angle he put on it, so I think the consideration here is between not so great ink, or no ink at all.

For the second week in a row, Opera Blogs has managed to come to a grinding halt. All this seems to be part of wider malfunctions with Opera's web servers, as various portions of the site became inaccessible over the weekend and throughout the week. There were times when Opera.com could not be reached. I'd like to think it was in some way related to the release of 8.01, but that would really just be wishful thinking.

Personally, a lot of my Opera readership comes via the Blogs, so I'm not too keen to publish things till the interface starts working again. It's just that when it starts working again after these kinds of faults, it'll just repost everything it missed, which is fine, but then a bunch of posts end up getting buried, which is something I'd rather avoid. So my posts will have to wait till things get fixed. I've been working on a couple, and just feel a bit annoyed that I can't post them till things settle down.

I know that OperaWatch and Dan Yurman have posted and their posts aren't showing up, which is annoying since I also use Opera Blogs as a way to keep up with the world according to Opera. Those blogs in particular I have notification of anyway, but the point is that I shouldn't have to.

I'm still very committed to the project, but I just think that it's got to at least work, for people to continue to want to participate. The people I contact when things go wrong have been responsive enough, but it doesn't seem as if it's thought of as any kind of priority. And really, as I've said before, the fact that I have to be the one to tell them things are wrong isn't the best sign.

One of the first things my first Platoon Sergeant very forthrightly said to us was this - if your problem is too small, ie: something you can ask someone else or you can solve yourself, don't bother me with it; if your problem is too big such that there's nothing I'd be able to do about, don't bother me with it.

This is how it's going to work from now on. If you want help, e-mail requests only. Give me a succinct diagnosis of the problem - not what you assume the problem is, but rather the specific symptoms. Tell me how you've searched for a solution but haven't found one, and perhaps why that is. Tell me what you've done to troubleshoot (restart, uninstall/reinstall etc.), to isolate the problem, basically everything you've tried and what you know the problem isn't. By the time you've done that, most likely you've either solved the problem, or it's not something I can do anything about.

If there is something I can do about it, you can call my home number and I'll walk you through it. I will no longer do troubleshooting over IM - my hands can't take it. You have to understand that that amount and frequency of typing causes me quite a bit of physical pain. If it's an emergency (though really, I'd like to see what you might consider an emergency) you can message me, ask if you can call, and just call. I suppose in the end if you just need help, phone is at least preferable to IM.

Asking me abrupt questions over IM (or really, in person) about computers, software, file-sharing, error messages, problems, complaints, "why doesn't it download faster", "why is there no sound or video", will get you what is referred to as "a right bollocking", ie: I will, without exception, tell you to go fuck yourself. Then I will direct you to this post. Hi.

Also, if you want from me any good will at all, when we are around "people", you are to protect me from annoying people and their endless little queries that could so much easier be addressed by using a search engine, or wikipedia. The only reason why their silly little minds haven't worked it out is they don't really care and don't really want to know, and are just idly interested without the will to do anything other than bitch and moan. It takes a good deal of effort to make these things understandable, and if you're not going to do anything with it, I'd rather you asked the wind if you could piss into it.

Learn it. Know it. Live it - No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice.

JewelStaite.jpgThe Jewel Staite episodes of Wonderfalls are probably the best arc in the series; of course excepting the couple of good stand alone episodes, like the Tim Minear episode (obviously the best of the lot), and perhaps the Destroy Her one. The Bryan Fuller portions make me suspicious - the portions that are Minear are more convincing to me. Not that I don't like the family, but some times what's done with them is less than subtle.

All will greatly look forward to Jewel's upcoming hurrah as Kaylee in Serenity.

What's up with "moist"? Particularly fun seeing Jaye wrestling with Heidi. Both are particularly fetching in the period. For those that don't quite get it, Bryan Fuller also did the occasionally good series Dead Like Me.

A post, especially one that mentions Tim Minear, cannot go by without mention of The Inside. As I have now done.

Calls itself, and tags its files, as CTV - though the url is http://centraltracker.org/. Importantly, it has The Inside, so yay. If you need me to explain what Azureus is, or what a plugin is, what the RSS plugin is, or what RSS is - then god help you, I'll bash your fucking skull in. The feed url is http://centraltracker.org/rss/index.php.

Obviously The Inside has made me much more receptive to my rewatching of Wonderfalls.

I think I'm trying to crib together a bunch of security notices, something that can be coherent in terms of making the case for Opera as a more secure browser - especially in regards to phishing, which seems to (rightly or wrongly) get so much coverage.

Opera did a release about phishing security. Somehow I'm not sure their security page quite strikes the right note of reassurance - it's not kiddy-dumbed down, it makes security sound too complicated. Though I suppose it's because the pretty pictures draw you away from the text at the top,

anti-phishing technology

excellent support for security protocols

visual feedback on security levels

automatic check for security updates

I suppose it's that simple. But the pretty boxes with the features should more directly address the specific threats they lay out above.

Oprah's Secunia record looks good, but still needs to be explained - regardless it performs favorably compared to FireVole. A way of saying Opera is, in comparative terms, Safer. I'm sure the checks (or lack thereof) are not too great a concern, but it certainly looks better. I'm too tired to look for a link that sufficiently illustrates Secunia's impartiality.

Also spare looks for their perhaps too extensive, but reassuring security tutorial, where the "phishing section" is euphemised as Shopping and Transaction Security.

jay_harrington1.jpgI'm sort of breathless from the second episode of The Inside. It was a really really good episode - probably one of the best directed I've seen of the genre that I can remember. Honestly, Quentin Tarantino should bury his head in his hands and trundle off with his hands, just dried. I've either not posted about what I refer to, or I've just hidden it too well - if you remember, please.

I just can't help but not want to over-sell it, but as I said to Su-lin, I *really* like it - I want it to be fluffy so I can hug it - kind of like it. In many ways much more paced and momentous (in the best way possible) than the pilot, perhaps another case of the creator being unable to work beyond his premise - like Joss needing Tim to step in. But yes, strangely for me, I really appreciated the significance of the exchanges, the focus and import. Unfortunately the elusiveness of the case was defeated in an annoyingly trite manner of closing, but I'm sure that's something they can work on. I mean even X-Files knew better than to give you more than you needed. And in this case, they decided to write past the significance - they just can't seem to be happy with the ambivalence and puzzlement, they have to sketch. But it was still a significant try that I really liked. Another one of my very favorite time/perception ellipses/replays. And the manner of her erotic replay. And the spectacle of her screams was thrilling in a way that went beyond gratification.

Rachel Nichol does so very very well, and acts so very very fetchingly. And the glimpses you get to see of the other cast members is wonderfully suggestive. Webb will be their downfall if they don't handle it.

And a very very good teaser, and some of the most evocative and appropriately toned titles I've ever seen. I just wonder how they managed to get the cast to go along with the whole change of premise, and perhaps how they managed to retain any cast at all in it. High School and control would have been a much tougher fit.

She really does do so very well.

Via Bittorrent, via TorrentSpy, via VTV - by forming another tier of bureacracy.

Fox really needs to start double and tripling up, re-airing to seed - they can't let this die, not when its merit rivals that of the OQ, which they so assiduously challenged.

As OprahWatch so fortuitously pointed out, Oprah 8.01 now supports Boggler.com - another significant step in Oprah overcoming people for whom standards compliant web design makes weep like teeny children. So yes, Oprah may now stride boldly across the InterWeb, spreading its gay superman juice over all that desire its succour.

In addition, Macs have now their first taste of Oprah 8 goodness - I actually just installed Oprah on my friend's Mac, over his objections, till he realised how much zippier it was than even SoFurry. Nothing impresses like multiple search boxes, instead of the hard limit of 1.

And yes notch one more for the suave suasion that is Louis converting the unwashed masses - a long-time hold-out no less. I tend very attentively to my ministered flock, providing them the wine and body that is my much expanded search.ini - now replacing TVTome with epguides.com and TV.com, and the additions of Technorati and the ability to search this self-same site.

If you need reasons, here are 3: Speed, Security, Simplicity.

To be fair though, 8.01 was necessary particularly because 8.0 wasn't quite ready for prime time, crashing much more than you might think or like. Steady steps towards Acid 2 compliance though.

Oh, and The Blogs, as I'm now calling them, are working again, though it's just scary that they got it fixed specifically because I noticed - twice. And I've finally gotten my Opera for Mobile key, and will have someone with a nice camera coming over tomorrow.

I'm personally hoping that it's because they're hard at work making it better, but you and I know that that's highly unlikely. What probably happened was that on Monday (which is when the last posts to appear did), someone fiddled with something and now it's no longer updating. I've e-mailed the guy who should be the one to make it all happen, but that's not always worked before, so we'll see. I mean, if it's fixed within 2 weeks, it'll still be faster than the last time.

If you want to stay up to date without Opera Blogs, you can subscribe to my feed, which you'll find in your Opera address bar, or on my main bog page under "syndication". That main page also has a link to category feeds if you're just interested in Opera Boggling.

I should really find out what OPML is all about. OperaShow is looking fun, but it all seems like work to me.

I'm up, so I'll probably stay up for the little chat.

I just thought that was a rather good headline - but then again, it is the Inq. Despite how some people might interpret my stance, this is one of those times when Security should be a big issue for Opera.

It's really not surprising that browsers have become one of the biggest attack vectors for the bad guys, since most people can't even seem to figure out how to update IE - and if they're not using XP (SP2, to be exact), they're not likely to. And really, who's been doing a better job than Opera at combating phishing?

Sure, installing Opera still means you should figure out that software needs to be updated, but it, in general, is still Safer. In fact, it's as safe as it gets, since it's got the best security record. As long as you keep it updated (since Opera is so conscientious about issuing security fixes promptly) you can be assured of as high a level of security as you'd be realistically be able to expect.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Because while you're getting a Safer Browser, you're also getting one that's faster than anything out there, and easier to use. Convenient download button available on the right.

Spread Oprah Fatigue

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I imagine people just being very spent after the whole PCWorld debacle. I mean there haven't really been substantive updates for days, even if you don't count the weekends. I think people, me included, have just gotten tired of pouncing on every other headline that has some peripheral relevance to smurfing, or yet another knuckle-dragging incompetent reviewing Opera.

People have been saying though, that Oprah needs to get more prominent news coverage - but short of crashing planes into buildings, I'm not sure what exactly gets headlines. Maybe Oprah could molest small boys.

The other idea is to make Oprah available to government use and for non-profits, which might be fun. But it's not like I see OpenOffice making that significant inroads, despite having been given to China. After all, MS Office is free.

I'm suddenly thinking Oprah could do a little campaign along the lines of "All Your Base..." - which got some people in such trouble before. It would make a fantastic stealth marketing move, but would require quite a bit of coordination. And banner making. I'm sure that would get at least some coverage. The loom of Oprah.

Oprah could also insult Republicans, that might work.

My planned setup is to have a gateway, probably the old computer, with a large disk added on. This gateway would run all the things you'd expect, the P2P apps, probably Skype if I can be bothered, and it would always be on. Which is fun, except I don't want to have to be physically in front of it to manage it, since that would sort of defeat the purpose of using it as a file server for my media etc.

Hence the wonder that is Azureus' Swing Web Interface, a remarkably easy to install plugin, where I can just go to the gateway address, ie: 192.168.0.1 and append :blah for the relevant port. Most important is the fact that now the clipboard monitoring works, when it didn't before, which is a godsend. And with the RSS plugin, a number of things don't even need prompting. Unfortunately I've yet to bother to find a suitable TV site that links torrents in their feed. The web interface doesn't seem to allow you to configure the RSS plugin, but that's not strictly necessary.

eMule's web interface has also leapt forward, in the sense that you can use the simple web interface, with gzip enabled, and the page loads with incredible prompt. Everything is much streamlined, so adding links etc. is much more fun. But eMule has been playing a smaller role than it had done.

So other than swapping a few disks and the graphics card, everything should work out to be quite ideal. Hopefully my notebook is spanked up from lying in a box. Though at some point I might just spring for the Dell, or an Intel powered iBook (yes, the reality distortion field's effects are slow to fade this time).

Oh, and dyndns.org's official client is really good, and remarkably easy - even the tray icon "is *so* fetch". Thank goodnes I no longer have to pirate the older one I was using. Whatever it is, it just works now, so hoorah.

Now what's the chances that SBC (or whoever) will be offering 25 mbits by the time I get there? Anyone?

Eyepatch Jockeys

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There's no point being coy about it - if you're a fan of "extended trial periods", this is definitely a place you'd enjoy for all of the latest. You have to register, but that's harmless, and it's better than the search engines that cover these things. Basically very good for up to date stuff. And pretty reliable as well. Though obviously there are things that you can't beat P2P for. These guys very conscientiously deal mostly with direct downloads, from what I can tell. I think they used to be at a slightly different url, but then these things are always moving.

theinside_gallery2.jpgI can't stress enough how much suckage occurs with the "new" TV.com - CNet really knows how to fuck things up.

Anyway, that seems to have been the import of the sudden appearance of the CNet banner at the top of the TVTome pages, and now they can kiss their users goodbye.

As far as I'm concerned, epguides.com is a much much better, faster loading, stripped down version of TVTome, and now that I've rediscovered it, it strikes me that I should have moved ages ago.

The best things about epguides is that the episode listings are on the main page, so no navigating through menus to get where you want to go.

This way, you only really have to put up with TV.com when you're looking at episode details, which need not be often. Similarly with going to the main page for news.

epguides.com seems to work with a simple google search, which is more effective that I'd have thought.

My search.ini, when I update it, will put epguides.com in place of the old TVTome search. I'll probably include the TV.com search for completeness.

God damn those CNet bastards.

And so, as Rachel Nichols' pose suggests (her of the wonderful new show The Inside), we are not amused.

even if you tried

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Some times I'm not sure what comes over me. It's not like I'm as angry as I used to be, maybe just a couple of weeks ago. But if I'm not angry so much any more, where does all this nonsense come from? Righteous indignation? I can hear Nirvana playing in the background.

Well, whatever the case I find that cutting anger out of the equation doesn't seem to get rid of spite, or unpleasantness, or self-righteousness; much less fear and shame and mortification. I try not to edit things out, since the retention is important, if only to me, as a record of shame and weakness and grovelling crawling back.

Is it really the unresolved? But what to do when you think how things would not be different even if you tried?

1033.jpginsufferable, sprinkling random references to sex and the city, uses the lingo of blah blah, very much like the fry and laurie sketch.

random sexual encounters I'm sure are fun fun fun, and I think the phrase is "I still would though".

at least writing about prostitution when you can write worth a damn is at least engaging; as opposed to semi-literate, middle-brow, pseudo-intellectual twaddle - not quite as good as pornography.

and I *still* think people should keep it in their pants (to the right) and mind their own fucking business and not be so (hokkien is just so apt sometimes) fucking kay-poh.

Where's the liberal party when you need it? Freedom of enterprise and freedom of the individual, sounds like a good idea huh?

But yes, you can take your "artistic value" and shove it up your ass.

And you can barely see nipple.

Courtesy of Ashley Blue, and unidentified member. I'm hoping Google will forgive what is merely a didactic tool. (Aren't I a funny one?)

I'm suddenly enjoying having to pad out the text, so that the picture doesn't cross ugly-ly over the line seperator at the bottom of the post - I just think making the picture smaller would detract from its effect and intention.

Dear Emily and Richard

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I wonder if they were heading towards cancellation in the middle of the 3rd season, because the 13th episode seems incredibly seminal. And very moving, for those of us who paid attention, and recognise colour.

I think I've been excessively rude to a bunch of people, though most of whom I don't know or don't really give a flying fuck about. Most - not all. That, however, is somewhat beside the point.

It's one thing to send an e-mail to a huge number of recipients - that's fine if it's something important (though importance is often pretty relative). It's another thing to do so without using one of the most flouted "rules" of e-mail etiquette - not putting those multitude of recipients (by omission, not by design) as BCC rather than To, or CC. Wikipedia is nice and helpful as to the exact what and why.

But to me the main reason is privacy. I give my personal address only to people who I give a crap about, as opposed to my public address which I plug into anything and everything up to and including $2 hookers. My personal address is not to be circulated around to people who (refer above) I really don't give a crap about. Also it's an invitation to receive spam and a big target board for e-mail worms - especially when you use e-mail clients that add all your recipients automatically to your address book (yes, you, the idiot who uses Outlook Express' default settings). Fun, huh?

When it comes to this, I have very little patience. Despite the fact that the perpetrator might not be someone I generally want to be rude to, I do what I do on principle. There's very little that's personal about it - I've done it to plenty of people - including people that it's not generally good sense to be rude to.

That said, there is a special place in hell reserved for people who see a long, non-BCCed recipients list and decide that the best thing they can do is "Reply All". Those people should take their knuckle-dragging incompetence and go swivel. These people should be cleansed in righteous fire and sent to the ovens. Fuckwit motherfuckers all.

But yes, there are actually times when you don't BCC, when *everyone* on that list consists only of close friends, or when you need a group to collaborate on something and actually want those addresses circulated. Otherwise, you can bite my shiny metal ass.

76-18794.jpgThe pilot is available online, so you have no excuse. And given the ratings, I'm sure Fox won't mind, if it's to pimp the show. Apparently got it's ass handed to it by Dancing with the Stars, with I actually quite enjoy.

Anyway, The Inside is great - it's Executive Produced by Tim Minear, who worked on both Angel and Firefly (and X-Files before that), and also was the guy running Wonderfalls. He wrote my favorite episode of Firefly, Out of Gas, which stands alone wonderfully as a great piece of writing. I'm just hoping that given its summer status, it'll end up more like The OC than Wonderfalls. If not people are gonna start calling Tim "the Reaper" - which would be apt since Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me) was creator of Wonderfalls.

The pilot probably isn't quite out of the park, but I find it wonderful for how much it reads like so much of Tim Minear's work. As far as I'm concerned, he can do very little wrong, or at least very little that I can't forgive.

Rachel Nichols is really superlatively lovely, and made to look so much like a prettier ringer for Jodie Foster. The most pleasant surprises are Adam Baldwin, Jayne from Firefly and Katie Finneran, Jaye's lesbian sister from Wonderfalls.

I mean I almost don't know what to say about how much I want to watch the series, how good I think it'll end up, and really how much I hope it doesn't get canceled. Hopefully Fox will have enough confidence in it that they'll do what they did, and keep repeating it over summer, so that it can build its audience.

Check out the official Fox site, and it's on Fox, Wednesdays 9/8c - best thing you'll see on TV all summer.

If you need convincing about Rachel Nichols, have a look at some lovely pictures of her from Maxim :). Of which my chosen teasers are these:

aab.jpg gm_l2.jpg aaf.jpg

3.17 - MT-Notifier

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I always feel silly doing this, but I've done the upgrade to 3.17, for whatever reason. Followed these instructions. NoFollow still doesn't seem to work, but I'm not really concerned, presumably it won't affect anything. I hope to install the notifier when I work up the nerve.

Ok, found the nerve, and installed MT-Notifier. You can now subscribe to my comments and be notified when someone else posts. I can't for the life of me quite figure out how it all works, but if it gets annoying, just tell me and tweaking will occur. The check box is with the typekey comments box, and only there, since I can't be bothered to try again to fix the preview template. I'm assured that everything is very easily opt-out, so if you complain I will just mock you.

I've set it now that you're only notified of new comments, since RSS feeds are there for a reason. You will, however, be notified if the post is modified/changed/saved again.

I have to admit, I scammed the makers of The DiscHub. I'd previously bought 2 of them, and I had really loved them, and when I saw them advertising on their front page for bogglers to review it in exchange for a "free sample", I thought, hey, why not.

I first heard about it via Tom's Hardware, which must have a been a coup for the dischub people. The fact that the article convinced me, and that I subsequently paid money for 2, and still want another one (admittedly for free) - pretty much tells you all I really need to say about my (surely much celebrated) endorsement of their product.

09062005.jpgMy particular caveat however, is this - it does what is says on the tin, but it's not the be-all and end-all storage solution; not that it advertises itself as such. Whoops, sorry, it does - "Say Goodbye to Stacking". As I've illustrated in what is as little a posed shot as possible, the dischub is good at what it does, but it hardly eradicates the problem for serial eye-patch junkies like me (a drop in the ocean, more like). At the same time, it also isn't the most efficient way of utilising surface area, which can so often be at a premium.

09062005(001).jpgAll that said, the Dischub excels at making certain discs readily accessible. If you use a particular disc very often, it can be placed strategically, and the jagged layout of the dischub means you can see what you're reaching for without flipping through an album or sorting through a stack. Unfortunately taking a disc out of the hub, while easy enough, requires two hands - one to get the disc, and one to hold the hub in place, since it's pretty light - something that their new rubberised feet won't really help (though presumably they must sell to a lot of igloo dwellers). Not a problem perhaps, but something to take note of, especially people who are used to spindles that just sit there while you yank.

Personally I don't make it a habit of keeping discs that need to be reused - that's what no-cd cracks are for. I tend to use it to hold things I want to keep in front of my attention, like movies I want to watch, or things I need to complete. I also keep one next to my home entertainment system in the living room to hold stray discs while sorting through things to watch - again an instance where the easy reading of the disc labels comes in handy.

What I'd like to do now though, is mercilessly mock the dischub people for their rather silly and not a little opportunistic marketing of their product. Their shop, at the moment, stocks 4 variations - See Through, Satin Blue (both of which are the prettier ones), as well as (wait for it) Vader (Black - duh), and Storm Trooper (White - get it?). Charming, but also not a little moronic. Also, I received as my "review copy", a not so charming "Vader" when I asked for a much more handsome "See Through" - something that doesn't bode well for their warehousing and shipping operations. Though previously when I'd paid for it, they'd given me what I'd paid for.

Yeah, one of the other issues I remember annoying me when I last bought one was that their web store only takes Paypal, which is fine for those of us who've signed up, but would be pretty annoying for people who haven't - and presumably those are the masses of Mensch that you'd want to sell such a consumer-oriented device to. Credit card numbers are just easy. And I know the signs say "Hacker Safe", but the word "Hacker" in any context is going to raise more questions than a poky little image is likely to answer. Of course it's perfectly safe, but I just think some things cause more anxiety than they alleviate.

But I've saved what I like most about the dischub for last. Because I can tend to procrastinate as much as I do, I tend to leave things unattended for longer than they should, and most of the time that means layers of dust. The dischub holds the discs upright, so that there's nowhere for the dust to settle - so your neglected discs (at least those in the hub) aren't gonna get dusty. More of a problem for me than you'd think (or not, depending if you know me).

Oh, and like they say, the neoprene things that hold the discs won't scratch them - though scratch worriers are just (mostly) paranoid anyway.

So if you want one, get it - it's pretty (well, some of them anyway) and surprisingly well made (though for 12 bucks US, it should be). And if you boggle, try before you buy more.

By the way, all images were taken with my spanky Nokia 6630 - which I'll post about when someone comes over with a digital camera that will do it justice.

Edit: Jon, who's the guy running this LSD-induced lava lamp of a boggling program, sent me a number of clarifications, all of which are fair, and as far as I know, perfectly true,

1. If you roll the disc out of the slot you can do it one handed! It pivots around the edge of slot and come right out (I've tested it, true enough - it'd probably require practise to get it to be effortless though - they're considering applying to the Olympic committee in 2045)

2. Sorry for the mistake on the black vs the clear, I send review samples out myself, and must have put the wrong one in - our fulfillment for orders on the otherhand is ace.

3. PayPal stopped requiring users to register in order to process a payment over a year ago. Had that not been the case we never would have used them - but in the next week or two we will be swithching to an in house payment processor.

So there, DiscHub is perfect and and I and my opinions can be bought for the low low price of US$12. I will cede editorial control to you if you ask nicely. But really at this point, I'm just too tired to care, and abdicate all responsibility.

There's something I'd like to say about OperaWatch, but I shouldn't (well, in a way, I sort of can't), so I won't. But I'm happy that my place is what it is.

What's more important though, is that I've figured out the what and how of OperaWatch's very clever "link blog", which you see on the right column of his main page. It's actually fed by his del.icio.us page, the feed of which is http://feeds.feedburner.com/OperaLinkBlog, which you can get to via http://del.icio.us/operawatch.

That, however, reminded me of Acid 2 and the fact that iCab has passed it, beating out Konquerer (allegedly). Which reminded me to link to my little conspiracy theory regarding Opera and Acid 2. Just to bring it up again, because I think it's worth the fun.

Oh, and you can see both FireVole and IE 7 trying to emulate Opera features (which is good for all concerned, except when those two emulate Opera as badly as they sometimes have). Microsoft: IE 7 to have "fit-to-page" feature and Firefox's answer to Opera's sessions.

Of all the ways that Opera could have dealt with it, I'm actually so pleased at what they've ended up doing, that I might wet myself. So what they've done is this - they've made it into a little joke - Oops!, as Haavard put it. That, and they've dealt with it in the same breath as pointing out people who have very definitely (and not in English) said that Opera is the best. A "proper" release/retraction will come out some vague time in a future because this is no big deal.

And instead of putting a "retraction" on the main page, they tucked it away as a blog post from Haavard, and they've put it (solidly below the fold, and below the posting about Chip) on the MyOpera Community Page - so that other than people who gave a crap (ie Opera and FireVole Fanboys) - no one has to know. Superb - a retraction that's been turned into a solid win. Laughing it off and making partisan hacks look like partisan hacks. You couldn't have asked for a better outcome.

(Unless you were dead set on making Opera look bad, for some reason that had less to do with facts, and more to do with mudslinging)

Edit: It's more of a win that I'd have thought - CNET's boggled about it, in a way that sends people straight to Oops! and leaves Asa with a bloody nose. I'd compare him to Howard Dean, but then I actually *like* Howard Dean. I'm tempted to change my headline to "Asa Dotzler the best thing to ever happen to Opera" - but then I'm not the National Review.

Oh, further cleverness - now that Opera have "issued a statement", they've felt empowered to just go back and "fix" the old one, so that they've left virtually no trace of the gaffe on the main page. Such genius.

"Me too, but at the end of a prize-fight, you look at the guy who's dancing around, and that's who won." Red Haven's on Fire.

At this point things have gotten a bit silly. I mean really, I had posted about this days ago - PCWorld: Opera Second String to Bushy Tailed Rodent, when everyone else on Opera Blogs was jumping up and down about Opera being there in the first place. Opera was one of 100 products on PC World's 100 World Class Products - of which FireVole was the product of the year.

So no, PC World does not think that Opera is a better browser than FireBadger, as my previous post makes clear; in a side by side comparison, they choose FireVole. That said, in their individual assessment of Opera, PC World like Opera just fine (though they just want to be good friends).

I'm not quite so outraged as Asa appears to be about it, but I do think that at the very least Opera was negligent in their understanding of what was going on. Though what is as much, if not more, likely is that Opera out and out was just telling porkies, and deliberately misleading in their very public statements. Someone needs a spanking.

In a way though, it really has been a product of Opera's otherwise successful marketing campaign - I think some people were starting to get a bit sick of hearing about Opera; ie within the technophile crowd, which really doesn't mean anyone other than them has even necessarily heard of Opera. And I think with people getting sick of being marketed at, they'd want to latch on to what has really been a rather spectacular gaff that Asa was right to latch on to. It's not overstating it to say that Opera Lied - because they did. And they did it in a bad way at a bad time.

What this intersection of events has led to, to an extent that surprised me, is the very real anger that Opera's mistake has engendered - though admittedly a lot of it has been from FireVole Fanboys. Have a look at Asa's comments, and Neowin's thread. In the Neowin thread, you can see that the screenshot taken back then is different from what it is now - apparently Opera has changed it, and done so without issuing an apology, and also without having amended their press release, much less corrected it.

Opera apologists seem to want to just say that Opera were just incredibly stupid and/or illiterate, rather than malicious, but if that's the case, Opera are compounding their own stupidity by not owning up, doing a complete mea culpa and moving on. When you make a mistake you admit it and move on, not hide and surreptitiously change things and hope no one notices. That's what screenshots are for.

I was thinking all this was annoyingly boring a minute ago, but I'm coming round more and more to the feeling that Opera needs to make this right. If only for making me agree with Asa Dotzler.

Edit: The discussion has also moved to the MyOpera Fora. I've also followed up with a comment on OperaWatch's post, about how the change of graphic, and the hiding of the press release, is not enough - and can very easily be seen as an admission of guilt and a desire to hide (or disassemble, as some might say).

The review in the Boston Herald is one of those rare articles that manages to be both a good (as in positive) review of Opera, as well as be a good (clear, to the point) review. I'm sure that there should be a prize for any review of Opera that doesn't contain factual errors, so the fact that he gets things wrong is no surprise. He should hang out in the forums more, he'd learn a thing or two about how Opera can pretty much service your every lustful need and desire.

But what is particularly astonishing about the review is this - he's fulfilled my childhood wish of reading a review that didn't focus on features, but rather on the fundamentals of why Opera is fantastic. Speed, Security, Simplicity. I can just imagine him ticking those off as he was putting the review together.

And really, it shows that Louis is not an impossibly demanding judge of writing or style or intellect - if you do what you're supposed to do, and you do it clearly and with a little grace and pointedness, you get a gold star every time.

And let's just say he gets extra points for not making a meal out of Opera's security. Oh, and I should tell him about the wonders of Optool for switching between browsers - like from Opera to IE. Overall he was able to just be sensible and pragmatic, rather than absolutist and didactic. And he managed to not end the review with bullshit about Opera's cost, but instead dealt with it matter-of-factly, and with a shrugging kind of perspective.

I'd almost decided to ignore all reviews. Looks like we've got us a fanboy in the making.

I was going to chime in when every one else was jumping up and down about 8.01 (then Final, now RC) - but that would have just been freaky, given what's happened. OperaWatch did a piece on why they've stopped propagating the build, and apparently there's a bunch of bugs chirping away in the beta forum.

I actually did a clean install of the RC, which cleaned things up - moving my "mail" folder for the first time. I can't say I've been having too many problems, especially now that my P2P scratch drive is not longer so fragmented.

I have, however, been having this strange thing where after I download a torrent from a torrentbits.org based sites' description page, the page closes after the torrent gets handed off. I'm wondering if it's the pages or Opera - it's a neat feature, though a bit of notice would have been nice; either that or it's a rather abrupt bug.

Oh, and the new feature that shows the search you're typing for on the address bar is pretty cool, and very helpful for those of us with search.ini customised up the wazoo. So if you start typing g_, you'll get google search; or if you just type a normal word, the default search will offer itself to you. Much spanky. So yes, some features "just work". Though to be fair, it's in part based on an IE feature, if I'm not wrong, and this is sort of catch-up more than anything else.

It is not in the what of the doing, but rather the who. Things are wrong not necessarily because what is being done is wrong, in some qualitative way – to dissect it that way is to do artistry (or lack of) disservice – more often than not it is simply the ineptitude of the one doing the thing. And so it would be nice to say that so and so has done this thing badly because he did this, and you don’t do this, that’s not the way things (or this) works. And then someone else does it that way (or this), and the working ensues. People of suasion, of power and mastery, of tinkling and till it is, people of ability and talent, apparently, can do as they please. And so perhaps the Beatles could recite the phonebook and sell a million records, but you wouldn’t wonder if they’s also launch a thousand ships in the process.

The best part of the review though, and the one thing they particularly got right, is this: "Coldplay, the most insufferable band of the decade".

As always, I find being an ass more and more difficult when confronted with sensible people - though it helps when they appear to be clever as well. This post, by Peter Matthews, one of Klipfolio's developers, presents a vision of what they expect to happen to their product in a post-RSS-ubiquitous world. Sensible stuff, and really, shows a level of forethought that is nice to see. All this at a time when I'm starting to actually miss viewing most of my feeds via KF. Opera's fine, but I'd gotten used to KF, despite it getting a bit cumbersome near the end. Looks like my little splinter rebellion was not unexpected. So far straddling seems to be going okay.

It's not really their fault, but now that I've figured out how to use views in M2 to do more or less a global "dismiss all items", Klipfolio suddenly seems a lot less indispensable. It's not quite as easy as hovering and clicking, but using the keypad to trawl through has it's advantages, as does opening in background pages etc. Can't do weather, which is annoying, but I really could just use Klipfolio for that :P.

Love is not love that alters when alteration finds.

I must say it is pretty, the new beta, but after awhile it gets a bit clunky - the problem is when it starts to actually look and feel a bit clunky. It is still the most attractive and innovative way to present feeds, but Opera is surprising me with its potential efficiency, and now a more ruthless kind of elegance. Though I'm sure I'll straddle the two for a while at least. I suppose what I should also do is have an email address just for listhost stuff, since I need an address anyway to activate my mail panel - an annoying workaround if I ever knew one.

I'm still very much against the lock-in of Opera's feeds - showing the url won't kill anyone - though I'm now really appreciating things being built in. Having problems getting Opera to recognise a .food file as a feed, shall have to remember to ask. Looks like I'm going to have to figure out how to transfer settings for M2 as well now.

I suppose what I should be saying is mo' features, mo' problems.

It's nice that I can use it for chat as well, though I think I still can't get beyond the desire for folders, so M2 as a mail client is gonna have to wait. Is it just me, or is it silly that there's not pure aggregated feed view - they could just put in in the root directory of "Newsfeeds".

And Starhub is really pissing me off that bandwidth really gets squeezed at primetime, starting from about 8. Allegedly.

I really don't think I'd ever smurf with the panel open though, having the mail window in the background should be enough. I'll see when the morning inundation comes. It's probably because of the end of the season, but I'm just too lazy to set up Azureus to batch download - though I suppose I'll end up bothering for the various summer series of note, not to mentions stuff like Celebrity Love Island.

I'm actually currently getting through the episodes of first season WetBoy with Kelly Brook in it. They probably needed external talent back then for all the languid bath shots. As in sermons in stones, and books in the running. But yes, DVD rips are really not as lovely as from hdtv, more pixelated if nothing else. Pissed-Off steak, nice pepper sauce.

I have since ameliorated my opinion of klipfolio 3, and reinstated it in a more limited capacity - for more information, see this post on the Serence forums.

And so perhaps it is no surprise that moving sentimentality should accompany such thinly veiled jingoism and preservation for fear of the elided and rude third estate - the staving off of progress and the grubbiness of economics. But you wonder if that sentimental feeling in and of itself is unable to move beyond that context, that lexicon of dismissal and feeling. And the talk of Beauty and Desire and Right and Normalcy. I suppose didactic isn't the worst epithet it would choose for itself, but still. But if feeling is the fascist impulse.

And so is a lack of subject in itself sufficient to disperse the focus of nostalgia? A peripheral grazing of movement and sentiment, perhaps.

Cute Mouse though.

A very wrenching kind of socialisation, and all such rude conversion and getting sprayed.

While in the lovely fairy-neverland - that glories in the fact of Opera's recurrence (it's been there before) on PCWorld's top 100 list - all this is no doubt a big deal; but to those of us who don't get baked before noon, it's pretty much over the bra, under the shirt. True, Opera is part of a long list of web apps, tucked between blah and blah. FireVole managed to get the much much less prominent and prestigious placing of being ProDuck of the Yearling.

Though it's nice to know that while the link to Opera's little review-let is suitably pithy and glowing (oy! - with the features already), while FireBadger's no less smoldering assessment takes place amidst another mind numbing comparison shop, where Opera is so augustly mentioned. Well mentioned in as much as it's there to play second string to a Bushy Tailed Rodent.

Oh, look, a parade, but I'm fluffy and cute and black and hovering.

Guys, it's time to bring out the penguin, and shove the gay superman.

Opera Blogs on Hiatus

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I suppose I should think of it as a positive thing, that they're going to go away and get things right, I just hope it's not indefinitely delayed - there's times when incremental change isn't the worst thing. So yes, now you know why Opera never tells when it's products are being released :P.

In the mean time, I think of it as a time for the community to build itself - away from the competition. To that end I'd ask you to have a look at my suggestion for a "message calender", or a monthly/weekly topic for the Bogglers to participate in, should they find it useful in giving them ideas what to boggle about.

In the mean time though, I've also started a thread where you can post suggestions about what you'd want to see when Opera Blogs is relaunched.

This is the notice on the MyOpera main page:

Note: As of June 1st, we have decided to discontinue our blogging competition until we come up with a better implementation for it. It will be back at a later date. However, the existing system is still available below, but there are no phones to be won right now.




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