Just say when

A guy decided to pay his way through college by selling pixels of his homepage for a dollar a piece. An excercise doomed to end in tears of course, since you wouldn’t find enough idiots to even cough up ten bucks collectively. Did I just say cough?


Apparently the planet has enough idiots to pay up for 999,000 pixels. So I would have liked to tell my new best friend; just take the money and run. You already did do the impossible and netted 999,000 dollar.

If somebody did give him that advice, he ignored it. The last 1000 pixels are up for bid at eBay, and are currently going for 43,000 dollar. That’s 43 dollar per pixel.


I don’t think I ever quite got the blogroll concept; the list of links you see in the sidebar of this page are blogs that I try and read daily.

Some of the other sites that I visit from time to time:

Slashdot competitors Webwereld (Dutch), Heise (German) and The Register. Heise is probably the best of these four, but I rarely read it. I used to read Webwereld almost every day, but a recent site overhaul made it a much worse place to be.

GIMP people: Tigert and Carol.

For Teleread I try and keep track of what’s happening at Digibieb (Dutch), the digital library of the town of Oss, and the Digital Media Europe news site (not a blog).

Low-tech web bookmarking solution using browser-based situational knowledge

[slice of Yoho the Blog]

Do you, if you need to scroll a long web page up and back down, for instance because you need to look up the bloke’s name to decide whether it was Weinberg or Weinberger, select part of the text to remember where you were?

Because I do.

(Undoubtedly this is illegal in some countries, like the Directory Traversal Attack.)


Rant on the use and misuse of Stickies and Announcements

If you have never used a web forum, you probably don’t know much about them, so here is a quick introduction. A web forum is a website or part of a website where people interested in its topic can start written discussions. Each discussion takes place in a topical forum, and each discussion is called a thread. Somebody starts a new thread, and if it is interesting enough, others will respond within the space of that new thread.

A forum is displayed as a webpage that contains a list of clickable thread titles. The list is sorted such that the thread that was most recently responded to is at the top, whereas less popular threads are further to the bottom, or even on a different page.

There is a way for thread authors to break this sort-order, by designating threads either as Sticky or as an Announcement. Even if two minutes ago you did not know yet what web forums are, you will probably already see what is wrong with Stickies and Announcements. I repeat: they are a way to break the sort-order of threads.

Read the rest of this entry »


Jimmac has some useful tips for creating wallpapers (you know, those things on your computer desktop?).

Google more relevant than ever

[Cropped screenshot of Google's search results for 'Inkscape']

Searching for the term “Inkscape” on Google, I got the results as shown in the screenshot above. Not only does Google return a link to the homepage of the Inkscape project, it also includes links to the Download, Screenshots, Documentation and Galleries pages. Has this feature been around for long?

How does it do that? Answers in the Comments, please.

Oh goody, I’ll dance to that

Miro, the company that started the Mambo content management system seems to have angered a lot of the core developers, who have now set up shop elsewhere. After requests by developers to start a foundation that would ensure the independence of Mambo to Miro, the latter did indeed set up a foundation, but one that seemed to move in quite the opposite direction. Four of the five board members being Miro folk (with one token “independent” vote), huge member ship fees and lies about the founding process have made the developers leave.

In the meantime, I have installed Mambo at customers’ and am now wondering if this is the sort of event I should tell them about, and where I am going to get new flavours and updates in the future. The beehive of the Mambo forums and the confusing multitude of Mambo dedicated website has always suggested to me that this is an immensely popular project, of which I have only witnessed the tip, so I am not too worried. There will be a brief hiatus, in which the two forks can prove themselves, and then… business as usual.

So if anything comes from this, it’s that I will have been wading through hours and hours of forum postings on this issue on both the old and the new site, just to get some idea of what on earth is going on.

As for who’s right and who’s wrong (if there are a clearly identifiable right and wrong in this matter), I have yet to decide. What is ominous is that some of the forking core developers seem to have been censored and silenced in the official, “old” forums.

Invention #2: the multi-alarm alarm clock

Abstract: an electric alarm clock with several alarm pre-sets instead of just the one.

I have different sleep-wake patterns. When I have to go to my part-time job or to a customer, I need to wake up before 8. When I can stay at home to work, I usually wake up an hour later. During the weekends, I generally do not need to wake up, but often I don’t want to sleep in too late.

My travel alarm clock is one of the old fashioned kind: with dials. It is easy to operate, because you just turn the knob until the red hand points at the time you want to wake up.

But my electric alarm clock is different; first you have to press the hour button, and watch the hours crawl by. This can get so tedious, that sometimes I even forget to release the button and have to go another 24 hrs. Then you go through the same routine with the minutes button.

With a mixed, but repeating wake-sleep pattern, it would be handy if this alarm clock had three or four buttons that I could assign each its own wake-up time. That way, I need to set these times only once.

Scratch that: I am fixing bad interface design with more interface. It would be better if the time setting interface of my electric alarm clock would be as good and simple as that of my travel alarm clock. Or better yet, it would be better if I could try out the interface before I buy, so that I won’t keep buying the same crap just because it looks nice. Which is not going to happen. Where is the real friction in the whole waking-me-up-on-time pattern?

#2.2.2, I got an answer machine that can talk to you

IIRC, I wanted to go camping this Summer in Boxtel, but the mayor says I am not allowed to (based on art. 2.2.2. of the APV). This appears to have created some brouhaha.

Unfortunately, the What the Hack’s website sucks big time as always. Public participation is about as unwanted as camping in Boxtel. So I am posting this here.

The local ordinance the mayor leans on can be downloaded at some horrible dynamic URL (PDF). If that doesn’t work, go to boxtel.nl, click on Kalender, click on Verordeningen Actueel, click on Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening 2004.

Chapter 2 is about Public Order, section 2.2 about Supervision of Events, article 2.2.2. (page ) about Events.

Article 2.2.1. defines events as any publicly accessible form of entertainment (follows a long list of exceptions, some of which a hacker with a sense of humour might use).

Article 2.2.2. states that you need a permit from the mayor to hold an event; permits can be refused on the basis of (or with the goal of)

  • public order
  • to prevent or limit public nuisance
  • traffic safety or the safety of persons or goods
  • morality or health

Unsettling noises from a disgruntled GIMP user

A while ago I reported on several usability improvements in GIMP 2.2., and comic strip artist Reinder Dijkhuis quoted me on that. Reinder has been using the GIMP for simply aeons, and as a true professional he does not limit himself to just one tool.

Since he took me up on my word, he has been emitting unhappy noises [1] [2] [3]. If any GIMP developers stumble upon this, they might do well to investigate.