Friday, October 22, 2004

After a lot of painful hunting, I found and fixed a 1-pixel bug which pushed my precious sidebar all the way to the bottom in Internet Explorer. Stupid stupid IE.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Short little Stacy R. is gone! Hallelujah!

Week after week, she would walk around, with no tangible contribution of any kind, a nasty temper and an even nastier tongue and a lot of dumb luck in the boardroom. She finally got what was a long time coming. Especially after she got Pamela kicked off.

Even better, thanks to the team reshuffling, two of my favorite people, Raj and Jennifer are on the same team and they won!

(Yes I know, I've just sort-of-live-blogged the Apprentice and I need to get a life in a hurry.)
I have to write this before the Apprentice starts so I'll hurry.

This is a rant about three products, and how they interact - Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Microsoft Windows XP. The problem occurs occasionally while viewing a PDF file in a tab. The browser locks up and and decides to take Windows along with it. The only recourse is rebooting.

In a situation like this, it's hard to place blame. Should I curse Mozilla Firefox as this problem never happens when Internet Explorer is working with Acrobat Reader?! Should I blame Adobe Acrobat for creating a plugin that unfortunately takes too long to load up, loading something like 26 (Look in the Acrobat plugins folder) different plugins itself?! Or should I blame Microsoft Windows XP which gets completely crippled when any process locks up and occupies 99% or more processor time, allowing the UI to become so sluggish that it takes more than 35 minutes (I timed this) to simply bring up the Task Manager so I can kill the offending task?!

Frankly I'm frustrated. I don't feel like giving up Firefox because I like tabbed browsing and Sage too much. Adobe Acrobat is a necessary evil. And Microsoft Windows has developed such a reputation of crashing and freezing that it seems futile to even begin to rant about how a user should always be able to easily kill a process.

Perhaps Robert or Ben have any suggestions or soothing words.

I'm halfway into the Apprentice now and Andy just came up with the Polaroid photo idea.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Malformed HTML and other booboos

That is a Bugtraq entry by Michal Zalewski pointing to a tool which creates tiny fragments of malformed HTML (Careful with that link, it may crash your browser). These fragments seem to cause crashes and unresponsiveness in all browsers except Internet Explorer. I tried some examples out with Mozilla Firefox 1.0PR and sure enough there were crashes.

People may say, (typically the Open Source apologist, Slashdot crowd) that it's just crashes and it's not a big deal. It is a big deal. If you know input to make a program crash then it's turned into a denial-of-service attack. It would be interesting to see how many bugs are reported in the Mozilla buglist as a result of this tool, and how quickly they get fixed. My guess (and hope) is that the Mozilla developers will work really hard to fix these bugs quickly to maintain the momentum that Firefox has gained.

This makes for an interesting observation. Apparently IE's HTML rendering engine is much more robust than that of its competitors. Why is IE so maligned for security concerns then? It's because of IE's solid integration with Windows and a poor UI for installing and uninstalling ActiveX controls. Any vulnerability in IE can quickly become a vulnerability in Windows (and most vulnerabilities for IE do try to compromise the users local machine). And most users blindly install ActiveX controls without checking where they come from.

To Microsoft's credit, the ActiveX control UI problem is mostly fixed with WindowsXP Service Pack 2. And Service Pack 2 has also got a built in popup-blocker. All Microsoft needs to do now is to implement a good and highly customizable UI for tabbed browsing and I'll be (maybe) willing to leave Firefox. Keep in mind also however that popup-blocking and ActiveX UI improvements in IE are only available for WindowsXP. If you use Windows 2000 then you are probably better off with Mozilla Firefox 1.0PR.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Hob Gadling's Handy Bollywood Guide

What is Bollywood?
Bollywood is the Bombay film industry. It's the word you get when you mash-up Bombay and Hollywood.

What does "dishoom" mean?
"Dishoom" is sound you hear when a punch lands in a Hindi movie. Kind of like "Pow" or "Biff" but with a little more "Dishoom"!

Who is Amitabh Bachchan?
Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood's most famous actor. He was the first Bollywood hero to break the sappy romantic loverboy mold that all actor's before him had fallen into. He was the angry young man. Better biographies can be found here and here.

Sholay, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh, opened in India in 1975, and went on to become one of the biggest hits in the Indian film industry, running for five consecutive years at Bombay's Minerva theatre. A pastiche combining comboy Westerns, buddy flicks, revenge dramas, love stories and sheer Indian song-and-dance, it seeped into the collective psyche of India. Every kid in India can glibly quote from it and it's been parodied, copied and analyzed to death by every comic, hack and intellectual worth his salt. You should watch it. But it will lose some flavor in translation.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Got boingboing'ed about the hilarious Bollywood US Presidential election satire! Thanks to RT sending me the Dishoom link via email.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;
Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood, William Wordsworth.

Relevant poetry in the oddest places.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

So what does a single guy with a TV do on a cold cold weekend? He watches so much TV that by the time it's Sunday evening his eyes hurt.

And then, when he's sick of the television, he moves to his computer and blogs.

Some thoughts about friends. Some are boring. Some suck. Some are nice and some care. Some you won't hear from for ages, but when you do it's like they never left. Some you won't hear from. Some stop being friends anymore. Some you forget. Some you'd like to forget.

Those pithy messages were brought to you by bored-single-guy productions. To avoid getting assailed by other such messages in the future, please suggest convenient methods to occupy an idle mind.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

September has barely ended and we already have temperatures below freezing. Suddenly the idea of spending a life over here seems slightly tedious. California, how I long for thee.

In other news, the car hunt still progresses at a steady pace.

In other news, a shipment of 4 CD's from BMG music seem to have disappeared in the mail. I am extremely depressed by this. I do hope that I get them somehow.

In other news, 3 CD's arrive from Amazon, but among them is a Enhanced CD version of Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation. It is returned. I would rather have a plain vanilla CD which works on all my CD players and computers rather than some crappy version of copy protection which damages audio quality.

In other news, I have stopped liking serious and critically acclaimed movies. I could not go past 30 minutes with Quiz Show but watched Spawn and Kiss of the Dragon without a break.

In other news, tomorrow is laundry day and take-out-trash day.

In other news, Portabella mushrooms taste great when cubed and sauteed with onions, garlic, tomatoes and chilly powder. Don't forget the salt.

In other news, I should probably really go for a Badgers game, instead of simply having the brats down the street.

In other news, calling cards suck. I wish there was a way to call long distance with a guaranteed quality of service.

In other news, yes, I am a Apprentice junkie. Also, a Conan junkie, but I guess you already knew that.

In other news, the task of making a copy of all the CD's I own is taking too much time. It will be done though. No point in playing the originals. They are better preserved in their cases. Plus, I can apply Wavegain to the copies and not worry about fiddling with the volume knob.

In other news, Ron Garney's art on the JLA is a breath of much needed fresh air. Here's hoping he stays on for a while.

In other news, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely strike again with WE3. 1 know 0.

In other news, Supreme Power seems to be delayed, and quite frankly it's frustrating me to no end. This is the only comic on the market that I can remember the story to without having to re-read. Yes, it's that good. And frankly it's a pity that someone like J. M. Straczynski is wasted on something as confining as Spiderman.

In other news, I first-posted on Slashdot.

In other news, it's still too cold. Blogging does not generate too much heat.

Good night.