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It's The Little Things
Date: 30/9/2005
Sometimes it's the little things that makes one peice of software so endearing over another. Take for instance when you forward an email with attachments in Scribe it asks you whether you want to forward the attachments as well. Something so simple yet, more than one person has commented on how useful that is. There are lots of other little examples of those sort of things already in Scribe but I'm thinking about adding 2 interesting new features and some feedback would be appreciated.

Firstly, a friend mentioned that people forget their attachments all the time, and well why not check the body of the message to see if it mentions attachments and warn the user if there is no attachment when they try and send the message. Cute idea but I'm not sure how I would implement that. Do I just check for the words 'attached' or 'attachment'? Or some list of phrases? What about internationalisation? Obviously there would need to be an option to turn that off as well.

Secondly, with the rise of phishing on the internet, I am in a position to do something about it, in that many times phishing is initiated by a spam email made to look like it came from some financial establishment. Usually in HTML format the links are the right URL in the text, but the href has been subtly mangled to point at the phisher's site. So the email client could do an automatic check against the text of the link and the href, and match them up. In the case that the text is in the form of an URI obviously. I just check that the hostname part matches within some tolerance, e.g. =, and so on. If they are different e.g. != then I can warn the user that something "fishy" is going on. If it saves just one person from losing all their savings it's probably worth it.

There may be other little feature ideas like that that you might know about so don't be shy, post a comment. And even though I might not implement anything or everything, I'm interested none the less.
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ハウルの動く城 (Howl's Moving Castle)
Date: 28/9/2005
After 3 years of waiting I finally got to see ハウルの動く城 (Howl's Moving Castle) last friday night. It was quite different from 千と千尋の神隠し (Spirited Away) and I'd been warned of that, and so my expectations were dampened somewhat before getting to the cinema. Afterwards it's taken a few days to grow on me, but now I'm pretty keen to go and see it again to catch all the little things I missed the first time. I did like how the story took a few unexpected turns and of course the animation and scenery was top notch. Spirited Away is one of my 5 top all time movies... and was very different to it's predecessor; Princess Mononoke, another of my top 5 fravs. Howl seemed to have a lot more in common with Spirited Away so in some sense it reminded me of too much of it, and thus almost competed for the same story space. Still it's a great film, 4/5 stars from me.

I've been keeping an eye on the whole DVD situation and the R2 (Japanese) DVD release date has been annouced: 16/11/2005 (available from Amazon Japan with a nice discount) but what is more interesting to me is an Australian R4 release (in PAL yay!) from MadMan. They did stella work on the Australian release of Spirited Away so I'm fairly sure their PAL release of Howl will be top notch. But the question of when does arise. And after emailing them today, they promptly told me their ETA is around April/May 2006. Which is a while away yet, but I think I can wait.

So if your looking for something to see why not catch Howl at the theatres? It's now showing in Australia.
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Scribe Update
Date: 27/9/2005
Just a quick note, I've cleared my internal list of Scribe issues that I wanted to fix for the next release. So hopefully tonight I'll get a new build out.

The last of them was the spell checker clearing the document when no changes were made, or crashing the client. I'm afraid that C/C++ memory management bit me in the bum again. I wish there was a better language that I could port to, but rewriting all the existing code isn't really an option. Something with garbage collection.

So apart from Bug #4 which I have no leads or method of reproduction I'm pretty happy about this upcoming release. I'm really pushing for stability right now, and once I get v1.88 stable out I'm going to hammer on the rest of the major bugs/mis-features of IMAP and bayesian filtering. Which I'm sure a whole bunch of you will be happy about.
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Apple = Good, Quicktime = Bad
Date: 26/9/2005
Almost everything that Apple do is great, their computers rock, the ipod is insane (esp the nano) and their OS looks the bomb!

But the achilles heal of Apple is Quicktime. Now in an exciting new flavour of "Bloated(TM)"! While using Quicktime your desktop icons will flicker, your Movie won't play automatically, the player will chew 20mb before it even starts playing content, it will fail to download new components and it will hang your browser. It will fail to close when you hit Alt-F4 and the close 'x' on the (non-standard) decor won't work either. You'll be reaching for the Task Manager to kill the sucka because you've reached the end of your patience.

I believe the browser hanging issue is simply because it was trying to get some missing component off the web, and of course was in "embedded" mode and couldn't stick up some sort of "Help I've fallen and can't get up!" message. But why it needs to hang the whole browser instead of just return an error code is beyond me.

But don't worry Apple will release a new, better, bigger and more buggy version is just a few more months! And then it'll put 2 "Quicktime" icons in your "Open With..." menu, both of which point to the new crap version. Just in case you missed the first one.

Not to mention that they jam frickin iTunes down your throat sideways. Bloating out the download, chewing HD and pissing people off.

If you want to use a real media player, get Media Player Classic. Which is good, because once you have installed Quicktime to get the codecs, Media Player Classic can play all the Quicktime movies anyway.
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Video Card Malfunction
Date: 20/9/2005
I have for the last little while been suffering this seemingly daily problem of corrupt video output from my PC. The video card is a Xpertvision AGP NVidia 6200 bought 3 months ago. Basically what happens is during normal use the screen will go almost black, and if I turn the brightness all the way up I can just see the picture, however all the colours are corrupted. At this point I can change the screen resolution using the display settings and that restores the colours and brightness to normal. I'm using the latest Nvidia drivers with an up to date Windows XP sp2 install.

I made a video (12mb) of the problem on my DV cam. What the video shows is the corrupt screen, then I turn the brightness down to normal to show the black screen... Then I turn the brightness back up to show the corrupt window borders and then I change the video mode to restore the normal colours. Sorry I should have narrated it but I forgot.

The card properties says the GPU is running at 43°C which sounds fairly safe. The card has never been overclocked.

Has anyone seen such a problem before?
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Art or?
Date: 20/9/2005
I'm surprised this guy isn't doing hard time for this but it's seriously anti-establishment and I love it: Speech Bubbles!

Very clever. Take the time to go through most of them, some of them are great value.
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