01 Jul 2005

ipod phone ahoy!

itunes 4.9 has given away secret of the new ipod phone. hey, it looks like a phone. that is quite disappointing! and the antenna, what new phone has an antenna, so retro! and look at the size comparison with the ipod! and ewww gray ..

Itunes Ipodphone

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01 Jul 2005

bandwidth, numbers and widgets

only these last couple of days have i been running my logs through a web log analyser (modlogan - i maintain that for gentoo:) because previously i was discouraged by my old host for not using the combined log format which included referrer and user agent.

one of the interesting trends i noticed was that my site steadily consumed around 3-4GB of bandwidth every month. most of it was for a tshirt folding video i host. i'm not quite sure where the origin of that video was, but i believe i was sent a link to it, and put it on my server to show to my friends in the lab. then i posted it on my blog and forgot about it. now it is the biggest consumer of bandwidth for me. although it wasn't much a problem since i wasn't paying for bandwidth, but now i am, i'm a little anal about it :)

my front page, rss feed and atom feed are the second most popular urls. they consume around a combined 800MB of bandwidth per month.

however, the most surprising thing i've noticed is my bandwidth consumption for june. for the month of june, my site has consumed a combined total of 21GB! the number of people downloading the t-shirt video has stayed the same, but the reason for this huge spike is my album art widget.

i released the first version of my widget in may, and at that time, i didn't think it was good enough to submit to apple, so i only submitted it to dashboardwidgets.com. they do their own mirroring, so most of the downloads never reached my server. i did get linked by some japanese mac blogs (minasan konichiwa!!) and also apparently my widget is being included in a magazine's cd, so i got some hits from there.

in june, i released version 2.0 of my widget which i thought was good enough to be publicly consumed. mainly because i designed all the artwork from scratch (yeah, you can tell coz it sucks ;P) and it had amazon fetching. moreover, i understood the widget process much more than my hacky attempt in the first version.

my widget has stayed in the apple's top 50 downloads since i uploaded it, right now it is 16th on the list. apple doesn't mirror the widget, instead, it had a redirect that counts the download and sends interested punters directly to the zip file.

at my last count, the total number of downloads for the widget from my site is 51759. that is not including people who download from dashboardwidgets.com.

the breakdown per version is as follows:

version 1.0 from 6 may 2005 : 6293

version 2.0 from 5 june 2005: 5220

version 2.1 from 10 june 2005: 40250

(note the numbers don't add up because i'm doing this in real time)

more interesting and funny stats for the last 3 days are:

317 people downloaded my widget are using windows (??)

5081 use safari

285 use Mac IE

186 use Firefox

19 use Camino

14 use Netscape 7

6 use OmniWeb

4 use AOL-7.0

based on their browser language:

93 downloads are japanese (arigato!)

203 downloads are german (gutentag!)

4184 downloads are english speaking

31 downloads are chinese

135 downloads are italian (emm .. pizza?)

277 downloads are french (bonjour!)

115 downloads are spanish (hola!)

ahh .. enough time wasting.

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30 Jun 2005

why i'll never go to mayball again

last week was known as may week. this is the problem with cambridge, things don't make sense. let me run you through this again:

may week occurs in june.

ok, now that you have your perception of reality calibrated with the insanity of cambridge, now digest this piece of information:

there are these balls that are organised by the students of various colleges. all of them are unreasonably priced, allegedly according the quality of the experience. prices range from around £60 to £150 per person. these balls are known as may balls. now you get the drift of what is happening.

so this year, i went to one of these balls, mainly because a whole bunch of friends are going. to attend these balls, you have to do a couple of things:

1. obtain a tuxedo because the dress code is black tie. (a side note, what the hell is black tie when you are only allowed to wear a bow tie? and what is the difference between a dinner jacket and a normal suit?)

2. pay through your nose for a ticket. i paid somewhere in the region of £90 for the privilege.

3. queue up outside the ball for an hour because apparently that is the tradition. why you have to queue up for something you've paid £90 for, i have no idea.

now that you are inside the ball, you figure, well, since i've paid £90, there must be _something_ that makes me go "wow, that was really worth it." unfortunately, there is nothing like that! the idea is that the ball starts some time around 9pm and continues until 6am. through out the thing you can walk around, try this, and try that and eat this and eat that.

what is there to eat? let me see, kebabs, stir fried noodles, some salad, some mexican beef burgers, crepes, waffles, strawberries, ice cream, fruit. i think that pretty much covers it. the only thing that was impressive was a fountain of chocolate fondue! now that was impressive. as for the most disappointing, it has to be the dried up hunk of rice they were attempting to call "sushi." its a miracle that they could even claim that they cooked the rice because it tasted it it came straight out of the paddy fields.

so food was pretty disappointing, but at least there was unlimited alcohol (champagne, cocktails, etc). and not to mention, around 3am, there was a coffee cart serving the worst coffee ever served to mankind. it literally tasted like they forgot to bring any coffee grounds and served us espresso made from the corpus lawn.

what is there to do? well, nothing that is worth £90. there was a jumping castle, an oxygen bar, some speed dating thing, lots of music, massage, a hypnotist, a fake casino which was the size of the toilet of a small mcdonalds outlet. oh yeah, and there were temporary tattoos and some video games and foosball which was always in the college anyway. nothing really that could keep you entertained for 9 hours.

stayed for 9 hours only because there is a survivors photo at the very end. it means literally that you've lasted till the end and not left half way through in protest or demand your money back. to add insult to injury, the people who took the photo decided it would be funny to put the photo inside a stupid flash program so you can't download the damn jpg. but no worries, handy swftools was able to extract the jpeg pretty easily.

 Mayball Survivors

the only consolation is that when you left, they gave you a free copy of the Saturday edition of The Times. Woohoo!! err .. hang on ..

i swear i'll never go to one again. and they say smart people go to cambridge. sheesh!

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28 Jun 2005

liquidx.net server move

liquidx.net was just moved from one server to another. basically from a public server to a shiny co-lo that i'm admining with a bunch of friends. hopefully that means i can experiement with more stuff and also have a more responsive site.

sorry for that maybe some blog aggregators and rss readers will get double posts as ihad to play some tricks with mod_rewrite and domain names to get the move working as smooth as possible. there was a period where comments were lost in the ether because of drupal's way of sequencing tables which broke when i renamed all the tables.

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27 Jun 2005

website design revision

i've just updated my web site design to get rid of the sidebar and revised the header a little.

the sidebar really annoyed me. the sidebar really screams "i am running a drupal (or any other cms) site!!" i really want a site that doesn't look like everyone elses. but unfortunately, the sidebar is rather essential to site navigation. so a compromise now is the have some el-cheapo javascript that shows and hides the menu. the javascript is a combination of apple's fade in fade out javascript they use in their widgets, and also some cross-browser hacks that i've found on the net.

the second major change is the header. the look and feel of the side was previously compromised by my attempt to have rounded corners on the site. i think that was a mistake in the first place, so i've gone back to my trusty 90 degree angles and got rid of the rounded corners. i think kubrick themed sites are nice only if all corners are rounded. if only some of them are rounded, the site becomes quite ugly.

after these changes, there are still some issues that i need to fix. firstly, i want to jig the drupal navigation block into a menu that doesn't require javascript hiding/unhiding. make it small enough that you can do one of those pulldown type menus with css.

also i need to fix display issues in IE. IE has a nasty problem of not being able to display PNG files with full transparency. there's a fix for it in javascript, but for some reason it screws up the rendering of my page. so if you use IE, then use something else, GDI! at least until IE7 is out when it properly supports PNG and CSS.

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27 Jun 2005

managing my bugs

this weekend, i finally sat down and tried to reduce my gentoo bug list to a manageable number. i got from around 50 open bugs to 11. impressive, especially since that got me number 2 on the bugzilla closing lists.

this bug windfall mainly attributed to me moving some ebuild submissions that have stagnated on my bug list to the new maintainer-needed alias, and smithj kindly taking xscreensaver/rss-glx off my hands so i can concentrate on packages that i _actually_ use.

over the next couple of weekends i should be able to devote some time to pruning bug lists of various herds i'm in to a reasonable number, probably starting with well neglected app-dicts and pda, and then over to python and cjk.

also, does anyone use fenris? i'm having a hell of a time trying to get it to compile. i'm very tempted to remove this from portage if no one can provide me with a working patch.

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22 Jun 2005

black market for credit cards

here's a scary story about how sophisticated the black market for credit cards are. story is from new york times and reproduced in various mailing lists.

these people are getting more and more brazen, selling card numbers by the bundle, selling your address and mother's maiden name. i'm not quite sure why the world still thinks you mother's maiden name, your pet's name and your date of birth is sufficient information to verify your identity.

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21 Jun 2005

vnc injection attack?

dan kaminsky, respected network engineer/hacker, references some vnc injection attack that was demoed at bluehat the other day. now, that is incredibly interesting i reckon. if you use unencrypted vnc over the internet, then you might as well start using ftp, telnet and rsh to go with that.

thats why i run all my vnc sessions through ssh tunnels.

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21 Jun 2005

cory doctorow to speak in cambridge

cory doctorow, author and founder of boingboing.net will be speaking at the cambrige computer laboratory next wednesday 29th june 5pm. apparently its free to register to attend the talks put on by the cambridge-mit institute.

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17 Jun 2005

dealing with referrer spam

i'm surprised there isn't that much you can do to deal with referrer spam from polluting your logs. not quite sure why there is referrer spam, maybe because there used to be a time when people put stats up on their web sites for the public to view.

the only effective way to deal with it is to use mod_rewrite and match HTTP_REFERRER to certain spam words. covered in greater detail here.

anyway, while talking about referrers, i discovered that google is the top referred for me. that is no surprise, but this is quite surprising (for the last 7 weeks):

referred from google: 16722
referred from yahoo: 408
referred from altavista: 79 (this still exists??)
referred from msn: 175

not quite sure what that actually means, but i guess either no body uses yahoo, or that yahoo doesn't index my pages.

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