As you may or may not have noticed, I moved servers today. I have my own small (virtual) server at emphy.de for a few weeks now and I finally came around to moving the blog from s2000.ws/s2000.at to its new location. While I was at it, I updated WordPress from the ancient 2.7 version to a current one – and I updated my old theme to use WordPress’ widget system and freshened the CSS up a bit. Also, thanks to the widespread adoption of web fonts, I can now present the blog in a font that works on all platforms with all modern browsers – Google’s Open Sans is the font of my choice. I hope you enjoy it :)
It’s been a while since I last wrote something here, but that’s because I was busy with Applied Mediocrity, my intro for Evoke and after that, I had some vacation. But now I’m back and have the time to work on my other projects, including this blog. So stay tuned for the next two real (technical) articles, which will be about some ideas I had about Linux Live CDs and an explanation of the effects in Applied Mediocrity.
For a very long time, this blog was run by WordPress 2.0.x – this was the current version when I started it, and I kept updating it for a while, but after I built the captcha, I stopped doing so. The reason is that I implemented my captcha as a direct hack in WordPress’ sources, not as a plugin, not even a
my-hacks.php file. In the meantime, I some security holes appeared: I frequently found invisible spam injected into my posts. I have never found the actual hole through which they did this, but I disabled everything that could be problematic (all this Web2.0ey XMLRPC crap, for example). In particular, I excluded all hosts from a certain spam-friendly provider from my site. This helped a lot, until last week, when I suddenly found that my Windows 7 review has not only been altered, but replaced by invisible spam.
This was the point when I finally had enough – I upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.7 yesterday. To my great surprise, the test transition, performed on a local copy of the site, worked absolutely flawlessly. I could even re-use my theme without changes, which was my greatest source of fear. On the real server, there was still the little problem of the PHP memory limit which was too low for WP 2.7 (why on earth do they use more than 8 MiB, even without plugins and locales?!), but this has been fixed with a simple mail to my friendly webspace provider (thanks, Rafayel!).
Everything worked, except the captcha, which I reimplemented as a proper WordPress plugin today and activated just now. By the way, in the 22 hours without the captcha, I already got over a dozen spam posts. Sigh. Let’s see how long this installment of the site works :)
Sorry, but this post has been vandalized by spammers that somehow altered the post text. If anyone has a saved backup of this post, please give it to me.
I want to apologize for the lack of posts here. I know that many people want to know the outcome of the Apple thing and the status of the two jeopardized programs. So, to finally break the much too long period of silence, here’s the current status of the projects:
The presentation program is online again under its new name Impressive: http://impressive.sourceforge.net. Currently, there’s only a rebranded 0.10.2 version, but I hope to move forward with a new version in the first quarter of 2009.
The iPod management tool has been renamed to rePear: http://repear.sourceforge.net/. Along with the rename, the brand-new and much improved version 0.4 has been released.
I find it unfortunate and unnecessary that the issue needed to be settled involving layers and lots of money. It would have been easier for both sides (and certainly more civilized) to simply write an e-mail to state the problem. I am willing to co-operate. You can still call your lawyers if I don’t comply, but I don’t see any reason why there should be money involved from the start.
The short answer: Because Apple didn’t like the names of some of my programs.
The long answer
A few years ago, a fellow student and I had a great idea for a nice, effect-rich presentation program. We combined my own nickname and the name of a another popular presentation program to form the name of that program. The program itself did very well and became quite popular. That was possibly enough for Apple, the company who produces the presentation program whose name we took as a baseline, so they decided to send me a cease and desist letter. The result of this is that the program has to be renamed.
In the meantime, I also started another project: I bought an Apple iPod nano music player and since I’m not satisfied with iTunes, I wrote a program that made it possible to use that nice MP3 player without that not-so-nice-software. I gave it a name that was derived from a normal english word, except that there was one upper-case letter where a lower-case letter should have been. That might have been too much for Apple’s legal department, though, because they threatened to sue me because of this, too. That’s why this program also needs to be renamed.
I’m proud to present the new, custom-build page theme. It’s quite similar to the old theme, but somewhat refreshed in some areas. Moreover, I ditched those enervating saturated (and blue) colors – the new color scheme is much more consistent. (Just in case someone feels like asking: No, I’m not a regular Ubuntu user :)
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As promised, I’m going to move (almost) all content from my old homepage to the new one. Today, I started by copying the whole old
public_html directory to a local hard disk. While browsing through the resulting directory dump, it suddenly became clear to me why the disk quota was so tight on the old site: There was a 30 MB log file! I added a simple textfile-based access logging facility to the code and, well, I simply forgot about it.
Now such a file isn’t something I would simply delete. No. This is some kind of treasure, so I imported it into a database to obtain some fancy statistics.
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OK, here it is, my new page. Originally, I wanted to write my own blog system, capable of fancy stuff like multilanguage support (because I wanted to write in English and German), multiple categories per post and integrated handling of associated files. But then I sat down, a text editor window with some PHP code in front of me, and was once again overwhelmed by the lack of fascination that web development has to offer :( So I decided to ditch the whole thing and use some »off-the-shelf« weblog system.
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