Hi! My name is Cédric Bozzi, I make websites and iOS apps, and this is my blog about technology (mostly a Twitter archive, really).

1 May 2003

Windows XP is gonna make me crazy. For real. I mean, globally, it works very well. There’s just that thing. Well, there probably are several others, but there’s one that’s gonna make me crazy, as I was saying at the beginning, and it hasn’t been long since, so you really shouldn’t have been lost by now. So I’ve gotten a habit: when I want to delete a file, I press Del (okay, you’re following me so far, it’s not that conceptual) immediately followed, in the same motion, with Enter (which confirms the deletion, in case you’d never have used a computer in your life and you’d be reading this through an RSS aggregator embedded in your TV set) (well, I’ve got to take into account future readers who’ll access my archives ten years from now, haven’t I?) (anyhoo). Only that, on XP, it doesn’t work. On XP, when I press Del and Enter, it deletes and executes the file. Makes sense, huh. And since my machine is pretty much faster than the previous, I’m sure it’s not the OS that’s being slow, but it’s a conscious decision. A well-intentioned one (for once, someone with good intentions at Microsoft—I guess he must have been fired since): it’s preventing false maneuvers, accidental deletions. Yeah. Except that the chances of accidentally pressing Del then Enter are rather minimal. And that, for 99% of users, the deleted file will end up in the trash can—actually, as I’m writing this, I can imagine many a system administrator applauding this preventive measure against accidental deletion of network files. But the result, for power users migrating from previous versions (that’s me here), is absurd: you press Del and Enter as you’ve been doing for years, the delete confirmation dialog pops up, then the file opens. Makes sense, huh. Phew. That was a long, tedious paragraph that didn’t go anywhere. I’m a bit overworked these days, and I don’t work. And I don’t sleep too well either. Not sure why.

I did check the Don’t check without a network connection box. I did, really. And still, Eudora spends the whole night beeping because it can’t connect to my mail server. Okay, there’s an improvement there: when I was connected through AOL, Eudora would crash when it found no connection. Now, it only beeps, so I can still use the Check for mail every n minutes option, provided I turn sound off before I go to bed. But then, really, how can a mail client be so stupid? Doesn’t anybody have dialup anymore?

You know, Eudora? There’s another thing just as stupid as the first. I mustn’t be unlucky enough to try and type email at the same moment as Eudora has decided to check my mail: because, when Eudora decides to go (and it happens every ten minutes), it deactivates the mail editing window and makes a loud beep if I keep on typing. So if I’m editing a very long mail, I’ll have to click again every ten minutes to reactivate the editing window. Can you imagine how convenient that is?

3 May

I don’t know what I was doing, using Trillian for all this time. At what time did Miranda become so good? Last time I tried it, it didn’t do much, hardly worked at all, was useless, and I went back to Trillian. But now I felt like testing new experiences, I reinstalled it, and I can’t believe my eyes.

It has everything I need in an IM client: tons of configuration options, much less bugs and design flaws than Trillian, and a great plug-in architecture that allows it to do much more than IM. ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, YouNameIt networks, but also RSS aggregator, weather report, clock sync, Post-It system and everything else a little contact list window can display. Seems like Miranda isn’t skinnable anymore, but it’s actually an advantage for me, since it means it automatically integrates with my Windowblinds skinned desktop. And there’s the little bonus, that’s so amazing I can’t understand how people lived without it: everytime you open a chat window, the last ten lines are loaded from the history (ten, or more, or less, it’s configurable like the rest) and displayed in the window, so you know where you were in the conversation. Magical, yet so simple and obvious.

I’ve just got a problem. More precisely, two bugs. First, I don’t know how they coded the way chat window flash when you get a message, but it doesn’t work well with Windowblinds. Yes, that’s a detail. Much more annoying (although I managed to live with it, obviously, since I’m still using Miranda, but I still hope it’ll be fixed real soon), ICQ’s invisible mode doesn’t work. Seems that half the people who have me in their contact list see me as online. And the other half sees me offline, like they should. Go figure. I’m too lazy to try deactivating every plug-in to see if any is responsible, but I don’t see how one of them could cause that. So let’s say I’ll get used to being seen online. I’m sure I can.

And… that’s all. No other flaw. Just that one big bug, that’ll necessarily be fixed, but that’s all: unlike Trillian, I don’t spend my time cursing the programmers’ stupid design. Must be a sign that this program is made for geeks. Yeah, with a plug-in system that leads it to triple its volume once you’ve installed everything interesting, it definitely is made for geeks. But you’re blog readers, aren’t you? So just go and download it, you’ll see.

6 May

I just found out that my RSS is invalid. It may not happen with the English version, but the French one is full of   entities, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to put in the RSS’s headers in order to be allowed to use them. The complications of XML bore me to an undescribable point, so I’ll just say it’s too bad for users of strict XML interpreters.

Apple has licensed 1-Click™ from Amazon, which consists simply of storing the client’s credit card information on file and allowing for buying online without having to re-enter this information during checkouts.

What a shitty world.

Oh, I know, Apple is certainly far from being the only example, and there must be lots of other online store in the same situation. But still. What a shitty world. Bugs me. If big corporations like Apple don’t challenge those kinds of asburd patents, who will? Okay, Apple may not have enough available funds for a huge trial, but does that mean we have to wait until Microsoft wants to launch a web store?

8 May

You’re lucky. Uh, kind of. I’m lucky then. Not that I care. Anyway. I found out there was a (known) bug somewhere between the AMD processor, the VIA motherboard chipset and Windows XP, that caused my webcam to freeze after a few minutes. The point where luck comes in is, there are two additional USB ports on my computer case’s front panel, and I don’t know where and how they’re connected, but they’re immune to this problem. So the What’s on TV? cam stays on (for now), thanks to my weird setup. Not that you cared.

P.S. Post deleted because the cam freezed again, then undeleted because it doesn’t seem to stop anymore. Anyway, if it does stop, it’s after a much longer while, so it can still be used.

P.S. Obviously, very obviously, just two minutes after I undelete this post, the camera freezes again. Damnit. I guess I’ll still launch it from time to time when there’s something interesting to show. Or maybe I’ll remove it from the sidebar tomorrow. Or in the next ten minutes. You never know.

P.S. Ok, it’s working fine now. There was the motherboard’s bug, plus a software bug: I’ve plugged it into another USB port, and installed another program, and now it works flawlessly (so far!).

10 May

Is there a problem with the DNS cache in Mozilla? There’s an epidemy of weblogs based on dyndns.org these days, and it seems that, as long as I don’t restart Mozilla, it doesn’t check the DNS again, so those blogs only work every other day. I never keep an Internet Explorer session open long enough to compare, but I’ve been told that it works for everyone but me, so I’m prone to accuse Mozilla on that one… Is there a way to fix that (without suppressing completely the cache)? Maybe by just setting RAM cache to zero?

Oh—I found confirmation of my Mozilla bug: not only it’s confirmed, but it’s even intentional. Mozilla wantingly disobeys the DNS standards to avoid a vague security risk that I won’t comment, because I’d have to document myself enough to form an opinion. Anyway, there’s a workaround:

For now you can “un-pin” addresses by going offline and back on (via the file menu or the plug icon in the status bar) (oh, so that’s what this icon is for).

So, if you intend to access a site through dyndns.org (or similar) and it quits responding, try this method. I haven’t had an opportunity to test it yet, but it seems sound. And at least it’s simpler than restarting Mozilla.

P.S. A dozen hours later, I can verify it. Just double-click the icon in the lower right corner, and the dyndns sites work again. To think that this bug has been know for something like six months…

12 May

The Problems With Click-Through, redux. Have you ever thought about the fact that so many Windows users display their windows full-screen (which irritates me every time I see it on a screencam, and it’s a good thing I don’t spend my time in cybercafés, or I’d blow a fuse) only because of click-through (i.e. the fact that, when you click an inactive window, you might activate a button, trigger a command, make changes, when all you wanted to do was bring the window to the foreground)? And an idea comes to me. I don’t feel like diving back into Visual C++ right now, so I’ll just offer it to the public in hope that it’ll become something: someone should make a little freeware program to prevent click-through, intercepting any click on an inactive window, and activating the window without transmitting the click to one of its buttons. As for the technical aspects, I see two possibilities: either setting a hook on mouse movements and test where each click lands, but it might slow down such stuff as drawing programs, or adding a transparent window that would stay permanently right behind the active window, and get the clicks naturally. All that’s left to do then is adding an ignore-list, in order not to prevent click-through on certain windows, determined by title or by executable name (for Winamp or the ICQ contact-list, for instance). It’s so simple, I could almost ge to it myself. So, who’ll be doing it?

P.S. Pinged Lazyweb. Hey, you never know. Except that I’m not sure my idea is explained clearly enough.

20 May

So I have tested Mozilla Firebird 0.6, and I hate it. I don’t feel like taking the time to make a complete review, so I’ll just give out an example: Firebird has its own sound, embedded in the executable or something, for when type-ahead find doesn’t get a result, instead of using the Windows system sounds. Stupid. Well, it’s true, it’s faster and lighter than big Mozilla, but the sidebar doesn’t seem to work and I hate the changes brought to the interface. And I’m sad the Mozilla crowd has decided that Firebird would be their future.

P.S. I have now installed Mozilla 1.3.1, and found out that the type-ahead find’s sound isn’t a Firebird invention, but comes directly from Mozilla. Pff.

22 May

WindowFX 2.1 : Too bad I didn’t renew my ObjectDesktop subscription

Strangebanana : Random CSS (reload, and reload, and reload some more) [src]

23 May

24 May

26 May

nVidia drivers v44.03 : Making almost all WindowFX features finally usable

28 May

The Matrix phone reviewed : It’s sold out, it’s not GSM compatible, and it’s all made of plastic. But it’s still way cool. [src]

31 May

I almost got crazy but got out of it this time. Every time I wanted to view a picture, ACDSee opened twice. IrfanvView worked fine, but it’s designed oddly and unpleasant to use. I installed Image Eye, which I didn’t know of and is quite good, but it got worse: it opened, then a Windows error message informed me that the system hadn’t been able to launch the picture a second time (?!). Just in case, I uninstalled everything but Image Eye, and that was the end of all that is holy: the Windows Fax and Picture Viewer came back to life and opened every time, not responding to any kind of manipulation supposed to kill it, including the one I had blogged two months ago.

As a consequence, I’ll give you the complete trick, which I found after three Google result pages, that finally works: after you have executed regsvr32 /u shimgvw.dll as I said, you have to open regedit, search for shimgvw.dll and delete every key that calls to it. The instructions page also recommends to delete the shimgvw.dll file, but my Windows wouldn’t let me (maybe just because it’s just a Home version?).

Now I’m clean, and I’m ACDSee-free. Feels good.

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