Archive for January, 2006

Tuesday, January 31st 2006

IE7 Beta 2 (Preview) Released

I just noticed that IE7 beta 2 has been released. Sounds like the IE team know their stuff. It has (almost) everything that I love about Firefox. The only things I can think of are…

  • Less standards support. Did anyone say SVG?
  • Extensions, extensions, extensions

However, even if IE7 were just as good as Firefox on every point, or even slightly better, I would still stay loyal to Firefox. Simply because Firefox gave me this perfect mix of simplicity and features way before anyone else did. Why walk out on the guy that saved you, just because the guy who left you out in the cold for four years says he’s going to be good again?

If I only could get SP2 to work properly on my computer I would install IE7 in order to test this site and others. Since SP2 had a habit of drawing random turquoise lines across my screen, I won’t be doing that. So I’d like to ask anyone reading this in IE7 to report back to me about how things look. This is what things should look like:

Screenshot of what my blog should look like.

Saturday, January 28th 2006

Google Clarifies Their Chinese Censoring

The Google Blog has a good post about their Chinese launch and why they think they did the right thing.

Saturday, January 28th 2006

New Volvo S80 Pictures Leaked!

Pictures of the new Volvo S80 seem to have leaked. Here are the individual photos. There is also an official Volvo page with some info on the upcoming models. Highlights include:

  • 4.4 litre V8 with 315 bhp, AWD and Instant Traction
  • 3.2 litre inline 6 with 235 bhp
  • Collision Warning System (…with automatic braking as a last resort)
  • Active Cruise Control (Slows you down when you get close to a car ahead of you.)
  • Active Bi-Xenon Headlights (…that follow the movements of the steering wheel.)
  • Personal Car Communicator (Shows lock status, etc.)
  • Floating Center Console
  • Keyless Drive

Well done Volvo. I like the two extra creases on the bonnet, visible in this photo. But I think they should stick a turbo on that 3.2 litre engine as well and get an engine option between 235 and 315 bhp. Amazingly, the new inline 6-cylinder engines will be more compact than the present five-cyliner. How do they do it?

Of course, there will be a nice powerful stereo to play with as well.

Update: I have information that there indeed will be a light pressure turbo 3.0 litre six with 285 bhp, as well as a normally aspirated 2.8 litre unit.

Thursday, January 26th 2006

Google AI Not Quite There Yet

The artificial intelligence of the Google search engine is not perfect. Not yet anyway:

Google mistake

Click the suggested search and you, logically enough, got no results at all.

Wednesday, January 25th 2006

Anyone Surprised?

Bush ignored warnings of what probably would happen to New Orleans when Katrina struck.

Now, the investigation is being systematically delayed by the administration:

Sen Lieberman accused the Department of Homeland Security of a conscious strategy of [delaying] our investigation in the hope that we would run out of time.

BBC News

Sounds a lot like what happened to the 9/11 commission, if you ask me…

Oh, and there’s something similar about these two remarks:

I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees?

George Bush

Nobody in our government, at least, and I don’t think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.

George Bush

Monday, January 23rd 2006

How Can Bush Still Be President?

Over the last couple of days I’ve been reading up on the events of the 11 September, 2001.

It amazes me that there hasn’t been a huge, national surge of protests against the US administration for all the blatant cover-ups and failures prior to and after 9/11. Even if only one quarter of all the facts claimed by the conspiracy theorists are true, that government is rotten to the core! How come you Americans never get any decent people to run your country and its security?

As I see it, what happened on the 11 September 2001 was …

  • At best, a complete and disastrous failure of the Bush administration to do their job. They should have been removed straight away.
  • At second best/worst, Bush & co let the attacks happen, in order to rally the US people behind dubious operations in the middle-east, Iraq specifically. This, to me, is beginning to seem like the most likely alternative, reading all the lies and bogus claims that Bush, Rice and Cheney made regarding 9/11.
  • At worst, the US government, and/or the various corrupted US authorities, masterminded the whole thing – paying off the suicide bombers (or agents) and whatnot. Also the Twin Towers were brought down using explosives, in a deal with Larry Silverstein who had just bought all WTC buildings and taken out a record ensurance policy.

It could also have been a combination of the last two, where the attacks were carried out by Al Quaeda et al. without any help from the US government, but the whole scenario was spiced up a bit by bringing the towers down. The whole building 7 thing makes this not all too implausible. Obviously, the explosives had been applied to WTC 7 before the 11 September. What’s to say Larry hadn’t done the same with WTC 1 & 2?

If 9/11 was/is one big conspiracy, then I must congratulate the Bush administration. I mean, the whole thing is just so unbelievably evil and rotten, who’s going to believe it? Lesson learned: If you’re plotting a conspiracy, make it such an over-the-top, gruesome plan that no one will believe it. Of course, there will be those who protest, but most people will just laugh at their outlandish claims.

Oh, that reminds me. You’ve got to read The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11.

Thursday, January 19th 2006

Sweden is Cold This Time of Year

From news website DN.se:

På söndag klarnar det upp i södra Sverige, enligt SMHI. Trots att solen då kan titta fram mellan molnen blir det ännu kallare i landet: från 10 minusgrader i söder ner till 3035 minusgrader i Tornedalen.

I’ll translate that for you:

On Sunday southern Sweden will have clear skies, according to SMHI. Even though the sun may be coming out from behind the clouds it will be even colder throughout the country: from -10° C in the south to -3035° C in Tornedalen.

The Lapps had better stay indoors.

Update: They seem to have fixed the slight inaccuracy now.

Wednesday, January 18th 2006

Archives Not Working, Google Ads Removed

I noticed a while back that my archives aren’t working. (They simply don’t exist.) All my old posts are on the server though. Not sure why the collecting archive pages aren’t. I’ll send Blogger an email.

I’ve tired of logging in to my Google AdSense account, just to find that I have a click-through rate of about 0.1%. I don’t understand what other people do to get so much money out of Google. (Apart from having loads of readers, which I don’t.) Well, I guess I was never meant to be an Internet millionaire… 🙂

Update: Archives are back in action now. Apparently you had to specify a special folder for the archive when switching to FTP publishing. I thought that was handled automatically.

Wednesday, January 18th 2006

Umm…

Screenshot from Answers.com

I guess I did.

Tuesday, January 17th 2006

Avoid Volvos of Model Years 1999-2002

My parents were looking at getting a new (used) car. Being Volvo people, they started looking at S80s and V70s from around 1999 and 2000. They found one fairly quickly, a light blue S80 2.4 (140 bhp) [se], MY 2000.

Being a Volvo guy, I tend to regularly hang around VVSpy.com. I asked in the S80 forum whether anyone knew which model year was best, knowing that Ford introduced some cost-cutting measures for the car some time around 2001.

Thankfully, I was enlightened on the Volvo ETM problem (now there’s an understatement). Apparently, Volvo introduced an electronic (or fly-by-wire) throttle in all cars from model year 1999. Only, Volvo obviously had no clue how these things should be constructed, and so used a design which partly consisted of metal fingers moving over a polycarbonate surface with every move of the throttle. This infallibly leads to erratic throttle behaviour, including spontaneous accelerations and loss of power. After some time, the engine will die on you – somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 miles usually. (That’s between 80,000 and 160,000km.) Here’s a list of affected models and years.

So what?, you think. All modern cars have problems, right? Well it wouldn’t be so bad if Volvo accepted responsibility for this problem and either recalled all affected cars or repaired the part for free at first sign of a problem. (So that you wouldn’t have to experience your car dying on you while overtaking on the motorway.) But they aren’t doing that. In Sweden anyway, and the US, Volvo are replacing the part – but only if the car outputs the right error code. Thing is, this won’t happen until the ETM has broken completely and the car comes to a complete stand-still.

Ok. So you’ve had your complete brake-down, after driving around worrying for a year-and-a-half. You get the part replaced for free. Is the new one any better? No. Several reports indicate the opposite – that the replacement part is even worse, failing at around 20,000 miles/32,000km.

The best bit is this: Volvo knew, even before the first cars were sold with this design flaw, that more than 9 out of 10 ETM units would break before 100,000 miles/160,000km. Remember, we’re talking about a part which shouldn’t have to be replaced at all during the lifetime of a car. Some dealers will claim (when you want it replaced under guarantee) that this is a wear-and-tear part. However, nothing is mentioned about this in any manual…

There is (was?) a class action law suit against Volvo in the US, for having issued a secret guarantee. Volvo were replacing the part for free, but only if the customer was annoying enough. Not telling all affected owners about the free replacement is illegal.

If you want to read more about this, see Don Willson’s website. If you’d like to follow the whole investigation into the matter from the very start back in 2004, read this thread, all 37 pages of it.

As you may have understood by now, my parents changed their mind about the S80 they had looked at. When speaking to the dealer, they were very understanding and said that it’s important that you feel you’re making the right choice, etc. However, they didn’t in any way acknowledge the ETM problem. Guess they’ll just have to sell that car to someone less well informed. Well, at least, by now it won’t be you 🙂

So much for Volvo being committed to safety.

Tuesday, January 3rd 2006

Google Maps Made Useful

I was searching around for a way to map a certain combination of long/lat coordinates on satellite images, and came across Power Maps. Power Maps is based on Google Maps, but gives you much more control, as well as possibilities. It gives you the long/lat coordinates of the map center, and lets you specify a long/lat to go to. Great stuff!

It also gives you a tonne of options. You can even make it draw red tracks of your movement over the map! (Useful?)