Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Monday, March 16th 2009

Eurovision Song Contest 2009: Sweden

Finally, my favourite contestant won the Swedish final for the Eurovision Song Contest. Can’t remember when that happened last.

Obviously, I have to do my part to promote the song, so here goes.

Malena Ernman won with the song La Voix, which is half disco/techno/pop and half opera. A cool mix, and I hope it is memorable enough to do well in Moscow. At least better than Sweden has done the last couple of years. (18th place both 2007 and 2008.)

Here is her performance in the Swedish final, where I think she sang better than in the qualifying rounds. The powerful bits are less harsh or screamy if you will.

Thursday, March 12th 2009

Fun with Google

Google Suggest can be pretty funny …

screenshot of Google suggesting funny options

Tuesday, February 24th 2009

Begriplig Svenska Fail

DN.se vid 14-tiden i dag:

Skärmdump från DN.se med det underskattade ordet eklatera.

Eller var det bara jag som inte visste vad eklatera betyder?

Wednesday, January 28th 2009

What's going on here?

I’ve noticed this a few times now. When I do a Google search using Internet Explorer the first few results are high-jacked by various spam-ish sites.

google screenshot

Anyone have any idea what’s happening here? I’m guessing my computer has been infected somehow. I doubt very much this is Google’s fault.

I’ll let Spybot loose and see what it finds.

Edit: After running Spybot and fixing all the problems it found, Google now behaves as it should in Internet Explorer. (There was never a problem in Firefox.)

Thursday, November 20th 2008

Rubrik-FAIL

Aftonbladets rubriksättare visar än en gång sin kompetens:

headline fail aftonbladet

Svensk bebis född
Jaha?
I luften
Jaha!

Wednesday, November 5th 2008

Thank you America

^^

Wednesday, October 1st 2008

Snygg bild DN.se

skärmdump på en ful bild på dn.se

Friday, September 26th 2008

Jettefånig rubrik

På DN.se i dag:

screenshot from dn.se

Tuesday, September 23rd 2008

Tones

XKCD nr 479

More great strips at XKCD.

Thursday, June 19th 2008

Bröllopsdricka

Förut var mitt rum i Uppsala fyllt med möbler som skulle till Eskilstuna. Inte nu längre.

30 L cola
25 L cider
38 L vin
33 L loka
33 L lättöl

= hoppas ni är törstiga. 🙂

Saturday, April 26th 2008

Nine millimetres is less than you think

Went to the hairdressers yesterday. She is always very careful when cutting and usually ends up cutting less off than I really want. So yesterday I had prepared to ask her for the cutting machine.

We agreed on using a nine millimetre comb on top and six millimetres around the sides. She started by trimming down the sides. But then she sort-of chickened out and started cutting the top of my head with scissors. I looked like a mushroom.

After watching her with the scissors for a while I asked why she didn’t just go ahead and shave it all off as we had agreed. I guess she knew how short nine millimetres actually is and didn’t want to do something I would regret. But I said that I knew it was really short and said she should just do it.

So … it turns out, nine millimetres is pretty short! But I don’t regret anything. Just takes a bit of getting used to.

Photo of my new haircut

Wednesday, August 29th 2007

Why Microsofts New Format OOXML Sucks

In the kerfuffle of the Swedish ISO vote on Microsofts Office Open XML having been bought by Microsoft Sweden and their partners, I found a great page explaining what is wrong with the Microsoft specification.

There seems to be plenty wrong with it. Also, in section four of that page, there is a very telling letter written by Bill Gates in 1998 that indicates how Microsoft operates.

To me it seems crazy that ISO are even considering OOXML since they already have one standardized document format, ODF.

Here’s to using OpenOffice for $0 (that is £0, or €0) instead of Microsoft Office 2007 for around $399 (that is £198, or €292)!

Saturday, April 21st 2007

My New Toy: the Cowon/iAudio D2

(This little review ended up so long I decided to add some rather un-bloggish section headers.)

Rating

Without further ado: 9.5 out of 10.

Intro

On Thursday the 19th I finally got my first ever DAP. The Cowon D2 (4 GB). I thought I was going to get it on Monday, but it was delayed three days in the post. That’s the Swedish postal service for you.

Cowon iAudio D2 box

Cowon iAudio D2, display switched off

Strictly speaking though, this is a PMP, not a DAP, since it plays videos as well as audio.

Previously, Cowon have branded their DAPs as iAudio this or that, but for some reason they’ve dropped the iAudio name from their newer players. (The A3, D2 and Q5.) If they are trying to reduce consumer confusion by removing the semi-brand iAudio name, they aren’t doing to well. The current situation is much more confusing. Google says the D2 is referred to as the iAudio D2 in one out of three times.

Pros & Cons

My main reasons for getting the D2:

  • It plays Ogg Vorbis audio files, the audio format which gives best sound quality per kilobyte. (I rip all my CDs to 128 kbps Ogg Vorbis.)
  • It has an SD memory slot which lets you easily (and at a low price) add up to 8 GB (or up to 32 GB, soon).
  • It has radio
  • It plays video
  • Like all Cowon’s players, it has great sound quality
  • It has a very good battery, allowing up to ~50 hours of music listening (or 10 hours of video).
  • …and, I might as well admit it: It’s pretty cool with its wonderful 2.5 inch touch screen 😎

Then there are a few other useful features that might come in handy:

  • Radio recording
  • Recording through built in mic, line-in or external mic
  • TV-out
  • Picture viewing
  • Text-document viewer

Then a few gripes:

  • Both the line-in and tv-out require special adapters that are not included in the box. I got the line-in adapter since it could come in handy for the occasional recording, but I didn’t bother with the TV-out, which leads me to my second gripe…
  • All videos have to be downsized to the screen resolution of 320×240 pixels. This means it will only output 320×240 pixels through the TV-out, while a standard TV can display roughly four times as many pixels. If Cowon release a firmware update that will allow higher resolution videos to be played and sent to a TV I will definitely get the TV-out adapter too.
  • The little stylus (which isn’t needed for the touch screen IMO) is supposed to work as a stand when watching video. (See the photo on this page.) But it doesn’t clip in properly. You’re supposed to be able to use it for two different viewing angles. The more upright position only just works, while the D2 will just fall backwards if you try the more angled position. The stylus just comes out of the slot.
    Edit: I just realized that the stylus works much better as a stand if you have the elastic string fitted as it should be. Duh. 🙂

More thoughts

Overall, the D2 feels very well built and sturdy. You can hear how nice it feels (yes, you can hear it!) roughly one minute into this pretty good video review when the reviewer pushes it around on a table surface. As usual, though, on these kinds of things, the USB/charger connections are covered by a plastic lid which doesn’t feel… umm… indestructible. I guess the player would work fine even if that lid were to break off.

Since I live about 320 kilometres from my family and girlfriend, I spend quite a few hours on the train every month. That’s where I’ll be using the video capability of this thing. I’ll simply load it up with a few episodes of whatever I happen to be watching, or possibly a film that I’ve recorded from TV recently, and watch on the go. That should reduce the boringness of travelling. I’ll just have to try to not laugh too loudly while watching Seinfeld. 🙂

I will use my D2 with my Koss PortaPro headphones, which are very light and travel friendly while sounding great.

One great aspect of all Cowon/iAudio players is that you can adjust the sound in about a million ways, using a real equalizer, bass booster and various effects. For those of you who have a Cowon player, here are my settings:

  • EQ: 0,  –5,  –3,  –1,  0
  • BBE: 2
  • Mach3Bass: 10
  • 3D surround: 0
  • Stereo Enhance: 0
  • MP Enhance: 0

Yes, I like my bass nice and rich 🙂

Album art is another of the D2’s nice touches. For each music folder you can simply add a picture of the album cover, call it cover.jpg and it will be displayed when playing any of the songs in the folder. See the photo below.

Cowon iAudio D2 showing album art

The easiest way to get your D2 set up with album art is to simply do Google image searches for each album and save decent-looking images in the corresponding folders. It takes a while, but it’s well worth it if you ask me. (And hey, you’re reading my blog.) The pictures should be at least 92 by 92 pixels. If they’re bigger, they will be automatically downsized by the D2.

I also like the fact that Cowon are constantly improving the firmware for their players. It makes you feel that they care for you even after they’ve got your money, which is the kind of thing that makes you want to come back to a brand in the future. Right now it’s been a few weeks since they released 2.41, so there should be a new version out soon. 🙂

When I got my D2, it had the 2.21 firmware installed, so I went through the rather tedious upgrade process to get version 2.41. About halfway through the installation I couldn’t get it to switch on, so I panicked for a little while, thinking I had lost it for ever. However, after a few more tries it started and I could finish the installation. That’s pretty much the only software glitch I’ve seen so far.

The bundled computer software, JetAudio, is surprisingly good considering it’s bundled. So far I’ve only really used it for converting videos to the right size, though. What I liked was the surprising number of options for getting the video conversion just right. For instance, it’s possible to select just part of a video file for downsizing.

Finally, if you end up a Cowon (or iAudio?) owner, you should know about the iAudiophile.net forums. There you’ll find answers to pretty much anything you could want to know about the Cowon DAPs and PMPs.

Tuesday, April 10th 2007

Google Humour

Ask a silly question, get a silly answer. (Click for the fun.)

Cropped screenshot of Google Maps showing driving instructions from New York to London

Wednesday, January 17th 2007

Openoffice Suction

Back in September of 2005 I was moaning about how the spell checker in OpenOffice sucks. Sadly, it hasn’t improved since then.

Heck, Firefox has a much better spell checker for its text fields.

I have to moan some more about this expensive software:

  • There is no simple way of binding a certain character to a keyboard shortcut. You have to record a macro which inserts the character, and then edit the macro with a text editor so that it works independent of which font you happen to be using. Finally, you bind the macro to a keyboard shortcut.
  • The upgrade process is awful! Why are all my settings obliterated when I install a new version? Obviously, this really puts me off upgrading. I could live with there being no binary update, but I would like it if I could at least install a point upgrade without losing all my settings and dictionaries.
  • Page numbering anyone? Could it be more complicated and non-intuitive?

Thursday, November 2nd 2006

Swedish Drink or Die Cracker Znip3r in Court of Appeal

When the Drink or Die warez-group was busted in late 2001, a Swedish cracker known as Znip3r was arrested. However, the district court acquitted him even though he had confessed to cracking and uploading software to private leech servers. Yesterday he appeared before the Swedish court of appeal.

Back in January 2005, the district court argued that most of the programs that were cracked, were demo or trial versions. Thus, installing the software was entirely legal. And the cracking, or reverse engineering, was not illegal since he was allowed to install the software.

However, the prosecutor is claiming (in his appeal) that Znip3r was committing an offence by installing the software and testing his cracks and patches.

The district court also meant that Znip3r didn’t distribute the cracked software to the public – only to a restricted circle of about 100 people. The prosecutor obviously disagrees, and suggests that the cracks should be considered tools for committing crime. Hence, creating and providing cracks is a crime.

Since this is the first case of its kind in Sweden, it is very unclear as to how the law should be interpreted. Yesterday’s trial was all about how Swedish law should be interpreted, not whether Znip3r had or hadn’t cracked the software. At times there seemed to be total confusion in the court room – both the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer hesitated on several occasions when questioned by the judge.

It was pretty obvious that the judge, the prosecutor and the lawyer weren’t into warez and FTPs and drop boxes on a day-to-day basis.

Znip3r says that DoD was never trying to distribute the cracked software that they produced. In fact, they tried to avoid just that, so as not to get into trouble with the police. Instead they got their kick from the actual cracking, and the competition against other cracking groups within the warez-scene.

Now, at the turn of the millennium, DoD didn’t crack the kind of software that you or I would use in our everyday lives. (In 1995, though, they cracked and released Windows 95.) Instead they were into very specialized, technical/engineering/simulation business software, some costing as much as $16,000. Those types of software were much better protected and were much more of a challenge to crack.

I have always been interested in maths and problem-solving, the 27-year-old said in court.

It seems he was pretty good at what he did, too. At the end of year 2000, Znip3r was declared the top cracker of the fourth quarter.

It was actually pretty darn good fun, he commented during the lunch break.

However, when Znip3r was cracking for DoD, US authorities had a paid informant within the group. To identify Znip3r, the informant (known as Bcre8tiv) offered him a laptop. For the delivery, Znip3r sent Bcre8tiv his real name and address. The laptop he was sent was broken, so he sent it back – which gave the informant further verification of his identity.

The Swedish police didn’t arrest him and search his house until two days after the main international raid, so he heard of the operation and had time to destroy his hard drives and throw them in a skip. The data was unrecoverable, but he cooperated fully with the police ever since he was arrested.

Anyway, here’s the weirdest part of my story: As I was reading up on the case before the trial yesterday, I saw that the police had raided a flat in the block of flats that I live in now. So, during the lunch break, I asked Znip3r which floor he lived on. The second, he said. Cool, I thought – Same as me. I then asked him if he lived in the flat which was straight ahead from the staircase, and yes, he did. Just to make sure we were talking about the same floor (the Swedish numbering of floors, like the British, is slightly counter-intuitive) I said that, well, I lived on … not the ground floor, but the first floor. He said that’s where he lived too.

So now I know I live in a flat that was raided by police in a major international operation to bust one of the most famous warez-groups of the 90’s.

😐

Better check for any bugging machines left behind…

Thursday, October 26th 2006

Visa: What's It To Be?

The other day I spotted this rather ironic advertising poster for Visa:

Visa advertising poster.

The slogan could be translated to Enjoy every beat (or tone, to be precise).

Well, what can I say. I would be able to enjoy every beat if I could buy my music at a reasonable price.

As it is, I can’t. And if I bought my music for $1 per track, I would be able to listen to it, but hardly enjoy it.

I believe the following needs to be repeated until the music labels get it: Why would anyone want to buy a limited-use (DRM-infested), lower quality copy of a CD (wihtout the album art) when it’ll cost you as much as getting the real thing in perfect 48 kHz 44kHz/16 bit quality, which you can then rip at whatever quality you like and play on whatever digital audio player you like?

Edited for factual errors.

Sunday, October 8th 2006

More Good Documentaries About Bush & Co

There are some very good documentaries on what’s happening in the USA right now. I posted one a few weeks ago. Here are two more, my favourites so far.

9/11: Press for Truth is a documentary about a group of women who lost their husbands in the WTC attacks, and their fight against the official (proven) lies.

Orwell Rolls in His Grave is a revealing documentary about the US media coorporations, and how their agendas are set.

This is important stuff. If you haven’t seen these already, watch them soon. Especially if you live in the USA, and even more so if you have votes to cast in the US elections.

Loose Change, which in my eyes isn’t a documentary – more like a specumentary – has had a lot of attention lately. However, it is not one of the better 9/11 documentaries around. It speculates and there is no end of wild theories and guessing.

Tuesday, September 12th 2006

Very Important Documentary on 9/11

You’ve probably heard of the many wild conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 (11 September) attacks. Well, if you only watch one conspiracy theory documentary, watch this one (torrent). It is not along the lines of the WTC being blown up using explosives, it only lists masses of evidence which point in the direction of the US government, which ignored the warnings prior to the 11 September (among many other things). It also points out what will happen if the American people, as well as the rest of the world, doesn’t react NOW.

Watch this – for your own sake and for mine.

Tuesday, August 29th 2006

Windows XP/2000 Bug Number One

The most annoying bug of Windows XP and 2000 (?) has to be this: When you move a shortcut to a new folder on the startmenu it will NOT stay where you let go of it. It will ALWAYS jump down to the end. You then have to move it again to the wanted position.

This is with XP, fully patched with SP2 and the lot. Microsoft, how hard can it be? 11 years after launching Windows 95 and this kind of thing still* doesn’t work?

*) I’m not 100% sure that this bug always has been present. If you have any further knowledge about the older Windows versions, please leave a comment.