May 2003

Dead end road

by Volker Weber

If you think Microsoft will provide you with free upgrades for Internet Explorer, think again:

iexplore.gif As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation. ... Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS.

The next version of IE will obviously need Palladium. You have to decide for yourself whether you want that or not. You may want to do this quickly as you may be running out of options soon.

Mozilla Firebird

by Volker Weber


I hope you are as confused as I am about the Mozilla future and naming conventions. :-)

Today I cleaned up my software on Charlie my trusty old ThinkPad T21, a.k.a. StinkPad. One of the things that needed maintenance besides Windows and Groove was Mozilla. So I removed the 1.31 codestream and replaced it with Mozilla Firebird, the artist formerly known as Phoenix. I was really surprised by the new default theme. Looks pretty good. They also cleaned up the preferences and added the Opera- or Safari-style Google search box (optionally searches DMOZ).

So far I like it.

Groove 2.5d Build 1759 available for download

by Volker Weber

Groove released a silent update. Again. No notification, no changelog, no information about bugs that have been fixed. Please note this permanent address for the latest build:

Installing RedHat 9 - part four

by Volker Weber


All done. Kermit is now running RedHat 9 and drives the Sony screen in digital mode.

I removed the second HD yesterday because it was too loud. Then I made some room on Kermit's first HD and reinstalled the system there. It really only takes about 45 minutes to get it up and running. NVidia has an installation routine which checks for the appropriate kernel module and then actually builds one specifically for your kernel. You do need the kernel sources and the compiler for that installed on the machine.

Last but not least, I have to thank two people: The invaluable Stefan Rubner, who is able to help almost around the clock, at least when I am not sleeping. And also specifically Peter Leugner of AS Computer, who sent me detailed instructions for the NVidia driver.

Must check that list ...

by Volker Weber

Ray Ozzie explains:

you must make diligent efforts to block download/distribution to places like Cuba, Syria, Libya, Iran, North Korea, Sudan. And if you know who you're downloading to (e.g. through site or product registration) you must check to see if they're on a list of known terrorists.

I see. This is why Groove Networks forces you to enter your name and e-mail address all over again, when you go through the regular upgrade screen or when you want to download a white paper. I mean, a known terrorist would always fill out this form very carefully so he does not misspell his name, wouldn't he?

I remember these "how to download pgp" files on American ftp servers all too well. The source was always available from free countries.

Kind of reminds me of a famous quote.

20 days in spring, 2003

by Volker Weber

Must read >

Installing RedHat 9 - part three

by Volker Weber

Before I continue, Kermit shall download all the updates first:

mkdir -p /root/redhat/9.0/updates
rsync -arz /root/redhat/9.0/updates/i386
rsync -arz /root/redhat/9.0/updates/i586
rsync -arz /root/redhat/9.0/updates/i686

That's what it looks like, first the CD images and then the updates:


Then I will need to go into those directories and install them ...

British Design and Art Direction Award

by Volker Weber

Lucy received an award.

[via it&w]

Installing RedHat 9 - part two

by Volker Weber

When I got up, CD #3 had finished downloading. Burn that. Insert. Hit OK. The install was finished in seconds.

But the job is not done yet. I have some strange problems with the Xserver config. Not video output in graphics mode. As RedHat by default boots into a graphical login, that would have been a showstopper for most folks. I now reset the runlevel to 3 and will try and fix this Xserver config later.

Have some work to do today. May be able to tackle this issue tonight. If you have any hints about what I should do: NVidia GeForce 2 MX, Sony SDM-M81

Installing RedHat 9 - part one

by Volker Weber

I tried to install a second HD into Twin and failed miserably. Still don't know why it did not work. Finally I decided to put the disk into Kermit. I also decided to get a new Redhat release. The last one I had was 8.0, so I started downloading the new release, three ISO images.

After two images completed I started to think about burning them to CD. Wanted to do that on the Mac where you will mostly see .dmg or .toast images. After I asked Bill Schindler, Esther's husband, I realized it was again much easier than I thought. Enter a blank disk, select Diskcopy when prompted, select ISO file when prompted. Hit burn.

I quickly booted from CD#1, partioned the second HD and answered a few questions. 36 minutes later I had all of the selected packages installed. Well, almost all. For the very last package the installer asked for CD #3 - and that is still downloading. Don't want to wait another 90 minutes for that to complete its download. Will go to bed now and then insert the last disk tomorrow first thing in the morning.

Good night, folks.

Hot dog art

by Esther Schindler

Or are they puppets?

Turn of the tide

by Volker Weber



by Volker Weber

Inspired by, this Flashlet now works in Mozilla, Opera and Safari.

More >

Ego surfing

by Volker Weber

Stefan just fired up IE and installed the Google toolbar. He then told me that my page rank is 6. Wow.

Let's compare this to some other german sites: (8), (8), (8), (7), (7), (6), (2), (not ranked). I think I am catching up. :-)

Apple Newspeak

by Volker Weber

Newspeak from the Apple Software Update

iTunes 4.0.1 includes a number of performance and network access enhancements, and only allows music sharing between computers using iTunes 4.0.1 or later on a local network (in the same subnet).

This "enhancement" means you can no longer share your Music over a non-trivial network.

Close that window

by Volker Weber

Wolfgang has tried really, really hard to make sure no robots read his site. He may have gone a little bit too far because Safari closes -- not only the current window, but the application -- whenever I visit his site. Note to self: Make sure you don't click those referrers.

Das nenne ich Service

by Volker Weber

Nehmen wir an, Sie bekommen auch fleissig Service-Faxe mit der Aufforderung, diverse Informationen von 0190-Nummern abzufragen, und es fällt Ihnen schwer, diese unerwünschten Informationen abzubestellen, dann gibt es jetzt eine nette Abhilfe: Eine 0190-Suchmaschine

Damit lässt sich herausfinden, wer denn eigentlich diese Nummern bereitstellt, zum Beispiel die Firma Extracom in München, netterweise mit Wegbeschreibung, damit man der netten Vorstandsvorsitzenden einmal persönlich mitteilen kann, wie sehr man ihre Dienstleistungen schätzt.

Tolle Sache, das.

Weil diese Unternehmen bereits so ausserordentlich gut informiert sind, sollte man es tunlichst unterlassen, etwa einschlägige Kataloge an diese Adressen zu schicken. Auch ist es unbedingt zu vermeiden, Produkte auf sie zu registrieren oder in ihrem Namen an allen möglichen Preisausschreiben teilzunehmen. Selbst Zeitschriften haben sie sicher in ausreichender Menge. Allenfalls die E-Mail-Adressen sollte man vielleicht ab und an mal erwähnen.

Nur damit die wirklich niemand übersieht. :-)

Note to self: tar parameters

by Volker Weber

tar.gz -> -xvzf
tar.bz2 -> -xvjf
tar -> -xvf

This will never stick in my brain, so I better write this down. :-)


by Volker Weber


This is just one of these applications you have to love the Mac for. Simple, extensible, useful, err somewhat. :-)

iComic downloads your favorite comics every day and does so in the background. You can save them locally, annonate them, drag them to your mail, browse through archives, you name it, it's in there. iComic has a plugin architecture, so you can write your own extensions. Recommended !

More >

It looks like they made it

by Volker Weber


This is kind of a lithmus test. When people come looking for a crack, you made it outside of the enterprise into the mainstream.

Button farm

by Volker Weber

button-0.png button-1.png a buttonmaker button-2.png button-3.png not button-4.png it.

This would be a big loss for Microsoft

by Volker Weber

According to Heise Online and Spiegel Online it looks like Microsoft will be losing the city of Munich as their customer. The ruling parties SPD and Grüne have decided today they want to vote for Linux on May 28 as their future environment at the client(!) and an open source office suite.

Steve Ballmer was here to make an offer Munich can't refuse, and they still lean towards Linux. If MS loses this one, it could cause a landslide in the public sector.

Nice surprise

by Volker Weber

The IBM Press Team has done an excellent job to cover this year's Software Symposium in Munich. There is tons of material online, more than we could ever publish. Well done !

Today I browsed through some of the material and was surprised to find myself in two pictures. Here is one:


The rest is here.


by Volker Weber

Looked through my press releases today and had to think about this one:

Die KEIPER GmbH & Co. KG hat das Content Management System WebGate der Ratinger Innovation Gate GmbH als unternehmensweiten Standard für sämtliche Webauftritte eingeführt. Der Zulieferer für die Automobilindustrie wird mit der Software sowohl Intranet, Internet als auch ein Extranet für Zulieferer einrichten. Von der Einführung der Software verspricht sich KEIPER eine erhebliche Verbesserung des Informationszugriffs und der Informationsverteilung für die über 4.000 PC-User in rund 40 Fachbereichen und zehn Ländergesellschaften.

This is a typical press release that tells you that KEIPER will be using WebGate from InnovationGate for all their websites serving customers and 4000 internal users. While I would recommend you take a look at webgate if you are looking for a good CMS, this press release brings up some of my very own memories.


During my studies of business administration and engineering at the Technical University in Darmstadt I worked as an intern for KEIPER in their three people IT department in Battle Creek, MI and rewrote one of their off-the-shelf business applications. At that time they actually had the source code for the application and I was able to significantly enhance their cost explosion reports which lead to more reliable controlling data and a lot more transparency. I learned a lot during that time about requirements analysis, development, testing and the importance to lead and listen at the same time.

I also learned to understand Americans as you could never do it by living in New York City, let alone from a distance. This was a completely different planet for me. People got out of college at 21 and married, had kids and a dog and lived in a really small world. And I have nothing but very fond memories of that time.

Oh, yes, and we had a lot of snow in the winter of '81. :-)

Graffiti Anywhere

by Volker Weber


Now this is a cool application if you own a Palm Tungsten T. You never have to open the sliding lower part anymore when you enter data. Graffiti Anywhere lets you scribble right on the screen.

More >

Palm BlueTungsten

by Volker Weber

I know Vesey will be happy to read that all my issues with the Tungsten T have been resolved with the latest patch.

The device no longer resets when I use the BlueTooth stack with the LAN access profile. The infamous 345 files bug has also been resolved, so that I can now use the Novarra web browser that comes with the device.

Next thing on my list: I want an upgrade to 5.2 or at least a better browser. Novarra has a hardwired proxy so it won't work on the intranet.

In case you don't want to sit on it

by Volker Weber

It took me a while to get it. I assume you can do better. This outlet has some interesting instructions how to use their stuff. You have to select an item first to get the graphical details.

[Thanks, Stefan]

How to make Google think you da man

by Volker Weber

I seem to be attracting lots of links from Google regarding things I am certainly not an expert in, the latest one being Libby Hoeler. So how does that happen? I am almost certain that Google gets fooled by my Google referrers. If it happens that some soul finds me as search result number 126 and he is so desparate to complete his quest that he actually clicks on it, he shows up in my referrers. Next thing is GoogleBot sees this link and awards me another entry in the database which pushes me up higher in the charts. Which attracts more referrers, that show up ... you get the drift. Sort of a self-fulfilling pagerank I guess.

Interesting on-demand strategy

by Volker Weber


Put your readers in a queue for 60 seconds. And then do not serve them but requeue them with the same promise.

Dead Blogs Society

by Volker Weber

Jeroen Beckers reports that the Groove DevZone has a new look and a RSS feed, a format used by weblogs or news outlets that change several times a day.

While I welcome any new RSS feed there are unfortunately three problems: The latest news is more than two months old, they are using RSS 0.91 which does not let them specify when the last change occured and finally it does not validate since there are empty <link></link> pairs.

And as Markus was quick to point out, there are more problems:


You would not believe they have 3488 search results for vowe. I don't want to spoil the fun. After you found out what went wrong here, let it find a grave

Updated: Technical issues have been fixed. Bad soundex is gone, feed validates (still has no link on two items). Newest news is still nine weeks old.

Matrix done with pizza

by Esther Schindler

Do you really think that's mozzeralla you're eating?

Actually the movie isn't as good as I'd hoped. And making it run on a Mac is a pain. But the doctored photo of Neo holding back pepperoni (instead of bullets) is worth a click.

More >

Russian Army Knife

by Volker Weber

You all know the famous Swiss Army Knive. Markus was now able to compare it side by side with the Russian Army Knife. Esther also has a French Army Knife which is kind of similar.

Anke war im Kino

by Volker Weber

So habe ich mir das vorgestellt.

An amazing number of Macs

by Volker Weber


Welcome Spammers

by Volker Weber

Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, writes:

Dear Spam Robot:

I don't have much time to read emails, and I especially don't have much time to read unsolicited commercial emails. But I have decided to make an exception. If you would like to send me unsolicited commercial emails, then I agree to read them on the condition that you promise to pay me $500, and subject to the additional conditions mentioned below. You can accept this offer by sending unsolicited commercial email to me at

In accepting this offer, you also agree (1) to be subject to the laws of California for the purpose of enforcing our contract, (2) to pay any costs, including attorney fees, incurred in enforcing our contract, (3) to pay your obligation under this agreement within 10 days of sending the email, by mailing a check to me at the address referenced in the Contact section of this site, and (4) to accept service and costs associated with any bill collector that I hire to help collect obligations owed me under this contract.

Good luck with your business.

IBM 1980 = Microsoft 2000 ?

by Volker Weber

Aaron Goldberg is writing about the same parallels that I have used in many discussions:

Microsoft has contracted the same disease IBM had in the mid-'80s. It's called screw-your-customer-itis. The symptoms go from the ill-timed price hikes last year disguised as license changes to the poorly executed, capricious end-of-life announcements for key products to the carnage they've left in the "Windows-compatible" software business.

I also think that Microsoft will hit a downslope like IBM did in the 80s. It isn't going to happen next year, but if they continue on their current path it might hit them five years down the road. Currently they have pissed off so many people that in some cases they actually have to buy back their business from organizations on the way into the Linux camp.

Adding new features won't help. In many respects they are feature-wise way above their customers. Most of the people I know don't even care to enter any metadata like author, title, abstract and so forth into their documents. Are those people ready for digital rights restrictions management? I don't think so. Yes, the entertainment industry is. So if they are Microsoft's customers, everything is in fine shape.

Of course this is all not inevitable. IBM has proven that you can turn that ship around and I have no doubt that Microsoft can do the same. But they need to be serious about it and they will need a long time to regain trust.


by Volker Weber


Celebrating 3333 entries on Now that is a cool number. :-)

The history of the Internet

by Esther Schindler

This visual history is worth a chuckle over your first cup of coffee. Or your last cup of the day.

South African duo win extreme ironing photo contest

by Esther Schindler

A South African duo have won an extreme ironing photo competition by ironing a shirt while suspended from a rope across a mountain gorge.

I'm more impressed by the fact that someone came up with the idea of an extreme ironing competition.


by Volker Weber

Photo: Frank Sturm

Google-Anfrage des Tages

by Volker Weber

Hätte nicht gedacht, dass ich es bei dieser Frage auf Position 6 schaffe.

Excuse me?

by Volker Weber


They want to charge me 3 Euro (roughly US$ 3.50) for placing a toll-free call? Are we feeling ripped off yet?

What a fat book

by Volker Weber


Back home from Hamburg safe and sound. Brian Benz lugged a three and a half pound book, that he and Rocky Oliver wrote together with Richard Schwartz, all over the pond. So I am not complaining though I was really packed on my way home with all the material from Munich and Hamburg.

I guess you will be hearing more about this book but I already learned something from it : in chapter 36, page 563, it says you can download WebSphere Studio Workbench 2.01 from If you enter that URL however, you get redirected here, and I cannot find a free download there. Bev DeWitt mentioned in her presentation today that IBM gives it away to ISVs. Why do I want it, if I can have Eclipse for free? IBM has added a bunch of plugins that are the foundation of WebSphere Studio. If you have the Workbench, you can also use other IBM plugins that require WebSphere Studio and won't run on barebones Eclipse. Any hints where the download is now?

Centralized Lotus Notes Desktop Management

by Volker Weber

Since Heise did not want this message, I can relay it here. :-)

Icodex has an interesting tool that centrally manages Notes Desktops. Add, delete, modify and move pages. Do the same to icons. Make those icons point to different servers as you move databases. Fall back to the primary server after a cluster failover.

Very neat: Export the desktop as XML, translate it via XSLT and then display the desktop in a browser, either Notes- oder Explorer-style. They have an upcoming version in June that will also work with your bookmarks, notes.ini settings, locations and such.

Kind of inexpensive, free demo available.

More >

Tungsten C for 399

by Volker Weber

Palm is selling the Tungsten C for 399 Euro (including VAT) in Munich at the IBM Software Symposium. That is well over 100 less than the current market prices.

Update: Mitch says it is without VAT, which makes it 16% more expensive.

Back to work

by Volker Weber


Just registered for the IBM Software Symposium 2003 in Munich and received my interview schedule. Tight as always. I shall be busy the next two days here and then head up to Hamburg tomorrow in the evening for the DNUG conference.

Lots of travelling ahead

by Volker Weber


Tomorrow I will do something that I really, really enjoy. Instead of taking that fast track via aircraft, ICE train or Autobahn, we will make a cross country drive all the way from Darmstadt down to Munich. Without a single kilometer on a highway. It is going to take the whole day to get there and I will enjoy every single minute. We will then have a relaxing weekend before next week kicks off with the IBM Software Symposium in Munich and the DNUG conference in Hamburg. From Munich to Hamburg and back home I will be travelling via Lufthansa. So how does the car get back home? That's a secret. :-)

This referrer list ...

by Volker Weber

... is a clear indication of the superiority of western culture. Isn't it?


You all know this ...

by Volker Weber

There is no doubt about it. The Belgians run the best commercials. Hint: Click on the words "as funny as this one".

Words of wisdom

by Volker Weber

"I am not 45. I am 25 - with 20 years of experience." I can' t say it better how I feel some days.

Alternative stylesheet

by Volker Weber

mystylestn.JPG yourstylestn.JPG

I am contemplating an alternative, barebones stylesheet for people who cannot read the current design and want the site to default to their browser settings. What do you think?

Heise News-Ticker: T-Mobile stoppt Windows-Handy

by Volker Weber

Das für den Sommer angekündigte Handy von T-Mobile, das unter dem Microsoft-Betriebssystem Smartphone 2002 laufen soll, kommt erst einmal nicht auf den Markt. Das bestätigte T-Mobile-Sprecher Phillip Schindera gegenüber heise online. "In der jetzigen Version entspricht die Software nicht unseren Ansprüchen", erklärte er. Technische Details wollte er nicht nennen.

Mir reicht es eigentlich auch, wenn Windows-PCs abschmieren. Müssen nicht gleich Autos oder Telefone sein.

More >

Are you still paying for Windows?

by Volker Weber

Well you should not. Threaten to move a large operation to Linux, get Windows for free, or better yet, get Linux for free. :-)

Last summer, Ayala, then the top sales executive at Microsoft Corp., sent an e-mail message titled "Microsoft Confidential" to senior managers laying out a strategy to dissuade governments around the world from choosing cheaper alternatives to the ubiquitous Windows operating system.

Ayala's e-mail told executives that if a deal involving governments or large institutions looked doomed, they were authorized to draw from a special internal fund to offer the software at a steep discount or even free if necessary. Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive, was sent a copy of the e-mail message.

The memorandum, which focused on system software for desktop computers, specifically targeted Linux, a small but emerging competitor. "Under NO circumstances lose against Linux," Ayala said.

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If all you have is a hammer ...

by Volker Weber

Some folks are discovering weblogs and try to apply this solution to existing, sometimes poorly solved problems. Joe Litton is proposing to use weblogs as a documentation tool. It is an interesting idea, but I would first take a look at Wikis instead.

I am setting up my own wiki for testing purposes. Don't expect wonderful things there as it is only a test bed. I am using WakkaWiki because that is a rather simple and fast tool, which only requires a web server like Apache, PHP and MySQL. So, before you start recreating Wikis in Domino fighting with nasty Notes rich text or multivalue fields, remember that all of these components are free. :-)

The good thing about Wikis is that they do autolinking and creation of new pages for so called WikiWords that are recognized by their weird capitalization. And you can override the feature if you must, [[Volker Weber]] would force a link and "WikiWord" would deny one for an otherwise WikiWord.

Update: The first comment from Jens-Christian Fischer warrants an update on the front page. He has actually tried to build a Notes Wiki and in the tradition of Linus Torvalds invites you to take a look at his code and take it forward. If anyone is inclined to build one himself, this may be a very good starting point.

If you have any doubts about the viability of Wikis for documentation purposes look no further than [[ Wikipedia]]. Oops, we are not in a Wiki, so we need to format the link as <a href="">Wikipedia</a>. So this is your way to Wikipedia.

From Ray Ozzie's desk

by Volker Weber


Ted Goff has the skinny. :-)

Matrix unloaded

by Volker Weber


Spoiler alert: TIME tells the story.

Weird story of the day

by Volker Weber

I waited for this to happen since I was told that the BMW 7-series runs on Windows CE:

Thailand's Finance Minister Suchart Jaovisidha had to be rescued today from inside his expensive BMW limousine after the onboard computer crashed, leaving the vehicle immobilized.

Once the computer failed, neither the door locks, power windows nor air conditioning systems would function, leaving the Minister and his driver trapped inside the rapidly heating vehicle.

Despite the pair's best efforts, it took a full ten minutes before they were able to summon the attention of a nearby guard who freed the two men by smashing one of the vehicle's windows with a sledgehammer.

Well, I would not have bough one anyway. It's ugly and too huge. <snicker>

More >

Holy moly

by Volker Weber

That was a record breaking week at vowe's magic flying circus. 174268 hits, 38919 page impressions from 7992 distinct ip addresses. Yowza.

vowe galleries have moved

by Volker Weber

Chief PHP wrangler Stefan has moved my galleries to one of his servers. I am still waiting for my DNS to move. Update: DNS has moved to ZoneEdit as well and I am now able to direct you to the correct host. is up and running now.

Increased free space sixfold

by Volker Weber

Even a 20 gig iPod will fill up over time. Woodstock had about 700 meg free Friday night when I chatted with Thomas Cloer. He had a little hangover after DJing with two iPods the night before. He casually mentioned that he had converted his own MP3 collection the the proprietary Apple AAC format. I told him that I will keep mine in MP3 format.

Still, he got me thinking. So I lnspected the mess that I had created over the years. When I started ripping CDs a few years ago, I created the then default of 128 kbps. Later I switched to 192 and even 256 kbps. The trouble is: I cannot tell the difference. Maybe my ears are getting old or I just developed more tolerance. Anyway, Apple claims that 128 kbps AAC have the same quality as 160 kbps MP3. So I told Lucy to convert all MP3s with more than 128 kbps to AAC. It took her oneandahalf days to crank out roughly 2000 new files. I then deleted the old files, hooked up Woodstock and when I returned half an hour later he had synchronized the new and removed the old files. iTunes tells me this:


Thus free space on Woodstock jumped from 700 meg to 4300 meg. All my files are now 128 kbps, the older 1400 in mp3 and the newer 2000 in the AAC format. I now have space for another 1000 songs on the iPod.

Thank you soo much

by Volker Weber

I want to thank you all for the kind wishes. I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. The weather was not too nice in the morning — yes, there is rain outside of Portland :-) — but it cleared up nicely in the evening.

So we were sitting with about 25 friends in the Bayerischer Biergarten in Darmstadt and had a wonderful evening with lots of fun and chatter and some minor quantities of beer. Thank you all for coming.

Yes, you heard it right. No birthday cake. I guess it is different strokes for different folks.

One of the things I received yesterday, is a very fine album from Simply Red:

simply red home.jpg

That is currently playing on the stereo Lucy. Highly recommended !

You won't be replaced by a monkey

by Esther Schindler

Give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, the theory goes, and they will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.

Thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

However, some folks in London decided to do empirical testing.

More >

Forty Five

by Volker Weber


Separate content from presentation

by Volker Weber

withfontstn.jpg withoutfontstn.jpg

It is generally a bad idea to mix content and presenation. If you compare the two screenshots above, you can see what you lose in the mix. No, I don't want to single out Ed's site. It is just one example of an RSS feed that is rendered useless (for me) by this mistake.

Bad news for wardrivers

by Esther Schindler

An essential tool for WiFi may be temporarily unavailable:

The tornado that ripped through Jackson, Tenn., Sunday shut down the Pringles plant there -- the only one in North America -- and Procter & Gamble has temporarily suspended all U.S. distribution of the snack food.

More >

PR Sprech

by Volker Weber

Am Montag hatten wir es auf der Buschtrommel:

Die Internet World wird von Berlin nach München verlegt und findet parallel zur Systems statt.

Jetzt gibt es die knappe Geschichte auch als Langversion in PR Sprech. Eine Analyse.

Validate your feeds

by Volker Weber

It looks like the Domino folks are learning new tricks. RSS feeds this time. Gentlemen, please validate your feeds. Against both the validators from Dave Winer at as well as Mark Pilgrim and Sam Ruby at

This is not an option. It does not matter if your design breaks a few browsers, but a feed should never break an aggregator. It has to validate.

New fix for Palm Tungsten T

by Volker Weber

PalmTungstenTUpdate.pngPalm has finally released a patch for the infamous 345 files bug:

Launcher issues when attempting to access the App menu. The error message "LauncherMain.c, Line:9128, could not complete the operation because the system is out of dynamic memory" is reported on devices with more than 345 files in system memory.

However I am even more excited about this fix which is contained in the same patch:

Issues connecting to the Internet or email via a Bluetooth dongle attached to a PC.

I am unable to verify this at the moment, but that would mean they fixed the bug where the Tungsten goes into a soft reset once you send data over a connection with the LAN Access Profile and other devices than a Pico Access Point. That would be way cool.

More >

Oops, wrong button

by Volker Weber


Das Effe-Evangelium

by Volker Weber

Sehr lesenswerte Buchbesprechung bei Spiegel Online:

Endlich, Endlich. Der neue Effenberg ist da. 300 Seiten lesen und staunen. Krise hin, Agenda her: Deutschland ist und bleibt das Land der Dichter und Denker.

Alles Unglück der Welt rührt daher, dass die Menschen einfach nicht zu Hause bleiben können. Das hat einmal ein weiser Mann gesagt. Doch auch andersherum wird ein Fußballschuh draus: Es ist ein unschätzbares Glück für jeden Daheimgebliebenen, an den Erlebnissen eines weit gereisten Menschen teilzuhaben, der die Worte zu platzieren weiß wie einst den Steilpass an die Strafraumgrenze. Und siehe da, der Frühling 2003 hat uns einen solchen Augenblick der süßen Seligkeit beschert: Stefan Effenbergs "Ich hab's allen gezeigt" ist ein Wunder der Sprachkunst. Streckenweise gemahnt sie an eine geradezu Proustsche Wucht des Ausdrucks. Keine Frage: Hier ist ein Meister am Werke.

More >

[Danke, Stefan]

Look, Ma

by Volker Weber


Ed Brill loves Microsoft

by Volker Weber

Whether that is true or not, it is a fun Google search referrer. The presentation file which was attached to this post has been downloaded exactly 6914 times until I removed it a few days ago with the remains of I consider this quite a success and I have no idea why IBM did not post it to their website in the first place.

The old post has been updated and points to the new location of the file.


by Volker Weber


Natalia Vodianova, Justin Portman, Lucas
Photography by Steven Klein for Vogue 2/2003

Two conferences coming up

by Volker Weber

I have my tickets in hand now that will enable me to visit two conferences back to back: The 18th DNUG conference in Hamburg and the IBM Software Symposium in Munich. I have to thank Beate; she made this possible.

The plan is to attend the IBM event on Moday and Tuesday and then fly to Hamburg in the early evening. Frank has volunteered to pick me up in Hamburg so I will make it to the party that night. If there is a party. Don't see one on the agenda. But I am sure, even if there is no DNUG party, we will have one. Frank, do you hear me? Yes, Frank is a good mother. :-)

So in Munich I will be seeing Ed and many other IBM folks. In Hamburg there will be Bev, Brian, Rocky and other usual suspects I only ever meet at these conferences. Sadly enough I hardly ever saw a good friend after he left Lotus, although we are on the phone every other week and IM almost every day. Now I will be staying with his family in Munich for a few days before he moves to <gasp> Redmond.

Site redesign day

by Volker Weber

No, not here. But in many other places. :-)

Yesterday I talked about a few very basic design mistakes, that I have witnessed at a few fellow websites. Suddenly everyone seems to be changing their sites. Most interestingly those, who have the least reason to do so.

Please understand that I do not think I have the Rosetta stone for good web design. I can only say what pleases my own eye right now. This has changed over the years many times. My current thinking is that I need to leave away as much decoration as I can. Others have convinced me to add things back. John for instance has asked me after the last redesign to add my vowe logo back to the page. That was gone for a few months.

I have also read a few comments, that say design does not matter at all. People are interested in the content only. I disagree with all due respect. A very good posting has said, that a good design is transparent to the user. It does not interfer with the reader's intent to get to the content. That is more inline with my own current thinking.

Is there one perfect design? Most likely not. Do we have a need for different designs? Absolutely. You would not want to live in a city where all houses look the same, or would you?

So, keep on redecorating. And please, don't wear a paisley tie over a striped shirt with a plaid jacket. Design does matter. It also matters when you are only there for the food.

Your mileage may vary.

We are sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected ...

by Volker Weber

Joe Litton is blogging from Vancouver, USA — as it says on his website. There is a link to Vancouver. Cool. Click that. Surprise:


Let me get this straight: I have tried to reach I am unable to see this, as my IP address is blocked. OK, that is from a dymamic Deutsche Telekom address range. Which would block a few million users. Then it says:

If you believe you should be able to view this directory or page, please contact the Web site administrator by using the e-mail address or phone number listed on the home page.

Which is the page I wanted to see in the first place.

Mac OS X 10.2.6 is out

by Volker Weber


The 10.2.6 Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: Address Book, Graphics, Printing, OpenGL, and PC Card and USB hub device compatibility.

[Thanks, John]

Careful with those referrers

by Volker Weber

Found this in my referrers. You should protect yourself better. :-)

Color coordination for web sites

by Volker Weber


While we are talking about design: Some sites have difficulties with color coordination. For instance the above color set (#79A9D2 #FFDDAA #D1DFED #C7C7C7) does not work very well. There is however an easy to use tool called colormatch which will help you develop a set of 5 complimentary colors to a given color. If we start off with #79A9D2, we get this set:

colormatch.PNG going out of service

by Volker Weber

I will be decommissioning the server that hosts this week. So the photo galleries will be going away shortly. I expect them to be up again soon at a different location. has already moved. :-) and will remain unchanged.

Bad web design ideas

by Volker Weber

I see a disturbing trend to bad web design with most of the Domino blog templates. Some of these issues can be easily fixed however.


Too many fonts. This is a problem which is very easy to solve. Reduce your design to one single font, two sizes, two weights, two colors. Smaller size for regular text, large size for banner. Normal weight for bodytext, heavier weight for headlines. One color for regular text, second color for links. Do not use underlines for anything but links. Here is one example that gets the fonts right but makes a different mistake:


Too many lines. This is a bit harder to fix. Developers tend to think in block constructs. The too many lines problem is a designer's representation of these nested blocks. It is amazing what you can do if you draw white lines on white background. You get the same nested structure without the lines. It is called spacing. :-) Which leads us to issue #3:


Bad spacing. This is the hardest one to fix. Generally people tend to put things too close to each other, just in order to get more text on the screen. In this example there is a thin line very close to the border of the screen. You could leave that away without losing anything. Then there is no spacing at all between the body text and the line, which is both ugly and makes the text hard to read. Finally there is way too much spacing between the header and the body text.


Bad line spacing. This one is easier to avoid. You have to have an indication of a new paragraph at the left side of the text. The easiest way to do that is an empty line. If you don't want that, you can also use a first line indent. But you absolutely need to have that indication. Otherwise the text will be hard to read and it also will not look very good.

The general idea would be: Keep it as simple as possible. It is much easier to make a clean design with very few features. The more things you add the more complicated it gets. This is an example of an excellent design with many features, and this is a good example of a clean and simple design.

Funniest spam in a while

by Volker Weber

We would like to take this opportunity to offer you our fine selection of Italian crafted Rolex Timepieces. You can view our large selection of Rolexes (including Breitling, Tag Heuer, Cartier etc) at:

This must come from the people who draw maps for CNN. :-)


by Volker Weber


Longhorn Alpha Preview 3: Build 4015

by Volker Weber


Windows doesn't live here anymore

by Volker Weber

Tom Yager of Infoworld:

My wife chides me for carrying a PowerBook everywhere I go. My editors are sick of seeing mention of the Mac in almost all of my columns. My 18-month-old son walks around the house babbling "Apple-Apple-Apple-Apple". No fooling. I'm busted. I'm going to quit pretending I have much use for Windows client machines except for research. Nobody believes me anymore.

I can relate to that. :-)

More >

Neue von der Buschtrommel

by Volker Weber

Die Internet World wird von Berlin nach München verlegt und findet parallel zur Systems statt.

Merke: Two ducks don't make an eagle.

Close but no cigar

by Volker Weber

In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

"Our allies"? Shouldn't that be "All our lies"?

[via Schandmännchen - Die Satireseite]

Canon has a smaller IXUS body

by Volker Weber


Canon releases a new IXUS II, their first camera with SD memory. All metal body, 2x optical zoom, 3 megapixel. It's the camera to the left next to the Optio and and the IXUS 400. DPReview has reviews of those three and the Exilim Z3.

More >

See Internet Explorer crash

by Volker Weber

It only takes this code:

<input type>

Try it >

To make this a fair game, this invalid code will crash Mozilla:

<fieldset style="position:fixed;">

Try it >

[via Mark Pilgrim]

Google search of the day

by Volker Weber

I seem to be the expert, if you have this problem: unable to open dot net web project from another machine on the intranet


Printer-friendly format

by Volker Weber

Since very short or very long posts did not print very well, I have decided to add a new format for individual entries. When you are looking at any post, there will be a link at the bottom of the page — below the Comments form — to the printer-friendly page.

Yes, I had a specific reason to build this. :-)

developerWorks Live session titles

by Volker Weber

As I had written a few days ago, you can download the presentation files from developerWorks Live. Unfortunately the files are only named after the session numbers which is not overly useful. So I am adding the session titles here. And - just because it is so easy, I am linking directly to the presentations. :-)

I am also making this little batch file available. Run it from the directory where all the downloaded PDFs reside and it will rename them to the session title.

More >

Stopping spam - forever

by Volker Weber

The Irate Scotsman has a remedy against the unsolicited commercial email all of us receive every single day. It is not a supposed software breakthrough, but a serious hardware measure.

Hydra 1.0.1 maintenance release

by Volker Weber

Hydra made a big splash last week at the Emerging Technologies conference as Robert Kay reports:

Using Rendezvous and iChat to politely talk to other attendees during the conference enhances the experience and allows attendees to share insights gleaned from the presentations. Cool and simple, but very effective for enriching the conference.

But, that was nothing until Richard Soderberg bugged me to try out Hydra, the collaborative text editor. Hydra allows multiple people to edit a single text document at the same time. Using Rendezvous to discover fellow editors at the conference, a user can join others in editing a document. Hydra shows who is editing the document, how many changes they have made, and keeps all the changes from each of the contributors color coded to keep things attributed to their contributor.

Hydra is simply amazing. It took four students eight weeks to write this little gem for their university project in Munich, Germany. Even without the collaborative features it is an excellent editor with syntax highlighting.

Hydra is available here. There is a maintenance relase out now.

Reduced battery life

by Volker Weber

Walter Mossberg is very upbeat about the new iPod. Still it looks like he has found a major drawback:

To reduce the size of the unit, Apple had to cut the size of the battery. So, the battery life of the new iPods, while still respectable, is significantly lower than it was on the original version. The old models claimed 10 hours of battery life, but mine got 12 hours. The new models claim eight hours of battery life, but my test iPod lasted only 7.5 hours -- nearly 40% less than my old one.

So, hold on to your old iPods and don't dump them on eBay to get a new one. I trade battery life for disk space any day. As Walter I get more than 10 hours with my hearing pattern, which is: Turn it on in the morning and then let it run in shuffle play all day.

More >

Traffic shaping working very well

by Volker Weber


In January this website was on its way to pass my 10 gig a month traffic limit, beyond which things would get kind of expensive. So I had to do a few things to cut back on the traffic without affecting readers.

Today I can say that these measures have worked very well. I was able to cut the traffic below 4 gig while maintaining the same hits and a lot more page impressions. Life is good.

Are you an e-bore?

by Esther Schindler

Take this test to find out.

In two years, it has changed how we listen to music

by Volker Weber

Moby in the Rolling Stone:

Two years ago, I had a meeting with some people from Apple wherein I was singing the praises for iTunes. My only problem with iTunes, I said, was that there wasn't a portable MP3 player that was proprietary for the Mac. They kind of looked at each other with shifty eyes and said, "Well, we shouldn't show this to you, because it's only a prototype, but here it is . . ." and they handed me the first-ever iPod. I couldn't get my hands off of it. Now you can't imagine music any other way.

I have had mine only for three month, and it has changed the way I consume music. I have not turned on my stereo once. Music is driven by Lucy or Woodstock. OK, I have an amplifier, two very fast Canton speakers and a serious Yamaha subwoofer attached to the iMac, so it does qualify as a sound system. My neighbour was not really amused until I decoupled the boom box from the wooden floor. :-)

45 Minuten Vollgas

by Volker Weber


Bin letzte Woche mal einen Smart Roadster gefahren. Ziemlich wenig Auto für relativ viel Geld, aber auch ziemlich viel Spass für die gleiche Menge Kohle. Ich frage mich, ob man jeden Tag soviel Spass vertragen kann, aber letzen Freitag war's prima. Ziemlich laut, auch schon bei 130. Man muss gar nicht so brettern, um sich richtig schnell vorzukommen. Die Lenkung ist 'ne Wucht, die Bremsen auch. Motor und Getriebe sind eher lala, aber bei dem Gewicht am oberen Ende von lala.

Das Teil hat auch einen Nachteil. Will man zu zweit verreisen, dann sollte es warm sein, da wo man hinfährt. Für 'ne Badehose, Zahnbürste, Handtücher und ein Stück Seife ist genug Platz in der Karre. Will man seriöses Gepäck mitnehmen, fährt man besser allein'.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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