October 2003

No comment

by Volker Weber


New kid on the blog

by Volker Weber

Skipping through my referrers a few days ago, I could not help but notice that Wolfgang Schmidetzki has started his own blog.

When I say his own blog, I don't only refer to the content but also the software. Wolfgang is founder and principal of InnovationGate which is the maker of WebGate Anywhere, a J2EE-based content management system. The software started on the Domino platform and moved to J2EE for performance reasons.

Welcome to the club.

iBook G4, in limbo

by Volker Weber

Nothing has changed since Apple reported the iBook as shipped. The tracking system still reports Cleared Customs, but has not updated the whereabouts.

A call to Apple (After Sales) was not helpful at all. The agent was only able to tell that the packge is delivered by TNT but could not produce a tracking number. The number that Apple reports on their web site is bogus. She promised to call me back by the middle of next week.

Somewhat related, Horst Prillinger reports that Apple is still assembling his Panther.


Minimize your ROI with IBM

by Volker Weber


Taken from an IBM presentation at SAP TechEd conference held last month in Basel

[via The Register]

Apple patches Panther but not older OS

by Volker Weber

Although I have Panther, I was troubled with the same question:

Apple patches Panther but not older OS: Apple Computer's latest version of its Mac OS X operating system, Panther, patches security flaws that affect previous versions of the operating system, leaving security experts wondering if users will have to pay the $129 upgrade fee to be secure.

More >

iTrip Stations

by Volker Weber


Marco got himself an iTrip while staying in Boston. Now he has some difficulties finding unused frequencies. This archive contains more than 230 files that let you switch the iTrip to a lot more frequencies. Windows users download StuffIt Expander to unpack the archive.

Nicht sehr empfehlenswert ...

by Volker Weber

... dieser eBay-Teilnehmer.

Recently in the office, somewhere

by Volker Weber


Boy, girl, paper, shelf, copier. You get it, don't you?

Der Designer ist schuld

by Volker Weber

Wolfgang Lechner in der ZEIT:

Bei aller Bescheidenheit: Ich bin ein begnadeter Einparker. Keine Parklücke ist mir zu kurz; fünf Zentimeter vorn und hinten genügen. Alles eine Frage von Erfahrung, geometrischem Verständnis und Zehenspitzengefühl! Wenn ich einparke, sind mir anerkennende Worte gewiss, sogar von meinen Kindern. Ich kann voll krass einparken.

Nur nicht den Ford Streetka.

More >

Apple patches Panther (OS X 10.3)

by Volker Weber

Just four days on the market, and here comes the first update:

Security Update 2003-10-28 addresses a potential vulnerability in the implementation of QuickTime Java in Mac OS X v10.3 and Mac OS X Server v10.3 that could allow unauthorized access to a system.

iBook G4, stage 4

by Volker Weber


Shipment Picked Up
28 Oct 2003 12:56

Cleared Customs
28 Oct 2003 06:00

Blue guy is back at Dell

by Volker Weber


While checking out the new Dell MP3-player, I stumbled across the Dell blue guy*, who was sitting in front of the Titanium Powerbook. Well, he is back. They replaced the PowerBook with one of their own machines. You can still see the original machine mirrored on the table. Notice you would not be able to see the guy's watch in the table if he was really sitting behind this fat machine.

What do I think of the MP3-player? It is a good thing. It helps to bring the price down for the iPod. Don't get confused. Buy the iPod, of course. You want quality, right?

*) Hey, he also works for Yamaha. [Courtesy of Geekblog]

Note to self: Check out SUSE Linux again

by Volker Weber


After talking to Richard Seibt at LinuxWorld yesterday, I feel the sudden urge to try SUSE Linux again since most of my Linux experience so far is on RedHat.

Nichts für Leute mit Flugangst

by Volker Weber

Nochmal zum Mitschreiben: Wer Flugangst hat, liest jetzt nicht weiter.

More >

iBook G4 first impressions

by Volker Weber

Wayne wrote with his first impressions on the new iBook G4 including comments on the design, heat, battery life, performance, Panther/10.3 and the dual display mod (working).

More >

Toast Titanium 6

by Volker Weber


I recently installed Toast Titanium 6 and I have had nothing but good experience with it so far. Most of the options are much clearer now that it has a drawer on the left side. No need to hunt around for "Copy Desktop Database yes/no". One thing I noticed today is that it shows its progress on the dock.

Why is every Microsoft move so predictable?

by Volker Weber

MSFN looks at Virtual PC 2004:

Our first thoughts on starting this up we found mostly everything to be the same as Connectix's Virtual PC 5.2, with minor changes in the settings/options and the Virtual PC Wizard as well as the Microsoft rebranding. The first thing we noticed was the removal of Linux, BSD, Netware and Solaris from the Guest Operating System Wizard list, which was bound to happen to Virtual PC in the hands of Microsoft.

More >


by Volker Weber


Panther arrived at noon today. Installation was a breeze. Exposé is way cool. This was so easy, it's hardly a story. Read the rest somewhere else. :-)

Microsoft's "Information Rights"

by Volker Weber

Dan Gillmor:

This "Information Rights Management" scheme in the latest Microsoft Office will have some value for paranoid corporate types. For the rest of us it's an absolute disaster, and we should resist.

This is digital restrictions management (DRM), and Microsoft is using it to accomplish two goals. The first is to continue down the path it has followed so ardently in recent years, taking away customers' control of what they've purchased and keeping it in the hands of the companies selling it.

The other, plain-as-day purpose is to shut out competing operating systems and products. Soon you'll be getting mail you can only open with Office and the latest version of Windows. It's a classic monopolist's tactic, and it's worked before.

iPod 1.3.1 update

by Volker Weber


Apple has a firmware update for the old school iPod that is supposed to "improve compatibility with Panther" -- read: something is broken and needs to be fixed. However after you downloaded the updater and open it, it turns out to be 1.3. Hello-ooo, someone at home?

Domino Applications and the Lotus Workplace technical strategy

by Volker Weber

Paper from IBM:

This paper will provide developers, CTOs and other IT decision-makers with information on the tools and technologies used to support Lotus Workplace. This includes information about the application server platforms available for use with Lotus Workplace; a section on application platform considerations to assist with selecting the appropriate platform for your application; information on how to leverage your investment in Domino; and a brief overview of the future of rapid application development.

More >


by Volker Weber

if you are an old fart who knows what a VT100 is then this is for you. Must see!

What's new in Panther

by Volker Weber

Mark Pilgrim has a detailed report.

Duncan in love

by Volker Weber

Is it on? The screen's on. Things are happening on screen. But there's no sound. It can't be on.

More >

SubEthaEdit 1.1.4 released

by Volker Weber


SubEthaEdit, the collaborative editor, has been updated to version 1.1.4. New features and improvements:

- Supports Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)
- More efficient Rendezvous usage
- Improved Objective-C syntax highlighting
- New classes for Panther
- Retain count highlighting
- Fixed caching in web preview
- Setting for "Check Spelling as You Type" is saved

SubEthaEdit requires Mac OS X 10.2.7 or higher. This update is highly recommended.

More >

iBook G4, stage 2

by Volker Weber


Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod

by Volker Weber

oder auch: Aktion zur Rettung von dem Genitiv

PowerPoint is evil, part 5423

by Volker Weber

I had to troubleshoot another problem with PowerPoint today. Juan has created a very elaborate tutorial with lots of hyperlinks in PowerPoint. He was complaining that the presentation loses those hyperlinks after he saved and reloaded the file. It turns out that Microsoft knows about this problem:


If you add or make a change to a hyperlink setting in a large PowerPoint presentation, the changes that you made are not retained when you reopen the file.


PowerPoint stores the hyperlink information in the Document Summary storage area of the presentation. This storage area has a limit of 64 KB. The Document Summary storage contains all the document properties, custom properties, references, and other similar data.

Because the Document Summary storage is used by different aspects of the presentation, there is a finite number of hyperlinks that can be stored in presentation. This is compounded by the fact that the longer the text is for a hyperlink that you have to store, the fewer you can store.

Theoretically you can store upward of 32 KB of characters in the Document Summary, which translates to approximately 6,500 words. More than half of this is already allocated to dedicated Document Summary items. After the free space is used, no more can be allocated to the presentation.

So PowerPoint renders the whole tutorial useless. Needless to say that this limitation has not been fixed in PowerPoint 2002 or the new version that came out this week.

And adding insult to injury: PowerPoint does not tell you that it is throwing away your hyperlinks.

Pisa ist immer und überall

by Volker Weber

Sehr schön:

Auftritt WorldWideKlein, der irgendwas für $ 2.18 kaufte und drei verknitterte, aber dennoch gültige Dollarscheine rüberreichte. Worauf die Lady zum Taschenrechner griff, drei-Komma-null-null eintippte (schön langsam, damit auch nichts an dieser komplizierten Zahl schief ging), das Minuszeichen suchte und fand und dann zwei-Komma-eins-acht eingab.

Pisa ist immer und überall.

Spaß mit Betreffzeilen

by Volker Weber

Ich lese Betreff-Zeilen in E-Mails immer recht aufmerksam, und dann bleibt man manchmal an solchen Perlen hängen:


Dabei steigert IBM gar nicht das Disaster, oder zumindestens wollen sie das nicht so laut sagen. Die vollständige Überschrift lautet viel mehr:

IBM Presseinformation SG/325/2003: IBM steigert Leistung und Disaster Recovery Fähigkeiten von "Shark"

Wäre mein Fenster etwas breiter gewesen, dann hätte ich auch den Rest gelesen. :-) Wer den Rest der Mail lesen mag, klicke unten auf "More". Das ist ein recht interessantes Beispiel dafür, wie eine deutsche Presseagentur die Meldung nicht übersetzt, sondern die Kernaussagen wieder herausarbeitet, die (hoffentlich) ursprünglich einmal vom Produktmanager kamen, bevor sie dann von den PR-Leuten nach Schema F zu einer Pressemitteilung "aufgehübscht"wurden. Die Aufgabe eines Journalisten ist dann, das alles wieder zu entfernen und die Kernaussagen in einem vernünftigen Kontext zu paraphrasieren.

More >

I want one

by Volker Weber


iBook G4, Airport Extreme, BlueTooth, 60 Gig HD, Slot-in DVD/CD-R, Firewire, USB 2.0, up to 6 hours battery life

There is good web design out there

by Volker Weber


I have complained loud, maybe too loud, about terrible web design, especially within the Domino weblog scene. There are sites out there which don't even render correctly, let alone be readable. It may be time to explain what kind of web design I like instead of complaining about things that I do not like.

Usability Inside is the site that I found most appealing. If you have trouble reading it, that may be because the texts are in German. :-) The site is not only very usable, it also validates and renders correctly in all browsers on all plattforms that I use.

Yes, there are things that are not perfect. Currently it is running too long and there are too many links along the left hand side. But hey, it's an excellent start if you are contemplating a re-design.

Microsoft Office 2003 launched

by Volker Weber


Received a new box* today: Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003. What's inside? Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Outlook and Business Contact Manager for Outlook. Outlook is the only software in this package that was significantly upgraded from Office XP. And Outlook is probably the last software package that is ever going to be installed on any productive system at vowe's magic flying circus. :-)

That does not mean that I am not going to put Office 2003 through its paces. But I still don't see any good reason to upgrade my production system from Office 2000, which was the last version that did not force you to activate through registration.

Microsoft is suffering from this behaviour. There are many shops out there which are still on Office 97. Some have upgraded to 2000 or XP, but that is hardly because the old packages did not have enough features. Adding new features will not help Microsoft's case since the majority of customers don't even use those in the old packages. Clippy was also not very helpful to put them to more use. Also, customers are not going to let MS get away with yet another file format, which forced the upgrade from 95 to 97.

So Microsoft is changing the game plan. Office 2003 does not add new features to Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Instead Microsoft is pushing software development on top of the "Office System". Tightly integrated with backend systems like Sharepoint or Exchange, these applications will be raising the bar for competitors in the collaboration space.

There is a big IF in this plan. Customer will have to upgrade their infrastructure with the latest MS server technologies to enable these applications. If they don't do that, Office System cannot succeed. There is no other important reason to upgrade. This is going to be a long, a very long uphill battle, but I don't have any doubt that Microsoft will fight that battle to the end.

Can they change the game plan? They have done it before when they created "Office". They bundled excellent applications like Excel, with terrible ones like PowerPoint and mediocre ones like Word. It changed the landscape because customers no longer bought best-of-breed. It took a number of iterations until the Office applications were integrated and I would argue that even with Office 2000 that was not completed yet.

If Microsoft succeeds in building an Office System that integrates with the server, that will again change the way customers buy their infrastructure. This is going to be interesting ...

*) and a new pen :-)

The pull of the Mac

by Volker Weber

Life is hard, if you try to be politically correct:

All I know is, I want a Mac, but I really don't want to want a Mac.

And then again, you don't want to be the last person to wake up, eh?

[via Scott Hanson]

Now playing

by Volker Weber


... on heavy rotation: Sarah McLachlan Remixed, more specifically Sweet Surrender (DJ Tiesto Mix). Fast beats and Sarah's magnificent voice - an excellent combination. Yes Silence (DJ Tiësto's In Search Of Sunrise Remix) is also on that disk. Now all I need is a decent 50,000 watt PA and a large empty room. And while we are at it: Depeche Mode, Easy Tiger, Kling Klang Mix. Whoohoo.

BTW: Don't even try to listen to the sample on Amazon, it is horrible. Boy, iTunes MusicStore spoils you very quickly.

Optimize your PowerPoint files

by Volker Weber

Claude asked me about PowerPoint compression. You have seen this before: Somebody gives you a PPT file that is huge. When you look inside you find lots of graphics, most of them in uncompressed BMP format, some even scaled down. OK, you are smart. You know that one has to reduce those bitmaps before adding them. But what can you do, if the damage has already been done?

We tried this tool and it works as advertized:

Essential for any Microsoft PowerPoint user, NXPowerLite is a small stand-alone presentation compression tool. It radically reduces the size of your PowerPoint files by optimizing the graphics and embedded documents contained within them. It's fast, effective and incredibly easy to use. Simply drag your PowerPoint presentation onto the NXPowerLite icon, choose your compression level and click on the 'Optimize' button. NXPowerlite will automatically search through your presentation, finding ways to optimize the content. It can effortlessly compress PowerPoint presentations by over 90%, making them easier to handle, distribute and use. After your presentations have been compressed, they remain completely editable by anybody with a copy of PowerPoint.

Download here >

PS: PowerPoint is evil. Or better yet: People who use PowerPoint are evil :-)

Office 2003 launches today

by Volker Weber


Will be out today on invitation by Microsoft for the official Office System Launch Event. You can watch Bill at 11am Eastern or 17:00 CET.

This is going to be a fun day.

Aus der Serie: Ich liebe das Internet

by Volker Weber

Wir haben einen Festplattenreceiver von Kathrein. Tolle Sache, das. Man kann direkt auf Festplatte aufnehmen, irgendwann gucken, Werbung zappen, und und und. Unsere Fernsehgewohnheiten haben sich total geändert. Nie wieder Mist gucken.

Bis heute abend. Plötzlich geht die Fernbedienung nicht mehr. Kleine Fische, dachte ich. Neue Batterien rein, und schon klappt das wieder. Denkste. Dabei erkennt eine andere lernende Fernbedienung, dass da tatsächlich ein Signal rauskommt. Also Receiver kaputt? Hoffentlich nicht. Am Gerät läßt er sich bedienen.

Also Google gefragt, und das gefunden:

From: Florian Voit (florian@flugbegleiter.net)
Subject: Re: Kathrein Fernbedienung
Newsgroups: z-netz.telecom.satellit
Date: 2003-03-05 11:54:01 PST

> weis jemand zufällig woran es liegen könnte, wenn die Fernbedienung meines
> UFD 554 zwar funktioniert, nur der Receiver das Signal nicht annimmt?!

Selbst repariert, durch "reseten" der FB durch Verpolung der Batterien!
Gruß Florian

Bingo. Batterie rausgenommen, falschrum rein, wieder richtigrum rein. Klappt.


Small things make a difference

by Volker Weber

Courtesy of Oliver, my server has just received his final upgrade. It is now at its maximum capacity of 512 MB.

I can see the expression on your face. "Is that all?"

Yes, it is. So let me tell you the story of Bert, my super-quiet server. This a HP Vectra VLi-8 that originally came with 128 MB of main memory, floppy disk, CD-ROM and a smallish IDE drive. When it was scrapped by a customer and replaced by a faster machine it became my server. At that time it had double the memory of its predecessor, was about 4 times faster and had the same amount of disk space, only on a single spindle. The old machine was a 200 MHz Pentium while Bert was a 600 MHz Pentium 3.

I later tried to replace the memory modules with higher capacity ones but it turned out that Bert was very picky about the specs. Windows blue-screened after I replaced the original memory modules. The disks were easily upgraded but memory was stuck at 128.

Then after a while when I upgraded my workstation from 256 meg to 1 gig, I tried Kermit's memory module and that worked. Since Oliver bought the same machine two years ago, I asked him for his old module after he upgraded his. So this is how I got this second module today.

Bert does not understand larger modules. Or faster ones. And he does not have to. Look for yourself:


With this kind of load Bert is running:

- Windows 2000 Server SP4 with DNS and Fax Server
- Lotus Domino 6.5 with HTTP and IMAP
- Apache 1.3
- Jakarta Tomcat 4.1
- TightVNC 1.25
- SpamPal 1.5
- SMTPauth
- NT Pullmail
- AutoMailerNT
- VisionGS
- PowerISDNmonitor
- Fritz!vox

It is all a matter of careful tuning. The software enables Bert to

- route SMTP mail
- send SMTP mail via authenticated SMTP
- pull POP3 mail and filter spam
- serve mail per HTTP and IMAP
- monitor the ISDN line and forward incoming caller IDs by SMTP
- answer incoming voice calls and forward recordings by SMTP
- answer incoming fax calls and forward them by SMTP
- monitor webcams and forward images by SMTP or store in wwwroot

And there is still room for a playground with JSPs and servlets. And while doing all of this with a very quiet machine. Quieter than Charlie, the ThinkPad. Of the six machines I operate Bert is the second best engineered, right after Lucy.

Go west

by Volker Weber

Looks like Charlie Kaufman has a new job:

Charlie Kaufman is the security architect for the Common Language Runtime (CLR) group at Microsoft. Prior to that, he was security architect for Lotus Notes & Domino.

Barry Briggs, Charlie Kaufmann, Cliff Reeves, Eddie Amos, Gary Devendorf, Gregg Prickril, Jim Bernardo, Mark Lenci, Steve Lewis, Wolfgang Hilpert ... They can start a club in Redmond.

No comment

by Volker Weber


Pushing iCal calendar via ftp

by Volker Weber


Last week I wrote how you can share your iCal calendar via PHP iCalendar. iCal basically writes to an ICS file that you share on your website via the PHP application. You can also point your Mozilla Calendar there if you want code in your face.

However one also needs to move the ICS file to the website. iCal only has two options: .Mac and your own WebDAV server. Since the site that I host the calendar on does not happen to support WebDAV, I need to push the file to the site without going through hoops in a ftp client. This little application does it all for you. Of course one could also write a little script and feed that to the ftp client, hey this is UNIX after all, but I preferred this app.

Download here >

Anybody else with a smarter solution?

I think I need a bigger box*

by Volker Weber


At 4400 songs in my pocket Woodstock is full now. Maybe another two albums ... No, seriously, I dealt with this before. I just get rid of stuff I don't listen to anyway. Have done this before and will do it again.

That is actually a principle I try to follow. I have around 50 feet of shelf space for books in my office. When this space is taken up, I throw stuff away. I have also given away computers I no longer use.

No, thanks, Lucy is staying. ;-)

*) Title courtesy of this particular Chihuahua. Explanation here.

Stop calling for law enforcement - start selling

by Volker Weber

Excellent review of iTunes for Windows on Slashdot. Conclusion:

Steve Jobs claims that iTunes is the best software ever written for Windows. It's certainly the best music player/Jukebox ever written for Windows. I don't know that any of the others can match it, feature for feature.

With iTunes and the iTunes Music Store, I honestly can't see myself returning to buying CDs. It's just so much more convenient, and significantly cheaper to download and burn - and I don't care about the minor quality differences or the lack of cover art. This is what I've been waiting for. YMMV of course, but it's definitely worth a try.

I don't concur with the author's notion that Apple is doing this to sell music on the iTMS. At least for now the profits are somewhere else. I think the plot is more along this observation:

With iTunes on my PC, guess what's now on my Christmas list? An iPod. I've played with other MP3 players and they software they use to manage MP3 libraries. They sucked - hard. iTunes shows me that it can be easy - it should be easy. In a single stroke Jobs has vastly increased the market for the iPod.

There you go. I my case I was holding off my iPod purchase until I had a Mac. With iTunes I may have first gotten the iPod. Much lower barrier of entry.

Now back to the "music industry". When do you get your act together in Europe? Currently iTunes users wet their appetite in the iMTS and then get on the free sharing networks for satisfaction. Stop calling for law enforcement - start selling.


by Volker Weber


Thank you. ;-)

Microsoft ISV Enablement

by Volker Weber

Joel Spolsky about Microsoft Empower:

Microsoft really does a better job than any other platform vendor encouraging small companies to write software that runs on the Windows platform. If you're a software company willing to commit to developing software for any variant of Windows, you can join the Empower Program for ISVs, which entitles you a huge pile of software at the ridiculously low price of $750. You get 5 copies of MSDN Universal (normally $2600 each) ... this is the package that includes top-of-the-line versions of every single Microsoft development tool and compiler, and Office, and Visio, and developer copies of every server product, and the MSDN library, and copies of every operating system ever shipped (Greek Windows 98SE? You got it!). Empower also includes 5 copies each of Windows XP, Office XP, and a bunch of servers with 5 client licenses... basically everything you need to develop software for Windows with a team of five programmers for $750.

Even more interesting is how flexible Microsoft reacted when Spolsky refused to sign up because he did not want to disclose information that Microsoft demanded.

Well done, Microsoft!

I think I am postponing my PowerBook purchase

by Volker Weber


I was planning to buy a 15" PowerBook by the end of the month, but I will postpone this purchase until Apple sorts this out:

On my powerbook screen, there seems to be a spot where things appear brighter than the rest of the screen. It is about 1" in diameter. It almost looks like the white spots that occur when you push on the back of the screen. By the way, the computer is brand new, and it has had the spot since I bought it. Do you know what it could be?

According to this discussion there seem to be a large number of those defects. I have seen it before with my StinkPad. IBM had a whole series of T21 that developed the same problem.

Petition here >


by Volker Weber

You have to see this! Ben, what do you say?

[Thanks majo for enlightening me]

What a difference a day makes (update)

by Volker Weber


Yesterday I noticed a lot of referrers coming in from macsurfer.com. At the end of the day it was more than a thousand. So I was really curious what the traffic would look like and it turned out that it was somewhat higher, but not as much as I expected. But today the traffic did not decline as it usually does on the weekend. It even increased. The graph shows page impressions for this week and last week against one year ago. Hits are almost four times higher.

I have to thank you all for returning to the site so often. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to have so many readers. :-)

Daniel gets a new car

by Volker Weber


More >

Pot, kettle, black?

by Volker Weber

Dave Fester, GM Windows Digital Media Division, slams iTunes in a fake interview:

Unless Apple decides to make radical changes to their service model, a Windows-based version of iTunes will still remain a closed system, where iPod owners cannot access content from other services.

Let me see. iTunes lets you encode your own CDs as MP3 and AAC, which is an acronym for MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding. Windows Media lets you encode your CDs as WMA, not as MP3 and not as AAC. With iTunes you can transcode from AAC to MP3 and back. Windows Media won't let you transcode from WMA to MP3. iTunes lets you burn MP3-CDs right from the application, Windows Media won't.

But Fester is not all wrong. I have to agree with him here:

I want to know that I have choices today and in the future.

A good reason to stay away from WMA.

What crashes into bonsai?

by Esther Schindler

Toy cars, of course!

CrashBonsai is the creation of John Rooney, an artist who is torn between the desire to create and destroy.

At Crash Bonsai, the artist (should I said perpetrator?) smushes tiny cars into tiny trees. Great gallery.

Hell froze over

by Volker Weber


Steve Jobs using a Dell machine to demonstrate iTunes for Windows.

More >

How to setup your own music server

by Volker Weber

Alexander Oberdörster has written a server that scans a directory for mp3 files and makes them available via the Apple proprietary protocol DAAP. DAAP clients can browse the directory and retrieve individual files, either by streaming or by downloading them. There are a number of cross-platform clients written in Java, that let you download files from this server. These clients do not work with iTunes 4.01 and higher.

With iTunes, you are not able to download (read: steal) files from the other machine. You can just listen to them while the other machine is sharing. So you are able to listen to music shared on a daapd server.

Be careful however: If you run the above mentioned server you may put yourself in trouble since it allows downloading of the shared files. You can avoid this trouble by using iTunes as your server.

Protect your PC in three easy steps

by Volker Weber


Protect your PC. 3 steps to help ensure your PC is protected:

1. Shutdown Windows
2. Close lid
3. Unplug all wires

Sorry, could not resist ridiculing Microsoft's banner after today's patches.

Stupid interface design

by Volker Weber

Ben, please forgive me, but I have to rant about this interface design:


A trained Windows user will hit the leftmost button for "OK", a trained Mac user the rightmost button for "Do it now". So what do we have here? You can add name, e-mail, URL and a comment. Everything but the comment can be stored in a cookie for convenience so don't have to enter them again.

So, instead of posting my comment I have cleared all fields and the cookie by hitting "Forget me" for the umpteenth time. Can I have these things neatly separated? Like in my comment form? Puleeehze?

This whole "Remember me/Forget me" thing belongs to name, e-mail and URL and not underneath the comment. There you neatly put "Preview" and "Submit comments". What do you think?

Goodbye MusicMatch

by Volker Weber


One less excuse to buy a Mac. Apple has finally released iTunes for Windows. For those of you who have not followed Apple's moves: It lets you play music from other computers on your network, Macs or PCs. Peer-to-peer. Without file sharing, including all playlists, artist and track information. Really. :-)

In the picture above you see Charlie playing a tune from Lucy's library across the WLAN. I bet there are quite a few corporate networks with higher demand for bandwidth tomorrow. Note that Apple has crippled the music sharing to only work within the same IP subnet after the initial version was used to share music across the Internet. You have to enable sharing in the preference but there is nothing you need to do to find others who share. This is achieved with ZeroConf, known as Rendezvous in the Apple world.

iTunes for Windows starts at version 4.1 in line with the updated Mac version. The 20 meg installer also updates (or installs) Quicktime 6.4 which does the heavy lifting in the background. So, MusicMatch has left the building:


Apple also releases a new firmware 2.1 for the third generation iPod giving it recording capabilities. There are a number of new accessories from Belkin which let you move photos off of storage cards or record sounds to the iPod.

Dell Powerbooks - the story continues ...

by Volker Weber

Dell is covering up. This was their site yesterday:


Now they have realized that this picture does not show a PC but rather an old Apple PowerBook G3, so they edited the picture:


The Titanium PowerBook they had on the day before yesterday is gone.

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

La modestie est l'art des imbéciles.

[Thanks, Claude]

Good night, folks!

by Volker Weber


iSight, CamGrabber, picture unedited, resized to 320x240 from original.


by Volker Weber

fetchrss polls Weblogs (RSS feeds) and emails the updates, one message per updated entry. The effect is comparable to the Weblog author emailing you personally. It can run in the background on your desktop or server. It can be combined with procmail to filter blog updates into their own folder in an IMAP account, for example.

Interesting concept. This java tool bridges from the pull model of RSS syndication to the push model of newsletters.

More >

9 days to go

by Volker Weber


[via RD]

$129 is not so bad after all. Ellen, imagine you would be living here. You would get to pay 149 EUR, that is at 1.17 US$ per Euro almost $175 or a 35% premium. The "free upgrade" would be 29 EUR for S&H which is almost $34 instead of $19, a whopping 79% premium.

Want to buy a 15" PowerBook? That would set you back 2899 EUR or $3392 instead of $2599.

If you can see the enemy ...

by Volker Weber

... the enemy can see you. Unless you hide yourself.

One of the joys of referrer checking is that you get to see things that are normally hidden. Security through obscurity is not secure.


In this case I was checking a referrer pointing back to a site analysis. Aside from the data, that I really did not find interesting, I liked the tool. It does not play too well with Domino URLs, at least not with this level of tweaking, but it does return interesting data.

Update: Directory is protected now. Don't try to hack them. And while you are at it, check their Open Source Domino CMS.

Silk revisited

by Volker Weber

I have praised Silk in the context of Lotus Notes before. Silk enables the Quartz text rendering and smoothing introduced in Mac OS X 10.1.5 in all Carbon applications. This means antialiased text in Netscape, Mozilla, and many others.

After reading Mitch Kapor's difficulties with font rendering and Microsoft Word, I revisited the issue again. It turns out that Word without the Silk Haxie is all but unusable with Times Roman at 12pt:


I had not noticed this since Silk was enabled for all Carbon apps by default on Lucy and I had installed Office much later than Silk. So, if you don't have this wonderful enhancement yet on your Mac, go get it.

Dell Titanium PowerBook

by Volker Weber


Straight from the Dell Web Site. A Titanium PowerBook (without the Apple logo of course). Proof is here.

Integrating Tomcat and Apache on Mac OS X

by Volker Weber

Simon Brown writes:

I've been looking at integrating Apache and Tomcat on my PowerBook so that my dev environment more closely matches the box hosting my domain. ... after a quick Google, I came across an article on the MacDevCenter entitled Integrating Tomcat with Apache Via the mod_jk Module. Admittedly it is slightly out of date with respect to the versions of Tomcat and mod_jk available, but the instructions do work and it has a link to download a prebuilt version of mod_jk for Mac OS X. Five minutes is all this took to get running and I didn't even have to recompile anything!

More >

Mac OpenOffice Sans X

by Volker Weber


NeoOffice/J is one of the open source development projects that are a part of NeoOffice.org. NeoOffice/J's primary goal is eliminating OpenOffice.org's dependency on X11 using Java technologies.

Simon Phipps comments on his weblog and on Java.net:

Patrick has avoided needing either X11 or extensive Aqua programming by using core Java technology and leveraging its existing integration into Aqua. As a porting strategy I think that's pretty smart. This release adds printing, which for me was the missing link. There's still plenty of work to be done, but it's very cool.

This program is a case-study in the power of the open source method. With neither Sun nor Apple in a position business-wise to work on a Mac version of OpenOffice.org, the fact that all the source code was freely usable allowed capable and committed developers to 'do their own thing' and meet a community need. Traditional approaches to software would have left the idea to wither - this approach, through the energy of a few software engineers, lets many flowers bloom.

On a slightly related subject: Groove does not have a Mac client. Nor will it have next year.


by Volker Weber

"A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it starts to add up to some real money."

On September 7th, 2003, President Bush announced on national television that he was asking the Congress to grant him an additional $87 billion dollars for the next fiscal year, beginning October 1, to continue the fight on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But $87 billion is an impossibly high number for anyone to visualize.

Let's have a look ...

[via Stefan Smalla]

Engineers explained

by Volker Weber

Received this via mail from Mitch today. It's a fun read, but has a lot of truth in it.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it's solved. No illness or distraction is sufficient to get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal -- a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature.

Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion that somebody has more technical skill. Normal people sometimes use that knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer. When an engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means it's not fun to do), some clever normal people have learned to glance at the engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something along these lines: "I'll ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to solve difficult technical problems."

At that point it is a good idea for the normal person to not stand between the engineer and the problem. The engineer will set upon the problem like a starved Chihuahua on a pork chop.

More >

Think Parade - Happy end

by Volker Weber

Received my final feedback today. I have checked it after each of the shows to find things we still needed to adjust. Visitors were also asked to "grade" the speakers from :-)) to :-((. I do not want to disclose any hard numbers but I can say there were more than a few hundred feedbacks. These are my results:

On a scale from 1 (very good) to 5 (very bad), the overall score was 1.49.

Multibyte Character Sets: A Tutorial

by Volker Weber

After posting a link to Joel's rant about character sets I received some valuable feedback from the Lotus community. One was a presentation by Bob Balaban, which covers the basics of Unicode, but also discusses the history of computer representations of character sets, the evolution of LMBCS and the coding techniques you need to know to make use of the technology.

More >

Congratulations, Ladies!

by Volker Weber


Germany wins the FIFA Women's World Cup, but almost nobody in this country could name three players on the team. In unrelated news, Michael Schumacher makes history claiming his sixth title in Formula 1 racing and the (male) soccer team qualified for the Euro 2004 championship yesterday.

What a weekend.

A small world

by Volker Weber

I like to read my referrers once in a while to get a better understanding who is reading my site and likes it enough to link there. This is a bit like travelling, because you learn about people who live all over the world. This is just a short (alphabetical) list of people I never met in person, but on my site:

Alex Hernandez from Santiago, Ashok Hingorani from Bombay, Benedict Poole from London, Bruce Elgort from Vancouver, Garret Vreeland from Santa Fe, Guilherme Kujawski from Sao Paulo, Host Prillinger from Vienna, Jean-Philippe Papillon from Paris, Jeroen Bekkers from Rotterdam ... The list goes on and on.

So, yes, I like to know about you. Even if you never speak up in the comments. This is a small world after all. A world we share.

Generating a .htpasswd password

by Volker Weber

Note to self: If you need to create a password entry for the htpasswd file without having access to htpasswd(.exe), use this form.

From iCal to PHP iCalendar

by Volker Weber

After moving my calendar from Domino to iCal I was looking for a way to have access to my calendar while I am away from home, even if I forgot to carry Clyde with me. What I finally decided to install is PHP iCalendar. This is a php-based iCal file parser. Its based on v2.0 of the IETF spec. It displays iCal files in a nice logical, clean manner with day, week, month, and year navigation, printer view, RSS-enabled, and searchable. It supports 12 languages, is fully theme-able, and has complete timezone support. And it is open source.

ical151.jpg phpicalendar.jpg

The picture on the left shows iCal, the picture on the right is the same calendar rendered in Safari. PHP iCalendar supports any calendar application that can generate valid IETF 2445 files (.ics). Some of the supported applications are:

- Apple iCal
- Mozilla Calendar
- Ximian Evolution
- KOrganizer
- WinDates 5.0

Standards are a good thing. :-)

Are you bored?

by Volker Weber

Must view this. :-)

I received this video a couple of days ago but did not have enough bandwidth to waste.

[via holzblog]

What's your record uptime?

by Volker Weber

Ute had to take down about half of "her" servers today because of a planned powerdown in the data center. The record uptime was 1365 days on a Sun Ultra 60 with Solaris 2.6, if I remember this correctly. There was no reason for a reboot other than this powerdown.

What is your record uptime?


by Volker Weber


[larger image]

Looks like they are trying to fool me now. So far I could tell certain nationalities by their huge ugly glasses. :-)

ASCII, DBCS, Unicode, UTF-8 ...

by Volker Weber

Joel Spolsky in "The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)":

So I have an announcement to make: if you are a programmer working in 2003 and you don't know the basics of characters, character sets, encodings, and Unicode, and I catch you, I'm going to punish you by making you peel onions for 6 months in a submarine. I swear I will.

Must read!


by Volker Weber

Michael Kneib has a lot of interesting experiments online, some of them under Games and a lot more under Flash Experimente. I found this drum sequencer entertaining.

Caution however: this one is NSFA (not safe for Americans). If you can't resist, here is the instructions: Drag&drop.

[Thanks, Steffen F]

Der Andere ist anders

by Volker Weber

Frisbees Weblog:

Ich will dich vor dem Ertrinken bewahren, sagte der Vogel, hob den Fisch aus dem Wasser und setzte ihn sanft auf einen Baum.

Sehr schön gesagt.

Vielleicht doch lieber woanders schlafen?

by Volker Weber


Moving to iSync

by Volker Weber


With the release of iSync 1.21 and iCal 1.51 I have now made up my mind and moved all of the PIM stuff over to the Mac. I used to sync this data to the Domino server and have gone through all kinds of pain with shortcomings of the different solutions. Lately I have given up after trying to evaluate one server based solution which shall remain unnamed here.

After that it was Palm Desktop only. Of course on Lucy. Since all of the Mac software is very well connected, I had a duplicate of my data in the Mac Address Book for reference by Mail.app and iChat. This violates the OHIO principle (only handle information once).

Today I finally settled all of this for iCal and Address Book. One single store with replicas on the mobile devices. Now I am syncing back and forth with Clyde and Woodstock. The T68i will follow later. Currently I am simply transferring my Quicklist category from the Tungsten T to the phone via Bluetooth.

After a little bit of data cleansing I should be fine again. Finally.


by Volker Weber

After Nathan described Bruce as Jar Jar in a thread on NotesTips we started putting together a cast for LotusWars. Want to help? Hit this page and click "Edit text of this page" at the very bottom.

Der dümmste Autodieb?

by Volker Weber

Darmstadt (ots) - Bickenbach, Landkreis Darmstadt-Dieburg. In der Nacht zum Montag, 6. Oktober 2003, hat ein unbekannter Täter auf dem Gelände einer Kfz.- Werkstatt in der Zwingenberger Straße vergeblich versucht einen sehr gut erhaltenen VW-Käfer zu stehlen. Er hatte wohl übersehen, dass in dem Fahrzeug gar kein Motor eingebaut war.

More >

/.ed by MacNews.de

by Volker Weber

MacFrisbee posts one link on MacNews.de and vowe.net is flooded with referrers. :-)


[larger image]

Trunk Monkey

by Volker Weber

OK. Sold. I want one. Does he clean up after himself?

[via duffbert]

First shot is free :-)

by Volker Weber

If you are current on your IBM Passport Advantage, Lotus Domino and Notes licenses, you are entitled to the following free software from IBM:

+ 20 Free Sametime User Licenses
+ 20 Free WebSphere Portal Express User Licenses
+ Lotus Domino 6.5 Upgrade
+ Lotus Notes 6.5 Upgrade

[via dominoguru]

How to Tell When a Relationship is Over

by Volker Weber

In 90 seconds ...

[via dangerousmeta]

BookmarkSync went open source

by Volker Weber

Mike Golding reports:

Over the last few weeks, since BookmarkSync and SyncIT officially died, I have searched out over a dozen bookmark syncing programs, none of them suit me, not even the Notes based ones, I want it to be fully integrated with the browser, automatic syncing between all machines, syncing on port 80 and through firewalls, basically, I wanted Bookmark Sync back again.

Well, true to their word, Bookmark Sync has gone open source and the source code is freely available in both server and client versions. The good news is that the server side runs on PHP and MySQL ...

Stefan, I may need that MySQL database back, after all. :-)

More >

Two video clips

by Volker Weber

This is your captain speaking : Anchor away

Photos from BloggerCon 2003

by Volker Weber


Dan Bricklin has photos. Do you notice what I notice? :-)

Who loves you?

by Volker Weber

As I was reading Simon Phipp's weblog today but could not help but notice this:

all my filtering is done by Apple's Mail application on OS X. It does a really good job, but still plenty gets through the defences.

So Simon is using a Mac. I can't really say that it surprises me very much since I have great respect for him and expect him to make smart choices. Simon was one of the people who helped introduce both Java and XML at IBM. Since mid-2000 he is with Sun Microsystems as their chief technology evangelist.

If it were not for Ute, I would still be using PCs only. She got me Lucy for Christmas. And who loves you?

Groove Workspace 2.5i Build 1797

by Volker Weber

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


What it is like to be a woman

by Volker Weber

Michael LeRoux makes a good observation:

Most of the time people make eye contact for an instant before their eyes dart down to my lapel where I'm wearing a name tag. I now have a slightly better idea what it is like to be a woman.

More >

Feeling very well :-)

by Volker Weber



by Volker Weber

I have standardized all "my" WikiWikis to UseModWiki. WakkaWiki went out the door because it was too slow, and it also seems stuck.

UseMod does not need a database. It is essentially one Perl script with an optional external configuration file. Data is kept in flat files outside of the web directory. Ute's site moved to UseMod as well, but unlike wiki.vowe.org (which got redirected here) it is not world-writable.

I missed the release of UseMod 1.0 last month and upgraded today. One nice feature that was added is RSS support. I shall be putting up a feed shortly so I can track edits to the site.

On a different note, ZOË was rev'ed again and is now at version 0.5. Ladies and Gentlemen, update your engines. And your bookmarks: zoe.nu. Nice touch - a new preferences pane:


And while we are at it: Apple has updated its OS X 10.2.8 update. Got that? A 10.2.8 update for 10.2.8:

The 10.2.8 Update (Build 6R73) includes an updated ethernet driver for 450MHz and 500MHz dual processor Power Mac G4 desktop systems and an update to the battery status menu.

Lucy is not concerned. :-)

Interference Patterns

by Volker Weber

Good research by Simon Phipps:

Sometimes two orchestrated press stories can combine to reveal interesting facts about what's mentioned in neither.

More >

So right, and so wrong

by Volker Weber

I have been kicking around Ray's piece on "Workspaces work" for a while, and I can't make up my mind how to express my difficulties with his view. He is right in many respects:

- E-Mail is broken
- Workspaces work

At the same time he is wrong:

- E-Mail is not broken
- Workspaces do not work

E-Mail is broken for various reasons. Too much e-mail, too much junk. And it still works to move around information, that can otherwise not be moved around easily.

Workspaces are also broken for various reasons. Too much fragmentation, too many workspaces, to much setup for various groups of people. Unclear processes.

It all depends on the processes. People who live in a workspace, work very well with it. We have numerous examples of applications that support their workers very well. They are usually very focussed on one task, or on one or very few projects.

But if you have a swarm of 100 people and more, who cannot simply share all information, you will have an explosion in the number of workspaces, or access control gets really complicated. You will have to set up a space first, communicate its existence. But the real difficulties start when the place is orphaned. Can it be torn down? What shall we do with the information inside?

We have been through all this with Notes. Then some organizations found out the hard way that Quickplace can mean a really quick explosion of places. How quickly can you say risk management?

Now Groove enters the stage. Even easier to create spaces. Even less control. Some users will like it. Others not. Because they think it is slow as molasses. Eats tons of memory. Makes their computer slow. Or does not even run on their system. Those who are not in the Church of Windows. Or in a corporate regime under Mordac, the Preventer of Information Technology. A single individual with these constraints within a collaboration group will stop the groove. I have seen this so many times that I have almost given up.

Yup, they need to collaborate too. Without a specific client. Neither Groove nor Internet Explorer. Really quickly, across all boundaries. With open protocols and lots of implementations. Like e-mail. Or something better.

It better be open.

PS: Boy, I wish I could discuss this in my own language. But most people west of the Atlantic would understand even less.

Smart Windows bashing

by Volker Weber



HOWTO: write bad documentation that looks good

by Volker Weber

Without further comment >

Links, rechts, geradeaus, oder wie?

by Volker Weber

Verkehrsabenteuerspielplatz Darmstadt:

Wer von der Goebelstraße in die Poststraße abbiegt, erhält auf den ersten Metern durch Verkehrszeichen Folgendes mitgeteilt:

- Sie dürfen nur geradeaus fahren.
- Sie dürfen auf der linken Straßenseite nicht halten.
- Die Vorfahrtregelung ist aufgehoben.
- Linksabbiegen ist verboten.
- Die Einfahrt nach links ist verboten, außer für Straßenbahnen.
- Das Verbot zur Einfahrt nach links ist aufgehoben.
- Parken mit Parkschein ist gebührenpflichtig.
- Parken ist verboten.
- Sie befinden sich in einer Einbahnstraße.
- Die Einbahnregelung ist aufgehoben.
- Es herrscht Gegenverkehr (gelbe Markierungen auf der Fahrbahn).

Zwischen der Post und McDonald's, also auf einer 90 Meter langen Strecke, haben wir gestern 122 gültige und zwölf durchgekreuzte Verkehrsschilder gezählt, teils neben-, teils über- und teils voreinander, und nicht selten einander widersprechend.

More >

Double fault

by Volker Weber



by Volker Weber


Wie wäre es mit "Schwierigkeiten"?

Schon wieder 10 Jahre um?

by Volker Weber


Herzlich willkommen!

Vielen Dank für Ihre Anmeldung zur Party "20 Jahre c't". Wir freuen uns sehr, Sie am 21.11.2003 ab 19:30 Uhr in der Fachhochschule für Kunst und Design in Hannover begrüßen zu dürfen.

Ihre Eintrittskarte erhalten Sie Anfang November 2003. Bitte bringen Sie diese Karte zur Veranstaltung mit, Sie benötigen sie für den Einlass.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen aus Hannover

Ansgar Heise und Christian Persson

Ich kann mich noch gut an die Feier anläßlich "10 Jahre c't" erinnern. :-)

Tungsten T3 review

by Volker Weber

Brighthand has a detailed review of the Tungsten T3:

There's an old saying that goes, "Third time's the charm." The first two models in this series were good, but the Tungsten T3 is outstanding. Palm has improved almost every facet of this handheld, from the high-resolution screen to the upgraded PIM apps.

More >

Eine wunderbare Idee

by Volker Weber

"Lyssa" schreibt:

Heute ist Sandy, eine alte Schulfreundin von mir, 30 geworden - bzw. laut Aussage ihres Geburtstagskuchens 29,95.

More >

iPod envy?

by Volker Weber

You can make yourself a really, really cheap iPod. :-)

[via IT&W]

And back home ...

by Volker Weber

If all the travel makes you envious, you have not been hanging around airports enough.

The hotel was fine tonight, Swiss public transportation is just plain wonderful and flights at Zürich Airport are always delayed. The flight to Frankfurt was scheduled for 1450 arriving at 1600. 70 minutes for a trip that acutally takes about 30 minutes only, if the pilot hits it. Today it was delayed to 1530 at which time we had not even boarded yet. One hour later we were still sitting on the tarmac. Computer outage in Frankfurt supposedly. I was afraid I was stuck in Zürich but we eventually left. The rest of the trip was uneventful. I took the Airliner shuttle from Frankfurt and I am home safe and sound.

Lots of e-mails waiting to be answered. Lots of ...

The show? Went very well. Six down, two to go.

Off to Zürich

by Volker Weber

Just a very short trip. Be right back ...

Traffic shaping still working very well

by Volker Weber


While hits have increased considerably for months from 200,000 to more than 600,000 (peak at 1,000,000), I was still able to restrict the traffic to around 5,000 MB. It was approaching my "free" limit of 10,000 quickly in January which triggered a few changes to keep it below. Blocking abusive spiders and moving heavy items to their own directory was only part of the deal.

I think that one of the main reasons for the lower bandwidth consumption is RSS readers. More people use them and I have a lot of traffic there. So people do not reload my site too often but only visit when they find something interesting. You are not using one? Then check out Haiko's Feed Reader Directory.

vowe's meeting service

by Volker Weber


Lessons learned:

1. It helps to publish on the Internet.
2. Google is my friend.

Before anyone tries to get smart: I am not giving out e-mail addresses or phone numbers. :-)

Tungsten T3 is out

by Volker Weber


Palm, do not send me one, unless you are prepared to not get it back. Sorry, Clyde. :-)

Old vowe.net archive pages

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


Paypal vowe