December 2005

Petrol's going up

by Volker Weber

Photo Mariano Kamp

A tale of progress

by Volker Weber

Eliot Weinberger: What I heard about Iraq in 2005


by Volker Weber

Windows users, act NOW

by Volker Weber

Stop reading. And run this command now:

regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll

This command will unregister a broken DLL responsible for rendering graphics. There are now hundreds of websites exploiting a vulnerability in this graphics rendering engine. This is not a theoretical threat. The exploit is in the wild and spreading fast.

You can reverse the temporary fix by registering the DLL once it has been fixed by Microsoft. Just issue the same command without the /u.

Update: Lotus Notes seems to call the DLL even if it has been unregistered. The only workaround to that would be to rename it.

Update: As Ken reports, there is a better solution now. Steve Gibson recommends to install Ilfak Guilfanov's Temporary WMF Patch. After you have successfully installed it, you can register the DLL that we unregistered above:

regsvr32 %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll

Sven linked to an early version of the same fix.

Ilfak has also written a program that checks whether your system is safe or not.

Update: It's not a bug. It's a feature.

Freude am Fahren

by Volker Weber


German buys back stolen camera on eBay

by Volker Weber

Reuters reports:

BERLIN (Reuters) - A 44-year-old German businessman whose digital camera was stolen at a restaurant was relieved when he managed to buy exactly the same model on the eBay Internet auction site to match his accessories. But he became suspicious when it emerged the seller came from his home town. It proved to be the same camera.

Continue at original source >

Do you get less wet if you run in the rain?

by Volker Weber

The answer is quite simple:


However, in order to turn this information into knowledge, you have to read on.

More >

New frames

by Volker Weber


Laser-cut from thin stainless steel sheets. Now I only need to wait a week for the glass to be cut and delivered and then mounted on the frames. Patience ...

vowe's choice: Adlers Brille

The Who to tour in 2006

by Volker Weber

Pete Townshend:

What I care about is that Roger Daltrey feels comfortable with the songs I write so he can sing a few of them on stage - while I lunge around looking gorgeous and playing show-off guitar like a kid in a music shop. After forty-five years of this crap I've just started to enjoy it. ... I also have a very, very cool surprise to announce in June, just before the tour kicks off.

Now leave me the f**k alone while I help support my son while he gets through his exams.

Visit our sponsor

by Volker Weber

Swing Software, this month's sponsor, will display a banner for only two more days. I advise that you check out their amazing DocPublisher for Lotus Domino, which makes Microsoft Word documents available as structured online documentation.

They have screenshots, features and usage scenarios online, and you can get a free evaluation version, so what are you waiting for? :-)

I feel really blessed that a number of interesting sponsors have come forward in 2005 to advertise on this site. There is so much stuff I would not want to run banner ads for, but so far I did not have to turn anyone down. I am also delighted that I did not have to modify the initial rules for exclusive sponsorship. You pay what you want to pay. Unless somebody else wants to pay more than you do. You are getting an incredible value for your money. I am delivering a quarter of a million banners a month with your ad. How does that sound?

Spying on myself

by Volker Weber


I have installed this spy cam in my office now and made it available from outside. No, you can't get the URL. :-) I will let it sit here until after Lotusphere, so that I can check up on the state of things at vowe's magic flying circus. Currently I have set it up on a Cullmann tripod in the office, so that it can look through two of our nine doors. But here is a trick how to find the best possible space: Watch where a dog lays down to sleep. My visiting dog once found a place in the living room where he can look through four doors while being able to keep a watch on the balcony. That is the best place to leave the cam while being away.

The D-Link DCS-5300 can pan and tilt its head, but it does not have an optical zoom. Since it has it's own CPU it does have an internal web server, a motion detect, can send pictures and videos by mail or upload via FTP. However, the web interface uses ActiveX controls, so it is useless when not running Windows on the client. Streaming MPEG4 with audio but tied to a proprietary ActiveX client. How stupid can developers and product managers possibly be?

After Lotusphere I will move the cam to a neighbor which will enable me to get an outside view of what is going on around our house.


by Volker Weber


I love this time of the year. The week after Christmas is always the most peaceful and quiet period of the year. Not much work to do, time to meet with friends and to just hang out, watch some movies, read papers and be lazy. Not that I lead a stressed-out life like many others do*. But the last week of the year always rounds it off just nicely.

I think I will treat myself to a new pair of glasses tomorrow. I need less correction for my nearsightedness as I am getting older. This time I should go for a gliding focus so that I don't need to take the glasses off when reading small type.

*) As an indicator, I can doze off while listening to Trance at 180 bpm and 100 db. ;-)

Merry Christmas

by Volker Weber

Thank you for sending all those cards and gifts. It was hard to get them all into one picture, so if you don't see your card, it may be hiding. :-) But we read them all, and we are going to read them again when we remove them in January.

Here is a great Christmas list, brought to you by Barb Hefner, via Simon Phipps who calls it "worth taking to heart for the next week at a minimum":

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forego a grudge.
Forgive an enemy.
Apologize if you were wrong.
Try to understand.
Flout envy.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind.
Be gentle.
Laugh a little.
Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence.
Take up arms against malice.
Decry complacency.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.

I see you on the other side.

Free SWF Movie Player

by Volker Weber

For my friend Schweppes, who likes to hog his hard disk with downloaded movies: :-)

SWF Movie Player is a free, small and streamlined Flash movie player for Mac OS. Based on the standard Macromedia Flash player for Mac OS X, SWF Movie Player by Eltima Software offers advanced and unique features that allow you to play, rewind, fast-forward and preview SWF files frame-by-frame, and also create and manage playlists, zoom movies in and out, fit to current window size or restore to original one, set playback quality, control Flash security, check SWF file's comprehensive information and lots more.

More >

Feed icons

by Volker Weber


This is a good idea. Please follow suit.

Best. Blonde. Joke. Ever.

by Volker Weber

This blonde joke had me ROTFL.

Sie haben Post

by Volker Weber

Auch heute wieder kam ein Stapel Post. Zum großen Teil mit handgeschriebenen, persönlichen Notizen und kleinen Aufmerksamkeiten. Vielen Dank Euch allen.

Und dann kam heute auch noch dies:

More >

Good night call

by Volker Weber

I just wanted to give you a call before you went to bed.
Oh yeah, I'm really tired.
I'm really missing you.
I miss you too.

See what happens next >

[Thanks, Nico]

Danke für die Vorlage

by Volker Weber


Guten Tag

by Volker Weber

Wir haben seit gut einem halben Jahr einen neuen Nachbarn. Ein ausgesprochen netter, freundlicher Mensch, bei dem man sich freut, wenn man ihm begegnet. Weil er eine immer seltener anzutreffende Tugend hat: Eine ausgesuchte Höflichkeit. Er grüßt stets freundlich, bedankt sich auch für kleine Gefälligkeiten, wünscht Frohe Weihnachten usw. Unlängst habe ich ein ziemlich schwierig zu findendes PDF-Dokument an alle Nachbarn geschickt. Er hat sich bedankt.

Diese früher selbstverständliche Höflichkeit ist selten geworden. Und deshalb fällt sie mir auf. Andere Zeitgenossen gucken einfach unverständig zurück, wenn man sie grüßt. Irgendwie haben sie jedoch stets eine schnippische Bemerkung parat. Die Wörter bitte und danke sind völlig aus ihrem Sprachschatz verschwunden. Es reicht allenfalls zu einem "das wäre aber nicht nötig gewesen".

Ein bisschen Augenmaß ist dabei durchaus nötig. Wenn mir jemand in einem Chat zum Beispiel erst mal die Frage stellt, wie es mir denn geht, und ich dabei schon genau weiß, dass jetzt entweder irgendwas nicht mehr funktioniert oder eine Kaufberatung im Raume steht, dann frage ich schon mal zurück "was ist kaputt oder was willst du kaufen :-)" — einfach weil ich selten Lust habe, während eines Chats viel zu schreiben. Aber der Versuch zählt. Hier kann sich jemand erinnern, dass man mit seinem Anliegen nicht sofort ins Haus fällt.

Ganz besonders beobachte ich übrigens das Verhalten gegenüber vermeintlich Untergebenen. Ich weiß zum Beispiel, dass ein mir bekannter Vorstand jeden Kandidaten vor der Einstellung als letzten Eignungstest einmal zum Essen einlädt. Dabei will er nur eins wissen: Wie behandelt der Kandidat die Bedienung? Ist er ausgesprochen freundlich, dann taugt er. Ist er es nicht, dann wird man sich für einen anderen Bewerber entscheiden.

Mein Rat deshalb: Wer einfache Höflichkeitsregeln noch von seinen Eltern gelernt hat, der soll sie fleißig nutzen, völlig ungeachtet des Standes des Gegenübers. Es gibt viel zu gewinnen.

Wunsch und Wirklichkeit

by Volker Weber

Leider habe ich die Quelle gerade nicht parat, aber ich meine mich zu erinnern, dass die meisten Studienabsolventen in Deutschland sich eine Anstellung bei einem großen und bedeutenden Unternehmen wünschen. Allerdings haben Sie keine Ahnung, was sie dort erwartet.

Der nächste Beitrag ist genau so hübsch. Der Autor scheint übrigens bei einem großen finnischen Hersteller von Mobiltelefonen zu arbeiten. :-)

It was about time

by Volker Weber

Now even MCSEs can switch. ;-)


by Volker Weber

Design is still broken

by Volker Weber

Manfred tells me that my design is still broken on his Windows notebook with a 1400 x 1050 display, both in Internet Explorer and Firefox. The comments form is running very wide. And I have no idea why this is happening. So I need your help.

These are the declarations inside the comments form:

<input tabindex="1" id="author" name="author" size="35" />
<input tabindex="2" id="email" name="email" size="35" />
<input tabindex="3" id="url" name="url" size="35" />
<textarea tabindex="4" id="text" name="text" rows="12" cols="70"></textarea>

The stylesheet screen.css specifies the font size:

textarea, input {
font-size: 1em;

W3C says about the size parameter:

This specifies the visible width of a text or password field. For fixed pitch fonts, the size attribute specifies the maximum number of characters visible, while for variable pitch fonts, the attribute specifies the width in en units (half the point size).

The screenshot shows that Manfred is displaying a proportional font, so size should be 35 en. But it appears not to be the case. Look at the same page rendered in Safari.

Does anybody have an idea what is going wrong?

Update: Manfred has resolved the issue by removing "Lucida Grande.TTF" from his fonts folder. It appears that the font was broken, and if you look at his screenshot, you may concur.

Follow up on the Lotus Awards 2006

by Volker Weber

Michael Loria commented on my posting regarding the flawed communications around the Lotus Awards:

As you know the winners are subsequently published in a press release

While this is a good thing, it completely missed my point. Therefore I want to explain again what went wrong:

  1. IBM publishes winners and finalist of the Lotus Awards.
  2. There is no follow-up information, no contacts, no links.
  3. There is no indication of the product and solutions awarded.

Why is this so bad? This communication is by now last week's news. And there is simply no chance to write a story about it. Therefore IBM cannot leverage the press as a multiplier. Plus, this news is presented shortly before Christmas. This is the time of the year perfectly suited to let out information that you hope nobody will notice.

When IBM follows up with subsequent news releases next year, I cannot even be bothered, because it is officially very old news by then. Yes, there will be journalists that do not know this is old news, but I would not count on it. So, the partners will have to resort to these measures, again quoting Michael:

and this year they receive additional marketing benefits to enable them to create in-market demand for their offerings.

I recall that the Lotus Beacon Awards used to be presented at an Award Dinner on Lotusphere Tuesday. It was always big news the next day. Lotus even bought a page in the Wallstreet Journal, and the paper was in front of every door at the Lotusphere hotels.

I am sure there are other benefits of releasing this information so early. But by releasing it incompletely, it is lost.

More >

You've got mail

by Volker Weber

Lots of mail today. Let's take a look inside. Oooh, looks I am getting quite a stack of Christmas cards today. And also nice little presents. Thank you all! Very much appreciated.

OK, one was not really a Christmas present. ;-)

Sober worm does some good

by Volker Weber

A German recipient of a Sober worm panicked and decided to turn himself in. German police investigated his computer and found child porn on it.

More >

[via Christopher]


by Volker Weber

Suggestions for Karaoke at Kimono's or the JAMfest:

No Workplace, no cry

I shot the portal, but I did not shoot the DB2

Source known, but asks to be protected. Do I smell two new T-shirts? ;-)

IBM acquires Bowstreet

by Volker Weber

Long and winding message here. My un-PC short summary: IBM saves Bowstreet from going tits up. The tools market sucks.

Ben's Lotusphere Agenda Database now available

by Volker Weber

Genii Software's 6th Annual Lotusphere Agenda Database for PDA Synching and Session Planning - Now co-sponsored by Penumbra

Back by popular demand, we have built a Journal database containing all the sessions listed on the official Lotusphere site. This database is based on the personal R5 Journal with a few added views, so it should synch with the Palm Pilot, but it also contains a wealth of useful information for planning out your schedule. Modify it all you want or make suggestions at Ben(at) And special thanks to all those in the Penumbra Group for their features and suggestions. They have more to share coming soon as well.

More >

[Thanks, Ingo]

Notes/Domino 7.0.1 beta out

by Volker Weber

Check out the Notes/Domino fix list. 45 fixes. That is one order of magnitude less than previous maintenance releases. Either there are no bugs, or they can't find them, or ... whatever.

Uh oh

by Volker Weber

Do you see a pattern here?

[via Robert]

From the "Cold dead fish" department of marketing

by Volker Weber

Dear Lotus Award Winners and Finalists:

I want to extend my congratulations to all the Twelfth Annual Lotus Award finalists and all of our Business Partners who took time to enter their submissions into the database this year. As in the past, the entries were outstanding and made the judging process very difficult. We realize how much time and energy it takes to submit a nomination and appreciate this effort!

Of course, a special congratulations to the winners (listed below)! It's obvious that you're providing fantastic solutions to customers and I'm in the fortunate position to read, not only about the solutions, but to often hear from our customers and Sales staff dircectly about how unique and impressive your solutions are ...

Michael Loria
WW Channels and Product Marketing
IBM Software Group

Isn't it great how Michael Loria is in the fortunate position to read how unique and impressive the solutions are?

And it would be really great, if we could read this as well. But the announcement contains no descriptions of the solutions, no product names, no links to the winners and finalists. Only fake underlined links.

Excuse me, IBM, how hard is it to get the job done? Instead of faking it.

<irony>I am sure this communication was commissioned, written, stored, reviewed, managed and published with the IBM Workplace Managed Client.</irony> And it still sucks.

Update: Why not fix it? You can help IBM here. I invite all winners and finalists to add their details as shown for Genii Software.

iBook Batteries

by Volker Weber

Old and new. It feels good to be mobile once again. And it could have been worse, as Flo's battery proves.

Powers of ten

by Volker Weber

Here is an interesting video starting at a picnic and travelling out of the known galaxy at powers of ten and then travelling back into the body at the same speed.

The trouble is, you cannot watch this video if you are originating from Germany:

Thanks for your interest in Google Video.

Currently, the playback feature of Google Video isn't available in your country.

We hope to make this feature available more widely in the future, and we really appreciate your patience.

What you need is a proxy somewhere else, for instance Google itself. Go to their language tools, enter the url linked from the first paragraph and let it "translate" the page. Bingo.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: So I have a blog

by Volker Weber

In 1989 one of the main objectives of the WWW was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute. The first browser was actually a browser/editor, which allowed one to edit any page, and save it back to the web if one had access rights.

Strangely enough, the web took off very much as a publishing medium, in which people edited offline. [...] Now in 2005, we have blogs and wikis, and the fact that they are so popular makes me feel I wasn't crazy to think people needed a creative space.

More >

9-month-old on "no fly" list of suspected terrorists

by Volker Weber

Sarah Zapolsky was checking in for a flight to Italy when she discovered that her 9-month-old son's name was on the United States' "no fly" list of suspected terrorists.

"We pointed down to the stroller, and he sat there and gurgled," Zapolsky said, recalling the July incident at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. "The desk agent started laughing...She couldn't print us out a boarding pass because he's on the no-fly list."

Looks like they are using first and given name as their primary key. BTW: Did they catch anyone besides Cat Stevens and Barry Briggs?

More >

Make Your Own Copy-Protected CD

by Volker Weber

Still looking for Christmas gifts?

Here's a great gift idea just in time for the holidays: Make your friends and relatives their very own copy-protected CDs using the same industrial-grade passive protection technology built into XCP and Macrovision discs.

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So you thought the iPod is cool

by Volker Weber

Well, think again.

Linksys WRT54GX4 SNAFU

by Volker Weber

Looks like Linksys will have to recall a few of those units and make them fit an RJ45 plug if they want customers to connect to the internet.

Syncing mobile devices over SyncML

by Volker Weber

Yesterday I talked about using SyncML to replicate PIM data between mobile devices and a server. Here is a good implementation, and it is free to use.

Sign up at Mobical, let them send you the configuration via SMS and you are all set to sync your phone with their server. You can import/export your contacts as vCard and your Calendar as either iCal or vCal. Mobilcal also give you a nice interface to work with your data.

Das könnte klappen

by Volker Weber

Date: 15. Dezember 2005 12:20:41 MEZ
Subject: RTL: Wer wird Millionaer

Glueckwunsch: Bei unserer EMail Auslosung hatten Sie und weitere neun Kandidaten Glueck.
Sie sitzen demnaechst bei Guenther Jauch im Studio!
Weitere Details ihrer Daten entnehmen Sie bitte dem Anhang.

+++ RTL interactive GmbH
+++ Geschaeftsfuehrung: Dr. Constantin Lange
+++ Am Coloneum 1
+++ 50829 Koeln
+++ Fon: +49(0) 221-780 0 oder
+++ Fon: +49 (0) 180 5 44 66 99

Da werden sich genug Leute finden, die den Anhang aufmachen. Vor allem genug Windows-Benutzer. ;-)

Clueless Steve

by Volker Weber

Steve Gillmor has switched. He used to say Notes is dead. Did not happen. Now he says Office is dead. Yeah, right.

More >

Syncing addresses and calendar entries against a Domino server

by Volker Weber

I have a question regarding syncing PIM data with Domino servers. EMail is covered with IMAP, directory with LDAP. But how do you sync calendar, tasks and addresses?

SyncML seems to be the synchronization protocol of choice for mobile devices. It is supported on a whole lot of Nokia phones, including but not limited to the the 62xx, 66xx, 68xx and 9xxx, as well as recent SonyEricsson phones and Windows Mobile devices. I believe you can also get SyncML software for the Palm Treo 650. SyncML will let you sync all your calendar, tasks and adresses between servers and mobile clients.

Then there is ActiveSync, Microsoft's choice. It is widely used on PC clients, but Exchange will also let you sync with ActiveSync against the server - over the air, if you want. This is again supported on a wide variety of devices. It comes with Windows Mobile out of the box. Nokia and Palm have licensed it. Palm will currently let you sync mail against the Exchange server with the included Versamail client.

Now how do you do this on Domino? I believe you cannot use either SyncML or ActiveSync. How would you do it? And also, please think a little bit beyond syncing mobile devices. You could sync PIM data against other applications with SyncML just as well.

And more specifically: Has anyone tried Sync4j?

Kid's enjoying the snow

by Ragnar Schierholz

No comments

iPod Tube Maps

by Volker Weber


London, New York, Paris

[Thanks, Schweppes]

Ach wie gut, dass niemand weiß ...

by Volker Weber

Für Aufsehen sorgt derzeit in Österreich die nachträgliche Manipulation des UN-Dokuments "Wiener Schlussfolgerungen" zur stattgefundenen Podiumsdiskussion auf dem Weltinformationsgipfel WSIS. Microsoft lies Hinweise auf freie Software streichen. Der Softwaregigant sieht sich im Recht und gab die Zensur freimütig zu - "dumm und unsinnig" findet hingegen die Free Software Foundation Europe das Verhalten.

Unbedingt weiterlesen. Erinnert mich irgendwie an die Pläne zur Zerstörung der Erde durch die Vogonen.

More >

No booth for MS at Lotusphere

by Volker Weber

MS Booth
Three ex-Loti now at Microsoft: Paul Haverstock, Gary Devendorf, Charlie Kaufmann

Last year Microsoft had a booth at Lotusphere. This year IBM has decided they can't have it. Thomas Duff thinks that is a big win. Read Andrew Pollack's comments which are more in line with what I am thinking.

Gary now wants to camp out at the top of the escalator. IBM won't let him do this. And maybe Gary wants one of my T-shirts? :-) Looks like we will have a fun story to watch.

Fish, Tuna and Pizza

by Volker Weber

In case you ever wondered how Flickr works behind the scenes.

Schmeißt doch diese Marketingkasper einfach alle raus

by Volker Weber

Die Telekom hat mal wieder einen neuen Optionstarif, schreibt die Computerwoche:

Mit "Festnetz zu Mobil" reduziert sich der Preis für eine Gesprächsminute zu T-Mobile oder Vodafone D2 von den normalen 23,2 auf 12,9 Cent pro Minute. Bei Verbindungen zu den kleineren Netzbetreibern E-Plus und O2 reduziert sich das Entgelt von 25,7 auf 14,9 Cent pro Minute. Die Option lässt sich zu den Tarifen Call Plus, Call Time, XXL, XXL Freetime sowie XXL Fulltime dazubestellen, es gibt keine Bereitstellungs- oder Grundgebühr.

Das klingt ja schon mal nicht sooo schlecht. Auch wenn mir der Kopf etwas schwirrt vor lauter "Call Plus, Call Time, XXL, XXL Freetime, XXL Fulltime". Geht das jetzt mit einem "normalen Telefon" oder muss man erst zwei Semester T-Marketing studieren?

Aber "kostenlos" ist das natürlich nicht:

Ordern sollte allerdings nur, wer regelmäßig mehr als vier Euro im Monat zu Handys verquasselt - das ist der von T-Com festgelegte Mindestumsatz.

Vielleicht ist es da doch einfacher, zu Aldi zu dackeln, sich eine Telefonkarte für's alte Handy zu kaufen und dann für 15 ct einfach überall hin zu telefonieren. Ohne Call Plus, Call Time, XXL, XXL Freetime, XXL Fulltime.

Und vor allem ohne Mindestabzocke. Wenn genügend Leute mitmachen, dann kostet der Spaß nur noch 5 ct.

There is no way a monkey launched a rocket

by Volker Weber

Ricky Gervais Show Podcast. 'nuf said. Episodes 1 and 2 here and here. iTunes subscription there.

Audi introduces Diesel-powered Le Mans Racer

by Volker Weber

Audi R10

... will fight, as the world's first automobile manufacturer, for overall victory with a diesel engine at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new Audi R10 is powered by a completely new 5.5-litre, twelve-cylinder bi-turbo TDI engine which is extremely economical and quiet.The Le Mans Prototype, with over 650 hp and more than 1100 Newton metres of torque, significantly exceeds the power produced by the majority of previous Audi racing cars - including that of its victorious R8 predecessor.

More >

Mixed Tape 10 is out

by Volker Weber


15 free MP3 tracks from Fat Freddy's Drop, Flashbaxx, Jah'licious, Jan Von Grafenstein, Jonathan Krisp, L'Aroye feat. Humphrey, Lea World, Living Room, Martin Witte, Moo, Moo Feat. Laila Adele, Pimpernel Jones & Jfb, Rotari Klub, Saccie and Vijandeux

Download here >

In related news, Mercedes-Benz has also started a free podcast, as well as audio books in german and english.

[via Manfred]

Jetzt muss er nur noch rauchen

by Volker Weber

Und da passt nicht mal der Spruch "Wer lesen kann ...".

Kann Karate

by Volker Weber

kann karate

National Geographic Printable Posters

by Volker Weber

polar bear

National Geographic has published 16 printable posters, each consisting of 9 pages that you print and then glue together.

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The beat goes on

by Volker Weber

One guy has a drum sampler written in Excel. Yup, that's right. Excel. Now another guy builds on top of that and turns it into a sequenzer. What's next? Microsoft Music Office?

Read the comments under the first links if you can't get it to work right away.

Good question

by Volker Weber

Andrew Mayeda talks to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer:

Q: Your stock price has been relatively flat over the last few years. Is that a concern to you and what do you plan to do to get the markets excited about Microsoft's stock again?

A: (Nearly shouting, face reddening) Grow! We've done a lot of growing over the last five years, and our stock as you've pointed out has been basically in a flat line. I can't control how the markets see us. I have some ability to control what we really do. At some point we'll have grown so much, our stock price will have to go up.

Nearly shouting, face reddening ... If you have ever seen Mr. Ballmer, you can relate.

More >

Don't try this at home

by Volker Weber


[via Alex]

Site news

by Volker Weber

Last night I have replaced the site design. You should not see much, since this is mostly a technical redesign. Three things have changed in the visual design: commentator names are now right justified, the thin grey borders around the major parts of the page are gone, and the page will not grow wider than 70 em.

Which brings me to the real changes. All sizes are now in em and no longer in px. This should make it much easier to adjust your font size. Does that work for you, Bruce? Pictures do not adjust, so if you are choosing a small font size, margins will overflow. I also dropped a lot of <span> clauses which were inherited from old Movable Type templates. The site should now display nicer on mobile devices.

Update: Thank you for your feedback. I know that you are missing the grey borders. However, I wanted to get rid of them for a long, long time. I don't care very much for the design per se. What I want is readability. And it has to render in as many resolutions and font sizes as possible. Pictures don't scale with the font size. If they would, life would be much easier.

Und dann und dann

by Volker Weber

Als Schulaufsatz wäre das jetzt aber nicht durchgegangen:

Der Pilot musste dann auf einer Wiese landen. Die fünf Männer nahmen ihm Telefon und Funkgerät ab und flohen. Dann ließen sie ihn unversehrt davonfliegen.

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Would more hurricanes help?

by Volker Weber

Bush-administration officials privately threatened organizers of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, telling them that any chance there might've been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak at the gathering today in Montreal, according to a source involved with the negotiations who spoke to New York Magazine on condition of anonymity.

More >

Oh dear, the Cheney Bush government continues to inhabit a different universe to the rest of the world. While over 150 countries seem about to agree to move forward on the Kyoto protocol to limit global pollution, the USA is still conviced that global warming is an evil communist theory that does not apply in their universe. (And Blair doesn't come out of the affair much better, since he has claimed all along that he could convince the American government of the error of their ways.)

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Microsoft seems to like the iBook

by Volker Weber


Air Mail

by Volker Weber

Photo: Ingo Erdmann

Noch nicht mal ein Sack Reis

by Volker Weber

"Small fire in Scotland, nobody injured" ist eine Story, die es nie in die Zeitung schafft. Ich habe auch so eine zu erzählen:

Die Umstellung auf Arcor war ja etwas schwierig, weil die Firma nicht geliefert hat. Dann gab es ein paar Mal dicke Probleme: DSL schnarchlangsam, oder einmal ganz weg, inklusive Telefon.

Aber seitdem: Alles in Butter.

Gespräche im Netz kostenlos, DSL funkt rund um die Uhr, zwanzig Euro weniger im Monat als damals bei der Telekom, dafür mit viel schnellerem DSL. Mittlerweile nutze ich auch das Unified Messaging als Fax und Anrufbeantworter: Weil interne Gespräche nichts kosten, macht man einfach eine Umleitung auf die Mailbox. Eingehende Anrufe oder Faxe kommen dann per Mail.

Bin also satt und trocken. Ein zufriedener Kunde. So was muss auch mal "in die Zeitung".

720p vs. 1080i - The Great HD TV Debate Explained and Solved

by Volker Weber

Listen to Rory:

I bought an HD TV a few months ago, and it's made my life very complicated. With my old piece of crap TV, I just plugged it in, turned it on, and watched 90210 reruns until I was sated. Now I have to screw with component cables, industry standards, and manuals that are so thick you'd think Tolstoy had written them (that is, in Korean which was then translated to English by an Eskimo with a Korean/English decoder wheel that he found in a box of cereal (and, yes, Tolstoy was fluent in Korean, and he did write technical manuals, and you're wrong if you say I'm wrong, and, anyway, he's dead now so it's not like you can ask him)).

And it only gets better ... :-)

More >


by Volker Weber

A Canadian company that rules the market with excellent handhelds. A customer base which dearly loves the addictive products. A patent office which blindly grants patents on the most obscure applications. A company whose sole purpose is to extort as much as possible out of those patents. An army of lawyers charging by the hour. A single judge that wants to rule. A government who wants to be excepted from such ruling. And now an analyst firm which tells its customers to hold investments.

Isn't that a bit too much for just holding up the competition until the local IT industry has woken up?

ITIL = Ineffektives Teures Idioten Latein

by Volker Weber

Einmal pro Woche kriege ich eine Pressemitteilung, in der mir die Serview GmbH schreibt, dass sie die "erfolgreichste Unternehmung für ITIL-Prozess Implementierungen im deutschsprachigen Raum" ist. Und im Schlepptau hat sie dann die TUI Infotec dabei. So auch diese Woche.

So langsam setzt sich bei mir die Einsicht durch, dass ITIL wirklich in immer die gleiche Sackgasse führt. Das Ergebnis kennt jeder: "Guten Tag, meine Name ist Sabine Meier-Mückendorf. Was kann ich für Sie tun?" - "Geben Sie mir bitte einen Kotzbrocken ohne Telefontraining, der dafür mein Problem lösen kann."

Confession time

by Volker Weber

You do remember my question about redirecting a domain to a mailbox, don't you? Here is the background. I have been asked this question by a friend, who has been working with Notes since the 3.x time frame. He has extended knowledge of hosting lots of Domino servers for many, many years and customers.

We were both looking for a server-side rule, which would allow to do just that in a single sweep. Independently we came to the same solution as Olaf. And we both did not like it, since (a) it attacks the task from a Notes angle where it is only an SMTP task and (b) filters inside databases are not as rock solid as they should be. We both also knew that we could easily solve the problem at the front end SMTP server, but that server is not under his control. Time to get fresh ideas. So I posted the question to this site.

Have you ever tried to get help solving a Linux problem? Small piece of advice: Don't ask "how can this be done with Linux". Instead just say "Linux can't do this". People will fall all over themselves trying to prove you wrong.

So, here is my confession: I did ask "how can this be done with Domino", but then I switched to "Domino can't do this". And boy, did this work. :-) Eric Parsons writes:

I appreciate Volker's style of analysing and either supporting or refuting the idea. He seems to have the talent of attacking the idea, not the person offering it.

I certainly hope that nobody felt offended. It was a great discussion. And I have come to the conclusion that the cleanest solution is still at the DNS/SMTP level before the message hits the Domino server.

Take 46 minutes out of your schedule and listen up

by Volker Weber

[via Thomas]

Idiot admin

by Volker Weber

I have disturbing news for this admin: If a mail contains malware, it is not necessarily originating from the sender's address. And it does not really help sending brazillions of notifications.

Meet the iBuzz

by Volker Weber

Let me quote this email verbatim:

Dear Volker,

I rather hesitate to draw your attention to this item, but it is proof of what is possible with an iPod - meet the iBuzz......

[ please note that my attention was drawn to this by an authorised Apple dealer's newsletter - I did NOT go looking for it.... ]

No, I am not giving the sender's details away. ;-)

Mit Spekulatiusduft

by Volker Weber

Aber für'n Arsch.

Customer Gives Pizza Man His Own Card

by Volker Weber

OSLO, Norway (AP) - When Vegard Sjaastad delivered a pizza near the western Norwegian town of Aalesund, there was something familiar about the customer's credit card. It was his card, and had been stolen the day before.

More >

Domino mail redirection question

by Volker Weber

Here is a little question that I don't have an immediate answer for:

How can I redirect all incoming mail for domain to in Lotus Domino 7 ?

This is also known as a catch-all address. I don't care to which user of domain the mail is addressed, it should all be forwarded to one mailbox in domain

Nikon is calling back more EN-EL3 batteries

by Volker Weber


Nikon is calling back more EN-EL3 batteries used in Nikon D50, D70 D70s and D100 SLRs. These batch numbers have been added to the list:

51AA 51AB 51AC 51AD 51AE 51AF 51AG 51AH 53AA 53AB 54AE 54AF 54AH

Check the Nikon support site.

Les Blogs attendees bored to death

by Volker Weber

What happens, when bloggers meet?

by Volker Weber

Find out here. Corollary: Be careful about what's on your screen.

[via Felix]

Traffic went up again

by Volker Weber

Traffic at vowe's magic flying circus went up by 15% in one week. The main RSS index gets 10,000 hits/day, the whole site is at 63,000 There are almost 5,000 distinct visitors, so the traffic spreads out nicely. However, I counted 714 hits from one IP-address in a single day, and that is a gateway of a rather small company. One hit every two minutes, and there have only been three updates to the site yesterday.

Check your RSS readers. I guess nobody reads the sidebar:

Technically you can refresh these files every four second. But we ask for a minimum refresh rate of 30 minutes. Once every two hours would be the recommended setting.

You don't have to update more often than once every two hours without missing too much. Hey, you need to get some work done in between anyway, don't you?

I have also been asked by a few people why they are being blocked when they just entered the site. In most cases it turned out to be a Firefox extension that pre-fetches all links from the page you are currently looking at. Well, you can only see 15 pages in 60 seconds. This should be enough, unless Firefox eats your lunch. ;-)

Java-Entwickler in Köln gesucht

by Volker Weber

Felix Binsack schreibt:

Hallo Volker,

wir haben eine, denke ich, sehr interessante Stelle zu besetzen. Es geht um Anwendungsentwicklung auf Basis von Eclipse RCP mit Java, SWT und JFace.

Wir haben bereits ein sehr gutes Team am Start, brauchen aber weitere Unterstützung. Könnte für die Leser Deiner Website interessant sein, oder?

Ich glaube, ich muss Felix mal auf die Möglichkeiten als Sponsor aufmerksam machen. ;-)

Les Blogs

by Volker Weber

Photo Heiko Hebig

Put 350 bloggers in a room and you will end up with 350 notebooks, 350 power supplies, 350 cameras and a lot of self-referential reporting. Excellent pictures here, crappy pictures there. :-)

Gentlemen, start your engines

by Volker Weber

Buckle up, put down that coffee mug and take a ride in the Audi R8 with Alain Castellana in a Norma M20. Two more videos from his site.

Two Blackberry questions

by Volker Weber

I am still scratching my head about two Blackberry features I have yet to understand:

  1. Depending on your profile settings you can let the Blackberry signal unread messages with a flashing LED. As a new message comes in the LED starts to flash. And then it turns of after a while. When does it do that, and can you customize this behaviour?
  2. Blackberry differentiates between messages and level 1 messages. It will let you assign different alerts to those two set of messages. However, how do you tell the Blackberry what makes a level 1 message? There must be a ruleset somewhere, but I have yet to find it.

Do you have any insights?

Geocities spam solved

by Volker Weber

While I was waiting for the Bayesian filter in Spamassassin to learn the geocities spam messages, I was getting a bit worn out by the lack of success training it. Yesterday I added a new filter to /etc/mail/spamassassin.

admin@benhur:/etc/mail/spamassassin> cat
uri GEOCITIES_NUM /[a-z_0-9]{1,3}\.geocities\.com\/[a-z_0-9]{1,30}/i
describe GEOCITIES_NUM Possible Geocities spam site

uri GEOCITIES_BR /geocities\.yahoo\.com\.br\/[a-z_0-9]{1,30}/i
describe GEOCITIES_BR Possible Geocities spam site
score GEOCITIES_BR 5.0

Case closed. No more geocities spam:

X-Spam-Status: Yes, score=5.2 required=1.0
tests=ALL_TRUSTED,BAYES_99, GEOCITIES_BR autolearn=no version=3.0.4
X-Spam-Report: * -3.3 ALL_TRUSTED Did not pass through any untrusted hosts * 5.0 GEOCITIES_BR URI: Possible Geocities spam site * 3.5 BAYES_99 BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 99 to 100% *

It turns out that the Bayesian filter already knows. It just did not have enough weight.

Buddy list spam

by Volker Weber


Some people have started adding "valuable messages" to their buddy names in Skype. I currently have 118 people on that list and this behaviour is messing up the display. One person has removed this message, half a dozen have been blocked.

The answer to the question pictured above: Only one road, thankyouverymuch.

Wolfgang Hilpert is coming back

by Volker Weber

Sometimes I have to keep a secret, and I am actually quite good at it. :-) But now it's official: Wolfgang has quit his job at Microsoft and is returning to Germany.

I will let him tell the rest of the story though.

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber


Microsoft redefines push mail

by Volker Weber

From the Exchange Team Blog, here is how the Microsoft Exchange "push" email works:

  • The device issues an HTTP request to Exchange, which asks Exchange to report any changes that occur in the mailbox of the requesting user within a specified time limit. The URL of this HTTP request is the same as that of other AirSync commands ("/Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync") with some differing query string parameters. The body of the HTTP request allows the client to specify those folders that Exchange should monitor for changes. Typically, these will be the Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks folders.
  • Upon receiving this request, Exchange will monitor the specified folders until either the time limit expires or a change (such as the arrival of a piece of email) occurs in one of those folders, whichever comes first. Exchange will then issue a response to this request that notes in which folders the changes occurred. Of course, this will be empty if the time limit elapsed before any changes occurred.
  • Upon receiving an empty response, the device simply re-issues the request. This loop of issuing a request for change notifications, receiving an empty response, and re-issuing the request for change notifications is called "the heartbeat."
  • Upon receiving a non-empty response, the device issues a synchronization request against each folder in the response. When those complete, it re-issues the request for change notifications.

Let me translate this: HTTP polling over persistant data connection, followed by a full folder sync when changes occur. Does anyone want to bet on the bandwidth requirements? Why would you build "push" mail as a polling solution?

Since, by and large, mobile devices are not internet-routable without a NOC (Network Operation Center) and without having first contacted an internet-resident peer, the means by which AUTD (Always Up To Date) works must be initiated by the device.

Well, this should explain why real push mail solutions have an NOC, shouldn't it? :-)

Wohin damit?

by Volker Weber

Absprachen: Orange muss 256 Millionen Euro Busse zahlen

Um Himmels Willen, was sollen die denn jetzt mit so vielen Bussen machen? Und was das erst kostet. :-)

[Ich weiß. Die Schweizer haben einen Buchstaben weniger]

Guten Morgen

by Volker Weber


[via Thomas]

Neulich im Supermarkt

by Volker Weber

Die Nuf schreibt:

Ein kleines Kind plappert auf mich ein. Ich verstehe aus dem Gesabber nur die Worte "Mama bläbläbläbläbläblä weg". Das Kind ist ganz aufgeregt. Ich bin ganz aufgeregt und frage: "Na, erzähl mir doch erst mal, wie Du heißt."
Kind mit piepsiger Stimme: "Ich heiße Üffes."
"Wie bitte?"
"Ähm, kannst du deinen Namen noch mal sagen?"
"Ühhee heee fffes!"
Glücklicherweise biegt da schon Üffes Mama um die Ecke. Sie schließt freudig den verloren geglaubten Zögling in die Arme.
"Sagen sie, wie heißt ihr Kind? Ich habe den Namen nicht richtig verstehen können."
"Mein Kind heißt Üffes."
"??? ... [...] Wie wird das denn geschrieben?"
"Üffes - Ypsilon Vau E Es"

New T-shirts available

by Volker Weber


If IBM marketed sushi ...


by Volker Weber

Manfred Heinze von Industrial Technology & Witchcraft schreibt:

Das Kriegsbeil ist begraben, die Häuptlinge erheben sich vom großen PouwHouw und rauchen die Friedenspfeife. Wir sind wieder das, was wir seit 10 Jahren waren: zufriedene Kunden von 1&1 Web- und Serverhosting. In langen Telefonaten sind viele Unklarheiten beseitigt worden, einige andere lassen sich im Nachhinein nicht mehr aufklären, weitere sind und bleiben mysteriös. Ich habe viel darüber gelernt, wie ein Managed Server von innen aussieht (was ich ursprünglich vermeiden wollte), und ich denke, auch 1&1 hat etwas darüber gelernt, wie ein enttäuschter Kunde von innen aussieht (was ihnen sicher nichts schadet).

Ich fand die Art des »Krisenmanagements« durch 1&1 recht effektiv, wenn es auch erst recht spät einsetzte. Trotzdem - statt Floskeln und dummer Sprüchen wie bei manchen Unternehmen, die ins öffentliche Kreuzfeuer von Webloggern geraten waren, kamen hier direkte und persönliche Gespräche und Vermittlungen. Das sind natürlich Ausnahmen, und ich denke nach wie vor, daß bei großen Unternehmen mit direktem Kundenkontakt eine technische Hotline nicht immer ausreicht, und ein »Krisenmanagement« früher einsetzen muss. Wäre nicht der 1&1-Pressesprecher Michael Frenzel todesmutig in die Bresche gesprungen, die Techniker und wir hätten noch ewig weiter aneinander vorbeigeredet und uns mit Statistiken beworfen. Deshalb gilt mein erster Dank ihm - ich war auch schon mal in einer solchen Situation, und ich kann seine Hilfe einschätzen.

Es war nicht so einfach, hier zu vermitteln. Aber Michael Frenzel hat sich tatsächlich mehr als ein Bein ausgerissen. :-)

Merke: Technische Probleme lassen sich nicht durch Brüllen oder Fingerzeigen lösen.

Microsoft mulls emergency patch for Internet Explorer

by Volker Weber

eWeek reports:

Microsoft Corp. is working on a plan to release an out-of-cycle patch to cover a gaping hole in its dominant Internet Explorer browser. Sources say the MSRC (Microsoft Security Response Center) is aggressively aiming to release the emergency IE fix ahead of the December 13 Patch Tuesday schedule.

Your only defense right now if you are using IE: Don't click on links.

Microsoft holds weirdest press conference ever

by Volker Weber

It's St Andrew's Day yesterday so what does Microsoft do? It holds a wake at an Irish bar. Nothing wrong with wakes, but this time Microsoft is celebrating the death of Exchange Server 5.5, an eight year old product which the executives described as a "she".

Apparantly the rumors of her death are greatly exaggerated. At least outside of Redmond.

More >

Bad news and terrible news

by Volker Weber

Yesterday I alerted Thomas Gumz of the Firefox 1.5 release and he came back with bad news today: Domino Webadmin 7.0 won't run on Firefox 1.5. There is something broken and he does not know yet what it is. Stefan has found out that you can't get to other frames' properties in the DOM tree from JavaScript. And this is most likely one of the problems that break Webadmin. Thomas is currently working on stuff he won't even talk to me about. So he is putting off further analysis until the weekend. But that is only bad news.

Thomas broke the really terrible news to me today: Wolfgang Schramm, the other genius behind Webadmin, had a terrible bike accident a few weeks ago, which caused a cerebral hemorrhage. He woke up two weeks later only to be put back into a coma for another week. He is now recovering slowly.

Let's all wish Wolfgang a speedy and complete recovery. I am sure somebody will show him your wishes or at least read them to him.

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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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