Everything, Everything - January 2006

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2006: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2005: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2004: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Memory Leak
Tuesday 31st January, 2006 21:03
I was right! It seems there was some kind of small memory leak going on with BitTorrent 4.3.6 (far more noticeable with my version, less noticeable with theirs), as 4.4.0 is now out and the version notes say "all bugfixes and improvements from BitTorrent 4.3 Beta, memory leak fix, adding Hebrew and Icelandic to the list of complete languages".

I emailed them about a problem I had with BitTorrent 4.3.6 on Windows 2000, it just doesn't work properly and you can't start torrents, but now I've spotted 4.4.0 is out I'll have to give that a go tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if a 4.4.1 is out soon for Windows.

I guess I'll have to move my changes across to the 4.4.0 code now. Or do I wait and see if 4.4.1 appears? Ah well.
Sunday 29th January, 2006 14:07
CDex needs your help! Well maybe not yours, but maybe you know someone that can help get things back on track? They need some new managers for the project at sourceforge, as it seems to have ground to a halt. Sure, most people do seem to use EAC nowadays, but think of that as a challenge. I know many people that still use CDex (myself included, after something like nearly 6 years), and I'd hate to see such a great project die. So tell all your friends! Please. Pretty please.
First-time buyers at record low
Sunday 29th January, 2006 00:27
According to an article I read on the BBC News website, the number of first-time home buyers across the UK is at a 25-year low. The average person has to spend five years saving for a deposit, says the study from Britain's biggest mortgage lender the Halifax.

The Halifax says about 320,000 people got on the property ladder last year - 10% fewer than in 2004, and down 40% on 2002. The average person now needs a deposit of almost £24,000 and is aged 33 when they buy their first home. The report said that in 2005, the number of first-time buyers had fallen to its lowest level since 1980, although there were signs of a slight pick up during the second half of the year. The average person must now save a deposit of £23,967 - more than double the £9,894 they needed five years ago, it added.
Saturday 28th January, 2006 23:03
Here we come. Watching The O.C. on my computer. My big box of DVDs came from Amazon on Friday. I now have the second season of The O.C. as well as two seasons of Hustle, one of 24, the first season of Lost (I ranted about the cost of the sets before, as the price for half a season is ridiculous, but the complete one wasn't bad), and I finally bought Firefly. The movie's out on DVD soon.
IE7 PNG Transparency
Wednesday 25th January, 2006 21:26
I decided to put the new PNG images from my BitTorrent Icon Packs up on my other site, and it looked pretty nice, but when I finally looked at the site on my dad's XP machine I noticed that they didn't have transparent backgrounds. It looks like my beta of IE7 correctly supports transparency (this rings a bell), but so should Mozilla based browsers, and I seem to remember old Mac versions of IE supporting it too. It's basically just IE6 and older browsers that don't work correctly. I think I've also solved the last bug in my client, that'll teach me to make changes to code that wasn't broken. See my other site for more details.
My Fault
Tuesday 24th January, 2006 23:23
I didn't build my initial version of the BitTorrent 4.3.6 client "properly" (to be honest, with the source/instructions/lack of either that they provide it's a wonder I get anything to work). I've now rebuilt it, added my new icons, created a new setup file, and updated the source code (sadly, I zipped the source code before adding my new icons, so I might sort that out sometime). I also made a few tiny changes to the code, hopefully to make it slightly more efficient. The memory leak doesn't seem to be there anymore, from what I can tell. My icon pack is pretty much the "new classic" set of icons, but I've added the latest "default" information icon, my own abort/remove/trashcan buttons, and a slightly modified set of status buttons.
Tuesday 24th January, 2006 14:35
A snippet from something I read online:

The first mistake was imagining that because the objects had some common attributes, they were related and should share an inheritance tree. Unfortunately, this is another case where software is not real life. Just because we put entities in the same box in reality, it doesn't necessarily follow that the objects representing them in a computer system share a common hierarchy.

The OO design principle that covers this is the Liskov Substitution Principle (LSP), which Bob Martin expounded in his programmer's notebook and also his book Agile Software Development. It states, "Functions that use pointers or references to base classes must be able to use objects of derived classes without knowing it."

The example he gives is that of the square and the rectangle. In geometry, they are both two dimensional figures with four sides and four 90 degrees angles and square is a just a type of rectangle in which the height and width are equal. Obviously, it makes sense for square to derive from rectangle. However, under certain circumstances, squares and rectangles exhibit different behaviour. Change the width of a square, and its height changes too; otherwise it is no longer a square. Clearly any method that changed the width of the rectangle base class would also need to know about the special case of the square, thus breaking the LSP. The breakage tells us that, in this context, the square should most definitely not be derived from the rectangle.

Bob's point is that we naturally classify things using the ISA relationship, i.e. a square 'is a' rectangle but we should be classifying them using the 'behaves as a' relationship. Does a square behave as a rectangle? Well, as we've already seen, there are circumstances when it doesn't.
Or Maybe Not
Tuesday 24th January, 2006 10:20
Perhaps it's just my fault for running too many torrents, the official client only lets me run 3 at a time and memory usage looks fairly stable at just over 40MB, so perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised that my version took up so much RAM with 7 torrents running. I'm running my client again and the memory usage looks pretty similar.
Memory Leak?
Tuesday 24th January, 2006 10:00
I'm not sure yet, but I think there might be a memory leak in the new BitTorrent 4.3.6 client. It might be due to my modification of the files, but I only touch a few small (mainly graphical) parts, so I suspect it's a problem with the official client. I might install the official one later and see what happens.
BitTorrent 4.3.6
Tuesday 24th January, 2006 01:57
What have they done? They seem to have new icons everywhere in this version, and I'm not sure I like them yet. The good news is the icons are just PNG files under images\icons\default (perhaps they plan on updating the GUI to let people select a theme\directory?), so I'm thinking of creating new icons (and perhaps obtaining the old style ones as some form of classic pack) and making them available on my site. I'd be quite happy to host icons from anyone else.

Anyway, I've quickly updated their source with my usual modifications and made my own version, of 4.3.6, now available on the site. On the plus side, it should be a lot more stable (it was pretty damn good before), as they claim to have made two fixes to the "list.remove(x): x not in list" bug (I wonder if they just catch the error and ignore it, will have to check sometime - I suspect they set it to x when there's an error and remove it later, but if two things add x to the list it might add it, then update it, then remove it, then try and remove something that doesn't exist anymore).
I Hope This Is True
Sunday 22nd January, 2006 15:04
Les Rhythmes Digitales
Wednesday 18th January, 2006 21:50
I'm listening to Darkdancer, most people will probably recognise it as the album with the track from the Citroen dancing car advert (actually, most people will have never heard of it at all), but I first came across Jacques Lu Cont's work on a CD from 1998, Muzik Magazine Presents The Tunes '98, as it featured the track Music Makes You Lose Control, which is the second track on Darkdancer.
Funny Signature
Friday 13th January, 2006 00:26
(> <) This is Bunny. Copy Bunny into your signature to help him on his way to world domination.
Wednesday 11th January, 2006 14:27
I've been looking into Java error catching code, as I'm trying to use JSP to talk to a database using JDBC, and I've finally sorted out a fairly neat way to catch if the database is down, and how to implement transactions (I think). It's been so long since I've played with Java that I feel pretty rusty. While browsing the net, I did come across an article that made me chuckle.

If you are GUI program, now's the time to pop up a modal message box. It doesn't really matter what text you put in it, because the user will ignore it.

A refinement, especially popular with Delphi programmers, is to put up further, identical message boxes at a one half second interval, so that unless the user intervenes and starts closing them at a greater rate, the whole system will eventually die from memory exhaustion.

If you're running under Windows XP, consider converting the exception into a null pointer dereference in the catch handler:

catch(...) { // now we're really stuffed
    int * p = 0;
    *p = 22;

This has the advantage over an ordinary crash that you will get one of those special OS-supplied dialogs, that asks permission to send log details back to Microsoft. Naive users will interpret this as a Windows fault, and will direct their bile Redmondwards.

Of course, all the above techniques can be combined in fresh and original ways. Never be afraid to experiment.

It is so true though, people always tell me that "Windows crashed" when they mean a badly written application crashed.
My Name Is Earl
Friday 6th January, 2006 20:34
It looks like the show My Name Is Earl starts on TV later tonight (10PM), and everyone should watch it. Mind you, I told everyone to watch House, but no one did.
Good News Everyone
Friday 6th January, 2006 16:36
There's talk of a Futurama revival!

I'll be so happy if it comes back, I love that show. According to Can't Get Enough Futurama, "this is only the case in a very limited way. The talk is still about the DVDs (not TV, for all we know) and it is still ongoing. The slight difference is that our sources at the top of the show's team tell us that they think there will be some sort of result soon. They seem to be carefully optimistic, but nothing is set in stone yet."
Chuck Norris
Thursday 5th January, 2006 23:54
A frend came across this earlier today, and I couldn't help chuckle.


-Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

-Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

-Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting infers the probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

-If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

-Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

-Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

-The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

-To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer. Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Beat that, Lance Armstrong.

-When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

-Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

-Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

-A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris' shoe. Chuck replied, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Chuck Norris!" The mere mention of his name cured this man blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris.

-When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Chuck Norris has not had to pay taxes ever.

-Chuck Norris once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes having sex with his waitress.

-Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

-Chuck Norris can touch MC Hammer.

-Chuck Norris always has sex on the first date. Always.

-Chuck Norris sleeps with a night light. Not because Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris

-Someone once tried to tell Chuck Norris that roundhouse kicks aren't the best way to kick someone. This has been recorded by historians as the worst mistake anyone has ever made.

-Chuck Norris is not hung like a horse... horses are hung like Chuck Norris

-A Handicap parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Chuck Norris and that you will be handicapped if you park there.

-Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a fcking Indian.

-If Chuck Norris is late, time better slow the fck down.

-Chuck Norris owns the greatest Poker Face of all-time. It helped him win the 1983 World Series of Poker despite him holding just a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoloy card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game UNO.

-As a teen Chuck Norris impregnated every nun in a convent tucked away in the hills of Tuscany. Nine months later the nuns gave birth to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated and untied team in professional football history.

-Filming on location for Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris brought a stillborn baby lamb back to life by giving it a prolonged beard rub. Shortly after the farm animal sprang back to life and a crowd had gathered, Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked the animal, breaking its neck, to remind the crew once more that Chuck giveth, and the good Chuck, he taketh away.

-The quickest way to a man's heart is with Chuck Norris's fist.

-Chuck Norris appeared in the "Street Fighter II" video game, but was removed by Beta Testers because every button caused him to do a roundhouse kick. When asked bout this "glitch," Norris replied, "That's no glitch."

-Chuck Norris frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just never his own.

-Chuck Norris lost his virginity before his dad did.
Various Bits
Wednesday 4th January, 2006 09:39
I sent an email to the people behind my order through the SonyEricsson website, and I was pleasantly surprised to get a quick and polite response with all the information I had asked for. Excellent.

On a friend's forum we often talk about weird things (we have a silly sh*t thread, a tech thread, happy new year, and several more specific ones like wanted - usb cable), but we somehow stumbled across the rather serious issue of paternity leave. It seems the law currently says:

Fathers who qualify for paternity leave can take time off to be with their new child and offer support to the mother when the child arrives. You can choose whether to take one or two consecutive weeks' paternity leave (not odd days). To qualify for paternity leave you must (amongst some other conditions) have worked continuously for your employer for 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the baby is due.

All employed pregnant women are entitled to 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave regardless of how long they have worked for their employer. Those who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks continuously by the beginning of the 14th week before the baby is due can take 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. Additional maternity leave starts immediately after ordinary maternity leave and is usually unpaid.

So my question is what happens if the mother dies during labour, leaving the dad to look after the kid? Does he still get two weeks? Or does the nice employer give him more time on compassionate grounds? Do they give him a full year and still guarantee his job? It almost makes me want to campaign now, just in case I have kids.
Tuesday 3rd January, 2006 15:42
I'm really looking forward to the film Proof. It looks like it'll be great, mind you I enjoyed A Beautiful Mind too, and it seems to be somewhat similar.
Tuesday 3rd January, 2006 13:56
There's an unofficial patch for the WMF vulnerability. I wouldn't normally push an unofficial patch (especially as I think it caused trouble on a 2003 server, so I had to restart it again before being able to log in, but it worked perfectly on a 2000 machine), but it doesn't look like Microsoft will have one for at least another week, and there's already lots of nasty malicious code floating around. As the author suggests, when MS get their act together, uninstall this patch and install theirs. Although it only gives someone the privileges of the local user, so many people use Administrators group accounts that it can be quite serious.
X-Men 3
Tuesday 3rd January, 2006 00:53
I just noticed that Kelsey Grammer is to play Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast in the new X-Men movie. Sure, it's a fairly obvious choice in some ways, but I'll be interested to see if Kelsey can do the action scenes.
The Broker
Sunday 1st January, 2006 23:22
I just finished reading the latest book from John Grisham, The Broker, not bad considering I only picked it up this afternoon. Well written, exciting, with a fairly decent conclusion too. Quite a good Christmas present from my grandparents.

I've also been listening to Kelly Clarkson again, such a good album. Currently listening to Walk Away. Until this album, I'd never listened to her music before. I spent most of last year listening to old bands and artists, I used to know all the new/up and coming bands a decade ago, even if I didn't like them; nowadays I can barely recognise those in the top 10. I think that's partly because there are very few new artists that hang around, it's mostly catchy tunes, your one hit wonders, the type of band that might have an album or two if they're lucky. There doesn't seem to be your Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, Take That, Manic Street Preachers band from this decade, and none of your Madonna, Robbie, Kylie type solo artists. With most of them getting on a bit, and many bands falling apart, and people just downloading singles from places like iTunes, it's getting harder to find an artist to fall in love with, whose music will constantly deliver, a "dependable brand" so to speak. I think Radiohead have a new album out this year though, hopefully it won't take as long to grow on me as their last couple did.

I've also been looking at processors for this year. It looks like Intel's next generation desktop chip, Conroe, will have a low thermal rating (that's good) and will be about twice as fast as AMD's current chips (that's very good). If they can price it properly, and release it in July as predicted, they should regain their crown. AMD should bring in DDR2 support, which will definitely help, when they bring out their M2 socket in Q2 2006, but unless they can ramp up the speeds too, it'll only be the price (and the fact that M2 should support quad-core in 2007) that keeps them in the game. I'll probably look at buying a decent value Conroe based system, maybe even buy it as a new system, at some point this year (maybe around October?) as my main computer is starting to feel a bit old (the new fileserver is far more powerful). The current processor is an AMD 2800+ Barton that has served me well for nearly 3 years now (I used to get through a CPU every 9-12 months, so it's done very well, partly because over the past 3 years processors have just got a lot hotter without getting much faster - until dual core appeared a few months back). The graphics card, an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, has lasted something like 2 years (I don't play that many games with it, and it seems to cope fine at 1680x1050 with games like SWAT4). All of the other parts must be over 3 years old, with the exception of the new motherboard when it died a little while back. I think it's time for a major upgrade sometime. I wouldn't mind a 65W TDP Conroe with dual cores running at 3GHz with a stupidly large cache. Mmmm.

I somehow seem to have no plans for tomorrow.
Happy New Year
Sunday 1st January, 2006 13:56
It's that time of year again, everyone's making resolutions that'll last about 2 days, people are starting to get ready to head home (and back to work/uni/school), and now I have to remember to write 06 instead of 05.
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