Online, All the Time : Who needs GPRS when you got Noobs !

May 29

GPRSThanx to my sister in law who force fed me THIS little gift : A G3 GPRS card, enabling me to go online anywhere anytime. Now the GPRS I have enjoyed on my Palm Treo can be ported to any of my laptops with a PCMCIA slot. ( So that rules out my Macbook). There should be LInux drivers out there but i'm not really sure if i can even get the windows ones working. But that is not the main issue. In this day and age of 3g connections, broadband everywhere and what have you, telco's are still clinging to their wallets and squeezing out every dime out of the early adopters.  With G3 coverage only available in the major cities (Antwerp and Brussels). GPRS is the main means of data communication for the rest of the country. Now thats not that bad is it. I mean with my Treo I can check my Emails, Sync up to my Google Calendar and even open an SSH session to my linux server. But what happens if I decide to slide this baby into my laptop ? Accessing the internet, watching one youtube movie and getting the occasional funny-filled email would blow the cap of my dataplan in about one day. I do not understand why Telco's boast about massive speeds wireless GPRS and G3 access everywhere and dare to charge these ridiculous ludicrous data prices.  They give you a speed that is mostly fabulous, give you a dataplan that is something more suited for a third world country and give you a fine that make you pass out when you get the bill. And broadband internet is just the same.  Datacaps and insane prices make Belgium one of the countries with the best cable-infrastructure on the planet, yet the highest broadband rates in Europe. Its a big ripoff !

But i'll hold on tight to my little GPRS card when i need it for emergencies. Instead of fumbling with my Treo to get it setup as a wireless modem i'll just slip the sim in and be on my way. Just in case I run out of suckers like THIS ! 

The story of a wifi noob !

Now I opened up my wireless network neighbourhood yesterday just to have a look-see at the rich collection of Wifi routers that dot the urban area of my house. Since I live in the city the chance that I will EVER EVER loose my internet connection can only be at the  moment that the entire northern hemisphere has been hit by a massive EMP. The rise of wifi networks has only been equaled by the ignorance of the average user. Now take my next door neighbour. While most Wifi networks are protected by a WEP key this guy things that a threatening SSID might chase people away. It is written in Dutch so i'll translate. It literaly says : "Keep of my pipe goddammit" .. What is this ? The Wifi access point of John C Dvorak  ? Hey you kids, stay off my lawn ? You must be kidding right. If there where taunting words, these must be them. 

noob

 

Hilariously the Wifi network was unprotected. Clearly Mr Noob does not know squat about wep or wpa protection yet does know how to change his SSID 🙂 Doing an Ipconfig to look at the default gateway, I entered that address in my browser and there you go : Not only the network was unsecured, so was the routers login page.

noob

Time to have some fun 😉 I decided to tuck away my evil side (that wanted to put a wep key on the router and lock out the user with a password ) I changed the SSID to " I just hacked you again you N00b " 🙂 then rebooted the router.  Now when mister daft gets home he might just have a little surprise.. And I have been snickering about my childish act all day long.

noov

So who needs GPRS cards with idiots like these. Who is worried about data limits when we have pipe to steel ? If i where someone who did not know to secure my own wireless network I would sure as hell not name it like that :). Noobs 🙂 You should not abuse them. But every know and then .. Steel a chuckle 🙂

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Cult Quizz : Who are these people and who is missing !

May 16

Lets see how good you are my culty friends, This week I have a special quiz for you. Look at the picture below and tell me who these people are. And more importantly .. WHO is missing from this picture ?

 

???
 
The answer
 
Blake
Yep, The answer is indeed a very time-warped Blakes 7 gang. In the old picture you saw Villa, Callie, Gan, Jenna and Blake. The person missing in the old picture is of course AVON.
More information on the whole gang can be found in the extensive wikipedia article .

 

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32 ways to speed up you mac.

May 15

macSome nice tips and tricks on the net today on "how to tweak your OSX for speed". I mean Eye candy and all that jazz is pretty nice but let’s face it. After watching your Windows get sucked down into the dock 'Hoover style' the novelty factor tends to wear out just a little. It’s like watching the Paris Hilton Porn Video 18 times in a row and coming to the realisation she's not all that! Now with my Beryl-wobbly-windows on Ubuntu I must say I like the Eye candy. Because it’s not distracting you from what you are doing all that much. (And I have processor power to spare).

But as for my G3 Mac upstairs there is no such luxury. It’s an old G3 450 with 512 megs of ram and I’ll probably turn it into a Linux server once I've gotten my hands on a faster one but, until that day I’ll just have to make due with it, running OSX on a machine that is a tad too slow for comfort. Bless THIS article that gives me a greater insight into tweaking down your OSX for speed. I knew some of the hacks, but the whole TINKERTOOL is pretty new to me. Very interesting stuff, I must say. The one thing the article does not cover is how to DISABLE YOUR DASHBOARD. Somehow the way of the widget has gone past me and I cannot see any use into rendering your workspace completely useless in favour of looking at the weather widget and noticing that it’s pretty dry in Tanzania these days. I'll try out this little script on that old G3 back home and see if I can squish some extra productive processor cycles out of it.

Here are the links.
Removing Dashboard
http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/macosxhints/2005/08/disabledashboard/index.php
Speed up your mac
http://www.imafish.co.uk/articles/post/articles/130/52-ways-to-speed-up-os-x/

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"Moore" then meets the Eye.

May 12

With the whole Transformers movie coming out and everybody praising mr Michael Moore for his work as a director I thought it was time to kick the Tardis and go back in time. When I was a kid, I had the privilege of living next door to an American family with a kid who LOVED Transformers. Not only did his room look like it had just collided head on with Cybertron itself , he also had a great collection of Transformers comics that never ever made it to the European mainland. Some of these where just brilliant pocket-comics, other where regular on-the-shelf stuff ( awesome stuff too) The quality of the print and the paper was flimsy and sometimes you had to really make an effort to read the little print or scoop through the pictures to make out who was who. But all in all the stories where fabulous.

octane

But what I even liked more where the "charactar bio's" that were printed halfway through the comic. These gave you more insight into the Transformers that you owned.. Things probably dreamed up by some intern who would get a better salary working at Pizza Hut, they offered extra sparks to the fire of your imagination. And you can bet your Blaster on the fact that you would be giving that strange character twist to your favorite toy next time you played with it. Although it would feel very old having your little Ratchet toy tell all the other Autobots that he liked to party .. and where was the next party .. and how long before we party and stuff like that , you still did it .. Hey, It was in his BIO section so it HAD to be true, right ?

Diving into the big box of "stuff from the past" i came across this one. I popped it on the scanner to let you guys in on the great character that is "Octane". Not fitting the bill of transforming into a "weapon", ( Octane is a sluggish tanker or a flimsy jet.. and a rather gay looking robot with a hairdo that would put Prince to shame) he does "hold the juice" for his fellow Decepticons.  A visit to the shrink tells us that Octane LOVES to let his fellow "cons" beg for fuel before giving them any. Wow . Don't you just love a guy like that. A real scrooge when it comes to dealing out the drops. Werther or not he gets hit in the face when that fellow Decepticon has been refueled, is not mentioned in the article of course.

There is even more. His free time is filled with running cars of the highway and diverting planes. Now what kind of hobby is that ? Even the "cons" and me agreed on this that this was a rather stupid way to waste ones time. Me and Shockwave were hanging out at the bar one day when Octane came by. We remarked his weird hobby as a waste of time, and I even suggested collecting stamps when Mr Octane got all wound up and started threatening to let us run dry next time we needed fuel. When I mentioned I was a human an could go to Burger King any time I wanted.. He vowed to trample me instead.  " Then how about me kicking you in the belly next time you roll by as a truck huh ! " I replied chivalrously. ( Holding his bio in my hand and reading through the "weak-spot" section). That caused him to totally flip out . (he began yelling stuff about humans and death and goo and stuff).. He transformed into a plane and tried to make a gracious exit. Well .. tried to .. cause the Decepticon booze hole has standard doors and is by no means suitable for horizontal takeoff.  The result where a lot of angry Decepticons , a ton of broken glass and overturned tables. Not to mention a bar bill all the way up to Cybertron Before I went to bed that night I updated Octanes bio by adding the lines that he can be extremely clumsy when drunk ! There is truelly more to Octane then meets the eye.

 

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Ghosts of Christmass past.

May 12

my old schoolSometimes your past haunts you, sometimes people chase after it. Other times you just stumble over your long forgotten past. As I did yesterday. Walking through the park (yes ! I did manage to pry myself away from the screen just for a little while) I decided to make a little beeline and walk through some of the beautiful cycling tracks that run through the city. Nested away between the main causeways and the downtown streets they are like small streams of peace in a busy busy city. As I rounded another gracious turn in the path, it took me to me behind the yard of my old school. A school where I only went for a year, and a school that "schoolwise" could be seen as one of the poorest times of my life. I was about 16, 17 years old when I went here. Somebody in the family thought it would be a good idea to send this poor student (me) to a Hotelschool where he could learn a trait. Become skilled in the art of cooking. To make things more interesting we will snatch him away from all his friends, plunk him down on a far away school and oh yes, make it a boarding school as well. That way he gets to feel miserable for five days straight. Needless to say I hated it at that particular school. I knew nobody, was a year older then all of the kids in my class, knew no-one at the boarding school and was absolutely terrible at cooking. (I still am). 

Whenever I see those American TV shows depicting high school as a battle of the popular versus the none popular, I think back to this school. The picture you see is of a bench on the courtyard I used to hang out. It was located opposite of the entrance that my class had to use to enter and exit the building. I did not venture far from this particular bench cause the rest of the courtyard was alien territory to me. I was not one to easily socialize. I just hung around that bench. Listening to the conversations of my classmates but not really joining in. I was by far "popular" enough to interact with the higher echelons of teenagers. 

The inside of the school was even worse. Being a state school it lacked the funding (and the vigor) to maintain a colorful, fresh appearance. Everything was old, tired, warn down and brown. Most of the outside windows where cracked, resulting in a constant dampness between the layers of the double sided glass. So you could not even look outside. When the sun did manage to hit the classrooms we where instantly cooked cause some clever architect had faced the building south. warn down broken and bent blinds hung limply in odd angles, providing little shelter.

Whenever at night, I have bad dreams, most of them are located here. Taking me back to this annus horribilis, making me sit in math class all over again. Barely comprehending what was scribbled on the board. Panic stricken when I had to step up to the whiteboard and complete the equation that was all gibberish to me anyway.  

And then again. I stood there yesterday, on the other side of the fence. 15 some years later. And I see myself sitting there. I cannot help but smile at how things have changed. Imagining what it would have been like, meeting my future self of 33, who told me that things where going to turn out fine. I would have never believed much would come of me back then. A house in the city, a wonderful wife, a nice job and so forth. Sitting there as the social outcast, I would not have deemed it possible.

So you see how things change. And even if our past chases us at night, or we stumble over it during a stroll. Our past can never bind us down. For we are the ones that define our future. 

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