Goodreads cookie fuckup

Goodreads does not support browsers with deactivated cookies. Even worse: they throw you in an convulsive endless loop of reloads, making at least me SICK.

Background: I turned off cookies in my browser and selectively activate them for sites I really use. Out of a weird idea that came from Marie Wallace, a friend of mine over at IBM.

So in the last week, I turned on cookies for around 50 sites. BUT two of them behaved pretty fucked up. For goodreads, I wasn’t even able to fill in the complaint form, so I blog and tweet it to them, maybe they react.

Here is my message to Goodreads that I couldnt post on their site:

if you have cookies deactivated, your website is a completele broken mind-dizzying endless recursion making me sick. It keeps reloading the page every ~3 seconds, with a popup in between causing ugly-as-hell white/black changes in between.

ARRRRRRGH.

don’t get me wrong here: I am a tech-loving computer geek with a PhD and love your service, but out of a quirk and inspired by a friend over at IBM, I decided to switch of cookies and only selectively activate them again for sites I actually use.

So I have a proper and sane reason to switch off cookies, and I would activate cookies for goodreads as I have done for ~50 other pages I regularly use already.

Technically, what happens is this recursvice bullshit:
http://www.goodreads.com/about/contact_us?auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true

your techies will get this immediately.

BUT it makes me literally sick.

as you may know, repeatedly blinking dark/light patterns is really ugly and causes – at least for me – nausea. Luckily, it is not flashing more than 3 times / sec, which would get you sued by epileptics and get a shitstorm of bad press like here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosensitive_epilepsy

I just may note, that 95% of the other 50 webservices I used in the last week had no problem with my cookie-adversity.

HP Scanner Error when connecting

We just wanted to scan using our great HP C4700 Scanner/Printer at home via network. But the damn thing wouldn’t scan.

It gave an Error code of “8,[(1,0,-2147221502)]” and something like “das HP Bildbearbeitungsgerät wurde nicht gefunden. “

The obvious solution recommended by the help and internet is

  • turn on/off
  • reinstall HP Solution Center
  • reinstall Printer Driver

As I am too lazy for that just now, I used the WEB INTERFACE to my scanner. Yep, behold. Your HP Network printer/Scanner has a web interface. Just find out the IP address (for example, by printing the network information, the printer has an option to do that) and enter the address in your browser. In my case, that would be : http://192.168.1.42.

This will let you scan via your browser, and you don’t have to install any drivers and such. You can only scan JPGs, but … better than nothing…

I only blog this here because poor souls facing “8,[(1,0,-2147221502)]” and too lazy to reinstall software may benefit from it.

Erntefestival 2011

If you haven’t heard it yet on other places: there is going to be a festival to celebrate art, music, do-it-yourself culture, and camp together for three days.

http://www.erntefestival.at

Fr 26- So 28.8.2011
Lindabrunn, 42km south of Vienna
Bring food and drinks
Bring Music, Art, Projects, creatively design the space there.

The place is awesome:

German Description:
“Das Erntefestival 2011 ist die Gelegenheit um gemeinsam kreativ zu feiern. Ob Top oder Flop, egal welche Ernte du im letzten Jahr Eingefahren hast, sei dankbar und feiere es. Das Erntefestival zelebriert Creative-Industries, MusikerInnen, WissensarbeiterInnen, Entrepreneure und Enterpreunessen, HackerInnen, Inventoren und FreundInnen. Ohne festes Programm, ohne feste Tagespläne kann sich jede(r) so freuen wie sie/er das für richtig hält. Gib dein Bestes. Das Erntefestival versteht sich als Plattform um vergangene Projekte vorzustellen und neue Projekte zu entwickeln.”

Disclaimer: I am co-organizing it. I do it because I love the idea of sharing and collaborating, and because I can’t afford to fly over to Burning Man every year.

Updated my homepage leobard.net

I updated my homepage…yes, besides this weblog, twitter, facebook, flickr, soup.io, … etc etc … I also have a homepage. I never find the time to update it, but thanks to soup.io there is an activity stream on it.

my homepage:

http://www.leobard.net

I did it because I wanted to host GodSees in a long-term way, this thing here:

http://www.leobard.net/2010/GodSees/

while doing these updates, I spent HOURS on divs, margins, floats, and google fonts. Thank God I am not a designer, I need ages to get things done.

Yammer VS Chatter: battling it out A/B style

Suppose there is a war, and nobody came to tweet about it. The two enterprise social software vendors Yammer and Chatter are currently at war for market domination, and copycatting their way through it.

If the internet is made for cats, then even more for copycats. There is a war going on between two cats in Enterprise social software. Their promise is “bringing together all of a company’s employees inside a private and secure enterprise social network” according to Yammer. Or to “connect with your coworkers to work together and be more productive” according to Chatter. Anyway, both companies look astonishingly same.

Yammer vs Chatter: battling it out a/b style VS Yammer vs Chatter: battling it out a/b style

Spot the difference? Comment on the group if you can find them.

What makes the battle even better: they quickly try out different designs every day. You never get the same page twice! So, see it as a game:

  • collect them all! (collect images of the landing pages, here)
  • spot the difference! (between yammer and chatter, but also between different views
  • spot the change! (what has happened?)
  • spot the uniqueness! (what is typically yammer/chatter?)
  • guess whats next!

…endless possibilities for spectators…

To play along, collect your images and comments here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/yammerchatter/

Note that Yammer was first and therefore Chatter is proably the copycat. But now, its hard to tell. Here is a great video by Yammer to get you started:
http://youtu.be/MuSLk5FkNrs

Schema.org – another take on the semantic web

On 2.6.2011, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! announced Schema.org. Schema.org is intended as a standard to mark up data on webpages. This brings these three companies one small step closer to the Semantic Web.

Many people should use the same format to markup data. The more people publish their data in the same format, the more people will be able to read the data using the same tools. Its an easy formula:

  • more data = more applications = more benefit

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! announced their shared support for schema.org, and call for adoption of their new standard from all webmasters. If you follow their call, you should change your website and write your data in their format.

To give an example (from their website): Instead of writing “Avatar was directed by James Cameron”, you would write:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Movie”>
<h1>Avatar</h1>
<span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
<span>Science fiction</span>
<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdxXPV9GNQ”>Trailer</a>
</div>

For the end-user, this looks the same as any other website: Avatar, Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954) Science fiction Trailer

For a machine, or a search engine, the data would be readable and could be imported into a database, such as wikipedia or freebase. Or your personal movie-booking application could show you a trailer next to the ticket. Great! Benefits!

The message is: webmasters out there, adopt! For you who follow the blogpost by Google,Yahoo and Microsoft, you can start adopting!
But hang on, haven’t some of us just installed Drupal 7 and used its RDFa generator to do the same? Didn’t we markup your website with facebook’s opengraph protocol a year ago? And what about those Good Relations markup that Bestbuy did use, and that Google used to bring prices to the search results? This was a good investment, and it showed that the general idea works – standards for metadata. We are heading in the right direction. Now the three big companies worked to continue further:

The FAQ on Schema.org say:
Q: I have already added markup in some other format (i.e. microformats, RDFa, data-vocabulary.org, etc). Do I need to change anything on my site?
If you have already done markup and it is already being used by Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo!, the markup format will continue to be supported. Changing to the new markup format could be helpful over time because you will be switching to a standard that is accepted across all three companies, but you don’t have to do it.

They also say: We will also be monitoring the web for RDFa and microformats adoption and if they pick up, we will look into supporting these syntaxes.

Its a chicken-egg problem:

  • You haven’t been adopting RDFa as much as we liked,
  • So we don’t tell you to adopt RDFa,
  • But we tell you to adopt microdata, which is nearly the same but different

Maybe giving the chicken a bit more time to hatch its old egg and supporting it could have helped. But maybe also the new egg is better and the chicken should really walk over and hatch that one…still, its a new egg and needs to be hatched and it remains a chicken-egg-problem.

In theory, RDFa could have been used as basis for schema.org, but wasn’t. As part of HTML5, the microdata standard was developed. People will need to follow the schema.org bandwagon now. Less risky would have been to reuse RDFa as a markup and publish a schema on schema.org. But it seems the big three companies put their bids on microdata now. This is a signal that can be interpreted in two ways: if we look back we could infer from the RSS/RDF/RDFa/Microformats/Microdata story that it continues and we are facing an era of often-changing standards established by rivaling companies and continous investments needed by webmasters to keep up. If we look into the future, microdata (and its compability with RDF) could be the stable solution for the coming years.

Ping, I am still alive, need to blog more

I am still alive, but it seems facebook and twitter won over my blogging.

Today I found it odd that a 10 line newsletter mail had 848kb in length.
It seems those apple users have trouble formatting their mails, this is what I found in the source (here is the end of the mail, you get the picture):

auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; =
"></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span>=
</div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></span></=
span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></b><b></b></div>=
<b></b></font><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b><=
/div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></span><b>=
</b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></s=
pan><b></b></div><b></b></span></div><b></b></span></div><b></b></span><b>=
</b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></span></div><b>=
</b></div><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></d=
iv><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b>=
</b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></s=
pan><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b>=
</b></span><b></b></span></span></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></=
span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span></div></span></=
font></div></div></div></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b=
></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></=
span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b=
></b></span></div><b></b></span></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></=
span><b></b></span></div><b></b></div><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></=
div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b=
></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></=
span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b=
></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></span></span></div><b></b><=
/span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><b></b></span><b></b></div><=
b></b></span><b></b></div></span></div></span></span></font></span></font>=
</div></span></b></div></span></span></font></div></div></div></div></span=
></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></=
span></div></span></div></span></span></div></div></div></span></div></spa=
n></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div><=
/span></div></span></div></span></div></span></span></span></div></span></=
div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></spa=
n></div></span></span></span></span></span></div></div></div></span></b></=
div></span></span></font></div></div></div></div></span></div></span></div=
></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span><=
/div></span></span></div></div></div></span></div></span></div></span></di=
v></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span>=
</div></span></div></span></span></span></div></span></div></span></div></=
span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></sp=
an></div></div></div></span></b></div></span></span></font></div></div></d=
iv></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div>=
</span></div></span></div></span></div></span></span></div></div></div></s=
pan></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div=
></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></span></span>=
</div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></s=
pan></div></span></div></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></=
div></b></div></span></span></font></div></div></div></div></span></div></=
span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></di=
v></span></div></span></span></div></div></div></span></div></span></div><=
/span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></d=
iv></span></div></span></div></span></span></span></div></span></div></spa=
n></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div><=
/span></b></div></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div>=
</span></div></span></div></span></div></span></div></div></div></div>
</div>

<br></body></html>=

--Apple-Mail-60-50075253--

2 + 2 = 2.5 (Lenovo Mathememtics)

Thats what I call Mathememtics: 2+2=2.5

no squeeze me! I am Lenovo Ram

If you know me, you know that my Lenovo T400 ThinkPad is quite slow. I have a slow disk and my 2GB main memory were not enough, so today I went to the shop to buy a whopping extra 2GB.

Directly in the shop I expectingly used my sweaty joyful hands to put the new thinking space into the machine and voila: Task manager reported:
2520 MB Physical memory
WTF? I had something like 1900 MB before, adding 2GB only results in 600MB more space?

Of course of course, you will now say: But Leo, you forgot that Windows 7 32bit can only address 3.5GB ram – silly you. But behold: thats still a GB short of my 2.5 GB.

I had no choice but to look for that missing GB. Note of sillyness: a 2GB RAM module costs 21€. As my windows lost 1GB I thought I may just go for the 1GB module to save a whopping 2€! – yes, the 1GB module was sold for 19€. So I rather decided to search for the missing GB.

So where is it?

Apparently, Lenovos have 2 graphics cards and once you upgrade, they decide to grab the extra mem for personal satisfaction.

User, I am your almighty graphics card. I appreciate your ridiculous sacrifice of 1GB ram to appease me, but you must give me your firstborn virgin daughter as next sacrifice.
This would be no problem would not be the other graphics card:
User, I am your almighty onboard graphics card. I take another 500mb of your RAM as sacrifice and take your second born virgin daughter. And bring some beer when you come home.
Ok, thats enough. Thanks to the great advice found on the internets I was finally able to get to 3066MB physical RAM on my Lenovo T400.

Boot, go to bios using the blue ThinkVantage button. I turned off switchable graphics and also switchable graphics detection and set the mode to “discrete graphics”. This allegedly costs more battery but I don’t have to reboot and tweak the BIOS if I want to play Starcraft II.

Funnily, it won’t work after the first boot. I did set it in the BIOS and booted and it had 2554MB physical RAM. Then it installed some graphics drivers – it seems that fumbling in the BIOS activates a graphics mode formerly unknown – and after booting again it suddenly had 3066MB RAM.

The very motivating end of this otherwise very very well invested time (yeah, wtf, the first computer that did NOT have more ram when I put in more ram) is that I ended up with 3066 MB whereas the other folks on the internets only were able to squeeze 3065MB RAM out of their 4GB Lenovos. I feel so proud.

p.s. it seems that now my battery life is halfed. First, the extra RAM of course needs battery, and second the almighty windows cannot switch now between graphics cards to save power and I have the great opportunity to reboot and tweak the BIOS another day to find out how to do it. Time to buy a bigger battery? Well…you can guess yourself what a double-sized battery will do with a Lenovo…2+2…..

Learning Farmville, Learning Game Psychology

As all Farmville-Lovers in my neighbourhood already know (because Farmville makes sure you socialize) – I am evaluating the great game Farmville now.

farmvilleTo learn how to get rid of it, once I want to in the future, I googled for “Quit Farmville”. Amanda Farrell posted some 10 rules there about how to quit. Quite interestingly, I already found the game mechanics to be seducing, and I reacted by looking for stuff that grows for many days and has a good return-of-invest (like peach trees…).

Amanda has similar observations, but it seems I found the keys after 60 minutes of gametime. Well, of course some years of real-time strategy gaming may help to learn a game.

And most important: this whole experiment reminds me a lot of my Ultima Online addiction which I nourished sometimes around 1997-2000 while I studied Information Science. Quitting Ultima was an amazing experience. Amanda’s blog post contains the same strategies I found back then for myself: learn the effectiveness of the game and the motivation and use it in the real world.

going back to help Ingrid’s farm…for science and to spend quality time on the couch together.