Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Accuracy of Game Shows

Friday, October 19th, 2007

How often do TV Game Shows get the answers to their questions wrong?

A while ago I was flicking through TV channels and fell onto Temptation. After watching a few minutes I came across this question:

Temptation
Click the image to view video clip (QuickTime Movie, 1.2MB)

Question: Jane Bennet finally marries Mr Who in Pride and Prejudice?
Answer: Mr Darcy [sic]

Of course anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice would know that Jane Bennet married Charles Bingley, and it was Elizabeth Bennet who married Mr Darcy.

With a simple mistake like this in the show, and an easily verifiable question at that, you’ve got to wonder how often they get it wrong.

Back to WordPress

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I’ve decided I’m far too busy (and lazy) to maintain my own blog engine for this site so I’ve gone back to WordPress. On the plus side this means I can try out MarsEdit and end up hopelessly addicted as it’s far too easy to blog with this. 🙂

Software Update Enabler 1.0.4 Released

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Software Update Enabler 1.0.4 has just been released. This version brings a couple of improvements:

  • Enhanced Software Update server port detection
  • Correct issue preventing launching on Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”

You can grab it from the Software Update Enabler page.

The Actual List of Phrases Blocked by MSN

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Update July 2008 An updated list of phrases is available here.


There has been a bit of a stink in the last few days by people shocked by a list of phrases that the MSN servers block. That list is nowhere near complete.

Here is the list of regular expressions blocked by the MSN servers:

\.pif

\.scr
grouppicture\.php
groupicture\.php
gallery\.php
staff\.php
pics\.php
msn\.php\?email=
download\.php
xmas-2006
miralafoto/foto\.exe
profile\.php\?
tufoto
verti2/fantasma\.zip
armazfiles\.smtp\.ru
chnstudio\.com/upload/impluse\.exe
t35\.com
members\.lycos\.co\.uk/svy21/t/contact\.php
sonresimler1\.googlepages\.com/ozelresimler\.htm
viotagallery\.com
image001\.png
image002\.gif
funbuddyicons\.com
wellwell\.biz
casedinjertionkderunhdaseo\.com
jertionkdewiondaserunf\.com
butuinkdesionmas\.com
imp\.exe
bush-gracioso\.exe
memebers\.lycos\.co\.uk/getmessenger
get-messenger
belgravehelpdesk\.com
xpimad\.com
album\.zip
malbranche\.goracer\.de
albrahem\.com
improfile\.net
unknowntools\.com
hetandunhasde\.com
thecoolpics\.net
.*www\.provnarkotika\.com.*
gratishost\.com
dreamlife365\.com
whoadmitsyou\.com
blockoo\.com
baratinha\.mypets\.ws
messangerstats\.net
messengertools\.org
stuffplug\.com/temp/downgrdr\.exe
hornymatches\.com
iwantu\.com
block-checker\.com
amigosparasempre\.smtp\.ru
amigosparasempro\.smtp\.ru
chinacircle\.com
mensagemparavc\.mail15\.com
mprofiles\.net/members\.php\?msn=
930le\.com
66663\.cn
shusu\.cn
1717wan\.cn
995ba\.com
mydipan\.cn
51kongqi\.com
94nile\.com
life365\.com
photogbase\.com/pictures\.php\?photo656\.jpg
mypengyou\.com
51pingguo\.cn
spotyourface\.net/main/pictures/sexy
windowslivemessenger\.biz
mensageirovirtual\.land\.ru
provnarkotika\.com
tinyurl\.com/asdkfh13/
wasedinterfunva\.com
qerunherdasfunkin\.com
photos\.zip
.*2nnvc7.*
.*urltea\.com.*
urltea\.com/p2s
tinyurl\.com/2nnvc7
linkangel\.net/msn
messenger-tips\.com
imrealm\.com
blocknblock\.com
imtract\.com
blockinrio
messaging-names
tebloqueo\.com
mesns\.com
.*messenger-tips\.com.*
.*get-messenger\.com.*
.*hotbeachpics\.net.*
.*wadesuntiondketunhasde\.com.*
.*la\.gg/upl.*
cbswest\.com
newmsn
cirnews\.com
.*easedrunkiondehunfans\.com.*
.*amazingsexy\.net.*
.*nishiwo\.com.*
.*vetionkdesunjadefin\.com.*
.*handeusjinkdewshishu\.com.*
.*pozaseruiasterduin\.com.*
.*okinyunhfeunasterfunjin\.com.*
.*messengerscan\.com.*
.*\.info.*
.*messenger-scan.*
.*my-msn\.servebeer\.com.*
.*summer2008.*
.*images\.zip.*
.*messengerscan\.net.*
.*msn-csi\.tk.*
.*messenger-contacts\.tk.*
.*xedinkiontnherioplinades\.com.*
.*messenger-list\.com.*
.*messengercheck\.biz.*
.*msn-contacts\.tk.*
.*myalbum2007\.zip.*
.*cirnews\.com.*
.*messenger-checker\.tk.*
.*msn-live-scanner\.tk.*
.*msn-scanner\.tk.*

Floating Point Isn’t Base-10 Folks and That’s Not Encryption

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Scott Stevenson recently talked about Cha-Ching. Cha-Ching is a “money manager”, or so Midnight Apps say. After Scott’s praise, I thought I’d take a look to see what all the fuss was about.

Unfortunately, it seems the Midnight Apps crew don’t quite understand the concept of floating point numbers and how they’re stored. A floating point number can not accurately store every base 10 number you can write down.

The IEEE 754 floating point standard stores single precision floating point numbers as a sign bit, an 8-bit exponent, and 23-bit mantissa. While I don’t have the time to explain floating point completely, suffice to say a simple value like $5.10 can’t be accurately represented with a binary floating point number. There’s a heap of information about floating point arithmetic in a classic paper What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic.

It seems someone brought to the attention of the Midnight Apps team this problem in a forum thread and they now say this is fixed: I’m betting (and I haven’t seen a fixed version to be sure) that all they’ve done is apply a data formatter to that text field. This just masks the problem, the transaction will still it appears be processed as a floating point value, and that’s not something one does with monetary values.

At this stage this was all I was going to write about Cha-Ching: it seemed to be an interesting application. It was probably not that exciting, but not that terrible, and written by some developers who haven’t done enough study to understand floating point numbers. Easy enough mistake to make. That was until I discovered…

The preference option for “encryption” of the database that does nothing of the sort. What it actually does is set a preference “ShouldEncryptDatabase” in NSUserDefaults and stores the password in the keychain (!!!). The data file is left in clear text in a happy happy XML document. You can edit the password Cha-Ching will require by simply modifying the keychain entry, or remove the need entirely by changing the “ShouldEncryptDatabase” flag to no.

Ironcoder 4

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Ironcoder was on again last weekend with the API Core Image and theme Space. I finally got enough time to actually write an entry this time which was the first runner up (woot!).

There were a lot of cool entries, enough to keep me entertained for a few hours at least. You can download all the entries from the Ironcoder site.

Big thanks to Mark Dalrymple for the awesome organising, I’m sure Jonathan Wight will do just as awesome a job as chairman next time.

You May be Out of Touch If…

Monday, September 25th, 2006

…you think a floppy disk shoulder bag is “stylish”.

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Today was System Administrator Appreciation Day.

Did you give your sysadmin something? Or did your users give you anything?

Didn’t think so. Lazy the lot of you! 🙂

Of Colour Wells and Alpha

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Many applications require a mix of colour pickers: some that support transparency (alpha) values, and some that don’t. For some reason Apple decided not to make this totally straight forward to implement, even if it is fairly simple to do when you know how.

To support this you need to create two subclasses of NSColorWell, teach Interface Builder about those subclasses and set colour wells in the interface to use the right class.

I created these classes for use in ControlTower, but I would guess they’ll be of use to other Mac OS X developers, so here they are. Feel free to use or abuse them as you see fit.

NSColorWellWithAlpha.h

//
//  NSColorWellWithAlpha.h
//  ControlTower
//
//  Created by Andrew Wellington on 30/04/06.
//  Copyright 2006 Andrew Wellington. All rights reserved.
//

#import 


@interface NSColorWellWithAlpha : NSColorWell {

}

@end

NSColorWellWithAlpha.m

//
//  NSColorWellWithAlpha.m
//  ControlTower
//
//  Created by Andrew Wellington on 30/04/06.
//  Copyright 2006 Andrew Wellington. All rights reserved.
//

#import "NSColorWellWithAlpha.h"


@implementation NSColorWellWithAlpha
- (void)activate:(BOOL)exclusive
{
    [[NSColorPanel sharedColorPanel] setShowsAlpha:YES];
    [super activate: exclusive];
}
@end

NSColorWellWithoutAlpha.h

//
//  NSColorWellWithoutAlpha.h
//  ControlTower
//
//  Created by Andrew Wellington on 30/04/06.
//  Copyright 2006 Andrew Wellington. All rights reserved.
//

#import 


@interface NSColorWellWithoutAlpha : NSColorWell {

}

@end

NSColorWellWithoutAlpha.m

//
//  NSColorWellWithoutAlpha.m
//  ControlTower
//
//  Created by Andrew Wellington on 30/04/06.
//  Copyright 2006 Andrew Wellington. All rights reserved.
//

#import "NSColorWellWithoutAlpha.h"

@implementation NSColorWellWithoutAlpha
- (void)activate:(BOOL)exclusive
{
    [super activate: exclusive];
    [[NSColorPanel sharedColorPanel] setShowsAlpha:NO];
}
@end

Importing into Interface Builder

Simply drag the header files to the main window for the nib (the window that contains the objects in the nib). Set the Custom Class in the Inspector for a NSColorWell to use the correct class based on whether it needs alpha support or not.

That’s it. Easy isn’t it?

New Site and New Software

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

After a bunch of procrastinating and a bunch of playing, I’ve rewritten the entire site. It should look pretty much the same to you, but it’s all powered by my own code now. There’s no comment support on the blog as yet, but if there’s demand I guess I could get around to writing that too.

The main reason for the new site is now it hosts software a bit more obviously, and of course the new site comes with not one, but two brand new applications:

  • DotMac Enabler an application for use in configuring .Mac for use on restricted workstations where System Preferences may not be usable for this
  • ControlTower an application to manage Terminals for you allowing you to easily launch new Terminals

So, any problems with the site or the new applications, give me a shout and I’ll see what I can do.