Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.
Thursday, December 23
# cat .htaccess
Deny from 18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199
# tail -f /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log | grep denied
[Wed Dec 22 01:00:50 2004] [error] [client 188.8.131.52] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:00:51 2004] [error] [client 184.108.40.206] client denied by server configuration: mt-comments.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:00:54 2004] [error] [client 220.127.116.11] client denied by server configuration: mt-comments.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:00 2004] [error] [client 18.104.22.168] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:10 2004] [error] [client 22.214.171.124] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:11 2004] [error] [client 126.96.36.199] client denied by server configuration: mt-comments.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:16 2004] [error] [client 188.8.131.52] client denied by server configuration: mt-comments.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:20 2004] [error] [client 184.108.40.206] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:21 2004] [error] [client 220.127.116.11] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:23 2004] [error] [client 18.104.22.168] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
[Wed Dec 22 01:01:32 2004] [error] [client 22.214.171.124] client denied by server configuration: splorp.cgi
01:03:35 up 53 days, 15:21, 4 users, load average: 0.09, 0.30, 1.26
(I should explain that our server was extensively spamflooded and crapflooded today, and the load average exceeded 70 for an extended period. Fixed now.)
Wednesday, December 22
I've been busy battling a Chomskyite in my comments, which is rather less productive than blogging, but someone has to do it. I just wanted to note in passing that the spell-checker built into Mozilla Thunderbird (the email companion to the Firefox browser) doesn't recognise the word "Thunderbird". Which strikes me as something of an oversight.
Monday, December 20
A few days ago I mentioned that Blitz Max had been released, albeit only for MacOS X so far. (And as it happens, it requires a more recent version of MacOS X than I actually have installed on any of my Macs, the most recent of which dates to 2001.)
The good people at Blitz have now released beta versions of the Windows and Linux releases, showing that they really are pretty close to shipping. To get access to the betas you have to already have a paid license for Blitz Max... Which I did, even though I couldn't actually run it, as such. Heh.
In that post I mentioned the, um, austerity of the supplied libraries, so I should also mention a couple of points here that work strongly in Blitz Max's favour. First, the libraries are for the most part written in Blitz Max, making them relatively easy to extend (and also makes them trivial to port from Mac to Linux to Windows and vice-versa). Second, the standard $80 price tag comes with the source code for all of the libraries, which makes the libraries not just easy but possible to extend. And third, Blitz has a long-standing and energetic user community, and they have already - ten days after the product was released - added significant new functionality to the libraries, which is even now being put back into the standard product. Most notably, a library enabling scripting Blitz Max programs with Lua has been developed and released in just days.
I've downloaded the Windows and Linux betas and I can confirm that the Windows version works well. And so if I disappear for a few days you can assume that the Linux version is also working well. Actually, hang on a tick...
Well, it runs well enough, but my test program won't compile because it can't find one of the libraries. I'm updating the libraries now (which is just a menu option away, very nice) and I'll try it again.
Works! Produces monster binaries* alas, so not so good for creating tiny utilities. I expect that's due to a lot of unwanted libraries being included, but the linker is supposed to be smarter than that.
I think this has a lot of promise. It's easy to use, it compiles quickly, the programs run fast, it works on Mac and Windows and Linux, it's cheap, it's got big brown eyes, and you get source code to the libraries.
Blitz Max get's a coveted Doesn't Suck award from me.
Update: Hmm. And three times slower than Python for string manipulation, which is something of a disappointment.
* By my old-fogy standards, at least. A minimal benchmark program compiled to 600k.**
** The minimal benchmark clocks it at 500 times faster than Python - for arithmetic and tight loops, which are hardly Python's strong point. But it's certainly not slow.
Over the weekend I switched from Mozilla to Firefox and Thunderbird, the separate web and email programs from, well, Mozilla. I do prefer the integrated design of Mozilla, but Firefox and Thunderbird are sufficiently ahead in functionality that the switch was worthwhile.
Except for the minor fact that I've stopped getting 90% of my email, which is somehow - I haven't quite worked this out yet - ending up in Mozilla, even though it isn't running! At least it's peaceful this way.
Update: Worked it out. Answer: I'm an idiot. Big surprise.
Tuesday, December 14
I uploaded 10,000 images this morning to go with my new layout.*
I just kicked off our not-entirely-regular complete offsite backup. So it's now downloading those 10,000 images again.
* No, I'm not kidding. Yes, ten thousand. Well, 9985 in fact, upon actually counting the little buggers.
Friday, December 10
BlitzMax is out!*
Blitz Basic is a fast and very neat Basic compiler for Windows, mainly designed for writing games. The developers have now taken it, stretched it in several new directions (it's object oriented**, and uses OpenGL for all its graphics**), and expanded it to support Mac and Linux as well. Just $80 gets you all three versions. I wonder if it has any sort of database support, because if BlitzMax as fast and easy to use as Blitz Basic, and runs on Linux, it will be a very useful tool indeed.
Update: No database stuff. Oh well. In fact, the library included with BlitzMax is very spartan by today's standards.
* Sort of. Currently only available for MacOS X, but the Windows and Linux versions are due soon.
** This is a good thing.
Friday, December 03
Fedora Core 3 supports RAID 6, which allows for two sets of parity, so it allows you to keep going even if two disks die unexpectedly. Which would have come in useful back when.
Thursday, December 02
Playing Sims 2, and my computer blows up. Just goes bang and the magic smoke comes out the back. So I had to go into buy mode and replace it, because heaven forbid my sims go without their online chat for even a minute.
Meanwhile, my banana is on its way, in the form of a Gainward GeForce 6600GT Ultra1960XP GS VIVO. (Or "Bob", as he is known to his friends.)
Oh, and the koala has been defeated by TKO after leading on points for the first three rounds.
Update: We have banana!
Update: Auugh! The koala snuck up behind me and bashed me over the head with a chair! Cheat! Cheat!
Update: Pow! Dropped a piano on that furry nuisance, and he's now so much koala puree.
The cure to all of life's little Windows ills. What used to be known as "Service Pack 7.2".
Which is to say, I got my new video card, the Radeon 9250, which I must point out is a considerable downgrade from my old Radeon 9600XT, but is also considerably cheaper. Installed it, which involved rebooting (since my machine had crashed again), uninstalling the drivers, rebooting, reinstalling exactly the same drivers, and rebooting. Three reboots for swapping a video card is actually pretty good going for Windows.
Fired up Sims 2, and used the Pleasants of Pleasantview as my guinea-pigs. Life for the Pleasants soon took a turn for the worse, and within five minutes of coming under my malign neglect they had managed to burn down the kitchen, taking out Mr Pleasant and one of the teenaged daughter Pleasants. Mrs Pleasant came along just as the fire burned itself out and called the fire brigade, who showed up to find no fire and fined her 500 simoleons. Surviving teenage daughter wanders downstairs at this point at makes herself a bowl of Cocoa Pops for breakfast - the fridge being the only part of the kitchen to survive - completely ignoring mother's hysterics.
As for the 9250 - it's not the card I'd recommend for playing Sims 2. At 800x600 resolution, it's sort of adequate, but that's a crummy resolution. Judging by the specs it's about half the speed of the 9600XT, and that seems to be reflected by the game. So a 6600GT, which is, again by the specs, twice the speed of the 9600XT, should be just the ticket.
Anyway, I'll just go and cancel out of Pleasant Manor so that they don't have to stay dead, and let it run for a while to see what happens.
Oh, and I spent the day fighting with a koala. More on that later.
Update: It seems to have been the card. No more crashes... Yet.
Update: Sims 2 at 800x600 on a cheap graphics card is better than Sims 2 that crashes every ten minutes. If it doesn't work, it doesn't matter how fast it goes.
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