Adam Curry is Russ Limbaugh

After listening to the latest dailysourcecode of Adam Curry [link], I have to say that he is totally loosing it. Nobody can be trusted, everybody is evil, the whole financial crisis is made up by the people who run this world, blablabla.
He is sounding more and more like Russ Limbaugh. If you have never listened to this guy, you really have to.

WordPress upgrade problems

There were some problems with the latest WordPress upgrade. Well it did not have anything to do with WordPress but with the FTP uploader I used (Filezilla). I did not upload all of the files which made that the visual editor did not work. Fixed it!

Ravenstein
Ravenstein

Spamhaus

This website is hosted on a VPS server from flexservers.nl. For those who do not know what a VPS is; a VPS is a Virtual Private Server. You get a part of a physical server as if it is your server. Big advantage is that you have “full” control over your server and you can host more websites for a price which is less what you pay for a managed single website package. Disadvantage is that you need to do some management yourself; check log files, clean up server, do some of the setup, etc.

One of the things I ran into was the amount of spam I received. It gradually increased from a dozen per day to some 300 to 400 per day. At a certain point my server even crashed because it received some 6.000 email in a period of five minutes.

This meant I had to take some action. I use Plesk on my server and it has some standard options like white lists, black lists, spf filtering but also a DNSBL feature. This last feature give you the possibility of checking incoming emails against a spam database. I had not looked at the feature but after checking Google I found the site http://www.spamhaus.org. I offers a free to use service for low-volume non-commercial use. You just enter zen.spamhaus.org into you Plesk Mail configuration screen and suddenly the spam flood is stopped. My spam went down from a big flood to a small drizzle, some 2 to 5 per day.

Great service!

Software upgrades!

In the last three I’ve updated some important software I use and I would like to tell you about it.

I have updated:

  • My desktop OS from Windows XP to Windows Vista,
  • WordPress from version 2.0.11 to 2.3.3,
  • Joomla from PHP-Nuke 7.6 to Joomla version 1.5.1.

Vista upgrade.

Last year in december I decided to upgrade my desktop computer OS to Windows Vista the Business edition. Before upgrading I made a list of the software I use, the peripherals I use and what I use my computer for. Upgrading is always something which has to planned carefully.
I build my computers myself and I try to buy “good” components. For instance, the motherboard I use is from Asus. A brand I have been using for years and which has never let me down. The CPU I use is an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+. Not the fastest in the market but it delivers good performance for its money. For memory I pick Kingston modules and I read the fine print of the Asus motherboard manual so that I not stuck with non performing memory modules. Most of the harddisks I buy are from Western Digital. As I don’t play games on my computer I don’t really care about the graphic card. As long as it is quite and can deliver the resolution I need. I have a 24″ display so I need 1920 by 1200. My NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT does the job. 

My computer is mostly used for management of my websites and for editing my photo’s. I made the first step into digital photography a number of years ago when I bought a Nikon Coolscan II. That model has been replaced by a Coolscan IV-ED. One requirement when upgrading my OS is that my Coolscan has to work under Windows Vista. The Nikon support side told me that it did not have Vista compatible drivers. There were drivers for the Coolscan V-ED, so maybe it would work or work in the near future.
Of the software I use I only had to replace the Roxio DVD burner software and my Silverfast scanner software which was not compatible. Roxio I replaced with CD Burner XP (open source) and Silverfast was replaced by Nikon Scan 4 (not as good as Silverfast but it is Vista compatible).

I backed up my data and made the fresh install (I never do in-line upgrades). That process went without one hickup. I installed Office 2007, Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture NX, Firefox, Filezilla, Notepad++, SyncToy 2.0, McAfee, Adobe Reader, jZip, Diskeeper 2007 (Vista upgrade included), Realplayer, Nikon Scan 4, CD Burner XP. The result has been a stable platform, as stable as my Windows XP version.

It is March 14 and I still love my Vista setup. The graphics is crips and new, performance is good, stability is good and the new security features of Vista do not bother me at all. The Business version of Vista has some features which you cannot find on the home edition. One of them is VSS. With VSS Vista keeps previous copies of the files you create and alter. A feature you do not really need at home but is really nice in a business environment.
I work as IT architect and I wouldn’t mind having Windows Vista as my business desktop and I would recommend it to the customers I speak with.

WordPress

This website is based on WordPress 2.3.3. I wanted to upgrade to this version but the webserver I used did not have the right MySQL and/or PHP version. So I was stuck with the 2.0.11 version.
With the renewal of my contact with Flexservers (http://www.flexservers.nl) I upgraded my hosting package to a newer Virtual Private Server version with the right MySQL and PHP version. I finally could make the upgrade!

Upgrading WordPress has always been easy and this upgrade has been as easy as always. Backup your site and database, disable all plugins, copy the new files to the server, run the upgrade script and that is it.

WordPress rocks!

Joomla

There are two other sites I manage, both sites are sport related (http://www.the-bears.org and http://www.hvaoz.org). On one site is based on the Joomla CMS, the other on PHP-Nuke. Both are open source packages, Joomla is a Mercedes, PHP-Nuke is a Lada.
I had to upgrade my PHP-Nuke site because to add-ons I used were not updated anymore and security flaws and the PHP-Nuke version I used also had serious security issues. So what to do, stick with the security flaws or move to another MS and look for replacement add-ons. I decided to move to Joomla.

I found some specific sport related modules I could use. It only meant that all data I had had to be transferred, manually.

Joomla version 1.5.1. is beautiful. It is a new version which has completely been rewritten. But it has a “legacy” plugin which means modules and components designed for the 1.0.x version can work with the new version. Most of the popular modules and components have already been updated to the new version of Joomla so the Legacy plugin won’t have to be used for long. Moving from PHP-Nuke to Joomla is a major step especially if you have custom add-ons. Moving from Joomla 1.0.x to 1.5.1 is a step I will try out in the near future.

The death of e-mail

Chad Lorenz wrote in Slate an article about the “Death of e-mail”. It was picked up by Thomas Hawk on his blog who celebrated it this development and said:

And I read this article and can’t help but keep muttering inside, “Yes. Yes! YES!!!! Die email die!”
Increasingly email is playing a smaller and smaller role in my own life. I used to spend hours every day in email. Checking my email. Answering emails. Following up. Sending my own email to others and merely perpetuating the problem. Email sucks. Now I spend maybe 30 minutes a day skimming my email, ignoring most of them, deleting most of them. Answering a few.
At present I have 3,002 messages in my email inbox. Of these 2,794 are unread. And this is already after committing email suicide once. One of the fortunate by products of my Mac’s hard drive recently failing was that it wiped out all of the 5,000+ messages that I could never quite get to.

Thomas was missing the point that Chad was making in his piece. Besides the fact that Thomas has a time management problem, it is about how we use communication devices and how we communicate these days.

Basically, contacts and communication have become more superficial and more casual. Take a look at how sites like Hyves, MySpace, Twitter and FaceBook operate. You sign up to the service and you try to expand your list of ‘friends’. Before you known you have hundreds of people who call themselves a ‘friend’ of you. But how many of those friends are really friends and how many are part of the service?

Last year an experiment was conducted in the Netherlands with some kids. As with most kids they were constantly texting their friends during the day. In the experiment they took away the cellphone for a week and looked what the effect off that was on their circle of friends. The most frustrating conclusion (for the kids) was that none in the circle of friends had missed them that week.
Another survey looked at how kids used e-mail addresses, login accounts and other identifiers on the Internet. I find one of the most frustrating things when somebody changed his e-mail address but has not informed me about this. This is one of the reasons why I took a personal e-mail address which I can take with me to any provider. The survey showed that kids just dumped e-mail addresses, changed login accounts when they forgot the password. Basically they did not care about the worries I had of being reachable on the net.

Sure, collaborating and Instant Messaging tools have found their ways into the corporate world. But that is simply because there is a business case. These tools enable organization to become more flexible, use resources and people more efficient and to respond quicker to opportunities. But they won’t eliminate e-mail. E-mail will remain the only formal way of communication in a company and kids moving into the corporate world will have to learn to communicate via formal channels. Maybe we can learn them something?

Apple sucks!

I am a regular reader of Robert Scoble‘s blog since he popped up on the Microsoft Channel 9 website. Last Saturday he wrote a most amusing piece about the “Brand promise of Apple” and how, in his view, does not match up with the promise.

Apple’s promises:

  1. Apple will always work,
  2. Everybody can use an Apple,
  3. Apple is better that the ‘other brand’.

1) Apple’s will crash. Either due to hardware failures or software failures.

2) Most people can ride a bicycle. That does not mean that everybody can repair a bicycle? So why does Apple have a “Genius line” in their US Apple shops?

3) This is rather a bold statement from a company with not more than 5% market share in the US and even less presence in Europe and Asia. I would say that Apple is where Sun was some 5 years ago. Apple produces software which can and may only be run on hardware which is produced by Apple. Comparing Apple to the “other brand” is like comparing potatoes to strawberries.

Microsoft

This has been quite a week for Microsoft; Scoble leaving, share prices going down and than now Gates leaving!


Robert Scoble; http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/

I have been reading Roberts’ Blog for some time. Him leaving Microsoft was not really a suprise to me. There were some signals in his writing; the time he stopped blogging, the moment he unsubcribed to all his RSS feeds (wooh!), his questioning what to use of blogging was, which indicated to me that he was looking for something new something fresh. The passing away of his mother might have made the step easier. Whether PodTech will provide him with the new stumula, we will see. Good luck Robert.

Microsoft stock prices going down. Everybody could have seem that comming; the success of Google, Flickr and all those ‘small’ new firms, Vista being delayed, etc. It is just the short term vision of the stock market, they are just looking for a quick buck.

Today Bill Gates announced that he was leaving Microsoft (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5085444.stm). I didn’t see that one comming but I think it is a good thing for Microsoft. Microsoft has always been to much Bill Gates and not enough Microsoft. There are so many talented people working at Microsoft, maybe they can dust off the ‘old’ image and move Microsoft into new areas.

Robert Scoble