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I bought WoW

Yeah, OK, I’ve just committed (well, actually, I haven’t, but to keep playing I will have to) to paying quite a lot of money every single month for a computer game.

It is actually quite good though. I was convinced to buy it due to my friends. Quite a few of them play it and desperately wanted me to be able to join in. They first got me to install the client on my MacBook, then got me to patch it (which took roughly an afternoon), then got me to play the 10-day trial and finally they got me to buy the box.

A lot of people who do play it end up getting addicted and playing it obsessively. I can see why that happens, but I’m pretty sure it won’t happen with me (I hope anyway πŸ˜› ). Throughout the trial period I still managed to get to college, keep up blogging on FOSSwire and Gizbuzz and get quite a lot done. All it did was push other games out of the picture, not affect any of the other stuff I do online.

It is great fun and the scale of the game is just on epic proportions. I won’t bore non-WoW players with too much detail, I’ll just say that it is an awesome game and now I’m playing it.

It’s funny, because I never was (and still don’t really consider myself to be) much of an RPG gamer. Well, I guess I am now.

I’m on Scarshield Legion (European servers) and my character name is Hybridoracle. If you do get in touch via WoW, mention you came through this blog post. πŸ™‚

Slight Google Reader UI tweaks

Just noticed this:

Google Reader UI tweak

The mark all as read and refresh links are now buttons. It’s a nice and subtle UI change, but it makes more sense. These are buttons that do actions, not links that take you somewhere.

It’s nice to see that Google Reader is always evolving.

My first ever OS X upgrade

Apple just released Mac OS X 10.4.9, and this marks my first ever Mac OS upgrade! What a milestone!

Apple today released Mac OS X 10.4.9 via its Software Update utility and on the Web. Apple says: ΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ…β€œThe 10.4.9 Update is recommended for PowerPC and Intel-based Mac computers currently running Mac OS X Tiger version 10.4.8 and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes or compatibility updates for the following applications and technologies: RAW support; handling of large or malformed images that could cause crashes; image capture performance; mouse and keyboard shortcuts: font handling; playback quality, and bookmarks in DVD Player; USB video conferencing cameras for use with iChat; Bluetooth devices; browsing AFP servers; Apple USB Modem; Windows digital certificates; Open and Print dialogs in applications that use Rosetta on Intel-based Macs; time zone and daylight saving for 2006 and 2007; and security updates.

Bearing in mind the last update to Panther was 10.3.9, does this mean Leopard is pretty soon? Or will they flow over to 10.4.10?

I’m downloading it right now (10.4.9, not Leopard, unfortunately).

Pirates – Microsoft wants you

Microsoft doesn’t want you to pirate their software, but if you must choose between illegally installing Windows or a competitor’s operating system, Microsoft would prefer that you choose them. While the company obviously won’t endorse the illegal use of software, it does believe that piracy can result in profit.

At the Morgan Stanley Technology conference last week in San Francisco, Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes commented on the benefits of software counterfeiting. “If they’re going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else,” he said. “We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software.”

Nothing particularly groundbreaking about this – I just thought it was funny that they’re almost wanting you to pirate their software. πŸ™‚

And apparently that having more market share is apparently more important than people using their software illegally.


[via Ars Technica]

My first ever WordPress plugin – Preview In A New Window

Just wrote my first ever WordPress plugin. πŸ˜€

A while back I wrote about using the preview in WordPress when writing long posts and how to open it in a new window or tab.

Well, this plugin creates a handy link that you can use to do just that – one click to open a preview of your post in a new window. It only works after you’ve pressed the Save and Continue Editing button at least once, as WP doesn’t generate a preview before that. Every time you save the post after that, you’ll need to reload the window/tab containing your preview to keep it up-to-date.

Download it here.

It’s not much, but it’s a start.

By the way, this is pretty hacky too. πŸ™‚

Backing up your Mac’s /Users folder

Just finishing off my first ever backup of my MacBook. I’ve made a complete copy of the /Users folder, which should back up all the files and preferences of all the users on the computer.

Just for reference, and to show how I’m doing it, I’ll walk you through how I’m doing my backup.

I’m backing up to an external 200 GB hard drive, onto a partition formatted with NTFS. Thanks to MacFUSE and the NTFS 3G projects, I can safely write to the drive easily. I’m not going to cover how to install them here, so I’ll just assume you’re using some kind of external storage already set up for writing use on your Mac.

Now, we could just copy the files onto the storage medium in the Finder, but unless your removable disk is formatted with OS X’s native file system, you’ll lose Mac-specific metadata. While that’s not usually vital, it’s always better to preserve the original information and for that reason we’re going to make a disk image file (yes, like those .dmg files you download) in which to store our backups. Storing the files inside the DMG makes a mini filesystem-in-a-file which is formatted with HFS+ (the native format), so we keep all that extra information.

» Read the rest of this post…

Show us the code

There’s nothing that annoys me more* than Steve Ballmer spreading lies about various competing operating systems.

I’ve said before – if Linux (or any part of the average distro) infringes MS’s patents, then show us what it is and we’ll fix it.

The Show Us The Code website is a public pledge to Ballmer to do just that – show the community the supposed infringing code.

Your repeated claims that Linux violates Microsoft’s intellectual property has come to the attention of the Linux community. Not only that, but it’s been reported Microsoft has convinced businesses to pay for a Linux patent that you can’t provide.

Therefore, this website will serve as a response to this accusation, and within it, a request. The request is simple, since you, Microsoft, claim to be so sure of yourself: Show Us the Code. Show us the Code and Show Us the Patents. Lets make this crystal clear.

If Linux developers are made aware of the code and patented ideas, then the code can be omitted and Linux can re-write necessary aspects of the kernel or operating system. This is a fairly simple request and common courtesy. Why wave around lawsuit threats, threats that will cost Microsoft in a court room as well as the defendants? It lacks logic, especially when you consider that there are developers around the world who would be more than happy to work with Microsoft to resolve this issue. Don’t you owe it to your shareholders to work with others to ensure their intellectual property isn’t being violated?

He won’t do it, but we need to make sure as many people as possible realise he is talking complete rubbish.

The saddest thing about all this? It all boils down to greed.

Thanks to Inspirated for bringing this site to my attention in the first place!

* Not even my friends bugging me to keep playing the World of Warcraft trial. πŸ˜›


Just signed up to Twitter. But you’ll have to be a friend on Twitter before you can see any of my updates.

The coolest thing about Twitter? Their 404 page:

Twitter 404

Cute cat pictures will cure anyone’s annoyance at seeing a 404, I guess.

OpenSolaris, Sun and other Unix

Just ordered a free OpenSolaris kit (just sign up, give your address and in 2-4 weeks you’ll get a nice pack full of OpenSolaris goodies, including a selection of distributions on CD).

I’m actually quite interested in the OpenSolaris project – once the OpenSolaris distributions mature a bit more, I’m actually think of trying it out as a server operating system. So far, things are early, and as yet not all of the OpenSolaris code has been opened, but Sun are doing a very good job.

In fact, Sun are just great. They’re by far the company contributing most to free software/open source projects and they just seem like a ‘good’ company (at the moment that’s true anyway). It’s nice to have a few Suns to balance out Microsoft’s behaviour and the ‘bad bits’ of other companies (*cough* Apple *cough* FairPlay). I’m not even going to talk about Novell.

There are some really killer features in the commercial Solaris product for the server space, things like Zones and DTrace. A lot of it’s been ported to Linux and BSD, but my ‘unexplored operating system’ radar is going off again. πŸ™‚

Actually, it’s nice to use a Unix which does things differently from Linux occasionally. Not only is it fun to do some exploring, it sharpens your general Unix skills, which can only be a good thing.

In fact, I once got FreeBSD (4.x) onto the oldest computer in this house, which is an IBM-compatible PC with a 75 MHz Pentium processor and 16 MB of RAM. I actually got Apache to compile (after roughly 4 hours) and I installed PHP and MySQL too (thank goodness MySQL is a binary package or it would have been there for days!). It worked reasonably well as a web server, except for the fact that most pages incurred a 10 second delay and PHPMyAdmin would take about 20 minutes to load. πŸ˜€

I’ve since tried messing with FreeBSD (and NetBSD as well), but I always tend to get mixed up in the installation process. I guess I need some more practice.

Things left to do on the new design

While it’s pretty much done, there are a few things left I need to address:

  • Get WPGet’s Ajax comment preview re-enabled (I need to restyle it for the new look first!)
  • Fix the weird WebKit rendering bugs
  • ‘Block the links’ on the navbar instead of using JavaScript (teach me how!! πŸ˜› )
  • Find somewhere to put my Google Reader shared items (you might have noticed, they disappeared because I now have only one sidebar!).
  • Rid the world of Internet Explorer. Oops – no, that’s next year. Hey – for the most part, the new design works in IE, so don’t complain.

UPDATE: forgot this one – make a proper secondary navbar for the projects page. πŸ™‚