May 24, 2004

Greetings From Hungary

Greetings From Hungary.

First thing first... this kezbaord is driving me bananas... for some reason some genius has decided to plop a Z key right where i usuallz find mz Y kez... as zou can see this often results in me tzping a Z instead of a Y.... instead of me hunting and pecking a Y everz time i need one, i have decided to simplz leave the z in its place...

Call me lazz... but it works better for me this waz.

So... I donát know where to start... iáve been here for a week and taken note of manz different things... things that i find odd, or interesting or whatever...

mazbe i will start with some of the oddities...

1) Roughlz half of all advertising and signage has English on it. This is fine with me as it makes mz life a little bit easier ... but zou have to wonder if the local culture is being erroded awaz (the locals tell me that it is a concern).

2) I can watch CNN in english here. Its part of most basic calble/satelite TV services. Donát know if this is a good or bad thing, its just something that I noticed.

3) There are hungarian versions of US trash TV here... The bachelor , big brother, who wants to be a millionaire etc. ITs kind of Forcsa (trans: odd) to watch something vaguelz familiar in a completelz different language.

4)Hungarians all seem to have lots of house plants. And thez all seem to have all the same kinds of house plants. I donát know whz this is but its something that I have noticed. It doesnt bother me because I happen to have the same house plants in mz house (being of hungarian decent). I feel right at home. But its eeerie that EVERYONE has the same plants in their house... as if the plants themselves have some sort of subtle mind control over hungarians... something that has developed over hundereds of zears to ensure the survival of the plants...

5) Hungarz is ages behind the rest of the western world in terms of reczcling and waste management. Thez are onlz NOW starting to implement recycling programs... or "selective" waste collection. On the other hand thez have apparentlz implemented some of the most environmentallz friendlz incinorators in the world... and all the energez from the burning of waste is used for heating or electricitz...

6)Prime real estate in Budapest is 1,200,000 ft / m^2 or $800 / sq foot. (i'm talking condos here... ) land can be almost as expensive without anzthing on it.

7)I saw a child eating strawberries with mayo... not because its normal for children to eat strawberries with mayo here... but the kid had some mayo on his plate and happily diped his berries in the sauce. I of course had to try it for myself... and ... its not too bad...

thats all for now... ill continue to share my observations as i go.

andre

Posted by andre at 08:31 AM

May 17, 2004

Travel

For the next little while my blog is going to be a little different.

I will be chiming in from another world.

I am on my way to Europe for some work and play.

I'm just about finished packing - I have taken care of any bills and whatnot that needs taking care of. I have arranged my house-sitters. Everything is ready (I hope)- I just need to hop on a plane and get out of here.

Desitination - Hungary

andre

Posted by andre at 12:22 PM

May 12, 2004

CRM

I've recently been evaluating some CRM applications for a project that I am working on.

This one is pretty sweet. XRMS.

andre

Posted by andre at 05:34 PM

Windows XP

I was asked to clean up a computer for a friend (the usual re-format start from scratch sort of thing).... and the machine happens to be running XP....

I've played with it a bit - but seeing as its only a glorified version of 2000 - i've never bothered to upgrade on my own system.

And thank god. The XP user interface drives me absolutely bonkers... I know you can turn it off (and lord knows I would if I ever bothered installing it on my own machine)... The UI is klunky- non intuitive (for the experienced windows user) - and its slow... even on this machine running a 2.something Ghz processor.

Gosh - I can't wait for the next 3D version of windows set to come out in 2007... It will apparently require a top of the line graphics card and DirectX9 just to display the GUI. Talk about collusion between software and hardware vendors.

andre

Posted by andre at 04:19 PM

May 11, 2004

Van Helsing

I don't know if anyone has bothered to check this film out - but I did on the weekend.

Its a bit of a stinker - but oddly fun and entertaining. If I was 12 years old this would be the best movie of all time. But I'm not 12 so this doesn't even fall into the top 100.

I would have to file this film under - "check your brain at the door". There is no point in trying to follow the plot or understand character motivation or apply any intellectual juice whatsoever. Its pure brainless slop that sucks soooooo bad that its good.

andre

Posted by andre at 01:16 AM

May 06, 2004

Search Engine Optimization

For those of that you that don't know I am a member of a Toronto networking group - NewPath Network which is a part of NewPath Consulting.

Last Thursday April 29th, I spoke at their monthly meeting. The talk I gave was on Search Engine Optimization. As part of that talk, I created a site that has some links and information on SEO. You can find my Notes on SEO here.

This was the first of a two part series. The next talk will be in June. If you are interested in attending please refer to the Newpath site for requirements to join the group.

andre

Posted by andre at 05:45 AM

Comment Spam Update (Sighted Human Input Validation)

I have decided upon and implemented an antispam solution.

Of course it now makes my site less accessible - but it will keep the site spam free without any administration from me - and that's what's important here.

I have implemented a Sighted Human Input Validation Scheme. If you have vision - you can prove to my site that you are a human and not a spam-bot - and you will be allowed to post comments.

If you are not sighted - this will limit your access to posting comments - and for this I appologize. Upon recieving the first complaint from a non sighted person about the lack of accessiblity I will promptly implement a new solution. Until then I will continue to use this feature.

There is an alternative using the exact same technology - but it could be circumvented by a spam-bot. However, it would require the bot to be programmed for this specific site. I may consider implementing this alternative.

Incidentally - if you are using MT - and you would like to implement the same feature you can find the solutionHere.

andre

Posted by andre at 05:29 AM

May 04, 2004

BBC Leads the Way (Again)!

The BBC is looking to offer TV on demand over the internet.

My favorite quote:

If we don't enter this market, then exactly what happened to the music industry could happen to us, where we ignore it, keep our heads in the sand and everybody starts posting the content up there and ripping us off," said Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology at the BBC.

andre

Posted by andre at 04:37 AM

Where is an Editor When You Need One

One thing that drives me nuts and entertains me at the same time is when there are stupid oversights in newspaper media. And I suppose it extends to other media as well...

One example I heard a few years back had me rolling on the floor with laughter. A headline read "Half of Students Scored Below Average on Standardized Test"

What a sensational headline - Our education system must be in the toilet - or so the headline would lead you to believe...

But of course those that scored above average on those same standardized tests can probably tell you - There will always be roughly 50% that score below average. Thats how averages and medians work.

Tonight I read an article talking about the Calgary Flames win over the Detroit Red Wings in overtime to clinch the win in the playoff series.

In this article a sports reporter tells us this amazing statistic:

Calgary's last six overtime wins have been by one goal, including consecutive 1-0 shutouts of the Red Wings, who had an NHL-best 48-21-11-2 record during the regular season.

Guess what - I would bet that Calgary's last 20 over time wins have been by a single goal. The last 30 or 40 or more have likely been by a single goal.

For those that don't know - NHL games that go into overtime are sudden death. First team to score wins. Think "goden goal" if your are a 'football' (soccer) fan. So the maring of victory is always going to be a single goal in an NHL overtime win.

So hats off to Erik Matuszewski in Princeton who gets my "DUH" award for this week.

andre

Posted by andre at 04:11 AM

May 03, 2004

Comment Spam

Yippy - The comments spammers have finally found my site.

Soooooooooooo.... I have to implement some countermeasures. This will be fun.

andre

Posted by andre at 06:05 PM

B&S

I've got this theory that if you take a room full of people aged 25-35 with a 120+ IQ and ask them to list their favorite artists you would find:

1) Very few mentions of top 40 artists.
2) A long list of 'Indie' artists.

I don't know exactly what my point is - but when I come across posts about music on blogs by folks that appear to have something going on upstairs - the posts almost always mention bands that I dig.

andre

Posted by andre at 05:23 AM

Sentence Five Meme

What the hell - while researching categorization and reading more than a few librarian's blogs - I came across this and decided to play:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

XML's beauty comes from its ability to create a document to describe any information we want. Beginning XML 2nd Edition

Sentence 5

andre

Posted by andre at 04:52 AM

Andre Molnar Categorization System

A while back I was working on some regular expressions.

I was using the built in PHP regex - and now I've moved on to more complex Perl Compatible regex.

Its all the same - but it has some more powerful syntax. I decided to parse a document that contained a list of categories and corresponding numbers and plop the information into a file.

Now I have to decide what I am going to do with this list of categories. Part of the problem is that the list is incomplete. It has roughly 1280 categories - Its a good start - but I don't have the knowledge to expand it properly on my own. (Technical knowledge yes - but not the knowledge of the rules that could make my scheme compatible with others out there).

But I have found a great resource here

Once I have the rules I can build a utility to manage the categories so that they can be expanded properly.

Long story short - now I have the primary building block for my categorization scheme. Yippy.

andre

Posted by andre at 04:21 AM

May 01, 2004

WTF

I've got some teacher friends - and every so often I hear stories that make me say "What the Fuck is going on."

I recently heard that the new 'in' thing for girls fighting is to beat a another girl up - and when they are down pour bleach and other chemicals in thier opponents face. Not just in their face - but in their eye's and in their mouth.

And as if that wasn't enough - these girls (rather fucking cowardly punk bitches) also toss bleach and cemicals in the faces of their teachers when the teacher has told them something they didn't want to hear.

WHY? You might be tempted to pick on the usual suspected causes for violent behaviour - Television, Movies, Video Games - But I don't think that any of these have ever been the direct cause of any violent behaviour. No. I think that in 95+% of the cases violence is caused by a failure to educate people on core/basic moral principals that are the foundations of civilization.

The only way a civilization works is if the people that are a part of it don't beat the shit out of each other and don't try and kill one another. There is no moral justification for violence. You may find arguments for some justification of violence (mind you, none that I will agree with), but there is certainly no MORAL justification for violence. Its pretty black and white - You Don't Beat Someone Up or Try to Kill Someone For Any Reason.

There is always a choice in everything we do. And those that commit acts of violence against others do so because they have made a choice to do so. What needs to be done is to educate people (and youth in particular) not to make that choice. Period.

Its pretty simple. It may not be simple to convince someone not to try and harm another - but the concept itself is simple.

Who should be teaching these ideas? Or rather who has failed to teach these concepts? Parents! Fucking right the parents. Yup the cry-me-a-river I can't take two minutes out of my busy day to teach my children the most basic of moral principles: Parents. The same parents that toss their hands up in the air and say "I can't control my kids."

Here's a clue for everyone out there - If your kids know 1 basic rule "Don't hurt yourself or others" - then you don't have to control them. They will know how to control themselves.

The only other place I can point blame is at every person that doesn't shame others for violent behavior. Shame used to be a powerful deterent. It appears as if there is no shame in being a violent person. In fact, far to many people take pride in their violence. There is no shame in having a violent friend. There should be.

And parents who have violent children should tell the children that they are ashamed of them and disappointed in them. They can still love them and comfort them and try and teach them to be better people - but the children must get the message that they have disappointed and shamed not only themselves but their parents as well.

andre

Posted by andre at 03:31 PM