johnk's blog

Facebook isn't worth $51 bn.

There was a period around a year ago when I was on FB a lot. I'm still on it more than most other sites except Google search, but it's utility for me has declined significantly. There's too much ADD on there. I tried to get involved with a 'group' but the groupware features are too weak to support anything (traditional tools like message boards, email lists, chats, are better implemented by the old software that's just "out there" in the internet).

Quick Fix to Deal with URL SQL Injection Hacks

So I'm running some old web software that has possible vulnerabilities. Here's a log line with the hack attempt.

The difference between cheap webcams and expensive webcams.

I got a cheapie from AJ Wright for $12, and it works okay, looks grainy but acceptable. At work we have a Logitech, and I think the model is the "9000". It cost around $70 and has a nicer picture, better auto-exposure, and a sharper lens.

The thing you don't notice right away is the "lag" that the cheaper camera has. There's a noticeable lag between the audio and the video, and this also seems to translate to a lag during videophone. I suspect that there's a little DSP work going on in the images, and the chips in the Logitech are faster.

For business meetings, if you have the chance to upgrade, go for it. The Logitech was rated high, as were the Microsoft LifeCam and whatever Apple sold, all in the same price range. Get one with HD resolution, a glass lens, and if you can tell, a fast DSP.

HA Mail versus Exchange

I'm reading up on Exchange 2010 and it's clustering and failover tech. It seems "wrong" to me.

Email Archiving Solutions

I'm looking at some email archiving systems.

Shredding Leaves for Compost or Leaf Mold

On numerous articles it's recommended that dried leaves be shredded to compost them more rapidly. The argument made is that it increases the surface area of the leaf.

That doesn't make sense. Most of the leaf's surface is flat, and chopping leaves only increases the surface area along the edges of the cuts.

Cheap Android Tablets

While the mainstream is going ga-ga over the HTC EVO and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, there's been an explosion of Android-based mobile internet device (MID) tablets that cost less than $200. This is a weird situation, where cheap displays combined with ARM and Atom chips, and phone engineering skills combine to product low-performance alternatives to the iPad. Without a doubt, these cheap tablets sucks compared to the expensive iPad.

Screen Scraper in Perl to Extract Dates and Times

This is something I wrote to learn some of the latest Perl tech to scrape pages. What's cool about this demo script is that it doesn't use regular expressions that much.

Gora Hotel, Hakone National Park

An excerpt from On the Edge by Bill L. Disbrow, writing about the Gora Hotel during the occupation of Japan:

Review of Budget Headsets

Computer headsets - headphones with a microphone - are all the rage, because of Skype/VOIP and online videogaming. So, they cost way too much. This is an ad-hoc review of several brands.

Bean and Cheese Burrito KML file

This was a map I created on the now defunct Platial. It maps places where I ate a bean and cheese burrito. It's kind of pre-yelp.

The Citibank Memo Take-Down

Citi contacted Doug Henwood of LBO demanding that a memo from early 2009 be taken off his site. They cited the DMCA. Econ blogger Bradford DeLong argues that the document is part of the historical record, of how Citi perceived the government's response to the economic crisis.

Attached to this blog post is another copy of this memo. It basically says the Citi analysts thought the government was going pretty easy on banks, and that they were predicting high unemployment in 2009 and 2010, along with huge price declines in house prices. So, they knew what was happening all along.

Andrew Leonard at Salon has an enriched telling of the story.

Update April 3, 2011: Citibank has sent a takedown notice (a DMCA thing). So to avoid a lawsuit, I'm going to comply. I'll post more information about the specifics of the takedown later. Hopefully, someone else has a copy of this document to share.

AT&T DSL Modem + VOIP problems

We were trying to use VoIP with AT&T DSL and it wasn't working well. The problem turned out to be the DSL modems, believe it or not. Data throughput was high, but it was failing on calls.

Quick Reviews of Several DSL Modem / Routers

Why bother buying a DSL modem/router? Because the Motorola DSL modems AT&T gives out suck.

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