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Are we still controlling the web?

Everything began a few years ago, when Al Gore (or somebody else) created the web. Internet was meant to link people together and to bring accurate information to everybody. At that time, websites were updated manually, once a day, a week, a month, sometimes less. Only the webmaster, the all-powerful website god, could perform this operation and change the information flow. At that time, we controlled the web.

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Windows Vista and batch files: UAC changes the rules (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous entry of this series, we discussed about how Windows Vista forced a path change when running a batch file elevated with UAC enabled, which causes the current directory to be different from the batch file location, which creates some problems when running some external tools residing in the batch file directory. The solution I found was to change the current directory at the very start of the batch file execution using a simple sequence.

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How the French government is making the internet and telecommunication companies its enemies

If there is one thing we can say safely, it is that the french president, Nicolas Sarkozy make tongues wag, and not only in his own country, which is why I am allowing myself to comment this news concerning France, but also technology and how it is seen by the french government in particular.

Xavier Niel, one of the most prominent figures of the french Internet Service Provider "Free", declared this week that Free wasn't intending to apply the Hadopi law, at least as it is. Hadopi is a law still in project supposed to prevent piracy on the Internet and Peer-to-Peer downloading of movies and artists. It wouldn't be the first time such a law would be put in place and fail: other countries tried this and lamentably failed. The biggest weapon to stop piracy in this law is what they call "graduated riposte": the supposed copyright-infringing downloader receives one e-mail everytime he gets caught using his Internet connection to download illegal files, and if he fails to comply, ultimately gets his connection line cut, which he can not renew at another ISP for 3 months.

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PocketPC Phone - Samsung SGH-i780: First impressions

Computer geeks like technology “toys”. They do not like it only because some of these toys are very technology advanced but mainly because it makes them more productive and makes their jobs easier, the latter being the biggest reason why companies tend to be inclined to provide their “corporate geeks” with this kind of items. As you can guess by now, I’m talking a bit about me and my brand new phone the Samsung SGH-i780.

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Windows Vista and batch files: UAC changes the rules (Part 1 of 2)

Windows Vista… whenever I hear this name, the first I think about is the polemic and only then about the Operating System. Vista has been the target of many criticisms, some justified, some simple matters of personal taste, and some only created to put gasoline on the fire. As such, many IT professionals expressed a great dislike of UAC (User Account Control), one of the main new security features of Vista, especially because they felt it was getting in their ways too often and that they knew their job well enough to not be bugged by it. Even if they are of course able to disable it on the computers they use, they would still have to bear with it on the other computers of their networks or on their customer’s machines: they simply can’t disregard UAC’s existence and have to cope with it and make sure their software and products get along nicely with it.

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Three ways to make Live Search different

Folks in the Live Search team do not have an easy task. Their main competitor is strong, has a very efficient product, and has a much better (who said cooler?) image. Even worse, by being the almost-monopolistic leader of the internet search market (at least in Europe), it can shape the taste and expectations of almost all users. Therefore, an obvious solution for other engines would be to copy Google. They have this super killer feature that brings users to their website? Let’s copy it! Their interface is all white with just a text box in the middle? Let’s have the same! Many people, including many Microsoft employees, think that a successful Google competitor must have a similar look and similar features, and that the only differentiation criterion will be result quality.

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VMWare ThinApp: a nice mixture of "virtualization" and "portability"

Some days ago, I had the opportunity to check out an utility from VMWare, ThinApp, using a technology I have heard about for some time: application virtualization. Romhack.Net co-author Fred already wrote a couple of comprehensive articles about machine virtualization here so we already know the good and bad points of complete machine virtualization. But what’s up with “application virtualization”?

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Did the Google-killer kill itself?

In terms of marketing, only three words are in the mouth of specialists: buzz, buzz, buzz! It seems almost impossible to make a good promotional campaign without some viral marketing and blogging accomplices. Therefore, when the insiders of Silicon Valley began to write about a serious Google competitor, we knew that something was going to happen. And indeed, something happened.

Yesterday has been unveiled Cuil (note the phonetic similarity with Knol, the so-called Wikipedia-killer), a new search engine that states having indexed more than 120 billion pages, more than the king Google itself. The news spread on technology websites, but also on some more traditional ones. And the founders have some really impressive credentials: 4 ex-Googlers, each of them being known for having built his own search technology, nothing less!

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Sun/MySQL: Charity is not free

Some days ago, I read a story about a MySQL support engineer named Andrii Nikitin, whose son, Ivan, has a mortal disease and is requiring a bone marrow transplant operation to keep living. Unfortunately, Andrii Nikitin lives in Ukraine and it seems this country does not have locally the technology to perform this complex surgery operation, which does not seem to be covered by their social security system either. The total cost of the operation is expected to range between $235.000 and $400.000 (gotta love accurate estimates, but I guess it can’t be helped with health issues).

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The case of the quirky memory violation crash

Some years ago, I wrote a small Win32 program in x86 assembly as I wanted it to be fast and very compact (but actually, more as a personal challenge than anything else). Explaining what this program does would take some time and is irrelevant to what I want to tell, so I will skip this part, but I may publish a new version along with the source code to it in the near future so I may have another opportunity to talk about it.

Anyway, I didn’t use this program for years but it was still used by a good number of people, and I never heard any mention of a bug. I also remember that it was tested with different input files when I was developing it. However, I found myself needing it again recently and found out was crashing on a input file somebody else created. Initially, I thought the input file was malformed or corrupted so I used a command-line C version of the same program I wrote and found out it was working as expected, so the file was not at cause.

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