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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in siim04's LiveJournal:

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    Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
    3:49 pm
    No one knows where this country is … Estonia

    This is the best introduction to Estonia I have ever seen.

    Technorati – sildid: Estonia


    Current Mood: energetic
    Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
    8:09 pm
    Installing SQL Server 2008 developer tools

    Gimme a place in secret, honey,
    That can hide mw from the spies
    I'm your corporate info, honey,
    They know that I’m the prize

    Ever evolving, never resolving
    That’s the network scene
    How will we survive it, darlin’
    If you don’t know wat it means?

    Your applications
    And your innovations
    And your compensation
    Count on my integrity…So

    Scott Pinzon – The Data Song

    In my last post I wrote about some issues you might encounter when installing SQL Server 2008 on x64 platform in non-default folder. This time I will be covering a situation where you need to install SQL Server 2008 developer tools (Business Intelligence Developer Studio (BIDS)) in a non-default folder (i.e. you have Visual Studio installed in a non-default location).

    It turns out that SQL Server 2008 installer requires you to have Visual Studio installed in its default location (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0 folder). In fact, it will fail if you have it in some other location. The good news is that it actually only needs devenv.exe.config file. So here is how to instal BIDS in a non-default location:

    1. Note the files in your default Visual Studio folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0).
    2. Copy (do not move!) devenv.exe.config file from your Visual Studio installation to the default folder.
    3. Run the SQL Server installer and install BIDS/developer tools.
    4. Copy or move new (installed) files from Visual Studio default directory to the actual Visual Studio directory.
    5. Merge devenv.exe.config file changes to the original config file (make sure you update the directories referenced there as well).
    6. Update the file paths in the registry.

    If you experience some issues with running devenv after these steps, review these steps. You should make sure the config file is referring to the correct files and that the registry is having the correct information.

    It is quite difficult to do the registry editing by hand as there are many references to the directories. Therefore, I created a simple tool to help me on that. The tool is available from my web page. The tool searches the registry for given string and tries to replace it with a new one. Then it checks whether the keys or values correspond to file paths and if they do, it checks whether the original file is present and wether the new file is present. It gives the evaluations in graphical form showing green tick for every change that corresponds to a relocated file, yellow exclamation mark if neither file is present or the original is still present (or the values were not identified as paths) and red cross if the new file does not exist while the old one does.

    Registry Key Finder

    The user can then select, which changes he wants to export. By default, relocations and uncertenties are chosen for exporting. Having chosen the changes to export, the user can export the changes into a registry manipulation file (.reg). The tool does not apply any changes by itself and requires any changes to be exported as .reg file for additional evaluation and later application. The .reg file can also be used to document changes to the registry making recovery from undesired changes easier. The .reg file can be run by double clicking on it.

    Registry Key Finder exported file

    The tool does not yet support moving registry subtrees, which should be reviewed manually (these rarely contain file paths). It is built on .NET 3.5 platform (it uses WCF) and is available in English and Estonian.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: determined
    Sunday, August 31st, 2008
    10:49 pm
    Installing SQL Server 2008 on x64 platform

    I'm starting with the man in the mirror
    (Ooh!)
    I'm asking him to change his ways
    (Ooh!)
    And no message could have been any clearer
    If you wanna make the world a better place
    (If you wanna make the world a better place)
    Take a look at yourself and then make a change
    (Take a look at yourself and then make a change)

    Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror

    In my last post I wrote about uninstalling stubborn software like SQL Server 2008 CTP. This time I am going to continue by giving you some hints on how to install SQL Server 2008 on x64 platform in non-default folder.

    One might expect that installing SQL Server 2008 is a stratightforward task that can be accomplished by going through the install wizard. In most cases, it is that simple. However, when you try to install it in a custom folder on x64 platform, you will end up with an error message saying that /INSTALLSHAREDWOWDIR has to be specified as well. However, running the setup with /INSTALLSHAREDWOWDIR="path_where_shared_x86_libraties will be installed", the error is still there.

    The problem is that setup does not pass the parameter to setup100.exe, which does the actual installation. The solution is therefore to let the setupp install setup support files (it installs these in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap") and run setup100.exe from there (it is located in "Release\x64" folder). Running setup100.exe has another issue as well - you need to manually specify the timestamp the first time you run it. so if you want to install SQL Server on D drive instead of C drive (and E drive has the installation media), you have to specify following command to install SQL Server 2008:

    setup100.exe /ACTION=Install /INSTALLSHAREDWOWDIR="d:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server" /MEDIASOURCE="E:\\" /WORKFLOW=INSTALL /INSTALLMEDIAPATH="E:\x64\setup\\" /MEDIALAYOUT="Full" /TIMESTAMP=20080814_101842

    The timestamp is in yyyymmdd_hhMMss format and should specify the time when you run the setup.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: creative
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    1:38 pm
    How to uninstall stubborn software

    So if you want it
    You wanna come out to play
    Then you can have it
    Cos he's got plans for the day
    And if I want it
    There's no one out there for me
    When you don't need it
    There's plenty fish in the sea

    Maybe it's nothing
    Maybe it's all just in my mind
    Maybe I'm foolish
    Maybe it's just a waste of time

    Emma Bunton - Maybe

    Sometimes you end up with an application that fails to uninstall. You can't get rid of it by clicking uninstall in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs dialog and running the original setup with "uninstall" action also fails. You might eventually choose to just delete the folder the application was located in, but it would still leave it in the Add/Remove Programs dialog and shared binaries and other files would still be present in your system.

    I just had this kind of experience with SQL Server 2008 CTP, which refused to uninstall its reporting services. As this sort of uninstallation failures have occurred with other applications as well, I decided to have a look on how to fix these situations. And it turns out that there is quite trivial solution for most of the cases which use Windows Installer to install itself.

    Windows Installer stores its packages in .msi files, which are processed (executed) by msiexec.exe. To install an application using msiexec, you just type

    msiexec /i path_to_installation_package.msi

    The same command is used by the explorer when you choose to install an msi package. In addition to installing the application, Windows Installer copies the msi into %SYSTEM%\Installer folder as well (it changes the name though). The information about the location of the copied msi is stored in the registry at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer. In order to uninstall an application you can use the /x option instead of /i option like this:

    msiexec /x path_to_installation_package.msi

    The trouble with many installers is that they are not provided as msi files, they are provided as executables that temporarily extract and run msi files instead. Therefore, it is really difficult to get the msi files so you could use them with msiexec yourself. Luckily, you can use the information stored in the registry to uninstall the application using its GUID (or uninstall string). To do that, you have to do the following:

    1. Search HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer for the product you want to remove (You will probably find it under "InstallProperties" key).
    2. Note down the UninstallString value and run it at command prompt or
    3. Note down the GUID of the application (the string enclosed in braces: e.g. {12345678-ABCD-1234-FEDC-1234567890AB}) and run "msiexec /x {GUID}" where GUID is the GUID you noted down in the command prompt.

    This method enabled me to uninstall SQL Server 2008 CTP Reporting Services and will probably help to uninstall many other stubborn applications as well. You should also note, that some uninstallers require you to run them from elevated prompt.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: tired
    Saturday, June 2nd, 2007
    2:09 am
    Turning images into text

    Let me tell you 'bout my favorite application
    A software notebook for the modern age
    One place for all of your notes
    Put any type of content on the digital page

    A flexible tool that works the way you do
    Organize your stuff how you want to
    Brainstorms or meeting notes or doing web research
    Capture, find, share and re-use

    No other software can make me feel this way

    My one and only OneNote
    My one and only OneNote
    My one and only OneNote
    It's the one for me

    Mike Tholfsen - My One and Only OneNote

    Last time I described how to protect your Microsoft Office files. This time I am going to show you how to extract text from images (like scanned documents) or from anywhere on your screen.

    Extracting text from images

    You get images from various sources. For example you might have some documents scanned or screenshots of application (error) messages. In either case extracting the text from these images can be useful. However, the images could as well be printouts of your documents.

    The easy way - using Microsoft OneNote

    Microsoft OneNote is a perfect tool for taking notes (audio-visual and textual notes), organizing them and searching or sharing these. Even though OneNote has been popular tool since its year 2003 version, I had not used it before trying OneNote 2007 beta. Since that I find it invaluable tool in my everyday life (and I do not even have a Tablet PC to make use of all the ink and drawing features). OneNote 2007 is part of Office 2007 Home and Student edition, which is a very good addition to any students (like me). What puzzles me is that Home and Student edition does not have Outlook, which at least doubles the value of OneNote (thanks to the "integration" between these two applications). Other Office suites to come with OneNote are Enterprise Edition and Ultimate edition, which are definitely too expensive for students or home use.

    Office OneNote 2007 gives you the ability to index and search your images (and audio/video notes) for text. It also allows you to extract text from images, which is the feature I am covering here.

    First you need to get your image to OneNote. You can either insert image from file or take a screenclip using Windows + S key combination which automatically adds the screenclip to your notes.

    Second you need to make your image searchable. You make the text searchable by right-clicking on the image and choosing "Make Text in Image Searchable" and the language the text is in.

    Third you right-click on the image again and choose "Copy Text from Picture". The text on the image will be copied to your clipboard.

    Now you can paste the text anywhere. The text recognition is not perfect, but it is still better than retyping by hand.

    A bit more difficult option - using Microsoft Office Document Imaging

    To use Microsoft Office Document Imaging, you first have to print your image with Office Document Image Writer. Then you can open the printout in Microsoft Office Document Imaging application (usually available through start menu at Microsoft Office Tools submenu). Having opened the image, you can use the OCR to recognize text on it (just choose "Tools" -> "Recognize Text using OCR". Now you can send text to Word or select an area on the image to copy text.

    This method does not work so well as does OneNote's text recognition, however, OneNote is not included in most Office packages. Microsoft Office Document Imaging is available with most Office installations (even with Office 2003).

    One more difficult option - using Adobe Reader

    The only good trick with pdf files is that Adobe Reader (or most pdf creating tools) has some OCR capabilities as well. This means that by converting your image to pdf (there are many free online converters and free pdf printer drivers available) you might be able to extract text from it by using the select text tool in Adobe Reader. The probability of success seems to be almost the same as when using Microsoft Office Document Imaging.

    Summary

    The best solution of these three is OneNote, which has proved extremely useful for me in many other ways as well. The only drawback is that OneNote is expensive (except when bundled in Office Suite). Adobe Reader and conversion to pdf is the cheapest solution, but can be more difficult to set up and has weaker results.

    I tested all three solutions with several image files (png) from screen captures and scanner. OneNote had the best result with all of them. Adobe Reader (and ghostscript or PDFCreator converted pdf) gave better results with scanned images, failing almost always with screen captures. Microsoft Office Document Imaging had trouble with both types of images, but rarely failed completely.

    I hope you find the text extraction tools as useful as I did. I especially like the opportunity of taking screenshots of error messages and using the text extracted from them to search the net for information on how to solve the problems.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: tired
    Wednesday, September 20th, 2006
    11:16 pm
    Protecting your Office content

    Reveal to me the mysteries
    Can you tell me what it means?
    Explain these motions and metaphors
    Unlock these secrets in me
    Describe your vision, the meaning is missing
    Won't anybody listen?

    Define the riddles of my mind
    Nothing is strictly what it seems

    P.O.D. - Sleeping Awake

    A new year at university has brought my attention to the need for some more tutorials. This time they won't be about setting up a game, they will be about using Microsoft Office documents.

    Protecting your content

    My first tutorial is about protecting your Office files. It has been brought to my attention, that many people use Adobe Acrobat (or other tools) to generate pdf files from Microsoft Office files thinking this way their content cannot be edited or copied. Now, this is a possible solution, but is most often used incorrectly resulting in nothing else but the audience moaning with deformed materials.

    Why converting your documents into pdf format does not protect your files

    Even though you can't edit pdf files with Adobe Reader (or many other pdf viewers), they are actually editable documents just like most MS Office documents. You can easily buy (or download a trial) of pdf editing or authoring software (including Adobe Acrobat and PDF Editor), just like you could buy or download a trial of MS Office. The fact that viewers for MS Office files are freely downloadable doesn't mean that Office files would be read-only, so why should you think that pdf files are?

    This, of cause does not mean that you can't protect pdf files or Office files. At least with better pdf generators allow you to choose which rights to preserve. Even though, MS Office doesn't give you so many choices - just two (protect against modifying and require password for opening) - , they are all you generally need.

    Why should you prefer protecting Office files instead of protecting converted pdf files

    Most often people do not know how to configure their pdf converter. It can be very important to know how to enable colors, include fonts, choose image compression algorithms and many other settings that might cause deformations (appearing rectangles, missing images, missing text, ...) in resulting pdf. Having uncommon (I wonder wether there exist common settings) settings can result your pdf file to be shown different on different computers and printed different on different printers. So unless you know what you are doing, avoid converting your documents, and if you do convert them, verify the result with different viewers.

    Another reason not to use pdf is that you will lose lots of information during conversion (that is common to converting). Most of this information is unimportant, but you might also lose authors details, summary, slide transitions, embedded media and lots of other content the audience might be interested in.

    Ok, but how do I protect my Office files

    Now, having understood, that it might be a good idea to protect your original Office documents instead of converting them to pdf and optionally protecting the pdf, you are probably wondering, how to protect your Office files. It wouldn't be a surprise if you couldn't find it yourself as it is well hidden in a dialog you rarely use and know to have nothing to do with document properties. So here is the secret how to protect your Office documents:

    1. Select Tools menu.
    2. Choose Options... entry (if it is not displayed, just click on the double arrow pointing down in the end of menu to see all menu entries).
    3. Select Security pane.

    So you made it to document security settings pane. On this pane you can see two textboxes. The upper one is used to set password for viewing the file, the lower one is used to set the password for modifying them. To protect your file against modifying, enter a password to the lower box (this password will be required for modifying the file later). Then press OK. You will be prompted to re-enter the password (just to make sure you didn't make any typos in the password). Enter the password again and continue (press enter). If you did set both password (both for modifying and viewing), then keep your eye on which password is asked to be re-entered. Now, save your document to have the setting take effect.

    The next time you open the protected document, you will be prompted to enter a password for viewing (if you set it) and then for modifying (if you set it). When password for modifying is prompted, you can also choose to view the document read-only (just press the corresponding button). If you open the file in Word Viewer, password for modifying won't be prompted as it can't do any modifying anyways.

    The good news: Office 2007

    Office 2007 is a real improvement compared to older versions. One of the main improvements is better user interface. In addition to being able to mark documents as final (and by doing so, make them read-only) from Finish menu, the protection options are available from Protect Document in Review ribbon with more options than Office 2003 had. Additionally Finish menu gives you access to IRM (Information Rights Management) settings that allow even more detail restrictions and policies configurations (including restricting the distribution of the document). The downside of IRM is that the computer used for reading the document has to have Windows Rights Management Services Client installed. Also, the old style protection is still available through Save As... dialogs Tools menu, General Properties... entry.

    Summary

    Even though document protection is not intuitive in Office (but has improved a lot in Office 2007), it is preferred over converting documents to pdf files and protecting the pdf files. By protecting your original documents you avoid deformation of your content and avoid loss of information or quality of your content. Also, it is common misbelief that plain conversion info pdf does offer any extra protection to your content as unprotected pdf files can be very easily modified. Converting your files to pdf format should only preferre if if detail setting of user rights is needed and you feel confident (and know what exactly you are doing) with pdf authoring software.

    I guess one tutorial per post is more than enough, so I'll stop here for today.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: tired
    Friday, June 9th, 2006
    9:22 pm
    How to share The Sims 2 neighborhoods

    No matter what they tell us
    No matter what they do
    No matter what they teach us
    What we believe is true

    No matter what they call us
    However they attack
    No matter where they take us
    We'll find our own way back

    I can't deny what I believe
    I can't be what I'm not
    I know I'll love forever
    I know, no matter what

    If only tears were laughter
    If only night was day
    If only prayers were answered
    Then we would hear God say

    No matter what they tell you
    No matter what they do
    No matter what they teach you
    What you believe is true

    Boyzone - No Matter What
    (Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber,
    lyrics by Jim Steinman)

    Another game setup tutorial is coming up.

    Having younger sisters and brothers gives a really good reason to learn more about Windows and filesystems (and tricks). So todays tutorial is about:

    How to share neighborhoods in The Sims 2 (on the same network)

    First some word about why anyone would like to share neighborhoods. Well, one of the main problems with The Sims is that your neighbors never get any older unless you play with them. So You end up with your grand grand grand grand grand children of your sims hanging around with the same never-aging sims in the neighborhood (which is annoying, disturbing, unfair and wierd). So if you have more than one player of The Sims 2 in your family (or network), it would be nice if hey could share a neighborhood while playing with different families. I also makes the game more fun too :D.

    The trouble is, that The Sims 2 does not allow you to choose the location of your neighborhood on the disk. That means that every user has his/her own "EA Games\The Sims 2" folder with neighborhoods in his/her "My Documents" folder. And you cant replace it by making a shortcut to point to others folder. So there are to problems to overcome: the files The Sims 2 creates should be readable and writable by all users and changes made by one of the players should affect all the players (there should be only one copy of neighborhood).

    To solve the first problem you should just create a new neighborhood, exit The Sims 2 and move the new neighborhood into shared documents folder (for example move "C:\Documents and Settings\YourUserName\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\N_005" to "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\N_005"). If you are lucky, Windows makes these files editable by all users automatically, if not, you'll have to set the security settings yourself.

    Solving the secong problem requires some technical knowledge about Windows NTFS file system. The trick is to create (soft) links (called junctions in NTFS) from your personal neighborhoods folder to shared documents folder. The simpliest way to creae those is to download an utility called "Junction" from Sysinternals and create the links with command similar to
    junction "C:\Documents and Settings\YourUserName\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\N_005" "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\N_005"
    The second choise is to use tools supplied with Windows as described in KB205524. This step has to be repeated for every user who wants to play The Sims 2.

    That is all, now you can have fun playing The Sims with shared neighborhood :). The solution can be extended to work over network by sharing the neighborhood using Microsoft Networking File And Printer Sharing (note mounting shares as disks could be necessary). Have fun playing The Sims 2.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: bored
    Wednesday, May 31st, 2006
    9:00 pm
    Comparing presentation technologies

    In this world of cool deception
    Just your smile can smooth my ride
    These troubled days of cruel rejection
    You come to me,soothe my troubled mind
    Yeah this could be heaven for everyone
    This world could be fed, this world could be fun
    This should be love for everyone
    This world should be free, this world could be one
    We should bring love to our daughters and sons
    Love,love,love,love
    This could be heaven for everyone

    So take a seat and sit by my side a while
    You know I like your style
    (This could be heaven for everyone)
    So what can we do to clean up this mess
    Just feel so helpless
    (This could be heaven for everyone)
    So lift up your voice, at least you'll have cared
    (This could be heaven for everyone)

    Queen - Heaven For Everyone

    Time is getting consumed at rates never seen before, leaving mess behind. As the time gets consumed more and more, the mess expands making one feel so helpless as one can be. A shining light, a mild voice, some supportive words can really make a difference and help to clean up (or at least constrain) the mess and make one feel useful and give hope to accomplish tasks one has always dreamed of. Given this tempo and large amount of todo-s, I have hardly had any time to update my journal. I have promised to talk about some topics I have not had a chance to yet. One of these topics is a comparsion of two quite common presentation technologies I had chance to test a few weeks ago.

    I had the luck of having to prepare and present two presentations: one had to be made using LaTeX (topic "MacWilliams theorem"), the other was made using PowerPoint (topic ".NET Remoting"). It gave me a very good chance to compare these two very different technologies used in creating presentations.

    First lets give you a bit of information about my background:

    • Experiences with TeX:
      • I have taken one (40h)course about TeX about three years ago.
      • I use OpenOffice.org Math, which uses commands very similar to TeX commands, daily to write conspects for my university courses.
      • That is all of my experiences on using TeX.
    • Experiences with Microsoft PowerPoint:
      • Taught myself.
      • Used frequently at school and on my last Bachelor year at the university (meanwhile I used OpenOffice.org Impress).
    Tools I used:
    Time consumption
    • Presentation 1:
      • Reading materials (presentation was based on books): ~8h
      • Writing slides: ~6h
      • Formatting slides (styles/templates): ~2h
      • Fixing/debugging/proofreading slides (including compiling): ~8h
      • Total = ~24h
    • Presentation 2:
      • Reading materials (MSDN + WWW): ~6h
      • Writing slides: ~1h
      • Formatting slides (downloaded and used universities template): ~15min
      • Fixing/debugging/proofreading slides: ~15min
      • Writing demo (2 dll + 2 exe applications): ~4h
      • Reading additional materials and trying out advanced topics (after finishing presentation): ~4,5h
      • Total = ~16h
    Results
    • Presentation 1:
      • Slides: 25 (125 lines of text, mostly 4 rows on slide, max 16 rows, min 1 row)
      • Audience: 3
      • Errors found during presentation or later (missing braces, wrong symbols and other issues that should be discoverable during proofreading): 5 + beauty issues (contents didn't fit the slide correctly)
      • Adobe Acrobat Reader couldn't effectively run in fullscreen mode with projector and computer screen (lecturer notes) so ordinary view (with menus) had to be used.
      • Some listeners fell behind, other jumped ahead.
      • Discussions were produced.
      • Leftover timeslice 10 minutes
    • Presentation 2:
      • Slides: 17 (134 lines of text, most commonly 9 lines on slide, max 15 lines (code example), min 0 lines (image slide))
      • Audience: 14
      • Errors on slides: 0
      • Discussions about .NET, C++ and C# (listeners became really interested, even after the end of the official part of the presentation noone left)
      • Surplus timeslice ~30 minutes (additional "advanced" features were demonstrated)
    Conclusions
    1. I have more experience using PowerPoint and Visual Studio than creating TeX documents.
    2. In both cases a new language had to be learned (TeX and C#).
    3. Both topics were unfamiliar prior to making presentations about them.
    4. Utile time consumption in case of second presentation was about 95%, in case of first presentation it was only about 60% (actually more than 35% difference).
    5. Both presentations were very simple (no multimedia elements but images and textbox (both in second presentation only) were used).
    6. Debugging/proofreading consumed 32 times more time with first presentation, but errors were still present at presentation.
    7. PowerPoint slides made about twice the use of available screen space (no border texts or frames around text blocks).
    8. PowerPoint slides contained 7.2% more information even though there were 32% fewer of them.
    9. PowerPoint slides used 25% less time for successful information delivery (meaning about 43% more information was delivered per second).
    10. The second presentation resulted in interest aimed at future applications (additional uses of technology), the first presentation resulted in listeners debating about theorems and proofs on slides (but not in uses of those results).
    11. Second presentation was more interactive due to the help of demonstration.
    12. Presentations can be compared at here.

    Everyone can make his/her own conclusions about this experience, however, I would like to turn your attention to some (important) points:

    That is all about the comparsion, at least for today.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: exhausted
    Tuesday, March 21st, 2006
    8:15 pm
    Design, experience and anti-marketing

    Every OS wastes your time,
    from the desktop to the lap,
    Everything since the abacus,
    Just a bunch of crap.

    From Microsoft, to Macintosh,
    to lih-lie-lih-lie... nux.
    Every computer crashes,
    'cause every OS sucks.

    Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie - Every OS Sucks

    It just happened that Jansen Harris brought my attention to the usability aspect of products by pointing out what he considers "Usability Stockholm Syndrome". The problem that (test-)users do not tend to criticize your application, is familiar to me. However, there are also the kind of users who do criticize it, but only because they want to criticize everything (so they are never happy with any solution). Still, I suggest you read his article that has brought me to some other interesting and probably even more useful (as practical) articles.

    Following the links from Harris' blog I ended up on Usability blog. That is a place where a lot of interesting usability links pass through.

    One of the most interesting links was about the success of anti-marketing design. The claim is that having an ugly page makes it more reliable. However, I disagree with their definition of an ugly page. They say that most corporations have pretty pages, but they really do not. The reason is, they use absolute alignment and design, which causes their pages to look extremely ugly if your browser window is smaller or larger than the one for which they designed the page. Have a look at one of Estonias largest telephone and ISP companies Elions homepage with browser window with resolution less than 800x600 or larger than 800x600 pixels. In first case the page becomes scrollable in both vertical and horizontal and the needed links or information gets out of sight and difficult to find (not everyone has a mouse with tilt wheel). In the second case we get a small varicoloured page surrounded with large "nothing". This is also irritating (even in primary school in art classes you are forbidden to make a mistake like that). I can see that the designer has also made some effort to cancel that "small and nothing" effect by adding a long bar on top of the page. The similar mistakes can be seen on Microsofts, Apples (though the best effect thanks to spread out content), eBays and many other companies pages. To make things worse, these pages won't even allow you to change font size on accessibility reasons (do not confuse with zoom feature in Opera and IE7). The so called "ugly" pages on the other hand have dynamic width and height making much better use of window area and giving much cleaner and better overview of the page at any time. So I consider the "ugly and accessibility standard recommendation compilant" pages much better and nicer than these "pretty corporate" pages ;).

    The strange thing about this anti-marketing is that it has been noted to be a trend by Pfeiffer Consulting.

    When talking about usability, we can't leave user experience uncommented. I salute poetpainter for his great visual aid on classifying experiences. I have been looking for an aid like this for a long time now :).

    Enough about design and (anti-)marketing, at least till the next posts.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: anxious
    Tuesday, March 14th, 2006
    10:11 pm
    Why do I like C and why are war(game)s stupid?

    Fourteen cannibal kings
    Wondering blindly what the dinner bell will bring
    Fifteen celebrity mimes
    Served on a leafy bed th sixteen military wives

    Cheer them on to their rivals
    Cause America can, and America can't say no
    And America does, if America says it's so
    It's so

    And the anchorperson on TV goes...
    La de da de da de-dadedade-da
    La de da de da de-dadedade-da

    The Decemberists - Sixteen Military Wives

    I haven't posted here for a while. I have had some topics I would like to discuss here, but they have been delayed due to my "poor" drawing skills. I also made a resolution to have only one topic per post from now on. That should keep my posts shorter and easier to manage.

    First I would like to give some more links about the song accompanying this post. You see, the song has an excellent video. I found the song and the video at videos.antville.org. The video is also present at "good weather for airstrike".

    Having said that, lets get to the core of this post.

    Anyone who knows me (and that C is a programming language), knows that I do like C. Especially I like C++. It is like C but much more (that is what the ++ is for). Many people like Java or Pascal or Basic or even Haskell, but there is nothing like C. I don't like Java, because Java keeps you awake all night (especially if freshly ground from Beans). We in the C (C/C++/C#) department enjoy Cookie breaks much more :) (click on the link to see what C is for according to PhD).

    Talking about preferences, I prefer Microsoft Word for most (especially longer) documents. Many people like OpenOffice.org Writer more. But you can see that Microsoft Word has made writing long documents extremely easy and enjoyable. If you don't believe me, then here is an example.

    Let's assume you have to write 18 pages about brown foxes (or about a miller). So no matter what text editor you have, you write the title. On the next line you could write something about the brown fox, or you could just write

    =rand(80,20)

    and assuming you have Autoreplace turned on, you will have finished your story and can resume doing something you enjoy more (surfing the web, playing games, creating programs, hanging out with your girlfriend or boyfriend, ...). As you saw, compared to OOo Write where it would have taken at least a day, you finished it in minutes. Now that I call productivity ;)!

    War is one difficult "thing" to understand.The reasons why we have wars are often not apparent. And often they seem to be stupid. You can see why from this clip from Calvin and Hobbes comic.

    Enough of fun, next posts will be on more serious topics.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: happy
    Thursday, January 5th, 2006
    11:19 pm
    How-to-s (CMR and WMV)

    All is quiet on New Year's Day,
    A world in white gets underway,
    And I want to be with you,
    Be with you night and day.
    Nothing changes on New Year's Day.
    I will be with you again.
    I will be with you again.

    Under a blood-red sky
    A crowd has gathered in black and white.
    Arms entwined, the chosen few,
    Newspapers say, it says it's true.
    And we can break through,
    though torn in two we can be one.
    I will begin again, I will begin again.
    Oh and maybe the time is right,
    Oh maybe tonight.
    I will be with you again.
    I will be with you again.

    And so we are told this is the golden age
    And gold is the reason for the wars we wage.
    Though I want to be with you,
    To be with you night and day.
    Nothing changes on New Year's day.

    U2 - New Year's Day

    Happy New Year everybody!

    It has been busy times as always. Now the pace is getting slower for a while. After all, it is a new year.

    Meanwhile I have been finding more out about many new and interesting things, solved problems, done developing and much more. I would like to talk about two problems I have had to overcome lately. These problems I'll be talking about are:

    Getting Colin McRae 2005 multi-user friendly

    We all know that you should never let children or anyone else use computer as root or Administrative user for anything else but configuring and administrative tasks. However, it turns out that many games are not Limited User friendly and therefore children and other people with less or none computer security knowledge are given administrative rights resulting in slow unresponsive full of garbage (malware, uselessware, applications leftovers, etc.) PC. Colin McRae Rally 2005 happened to be the same kind of a software. The readme on CMR DVD said you need at least Power User rights to run the game - I tried it, but the game still told Power User that there is "a problem with the installation". Of cause you shouldn't go on making all computer users Power Users as it also increases risks of high damage by viruses, malware, uselessware, application leftovers and so on.

    Now, I made a promise to myself - noone but me on my administered computer will ever get higher right than of Limited Users. But my brother still wanted to play CMR. So I had a more serious look at it and finally came up with a solution. It appears that CMR stores all gamers progress in the game folder. Limited users do not have the right to modify these files and therefore CMR cannot be played. So I gave all users the right to modify CMR directories. It can be a security risk as you end up with executables that can be modified by anyone. Luckily the risk can be lowered by removing Users right to modify these files (.exe, .ocx, .dll generally). And here are the necessary steps for making CMR playable by Limited Users:

    1. Log in as administrator user.
    2. Install Colin McRae Rally 2005. Note the installation folder.
    3. Install all necessary patches (like x64 patch for Windows XP Pro x64) from Codemasters.
    4. Turn off simple file sharing (note: you may have to reconfigure some file sharing on LAN after that):
      1. Go to Control Panel -> Folder Options.
      2. On page "View" unmark "Use Simple File Sharing" in "Advanced Settings".
      3. Click "OK" to save changes.
    5. Go to the parent directory of the installation directory (usually "C:\Program Files").
    6. Right Click on "Colin McRae Rally 2005" folder (or whatever the name you chose for installation folder) and choose Properties (shortcut 'r').
    7. On "Security" page choose "Add...".
    8. Type "Users" (without quotes) and click OK (note: object types should include groups).
    9. Click on "Users" and put tick to "Full Control" in "Permissions for Users" panel.
    10. Click "OK" to save changes.
    11. Log off.
    12. Log in as Limited user.
    13. Run CMR by clicking on shortcut on desktop or start menu (DVD autorun still won't work for Limited Users).
    14. Enjoy the game!

    As already mentioned autorun will still say "Access Is Denied", but who needs the autorun anyways. The game however works perfect (I haven't tested LAN and Internet game yet though) when run from hard drive.

    How to compress MPEG-1 videos into WMV and add some new features to it?

    Most of the music videos and public domain videos are in MPEG-1 format that is used in Video CD-s. Nowdays SuperVideo CD-s, High Definition CD-s, Windows Media CD-s, Video DVD-s, Windows Media DVD-s are becoming more popular due to their higher compression ratio and quality. Older CD/DVD players however do not support HD or WM DVD/CD-s. On PC-s XviD+AC3/MP3, Ogg, Windows Media and QuickTime are being preferred due to their very good compression ratio. All these formats have their pros and cons. I chose Windows Media as I am mainly a Windows user (I do use Linux now and then - unprotected WM works fine there, DRM protection is not so well supported there) and Windows Media tools are freely available and users do not need to install extra software to watch these files. QuickTime is mainly used with *Mac*-s and very poorly supported in Windows and Linux. I tried XviD but with music videos WMV tends to give better quality with smaller files. I haven't tried Ogg yet, but will definitely have a try when it gets ready (it is alpha5 at present). Now the tools I used:

    • VirtualDub - For viewing MPEG-1 files (not necessary if you do not want to fine tune your compression)
    • Paint .NET - For determining the crop region (not necessary if you do not want to crop your videos)
    • Windows Media Encoder - To do the actual encoding NB! Only download necessary!
    • Windows Media File Attributes Editor - For setting (advanced) media attributes (not necessary unless you want to keep things organized)
    • Windows Media Player - For playback and adding timed lyrics (you can use alternatives to this software)

    Now converting your file in twelve easy steps (only nine if you skip optional ones):

    1. Run Windows Media Encoder. Press cancel in wizard.
    2. Optionally increase quality (increases encoding time as well):
      1. Open Tools->Options...
      2. On performance tab uncheck "Use defaults".
      3. Move "When encoding to file" slider to far right for best quality. Both quality and encoding time will increase significantly when set to Best.
      4. Press "OK" to save changes.
    3. Click "Properties" to open properties panel.
    4. Set source and output:
      1. On "Sources" tab click "File" to set source to be file.
      2. Use "Browse..." to select the file you want to encode.
      3. On "Output" tab uncheck all and check "Encode to file".
      4. Set "Index file" to make file seekable.
      5. Use "Browse..." to set the output file.
    5. Set some basic attributes:
      1. On "Attributes" tab click on "Title" and "Edit..." to set song, video or movie title.
      2. On "Attributes" tab click on "Author" and "Edit..." to set song artist or movie author.
      3. On "Attributes" tab you can also set description and other attributes. I will use "Windows Media File Attributes Editor" for easier setting of attributes.
    6. Find source properties (optional)
      1. Open the source video with VirtualDub. It may give you some information about errors in the file. If you are lucky, these errors do not have any effect on converting. Best disregard these for now.
      2. Choose File->File Information... and note frame size, fps, average bitrate and audio format.
    7. Set compression properties:
      1. On "Compression" tab click "Edit...".
      2. Now you can choose whether to use PAL, NTSC or custom video format. In Europa you should generally choose PAL, in US NTSC. However, it is suggested you use the same as original for optimal results (you'll lose less information). Using the same format for all videos is useful if you want to keep things simple. Source format can be determined by looking at its fps you noted in previous step. I chose PAL for all as extra 5 fps do not matter for majority of movies (and here in Estonia TV uses PAL for everything anyways).
      3. Check "Allow nonsquare pixel output" unless you are sure your source uses square (1:1) pixels.
      4. Set both Audio and Video mode to "Bit Rate VBR".
      5. Set Audio Codec to "Windows Media Audio 9.1" and Video Codec to "Windows Media Video 9".
      6. Choose the other tab ("442 Kbps" in my case).
      7. Set the audio format to "192 kbps, 44 kHz, stereo VBR" as it is should be enough for any input (MP2 format). If you checked the source properties you can set audio format in a better way as well. Generally you could safely use bitrate just lower than the source audio bitrate. Also note the frequency - if source has 48kHz or higher, then you should use it too, otherways stick to 44kHz which is much more common. If you like to experiment, you could try encoding audio at half the sources bitrate though I suggest using at least a bit higher bitrate or you could get noticeable loss in quality.
      8. I like to keep my videos sizes as they were so I always check "Same as video input". Unless you are going to use the video in portable devices, it is safe to check "Same as video input". It loses the video format conformance, which can be an issue with some (older) portable devices.
      9. Key frame interval can be longer for movies with less action and smaller for action-packed videos. For most music videos I use 2 or 4 second interval, sometimes longer.
      10. Video bit rate can be set to 600K bps. Microsoft claims you could use bitrate beween 1/2 and 1/3 of MPEG-2 to have the same quality movie. Considering that our source already has lost some of its quality, we can't use so low bitrates for it. Now my testing has shown that MPEG-1 can be encoded into WMV with half the bitrate without losing any noticeable details. You could of course experiment with lower bitrates (which work extremely well with some sources).
      11. Press "OK" to save changes.
    8. On "Video Size" tab you could experiment with pixel ratios to get Output ratio 1.33:1 which is generally the right one (4:3 aspect ratio). In some rare cases you must still use some other aspect ratio, which you could find out by testing (GSpot and many codecs tend to get aspect ration of MPEG-1 file incorrectly :( ).
    9. You may want to crop your source (to remove black bars from top and bottom). For that you need to know how much to crop. I used Paint .NET and VirtualDub for that:
      1. In VirtualDub choose a well lit scene where all borders are well visible.
      2. Move mouse over it and press Alt+PrtSc on the keyboard.
      3. Run Paint .NET.
      4. Choose File->Acquire->From Clipboard
      5. Use Select tool to measure cropping width/height (the selection dimensions are displayed on left bottom corner of Paint .NET). Use zoom for better accuracy.
      6. In WME "Video Size" tab you can choose on of the predefined cropping methods or set your own crop lengths.
    10. Click "Apply".
    11. Click "Start Encoding".
    12. When finished encoding click "Play output file" to preview the encoded file. Watch out for any errors (a button "Show Errors" might be the only sign). If results dialog does not appear by itself when encoding is finished, press "Ctrl+R" on keyboard.

    Some warnings and notes though:

    • Your MPEG-1/MP2 codec used by WME and WMP could be giving you mono input! You'll see one green level indicator instead of two on the left side of WME in that occasion. I suggest using some other codecs in that case. Many free codecs are freely available at free-codecs.com.
    • Using MPEG-1 playback application instead of VirtualDub for cropping information could cause you problems as aspect ratio correction will be done in these applications!
    • If converting fails because of some audio error, then try converting into CBR (same or higher bitrate) audio format.
    • In some rare cases the source video is interlaced. In that case you have two options: convert it into progressive or keep the interlacing. You can tell whether the video is interlaced by having look at source (if borders of objects seem to be made of lines, the video is interlaced). "Processing" tab contains the interlacing settings.

    Generally wmv videos you could download from the Internet (from MSN Music, Mp3.com, Mediapass.net, ...) are CBR 700kbit/s. That means audio bitrate + video bitrate + overhead = 700 kbit/s all the time (CBR = Constant Bit Rate). We are using VBR (Variable Bit Rate) that allows more bits to be used where they are more needed and less where they are not needed so much. That results in better quality (700 kbit/s VBR has much better quality than 700 kbit/s CBR). So internet video quality can be achieved by used lower bitrates than suggested here (here the resulting video should have about 800 kbit/s VBR ~ one second of video takes about 100 KB resulting in music videos between 20 and 30 MB).

    Now that we have our videos converted, we would like to edit their attributes. Many attributes can be changed with Windows Media Player. To set genre or artists you could just drag your file into the artists or genres folder in Media Library. Notice that you can have one media file in multiple genres and more than one artist associated with it. You can add even more information (like subtitle, mood, bpm, key, track number, album, set, category, language, lyricist, ...) to the file by using Advanced Tag Editor in Windows Media Player. To use Advanced Tag Editor just right click on the file in Media Library and select Advanced Tag Editor. You can also add synchronized (and unsynchronized) lyrics with it. Even more control over attributes is available with Windows Media File Attributes Editor (WMFAE). WMFAE also contains lots of predefined attributes (in Windows Media Format SDK) with their descriptions. Some of these attributes are Media Class ID-s (whether the file is video, voice, music, music video, homevideo, etc.), Director (WM/Director), Producer, Provider names and all that is modifiable with Advanced Tag Editor (except for synchronized lyrics, but it will be supported as soon as I have time for it. I would also like to note that Media Class ID-s are predefined GUID values.

    When using WMFAE you should also note that you can't save changes to file while it is being played by Windows Media Player (and possibly any other media player). I suggest using Open With for editing files with WMFAE as it is much simplier and more intuitive this way. For changing multiple files (for example adding correct Media Class ID-s for your video or music collection) you have to start WMFAE separately and then use "Mass Edit" to edit them all at once. You can drop files to WMFAE main window instead if opening them through File->Open dialog.

    Sometimes downloaded WMV files have incorrect attributes like Title being replaced with Provider. In that case you can just click on the Title in WMFAE and choose attributes name to be WM/Provider and then click "Add". The Sting in Title attribute is being copied to WM/Provider attribute.

    This is about all about converting MPEG-1 files into WMV files. MPEG-2 videos can be converted similarly though the bitrates are higher (about 1200 kbit/s VBR for video, Windows Media Audio 9.1 Professional codec for audio - adds 5.1 channels support and higher bitrates). Most XviD videos require 10-20% higher bitrates than equal WMV files. Also in case of XviD you don't have to worry about aspect ratios much as on digital media 1:1 pixel ratio is mostly used (other pixel ratios were result of film-scanning techniques used in early days of digital media - see mpeg.org for more history).

    I guess it is enough of how-to-s for today. Till the next reading :).

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: busy
    Saturday, December 3rd, 2005
    5:33 pm

    A crowded room
    Friends with tired eyes
    I'm hiding from you
    And your soul of ice
    My god I thought you were
    Someone to rely on
    Me?
    I guess I was a shoulder to cry on
    A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
    A man under cover but you tore me apart
    Now I've found a real love you'll never fool me again

    Last Christmas
    I gave you my heart
    But the very next day you gave it away
    This year
    To save me from tears
    I'll give it to someone special

    Wham - Last Christmas

    It has been crazy times again. I have done a lot and there is much I will be missing out here. However, the Christmas time is getting closer and here is a little reminder from last Christmas: Watch the video! ("War So Isn't Awesome!").

    I finally succeeded in encoding MPEG-2 file into about 30% smaller wmv file without almost any loss in quality. There is still a lot to explore as it doesn't really work so well all the time. It seems as Windows Media Video 9 codec sometimes gives better results than Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile codec.

    In two weeks I have all sorts of tests and final evaluations at university. Many projects have to be finished by that time. Some of these projects are really interesting and challenging for an exchange.

    We also had a chat about what the future will bring. Especially for personal computing. Here is a short summary of the ideas.

    We started by having a look on what are the present trends. We noted that desktop/workstation computers are being replaced by servers and terminals. Windows Media Center Edition is a kind of server - you can control it from almost anywhere and it serves a lot (video for your TV-s, other PC-s and other devices, same with audio, storage, you can even connect to it on boot time using it as your storage and programs server. Using server and terminals is also much cheaper than using a bunch of fully stacked workstations. The only computer to need a bit better hardware than typical home PC is the server, others may be much simplier (network card, graphics card and peripherals). And you can even control everything from one remote control! Programming your PC to record a TV show from your PDA while at work or school so you won't miss any of the shows you want to see and pausing live content, skipping commercials and other fancy items make Media Centers even more appealing. Unfortunately almost no TV channels in Estonia broadcast program codes :( (which makes VCR OCR also useless). Also, there isn't much to watch these days on TV :(.

    The second thing we noticed is virtual keyboards. A virtual keyboard is the kind of keyboard that can projected on any non-transparent surface and then your key-presses are being identified by internal camera/sensors. The whole packet is a bit bigger than a matchbox. Virtual keyboards are not so common as media centers. You may have seen these in future or technology homes or you might have even seen one as PDA accessory. The real benefits of virtual keyboard are its small size and that it can be used in dusty environments where normal keyboards are not available (like in kitchen on food preparation table - see The Tomorrows House).

    But that should not be the limit! Toomas (see dimm) suggested virtual screens. A matchbox sized device that can project the screen on any non-transparent surface. Combined with virtual keyboard we would have a PDA with full-sized screen and keyboard! What are the problems? Why hasn't it been made already?

    Toomas comes up with the need of energy. The device would use lots of energy (consider the energy your digital video projector consumes) and the batteries are not so good yet. Luckily, we came up with a solution to this problem. By sacrificing a bit of mobility we could plug the device directly into the houses power circuit. Either plug it in or install it on the ceiling like we install ceiling lamps (ceiling is especially good as you can't project anything on the table while the device is under/below it). That way we achieve mobility on any visible space (from the viewpoint of the device). Isn't it fun being able to pull "the screen" over the table to get some work done and push "the screen" onto the wall to watch a movie!

    Another problem in making these devices is the lack of projectors with enough precision, projection size (the projection has to be made to relatively small area) and mass (they are far overweight these days :p). And you couldn't read DVD-s with a matchbox either (it won't fit in), but you could use external bluetooth DVD reading an writing device. We assume devices like these matchbox like devices well be available in a few decades.

    So far we have only talked about projections on surfaces. Why can't we project right into the space? We know there are these "fog screens" hat project the image on fog. But they are really not so much different from ordinary screens and the image will always be "foggy" :D. So it is not a good solution.

    When talking about projections to space movies like "Star Wars" and "The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest" come straight to mind. They use light beams to project 3D object into space in these movies. It seems like this kind of solution does not work well (no to say it does not work at all) in real World.

    This time I suggest a different approach. If we could direct, position and control particles with enough precision and (virtually) independently from each other, we could use them to create a 3D image. Even more, we could make the image touchable and therefore manipulate with it with hands (or other solid objects). This way our hands won't get tired as they would if there was no contact with the objects. The particles could stay in the "box" (the future computer/screen and input device) and sent to the "screen" only when needed, returned when no longer needed on screen. So what stands on our way from building the device? (Just) our inability to move and position particles with the requires precision! But we are still learning and soon these problems could be solved. I would be very happy to see this kind of devices by he end of the century (unless earlier).

    The device discussed earlier would however have many other uses as well. By moving particles very close to each other, you could create physical objects by using the forces between particles (intra-particle forces?) just the way as our molecular printers do it nowdays (see Future Reader and Center for Responsible Nanotechnology). Think about an architect who saves his or her designs into "the box", takes it (and the necessary materials) to the construction site and "the box" projects (builds) the building (house) by itself. Construction would become much faster. The same method could be used to create oceans and colonize other planets. However, the transportation of all the materials would be extremely expensive.

    So the device has to be improved even more. We need the ability to disintegrate particles. For example transform the planets surface to materials needed for the construction of the colony. Create atmosphere, trees, bushes (note the small b! ;)), everything we could call the nature. Does it sound very utopic? Maybe, but we do have nano-level printers, soon we'll have atom level printers, finally we can probably even assemble (and disassemble) our own atoms. Still it seems this technology is far the most utopic of all the other technologies discussed here. We are still presented with two problems: 1) Where to get the energy from? 2)If we can use these technologies for easy construction, why we couldn't use them for easy destruction (ie. what happens if terrorists get access to the kind of technology?)?

    The firs question is easy one. We need to do some more research with batteries and power elements. Besides the first building we build on a new planet could be a power plant.

    The second question is trickier. Considered that particle-level forces are the greater the smaller the particles are, we can assume that generally construction uses much less energy than destruction and is therefore more expensive. But now, that is not going to stop anyone. Think about the easyness of robbing a bank. You just disintegrate the guards and the vault wall and there won't be anything to stop you then. But why would you rob a bank if you could just make anything you want anyways? I mean anything - gold, platinum, diamonds or even The Stepford Wives (now, who would want these at all?). And the destruction of the World would probably need even more energy than available in the World. And those, who try to limit the use of these construction-destruction devices, would most definitely be the first ones to be disassembled. So you must be even more careful not to upset your neighbors or there might not be a tomorrow for you at all.

    The rule of energy conservation tends to apply in most cases (in any case where energy can be defined/calculated), so we must be able to self-control the device to avoid harming ourselves. We have already developed lack of energy. Of course self-control means that our society has to evolve a lot as well (anti-leimers (a new word created by some Estonians to combine almost all sort of expressions that are not favorable to someone - the issue is very actual in Estonia right now because some parties are trying to press a law that would prohibit any "leim" and say that the ones to determine what is actually "leim", are also the interested parties) and central governments have no business in that society - individuals will be too strong/influential there).

    Now if you intend to bring some of these technologies to life, then contact me, I would be glad to help in any way I can. I believe Toomas would as well.

    Good night now!
    The visions where also on my Estonian blog.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: busy
    Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005
    6:30 pm
    Long time, no see

    When I wake up in the morning
    with the sun above my head
    I pull the blinds down slowly
    The room seems almost dead

    And I'm lonely, and I'm on my own again
    Yes, I'm lonely, and I'm on my own again

    I get up quickly,
    like a flash of light
    I put my clothes on,
    neat and right
    I work all day,
    I work at night
    When do I find out
    what I'm doing right?

    And I'm lonely, and I'm on my own again
    Yes, I'm lonely, and I'm on my own again

    The time has come
    when I need to change
    I don't know what to do
    I'm really restless
    My nerves are breaking
    The lying feeling's coming through

    And I'm lonely, and I'm on my own again
    Yes, I'm lonely, and I'm on my own again

    Julian Lennon - Lonely

    I hecen't had time to update my blog for quite a while. So time to catch up.

    It has been busy times for me. These master studies are tricky thing. You take less subjects and spend more time on them. So technically you will end up with less free time than in bachelor studies. Strange and deceiving I'd say ;). That is where most of my time is spent. And due to Elion made updating your pages tons more difficult (and especially time consuming, difficulty is mostly due to the nnew system still being under testing), I haven't had time and chance

    In the meanwhile one of my good friends was called to the army. The others played a soap to me. And it has been long since I last played Yatzee with actual real dice - at least till last week. Estonian laws are also getting more strickt - technically in the future you couldn't even risk hosting a blog or you might get sued for the posts and comments there. Also trying to effectively (and without significately losing in quality) compress MPEG-2 (SVCD) videos. I have already found quite good configuration for compressing mp3 audio and mpeg1 video. Also normalizing of wma files has been ann active issue lately.

    The next week tests are to be taken. This week raports are to be written. And most of the time I still spend documenting my Computer Graphics project (that lost one developer few weeks ago). However, the present documentation already has significately simplified developement process.

    And it seems I don't have much to say after all. Estonian IT security portal Securenet opened its forums few days ago. It also has improved much since September. Estonian freeware portal that I manage is becoming more and more popular. However, that brings he shortage of moderators and updaters/authors. We're still doing our best at keeping up the good work :).

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: lonely
    Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
    4:55 pm

    If you start me up
    If you start me up I'll never stop
    If you start me up
    If you start me up I'll never stop
    I've been running hot
    You got me ticking gonna blow my top
    If you start me up
    If you start me up I'll never stop
    You make a grown man cry
    Spread out the oil, the gasoline
    I walk smooth, ride in a mean, mean machine

    The Rolling Stones - Start Me Up

    AjaPiiraja 2

    Good old news to my English speaking friends! AjaPiiraja 2 is now available in English as well! AjaPiiraja is a timed action (shutdown) tool (it uses timer to initiate various actions). But it can also be used for much more than just a timer application. This is because of is wide range on options and ability to take parameters from command line. It is version 2.3 for AjaPiiraja by now and it is still being improved.
    As the program got started based on my own needs, it has followed probably the best path an utility program could. It has become surprisingly popular in Estonia (Estonian version is more than a year old). Anyways, if you need something like this, have a try with this.

    VabaVaraVeeb has reached 80,000 visits by now and the number of visits per week is still increasing. So are the number of programs, articles, comments and just about anything there.

    Can't be without Google one more day :(. As if not being able to actually find the Google (even on Google :p) was not enough, Googles (the ones who can't spell googol) World conquering plans are still drawing attention. I'll start by giving a link to a Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" parody "Everybody Wants a Google Shirt" by Steve Wolfman. Then we can continue to see Google fall as Yahoo takes over Web Library project as Google failed. Good for now, good for future.

    Microsoft made me happy by providing Developers ToolBar for Internet Explorer (beta still). So far the only bug I have seen is that the Ruler tends to appear after Shift+R is pressed on some text area input fields.

    What a surprise - a new club named DotNetClub has been formed in Tartu, Estonia. It is supposed to be all about Microsoft .NET Framework (which is not the only .NET Framework available). I guess the forming of the club has everything to do with Axinom becoming active in Estonia a year ago. Actually this is why I decided to use Rolling Stones "Start Me Up" as this posts song ("Start Me Up" was theme song for Windows 95 advertising campaign).

    Now, the time is running out and I must go (it is my first day posting at all :p). See you later.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: amused
    Wednesday, September 14th, 2005
    12:15 am
    What is Google? ("finding Google" on the World Wide Web)

    Spending my time, watching the days go by.
    Feeling so small, I stare at the wall,
    hoping that you think of me too.
    I'm spending my time

    Roxette - Spending My Time

    Yesterday at Cryptography class our tutor told us to search from Google for something (what exactly, I do not remember). So I decided to test tutors common knowledge by asking him "What is Google?". To my greatest surprise the tutor did not answer it directly, he just said "Search AltaVista for Google". I wonder did he know the correct answer or was he just using these "Do It Yourself" teaching methods. That is where the conversation ended. However, later I decided to have a look (just for fun), what do the search engines say, what is Google?. And the results were amazing.

    What Is Google - AltaVista

    Following the tutors advice the first engine targeted was AltaVista. I typed in the question and got following result. Wha does the first line - "Google Items - Shop eBay" - tell us? Google (or at least it's products or pieces of it) can be bought at eBay? So I went more deeply into that result and found lots of stuff about Google. For example: "Jolly Black Santa Candy Jar with Google Eyes Christmas" (something about eyes), "HOW TO GRAB TOP POSITION ON GOOGLE" (oh, can't think about it, especially considered what HowStuffWorks found out about Google), "casino gambling domain name YAHOO GOOGLE LISTED NoRes!!" (so, Google is in the gambling business? Being listed as casino gambling domain name? Or what are they selling there?) and "10 Easy Steps To Google [Video] Free Shipping" (seemed to share light on the mystery of Google, but was actually about "Friendly pages").
    Second comes a newsflash about "What I Did at Google's Summer of Code", which sounds like a movie title (and yes, I DO know what you did last summer).
    Third result is just another one of these fake results to search engines trying to make you use theirs instead (I really hate those links/results). Only this time the search engine (it is http://www.google.com by the way) linked to gives absolutely no results regarding "What is Google?" - I guess they were expecting me to enter the query to their box as well! Anyways, I didn't have time for that now, this search engine was scheduled to be the last one to have a try on (I decided to have a look on the preferred/suggested engined first).

    What Is Google - MSN Search

    Secondly I decided to have a look at my personal favourite - the MSN Search! The results were quite similar to the results of AltaVista. Actually I think they were exactly the same. I would also like to point out that no MSN Encarta result was given (generally you get a temporary free pass to encarta if you search for something MSN Encarta has article about).

    What Is Google - Ask Jeeves

    Third engine to show its wisdom was chosen to be Ask Jeeves as it has always been known for its good questions answering abilities. Actually it did get the best results. It gave 2 web answers, both of them were quite good. The first answer was: "What is Google? The most important Search Engine for the last 5 years. Millions of people use it every day to spot the best websites regarding the issue they are looking for.". Close, isn't it? But I really liked the second one: "Q: What is Google? A: Google is the world's largest distributed document management system++. " Funny, but actually closer to truth than the first one :). Cheers to Michael for this deep insight at understanding Google :).

    What Is Google - HowStuffWorks

    My friend suggested an engine he uses frequently. It is the engine at HowStuffWorks. Now there come interesting results: "How Wikis Work", "How Robots Work", "What Is An IPO", but also "How Viagra Works", "How Spam Works", "How Computer Viruses Work", "How Online Dating Works", "How M1 Tanks Work", "How Counterfeiting Works", etc. I do not think I want anything to do with someone or something, who or what has connenctions to Viagra, Spam, Viruses and Counterfeiting (People responsible for at least half of these tend to end up dead young or in prison), so it seems to be a good idea to keep away from whatever Google is!
    For reference I checked out what Microsoft has to do at HowStuffWorks: "How Planning An Online Business Works", "How Business Plans Work", "How Portable Media Centers Work", but also "How Computer Viruses Work", "How Spyware Works", "How Firefox Works", but no implications to Spam, Tanks, Viagra or Counterfeiting :D.

    What Is Google - Google

    Finally the Google engine! The results were again similar to the results of MSN Search and AltaVista. Just the first link to eBay was replaced with a link to Google Definitions. That gave quite a good answer as well: "Google, a popular search engine, is a tool for finding resources on the World Wide Web. Google scans web pages to find instances of the keywords you have entered in the search box.". Now we all know this is not the exact answer, but is close enough. Clicking on the dictionary we got more results for Google definitions. There are lots of rather strange or even absolutely wrong definitions, but the last three give the best idea about google. The last three are from wikipedia - generally a good source of information, but sometimes has fatal errors in its data. I'd like to point out the best one here: "Google, Inc. , is a U.S.-based corporation, established in 1998, that manages the Google search engine. Google is headquartered at the "Googleplex" in Mountain View, California, and employs over 3,000 workers. Google's CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt, formerly CEO of Novell, took over when co-founder Larry Page stepped down. ". But now, this is history noone really wants to know - we are searching for WHAT IS GOOGLE and what it is NOW!

    The real answer can be found here. Google as term:
    "Googol" is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The term was coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, and was popularized in the book, "Mathematics and the Imagination" by Kasner and James Newman. Google's play on the term reflects the company's mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the web.
    But the company itself defines it like this:
    Google is a public and profitable company focused on search services. Named for the mathematical term "googol", Google operates web sites at many international domains, with the most trafficked being www.google.com. Google is widely recognized as the "World's Best Search Engine" and is fast, accurate and easy to use. The company also serves corporate clients, including advertisers, content publishers and site managers with cost-effective advertising and a wide range of revenue generating search services. Google's breakthrough technology and continued innovation serve the company's mission of "organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful."
    This is also the page where to urn if someone tell you to search Google for something or someone. Finding something from Google can be tricky, at least trickier than finding someone of its more than 4,183 employees/personell, but those people in the list down there are probably in the best possible position to find anything on or in Google :).

    I hope you found finding Google useful. I consider it an example of todays search engines inability to give you any (credible and correct) answers showing us the importance of the human proficiency to surf for answers :). If you'd give a maschine the task of finding out what is Google, you'd probably end up with "something to do with Viagra, Spam, Tanks, Robots, Sewing Maschines, Counterfeit that can be bought at eBay" :p :D :D :D.

    Back to daily matters. Now, there is still one proof to come, but it is late so I'll postpone it. Have fun absorbing the new knowledge the beginning studying session brings :)!

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!



    Current Mood: exhausted
    Saturday, August 20th, 2005
    3:44 pm
    Joy To My English Speaking Friends!

    I know how to hurt
    I know how to kill
    I know what to show
    And what to conceal
    I know when to talk
    And I know when to touch
    No one ever died from wanting too much

    The world is not enough
    But it is such a perfect place to start, my love
    And if you’re strong enough
    Together we can take the world apart, my love

    People like us
    Know how to survive
    There’s no point in living
    If you can’t feel the life
    We know when to kiss
    And we know when to kill
    If we can’t have it all
    Then nobody will

    The world is not enough
    But it is such a perfect place to start, my love
    And if you’re strong enough
    Together we can take the world apart, my love

    I...i feel sick
    I...i feel scared
    I...i feel ready
    And yet unprepared

    The world is not enough
    But it is such a perfect place to start, my love
    And if you’re strong enough
    Together we can take the world apart, my love

    The world is not enough
    The world is not enough

    Garbage - The World Is Not Enough

    Good news to my English speaking friends! I have once again made my personal web page understandable to readers who don't understand Estonian, but do understand English. Yes, I have added an English section to my web page! The section features the overview of my Estonian page (told in story like manner). Now I'll be accessible to most of the World. But there is still a lot to do as "The World Is Not Enough" and it never will be!

    Strange things are happening. I thought it would be a good idea to check out new talents by listening to the radio. But you know what? I already seem to have most of the good songs played on radio, so it seems like they are playing back my own audio collection :S (with some exceptions). Have you ever felt the same?

    Oh, and the proofs. Now the second one. About the probability. Well, every 3-6 months you can read articles about varierty of human beings. I do not remember the exact numbers but (in the matter of love as chemical reactions) there are supposed to be more than 10 000 different types of man and 100 000 different types of woman (for passion these numbers were about ten times smaller). Now we can see, that about every 1 000 000 000 th (billionth) person you meet is a potential perfect match (and I really would not like to settle for less ;)). Now, in the world there are about 7 billion (6,5 billion was last time media made fuss about it) human beings on Earth. That means there are only about 7 (probably less) persons that could be my perfect match (actually less than 4 as only about half of the people are women). Now, the chance of me meeting any of these 4 is as you can see extremely low (with my best luck I will meet a bit more than million people during my lifetime (there are only 1.4 million people in Estonia, but I do go abroad), so lets be optimistic and say I will meet 2 million people during my lifetime). The chance of any of these 4 being among these 2 million is about 2 000 000 / 7 000 000 000 * 4 ~ 1/1000 (as said both 2 million and 4 are bigger than actual numbers). So let's make another extra optimistic premiss that whenever you are near your perfect match, you will always (for some chemical reasons) notice her/him. But we must also keep in mind the age: among the 7 billion people are also children and really old (and even dying) people, who are either not mature enough (in matter of love/body chemistry) or are not available due to high age. so we can most definitely say, that at least quarter of humanity is like that and chances of having a perfect match decrease to 1/4000. Also we must take into account that you are not the only perfect match so you must beat the other three matches as well (in matter of time at least) lowering the chances to 1/16000. Now 0.00625% chance of being lucky is very low chance and by most statistical methods you can say it is impossible. Well, the good side is that this works for everyone! This means that less than 437 500 persons on Earth actually find and have the chance of perfect love :D, too bad that my chances are so low (chances of anyone to find his/her perfect love are about 0.00625%).

    As said the chances of achieving the aim are really low - about 0.00625% - , but this does not mean it is totally impossible (remember "Never Underestimate The Impossible!" post). Maybe I and my chosen one will be two of these lucky 437 500 people :). And a message to these 437 500 persons:
    Hold on to your true love as you one of the lucky chosen ones to ever have one!

    Also some notices of my deeds. I improved Windows Media Attribute Editor to be more user friendly. I also added more descriptions of attributes. I split the project into 3 versions - Lite, Home and Pro where Lite is simple strings editor, Home offers more control over media types and has some more improvements and Pro will offer complete control. The trick is that this project takes my time (and other resources) and therefore I'll be needing some "support"/"donations" in exchange of Home and Pro ;).

    I also decided to make my blog disclaimer a bit shorter (as it was really long). Here comes the brief version.

    This blog is for fun and information about my projects and experiences with different technologies (and some highlights of media). You should never take everything you read here too seriously, after all "The Show Must Go On"!

    Bye, see you in your blogs and new entries :)!



    Current Mood: giggly
    Friday, August 12th, 2005
    11:13 pm
    Never Underestimate "The Impossible"

    Unsinkable ships sink
    Unbreakable walls break
    Sometimes the things you think could never happen
    Happens just like that
    Unbendable steel bends
    If the fury of the wind is unstoppable
    I've learned to never underestimate
    The impossible

    Joe Nichols - The Impossible

    AS you probalbly already know an "unsinkable" helicopter sank near the coast of Estonia. At least the officials said it was supposed to be unsinkable (it should have stayed floating on water on its "air pads"). But it did sink. And now the rescuers have "lost" one of the copters pilots too - strange, isn't it? Especially considered that the Media said the rescuers started surfacing the bodies starting from the front of the copter (the pilots seats).

    But this accident remindid me of one of the songs I had: Joe Nichols "The Impossible". In the song there is "unsinkable ships sink", while copter isn't quite a ship, the resemblance is very distinct. And yes, it seems that in so many ways in so many places events we consider impossible actually do happen (remember The Titanic?). All it takes is a bit different approach to destroy everything we know and believe in (can you believe - years ago noone believed that humen could fly!). And that brought me back to my three proves giving a new hope. It seems that no matter how many times or ways you prove anything, there is almost always a chance you are wrong and "the impossible" happens.

    So I was thinking maybe my proofs are no as solid as they seem to be. So I am going to try to find any flaws in them. I also thought it would be a good idea to share those proofs in case someoone gets stuck in exactly the same problems. Here comes the first and the simpliest one.

    If I were to really get interested in someone to the point of really caring about her best, what would happen (what would be the right thing to do)? Now, I would not try to make her become interested in myself, as by doing that I would distract her from finding her best (because there is no way to be sure I am the best for her). In fact any kind of attention from her side would contradict with my wish for her happiest and most fulfilling life. But now if for some odd reason she becomes sure that I am good enough for her and starts paying attention to me, then can I really be sure she is the one for me? No I can't. And therefore there is a risk of hurting her in case someone other draws my attention, which is also a contradiction to my wish for the best for her. So there is no way I could find a girlfriend without risking with her satisfaction, happyness and fulfilment, and therefore my happyness. In fact the total loss in case of failure would be much greater than the suggested profit. And taking such a great risk (in theory he chance of success is less than 1/10000) is extremely unlikely (you'd have to be completely out of your mind with those chances to take the risk).

    I think I have found a weak spot in this proof. You see, this proof assumes the presence and effect of moral values. However, moral values are all artificial, created by humen to aid the ones in high position in the task of controlling those vast human resources (moral values were a kind of like early laws), and therefore nature knows nothing of them. And as love and passion are proved to be results of chemical reactiong designed by the nature, moral values can have no effect on them. Which also explains why love is stronger than any laws or even religion - it just is so basic ("instinct" :p).

    I will leave my other proofs for next entries. All I'll say is that one of these is statistical (probability of meeting and noticing the right one) and the other is contradiction in what I would like my girlfriend to be like.

    But undermining proofs isn't the only thing I did. I also converted my cassettes (MC) into wma-s. It took me three full days to do that. Also, Windows Media metadata turned out to be so powerful that I decided to create a Windows Media Files Attributes Editor. At this moment it features ability to change and add String type values and has descriptions of 57 predefined Windows Media attributes built-in (WM SDK 9.5 defines 119 different attributes). The program is available in English and Estonian and supports all Windows Media formats (like wma, wmv, asf, ...). You can actually view mp3 format attributes (ID3 and ID3v2 tags) too, but you can't edit them. You can get the program by e-mailing me.

    Now some words about this blog. This blog is mainly for turning attention to what is going on in this World, spiced with some ideas and toughts about interesting questions (something you could probably find in "Explaining Things Very Badly" community in Orkut) with information about developments in VabaVaraVeeb and information about other projects I have taken time and interest into, in a nice sci-fi flavoured fantastic add-ons to make reading it a bit more pleasant than reading another one of those computer geeks blogs you encounter every day. The idea is to present things and information in a fun way - like an read-only show. After all, "Life Is A Show" of our lives and "The Show Must Go On". So do not take everything here very seriously, there is entertaining part included as well (though must of it is serious). I really enjoyed Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson so you'll get quite a good idea what is entertainment in my opinion.

    That's all folks! At least for today. Till the next entries, bye!



    Current Mood: calm
    Friday, July 29th, 2005
    6:41 pm
    Somewhere Out There

    Down here in the atmosphere
    Garbage and city lights
    You gotta save your tired soul
    You gotta save our lives
    Turn on the radio
    To find you on satellite
    I'm waiting for the sky to fall
    I'm waiting for a sign
    All we are is all so far

    Our Lady Peace - Somewhere Out There

    Back in the blogging business ... after about 3 weeks now :p. It seems I prefer to make longer now and then rather than short posts all the time. It also gives much better view for the song lyrics I accompany my entries with :D. Hope you like them :). But well lets see what has been going on Somewhere Out There.

    Meanwhile I visited lots of interesting sites on the web. For example Feature Films at Internet Archive. There are lots of interesting movies - so far I have seen "My Man Godfrey" (I really liked it - it was fun to watch), "The Phantom Planet" (I couldn't understand "so bad that you have to see it" before seeing it - it really is so bad you must see it), "Happy Go Lovely" (really good movie with some really good actors), "Plan 9 From Outer Space" (can't find it any longer). I also noticed Microsofts new campaign at Escape Yesterworld. Microsoft has renamed its Longhorn to Windows Vista, but will it be final? A company called Vista seems to object that, maybe.

    I also took time to look at Firefox's addon HTML Validator. First it seemed to be a good thing but then I found many things that really bothered me. For example it says HTML elements TABLE attribute width is properitary, which it is not - W3C HTML Specification Recommendation has this attribute. Also it does not understand length expressed in any other way than pixels (without px added to the number) including percentages. As if it was not enough it also has no knowledge of data sections or commentaries. I believe it also allows some non-recommended and not standardised constructions so it is really useless if you want to check your page for validity. Use of W3C-s validator is of much better use W3C HTML Validator. Also good news to developers actively using XML based technologies like XSL, XQuery and XML - Altova has released a FREE XML validating parser, XSLT 1.0 and 2.0 engine and XQuery 1.0 engine as AltovaXML! I have been using their XMLSpy for quite a long time now and I am very happy with it :).

    VabaVaraVeeb also suffered from some strange bugs that have been removed by now - it is now on version 0.99.10 (0 = pre-final-release (meaning there is still something to do to reach the level originally proposed), 99 = number of "features" added since last milestone release ("final" release), 10 = number of updates or bugfixes since last feature added). We might be needing a new server soon. I hope we will get ourselves going by that time so we can get our own (virtual) server for that. Estimates say we are already using 6.5 GB of bandwidth.

    And about making those 1/1000000000000 probabilities to use - I have stared writing a miniature neurofarm application. Also it turns out that computers have already been used to predict crime. Let's just hope the "Minority Report" scenario won't become true. Americans have taken it quite seriously. See precrime (citizens for a murder free America) site for more.

    Japanese have once again managed to create a superb robot, this time called Repliee Q1. The most stunning feature of this robot is its looks - it looks like a (young) woman. Click on link to see images and videos of it. In addition Toyota has shown its new Personal Mobility Vehicle. Have a look at CNNs videos to see it in action.

    Microsofts Virtual Earth was also fun to see, they even had Estonian towns there. Though newer photography would be appriciated. Having Apple's building missing and WTC towers intact is really confusing. Start.com was also interesting, though I couldn't get it to work correctly - instead I was sent to MSN Search.

    Now some words about this blog. This blog is mainly for turning attention to what is going on in this World, spiced with some ideas and toughts about interesting questions (something you could probably find in "Explaining Things Very Badly" community in Orkut) with information about developments in VabaVaraVeeb and information about other projects I have taken time and interest into, in a nice sci-fi flavoured fantastic add-ons to make reading it a bit more pleasant than reading another one of those computer geeks blogs you encounter every day. The idea is to present things and information in a fun way - like an read-only show. After all, "Life Is A Show" of our lives and "The Show Must Go On". So do not take everything here very seriously, there is entertaining part included as well (though must of it is serious). I really enjoyed Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson so you'll get quite a good idea what is entertainment in my opinion.

    That's all folks! At least for today. Till the next entries, bye!



    Current Mood: confused
    Thursday, July 7th, 2005
    5:49 pm
    Oh this is great - Everything Needs Love

    *There's a sound I hear in the dark
    It's a secret that's sung by the vanishing stars
    The lonesome bird losing it's song to tears, whispers,
    "I was born to be remembered."

    As the voices rise and reach out
    Comes a ray of the sun through the blanket of clouds
    The crying sky unlocks the secret kept
    She calls the truth I've found always stay here in my heart*

    Everything needs love
    Everything needs love

    * repeat

    Breathe deep and listen to the raindrops
    Fly over valleys and the hilltops
    Glide down and dive into the ocean
    Let tides spill over your emotion

    Everything needs love

    * repeat

    Everything needs love
    Everything needs love

    MONDO GROSSO feat. BoA - Everything Needs Love

    It is summer here and noone seems to be interested in doing something useful (all are at sea or somewhere). Estonian communities and forums are losing their readers and writers (mostly writers), so it is really fun to see and read some international communities and forums.

    Otherwise, it has been really hot here - luckily we had a little thunderstorm yesterday too to cool things down (it was the only livable day this week :P). The only time to go out is really late or really early.

    There also happened some interesting things last weeks too. And also some things managed to catch my attention.

    One interesting thing in Tartu was Hanseatic Days last weekend. These were really interesting actually. And as this year they were international (almost all Hanseatic Towns were represented), there were really many foreigeners in Tartu too :D. And the shows were great both on water and on land. But you can't really descibe things like these well (languge prohibits us) so I'll stop here.

    VabaVaraVeeb got some pathes on itself :D. Andthe styles were altered to boost customizability. During altering the styles I was also very surprised to see that the stylesheet engine we are using is actually a lot more powerful than I first thought it is.

    I also boosted AjaPiiraja 2's usability by introducing intelligent options selecting. I hope people will like it :D.

    MSN Spaces really angered me today - I lost about 512 byte post there. So I had to retype most of it and of cause add the REMARK about that had happened.

    I also happened to read about how to identify a geek. One common one was: "You have no life, and can prove it mathematically". Well I haven't done that, nor tried. I believe proving "I have a life" would be much easier. So technically I am not a geek. It has been told that the same applies to engineers as well, so I can't be an engineer as well. But I have proven I shall never have a girlfriend in three different ways. So what makes that me be? Oh, and I also used statistical methods to prove that lottery winning numbers are not random - I proved it with p=1/1000000000000 (probability of mistake/error). Now, if only I could use this knowledge for some practical revenuess :P :D. More engineering fun for those interested :). Oh, Programmers too.

    This year I am going to have an entry exam a the university. Sudying for that has taken most of my ime the last weeks.

    I also decided bring you more joy by supplying full lyrics. I especially like the video for this song - if you are ever to be so lucky to see it, don't miss it.

    I especially like the title - "Everything Needs Love". It makes you think what is love and how to get it? Technically we do know that love is just some "chemistry" - hormones and stuff. But is that all and how to obtain it? And how to understand love? How do you know love - how do you "feel" it? How to identify the presence of love? Why do we need and want love? Why do we speak or do we not speak about love? What would happen without love? Maybe I am to find it out? Maybe not? Are ther too many question marks in my last paragraph? Aren't there just too many mysteries?



    Current Mood: distressed
    Sunday, June 26th, 2005
    12:57 am
    I just had to add this one

    The True You

    You want your girlfriend or boyfriend to be more open with you.
    With respect to money, you spend as little as possible.
    You think good luck doesn't exist - reality is built on practicalities.
    The hidden side of your personality tends to be satisfied to care for things with a minimal amount of effort.
    You are tend to think about others' feelings a lot, perhaps because you are so eager to be liked.
    When it comes to finding a romantic partner, you make opportunities to interact with many people through club activities or a hobby, then select someone you like.



    Current Mood: lonely
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