February 2008 Archives

Food shopping

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I'm quickly going to pop over to the supermarket to get some ingredients to prepare sushi tonight. A colleague from work said he couldn't find everything in his local supermarket, so I promised to get some stuff for him too : seaweed, Japanese rice vinegar, a bamboo mat to roll the sushi rolls, wasabi paste, and I'll get a couple of different brands of soy sauce for myself, as I'll be running out soon.

I'm looking forward to it already, drool!

Uh? Go figure

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Recently I've decided to shut my main computer down when leaving for work. Not only does it save the hardware, but it also saves a bunch of energy. When I got home today, I fired up the machine while heading over to the living room to greet Tai and play with him a bit. When I was done playing - he wasn't, lol - I started working on the computer not noticing anything weird. I logged in to Second Life and then it hit me that I wasn't hearing any sound. Not the gentle splashing noises of the waves breaking on the shoreline - I live in a tropical sim, remember? - nor teleporting, typing sounds. Strange! Maybe another SL problem? I fire up a video and get nothing. It plays for 2 seconds without audio, then freezes on video too.

Time to check some cables and connectors - I had already checked volume settings and such, in the odd case I clicked somewhere that I shouldn't have and changed some setting without realizing it - but they all appeared in order, and taking the 2 second play time before freezing on video too, it would suggest a driver or software issue, not hardware.

After stopping and restarting the Windows Audio Service in the control panel, I've got full audio capability again. I have no clue why it failed - the status was "started" - but stopping it and firing it up again solved things. In case it happens to you, you know where to look. Alternatively, reboot the machine completely. Or smack it on the side really really hard repeatedly, preferably when the disks are just spinning up. It won't make your audio work any better, but it'll reduce stress levels and make a loud "bang" noise, which beats silence, doesn't it? It may also result in the need to purchase a new computer, hopefully one that doesn't suffer from the sound of silence disease.

friedkitten - delivering content, always

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Here's a live version of Laïs performing "ni vandaag" in Utrecht, Hilda.

This morning as I was driving home, I noticed a couple of drivers making the strangest and most dangerous moves one can imagine. While I can understand being a bit sleepy still, I can't understand nor condone sheer stupidity.

My reply : The antidote

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Because I sometimes like to swim upstream when everyone is going downstream, here are some lyrics for February 14th 2008 :

Ik zien u zo graag
Ik zien u zo graag
Ik zien u zo graag
Maar niet vandaag

Later maar nie nu
Later maar nie nu
Later maar nie nu
Je ne peux plus

Hey gij, komt niet dichterbij
Blijft waar da ge zijt
Ga ver weg van mij

Techy update : patch time

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The Microsoft windows patches for the month are available, or should be very soon. Software affected includes Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft Word, VBScript, Microsoft Works and Office Publisher, as well as the windows TCP/IP stack, and some IIS vulnerabilities that allow remote code execution. Out of the 11 patches, 5 are deemed important, 6 are even critical. If you'd like to use your windows based computer relatively safely for the next couple of days, patch it now. According to the SANS institute, no exploits are publicly known, but I think it may be well under 48 hours before the first are in the wild.

Urgent action required

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I had hoped I could avoid posting urgent update news for a couple of days, but it seems nothing is safe these days. On tuesday, no less than 12 new patches for Microsoft Windows and related applications will be released, some will be rated critical and require patching asap.

Onto third party applications : Adobe has released updates for Acrobat and Acrobat Reader (the tool you use to open and read .pdf files). Unfortunately, the patches that close some vulnerabilities are only available for Acrobat Reader 8 and not Acrobat Reader 7. Exploits are in the wild and attack vectors right now include mass mailing as well as banners served on otherwise legit portals. My suggestion : update immediately to Acrobat Reader 8.1.2. While at it, make sure your flash player version is up to date as well.

Firefox was bumped to version 2.0.0.12 patching 10 issues of which 3 were deemed critical. Thunderbird patches are hopefully to follow soon. Update : according to one source (Hacker Webzine) version 2.0.0.12 is still vulnerable to some directory traversal exploit. Using the NoScript plugin would mitigate abuse till a new and better patched version appears, probably version 2.0.0.13.

If you have trouble keeping up with new releases or have no clue how to stay up to date or where to download, I'll once again suggest installing the Secunia Personal Software Inspector. Download from the secunia website : Secunia PSI.

Experimental/Evolution

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Last night I went out with J & M to see Laïs perform live. It was my first time seeing the ladies perform their magic live, and I was looking forward to it. No matter how many hours you've listened to their work on CD, a live concert is always a different experience. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

After meeting up with J & M we headed off to Mechelen for a nice dinner in D'Afspraak, a small bistro close to where the concert was taking place. A good meal of steppegras later, the clock had struck 20:15 and we headed out to the venue. When we arrived we found out that 20:15 was not the time to open the doors, but rather the time the support act started playing. J & M had already seen Maskesmachine on a previous occasion, but I hadn't. The name rang a bell, but that was about it. Both of them were not all that impressed with them last time, and the term "they suck" was mentioned quite a number of times. I wanted to see them anyway and with an open mind, so we snuck past the already closed doors and into our designated seats.

What can I say... Maskesmachine is experimental, strange, silly, yet they seem to enjoy themselves a lot. At certain times I felt I was watching ballet, then I was submerged into a wall of sound, with folk, jazz, some electro and rap influences. Maskesmachine reminded me of some Bjork songs, where sounds that are totally unrelated are mixed and piled on to of each other to create something new. If I was to get to know the band based on just their latest CD "Ge kun et", I probably wouldn't have been too impressed, but their live performance was just too energetic and joyful to forget like that. I kind of like silly music and pretty girls, and they got both bases covered. Douchke pakken?

After the support act, it was time for the main course : Laïs. I was told upfront that their latest CD was going in a very different direction then their previous work, but I hadn't heard it yet. Which was good, as it once again - just as with Maskesmachine - allowed me to sit down and enjoy the music open minded and without prejudice. The folk songs in old Dutch and French are not gone, but they have gotten a number of siblings with a more international sound in English. Instruments are increasingly used as well, and while they play a larger part in the body of the different songs, the angelic voices of Jorunn, Annelies and Nathalie remain the main ingredient : the most versatile, powerful yet delicate instrument of them all.

Those of you that have never really listened to Laïs before, may like this "The Ladies’ Second Song" album (their 4th already) because it's easier to get into. Listeners that are used to the older work may wonder what has happened for a moment, but will then realize that this still is Laïs, and that they have evolved. Where they were mostly folk, they now have added rock and electro to their mixture, delivering a yet unheard sound to their listeners and fans.

I recall listening to Douce Victime : at first I was shocked to hear how they had put that many French songs on the album, how their style had changed. After listening to the CD in the car for days - weeks even - it has become one of my favorites, and I see the same thing happening with The Ladies’ Second Song, no doubt about that.

(Added later) The Cat Power album "Jukebox" comes highly recommended by me as well. I'm listening to it as I add my review to this entry and am impressed. I think it's a superb album to listen to while using the ipod waiting for your train. It'll carry you away and take you onto a musical journey, yet drop you right back off where you started. Don't blame me if you miss your train though, blame Cat Power ;-)

Change vs Status-Quo

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I'm not an American resident, nor do I have a vote in US elections, but if I had, I'd lean very much to the side of this man : Barack Obama. I've been reading both the programs and ideas of Hillary, as well as Barack and think the latter would be the best choice overall. Now, let it be clear that both candidates make a lot of promises and that - as with every politician - it remains to be seen how much of their program they will remember when they are elected, but as that issue is equally present for all candidates, that doesn't influence the equation at all.

Apart from the fact that I think the current political system in the US lacks a lot - I think everyone should get up, register and vote. Not because I tell you to do so, but because you should realize that it is your future you can help shape.

Out goes old crap

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Spring clean continues I suppose : I've just killed off my long time e-mail address (which had evolved from @ping.be -> @pi.be -> @scarlet.be), which had gotten to the sad state of just being a spam magnet, but nothing else. I had that e-mail address since 1992 if I recall correctly, and had kept it on even though I moved ISP a couple of years ago. It no longer served a purpose, so I finally got rid of it.

The web space assigned to that ISP will shortly be killed off too, but at first sight, I no longer had anything on that server worth keeping anyway. All domains that were pointing there at one time were changed long time ago, either to my new ISP web space, or to servers in the USA.

Confused? Hardly

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On my playlist and blasting through the speakers right now (and on repeat even, lol) :

Jose Nunez feat. Taina - Bilingual (Dirty Mix)
Mega Mindy - Mega Mindy Tijd
Sint Andries MC's - 't Dialect
Klute - Tequila Slammer

Sheepish grin

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It's just past 6AM and I should have been sleeping I suppose. Instead I was awake, played games and cleaned out my computer and mailboxes. I can't think of any reason why I should keep mail dated 2005 any longer - it can't be that important, right? I also spotted a couple of mails I should answer so I may do that later today.

While deleting mails, I found an old mail about my EFF membership - that small EFF advocate badge that I got on my blog is not just eye candy - so I renewed it. I had planned to do that last year but probably overlooked it. That's all I've got to write for now...

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

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