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posts 82  comments 1859  trackbacks 5

Monday, 5 December 2005 #

Something to think about:

The following sentence is true.
The previous sentence is false.


posted @ 2:02 PM | Feedback (6)

Wednesday, 23 November 2005 #

STOP Blog Comment Spam

Blog comment spam has become a big problem around the globe. All kinds of ideas have been devised to try and stop it, including blacklists, banned words, removing hyperlinks and counting links.

One I’ve been using for a while, is a CAPTCHA control written by Miguel Jimenez called Clearscreen SharpHIP.  This control can be added to any .Text blog, or other ASP.Net based page. A couple of the properties didn’t quite work right for me, but playing with it got it working easy enough.

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. You can see it in my comments, and it tries to prevent a computer being able to automatically pass it’s test.

On my blog alone, this little test has stopped about 10,000 attempted spam comment posts in the last month. People are using automated programs with a list of harvested blog url’s, probably from search engines, then bouncing form posts off proxies, mainly in South America, to many pages in my blog within a few seconds. But the posted forms do not even try to guess the CAPTCHA value, so fail.

So I’ve blocked heaps of comment spam, now if only I could figure out a more reliable way to stop abusive comments.


posted @ 5:41 PM | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, 21 September 2005 #

Snow in Christchurch

It's been a remarkably warm and dry winter this year. Global warming must really be on the go!

 ..But we did finally get two whole days of winter, bringing a nice dump of snow to Christchurch and many other places around the country. I had to create an obligatory snowman on Kyriakos' balcony.



posted @ 5:07 PM | Feedback (5)

Friday, 16 September 2005 #

New Zealand 2005 Election

It's Election Day tomorrow in New Zealand. It's going to be a close run by all accounts.

I'm gunning for National to win. I like Dr. Don Brash, he comes across as a little naive in politics, which I think is a very strong point, we all know what real politicians are like!

Whoever you like, make sure you go out and vote, to have your say in how our country is run.



posted @ 1:43 PM | Feedback (1)

Friday, 5 August 2005 #

Home Theatre Shopping

I was recently shopping for a new set of speakers. I went around most of the audio shops in Christchurch, listening to various speakers. There are many good speaker brands out there.

I finally decided on getting a set of Paradigms from the Listening Post.

The Listening PostAny shop can sell you speakers, but it's how they deal with you after that is more important. I had a niggle with my surrounds, it really was not a major problem, but I like everything just so. The guys at the Listening Post truly went out of their way to make sure I was happy with my purchase, beyond what I would have expected from an audio shop. Well done!

Anyone shopping for Home Theatre in Canterbury, must go and see these guys!

Also, Paradigm speakers Rock!


posted @ 11:22 AM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, 14 July 2005 #

New Zealand Cricket Tour of Zimbabwe

There has been a bit of debate lately about the upcoming Black Caps tour of Zimbabwe.

On one side, NZ Cricket boss Martin Snedden has been adamant, that the tour would have to go ahead because of stiff financial penalties and contracts with the ICC (International Cricket Council). Meanwhile most New Zealanders seem against the tour because of the terrible human rights violations being committed by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's leader.

I think, that our sports teams should not be placed into a position where they have to make decesions on where they tour based on politics, they should be given guidance from above. The ICC, should have told us not to tour, it's very poor of them to stand back and do nothing. So that leaves the NZ government to step in. Our government should step in and stop any tour of a New Zealand representative team to places like Zimbabwe. For once the Green party have been pushing a good idea, with their idea of legislating against the tour.

We as a country must step up and stand against what we believe is wrong!


posted @ 7:32 AM | Feedback (4)

Friday, 17 June 2005 #

Get Outlook 2003 RPC Over HTTP To Remember Your Password

Outlook 2003 has a brilliant new feature that allows it to hook straight into your Exchange 2003 store from anywhere on the internet. It's called RPC over HTTP. This allows outlook to function remotely just as if you were inside your corporate network.

The biggest problem I've found when using this, is unless you logon at your home or remote computer using your domain credentials, it always asks you for your password. Clicking the Remember my Password box does not seem to save your password.

I looked around on the internet for a solution to this, but officially, the only supported configuration is to login with your domain account, which isn't exactly practical from say a home computer.



I sat down and finally figured this out. In short, the problem is, with a Front-end, Back-end Exchange layout, the client computer is not saving the password for the Front-end computer.

There are lots of articles on setting up RPC over HTTP on the internet, so I won't go over all of those, if you are getting the Remember my Password prompt in Outlook, then can access your mailbox, you are almost there.


Front-end RPC virtual directory  
  • Check that your Front-end Exchange server's RPC virtual directory is setup correctly:
    • You want to make sure you have a trusted SSL Certificate installed on the default web site.
    • Check the RPC's virtual directory's security. Integrated Windows Authentication must be selected.



  • On your client, you need to go into your Mail settings, then check your Exchange Proxy Settings.
    • Ensure that Connect using SSL only and Mutually authenticate the session when connecting with SSL are both checked on.
    • Enter in the Principal name for proxy server: in the msstd:frontend.domain.com format.
    • Select both the Fast and Slow settings.
    • Make sure the Proxy authentication settings is set to NTLM Authentication.


  • Now the real trick. Outlook will, when you select Remember my Password, store your password for the Back-end Mailbox server. But it does not save your password for the Front-end Proxy server.
    • Go into your Control Panel > User Accounts > Advanced > Manage Passwords.
    • Click Add, then type out the name of your Front-end server. This should be the same name as your SSL certificate on the default web site that contains the RPC virtual directory, put in your username and password.


That will prevent the password prompt reappearing again.


One thing to note: when you change your domain password, Outlook will re-prompt you for your password, Outlook will save it in your Managed Passwords, but again, only for your Mailbox server. You will need to go back into your Managed Passwords, and manually update the Front-end servers password.


  Mail - Exchange Proxy Settings

Stored Passwords


posted @ 1:21 PM | Feedback (115)

Friday, 1 October 2004 #


It was a fine and sunny day in Venice, Italy...

The 13th of September 2004 to be exact. I had bought Monique flowers in the morning. Then while wondering around we jumped in a Gondola. Before my nerves got completely out of hand, and she would guess something was up, I got down on one knee and told Monique just how much she means to me, and asked her to marry me. I gave her a ring she had previously said she liked and my life was changed forever.

We have since scoured Europe to find the perfect Diamond ring, finding one in London.

I Love Monique, and look forward to spending the rest of our lives together!

posted @ 2:42 PM | Feedback (18)

Monday, 16 August 2004 #

Seti@Home, setting up as a windows service

Seti@Home is a brilliant little project. It uses the spare cpu cycles of millions of computers around the world to search radio telescope tapes for a signal from aliens.

The project needs so many computers because the is a lot of data that needs crunching.

Seti@home has just recently switched over to the BOINC client. They are having a few problems, but I'm sure they will eventually smooth them out.

    My Old Client Stats


Running Seti@Home BOINC as a windows service

Running Seti@Home as a service allows it to run continuously in the background, with a priority of idle, even when you are not logged on to your computer.

The BOINC install does include a Command Line Interface (CLI), which allows setting up as a service, but  it will not allow you to set the -allow_remote_gui_rpc switch which is really handy to be able to monitor and control your BOINC and others on your network, using the great program BoincView.

So I recompiled the boinc_cli.exe program to always have the GUI RPC enabled,  and I also removed the application event log logging, which was logging far too much.

So, to setup Seti@Home as a service:

  • Download my (recompiled exe and source removed, out of date) (Version 3.2).
  • Signup for Seti@Home.
  • Download and install BOINC. When installing, do not set the autostart options.
  • Close the BOINC program.
  • Goto your BOINC direcory (c:\program files\BOINC\), and replace the boinc_cli.exe with the one I recomplied.
  • If you are running Windows XP or 2003, you need to give the Network Service user modify security permissions to the entire BOINC folder, this is because the service is installed as a Network Service.
  • Using a command prompt, goto your BOINC directory and run boinc_cli.exe, then enter in your account and ID informtion. 
    Press [CTRL] + Break to exit.
  • At the command prompt type: 
        boinc_cli -install
    This installs the service.
  • Download, run and add your computers to BoincView, this allows you to check the status and control Seti@home.



posted @ 4:13 PM | Feedback (6)

Friday, 23 July 2004 #

The speeding Prime Minister

All week on the media this week in NZ, there has been talk of the Prime Minister speeding in her motorcade to catch a plane to the rugby.

There has been outrage that Ms. Clark, in a rush, sped on her merry way, while the rest of the country is getting ticketed left right and centre.

While I don't agree with the way speeding is being targeted in NZ. I don't see a problem.

For a change, I'm not against our PM, I do think that being the PM does give you certain privileges, getting somewhere in a hurry is one of them. If the PM can't speed, (especially with highly trained police drivers), what can the PM do?


posted @ 6:48 PM | Feedback (1)

Friday, 18 June 2004 #

The Day After Tomorrow - Review (and the Greenhouse effect)

 First the movie: Fantastic special effects! I did really enjoy seeing New York destroyed, again! The LA scenes were well done as well. The biggest problem I kept thinking towards the end, was why is the father trekking into the city?! And how on earth do you move 100 million people into Mexico in 1 day?! Thou the trekking part was mint to be the emotional aspect of the son actually being able to rely on the farther for a change, but I just didn't feel it.

Scientifically, I think the basic facts are actually correct. The biggest flaw in the movie is the speed which it all happened in, over a period of a few days!

The Greenhouse Effect

The movie is brilliant at opening up discussion on the greenhouse effect, even if it doesn't strictly stick to the facts. Although, the slowing of sea currents is a possible effect of global warming, and would create extreme weather.

Realistically changes would take a few years, not days. Even though that still seems fast, some scientists agree that once you reach a critical point, changes in the earth's climate can occur very quickly.

I myself have been umming and arring about the greenhouse effect theory. Checking geological samples, you can see changes in the climate in the past, and how it occurs in cycles. Technically, the earth is still on the tail end of an ice age (as there is still open ice at both of the poles), and you would be expecting it to continue to get warmer, as we move out of our current ice age. Thus, is the greenhouse effect not actually caused by anything we are doing to the planet, but a natural progression of the cycle?

Seems reasonable, until you start doing some of the maths, and since the industrial revolution, when we started burning coal in quantities, the rate of change of the earth's temperature has increased beyond the increase we would expect from the natural cycle of the planet! Although not everyone agrees on this, after reading up on it, I now believe this is so.

Effects of global warming are not just getting hotter, but also:

- Heat waves, droughts, less snow on mountains.
- Increased evaporation and precipitation due to the higher energy of the atmosphere, which will result in more frequent and extreme weather events.  
-Sea levels will go on raising, flooding low lying areas, and causing major problems on some islands in the south pacific.

The Kyoto Protocol is a great step for countries to slow down our changes to the earth's atmosphere. But unfortunately, the US refuses to ratify it! With the US being the largest contributor to greenhouse gases, this is a huge disappointment. The US also has one of the strongest economies, can it not spend money on trying to reduce problems? Instead of running around like the worlds sheriff, basically to ensure they can continue to get cheap oil in the future?

As stated in the movie, the costs of not trying to prevent massive climate change, would be much higher than trying.

I haven't provided any links, but a search on Google on 'greenhouse effect' or 'global warming' will keep you reading for days.

This is a fascinating subject, it's a shame it could have such dramatic effects, for us, or our children.


posted @ 11:58 AM | Feedback (8)

Secret Window - Review

 Another Stephen King book movie. I think that the adaptations of his books are really starting to wear thin. Johnny Depp does try (judging by your comments on my Pirates review, his is well liked), but even his acting cannot bring this film out from averageness. It wasn't frightening and lacked depth. But it did tie up nicely at the end.


posted @ 11:51 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, 10 March 2004 #

Timeline - Review

 Based on Michael Crichton's book. Mediocre movie, nothing really stood out as bad, just a bland and never took hold. I think the storyline had potential to have made a much better film!


posted @ 7:38 PM | Feedback (2)

Wednesday, 18 February 2004 #

Rebel Sport Super 12 2004

I'm not going to make any predictions, since I got them so wrong with the world cup, just:


and Bring Back Merts!


posted @ 9:05 PM | Feedback (2)

Thursday, 5 February 2004 #

Dr. Don Brash Calls for One People

The leader of the National Party Dr. Don Brash last week called for New Zealand to become one people, not seperated into Maori and Non Maori.

I think, good on him, it's about time someone stopped tiptoeing around, being stupidly 'polictically correct' and said the right thing! Why should Maoris get payouts, and scholarships to school (even if you are only 1/100th Maori, and look as white as a englishman) while the rest of us don't?!

Waitangi Day will be a trying time for Dr. Brash, but I think he will get the support of the coutry with his bold moves!


posted @ 2:15 PM | Feedback (355)

Cold Mountain - Review

Cold Mountain is a moving star studded movie set in the American Civil war. Well acted and entertaining.

I had to look up what the Civil War was all about. If you don't know: it was between the northern and southern states. It all started when Abraham Lincoln became president and the northern states wanted to abolish slavery, while the southern states didn't. The war was the northern yankee states stopping the southern confederate states from forming their own country. The yankees won.

A good movie, which may pick up an academy award, but isn't overly memorable in my mind. It traces the strugle of a deserter struggling to get back home to his girl, and her strugle without him.

Don't be fooled, he doesn't die as easily as you might think!


posted @ 2:02 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, 28 January 2004 #

New Virus Spreading like wildfire.

The MyDoom virus, which has today just started hitting peoples mailboxes. This virus is also known as W32.Novarg.A@mm or WORM_MIMAIL.R.

This is the fastest propogating virus ever. My systems have deleted hundreds of copies of it today alone. It opens up your computer to remote control, and is set to launch an attack against SCO on Feb 1.

Be carefull opening mail which contains techincal looking text, such as:

The message contains Unicode characters and has been sent as a binary attachment.

The message cannot be represented in 7-bit ASCII encoding and has been sent as a binary attachment.

DO NOT open up the attachment! To be safe, update your virus scanners defninitions and scan your computer.

More info and cleaning instructions at:
Trend Micro



posted @ 5:38 PM | Feedback (0)

Sunday, 18 January 2004 #

How To: Fix Windows Built in Defragmenter

Restore the Windows Defragmenter
              (Windows XP / 2000 / 2003)

Windows Disk Defragmenter

I've seen on several computers where the built in Disk Defragmenter not longer runs correctly. This often happens when you install a third party defragmenter like Diskeeper, then on uninstalling, it does not restore the built in one correctly.







Snap-in FailedSome of the problems you may encounter are, a box like the one shown here

Snap-in failed to initialize,
CLSID: {43668E21-2636-11D1-A1CE-0080C88593A5}

 when you try to run windows defrag, or other times, the defrag window will show up, but the analyze and defragment buttons will do nothing.



The solution is actually quite simple. You need to re-register the defragmenters snap-in files, and the basic registry entries.

  • First open up a Command Prompt, this can be found at: 
        Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt

  • Change into your windows\system32 directory. Your windows directory will be either windows or winnt. Type:
        cd \windows\system32

  • Register the defrag components, by typing:
        regsvr32 dfrgsnap.dll
        regsvr32 dfrgui.dll

    Register Defrag Components


  • At this stage, you may find the defragmenter works. If not, there is one more step you can do.

    Using Windows Explorer browse to your windows\inf folder.
    In there you will find a file called dfrg.inf right click this file, and select Install.
  • Done!


UPDATE (21 July 2006):

John B left a comment below that is helping a lot of people, I've copied it up here to make it easy to find. Basically, make sure you have a paging file.

Anyone getting the "Disk Defragmenter Could not start" message and on Windows XP Home This is what worked for me. Go to Control Panel, Select System and select the Advance Tab. Now Select Settings Under Performance and again select the advance tab. Under Virtual Memory select Change. Make sure that the Paging File Size for selected Drive for the Drive partition you want to Defrag has either a custom at least 2 times the amount of installed RAM if the space is available or is set to System Managed Size. Once I did this Defrag started working again. I don't know how the Page file got turned off on my system but this has been driving me mad for months!! Hope it helps someone else out there !!!

John B :)

posted @ 1:25 PM | Feedback (533)

Monday, 12 January 2004 #

The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King & The Two Towers

I have held off reviewing The Two Towers until I had let it sink in. I even went to the theatre twice, because I fell asleep the first time. Well it's been over a year since then, and I still don't feel much for it. It did have spectacular viewing moments in it, but the whole movie just dragged on and on and on, building up to the one cool war scene.

The Return of the King is much along the same line as The Two Towers, much too long, but with wonderful cinematography in places. The second movie should have had an hour cut from the middle, with the third one an hour less at the end.

I do hope moviemakers don't jump on the bandwagon of making a movie long, just for the sake of being long, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy is. Over 3 hours is just ridiculous!

posted @ 4:24 PM | Feedback (3)

Monday, 5 January 2004 #

The Earth is Spinning Faster

There was no leap second added at the beginning of 2004!

This is a sign that the Earth's rotation is currently a little faster than expected. In modern times, a leap second is needed every 500 days or so. This keeps our atomic clocks in sync with the earths rotation, which is slightly longer than 24 hours.

But the last leap second we had was at the beginning of 1999. Scientists are a little puzzled by this. In general the earth is slowing down it's rotation. Some theories to account for the current speed up are: position of other planets in our solar system, and current weather changes.

Maybe Global Warming is causing more change to our Earth than I thought!

References / more reading:
Discovery Channel
International Earth Rotation Service (Bulletin C)
About the Earth's rotation and the Moon slowing it down

posted @ 5:05 PM | Feedback (26)

Wednesday, 24 December 2003 #

Christmas Crackers

Merry Christmas Everyone, and Happy New Year!

How to win a Christmas Cracker Pull:

  • Use two hands
  • Pull your end downward slightly
  • Use a smooth pull, no snatching
  • Do not twist your end

This is according to the latest research from the UK, Good Luck!


posted @ 10:29 AM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, 16 December 2003 #

Good year for New Zealand Music

At the moment New Zealand music artists are holding 6 of the top 10 positions for record sales, here in NZ.

Judith Tizard, Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, says that piracy and copying of CD's is costing the music industry $40 million a year.

She may be right, but perhaps a politician is looking at this all backwards? Perhaps NZ artists are selling so many albums because of the extra exposure they receive from people sharing music. You download part of a song, like it, then buy the whole album. Perhaps the industry would be out of pocket by $40M if there was no sharing??

But who is to say for sure?


posted @ 5:30 PM | Feedback (0)

Saturday, 13 December 2003 #

The Cleaners are on Strike in Christchurch!

The Mayor of Christchurch Gary Moore called the inner city street cleaners to strike this morning. Mr. Moore had been receiving a lot of complaints that the city had too much rubbish everywhere, and that the council was doing nothing about it.

So Mr. Moore told the cleaners not to clean this morning. Of course the city was a mess. Many of us have been out late and seen the rubbish strewn around everywhere. For some reason, unknown to me, Christchurcheans like to leave KFC boxes on the pavement after drinking. The cleaning crews are seen out at about 5am shining up the city, before most wake up, ready for the day.

The cleaning crews do a great job! They do not get enough credit for what they do each morning. I say, good on Mr. Moore for proving his point, that most of the rubbish is being looked after!



posted @ 7:15 PM | Feedback (2)

Thursday, 11 December 2003 #

Michael Jackson Allegations

Michael Jackson has been all over the news, again, the last few weeks, for all the wrong reasons. Another allegation of child abuse has been layed against him.

I don't know any of the parties involved, in any way whatsoever, so my take may be completely wrong. But, I think these charges are bollocks! I recon it's just another childs parents wanting a bit of fame and fortune! Michael Jackson is just getting caught up in it because of the money he has, and his extreme kindness to children, which might border into being politically incorrect. But then again, I don't think I'm allowed to breath deeply without being un-PC in someones mind!


posted @ 4:58 PM | Feedback (264)

Monday, 8 December 2003 #

Echinacea may not be all it seems

Echinacea has been all trendy lately for it's supposed immune system boosting properties, but it may not actually do anything.

Two recent studies show that Echinacea does absolutely nothing to reduce the length of time it takes for a cold to run it's course. Basically it does not help you when you are sickly.

Beware what you read on the side of Vitamin bottles, it's not always proven!


posted @ 7:51 PM | Feedback (0)