Archive for September, 2011

Social networks take a huge part of the online activities of many people nowadays. They have envolved over the years.

Back in 2000, a site launched. A first generation social network. Basically, you made a profile, and you had to enter your profile text with plain html code. Very basic, and one of the problems with this site, in my experience, was, users adding browser-specific html. Please note, this was early 2000’s and Internet Explorer was in it’s 5.x series…

Later, MySpace rose to be the popular site in my country. Using myspace, users customised their profiles with css code, and, for some reason beyond me, creating unreadable profiles with text in the same colour as their background image.

Again, local to my country, Hyves became popular. This site also offers the possibility to customise a profile, creating the same unreadable profile problem, however, it offered a button to switch to default colours, reducing the profile a bit.

And now, facebook is gaining popularity. The advantages of facebook is that it doesn’t offer these customisable colour schemas and stuff like that.

Facebook has changed over the years, and continues to change. Facebook has been criticised for it’s privacy policy. I must say, the options to specifically share content with certain users has improved lately.

I will admit, I have had these ideas before facebook had them, and planned to implement them to my own BlaatSchaap website.

I wish to combine some aspect of the current MySpace and Facebook. The MySpace v2 layout, allows the users to add content blocks to their profiles. I wish to create a profile with those content blocks, for which per block, a langauge and a access list is assigned. This way, only the allowed users who can read the language the content is in will bee it. Well… this has been implemented in the pre-alpha blaatschaap live.

However, another thing on the area of social networks has recently gained my attention. Diaspora. Diaspora is an open source, decentralised, social network. ( The main pod isn’t taking registrations yet, but there are many community run pods open for registrations.

The layout is basically facebook. Photo albums are not supported yet, and access lists seem only to be allow lists, and there are no block lists. There is one field for a profile text, much like facebook. Like I have pointed out, I would like multiple fields in there, in my own site.

Well… diaspora is a decentralised network, which means it communicates with other sites running diaspora, but possibly also other websites if they can communicate using the same protocol. Which means, it might be possible to develop a BlaatSchaap site that can be integrated into the diaspora network.

After my server problems, I have decided I might do a clean install. I have considered installing Diaspora on it instead. But… my ideas for sharing content, and the way I manage it’s access, are a little more complicated then what diaspora implements now (or facebook had a few years ago). I haven’t yet looked at the communication protocol for diaspora pods, and I don’t know what impact this protocol has to my suggested features. I should also investigate how I can manage the access of content by external users.

But… in the end… it’s not (only) the site that makes a social network to a success, but it’s users. Nowadays, many of my online friends use Facebook. That’s why I am mostly on that social network. It’s about the people, not about the site.

The BlaatSchaap community is too small, to make the site great. Perhaps integrating it with the Diaspora network might improve it a bit. But Diaspora is new and small too…. but all the diaspora sites on different hosts integrate into one big network, just like XMPP (Jabber) runs on many servers, but you can send instant messages across the different servers.

Anyways… these were just some thought on social networks. I realise I haven’t mentioned Google+. I have noticed some people disabling their Facebook accounts, moving to Google+. Well… Google isn’t famous for their privacy policy either, so if that’s your reason it doesn’t make sense whatsoever. To those people who are concerned about their private information to advertisement companies should consider using a diaspora pod.

It seems my server has been up for three days now. Not that I have seen any mail from OVH, nothing. Well… it’s running. So I *can* update the DNS to point at the old server again.

However, it might be wise to perform a clean installation of that server? And at least make a backup for now. I should look at the possibilities of an automated backup to a different server too.

Perhaps I should spend some time coding/scripting again? But what direction to go? Some of my ideas, which I had planned to implement, to make something different from existing sites, are being implemented by the sites like facebook. so… what direction to go? And should I even continue the current project, or start something completely new? And if so, what should it be?

So… I’ve installed Windows 8 Developer Preview on my desktop machine. And, like usual for Windows installation programs, it overwrote my MBR with it’s own code, overwriting my Acronis OS Loader code. Unfortunately I don’t have the installation CD by hand, but I remembered it wrote it’s to an SD card. So, Windows 8 still offers to create an MS-DOS boot diskette when selecting the format option on a diskette. So, there we go, activate the boot loader again.

Windows 8 Developer Preview didn’t complain about being installed on a drive not being the primary master, and it booted itself fine with it’s own bootloader. What it fails at is, listing otehr operating systems, even Windows operating systems, (there were 4 of them on the primary master) Well…. it seems Windows 8 Developer Preview has put it’s complete bootloader in the MBR, and none in the boot sector of it’s partition, causing the OS Selector to fail at booting it. Well…. at least… that’s my “diagnose” for now. I guess I will have to play around with booting from the cd in rescue mode, get a command line and force it to write it’s boot code to the correct partition.

Windows 8 behaves like it’s the only Operating System on the machine, completely ignoring even previous versions of the Windows Operating System… and being booted by a third party OS manager, which is required when trying to set up a multi boot since it didn’t offer this option itself, also fails.

The blaatschaap server has been down since yesterday 22:30.I have been a quite stupid system admin, who in stead of shutting down his laptop, shut down his server. A not so smart action. Anyhow. At first this issue seemed to have caused a downtime of just half an hour, the time it took to go home, logged in to the web interface and booted up the server.

However, during the night, the server had been rebooting a couple of times, and it seems to be stuck in a continuous reboot loop for some reason. The configuration hasn’t changed or anything, just a reboot, and now it’s acting up like crazy. I have contacted the server company about this issue.

Now, please keep in mind, a few months ago, one night, the server was rebooted for no apparent reason, and back then I contacted the server company and they claimed they didn’t do it either.

Anyhow… A temporary server has been set up, thanks to my friend Pieter. I spend two hours configuring some basic stuff. For now, at least I will be capable of receiving emails on my email address, and there is an IRC server running again on

So, I have also installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview on my desktop machine. This is an AMD Athlon64 3000+, so I’ve installed the 64 bit version.

On this version the Metro version of Internet Explorer does start when I click it. Does it only work on the 64 bit version, or is something else wrong?

Well… some more testing is required on the Desktop version of this OS.

Say hello to Windows 8 Developer Preview. I’ve installed it to my netbook (MSI Wind U100) last night. Yes, literally night… I think it was somewhere between two and three. lol

First having some problems, unrelated to windows. It seems, my external dvd drive refused to read the discs burned with my laptops internal dvd drive.

After fixing that problem… the installation dvd booted fine. I have installed the 32 bit version, since this model of the Atom CPU doesn’t support
64 bit. So… the installation program is quite similar to the Windows 7 installation, so I won’t spend much on that.

The first boot, took some time, saying things like building registery and preparing. Well… after some waiting… it was finished. So first thing to happen is asking for a computer name, and wifi setup. It worked immediately, so the driver for my wifi card was included on the installation media. Nice. After my connection worked, it asked for a Passport account, or… it’s called different nowadays, isn’t it? A Live account? Anyways, the thing you use to log in to MSN Messenger, (which nowadays is called Windows Live Messenger, isn’t it?) Whatever! Renaming the beast doesn’t make it a different animal! To me, it’s still MSN Messenger and a Passport account. Enough details. So… what it means, my windows login password is that of my passport account, and it also shows the name and photo I’ve used for my passport account on screen.

So, it shows the new start menu. So this is the Metro interface everyone is talking about? Well… First thing I tried was the control panel. So it lists a few options, and at the bottom it says for more setting use the desktop control panel, which refers to the control panel as it’s available on Windows 7.

This is where I shut my computer down yesterday, as it was getting late. Like I said, it was 3 or so, when I went to bed.

So, today I’ve booted the netbook… and it booted up really quick. This new boot process has been discussed on osnews a while ago. But I must point out, my WiFi connection wasn’t working. It showed as connected to wifi but no internet connection. I had to re-enable the wifi for it to work. I suppose some drivers haven’t been adjusted to the new boot process yet. But for being a developer preview, this was to be expected.

Anyways, a closer look at the control panel, shows, I can now enable and disable the support of 16 bit applications. With Microsoft pushing 64 bit versions, which do not support 16 bit applications at all (due cpu architecture) and by making the support of 16 bit applications in the 32 bit version of Windows 8 optional, I think this will be the end of the 16 bit windows application.

Something more interesting to observe is a look at the Device Manager, which shows that there is no driver installed for my video card. Yet, do I have the fancy GUI. This is something that has bothered me in Windows Vista/7, you know, how they handle older, pre-directx9, vga cards. I am no gamer, and I don’t see the point of buying a new graphics card just to see some fancy gui effects in my OS.

Well…. the metro start menu. It seems, only the control panel and the desktop button do something. all the other buttons, including the metro version of internet explorer, don’t seem to do anything at all. Well… it’s a preview after all… but I had expected to see something from the metro internet explorer.

Speaking of which… the desktop internet explorer 10 seems to be using the internet explorer dialect of the javascript xml handling. Still… the dialect. Microsoft seems to be heading towards HTML5, right? Wouldn’t it be nice they’d do certain things the same as the rest of the world? Ok, I admit this is a pre-html5 issue, being around since, well… the rise of AJAX. But still…