June 24, 2004

Deep Purple concert

I went to a Deep Purple concert yesterday.
Ian Gillan's voice is aging. Otherwise the performance was great.
They played old day's classics as Black Night and Smoke On The Water as well as pieces from their new album Bananas.

Posted by boyan at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

5 more gmail invites

I have 5 more gmail invites left. I'm giving them away for free. Post your comment. I'll wait for a week before selecting the 5 lucky ones. Friends will be served first.
I know I'm asking for another comment flamebait. Bring it on.

Posted by boyan at 02:35 PM | Comments (7)

June 21, 2004

private space flight

The first privately funded manned space flight is scheduled for today. Well, ok it is suborbital but it does cross the magical 100km above earth barier, considered by many the boundary of atmosphere and it does have a significant part of the flight in zero g. More here

Posted by boyan at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

hi-res Jupiter image

I discovered this high resolution picture of Jupiter on Sunday. Then I prepared it for printing by padding it with black to a perfect square 2500x2500 px, centered the planet and enhanced the contrast a little. On monday I gave the file to a photo shop here for a 30x30 cm print and bought a light wood thin frame. Today I got the print and fitted it in the frame. Nice work on the photo shop side. Excelent print quality on matte paper, not the usual glossy type. I didn't even ask for special paper, but they guessed it right.

What I got is a nice looking high resolution picture of Jupiter in a frame. It's stunning detail. Collegues here asked if I'm in love with Jupiter. Yes I am. For those that don't know me well, in love with optics, astronomical stuff, networks, the rubik cube, hiking, my girlfriend and a lot of other stuff in no particular order. (Somebody's gonna kill me, I know).

backgrounder -
The Cassini spacecraft made some nice snapshots of Jupiter, while it was close to the gas giant some three years ago. In november last year the Cassini imaging team released the higherst resolution Jupiter portrait ever. Measuring 60km per pixel resolution or about 2300 pixels in diameter. The image is here.
Some poor souls out there will sure point out that this is only about 5 megapixels. The reason such an image cannot be acquired from Earth is both in the distance and atmospheric turbulance. Even HST cannot get a clear image of Jupiter with such high resolution. Being close around allowed Cassini's tiny astro camera to get a crisper image than even what Hubble is capable of getting from Earth orbit. One more reason for me to write a column about the megapixel myth, similar to the excelent collums here, here and here . I'll probably skip that one but, I'll defenitely write a guide to selecting a digital camera in a given price range.

Posted by boyan at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

Beware IE users

Dear Internet Explorer users,

There are unfixed bugs in your web browser that may lead to execution of code on your computer by any web site that you browse. This means proxies, worms, trojans and even nastier stuff, that you and I can't imagine. If your e-banking account (and/or private crypto key) appears to be used by somebody else, you'll know the reason.

Instead of sticking with whatever M$ provides you, you can use one of the excelent web browsers out there, such as Mozilla Firefox.
For the feature freaks Opera and for the stability freaks Mozilla might be a better choice.
I've been using Firefox for the last 7-8 months with minimal issues, mostly caused by non standard compliant code used by some web sites. It's fast. It's cheap on resourses. It's feature-full. It gets even better by the day. It has tons of plugins and extentions available. What more do you need?

The point is, there _are_ excelent working web browsers out there, so why use the swiss cheese alike IE, besides being lazy to upgrade? Try them out. It does not hurt. Staying with IE _will_ hurt you.

Go see the technical details of one real-life remote code execution example if you care.

Posted by boyan at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2004

Venus Transit 2004

There will be a rare astronomical event tomorrow - the transit of venus across the disk of the Sun. The last such transit was 120 years ago, so chances are you didn't see anything like this in your life.

Here is info about the transit. Here is how to see it.

Times (UTC):
Contact I      05:13:29         
Contact II     05:32:55         
Greatest       08:19:44         
Contact III    11:06:33         
Contact IV     11:25:59         

If you live in Bulgaria and need a sunfilter urgently get it here.

Don't miss it.
Posted by boyan at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

some are born more equal than others

Two things reminded me today what a wonderfull world we live in, where all people are born equal.

I need to go to a bussiness trip to Ireland and suddenly I need a visa, which can take (prepare for a shock) 6 to 8 weeks to issue. Wow! What if I need to go to the fucking trip next week? An Icelander can do it. I can't. Maybe I don't live here, and don't pay the same taxes, don't shop from the same stores, and don't sit in their expensive bars, or what? The visa application form has even space for a picture on it, requires an invitation from the company that I'm doing bussiness with and "evidence of funds".

And then I got to the bank to take my very first credit card. My application was declined because 1. I am not an Icelandic citizen and 2. My social security number is too new. After a bit of simple questions from me they realised their lethal mistake and dropped this version quite fast. So they put me on the phone with the person who declined my application. So that she can give me an explanation and I got 1.You have an account with another bank, and you've been feeding your salary to it for at least three months BUT you are not a customer of us, so we don't trust you and 2. You are too young.
Both are debatable. They do have access to my statements and having an account with them makes absolutely no difference to them. They have the same access to my other bank account as they may have to the one in their bank, they can pull money out of it whenever they need, given that it is lawful. And even looking at the statements of my bank account is not permitted unless I give them an explicit authorization to do it, per case, regardless where the bank account is. The "you are too young" thing is quite strange too. I know Icelanders who got their first credit card at 18. I'm 23 now. ... But given your overall financial profile, we can't issue you a credit card... What? I don't have debts. I never had _any_ debts. I only have income and spending, that's all. My balance is ALWAYS positive. What's wrong with my financial profile? Anyway. I'm ranting here, because I didn't put my point through to the nice credit officer on the phone. I don't need their card for the credit features of it. I need it for the discounts and low service fees and the ability to use it on the Internet, unlike my Maestro debit card. So I said this to her and I was told that I need to fill the same form (which they only provide in Icelandic btw) again, and type in the comments field that I need a pre-paid card and that I spoke to this person the last time. I don't feel like a happy customer, you know. I may take my service charges money elsewhere if they continue to give me reasons to.

Posted by boyan at 06:04 PM | Comments (2)