Patronising messages

Posted on 24 March 2007 in Oddities, Rants

A quick rant -- why is it that Microsoft's "genuine advantage validation tool" feels the need to "show me some of the many advantages of using genuine software" after it has determined that my copy of Windows is legitimate? Seriously, can anyone think of a case where that wouldn't piss users off? I hate to think what it says if it finds out that you're using a pirated copy.

When Resolver starts selling software over the web, I will add a checkbox at the end of the checkout process. It will appear only if the customer's IP address belongs to Microsoft or to one of certain entertainment companies, it will be checked by default, it will be in large, friendly letters, and it will read "tell me about some of the benefits of not using stolen credit cards to buy software online."

View from a launched rocket

Posted on 22 March 2007 in Space

SpaceX test-launched their liquid-fueled rocket on Tuesday, and have made available this awesome camera feed from the rocket itself; the view from the second stage as the vehicle takes off and flies to 188km above the earth. It's aching to be mashed up with music... (Update: that video link no longer works, but there's a copy on this Techcrunch post -- you can see the wobble set in at about the 6 minute mark.)

More information about the launch at; their article is a bit downbeat, but the live webcast was fantastic to watch. SpaceX aborted their first launch attempt after ignition; being able to do that is extremely impressive in itself. They then managed to refuel the vehicle and successfully launch it an hour later; being able to do that is incredible. So the first stage went very well. After that, separating the first stage from the second seemed to go well, but then the second stage... exhibited a couple of bugs. To be perfectly honest, I've experienced times when software has spun out of control and crashed on me halfway through the second client demo, and it's usually turned out OK soon after.

Of course, because we practice exteme programming at Resolver, we have full functional and unit test suites for our code -- so our client demos never crash.

HTML tattoo

Posted on 4 March 2007 in Funny

I'm getting one of these, what do you think?