I know, I know. Curiosity killed the cat. But sometimes when I blog "something fancy", I totally want to know who's looking at it. Or why some things are so popular... (darn image stealers...)

Question mark. CC-licensed. From LeoL30, http://flickr.com/photos/lwr/12364944/-- Knowing that my RSS feeds get a few thousand hits a week sometimes just isn't enough to know :)

Thank heaven on my ISP's server, I have access to my apache log files.

So, let's find out the hostnames of the people reading my (imaginary) article about someting-fancy.

for ip in grep&nbsp;<em>something-fancy</em>&nbsp;access.log.current | awk&nbsp;'{print $1}' | sort&nbsp;-u; do resolveip $ip; done

... Host name of 128... is 128-...public.oregonstate.edu Host name of 128... is pxxx.wlan.cs.mu.OZ.AU Host name of 131... is Cs-xxx.CS.UCLA.EDU Host name of 147... is ...FSV.CVUT.CZ Host name of 132... is ...rz.uni-wuerzburg.de Host name of 210... is ...stu.edu.tw

You wouldn't believe how much information a hostname can give you. (Or sometimes not.) The usual customer lines don't give you much - however it's interesting what universities people sometimes come from. Who in Taiwan, Czech or at the University of Melbourne is reading my blog??

Anyway. Good to know that it's not just the usual search engine bots creating traffic on my blog :)

Curiosity appeased. For a while.

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Developing software that has been in use for quite a while (like the Maintain network management software I am currently working on), you frequently run into tiny little problems that are somehow the heritage of ancient times. Sometimes, they are easy to use, in other cases they start as small issues and turn into butt-biting monsters ever so quickly.

password...; CC-licensed: http://flickr.com/photos/piscue/36180001/One of these is MySQL's PASSWORD() hashing function. What was meant to be a good idea - having the RDBMS handle the passwords with its built-in hash - turned out to be a bad one: MySQL's password hash changes virtually with every release (okay I am exaggerating), making your hashes unusable, so your customers stay locked out of your software.

To provide some sort of legacy support, in former versions of Maintain the OLD_PASSWORD() alternative was used to authenticate, followed by a re-hashing of the password with the new PASSWORD() hash.

Still, it's only a matter of months until MySQL decides to change its hashes once again, leading to even more legacy code and less transparency in the authentication codebase. Plus, if people don't want to use MySQL at all, they have a big problem: Most other DB engines don't offer a PASSWORD() function.

Therefore the hash was changed to SHA1, leading to yet another special case in the password validation methods.

Anyway, in the upcoming Maintain 3, old passwords will only be supported through a legacy authentication module designed to re-hash the passwords to SHA1, hopefully one and for all times extinguishing issues with changing hashes in the database backend.

The moral: There is a reason for MySQL to discourage use of PASSWORD() in applications. Believe me. They are right.

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"Schön", dachte ich, als ich vor kurzem las, dass an der OSU das live animal surgery laboratory geschlossen wurde.

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Oh, long time no see! The Beaver Yearbook Bin im Moment an der Planung von ziemlich tollen Dingen und außerdem mit Projektarbeit überschüttet in der Uni, sodass zum Bloggen nicht so viel Zeit bleibt. Schade!

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Currently, I have to work a lot with ant for class, and generally, I like it.

The XML format used to describe the build tasks is pretty straightforward, makes sense most of the time and is even pretty extensible, so that things like JUnit testing are as easy as the ABC. Well -- they should be.

When using ant with Eclipse, everything worked fine. But then, when I checked out the project on the command line and confidently ran an "ant test", I was presented with the following error message, which through its length alone has such a beauty that I should truly consider printing it out and put it on my wall to admire it daily.

BUILD FAILED /blah.../build.xml:51: Could not create task or type of type: junit. Ant could not find the task or a class this task relies upon. This is common and has a number of causes; the usual solutions are to read the manual pages then download and install needed JAR files, or fix the build file: - You have misspelt 'junit'. Fix: check your spelling. - The task needs an external JAR file to execute and this is not found at the right place in the classpath. Fix: check the documentation for dependencies. Fix: declare the task. - The task is an Ant optional task and the JAR file and/or libraries implementing the functionality were not found at the time you yourself built your installation of Ant from the Ant sources. Fix: Look in the ANT_HOME/lib for the 'ant-' JAR corresponding to the task and make sure it contains more than merely a META-INF/MANIFEST.MF. If all it contains is the manifest, then rebuild Ant with the needed libraries present in ${ant.home}/lib/optional/ , or alternatively, download a pre-built release version from apache.org - The build file was written for a later version of Ant Fix: upgrade to at least the latest release version of Ant - The task is not an Ant core or optional task and needs to be declared using <taskdef>. - You are attempting to use a task defined using <presetdef> or <macrodef> but have spelt wrong or not defined it at the point of use Remember that for JAR files to be visible to Ant tasks implemented in ANT_HOME/lib, the files must be in the same directory or on the classpath Please neither file bug reports on this problem, nor email the Ant mailing lists, until all of these causes have been explored, as this is not an Ant bug.

This is not an ant bug? Oh yes it is. "ant-junit.jar" is now shipped by default with ant and still, ant claims not to know about that task?

And anyway - why couldn't the developer who took the time to write such a cryptic error message use his effort instead to fix the bug?!

Unbelievable enough - however, since others did a much better job on ranting about ant's worst error message ever, I'm going to stop now and provide a solution for that problem instead (since ant developers obviously didn't feel alike):

Go to $ANT_HOME/lib and make a symbolic link to your JUnit's junit.jar file. The directories differ for most operating systems, but the system is the same: Ant apparently does not find JUnit in its classpath, resulting in the error message above. When JUnit is linked to Ant's library dir however, it can find JUnit and will call the unit tests as expected.

(Now it took me like 4 lines to describe a fix for the problem. Why such an easy fix is not part of the ant error message will probably remain a secret forever.)

I hope I helped some of you guys who have the same problem. Keep having fun programming!

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Das wollte ich doch die ganze Zeit schon machen: Da ich hier so viele neue Worte lerne, wollte ich Euch an meinen Favoriten teilhaben lassen.

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Raped Coffee; CC-licensed by Shakin Fredrik; Source: http://flickr.com/photos/afredrik/100531462/Ladies and gentlemen,

may I have your attention for a second. As the founder of the task force agains the shameless raping of coffee products, I demand to abolish and forbid by law the so-called Espresso Americano.

Putting two shots of Espresso into a 12oz cup and filling it up with hot water is just cruel :(

Thanks for feeling with me ;)

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One thing reminding us constantly that OSX is almost as crappy as Redmond OS is the Spinning Beachball of Death.

Since I revently gave my Mac Mini a decent amount of RAM to waste for useless eyecandy, I don't meet the little spinning fellow as often anymore.

However, the installation of the Eclipse IDE the last week brought a nice, new beachball appearance: When I use spotlight to start the program (as I usually do, because it's so much faster than clicking through the menu structure), it will kill the system tray in the upper right corner of the screen.

The time stops counting and when I move the cursor over it, I see the cursor turn into the beloved beachball again! :)

I did not find any information about it on the net besides an old forum post in the google cache... But the solution seems to be, not to start Eclipse with spotlight but to actually click on it in the Applications folder or the dock.

Works for me, now.

Is that crazy or what?

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Ein paar von Euch halten mich sicher schon für tierisch unfreundlich, weil ich nicht mehr auf ICQ-Nachrichten antworte.

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The popular IM chat service ICQ just upgraded their protocol (German link).

Usually, no big deal. The change should have been announced so everybody could adapt to it.

But, no, of course they just silently changed the protocol and thereby locked out the users of alternative (e.g. open source) IM clients such as Miranda, Gaim or Adium.

While this step is of course intentional (as the ICQ people want their users to use the original client for ad revenue reasons), it is another sign of why even such "trivial" things as closed source messaging protocols are bad. There is no security at all that the "owner" of the protocol will pay attention to your needs at all. Imagine you worked for a company. Would you rely on ICQ for your employees' instant messaging? (Disregarding the privacy issues...,) it would mean that right now, the protocol owner would have seriously impacted your whole company's information flow, costing you gazillions of money. You wouldn't do that if you were a manager, would you? Similarly, why should we put our private conversations into their hands and allow them to mute us at any given second?

There are other possibilities. Meanwhile the free jabber protocol has become so mature that it is flawlessly usable. And more and more people are at least getting a jabber account additional to the other IM chat account(s) they are using.

So, until my messaging clients get an update, my ICQ communication will remain quiet. :( Go §$%$% [*] yourself, ICQ.

And please, people. Get a free messaging client (such as the ones I mentioned above) and get yourself a free jabber account on one of the jabber servers in your country. You can still use your old messaging protocols with them but it's a great step ahead to not relying on un-free communication protocols anymore. :)

(and yes, if you ask, I will probably give you my jabber account address, so that you can add me to your list)

[*] all kinds of swear words to be inserted here.

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