Archive for March, 2007

What’s up with Slate repeating themselves, anyway?

March 21, 2007

In today’s Slate, the Microsoft owned current affairs/culture webzine, one article asks, What’s in Dog Food, Anyway?

As interesting a question it is, I’m getting utterly tired of that eternal word; “anyway?” Just check out the Google search for some similar headlines, and you’ll see what I’m saying.

Slate, and especially their press box editor Jack Shafer, often nitpick other journalists and newspapers for repeating words too often, or writing badly. Admittedly, they do it in a clever and entertaining way, and I don’t claim to be faultless, but still, Shafer, what is that they say about throwing rocks when living in a glass-house? (Oh, and what about that time when Slate‘s Oscars coverage described Irish actor Peter O’Toole as a Brit?)

But about those repeating headlines: An editorial in-joke? Possibly. Boring and repetitive (and something to ponder next time Shafer waves his Nexis hits, whining about repetitive writing)? Definitely.

And speaking of Slate, regular readers using the Firefox browser (as recommended by (MS) Slate!), and the Greasemonkey extension for it, should be sure to check out the Slate minimalist script over at Userstyles, which removes ads and other annoyances, and generally makes the site more readable.

Don’t try Checkmessenger.net

March 21, 2007

Lately, the site checkmessenger.net has surfaced, a site that claims to be able to check block/deletion status for your MSN Messenger contacts. Only catch is… you have to provide your login name and password for it to do so.

Sounds like a classic spam email collection scheme, huh? Yeah, and that what it seems to be as well. Unfortunately, most information on the web about the site is in Italian. There is a Spanish language blog discussing the site, but without much reliable information.

Also, there’s a thread about it over at Mess.be. The conclusions there, and at the Yahoo! Answers posting about it all seem to say the same thing:

Basically: Don’t try it. Any non-Microsoft site asking for your MSN credentials is fishy to start with. As the comments at the Mess.be thread says, it will change your login name to “www.checkmessenger.net” or something to that effect, and, apparently, for some people, continue to do this every time you login to Messenger. Other people report not being able to change their name back at all. Also, its claim to be able to show block/deletion status seems false. It will display some kind of list with all of your present and previous Messenger contacts, but whether it’s correct is not sure.

The site has a professional looking privacy statement, and even a possibility to register for the site, but I haven’t heard of anyone who registered succesfully.

If you already did try it out, one thing that could work, according to my experience, is to change your MSN password, as quick as you can.

The weird thing is that the site, relatively well-known as it is becoming due to its users unknowingly advertising it via their Messenger names, is still up and running. A Whois reveals that it’s registered at GoDaddy via DomainsByProxy, a company offering anonymous domain registering. There’s something rotten here…

Anyways, any updates on the site, your own experiences, etc, would be most appreciated.

Restarting stalled YouTube downloads

March 7, 2007

In my earlier post on YouTube downloading, I mentioned Javi Moya’s VideoDownloader extension for Firefox. I’ve now discovered a new usage for said extension: You know how YouTube sometimes doesn’t load the video you want to play? And doesn’t start playing even if you reload the page?

Well, with the VideoDownloader extension, this problem can be overcome: click the Firefox taskbar icon for it, and start a download from the new window that pops up. As soon as the Firefox download of the .flv (or .html if you don’t rename it) starts, YouTube will start loading, and playing, the video as well. The download can be cancelled, and you can watch your video in YouTube. I don’t know why it works, maybe the new connection stimulates YouTube somehow (comments appreciated if you have an idea on how exactly) — but it works.

“CrackBerry” logo

March 7, 2007

The RIM mobile device Blackberry is sometimes jokingly referred to as the “crackberry”, due to it being so addictive to its small strata of upper middle-class corporate users. Here are some cleaned-up image files with a mock-up of the Blackberry logo, saying “Crackberry”:

Crackberry transparent logo in PNG format

Crackberry transparent logo in PNG format

Crackberry transparent logo in GIF format

Crackberry transparent logo in GIF format

Crackberry logo in PNG format

Crackberry logo in PNG format

On another note, I’ll try to think about always adding ALT texts to my images and links in the future.