Comment captcha enabled

With great reluctance I am temporarily enabling captchas for comments.

Although it’s normally excellent at blocking spam comments, Blogger has let 300 spam comments through to this post in the past two weeks or so, and I’m running out of time to keep deleting them.

I will try to remember to disable the captcha in a months’ time to see how things are going

Firefox and Thunderbird UI

There’s an excellent article by rakaz on the new themes in Firefox and Thunderbird 2.0. I agree with the whole thing, in particular the strange and increasing amount of seemingly Mac-influenced design decisions for a world which is primarily Windows XP based.

To me, such decisions seem like short-sighted mistakes. I still, for example, can’t get my head around what kind of decision-making process went into creating the new navigation in the Firefox 1.5 options pane. Forcing them to adopt entirely new (and application-unique) UI metaphors is not a way to embrace people migrating from any other browser.

Anyway, there are screenshots and comparisons of the UI changes in the article, so go and read it!

BBC now using common feed icon

A few hours after spotting using it, I see the BBC has switched to using the common feed icon. Not only that, but they’ve rewritten their introduction to RSS, replacing the acronym “RSS” with the word “feed” and using newer screenshots showing the feed icon.

To me this makes sense (and hopefully will push along our switch to it at work), although I’m not sure how clear it is to Joe Pleb right now. Maybe after IE7 is shoved down our throats it’ll make more sense.

A Python rant

Whilst wedding and Norway posts are forthcoming, a small rant about installing extra libraries into Python on Windows.

How hard can they make it? I mean, really? What I want to do: write a python app using the Twisted library. An hour later, and I’m yet to get to the coding part. Installation of Python 2.4 and writing basic code is as simple as expected, yet as soon as you want to install a third party library you either have to bank on the provider having generously created a binary installer for you or you need to download almost a gig of .NET libraries in order to compile it yourself followed by editing some core Python files (full details).

I’d use the Twisted binary installer but it doesn’t even recognise that I’ve got Python installed, so I don’t know how I can possibly help it out. The internet suggests that this is a problem with user vs. Administrator rights. For a third party library for a programming language? Are they taking the piss? Do I need to make sure that when I use CPAN or access a JAR file I’m a particular user, no! Absolute madness.

This, of course, was after I managed to install the zope.interface package – the tarball I downloaded from the Twisted website included it but python install didn’t work, so I had to download it separately from

So anyway, despite no obvious indications about it on the Python website I guess my only options are

  • uninstall Python 2.4 and install Python 2.3 and see if that’s any better, or
  • try and make the build process compile for mingw instead or
  • play with the registry keys as detailed in this thread

but I just don’t get it. Why the hell do I need a C++ compiler or do some horrendous registry hacking to be able to use a Python library?

Memory card disaster

I’m still on honeymoon in Norway (and very nice it is too – the wife, as well as Norway ;), at a quick terminal to see if I can collect some advice.

Shortly before we left, I bought a new 1GB memory stick pro card for my ailing Sony DSC-P72 (I think that’s the model off the top of my head) – it’s just lost 112 photos from the middle of my honeymoon, and I want them back.

When inserted into the camera and into a port on a PC the card registers 190MB worth of photos, but c.360MB used space. The difference is what I guess the space my missing photos should take is and so I suspect that the data which makes them up, at least, is still on the memory stick. There’s nothing else on the stick which would account for this space. I’m on a Norwegian copy of Windows, so I don’t want to push my exploring too far in case I click “Ja” on the wrong box 🙂

The question now is, what do I do? What tool can I use or who can I take it to in order to recover this data? There’s obvious sentimental attachment, but I don’t really want to pay data recovery service-level charges just for some photos. On the other hand, I *do* want them back.

Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome. I’ll be back in the UK sometime around the 20th August, so I’ll give an update shortly after then.