1st Webmasters Lounge

Webmasters Lounge 2005Webmasters México invites web designers, programmers, sysadmins and everyone who cares to attend to the 1st Webmasters Lounge, an opportunity to socialize, have a drink, interact and know each other in a cool off-line chatroom. As good as excuse as any to unplug (*ouch!*) and venture into the great outdoors (you know… the big blue room?). The appointment is this saturday, August 13th, 2005, 3pm sharp, and will last for as long as the body endures. No cover for certified geeks that show up before 8pm, and cool surprises from the sponsors. RSVP online and look for more details at Webmasters México Blog.
Update 20050910: There’s some photos at Flickr.

Google Earth is bound to cause a stir

Google Earth According to SearchEngineWatch, apparently freeing KeyHole Hi-Res satellite imagery wasn’t enough. Now Google has launched Google Earth, which includes features from Google Local and Google Maps in a smooth, slick interface. At 10MB+, it’s way smaller than I tought (WorldWind goes for a whopping 180 MB) . The basic version is free as in beer, and there’s also a US$20/yr subscription for an enhanced version that supports GPS integration and annotation tools. There’s also a plugin directory that looks… unsettling. In general, it looks good, but as I’ve always suspected Mexico City is still a shapeless blur. Would someone please, please build a functional online Mexico City Map that does not suck?


Last night I got to play with ibm-acpi for a little while. It was refreshing to watch the backlight on the R50 go to sleep after being continually on while running on linux, thanks to radeontool and ibm-acpi’s magic to intercept Fn-F3. Priyadi Iman notes that ibm-acpi is included in kernel 2.6.10, but I’m still running the Ol’Thinkpad on 2.6.9, so I will have to play around with a newer kernel and report back my findings.

Windows Update + Squid Proxy: The WinXP Scenario

If some Windows XP box refuses to download the latest patches through your brand-new Squid proxy (or any other proxy flavor, for that matter), you might be surprised to learn that you must configure the system proxy settings manually:
C:\> proxycfg -u
Voilá. The system will import Internet Explorer’s proxy settings and your system will be patched uneventfully. That is until the next massive system patch.
Update 20050706: Apparently this is also documented in the Squid FAQ.

Cellphone unlocking for dummies

NokiaFree screenshot Say you are going to travel to Europe, but are unwilling to pay the insane roaming fees that some functional monopoly imposes in your country. So you buy an overseas GSM chip and drop it into you phone and it just works, right?
Your carrier is probably unwilling to let you use the phone you’re leasing from them -and even the one you outright bought from them with a nice markup- in some competitor network. Any competitor network. Even if it is half a world away.
Well, there’s help out there, and there is hope:
NokiaFREE calculator will provide unlocking codes for the most popular models from a dozen manufacturers, either online or in a standalone version.
However, if you succumbed to temptation and bought a Treo 600 just five months before the Treo 650 was released in your country, you might have to reflash it under your own risk.
Update 20050910: In an article aptly named 20 Things They Don’t Want You to Know, PC World writes about cellphone unlocking, but fails to even notice NokiaFree.

Anti – Sober.Q spamassassin rule

Sober.Q is flooding the Internet with right-wing spam. Although its messages are already on pyzor and razor -and spamassassin gives them high socres accordingly- the number of messages is enough to say that Sober.Q spam is quickly becoming a pain in the ass. So I threw together a spamassassin rule with all the Sober.Q subject lines in F-Secure’s Sober.Q Description.

header SOBER_Q_SUBJECT Subject =~ /4,8 Mill\. Osteuropaeer durch Fischer-Volmer Erlass|Auf Streife durch den Berliner Wedding|Auslaender bevorzugt|Deutsche Buerger trauen sich nicht \.\.\.|Auslaenderpolitik|Blutige Selbstjustiz|Deutsche werden kuenftig beim Arzt abgezockt|Paranoider Deutschenmoerder kommt in Psychia trie|Du wirst zum Sklaven gemacht!!!|Dresden 1945|Massenhafter Steuerbetrug durch auslaendische Arbeitnehmer|Gegen das Vergessen|Tuerkei in die EU|Hier sind wir Lehrer die einzigen Auslaender|Multi-Kulturell = Multi-Kriminell|Verbrechen der deutschen Frau|S\.O\.S\. Kiez! Polizei schlaegt Alarm|Transparenz ist das Mindeste|Trotz Stellenabbau|Vorbildliche Aktion|Augen auf|Du wirst ausspioniert \.\.\.\.!|Volk wird nur zum zahlen gebraucht!|60 Jahre Befreiung: Wer feiert mit\?|Graeberschaendung auf bundesdeutsche Anordnung|Schily ueber Deutschland|The Whore Lived Like a German|Turkish Tabloid Enrages Germany with Nazi Comparisons|Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously|Armenian Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On/i
describe SOBER_Q_SUBJECT Contains a known Sober.Q subject
score SOBER_Q_SUBJECT 20.0

This rule is also available for download as sober.cf

How do I mount an ISO image as a virtual drive in Windows?

WinXPVirtualCDControlPanel screenshotA good friend of mine made asked this question today. Normally I would just run mount -o loop -t iso9660 cdimage.iso /mnt/tmp but this lost soul lives in a windows-only world, so I set out to find the answer. I remembered something about Daemon tools, but an alternative came via Google from http://kennethhunt.com/archives/001125.html And as it happens, WinXPVirtualCDControlPanel is a free download from Microsoft.
Update 20050529: Local mirror.
Update 20050706: Yes, that’s a Knoppix ISO in the screenshot.

Palm RAM Backup

As it happens, Magda’s Sony clie has a backup-to-memory-stick feature that is a proven lifesaver. Not to be outdone, I found two open source backup programs that perform that same task in the Treo 600 -or any other PalmOS handheld with a flash memory card, for that matter- Red Feline Backup and VfsBackup will back everything in RAM to a folder in the card, but I like VfsBackup a bit more because it will copy only those files that have been modified since the last backup. I guess now there are no excuses to back up the PDA often.