Dear FedEx

Last year, we had troubles getting spares delivered via UPS.

This year I ordered a book from Blurb and FedEx was the carrier. This time, it was addressed to my flat in Vienna. The tracking info sounded all right, up to the first missed delivery. They were definitely trying as the delivery guy left a note on my mailbox.

I filled out the note (yes, delivery to any neighbor is ok) and put it back. Eight days later, it is still there, and the tracking page lists a number of tries:

We were at home. I never left my flat 24th – 26th. And the last two days we had sick kids at home.

Why can’t these companies be honest and admit that they failed to come?

A simple idea for digital photo print shops

Folks, this one is so simple:

Whenever I have a batch of photos converted from jpeg to paper by any random online photo print service, they print some information on the back. Usually that includes the current date, perhaps the filename, order-ID, or some other information the shop needs to keep track of its print-jobs.

I have the following suggestion: Print the date from the EXIF header on the back. 20 years from now, I won’t care at all when the print was made, all I care will be when the photo was taken.

(Any additional information from the EXIF header would also be appreciated, but the date is the one thing that is simple and really needed.)

A few times I used the work-around of using “stamp 2.8” to encode the date into the filename and get it printed on the back of the photo, but that’s really a crude kludge.

iTunes dead file removal

This is more of a memo to myself than anything else:

The solution is here:

1) Make a static playlist called “All Live Files” and copy your entire library into it.
2) Make a smart playlist called “Missing Files” with the rules set as ” ‘Playlist’ ‘is’ ‘Music’ ” and another rule set as ” ‘Playlist’ ‘is not’ ‘All Live Files’ ”
3) Select all songs from “Missing Files”; they should all be flagged with a “!”, then use shift-DEL to remove them from your library

Worked with iTunes 10.1 under Windows just now.

The Facebook Map

An intern working for facebook created a beautilful map based on the relationship graph of facebook users.

So far, so widely blogged about.

One thing is remarkable: you can still see the border between the old west- and east part of Germany:

vs.

I wonder whether this is just the result of more people per square mile in the west, or if this one effect of still differing infrastructure or social structures.

Comcast’s congestion managment

A few years ago, Comcast generated a lot of negative PR based on their RST–injecting P2P throttling scheme.

This lead them to adopt a new strategy which is protocol and destination-agnostic and is designed to shift inevitable packet-loss to those users that stress the network.

Comcast has now published their strategy in an informational RFC. It’s longer than it needs to be, but still: recommended reading.

Attacking PalPay, Visa, and Mastercard

The story so far: WikiLeaks posted some secrets, the US governments throws a hissy fit and some spineless companies see it as their “patriotic duty” to withheld service from WikiLeaks. This doesn’t especially endear them to the 4chan/Anonymous crowd which then starts to DDoS the pushovers.

So how is a Civil Libertarian and Network Security guy supposed to react to that?

Two bads don’t make a right. There are better ways to show disgust of and punish those electronic money movers. Attacking their operation cannot be the right answer.

But: I’ve been arguing for years now that one of the few ways to actually shut down some of the real menaces (not the imagined ones like WikiLeadks) of the Internet like Spammers, Fake AV Software scams, Viagra/… sellers, and other frauds would be to deny them the credit card payment option.

Thus, MasterCard and Visa: If you are so eager to distance yourself from WikiLeaks, when nobody can even tell you what actual laws they are supposed to have violated, why are you not able to deny service to the frauds when it is absolutely clear that they violate laws and cost the worldwide economy huge sums of money to clean up their crap?

Nikolaus 2010

This year, we organized a Nikolaus Fest again. This time we had:

11 kids (only the twins (Isabel and Leo) could not come)
11 parents
my sister

and a very impressive Bishop.

Many thanks to our neighbor who played the role perfectly and dealt with all the idiosyncrasies of the kids.