I've added a "Microblog" section to this blog, which I'll basically (try to) use to post things when I'm out and about. Kinda like Twitter, but maybe with longer posts. Like a... microblog, or tumbleblog (Tumblr, etc.)

Ciera gets here tomorrow morning! EPIC excitedness! I can't wait!!! :D

Until next time,
— Daniel

I thought I'd give some link love to some of the lesser-known web development blogs I enjoy reading. This post was prompted by a post about my site at GiveUpInternet.com. I didn't expect the link (as I don't think my blog is very good for web development stuff), but I do appreciate it heaps! This blog hasn't really focused too much on web development, perhaps I should post more web development articles :)

  • GiveUpInternet.com — As it says on the site, "Give Up Internet is a Humor Blog for Internet People and Developers." While it's technically not a web development blog, I love the posts on this site. Unlike a lot of other "humour" sites that post stupid things a lot of the time, it's got actual funny posts. It's one of the only humour blogs that I'm subscribed to.
  • The CSS Ninja by Ryan Seddon— This is a great blog about nice little tricks that can be done in CSS. One of its focuses is doing things that previously required JavaScript, in pure CSS (no JavaScript whatsoever). This includes cross-browser CSS-styled checkboxes, a lightbox in pure CSS, and an easy way to preload images using CSS2.
  • David Walsh's blog — David is one of the core MooTools developers, and as such, he blogs mainly about JavaScript, and occasionally some PHP snippets. While, in my opinon, his posts on PHP are often messy :P, his posts on JavaScript are excellent.
  • AdequatelyGood.com by Ben Cherry — If you're interested in JavaScript (especially the nitty gritty of its internals), this is by far the best blog on the topic that I've seen. Ben has written detailed articles on a lot of unique features of JavaScript, including scoping and "hoisting", and how it handles object to primitive conversions.
  • Hallvord R. M. Steen's blog and the Opera sitepatching blog — Hallvord is a developer for Opera Software. His blog covers the state of the web as it unfortunately is at the moment - Broken browser sniffer scripts, standards violations, and just general scripting stupidities. Things are definitely improving, but there's a LOT of broken scripts out there. Opera has a file called "browser.js" that contains patches to make these broken sites work correctly in Opera. Hallford's blog (and the Opera site patching blog) detail the things that Opera does to patch these broken sites. There have been some very interesting posts, including the horrible XML and XSLT on the Israeli rail website, how Google Docs used to print documents, and many others.

That's all for now... I might eventually write another blog post like this. Or a proper blog post :P :)

Until next time,
— Daniel

In this post, I'll discuss some of the techniques that I personally write JavaScript. There's no right or wrong, this is all my opinion (still, feel free to flame me if you feel it's necessary :P). This post is aimed at people that understand basic JavaScript and HTML techniques, and want to see how I code my JavaScript. I will talk about the JavaScript of the past, how it's changed, and some techniques used in modern JavaScript development. This will probably be a multi-part series if I ever get around to writing more posts :P 

Read more ⇒

A while ago, I used to use a VPS from a company called FSCKVPS, mainly for storing backups offsite (in case something bad happens to my server one day), and secondary DNS (so in case my server is ever down, I can still get emails, as my emails are hosted using Google Apps). In June 2009, their parent company VAServ had a massive hack attack, with news websites reporting that as many as 100,000 websites were wiped out by the hack, and the WebHostingTalk thread about the outage ended up being one of the longest ones I've seen, at 177 pages long. Some people's VPSes survived, but mine was one of the ones that was totally lost (luckily, as it was only for backups, it didn't have anything too important in it). They offered two months free as compensation, so I waited patiently for them to provision me a new VPS, and lived without offsite backups for a while.

After the two free months, they were still having issues — My VPS kept breaking, and they still hadn't given me a secondary IP address as I had requested. I kept giving them the benefit of the doubt, but eventually I decided that enough was enough (two months should have been enough to sort out things), so I moved to another provider. When a company can't even work out how to spell its own company name (sometimes they write "VAServ", other times they write "VAServe"), it's probably time to give up on them. I asked them to politely remove me from their mailing list so I'd no longer get any emails from them. I thought this'd be the end of it, but last week, I received the following email from them:

What goes up won’t go down.

At Poundhost/VAServ we know that if your site is not up, your profits go down. Which is why we recently migrated your website onto a more secure Linux server platform.

However, threats are always evolving. To ensure that you are provided with the very best platform that’s reliable, secure, easier to manage, with greater interoperability and a substantially lower total cost of ownership, we recommend that you consider switching to Microsoft’s Hyper-V hosting platform.

Running on next generation virtualisation technologies Microsoft’s Hyper-V stores your data on a cluster of servers rather than one. So if a server is attacked, or goes down, the system automatically switches to the others. Thereby guaranteeing 100% uptime.

Migration is so simple you can do it yourself. However some of you may need to tweak or re-code your data beforehand to enable it to run on a Microsoft platform. Should you have any queries, call our contact centre on 01628 67 31 31.

Don’t delay though because we are prepared to offer a 10% discount to all those who migrate before 31st March 2009 using the coupon vdsmigrate.

See http://vds.poundhost.com for more information!

Ugh. Where do I begin?

  • I migrated away from their services in September 2009, so they certainly did NOT "migrate [my] website"
  • I wasn't actually even hosting a website with them to begin with, so they wouldn't have migrated a website at all. Not everyone uses VPSes only for websites, you know?
  • How are Hyper-V virtual machines more secure and reliable than Linux equivalents? They're not even comparable with things like OpenVZ or Linux-VServer as they're totally different products for totally different requirements.
  • What does Hyper-V have to do with "threats always evolving"? I'm absolutely certain that Windows is attacked at least as much (if not a lot more) than Linux is.
  • 100% uptime is not guaranteed if all servers in the cluster go down (as happened when they were hacked last year)
  • If people got a Linux virtual server originally, why would they want to spend significantly more on a Windows VPS? In my case, I used rsync to transfer backups and cPanel DNSONLY for hosting the DNS, things that don't work on Windows

I'm sure I'm not the only former customer that got this email. Did they just send it to everyone, regardless of whether they're a current customer or not? I asked them to remove my personal information when I left, so I'd consider this spam. I replied to the email asking them to remove my details from their system, and they replied saying they had done so, so we'll see. At least they could spell "guaranteed" correctly this time around, the FSCKVPS site had misspellings of it from their launch, and a lot of people told them about it, they still didn't fix them.

For what it's worth, I'm currently using a Core 2 Duo server at HiVelocity for hosting all my sites, and the backup VPS is now at PhotonVPS. I'd definitely recommend both companies :)

Yes yes, this isn't really a proper blog post. One will come eventually :D

Until next time,
— Daniel

So, I'm not sure how many people agree with me (I haven't really searched around to see if anyone has the same opinion), but I'm starting to form the opinion that there are two different types of developers: Those that can develop an application but don't really understand the concepts behind it, and those that have a relatively deep knowledge of how their code works and all fits together. Or, in other words, those think it's alright (and perhaps have it as a job), but are not very passionate, versus those that are very passionate about programming. Generally, I guess something like the following could be said:

People in the first group:

  • Have done their main programming study at University or TAFE OR are self-taught with just the basics, generally nothing about best practices. Generally, they've learnt just enough to get by, nothing more
  • Will copy and paste code and be happy that it works, but might not really understand how it actually works
  • Don't really consider programming a hobby
  • Might be considered "code monkeys" in some situations
  • Generally need help with fixing odd bugs

And people in the second group:

  • May have done a University course, but their main learning is self-taught
  • Write applications, scripts, websites, whatever for fun (and might actively participate in open-source projects)
  • Don't copy and paste code very often. Instead, they learn from other people's code, and then rewrite that code in their own style
  • Consider programming one of their biggest hobbies
  • Aware of some of the latest trends in software development
  • Might often question things, like the ways people do things, and why code is written in a specific way (or is this just me?). Usually I do that just to learn how things are done.
  • Can generally investigate and solve odd bugs pretty well

Anyone else agree with me? Personally I'm proud to be in the second group, the awesome group :D

Anyways, I'll write another proper blog post, eventually. I started working recently, and will definitely have to blog about that :)

Until next time,
— Daniel

Recently, I was looking through a few short domains, and decided to buy dan.cx. I think it's a pretty good domain, even if .cx is an odd TLD (it's the TLD for Christmas Island which is close to Australia, so I guess it's kinda related :P). It's better than my old one (d15.biz) in my opinion. "d15" doesn't have too much meaning (apart from people that know it means "Daniel15"), whereas "dan" is a lot better. I'll still be using the old domain for some things (it'll still be my main email domain, since there doesn't seem to be a way to change the domain of a Google Apps setup, which is what I'm using for my email). I also got daniel.gd last night, but I'm not sure where I'll use that ("daniel good?" I dunno). It currently just redirects to dan.cx. I should probably stop buying domains. But, I bought these instead of renewing a few domains. I don't really work on MySpaceTools any more, so I'm just letting the domain expire. :P

I guess you've probably noticed, but I've been doing some updates to my site (finally!). I rewrote it to use my own very simple CMS  (instead of a static HTML file), and added a "Projects" page showing some of the bigger projects I've worked on in the past. I'm considering switching the site to be fully WordPress (instead of just the blog), but I haven't done that just yet. Not sure if I will, I'm happy with the simple CMS for now. I thought WordPress might be easier for site management though. And the main part of the site is the blog, which might be better in the root. I dunno.

A proper blog post will come eventually. One day. :)

Until next time,
— Daniel

Well, I haven't blogged for a while (seems to happen to me quite often). I was pretty busy with university work, exams, arranging a work placement for next year for IBL, and other stuff. I get my exam results in about one and a half weeks, hopefully I did alright on them. We'll see I guess...

Many of you know about my girlfriend. If not, her name is Ciera, and she's absolutely amazing :D. We met online on MySpace (haha) towards the end of September 2008. I had broken up with my ex-girlfriend after a short and hopeless relationship in August 2008. I was rather upset after my ex broke up with me (to be honest, I really have no idea why, looking back at it now), and was just looking for people to talk to, to make me feel better. I was browsing MySpace one of those days, and was looking through Tom's (you know, the guy with the pretend friends) blog, where Ciera had posted a comment on one of the posts. There was something about her in particular (the way she wrote? Her picture? I really don't know) that made me click on her and take a look at her profile. Now, I don't know why this happened (even today, neither me nor her know why things happened the way they did), but I'm glad it did. Reading her profile made me realise that we had so much in common! I sent a friend request right away, wondering if she'd accept and become my friend. I really wanted to get to know her more.

Luckily, she accepted my friend request. We started talking on MySpace, and eventually on Windows Live Messenger. We chat for hours and hours every day... It made me really happy (still does today), and made me forget about my ex-girlfriend and what happened with her. We kept learning more and more about each other, and got closer and closer. It was amazing how much we have in common! After about a month, we started to realise how we felt about each other. What started as a good friendship was definitely growing into something bigger (bigger is better, right?). There was only one problem with this — Distance. You see, while I'm here in Australia, she's all the way in the USA. We were so close, and yet physically we were so so far away from each other. Quite annoying really :(. She told me that when she finds a job, she'd start saving up to come see me!

Fast-forward eight months later, to June 2009, and Ciera was on her way here! She had saved up some money for the flight here, and I contributed some money towards it as well. It was so unbelievable, finally getting to be with her. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but I knew things were going to be alright (since me and Ciera were extra-close by this time :D). And things were way better than just "alright" — The whole experience was AMAZING! We had a great time staying together! She was here for three months, and we did so much in that time! I showed her around some places in Melbourne, and we just generally  had a great time. Just holding hands and even just being in the same room as each other felt so amazing after dreaming about it for so long. It was really like a dream come true to us.  It was really upsetting when she had to leave though, and I still miss her all the time :(. At least now I know who I'm going to spend my life with. It's a great feeling knowing someone as amazing and attractive as Ciera. :)

Being in a long-distance relationship has been quite an experience. While it's quite hard and I miss her every day, knowing that she's there for me and we'll be together one day is an amazing thing. I miss her heaps. I miss her smile, her laugh, everything about her. Being able to chat to her every day helps HEAPS though. It makes me feel like she's with me, even though we're physically so far away.  A lot of people say that online relationships don't work, but me and Ciera are proving them wrong :D. I love her more than anyone else I've ever met, and I have a feeling things will be like this forever. We're both working towards seeing each other again, and it'll be amazing. Like I mentioned at the start, I have a work placement next year. If that goes well, I'll save all the money from that, and use it to fly over to see her at the end of the year. That's pretty far away, but it'll be incredible when it happens. It'll be the first time I've travelled outside Australia (outside Victoria, even).

Ciera's also written a similar post on her blog, if you want to read her one.

Until next time,
— Daniel

Well, I got bored, so I decided to create a mashup of We Like to Party by the Vengaboys, and Without Me by Eminem. This is the first mashup I've ever done, so it's probably not too good :P
Have a listen here:
[wpaudio url="http://d15.biz/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Daniel15_-_Eminem_vs_Vengaboys_(We_Like_to_Party).mp3"]

Tell me what you think :)

I'll eventually post a proper blog post, I've been pretty busy. Ciera came here for three months (gotta blog post about that, of course :D), and I've had quite a lot of university work as well.

— Daniel

Another song that I liked but couldn't find the lyrics to... Actually this one was from a mix, I've clipped it out and so I could have it as a separate MP3 file.

As for normal blogging, I'll resume eventually. Once I get university assignments and such sorted out, I guess.

Here's the song:

[Verse 1]

Listen to me, and I will tell you,
Of the way I like to live,
Take each day as if it's my last,
And every moment is my final breath
I know it sounds as if I'm crazy,
But I guess I will survive,
And everyday I take a chance,
Is another that I come alive

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So, I was reading the news today, and came across this story. It states:

THE NSW Federal Court has not ruled out the possibility that an ISP could be in direct breach of copyright laws if it provides internet service to individuals that illegally share files on peer-to-peer networks.
A group of copyright holders represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) put the claim to the court as a part of its copyright case against Perth-headquartered ISP iiNet.

Most of AFACT’s original claims against iiNet lodged with the court last year were based on allegations that the ISP indirectly breached their members’ copyright. They alleged that iiNet effectively encouraged customers to engage in copyright breaches by failing to take steps to block illegal file sharing activity on its network.

However, on February 19, AFACT lodged an amended statement of claim to the court containing new allegations that iiNet engaged in primary acts of copyright infringement alongside illegal file sharers simply by carrying the data through its network and systems.

(bold by me)

This is totally stupid! Why should an ISP be responsible for the data it's carrying? Why is the electricity company not responsible? They're supplying the power to the systems mentioned, so they also provide services to people that illegally share files. What about the building company that built the houses/offices? They're responsible for housing the systems.

The thing is, ISPs don't know what the data being transferred on their network actually is. Much like the postal service... When you send a letter to someone, they don't open your letter and read it, they just send it. If I send you a terrible analogy that makes you think "oh my God, this guy needs to take lessons on writing", that's not Australia Post's issue. The postal service, and the ISP, are just transport agents. They send mesages from one location to another, but are not responsible for the contents of the messages. Saying that the ISP is responsible for illegal file sharers because their network is being used is like saying that VicRoads is responsible for criminals, because they're driving their cars on the roads. Clearly, this makes absolutely no sense. If you go to VicRoads and tell them to put tollbooths on the roads to identify every person driving to make sure they're not a criminal, they'd laugh at you. The ISPs should be doing the same thing — This is exactly what's being asked of them.

Also, the article said that the ISP would be responsible if "it provides internet service to individuals that illegally share files on peer-to-peer networks". How are they meant to know that individuals illegally share files? Note that ISPs already disconnect users they get copyright complaints about (how users are caught is a different issue altogether... Fake torrents and similar things. Might blog about this eventually). There's really no other way for them to know who illegally shares files. This sentence makes it sound like they want ISPs to add a "Do you illegally share files" tickbox on the registration form. :P

And also, as Aaron mentioned on his blog, "copyright theft" makes no sense. The term they're actually looking for is "copyright infringement". But, they seem to barely know what they're doing, so I guess the use of a nonsensical term makes sense in whatever magical land they're living in. A land where there's no Peer-to-Peer networks, and everyone pays for the latest crappy music albums and TV shows and whatever else exists. For now, the rest of us live in reality, where none of this filtering is possible.

— Daniel

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