Few Changes

Over the last few years, I was too busy to work on a blog — when I found some time I published on StackOverflow. I do plan to activate this blog again, will publish some ideas and tricks I have learned along the way.

I used to have a MediaWiki installation as a knowledge base for certain projects. However, due to large amount and persistence of spam I had to shut it down.

All traffic is now over HTTPS, and I have removed any video links that require Flash. The comments are disabled, so this will be just a read-only site. This way it is easier to deter spam and at least minimize user tracking. As far as cookies and tracking is concerned, I did the best I could — take a look at Cookies & Privacy.

Blame it on Excel

Mr. Dvorak of PC Magazine figured it out — spreadsheets are responsible for the mortgage crisis, Enron and similar. Considering that Excel holds more than 70% of the market share, the culprit is obvious. At first I thought this to be ridiculous, but then decided to give him  a benefit of a doubt.

Here is what I have found out. Seems that the root problem is in the VBA — on some installations it is possible to run the following:

Sub Loot()
    On Error GoTo PROC_ERR
    Application.Global = True
    Application.AnyWayPossible = True
    Application.DamnTheConsequences = True  
        Application.MoveOtherPeoplesMoneyIntoMyAccount = True
    Exit Sub
    Application.BlameMarkets = True
    Application.GoToCaribbean = True
    Debug.Print "Shit happens :)"
    Resume PROC_EXIT
End Sub

As you can see, there are some undocumented properties of the Application object which are not installed with standard Excel editions. Obviously, Microsoft has a special edition for their VIP customers.

Phoebe cat tweets

For all of you following phoebe_cat on twitter, considering getting your pet to tweet. For this example you will need:

Steps to take:

  1. Install Python;
  2. Copy the two phoebe_*.py files into a directory;
  3. Open a twitter account for your pet;
  4. In the last line of the phoebe_tweets.py fill-in the twitter name and the password;
  5. Modify the talk list in the phoebe_text.py.
  6. Set a task in Windows scheduler (or an equivalent for Mac/Linux) to run the phoebe_tweets.py every two to three hours. Have mercy, twitter is overloaded as is — once in two hours is plenty.

If you already have Python installed, just try it. It should work with 2.6.x, not sure about 3.0.

I found the core tweet code on the web, would like to give credit to the author, but have forgotten where I found it; sorry.