Thursday, July 29, 2004

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Regular Expression Reference

I just found an excellent site dedicated to regular expressions: - Regex Tutorial, Examples and Reference - Regexp Patterns.

I found it while searching for a regex to validate a date: Regular Expression Matching a Valid Date.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A Shadow on the Rings of Saturn

Here is a very cool picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft which is orbiting Saturn: A Shadow on the Rings of Saturn.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

To The Stars - Conclusion

It is rare today to find a book, movie or TV show that actually leaves you feeling like you want to do something for the world. More often than not, mankind is portrayed as something degraded or evil.

The entertainment industry itself seems to like this idea as evidenced by their Oscar and Emmy choices: American Beauty, Monster, Sopranos, etc. When was the last time something uplifting got an award?

When not showing man as degraded, the highest most forms of entertainment reach is family or sometimes country, but the "country" stories usually portray some other "country" as evil.

So a book that is uplifting without being mawkish, inspiring without being "goody-goody" and ends leaving you wanting to do something about the state of the world is a rarity indeed and much appreciated. To The Stars is such a book.

The story and the characters keep you glued and it isn't until the final chapter that the punchline hits, leaves you gasping in amazement and with a new idea of mankind's destiny.

This is an awesome book. I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 19, 2004

To The Stars

I didn't listen to the traffic news this morning. Usually I turn it on as soon as I get in the car, but this morning I had to hear the next part of the audio book of "To The Stars" by L. Ron Hubbard.

I listened to the first CD this morning while making breakfast and I was hooked. So I got in the car, put it on and to hell with the traffic.

Science Fiction stories tend to ignore, avoid or somehow circumvent Einstein and his theory of relativity. We get "warp drives", "hyperspacial drives", "star gates" and other inventions to get around the problems of immense distances between stars and relativity: "as the velocity of a mass approaches the speed of light the passage of time for that mass approaches zero."

Rarely does a story deal head-on with not only the scientific consequences but also the human consequences of traveling close to the speed of light. This story does just that.

To the crew of the ship, they've only been gone 6 months but to the people on Earth they've been gone 60 years or 600 years or 6000 years. It all depends on how far and how fast they traveled.

I'm a quarter of the way through the story and, as I said, I'm hooked. I can't wait till this evening and my commute home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Important Political Debate

As we have an election coming up soon I thought you should see this very important political debate between George Bush and John Kerry.

It may take a few minutes to load and sometimes the server is busy because it's a popular video but it's worth the wait.

Hope you have a good chuckle.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Is Blogspot down?

I was going to write about a great blog I discovered a couple of days ago, but Blogspot seems to be missing right now. If I make a post I can get to the blog (such as this one) but if I try to go directly I get that annoying "The page cannot be displayed" message in IE. Maybe I should try a different browser? Or is it Blogspot playing up?

Well, I'll try again later and, if I can get at it, I'll tell you about the great blog.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Honesty of Spammers

A few weeks ago I decided to try an experiment. I have a Yahoo email that I give out when I am asked for an email address when registering on web sites, etc. Not surprisingly this account started receiving quite a bit of spam.

My experiment was to see what would happen if I told the spammers to take me off their list. So for 2-weeks I clicked on the "take me off your list" link of every spam I received ... or at least the ones that provided a link.

The result was that the amount of spam I was receiving tripled. So if anyone is in doubt about replying to spams in order to get off the list I can tell you it doesn't work.

I guess I should say that some "reputable" companies (e.g., Walgreens) did remove me from their list, so if you know the spam is from a big company, then you can probably take the risk of replying. However, make sure the email is from the company and is not a fake address - for example if the name says "Walgreens" and the email address is something like then you know it isn't really from Walgreens.

Also I would recommend the Yahoo spam filter. It is over 99% accurate.