Skype 5 for Windows

I just upgraded to Skype 5.0 for Windows. It’s really good at first glance. No longer are there annoying floating ads to get me to make phone calls. Overall the interface looks more polished than before. The integration with Facebook is a nice touch although I can’t find a reason to use Facebook through Skype. Now I will hope they get the Mac OS X one released soon too. Great job there.

Promising changes in IE9

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 actually looks promising.

Welcome To A More Beautiful Web – Welcome To A More Beautiful Web – Internet Explorer 9

While the internet has kept up with every changing needs, however the way we experience hasn’t, until now! Welcome to a more beautiful web with Internet Explorer 9. Internet Explorer delivers a more beautiful Web by using the full capabilities of Windows and PC hardware so your Web sites and applications are as immersive as the native applications running on your PC.

Oracle trying to make money with Java

This is a good move perhaps, one of the new features of Java 1.6 Update 14 is:

Garbage First (G1) Garbage Collector

Garbage First, or G1, is a low pause, server style collector. G1’s primary advantages over the Concurrent Mark-Sweep (CMS) collector include incremental compaction, better predictability and ease of use.

Although G1 is available for use in this release, note that production use of G1 is only permitted where a Java support contract has been purchased. G1 is supported thru Sun’s Java Platform Standard Edition for Business program. Source: Sun

I got really tired of Java updates. I realized it never just updates to the latest, instead it keeps all the old ones which I see no need for.

How to get automatic update working in WordPress

WordPress 2.7 introduced a feature to perform automatic updating of plugins and WordPress itself. It annoys me endlessly that the automatic update refuses to work and require me to input a FTP username and password which I don’t have. This blog runs on a server that does not have FTP installed. I use SSH for that. The method is to change ownership of your WordPress directory to www-data (for Apache).

Run the following command in your WordPress directory (sudo required):

[code lang=”bash”]sudo chown -Rf www-data *[/code]

That did the trick for me by changing the ownership every folder and it’s files recursively to ‘www-data’. It is slightly risky and you may not like the idea of giving so much privileges to the WordPress directory. But before I can think of any way to attack the server, I guess this method is more or less safe. Unless there is a malicious plugin that you install. Always install proven plugins. That said, use it at your own risk.

Changing the ownership give Apache access to your WordPress directory allowing WordPress to overwrite its own files and automatic update works. Well not really automatic actually. Semi-automatic since you actually have to trigger something to continue the update.

Thanks jer for the hint. 😉

Don’t use a Windows Service just to run a scheduled process

I see windows services that does absolutely nothing but just check for regular updates. It is just sitting there through your entire session waiting for the time to ripe for checking of update. Don’t do that kind of lame stuff.

A common requirement in business application is a scheduled process – call a webservice, process the data, and FTP the results to a business partner, for instance. Developers kick around possible solutions – BizTalk’s overkill, DTS won’t handle it well, what to do?

Invariably, someone suggests a Windows Service with a timer. Just as invariably, when you try to talk them out of it, they’ll condescendingly tell you that Windows Services are easy to write in .NET. “Trust me, it’s not hard – we’ll write a simple service with a timer which will do a simple time check…”

A Windows Service is the wrong solution to scheduling one-off custom processes. The right solution for scheduling simple processes is the Windows Task Scheduler. (Source: Jon Galloway)

I mean it’s just an update check. It’s not that a big deal to use a service for that.

Hotmail has a new user interface

BUT it doesn’t work well in my browser. I couldn’t reply, I couldn’t get back to the inbox once I click on a message. The whole thing is just a disaster for me and I don’t know how to change it back. Seems like Microsoft is pushing this update batch by batch to their users.

Here’s a screenshot of the new interface:

Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail does not play well with Firefox

(Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail does not play well with Firefox.)

Of course, it worked for Internet Explorer but…

Anyhow, I should note that I do like the cleaner design. The new calendar is better too. And the contacts. Everything’s better… if and only if it works.

[By the way, there is still a huge wide advertisement slapped above the mail interface. I just crop it away because it is an advertisement.]

Reddit updates, new interface rocks

I love Reddit, they just updated their website to let you easily customize what you want to view on the front page.

New reddit interface rocks

I used Reddit quite often these days. It’s got a better community than I feel. And Reddit is a lot faster too, whether in loading speeds or news. I just realized Reddit has a user page too, my user page is here although it is completely blank.

Congrats for the update. It’s wonderful.