Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category


Contest to increase your Google Pagerank

In Computers,Typical on 2009-02-24 by petervk

Check this out:

The poster is using a contest to increase his page rank. Genius. He says he currently get’s 300 page views a day, but by having all of his readers post the link to their own blog I’m sure this will skyrocket. I’m guessing several thousand people will view the page, and a couple hundred will register. (39 comments so far) For $240 (if he had to pay full price for the bible, and it seems like it was given to him) I feel this is a great investment.

I’d suggest this tactic to others hoping to increase their traffic/readers/pagerank.
1. Establish a base set of readers
2. Buy/get a valuable prize
3. Have readers post link to blog to register for contest, and comment with link to their blog post (forward and back links really help pagerank)
4. Give away prize to someone
5. Enjoy the vastly increased traffic and pagerank of your site

At least this guy doesn’t have ads all over his site so it currently doesn’t look like its about money and it is about getting people to read the blog.



Use Firefox 3? You’ll need to Vacuum the database once in a while.

In Computers,Linux,Typical on 2009-01-17 by petervk

So, fancy new Firefox 3 uses a sweet new database to manage all your history & bookmarks. Which can make for awesomely fast bookmarks and awesome bar usage for the first little while. The only problem is that the database in use is Sqlite3, which has one minor problem for Firefox 3 users: it becomes clogged with dust.

Well it isn’t actually dust, but stale indexes, and the like. The solution is to Vacuum the database.

On Ubuntu you’ll have to navigate to your Firefox profile folder in a terminal. So launch a terminal.

cd .mozilla/firefox/

Now look for a folder called “(randomcharacters).default”
For example it could be called “1g8uequb.default”

cd (folder name above)
Now copy the line below to a text file because you’ll have to shut down Firefox to complete the next step.

Shut down firefox and run the following command.
for i in *.sqlite; do echo "VACUUM;" | sqlite3 $i ; done

It won’t output anything if it runs correctly and should take a minute or two before it returns you to the terminal. If you get a “SQL error near line 1: database is locked” then Firefox is still running. Wait a second and try the command above again.

Launch Firefox up again and appreciate the new found snappiness.

Taken from:


Top 9 worst uses of Windows

In Computers,Typical on 2008-07-09 by petervk

So, PC World Austrialia just published an article on the “Top Ten worst uses of Windows“, but they are quite wrong in one aspect, Locomotive control systems.

Normally I would have just skimmed through the article, but when I hovered over the link to the Locomotive Control System (number 5 in the list) I noticed that it linked to the QES-III system from Qtron-Wabtec.  Which just happens to be the company my Father used to work for and the system he designed for them.

It definitely doesn’t run windows. I remember him telling me about the custom real time operating system/application he programed for that system and about the positively tiny/slow processor in the system. I mean the graphing calculator I had in high school was faster then that processor. But that doesn’t really matter at all when it came to locomotive control systems, as it was plenty fast enough for everything it needed to do.

2-3 years ago my father started his own company, TMV Control Systems, as a partnership with Brookville Equipment Corporation, a railway supplier in Brookville, Pennsylvania. He’s developed a new locomotive control system for them and it’s being integrated into everything from passenger locomotives, rail yard switching locomotives, streetcars, and sweet new multi-engine fuel saving locomotives.

So yeah, it is definetly possible that Microsoft inflitrated other locomotive control systems suppliers but not Qtron-Wabtec (with the QES-III) or TMV Control Systems.



Google Browser Sync has been discontinued

In Computers,Typical on 2008-06-18 by petervk

Hello Peter Cannon,

As you do not have any easily accessable method of leaving comments on your blog I’ll respond to your post via this post.

In response to your post: Firefox 3 not supporting GoogleSync, I give you this piece of news: Google Browser Sync Discontinued, No Firefox 3 Support.  Sorry, There will never be a FF3 extension.

Lifehacker does give you some recommendations for replacement products.

Hopefully your blog does do linkbacks or this “answer” will just be lost in the blogosphere.


Firefox 3 Download Day

In Computers,Typical on 2008-06-17 by petervk

So, as mozilla just DDOS’ed themselves with this whole download day thing, you can’t actually access their site to participate. Unless you bypass their fancy webpages and go straight through their awesome mirror service.

Firefox 3 download link

That link will automatically send you to a local server and allow you to download firefox 3 and contribute to the amazingly huge bandwith bill mozilla is racking up.


(Of and to be offical you have to download it before 1:00 pm tomorrow. The offical 24 hours started today at 1:00 pm Toronto time)


Construction/Building Industry & Free Software Development

In Computers,Facility Management,Typical on 2008-04-07 by petervk

So, what do the construction/building industry and free software development have in common? More then you’d think.

I was thinking again about git, and what an awesome concept it is. (Read everything you can find about it, it’s genius, but it does take a while to wrap your head around) Basically it provides for a common way of referencing content and its history and makes distributed development easy. It blows any previous source code management software out of the water.

I’ve always thought that through the use of computers there are two main stages of any application or “workflow”. First there is 1-to-1 transfer of the pre-computer concept to the computer. This is like Microsoft Word. (It’s really just a fancy typewriter/ sheet of paper) (think about it) Then after a while someone looks at what is really needed for this process and what computers are actually good at and there is a paradigm shift. Suddenly we have wiki’s, and google docs, and other “word-processing” programs which really have no similarity to anything pre-computers.

Git is like this, Linus looked at what was really needed, and what computers can do and came up with a new paradigm shifting application / storage method.

But what is really cool is that almost every problem that the creation of git eliminated also affect the construction industry. The Linux kernel (git’s reason for existence) is developed by many different people in many different parts of the world with different skill sets and allows for seamless, easy collaboration of all the work done. The typical building project is also designed by many different people in many different parts of the world (ok, usually not world wide, but at least across the province) but with the huge difference of the complete and utter lack of true collaboration.

Well, ok. I’m being a little harsh. The construction industry does collaborate, but when you compare their collaboration (hundreds of different copies of everything, long drawn out meetings, hundreds of man hours of checking and rechecking specifications and drawings) to the free software development collaboration (git-pull) it’s seems like the construction industry is from the dark ages.

The first step in solving the construction industries problems is a standard interoperable digital format for building information. (Proprietary Autodesk formats need not apply.) This will be like the programming language for building information. Then we put this information into a git repository and just like magic, your not in the dark ages anymore. Easy collaboration, cryptographically signed releases, full change log, etc.

I really think that a NBIMS (National Building Information Model Standard) implementation on top of a RESTful python + hadoop/couchdb + git backend would turn the construction industry on it’s head and be a major step in the right direction. Lets start claiming back the estimated 25% cost of non-interoperable software/data currently used in every single construction project across the globe.


Psst, Microsoft. Let me tell you a secret…

In Computers,Typical on 2008-02-19 by petervk

Had past problems with buggy released software? So much so that it is acceptable (possibly even recommended) practice for businesses to wait until you release your first service pack before they purchase your application(s)?

Well I’ve got the solution to your problems. Just name the initial release of your software Service Pack 1. Then people don’t have to wait for you to release it because it ship’s with the product.