In the beginning.. There was 4k ram..

I started programming in 1980 with a cut down version of Microsoft Basic on a AU $499 Tandy TRS-80 Model 1, Level 1 Basic, 4k RAM, Microcomputer.

I mastered Level 1 Basic in about 2 weeks. Level II Basic took a little longer. TRSDOS Disk Basic took a little longer still.

Then I played Turbo Pascal back when Borland owned it. But I never really got into pascal. I just looked at the examples and worked through some examples.

Then there was C

After that I chased ‘C’ around. I never actually caught it. But I chased it for some time. I ended up getting sidetracked with sh script and learning unix commands. With the occasional ‘C’ code hack followed by a ‘Make’ was the closest I got to programming in ‘C’. :(

HTML was fun but not really demanding. PHP/MYSQL is more fun but still like HTML.

Visual Basic changing standards with sloppy needed ‘runtime’ files.

Perl is another complicated scripting language.

Java offers greater flexability but at the cost of greater complexity.

None of them are ‘impossible’ to follow. But I dont spend too much time programming anymore.

I’m more involved with website content creation. :)

2010-05-12 Computer, Software

I was getting this weird error on http://FileSpaces.Com (a domain I have just started working on) … Anyway when I created an account. That account creation date was always coming back as 31st December 1969.

A quick check of Google confirmed that I wasn’t alone with this funny date error. Funny thing is I could see the “error” popping up under all kinds of different systems. With people asking for help and getting no reply.

I quickly suspected that the -9.5 I had inserted as my timezone offset was probably to blame. As not all systems have been written to accomodate the .5 offset.

So I changed the timezone to -9 and left the .5 off and BINGO.. Problem Solved.

I hope this helps somebody.

ps: lol the 1969 error is actually “Operator Error” smirk

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2010-03-05 Computer, Software

Paltalk Widget

Gee.. I don’t know.. I went to paltalk tonight.. The audio was shocking on my crappy 31.2 kbps dialup. So I tried a few things.. But nothing seemed to work.. So in desperation I hooked up my mobile phone to the pc and connected to the net using Telstra pre-paid wireless. (Bloody ripoff datapacks cost $10 for 100MB)

Well that fixed paltalk. It was perfect after that. But sheeesh didnt the data flow. I’d used up 20MB of the 100MB allocation in a very short time.

I then compared Indline. Indline gave me nerly perfect audio on my crappy dialup. I was amazed. Compared to paltalk. So.. Looks to me like paltalk have pretty well deserted dialup or low bandwidth users.

I will have to support Indline more in future.

Anyway.. for what its worth.. Here is the widget for my chat room on paltalk.

Please note: YOU MUST HAVE AN EXISTING PALTALK NICKNAME TO USE THIS WIDGET

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2010-02-16 Computer, Software

UnInstalling PalTalk

I was uninstalling Paltalk. Next thing I know this survey pops up. Asking me why? Well… Never one to shy away from telling it how I see it.. This is what I sent to them..

Survey

Funny how asking for comments about why I am uninstalling Paltalk can turn into a problem.

You see.. I am on dialup still. Forced again to download increasingly larger and larger paltalk upgrade code. (13MB now)

This of course is frustrating for the dialup user. If I could access a direct download url. It would probably take me nearly 4 hours to download the new code. Which I would do, except I cannot see where the Paltalk Website offers a direct download url?

Unfortunately the Website standard download keeps failing for me with obscure “site not ready” errors. Trying to use the Paltalk internal download takes far longer than the website download with paltalk client still running and consuming bandwidth.

Trying to find alternate solutions leads me to attempt joining a help lobby. But the out of date client doesn’t allow me to join a help lobby to aquire the direct download link. The out of date client doesnt allow me to PM anyone else to get help.

Aborting the Paltalk internal download results in a broken download proceedure that has forced me to now totally uninstall paltalk.

Would I recoment Paltalk? I would recomend paltalk to BROADBAND users. But I can no longer ask my rural dialup friends to attempt participation.

Even ignoring the above complaints. Dialup customers must endure the ever increasing bandwidth of paltalk and advertiser advertisments. The only half answer being to subscribe to Paltalk to reduce bandwidth consumption on the forced advertisements.

Even when your a subscriber, Help room staff do not seem to care about the customer experience. No real solutions offered as paltalk became increasingly impossible to use on dialup.

In fact, after listening for many hours in help lobbies, I would suggest that paltalk staff increasingly display pretty well a total disregard for customer wishes about most things.

Staff seem to be on Mars. They may be multilingual, but they do not listen to what the customer is asking. They rave on and on about unrelated subjects.

While treating the Paltalk customers with distain as they “red dot” an unwanted question. Either they do not have answers for even the most obvious questions. Or they just simply do not care about the paltalk brand. (Of course.. why would they?) It is not their business they destroy.

Anyway.. who cares.. right? Probably another volunteer reading this right now. (If it ever got read)

It’s been many months since I was a regular on paltalk. I really don’t miss it. The whole scene got very stale a long time ago.

Anyway, I am going to turn these comments into a blog entry. If you bother replying to lazerzap@hotmail.com

I will supply a direct download link on the blog as a service to my readers.. (as well as your comments..)

If you dont bother replying.. Well.. It proves what I have been saying.. Doesn’t it? Cheers..

Conclusion

I stopped trying to use voice chats many months ago. But I will probably re-download it again simply because I have too many friends on Paltalk.

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2008-07-31 Computer, Software

Last year my Mercury 32 email server crashed after some nasty exploit had been rendered against it. Shame.. I’d just worked out some configuration issues with it too.

Since then I’ve basically ignored email. Only rarely even checking my top 3 providers. (my isp, hotmail, and yahoo)

But readers may be pleased to know that I have installed the latest version of Mercury 32.

http://download-us.pmail.com/m32-462.exe

This version addresses the security flaw that was uncovered last year. (June/July 2007)

Having an email server running here again. Allows me the capability of quickly verifying users.

So I expect I will have to reconfigure the various CMS systems to operate with email again. (Hope I remember the admin passwords.)

This gives me the incentive to start ‘playing’ with the php and mysql again.

Made the Telstra, Telstra BigPond, Australian ISP, VBMYSQL, and SPAM entries today.

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2007-10-20 Computer, Software

P2P in the PCTech chatroom on PalTalk

It occured to me that there was a flaw in the way some of the visitors are handled. IF anyone is (brave) enough to mention P2P (Peer to Peer) they are pretty well shown the door.

This is probably fair enough when dealing with file sharing P2P network software. But P2P networking has changed with time. VOIP (Voice over IP) is handled well nowadays using P2P.

Wildfire0 is the Nicname of the person responsible for the running of the PCTech chatroom. So after giving it some thought. I sent Wildfire0 a PM (Personal Message) telling her of my concerns. After discussing the issue and defining what PCTech could and couldn’t legally support.

Wildfire0 asked me if I would like to present a proposal for the PCTech admins to consider.

So I did.

I produced the following draft for Wildfire0 to consider.


What is P2P

Peer-to-peer networks are typically used for connecting nodes via largely ad hoc connections. Such networks are useful for many purposes. Sharing content files (see file sharing) containing audio, video, data or anything in digital format is very common, and realtime data, such as telephony traffic, is also passed using P2P technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

P2P is a specific form of relational dynamic, based on the assumed equipotency of its participants, organized through the free cooperation of equals in view of the performance of a common task, for the creation of a common good, with forms of decision-making and autonomy that are widely distributed throughout the network.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer_(meme)

Suggested Support of P2P in [[PCTech]]

P2P support will only be provided for P2P programs that DO NOT have a file transfer system installed. Although the future of P2P applications is unknown. Due to desktop PC’s becoming more powerful with faster internet connections. There is a high probability of more P2P voice chat or even gaming systems in the future. No support will be provided to P2P applications that have the ability to transfer files between users.


Edit 2009: I believe the people of PCTech stuck to their ‘No P2P Support’ rule


An example of P2P VOIP Applications

What about PicoPhone? If you haven’t used PicoPhone yet. Then I highly recomend you try it.

http://lazerzap.com/graphics/pico1.jpg

http://www.vitez.it/picophone/

This is the kind of P2P that you keep just to talk to your closest friends. You dont use it to talk to just anyone. Because of it’s P2P nature your Internet IP number is revealed to whoever you speak with. So make sure that you trust the person your going to test PicoPhone with.

http://lazerzap.com/graphics/pico2.jpg

If you decide to Download Picophone 1.64 Vitez Download Picophone 1.64 Mirror. Take note of the PicoServer IP Specified above. You may have to change the Picoserver IP number that is set by default to 193.189.186.20

Otherwise the red SRV light will not light up. The SRV light indicates a connection to an active Picoserver.

That aside PicoPhone is a great little program. It provides 2 way voice and text communications for up to 5 users. One on one it really shines.

Even for dialup users who have limited bandwidth PicoPhone works great. Non dialup users may find they are unable to receive a call until they perform port forwarding of the PicoPhone default port in their router. However like all P2P operations through a router, you can make an outgoing call without setting up port forwarding.

http://lazerzap.com/graphics/pico3.jpg

As long as you call someone who is already setup to receive calls. Like me. you dont have to do any setup other than download the program, run through a real easy setup, and except make your call.

Dialup users will especially love the size of PicoPhone. At 64KB it is one of the smallest VOIP P2P programs that it worth mentioning.

http://lazerzap.com/graphics/pico4.jpg

If you would like to try PicoPhone.

Download Picophone 1.64 Vitez Download Picophone 1.64 Mirror

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2007-09-01 Computer, Software

Introduction

Bloody Inspeak!!! http://www.inspeak.com/ Free for Voice/Text Chats.

Inspeak is a Voice/Cam/Text Chat program. I used to be a volunteer staff member of Inspeak until October 2006 when I resigned. But over the last 12 months I’d continued using Inspeak to chat with some of my friends Id met there.

About a week and a half ago I’d sent am email to the Inspeak Administration. The email had been addressed to AdminA@inspeak.com, AdminC@inspeak.com, AdminK@inspeak.com, AdminM@inspeak.com, AdminS@inspeak.com. Basically I got em all. The AdminM@inspeak.com account required a verification to be sent before it would accept email. lol. Poor AdminM mut be targetted for lots of SPAM. Anyway I passed the verification. So AdminM got it too.

Bottom line. I wasn’t going to make the email public. I hadn’t made it public. But today in the Inspeak Customer Service room I was told that I have been running around the net causing trouble for inspeak. I was told that they had “read” my comments and that they hadn’t missed any… Good. Well read this and weep. Originally addressed to AdminA with CC’s to everyone else..


Email sent to Inspeak Administration

Hi AdminA

Will you please share this with AdminM.

I have a couple of things that I would like you to address.

Firstly. The reason that I contact you rather than AdminS or AdminC is because I do not trust them to accurately represent what I am trying to say..

That is my first issue. How can you trust AdminC and AdminS? The have both made sure that there is no competition for their jobs by forcing the best helpers away.

They did this by misrepresenting the helpers to the administration. They say a bad thing here about someone.. and they say a bad thing there about someone. But how do you know that it is the truth?

When you only take AdminC or AdminS’s word for it? When you dont bother to ask the people concerned as to what has happened? Common sense must tell you that the truth is in the middle of both stories. But to find the truth you must find out both stories.

The Administration of Inspeak have no interest in the truth. The Administration of Inspeak only want to belive AdminS and AdminC..

So Sneaky, Jerry, Denzel, Tony, Uni, Lazerzap, Wish, AdminL, shanti etc etc etc etc are all wrong?????

How can this be?

I will tell you what I see. I see a weak Seawave being led around by Maybe. Until Maybe “owns” Seawave. Like a hacker ‘owns’ a network of pc’s.. Same thing.. Maybe controls Seawave. So AdminC goes along with “Whatever” AdminS suggests.

It is AdminS who runs Inspeak. AdminC is just along for the ride. If AdminS says “JUMP!” AdminC says “How high?”

So trying to communicate with AdminM about things is “IMPOSSIBLE!!!”

Because AdminC and AdminS have already worked out what they are going to say.. Before they even tell the Administration.

So AdminM gets informed.. But he doesn’t get the real story. He gets told it in such a way as to put the helper in a bad light.

The staff get angry and resign. Dont they…

And Inspeak just sits there watching.

When is Inspeak going to fix this problem?

Look at how many active users you have on Inspeak. Now… Compared to 12 months ago. Is Inspeak growing? Why not? Why hasnt Inspeak filled up?

You listened to AdminS for long enough.. Now listen to me. Inspeak is failing due to there being insufficient staff. Plain and simple. Not enough RED Admins 12 months ago when we needed them. Plain and Simple.. Where are your friendly staff?

Where is Jerry and Lazerzap? They used to fill the help lobby and keep it filled..

Now Jerry had issues with Maybe.. Inspeak “chose” to keep Maybe and let Jerry go.. why? Jerry was always an asset to inspeak. Jerry caused little problems.. Compared to Maybe causing BIG problems all the time.. So why keep Maybe and get rid of Jerry? It doesn’t make sense..

Lazerzap’s problem was that he cared too much for the users. All I wanted to do was protect users from spyware. If Inspeak had devoted a small area on their website to “hosting” images. (As I suggested) The whole issue would have been layed to rest.

http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=security/webbugs

As you can see from the URL.. Lazerzap was right..

But instead.. You have lost Lazerzap and the spyware remains an issue for people who use shared internet images.

Why?

Thats is what I dont understand. Was I represented fairly by AdminS and AdminC?

Or did they take this oportunity to ‘get rid” of a serious competitor to their own positions?

AdminS says.. “Lazerzap.. You are so negative..” Negative? Is it negative to identify a problem and suggest a possible solution? Because thats all I ever did. AdminS wanted you to believe I was negative about inspeak. So it would make it easier to get rid of me.

And it did.. Didn’t it?

You be the judge of how she represents helpers in meetings. Only you know how they ‘speak’ about other staff.

Isn’t it a fact that according to Maybe and Seawave there are no good staff?

(Except for thos who just agree with everything they say)

I will let you in on a little secret. Maybe used to speak about Inspeak Administration the same way. The way they talk about helpers in meetings. Is the same way they talk about Inspeak Administration in private.

This is what I got in Pm from Maybe soon after I started as a helper. She doesnt respect the Administration. You are being played like a guitar and Maybe is doing the playing.

Maybe took me to Skye when I first became a helper and was swearing about inspeak and the senior administration. She had a poor opinion of the senior administration on Inspeak. She didn’t like you AdminA. She also didn’t like AdminD much. After that Skype session I knew not to trust Maybe..

It’s a shame you people don’t trust your helpers. But I believe that is because Maybe has been making you guys paranoid with her stories.

AdminS is so professional? No. She is no better than I am. If she really was as good as she makes out. She would be employed in a Customer Service position external to Inspeak.

In short..

I do not trust AdminC because he is ‘owned’ by AdminS AdminS makes people look bad so that she appears to shine. AdminC supports AdminS in anything she decides to do. AdminK only listens to AdminC and AdminS to he is completely under their spell. AdminM is “unreachable”

It is only AdminA I can tell.

(And I am lucky.. Cos most people don’t have AdminA to contact.. So they just leave Inspeak..)

I should have done this back in October 2006 when I resigned. But I thought that if Mark listens to them without speaking to me. Then he deserves what happens next. But it has been nearly 12 months since I resigned. Inspeak is smaller than ever now. Has less staff than ever before.

If you don’t listen to me now. You may not have much time left to rectify the problem.

AdminM needs to be back in control. Slowly but surely Maybe is destroying Inspeak!

I honestly dont expect anything to change now. You guys have a problem. If enough people all say the same thing maybe then you will believe.

If Maybe is still controlling the email server. I don’t expect you will ever read this. So If I dont get a reply I will post this email on the web - So one way or the other.. You will eventually read this

AdminM and AdminA must not ‘Hide’ from the users anymore. While Inspeak is small (and it is very small) You MUST be available to users and more importantly staff.

You have trusted the wrong people and now you see the results of it.

Inspeak would have been twice it’s size if it hadn’t been for Maybe.

Why is there a Cybertrax?, OpenTalk?, Aurora? are not all these people from Inspeak? OMG do you see what has happened? Not only have people been forced out of Inspeak.. But they now compete for your users. With a very similar product.

I know I will never be a helper for you again. I will never ‘give’ my time again to any program. So please dont consider this a plea for my position back. It isn’t. I would never again work for a company that listens to rumors or only takes direction from one or two people. (AdminS and AdminC)

Even if you sacked AdminS and AdminC today. I would not return as a helper. The problem really goes higher. You people need to “pay” for some good staff. Then finally you can trust them. (or sue them if they stuff up)

Thank you for the time taken to read this.


Why did I post the above Email to the Wiki?

Now.. that email was sent on 21-August-2007.

Today is the 1-September-2007. 11 days ago I sent that email. I received to reply from any of them. So.. This morning I was in PCTech on PalTalk. It was a bit slow and my thoughts returned to being a helper in Inspeak. So I thought to myself. I wonder if I got banned from Inspeak over that email?

So I login to Inspeak. Hmmm I can still login. I see Cyprina online on my contact list. Cyprina is a helper for inspeak. Her role is to help people who have issues on Inspeak. Issues at any level. With staff or user Cyprina’s job is to settle people down. This is a job she does very well. Her temperment is well suited to this role. I hadn’t seen Cyprina for some time. For over a month she had been noticably absent from my contact list.

I went into the “Customer Support” room. There was just Cyprina and I. Now I had been into this room many times in the past since leaving as a helper. Cyprina and I had discussed all kinds of things about Inspeak. We had always maintained a level where we wouldn’t discuss internal Inspeak issues in front of users. If a user come into the room. Cyprina would make that user the priority and help them until they left the room. Then we would go back to whatever we were discussing. This is the way it always worked.

Today Cyprina and I had AdminS, AdminC, Fire-Me, AdminK and a few others. Some X staff “Tim-Tam-Girl” as well.. AdminS and AdminC wanted to take me to task in the room. They told me I wouldn’t ever get a reply to my email.

Instead of asking me to speak with them in private. They decided to make it happen in public. After listening to them on Mic and responding in text. I tried to take the mic when it was free and had the mic taken off me in the first 10 seconds. AdminS then took the mic. They want me to listen to their rubbish spin but they wont listen to my return? I left the room.

There was nothing to be gained here except more bad publicity for Inspeak by continuing this in public. Plus I really felt like I was against too many of them. “Fire-Me” was also posting comments in text that I took exception too..

I PM’d Cyprina and told her that I wouldn’t play this game. She told me that AdminK was coming in. Then she invited me back to the room. By this stage I decided to do an about turn. If they want to air their dirty laundry in public. Who am I to dissapoint them? So I returned to the room.

AdminK took the mic and started to speak when I joined. He was trying to turn the heat down on the situation. He had correctly realised that a few bystanders were now gathering. I understood his predicament. But the bottom line was that they still were not taking my email seriously. AdminK was going on about virus scans. Completely failing to address what I was saying in text.

Admittedly English is not his first language. I soon realized that all I was doing was spilling my guts about Inspeak in front of all these bystanders and AdminK wasn’t responding on mic to what I was putting in text. Poor AdminK was desperate to stop what was happening. I couldn’t see any other way out of the situation.

So I put into text that this isn’t my problem. That all I can do is point out where the problem lays. It’s up to them to fix it. But I don’t want to be part of the issue anymore. I told them I was leaving Inspeak and I said Goodbye. I left the room. I shutdown Inspeak. I got on my Wiki. I think that Im steamed about how it felt to be “ganged up” on in their room like that.

I would have appreciated being taken aside to a private room. If they want to talk about it. But I dont see how this can be achieved in a group situation. If AdminA or AdminM wanted to discuss it. I would have made myself available. But AdminK hasn’t taken me seriously in the past. The only reason I can think of is because I have been portrayed in a poor light to the administration by AdminS and AdminC. X AdminL told me this. He said that I was always spoken about by those 2 as if i was a trouble maker.

So if trouble maker is my role. Trouble maker I shall be. Some people would think that I have far too much time on my hands. Indeed I do. I think my job is too point out problems in the system, suggest possible solutions, and commend the people who have the correct formula.

The reason I selected Inspeak in the first place was because I saw a potential for Inspeak to be the shining light of the internet community. It wasn’t. But it took me awhile to realise it. The problem was AdminM’s flowery speech. He has the gift of the gab. A person can get lost in Marks visions. But reality and visions often dont mesh too well.

Mark had the correct visions. Making them come true for people sometimes require compromise. The compromises can then in turn change the visions. (What did I just say?? is that Johspeak? Omg.. I said BS for the sake of BS am I becoming a writer? anyway..) I will promote what I see as being worth promoting. Reject what I do not. Even after all my ‘issues’ with Inspeak. I cannot say. Don’t go there. Don’t use it. Because from a ‘users’ point of view there is nothing really wrong with it.

I just know from having an insiders view of the system that it isn’t setup very well to help users who are having “problems”. Inspeak suffers from a lack of staff who are able to deal with issues professionally. It just comes down to what I said before about Customer Service.

A service like Inspeak must devote some of it’s profit to customer service. From what I have seen of Inspeak and PalTalk is that they both rely upon volunteer helpers with little or no paid customer service. Whats worse is that customers are forced to go thru volunteer helpers before being able to access true customer service.

Conclusion

If your after decent customer service. Don’t go to Inspeak. or PalTalk or anywhere for that matter. The internet is the land of the “get rich quick” merchant. Whith little of no room for customer service. Voice chat programs are no exception to this.

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2007-08-24 Computer, Software

PCTech on Paltalk

The PalTalk PCTech room seems quite interesting from time to time. I have spent a few hours listening and participating. I will probably drop in there more often. They don’t seem too extreme in the way they control the room. (So far..) lol

Edit 2009: They were “extreme”.. I don’t go there anymore..

I will have to add more detail some time..

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2007-08-18 Computer, Software

Oddmuse Wiki and CSS

Spent the whole day playing around with this Oddmuse Wiki Perl script thing.

http://www.oddmuse.org/

The CSS setup is a headache for me.. (I never bothered fully understanding CSS previously..) But starting to get there with CSS now…

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2007-08-17 Computer, Software

First Post with Oddmuse Wiki

hmm .. a perl based WIKI blog called Oddmuse[1] how kewl. :)

Easy to use...

It seems to be fairly simple to setup so far..

Give it a try...

http://www.oddmuse.org/

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