Monthly Archives: January 2006

The most expensive cities in the world

The Economist Intelligence Unit have just released their biannual report on the most expensive cities in the world to live. And the winner is: Oslo, Norway. Apparently it’s the first time Tokyo hasn’t topped the poll. Paris is the 4th most expensive city with London in 7th position. What surprised me was that New York, the most expensive city in the US according to the survey, is only 27th in the list! I thought it would have been a lot higher up.

Judge others by their intentions and yourself by your results

Guy Kawasaki:“Judge others by their intentions and yourself by your results. If you want to be at peace with the world, here’s what you should do. When you judge others, look at what they intended to do. When you judge yourself, look at what you’ve actually accomplished. This attitude is bound to keep you humble. By contrast, if you judge others by their accomplishments (which are usually shortfalls) and yourself by your intentions (which are usually lofty), you will be an angry, despised little man.”

This is good advice. Most people start of with good intentions but don’t necessarily accomplish everything they set out to achieve in the first place. It is humbling as Guy states to look at what you have accomplished (the past) as opposed to judging yourself by what you intend to do (the future). If your intentions are way up there in the stratosphere you are never going to achieve them and will never be happy. Be practical. Choose realistic goals and most importantly, aim to accomplish them.

Well that’s the end of my motivational sermon. You can read the whole of Guy’s article here.

Update: Here’s a good tip: take a look at your resume. Resumes are supposed to be a brief summary of what you have done so far. If you were a potential employer or The Inquisitor from Red Dwarf, would you be impressed with what you were reading?

Preventing email spoofing

What’s the best way of determining if an email address has been spoofed?

Here’s a solution I came up with: use the IP address of the originating server the mail came from and do a reverse DNS lookup to get the domain name. Compare the domain name from the lookup with the domain the email claims to have been sent from and if there is no corresponding A record discard the email. How reliable is this method? I have come across several references on the Internet that say that looking up the PTR record for a domain is not reliable because the PTR record(s) are often not well maintained or are even absent.

Another way using a similar approach but not relying on PTR entries, would be to look up the IP address of the domain the email claims to have come from and compare that with the IP address of the originating server. Have I missed something? Are there better ways of checking for spoofed emails?

Your comments are appreciated.

Windows Live Mail Beta test

I have just had my Hotmail account upgraded to the beta version of Live Mail. I haven’t tried it in Firefox yet, only Internet Explorer. I have played around with it a bit so here is a list features that I have come across so far that you don’t get with Hotmail:

  • Search
  • Autocomplete feature for the To field using email addresses from your contact list
  • To delete a message you can simply drag it into the Deleted Items folder
  • Separate message view pane. When you click on a message header it gets displayed in a separate pane on the right.
  • Sent emails are now automatically copied to the Sent folder. Previously you had to check a box if you wanted a copy of the email saved.

It looks a lot better too. Search is the big thing that is now available but that’s hardly innovative is it. I do like the fact that I can opt out of the beta program and have my account reverted back to how it was. Overall my initial reaction is one of disappointment. It’s better than Hotmail but I was expecting more.

Update: I have just tried it in Firefox and it doesn’t work properly although they do display a message telling me this when I login. I can still read and send email so it’s not too bad.

Design revamp #2

So the design changes are well underway, well, sort of! Nothing fancy, just a few changes here and there. I have started to categorize things, although you may have noticed that I still have quite a few (previous) posts to reclassify. Funny how “Uncategorized” is actually a category in WordPress!

I decided to get rid of the calendar for now and you can also browse through the archives if you desire to do so. I have a few more changes to make, I just haven’t got around to it yet including upgrading to WordPress 2.0.

I have decided to save the best until last: the new header graphic. Thanks to Alasdair Mangham of The Vault for creating it. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be but it looks really good, which is the important bit.

Anyway, let me know if you have any ideas about how to make things look or work better.

Full screen mode for Safari

Here’s a useful tip for making Safari take up the whole of the screen. I found it in a comment somebody had posted on this article about Saft, a plugin that adds a lot of funky features to Safari.

Add the following Javascript in the URL field at the top of the browser and then bookmark it:

javascript:self.moveTo(0,0); self.resizeTo(screen.availWidth, screen.availHeight);

Add the bookmark to the bookmark bar, click on it and voila …. Safari occupies the whole of the screen. Opera has a better full screen mode, it even covers the menu bar at the top of the screen, but until Apple add such a mode to Safari this will have to do.

Here is snapshot of my toolbar:

As I mentioned previously there is a plugin available called Saft that adds, among other things, a full screen mode to Safari. According to the authors of Saft it was used for check-in at Macworld San Francisco in 2005. Kind of makes you wonder why Apple doesn’t just clone the functionality, or buy Saft, and add it to Safari!

Overzealous lover?

Here’s an interesting fact from a book I am reading, Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Questions: the British Army used to put bromide in the soldiers’ tea as a means of curbing their sexual appetite. Apparently, bromide salts were widely used as sedatives in the 19th century too.

In a reference to using bromides to reduce libido the comic Spike Milligan once wrote: ‘I don’t think the bromide had any lasting effect, the only way to stop a British soldier feeling randy is to load bromide into a 300lb shell and fire it at him from the waist down.’

Bikram yoga

I had my first Bikram yoga class last night. It’s yoga, Jim, but not as we know it! It consists of performing a series of 26 postures. Each posture is done twice. The difference between Bikram and other types of yoga is that the room is heated. Think yoga in a desert! OK, I’m exaggerating, it’s not that hot, but it’s hot enough to make you sweat profusely. I enjoyed it but I feel a bit sore this morning.

The other difference between Bikram and other types of yoga is that people tend to wear not very much. It was quite liberating doing a yoga class in just a pair of shorts 🙂

I’m going to continue doing it for a couple weeks and see how it goes. I imagine I will get bored of it after a while because you repeat the same set of postures during every class. Variety is the spice of life after all!