Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

Any plan, Mr. President?

How can you take on other countries when you can’t take care of your own citizens? Don’t go there, we need you, here.

Some guy from NO said this on CNN, yesterday. And it’s a bullseye. It’s unbelievable how bad the state response was - for two full days nothing happened and it took them 5 days to actually help anyone. For a country that proud itself as the most competent in the world and where vast majority of citizens think is the best country in world - this must have been an eye opener.

I was simply amazed. At the lack of any plan, any organized effort to do something. Here in Serbia, when something similar happens, government immediately brings the army to help close the holes and evacuate endangered people. Use anything you have, but help the people. That’s the first thing you should do and later think about how much it costs, what to do with damaged houses etc.

Is it really possible that the strongest military in the world could not raise enough helicopters and transportation tracks to do the same ? Is it really possible that they could not make mobile hospitals just outside the NO with hundreds of hospital staff? All that in a matter of hours? I highly doubt.

I was deeply impressed how UK reacted to July 7th bombings. And I’m even more unimpressed how USA not reacted to the flooding. This by itself is a huge embarrassment for the USA, but with all the people dead this is tragedy. USA need some serious reconsideration of its priorities and where the tax-payers money is going. Or Cuba (with sending doctors) and North Korea (I mean, come on…) will have another field day. Sri Lanka offers to send experts for dealing with flood consequences to US? Geez…

I could write pages more but really have no heart for it. Any sane man can see it for him self.

Hail Turkey!

Kudos to Turks for making such an amazing race venue. The track is great, providing lots of overtaking opportunities, lots of places where driver can easily slide off - thus making it very driver-oriented track. We need more of these.

The starting line up was promising and it delivered. Both Renaults started their usual best. It seems to me that Renault cars accelerates quicker and both Alonso and Fisico utilize this to the max. Fisico was able to get pass Kimi and Alonso almost did it. However, soon after Fisico made a small mistake giving Kimi a small overtaking window he eagerly took. From that moment on, Kimi was his usual untouchable. Clearly at front and no errors on this very demanding track. He even said “it was easy”. Crazy Finn. :)

There was lots of action and overtaking all over the field. BAR proved they were strong - it’s too bad that Button made that mistake in Q - he would have battled for the podium. Ferrari was utterly bad. Nothing else to it - they are completely off the mark this year. BMW Williams had a hard time with tires - 2x2 rear right tyre failures are rarely seen.

Towards the end, everything was going dreamy for the McLaren, until last two laps. First Monteiro brakes late (yes Tiago, it’s your mistake) and spins Montoya, then in last lap Juan Pablo goes very wide and gives Alonso two unearned points. What caused Montoya’s “walk in park” remains slightly unknown. The mechanics told Kimi over Team Radio after the race that Juan had flat-spot on the tyre - I could not see that. Montoya said that back diffuser was destroyed completely in the accident. That part of the car provides necessary grip to go through high-speed corners. Montoya himself said I went through the first few corners and the car felt alright so I went as I did every lap into turn eight and just went off. It’s the only fast corner here and I had no rear grip.

After the race Alonso looked pretty dissatisfied, which I consider rather strange. Yes, they were not in the same league as McLaren, but he still got what he needs to wins the Championship. Even more than that.

IE6 + scriptaculous + QuickFind BHO = pure virtual function call error = IE crash

If you are using scripts to do some fancy web-apping, read this post.

I’ve implemented this library of scripts in one CMS app I built. On one hand you have a list of available files and you need to choose some and sort them out into groups. 100% perfect situation for draggable / droppable / sortable combo that scriptaculous implements.

However, at three different computers, IE 6 (XP SP1, fully patched) would crash as soon as the page opening starts. It crashes in iexplore.exe and kernel32.dll, giving away this lovely file as output (small sample given below).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>




     BIN_FILE_VERSION="6.0.2800.1106" BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION="6.0.2800.1106"


     FILE_DESCRIPTION="Microsoft HTTP Mail Simple MAPI"


No matter what I tried to find the cause, it would crash. Sometimes it would show the page content, but then crash before finishes loading. Totally confusing, as I could not repeat this on any other computer I tried.

Thus, the last resort. I went to the crime scene last night to try to debug the damn thing. I spent just over 5h trying to figure this out until it ended on the most unexpected culprit of all.

A week in the life of...

Man, this has been a crazy week in the office.

There were three (or was it four?) _go-live_s for different clients, two of them with the parts of the system that directly concerns me (read web site). A series of 8am-20am working days is not something I wish to continue. Especially when it extends to Saturday as well (10am-5pm). Start of the football (US: read soccer) season is the crazy time in bookie business and I can’t wait for things to get back in normal and get quiet a bit.

Kids, get your math in order

One new thing was added this year, to the usual frenzy of new clients and white labeling deals for the old clients. Bookie web sites are often a target of DDoS attacks, with various groups trying to milk some easy money from the bookies. The previous two weeks, we had several testing events of them trying out various ways of overloading the servers and bandwidth.

Blackmailers usually ask 50k/month for “protection” (how cheesy) or they will shutdown the web sites when bookie need them most. Like season start, cup finals, world cups and events like that.

I really can’t believe these people. Do they really think that any bookie would pay them? There are dozens of proven ways to protect yourself from such attacks. Hence most they can do is to disrupt the service for an hour or two at most (that being generous). The potential loss for the bookies at that time could be below or above 50k but in any case that’s a drop in the sea in their entire revenue model. With publicly available reports of bookie revenues going over half a billion per year, no bookie in their right mind would pay such a thing. They would and could always endure the loss on web, as most have telebetting and shops business as well, both having higher profit margin then web.

Lay off kids. All you do is get your self few days of curses from web developers and network admins. But no juice.