April 14, 2004
Cross Platform C++

The ACCU conference session that I attended before lunch was supposed to be about platform independence but was actually about education, specifically teaching c++ which was very irritating. The speaker was a lecturer who got caught up in academia and forgot the subject that he was actually supposed to speak about. He also explained that he'd written the slides that morning - and expected us to find that funny. He was speaking at a conference to a bunch of developers who paid money to attend - this kind of slackness made me feel that the money had been wasted.

Posted by Simon at 02:11 PM
April 02, 2004
Glastonbury Ticket Sales on the Internet - Wrong

So I'm sat at my PC where I've been since 7.45pm. It's now 9:30pm. I've not done anything but attempt to get onto the Glastonbury Tickets website.

Some quotes from those waiting:

someone should get strung up for this fiacso
i think glasto needs an it director
can u all not buy tickets for a while to free u the site please?
The whole selling on the internet and phone thing is what pi**ed up the tickets last year.
its the worst system for buying tickets i have ever seen - bring back bristol ticket shop

lets just jump the fence
Smiffy says: big fence to jump
easier than this

Wondering now if we could all pool our money together and get an A-Team style van to ram the fence with.

10:30pm - Formage!
Finally got the form up to fill in. No luck submitting it, obviously.

Form submits - not enough tickets. Only that's not true. They're lying. There are definitely tickets left, they say so on the radio. Only that's the only message I can get.

Finally, I get my tickets. Most of my friends are still trying. This is the most abominable web effort I've ever seen. They can't seriously claim that they didn't expect these levels of demand after the fiasco last year. Rubbish.

When the tickets were for sale in shops, I had about a month (IIRC) to go to the shop and order tickets. It was all much easier then.

Posted by Simon at 07:11 AM
August 08, 2003
EMI and Virgin - your loss.

As a continuation of the series: Money that EMI have lost because of copy protected CDs, I'd just like to point out that I have no use for Radiohead's Hail To The Thief album, because of the copy protection. I cannot listen to this album on my audio equipment (iPod), so EMI lose whatever proportion of 12.99 they would have received. Bad luck. Also, Virgin records have lost two sales of Turin Brakes' Ether Song - Me and John both will not buy this album because of copy protection.

So let's see. One person will successfully extract the data from one of these copy protected CDs and will create MP3s from it (there are a number of ways I can imagine doing this without losing quality - digital input on a soundcard anyone?). Then that person will share that music using Kazaa. Then everyone will download it (ok, that's missing a few steps but we get there in the end). Unfortunately for EMI (or Virgin et al) the same people who would always have stolen the music do so, but they also lose a number of their paying customers who refuse to buy copy protected CDs that are of no use to them.

My prediction is that CD sales will fall, but that this fall will be blamed on people copying music, and those of us who are unable to use the music and are therefore not buying it will be ignored. Lets hope some of the small

Other posts in this series: My open letter to "The Darkness".

Other sites worth viewing:
UK Campaign for Digital Rights on Corrupt CDs.
Hot Buttered Death: CD copy protection: a list.
Fat Chuck's - Corrupt CDs.

Don't buy these albums, and write to their record labels expressing your disgust.

Posted by Simon at 03:40 PM
July 15, 2003
Open Letter to "The Darkness"

To The Darkness,

I saw you play at Glastonbury, and thoroughly enjoyed your set. I returned home with every intention of buying your album. I walked into HMV yesterday and noticed your album, but I no longer intend on buying it. I noticed a terrible thing on the front of the album - a sticker claiming that the CD contains "Copy Protection". I listen to all of my music through my Apple iPod (as do, I think you'll find, many other people). The fact that I cannot transfer the tracks on your album into mp3 format for use on my iPod means that I would at most listen to your album once. I will not pay ?13 UKP (equivalent of 20.9 US Dollars!!) in order to buy an album that I can get no use out of.

I am writing this open letter and publishing it on the Internet to urge you to encourage your record company to re-consider this ridiculous decision. Sooner or later those who wish to illegally copy your material will do so, copy protection or no. All you are doing is stopping legitimate customers from listening to your music.

Yours Sincerely,

Simon Steele.

I hearby encourage anyone who agrees with this message (whether in relation to "The Darkness" or another artist that you have been prevented from listening to) to leave a comment attached to this letter expressing your views. You need not leave a real e-mail address, and any e-mail addresses entered will never be shown on the web page. If I get enough comments, I will forward them on to the record company "Atlantic Records". Please tell anyone you know who would be interested in signing this to do so!

Posted by Simon at 10:35 AM
April 14, 2003
On RSS feeds with partial content...

Couldn't have said it better: a sweet bit of writing by phil ringnalda:

why_do_you_tease_me_so @ philringnalda.com

Posted by Simon at 09:44 PM
April 01, 2003

This purpose of this post is simple. It is to point out that anyone who has bought a glastonbury ticket with no intention of using it to go to glastonbury - perhaps with the intention of selling it on at double the price instead - should be ashamed of themselves.

These people make me sick - tickets already available on ebay for double the price, many admitting to having bought two tickets so they can sell one for double price and therefore go free. Scum.

Fortunately I got my tickets, many of my friends did not. They cannot afford to pay for cheapskates to go. I salute you, scum of the earth.

Posted by Simon at 09:34 AM
March 17, 2003
no, really?!

It's nice to know (please note sarcasm here) that microsoft is e-mailing everyone security patches these days. I got this in my e-mail today, from Microsoft Internet Security Division [bpagifym_335104@CXEaIE.com] - yes, that looks like a microsoft.com e-mail address to me (again, note sarcasm).

Microsoft Customer

this is the latest version of security update, the
"March 2003, Cumulative Patch" update which eliminates
all known security vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer,
Outlook and Outlook Express as well as five newly
discovered vulnerabilities. Install now to protect your computer
from these vulnerabilities, the most serious of which could allow
an attacker to run executable on your system. This update includes
the functionality of all previously released patches.

System requirementsWin 9x/Me/2000/NT/XP
This update applies to Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 4.01 and later Microsoft Outlook, version 8.00 and later Microsoft Outlook Express, version 4.01 and later
Recommendation Customers should install the patch at the earliest opportunity.
How to installRun attached file. Click Yes on displayed dialog box.
How to useYou don't need to do anything after installing this item.

Microsoft Product Support Services and Knowledge Base articles
can be found on the Microsoft Technical Support web site.
For security-related information about Microsoft products, please
visit the
Microsoft Security Advisor
web site, or Contact us.

Please do not reply to this message. It was sent from an unmonitored
e-mail address and we are unable to respond to any replies.

Thank you for using Microsoft products.

With friendly greetings,
Microsoft Internet Security Division

©2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. The names of the actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by McAfee anti-virus system (http://www.mcafee.com).
Release Date: 25.2.2003


You have to love them for the cute little fake virus free notice at the bottom of the e-mail - pure genius. People who send this stuff should be hung drawn and quartered.

Posted by Simon at 06:33 PM
November 29, 2002
XP Visual Styles

Ah, I feel a rant coming on. How many hours must I spend fighting with CommCtrls 6 just to get my app to look right under XP.

To start lets go for ownerdraw buttons. The second you ask for ownerdraw (or bitmap buttons for that matter) XP decides that you couldn't possibly want the themed background for your button. I had to find the code to do the entire drawing process myself. Wonderful.

Continuing on the theme (pun not intended) of buttons, try creating a simple application with a number of buttons on a dialog. Enable theming for this application and keep running the app. Try moving the focus between buttons by clicking on each different one, and then separately try using the keyboard to move between them. If you can describe the rules that define the difference between these two drawing styles (below) then please do let me know:

And now to tab controls. These can look really nice when properly themed. The only problem is that it seems nigh-on impossible to get this right.

Scenario 1: Create a tab control on a dialog, and use dialogs for the pages. The tab control will appear correctly themed, but the dialogs (the tab pages) will not. Use EnableThemeDialogTexture I hear you cry. Unfortunately, while this might appear to work at first you'll notice two things:

1) The background of the tab page does not contain the correct gradiented background, but simply a plain colour all over. wrong.

2) Try adding a checkbox to the dialog. Oh dear, it would appear that the checkbox is drawing the old grey colour instead of the nice white that should be used. disaster!

I tried a number of different ways to solve this problem including overriding WM_ERASEBKGND, WM_CTLCOLORDLG, WM_CTLCOLORSTATIC and friends. None of these could get the correct gradient in the background of the tab.

Scenario 2: At this point, I noticed that property pages seemed to look OK in some programs that I'd seen, so I decided to try swapping my tab control for a property sheet and see if that works.

Low and behold, my first tab looked fantastic - all the controls were correctly themed, the checkboxes had transparent backgrounds and the tab had a gradient. Who knows what's different between a property sheet and a tab control.

Then I switched to my second tab page (which had only a list control on it). disaster! The second page had the all-original, everyone's favorite COLOR_BTNFACE background. So why did one page work, and the other not? To cut a long story short (one which involved lots of resource editing and recompiling) I discovered that page one had a button control on it, and page two didn't. Adding a single button to page two enabled the theming. Please, someone, explain this madness to me!

If anyone has a surefire way to enable theming on XP tab controls, then please let me know. I would be most grateful for your help.

Posted by Simon at 05:28 PM