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[19.03.02] cooler and statistics
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12 Oct 2002 :: Preamble I visited Bucharest for my job a couple days ago --- It is the Romanian capital... [ more.. ]

30 Jun 2001 :: The new version of the software has been released today... [ more.. ]

15 May 2001 :: Today I've made a small upgrade to my home computer. I bought a 128Mb DIMM and I still can't stop exciting how fast my Linux became. Note: I had only 32 Mbs at home before... [ more.. ]

[ 12th Mar 2002 ] recent updates | 4 comments | leave a comment

Being a real maniac programmer I wrote CGIs for the site's news system in C++. Sure, not the best way to accomplish such a task with, and I would prefer perl. But unfortunatelly, the latter lacks such a great instrument like the parser library written by one of my ex-colleagues at NIX Solutions. It allows to define and process templates of quite a nice kind. As to PHP, haven't manage to put my hands on it yet. Anyway, now why I started with telling you about all of that. Last week the news system suffered some changes and improvements. For example, now it's possible for me to answer visitors' comments for news items. Responses are shown next to comments. Also a copy of my reply can be received with e-mail if you wish, there is a check box in the comment add form.

Hopefully the improvements will increase the comment writing activity of web site visitors. The situation is really a bit strange, for the statistics says the news section is quite frequently visited. Sometimes people ask me when I gonna write something new, or refer to my notes here in e-mail or with icq. But there is nothing but hearing your friends quoting texts from your own site. So I conclude this proves there is an interest. However people seem to come to read something, and not to communicate.

Another thing. Modifying the templates I made a little personal discovery. The point is that I had never used CSS before, and it appeared to be a really cool thing. With it I could easily make "input" and "textarea" form elements to appear with the same size. Also links of various colors that change color when you move a mouse pointer over them look cute. So, if among dear readers there still are some ignorant dumbasses like me :), the w3c specification on CSS can be found here.

A couple of days ago centericq 4.6.5 was released. It had support for external event handlers, command line parameters to add events to outgoing queue, resize in xterm segfaults finally fixed along with dramatically improved support for xterms in general.

By now, some minor problems are already discovered in the fresh release. And I find it amusing. Why? Because before a release only obvious bugs are usually found, despite the fact there are courious ones that daily check out stuff from CVS, install and test it, use newly added features, and discuss them in the mailing list. Though to find less obvious issues only testing by huge amount works. Which is usually making a release in fact. By the way, the centericq related mailing list becomes more and more nice place. For example, one guy from Canada proposed everybody to meet up somewhere in Europe (decided it'll be Romania) to have some beer :) The list atmosphere is extremely friendly. Novice users get prompt explanations from guys that call theirselves the team, etc. Looks like they're as enthusiastic about the program, as I am.

Since we're already talking about centericq, there is a need to tell something about implementation status of such a wanted feature as the AIM protocol support. AIM is another IM protocol from America On-line. I said "another" because the same guys own ICQ nowdays. But despite of this fact the ways how they treat each of the protocols look different.

Actually, AOL's treatment of open source implementations' developments of their protocols differs. I wanted to take one of existing libraries to make centericq support AIM which is wanted that much. Having performed a search for such an information, I found an article (in theregister, as far as I remember) saying about the "cat and mouse play" between AOL and open source developers. How comes? It's easy. AOL is trying hard to block access from unofficial client programs, and their last move was really excellent. Here I recommend to read attentively to understand what exactly they'd done. The protocol is logically made up of packets, and each of them contains a number. In incoming packets a client receives from the server there is a number which should be answered by client with another number. Otherwise the protocol is interrupted and the instant messaging is no longer possible, as least for a current session. Having done a research on this matter the gaim developer said that the number received from the server is an offset in aim.exe - the AIM's official client executable file (sic!). Respectively, a client has to answer with an info block taken from the file at the offset given. Effectively, it guarantees that each AIM service user now has to have the executable of the official client locally. The developer of libfaim, the most wide-spread AIM implementation of AIM OSCAR protocol in C language already gave up the development.

Anyway, AOL's politic looks more than clear, having in mind what AOL did to make users switch to the newest version of ICQ software. Obviously the problems we had with the previous version of the protocol were added intentionally. Thus, now I doubt if it's worth giving a shot.

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