Matt's Blog

Archive for October, 2007

Book Three in Inheritance Cycle Announced and Something Else Unexpected

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Book Three (name not yet released) of the Inheritance Cycle was announced today. It will be published on September 28, 2008. The Inheritance Cycle’s first 2 books are called Eragon and Eldest.

You may have noticed that I’m calling it the Inheritance Cycle and not the Inheritance Trilogy. This is the interesting part. Along with the announcement of the third book’s release date was a video by, the author, Christopher Paolini.

“I plotted out the Inheritance series as a trilogy nine years ago, when I was fifteen. At that time, I never
imagined Iā€™d write all three books, much less that they would be published” said Paolini. “When I finally
delved into Book Three, it soon became obvious that the remainder of the story was far too big to fit in one
volume. Having spent so long thinking about the series as a trilogy, it was difficult for me to realize that, in
order to be true to my characters and to address all of the plot points and unanswered questions Eragon and
Eldest raised, I needed to split the end of the series into two books.”

Yes, that’s right, a Fourth Book! Paolini also mentioned that a main character will die at the end of Book Three… I wonder who…

Random House also released a press release (pdf) for the announcement.

I’ve read both Eragon and Eldest and have been wondering when Book Three would be coming out. Not for another 11 months, though… Oh well, at least there will be another book after that to!

Oh, and Eragon and Eldest are great books, and I’d recommend anyone to read them!

WordPress 2.3.1 Released

Friday, October 26th, 2007

WordPressNot long after WordPress 2.3 was released, WordPress 2.3.1 has been released today! WordPress 2.3.1 includes bug and security fixes.

Also, if you use Windows Live Writer, 2.3.1 includes the necessary files to make tagging possible.

To see the full run-down of the changed things, check out WordPress’ Trac.

Well, at least we all know that the update notification works!

I’ve upgraded, have you? šŸ˜€

Download WordPress 2.3.1

Root of Windows Activation Problems Found?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Remember back in July when I had those activation problems with Vista? No? I didn’t think so… Anyways, Vista had suddenly said it wasn’t activated and that it was genuine (which is crap, since I bought it legally). This actually happened once (or maybe twice, I don’t remember) more after that, too.

Well, it appears that APC Magazine (I’ve never heard of it before…) has figured out what the problem might be.

You see, when Vista is installed on a computer, it detects what hardware is in the machine and creates what I like to call a “hardware sum”. This is now the base sum. Whenever you change the hardware in the computer, Vista decides how big the change is and remembers that. If your current hardware sum becomes to different from the base sum, Vista deactivates itself. This is all done to prevent piracy. They don’t want you to take an image of your machine and put that on another machine. Which is actually a good way of trying to prevent piracy… Okay, so I did install a new graphics card, and maybe because I use multiple flash drives and other USB-based devices, it just decided that the hardware was too different, and deactivated itself.

But, it gets even more interesting. There’s a major flaw in the way Microsoft implemented this. Instead of using the id from the hardware (which isn’t necessarily unique), it gathers the sum from the details of the device drivers. So, when you install or change hardware, the sum changes, that’s fine. But, even upgrading your device drivers can cause the sum to change! Because the details of the driver can change version-to-version and most people use drivers by Windows at first and then upgrade them to drivers from the manufacturer, the sum can change. Which, when combined with actual hardware changes, could be enough to change Vista to deactivate itself.

This seems like a viable explanation for why this happened to me. But, the only hardware change I had made then was a new graphics card. So, maybe I updated some drivers at one point… Although, Asus hasn’t released any Vista-compatible drivers for my motherboard yet, so the only way actual hardware (not USB-based devices) drivers could have been updated would be through Windows Update and they would be Microsoft drivers (and you would like they wouldn’t change the hardware sum)… Also, the activation window didn’t have everything that it should have on the Phone page. it should have had numbers that I would have to give to the support rep, which would allow them to give me a key that would reactivate Vista. Plus, after a few restarts, Vista went back to saying it was activated and genuine.

APC Magazine says that Vista developers are working on fixing these problems… Hopefully they do and use a better way of getting a hardware sum then device drivers…

Ability to Change AdSense Ads without Changing the Code

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

The Google AdSense team announced today that AdSense users will soon be able to change AdSense Ads’ styles without having to change the code.

This is a feature I, and I’m sure thousands of other people, have been hoping to get for awhile. Currently, the colours and style of AdSense ads are stored in the JavaScript code that displays the ad. Soon, that data will be stored on Google’s side, and we’ll be able to change the colours and style without having to go and update the code. Just a note, I don’t think you’ll be able to change the format (eg. 468×60, 300×250, etc.) without updating the code.

This will be great for trying out different styles and colours easily, and for finding the best performing colours/styles.

Google has said that they’ll be rolling out this update in phases in a few weeks. They have yet to say whether or not we’ll have to change our existing code before being able to take advantage of the new feature (I doubt it, though).

Update [November 3, 2007 @ 10:31 PM]: Looks like we’ll have to update our existing AdSense code if we want to take advantage of this new feature on them. The good new is you’ll be able to enter in your old code and it’ll generate the new code and the ad will have the same settings as the old one. Google Help Center Topic

So Google… When Are You Going to Integrate FeedBurner More Into Other Google Products?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Anyone else wondering when they’ll be able to login to FeedBurner through their Google account? I think Google should actually do this. It will be another wedge in the circle that is Google’s useful and all-in-one-login services. It’s quite handy because I can sign into Gmail, then go to Google Reader, Adsense, Analytics and Docs and already be logged in.

Also, is anybody else wanting to see FeedBurner subscriber stats in Analytics? I’d like to see this, so that I can just go to Analytics and kill two birds with one stone. It’s also be pretty cool to see a graph comparing unique visitors to the number of subscribers you get.

I think if Google does both these things then FeedBurner will be an even better. šŸ˜€