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Ghana - you're out

It feels strange to ban the ip adresses of a whole country, but this was the last resort to fight scammers on Bienen und Blumen, our small (german speaking) dating website. People from Ghana seem to generally use a I-Am-A-Soldier-In-Iraq-And-Found-Sadams-Gold approach. So the whole country Ghana is now blocked at Bienen und Blumen, joining Cote D'Ivoire and Senegal. What a pity. However, who cares. Our users are usualy from Germany, Austria and Switzerland only.

If it goes on like this, I will be able to do a small performance optimization to this ip-ban in a few years: Only allow german, austrian and swiss ips. :)

Banner Test II

Thanks for all the feedback I received about the first Banner I created. I am not an artist and my banner creation skills really suck. Additionally, it's not easy to sqeeze all the information you want people to know about into just a few words and into only 50 KB. The following is my second attempt:

Everything done with Gimp and CopperCube of course (although wireframe rendering is hidden in the release version currently). I think it's now easier to see at first sight that it has to do something with realtime 3D, also I like the colors better now. But I'm not sure if anybody ever would try to read the tiny font in there. :)

Through HTML/CSS/Browser hell again

I just spent 2 hours in HTML/CSS/Browser-Compatility-Layouting-Hell again. Worked on a small new website which needed to work on Opera, various versions of FireFox, Safari, InternetExplorer and - although it is nearly dead - IE6 as well. Basically this is quite easy to achieve if you just take a fixed layout and a few images, but doing this with a variable sized layout and multiple files of complicated CSS ensures a lot of fun.
And doing this without special browser version checking really IS hell. Especially if you really need IE6 compatibility, there are some countries which heavily rely on this browser.
Just thought of never doing web development work again... On the other hand, I promised myself this several times before already. :)


Doom-Flash-2D is a jump'n' run flash game created by Jens Winterstein. It uses the original Doom graphics and although a lot of people on various websites seem not to like it (probably mostly stupid teenagers who don't even know the original Doom), I personally think that this is a great piece of work. It perfectly recreates the Doom feeling into a 2D Jump'n'Run, and I enjoyed playing it.

CopperCube Released!

CopperCube has been released, finally. It's no longer beta, and I'm quite happy about it.
Now that the release it out, I finally am able to extend its features. For example, animated meshes are still completely missing and that's one of the next big things which will be added to it.
I also played around a bit with Gimp, trying to improve the website a bit and creating some banners. This is the output so far:

coppercube banner

Not sure if I'm happy with this, but it's a beginning.

Daggerfall for free

Somehow I've missed this: Bethesa released Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall for free, you can download it here. It should run on DOS box, an open source DOS emulator. I've not had time to try it out myself, but I definately do in the next weeks. Daggerfall is one of the bigger games I've never played before.

High quality 3D rendering in Flash

Doing realtime 3D graphics using Flash is not that easy. Although there is a 'hardware accelerating' option in the Flash Player, rendering 3D graphics still is as slow as with a software rasterizer and you are limited to just a few hundred or at most a few thousands of polygons in your scene. 3D engines for Flash such as CopperCube are using several tricks to speed up rendering speed, like reducing the rendering quality when the camera is moving, or even reducing the rendering quality in general a bit.
This has proven to work quite well in most cases, but if you have a very simple scene and need pixel perfect graphics, like for example in 3D panoramas as offered in CopperCube, this can be a bit contra productive. So now I implemented a new feature in CopperCube which disables the reduction of rendering quality:

To see what it does, take a look at the following picture. It's a bit subtle, but in the red circle, you'll notice that there is a wobbling effect which is a bit disturbing especially during movement. The right picture shows how Coppercube renders the scene when the 'high precision rendering' flag is turned on:

This feature will be included in the upcoming full version of CopperCube which should be released this week.

X-Spam-Score: 5.8

Should I be worried if normal, harmless mails in plaintext without links and images or similar, mailed with Outlook from friends to me get regularily classified as Spam? Hm...

Bienen und Blumen now also in .DE

Bienen und Blumen now is also available under bienenundblumen.de, previously we only had the .com adress. It looks like a lot of people tend to type in the name directly, and are used to append .de for german websites by default. This means less confusion for a lot of our users, yay. Thanks to Ulf Klose, the previous owner of that domain for handing it off to us!
BTW: Bienen und Blumen is currently doing great, we breached the magical 10.000 user barrier some days ago.
(Bienen und Blumen is the small german dating site we are running, if you are wondering.)

CopperCube Beta slowly ending

Just a short note to all people interested in CopperCube, the editor which creates interactive 3D scenes as standalone windows .exe or web ready Flash .SWF files: The beta is running out.
I'm going to release the final 1.0 version in the next few days, so the offer where you can buy Coppercube for 99 euro will end with the release as well. CopperCube will cost then about 119 euro.
The final 1.0 version will include all features of the current Beta, excluding the bugs people reported to me. ;)

"I can't believe it's a Democracy!"™

Austria, the country where I live in, is since at least the beginning of 2008 a police state: The Sicherheitspolizeigesetz (=Security Police Law) makes it possible for any police officer to get the Data and Location to any Cellular Phone and IP adress without the need to check a judge first.
This is quite incredible, and maybe more incredible is that nearly no one in Austria knows about this, because the mainstream media never really reported about this. Of course several people protested against this law at the constitutional court, but today, they rejected to check the law (german link).

Nice one, Sony-Ericsson

I destroyed my cellular phone in Iceland (rest in pieces...) and just bought a new one. The model I now use highlights dates in SMSs (like for example: 7.14.2009) as hyperlink and clicking on them makes it try to open them in the web-browser. Seems like it treats them as IP adresses. I think there is a software developer in that cellular phone company which needs some regex teaching.. :)

Back again

Back again from holidays, and already worked through all mails. Phew. Maybe I should take a day off again now. :)

Silence for a few days

This blog will be a bit more quiet during the next days, time for a short summer break. My view will look pretty much like this during these days, and I am really looking forward to it:

image source, released under cc by iRon leSs

Going to blog some more interesting stuff when I'm back again.