Corel Standby Service scans your hard disk continuosly. Why?

Posted on: Sun, 02/07/2010 - 14:27 By: ldsandon

I started to inspect what the hell Corel Standby Service is used for and why. It is started in the registry Run section at startup.

Iit scans your hard disk - yes, exactly - and then build a list of dlls in a file called StandbyList.dat in the PSP X3 folder. The filename is recorded in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Corel\Standby\1.0\ImageLists\PaintShop Photo Pro registry key. It keeps on scanning the same files over and over. Sometimes it loads a DLL, probably to read resources.

A new sport: hunting and killing useless processes. The Paint Shop Pro X3 case.

Posted on: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 23:14 By: ldsandon

Lately I started a new sport. After each installation, I hunt and kill all the useless processes that too many applications runs at startup without a good reason. Although Delphi is in the pack too (why does it starts BlackfishSQL without asking?), today I'll examine Corel Paint Shop Pro X3. I've been using PSP since version four or five - and it was a good small program for image editing. Now in the Corel's hands it entered the "bloatware" category fully - and adopted tha bad behaviour to install several processes running all the time without asking the user. The latest setup, fully luser compliant, asks only the destination folder.

Dr. Bob "discovers" Datasnap 2010 security is nonexistent

Posted on: Sun, 01/24/2010 - 23:50 By: ldsandon

I've complained a lot about the security (or better, lack of) of Datasnap 2010. The usual answer was that I was wrong, and anyway filters could be used to implement it. Now Bob Swart - who wrote the Delphi 2010 Datasnap white paper - filed two QC entries about Datasnap security. The first asking for HTTPS support, the other reporting a serious performance issue when using filters.

Visiting the CERN

Posted on: Sun, 12/13/2009 - 18:09 By: ldsandon

On December 8th, a holiday in Italy, we woke up early in Geneva to visit the CERN centre.  After a rainy day spent visiting Geneva, the Moon was shining in the sky, telling us that beside some remaining clouds, it was going to be a sunny day. The CERN laboratories are nearby Geneva airport, just outside the city, and if it was not for some roadworks that forced us to find alternative paths playing with the GPS - finally we arrived in front of Building 33, the CERN reception. Outside, on the other side of the road, the Globe of Reasearch and Innovation marks the spot, telling this is not just the usual campus.

Our booked visit was beginning at 10, but my colleague Dario happen to be friend of a physicist working there, thereby we were invited to have breakfast with him. While waiting for him we bought some souvenirs of the visit, including the helmets used while accessing the instruments.

We met Matteo, and he guided us along the labyrinthic corridors of CERN to the self-service area to have breakfast. The CERN is a small, cosmopolitan citadel, people coming from all Europe and beyond.

We spent breakfast discussing Matteo's work - a study on how to predict how instruments become radioactive with use, and thereby how to dispose of them correctly. Although CERN is the place where the World Wide Web was born, we were more interested in its main reaseach area, particle physics. I studied Physics at the university, and although later turned to IT, I always kept a strong interest in Physics.

Delphi the chauvinist

Posted on: Thu, 11/19/2009 - 18:06 By: ldsandon

In the "global" market of today, with the Internet enabling you to sell you software everywhere in the world, you may think great care would be given to localization tools. Delphi ones reached a barely usable state in Delphi 7, and you may think BorCodeDero could only improve it since then. No. They did and still are doing the best to ensure Delphi can't localize applications by itself.

Message Compiler Editor 2.2 released

Posted on: Sun, 10/18/2009 - 22:37 By: ldsandon

After a long time, I've released a new version of the Message Compiler Editor. This release comes with a setup and a help file. Only minor changes has been made to the editor, now comments are written to the message text file, the options dialog is shown before each compilation, and the OutputBase parameter is now supported. Manifest file are not supported - support is planned for version 3.
Message Compiler Editor is available here.

Delphi "Greed" Edition

Posted on: Wed, 09/23/2009 - 22:06 By: ldsandon

In the last year often pop up articles, blog or forum posts (like this), asking for a very low cost of free edition of Delphi. Most of them build up a business case for the use they would made of it, although noone tries to build a business case for Embarcadero to demonstrate releasing a free edition is sutainable and won't impact revenues, or increases them. Let's analyze the motivations most advocates of a free release bring.

Debugging Delphi applications with ProcessExplorer or WinDbg

Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2009 - 12:50 By: ldsandon

In these days I was working on tracking down a bug causing a service of ours to stop processing data. It didn't happen often, and was not simple to reproduce - it may take hours or days to appear, and was easir to see it on test/production machine than on my own development PC. Inspecting a system with SysInternals ProcessExplorer (after configuring it to download Windows symbols), showed in all processing threads a call stak like this:

Rest in peace, "Frank" Borland

Posted on: Fri, 05/08/2009 - 12:02 By: ldsandon

Turbo Pascal 7.0 for DOS boxEventually, after a long agony, Borland died. Actually, it was acquired by Micro Focus, and I do not believe the brand will survive. Especially now that all of its product portfolio is made up by product born elsewhere and acquired in the past few years. The products that made the Borland name were already sold in the past. When the development tools division was bought one year ago by Embarcadero, it was clear that the Borland saga was at the end. I just wish it happened while really fighting back, instead of the slow decay of the past years, when flagship products like Delphi were sacrified to a new "business model" that led to nowhere.

It is true, that at the end of the '80, when the Borland Barbarians looked unstoppable, so much they were so bold to take on Microsoft, something changed, and a long queue of mistakes began. The useless Ashton-Tate acquisition, the ill-fated alliance with WordPerfect to sell an office suite, the inability to understand user segments and manage their product portfolio - Paradox users were not TurboPascal/C++ users, OOP was too complex for the former, SideKick could have been turned into a PIM/messaging application but didn't -, and time/resources wasted in products like ObjectVision instead of pursuing Visual Basic RAD approach immediately. Perhaps Borland became already too much complacent, and like many other Microsoft competitors, undervalued Windows and kept on to invest too much resources in DOS products. Users switched to Windows (and the ready Microsoft applications) much faster than most Microsoft competitors did - Borland was not alone, Lotus and Wordperfect  made the same mistake - the few who understood in time, say Adobe, are still alive.

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