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Iconbar: Anything you can do I can do better

By Chris Williams. Published: 17th Mar 2003, 20:43:50 | Permalink | Printable

iconbar.com shows myriscos.co.uk how polls are really done. Plus we're bored.

Rant | Editorial It's quiet, it's oh so quiet. With no cool RISC OS news emerging, what's an editor to do? Hound companies for news? We've tried. Make up some news? Can't say we're not tempted if only to avoid a non-updated frontpage. However, principles - we've heard of them although we could do with learning some respect. I mean, we could talk about actual real news like the fact that CJE (thanks for the new mouse guys) are selling off their limited stock of the Castle 32bit C/C++ compiler kit at the launch price of a hundred quid. We could talk about Mike Sandells' updated AMPlay, a frontend to the Amplayer MP3 music module. Perhaps review a new version of RiscSearch, the multiple-search-engine-query-launcher app that's been developed by Patrick Mortara for some time now. Maybe we could look at the news of Dr. Andreas Dehmel's Doom It Yourself port which has been made 32 bit compatible besides other changes - you might want to check out Andreas' amusing rant page too, if you're looking to escape from this mindless article.

But oh no, instead we'll focus on the trivial poll battle between iconbar.com and myriscos.co.uk because it seems like something fun to do. We're not getting dragged into this match up, we've booked our tickets in this spectator sport. In the blue corner, we're proud to present to you ladies and gentlemen, the popular mega-forum-site, Paul Vigay obsessed and more-editors-than-you-can-shake-an-apathetic-stick-at, the one and only NoughtPointOne flagship - iconbar.com. And in the red corner tonight, as hosted by Co-Comp and personally recommended by John "Acorn Publisher" Cartmell, the official VA5000 news site and usergroup announcement board rivalling only the AAUG, we give you - myriscos.co.uk. You see, myriscos.co.uk originally posted a poll asking who's going to Wakefield 2003 event. At time of writing, the online voting turnout on myriscos is probably slightly less than the number of UK people supporting an Iraq war right now. Now up steps iconbar.com, probably taking a break from its obvious heavy news reporting and also known for running in depth polls, in our eyes waved a parental finger at myriscos, showing the hapless community website last week how it's really done by asking the same Wakefield attendance question on their frontpage poll. Currently 37% of voters (nice IP logging there) have said they'd definiately be going, which ought to calm the show organisers' and exhibitors' fears.

And so on
Why stop there? We're told that besides other oddities found in the latest March Foundation RiscUser edited by Richard "icons" Hallas this month, the publication advertised to its readers February timed events (so time travel has been ported to RISC OS) and on top of this Acornuser has relaunched this month featuring a crazy new typeface for their article copy. There really is no need for articles like this one, we'd all much rather report on positive news and comments, surely? Right, trust me then when I say we're looking forward to this week's news.

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Discussion

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Right, trust me then when I say we're looking forward to this week's news.

Are you trying to tell us something big may happen this week?

Peter

 is a RISC OS UserPete on 18/3/03 10:08AM
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Surely when you're talking about the number of people attending, you want the absolute values, not just a percentage. I doubt 37% of the RISC OS user group will be going. (More likely 95%, considering how many are around these days ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 18/3/03 10:21AM
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Yes, I only realised the poll would be of limited use after I'd set the damn thing up. Still, it does seems as though more people have voted than on myriscos.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 18/3/03 10:50AM
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Pete: Yeah man, theres a war on man, a war. Ain't that a b***h.

-- Snig Undoubtley doubtfull.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 18/3/03 10:52AM
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Bia gum Chris - you really do need to get out more often!

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 18/3/03 11:32AM
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Wonderful. A voting system on iconbar that locks a lot of people out of voting as soon as 1 person votes through an 'ISP forced-you-will-use-this' proxy server. Looks like all the people using freeserve, and btopenworld can only have an astounding collecive '1' vote.

Entirely accurate system, oh yes.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 18/3/03 11:33AM
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Web polls are completely pointless and inaccurate for this reason - there's no good way of stopping people voting more than once. (cookies are easy to get around, IP locking for the reason above. And you forgot NTL, too ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 18/3/03 12:31PM
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You could check the X-Forwarded-For: header from the proxy (if it sends it),.. but I've got a 'modified' proxy that deliberately puts randomised ones of those out.

You could do a heuristic time/ip based check to make sure a user doesnt vote lots within X days, but that's easily got round (but more time consuming) with crontabs and a couple of boxes on the net.

You could force each user to login to vote, which would be better, although you'd get some crazy a$$ed s0d whinging about the Data Protection Act, and privacy concerns.

You could use cookies to help stop double-voting, but hell, I could use wget and ignore cookies totally.

You could get the user to type in a 'picture generated text' thing, each time they vote (like SMS portals used to have), but you'd end up with no votes, as nobody would be bothered enough to go to that much effort even to use it properly.

You could do similar, but also have a 'answer this riddle/very simple question' thing, make it funny, and people might use it (defeating the automatic bot-type stuff), but that doesnt help for double-voters...

Or you could munge all of the above together in some fashion, and have something that was still inaccurate :-)

-- Ian Hawkins

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 18/3/03 1:09PM
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> You could force each user to login to vote, which would be better, although you'd get some crazy a$$ed s0d whinging about the Data Protection Act, and privacy concerns.

That's the best way to go, AFAIC. If you don't want to give your details, don't vote ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 18/3/03 1:18PM
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Exactly what Myriscos do. And no-one

[edited mangled comment - Chris, 14:31 18/3/2003]

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 18/3/03 2:27PM
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Sigh! I really must ask Andrew to fix this. Sorry about that.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 18/3/03 2:28PM
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Actually it does allow more than one vote per IP, but still, it's just a web-based poll, doesn't have to be 100% accurate.

And incidentally I believe Freeserve and NTL both have a number of different web proxies, and I didn't think BT O actually had one at all?

 is a RISC OS Usertfountain on 18/3/03 3:58PM
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IIRC, BTOW stick you through a transparent proxy, and there's always been the venerable cache.bt.net

Yes, freeserve, and NTL do have multiple proxies, but there's only so many of those about. I'd like to think that there's still more RISC OS users than proxies :-)

Your voting booth is a bit limiting at the moment though - it was 45/45 zap/stronged for *ages* ;-)

So, when put more news on tib frontpage? :) -- Ian Hawkins

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 18/3/03 4:09PM
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>:-( I'm overdosing on smileys!

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 18/3/03 4:10PM
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> So, when put more news on tib frontpage? :-)

When we get a scoop :-p

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 18/3/03 4:45PM
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When I write a stylesheet for drobe's RSS feed :)

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 18/3/03 6:42PM
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Awwww, nasty smiley images. :(

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 18/3/03 6:56PM
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> So, when put more news on tib frontpage? :)

When there is something worth reporting on

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 18/3/03 6:57PM
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This is an amazing insight into the editorial thinking of TIB: "When there is something worth reporting on". I could bitch about how TIB consider things like Artworks 2, Front Ender, Omega in Germany and more to be non-news (as well as providing zero editorial) but instead I'll just sit here in disappointment and dissaproval.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 18/3/03 7:01PM
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But you're not, *are you* drobe >:-|

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 18/3/03 7:24PM
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> This is an amazing insight into the editorial thinking of TIB

No, it's an amazing insight into what you think of Andy Poole. Not all the editors. Far, far too much generalisation there.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 18/3/03 7:24PM
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So who are the editors of TIB?

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 18/3/03 7:25PM
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[link]

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 18/3/03 7:26PM
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Shirley it should be :-

...Anything you can do Iconbar better...

:-)))

-- Nick

 is a RISC OS Usernickydeb on 18/3/03 9:36PM
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That's pretty sweet. You're hired. Or something.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 18/3/03 10:41PM
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Calm down, guys. Can't you all join forces? Gawd knows someone in the community has to! ;)

 is a RISC OS Userribbit on 27/3/03 5:59PM
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