Questions that might be frequently asked...
summary
  1. I fear I've lost my password!
  2. I need «top-of-page» links on this page and elsewhere!
  3. It looks very cramped, I have no room to read stuff comfortably...
  4. Is this AnywhereBB.com, AnyNowhere.com, or 0x44.com?
  5. What's this site?
  6. The colors and the fonts are giving me headaches!
  7. What is "Frespych"? How do I chat? What's the c-disk?
  8. I had registered an account, but it's no longer in the members' list?
  9. I've registered an account: now, is my password safe?
  10. I think my password is really easy to guess, I'd like to change it.
  11. I'm using Internet Explorer™ and I'm having problems...
  12. How do polls work?
  13. How many cookies does this site send me?
  14. What's the meaning of the system load indication?
  15. Who is Mary Lou?
  16. Why are you almost never online, Alex?
question
Q:  I fear I've lost my password!
answer
A:  Then I hope you have specified an email address to send it back to, in your profile form. If you did, you just have to fill your nickname in the following field and click the button, then check your mailbox and you might find a message holding a specially-crafted «temporary password». Go on...

 

Once you have been given a temporary password, you may use that password to log in and, once you are logged in, to change your 'real' password, by using the 'chpass' command with your temporary password in place of the old one, but you will have to do that within an hour, after which the temporary password will expire. You may keep generating new temporary passwords once per day, so in case you failed to use 'chpass' properly in due time, simply try again the day after.
question
Q:  I need «top-of-page» links on this page and elsewhere!
answer
A:  Well, I don't. Ever tried pressing the HOME key?
Yup, at least you'll have learned something...
question
Q:  It looks very cramped, I have no room to read stuff comfortably...
answer
A:  Well, it's designed for 1024x768 screen resolution, as a first thing to note. It may resist 800x600 if you send the browser to full-screen mode, by pressing the F11 key, but extremely low resolutions, like 640x480, would kill its intended layout. Aside of that, you may wonder why the layout does not take the entire window, but is limited to a certain, suitable width, determined by the browser window's own width: it's an intended restriction, to encourage members to write messages, present images and code fragments, such that they might be more likely to fit a sort of pre-agreed width, presumably shared by several clients, without causing horizontal scrollbars to appear. There's an option to remove the limit in your preferences form (once there, check «disable frame width limit», then click the 'save' button, and finally click the 'apply' button) but you'll notice that the default setting for that option is to have the limit enabled, exactly to encourage people to endure the presence of the limit, so that visitors of this site using a comparable resolution will be more likely to read messages the way their authors write them. Rather than disabling that limit, you may recover some space by checking other options, to obtain a more compact layout for the navigation bars and the gadgets surrounding these pages.
question
Q:  Is this AnywhereBB.com, AnyNowhere.com, or 0x44.com?
answer
A:  Technically, none of the above. Technically, it's on a shared-server IP address. However, to make things clear, you may access the site as http://anywherebb.com, which is the main domain name pointing to this homestead. The others are parked domains, which however can replace anywherebb.com in URLs as well, and are therefore exact equivalents. AnyNowhere.com in particular replaced the displayed site name by the end of 2009, out of the author's personal matters concerning his born-again hidden part, and his discovery about his slightly split personality; ultimately, the 'No' symbolizes the negation of a recent past made of inner conflicts, and of certain false aspects of the author's way-of-life.
question
Q:  What's this site?
answer
A:  It's my hobby. I'm a private programmer, and I often produce some freeware that I'd like to share with the rest of the world, to see what's the rest of the world thinking about it. So, this site is mostly my outlet, a collection of my works. Yes, I also made all the graphics, and the PHP infrastructure that supports the community. This site is hosted by EZ Web Hosting and costs me about 20 € per month to be kept online. Because it's so cheap, I don't need any forms of financial help, and it's perfectly fine for me to give out everything for free. Often, I place contents under public licenses that allow others to redistribute my stuff, and so do many of the members that present their personal projects in this site's forums. Our favorite lecturer, «Stargazer», in one of his illuminating posts, has further extended my above explanation in a way that deserves being mentioned as the true spirit of this site:

Put it another way: the HSP pages is all about sharing inspiration and ideas at one of the last pages on the internet which does not yet take payment for anything. It's about a dream of the internet being a place where money has no power, but is a global source of shared inspiration and dreams, ideas, tales and art from users all over the world. That's why the internet was made in the first place: not to make money out of it, but to use it to share knowledge and ideas. Of course, if you do want to take money for your work, then who are we to tell you not to do so? You have your own free mind and are free to do whatever you please with your own work.

In a nutshell, those who contribute to this site's contents are mostly idealists overloaded with spare time. Most people who live in the real world (i.e. market) will suspect this will end, sooner or later, and it may happen, but I'm strongly intentioned to keep this thing going until at least year 2050, basically because time doesn't exist, and years are nothing, for a lasting child. There's already little sense to our lives... so why couldn't we prefere to keep up something that, in my opinion, makes more sense than barely surviving? Yeah, one day we may be attempting to get some money out of our works, but I'm sure there will be a difference between attempting to suck all you can from the client's wallet and trying to get a really fair compensation.
question
Q:  The colors and the fonts are giving me headaches!
answer
A:  If you have Windows XP™, or something similar, and an LCD monitor, there might be an option to make the operating system render the fonts with a more readable style (especially when fonts are kept rather small):

right-click on a void point, not covered by any icons or windows, of the desktop, and then choose the «Properties» option from the popup menu: now, in the resulting window, select the «Appearence» tab, and then click the «Effects» button. Once there, check for a drop-down list (a combo box) where you might read «Standard» and well, if you click on that, you might see that its options are in facts two, «Standard» and «ClearType». Now select «ClearType» and click «Ok» in both windows to confirm your change. Small fonts might now look a bit more round, and smoother, than before.

That said, you can change the overall visual style from the site preferences form, where your indications will be saved in a cookie (so you don't need to have an account here for changing the look and feel of the site): apart from precisely specifying the fonts for the different parts of the frameset, it's even possible to override the background by specifying the URL of your preferred background image (examine the example note in the preferences form to see what you may write there).
question
Q:  What is "Frespych"? How do I chat? What's the c-disk?
answer
A:  Frespych is the HTML microchat (or an announcement board, depending on personal interpretations), that was first implemented on a version of phpBB and later became an integral part of Postline's scripts (when Postline came to life). It's formed by the chat frame you can show or hide using the «show chat» button of the navigation bar, and by the grey input line that appears under that frame. Frespych's input field is also used to send certain commands, like the command to change your password, as well as other staff-level commands.
question
Q:  I had registered an account, but it's no longer in the members' list?
answer
A:  Chances are that an admin, or the manager, deleted your account suspecting you to be a returning user with a bad reputation, or the account got simply pruned for inactivity. Pruning happens when you register, but then you post nothing, and you leave the account here without logging in for at least 30 days: in such a case, if inactive accounts pruning has been enabled, Postline automatically removes the account, to shorten the members list and highlight those who really are, or have been, active members. Because Postline keeps a log listing all the removed accounts, you could check that list (by clicking here) to see if it mentions your account. If that link leads to a nonexisting page (a 404 error), it means that accounts pruning was never enabled for this community, or that no accounts have been pruned yet, or that the log was recently deleted to discard old records.
question
Q:  I've registered an account: now, is my password safe?
answer
A:  Yes, in theory, but it depends on what you do: you must know that the login cookie does never disappear from the computer you're using to access this community, UNLESS you want it to. If you leave the cookie intact on the computer, anyone who uses that computer and surfs this site, will be automatically logged in AS YOU. So, it is important for you, whenever you leave this site from a computer that's used NOT ONLY by you, to use the LOG OUT link provided in the login panel. If you do so, the login cookie will be overwritten with an invalidating string, making it unusable, and making it impossible to login here with your identity unless someone else knew, guessed, or intercepted, your password.
question
Q:  I think my password is really easy to guess, I'd like to change it.
answer
A:  Use the following command, typing it at the chat prompt:

/chpass old="old password" new="new password"

...and remember to include the quotes around the new password. Remember to ALSO DOUBLE CHECK the password typed between quotes, be sure you can retype that exactly. Now, if you don't want others to see the server's answer outputted in public to the chat frame, use the /q switch after the new password specification, as in:

/chpass old="old password" new="new password" /q

Oh... you'll notice that after changing your password, you will find yourself logged out, and you will have to relogin: that's because the cookie that held login informations will be outdated and will need to be re-created by re-logging in with the new password. It's just that, don't panic...
question
Q:  I'm using Internet Explorer™ and I'm having problems...
answer
A:  To properly render the site's generous amount of alpha-blended graphics you need at least version 5.5 of that browser. As far as I've seen you might experience two problems: several pages will load up very slowly, due to HTC-based preprocessing for alpha blending, and at least my IE6/XPclient would block, by default, the site's cookies. The solution for cookies' issues is to double click the little "eye" icon in the browser's status bar (on bottom) and choose to show the browser's privacy report. From there, you might right-click on one of the entries coming from this site's domain (http://anynowhere.com), and tell the browser to accept all cookies. Later on this same page, you'll find explanations about what the cookies contain exactly, which I do believe to be even better than generic privacy policy statements. The first problem - slow page loads - has no solution, other than removing alpha blending from the site's engine, but that's not being taken in consideration because I love blending, and PNG is a really advanced image format for the web that should be honored as it deserves. Generally, I'd like to strongly encourage whoever feels like it, and is in control of the computer, to install either Firefox or Opera, both of which don't suffer of that problem, and last but not least, come in several different flavors for many popular platforms. Optimization for IE6 leads to downgrading the site's look due to difficulties in management of fixed elements in cascading style sheets, and because the rendering of alpha-blended backgrounds appears to be impossible.
question
Q:  How do polls work?
answer
A:  Polls, attached to threads in the hope that the person who started that topic INCLUDED a precise question either as the topic's title or in the message's text, allow voting only for one time: there's no way to get your vote back unless the whole poll is removed and re-submitted. Only the person who issues the poll will be able to monitor votes without voting: any others have to vote before they could see the results of a poll, because if results were shown before voting, they could potentially influence the voter's opinion (tendence to vote for the most voted options, tendence to disagree at all costs).
question
Q:  How many cookies does this site send me?
answer
A:  A few, but of course none of them is harmful for your privacy. They are:
  • AnyNowhere_postline_login
    ...which is the login cookie, and holds a base-62 encrypt of your nickname along with a twicely encrypted representation (base62 of an MD5 hash) of your password. However, despite all of that encrypting, the login cookie effectively works as a 100% efficient key to your account, so I RECOMMEND YOU to use the logout link when you leave a PUBLIC COMPUTER: that link will log you out and invalidate the login cookie. The login cookie contains no other informations.
  • AnyNowhere_postline_prefs
    ...is a set of yes/no flags, styles and fonts specifications reflecting your preferred behavior of the site as you left it in the site preferences form: along with the following 'cflag' cookie, this couple cookies needs not to be encrypted...
  • AnyNowhere_postline_frame
    ...is the cookie that remembers which pages you've been seeing most recently in both the left-side and the right-side frames (the central frames, not considering the navigation bars all around): this cookie allows the site to reload in about the same way you left it last time.
  • AnyNowhere_postline_cflag
    ...is the cookie informing the system whether you are keeping the chat frame on or off, such that your session informations can be updated and others can know when your could, and could not, listen to things typed in the chat frame.
No informations from those cookies is tracked and/or sent to any kind of spambot, third party, targeted advertising manager etc... even because it'd be quite hard to guess what are your interests from the bare contents of those cookies, which are mostly thread/forum identification numbers and cryptic flags. If you don't believe me, you can check the contents of the cookies yourself. For example, Firefox and Opera easily allow you to monitor all of the received cookies: you will see that their contents are base-62 encrypted and look like a sequence of letters and numbers. Base-62 encrypting has the only purpose of representing text strings that may contain invalid characters for a cookie or for an URL, in a form that's surely matching the recipient's (cookie or URL) characters range. It is perfectly possible to decode base-62 cookies' contents in a do-it-yourself way, by using the following couple of PHP functions:
function convert_from_base62 ($number) {

  $k = 1;
  $result = 0;

  $c = 0;
  $n = strlen ($number);

  while ($c < $n) {

    $d = ord ($number[$c]);

    if (($d >= 48) && ($d <=  57)) $result += $k * ($d - 48);
    if (($d >= 97) && ($d <= 122)) $result += $k * ($d - 97 + 10);
    if (($d >= 65) && ($d <=  90)) $result += $k * ($d - 65 + 36);

    $k *= 62;

    $c ++;

  }

  return $result;

}

function decode ($string) {

  $result = "";
  $c = 0;

  while (1) {

    if ($string[$c] == "") {

      break;

    }

    $sub = substr ($string, $c, 4);
    $sum = convert_from_base62 ($sub);

    $ch1 = ($sum % 225) + 31; if ($ch1 > 31) $result.= chr ($ch1);
    $sum = (int) ($sum / 225);
    $ch2 = ($sum % 225) + 31; if ($ch2 > 31) $result.= chr ($ch2);
    $sum = (int) ($sum / 225);
    $ch3 = ($sum % 225) + 31; if ($ch3 > 31) $result.= chr ($ch3);

    $c += strlen ($sub);

  }

  return $result;

}
...and then calling the «decode» function passing the cookie's contents (a string) as that function's only argument. The return value will be the text contained in the cookie. Yeah, of course you must have a working PHP parser.
question
Q:  What's the meaning of the system load indication?
answer
A:  Well, it works this way: every time a page request is made to a script which is part of Postline (meaning the status line, the chat input line, and the two parts of the central frameset), an internal stopwatch measures how much time passes between the moment the script begins executing and the moment the server sends the output to the client's browser. That is, approximately, how much time it took for the server to execute that script. Now, after measuring that, the said measured time will cause a certain file, residing on the server, to be slightly extended in size: this way the said file (called «ticker») keeps growing proportionally to how much time has been spent by the server while executing Postline scripts for all logged-in users and all guests. Every 5 minutes the ticker file is voided and a new span of time begins. To conclude, the «system load» indication is computed as the percent of the time spent executing Postline scripts with respect to the total time that passed since the ticker was voided for the last time. It has very little to do with the effective, physical load of the server's CPU, since many PHP scripts, even among those of this board, may be running simultaneously, and thus their time slices may be overlapping most of the time: therefore, the indication will frequently be overestimated. Because of this, there would be nothing surprising in even seeing that meter go over 100%. Yet, when the load goes high, response times might get effectively longer, and when that happens, the indication shows whether it's because of your connection or of the board's server.
question
Q:  Who is Mary Lou?
answer
A:  Mary Lou is the computer, or the network, serving you these pages and executing these scripts to keep the community going. Mary Lou only occasionally writes responses and warnings to the public chat frame. Some of its messages are temporary, i.e. they aren't even stored in persistent chat logs, and will be lost after having been pushed away by the conversations flowing there; some others are persistent and will be logged. Mary Lou logs only what might be significant for staff members to know, such as occasional malfunctions and other important events. As Postline accumulated more and more features and underwent fun and less fun troubles, whether Mary Lou developed a sentient mind became an open debate.
question
Q:  Why are you almost never online, Alex?
answer
A:  Because I have a little trouble with my personality: people have several aspects that form their personality, and sometimes two or more of these aspects may be condradictory, like when you have to choose to do something to please yourself versus doing something else in favor of someone else. Sometimes the choice can be hard, but in any cases this might not interfere with one's ability of actually making a choice. In my case, and with particular reference to my own personal projects, like this site and my wish to take an 'adventurous' effort in game development in contrast to that of pursuing a more 'usual' career, the conflict, so far, did never resolve to a clear choice, causing growing tension until, at some time between the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, and without being entirely aware of this, I have somehow split in two. To clarify, let's call the original 'Alex', the one who had fun developing Noctis, Crystal Pixels, this site during its first years, the attic's files and other such entertaining stuff; and let's call the post-2003 personality 'Axle', a somewhat scrambled version of the original. But let's also point out that this is a rough and unrealistic simplification, since there isn't a true separation of the two 'selves', not much more than in any other person: it's not a matter of hearing voices telling you what to do and what not, yet the conflict surfaces in certain specific matters like managing this site, often in the form of being not willing to come here, but also in many other forms - including stress, confusion, uneasyness, even mind-induced symptoms, that I'd collectively define as the tendence to lie to yourself. One such key 'lie' has been me focusing on a pathological form of perfectionism, whereas the development of the new Noctis became a sort of 'holy mission', what was done in past years was a 'mess', and what was to come had to be absolutely more 'clean', 'canonical', 'elegant', and other such absolutes: it was in fact never a sane tendence toward improvement, but rather the search for an absolute, leading to a binary view of the past versus the future: zero and one, and no midway allowed. L.in.oleum 2 was never released because it was never satisfactory, as it could never be when its comparison was against an ideal 'perfect form of assembly'. Back to the main answer, what happened through these damn years is that 'Alex' rarely came here, because he thought he had not fulfilled his deeds. Rather, the one who was allowed to get here, exclusively to bring something new and ideally better, was 'Axle'; on the other side, my true self tended to agree with the false one's considerations, judging his own self far from perfect, somewhat defective, and henceforth silently dismissing himself, other than feeling restrained and frustrated by all the 'orders' coming from the false one and concerning the management of this place; and all this severely limited the presence of 'any of the two' here. Ultimately, what's happening is that the true Alex began to acknowledge the presence of the false one as an extraneous entity, and to disagree to him; an effect of this has been the reprise of the conflict in an exacerbated form, which my recently created, cryptic blog, poetically described as the transition between an 'eternal autumn' and a colder, less pleasant, but more resolutive, 'inner winter'. To conclude, I just don't know what the future holds, but since the summer of 2009 I'm trying to support the 'true me'; however, throughout six years of manifest self-rejection, and possibly even a total of twelve years in which this kind of problem had been not so manifest, there's been so many factors leading to a rather different 'thought model' and induced by the 'false' self, that it's currently pretty hard to tell what remains of the true one, and put the pieces of him back together. I suppose I could take this whole tale tragically, or ironically; I definitely prefer the latter as I keep listening to Lillian Axe's 'Body Double'.
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