Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to get into skatteetaten/altinn for tax returns

Finally the day every Norwegian tax payer have been waiting for - the tax returns are here! And it's digital, this year one could even opt to get it just in digital format, and not by snail mail at all. 

Cool, this means I can check my tax returns immediately! Wrong! As usual and expected the tax administrations web pages can't handle the load. Didn't they see this coming? Of course they did, it happens every year. And it will only go one way, more and more people are checking online. But the capacity of their web servers seems unchanged. We are not talking about tens of millions of impressions either. There are about 3,9 million tax payers in Norway, and most of those are probably not spamming the website to get their tax returns. It should be relatively easy to scale the server farm to handle 1-2 million requests for a day or two, but they are not spending money on this apparently.
Here's a little tip from me on how to make the load on their servers a little higher if you want to get in... If you use Google Chrome, get an extension called Auto Refresh Plus. For Firefox you can use something like ReloadEvery. Set it to reload the page you can't reach every 30 seconds, and sooner or later you will get in. Pay attention to it though, and stop it when you get in. I did this and got to the login page within a few minutes and entered my credentials. Now it's timing out on the next page, and is auto-reloading that one instead, so I'm one step closer...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Common misconceptions

Common misconceptions - Part 1:

Bulletstorm - a short review

I enjoy FPS games, but a lot of the latest ones have been to complicated to my taste. Don't get me wrong, I like complicated games where you have a lot of options. I played WoW for 5 years knowing every aspect of the game. WoW is an intricate game, and that's fine for an MMORPG.

But when it comes to the FPS genre, I just want to pick up a gun and shoot bad guys.
I don't want to have to learn a damn talent tree.
I don't want to sit through hours of dialog.
I don't want to have so many options when it comes to customization that I need to google stuff to understand it.

This is where Bulletstorm hits home-run with me. The story is simple, the dialog is ultra-cheesy and very funny (at least to me) and you can skip most cut-scenes. You have some option of customizing your arsenal, but it's very limited and you will get all upgrades down the path anyway.

The "twist" in this game is that you get skillpoints depending on how you kill stuff. Kick them into some electric wires and get bonus points. Set them on fire, shoot them in the balls or pin them on a cactus! A lot of fun stuff and some cool weapons to play with. Skillpoints are used to upgrade your weapons and buy ammo.

And you will probably learn some new curse words listening to the dialog, because they are not holding back on the bad words!

Who needs movies anymore?

With tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, the allies attack on Libya and Rebecca Black's Friday, who needs movies anymore?

So much is going on in the world right now, that just reading the news gives you more entertainment and excitement than most movies and tv shows at the moment. Whether it is scary stuff like wars and nuclear disasters, people surviving for nine days in the rubble after the tsunami, awful performances like Rebecca Black's "Fried Egg" or even the fact that .xxx is now a valid domain for porn! And let's not forget Charlie Sheen trolling the world.