Recent Geek Speak Posts



March 7, 2009

More Verizon Wireless Opting Out Nessesary

You may recall me telling you to called Verizon Wireless to have them block "Premium Text Messaging." Well now you should login to your Verizon Wireless account to opt out of them mining your personal data. For me, I was already opted in without even knowing it.

@brianking posted this link on RRW which references this blog post, which points you to this link to turning off Customer Proprietary Network Information Settings.

Unless of course you want Verizon to sell your personal information to anyone, which is what will happen if you do not opt out. Pretty shady, isn't it?

October 3, 2008

Twitter needs categorization in the form of sets

Since a lot of news sites are using Microblogging as another way to get their headlines out, I think Twitter needs to adapt to this change too.

I think it would be very beneficial to the overall design if you could create "sets" of people you follow. This is similar in design to how Facebook and now MySpace has introduced sets of users.

This would allow a Twitter user create a set of news sources, a set of close friends, a set of co-workers, etc. and be able to switch between them.

This would be mondo excellent for people who follow hundreds if not thousands of other twitter users.

July 7, 2008

Very Old Computer Ads

Jason found this post on old computer ads. There is a comment of even more, too.

April 4, 2008

Facebook Makes Site "Simpler"

Facebook is making the site "simpler" by taking out the Networks link at the top. Bull shit. Way to grow a community, really, nice job. I mean seriously. It is called a social networking site. It is going to "free up space" but for what we are not told. Lame move Facebook.

December 28, 2007

DVD inserted in Planet Earth Blu-ray

Planet Earth really looks great on Blu-ray. That is, of course, when the package actually comes with four Blu-ray discs. You know, when you pay $90 for something, you expect some level of quality assurance.

The fourth disc in the set is DVD. I researched this and I am not the only one with this problem. In fact, Planet Earth is not the only set with this issue. Planet Earth has been reported to have HD DVD and DVD versions inserted into the Blu-ray packages. This has happened to the Blade Runner set too.

Now I have to go back to Best Buy in Toledo. Just what I want to do this week.

October 23, 2007

FundaMental Disaster

Since I have not gotten around to re-creating my blogroll, here is my friend Greg's blog, FundaMental Disaster.

August 5, 2007

Samsung u740 Extended Battery

This isn't so much about the battery, but the utterly horrible customer service of the local Verizon Wireless store. It took them two weeks to order it, for some reason, and they ordered the regular battery for me.

I called their national number and had the correct battery ordered right away, it was even FedEx delivered to me.

The battery life in this u740 is my only gripe. The phone itself is the size of the LG 8600 or RAZR and you can tell they obviously had to cut the size of the battery for the form factor.

Unlike other extended batteries I have had for my cell phone, this one comes with a nice cover that extends the entire length of the phone, so you don't have the battery jutting out in the back.

Going from 800 mAh (the standard battery) to 1300 mAh is a huge improvement. I play games on my phone (big surprise there) and with the normal battery Vijay Golf would just kill my phone.

Now I do not have to charge my phone in the middle of the day. So what is the lesson here? Don't go to the local Verizon Wireless store. Just call the national number and you will avoid weeks of irritation.

September 10, 2006

Bit Calculator

Convert between bits/ bytes/ kilobits/ kilobytes/ megabits/ megabytes/ gigabits/ gigabytes. Now this is a nice calculator.

DevNerds.com Forums

The university must have sold their email list again, because on 8/31 I got a spam about some new forum, DevNerds.com. I finally went to check it out. I am sad to say it looks like a "me too" site based on the very successful Were-Here.

They have a section for "Computer Talk" and have Windows and Linux, but nothing for Mac OS. So I don't think I will be spending much time there.

So, why am I giving these forums the time of day? Well, the more forums the better. So good luck to DevNerds.

January 9, 2006

All the World's A Podcast

Every year, the New Oxford American Dictionary people hand out an award for "Word of the Year." It's usually given to the word that has the most amount of hype attached to it, but it's a rite of great distinction for the word. This past year's Word of the Year is podcast. That's a given, right? "Sudoku," "bird flu" and "reggaeton" didn't stand a chance.
Source: Webmonkey

Yea, that is an odd opening to a technical article on creating your own podcast, but it is what it is.

January 8, 2006

Optimus Keyboard Set For February Release?

Back in July 2005 I wrote about wanting the Optimus Keyboard. By the looks of things, it will be coming February 1, 2006. I can't wait.

This one is on my Birthday Wish List, hint, hint.

December 15, 2005

Wikipedia Survives Research Test

The free online resource Wikipedia is about as accurate on science as the Encyclopedia Britannica, a study shows.

The British journal Nature examined a range of scientific entries on both works of reference and found few differences in accuracy.

Source: BBC News

And people still ask me why I use Wikipedia!

August 25, 2005

Current University of Northwestern Ohio commercial

"I am a whiz at email and browsing the web, I'm virtually an information systems technologist."

Those are the exact words. I feel really bad for UNO. This commercial is so bad, I can't believe someone green lighted it. It takes a bit more then being able to get your email and browse the web to be an IT professional. I know many people who can check their email, browse the web, but could not tell you the difference between an RJ-11 and RJ-45.

I understand that they want to encourage people to enroll in their IT classes, and it is good to see advertising for IT classes, but they should not be using false advertising.

Pathetic.

August 9, 2005

Code war heats up between Microsoft and Adobe

Redmond-based Microsoft just announced two products that will compete with offerings from Adobe, and Adobe is about to buy a company with products that challenge Microsoft's.
Source: Seattlepi.com

Microsoft does have a competitor to PDF. I just don't think it will topple Adobe. But then Microsoft only had 4% of the browser market at the beginning of the browser wars.

August 5, 2005

A9 Instant Reward — Save 1.57% On Virtually Everything at Amazon.com

Did you know about this? My friend Eric mentioned this to me the other day. I had no idea. You could even be evil about it and set up a script to search the site, but I wouldn't do that. No, never.

August 1, 2005

Geek joke of the day

"You know you subscribe to way too many mailing lists when 99% of your email on the 1st of every month is from mailman-owner@domain.com."

Or, for the uninitiated:

"You know you subscribe to way too many mailing lists when 99% of your email on the 1st of every month reads "mailing list memberships reminder."

July 2, 2005

US to ICANN and UN: UCANT

The US will not cede control of the Domain Name System for the Internet. As a result, the "Internets" malapropism may become a reality.

On Thursday, Michael Gallagher, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce announced a stunning change in US policy regarding the Internet.

Source: Ars Technica

All your DNS are belong to US.

This sure was unexpected. I guess someone in the Bush Administration figured out that the "Internets" is a global tool and decided that the US needs to keep control of it. Of course ICANN will still perform day to day operations. They just won't control it.

March 26, 2005

Top Sony exec hints at Blu-ray, HD-DVD detente

After more than a year of touting Blu-ray as the best technology to replace DVD for storing high-definition video and winning proponents including Apple, a top executive at Sony Corp., one of Blu-ray's major backers, has opened the door to the possibility of unifying the format with its arch rival, HD-DVD.
Source: MacCentral

These people play chess in mysterious ways. While I would really like to see on HD DVD format and not two separate ones, the Blu-ray spec sounded better to me.

March 23, 2005

Adobe Acrobat Toolbar Worse than Malware?

Yes, it is worse then malware. But thats not the point.

If I have not gotten enough comments and traffic because of my post of this over at Blogcritics, today I was Slashdotted. And yes, all hell broke loose. The story is still on the front page of slashdot.org too, so the referral and visits numbers keep piling up.

All of my web sites (including paying customers) were down for an undetermined amount of time this afternoon. They are back up now thankfully. It must have went unnoticed because I have not received any irate emails.

Mail was down, more specificly web mail was down, and is still a little wonky. I can get POP3 mail though. Everything seems to be doing OK now. This afternoon things were not pretty though.

And let me just say this: thank god I did not turn on dynamic publishing months ago when Movable Type 3.0 came out. And thankfully I did not have any images attached to that blog post. Since I am using a static Movable Type install, it has done just fine.

Getting Slashdotted and getting hit by WIRED (for my G4TechTV/TSS interview on WIRED News) are two completely different animals. WIRED brought the visits, but not anything like Slashdot.

So thanks Slashdot. I survived. But please, it would be nice to keep this to one a month, or I will have a horrendous bandwidth bill to deal with. Luckily I have more bandwidth then I really need right now, or I would have been slammed with an overage bill today!

March 20, 2005

AOL versus some guy on the Internet

You might think news about AOL changing the Terms of Service for AIM products would be about AOL changing the Terms of Service for AIM products. Not even close. It all started with this guy, who asserted the Terms of Service (TOS) change allowed AOL to use AIM conversations for...whatever purposes deemed fit by AOL.
Source: Ars Technica

So this was over a whole lot of nothing? Great.

March 19, 2005

Staples Easy Rebates, Part 2

It took 18 days to get my Staples Easy Rebate check. Today I got a check for $18.00 which is exactly what I expected. Those sure were cheap packs of DVD-Rs! And it could not have been easier, or faster.

March 16, 2005

AOL: AIM Conversations Are Safe

Updated: America Online quells public criticism of changes to its AIM terms of service, insisting the controversial privacy clause does not pertain to user-to-user instant messaging communication.

America Online Inc. on Sunday moved to quell public criticism of the terms of service for its AIM service, insisting the controversial privacy clause does not pertain to user-to-user instant messaging communication.

Source: eWeek

A few days I saw a post at slashdot and about crapped my pants. I am sure I was not the only one. It did not take AOL long to change its tune, or "clarify" everything for us. Thanks AOL. You have just alienated the entire IM using world and caused more damage than you will ever know. You just lost a bus load of customers. Good job! And no, your damage control did work on everyone.

March 1, 2005

Staples Easy Rebates

I have seen the commercials, I am sure you have as well, but I didn't think much of it when I went to Staples recently. To my sunrise they had DVD-R 40 packs for a mere $5! This was after a $4 in store and $9 online rebate! I only went in to buy a flatbed scanner, HP Deskjet ink, and look at Palm PDAs but at that price, heck yea.

Staples has an Easy Rebates site where you put in two numbers, and your rebates are done. One number is a unique number per item, and the other is a ID number from that entire receipt. If you buy more then one of an item (DVD-R 40 pack, for example) you only have to input it once. Thats pretty nice.

The waiting is still the same, but you no longer have to slap a stamp on a letter and drop it in the mail. Online rebates are so cool. More stores should think about online rebates.

February 24, 2005

Court Won't Block Low-Cost Ink

Lexmark International has suffered a setback in its bid to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to prevent other companies from making low-cost, refurbished toner cartridges for its printers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled against Lexmark's request that it reconsider an earlier decision that favored Lexmark's opponent in the case, Static Control Components (SCC), a maker of components used by third parties to make refurbished cartridges.

Source: PC World

I like this story more for the fact that the DCMA got shot down in another court case. That law needs radical amendments (more information).

My brother told me a while ago about Dell printers (which are really Lexmark) not being able to use any cartridge because they modify the printer itself so it will not take 3rd party (cheaper) cartridges. I wonder if this is related.

If you want my opinion, and I know you do, I can not recommend any bubble jet from Lexmark. I have heard nothing but bad news about them. We got a "free" one with a Mac at work, and I threw it in the trash within a day. HP's $50 printer put this thing to shame. One problems is driver support, which is a rather major issue.

Lawsuit Says HP Printer Cartridges Die Before Use

HP ink cartridges use a chip technology to sense when they are low on ink and advise the user to make a change. But the suit claims those chips also shut down the cartridges at a predetermined date regardless of whether they are empty.
Source: Yahoo! News

So HP ink has a shelf life? It would be interesting to contact a number of retail locations and see what they say. I only buy HP printers, and I have never had a case like this.

February 12, 2005

Is SCO Down for the Count This Time?

At first glance, it appears that The SCO Group's case against IBM for Linux/Unix intellectual property right violations is all but over, after the judge said Tuesday that the court hasn't seen any hard evidence to support SCO's claims.
Source: eWeek

"It is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's Linux activities."

Those are pretty strong words from the judge.

February 10, 2005

Hotmail Screw Job

Guest submission by Max Hostetler

You used to be able to check your Hotmail account via Entourage or Outlook. Well now to do the same thing, Microsoft is requiring you to have the Hotmail subscription which is $20 a year. It gives you increased e-mail storage and some other features along with remote checking, but I don’t want to pay that. Now I can’t even type e-mails and send them via Outlook, they’ve totally screwed me. WHAT THE CRAP? Now I have a hotmail account I’ll probably never use, who the hell uses webmail anyway?

Ken interjects:

I use webmail a lot. I use GMail and my own Meancode webmail when I am not sitting at my own computer. I know some people who live on webmail only, I could never do that myself.

I once had a Hotmail account too, a while ago. I didn't login to the account regularly enough, so they deleted it. Yahoo did the exact same thing. GMail has done the right thing in allowing you have access to their POP server for FREE. That 1 GB of storage doesn't hurt either.

I constantly hear about problems from people who use Hotmail. It usually goes like this "I can never receive emails from the (fill in blank) mailing list."

But I was not aware of not being able to check your email in Entourage or Outlook. I am sort of surprised too, since Microsoft is competing with so many businesses, not just Google.

By the way, if you need any more reasons, you should check out the Hotmail Sucks Web site.

February 8, 2005

Geek Love Poem T-shirt

Here is something for your valentine this year.

Roses Are #FF0000
Violets Are #0000FF
All My Base
Are Belong To You

Thanks to Ian for the link.

February 5, 2005

Amazon unveils flat-fee shipping

Amazon.com on Wednesday launched a flat-fee shipping program, in a move to offer an alternative to its minimum purchase requirement for low-cost delivery.
Source: ZDNet

You can read the introductory letter from Jeff Bezos himself.

So what is this Amazon Prime? Free 2 day shipping and $4 overnight shipping. You can share this benefit with up to 4 family members. I will admit that I order a lot from Amazon, but I am not in such a hurry that I cannot wait for the free shipping I already elect to use.

I wonder if this program will work. It will be interesting to see how many people buy into it.

January 15, 2005

FBI may scrap $170 million project

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top FBI official said Thursday the bureau may have to scrap a computer program that so far has cost $170 million and was intended to be an important tool in fighting terrorism.

Bureau officials told a news briefing that they expect to find that after four years in development their much-touted Virtual Case File system does not work. But they said a suitable replacement is commercially available.

Source: CNN

You just know this 3rd party software is gonna come in costing somewhere in the range of $170 million.

January 14, 2005

The Joy of Travel in the Digital Age

Guest submission by Rob Griffiths (Webmaster of Mac OS X Hints, and author of Mac OS X Power Hound). He sent me a rough draft of this last night, and it is too funny, and too true! Feel free to copy, as long as author attribution and site link remain intact. Posted with permission by the author.

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking about Mac OS X (one of my favorite subjects) at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco (thanks to everyone who came to my sessions!). Since I live in Portland, Oregon, I had to pack for a plane trip to the 'big city.' That's when the fun began...

Traveling has become a much more complex endeavor than it used to be. A decade ago, packing for a three-day business trip would require nothing more than insuring that you had sufficient clothes in your bag, the required personal care items, and perhaps your address book and maybe even a calculator. But that was about it.

Packing today, especially if you're giving a presentation, is a whole different ballgame...

Continue reading "The Joy of Travel in the Digital Age" »

January 12, 2005

Staples deals on HP CD-R and Sony DVD-/+R

If you have a Staples close, get there soon! They have a deal on a 100 pack of HP CD-R (52x) for $14.95, and a even better deal on Sony 8x 50 pack DVD-/+R for $19.95. You can get a 25 pack of Tenon 8x DVD-/+R for $14.95, but heck, get double that for a mere $5 more!

These deals are good January 9 - 15, 2005.

Thanks to Stephanie for the heads up on the deals.

January 10, 2005

Giga pixel image

Just see how close you can get at no loss in detail! Tons of stuff to find too!

January 7, 2005

Creative Commies T-Shirt

While chatting with Neil yesterday, he pointed me to this Creative Commies T-Shirt web page. I just had to buy a shirt, its PayPal'able to boot. Not only are they cool, but they’re a bargain too - $5 ($6 if you need 2XL or 3XL), plus $5 for shipping anywhere in the world.

If you’ve been reading BoingBoing lately, you’ll know what it’s about, but basically Bill Gates, in an interview with CNet News.com (great Apple quotes in this interview, btw), described people who are against intellectual property and over-strict copyright legislation as ‘communists’ (Dan Gillmor has some good analysis of this). So, naturally, there are various desktop wallpapers and buttons for us ‘creative commies’, and now, t-shirts.

I don't think calling ourselves "commies" is a good thing for the open source movement, but you gotta admit that it is a good play on the Creative Commons name. I do love the copyleft logo, and now have that as my desktop wallpaper.

Thanks to Neil for sharing this bit of geekery.

November 11, 2004

Ancient Developer Proverb

The biggest mistake you can make as a developer is to not listen to what your customers want.

However, the second biggest mistake you can make is to give your customers everything they ask for.

Found in Open Source is like Sex, which in itself was a good read. Thanks to Jake for the link.

November 4, 2004

Rate My Network Diagram

Thanks to my bro Max for sending this link.

I am sure you have heard of Hot or Not, or Rate My Implants, or Rate My Pets, or even Rate My Poo, but what about Rate My Network Diagram? Now this is total geekery.

October 1, 2004

Inside Adobe's New Digital Negative Format

When Adobe speaks about camera raw problems, people listen. And the software giant spoke loudly on Monday when it released an update to the free Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop CS. The plug-in update adds support for a new Adobe-proposed file format for digital negatives—a clever marketing name the company wants to use to replace the less-friendly camera raw.

Source MacJournals.com

From what I have read, this is great. But why, may I ask, was camera raw released when there is some technology out there (DNF) that surpasses it. I know camera raw came first and DNF is a big improvement, but these technologies don't just sprout over night. My guess is DNF has been in the works for some time now.

All I have to say is this: I hope this does not become another splintered "standard" (which has already happened) that only part of the market adopts. I hope DNG takes off like wildfire, or Firewire, for that matter.

On a related note, MDJ is a great publication that you might want to check out.

September 22, 2004

Study: Life without Net is unbearable

Researchers investigating how people would react to not having Internet access got off to a rough start. "It was incredibly difficult to recruit participants as people weren't willing to be without the Internet for two weeks," said Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer of Yahoo, and a sponsor of the study. Half of the participants said they could not go without the Internet for more than two weeks, while others found it more difficult than expected, and in some cases impossible, the researchers reported.

Source: CBS MarketWatch via MacMinute

I don't think I would have a mail server left or a host that would like me if I went two weeks without checking my spam-mail!

I think I would go insane with no Net access. Would you?

September 21, 2004

Firefox drawing fans away from Microsoft IE

Open-source browsers Mozilla and Firefox have won over a significant number of defectors from Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the past nine months, Web site metrics suggest...

Source: C|Net News.com

Firefox rules and Internet Explorer drools!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I am sure the statistics that are taken more accurately reflect the Windows using world (as I am pretty sure Safari outweighs that of Moz based browsers on the Mac). And quite frankly I am pleased with those percentages (read the linked article). I really hope more people start using Firefox over Internet Exploder.

I have converted WinIE using people to Firefox, and you can too! Fight the good fight people, yea, or something like that.

September 16, 2004

FCC: Broadband Usage Has Tripled

The number of broadband Internet subscribers in the U.S. has tripled since 2001, according to a new report from the Federal Communications Commission. Cable is the preferred broadband medium, with 75 percent of the market, compared to DSL with 15 percent...

Source: News Factor

You know what this means don't you? Now even more people can marvel and curse at your poor excuse for Flash programming skills as they fall asleep watching that pre-loader animation loop and loop and loop...

This is very wonderful news for Web Monkeys everywhere. Having to create sites that are at least usable on a dial-up connection is no fun.

September 11, 2004

TiVo, ReplayTV agree to limits

The makers of TiVo and ReplayTV digital video recorders have agreed to limit how long consumers can keep pay-for-view movies stored on future versions of the VCR-like devices.

The new technology also will allow Hollywood movie studios and broadcasters to regulate how often movies purchased through pay-for-view services can be watched. Digital video recorders that recognize these new copy restrictions will begin appearing in the spring of 2005. But it could be years before entertainment companies begin to take advantage of the technology, according to ReplayTV President Bernie Sepaniak...

Source MercuryNews.com Via: /.

Is this fair, or erosion of more fair-use rights?

September 10, 2004

MyDoom worm creators ask for job in anti-virus industry, Sophos reports

The creators of the latest versions of the MyDoom email worm have embedded a secret message inside their code, asking for a job in the anti-virus industry, researchers at Sophos have discovered...

Source: Sophos.com

Times must be getting tough for computer virus writers, heh.

July 16, 2004

bitoogle - the bit torrent file search engine

It was only a matter of time before there was a BitTorrent search engine. Check it out!

July 13, 2004

Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips

Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school. Source: CNET Asia Thanks to Dave for this link. I don't see how this is going to work. They are putting the RFID tags on schoolbags and name tags. What if they "forget" and leave them at home? I say if you are going to sacrifice the privacy of these kids at least embed the RFID chips in their skin.

July 4, 2004

Web Cam for Profit?

By Michael Cooper So, you have a web cam, but your not sure exactly what the purpose is for having one. Yes, video chatting is nice, but is it really a necessity? I mean what difference does it make if I see you and you see me. Granted, you now know you are talking to a 300-lb man claiming to be a 18 year old virgin when you see the video, but what purpose does it really serve? I've been rather perplexed over what I should do with my web cam. I mean, I'm not really using it. It was a fad at first, but it has seemed to die off. I'd rather sign into Trillian on my PC for a simple text chat, and having all of my buddy lists available, then to have six different programs all attempting to run a video cam, BTW, it is impossible. So, I turned to my trusty friend Google, a web geeks best friend. And lo and behold, what do I find, but a site devoted specifically to web camming with others! Not only that, but you get paid to be an expert in anything you want! Welcome to Imlive.com. Can this be true? Can I get paid to offer advise to someone on any topic of my choosing and get paid? Have I finally found a purposeful use for my web cam. While looks can be deceiving, I decided to give it a whirl. I signed up for an account. Doesn't cost me a dime, I just have to sit in front of my cam whenever possible. And since I'm on my computer for the majority of the time when I'm home, this isn't hard. So, now I'm getting paid to sit in front of my computer. Not quite. You have to attract visitors to your web cam by providing a unique description of what you want to talk about. So, naturally, I sign up as Guy Alone (Straight). Where else am I going to see traffic, right? You think someone would want to web cam to get information on rebuilding a PC or designing a web site? No. So, I go through the entire processes of signing up for an "adult-oriented" account, including emailing a copy of my driver's license to prove I'm over 18. It takes four days for my account to be approved, and now, I'm camming. My face is plastered over three different web sites. Money is just rolling in... Not exactly. In 15 hours of being online, I have seen one guest. Talking with some of the other hosts, this seems to be a similar occurance. However, there is one host category that can't keep them away. Girls Alone. Go figure! I'll keep you up-to-date on whether this camming for profit thing actually works. I'm supposed to get paid on the 15th and 30th of the month, collecting 40% of the profit I generate. Again, I am selling myself for the purpose of science....anyone want to video chat?

June 17, 2004

TechTV Fans Mad as Hell

Looking for a recipe for dissension? Comcast has it. Take two cable networks designed for technology enthusiasts with very different bents -- newbie G4 for young gamers and veteran TechTV for computer geeks of all ages -- and merge them. Fire the staff of TechTV, the network you bought, and be sure to drop the show that has some of the most fervent fans and a host with a cult following. For good measure, take the network's widely linked archives offline for weeks... Ken Edwards, a 26-year-old database specialist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, has been watching since ZDTV launched. He claims to own every current game console but only watched one show on the old G4. He tracks some of the backlash to the cancellation of Call for Help and the uncertainty over Laporte's future. Edwards and others are bemused but pleased that Laporte's show has been picked up by G4techTV Canada and may eventually reach the United States through syndication...
Source: WIRED News I was interviewed for this article on Tuesday. Not only that but my rant referenced in the article was linked! I had a great phone conversation with Staci Kramer and found out just how many other folks out there are really ticked. Its pretty cool being quoted in the same article as David Pogue! Thank you WIRED, and welcome new readers! The stats don't lie! It now looks like Candy Apple Red is winning out in my current poll. I would have had this up in the AM but I have been very busy at work lately. Both Jake and Neil beat me even. But thats what happens when you are going back to college, managing a newspaper network and doing freelance web design, the blog sometimes waits till the last minute before I go to bed. I'll live with that, I am passing my classes, and everything is going great right now :)

June 15, 2004

FTC won't create do-not-spam list

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will not immediately start a national do-not-e-mail list, despite a law passed last year that calls for the agency to develop a plan for such a list. A do-not-e-mail list would likely be used by spammers to send consumers more unwanted commercial e-mail, FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said Tuesday. The FTC, in a report to Congress, instead advocated that ISPs (Internet service providers) continue to work on domain-level e-mail sender authentication, technologies that would require e-mail to come from the domain it says it's from. Source: MacCentral I am glad people like Michael Powell (FCC Chairman) have put serious thought into this. I am glad to see that there will be no do-not-spam list. I hope there never is.

June 3, 2004

Microsoft wins patent for handheld computer click

This is what Neil was referring to (in a comment about the stupid Network Associates patent) WASHINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) - Computer users with itchy trigger fingers take note: The next time you open a software program with two quick clicks on a handheld computer you may be engaging in a process patented by Microsoft Corp. (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 27 granted a patent for a "time based hardware button for application launch" in which a click of a button can start different programs if it is clicked once, twice or held down for several seconds... Source: Forbes.com After reading the patent it does not sound as glorified and horrible as Forbes/Every-Other-News-Site is making this out to be. Read it yourself. It is an innovative thing that I have never seen in the Palm or Pocket PC OS. Time will tell.

Network Associates is granted broad antispam patent

From The Laporte Report:
And yet another entry in the Annals of Greed... Paul Graham wrote his "Plan for Spam" advocating the use of Bayesian filters in August, 2002. In December, 2002, Network Associates applied for a broad-based patent on anti-spam technologies including, what a coincidence, Bayesian filters. The pathetic USPTO just approved that patent. No word yet on how NAI will apply their patent, but it could impact every spam program out there including numerous free open source programs like SpamBayes and Spam Assassin. Symantec and Postini also have patents on anti-spam techniques. Read the discussion on Slashdot.
What is the USPTO coming to? Patents are not patents any more. They are ideas. They are technologies. They are for phrases (You're Fired). Patents are not for inventions any more. I DON'T GET IT. I wonder how this will effect the products I use, SpamSieve and POPFile. I hope that Network Associates does not start suing/killing of the commercial, and more importantly the open source bayesian filtering softwares.

May 17, 2004

Movable Type 3 SHOULD Cost Money

Movable Type 3 has been out for a day now. And a lot of people have had time to weigh in with their opinions. Six Apart has been beaten black and blue for this new pricing scheme. It irritates me how many people are crying fowl about this. Six Apart is not the Evil Empire, they are not the RIAA, they aren't even Microsoft! They are a software developer who cares about customers, they even listen to their customers. This is more then can be said for most software developers. Lets look at a few facts: 1. MT 3 has a free version that is unsupported (just like before) 2. TypePad offers unlimited blogs and authors (and you don't have to pay for hosting on top of that) 3. MT 3 is NOT a feature release, although does include improvements 4. Six Apart has drastically changed the licensing restrictions (that was the most gripped about problem with MT) Did I mention it is free? Six Apart is just like most other software developers. They are in the business of making money. So get off their back for charging for Movable Type! I couldn't agree more with Timothy Appnel's "Movable Type 3.0 and Eating" article. He makes a few great points, and is worth reading. It would be nice to see more articles defending instead of defying Six Apart. But why do people want code (i.e. MT) free of charge? Easy. They have absolutely no clue as to how much work it actually took to make that code usable, much less elegant. I was one of the few who donated after I started using Movable Type on multiple sites. You did know you can donate right? It is referred to "donationware" for a reason (Don't say this too loud, but donating to a freeware or open source based project actually helps the project move forward, or maybe thats just how I think). For donating you get a discount on MT 3 Personal License. Way back when I donated I was told I would get a full credit on the 3.0 version. I donated $60 and today got $65 in credit, because they give you an extra $5 on the second $20 donation. This means I payed $4.95 for the Personal License. So Six Apart not only held up their end of the deal, they gave me a $5 bonus in credit and I didn't even ask for it. I also own a commercial license for MT for my business site. I payed $150 for that. During a great IM conversation with Anil Dash today I find out that that $150 I payed is good for $150 off a Developer License of MT 3. With an introductory price of $199.95 that means I will have to pay $49.99 for the upgrade for commercial use of 3.0. In a day and age of price gouging even on upgrades, thats a heck of a nice upgrade policy (as is the discount for donations). Donating and paying for free software is great. You should give it a try. And for what its worth, Movable Type is more then worth paying for. Sure it is a blogging tool, but if you can code, you can make it into a really nice CMS with little work. Next Up: My first experiences setting up Movable Type 3, TypeKey, and the new centralized features that Six Apart offers its Movable Type users.

April 22, 2004

Report: Flaw could shut down Internet traffic

(CNN) -- Major companies and government agencies are scrambling to ensure they are not vulnerable to an Internet flaw that would allow attacks that could disrupt all communication. The Department of Homeland Security issued a Technical Cyber Security Alert Tuesday, warning that "sustained attacks" on routers between networks could lead to a "denial-of-service condition that could affect a large segment of the Internet community." Source: CNN According to an interview tonight on TSS from a security expert, this is a non issue. The routers have been patched by the time this story broke, according to him (I don't remember his name, and I already deleted the episode off of my DVR).

April 16, 2004

'Call for Help' Gets Pirillo Back

It is so nice to have Chris Pirillo back hosting Call for Help. Why is Leo not there? I don't care! I always liked the show better when Chris was hosting it. The pace is faster, no Leo rambling. Chris is a little fast for Roger, but he bounces off off of Cat well. It is a refreshing change, and frankly I hope it lasts. It is great having a younger host on Call for Help. There was a show or two when Cat and Roger hosted, that is ALWAYS bad, and this time was no exception. Then all of a sudden Pirillo is back after pretty much one year. The show is funny again, it has a host that is knowledgeable, young, and is not boring or irritating in front of the camera. Thank you Chris! Its like a Call for Help revival. Has anyone noticed that The Screen Savers has not lost a step at all without Leo? It sure has not, I would say its a little snappier too. Kudos and I hope that TechTV does not get torn apart by G4.

April 7, 2004

Evaluating Wireless Security Needs: The Three L's

Here is a great article by Adam Engst posted in this week's TidBITS that you should check out. Crackers, worms, viruses, zombies, trojans... it seems as though the promise of constant access and instantaneous communication through networking has been twisted in such a way that people are afraid in ways that few expected back in less-connected days. In large part because of co-authoring The Wireless Networking Starter Kit with Glenn Fleishman, many of the interviews I do end up working their way around to security, which I find somewhat depressing. For me, wireless networking is all about breaking down barriers - physical barriers - and I'm more interested in sharing connectivity than erecting virtual barriers. Nonetheless, there are very real situations in which security - often serious security - is called for, and in trying to help people decide if they need it, I've come up with what I call the three L's of security: Likelihood, Liability, and Lost Opportunity. This article will help you think about security in general and wireless security in particular; to learn more about how to address wireless security concerns, Glenn and I wrote four chapters on the topic in The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, Second Edition, available in both paper and electronic form....

April 1, 2004

Performing Eudora Pro Surgury

I just keep impressing people here at the office. Everyone at the office uses Eudora Pro 4.2 on OS 9. I used to use Eudora Pro, but have since moved on to Entourage and now Apple Mail. I wish our office would change to Entourage because that program is easier to organize mail (everyone here leaves ALL their mail in their Inbox). My boss got an email with a resume in it, it is in RTF format (MS Word RTF to be specific). He opened and could read the email, but could not open the attached RTF file. This is because it was doing this really weird thing that OS 9 used to do with QuickTime (which is used for translation) would display the RTF as a slideshow style QuickTime movie. I have seen this before. Its a black movie box with white text. Except with a RTF document, you have a lot of RTF commands and code before the text. Not only could we not read this RTF file, we could not close the message, or delete it for that matter, without it taking the entire system down, no three finger solute worked here. Luckily I have used Eudora Pro enough in the past to know how to handle this. How you ask? Get out my trusty Swiss Army Knife - BBEdit. In the Eudora Folder there is a Mail Folder. In here is the 48 MB Inbox file that holds most of my bosses email. All I had to do was open this in BBEdit and delete this email that had this RTF file. Eudora use carriage returns to differentiate individual emails. I wish Apple Mail worked like that. Maybe just because I know how fix it. Upon opening Eudora Pro you are warned that Eudora has to recompile the database, it does, and you are good to go. The only problem is that there are a lot of emails that were previously deleted that show up again, and all email is set to a ? for its read status. But, my boss could send and receive again. Mission Accomplished. Oh and that RTF, it was in the Attachments Folder where I knew it was. It even opened up in Word when double clicked. Imagine that. That read-a-text-file-as-movie thing is really weird.

The Magic Supersecret Binary T-Shirt

Thanks to Brian for the heads up on this! Go to ThinkGeek and order 10$ of caffeinated goodness (or whatever) and get a free Magic Supersecret Binary T-Shirt! Offer good on April Fools Day only. I ordered mine! Brian tells me the shirt says something like "I bought something on Think Geek on April Fools days and all I got was this losy t-shirt." Nice.

March 30, 2004

Sports Illustrated's digital workflow

I found this via Waxy Links, RSS is so great. This article details the hardware and software used. Pretty good insight. Check it out! They use the same Sony monitor I use ;)

Leo host no longer of The Screen Savers

:sad: It is weird with now Leo as host. The first show post Leo had him doing a segment on changing a linux password, something that Kevin would usually do. Sure, Patrick and Kevin will do a great job, but its not the same. Leo was also the resident Mac geek on the show, so I am sure the amount of Mac content on TSS will decline now. Call for Help will now be the only place to get the fix for Leo's wit now. Oh and did you hear that Comcast is going to buy TechTV and merge it with G4? It will be interesting to see what other changes are in store for my second favorite tv station, TechTV. G4 just magically apeared one day (I have Time Warner Cable) and I have started to watch it, but G4 is a one trick pony with a lot of reruns. Here is another good read about the TechTV/G4 merger. From Leo's blog: I hate long good-byes. I loathe long on-air goodbyes. So don't expect me to say much tonight on The Screen Savers. But since the news is out on Slash-Dot and the TechTV message boards, I guess I'd better say something here... The story of how this came about is long and boring, but suffice to say it was my decision. With the uncertainty caused by the channel's sale I decided it would be prudent to diversify. I was lucky enough to find a great weekend job at KFI in Los Angeles, but as a result I've been working seven days a week. TechTV very graciously has allowed me to cut back so that I can work at both places without sacrificing my health or sanity. I will continue to host Call for Help every day, and it will air at a new time, 6p Eastern, right next to The Screen Savers. I hope you'll stop by on your way to The Big Show®....

Music sharing doesn't kill CD sales, study says

A study of file-sharing's effects on music sales says online music trading appears to have had little part in the recent slide in CD sales. For the study, released Monday, researchers at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina tracked music downloads over 17 weeks in 2002, matching data on file transfers with actual market performance of the songs and albums being downloaded. Even high levels of file-swapping seemed to translate into an effect on album sales that was "statistically indistinguishable from zero," they wrote. "We find that file sharing has only had a limited effect on record sales," the study's authors wrote. "While downloads occur on a vast scale, most users are likely individuals who would not have bought the album even in the absence of file sharing." Source: C|Net News.com Sure, the RIAA is gonna believe that...

March 22, 2004

What's the Plural of 'Virus'?

virus is neither viri nor virii, nor even vira nor virora. It is quite simply viruses, irrespective of context. Here's why. English Inflections First off, the OED gives nothing but viruses for the plural. Here's its abbreviated entry: ... Pl. viruses. An infectious organism that is usu. submicroscopic, can multiply only inside certain living host cells (in many cases causing disease) and is now understood to be a non-cellular structure lacking any intrinsic metabolism and usually comprising a DNA or RNA core inside a protein coat (see also quot. 1977). [ Formerly referred to as filterable viruses, their first distinguishing characteristic being the ability to pass through filters that retained bacteria. ] Source: Oxford English Dictionary My friend Ian brought this up, and I thought it was virii too, after all, virii is used all over the place.

March 20, 2004

New domains '.mobi' and '.xxx' under consideration

SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- Ten organizations submitted applications to sponsor new Internet domains, including ".mobi" for mobile services and ".xxx" for adult content, the group that oversees key aspects of the global network said Friday. Each organization paid $45,000 to apply for suffixes that are to be set aside for specific industries and interest groups. The deadline for applications was Tuesday. Source: CNN I have been saying they should use .xxx for years now. It looks like I am not the only one.

March 7, 2004

Canton woman wins Web free speech case

Anyone who has thought about developing a Web site to gripe about a company owes Michelle Grosse some thanks. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Friday that the Canton woman did not violate the law when she used the name of Lucas Nursery and Landscaping Inc. for a Web site she created to complain about the Canton nursery. Paul Levy, staff attorney with the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said the ruling bolsters the fight by consumer groups to stop corporations from snuffing out free speech on the Internet. "This is a very important case," said Levy. "This is a mainstream circuit court that said using the Internet and the name of the company to criticize a company is perfectly legitimate..." Source: Detroit Free Press Huh? How about all those sites like PayPal Sucks? Anyway, its good to see that free speech is still being upheld in the courts.

March 5, 2004

Leaked Memo Says Microsoft Raised $86 million for SCO

Open source advocate Eric Raymond has published a document purporting to be an internal SCO memo confirming that Microsoft helped arrange financing for the company's jihad against Linux users to the tune of $86 million. The document below was emailed to me by an anonymous whistleblower inside SCO. He tells me the typos and syntax bobbles were in the original. I could not, when I received it, certify its authenticity, but I presumed that IBM's, Red Hat's, Novell's, AutoZone's, and Daimler-Chryler's lawyers could subpoena the original. On March 4th SCO, within 24 hours of publication, I received word from Steven J. Vaughan at eWEEK.com that SCO had confirmed that the memo is legitimate.

March 4, 2004

Losing Control of Your TV

The latest anti-piracy move will prevent you from making high-quality copies of broadcast TV programs. And the new "broadcast flag" technology enables all manner of other restrictions. In the future, the Motion Picture Association of America will control your television set. Every TV sold in the United States will come equipped with an electronic circuit that will search incoming TV programs for a tiny electronic “flag.” The MPAA’s members will control this flag, putting it into broadcast movies and television shows as they see fit. If the flag is present, your TV will go into a special high-security mode and lock down its high-quality digital outputs. If you want to record a flagged program, you’ll have to do so on analog tape or on a special low-resolution DVD. Any recording will be limited to analog-quality sound. This security measure is not designed to protect the television from viruses or computer hackers—it’s designed to protect TV programs from you. Source: MIT Technology Review Oh lord its the VHS tape all over again. And we all know how devastating the VHS tape has been on the industry. Has the MPAA gone too far? What do you think?

MS Word File Reveals Changes to SCO's Plans

from the now-this-is-just-scary dept. "Ah, the joys of 'track changes' in MS Word: metadata in a document obtained by Cnet reveals some earlier plans by SCO's legal team. Among them: to sue in February (their original target date), to sue Bank of America, to 'impound ... all Linux software products in the custody or control of Defendant through the pendency of these proceedings', and to accuse in court 'Linus Torvalds and/or others' of 'inclusion into one or more distributions of Linux with the copyright management information intentionally removed.' Good stuff." Also, SCO has announced a few new licensees including Computer Associates. Source: Slash Dot

February 13, 2004

Lycos restructures, cuts U.S. staff

Former web search giant Lycos is restructuring. The Spanish based company laid off 20% of its US work force yesterday as it transitions "from a generic portal business to a tight network of interconnected vertical sites focused on personal connections." Most of the wonderful Webmonkey team was laid off - and that's a real loss. If you do not know, Webmonkey is one of THE best web resources out there. What a shame! Source: C|Net News.com

FCC: 'Pure' VoIP not a phone service

Handing a partial victory to Internet phone providers, federal regulators said Thursday that voice communications flowing entirely over the Internet are not subject to traditional government regulations. The Federal Communications Commission, in a split decision, approved a request from voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider Pulver.com to be immune from the hefty stack of government rules, taxes and requirements that applied to 20th-century telephone networks. Source: C|Net News.com Big win for the little guys, I like that!

February 12, 2004

SiteFinder vs. Engineers: Our Mistake Is Ignorance

We, as the Internet engineering community, have made a great mistake. Actually, it wasn't even one large mistake, but a series of small ones. Engineers are busy people, and most of us work under the constraints of the organizational entities we serve (be it ISPs, non-internet corporates, or even non-profits). Few of us have time for politics; even fewer have the desire and motivation for politics, and those of us who do try usually end up facing a brick wall of stubbornness, lack of understanding of the underlying technical issues, or just a deaf ear. Source: Circle ID

February 2, 2004

Free DVD Backup

TSS is such a great show. Today they showed how to make free DVD backups the easy way. And if you want to do it on the Mac, there is an app called DVDBackup.

Chairman Bill's 'magic spam cure' - a revenue opportunity?

Spam is a modern tragedy of the commons: as few as two hundred spammers pollute inboxes of hundreds of millions of Internet users, and will fairly soon account for half of all email volume. Fixing spam is simple if we permit ourselves to make slight changes to the Internet protocols. These protocols are supposed to be our servants, not our masters, but the technical community refuses to support a consensus to allow the tweaks that could cure not only spam, but worms too.* A simple modification to the SMTP protocol is now supported even by the author of the protocol herself. Source: The Register This one is right up there with "Windows is more secure because of all the virus attacks" speech.

OWASP Top Ten Security Flaws 2004

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has published their list for 2004 security threats. You can download the PDF from their site.

January 28, 2004

First Year of Profit for Amazon

Amazon.com reported better cash flow, increasing sales, improved operating income and its first full-year profit for 2003 during its fourth quarter results released Tuesday. But the squeeze on its margins isn't going to go away -- and that's all part of the plan, according to CEO Jeff Bezos. Source: Internet News.com Rock on Amazon!

Government planning cyberalert system

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to announce details of a cyberalert system on Wednesday, two days after a virus called MyDoom spread rapidly across the Internet. The system, which will be detailed by the department's National Cyber Security Division, could mimic the color-coded scheme the government uses to warn citizens and alert law enforcement authorities of terrorism threats, a source familiar with some details of the plan said. Source: C|Net News.com Great! I can get an email (CNN) telling how if its an orange day, or not! Yay! Is it just me, but doesn't the virus companies such as Sophos, Symantec, and McAfee do this job right now? It just sounds to me like the Gov't is doing something that is already available from other sources. It sounds to me like more wasted money and resources from Washington, IMO.

January 21, 2004

Macworld/My Photoshop CS Review

At the core of Adobe's Creative Suite strategy is the unity, integration, and simultaneous release of its major design applications. Photoshop CS (version 8) is a broad and deep upgrade to the company's anchor image editor. Despite its low-key presentation -- its interface is almost the same as version 7's -- it has amazing new tools for Photoshop's traditional users. New features, subtly sprinkled throughout the program, dramatically enhance those users' capabilities and control over their images. Photographers, artists, graphic designers, Web designers, and video specialists will see significant improvements in their images and in the imaging process, but there's no burdensome learning curve....

Photoshop CS is an awesome upgrade for every type of Photoshop user. Its slick, user-friendly new features make a huge difference in both productivity and image quality. This version is too good to pass up.

Source: Macworld Great review! I couldn't agree more. I sure like this upgrade, more so then Photoshop 6 or 7, to be exact. I earlier wrote about the Adobe CS suite shortcomings, of which I need to add, but after using Photoshop CS for a little while now I have little to rant about. The last version of Photoshop I got this exited about was version 5 (for the history palette) and 5.5 (for the revamped text tool). Of course I can no longer scan bank notes. How stupid! What if I need to use a $20 bill in some artwork for a client? I guess that is why I have a CD with Photoshop 7 on it. My favorite new features of Photoshop CS: snappier then Photoshop 7 in OS X. Match Color is very handy, as is Shadow/Highlight. Text on a path is a nice touch, finally. The File Browser is much improved, and its got a bunch of new features that I find myself using more and more. Something else I have been using more and more is the Layer Comps palette, that thing is sweet!

January 18, 2004

Giving Product Recommendations

One of the hidden, unwritten rules of being a geek is giving product, and services reviews. It is great telling other people what they should buy, and why. I wish I got payed for it. Its also great when you are at a point where you can recommend products and services at work. More times than not I have had first hand experience, but I also make it a point of read multiple reviews. Giving this advice is more or less a ancillary effect to being a geek. A ripe example of this, stemming from a current consulting job, has to do with email. General Email Tips Use a bayesian filter for your email. SpamSieve is the easiest to use on OS X, POPFile works on all platforms (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux(s) etc.). Outlook 2003 has built in bayesian filtering, and it works great! Unfortunately Apple's Panther Mail's junk mail filtering is sub par. You would do better getting SpamSieve and turning off the junk mail filter. Turn of image viewing, or turn off HTML rendering all together. In Apple Mail you can turn off image viewing in the Viewing portion of the Preferences. You can turn of HTML preview in Outlook 2003, and you can hack 2002 to turn it off. The last thing I would do is turn off message preview. I like how Outlook 2002 and 2003 handles this, as it will display the first 3 lines of text from and email. That is just enough to tell if it is SPAM or not. You do not want to view SPAM, and by clicking on it and seeing it (even if you are clicking to delete it) you are "viewing" it. There is no 3 line preview in OS X Mail, but you can turn off the preview pane. Double click the resize handle in between the list pane and the preview pane. Some people might not want to go as far as disabling the preview pane, but to each his own. BTW, to re-enable the preview pane in OS X Mail, double click the resize handle that is now at the very bottom of the window. UPDATE I agree with Dave (see his comment) but only to a point. Using a whitelist is a great idea. Unfortunately it is not always implemented well. If you only allow emails from your whitelist you will be missing a lot of good mail. And this is a problem for more then just a business, as Dave points out. I have the same problem with whitelisting as I do with challenge-response services. They block legit email. What about the email confirmation for that plane ticket you just bought? I could come up with a number of other "what ifs" that whitelisting and challenge-response services would block. Apple's junk mail filter (if you use it) does have options to exempt address book entries from the junk filter. SpamSieve has this same type of option. POPFile uses something called "Buckets" which is a whitelist and a blacklist, but does the same as Mail and SpamSieve. This is the way to use a whitelist. You should not except ONLY the addresses in your whitelist. Going further here, I don't like making addresses in my address book exempt from my whitelist. This is especially true if you are a Windows user, as many security threats on Windows reck their havoc using your address book. But Mac users have to deal with this as well, mainly because of those Windows born viruses and trojans. A few months ago a couple viruses went through our university email system, and I "got" so much mail from BGSU contacts in my address book. Of course it was all spam mail generated from a Windows born virus. So I do not include my address book in my whitelists.

January 16, 2004

Microsoft Agrees to Stop Hijacking Music-Shopping

from the mozilla-all-the-way dept. CNN ,ABC , and others are reporting that Microsoft has agreed to fix Windows XP so that it no longer launches IE (instead of the user's chosen default browser) when the user selects the "Shop for Music Online" option in Windows XP. MS isn't admitting that it's a violation of the consent decree they signed to get the DoJ to drop the anti-trust suit against them, but threats to take them to court over it are what prompted the move. Source: Slashdot

January 12, 2004

PayPal Class Action Lawsuit

You will need WMP to view this. Source CBS 2 News I personally have had good luck with PayPal, and I have used it for years. No one I know has had a bad experience with the service, but I sure read of a lot of horror stories.

January 9, 2004

Photoshop CS Adds Banknote Image Detection, Blocking?

I just saw this on The Screen Savers tonight, and they tried to scan a new and old 20, and Photoshop CS will not do it, giving you a dialog explaining that you cannot scan money. This is a total crock if you ask me! You should be able to scan anything, even money. PS is an image manipulation program, you should be able to scan money. I assume a way around this is to use the scanning software outside of PS, but still that is a pain. And what are they going to block next? From Slashdot.org: from the forgeries-be-darned dept. Phosphor writes "A visitor to the Adobe Photoshop-for-Windows Forum (registration required to post, can log in as guest) has described a curious 'feature' with Photoshop 8 (also known as 'CS'). Seems this latest version of Adobe's flagship product has the built-in ability to detect that an image is of American currency. Something has been built into Photoshop's core coding that can detect something in images of currency and will prevent the user from opening the file. Apparently it will also do this with Euro notes; info on other currency is pending." According to other online reports, the latest version of Paint Shop Pro has similar restrictions, also known about since late last year.

November 24, 2003

Switch Plans, Keep Your Cellphone Number

Today is the day cellphone number portability goes into effect. You can take your current cellphone number with you if you transfer to a new service provider. You may even be able to add your traditional landline phone number to a wireless plan. Before you make the switch, there are a few things you need to do first. Watch today's show to learn all about cellphone number portability. Most carriers will not charge you to switch your number to their service. However, some carriers will charge a nominal monthly fee to cover the costs of enabling number portability, whether you switch your number or not.
Source: The Screen Savers I wrote about this earlier. It would have been nice if this had happened 6 months ago!!! ARRGGG! Oh well that is life.

November 23, 2003

House passes anti-spam bill

Will this really work?
Measure would outlaw most unsolicited e-mail; Senate approval is expected. The House voted overwhelmingly Saturday for a bill to outlaw most Internet spam and create a "do not spam" registry for those who do not wish to receive unsolicited junk e-mail. Online marketers who flood e-mail in boxes with pornography and get-rich-quick schemes would face multimillion dollar fines and jail time under the measure. It passed by a vote of 392-5 at dawn Saturday, following an all-night session of the House that was largely devoted to a separate Medicare bill. The Senate unanimously passed a similar anti-spam bill last month, but it must assent to the House changes before the measure can become law. The Senate is expected to do so in the coming days. Anti-spam bills have died in Congress for six years while unsolicited commercial e-mail has grown from a nuisance to a plague that threatens to derail the Internet's most popular means of communication. .... It would outlaw spammers' attempts to cover their tracks by requiring marketers to identify themselves clearly and avoid misleading subject lines or return addresses. Pornographic messages would have to be clearly labeled as such to allow users to more easily filter them out. Violators would face millions of dollars in fines and up to five years in jail. The bill would not allow individuals to sue spammers.
Source: CNN Money Would you put your email address on a "Do Not SPAM" List? Or is this just creating a huge SPAM list for the FTC to exploit later in our lives? Vote now! The subject line thing is what really annoys the hell out of me. But how are they going to enforce this? And why protect spammers so we cannot sue them? I just do not understand how this would get enforced. If I get a SPAM email am I supposed to send it to the FTC? Its not hard at all to spoof an email, how many spammers employ tactics to spoof their IP, etc? Any ideas?

November 16, 2003

Adobe CS Suite Manuals

As I stated earlier, the Adobe CS Suite does not come with the printed manuals. All you get are the PDF's of them. I find this a major drawback, and do not understand why Adobe has done this. I bought, not too long ago, the Adobe Design Collection, and it had the printed manuals included. the Adobe CS Suite costs the same (give or take $100) and you do not get the printed manuals. You can however buy the manuals from the Adobe Store. For the Standard CS Suite, they cost $49.99. Add $10 for the Premium Suite. With shipping etc, added it cost me $67.30. This was worth it. Even if I had to pay for the CS upgrade, I would be saying it is worth it. Having product manuals is like having health insurance. You hope you don't need it, but are really glad when you have to rely on it. I have already gone through the 'New Features' sections, and am really liking the new 3D transform tools in Illustrator CS. The amount of control over lighting is very nice. This feature in itself is enough to get the new Illustrator. Being able to do 3D text without using Maya, Lightwave, etc, is a really nice thing. While the CS manuals do come in PDF format, I burn my retina out enough as it is, I like having the printed manuals. (And no I don't want to get comb bound manuals that I can make myself). The books are a little smaller this time, but with all the new features in InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, I like reading about all the new things from the source, and a lot of times this is better then paying $50 or so per app for a 3rd party book.

October 9, 2003

Adobe Changes Everything

If you do not have a subscription to Macworld, be sure to check out the Adobe CS feature they have online. I am most impressed with the changes in Photoshop and Illustrator, as I don't use GoLive and only use InDesign a little. I will probably benefit most of in the new Photoshop is the text on a path, comp layers palette, and the new match color command (which is by no means new, just now much easier and brainless to accomplish). The new live histogram sounds interesting too. I know Unigraphics is going to like the changes in InDesign. Nested styles is something that is annoying not to be able to do in InDesign 2. The addition of a Story Editor a la PageMaker is a nice touch as well. The new 3D effect in Illustrator CS is a great addition. Once again Adobe has made a plugin worthless with an upgrade. Although this path is usually seen in Photoshop, now Illustrator gets the "lets add this plugin" effect. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but Adobe, like Apple, seem to step on developers toes a lot in the upgrades of their software. From what the Macworld article had to say about GoLive CS, I am not impressed. It does not sound like much of an upgrade at all. It surely does not sound like the jumps between, say, Dreamweaver 4 and MX, and MX and MX 2004. Something to notice is that the Adobe Creative Suite is Mac OS X only. Just like Quark with XPress 6, Adobe is pushing those last OS 9 users to the point of upgrading. And all I have to say about that is: It's about time!

October 2, 2003

Tell ICANN what you think of VeriSign

Here is your chance, email ICANN and tell them what you think of this new SiteFinder from VeriSign. I personally think that VeriSign has had enough chances. Does anyone remember about a year ago when VeriSign sent out all those domain renewal mailings, even to people (me included) that did not use Network Solutions as their registrar? They were trying to be sneaky and convert people to their registrar. This SiteFinder crap is nuts. It needs to stop. ICANN needs to get a backbone here and pull the plug. They have the power to, AFAIK, and they should. Be sure and email secsac-comment@icann.org and tell them what you think about VeriSign and their new "feature" SiteFinder. I already have. Source: MacCentral

September 23, 2003

Studio MX 2004 Reactivation

I encountered this screen only one day after I installed Studio MX 2004. I opened up Dreamweaver and got this screen. Kinda odd, I think. Studio MX 2004 required online registration when I installed it, and "if you've upgraded your hard disk or CPU." [scratches head] Well, the only thing I installed since Studio MX 2004 was the Java 1.4.1 Update 1. Great, all we need is more software acting like Windows XP :-P.

September 22, 2003

ICANN asks VeriSign to pull redirect service

The agency that oversees Internet domain names has asked VeriSign to voluntarily suspend a new service that redirects Web surfers to its own site when they seek to access unassigned Web addresses, rather than return an error message.
I sure hope VeriSign gets their ass kicked for this. I do not care if you are a guru or a novice a File Not Found page; Server Not Found page is important. If I mistype a URL I want to be able to change my mistyping and get to the correct site. With this new "service" it is impossible to do this, no matter what browser you use. Source: C|Net

September 11, 2003

SPAM in ICQ; Fire Problem

The only reason I still use ICQ is for a small number of people I know that will not use AIM. Unfortunatly this group of people are either work related, or people that I do not get to see in the physical form any more. So I continue to use ICQ. I use Fire (best IM client for OS X, btw) for all my IM stuff. Unless I wish to use my iSight for Audio or Video chat. The only problem I have with Fire is that if you get an IM from someone who is not on your list (and I always have security on in ICQ so I have to accept an IM from anyone not on my list) the sheet that asks if you want to accept the IM covers up the approval text that is sent. I should really email the developer about this. Oh hell I will just email him the link to this post :-P. ICQ is the only IM network that has SPAM on it. I am talking about those random IM's that solicit you for stuff you don't want. It seems very random but I am sure it very easy to do. Since ICQ names are based on numbers, all a programmer worth his salt would have to do is setup a relay system for the ICQ network, which is open source by now (that is how there are so many multi-IM clients) and just plug in a bunch of numbers and they are sure to hit some poor sap ICQ user. These are the type of "people" you do not want to authorize to accept an IM from. And I don't dare not authorize it because it might be someone I know or that needs some help, something work related. This is a software issue with Fire that should really be fixed, because it is an otherwise very fine application. Of course now M$ is making it mandatory to use the official updated MSN Messenger. I get messages every time I log in with Trillian or Fire from MSN telling me I need to upgrade. I don't think so. I will stop using your crap excuse for an IM network. The same sentiment goes for Yahoo! Because! they! are! now! sending! out! the! same! type! of! message! Well screw the users of Y! and MSN - If they want to get in touch with me they will use a real IM protocol. And who is to say that AIM and ICQ are not the same thing. They are now compatible, I am sure they will be one in the same sometime down the road. That is great. One. One IM protocol. One standard (plus Microsoft of course)

August 28, 2003

Go Home and Recharge

I am not refering to dinner this time. When I get home from work I plug in my TiBook if I took it that day, my iPod, my Palm m505 and my cell phone. And I wonder why my electricity bill is high, lol. I wish the battery in the cell phone lasted as long as the battery in my Palm m505. I looked into the extended life battery but it adds too much to the thickness, that and its $50. I just need to remember to plug it in every nite. Something I must admit is harder to remember then you would think. My iPod can go a couple days without a recharge. Using FireWire to recharge that is such an ingeneous idea too. I only need to recharge my Palm m505 once a week at most. I usually sync it every day tho. You know what else I just realized - I have 4 ways to tell time, my watch, iPod, cell phone, and Palm m505 - all usually on my at all times. If that is not pathetic I don't know what is :-D.

August 24, 2003

What, me worry?

David Zeiler for The Baltimore Sun penned a column "What, me worry?" about this same subject: Macs and viruses.
As the latest Microsoft Windows infection spread across the Internet last week, knocking out thousands of PCs in homes and businesses, Macintosh users did what they usually do during a computer virus outbreak -- they continued working.
But more than two years after its introduction, not a single Mac OS X-specific virus has yet appeared.
Not bad odds if you ask me.
While Windows also has a built-in firewall, by default it has been turned off. In the wake of the Blaster worm, Microsoft said last week that new versions of Windows XP will ship with the firewall active by default.
Well that is a great idea Microsoft! Who thought of that? I just love looking through my PC's firewall log files to see how many things have been blocked. So it seems the questions is wether Mac OS X is any less vulnerable then Windows XP. Yes it is much less vulnerable. One reason has already been established. Mac users are in the minority of the market. There are also so many holes left open with the default install of Windows that if not blocked up will eat you alive. This has nothing to do with the features of the different Operating Systems, it has to do with how they come "out of the box." That alone makes Windows much more vulnerable.
Take the Blaster worm, for example. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., learned of the hole on June 27 and issued a patch to fix it on July 17. Millions of Windows systems were vulnerable on Aug. 12 only because their owners failed to download and install the patch. Though Microsoft frequently is berated for releasing vulnerable software, the reality is that 95 percent of malware attacks take place after a corrective patch becomes available.
Sad but true. This happens all to often with Windows viruses.

Mac users watch from sidelines

Virus attacks are all but non existent on the Mac. Why is this? Why do stupid people feel inclined to write viruses for Windows? Sam Diaz from the Mercury News write "Mac users watch from sidelines."
Rob Enderle, president of the Enderle Group, a Silicon Valley technology research firm, said the new Mac OS -- based on Unix -- is tougher for malicious hackers to get into because the code is not as generic as the Windows code. And it's probably not worth the hacker's time and energy, given the smaller number of computer users who use a Mac.
Thats why. It takes longer to code a virus for the Mac and the user base is small. This is one of my many reasons I like being in the minority when it comes to my computer platform of choice. Thats not to say viruses don't happen on the Mac. I remember a number of Mac viruses. The Mac viruses I can remember did not cause the mischief that the most recent Windows based viruses have. Code Red, I Love You, SQL Slammer, MS Blaster, Sobig.F. Those are the most recent ones I can remember. The last Mac virus I had was one called the Autostart worm, and to make yourself immune meant turning off the Autostart feature of QuickTime. Microsoft (go figure) Word viruses and Macro viruses on the Mac are the largest threats. This is because of Visual Basic Macros in Word. It does not get to the annoyance level of any of the above mentioned Windows viruses though. Not even close. For this *great* feature of Microsoft Office (VB Macros) I have been deleting or not installing VB and the Macros features/extensions of Office since Word 6 and Office 4.2.1. Believe me when I say Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is not worth it. And those annoying Word Macro worms that work under Windows work the same way on the Mac. So here is some advice: do not install the VBA stuff in Office for Mac (any version). I can't remember the amount of times I have salvaged someone's paper because YOU CAN turn off the VBA and Macro features of Mac Office. Yet another reason to use the Mac. Imagine that. So is it a smarter business decision to use a Mac? You save time (therefor money) not having to be offensive and/or defensive about viruses.

No More Land Line

No more SPAM phone calls, or as other people call it, telemarketing. I got a cell phone a few months ago and I have since disconnected my land line. At first I was not happy about loosing my ASDL, but I can say I am very happy with Cable. My node must not be saturated because I get insane speeds I only dreamed about with ASDL. On top of that it costs me half what ASDL did. So lets do some math. My Verizon bill used to about $100 for local calls, long distance and ASDL. I then had to pay Dacor for the internet access $24.95 a month. So about $125 a month for phone and internet. What I thought was ridiculous is that just the line and local calling was $40 out of the bill! My Verizon Wireless bill is on average (over the past 3 months) $45 and my Cable Internet + Cable TV is $68. I shaved about $10 a month off my budget but I added Digital Cable. Not bad. Getting rid of the SPAM phone calls is worth more then the savings or having cable TV though. Having a cell phone is so wonderful. For years I swore up and down that I would not get one, but now my cell phone is like my microwave, I cannot carry on day to day tasks without it.

August 11, 2003

More about BuyMusic.com

BuyMusic's ads are served by the infamous DoubleClick network. In the past, Buy.com's profit philosophy was to underprice products and make up for the loss in profits by advertising, and it's very likely BuyMusic.com is doing the same thing. The site's privacy policy says that BuyMusic.com itself will not collect IP addresses and other personal information. But that doesn't keep them from doing so in a roundabout way: "We use a third party to provide digital music download samples for our customers. That service collects your IP address, browser type, ISP, platform, and a date/time stamp." The excerpt means that "third party" will sell your info (like the songs you've listed to) to many other third parties. In essence, you buy one James Taylor CD, you'll see James Taylor merchandise everywhere you go on the internet. In addition to this story submitted by Martin Miller, you can find other surprising facts about BuyMusic at BoycottBuyMusic.com  

August 7, 2003

Cable TV + Internet Installed

A week ago I had Time Warner Cable installed and for the first time in 5 years I have TV to watch. Yes it is true I have been able to live without TV. So if I have been so anti TV why am I now getting over 100 channels of pure digital enjoyment? Well in this crazy world we live in it would cost me MORE to just get cable internet then to get both cable internet + cable tv. This is because of the Time Warner introductory package deal, whatever. At any rate now I can watch the news at night, that and 50 free movie channels for 3 months. I got rid of ASDL (the reason I was without internet access) because I am getting rid of my phone line. They installed the cable tv last week but could not install the cable internet because the cable was not strong enough to pump the broadband connection. I had to get a letter from my landlord for Time Warner to put in new cable. They did today and I am back online. Since I now have a cell phone I do not need the land line (or the telemarketing phone calls). Paying for a phone line that I do not use is such a waste of money. I was paying $100/month for the phone line and ASDL connection. I am now paying $60/month for a technically faster line and enough TV channels that I have become a total couch potato. So much so I feel like singing the song Couch Potato from Weird Al.

June 27, 2003

Mozilla Advocacy

It is so amazing that people think that Internet Exploder is the end-all be-all of web browsers. But on the other hand I guess it is not so hard to believe. People are take what they are given. It is so fun converting Exploder users into Mozilla users. Once they find out what tabbed browsing and ad blocking does for them they are hooked.

May 6, 2003

audblog audio post

Powered by audblogaudblog audio post OMG it worked! And it saved it in an MP3 file! How cool is that! I thought it was going to do a speech to text, not actually make a mp3 file. Ah well. So I sound like a dork, HA HA HA :-P In their FAQ it says they are working on a speech to text, that would be cool. The service costs $3 a month to post up to 12 audio posts a month with a 2 min. duration. Pretty slick. Yet another fine example of XML-RPC.

February 26, 2003

Thinkin about a new web host

I have for 2 or so years now used Tera-Byte for my web hosting. And I am very pleased with them. Their service is much more than I expected from a web hosting company. The price for the features is unbelievable. I get their 4U plan because I can pay monthly, but mainly because I get shell access. There are not many hosting companies that give shell access. It sure is nice when I want to ssh into the server do so something. Sometimes I want to edit a .htaccess or create a .htpasswd file. Or open up and edit a document on the server. This proves to be very handy indeed. So why am I looking for a new web host?

we always want more than we currently have. With MT you can use a perl module called Image::Magick which will resize files and make thumbnails for you. Tera-Byte tells me that I would have to upgrade my account to a dedicated server as this takes too much processing power to do. I would also like subdomains and Tera-Byte does not provide this. I am having a hell of a time finding a hosting company that can beat the price and features I have from Tera-Byte though.

So if you have a suggestion, please post it. If you have used the service before tell me why you like it. The only one I have found so far that I would consider switching to is Feature Price. I could host both my domains (both of them, and still host 2 more) there for $17 a month. They have the perl modules I want to use, and they support subdomains. They have no shell access though. Has anyone used Feature Price? my friend Brian uses Feature Price and he is fairly satisfied with it. I just got off the phone with Feature Price and they are going to offer shell access soon, although he could not give me a price. Well any other suggestions?

February 21, 2003

Mumblings about PDA's

Public Displays of Affection? Naw, those usually end up with trouble :p i'm talking about the Personal Digital Assistant. I have owned a total of 3 such devices in my life. my first was a 3Com Palm III, which I sold on eBay, second was a Palm Vx which I sold to a friend, and the current model is a Palm m505 (now known as the twice-the-memory-for-the-same-price m515). my buddy Jim got a Tungsten T, ooh nice toy. I played with one at a Staples once. jog wheel, not a fan. hardware buttons are not concave like all (I think) Palms. I am used to the two stylus holes to scroll with and concave buttons to click with stylus. but the collapsible silk button/ graffiti area? yea thats sweet! I still think the Palm OS should have a little software "graffiti area" that moves up and down at the click of a button like WindowsCE (or whatever the latest flavor is called now) Tungsten T has too many things I don't like. my dad got a Toshiba e740. a little pricey and a little bulky I like it better than the Tungsten T. I do not think I would really use the wi-fi, and the integrated pocket word, excel, outlook, exploder, media player. but who knows, that could become one of those things you would start using because you had it and not because you really need it. my buddy Mike got a Toshiba e335 which is a bit thinner, scaled down version of the e740. the e335 might be my next tech toy buy. idunno. the only reason I would consider it is because I now have a PC. there is a sync'ing app for OS X for Pocket PC, but it is no were near nice to use, and the sync software for Pocket PC is really nice IMO. could it replace my m505 tho? well maybe. it does come with a leather sleeve, and it does fit in my jeans pockets though it is not near as conferable as the m505. I'll have to think about this for awhile. I don't really think I need to be carrying around two PDA's. but I am really dreaming. of all the software and games I have installed on my m505, I use the date book, the calendar, the calculator, and a cool app that stores all my passwords. that's it. I can do Word and Excel and play zillions of games on my m505, but I don't use it for that. if I was thinking when I got my m505, and if Palm had the Zire out when I was lookin for a new PDA, I would have gotten it. for what I use my m505 for I could have a $99 Zire and be done with it. if I ever have the need for Word and Excel on the go I will think about the Pocket PC rout and the Toshiba ones sure are the best looking. but until then my m505 is just great for what i do. Look at this I just found a page (on Palms web site, but still) compairing Documents to Go and Pocket Word/Excel. interesting.



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