Wi-Gearâ€™s iMuffs Bluetooth headphones .. iMuffs
For those people I know who wouldn’t otherwise know about this:
Firefox 1.0.1 out, squashes most security bugs
The first update to open-source browser Firefox is out. Released late yesterday, Firefox 1.0.1 aims to fix a slew of vulnerabilities. Foremost among those are domain-spoofing and cross-site scripting bugs. According to the Mozilla Foundation, 1.0.1’s release was pushed forward in order to take care of the International Domain Name bug. That particular bug results from Firefox’s implement of the IDN specification which allows the use of non-English characters in URL names. So substituting the “a” in amazon.com… with а will result in Firefox displaying “%u0430mazon.com” in the address bar, while directing users to an entirely different site. The IDN issue is not unique to Firefox, as it also affects Opera, Safari, and OmniWeb %u2014 but not Internet Explorer.
Truer words (about software development) were never spoken. Typical of jwz to say something so profound and so utterly ignored by 99% of the sw-devs/sw-marketers in the world, to their peril.
If you want to do something that’s going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy.
NY Times: SBC Said to Be in Talks to Buy AT&T. A deal, if reached, would be the final chapter in the 120-year history of AT&T, the first technological giant of the modern age and the original model for telecommunications companies worldwide. A deal would be a reunion of sorts, putting back together some of the largest pieces of the Ma Bell telephone monopoly, which was broken up in 1984.
The AT&T of today is a weak shadow of its former self. SBC is one of the powerhouses among the regional monopolies.
lf, wouldn’t do much to disrupt the marketplace immediately. But it’s a harbinger of trouble.
The worry is on the data side. Voice is already moving into the data sphere as VoIP, and will someday be seen as a small add-on to data.
SBC is one of the most arrogant of the “Baby” (!) Bells. But all of them, assisted by an FCC that has been determined to let the phone and cable duopoly control data access, are moving to throttle the most important competitive market of the future — broadband — by insisting on absolute control over the wires they’ve installed based on government-granted monopolies. This local duopoly makes other kinds of consolidation look tame.
Someday, wireless broadband could help. But competing wireless systems have to connect to backbones and their local nodes. If the Bells can take over the c
…excerpt from: dangillmor.typepad.com…
Salon.com… Technology | Turmoil in blogland
Publishing tool LiveJournal nurtures a dazzling array of unorthodox subcultures. But will diversity continue to flourish in the wake of its purchase by blogging start-up Six Apart?
MacDevCenter.com…: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac was Made — An Interview with Andy Hertzfeld
When I first flipped through the pages of Andy Hertzfeld’s Revolution in The Valley, I realized that I was not merely stepping back into the history of the Macintosh, but into the genesis of personal computing itself. Regardless of what you think about Apple Computer — its personalities, hardware, or approach to design — there’s no denying that Apple engineering and marketing had a profound impact on the evolution of the PC.
Andy jumped in with both feet in 1978 when he spent his life savings on an Apple II. The price tag was $1,295 plus tax. By August 1979 he was an Apple employee. In 1981 he joined the engineering team that designed the Macintosh, which was introduced in January 1984 with arguably the most remembered Super Bowl ad of all time.
During his years in Cupertino, Andy worked closely with, and befriended many Apple employees who are now legends in personal computing history. But it’s not easy to write a book about those who had confided so freely with you as a coworker, not a historian. As a result, only recently has Andy felt comfortable telling the stories that shaped many of our lives.
EFF’s helped win another victory this week! We filed a brief in RIAA vs Charter, a case where the music industry was asserting the legal right to require your ISP to turn over your information if you’d been accused of copyright infringement — rather than waiting until they’d proven their case. The court ruled in Charter’s favor yesterday, saying that just because you’ve been accused of infringement, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the due process right to privacy until you’ve been proven guilty.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with 21 other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Charter case, urging the Eighth Circuit to determine that the same strong protections applied to anonymous speech in other contexts also apply when copyright infringement is claimed but has not yet been proven. In a victory for privacy and anonymity, the Eighth Circuit determined that DMCA subpoenas could not be used to get this information.
Following up on this previous BoingBoing post:
Problem — No effective system of mass, international alert existed in South Asia to quickly warn those in harm’s way of the tsunami’s approach.
One approach to a solution, created in the span of about 24 hours by an impromtu volunteer geek corps — A tech system called Alert Retrieval Cache (ARC) which collects, sorts, and routes SMS messages for the puposes of alerts and relay communication. An early warning system based on SMS, short message service.
Rohit Gupta in Mumbai (one of the folks behind DesiMediaBitch, excellent tsunami coverage in recent days) says,
When you need a genius, invent one. We are a genius. Last 24 hours we spent in creating a system of sending and receiving SMS messages through a network of relief people. Here is the page in progress — Link. These messages you see are SMSes, sent directly from Sri Lanka onto a webpage. ARC was created by Neha Vishwanathan, Rohit Gupta, Taran Rampersad, and Dan Lane.
Link to more on DesiMediaBitch.
Here’s a snip from the
…excerpt from: www.boingboing.net…
This is an excerpt. If you have kids, especially younger than 2 yrs, pay attention to the link in the last paragraph here. Then go to the site and read the rest of the post.
When I want to creep myself out, I walk around the neighborhood at 9 PM and count the number of houses in which I can see that blue glow. Television in the U.S. (and many other countries, but especially bad here) is so pervasive that it’s like that story of the boiling frog, where if you put the frog in water and then slowly turn up the heat, he won’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late. But if you dropped him in boiling water, he’d instantly know it was BAD and jump out.
Imagine an alien from a planet with intelligent, thoughtful life. He has no idea what television is (ignoring the fact that our signals are “out there”) when he drops into the average U.S. neighborhood (city, rural, doesn’t matter) and discovers that at night (and often day), the vast majority of people are sitting in front of a flickering screen with that kind of glazed look watching…what? (No matter how many people claim they’re watching “educational” programs, the Neilson ratings don’t support that. My special favorite are the stats that show the hypocrisy of things like “red states” where folks left the voting booth claiming a vote for moral values, then proceeded to go home and make “Desperate Housewives” a hit). It all sounds very sci-fi to me, because I’m thinking it would look EXACTLY like the whole country is sitting down for a nightly brainwashing.
I’m definitely not trying to insult anyone here; I owned a television until about five years ago, and it was on a lot. And not everyone who watches TV has a problem with it (although virtually nobody, according to the brain research, is entirely immune). And I’m not putting mindfully-watched movies (including TV shows on DVD) in this category. I LOVE my Netflix subscription, and watch some television programs on my iMac (Curb your Enthusiasm, BBC’s “The Office” are two favorites). TiVo also seems to be a great solution for a lot of folks.
But two things happened that made me get rid of normal television (although I do have a monitor for DVD’s and to use my Playstation 2):
* I noticed that when I was in an environment with no television, my stress level went way down. Whenever I stayed at a mountain cabin or even a B-and-B that just didn’t put a TV in your room, I noticed how much better I felt mentally and physically.
* I kept learning more and more about the brain, and couldn’t avoid learning about the effects of television. One of my favorite brain scientists, Richard Restak, has become famous as “the brain guy” for television, writing the companion books for various PBS specials, etc. He is like the Carl Sagan of the brain, and I love his books. But even the guy who makes a lot of money from television has suddenly began to speak out about its dangers, especially in this post-9-11 book: The New Brain: How the Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Mind. (where he mentions studies including one suggesting that 9-11 survivors who watched a lot of television had a higher incidence of PTSD than those who watched less television).
(He also talks a little about TV in his newest book on how the brain is involved in fear and anxiety, “Poe’s Heart and the Mountain Climber.”)
TV isn’t good for your brain in a wide range of ways. Just one of the problems is that it can lead to a reduction in left-brain logical thinking unless you’re extremely careful (and capable) about making sure the news broadcasts are screened out. Because commercial news broadcasts are driven largely by the “if it bleeds it leads” approach, and those messages trigger the flight-or-fight response because your brain often can’t distinguish between experienced vs. visualized terror. MRI scans show that the same parts of your brain light up when you watch high resolution images as when you’re seeing it for real.
The issue of whether watching violence on TV is a problem is still hotly debated, but some–like the American Academy of Pediatrics–aren’t taking any chances, and have issued a recommendation that children under the age of two should not be exposed to television at all.
Wikipedia has started to hit the big time. Accordingly, several critical articles have come out, including “The Faith-Based Encyclopedia” by a former editor-in-chief of Britannica and a very widely-syndicated AP article that was given such titles as “When Information Access Is So Easy, Truth Can Be Elusive”. These articles are written by people who appear not to appreciate the merits of Wikipedia fully. I do, however; I co-founded Wikipedia. (I have since left the project.) Wikipedia does have two big problems, and attention to them is long overdue. These problems could be eliminated by eliminating a single root problem. If the project’s managers are not willing to solve it, I fear a fork (a new edition under new management, for the non-techies reading this) will probably be necessary.
…excerpt from: www.kuro5hin.org…
Fancy stuff you can do in the Google search box. In case you didn’t know, of course.
Google Help Central
Google Help : Cheat Sheet
Sigh. I have a bunch of Monster stereo/video cable already; in the future, I’ll be patronizing someone else for those needs. These guys have gone way past reasonable in defending their trademark.
DenverPost.com… – BUSINESS
The Brisbane, Calif.-based company has filed trademark lawsuits across the country against companies using the word “monster.” Discovery Channel has felt Monster’s wrath for its show “Monster Garage.” Bally Gaming is under Monster’s glare because of its Monster slot machine. Monster sued Walt Disney Co., maker of the animated flick “Monsters, Inc.” Even the Chicago Bears, a.k.a. “The Monsters of the Midway,” once were eyed by Monster.
Bristol Centre for Applied Nonlinear Mathematics | Publications | 2004 | Abstract of preprint 2004.3
This paper explains how one can crochet the Lorenz manifold, the two-dimensional stable manifold of the origin of the Lorenz system
The Graphing Calculator Story
Pacific Tech’s Graphing Calculator has a long history. I began the work in 1985 while in school. That became Milo, and later became part of FrameMaker. Over the last twenty years, many people have contributed to it. Graphing Calculator 1.0, which Apple bundled with the original PowerPC computers, originated under unique circumstances.
I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. Unfortunately, the computer we were building never saw the light of day. The project was so plagued by politics and ego that when the engineers requested technical oversight, our manager hired a psychologist instead. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.
I was frustrated by all the wasted effort, so I decided to uncancel my small part of the project. I had been paid to do a job, and I wanted to finish it. My electronic badge still opened Apple’s doors, so I just kept showing up.
Okay, so this site leans toward marketing schtuff but a couple of the entries are interesting for the non-marketing info they contain. This entry and the next have links to two that I’ve found today.
Creating Passionate Users: Getting past the brain’s crap filter.
Because in so many ways, Your Brain Is Not Your Friend. It thinks you’re still living in a cave, and it’s sole job is survival of *you* as a human, and survival of the species. And what IT thinks is important and what YOU think are… really different.
Learning a programming language, it turns out, isn’t high on the brain’s list of Things To Keep You Alive.
Understanding and Reading a Blog — John C. Dvorak
John C. Dvorak’s
Understanding and Reading a Blog (for Newcomers)
With five million or more bloggers out there and even more readers it is assumed that everyone knows how to read a blog, or how they work. From my blogging experience I can say that this is definitely not true and hopefully this short article will describe the process for newcomers. This article is for the readers of blogs, not the writers.
Some of these things are a little impractical; the degree will depend upon your particular situation. That said, the more of these things you can do, the better off you (and your computer) will be.
Schneier on Security: Safe Personal Computing
I am regularly asked what average Internet users can do to ensure their security. My first answer is usually, “Nothing–you’re screwed.”
But that’s not true, and the reality is more complicated. You’re screwed if you do nothing to protect yourself, but there are many things you can do to increase your security on the Internet.
Two years ago, I published a list of PC security recommendations. The idea was to give home users concrete actions they could take to improve security. This is an update of that list: a dozen things you can do to improve your security.
PeopleSoft agrees to Oracle’s US$10 billion takeover bid
The long and drawn-out soap opera between Oracle and PeopleSoft is finally over. Instead of heading to court today for a hearing on PeopleSoft’s anti-takeover defense, it was announced that PeopleSoft’s board of directors have agreed to a US$10.3 billion deal with Oracle. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of January.
A lot of people are dissing DTrace, saying “Bah, Linux has had that for ages” (wrong) or “So, when will it be ported to Linux?” (not any time soon, you putz), simultaneously telling the developers of DTrace they’re stupid, Sun sucks, and clubbing them about the head with Linux. All of which is a stupendous failure to recognize the utility of this thing, in the context it was intended to be used, at least initially. Yes, there’s the occasional “Yes, this is good stuff” line but it’s almost always dwarved by the following “but it’d be so much better in Linux” paragraphs of crapola. Do these people think Mr. Torvalds would approve of their behavior? I don’t.
I’ve been using Linux in daily life since version 0.9.1 (circa 1993/4 I think) so obviously I like it. I make my living as a system admin for Linux and Solaris. I’m also no fan of many of Sun’s business decisions over the last several years; but, I’m just geek enough not to give a crap about that as long as they’re producing and making available good technology of some kind and not being unacceptably evil in the process. ZFS, containers, and DTrace, just to repeat the three of several dozen that everyone is focusing on, qualify not just as good technology, but also freakin’ innovation, a fact that no one outside of Sun is really recognizing at all.
Just because something is not already in Linux does not make it invalid, uncool, a waste of time, or whatever other negative you can think to give it.
Linux is good, yes; but it is not the only good, and never will be. Period. Were it not for things like Microsoft, Sun, HP, Novell, etc, to compare Linux to, it would suck just as much as they do because something better would come along in fairly short order. It’s about choice, not dominance or l33t haX0r, or even necessarily about the GPL (although that is likely the very reason Linux is what it is). Microsoft got to where they are because they made the world believe they were the only choice — anyone remember GeoWorks, Microsoft’s competition back in the Win3.1 days? GW was a far superior product but they didn’t have MS’s marketing budget so they’ve been relegated to the embedded OS market. If Linux were the only choice, it’d be the same game with different players.
If Sun were really clever, and they’re decidedly not that, they’d do what companies have done for decades when faced with declining PR value: change the name, either of the company or of the products it sells. Solaris 10 is going to carry, like it or not, the baggage, real or perceived, of all previous versions; and, believe me, there’s plenty of baggage. So, if S10 is such a departure from previous versions, maybe they should have named it something else. In the geek world of version numbers, S10 is nothing more than a minor upgrade because, in the OS itself, its version number is “5.10” — the previous version, Solaris 9, was “5.9”. If it’s so different, make it look different or no one will know they should look more closely at it. It’s not the sysadmins/geeks you’re selling to here as much as everyone else. We in the choir appreciate the sermon, especially when it has so many interesting bits to it, but you really should be preaching to the non-admin/geek audience in terms they can comprehend. If you can do both, all the better; but if you have to pick one, the latter is likely the better choice right now.
Now, for some juicy geekness about DTrace please read the blog this link points to:
The Observation Deck
With my explanation of a demo gone wrong, several people have asked me the more general question: how does one demo DTrace? This question doesn’t have a single answer, especially given that DTrace is best demonstrated with ad hoc queries of the system. Indeed, the best demos are when someone in the audience shouts out their own question that they want to see answered: answering such a question instantly with DTrace nearly always blows away the questioner — who has presumably suffered in the past trying to answer similar questions. Of course, saying “why, there are many ways to demo to DTrace!” is a useless answer to the question of how one demos DTrace; while there are many ways that one can demo DTrace, it’s useful to get a flavor of how a typical demo might go. So with the substantial caveat that this is not the way to demo DTrace, but merely a way, let me walk you through an example demo.
Finally, we have legally obtained the settlement agreement [PDF] between USL and The Regents of the University of California settling their 1990s lawsuits, thanks to Groklaw’s dburns, who figured out that California has a Public Records Law, under which he made persistent application to obtain this document. Finally, after dotting all the i’s and crossing all the required t’s, he received the document from The Regents of the University of California’s Office of the General Counsel, with a cover letter that reads in pertinent part:
“This is in further response to your request for legal filings, deposition transcripts, court orders and settlements in the California Superior Court case no. 717864-3. We have determined that the confidential 1994 settlement agreement between UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. and The Regents which was not filed with the court, may be disclosed to you under the Public Records Act.”
And so the bullying by secrecy is over.
Wired News: How Long Is Your Digital Trail?
One of my deepest-held beliefs about sex in the information age is that we all must develop a deeper respect for each other’s privacy. An honor system, if you will, where we do not seek vengeance online, we do not succumb to the temptation of the midnight e-mail, and we do not post fierce comments in our exes’ blogs when they start writing about their new lovers.
We intersect with each other now in so many protocols, it’s only fair that we develop an etiquette that helps us all maintain our dignity — no matter which side of the breakup we’re on.
Solaris 10: a collection of great, new, unique features :: The Jem Report :: The Internet’s Best Computer Review Site
Here are some of the “quality of life features” in Solaris 10:
* Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), a program and framework with an Awk-like command syntax that allows a sysadmin to quickly examine the behavior of the software environment from userland applications down to the most basic level
* ZFS (formerly known as the Zettabyte File System; the term “zettabyte” has nothing to do with this file system, so its official yet meaningless name is now simply ZFS), which was written from the ground up to accommodate modern storage devices and redundancy solutions
* Solaris Fault Management (also called Predictive Self-Healing), which is an integrated framework and analysis system that monitors data for abnormalities, then can isolate the malfunctioning device that is causing the corrupted data and route around it if possible. Since hardware failures are rarely instantaneous, Solaris Fault Management can detect failing hardware before the results become apparent to users.
* Upgraded security: Instead of offering a separate distribution of Solaris for the Trusted Solaris product, Sun has added 80% of the integrated security features of Trusted Solaris to Solaris 10. Trusted Solaris 10 will still be available as a group of add-on packages to the standard Solaris operating environment.
* Vendor-neutral support offerings: This means that, on the high end of its service plans, Sun will support Solaris, all software written for Solaris natively, and all LSB-compliant Linux binaries that users might run on Solaris 10 through the Linux Application Environment (formerly known as Project Janus).
* Process Rights Management: This is a revised and updated permissions structure that allows specific users to have specific root permissions, so if several admins are controlling individual services on the same server, they can be given complete control over their processes and programs without having full root access to the system.
This is what RAND corporation engineers in 1954 thought computers in 2004 would look like, heh! Guess they weren’t exactly as hopeful as the Jetsons, eh? As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Slashdot | Physicists Finally Solve the Falling-Paper Problem
neutron_p writes “The so-called “falling paper” problem has long intrigued scientists. James C. Maxwell pondered the tumbling motions of playing cards in 1853. Why don’t flat things fall straight down? Pieces of paper fall down, then rise into the air, then glide along, then again rise… It occurs in a seemingly chaotic manner. Now researchers at Cornell University have solved the falling paper problem by calculating the motions of a scientific journal page in flight and there were a few surprises.” There’s also a story in the Cornell Sun.
Almost as a corollary to the previous post, we have this one…
Yoran and Spaf’s Law
In his book “Practical Unix and Internet Security,” Professor Gene Spafford of Purdue University spells out Spaf’s first principle of security administration: “If you have responsibility for security but have no authority to set rules or punish violators, your own role in the organization is to take the blame when something big goes wrong.”
Amen! I’ll be presenting this to the appropriate people that (currently) think security is irrelevant
Security Sounds Good, But Does It Make Me Money? (Business)
From time to time, I find myself sucked into discussions about the return on investment of security. The discussion goes something like this: from a business perspective, if security is an expense and I can choose to incur it or not, why should I? I seem to have done just fine until today. Then, a more enlightened issue comes up: if I understand the risk and I am willing to take it, that means I have the choice of spending money on prevention or remediation. Why not wait until something happens and then%u2026 we%u2019ll call you.
That just about describes the biggest misconception in business today.
Apple – iPod Photo
The newest member of the iPod family, iPod Photo comes in two sizes: a 40GB model, available for $499, and a capacious 60GB model that sells for $599. Both feature a razor sharp LCD display that lets you see your photos in vivid color %u2014 65,536 colors, to be exact. And with its built-in backlighting, you%u2019ll be able to admire those photos indoors or out.
Very technical, but very cool!
The Quarter Shrinker uses a technique called high velocity electromagnetic metal forming, or “Magneforming”. This technique was originally developed by the aerospace industry in conjunction with NASA, and has been popularized by Aerovox, Grumman, and Maxwell. It involves quickly discharging a high energy capacitor bank through a work coil to generate a very powerful and rapidly changing magnetic field which then “forms” the metal to be fabricated. While it works best with metals of relatively high electrical conductivity such as copper or aluminum alloys, it will work to a more limited extent with poorer conductors such as sheet steel.