Full Speed

[ December 24, 2004 ]

[ December 22, 2004 ]

[ December 12, 2004 ]

[ December 6, 2004 ]

Wi-Fi Updates

Wi-Fi Networking News, always a trusted source for news about wireless networking, released two interesting bits of news last week.

First, GigaBeam is planning multi-gigabit wireless networking in Lower Manhattan. They are calling this “virtual fiber”. It will be using point-to-point technology operating in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz ranges. No prices have been announced yet, but I sure would love to have something like this in my apartment.

And second, an update on the progress of 802.11n. The short of this is that we should expect to see 802.11n devices by mid-2006. For those of you not familiar with 802.11n, this is the next generation in wireless networking, promising real throughput of at least 100Mbps.

Exciting things are happening in the wireless world. Within a couple of years, it will be a totally different landscape.

[ December 4, 2004 ]

links for 2004-12-04

[ December 3, 2004 ]

[ December 1, 2004 ]

CNET Supports Trackback

Matt Mullenweg did some URI hacking back in September and discovered that CNET supports Trackback and Pingback. Back then, this functionality was only exposed by some clever hacking.

Today, while catching up with everything that happened on the web over the Thanksgiving holiday, I noticed that Matt announced that it is official. There are trackback buttons all over the CNET site. This is yet another sign that some media outlets are taking notice of blogs.

[ November 30, 2004 ]

Contact Form

The contact form for this site has been neglected for quite some time. Today it finally works. Please feel free to send your thoughts and/or comments about the site via this form.

[ November 24, 2004 ]

Froogle Wishlists

The latest entry in the Google blog talks about Froogle’s new wishlist feature. So, as a responsible internet citizen, I have created my own wishlist.

I have a couple of complaints about the wishlists, though. First, the URL contains my gmail address. And second, the same email address is featured prominently in plain text at the top of the wishlist page.

I don’t mind giving this address out to the two or three people who might be reading this entry, but Google is effectively handing my address out to spammers when I link to the wishlist. Please, Google, use some other unique identifier in the URL, and display my name instead of my email address on the wishlist page. This needs to change ASAP!

[ November 22, 2004 ]

links for 2004-11-22


After reading an update on Ping-O-Matic, I decided it was time to give it a try. This service seems to be quite extensive and saves me from having to maintain a list of active RPC ping URLs. The tool pings a list of 43 different sites and promises to add more as they appear.

[ November 19, 2004 ]

links for 2004-11-19

[ November 18, 2004 ]

links for 2004-11-18

[ November 17, 2004 ]

links for 2004-11-17

Finally Upgraded Movable Type

OK, so I finally got off my duff and upgraded the site to MT 3.121 today. I haven’t heard anybody complaining about problems with the recent versions, so I think the 3.x series is probably stable enough for this site now. Not that stability was preventing me from upgrading, though. That was procrastination mixed with a bit of fear.

Browsing the site itself, I don’t notice a single difference. Of course, that’s what I expected since everything MT generates for me is static. But the new admin interface is really slick. The Six Apart crew did a great job a making this app even easier to use.

There are definitely some known CSS deficiencies on the site. Those are my fault. Hopefully I’ll get all of those worked out later this afternoon.

That’s all for now. If you notice any errors, please leave a comment on this post to let me know. My contact form is still not operational, so that will have to do.

Update: Thanks to Brian for pointing out a missing template in the new config. Search results look cleaner now, too.

[ November 16, 2004 ]

links for 2004-11-16

[ November 15, 2004 ]

Flickr Techniques

Flickr has started a new discussion group called Technique that is already off to a great start providing all kinds of exciting details on how to take certain kinds of photos. The group will likely grow into a repository of method descriptions along with accompanying examples. I have already learned a new trick in the few minutes that I have spent browsing the forum today.

Halo 2

I am rather surprised to have not seen much coverage of Halo 2 on the blogging scene lately. There’s been a lot of talk about the latest in the GTA series and Half-Life 2 but no mention of Halo 2.

Perhaps it’s the Xbox-only nature of the game, but I read somewhere that there were over 2 million copies sold in the first week. And I know for a fact that the bungie.net server stated that there were 385,000 people online while I was playing last night. So why is everyone so quiet about this new game?

Well, I’m not going to stay quiet. I may not be the best at the game, but here’s a link to my stats. It’s nice to see online console games using the web to allow the players to view their stats and the stats of their friends. Heck, I even have an RSS feed from Bungie that is updated after every game I play. That is really nice.

Anyhow, if you have an Xbox and haven’t checked out Halo 2 yet (is that really posssible?), please do so. Sure, you’re adding money to Microsoft’s coffers, but that little company called Bungie that they bought is full of some really talented people.

Update: Wired News gives an excellent brief on the new game.

[ November 13, 2004 ]

[ November 12, 2004 ]

links for 2004-11-12

[ November 3, 2004 ]

Crypto-Gram Blog

Bruce Schneier’s Crypto-Gram Newsletter is now a blog. Schneier on Security will have the same content as the newsletter but will be updated more frequently. The same great security news and advice will now be available in a more familiar, easily searchable form. If you are interested in computer security, be sure to check the site out.

[ November 2, 2004 ]


I voted. You should, too. Despite many reports of record turnouts today, the line was relatively short at my polling place. I was in and out in under 20 minutes. The results tonight should be interesting.

Also, take a look at Technorati’s Bloggers’ Votes.

[ November 1, 2004 ]

TiVo Season Pass Hot 100

TiVo has released some of the data they have been collecting from all of the TiVo owners out there in the form of the TiVo Season Pass Hot 100. This list includes the top 100 TiVo Season Pass subscriptions as well as a list of the “top rated programs for the week of 10/17/04-10/23/04”. It’s rather interesting to see just exactly how much dominance reality shows have in TV-land.  [via PVRblog]

[ September 15, 2004 ]

Public Service Announcement

As many of you know, there’s a big campaign brewing to get more people using Firefox. This post is my contribution to the effort.

Get Firefox!

[ September 8, 2004 ]

Image Replacement

Using images to display text has long been the bane of web designers. For starters, image tend to create an accessibility nightmare. A person with impaired vision will often use a screen reader application to view a website, but to my knowledge, there is no software in this category that can “read” an image. So in the interest of making websites acccessible to all, the web design community began seeking alternatives.

The most popular of these techniques, Fahrner Image Replacement, was created in 1999 and popularized by Doug Bowman in 2003. This technique, however, is not without its faults. It has been proven to fail in many screen readers. And just a year after Bowman’s tutorial on the technique was published, he “officially deprecated” the technique.

When this happened, the community was not extremely surprised. After all, it had been known for some time that FIR wasn’t 100% compatible with screen readers. But many were left wondering, “What next?” We needed an alternative, but that alternative was not readily apparent.

Since those days, however, it seems that a lot of work has been done to find the perfect solution. Dave Shea has a collection of examples for various techniques. Shaun Inman created the Inman Flash Replacement technique. And more recently, Inman collaborated with Mike Davidson and Tomas Jogin to create the sIFR technique.

I have yet to see a technique that is perfect. Some don’t comply with the web standards. Others don’t work with screen readers. I suspect that the perfect technique will be a holy grail of sorts. And until that technique comes along, use the technique that works best for your site.

[ August 31, 2004 ]

Obligatory Cat Picture

Hey, everybody’s doing it, right?


There’s a new kitten around. She likes posing for the phonecam and chatting with me on AIM while I’m out of town.

[ August 29, 2004 ]

US Nationwide Wi-Fi Providers

Honorable Mentions:

If you know of any others that are missing from this list, please feel free to contribute.

[ August 27, 2004 ]

Centralized Problems

A few hours after reading Shelley’s recent post on problems with Tecnorati and the scaling of centralized network services in general, I am faced with the following error message when trying to open my email:

gmail error

While I don’t believe in turning off servers at night, many companies do this. I suppose a scheduled outage or downtime is just something that we have to deal with from time to time, but to my knowledge, this is an unannounced outage. Has Gmail scaled beyond its capacity already? I seriously doubt it.

I realize that Gmail is beta software, but it sure is disappointing that it is completely down right now. And Google’s definition of beta seems to be somewhat different from the definition most software organizations use. How long has Google News been in beta now?

I have always been extremely impressed by all of Google’s products that I have used, including Gmail. But my good old POP3 server is certainly looking more attractive at the moment.

I first began to see this error at around 2:30am here in Texas. At the time of this writing, the service has been down for over half an hour.

Update: Well over an hour has three hours have passed, and I am still unable to log in. I can get a login screen, but I get the above error every time I try to log in. Oddly, though, I can log in to a different account from my PC but not mine. Perhaps Google doesn’t like me tonight. I finally went into my Firefox cookie store and manually deleted all gmail.google.com cookies and was able to log in afterwards. I certainly hope the folks at Google fix this problem soon, as the average webmail user will not tolerate this sort of thing.

[ August 26, 2004 ]

Pics of New Treo

Engadget was kind enough to post up pics found on TreoCentral of the next incarnation of the Treo. I’m still happy with the old Treo600, but this new phone looks amazing!

New Specs:

  • Bluetooth
  • 320x320 16-bit TFT
  • 312MHz processor
  • 32MB RAM
  • better backlit keyboard

[ August 5, 2004 ]

Staking a Claim

There is absolutely no reason that you would want to click here. This link is merely a sign of me staking a claim on my feed over at Friendster Feedster.

The site has already had its turn as feed of the day over at Feedster. So now it’s time to take control of how Feedster’s users see the feed. That is, of course, assuming that the flaky Feedster servers will cooperate. The claim process seems to not really work all that well:

We’re sorry but the feed you’re trying to edit is not claimed by you. Please claim this feed before trying to edit it.
That’s the error message that I keep receiving when I try to edit my lovely feed on the Feedster website.

They may have been through a few rounds of enhancements, but Feedster still needs a lot of work. Other than the above error, I first noticed that the help page was full of dead links. But then I found that some (most) of the pages on the site link to what I am guessing is the new help page.

Also, the “Delete Feeds” page gives a bright red warning that shows clearly that the Feedster developers really don’t care about the quality of their app:

Please note that there is no confirmation and no undo so delete with care. Also due to our cache, your delete may not show up immediately i.e. the feeds you delete could still be displayed for 10 or 15 minutes – but they really are deleted.
This post was not intended to turn into an anti-Feedster rant, but I couldn’t help myself. As an “RSS Search Engine”, Feedster seems to do an excellent job. But the newer, expanded toolset that has been released (and even “Improved!”) is not very usable. Bloglines, in its earliest incarnation, was a far better aggregator. And even Friendster seems to work better as a simple web application. And I had previously thought that Friendster was one of the worst web apps out there.

[ July 8, 2004 ]

Security at Friendster

Security is not a priority at Friendster. Well, at least that’s what they told Annalee Newitz for the June issue of Wired. Jason Kottke discovered that they had asked Wired to revise their quote, however. The revised article states that security is a big concern. Somehow I still don’t believe this. Friendster has enough work on its plate just to keep their slow site up and running that I doubt they have time to properly deal with security.

[ June 22, 2004 ]

Cheap Lifetime Web Hosting

The gang over at TextDrive have announced another lifetime hosting package:

200 megabytes storage, 2 gigabytes monthly bandwidth, up to 3 top-level domains hosted, 6 MySQL databases, and all of TextDrive’s great standard features, for a one-time payment of US $199.
The only catch is that you have to sign up buy June 24. So as of now, you’ve got less than two days to get in on this. The servers are hosted at The Planet, and if you haven’t heard of The Planet, be sure to check out their amazing network infrastructure. In short, this TextDrive deal is a total steal. My advice: buy quickly!

[ June 16, 2004 ]

Google for Matt

I was wondering which of the many web authors named Matt would appear first on a google search today. Yes, I was a bit bored. The results were interesting, though:

  1. Matt Drudge
  2. Matt Mullenweg
  3. Matt Wright
  4. Matt Haughey
  5. Matt Kruse
Quite an eclectic mix for the top five.

Update: Matt Mullenweg (aka PhotoMatt) recently shut his site down when he got bumped to the top of the list.

[ June 7, 2004 ]

RSS for eBay

InternetNews.com reports that eBay’s Senior Manager of Developer Relations, Jeffrey McManus, announced two RSS feeds from eBay on his blog a fews days ago.

These two feeds, the only feeds available from eBay so far, provide eBay announcements and system status messages. While these offerings fall short of what many want from eBay in the way of XML feeds, this is certainly a step in the right direction.

[ June 3, 2004 ]

Six Apart Developer Perks

I’ve been getting messages for at least a couple of weeks now about the mysterious Six Apart developer network. And today there was a blog post about it. But these messages keep restating the same thing. They keep telling me that someday soon I’ll get an email telling me how I can sign up for this network. They tell me about the perks and discounts that I’ll get in somewhat unspecific terms. What’s a “developer discount for a free commercial license”? Why would you need a discount on something that’s being given as free? I know that the good people at 6A realize that they have had some communication issues in the recent past, but it’s about time they start fixing these problems. They are losing customers daily, and better communication is the only thing that is going to save them.

Here’s my message to Six Apart Ltd.: Get that developer program out the door ASAP. Your developers are your most important resource. They are the ones who will push your wares. If you don’t help them, Matt will gladly help them switch to WP.

Linksys Problems

Wi-Fi Net News made me aware of a security hole in the Linksys WRT54G wireless router yesterday. They say that the admin website can be accessed remotely even if remote admin is disabled.

Through my personal testing, I have not been able to access the admin page remotely except through the use of an ssh tunnel via a FreeBSD box behind the router. But since there may be something I’m missing here, I decided to go ahead and change my admin password anyway. And besides, default passwords are really stupid anyway. I should have changed it long ago.

An interesting piece of code came into my browser while I was changing my password. This is one that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. It seems that Linksys is using unpublished proprietary javascript code that belongs to another company in their interface. Here’s the license that was included:

*   Copyright 2003, CyberTAN  Inc.  All Rights Reserved *

the contents of this file may not be disclosed to third parties,
copied or duplicated in any form without the prior written
permission of CyberTAN Inc.

This software should be used as a reference only, and it not
intended for production use!


Now we’ve all heard the stories about Linksys violating the GPL, but they’ve cleared that issue up and released the source. This has led to great projects such as EWRT. But this violation goes way beyond the GPL violation. Not only are they using code that isn’t theirs, but they include the license that says that they don’t have a right to use it. And if that were not bad enough, the license states that the code is not intended for production use.

Now I can’t wait to get EWRT installed on my WRT54G. I’d really rather not run Linksys’s shoddy software any longer.

Update: The remote admin vulnerability on the WRT54G only occurs when the firewall is disabled. By default, the firewall is enabled. This is not a big deal. If somebody disables the firewall on their router, they probably deserve to be exploited.

T-Mobile Hotspot

After about three years of using T-Mobile’s Hotspot service, I finally cancelled my account for good in April. I’ll be using the wonderful free service that’s available here in Austin for all of my local wireless needs. Finally, my favorite coffee shop has wireless, so I can stop supporting T-Mobile and Starbucks.

The cancellation of my T-Mobile account was not without frustration on my end and sneakiness on the part of T-Mobile, however. It started with the mention of a cancellation fee. The phone rep said, “You have completed your one year agreement, so there is no cancellation fee.” One year agreement? I never saw any agreement whatsoever. In fact, when T-Mobile bought out Mobilestar, I merely saw a different SSID at Starbucks and a different name on my credit card statement. Apparently T-Mobile had put me on a one year contract without my knowledge. Not good.

Since I had been using the unlimited T-Mobile service for 24 months, there was not really an issue with the contract. Had there been a fee charged, I would have been very angry. They got lucky with this one.

It was the billing, however, that was a problem. I was last billed for my monthly service on April 16. That was four days prior to my cancellation. When I asked the phone rep whether the account would be cancelled immediately, he said that it would. I then asked when I could expect to see the remaining part of my money refunded, and he responded with, “There is no proration. We have cancelled your account, and there is no money to refund.” So T-Mobile has decided that it wants to steal 26 days of service from me. That’s just not right.

If you’re thinking about signing up with T-Mobile’s monthly hotspot plan, think again. This is the most anti-customer organization I have dealt with in a long time.

[ May 17, 2004 ]

MT 3.0?

John Gruber:

“The current versions of both of my MT plug-ins — SmartyPants and Markdown — are fully compatible with MT 3.0.”

OK, that was going to be the biggest obstacle for the MT3 upgrade. With that out of the way, there are only a few remaining plugins that need confirmation: Optional-Redirect, Regex Plugin, SQL Plugin, and SimpleComments. I don’t think I’m actually even using the SQL plugin. I may or may not be using the Regex plugin. Not having either of those wouldn’t totally destroy the site. SimpleComments is one that my archive templates are currently depending on, however. I’m going to need to verify that one will work before any upgrading commences.

I remember examining the code for the Optional-Redirect plugin when it first was released. It was short and simple. I should easily be able to build my own version of this plugin if it doesn’t work out of the box with MT3.

In the mean time, I fired up a new blog on the free version of MT3 this afternoon. My initial reaction is that MT3 looks a lot like TypePad. The colors are the same. I haven’t ever used the CMS interface of TypePad, but I would be willing to wager that it is very similar. And the name has changed, too. Instead of being a “Personal Publishing System”, it’s now “Movable Type Publishing Platform”. I suppose that goes well with the pricing structure that so many are upset about.

[ May 14, 2004 ]

Alternatives and Comment Previews

With the recent announcement of the Movable Type 3.0 Developer Edition, the blog world is buzzing with all kinds of recommendations for switching away from MT. I’m not sure whether this site will remain on MT 2.661, upgrade to the 3.0 “Personal Edition” for $49.95, or switch to one of the alternatives. But what I do know is that many of the preferred alternatives are lacking a major feature that MT has gotten right from the start (for me, at least).

That feature is comment previews. Textpattern and WordPress both seem to be excellent blog management systems. Perhaps either would even be qualified to be described as a full-blown CMS. But none of the sites I’ve visited that use these wares have preview functionality for their comments.

We all make mistakes. That’s why we have spell checkers. MS Word has had that feature for well over ten years now. A blog without comment preview is like a word processor without a spell checker. The result is that comments get posted to the site with errors. Or that quick bit of typing doesn’t read properly once you see it posted. Preview, when used properly, eliminates a lot of these errors. It also eliminates the followup “oops” posts.

Now I’m sure that there are ten free blog packages out there that offer this functionality, but all of the MT haters today seem to be mentioning WordPress and Textpattern. Personally, I’d rather spend my $50 than use a package that is missing such essential functionality.

There is, however, one more thing that I should mention: Jon Hicks’ excellent Live Comment Previews. Visit a recent post on Jon’s site to see this in action. It’s very slick. Perhaps Dean or Matt would be interested in adopting something such as this in their default comment templates?

Update: It turns out that Textpattern has preview already. I’m not sure why I thought it was missing. And WordPress 1.2 was just released with a new preview feature. It’s good to see more people paying attention to previews.

[ May 5, 2004 ]

Navigation Matrix

SuperfluousBanter has a sweet CSS-based navbar concept up. This is the best image-based navbar I’ve seen yet. See the example here. [Via Stylish Scripting]

Update: Navigation Matrix Reloaded fixes some bugs in the first version. This thing is looking rock solid.

[ April 25, 2004 ]

SpamAssassin Customization

A recent post on MeFi pointed me to some custom rulesets on the SpamAssassin Wiki.

My typical antispam arsenal consists of SpamAssassin plus Eudora’s Bayesian filtering. On a normal day in the past, SpamAssassin (set to a threshold of 6.5) would return around twenty false negatives. Of those twenty, Eudora might catch 75% on a good day. The rest would be marked as spam in hopes of further training the Bayesian filter.

Since installing these new custom rulesets, however, only two spams have gotten past SpamAssassin. Oddly enough, Eudora didn’t catch them either, but that’s beside the point. Any reduction in spam volume means more time for doing other things, so I’m very pleased.

And since these rulesets often change frequently, there’s Rules Du Jour, a bash script that downloads the latest scripts automatically.

[ April 24, 2004 ]

HDTV TiVO Released

After months of waiting, TiVo has finally released its first HD DVR. The Hughes HR10-250 DirecTiVo features dual HD and SD tuners, a 250GB hard drive, and support for recording locally aired DTV broadcasts. It can record up to 30 hours of HD and up to 200 hours of standard definition programming. Much more information about this new device can be found on the TiVo Community forums along with some first impressions.

Update: Matt Haughey over at PVRblog is predicting that we’ll be seeing these for $400-500 on the street soon. Also, he is expecting a review unit, so I’m sure we will see an excellent review on his site before long.

[ April 22, 2004 ]

A Browser Wish

I really hate PDF links on websites. I’m talking about the kind of PDF link that doesn’t warn you that you are about to download a PDF file. This is mostly because I really don’t like waiting for Acrobat Pro to load. It’s an enormous example of bloatware. Adobe should probably fix that problem, but I’m sure there is a simpler workaround.

My idea involves using a bit of DHTML to display a PDF icon near the pointer when it is hovering over a PDF link, similar to Nice Titles. It seems that the Nice Titles script could probably be extended to do this without much effort, but I haven’t really looked through the code yet.

Has anyone seen anything similar to this out there? And better yet: Does anyone know how this type of functionality might be added to Firefox?

Update: I’ve modified Phil’s idea below a slight bit to forge a workable temporary solution. The following is now in my userContent.css file:

a[href$=".pdf"]:hover:after {
  content: " [pdf]";
  color: red;

[ April 10, 2004 ]


John Battelle found a story about the bidding war over the keyword Mesothelioma for targeted search engine advertising. It seems the lawyers are raking in so much money on their Mesothelioma cases that they have bid the keyword up to $100 in some cases.

According to Mesothelioma Web, one could have been exposed to asbestos for a period of only a few months and then develop the rare cancer 30 to 40 years later. So, many people who were exposed in the mid-1900s are just now seeing symptoms.

And the attorneys are loving it. They have often given themselves new titles, such as “Asbestos Attorney” or “Mesothelioma Lawyer”. They are building up an entire segment of their industry around this deadly disease and its victims.

And in the world of always-on internet connections that we live in today, it is only natural to see an overwhelming amount of advertising for anything that can be so profitable. This make me wonder, however, if there are other keywords that are so costly.

[ April 6, 2004 ]

HDTV TiVo Coming Soon

I’ve written about the HDTV TiVo here in the past and there has been much speculation elsewhere. Until now, this holy grail of DVRs has been mere vapor. A few days ago, however, photos of a Hughes HD DirecTiVo prototype were posted to the TiVo Community Forum. Additionally, I found that there is at least one reseller taking preorders. [Via PVRblog]

[ April 5, 2004 ]

Some Links

playfair — Free your iTunes Music

“The playfair program is quite simple. It takes one of the iTMS Protected AAC Audio Files, decodes it using a key obtained from your iPod or Microsoft Windows system and then writes the new, decoded version to disk as a regular AAC Audio File. It then optionally copies the metadata tags that describe the song, including the cover art, to the new file.”

IT Conversations — New Ideas Through Your Headphones

JS Calendar — The coolest DHTML calendar widget

[ April 3, 2004 ]

BitTorrent Links

Kevin Elliott put together a nice list of BitTorrent sites. There was one problem, though: none were actually links. And many of the URLs presented were dead. So here, for your clicking enjoyment, is his list in link form. All dead links have been removed. Sites have not been checked for quality, but you can probably determine that for yourself. Let me know if there’s a site that needs to be added to the list.

BitTorrent Tools
Java Bittorrent-Tools
PHP Tracker

BitTorrent FAQ/Education Sites
Official BT FAQ
Infoanarchy FAQ
Wranglerspace's FAQ
Wiki Theory's FAQ
Anime-Kraze FAQ
BitTorrent Help Yahoo Group
Torrent Spy FAQ

BT Project Development Sites
Bram's Official Development Group

General Torrent Sites
Sci-Fi Torrents
Digital Update
Lick My Taint
BitTorrent Files for Slashdot Effect Victims

Anime Torrent Sites
Anime Shelter
Anime Suki
Fansub Support
MircX Anime Torrents
Anime Kraze
Anything Asian
Gundam Torrents
Got Woot
Bittorrent Anime Files
United Anime
Anime Xtreme

TV Torrent Sites
TV Torrents
Watchen TV
Eyes Only Torrent Net (Dark Angel)
Mr. Twig (SouthPark)
Enterprise BT Downloads
Pheonix Foundation (MacGyver)
Digital Distractions

Music Torrent Sites
Musiq Supreme
Live Music Archive
Digital Panic
Mather's BT site
Bomb Session (Disco Biscuits)
Nerd Team
Sonic Sense
Hatfield ETree (Phish)
'74 BitTorrent Project
Colorado Tapers
Veggie Buritos

Other Specialty Torrent Sites
Mutant Liberation Front
A Torrent of Text Files

BitTorrent Link Sites
Suprnova.org Forums

Get more of these at File Soup.

[ March 31, 2004 ]

Keyword Lists

John Battelle found an interesting service for tracking popular keywords: Wordtracker. Add this to the Lycos 50, the Yahoo! Buzz Index, and the famous Google Zeitgeist, and you have an excellent set of keyword lists for search optimization. A list of the highest priced AdWords keywords would really make this set complete.

[ March 23, 2004 ]

TypeKey Announced

Six Apart has announced TypeKey. Due in part to many complaints, they have also put out a FAQ. Burningbird has excellent analyses from both before and after the FAQ release.

While it’s great to see the creators of Movable Type working on new technology, it seems that most of their users are not happy with the proposal of a centralized service for authenticating commentors.

[ March 17, 2004 ]

[ March 13, 2004 ]

Habeas Spam

Habeas has infiltrated many popular antispam tools with their “Sender Warranted Email”. Nelson described the technique best:

Habeas thought they had a clever idea: copyright a little haiku, consider any mail that has the haiku to be not spam, then sue any spammer who violates their copyright.
The problem is that spammers typically don’t care about these lawsuits and have started including this haiku in their messages. After reading Nelson’s post, I examined the spams that had mad it past SpamAssassin, and he was right—I saw Habeas all over the place. Many others have also noticed this problem.

SpamAssassin gives Habeas a -8 score by default. This is a fair score to give an effective rule, but this rule is obviously failing. So while Nelson recommends giving Habeas a score of 0 in SpamAssassin, effectively removing the rule, I’m giving it a 5, penalizing those who use this haiku: score HABEAS_SWE 5. [via Nelson Minar]

[ March 11, 2004 ]

Record Movies on the Treo 600

MovieRec records video on the Treo 600 at a claimed 30fps. Video is 160x120x16bit. This is one of the few features the makers of the Treo forgot. The next release will be the one to watch, as it will add the ability to save the videos to an SD card. [via GearBits]

Update: Version 1.03 now supports saving to an SD card.

[ March 10, 2004 ]

SmartyPants 1.5

SmartyPants 1.5 is out. Another incremental update to this already flawless Movable Type plugin.

Update: There was a minor bug with 1.5. Version 1.5.1 has been released to correct the problem.

[ March 4, 2004 ]

Amazon Adds RSS Feeds

Amazon.com has added a long list of RSS feeds. While I was hoping to find feeds that listed new items in several categories, it seems that these feeds only list most popular items by “Sales Rank”. Not quite what I was looking for, but at least it’s a start. It’s great to see Amazon moving in the right direction. [via Jeremy]

[ February 25, 2004 ]

IE Bug List

In his most recent rant about IE, Dave Shea dropped a nice link to a thorough list of bugs in Internet Explorer. I’m sure there are probably other IE buglists out there, but this one gives examples and workarounds! This list should be very helpful in getting Full Speed looking better in IE.

[ February 19, 2004 ]

SSH for Pocket PC

For those of you who have the occasional need to tweak a server while on the go, PocketPuTTY is for you. This makes that WiFi-enabled iPAQ look a bit more tempting to me. [via MobileWhack]

[ February 18, 2004 ]

Advanced Spam Filtering

Brad Choate has a fairly complicated spam filtering setup that’s based on qpsmtpd. After reading his story, I’m very tempted to give qmail another shot.

[ February 14, 2004 ]

Online Advertising is Officially Back

I didn’t really think it was ever going to happen, but the $2.1 billion record for online advertising revenue set in 2000 has been broken. With a lot of help from Google’s AdWords and AdSense, Q4 2003 ad revenue hit an estimated $2.2 billion. The bubble may have burst, but we’re definitely recovering. [via Searchblog]

[ February 11, 2004 ]

8GB Compact Flash

Simpletech has announced that they’ll soon be bringing an 8GB compact flash card to market. With digital camera resolution increasing with every new product generation, this will be nice to have around. For taking raw images at 8mp+, this begins to seem more like a necessity. [via digitalslr.org]

Firefox Unstable

Like most of the web design community, I upgraded to Mozilla Firefox 0.8 when it was released on Monday. And I am not happy.

While the team that handled the new branding initiative did an excellent job, the code monkeys screwed something up. Now just 24 hours into my use of the new browser, it has crashed over six times.

Initially, the browser had problems with my old profile. I wasn’t really surprised at this because I knew that the profile had problems. So I gave in and created a new profile, keeping only my bookmarks file. With the new profile, I thought that I was in the clear. Everything (saved logins, autocompletes, etc) began to work properly once again.

But then I slowly began to notice some problems. For example, Firefox often forgets cookies that it shouldn’t. This gets to be really annoying when using a site that uses cookies for its authentication. Imaging clicking submit after writing a long post only to be greeted with a login screen. This has happened to me more than ten times today.

And the crashes. Firebird 0.7 crashed on me after about 5-7 days of solid use. By solid use I mean never closing the app. Always having at least 50 tabs open at any given time. Closing one tab woudl typically mean opening three more. Its memory footprint, according to the Windows XP Task Manager, often exceeded 150MB. I didn’t mind the memory usage, considering what I was asking of the browser, but the crashes just really bothered me.

The problem is worse with Firefox. I can’t seem to keep the browser running for more than a couple of hours once I load up 20 or so tabs. In my most recent crash, I launched the browser, opened two tabs, and then, before the loading of both pages was complete, Firefox crashed.

The Mozilla Organization has simply failed with the release of this product. Their own words, while well-intentioned, provide false statements about the browser:

“Firefox empowers you to accomplish your online activities faster, more safely and efficiently than any other browser, period.”

Now please understand that I have been using a Gecko-based browser for quite some time now. In one form or another, Gecko has been my primary web browser for probably at least two years. I’m a big fan of this project. But this release was just not good. It’s not good for me. It’s not good for the newbies that Mozilla is trying to attract away from IE. And it’s not good for Mozilla’s image and reputation. We need Firefox 0.81, and we need it fast!

[ February 9, 2004 ]

Easy Entity Encoding

Dan Cederholm wrote a simple utility for converting XHTML (or other code-like data) into entity-encoded markup. This is a simple perl script that’s just designed to save a bit of time when writing web content.

Jesper rewrote the script in a neat, self-contained html page with a bit of JavaScript. Jesper’s version, mirrored here, provides live previews and requires no server interaction. Very slick. A little more time saved.

This looks a lot like Jon Hicks’ live comment previews. There’s just something great about seeing my input rendered by the browser as I type. It’s almost like having a WYSIWYG word processor in the browser. We need more of this kind of stuff on the web.

[ February 5, 2004 ]

RSS LinkDump

RSS feeds are popping up everywhere. I finally found the master list over at Wired News.

Also, PickAJob.com has a listing of job feeds by state. They claim that their feeds are RSS 0.91, but they appear to be valid RSS 2.0.

In other news, InternetNews.com seems to think that ad-supported RSS might be the “Next Big Thing”.

[ February 3, 2004 ]

Google Catalogs

Kevin Kelly has discovered Google’s latest new beta project, Google Catalogs. He describes it quite well:

“Google has scanned in the pages of hundreds of mail order catalogs. This means you can search for anything you can think of and Google will bring up a picture of the item on the actual catalog page. In my experience browsing these scans turns out to be better and faster than scrolling through a company’s website. Because catalog pages are generally better designed than web pages, they are more informative. And because you can keyword search for items, it’s superior to the actual paper catalog.”

Add this to your list of places to search when researching that next purchase.

[ February 1, 2004 ]


2003 Suzuki SV650S
2003 Suzuki SV650S. Dealer closeout. Gotta make room for those ’04s somehow.

[ January 30, 2004 ]

Music Quiz

This was my result:


“Good. You know your music. You should be able to work at Championship Vinyl with Rob, Dick and Barry”

Do You Know Your Music (Sorry MTV Generation I Doubt You Can Handle This One)
[ Via Going Canuck ]

[ January 29, 2004 ]

CSS Filters and Hacks

Dithered.com has an excellent chart of CSS filters. Any designer working on CSS-based designs for multiple browsers will find this useful. Check out the CSS Filters page for a bit more commentary.

[ January 28, 2004 ]

Hutton Inquiry Experiment

Supposedly, the BBC is buying up all of the ads the the Google AdWords keywords “Hutton inquiry” and “Hutton report”. According to The Guardian, “No other news broadcaster or any newspaper has paid Google for this facility.” This is the type of AdWords/AdSense experiment I’ve been waiting for.

Lord Hutton is scheduled to deliver his verdict on the death of Dr. David Kelly today.

Update: The Hutton Inquiry is out (accessible version). [Via MeFi]

[ January 27, 2004 ]

Free Image Storage

Photobucket claims to provide 100MB of free image hosting to anyone. Use it for your photo albums, images for eBay auctions, images for your blog, or whatever. If you have strict bandwidth limits on your hosting account, this will certainly help cut your costs. But this just can’t last very long. [Via MeFi]

Easy TiVo Upgrades

PVRblog just linked to a story about TiVo upgrades for dummies. The summary: It seems that the folks at WeaKnees have got the TiVo market figured out.

Whether you want to upgrade your existing TiVo to as much as 344 hours of capacity or you want to buy a new TiVo that’s already upgraded, they have the solution for you. They have an excellent warranty and are a very customer-oriented company.

And for all of you High Definition freaks out there, be sure to check out their HD TiVo page. The HD hardware isn’t expected until April, but you’ll want to be sure to get on the list.

The only thing missing from these guys is the cache card, but WeaKnees seems to be the most complete TiVo upgrade source out there.

Redirects Are Not An Option

I have just installed David Raynes’ Optional-Redirect Plugin for Movable Type. Comment author links no longer behave in the 2.661 way. They work as they should—that is, they link directly. While I understand the nature of this change that Six Apart made to MT, I don’t agree with it. Redirects are slow and destroy Google juice. There are better ways to fight spam.

[ January 25, 2004 ]

Feedster Interesting Blogs

Wow, I just discovered that my site was selected as Feedster Interesting Blog of the Day for December 17, 2003. And all along I thought that nobody read this thing.

Feed of the Day

Seeing John Battelle just 15 days earlier and Nelson just three months earlier made me feel good.

Thanks to Scott, Betsy, and everybody else at Feedster.

[ January 22, 2004 ]

iTunes Music Store RSS

Apple now has an RSS generator for the iTunes Music Store. You can get a feed for just about anything you want. Latest 10 Hip Hop/Rap Releases. Top 50 Pop & Alternative Songs. The possibilities are limitless.

Update: It seems that several other sites have picked up on this one now, too. This service is sure to be a hit.

[ January 13, 2004 ]

Automatically Closing Old MT Entries

There has been quite a bit of talk about preventing weblog comment spam lately. Jeremy Zawodny and David Sifry have each come up with similar solutions for automatically turning off comments on older posts. While both of these solutions work perfectly well, I wanted something that was a bit more integrated with MT. I wanted MT to handle the updates to the older entries.

So today it dawned on me that Brad Choate’s MTSQL plugin was exactly what I needed to make this happen. Since the plugin allows the execution of arbitrary SQL statements, I can now make a template that will shut down comments and pings on my older posts.

Once you have MTSQL installed, create an index template with contents similar to the following:

<MTSQL query="
update mt_entry
set entry_allow_comments = 2,
entry_allow_pings = 0
where entry_created_on <= date_sub(CURDATE(), interval 7 day)
and entry_blog_id = 2
<MTSQLColumn column="1">

Substitute any number of days in the “interval 7 day” part. Also, you’ll need to be sure that the entry_blog_id matches that of your blog. Alternatively, if you either have only one blog or want the post on all of your blogs to be closed, you can simply remove the last line of the query.

Be sure to check the box next to “Rebuild this template automatically when rebuilding index templates”. With this option enabled, this query will be executed each time you save an entry.

I prefer this method to the previously mentioned methods because I feel it is more inline with the way MT works. Nothing happens unless it is in response to my actions. The other solutions require a cron job to work automatically. I have no problems with cron—I just prefer this integrated approach.

One problem that remains unsolved by Jeremy’s, David’s, or my solution is that closed entries will still show their comment forms. The presence of the comment form does not allow comments, but it is misleading. A user might type in a long rant only to be disappointed by a mesage stating that comments for the entry are closed once he clicks the Post button.

An entry must be rebuilt before the comment form will be removed from its page. There are a couple of ways to make this happen. One option is to simply rebuild your entire blog from within MT. Another option is to use Timothy Appnel’s mt-rebuild script to rebuild the blog. This script will rebuild individual pages or the entire blog from the command line. If you’re serious about closing down comments, I’d suggest setting up a cron job to run this script. And if anyone knows of a way to avoid the cron job and just execute a rebuild from within an MT template, I’d love to hear about it.

[ January 12, 2004 ]

Share your OPML

Dave Winer has started a new site called Share Your OPML! On the site, Dave is attempting to create a community of feed subscription lists and aggregate the resulting data in various ways. He already has a Top 100 Feeds page up. Also, for each feed listed, you can see who is subscribed. A lot of people have already contributed their feeds. It’s rather interesting to see what some people read on a daily basis. If you use an RSS aggregator that exports OMPL, be sure to sign up and add your list.

[ January 10, 2004 ]

OS X for Hackers

If you’re like me, you are intrigued by Apple’s OS X because of its FreeBSD heritage. It’s got all of the power and stability of that operating system that you run on your servers with the lovely Mac GUI that we all love.

But you want more. You want to know how everything works. You want to know what happens when the system starts up. You want to know what all of Apple’s custom command line tools do. In short, you want to know the OS inside and out, just like you know your FreeBSD systems.

And now you can.

Amit Singh has put together an excellent resource called What is Mac OS X? And from what I’ve read so far, this seems to be a very thorough guide. If you want to have a true understanding of this great new operating system, be sure to check out his site. [via Simon]

[ January 7, 2004 ]

New Design

As I’m sure you have already noticed, things look a bit different around here today. I finally got tired of staring at my half complete redesign and decided to just throw it out there. There are some rough edges still, as it’s certainly a work in progress. But the front page and the articles are organized well enough that you can still view all of the content without any problems.

One thing that has been puzzling me for a while now is this. I want my container box to automatically expand when the right column is longer than the left. As you can see at the link above, this is not happening. Does anybody know how I can fix this?

Other than that one problem and a few browser hacks that need to be added in, the work is almost done. If you notice any bugs, please let me know by replying to this post.

Update: It seems that IE/Win (v6, maybe others) doesn’t want to display random parts of pages. Take this page for example. IE hides the comment form and the post metadata. Any suggestions? This all renders perfectly in Firebird. Hopefully the other non-IE browsers will fare as well. It looks like I’ve got a lot of testing to do.

Update 2: The bugs mentioned above are now gone. IE still doesn’t do everything I want it to do, but the problems are very minor. The horizontal borders around the “Sponsored Ads” text in the sidebar should intersect with the vertical borders on both sides. For some reason, though, I have not been able to convince IE that this is how it should work. Instead, IE randomly affixes the box to either the right or left border, leaving a 2 pixel gap. Very odd.

Oracle Discovers RSS

Like many other websites, Oracle has seen the light. You can now access Oracle Technology Network resources via several RSS 2.0 feeds.

Along with the new year comes a new way for you to access technical resources on OTN: via new RSS versions of the product documentation and software download indexes, as well as separate developer- and DBA-focused RSS feeds containing links to current technical articles.

[ January 6, 2004 ]

iPod Mini

Apple introduced the iPod Mini today. It looks like everybody hates this one so far.

The primary gripe is that the 4GB device is only $50 less than the smallest iPod, which has nearly four times the capacity. That just doesn’t quite add up for me. Sure, 4GB is probably plenty of space for most of my listening needs, but I just don’t see a ton of people paying this price when they can have the real iPod for just $50 more.

On the positive side, though, you do still get that same excellent iPod interface, a choice of color, and a smaller form factor. Some have mentioned that they prefer the button configuration on the new device.

For an MP3 player that was expected to fall below the $150 price mark, the iPod Mini is rather disappointing. But for the budget-minded out there who can’t afford that extra $50, there is now another option available.

[ January 4, 2004 ]

Mars Rover Lands Successfully

NASA’s first Mars rover of 2004, Spirit, has safely touched down on Mars. The rover landed at approximately 04:35 GMT. The rover’s success comes in the wake of the recent loss of Europe’s Beagle 2. Expect to see new pictures from the surface of the red planet soon.

[ January 3, 2004 ]

Tiny Helicopters

The Pixelito and Proxflyer Micron are really tiny. Each miniature radio controlled helicopter weighs 6.9g and can fit in the palm of your hand. [Via MetaFilter]

[ January 2, 2004 ]

Better BitTorrent

Tired of having too many BitTorrent windows open while downloading all of that content? Try out a better BitTorrent client for Windows: TorrentStorm. As the official screenshots show, this client has all of the advanced features of the experimental clients but combines all downloads into one window, reducing unwanted clutter on your desktop.

© 2014 Scott Johnson (info)
• •