Hawk's Nest

Friday, December 31, 2004

Free Fall: Internet Explorer Has Now Lost 30% Of The Browser Market - Robin Good's Latest News

When will Internet Explorer go below 50%? Here's one prediction giving it less than a year. If there is now major update in the next year from Microsoft (nothing is anticipated until Longhorn in late 2006), this prediction may be right on.

Tsunami satellite imagery

This story provides explains where these pictures came from.

MSNBC - 50 Foot Robot in the Rose Parade

I always look forward to New Year's Day because we have certain traditions. The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl are part of it. We even saw it in person many years ago. My Dad's from Southern California and my Mom's from the Midwest and love flowers. The PAC10/Big 10 football rivalry was always grand. With the BCS, that doesn't always happen but the parade will and hopefully, it will stay faithful for many New Years to come.

FCIC - The Handbook - Corporate Consumer Contacts Main Page

It's a week after Christmas. Have you had any gift problems yet? A lot of us will and some of us may have problems finding a human being in customer service to help us deal with our problems. This NY Times article discusses some people's experiences. What I found the most helpful, however, is the link above for the Handbook of Corporate Consumer Contacts. Now you don't have to Google yourself to death trying to find help. Try there first.

Happy New Year...(tomorrow)!! 2005!!! Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Hawk's Nest Blog Review 2004

Everyone reviews the year and the Hawk can do no less. Here is the list of best links/postings for the year:

10) Where Does Apple Go From Here?
9) Personalized Google Search
8) NPR's Digital Generation series
7) Classics In The Slums
6) Brown Recluse Spiders In St. Louis
5) Gmail Rocks
4) It's A Blog World After All
3) Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King Takes 11 Oscars
2) Customer Service At MCI

and the Number One Post as chosen by Wing & Talon

1) Firefox!! Two Postings
Microsoft's Nightmare and Firefox Discrimination

Two Facts You Need To Know From The 2004 Blog Archive

Chihuahuas Aren't Dogs (maybe it's not a fact, but sure seems like one)
Sedna, Our Tenth Planet (definitely a fact)

Humor From the 2004 Archive

Pickled Dragon

SkyHigh Airlines

Additional Milestone For The Blog

Clipping Feeds Available...I can be your human aggregator as I scan about 350 feeds/day

CNN.com - Fly-eating robot powers itself - Dec 29, 2004

Self-sustaining systems are as innovative as ever.

Harrier Jet Crashes at beach near swimmers

Good thing the ejection seat worked!

Backrub Search Engine, A New Way to Search

Are you familiar with this search engine? You should be. You might know it by its current name. Plus, check out the paper which presented the idea.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

PBS | I, Cringely - Between an xBox and a Hard Place

An interesting theory about where Microsoft is going, what the Xbox 3 will be (we're not even to 2 yet) and how IBM could enslave Microsoft?? True or false, Cringley make you think.

What happened in the Krakatoa eruption in the 1800's?

In light of what' s happend in Asia & India, I've had some discussions with The Pirate about a book he's reading on Krakatoa, the volcano which erupted in this same region in 1883. Some fascinating facts show me that what is old is new again...but instead of an eruption, it's an earthquake.

Cheese and Crackers: Tsunami Video

This guy is hosting the video for this world event. What's amazinging is the world is using his bandwidth...10 Terabytes in the last 24 hours! Any mirrors with bandwidth, please help him.

Google Press Center: Zeitgeist 2004

What were people researching, buying or perusing on the Web in 2004? Here's Google's rundown, giving us a unique window into our world.

Opinion Column by PC Magazine: Grim Macintosh Market Share Forebodes Crises

John Dvorak is right. Paul Thurrott is right. Mac is in a dilemma. But let's clarify a few things from Dvorak which demonstrate that Mac isn't going to be increasing their market share to reinvigorate their product.

One, Mac software isn't bug-free. If it was, they wouldn't have to issue patches like 10.3.1, 10.3.2, 10.3.3, 10.3.4, 10.3.5, 10.3.6, 10.3.7. Mac hardware isn't bug-free. It it was they wouldn't have to issue firmware updates (BIOS in PC land). Also, they wouldn't have support page like this...What is kernel panic? (Think BSOD).

Two, Linux's rising star will continue to marginalize the Mac OS because it works on the PC platform and isn't tied to proprietary hardware.

Third, the Mac monopoly forces you to get the hardware and software from Macintosh. They control it all. I've always said they would never be a threat to Windows unless they ported their stuff to the PC platform and allowed it to be loaded on any hardware. But they can't do it (or are they too worried about instability). They have to control the hardware to create an illusion of stability. I say if you control the hardware and software, you shouldn't have any stability issues. But alas, not even that monopoly can make a better computer.

I say, Steve, give up on the Mac and focus on entertainment peripherals. It's a better return on your investment and a sharper focus for the company.

WGN Weather Weblog

Just found this blog. Not even the Weather Channel has a blog. This is a little Chicago-centric but hey, I lived there for 3 years so it's a little like a homecoming.

Where Are All the Dead Animals? Sri Lanka Asks | Reuters.com

This is an interesting question to ponder.

The Oath

I sat there, nervously, like some first year law student, waiting to be called on by the professor. Thumbing through my materials, they consisted mostly of hypotheticals. Were my anxieties to be realized? A technician set up sound equipment behind me, testing two wirless mikes. "They really are going to call on me," I thought. Second thoughts continued to crowd my mind like some throng pressing in on me at a rock concert.

Where was I? A South Carolina Continuing Legal Education class to retake the oath to practice law in South Carolina. Yes, I do have a license to practice. No, I don't...I'm inactive by choice. That's fodder for another discussion. But I'm still required to update my comittment to the principles of the profession. Yesterday, I did so with Judge Ralph King Anderson Jr. presiding. It actually was quite a moment, taking me back 13 years ago when I first took the oath. And reminding me that I love what I do now, managing a computer network.

The newly revised oath expands the professional obligations to clients, the court and fellow attorneys. I think it's a good thing. We probably could have spent a whole day on the hypotheticals, but I'm glad they saw the wisdom in the way they did do this update to the oath.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Top Tech Trends for 2005

Where will we be in 2005? Check out he trends some see in the Tech industry and keep your eyes on the horizon...

RED HERRING | Top Ten Trends for 2005
Fortune Magazine: Top 10 Tech Trends To Watch
Blogcritics Top Technology Trends for 2005

SkyHigh Airlines (Thanks Dvorak)

This is a great parody site, especially in light of the airlines posting earlier today. You must here these 2 commercials for SkyHigh Airlines: Goose Chase and The Gate Change Workout.

Tabbed Browser Extension from Firefox

Quick tip for you users of this extension in Firefox. I noticed my browser really slow down after using this for a while. And now I know why. It seems there is an unknown bug which bogs down this extension and makes some of its files grow beyond 100K. The good news is you can fix it. Save your tabs as bookmarks for opening later. Open the path to your profiles as in this example (C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default.xxx\) and delete the tabextension.rdf and the tabextensions folder. Uninstall the extension and reinstall the latest (you may have to redo your settings but you can now export them as a .js). It's like having a different browser as it returns to its speedy ways.

CNN.com - Digital inheritance raises legal?questions - Dec 24, 2004

This is worth thinking about. I have to agree in the Yahoo case with the family that these e-mail correspondence belong to the estate. They are unencrypted and sitting on a public server. Though a password is required for the account, Yahoo requires this of all participants and it is not unique to this individual. It, therefore, does not show any intention or state of mind for the deceased concerning these items. I can't imagine the correspondence of an individual from hundreds of years ago, locked in some chest without a key, being allowed to be destroyed when part of history would die with that act. I think the importance to our understanding of the world at large outweighs private considerations as a public policy matter. So I hope the estate prevails.

However, to be prudent, leave behind your passwords in your lockbox or such so protracted legal actions are avoided.

Computer Snafus Continue to Plague Airlines

I just have to say something. Redundancy??!! Or how about upgrade??!! Maybe security??!! I just don't understand these glitches in our day. If airlines would modernize their IT systems, properly protect/update them, and provide a failover computer system and paper system, these would be non-issues. But I'm lost as to why the message doesn't get through. They will continue to lose money with these kinds of events occurring.

Fast Company | What Money Can't Buy
The truth is, the failure to consistently produce dramatic and successful innovations may be less a comment on Microsoft than it is on the nature of innovation itself. Innovation is, after all, capricious -- a function of luck and good timing as much as brains. It's tough to score once, much less repeatedly, with big-money bets and sky-high ambitions.

Microsoft could do more, I agree. But they are often ahead of their time. Two predictions: 1) If Apple announces an iPod phone, remember Microsoft was there first. Basically, Windows CE/Mobile is able to do great multimedia stuff in a very small space. People gawked at needing to do these things on a PIM. Now, the phone is the PIM and may be your MP3 player. 2) Video on a PIM is something else people thought superfluous. Microsoft provided it on handhelds. No one else thought it necessary. Think again and thanks, Microsoft.

Auto makers to create car-to-car WLAN by 2006 | The Register

This will be an interesting experiment. Creating a mobile network mesh with cars could provide all sorts of possibilities.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Frank Abagnale: Catch him if you can, RSA

The critics in this story are dead wrong. I've seen Frank Abagnale's talk. His personal history is insightful, stimulating and well worth a presentation to computer security professionals.

In IT, we often forget the human element of information manipulation amidst the sophisticated technical schemes of hackers. Real pro's focus on this social engineering and don't need a vast array of technical know-how to compromise systems or data. We would all do well to hear the story of Mr. Abagnale, personally and professionally, as the use of these techniques becomes more prevalent.

Message from the future

It's always good at the end of the year to reflect on what may come in the future. Here's an article that projects some technologies to the year 2015. Wow!
(Thanks to "The Pirate" for this)

Monday, December 20, 2004

ScrappleFace: New Microsoft Patch Blocks Firefox Downloads

Those evil softies. :-)

Four Things Yahoo Can Do That Google Can't (pdf)

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for this free set of tips.

While search engine races are hot, it's nice to see even the front runner can make some improvements. One tip I like is the linkdomain syntax. So, for instance, searching with Yahoo using this linkdomain:discoversouthcarolina.com (the South Carolina Tourism's website), I get 18,000 sites which link to this domain, not just a particular url. Pretty neat trick.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Star Wars TV series confirmed with Mark Hamill??

We'll see how this pans out but I've heard the rumors about the TV series for a while. Now that more details are showing up, it seems like it could really happen. Luke "Mark Hamill" Skywalker's appearance doesn't surprise me either as it seems some scifi actors never give up on reviving their series. And if they fail, they become guest stars.

Friday, December 17, 2004

SBS Diva Warns of Social Engineering

I must agree with Susan that the rise in Out of Office notifications is disturbing. If you use this feature, check with your IT group to see if they are allowed to the public at large. Otherwise, you may get a visit from a bad Santa.

More IE-Only Fallout

Joe Wilcox over at Microsoft Monitor has some comments about IE-Only websites. If Microsoft made a change, they might make some inroads in places they've been marginalized. MS, are you listening?

Gollum gets a health check

Whew, I was worried it was schizophrenia.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Rick E. Bruner's Business Blog Consulting: Business Blog Case Study: Stonyfield Farm

As a partaker of the Stonyfield product, I was pleasantly surprised to they are part of the blogosphere. And they're seeing it as a business benefit. Any other businesses listening??

Video search

Search for video/audio content on the web at Blinkx TV and now Yahoo


Old-time radio was filled with imaginative stories, classic comedies and Big Band. Thanks to Boing Boing for passing on the news of free mp3's of these classic shows like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Abbott & Costello and Gunsmoke. (Ignore the annoying flashing ads)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Wired News: Are We Puppets or Free Agents?

It seems the arguments of these neuroscientists is that we are predetermined by our genes and our environment. We are therefore not responsible for our moral actions because we don't have "free will". To quote them, "All behavior is mechanical". It is an interesting conclusion to reach and obviously, by their own theory, one which they had to reach because their actions were predetermined. They would have reached no other conclusion and the Wired author had no choice but to write the story. If we do as these scientists say, our world becomes incoherent, our decisions irrational. In their mind, their is no component of a person greater than his or her biological components. The implications of such a view are far reaching in more ways than just legal theory.

Beware reductionism and let's involve some philosophers and theologians in these discussions as they look beyond the physical to minds and souls. But, of course, you knew I'd say that. How could I have written anything different?

Monday, December 13, 2004

InfoWorld: The network is the blog: December 10, 2004: By Jon Udell

Fascinating parallels to the blogosphere.

The Media Drop: Newspapers with RSS: A List

Not comprehensive, but a nice start.

PC Magazine: Recovering Lost Images

I've always wondered what I'd do if a CF card for a digital camera became unreadable. Here is one answer.

The Animal In You

For me...mole, mouse or penguin.

washingtonpost.com: Schools Turn to Comics as Trial Balloon

Only in a visual culture...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

MSNBC/Newsweek - The Alpha Bloggers

Great little summary for those new to the blogosphere or those who don't know anything about this phenomenon. It's great to be a part of the revolution.

Friday, December 10, 2004

HD-DVD Must Die - Sony's Blu-ray is the better next-generation DVD. By Paul Boutin

More layers are better so Blu-ray has an advantage. Let the wars begin (and be over with quickly).

A Look Back at the IBM PC

Nostalgic trip for some people. Bye, Bye IBM.

MSNBC - There is a God, leading atheist concludes

I've known about Antony Flew for a while. He's been a foundational voice for atheists. Even though he's not sure about who God is, he's come quite far now.

Firefox users ignore online ads

Yes, but I want to add another caveat. The article says it's because the users are more savvy which is true, I believe. But I also believe that because they're savvy, they're downloading the Adblock extension which then gives the ability to block ads so you never see them. No ads, no click-thru's. (And I love the clean look of a website)

I've also wondered about the comparison between this Adblock and commercial skip on a replayTv. With the media companies up in arms about skipping commercials and lost revenue, will a rise is in Firefox use make it a target for lost banner ad revenue because of extensions like Adblock?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Study: Early childhood programs prepare kids for school

Okay, here is what I love about this story. Evidently, 1st & 2nd grade doesn't mean anything. The test results used to gauge a difference are from 3rd, 4th & 5th grade. Doesn't this mean 1st and 2nd grade teachers aren't doing wha t they're supposed to? Something is missing from these study results.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hobbits still here

I have friends in Indonesia. They may be closer to Middle Earth than I thought.

Newbie to Firefox Discovers Discrimination

With the release of Firefox 1.0, I converted. I never expected to abandon my marriage to Internet Explorer for another browser but I couldn't resist. The flexibility and power of Firefox is quite daunting. (IE has become stale and needs a real shot in the arm)

Now imagine my surprise at finding I'm now being discriminated against online just for browsing with Firefox. Discrimination is a serious problem in the physical world but it never occurred to me it would show up in my own everyday use of the Internet. But there it is. Sites as major as Movielink or as specialized as the Carolina IT Professionals Group won't let me view there content without using IE! And these are not alone. To me, this is unacceptable.

It's one thing to code a page so it's optimized for a certain browser. I understand the need to put your efforts where the biggest percentage of viewers may be coming from (although Firefox is gaining ground). I also understand wanting to reduce the number of support requests for people who can't view the content (but just include a best viewed in IE clause on each page). And if you use ActiveX on your site, those functions won't work in Firefox (Firefox avoids this security hazard).

But it's pretty eriudite to not even allow a person browsing the web to view your content. It communicates a message out of step with a modern view of the world. It says the site knows better than all the possible browsing technology available as to whether their site can be viewed. A friend of mine even contacted an "IE only" site to request access and was told "Thanks, but no thanks" in so many words.

Thankfully, we can do something about it. If you get the User Agent Switcher extension for Firefox, you can appear as IE to these web servers and stop the discrimination. It's no guarantee the site will work, but at least it can be accessed.

Is this enough? I don't think so. Instead, I urge you to let your opininon be known to sites which discriminate and ask for code to be removed which blocks alternative browsers like Firefox. Mozilla.org has a great site about this and would like to hear from you about those sites.

We can stop this discrimination now. Let the web remain free for all to access, no matter their choice of browser.

washingtonpost.com: Debit Cards Give Plastic Edge Over Paper

This is great news. This means the number of check writers in the grocery line ahead of me are diminishing. We're moving in the right direction! Stop writing checks!

New York Times: At Museums, Computers Get Creative (login required)
"'I personally think that the simplest solution is the best...'"
So says Beth Merrick, director of exhibits at Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. And I have to agree. I've seen multiple instances where the cheapest and simplest path was ignored just because we have to use technology. I'd argue that many people are trying to get away from technology when visiting a museum but in our day you can't educate without it, evidently.

List of Linux Live CDs

Even if you don't run Linux, you may just want to sample or explore it. The page lists all the bootable CD's of Linux available for your perusal. Knoppix is my favorite so far.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Chronicle: 12/10/2004: College Libraries: the Long Goodbye

I'm not sure if Mr. Dillon knows, but reading is going downhill. It's a lost art and I'm afraid libraries will find themselves the final resting places of not only old books but a dying breed of person.

NPR : Table-Saw Technology Aims to Save Fingers

When I was working in my youth as a trim carpenter's helper on Canadian Log homes, my friend and mentor ran his thumb through a table-saw right in front of my eyes. I can still remember the shock he experienced and I experienced see his pain. If only there'd been something like this, perhaps the accident could have been avoided. (Must see video)

Education, Kids & Technology

From time to time, I run across articles in the popular press which bring people's attention to the role technology should have in their young children's lives. I'm grateful for such articles because I hope they get people to think just a little bit more about what they're doing instead of listening to the commercial masterminds trying to sell a lie. The pervasiveness of technology in our young children's world can rob them of a more fertile imagination by substituting pre-created worlds instead of ones which they construct.

As they grow up in a more connected world, technology will be a part of life. But there must be a way to balance the advantages of these new means of communication and accessing information with the intellectual growth sustained by ideas, minds and other irreducible intangibles. To not be conformed by the technique but instead mold the technology to serve their minds will be the challenge of this generation.

Monday, December 06, 2004

New Feeds

I've always thought having multiple RSS Feeds for topics people would find informative would be great. Thanks to Newsgator Online, it is possible. Below are 4 RSS feeds you can subscribe to which are which are clippings I've found interesting or have read which I'd like to share. Now you can choose your own topic and I'll aggregate key content for you.

Interesting Stuff to Read Feed (or Misc.)
Star Trek

Study Finds Patterns in Web Site User Motivations and Questions - Computerworld

Studying patterns across the web can give you a bigger picture prespective of what people on doing on the web. This study seems to find some interesting corellative information about web use. Think about your own habits and how they fit into these categories apart from casual news browsing.

Santa Surrounded by Orcs

Where's Frodo when you need him?

Animal Planet ::Bird Technology

This could be called "Fly with Tilly". Visit and you'll get my draft, oh, I mean drift.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Holiday Stress Relief: Virtual bubble-wrap

Boing Boing: Video of ABC News on Firefox

If you haven't tried Firefox, please do. You'll need extensions like these which are my favorites:
Sage -- RSS Reader
Adblock -- Remove Ad content on-the-fly and make a web page readable!!
ImageZoom -- Zoom in on images
ieView -- Right-click and view a page in Internet Explorer if you need to
WeatherFox -- Weather always in the status bar of the browser
Googlebar -- the googlebar for firefox
Tabbrowser Extensions -- granular control of tabs in Firefox

WSJ.com - Companies Mine Blogs For Market Research

This is a great way to make $ online researching. Read blogs, group and forums for certain content, summarize findings and report to the customer. Any time sensitive information goes to them like a news alert. The reports could be a secure web-driven extranet. Hmmmmm....

E-Mail Icon Generator

I added an icon for e-mail to my blog. You can get one too if you have Gmail.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

How-To: BroadCatching using RSS BitTorrent to automatically download TV shows - Engadget

This is worth the read. Not because you should run out and do it, but because it is a glimpse of what I think the future holds for users controlling their media. This stuff shouldn't have to be P2P, under the radar deliveries. It should be mainstream coming from all the purveyors of digital media to your desktop/entertainment center. Imagine downloading, legitimately, a release of a new program from any major network or cable outlet. To make this happen, these entities just need to move outside "the box" and into the wave of new delivery methods.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 bests David Pogue of NY Times (almost)login required

I've always like speech recogntion. I think it will be commonplace one day. Not so much as dictation as for making stuff happen. Like interacting with some technology which personifies it. Until that time, we have Dragon Naturally Speaking. David Pogue's demo shows just how good this new version can be if you train it.

Yahoo! News - All-Cereal Restaurant Opens in Philly
How's this for thinking outside the box: a cafe with jammies-clad servers pouring cereal day and night, topping it off with everything from fruit to malted milk balls, and serving it in 'bowls' resembling Chinese takeout containers. It's all cereal. Seriously.
So right after we learn college kids eat more than their fair share of cereal, we here about this unique offering. I want to go!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

NPR : Digital Generations
Morning Edition features a weeklong series of reports on how the Internet is changing the lives of ordinary Americans. Now more than ever, the Web is becoming the primary source of news, entertainment and communication for an increasing number of people. But gaps in access still exist between young and old, rich and poor -- and some worry the Internet has become a substitute for real learning and human interaction.

I've been listening to this series. Very thought-provoking.

CNN.com - Publisher: 'Blog' No. 1 word of the year

It's my #1 word of the year too.