Hawk's Nest

Friday, February 25, 2005

Firefox fix plugs security holes | Tech News on ZDNet

Okay, version 1.01 of Firefox browser is out. Now if you use it, you'll be a lot safer. I'm going to wait to see how long it will take the browser to update itself with their auto-update mechanism.

Don't let me discourage you from updating, you need to at some point. Just be aware of all the issues. For instance, if you do download the manual update, you will have 2 Firefox listings in Add/Remove Programs in Windows and don't uninstall the original Firefox load after the upgrade as it will corrupt both of them. To do a clean install, unistall Firefox first and then install 1.01. And if your updated browser keeps crashing when you enter an address in the address bar, just delete components/autocomplete.xpt and see if that fixes it. Did I just say all that? This isn't ready for the average user.

Also, what is up with the amount of memory Firefox uses? It continues to crash my main home PC because of this. I'm really bothered by some of these functions which render the browser unstable.

I continue to have to use IE multiple time per day to access sites because of either ActiveX or format issues. And Firefox crashes just way too much for me. It's just a fact once you start using extensions. But Firefox without extensions is worthless!

Since we've heard IE 7 from Microsoft will include tabbed browsing, there is only one other essential feature if added to IE which will make me leave Firefox...Adblock. If IE 7 includes that feature or the extensibility allows such an add-on, I will abandon Firefox.

Why would you keep using it? (an answer which is "Because MS doesn't make it" isn't valid)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The State | 02/23/2005 | City approves plan to cover Columbia with wi-fi

Big news this afternoon here in Columbia, SC. Free internet access via a WiFi cloud downtown is moving ahead.

Young local artist awed by Christo encounter

I'm tired of hearing about these silly gates. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I certainly don't get the big deal. Thankfully, this site gives us some perspective.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

NarniaWeb - New Narnia Video Featurette

Start getting excited...only 290 days to go. Looks like the director is doing a great job recreating Lewis' world. Can't wait!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Linux fan concedes Microsoft is more secure - vnunet.com

More and more of these statements get lost in the anti-Microsoft press. It's my job to expose them to the public. Please indulge in the truth.

Wired News: Toys R Kids: High-Tech Playmates

Folks, too much electronics for youngsters isn't a good thing. I believe imagination suffers when things become so mechanized and scripted that young children are robbed of the opportunity to animate and create their world.

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan - The Blogs Must Be Crazy

There have been a lot of kudos in the blogging community for this article. If you haven't read it, you need to. Questions of mainstream media's power, journalistic training, ethics and editing are all up for grabs in the blogosphere. Ms. Noonan reduces some of this to freedom envy and predicts a major mainstream media defection to the blogosphere in the near future. Very well done analysis.

CNN.com - Relics of computer history on auction block - Feb 21, 2005

The past that got us to the present is on sale. Computer geeks meet historians.

G4 - Feature - Lego Star Wars Movie: The Phantom Menace

Play Star Wars as a Lego character. Does this really work? Perhaps. The story appears to parallel the original. Watch the video and see if you'd play.

Friday, February 18, 2005

TV's 'Numb3rs' combines math, crime solving - The Gamecock

I've sampled this show and like it a lot. It's very smart and as a lover of "numbers" myself, I like to see math in the forefront of a show like this. NPR recently did a piece on the show as well and the formulas shown during the episodes aren't far from the real thing. Care to check it out, Friday nights at 10pm

The State | 02/18/2005 | Quake shakes parts of Columbia

Never experienced one of these here in SC. I was asking the kids why they were jumping around so much to shake the house. (It didn't make sense) They said it was the wind. Now we know better.

**Update 2-18-05 6:12pm
Visit the USGS website to see their recording of the quake and if you felt it, fill out their survey to help determine the extent of the quake. [updated links thanks to anonymous comment 2-19-05 7:06pm]

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

TrekWeb.com - J. Michael Straczynski Wants to do New STAR TREK Series

Babylon 5 is one of my all time favorite TV series. Now to see the creator/writer for this character rich show fully express his interest in Star Trek is tremendous. I can only imagine where it would go under his creative hand. I fully support this when the timing is right and the politics are gone. Trekkers, be ready!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

RSA: Gates promises free anti-spyware, new version of IE

This is all over blogdom so I have to point it out here as well. The MS Anti-spyware will be free for personal use! This is great news for all the web, consultants and users generally frustrated with going online. Now a reliable product with high visibility will be available to protect people from the thoughtless scum perpetrating this stuff.

There's been great software out there like AdAware and Spybot, but none as effective as what Microsoft will now provide free. Nothing catches it all but way to go MS in providing the best available so far!

Regarding the announcement of IE 7, it must have:
*Tabs!!! Save them, organize them, work with them
*Extensibility like Firefox's extensions

Encourage these features in the next product and some of us are sure to come back...especially if Firefox keeps crashing (more on this later)

It seemed appropriate with the Novell announcements in the last few days that Microsoft would weigh in on the game. My Outlook Junk E-mail filter did the talking. Posted by Hello

Security Pipeline | Customer Sues Bank Of America For Computer Viruses [via Wagner's Weblog]

If customers could sue successfully online banking companies for the customer's own negligence, we're all in trouble. This goes back to my recent proposition that "The burden is on the PC users who need to familiarize themselves with the tools to keep themselves safe just as they would in any other enterprise of life."

Microsoft is not responsible for a user's security problems and neither is a vendor the user does business with. If you haven't protected yourself, no third party is responsible to protect you from yourself.

If a third party breaches your security, say a site harvests your private information due to the site's poor security practices, that is a different story. But remember, in a court of law, it has to be proven.

ars technica:On death and dying: reconciling yourself to hard drive failure

If you've used computers long enough, PC or Mac, you've probably run up against this one. It is truly an emotional experience.

Monday, February 14, 2005

In the spirit of Google (thanks Inside Google), ReplayTV celebrates Valentine's Day by changing it's icons...how cute! Posted by Hello

Friday, February 11, 2005

Boing Boing: 5-star underwater hotel coming to Bahamas

Now this would be awesome! Once in a lifetime...very, very cool factor! Direct Link

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Google Reveals Its Product Formula [via Slashdot]

I've been wondering how Google makes these decisions about where to invest their innovation and resources. Here is a little peek into how they decide.

Get Lost...

Well, I must admit...that's what I told my friends to do. And they have with a vengeance. We're analyzing, counter-analyzing and sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for our weekly fix, like Charlie (watch the show to understand). Part soap opera, part X-files, part Twin Peaks, and part Jurassic Park. It makes for an intriguing tale of castaways. Now I am (and my friends) a Lostaway...

PS...play the game?? Posted by Hello

Myst V is coming!!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mapping Google

Google Maps is just another feather in their cap. Thanks to Slashdot's pick-up, the above link describes how they're doing it.

If you haven't tried it, give it a whirl. In my circles, it receives nothing but praise. I have to agree. The clean and easy interface, the readable fonts and quick access make it a substantial coup in the mapping world.

Google innovation, leading the way!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Boing Boing: Mozilla and Firefox patch fixes exploit, 12 hours later

I'm happy to see this patched so quickly but why is the update feature in Firefox not detecting an available update? I'm assuming since it knows about Firefox extension updates, it knows about core application updates. Maybe they are waiting to post, especially since their may be 3 more fixes on the horizon. Could there be a monthly Firefox patch day in our future?

Computerate Chatter: Microsoft Antivirus - Sybari Purchase Will Help Secure Microsoft Shops ...

Computerate Chatter was one of the first sites in the blogosphere to report this purchase and has been doing a good job updating us on developments throughout the day on this. This purchase is seen as a direct threat to major vendors like McAfee and Symantec. Symantec has even gotten into the act, suggesting the purchase is incomplete to provide a viable product. How does this fit with earlier security acquisitions? This purchase is about the server side of things and it sounds to me like Symantec Mail Security for Exchange may be an endangered species.

Georgia schools say Apple's peachy | CNET News.com

I always wince when I hear that some educational institution has drunk the Apple Koolaid and bought into a pipe dream. Using Mac's in educational establishments in our day just doesn't make sense. The real world is a world belonging to the PC and Windows OS. Crippling children by making their computing experience Apple-centric is the wrong way to go. Why not choose Linux which has a bigger market share? In this specific case, I found it interesting that the individual hired as CIO for Cobb County schools is from the Maine Apple project. The new CIO is also credentialed with a B.A. in Elementary Ed. and an M.A. in Education. I know communication is looked at as the key skill for CIOs but when I see these kinds of decisions being allowed to progress, I question the minimization of technical understanding in the role of a CIO. (Please note Phil Windley, former CIO of the State of Utah, alludes to this by noting both CTOs and CIOs need to be technologists though a CIOs role emphasizes management and "the bottom line")

Monday, February 07, 2005

BlogBinders.com (Turn your blog into reality.)

Keep your blog for posterity...

Why Does Windows Still Suck? / Why do PC users put up with so many viruses and worms? Why isn't everyone on a Mac?

Okay, this will get you going in the morning. It's received a lot of attention in the blogosphere this weekend and thanks to Robert Scoble who's pointed to several responses:

**Ryan Rinaldi
Please note Ryan's debunking of the car analogy. Very important distinctions.
**Slashdot comment
**Ars Technica

My 2 cents:

Mark, the author of the article, continues to suffer from a misunderstanding of what Microsoft is doing and what Apple is doing. Microsoft is bringing the PC and its operating system to the common individual. They are providing it to a variety of hardware platforms, not locking a user in to specific hardware. People who buy a PC can do so because it's cheap (Apple thinks the Mini-Mac will change this, we'll see) and it meets their needs. Because of this mass appeal, the range of technical ability varies greatly. I would go so far as to say Microsoft has a majority of uneducated users (in the technical sense). This single fact presents unique challenges to Microsoft which Apple has never had. PC users are more gullible because of their demographic and they certainly don't understand security. Most security problems have to do with social engineering and PC users are the most vulnerable to these attacks. Microsoft has provided methods to keep safe on the Internet when flaws are found in the operating system or its included components. Microsoft can't provide the complete range of tools to keep a user safe on the Internet because of monopoly concerns. Third parties are required to mitigate these threats. The burden is on the PC users who need to familiarize themselves with the tools to keep themselves safe just as they would in any other enterprise of life.

Apple, on the other hand, is a fairly elitist operating system. When you buy one, Apple made the hardware and the operating system. Apple users are generally more highly educated and a very small percentage of computer users. They are a tiny target with greater ability to understand the risks online use might bring. If I were a virus/spyware/malware writer, why would I target this group? It would be a waste of time.

I submit the world would be different if Apple released an operating system which you could load on any hardware. The social engineering and ignorance of the average user would become their achilles' heel. But the reality is, they can't do it. They can't rise to the challenge which Microsoft has undertaken and so successfully achieved. So Mac users like Mark need to wake up and smell the coffee. This isn't the dream world of unchallenged Macintosh but the real world of Microsoft whose operating system continues to solid solution for operating a computer, despite its users.

Which SciFi Character Are You?

Here's who I am...
Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rock On, Rock ON : The Bill Dan Gallery

Check out the magic rock guy...

Friday, February 04, 2005

George Ou-Is the fear of the monoculture genuine? - ZDNet.com

Since we are a "monoculture" where I work, I take note when the critics are criticized. George does a great job with this piece and references another good one here.

I'll join the giveaway party...want a Gmail account? It seems Google is suddenly giving tons of accounts away. If you want one, just send an e-mail to the Hawk's Nest blog address on the right or post a comment to this story with where to send it. Posted by Hello

The New York Times: New Incentive for Google Employees: Awards Worth Millions

I explored Google's success earlier this week. Now comes word that employees are offered incentives which have amazing value. If a company project receives the Founders Award, given each quarter, the team could be rewarded with stock worth millions. I can see the scrambling to be on those project teams now.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

TrekToday - UPN Cancels 'Star Trek: Enterprise'

The End of An Era...this deserves a really long post. For the first time since I was 21 (nearly 18 years ago), Star Trek will no longer be on TV as an original series with new episodes. Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and now Enterprise. I've loved them all and I hate to see it come to an end. It's been a tradition for almost half of my life. Now it's over.

No real surprise since UPN, the network which ran the series, can't get their act together. Come on, put it on Fridays opposite SciFi's strongest night? Create a network of sitcoms and trash shows with Star Trek as the only standout? The poor decisions are too numerous to mention.

Here is Rick Berman's take...he's the Gene Roddenberry of our day and responsible for most of the 18 years of Trek.

No letdown from Google - Feb. 1, 2005

Wow, what a story! I have to strongly disagree with Paul Thurrott's statement about Google yesterday. In his news item yesterday, he states "Finally, Google itself is highly overrated. The company values its strange home-brew server farms and offers silly employee perks such as Segways for use at work; a viable contender could easily show the company that the Emperor has no clothes." Well, the proof several hours later doesn't bear this out. Several criticsms should be lodged at Paul for making this claim.

First, Google is about search with many innovative augmentations to this core business. Their technology announcements and offerings are making other companies evolve their services...MSN Search being a great example. How they accomplish this technologically is not an Achilles' heel so it's fruitless to criticize as Paul has done in disparaging their server farm.

Second, attempts at marginalizing Google for their employee perks is "silly". They are hiring world-class talent and everyone better take note. Who cares about their perks!

Third, the use of "the Emperor has no clothes" is ridiculous. In that story, the Emporer was naked and had no idea he was in that state. I can't conceive of how anyone could believe Google is walking around without anything on, implying that what they have to offer is a mere fiction. Get real! They transformed the web and they will continue to innovate in way Microsoft has forgotten how to.

All in all, Google has followed the steps to success for a company that only a few years ago was a research paper.

Paul, I love what you have to say most of the time, but you're wrong on this one.

Extroverts more likely to open virus laden e-mail attachments

I guess, statistically, I'm more secure...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Washingtonpost.com: Why Johnny Won't Read

This is a fascinating article on multiple levels. Recovering the desire to read will be key to any educational reform attempted in the coming decades. I don't hold out much hope, however, as a variety of visual mediums like television, video games and the Internet continue to consume the next generation's leisure time, producing ignorance from the inability to interact with ideas thoughtfully.