Saturday, February 25, 2006

JBoss is not Linux

There are an awful lot of people who don't understand how one can make money using open source products. It's usually just said the predominant business model is "services" and let it go at that. For those of you who don't know and who want to know, here is a one page, relatively dense, description of JBoss, a company who made enough of a success servicing their open source Java application server to become a desireable target for purchase by larger firms.

This really is worth a read. It's an opinion piece, to be sure, but packed with facts and opinion is clearly delineated from fact.


Explorer vulnerability posts copy text to web

IE users need to pay heed to this. Luckily, the fix is very easy. Anyone can manage it in a minute or two.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Browser News

The above link is to eWeek's notice that the SeaMonkey browser suite has been released in version 1.0. It contains a nice, concise summary of what SeaMonkey is and offers.

Here is eWeek's summary of the Maxthon browser, which is an IE derivative with some special features and which might be worth a look by those wedded to IE.


Einstein Listens!

See! Its on the internet, it MUST be true ;)

Where I created it. [Cause I can't lie to y'all]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Solid That's Light As Air

This is the coolest stuff!! I had first read about aerogel at BadAstonomyBlog, when the Stardust mission landed, January 15th.
From Wired:
Holding a piece of aerogel is an uncanny experience. It's so light it feels nearly weightless, like a chunk of solidified fog or smoke. It feels a bit like Styrofoam, and it squeaks when you rub your finger on it. It's strong enough to support many times its own weight if the load is distributed evenly. But bend it or squeeze it too hard, as one Wired News editor discovered, and a chunk of aerogel will shatter into tiny fragments.

The Bad Astronomer (Phil Plait) also remarked on how light it is.
At 3 milligrams/cc, aerogel is pretty thin stuff; water is over 300 times denser. A cubic meter of aerogel would only weigh 3 kilograms, less than, for example, my cat. A cubic meter of water weighs a ton, by the way.

He called it solid smoke. :)

Extremely kewl stuff.
Wired News: A Solid That's Light As Air

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Alex Barnett blog : OPML sampling

One of the nice things about sharing our OPML is the ability to sample feeds you've not tried before, but this can be hard work.

Example: Pete Cashmore and Chris Anderson (editor of Wired) have made their RSS feed subscriptions available for others to import / surf and sample. The idea is that there are some feeds I like to look of and then subscribe to these myself. In Chris' case, this is 150 separate feeds he's tracking. So for me to sample these properly it would take me at least an hour to go through each feed, find any relevant posts (to me) and then subscribe. You'd have to sample 450 of mine if you wanted to be thorough. 1,500 if Robert Scoble's. That's hard manual labour.

I find RSS fascinating, as a subset of this I have tried the OPML editor
The learning curve has been steep for me, but I'm more of a hardware geek,
not a software geek. Posting wasn't a problem for me, it was more formatting
of a "blogroll" or crude River of news, didn't work. There have been several
improvements lately that I've not had a chance to try, but look forward to
getting on the River of News bandwagon.
What is a River of news? Dave Winer explains it:
Sure sign that Rex uses a poorly designed RSS aggregator. It shouldn't make you feel guilty. You should have easy access to news, and stuff you missed while you were away is nothing more than stuff you missed. Let the news flow by you and relax like someone sitting on the bank of a river [Firefox attempts a connection, but one is not allowed here, not sure what's up, but in case you can get there, I definately wanted to post it.] looking for something interesting as you while away the time. That's how news works, and RSS is, emphatically, for news. Permanent link to this item in the archive.
My first project with the OPML editor was importing my RSS feed. Sage's
export function messes with the OPML file, in a way that makes it unimportable.
I worked around that (not sure how, its been many months), then I was dragging the
feeds to different categories. I then tried to put that in my blogroll, but it didn't
work. I see more and more adoption, which leads me to believe that it is easier, or
that perhaps there is somebody who would want to use this tool, or does and has tips
and tricks?? I look forward to the time I have more opportunity to "play" with it. :)


Another OPML guru (if I may) is Amyloo. She has an OPML blog, that is a lab to
experiment, and I enjoy observing her experiments. :)

Alex Barnett blog : OPML sampling

Intel Viiv is stupid and broken ?????

The link is to a Charlie Demerjian rant at The Inquirer. Rant is the right word, too.

It seems you are not going to be able to build an Intel "ViiV" platform on your own, though there are a huge number of components that say they are compatible and apparently a lot of folks are buying them with the expectation of building a machine to the "ViiV" specs. The reality is that to be ViiV compatible, you're going to have to buy an OEM machine. If you build, you will at best be in violation of the MS EULA and at worst won't be able to get the desired functionality.

More to come on this, I'm sure.


More on Apple Security

I refused to use the title TechNewsWorld had on this, which was "Apple Security Woes Deepen". That's not true. Someone wrote that to grab attention, not to transmit information.

There is simply another security concern regarding Apple's Mac OS X. The world is not falling in. Secunia has found some things in the OS and it's Safari browser that need attention, as they can be used to run malicious code. That's all.

Apple is drawing the attention of the crooks and the malware authors they employ to a much larger degree than before. Apparently, a small portion of their vaunted permission structure can be warped to no good. Linux and the other *nixes have had the same sort of thing in the past and no doubt will have them again. It's serious enough to warrant Apple getting after it quickly and I have no doubt they will. So rather than being alarmed, read this one for your own information. There is a larger picture shaping up, here, and all will become clearer as time goes on.


On Computers Server Downtime - Advanced Notice

I have been notified that our hosting center will be shutting down our server on Sunday, March 19, 2006 from Midnight CST to 6:00AM CST to perform some power upgrades.

Please be aware that during this time all services that are housed on this server will be unavailable during this time. This includes the chat server, the newsgroups, On Computers Show Archives, email, and web pages that are hosted on this server.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Microsoft gives glimpse of eight Vistas |

Eight plus 2 "N" versions without Media Player for the EU. So that actually makes ten. Perhaps they are aiming for a slot on David Letterman's Top 10 list -- all 10 slots that is.

MS says this is still "not definitive". But I say it is still confusing. Stay tuned for more -- versions that is.

The USB 2.0 power bug is back. (And it’s bigger than before.)

Jack talked about this on Sunday's show. This article gives some additional background.

The bug will ultimately have a fix, which Microsoft now says it is preparing.

That’s the good news. However, the bad news is that it appears to be a fairly widespread issue and, for some, unavoidable.

The issue comes down to the way Windows XP Service Pack 2-equipped notebook PCs react to the presence of USB 2.0 devices. With a one of the devices attached, the machines basically burn more power and thus, when switched to battery power, don’t run for the same length of time on a battery charge.

The cause is rooted in the intricate way in which USB 2.0 devices interact with ACPI, the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface power management software included with Microsoft’s Windows XP Service Pack 2, hardware testers who discovered the issue report.

What Will Apple Do When the Malware Comes?

The link above is to a Larry Seltzer opinion piece at

In it, he speculates that the Apple user community and indeed the company itself are ill-prepared to face an onslaught of malware, should one arise. The two pieces of malware discovered last week could be a passing hit and miss attack or the harbinger of things to come.

While it is true that the Mac OS X, along with Linux and all the other *nixes are much less prone to allow malicious software installations, it can happen and, as Seltzer notes, the Mac user community is ill-prepared to deal with it. Because the Mac user community feels so well protected, they may well be more easily "socially engineered" into running malicious code. I have a feeling that that speculation is about to be tested, as more and more malware appears for Macs (and other alternative operating systems).

Apple has traditionally not been very forthcoming on security issues and if they decide to maintain that silence, it is quite possible their users could be hung out to dry. Somehow, I don't think that will happen, but it is a possibility. I think that in the face of any real threat (meaning it has to be a lot worse than the two little examples of last week) Apple will step right up and inform their users so they can protect themselves.

There is anti-virus protection available for Macs (and the *nixes). I insist every machine on our network be equipped with it, regardless of operating system, if only to prevent infecting the Windows machines. (It just wouldn't look good if a client machine comes away from here infected with anything other than an inflated bill.)

All this is worth thinking about now, before the "stuff" hits the fan. I'll be getting a Mac soon, and running the Mac OS X on it (instead of Linux). I'll let you know how the anti-virus protection offerings from both proprietary outlets and ClamAV work on it.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Why did SCO depose Intel?

Jack talked about this on the show yesterday. We hadn't talked about SCO for a very long time, but it is getting interesting again.

The short story for those not reading along with PJ, Darl and the gang is this, SCO faced a discovery cutoff in late January, and by all accounts had little or no evidence as the curtains were being drawn. It was desperate for an extension to keep on fishing, or as some suggest, to keep the FUD cloud hanging over Linux. Either way, SCO wanted more time.

Touch Rubik's Cube

The Touch Rubik's Cube puts a new twist on the classic puzzle game. It uses six different materials: metal, wood, textile, stone, rubber, and plastic, engaging users to use their senses.

This is too kewl, and I couldn't help but think of Riley. Bet he has missed playing w/a rubik's cube :)


read more | digg story

Linux worm targets PHP flaw

Not much to this one. It's about like the recent Mac malware discoveries.

Back in the days of Red Hat 5.2 (my first Linux distro) Deepak and I would debate out loud how long it would take malware writers to target Linux and the Mac OS X. The general consensus was that it would not be too long. I believe it is starting to happen, years after we thought it would.

When there gets to be a considerable amount of malware for the alternative operating systems, we'll all get to make more of a "head-to-head" comparison of the security of those versus Windows. I wonder how that will come out? There's no telling, right now, though I will note we are a long ways from having a community of script kiddies salivating over the prospect of their own personal piece of badness infecting machines, as Windows has had for years, now.

Stay tuned.


Microsoft Is Upset Over Bounties Paid for Finding Flaws in Their Products

The link above is to a short article at The Inquirer.

It seems iDefense, a security firm, pays bounties to finders of major or "critical" flaws in lots of software, but the publicity is of course focused on Microsoft's offerings. You can net a neat $10k (USD) for one that gets a "critical" rating from Redmond. As a matter of fact; that figure was just raised in something of a price war for flaw finders.

I like the idea. So many times researchers who help keep us safe go unrewarded because they are not "professionals" and they deserve some reward. Ten grand seems a bit steep, but who am I to set the prices, right?

You can read more about it here, here, here, and here.


Dvorak in a straight jacket ;)

Courtesy of TwiT:

I love Leo crying lol
OT: I couldn't post the picture via the blogger button on my google toolbar, didn't that used to be there?
789.gif (GIF Image, 636x624 pixels)

Don't Forget About Opera

I'm just a bit disenchanted with FireFox, this week. It's a bit slow and jerky in it's latest incarnation. Not terribly noticeably in Windows, but very much so on the several Linux distributions I have running here.

Don't get me wrong, here. I'm not dumping FireFox, but I have been paying attention to and using Opera 8.5 on Windows lately and I'm very happy with it. Yeah, it doesn't have all the nifty extensions and the layout is ever so slightly counter-intuitive. But on Windows, it's a fine browser, since they quit putting ads up in the corner.

Opera on Linux is a bit problematic, depending very much on distribution used and tweaking skills of the user. Not my cup of tea, though I do keep trying it there. Linux has plenty of alternative browsers, so avoiding Opera there is easy.

But right now, for the kind of wholesale surfing I do when perusing all those news sites, Opera is my champion. FireFox will probably get right again with the next version, but for now, I'm avoiding the aggravation; minor as it may be.


OnComputers Radio show Podcast 02-19-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 02-19-06. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Ig® Nobel Prizes

Just for fun, I post the Ig® Nobel Prizes. Not new news, but there is another ceremony this October.
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

Improbable Research

Also: Podcast promo's potentially posted (I had to stop, I couldn't think of anymore "p" words lol).
In no particular order (nor any guarantee the promo was played):
The SG Show
Ask Leo
Mike Tech Show

Ig® Nobel Prizes