Monday, March 31, 2008

Gadget Digest I

I read many gadget news and reviews every day (heck, just subscribe to the Engdget RSS feed, and you'd get 12 new ones every hour). But rarely do I see one that looks interesting or useful enough for me to actually consider buying or recommending it. Some of those I've reviewed before (read the P2 and the Flip reviews)

Here's a list I collected over the last couple of months. If it's received well, I may run similar lists in the future.
  1. Look back to look forward - I find the DS 400GB GPS-within-a-rear view-mirror quite interesting and useful. First, you no longer need to find a place for your GPS console anymore (and the law in California does not allow you to attach it to the front window, for some reason). Second, we all lift our heads to the rear view mirror regularly, so putting a GPS screen there is a brilliant idea.

    This GPS console also supports Bluetooth, an SD card and if you have a rear view camera (like the one that comes standard with the Prius), it can display its image.

  2. Too lazy to bend over - if you have a power strip on the floor and you need to disconnect a device, this new power strip design, called Eject Powerstrip will help you do it without bending over, or tearing cables:
    This gadget competed in the Greener Gadgets competition. Read more about it here.

  3. Smart bluetooth headset - the Bluetrek Bizz will hold for 7 hours talking/10 days standby, can be charged through USB and can be used as a USB memory stick of up to 8Gb (using a miniSD card).

    Here's the site.

  4. Plug it - if you, like me have a mess of USB cables in your bag, (Blackberry, MP3 player, hard disk etc.), you will appreciate the PlugIt USB cable. Small, folding, and can hang from your keychain. $12, with various connectors that fit any phone or device.

    Check it out here (and try to ignore the web site's horrible design).

  5. Electrifying games - for the final gadget, you have to be a masochist. The Mindwire V5 will allow you to attach electrodes to your body and your game console's controller, and will "reward" you with an electric shock whenever you hit something, or "die" on the screen - just to add another involvement dimension to your game.
    Read more about it here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Download This! - Crap Cleaner

One of the first utilities I install on a new OS is CCleaner (Crap Cleaner). This software will clean any temp files, log files, or history left behind by a myriad of applications (more added with each version) freeing a lot of space in the process.

CCleaner can be launched by right-clicking the trash can icon (if you so choose). It can either analyze all your drives and system folders - telling you how much stuff will be removed, and giving you a full file list. Or, you can trust the software to go on its own and clean.

An exceptions list allows you to save files you may want to keep (such as cookie files, saving you from logging in to certain sites, or certain log files). It takes care of both IE and FF nicely and you will be surprised with the amount of space you save after every run.

I also love the clear UI that is typical to all of Piriform's applications.

My recommendation: if the amount of files removed exceeds 500Mb, defrag the drive after the cleanup process, to improve operations.

Get it here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Vote Counts!

I just can't believe this coincidence!
Yesterday, I blogged about Google urging it's shareholders to vote against 2 resolutions that will make it harder for them to cooperate with despotic regimes (see Technological Digest XII) and today I get a letter from my broker, reminding me to render my votes for the upcoming Google Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

I completely forgot I get to vote on this subject. Granted, I may not have a lot of stocks or impact, but I can do my best to make this world slightly better, and help Google remember that its motto is "Do No Evil".

If anyone in my audience holds any Google shares from before 3/11/08, please vote "For" on resolution 4 (prevent internet censorship) and "For" on resolution 5 (create a committee to deal with human rights violations).

You can render those votes over a web site or phone, but I think this is interesting and important enough to attend the meeting in person. Also, Googleplex is just across Hwy 101 from me :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Technological Digest XII

Long time no post (I was on a short vacation - more in the next post). Many things happened since my last digest - let's review some of them:
  1. One of the nastiest online scams I've ever heard of: someone posted an ad on Craigslist, offering the entire contents of his house for free. The scam? it wasn't his house. By the time the poor owner returned home, he was just in time to catch the last people leaving with his stuff. The mind boggling thing here, is that people refused to give him his stuff back because "it was said on the internet that it's free". I hope some of those bastards will see the inside of a prison cell - for free, of course. Read more about it in this article.

  2. Do you know all this crap software you have on a new computer, that basically drives you to re-install the OS from scratch, just to get rid of all those 3rd grade "trial", "shareware" and "limited edition" applications?

    Sony decided that they can make money out of it. Beginning last week they are offering a service called "Fresh Start". For $50, you can get your new (already expensive) computer with a fresh OS installation. Why do I have to pay to get my machine de-crapified? Why not the opposite? Sell it blank and charge the poor shmos who can't download crappy software on their own.

    Apparently, the economy of the situation is this: Sony and other computer makers (yes Dell, I'm talking about you) get paid quite a lot by all those software companies to pre-install all this crapware on a new machine. So you didn't want to go online and download the latest Norton AntiSomething Limited Edition? Guess what? You're stuck with it now, and uninstalling it is impossible.

    So, although you're paying a hefty sum for that new laptop, those companies try to make an extra with the software they install on the image. Want it clean? You have to reimburse Sony for their loss of revenue. Or spend some time and reinstall the OS.

    Update: it looks like Sony got so much "good publicity" on the internet for charging for this "feature", that they've decided to drop the $50 price. Power to the people!

  3. It seems like Drive Encryption schemes (like Microsoft's BitLocker - available in Windows Vista and 2008), are no match to human ingenuity.

    Recap: a drive encryption security scheme encrypts the entire volume, and only allows access to it to a logged in user. When the user logs out, the drive remains encrypted.

    But 2 methods propose a way around the scheme. Mind you, these are not encryption cracking methods - the encryption algorithm (AES in the case of BitLocker) is quite secure. But since the key is retained in memory while the user is logged in, it can be accessed. On method proposes booting an alternate OS from a USB drive and accessing the disk.

    The more exotic method, suggests with freezing your RAM, yanking out the DIMM (apparently, if the DIMM is at a freezing temperature, it retains its content), making a full copy of its contents (including the encryption key), and returning the DIMM back before the original user notices. Scary. People, don't leave your laptop alone.

  4. While most of the world is appalled by the atrocities committed by the Chinese regime in Tibet (and in general), Google is advising it's shareholders to vote against motions that will prevent it from serving personal surfing data to that (and other democracy loving) regimes, or cooperating with censorship demands.

    My opinion? I'm just wondering if a similar board meeting took place at IBM in 1939, when they found out what their computers are really used for in Nazi Germany. You can read more here.
    All I can wish for is that one day one of those C-types be stuck in China, and thrown into custody for searching for the wrong term on the web.

    BTW, lest it be interpreted that I'm a Google basher, Yahoo and Microsoft probably have the same scenes playing. Yahoo in particular, likes handing people over to the Chinese government.

  5. If you are using Apple iTunes, you are probably used to seeing new versions of it and QuickTime (Apple's multimedia solution) pushed to you through the Apple Software Update application.

    Last week, Apple started pushing it's Safari 3 browser as well (optional download).
    I played with Safari in the past and ran into some issues. It crashed several times, it fails to display certain sites correctly and on the whole, I prefer Firefox. But this shows Apple is trying to push its way into the PC world, and not just as a platform for its iPod line.

    In the meantime, until that browser becomes more mature, I suggest un-checking it in Software Update.

  6. I started using the eBay Desktop AIR application. It's much easier and nicer to use than the eBay website. And then I made the mistake of reading the Privacy Policy:

    INFORMATION SHARING. We may share the anonymous information we collect with our third-party service providers, who provide us, under contract, with internal services and assist with business operations.

    SECURITY. We use lots of tools to protect your personal information against unauthorized access and disclosure, but we do not promise, and you should not expect, that your personal information or private communications will always remain private.
    Yes, I should not expect my information to always remain private, and maybe they should not expect me to always play by their rules? Several things come to mind here, but I'll try to keep this civil: BASTARDS. I just hope someone will nail them in court for this.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Short Update

Just because updates of previous articles don't come up on the RSS feed, doesn't mean you can't revisit them.
Here are some of the latest updates from recent weeks:
  1. RFID on American Express card can be hacked using an $8 piece of equipment off eBay.
    Read more in the update to I've Been Turned Blue By American Express.

  2. The 12th peeve was added to the Travel Pet Peeves list.
    I didn't know there were so many annoying things around me...

  3. Vista SP1 RTM is finally out. Read my impression of it in Vista SP1 Test Drive.
Feel free to leave comments - they'll always come up on the comments feed on the right - it takes into account the date of the comment, not of the original article.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Indistinguishable from Magic

I Just heard that Arthur C. Clarke, the famous sci-fi author, passed away today, at the age of 90.

To me, and many others, he was a true visionary. The technology in his books always seemed tangible. Most of what he predicted came to be (most noticeably, the satellite and advances in computer science and A.I.). But most of all, his books dealt with humans: how small, yet wonderful they are and how do they cope with experiences far bigger than themselves.

I will never forget the book and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first time a computer (HAL) developed a personality. Also recommended is Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood's End.
Along the way he inspired other artists (Kubrik on film, Mike Oldfield, who wrote a full album - The Songs of Distant Earth - inspired by a novel of the same name).

Yes, the last part of his life was surrounded with controversy, but on the whole, the world was a much better place with Clarke in it. I shall miss him. Here's a link to the NY Times obituary.

The title of this post comes from Clarke's famous quote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (or: try explaining a light bulb to a caveman).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Watch Out for Avis' Fuel Charge

I've been renting cars from Avis for years now, on an almost weekly basis, and have never seen something like this before.

Beginning last September, Avis started charging $10.5 from anyone who drives less than 75 miles.
That is, if you drive a short distance, you don’t have to refuel your car before returning it.

However, as I found out today, if you do refuel it (as I almost always do), THEY STILL CHARGE the $10.5, unless you specifically walk into the office, ask back for it and present a refueling receipt!

This arrangement is NOT optional - you "get it for free" with every rental. You are not warned about it verbally. And although an Avis attendant marks your car's fuel level when you return it, and sees that it's full - he won't alert you to the fact you're being double-charged.

When I asked about it, I was told there’s a sticker on my contract explaining the situation:

So yes, it's my fault for never reading my contract and my stickers. Now I'm afraid of what else I would find in there if I do.

But I wonder how many people like me refuel the car, return it, pick up their bill, never bothering to read they were charged again for the fuel. And how much money is Avis making from this misinformation?

So learn from my mistake: if you refuel the car, save the receipt and ask for your money back.
If you drive less than 75 miles and don’t feel like refueling – return it as is.

Avis - we try harder® to separate you from your money. evil

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Which is the Worst Airport in the US?

I wrote about airport delays before, in which I've had a list of the 3 busiest airports in the US (Atlanta, Chicago, L.A.). Turns out, these are not the worst airports.

A recent Wired article rates 32 airports from good (Oakland?) to worst (Newark) based on average delay times, and your chance of being delayed coming to or leaving the airport.

I was a bit surprised reading that list (not surprised about EWR - I always felt it was a crappy airport), but LAX gets quite a good mark, and the order of crappiness changed a bit (LAX 5th, ATL 22nd, ORD 31st).

Wired also has a PDF file to summarize the list.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Download This! - Deep Zoom Composer

One of the most exciting features in SilverLight 2 is the Deep Zoom feature (read more about it and see a sample here).

Microsoft just released Deep Zoom Composer beta (codename "Seadragon") to allow you to turn your image galleries into deep zoom projects.


It requires .Net FW 3.5 (can be downloaded here) to run and the UI is simple and clear.
I tried it and it works - but as you know, I'm far from artistic, so don't take my word for it smile.

Download it here and the user guide here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Trip to Greenwich - It's About Time

When I recommended Dava Sobel's book Longitude (read Unrecognized Genius), I promised that next time I'm in the London area, I'll go and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, where most of the story takes place and where Harrison's clocks measure the time to this very day.

Getting to Greenwich is an easy and cheap experience: go to Charing Cross tube stop, take the South East rail to Greenwich (3.2 GBP off peak = $6.5, 3 stops or about 17 minutes). At Greenwich, you have 700 meters to walk, or a bus to take if it's too much for you. The Observatory is on a steep hill (accurately described in the book, for all the troubles it has caused) right behind the Maritime Museum. Both the museum and the Observatory visits are free of charge.

The National Maritime Museum contains all things you may wish to know about sea voyage, warfare and research - as befitting an island nation that depends on seafaring to survive.
I liked the explorer tales, the uniforms and paraphernalia of navy officers, and the computerized re-enactment of Nelson's victory in Trafalgar.

When you leave the museum (allow for 2 hours at least, if you're into it), a path will lead you up the hill to the Royal Observatory.

The first Astronomer Royal was John Flamsteed, who had the position created for him. He also got a house (designed by Christopher Wren, the architect who designed St. Paul's Cathedral) and a lifelong stipend. The house still stands, and was turned into a museum.

In the observatory itself, you can participate in interactive activities designed to teach you about the universe (the one I liked is where 3 people have to cooperate to create a space craft).

Leaving the observatory, you walk around the house and pass through a yard with a line on the floor - this is the Prime Meridian (Longitude 0, GMT 0). You can literally stand with one foot in the western hemisphere and the other in the eastern hemisphere.

At night, the Meridian line is marked by a laser beam - would be interesting to see it sometime.

From there, continue to Flamsteed's house, to see the clocks. I saw 3 of Harrison's time keepers - H1, H2 and H3. H4 is kept in another museum, but you can see a copy of it, called the K1 (read all about them in the book).

H1
The clocks themselves are amazing. The mechanics are more art than technology. And 300 years later, they still show the right time.

H2
Other than the clocks and the history of time keeping, you can read and learn about the great disaster (3 ships ran aground, 1500 men died) that started the Longitude Challenge that got Harrison to build his clocks.

H3

All in all, a great day, that ended with a great meal at the Chinese noodle place across the street and a short trip back to the hotel in London.

You can see all the pictures I took here. And do yourself a favor, read the book!

There is an "I" in Advertisement

While completing my Greenwich post (soon, soon...) I got this email from Samsung, trying to get me to subscribe to their online music service. Guess which other online store they're making fun of?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

London

I love London. I've spent a huge chunk of my life here during 2005-6. In my opinion, it's the easiest major city to get around in.

I started my journey with a direct BA flight from San Francisco to Heathrow.
If you pay a little extra (or use your BA miles) and upgrade to Economy Plus, the flight is amazing. The seats are comfortable, leg space is greater, a power port in every seat and the entertainment system has the latest releases (mine had "No Country for Old Men", "There Will be Blood" and other recent releases - compare to B-grade "comedies" I got stuck with on Continental flights).

In short - well worth the price. I hardly felt the 10 hours go by. Plus, where else on Earth will a stewardess call you "Love"? razz
About the only bad point about them is their less-than-stellar frequent flyer plan, with crazy tier demands, extensive blackouts and very easy to fall from grace with.

Anyway, I had a busy schedule and a major jet lag throughout my visit, but still managed to squeeze in some walkabouts. If you are pressed for time, and even if not, I recommend taking a London Walks walking tour. For 6 GBP, you get 2-3 hours with a knowledgeable and entertaining person. Usually s/he is an actor, or a comedian, but one was a lawyer (solicitor in British). They'll meet you at a Tube stop (Underground in English) and take you around a neighborhood or an area, pointing out things you'd usually miss.

I recommend the Spies' and Spycatchers' London and the various nightly pub walks (even if you don't drink). And if you have a Saturday/Sunday off try one of the Xplorer days.

I especially like the Holborn area. Nice book and music stores, theaters and great atmosphere.
I usually get off at the Tottenham Court Road stop and walk to Holborn.

My quaint recommendation would be an umbrella store (not kidding) on High Holborn, where I disappointed the proprietor by buying a 20 GBP ($42) collapsible model, rather than the more expensive and robust models he has demonstrated.

All in all, I lucked out and got a nice sunny week (which every Londoner would tell you is as rare as a 3 Pound coin). I'm missing it already.

I'll describe my short hop to Greenwich in the next post.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I See No Sense in AdSense

I've decided to take the AdSense ads off my blog. I've been considering this move for months now, but inertia (Ok, laziness smile) just kept them there.
There are several reasons I'd like to see those pesky ads go away:
  1. Content - I can not control the ads content to my satisfaction. Several inappropriate ads appeared on the blog, at odd times.
    The latest of those was so out of character with this blog and my personal beliefs, that it prompted an email from one of my readers.

    To make it clear, you can filter those ads out: you then have to log in to your AdSense account and manually filter them out by URL or type.
    The problem is type filtering doesn't seem to work: you try to get rid of religion-based advertising, and you end up with an ad for bible software (classified under "Software").

  2. Time - Loading times are horrible. To be sure, the opening page of this site takes quite some time to load. Blogger sites are notorious for their load times.
    Add to that the Amazon recommendations widget (that seems to run slower and slower every time - what's up with that Amazon?), the several script renderings (the calendar for example) and the images, loaded from yet another Google server. If I drop the ads (served off yet another Google server), I hope to shave a couple of seconds over all.

  3. Revenue - After 6 months, and 60,000 eyeballs, I've earned $14.52. Almost enough to renew my domain address for another year.
    Yes, I haven't followed the tips to maximize my exposure type/rate. And I haven't followed the SEO maximization rules. I haven't tinkered a lot with my account.
    You have to pump your site, improve its ranking, adjust the ads... you know what? I'm not interested in doing it.

    My blog was not meant to generate revenue for me - I have that angle covered by my day job. I hoped to get some free money, along the way of fulfilling my writing needs. Guess what, apparently you can't get something out of nothing.

  4. Hassle - Along the way I ran into all kinds of hassles, including emails from Google, threatening to close my AdSense account if I won't take my (what I thought) funny title off my page (a reminder, it read "be a mensch, click an ad :)"). Frankly, I don't need this.

So, until someone else comes up with a different ads revenue model that works (and there are several initiatives in the work right now, driven in no small part by Microsoft), I'm off AdSense.

I've left the Amazon widget in place (despite its load time issue) because it's part of my recommendations feature.

Every time I recommend a book, I want you, the reader, to be able to click a button and get it. This is not a revenue decision (Amazon now owes me about $10 smile), it's more about convenience. You are always free to buy the book elsewhere, if you liked my recommendation (in fact, if you haven't read Freakonomics yet, stop wasting your time here and go get it).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Silverlight 2 Beta 1 Available

The beta of the second version of Silverlight is out. Get it here.

Apparently, even Adobe (makers of Flash - the largest competing technology) employees are impressed with some of the new features (here's Ryan Stewart's blog post).

One of the features Ryan mentions is "deep zooming". To see a sample of this in action, install the plugin and go to this Hard Rock Cafe page.

Also available are the SDK, VS 2008 tools and a set of source code and unit tests for Silverlight developers.

Southwest - The Reply

While Southwest airlines declined to comment on the CNN article describing its myriad of safety violations (read previous post), they just (3/7/08 4:30pm PST) sent their reply over email to me, and one assumes - all other registered passengers.

I'll bring it here in its entirety, although it looks like the standard corporate BS to me, and I don't see the wisdom of sending thousands of emails, as opposed to one company statement to CNN.

I especially don't trust their assurance that this was "not a safety of flight issue". A-ha. 47 cracked fuselages. Non-inspected planes. I guess this is an entertainment issue. Whatever. Read the following as an exercise in Corporate Hogwash 101:
Dear Rapid Rewards Member:

Southwest Airlines: We take Safety Seriously
You may have heard that Southwest Airlines was fined by the FAA regarding recent aircraft inspections. First and foremost, we want to assure you this was never and is not a safety of flight issue.

From our inception, Southwest Airlines has maintained a rigorous Culture of Safety—and has maintained that same dedication for more than 37 years. It is and always has been our number one priority to ensure the Safety of every Southwest Customer and Employee. “We’ve got a 37-year history of very safe operations, one of the safest operations in the world, and we’re safer today than we’ve ever been,” said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.

Receipt of the FAA letter of penalty gives us the chance to present the facts which we feel will support our actions taken in March 2007. The FAA penalty is related to one of many routine inspections on our aircraft fleet involving an extremely small area in one of the many overlapping inspections. These inspections were designed to detect early signs of skin cracking.

Southwest Airlines discovered the missed inspection area, disclosed it to the FAA, and promptly reinspected all potentially affected aircraft in March 2007. The FAA approved our actions and considered the matter closed as of April 2007.

The Boeing Company has stated its support of Southwest's aggressive compliance plan. Southwest acted responsibly and the safety of the fleet was not compromised, Boeing said.

Former National Transportation Safety Board Inspector-in-Charge Greg Feith said after a review of the available data and information that it’s apparent that there was no risk to the flying public in March 2007 while Southwest Airlines performed their program to re-inspect the small area of aircraft fuselages identified.

Southwest consistently maintains a Leadership role in developing maintenance programs for the Boeing 737 aircraft.

As always, we commit to keeping you informed.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Southwest - Lucky to be Alive?

About a month back, I wrote a post about Southwest Airlines and it's refreshing attitude towards carrying people from point A to point B (see Singing All the Way).

Now, a CNN article exposes that over the last 30 months, Southwest flew at least 117 planes that are in violation of the FAA's mandatory safety checks. Specifically, Southwest uses the Boeing 737 exclusively - a plane involved in 2 fatal accidents in the US over the last couple of years.

What can I say? The article frightened me a bit. I wonder if over the last 8 flights I flew with them, I was on one of those planes (47 of which actually have cracks in the fuselage)?
Perhaps song and dance is all they have to offer?

Here are the story's highlights, if you don't have time to read the entire article:
  • Documents show Southwest flew thousands of passengers on "unsafe" flights
  • Southwest declines comment for this report
  • House panel chair says it's "one of the worst safety violations" he's ever seen
  • Documents: 47 jets kept flying after missing inspections for cracks in fuselage

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Technological Digest XI

  1. The Coming Death Of Indian Outsourcing - in a Forbes article, carrying this ominous title, Sramana Mitra predicts that due to rising salaries and costs in India will drop further (it already dropped from 1:6 to 1:3), to a point that by 2015 it won't be worth the effort. I already have customers who started outsourcing to China and the Philippines. What's next?

  2. Fresh Air - as you must have heard by now, last week Adobe launched Air - a web/desktop development environment. Along with the open source Flex 3, it provides an infrastructure to develop both web and standalone applications.

    It will directly compete with efforts like Microsoft's Silverlight, Mozilla's Prism, Google's Gears and a Sun effort called JavaFX (although, when was the last time you saw a Java applet on a web page? And I don't mean horrible legacy applications like Cocnur).

    If Adobe would be smart enough to keep all development tools and IDEs free, like Microsoft's Express studios, they may get every Flash/Flex developer on board easily.
    Read some more about it in this NY Times article.

  3. Do Gamers Enjoy Dying? (virtually, of course) - this article describes a psychological research, conducted amongst FPS (First Person Shooter) gamers. In this case, people were playing James Bond Nightfire (cool game, IMHO) while their facial expressions were recorded and measured.
    The research claims that people felt relief when their digital self was shot - a sort of unburdening feeling.
    I don't know what they're talking about and who were the research candidates. Probably it was conducted amongst pacifist psych majors.
    Every time I die in a game (currently, Call of Duty 4 - best game of 2007), I curse in 4 different languages and set out to kill my killers twisted.

  4. Miyahoo - according to this eye-opening NY Times article by Randall Stross, Microsoft should pursue SAP and not Yahoo, if it is to survive Google and the coming market changes (thanks to Yaniv for sending the link).

    Meanwhile, an internal Microsoft email is trying to convince employees that pursuing Google is the right move.

  5. IPv4 Running Out of Time - IPv6 is an initiative that was launched by the IETF, in an effort to prepare for the day that IP addresses run out. About a month back, it was announced that IPv6 is now supported on main internet routers.

    An IP is the Internet Protocol address, allowing your computer or domain to be connected to the internet (to find out your IP address, open a command window and type IPCONFIG).

    The address scheme we use today (known as IPv4) will be able to coexist with IPv6 for a transition period, but eventually will have to be dropped. This article claims that IPv4 will run out of addresses as soon as 2010.

    IPv6 supported by almost every Microsoft operating system out there (needs a download for XP and 2003, comes built into Vista and 2008 read more here), Mac's Leopard, and Ubuntu.

    But it will require a lot of effort from organizations and a lot of new equipment (routers, firewalls, switches) to support IPv6 addresses. This may be another Y2K issue lurking in the shadows (think about every IP field in every database and every piece of IP authentication code...). Good time to be a consultant smile.

    Read more about IPv6 on the official site.

  6. Online Intrusions Going Up - banks and financial institutions in the US report an increase in damages caused directly by online intrusions, according to this Washington Post article.
    Pretty soon it won't be worth it to actually rob a bank - just sit at home and break their online defenses.

  7. What Would Warren Buffet do? - a bunch of MBA students, from leading colleges, participate in a raffle once a year. The prize? Fly to Omaha, Nebraska and spend some time asking Warren Buffet, the financial wizard, any question they want.

    This year, a student from Atlanta's Emory college called Dang Le, summarized the conversation in his blog. Since publishing this post, it received plenty of attention (Digg, Redit etc.)

    I read through it in one seating - the man makes a lot of sense and every answer is full of experience and knowledge. I wish I could ask him some questions too - but I can't afford to pay $250,ooo to have lunch with him.

    Here's just one quote from this fascinating post. When asked how does he define hapiness, Buffet answered:
    Buffett: I enjoy what I do, I tap dance to work every day. I work with people I love, doing what I love. The only thing I would pay to get rid of is firing people. I spend my time thinking about the future, not the past. The future is exciting. As Bertrand Russell says, “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.” I won the ovarian lottery the day I was born and so did all of you. We’re all successful, intelligent, educated. To focus on what you don’t have is a terrible mistake. With the gifts all of us have, if you are unhappy, it’s your own fault.
    And again, thanks to Yaniv, who actually won the raffle this year, but couldn't go to Nebraska. Good luck in the mid-terms!

WTFs per Minute

Just stumbled upon this funny image. I think code reviewers and QA engineers should embrace the proposed quality measurement method razz.

The WTFM scale would go from 0 (perfect software - not known to exist) to 60 (software written by the devil - also the maximum number of times you can say WTF in a minute without breathing).
E.g.: "the latest version of [name of software omitted] is a 52 on the WTFM scale. Clearly we need new developers, preferably ones who know how to write code".

(I left the credit at the bottom of the image).