Every Techie needs to read something.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Technorati is officially off my Christmas Card List

Did you ever have a cousin that you met once at a family reunion? Maybe you talked it up some, and really enjoyed the conversation. Then after the reunion, well life gets in the way, and the next thing you know, you haven’t talked to that cousin in a very long time. Maybe you feel like a big heel for not calling.

OK, if you are still with me, imagine that the cousin has made attempts to contact you, letters, phone calls, yet when you see the name on the caller ID, you let the answering machine answer the call.

You also make sure that you are really quiet, since you never tested to see if the microphone on the machine is actually off when it is taking a message, and you would hate for him to hear you and start yelling “I know your home; I can hear you breathing in the background!!!”

In this case, Technorati is the one being quiet, and this blog is that ignored cousin.

What I am referring to is the inability of Technorati to find my blog, and the stubborn refusal of my pings. As you can see from the image above, Technorati doesn’t think my blog has been updated in 620 days. If you scroll down a little bit, you will notice, that I have in fact posted in 2006, and shockingly, in 2007 as well. Granted, I haven’t posted with any consistency, but come on, there have been posts!

I don’t quite understand why, I use their handy dandy ping button, and when I use Performancing, I set it to ping Technorati, but for some reason, Technorati continues to ignore me.

So I say to you Technorati, in front of all my loyal readers reader, no soup for you! You shall remain without soup until you update your stats on my blog. At such a point, there will be soup aplenty, but not until then.

Some blogs that Technorati and I both love:
- The How to Geek
- Tech-Recipes
- Windows Connected
- LifeHacker
- 43 Folders

Update: Johnny Cash over at "Making Money on the Web" posted a comment that he has the same problem with Technorati. A quick look in their blog directory says that his site hasn't been updated in 52 Days, and I am up to 626 days without an update. He also has a post about his problems titled "My Technorati Woe"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Google offers all of its free apps now as a service

On the Google Blog they announced the availability of their applications in a convenient subscription model. Now you can pay $50 per user, per year, and get all their wonderful free apps. They are calling the bundle Google Apps Enterprise.

They are also offering editions for families and groups, small businesses, and schools.

Wait a minute, I can pay for something that they have been offering for free? Let me jump on that train.

I'm not sure how successful this is going to be, of course Google has eleventy hundred gillion users, but really, are the apps that good?

I haven't used Calendar or spreadsheets, and only briefly used Talk. I use Documents sometimes, but if they discontinued the free service and started charging $1 a month, I would quit using it so fast that my Google cookie would be left hanging in the air, spinning around.

I had joked that one day in the future I would reminisce about the good old days when Microsoft almost had a Monopoly on operating systems and software, because now Google controls everything. Maybe this is the beginning. Maybe next it will be Google Democracy.

Thanks to Paul Thurrott for pointing it out.

Update: Wired News has a article titled "Google Apps: Should you switch?" and there were a few things that I thought were wrong about it.

1. The Article States that:
"Pricing is set at $50 per user per year, less expensive than Microsoft Office but with much the same functionality. Microsoft has its own web-based suite of tools in Office Live, but the company's offering doesn't match Google's. And Google isn't going after Office Live, it's going after Office."
Um, no Offense Michal Calore, but have you actually used the two sets of applications?

Google Docs isn't even close to Word. I haven't used spreadsheets at all, but I'm sure that it is limited as well. Sure, if you need a word processor, then go ahead and use Docs and Spreadsheets, but I just could not imaging using Google Docs and Spreadsheets exclusively.

2. He does mention that there isn't a PowerPoint equivalent, although I thought I had read that there was a Google Presentation app coming out, I haven't seen it. Yes, PowerPoint is a hugely popular program, but let's not forget Access. I know Google Base can't compete with that.

I also think that there isn't an Outlook killer either, at least not for a corporate environment. Outlook has a whole slew of nice features that GMail and Calendar just can't match.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Couple of Interesting Sites

Bloglines Image Wall – Not Work Friendly

The Bloglines image wall crawls a bunch of blogs, and takes an image from them, which it then places in this wall. Each Image is linked to the blog which originated it. The Wall is constantly updated, and sometimes you will see an image and just have to click on it to see what the heck is going on. The first time I looked at it there was some weird pictures, and the second time there were some adult images.

The wall itself is 6 images wide by 4 images tall, but before you view it you have to agree that you are an adult, and that you understand that you may be exposed to horrific adult images (Gasp).

Bloglines Wall of Images

Yahoo pipes is a “do your own mashup” platform. It looks like you can do some really crazy stuff with it. It has a very interesting GUI interface which you use to build your pipes. One of the pipes on the site takes headlines from the New York Times, and searches for key words. Then those keywords are used to search through Flickr.

After you create a Pipes set (not sure of the exact terminology), you can publish it, and subscribe to it via RSS. You can also take Pipes that others have made, clone them, and modify them to your liking. All in all, I think some really neat stuff is going to come out of this. The one think I don't like very much is the name, and only because it sounds strange to refer to single items with a plural.

Me: "I built some neat pipes today"

My imaginary friend: "Oh, how many?"

Me: "Just one."

Oh never mind, just go check it out if you are into this type of thing.

- Yahoo Pipes
- New York Times through Flickr

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mac Vs. PC Spoof

I heard part of this video on Net@Night, and had to see it for myself. It was just pretty funny. I'm not a big fan of the Mac vs. PC commercials, they were funny at first, but then they really started to grasp at straws.

This next one is a little long, about 4 minutes. It is supposed to be a bunch of rejected ads, and some of them are pretty funny. I'm glad to see Amiga make an appearance.

I would still like to see a spoof where the Mac has a midget, maybe Mini me from Austin Powers, and when asked Mac replies "Oh, this is my Market Share".

Other Links:
- iTunes doesn't work on Vista yet?
- Mike has Finally bought an iPod

Monday, February 12, 2007

5 Reasons to leave your Wireless Devices turned off at the RSA conference

This is all from the article "RSA: Attendees drop ball on Wi-Fi security" over at ComputerWorld. The wireless security vendor AirDefense Inc was monitoring the Wireless networks during the conference. Here are some of their findings, and the reasons I would have my wireless turned off if I were at the RSA conference.

1. 30 Devices pretending to be access points.
Not only were they pretending to be access points, but they were pretending to be access points from the conference network. One of them even had a self-sign certificate made to look like the conference authentication server. Others were configured to look like T-Mobile and IBAHN access points, as well as the access points of local hotels.

2. I like my service, so please don't Deny it.
There were 57 Denial of Service attacks on the first day of the conference, including jamming and de-authenticating clients. What fun.

3. Lots of Scanning
NetStumbler and similar programs were scanning for access points regularly. The article says that it was by attendees, but who can really be sure.

4. I don't want anyone else controlling my computer.
On the second day of the conference, one attacker had taken over 8 machines, and was using them to launch attacks on other machines.

5. I should be the only one who knows my password
A whole bunch of the clients connecting to the bogus access points were advertising domain information, including authentication server, user name, computer name, as well as sending out the authentication hashes which contained username and password.

Making it a little easier for the bad guys
AirDefense Inc, also found that more than half of the wireless devices in use at the RSA conference were not secure. Remember, the RSA is the security division of EMC, and the attendees are the people responsible for their company's computer security.

This would be like finding out Bill Gates uses Linux, that Steve Jobs has a Windows Logo tattooed on his rear, or going to a hair stylist who has a mullet.

Some other things they found were unsecured wireless access points with two notorious names, one named "Free Internet Access" and one called "Linksys". Not only were these access points out there, but 70 devices connected to them on the first day, and 87 on the second day!

There were obviously other "security experts" in attendance
Obviously there were hackers there, trying to mess around with the experts. I think that I will make sure to turn my wireless off anytime I go to a big conference like this one. I remember reading something about all the stuff going on at the last DEF CON.

I wonder if anyone was checking this at CES. I know there were a whole slew of people blogging from there.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

ITunes doesn't work on Vista yet?

I found this CNET article kind of strange, evidently Apple is telling iTunes users not to install Windows Vista. Evidently, there is a patch to fix some problems specific to music which was purchased from the iTunes store, but it doesn't fix any of the compatibility issues, one of which is corrupting your iPod.

Although not a conclusive number by any means, and it may be affected by the gaining popularity of the iPod, in October 2004, CNet reported that since iTunes was ported to Windows, Apple's iPod sales have more than doubled. I don't think Apple has released these numbers, or at least I haven't been able to find them. If you know what they are, feel free to post a link.

What I found strange about this whole thing, is that Microsoft made 2 release candidates available, and there is still an issue with iTunes? Didn't apple bother to get one of them and test iTunes out?

I am sure that if I can get my hands on one, so can Apple. Heck, the release version of Windows Vista has been out for over a month, just not to retail. I know Apple has to have at least 5 Windows Licenses, they have to have a Software Assurance package, or at least a MSDN subscription.

Maybe I am way off base here. Maybe at the last possible minute, Microsoft changed the way everything works in Vista, and told Apple that everything was hunky dory. Maybe Steve Jobs was way too busy with the iPhone, maybe John Gruber over at Daring Fireball can fill me in on what is going on here, or at least call me a jackass for saying something negative about Apple.

UPDATE 3/6/2007 : Apple has released an updated version of iTunes, version 7.1 (you can get it here) which is supposed to address the issues mentioned above with Vista. Thanks to Paul Thurrott for pointing it out. His thoughts on it are available here. More information from Apple.

Related Links:
- Mike has finally bought an IPod!?!?

- Apple Whistles a happy iTunes - CNET News
- Apple Releases Vista Compatibility Patch For iTunes, But Problems Remain - CRN Australia
- Speaking of Clowns - DaringFireball.net
- iTunes and Windows Vista - Paul Thurrott's blog
- iTunes and Windows Vista - Apple
- iTunes Download - Apple

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mike has finally bought an IPod!?!?

I just purchased an iPod, which is really amazing for me, because I don't get to buy gadgets, mostly because I'm cheap, but I finally broke down and bought a refurbished Nano.

It is really nice to add some really enjoyable content to the parts of my life where it fits. Ever since I ran across the TWIT Netcast network, I started really getting into some of the excellent Podcasts or Netcasts that are out there.

I had tried to listen to podcasts at work, but to be perfectly honest, I can't sacrifice that much of my brain's CPU cycles to actually paying attention to the podcast. After all, I want to really listen to the podcast, not just have it as background noise, and since I am at work, I am really trying to cram as much "work" into my time as I can, so I am already doing several things at the same time.

So Podcasts just don't fit well into my time at work, but I will tell you where they do fit, they fit very nicely in the 40 minutes to an hour each day that I spend driving back and forth to work, or the time I spend cleaning the house and yard. I mean come on, how much brain power do you need to pick up dog turds (in the yard, not the house).

So far the battery life is pretty darn good, it lasts me several days but of course I am not listening to it non stop. I was also surprised that the Nano supports a calendar, contacts, and can be used as a USB drive when it is plugged into your computer. It even has a couple of games on it.

The only thing that I don't like about the IPod is the tremendously huge ear buds that come with it. They pop out at the slightest head movement. I think I am going to have to find a replacement for them, although I think I may be getting used to them.

Winamp Site Hacked?

Strange thing today, I tried to download Winamp, and as soon as you make all of your selections, and click download, instead of a download screen, you get this:

I thought at first that this might be displayed while I am waiting for the download to start. The URL listed was:

It gets a little bit stranger, I pinged download.nullsoft.com, and it is resolving to, which is in a reserved address range. A ping from www.network-tools.com resolves it to

If you do a whois on nullsoft, the ip address is

I wonder if this has anything to do with the DNS Root Server attack yesterday.

Update 11:30: Winamp fixed the problem. The site is now resolving to and the page is a directory listing of the site. Downloads work fine now. I'll be curious if they ever say what happened.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Wow! I had almost forgotten about Undo.tv, but today I received an invite! My profile page says that I am member number 3159.

I don't see any way to invite other people, so please don't ask me for an invite. You can register for an invitation code on the Undo.tv web page. I can't even remember how long ago it was when I first signed up. The site has a banner, after you log in, that states that they are in "Private Beta".

I remember listening to either Net@Night or Inside the Net (which is not net@night), and Chris Pirollo was on the show talking about UndoTV. They also had someone from PikSpot, which is the company hosting the site. It sounded to me like UndoTV was going to be the first real big launch of PikSpot. If you go to the PikSpot site, you can register for a invitation to PikSpot there (don't confues it with an invitation to UndoTV).

I went in to update my profile, and I was utterly amazed at the amount of personal information, and site memberships that you can enter into the form. They include:

- Yahoo
- ICQ (I didn't even know ICQ was still around)
- Google Talk

Site Memberships
- Flickr
- LiveJournal
- MySpace
- SecondLife
- Upcoming.org
- LinkedIn

They have spots for sites you own, favorite links, and a bunch of other stuff too.

I was looking through the members, and of course, Leo Laporte and Chris Pirillo are on the site (they were the driving force behind the creation of the site, if you didn't already know), but Amber Mac is on there too.

As far as I can tell, besides just searching for content, you can subscribe to content that particular members are creating. Each piece of media has links and code on it so that you can embed it on your web site, and the system seems to work with "Kudos". If you like something, you can send them a Kudo, which I think may be like Diggs, but both the member and the media collects the Kudo.

Looks pretty interesting, I am looking forward to poking around some more.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Twit, Screen Size, and Cory Doctorow

I was listening to "Twit Episode 84: Hahn, I'm Home!" and I will have to say that I was very impressed with some of the things that one of the guests, Cory Doctorow said. TWIT has had many guests, and although all of them are likable, I will have to say that I don't think I have ever been as impressed with any of them as much as I was with Cory.

One of the first things that made me kind of sit up and take notice was when the group was talking about viewing media on various screens, like the ones on IPods and cell phones, and John C. Dvorak didn't think that there was much of a future for smaller screens, and that he would never watch a movie on a smaller screen like the one on an IPod.

Cory was talking about how the computer, being as much of a multi-function device as it is, really demands media that doesn't require much of an attention span. This was mentioned as kind of a backup to what many people had said about E-Books, that no one would sit in front of their computers long enough to read a book, which really isn't true, as he points out.

Of course, partly because of my job, and partly because of my love of computers, I spend at least 8 hours a day in front of a computer, which is more than long enough to read a book.

Of course, what I am doing is looking at or reading things which don't require large blocks of time. Web page snippets and other items related to what it takes to do my job. I'm not even going to talk about some other things that people spend an ungodly amount of time doing on a computer, such as World of Warcraft, or blogging :-)

When it comes to all of these screens that we are seeing in cell phones and IPods, it isn't Screen size and resolution that is important, and this is also something that Cory pointed out, what is important is the context that the screen is being used in.

If I am waiting in line at a DMV, then I would be extremely happy with a screen the size of an IPod's screen, of course if I am in my living room, then I probably will not pull out that smaller screen in order to watch a different show. Leo backs it up with saying that what we as consumers are really after is a wide selection of screens, we want the screen that fits where we are, and what we are doing.

After listening to the Podcast, I decided to go ahead and look Cory up. They had mentioned on the air that he just released a new book of short science fiction stories called "Overclocked", but I was really surprised to learn that you can download the entire book online, either in print or in podcast form for free. He also has a whole slew of other stories available for download in print or podcast form, for free.

So I went ahead and subscribed to the site, and I plan on checking out his writing. You should too.

Related Links:
Cory's Website - CrapHound.com
Twit.tv - The Twit Netcast Network
Twit Netcast - The Week in Tech
TWIT makes Time Magazine's Top 10 Podcasts
The TechTV Crew

Thursday, February 01, 2007

User Submitted War Pigs Video Contest - Free MP3

3/15/2007 UPDATE: The newsletter that announced the availability of the Warpigs MP3 file has come and gone, and the track is no longer available. I really liked it though, it is definitely their style, and still very recognizable. Currently the "B-Sides and Rarities" CD is on pre sale, for only $10 (plus shipping). I pre-ordered mine.

(We now bring you back to your regularly scheduled post)

One of my very favorite bands is a band called Cake. They had a hit or two back in the 90's, and then maybe one or two more a little more recently, but I have every one of their albums, and have to say that each and every one has been worth the money.

They have another album coming out called "Rarities", and one of the songs on it is going to be a remake of the Black Sabbath Song "War Pigs". In the last newsletter, they are starting a contest, where users can create their own music video to the song, and entries will be posted to You Tube.

It sounds like you can get the MP3 of Cake's War pigs by signing up for their newsletter, and they will be sending out a link to download it.

I am pretty sure that I will not be trying to create a video myself, but I sure want to get that MP3.