Sunday, May 23, 2010

a blue monday

http://quotes.cat-v.org/

the great henry spencer himself is responsible for 2 of the quotes personally...

http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2010/05/decency-group-calls-indecent-too.ars

thats hilarious too...

http://scobleizer.com/2010/05/23/microsoft-sharepoint-disrupters/


just to know the alternatives. theres actually nothing wrong with sharepoint.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/security-engineering-broken-promises/6503

just to know about...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

obligatory car analogy

the thing is. now maybe software has a 3 month or 6 month or whatever release cycle. there is always testing and qc to make sure it performs to certain expectations* before the software is released.

*i suppose the problem there is that what the i.t. people expect and what consumers expect is different.

and then usually there is the alpha, beta and release candidate routine. where users are invited to test the software in a more 'real world' setting. before anyone gets to buy it.

the idea is that software will always have bugs. and if everyone in the rc stage thinks its useable, it should be good enough to be used by most of the target audience.

in fact, you could think of software as forever in beta. its a release cycle thing. whether its a bug fix or a new feature, it could be released as a patch or a new version. and the thing is, now theres more new feature than bug fix, thats all.

thats as far as testing goes. desktop software interacts with more unknowns than server software. so generally for desktop software, you could expect more issues. and server software is usually run by more knowledgeable people - who also know enough to limit what can run on their servers. so generally servers have less issues than desktops.

if software were to be treated as a normal product, with real warranties, then it simply means that developers will have to do alot, alot more bug fix than new feature. thats all.

in my imagination, new features would come alot more sparsely. and release cycles will take much longer. its easier to implement a new feature than to look for bugs.

the constant adding of new features is exactly what is so amazing about software.

IBM AIX(a unix) is the most reliable os platform we know of. it was very important long ago, but by now few use it. other platforms have superceded it.

its not that hard to change the platform you are using to something else. not like attempting to change your utilities provider.

and i wonder about network effects actually. people switched from windows 98 to XP to vista and then now to windows 7 without much issue. drivers, programs and all had to be changed between the versions of windows. its like switching between windows and mac or linux. those are NOT different versions of windows actually, but new OSes(except for the switch from vista to 7; stuff is generally interoperable between those 2).

yes, when more people use your platform more other people will want to use your platform too. but microsoft had to rebuild the platform several times in between.

and although you could say microsoft is still the default desktop os, apple has managed to shift people's attention away from the desktop to their phone, with the iphone. the iphone is every bit as big a product as windows. the iphone is 1/2 of apple's revenue, and the ipod about 1/3. and look how big apple is now.

there is now a competing computing platform.

and did that come about from legislation or regulation? did Google come about from legislation or regulation? was microsoft able to make everyone use internet explorer?

anyway, my point is that its the constant innovation, or "adding new features", that is the defining thing about the i.t. industry. nobody stays around if they don't get it right. someone else will take their pie.

now legislation and regulation is attempting to curb that, to make them fix bugs.

comparing the value to society that i.t. has produced thus far against the cost caused by bugs, imho, the former is far greater than the latter.

and we want to stop that golden goose because some people don't know enough about i.t. and are scared of it?!

why do i say that some people don't know enough about i.t.?

2 things:

firstly, whenever software is used, there are assumptions being made as to its usage and operating environment. usually that is as far as what the beta testers and rc users use it for. and that there will always be problems.

and secondly, there is a whole industry dedicated to fixing those problems. a part of the i.t. industry, just that its a different part of the i.t. industry.

that separate , different part of the i.t. industry does testing, security and disaster recovery, among other things.

right now, if one paid for it, its possible to get relatively bug free software. by hiring his own developers. the space shuttle uses software that generally has 300 times less bugs than off-the-shelf software. many firms develop in-house apps too.

(as an aside, its also possible to use 'better' software than windows and microsoft office or whatever - AIX is still sold by IBM, and theres lots of hardened linuxes and bsds.. its just that most people prefer the insecure but more 'useful' windows platform to the more secure but less 'useful' linux/bsd platforms - and nevermind that most of these linuxes and bsds are free)

right now, if one paid for it(or found free alternatives), one could get solutions that help make systems more secure. like anti virus, firewalls, encryption systems and such..

the effect of legislating that software has to be fixed (much better fixed, relatively, than before) simply means that we want to integrate that second part of the industry, the testing and security parts of it, that are optional now, into every single piece of software by fiat.

and for the software developers, they would then only allow their software to work only in certain environments - because anything outside of that, they would not know for sure it would work. so only vista32bit/corei5/kingstonDDR667/x58 certified programs would be allowed to install on that combination of os, chip, chipset and ram. it really depends on how narrowly they will scope it. nowadays its very broadly scoped - only that its supposed to work on vista 32 bit, but in the future, they may have to prevent the users from installing their app on anything other than what they have tested on already.

so instead of before when we could choose not to use space-shuttle-bug-free software at windows xp home prices and let NASA alone with their bug-freedom, in the future everyone is supposed to use space shuttle software.

that hasn't changed its scope of operation in 20 years and i have no idea costs how much.

and then we could go back to the issue of some people don't know enough about i.t.

you know, i find the idea that, like cars, if software were blatantly defective, like when its really useless(faulty brakes?), then the manufacturers should be oblidged to recall and replace their shoddy products, somewhat attractive..

i can think of McAfee and its update that actually broke the users' systems. they were actually negligent, and should be made to pay. which i think they have offered to.

but i also think, like cars, only half(i suspect less than that) the problem of people getting hurt in accidents is due to faulty car components or lack of safety features in the cars - driving is the other half of the problem.

which is why drivers have to take tests to get licensed before they are allowed to drive on public roads, isn't it?

then it only makes sense that if a computer user(driver) were to want to connect his/her computer(car) to the internet(public road), he/she should have to pass a test and obtained a license first.

and you would be required to have a vista user-license(go for a 3 mth course for it!) to use vista, and a pdf-user license(2 weeks?) to open pdf files and so on so forth... i mean, how else would the software developers know if you are doing it correctly?

p.s. i think, a long time ago, when motorised vehicles were first introduced in britain, a person was supposed to walk in front of a motorised coach to warn the other road users because it was considered dangerous....






Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

Governance

1. what admob's competitors and developers(customers) say about the FTC and its investigation into the Google Admob purchase..

http://wertago.com/blog/?p=367

http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/02/4info-tells-ftc-approve-the-googleadmob-deal/


http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/17/echofon-on-ftcs-googleadmob-inquiry-i-felt-pressured-to-say-things-that-met-their-goal

2. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/254ff5b6-61e2-11df-998c-00144feab49a.html

well. so their credibility has taken a hit because they did something they said they didn't.
but what did they actually collect??? nothing that was not public information anyway!!!
your mac address and i.p. address are public information anyway!
its like someone going down every road and taking a picture of the houses and jotting down the address.
what the hell is wrong with that?

3. http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1648872/ec-society-internet-people-trust

The internet is NOT your friendly neighbourhood. Who invited you?

4. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/17/vision_thoma_buts_double_take/

so these thoma bravo people think they can put together a serious business continuity outfit?

5. ahahaha..this is by far the best thing to say about Google...



New Google Phone Service Whispers Targeted Ads Directly Into Users' Ears

Sunday, May 16, 2010

software liability

http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/should-software-developers-be-liable-their-code

http://itscommonsensestupid.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-eu-software-liability-bill-is-not.html

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10237212-92.html

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10262503-92.html

http://www.realtime-websecurity.com/articles_and_analysis/2009/05/eu_proposing_software_liabilit.html

http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source/software-liability-will-hurt-open-source-vendors-152?page=0,0

http://lwn.net/Articles/247933/

http://www.badsoftware.com/theories.htm

i think. in a car analogy. if car manufacturers are liable for product defects, then drivers will have to be licensed too. since either of them will cause harm to other innocent parties. same as with computer users in a networked world. someone with poor security practices could be using a machine that is infected by malware bots and spamming everyone else with virus attachments. so computer users will have to be licensed too.

my sympathy for fud

in general, without any market research whatsoever, i think end-users are using computers like they're driving without licenses. or any idea how a car works. all of them know about the ignition switch,the steering wheel,the brake pedal and the gas pedal - and thats about it. a few know about the gear shift, clutch, indicators and what the instrument panel is saying. that seems to be about it. back in computerland, it means that machines are unpatched, no av(or if its there, its not updated) or software firewall is running, browse the web without any idea what looks like a dodgy site, click on anything and everything, and open any email they take a fancy to. and probably click on whatever the emails ask them to click too.

and until the machine literally dies or works just short of that, they don't know they have any problem.

telling them they are the problem is a no go area - they get pissed at you. learning more about computers is no go too - they don't want to know more about it, because they think its a small part of their lives and they have better things to do.

and before everything dies on them, you could not convince them to buy any protection they don't need.

and when they buy that protection - be it a utm, a firewall, an av, or whatever - they think its a magic bullet that will solve everything.

so generally you could not sell anti spam to these people. they don't see a problem.

you can only sell anti spam to their sysadmins.

yet, the sysadmins have to answer to the end-users, actually usually just one of them - his boss. and though sometimes they are like the god of i.t. to these end-users, often they are like serfs. they too, have problems convincing their end-users of what computers can and cannot do, and how to and how not to use them.

as it is, i hardly begrudge the fud being spread by some vendors, since that seems to be the easiest way to get anything done.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

odin is a free backup tool, you know?

1. A good response to the anti-piracy people..Time Warner Cable says we can only do about 28 requests a month. Or in fact, why don't you submit each subpoena separately instead of requesting 100s of user records with each one?

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/05/time-warner-cable-tries-to-put-brakes-on-massive-piracy-case.ars

2. amazing chip that does hd video and everything a media player needs...

http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products.php?id=56

3. remember what j.robert oppenheimer said :

"We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/14/latvian_hacker_whistleblower/


4. not very big firm doing disaster recovery...

http://www.doubletake.com

5. they're saying ssds can be much faster than hdds..well....didn't LSI say that already?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/13/whiptail_xlr8r/

6. i mean, seriously, this is quite cool. taking isps off the internet. everyone just needs to edit their routing tables a little?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/14/zeus_friendly_proxiez_mia/

7. this is so funny i want to die...http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/15/yet_another_patent_case_against_apple/

"We can sit by and watch Apple continue to use our patented inventions without paying, or we can do something about it," Gould Bear said in a press release announcing the lawsuit. "Synergy between inventors and manufacturers is healthy, and we love that Apple believes in our technology. We simply prefer open communications and fair compensation."

Gould Bear's sentiments are remarkably similar to those of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it," Jobs commented when launching Apple's suit against HTC. "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."



8. i can put your email and web hosting on google apps standard. thats free. and you get document collaboration too. if u have more than 50 users then you can run your own mail and webservers. hmail is free. as is xmail and a few others. theres also quite a good number of wamp stacks out there for free download, not least the acquaia drupal stack.

and then your own mailserver could run clamwin and spamassassin. and even have mail filtered by safensec first.

for the desktops, you could use anything from the open source moon secure av and winpooch+clamwin to the freeware avira, avg and avast. and run comodo, online armour, zonealarm and even coreforce, as the software firewall. even the dyndns updater does phishing protection nowadays. and you could use opendns too.

and finally, if your machine can be turned off, you could use clonezilla or kleo to clone it. or odin, to do it live. and then besides duplicity and syncback theres dozens of free/freeware sync/data backup tools out there...

which is to say that it costs almost nothing to provide for most of the software requirements of a small business.

but nobody is going to sell them any of the free solutions because theres nothing in it for them.

so they will continue using their windows server 2008 with exchange and iis, barracuda spam appliance, norton 360 and acronis truimage..and pay for it.

http://www.businessinsider.com/well-these-new-zuckerberg-ims-wont-help-facebooks-privacy-problems-2010-5

Monday, May 10, 2010

android fragmentation thought

I know that alot of experts have been saying that for android to truly 'win' then Google must reign in Android. Have ONE consistent user experience. they say right now some android phones are really poor and give Google a bad name. While many others cannot update to new versions of the OS, and many new apps won't run on older versions of the OS, and manufacturers have been customizing the OS to suit themselves and they're sometimes not fully compatible with all stuff "android" and quite a few of them update their custom Androids too slowly to keep up with the developments of the main Android project.

but.

this potential for "fragmentation" is exactly why i want an android phone!!!

the ability to install some other OS than the official Google one...thats CHOICE.

the rapid releases of new versions of the OS..thats A Good Thing...

if you're asking for apps to work across different versions of the OS now, then when will you demand that they work on different OSes altogether? you're one of those who demanded that windows vista run windows 98 programs because theres the string "windows" in their names?

even though the specs already say they're different?

to solve "fragmentation" issues like this, i can only think of 1 solution. to stop development. then everything JUST WORKS!

how about this? why don't Google release 2 OSes? one should be called "Android" and the other they can call "Robot" or something, both initially based on the same code.

"Robot" would NEVER change unless EVERYTHING worked EXACTLY the same. and will run on phones with EXACTLY the same hardware - revisions will be called Service Packs, or part of a silent update process so that end users will not need to trouble their heads about what version it was. you could buy those clones and love them.

"Android" would be updated every 3 mths and run on practically any hardware. and have version numbers like 1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 and so on...and people like me could buy phones that run on the "Android" platform appreciating that code that runs on Android 2.1 may not run on Android 1.0.

There is already a platform that already does what the Robot OS does. its called the iphone OS. many people use it, actually.

an update

1. Android has hit 28% of the us smartphone market. thats more than the iphone OS's 21% but less than BB's 36%. but i think it should only increase...

http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_100510.html


2. Some people will always pirate, even when the thing is FREE. and even when you do all you can to copy protect it. So, why not just throw away all the copy protection that hinders legitimate users - hey those are your real customers and why not try giving them better service or value for money for once?

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/05/humble-bundle-gives-pirates-what-they-want-gets-ripped-off.ars


3. nice us$250 ion2 machine..what can i run on it?

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/10/zotacs-zbox-hd-id11-starts-shipping-for-250?icid=sphere_blogsmith_inpage_engadget


4. subscription billing services for merchants..

http://recurly.com/

5. integrate all your messaging..

http://www.threadsy.com/

6. notes/rational/sharepoint/outlook/google docs integration...

http://www.mainsoft.com/

7.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the pot and the kettle

1. its extremely disingenuos of steve jobs to accuse adobe of being less than open when apple is similiarly closed, and furthermore suggesting that h264 over html 5 is the answer, since h264 is also again not open source.

2. if it were about necessary evils, then i'd live with flash, since flash solved the problem of cross platform content distribution, while html 5 will unsolve it all over again. and h264 is actually the unsolution.

we have opera and chrome and mozilla which will all support ogg theora. but i.e. and safari, which will not. i know which side i prefer.

and google has open sourced the vp8 codec. which i hope will get built into ogg theora, which is currently based on vp2.

and then everybody could drop the argument that ogg is a patent lawsuit waiting to happen because youtube uses it, google owns it, and now the public can explicitly use it.

unlike h264, which has to be licensed from the mpeg group, whose partners include microsoft (wonder why i.e. would support h264?) and apple (ditto steve's diatribe against flash and support for h264)..

then we can maybe finally escape the necessary evil that is flash and settle for open ogg theora on html 5.

unless apple and ms continue insisting on h264, which will mean half the internet watching h264/html5 and the other half using ogg theora/html5 in time to come if we actually got rid of flash - how would we actually get rid of actually cross platform flash by suggesting decidedly un-cross-platform-as-it-is-now html5 i don't know....

but anyway, i.e.'s share of the browser 'market' has been dropping, and is now below 60% for the first time ever, with chrome making the most gains recently. and before that it'd been opera. so i think as time goes by, more people would actually be choosing to use opera, chrome and firefox, and that would swing the html5 argument in favour of ogg..

3. http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-is-the-new-china-2010-5

and yes, its the tech minded people who prefer open source. the public could well like apple's way of doing things. but the programmers certainly don't.
maybe supply side economics can win in the end. when there are more android apps(past 50k) than iphone apps(>100k) and apple can shut up about their 'theres an app for that' already.

Monday, May 3, 2010

i lack fiber

1. M1 and singnet both are not admitting to planning to sell any fiber based internet access plan. I'll wait til wednesday for opennet to reply me and see if theres anyone willing to take my money for fiber internet.
But the feeling of the matter is that at the end of 2009, 15% of households and businesses were wired up for fiber.
At the end of this year, that should rise to 60%. and it will take til june 2012 to hit 95%.
The thing is that Singtel is one of the 4 JV partners of opennet. and it will most likely be them to launch fiber based access plans first. Starhub has their docsis 3.0. And M1 may wait and see if theres demand. But Singtel has already invested money into it - they probably would like to make some money off it.
But huge corporate bureaucracy that they are, they'd probably want to do a multi million marketing campaign for it, and do a big and loud nationwide rollout thing. And to not 'waste' marketing dollars on it, they may well wait til they think enough locations are fibered before they started the marketing campaign. i wonder if "enough" means 60% or 95%?
oh no, they wouldn't be selling these access plans just as yet another access plan and make some money now off people who have fiber installed already..they need a big marketing campaign.
2. why fiber? i'm not entirely sure, but i think each main fiber cable carries 10gbps. and resellers opennet should have given residential areas a 1:24 split and non-residential ones a 1:16 split.
1/24 of 10gbps is nearly 400mbps.
and the process of getting the free fiber wiring is opt-in. so alot of people would have missed it.
i could get 10gbps to myself???!
anyways, the 100mbps docsis 3.0 plan from starhub costs like $124/mth. but opennet is supposed to be heavily subsidised. i don't know what prices ida required opennet to sell at, but ida's remit is to expand internet usage in singapore i guess - they say the idea of opennet is to offer everyone at least 1gbps(huh? 1/24 of 10gbps is NOT 1gbps!)...so i'm thinking opennet based access plans should be cheaper than starhub's $124 plan because starhub paid for their own docsis 3.0 upgrades...
3. i also think that at the very start singnet will be the only offering around. and because theres no competition they'd only compare with starhub's docsis thing. and so it may be cheaper than starhub, but not necessarily the cheapest they can go.
then, competition would start to appear, and prices will be reduced.
this is the best time to have fiber access i think. because lots of people still wouldn't have had the fiber installed, but competition is keeping a lid on prices.
but the $50-$200 to wire their homes may keep people away from opennet based plans..they'll stick to adsl or 3g internet access..since they wouldn't know the difference if they were only web browsing.
so, singnet and its competitors may have to offer free cabling at this point again! and i don't think i would get a rebate if i were to have my cabling already. the cost of the access plans will rise because everyone will have to subsidise the new round of free cabling.
and speeds will drop as more people join the network.
4. signing up for singtel's english football iptv package for 2010-2011 will cost $24/mth i think.
but if i signed for their Mio Home bundle now, i could get 6mbps adsl with that for $35/mth. $40 for 10mbps, and $44 for 15mbps.
and i could nominate 1 mobile phone contract to be part of the bundle too, and that phone line would be eligible to change handsets every 12mths instead of the usual 21. and get free caller i.d. too.
i think i would go for the adsl+tv at least. i may get the mobile phone deal if a nice phone comes along...i have a phone line thats going to expire in 3mths, that my dad doesnt want...
i could use that phone line..and if i were to use it, i'd make it something with data access..which would cost $39/mth...nearly $500/year...selling a new phone yearly wouldn't recoup that money, nevermind selling a 1-yr old phone yearly.
if i do get that mobile phone plan, then the current setup i'm with, which is a data sim card that i swap between phone and modem when i go out or return home, would be excess to requirements...
5. the problem with this data sim is not the sim or the service, but the router it comes free with. the huawei b970b has all the nice functions in its admin page. but even though they're there in the interface, port forwarding and dmz do not work. the settings go in and show up in the interface, but theres no effect whatsoever. telnet via outside gets timed out, and port 80 visits with the browser via the internet bring up the router's own admin page without fail.
i would either swap the modem/router with the usb dongle i use at my workplace. or flash it with the drei.at firmware image i found. the only alternative firmware for this machine that i can find - its supposed to make port forwarding work..but i'm not totally confident...
i think swapping the modem and the dongle is the easiest option - the workplace could use a standalone router instead of ics, but i still do not really know what to do with an extra internet connection..
6. so i may just give up the phone upgrades in the end, and continue using the data sim as my phone line... and keep my monthly costs low as well...