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HTMLfixIT Archive for August, 2004

Saturday, August 7th, 2004 by Franki

This is hardly news to anyone, but SPAM makes up about 65% of all email now, and has done for the last couple of months.

None of the laws outlawing SPAM have made much of a difference it seems. Part of my morning routine is to delete the 300 odd SPAM mails that Thunderbird (the email client I use) and Spamassassin (the anti-spam tool my mail servers use) detected. During the day, I usually get another couple of hundred SPAM as well.

Anyway, Brightmail have some statistics that reflect current SPAM levels, and it certainly doesn’t hold much hope for e-mail remaining a worthwhile communication medium. It really is like finding a shady, mostly illegal ad channel on cable and being forced to endure it for half an hour every morning. If it wasn’t for tools like Spamassassin and Thunderbirds SPAM detection abilities, I’d have long since removed all my hair by the fistful and relegated e-mail to a daily insight into the Internet’s lowest common denominator.


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Friday, August 6th, 2004 by Don

Tivo to Go won approval today by the FCC. It will allow you to send a recorded TiVo show to your laptop and take it with you.

The NFL is concerned it will be used to bypass blackout restrictions on games. Of course, anyone who really wanted to do that could probably figure out a way to rebroadcast the signal anyway. It ain’t all that tough these days.

I have a DVD RAM machine that I like a lot. It allows me to record and watch the same thing at the same time, and unlike TiVo, it doesn’t require a monthly subscription. What it lacks however, is the ability to record automatically like TiVo. But it does have portability. I can take the disk elsewhere and play it in another machine.

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Friday, August 6th, 2004 by Franki

It’s been said before, and it’ll be said again. The patent system is hopelessly broken and desperately needs fixing.

Apple has just had to pay off a company called E-Date Corp for their iTunes music service because E-Date Corp registered a patent about downloading commercial digital content over wired or wireless networks. How dumb or un-knowledgeable must the patent administrators have been to allow that patent to stand? Did anybody at the patent office that was versed in such things even look at this? Or was it rubber stamped by some computer illiterate lackey who just wanted to go to lunch?

What this patent means is that any mobile phone, PC, PDA, Laptop, MP3 player or other such devices that can be used for downloading of authorised, commercial content, is a potential target of this patent. There is no technology behind this patent that I can see, it seems they simply came up with the idea that people might one day want to download authorised content off the net and decided to patent it. And the authorities just let them.


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Thursday, August 5th, 2004 by Franki

It was not that long ago when I started noticing spam popping up in our article comments. I was immediately infuriated. Nobody is going to use our site to help them sell member enlargements or Viagra or anything else like that. My immediate response was to set the system up so that we are emailed whenever somebody adds any new comments to the site. After about 3 months of deleting the spam immediately after it’s added, we were dropped by whoever was behind it, because they stopped completely.

It turns out that comment spamming is the latest trick for porn sites and shady online marketers. And people are not the end goal of these comments. Search engines like Google use a page ranking algorithm that is designed to take a number of factors into account when working out how to rank your site. One of the biggest elements is the number of links on other sites that link back to the site in question and the terms that are used in the links (known as Google bombing).



Wednesday, August 4th, 2004 by Franki

This is not the first time I’ve heard about this, but it is the first time I’ve seen it reported on a bigger news site. And with the influx of recent Internet Explorer bugs, it might be a prudent time to show you why open source apps like Mozilla prove themselves to be more secure then commercial “closed source” alternatives.

First I should very briefly explain what “open source” means. The application you are reading this story with. (for example) is called a binary executable. That means that the code that the programmers wrote has been converted from a human readable programming language into a form that the computer understands. That process is called compilation. The human readable and modifiable code that started it all is not supplied with commercial applications. (like Microsoft Office or Windows itself) so you can’t modify it, you can’t fix bugs and you can’t improve it in any other way. With open source software like Mozilla and Linux, you get the human readable source code along with the binary computer files, so you can change, bugfix or improve the program to your hearts content.


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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004 by Franki

To start this little story, I suppose a vague definition of spyware is in order. In my mind, spyware is any software that reports anything about you back to someone, and that this communication was not made abundantly clear before you installed the program.

My personal experience with spyware has been long and varied. In my admin tasks, I have come across many many systems that are so crammed with spyware that they either won’t boot or are totally unusable when they do. If memory serves, one of the worst system infections I have come across was on a computer that Adaware alone found about 500 spyware items, and that was after I had removed all the registry entries that were starting them all at boot. Ironically, I went to look at that computer because the owners said it was too slow to use and probably needed upgrading with a newer faster system. After I cleaned all the rubbish out, they were more then happy with the speed and saved themselves a bunch of money. They are now using Firefox to browse the Internet with as it is not susceptible to the self installing spyware that Internet Explorer falls prey too. (ever had your homepage and favourites changed to a porn site and you can’t seem to set it the originals? If you have, then you are using Internet Explorer and you have spyware on your system, congratulations.) and I have taught them to be very wary of anything they load on their system, (and to teach their children the same habbits). They also now run spam removal programs on a weekly basis.


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Sunday, August 1st, 2004 by Franki

This is bound to be a massive shock to many of you, smiley face but another three vulnerabilities have been found in Internet Explorer.
Secunia has the story, though you can also now find it covered by The Register as well.

The security flaws can be used to cause a DOS attack or to compromise a users system. Microsoft has issued a patch to close these faults, but if you’re not running the patch, your not protected, so go and get it.

Hopefully, all our readers are running Firefox by now, and are therefore unaffected by this constant stream of flaws, and I am probably preaching to the converted. (Our statistical counter seems to be indicating that nearly 30% of our visitors are using Firefox or Mozilla now, which is great to see.)



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HTMLfixIT Site Stats.

Browser Statistics
Internet Explorer 85.88%
IE 717.63%
IE 62.3%
IE 50.00%
IE other8.6%
Moz Firefox 3.x3.03%
Moz Firefox 2.x0.18%
Moz Firefox 0.x/1.x26.65%
Netscape 8.x0.00%
NS 6+/Mozilla2.73%
Moz Seamonkey0.00%
Netscape 4.x0.00%
Opera 9.x0.00%
Opera 8.x0.00%
Opera 7.x0.42%
Opera 6.x0.00%
Opera other0.42%
Safari Mac/Intel5.21%
Safari Mac/PPC0.06%
Safari Windows25.2%
Google Chrome1.51%

Resolution Statistics
640 x 4800.25%
800 x 60026.14%
1024 x 76836.55%
1152 x 8640.25%
1280 x 80011.68%
1280 x 8540.00%
1280 x 102417.01%
1400 x 10500.00%
1600 x 12001.02%
1920 x 12007.11%
2560 x 10240.00%

OS Statistics
Windows 741.55%
Windows Vista2.4%
Windows 20033.91%
Windows XP20.86%
Windows 20000.36%
Windows NT40.05%
Windows 98/ME0.05%
Windows 950.00%
Mac OSX8.03%
Mac Classic0.00%

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