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HTMLfixIT Archive for February, 2005

Thursday, February 24th, 2005 by Franki

To see future trends in the computer industry, one can often look to see what the guys that will be working in and for the big tech companies in the future are learning now. With that thought in mind, it is worth looking at this article in the Yaledailynews. This quote in particular stood out to me.

In Yale’s Computer Science Department and CS computing cluster, also known as the Zoo, the UNIX-based Linux is the platform of choice. The Linux operating system benefits from a usership that actively tries to improve its function.

Yale isn’t the only university using Linux for training purposes, after all, Linux is perfect for the task in a way that Windows can never be, namely that you can look at, and experiment on the source code of Linux, then compile your changes and see how they work. That reason alone is enough to make it the choice of platform in courses based around OS platform design and implementation. For those purposes, Windows is almost completely useless.
The interesting question is, “What happens when these guys are all employed in the IT industry?” Linux will be their OS of choice, they will know it inside and out, and will be encouraging it’s usage with whomever they end up working for. To a degree this is already happening, and it will only grow as time goes on.
Yale’s email system has been migrated to Linux as well apparently, and this quote from the article explains why.

“Linux is really exploding in the back-office area with servers,” Long said. “We can see the source for it — we know what’s going on. It’s economic, and colleagues at other universities are using it as well, so we can learn from them, too.”

So when evaluating Linux for your needs, perhaps you should listen to the people actually using it rather then listening to sales pitches from Microsoft and/or Sun and those employed by them.

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Thursday, February 24th, 2005 by Franki

An interesting story here tells of a restaurant in New Zealand that failed to keep their online menu and price list up to date. As a result they were fined 3000 NZ dollars and ordered to pay court costs of a further 260 dollars. Apparently, they were advised several times of the discrepancies and failed to take appropriate action and pled guilty to breaching the Fair Trading Act. This is a very interesting issue for web masters of e-commerce sites, and I doubt it will be long before we start seeing such cases popping up all over. I imagine it is very important that if your site doesn’t always exactly match reality, that you have a disclaimer stating that there might be discrepancies.

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Thursday, February 24th, 2005 by Franki

News has come out that some Blogs hosted by Google are being used to trick users into installing Adware and spyware. It should be noted that it is not Google that is doing this, it is rather users of their blogging service that are using the tactics, presumably to earn advertising dollars. The blogs use tricks to get people to click on a button that authorises the downloading and running of the ad/spyware. Such tricks include showing a “next blog” button, or claiming to be a necessary Windows or IE update of some sort. You can read the full story here. Google are said to be aware of the problem and are “looking into it”. It should also be noted that thus far, all of these spyware, browser hijacking problems only effect Internet Explorer. If you use Firefox, you shouldn’t be effected.

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Thursday, February 24th, 2005 by Franki

With all the new protections being employed by Bloggers, it is getting harder and harder for spammers to use Blogs spam to improve search engine ranking any more. Google came up with a new link attribute bloggers can use in their comment systems to make it so links in comments do not benefit the linked site. The other big search engines have promised to support the new attribute as well.

Not being the types to give up however, the spammers have turned to Trackback/Traceback spamming. (I explained what trackbacks were in this previous story.) Many had predicted this was going to happen, and now it has, blogs are full of stories complaining about the problem, and possible ways to fix it, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on a good solution yet. Basically the spammers are sending trackback’s to blogs from sites that don’t actually exist (usually though broken open relays) and the trackback has the link to the spammers site in it. Many blogs will list the trackback and it’s included link in the list of comments to a post, so in essence this is just as bad as normal comment spamming and at this point it is harder to stop.

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Thursday, February 24th, 2005 by Franki

A week after a nasty IDN flaw was found in all non IE browsers (because IE doesn’t natively support International Domain Names), it turns out that Microsoft didn’t get away scott free as a new Phishing flaw has been found in IE and confirmed by Microsoft. The flaw has to do with long URL’s in pop-up windows, and you can read more about it at Secunia. There is no patch for this flaw yet and all versions of IE6 (including SP2) are affected. The only suggestion is not to enter sensitive information into pop-up windows after following links in un-trusted sites. Eweek have also covered this issue and you can read it here.

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005 by Don

You ever have one? Mood rings* were a thing of the 1970’s, when Apples were eaten and memory was something you had and your grandparents did not. These days many peoples’ moods shift with their wireless connection. Indeed, Mary Hodder, the woman featured in that Wired article enjoys a party where there are “Lot’s of folks sitting around on the floor and at the table blogging, chatting.. taking photos and posting them online.” Given who was at the party, I might have enjoyed it too, but then too I might have ruined it because I would have wanted to talk to these people given how thoughtful they are on so many things web.

Well Mary, here’s good news for you! A wireless mood ring is under development. When it beeps your friends will know to get out of the way.

*Before finding pop-under advertisements were on the site I would have linked to how things work here!
For those of you who like pop-under advertisements, go ahead: How Stuff Works Mood Ring Link

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005 by Franki

In what would be a blow to Microsoft, if in fact it is true, two Scandinavian websites claim Nokia is replacing Internet Explorer with Firefox on 55,000 company desktops. The most likely reason to do that in a corporation is for security reasons, so one wonders if Nokia are sick of dealing with IE’s more or less continuous steam of security flaws.
You can read more about it here, but only if you read Norwegian. For an English summary, see here.
However, a Nokia representative has since stated that this is a misunderstanding and that the migration is not taking place.

So are they or aren’t they switching? Time will tell. As recently as last week, Nokia announced a major collaborative project with Microsoft. So my best guess is that Nokia did plan to make the switch, perhaps not as openly as it came about, meanwhile, when Microsoft got wind of it, it pressed it’s contacts to quiet the thunder. If the switch now occurs, it will be done more quietly. Unfortunately — assuming it was going to happen — it may get killed before implementation because of business pressures. IDG have reported in the past that Nokia donated money to the Mozilla foundation, and Mozilla started working on a mini browser for the phone market around the same time, and also that Nokia have been considering Firefox for desktop use for some time.

We look forward to the day when the reason to use Internet Explorer will be because it is the best and tightest browser in the market, not because you fear reprisal or backlash in other business dealings.

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