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HTMLfixIT Archive for April, 2005

Thursday, April 14th, 2005 by Franki

Microsoft has had a hard time of it in court lately. First there is the EU debacle, following much the same path as the US anti-competitive conviction did, only with much stiffer penalties. Then we have the long list of settlements made by Microsoft to many companies with whom they were litigating, the largest payoff approaching 2 billion dollars (to Sun Microsystems). Not too many people seem to feel sorry for the company that has of late been handing out money hand over fist to try and clear its litigation schedule a bit.

Now something new and probably unexpected has happened. A company by the name of Alacritech has gained a preliminary injunction [PDF] against Microsoft for alleged patent infringement of their networking technology. The story goes that Alacritech approached Microsoft and showed them what they had in 1998. Microsoft chose not to license with them and promptly developed similar technology themselves called TCP Chimney for inclusion in Longhorn and an add on pack for Windows 2003 server. The case could potentially delay Longhorns release if Microsoft doesn’t settle and the case drags on as similar cases have in the past. My prediction is for a Microsoft settlement in the future, they can’t afford to delay Longhorn any further as their many resellers would likely have hissy fits about lost profit opportunities, especially in light of the fact that Windows XP, Microsoft’s last major desktop release is nearly 5 years old now. All Alacritech really has to do, is drag the case out and maintain the Injunction until Microsoft capitulates and settles.

Do not get me wrong here, I am not in favor of litigation of this type, but Microsoft has been a strong proponent of software patents and has tried long and hard to establish them as law in the European Union, so I find it somewhat ironic that they didn’t realize that they are the biggest target with the deepest pockets and will forever be handing out money to anyone with a grievance. It’s worse for them when you consider that they are a twice convicted monopolist and have a long and questionable litigation history that makes it possible for people (and more importantly Juries) to at least consider the prospect that they are guilty as charged. Microsoft has 21 days to appeal the decision.

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Thursday, April 14th, 2005 by Franki

SCO, the company Open Sources love to hate, has given their green light to Sun with regards to the open sourcing of Solaris. This comes hot on the heals of a 3 year lawsuit against IBM that they claim seriously damaged their business by making Linux competitive with their own SCO Unix offerings (allegedly by using SCO owned code). So apparently helping along a community development seriously hurt SCO, but giving away a well respected direct Unix competitor will not? I wonder if a Judge and/or Jury might ponder that same question sometime in the near future.

In other SCO news, their latest financials are in, and they lost more money on less revenue. Big surprise right? Even more surprising is that their share price didn’t take much of a dive on the news. SCO’s price seems far more insulated from their actual results as a business them most in the Tech industry.

Last bit of news on SCO is that they are now trying to hint that PJ of Groklaw is actually a stooge of some sort for IBM and/or Redhat as illustrated by these quotes:

“Doesn’t anyone find it the least bit ironic,” Blake Stowell of SCO asks, “that Pamela Jones lives … less than 10 miles from IBM’s worldwide headquarters, and that Groklaw is hosted, free, by a non-profit outfit called iBiblio, which runs on $250,000 worth of Linux-based computers donated by IBM and a $2 million donation from a foundation set up by Robert Young, founder of Red Hat?”

“Call me crazy,” adds Stowell, “but I somehow think that Pamela Jones isn’t just a paralegal with nothing better to do with her life than host a Web site called Groklaw that is dedicated to bashing SCO. I think there is a lot more to her background and intentions than she is willing to reveal publicly. I believe that Big Blue looms large behind Pamela Jones.”

I’d have thought that if IBM or Redhat were behind PJ/Groklaw, they could have hidden it much more effectively. After all, Web hosting is remarkably cheap nowadays.

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2005 by Don

Sand Castles, sculptures, creative things built from sand, summer, tans and time away from work with family at the beach. That time of year is fast approaching. My family recently spent a week at the Gulf of Mexico. In years past, we would walk the beach, and every quarter mile or so, there was a sand sculpture, maybe an alligator, a large fortress castle, characters, whatever. It was fun to see them and the often lasted a few days. This year — nothing really. A few castles, but none of the magnitude of years past. Maybe it is a dying art, or maybe there was a convention of sand artists last time?

Here is a neat site that features sand artistry and includes how-to instructions of how you might yourself develop as a sand artist. Of course to really learn how you need to buy his $7 book, but this will get you started. So grab the kids or your significant other and head to a beach or sand box near you!

That led me to this site belonging to Kirk Rademaker, that I think has a very distinctive layout. It is horizontal (requiring scrolling even at my medium high resolution) and sort of looks like the pennants or flags you might see flying at the beach. Very creative.

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2005 by Franki

First off is the news that a new “highly critical” security flaw has been found in the Jet database found at the back end of many a Microsoft application. Along with this months obligatory highly critical” Internet Explorer security flaw (3 actually). For those who prefer non Microsoft applications, OpenOffice have just announced that they too have a security flaw this month which can be taken advantage of via a specially crafted .doc file, a patch is in the works. Speaking of patches, if you run Windows Update sometime soon, you should begin downloading a raft of new security patches for Windows including 5 that are critical. Everything from Windows TCP/IP to Exchange gets a look in this month.

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Monday, April 11th, 2005 by Franki

W3schools has updated their website browser statistics, and the good news is that Firefox has jumped up another 2% in the past month to just a tiny bit less then 24 percent of their overall visitors. The 2% seems to have primarily come at the cost of Internet Explorer 5 and 6. At HTMLfixIT we have shown a similar increase in Firefox usage in the past month, which in our case brings Firefox up to 38.68% and Internet Explorer 5 and 6 down to 49.8%. Internet Explorer still has the lead, but it is closing rapidly. Of course both of these websites are targeted to tech related subjects, so naturally these percentages would be much lower for the general population, but it is still significant growth and indicative that the reports of Firefox only being used by early adopters is false logic. (especially when you consider that Firefox itself has been downloaded 40 million times now.) Even if you don’t use Firefox and have no plans to try, you should consider this a good thing because if there is only one browser, there is only one choice, and the Internet standards would then be at the whim of a convicted monopolist. Choice is a good thing, we should encourage it, particularly as web developers. (To see HTMLfixIt’s browser statistics, look down the right hand side of the page you are reading.)

INSERT: As of today (12th April) Firefox is just a tad under 45 million downloads. Further proof that this isn’t just a gimmick but true sustainable growth.

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Monday, April 11th, 2005 by Don

ICANN, the “god” of internet names has approved two new top level domain names, .jobs and .travel as of April 8, 2005. There is great speculation whether the public really will get behind the use of such names, but one need not think further than or to see how easy it might be to snag a great name that is easy to remember. They designated a “registry operator” for each of the domain names. They will then in turn presumably license some registrars (currently under construction … for .travel for example) and you can be off to the races fighting over your .travel (second quarter of 2005 it says … but that is now) or .job domain name.

Icann is considering numerous other top level domain names including: .CAT, .POST, .MOBI, .ASIA, .MAIL, .TEL, and .XXX. We are all for the latter, if all xxx content is then relegated to that top level domain name. Would that not be perfect? Anyway, the first three are further along in discussion.

All sorts of issues are raised by allowing top level domain names to be controlled and registered by private companies such as these. How do you verify the integrity of the process when it is time to get a drop on names. I personally am not that fond of big goverment, but some things, like this, should in my opinion be controlled by a neutral agency. And if you are going to do it, why aren’t you up and running when the time comes and ICANN approves you? Unfortunately that isn’t the way it goes. This is all about money and there are millions to be made and taken as a result of decisions like these.

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Monday, April 11th, 2005 by Franki

First item today is the news that Intel has put in place plans to put advertising into PC and later Xbox and Playstation games. Apparently we will be seeing the same sort of thing from Coca-Cola, Dunkin Doughnuts and others as well. The question that springs to mind, is: “If Game makers are raking in big advertising dollars, will game buyers see some of that money in the form of cheaper prices (or free ad supported games), or is this just a way to inflate profits without benefit to users?” Advertisers have proven once again that if a medium can contain content of value, then it can (and should in their minds) contain advertising as well. Lets hope consumers benefit from this shall we?

In other news, Microsoft has taken a leaf from the Wikipedia free community driven web encyclopedia. MS is adding the ability for users to submit corrections and additions to MS workers for editing before possible inclusion in Encarta. Since Wikipedia is a FREE community driven effort and Encarta is a proprietary offering from a convicted monopolist, nobody seems to think it is at all likely that Encarta will garner a huge group of contributors like Wikipedia has. Apparently the new features have security implications for Microsoft’s subscription service.

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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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