Apr 29th, 2006 by ravi
IT and World destruction!

While reading through Behr, Kim and Spafford's Visible Ops piece, I came across this amusing quote they attribute to Borenstein (of MIME fame):

"The most likely way the world will be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents." – Nathaniel Borenstein


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Apr 27th, 2006 by ravi
Net neutrality amendment fails

SFGate: Panel dumps Net neutrality
Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer

Internet carriers would have a free hand to charge the likes of Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc. extra for faster delivery of services to consumers under a bill approved by a House committee Wednesday.The vote, 42-12, brings a two-tier Internet one step closer to reality despite the wishes of a broad coalition of Web site operators and public interest groups that insist the fees will crush innovation.

The Web companies had hoped to amend Wednesday's legislation, thereby enshrining the status quo of "network neutrality," the catchphrase that has come to represent a system in which all Internet traffic is treated equally. But the effort failed when an amendment introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., was defeated 34-22 in a largely party line vote earlier in the day.


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Apr 13th, 2006 by ravi
Mozilla makes money?

I bet the rest of the world knew this a while ago, but its news to me: 

Firefox (Mozilla Corporation/Mozilla Foundation) made $72M last year?! – The Jason Calacanis Weblog

UPDATE: I know a lot of folks are coming here from DIGG and other memetrackers. The $72M someone told me at BarCampLA and I have no idea if that is true or not. If you reblog this (or report it) please make sure you make that clear.

The best piece of information I got out of BarCampLA was that Firefox, which is produced by the for-profit Mozilla Corporation, made $72M last year and is on target to have 120 employees this year. I have no idea if this is true (anyone?), but it makes sense. I mean, there have to be 72M people using Firefox out there, and making $1 a year seems low to me! Mark Pincus brought this topic up recently.

Mozilla Corporation makes all that money because of the Google Search box on the top right. If you search with that box (which I do all day long) and you click on the Google ads on the results page Firefox gets ~80% of that. They also have Amazon in the search box, and other services that I’m sure kick them back some affiliate fees. Brilliant.

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Mar 28th, 2006 by ravi
CentOS hacks OK city website!

An old one that has already been /.ed but worth repeating! Register reports: 

Oklahoma city threatens to call FBI over 'renegade' Linux maker
By Ashlee Vance in Mountain View

The heartland turned vicious this week when an Oklahoma town threatened to call in the FBI because its web site was hacked by Linux maker Cent OS. Problem is CentOS didn't hack Tuttle's web site at all. The city's hosting provider had simply botched a web server.

This tale kicked off yesterday when Tuttle's city manager Jerry Taylor fired off an angry message to the CentOS staff. Taylor had popped onto the city's web site and found the standard Apache server configuration boilerplate that appears with a new web server installation. Taylor seemed to confuse this with a potential hack attack on the bustling town's IT infrastructure.
"Who gave you permission to invade my website and block me and anyone else from accessing it???," Taylor wrote to CentOS. "Please remove your software immediately before I report it to government officials!! I am the City Manager of Tuttle, Oklahoma."


Read more at the link above (click on quoted article title) and also see the entire email exchange and Register's followup article. If you haven't seen it already, click the link… its absolutely worth it!

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Mar 22nd, 2006 by ravi
Mac Software Essentials

Below are a set of applicationsy that nobody with a Mac should live without. Well some of them may just be eye candy but then again, eye candy is what a Mac is all about ;-). Non-freeware products are marked with the suffix [$].



Multi-protocol Chat client that supports all the major services (Google, Yahoo, AIM, Hotmail, ICQ). Sports a great UI, supports Growl notification, lot of nice themes/templaets for chat window. Based on libGaim so suffers from the same lack of YMSG over HTTP support (which means Yahoo may not work if you are behind a corporate firewall).

Alternatives: Fire, Proteus


FTP and SFTP client/browser with support for Rendezvous/Bonjour. Provides bookmarking for frequently visited sites and synchronization with remote sites. Also supports resumption of transfers.

Alternatives: Fugu, Fetch[$], Transmit[$], RBrowser, Interarchy[$]

Desktop Manager

Desktop Manager

Expose is nice but as any Unix-head will tell you a Windowing system is nothing without a Virtual Window Manager, and that’s where Desktop Manager comes in. Use your single physical screen as multiple virtual screens with neat transition effects, a desktop pager that can auto-hide, configurable shortcuts, and the ability to move windows across virtual screens and even make them sticky on all screens. The biggest drawback is the lack of a way to denote certain apps as always sticky At least an easier way should exist (such as a graphical button in the application titlebar) to make it sticky.

Alternatives: Virtue


Ecto is a multi-platform blogging client that supports a wide range of Blog servers and services (WordPress, Blogger, MovabeType, LiveJournal, etc). The UI is straightforward, the rich-text editor provides a good idea of the final look and feel, and there are some additional goodies such as inserting links from Amazon search. Ecto is not free, however.

Alternatives: Qumana, Bleezer, Xjournal, MarsEdit[$]


Unarguably the best web browser available! ;-) Tabbed browsing, fine-tuned privacy (cookies, forms, etc), zillions of extensions, and that’s about 1% of the available features. Forget that old notion that a Mac is best used with the inbuilt tools. Safari is no substitute for a real web browser.

Alternatives: Camino, Mozilla, Opera, OmniWeb[$]


Growl is a notification system that provides other applications the means to notify the user of events. Various applications (including many listed here, such as Adium) support Growl notification. Notifications are customizable.

Also See: GrowlTunes, HardwareGrowler, NetGrowler


CDDB etc are nice if you are playing, ripping or storing albums, but what about individual songs? For that you need the MusicBrainz service. And iEatBrainz is a client that lets you tag your iTunes collection (AAC or MP3) using acoustic matching from MusicBrainz.


Terminal.App is for babies. iTerm adds the features that any Unixhead used to KDE/Gnome absolutely needs. For example: tabs for multiple remote terms. X style cut and paste. And a few other nice features.


OpenOffice.org based office application suite that can read and write Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel). Its a bit slow and sometimes has problems with advanced formats in MS files, but does the job for the 90th percentile.

Alternatives: OpenOffice.org


A launcher with an amazing number of features. Launch applications, visit bookmarks, setup custom shortcuts, open files, all with simple key shortcuts.

Alternatives: Butler

Taco HTML Edit

A neat HTML editor that provides the basic set of features that makes it useful. Others like n|vu provide better WYSIWYG support but make it surprisingly more difficult to edit a page (such as by fixing table and cell widths, to use a random example). Taco provides a Live Preview that suffices to see what your HTML looks like. It also enables quick insertion of tags, performs syntax highlighting, etc.

Alternatives: n|vu


If Safari is inadequate compared to Firefox, Mail.app is a joke compared to Thunderbird. The list of features in T’Bird requires a separate web page altogether, but here are a few: multiple accounts with multiple identities, filtering, searching, labelling, Virtual Folders, LDAP addressbook, GPG (Enigmail), message aging, etc.


RSS newsreader with inbuilt page viewer, tabs support, categories (including dynamic “smart folders” defined using filters — very useful for deleting those pesky “Open Threads” ;-)). One feature that would be nice is OPML synchronization with a service like Bloglines.

Alternatives: BlogBridge, Feed, Jager, Lektora, MiNews, NetNewsWire[$], NewsMac, PulpFiction, Strider[$], Bloglines, NewsGator, Shrook, Gritwire, and various other online news aggregators (Yahoo, Google, FeedLounge[$], etc).

Other Useful Tools
  • Eavesdrop: packet sniffer
  • Saft add-on for Safari
  • Screen Spanning Doctor: MacOS support for screen resolution limits it to the highest available on your iBook/PowerBook, though it can support higher resolutions, such as on an external monitor. Screen Spanning Doctor helps you not only extend your screen to an external monitor, but also helps support the higher resolution.
What’s Missing?
  • A nice Podcast client. At least for me, iTunes, iPodder, etc do not cut it.
  • If you do not have Tiger and want something similar to Dashboard try Konfabulator or KeepAnEye
  • Better LDAP support in the AddressBook. Currently subscribing to external directories is a crapshoot — it may work, it may not!
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Jan 10th, 2006 by ravi
Mactel? Intac? Mac goes x86

The much awaited MacExpo Jobs keynote brought forth a much expected bit of news: the Intel based Macs are out, starting with the iMac and a new MacBook laptop. The Intel iMacs are priced the same as the G5s. So, will the prices of G5 iMacs drop? In the real world it probably would… but this is Mactopia and my guess is not…

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