Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rico LiveGrid

Bill Scott is introducing us to the Rico project and its LiveGrid component. Leverages AJaX. Amazing stuff. ... ok so Safari support isn't quite there yet. Still cool concepts.

Oh and check this out. The right column.


Yahoo Introduces My Web 2.0

Beyond the flurry of news coverage surrounding Yahoo's newest toy, I'm finding Jeremy Zawodny's introduction to My Web 2.0 to be the most effective:
Well, everyone I know is an expert... in something. If I have questions about electronics or radios, I'd ask my Dad. He's always looking at that stuff on-line. Astronomy and Astrophotography? My Uncle. Construction and remodeling? My brother in law. Real estate? A couple of my old college friends. The list goes on.

The point is that for most topics I might want to know more about, I already know someone that's smarter than me on the subject. I have my very own community of experts (we all do). I just need a way to tap into their accumulated experience. Read More
Some readers are pointing out that My Web 2.0 possesses features similar to what has for years offered to the rest of us. But I'd say Yahoo pushes things further by adding a dimension of private networks, and enhancing your casual web searches by giving a higher priority to sites that may have already been noticed by people who belong to your private social network. I think it's fantastic.

Google has for many years lacked a key feature: the concept of a user. Until GMail came out and more recently, iGoogle, there was no such thing as a "Google User", part of a larger community of web surfers. Google's "Page Rank" algorithm doesn't currently have a way to take advantage of social networks. Yahoo introduced "My Rank".

There is a limited Beta registration period. To check it out, go here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Atlas: Microsoft Goes After Ruby on Rails

So. On one hand, you can "wait" for Microsoft to release their "Atlas Product" whose roadmap appears to be what Ruby on Rails delivers today.

Or you can start right-away building richer web applications with free and open-source frameworks maintained by communities of developers such as Ruby on Rails and the Prototype JS library.

The article about Microsoft Atlas mentions they'll be offering a text completion widget. Not that I'm pretentious enough to even dream of Microsoft including my hard work into their framework, but I'm wondering whether I should move it from a BSD License to a GPL License. Right now, the code isn't even close to be as clean or elegant as it should be, but as I strive to meet standards put forth by the Prototype JS Library, so the framework becomes more maintainable and extendable, i wouldn't be surprised to see entities sell their own frameworks built on-top of WICK, without contributing anything back to the project.

What do you guys think?

The following quotes from the Atlas roadmap are worrying me:
With Atlas, we plan on providing programmable access to a local store/cache, so that applications can locally cache data easily, efficiently and securely.
As far as i know, and i may be wrong, this type of caching mechanism isn't yet available in any browser code base but Windows IE. I believe they're referring to the "Internet Explorer userData cache". I've used it back in 1999 in experimental projects, and it came-in handy at times, but use cases for this feature are limited. It worries me because I can see many developers who currently think of AJAX as this cool cross-platform way of doing things, seeing Atlas as an AJAX framework, and start abusing features such as this one for which there are no standards, and will bring us right back to the dark ages of a broken web. RSS View

Taking a minute to send props to a couple of my peers who've delivered a very cool feature that just went live about an hour ago. If you sign-in to (free registration) in Safari 2.0 (Tiger), Firefox, or any RSS-enabled user agent, you'll notice the presence of an RSS feed. In Safari, it's the blue RSS icon in the address bar. In Firefox, it's the little orange broadcast icon at the bottom-right-hand corner of your browser window.

It's a more efficient and elegant way to quickly access time-sensitive data throughout the day.

Yahoo, are you trembling, yet? :)

Best Movies Ever

Movies I've either watched or am planning to watch:

Alien Intruder [IMDB]
Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf [IMDB]
Lair of the White Worm [IMDB]
'Manos' the Hands of Fate [IMDB]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fun at eBay Developer Conference

update: Award Coverage at eBay's blog

EarthLink won one of the Star Developer Awards given to a handful of eBay developers under various categories. We were in the Affiliates Program category and James and I got to go up on stage to accept the award for our teams amidst very good company, such as Andale and Yahoo Small Business. We shook the hands of Paypal and eBay executives, including eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

If you're ever curious to see some of the things we do with eBay, consider heading over to My EarthLink, register for a free account if you don't already have one, and take a peek at the "My eBay" feature. This uses the eBay XML API. It's likely one of the sexiest insanely usable tiny auction tracking tools out there. I'm just sayin' :)

You might also take a look at our Google Search: the bottom of the page features "shopping results" for terms users search for, which are partly powered by eBay. This feature uses the eBay REST API, which eBay launched in late 2004.

For the first time in 10 years, the portal is open to everyone. By the same process, you get to reserve for free your very own EarthLink Identity, which instantly gives you a SIP address to send and receive online calls.

Shouts out to the guys. We chatted with them a bit at the conference, they've built a comprehensive online tool for eBay sellers to manage all aspects of their eBay business. Their stuff sounded very cool.

uhmmmkay. enough plugging ... for the next couple of posts at least. really!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Good High School Macs Going to Waste?

My friend Dan Lurie is helping out his high school with IT stuff over the summer and is informing us that per school district policy, they must trash 300 perfectly usable Macs scheduled to be replaced with newer hardware.

... is there really no one out there who could use these machines?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


they're saying: "it can't hurt to get to high ground".

More info.

Updated: Warning Canceled: 04:09 UTC
ISSUED 06/15/2005 AT 0409 UTC


Monday, June 13, 2005

Drug Commercials are Icky

I guess it's that time of the night where drug companies throw their commercials at their target audience. I'm especially fond of prescription dug commercials:

After an upbeat introduction showing us how drug [X] will get rid of all that ails us, the obligatory disclaimers arrive:

"Ask your doctor about drug ... [X]"

And then "the voice" starts outlining in a most charming tone all its frightening side-effects. To further soften the blow, they'll show images of happy people going about their lives. Ugh. It's nasty stuff.

Google Video Has Mac Uploader. Linux Too.

OH THAT IS SO SWEET, I just went back to Google Video, and they now offer Linux and Mac OS X Uploaders.

Will report back on this if i get some time to try it out, which isn't likely in the foreseeable future. HEH :)

Nokia to use WebKit!

Nokia loves WebKit. WebKit loves Nokia.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

On Smart Cars

It's funny to see how many car makers have commercials touting the fact that a given model was hailed as "the best in its class", and go-on proclaiming: "So what did we do? we completely redid it and made it better! more [blah blah blah] ...". One accolade they love to throw in the mix is "Smarter".

Smarter? Last I checked, a car still goes where I tell it to go, let's keep it that way and not go crazy with "smart".

Imagine me driving to the theater, looking forward to a yet another fine Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster and pigging out on hot dogs, when my Smart Car, upon sizing me up, suddenly intervenes to drag my lazy ass to the nearest Bally Total Fitness ... "No hot dogs for you!".

Keep cars dumb!

I wouldn't mind a flying car though.

WiFi Security

James McMurry is reminding us of many security issues at hand with WiFi while giving us an interesting overview of some research being done in this field.

While I can live with an open network infrastructure that doesn't require passwords or encryption, encouraging its users to use secure protocols and encryption at the application layer, such methods still don't address issues of open user-run WiFi access points, and the dangerous liability they may represent.

If I access a WiFi network that is owned and operated by the city I live in, or some other private entity, it then becomes clear that any mischief perpetrated by some other user of this infrastructure is not my responsibility, there is clearly no reason for feds to come knocking at my door, because hey, it's not my network. Feds will be knocking at somebody else's door.

Now, I have a DSL connection, all traffic that goes through it is clearly traceable directly back to me. For convenience, I decide to open a WiFi hotspot that's linked to my DSL connectivity. Because I'm lazy, I don't bother locking it down with WEP or WPA. An online thief drives by my house, picks-up my signal, uses my connectivity to "get online" and hack a bank. Since all criminal traffic was easily traced back to me, the next morning the Feds are knocking at my door, my computer equipment is seized, and I'm finding myself obligated to defend myself for a crime I didn't commit. Some will argue I have "plausible deniability". Hey, whatever, I'd much rather lock my sh*t down in the first place.

As much as I'd like to live in zeroconf utopia, I believe being wirelessly connected to a network presents additional accountability challenges most end-users aren't prepared to face, and shouldn't have to face. I entirely agree with James that makers of end-user home broadband routers have a responsibility to strongly encourage, facilitate, if not enforce some level of encryption/password protection. Here are a few possible steps I'm just throwing out there without that much thinking:

- A WiFi access point/router would by default allow unencrypted WiFi connectivity to facilitate initial set-up
- Until encryption and a password has been set-up, the router side of the device would hijack all HTTP traffic to present the user with a warning message: "YOUR DEVICE HAS NOT YET BEEN CONFIGURED. Please use the Wizard provided to you on the Welcome CD to set-it up. Or you may click here to set it up manually"
- Upon successfully configuring the router, the Wizard software would trigger the user's operating system's WiFi support to reconnect to the newly created SSID with the correct encryption scheme and pass phrase. On OS X, ensure that stuff gets stored in the keychain.

Of course none of this would really help me when I buy a hybrid WiFi/SIP/3G Phone from SK-EarthLink while hoping to roam around neighborhoods leeching open WiFi access points to make free phone calls. But these phones should come with the easy ability to create multiple WiFi profiles with support for any level of encryption.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tiger Dashboard Widgets: Cookies

So today I learned at WWDC that a Dashboard widget sending an XmlHttpRequest to a host/path will send applicable cookies that may have been previously set in Safari-land. In essence, you're looking at one big cookie space. However, I was told there's a bug in Widget-land, whereby if a Set-Cookie HTTP header is sent in a response to an HTTP request made by a dashboard widget, it's currently ignored and not being added to the big cookie space. I'll be inquiring more about all this in more in-depth sessions coming-up.

I'd like to take a couple of minutes to remind us all that Dashboard Widgets are full-blown applications that have the ability to do as much damage to your privacy, home directory or system as any other application would. Be mindful of whom you download a Dashboard Widget from, make sure you can always trace a given widget back to a website owner or company. Just because it is listed on Apple's website does NOT mean it is safe for consumption. The barrier to entry for creating a widget is low, very very low, a lot can be done with little scripting knowledge, it's very easy to package and "ship" one.

Hung Phat

Hung Phat, San Francisco, somewhere between California and Market.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hello From Holiday Inn SFO

I've arrived, safe and sound, they've got free WiFi here, that totally rocks.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Off to San Francisco Tonight

I've just called the Holiday Inn, San Francisco to get an extra night with late check-in tonight at a reasonable price, so I don't have to leave home at 4am, but rather get to bed in SF around 1am or 2am.

I'm off to take Brandy out to a delicious El Torito dinner before taking to the road ... with the trusty night vision goggles, and valentine one.

Hello, I-5, i'm back, i've missed you :)

Live WWDC Keynote Coverage

Get Ready.

Reintroducing SIP: Free Calling for All

Get broadband. Make free calls


Profit ?

Introducing Meetro

Wendell sent me this e-mail:
Hey Chris,

I don't know if you are extremely open to shameless self-promotion on your blog or not, but I've developed a new type of IM that might strike your readers' collective fancy. It's pretty much exclusively for wifi networks (for now), and is completely proximity/radius-based. Check it out: -- I'd deeply appreciate any feedback you might have.

I signed-up for their Q4 2005 beta release of a Mac OS X version of Meetro.

Shameless self-promotion is always a good thing, i'm sure the two persons who read my blog won't mind. And it does look interesting.

Meanwhile, if you've got Windows XP, I guess you're good to try out Meetro. Feel free leave your thoughts in comments.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Reintroducing EarthLink Search: Comparison Shopping, Cubed

If you're ever in the mood for comparison shopping, or trying out yet another search web site, you might consider taking for a spin:

(what i searched for when upgrading my powerbook's RAM to 2GB for $310)

(the best darned consumer DV camcorder on the market, only one with 3-CCDs)
While primarily your average Google-powered web-search interface with a customized EarthLink look and feel, you might notice a few nifty features:
  1. "Shopping Results" at the bottom of the page, with up to 3 tabs showing you previews of items from, and eBay, if anything relevant was found from each site.
  2. If you have a account, and are signed-in, you'll see a handy "Save Search" link by the search box, and an "add to favorites" link next to each search result. You can get a free account here and you'll also get to have fun with the rest of us making free SIP phone calls
  3. It's crazy fast. I've used it while dialed-up to my earthlink account from a GSM phone (the dsl comes with 20 hours of free dial-up/month, handy when traveling). Analog dial-up over a mobile phone pretty-much guarantees you speeds below 14.4Kbps, imagine pre-1995 web surfing.
A note on comparison shopping:

When I'm out to find the best deal on whichever doohickey i'm buying, there are a few resources I always check out while heavily leaning on tabbed browsing in Safari or Firefox:
  1. Advertisers on Google Sponsored Results. It's the one time I'll happily click on those!
  2. not only helps you narrow down your searches, but also compare specific item prices from multiple vendors, read vendor and product ratings powered by I like their stuff very much
  3. doesn't necessarily surface the absolute best deal, but has helpful suggestions, reviews, and gives me a good idea of "what things go for" beyond retail-land
  4. and of course eBay
  5. I sometimes head over to froogle
  6. If I'm shopping for computer components i'll always be sure to check out I just found out today about which could have saved me $50 on those 2gigs i just bought from which was already a good deal. gives me quick access to 1, 2, 3 and 4. Searches and results I save are also available to me at

If you like this search and wish to always keep it at your fingertips, you might consider adding this favelet to your browser's favorites toolbar:

EarthLink Web Search