Thursday, February 21, 2008

AWESOME last night Lunar Eclipse time lapse composite pic

Large composite photo on Flickr showing the entire eclipse from 7:51p to 9:05p CST. Also click ORIGINAL in Flickr to see the full size (2151 x 2500) image.

read more | digg story

Monday, November 19, 2007

R.I.P. EarthLink WebLife

This just in my inbox:

Dear WebLife Subscriber,

We're writing to let you know that due to market trends, we
will be discontinuing EarthLink WebLife on January 7, 2008
at 12:00 a.m. Eastern.

We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your
subscription to WebLife. We hope this email will help explain
what to expect.

* Today through December 7th -- Normal Access. No changes.

* December 7th through January 7th at 12:00 a.m. Eastern --
Limited Access. You will be able to download files, but not
upload or share them.

* After January 7th -- No Access. WebLife will be discontinued
and all remaining files deleted.

IMPORTANT: Please save all your WebLife files (including photos
and other files) to your computer's hard disk or to another back-
up option. After January 7, 2008 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern, those
files will be deleted and can not be recovered by you or

After saving your WebLife files elsewhere, you can remove
WebLife from your computer by clicking the link below and
following the prompts. Your computer may restart once WebLife
has been removed. Please be sure to save any files that you are
working on or have open before clicking the link:

If you have questions about removing WebLife, please call
Technical Support at 888-EarthLink (888-327-8454).

Please note: Any prepaid balance will be credited to your
account, which will appear on your next EarthLink invoice.

If you need assistance, you can trade real-time
messages with a friendly Live Chat representative:

Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience and thank you
for your subscription.


EarthLink Customer Support

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

MacOS 10.5 Leopard Phones Home, Reveals Little Snitch 2

Apple's Mac OS 10.5 Leopard 'loginwindow' process phones home to on port 443 which is only revealed by running the new Little Snitch 2 security monitoring tool.

read more | digg story

I find Alex's story a bit prematurely accusatory toward Apple, though he did seize a worthwhile opportunity for some healthy advocacy of Little Snitch. I just upgraded my license to 2.0, and it's well-worth the $13 :).

It's good to track these types of issues, but there are a lot of processes on OS X that'll communicate to other servers, even over SSL, including webdav client for idisk, for .Mac Mail over IMAP. It's just that loginwindow isn't a process you'd typically expect to connect to some host, which happens to be, so it's definitely worth raising an eyebrow.

Engadget mentions some "secure magic" of the "Back to My Mac" feature, allowing a Mac linked to a .Mac account to control another Mac linked to the same .Mac account:
[...] On the back end of things, Leopard includes "Back to my Mac," which keeps track of your home Mac's IP address through various (and secure!) magicks [... Read More ]
Apple has a page dedicated to the Back to My Mac feature. The requirements section is particularly interesting:
    Requirements to use Back to My Mac
  • A .Mac membership.
  • Two or more Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard-based Macs that are configured for use with the same .Mac account.
  • For screen sharing, a 128Kbps or faster bi-directional network connection between the computers (file sharing may be usable with slower connections).
  • An AirPort base station, or third-party Internet router which supports UPnP or NAT-PMP.
NAT-PMP? Interesting. Wikipedia gives us some interesting information about NAT-PMP, a protocol introduced by Apple in June 2005:
It essentially automates the process of port forwarding.
Included in the protocol is a method for retrieving the public IP address of a NAT gateway, thus allowing a client to make this public IP address and port number known to peers that may wish to communicate with it.
This may be wild speculation but could it be possible that loginwindow is sending public IP and ports information to .Mac, to enable other Macs linked to the same .Mac account to connect?

I don't find the mere fact that Leopard is sending data over an encrypted connection to a security concern in and out of itself. And until a crafty developer manages to extract information out of the perpetrating process before it sends its data over the encrypted connection, i won't just assume this is a privacy concern.

On the other hand, reading more about this "Back to My Mac" feature makes me nervous. A long time ago, I wrote a rant about Layers of Operating System Security, touting the fact that OS X had virtually no open ports on a default installation, dramatically reducing vectors of attack. Making this "Back to My Mac" feature available on default Leopard installations could, possibly, one day, present a vector of attack.

Let's hope Apple's got their proverbial sh*t together, and if not, let's hope some crafty ethical hackers manage to find holes and get Apple to plug them, before some zero-day exploit gets in the wild.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Google Phone: The Story So Far and What's Next

The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on Google’s mobile phone efforts and how it is beginning to draw some interest from carriers, especially in the United States. Here is what Om Malik has been able to gather from his sources.

read more | digg story

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hulu Launches! Should YouTube Be Worried?

While it may not live up to its billing as a “YouTube killer,” Hulu is as different as a web video service could possibly be from the market leader.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 22, 2007

HTML5 Wrapper for Google Gears

"...Gears is a capable and much more mature implementation, both WebKit and Gears use the same SQLite server, so it should be just a matter of writing a simple wrapper to bring Gears back into the standards fold...."

read more | digg story

Sunday, October 21, 2007

MySpace Gets in Bed with Roommates

MySpace continues its march into original content with the launch of Roommates, a new, scripted original web series, today. The move represents MySpace’s first co-development project and first original web series created specifically for MySpace TV.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 08, 2007

Safari on Windows: Beyond the Browser, Apple's Decoy into Microsoft's World

On June 11th 2007, Apple introduced a beta version of Safari 3 for Windows. Safari is Apple's flagship browser, built on-top of possibly the fastest web browser engine, WebKit.

As soon as it came out, I threw it at our DWR-driven CSS-rich/DOM/script-intensive Used Cars Search results-page and compared rendering/execution speeds with IE6 on the same Windows XP machine. I counted 2+ seconds on IE6 vs 1+ seconds on Safari. Not bad for beta software, i thought, most especially software developed by Apple for its competitor's operating system.

The speed of Apple's web browser on Microsoft Windows is a testament to the maturity and strength of WebKit.

That's all dandy, but here's the twist: Safari 3 on Windows is a Decoy, something to stimulate pundit, media, and industry's attention, generate buzz, and throw them off the scent of the real story underneath. The real story here is WebKit. iTunes. Quicktime: The makings of an enabling software platform, and Safari and iTunes being the manifestation of what underlying platforms such as WebKit and QuickTime can do.

History just may prove me wrong, but I can't imagine Safari-on-Windows, in and out of itself, being part of Apple's longer-term strategic product offerings. I don't picture them running ads on TV encouraging users to switch from Internet Explorer to Safari, in a World where so many Windows users don't even know what their web browser is, and still consider it "that Internet Icon Thingie in the Start Menu".

On the Mac, WebKit enables far more than just "Safari". It also enables a whole realm of useful mini-applications, called "Widgets", running inside "Dashboard". With theoretically little added engineering resources, Apple could create great opportunities by developing a WebKit-only equivalent of Dashboard for Windows.

One of Windows Vista's "touted features" are "Gadgets", Microsoft's attempt at cloning frameworks such as Apple's Dashboard Widgets, Yahoo's Konfabulator, which provide application development platforms that leverage web standards.

Why would this be great opportunity for Apple? Bring more value to their developer community, and establish a budding footprint of Mac Developers releasing narrowly-focused applications simultaneously to Mac and Windows, thereby allowing them to multiply their audience by a factor of ... uhm ... a lot.

While Mac OS X Dashboard Widgets have access to the full underlying Cocoa APIs to provide rich functionality, there already exists a vibrant ecosystem of great widgets built solely with Web Standards, simply leveraging WebKit. A WebKit-only version of Dashboard would nicely cater to this community ... today.

"Gadgets" on Windows are a Vista-only feature. It will take some time for Vista to supplant XP. It will take some more time for Windows developers to release great "Gadgets" for Vista.

If a WebKit-only version of Dashboard was available for Windows tomorrow, Apple could release it to millions of PC users as part of one its routine iTunes updates for Windows. And many of these mini applications would be available to them, near-instantly.

By doing this, Apple would add value to its existing developer community, catch the attention of Web Developers who are on the fence as to where to start their development efforts for Mac Widgets vs Vista Gadgets, by giving them the opportunity to not have to choose.

While leveraging web standards to build useful desktop applications on both platforms would be an encouraging development, the rabbit-hole may yet go even deeper.

Consider iTunes and Safari, two applications that look absolutely identical on both Mac and PC. Are we to believe both applications live in two radically different code bases? What if Apple had internally developed an easier way to code applications for both Mac and Windows? What if XCode was to one day also produce Windows binaries?

Could this hurt Apple's competitive edge? I don't believe so, quite on the contrary. It comes down to providing even more value to their developer community, and help grow it by "reaching out to the other side". Windows users looking to switch to Mac don't make this decision based on specific pieces of 3rd-party software they'll be able to run on their shiny new Mac. They'll switch because of the iApps, which Apple doesn't have to release to Windows and likely never will, and an overall more pleasant, secure, stable, fun computing experience.

The way I see this unfold isn't thru the release of a Windows binary of the Cocoa framework. This would mean that to run Mac apps, an additional framework would need to be loaded on a Windows User's machine, much like .Net. This would strike me as redundant.

I don't either see XCode ported to Windows. It'd be rather pointless as the key audience for this product would be Mac Developers looking to release their apps on Windows, not Windows developers who are primarily .Net developers and already enjoy Microsoft's awesome IDE.

Instead, picture the ability for Mac OS X's XCode to load-up key windows APIs, translate Cocoa source-code into .Net source code, and compile the whole thing into a binary to be tested ... in Parallels ... or a Windows box nearby :).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The real story behind the iPhone unlock GUI drama

There has been bit of drama today around the iPhone unlock program written (in part) by our own Erica Sadun. Lots of rumors are flying around, and lots of folks have it almost right. But none of them knows the real story. And since Sadun works for us, we have kind of an inside track on what really happened.

read more | digg story

Monday, September 03, 2007

Five Facts About Google Phone

Is Google Phone fact or fiction? Engadget says Google’s entry into mobile phone business is for real, and the company is going to announce it soon. Scott Kirsner talked to a bunch of folks over who are intimately familiar with the effort and outlined his findings in an article for The Boston Globe.

read more | digg story

Friday, August 31, 2007

Open Source Goes Hollywood

DrupalCamp comes to Los Angeles with the help of major media companies AOL and Warner Bros. Records. The future of Enternainment is Open Source

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

EarthLink Announces Restructuring

Today EarthLink announced a corporate restructuring that included downsizing and organizational changes that refocus us on our core business.

read more | digg story

Monday, August 20, 2007

iPhone Saves Golfer's Life

The iPhone may be a pretty versatile piece of machinery, but did you know it can save your life? That’s what 53 year old Irwin Koss of DeWitt, New York discovered after a trip to the golf course ...

read more | digg story

Phone Number For Life? Not Quite

A few weeks after Google bought GrandCentral for many millions, there are some changes afoot at the service. There is word that some GrandCentral users who had signed up for a phone number for life are finding out that it isn’t exactly the case, and are being told that their numbers are going to change on August 25, 2007.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Did AT&T Censor Pearl Jam WebCast?

Ma Bell seems to be acting like the big brother. Apparently, AT&T censored parts of Pearl Jam’s performance over the weekend. Rock band was performing as part of Lollapalooza. AT&T blamed the censorship on an aggressive content monitor.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

.Mac Upgrade

Apple writes-in:
Dear .Mac member:

We'd like you to know about some exciting changes to your .Mac service. Read below to see how .Mac gives you new ways to share, more online storage, larger email attachments, and better control over spam in webmail.

Introducing .Mac Web Gallery. You can now easily share photos and movies directly from iPhoto '08 and iMovie '08. Friends and family can see your photo albums in a variety of views. With your permission, they can download photos suitable for 16-by-20-inch prints and contribute photos by browser upload or email. To create a Web Gallery you will need iPhoto '08 version 7.0.1.

10x the storage. To make room for your photos and movies, your .Mac online storage will increase as follows:
- Basic memberships will have a total of 10 GB of combined email and file storage.
- Family Packs will have a total of 20 GB (10 GB for the master account, 2.5 GB for each sub-account).
- If you upgraded to 2 GB, you will have a total of 20 GB of storage; if you upgraded to 4 GB, you will have a total of 30 GB.

You should see the storage increase in your account by August 14th.

Improved iWeb site hosting. Using iWeb '08, you can embed dynamic web widgets like Google Maps, Google AdSense, Web Gallery albums, or HTML snippets in your .Mac site. You'll also find new themes and one-click theme-switching. And if you have your own personal domain, new settings in iWeb '08 let you assign it to your .Mac site.

Larger email attachments. You can now send and receive larger email attachments - up to 20 MB.

Improved webmail spam filtering. .Mac Mail also helps you better manage unwanted email with enhanced junk mail identification and sorting in webmail. To activate this new feature, just turn it on in your webmail preferences - go to, click Mail, and select Preferences in the upper right.

We hope these improvements help you get even more from your .Mac membership. And, as always, thank you for being a .Mac member.


The .Mac Team

Real-Time 2K Playback for Film and HD Content: Frame Thrower at SIGGRAPH

Those of you working in the film industry, or any industry leveraging real-time playback of high-resolution imaging, ought to stop-by Digital Ordnance's booth at SIGGRAPH San Diego. It should be fairly easy to find ... look for the tallest guy on the floor, manning the smallest booth, with the biggest crowd of on-lookers.

While i won't make it this year, as beyond personal interests, this isn't technically "my industry", it's always nice to see Daryll show-off their network-attached real-time 2k playback system: The Frame Thrower. It's amazing to watch stock footage unfold on a big monitor while being able to use a simple jog shuttle to granularly control playback speed, zoom-in on any portion of the image, apply a rich selection of "on-the-fly" color corrections and effects ... during playback . I hear directors and editors eat this up.

Daryll's company has grown into a well-established player in the digital intermediate industry with a loyal and growing customer-base that swears by their products, shaking pre-established moguls at their core, as industry professionals realize they shouldn't have to fight their digital intermediate tools.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wikicars Turns 1

One year and almost 4,000 modified, solidified and beautified pages later, Wikicars is celebrating its first birthday! Congratulations to the World-Wide Automotive Enthusiasts for reaching a great milestone!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New version 1.2 of InputDraw! Draw Widget that integrates with your forms.

Has new features: background image, grid, plain editor, transparency, background color, etc..Still is cross browser, easy and quick and uses SVG standard

read more | digg story

Monday, July 16, 2007

AJAX Web 2.0 Used Cars Search

123 days ago, released the first ever Web 2.0 Used Cars Search. It's fast and AJAXy, and can ultimately save you some money so give it a whirl!

read more | digg story

The Immediate Media Age: Of Broadband & Blogs

Our whole lives are about doing more in less time, trying to cram everything into 24 hours, in a day that is filled with constant interruptions. Instant messages, emails, and the constant chirping of cell phones have surely and slowly squeezed our attention spans. We have responded to this by customizing the digital world according to our lifestyles.

read more | digg story

Monday, July 09, 2007

Props to Facebook

It turns out that there is technology talent that works outside of Google. Facebook is a shining example.

read more | digg story

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jelsoft Acquired by Internet Brands, Inc.

Jelsoft Enterprises, the company behind the vBulletin Forum software, announced today that they have been acquired by Internet Brands, Inc, a "leading provider of automotive, travel and home-related sites and communities." The acquisition gives Jelsoft more resources to continue the development and expansion of their vBulletin product.

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 28, 2007

$10,000 to anyone who creates an Open Source .Mac Replacement Service

To win it, you will need to come up with "a free replacement to dotMac's client-based services that's easy enough for a first-time Mac user to install and so fully and transparently integrated that a long-time dotMac user wouldn't notice the difference."

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Google Apps to Launch Mail Migration

Google will be adding mail migration to Google Apps this week, along with some new features for Google Apps.This is being promoted as especially helpful for organizations looking to better organize their emails, and migrating them to Google Apps is a great way to start. Mail will be migrated to a user’s GMail account, organized into...

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

iPhone: Apple's VoIP End-Game

Picture unlimited free calls over WiFi/IP without even having to "think about it", by simply picking a Person from your Address Book, and hitting "call" ... The same way you'd make a Normal Phone Call. All this powered behind-the-scenes by an outstandingly executed convergence of enabling technologies and open-protocols.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

10 Lessons from the Criminal Trial of exBrocade CEO

Ex-Brocade CEO Greg Reyes helped found the storage area network company in 1995, and coached it into one of the dotcom-era’s highest fliers by 2000. Now Reyes is being prosecuted for an alleged conspiracy. His trial has a lot of lessons for start-up founders.

read more | digg story