Archive | September 20, 2004

Tivo + NetFlix + RSS = nextGenTV?

Television seems to be poised on the brink of making itself completely irrelevant, or reinventing itself into a fantastic new medium with the power of Tivo-NetFlix-RSS: thousands of hours of video-on-demand streamed from in-house servers could make TV as exciting as you want, rather than being stuck with a slow night of re-runs. Dan Gillmor writes:

TV and the Net.

(This is also my Sunday column in the San Jose Mercury News.)

Media junkies have felt a small shiver of anticipation from recent press reports pointing to a linkup between NetFlix, the mail-order video-rental company, and TiVo, the hard-disk home video system. Maybe we’ll soon see the NetFlix catalog made available via the Internet.

The idea definitely has some allure. Anything that lets us avoid a trip to the video-rental store, while simultaneously offering more choices of movies, sounds good at first glance. In some ways, it’s the future of home entertainment.

If such a service ever does take shape, however, it’ll likely include severe restrictions on what customers can do with what they’ve rented. The copyright wars ensure that.

More… [Dan Gillmor’s eJournal]

FireFox on fire

With the Preview Release of version 1.0, FireFox developers and promoters set a goal of one million downloads in 10 days. They smashed through the one million mark in less that half of that – 100 hours! Join in the fun:

Get Firefox!

Win XP2 default firewall configuration could open your shares to the world

On Ed Leafe’s ProFox mailing list, member Bill Anderson pointed out a PC World blog posting [Update: link removed; gone] that in turn links to their German publication with an article that says that under certain circumstances, having Windows File and Print Sharing opened for your local network can also open it for your Internet connection, exposing your files to the world. Oops.

It provides a step-by-step to ensure your are not exposed. Take a minute and check your settings!

If I understand the bug correctly, the problem is that the firewall settings are universal for all of your network connections, and the settings are applied to “my subnet” rather than explicit IP addresses. When you’re at home on your 192.168.1.* network, life is fine. But if you take your machine on the road and dial in via CompuServe, a T-Moble wireless access point, or a client’s network, you are now sharing all of your file shares with everyone on that subnet. That’s not a smart design. Each network connection should have it’s own settings, so you can open File and Print shares in trusted settings and have them blocked in others. And PC Welt’s solution of assigning IP addresses only fixes those situations where the other connection doesn’t have the same IP addresses, so if your client also has 192.168.1.* addresses, everyone on their network could read your files. Unacceptable.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the WinXP firewall is only a one-way blocker and you should really look for a better product like [Note: links removed, ancient and questionable] Kerio, ZoneAlarm or Tiny.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.