Archive | March, 2006

Patch those patches!

Apple Issues Updated Security Fix. Apple released another version of the security patch it distributed on March 13 to users of its OS X operating system software, in order to address a problem reported with the update. The company said it distributed the new patch, dubbed Update 2006-002 v1.1, in order to fix an issue with Apple’s Safari Web browser that some users observed after installing its 2006-002 security update. According to a post on the company’s Web site, the previous update had caused some Safari users to have problems launching the browser. [OSNews]

End of an era

On July 15, 1992, I signed up with a CompuServe account. $22.95 a month plus connection charges, if I recall correctly. TapCIS and WinCIM to connect, DOS and Windows. CIS has been my backup service once I got broadband, a dial-up connection when I’m on the road, and finally a spam collector after all my legitimate correspondents had moved along. With the prevalence of wireless and broadband, it was a relic. 13 years and 8 months is a long time to have an email address. I closed it yesterday.

Buzzterm alert! OPML Browsers in the red!

Over at Scripting News, Dave Winer points to an post: Dan MacTough: “The buzz-o-meter on OPML browsers is off the charts right now.”

There is a geometric buzz building that will die off in a day or week or month or two, but there is a there there: a simple, standard way to express in XML a one-to-many relationship has been implicitly built in since the beginning. But the OPML 2.0 format proposes a couple of deceptively simple and powerful standard tags that could open up some cool innovation ala RSS: author (with a URL for a contact-me page, not an email in this spam-drowned world), a type (where you extend the content innovatively), and more. Read the spec at and listen to Dave’s March 1 Audiocast (MP3) for more insights.

As database developers, we’ve been thinking one-to-many relationships for a long time. “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Hierarchical database designers were a generation ahead of us. Dick Bard showed how to browse a database by pivoting the point of reference around the table of interest and browsing in a hierarchical fashion from there — in DOS! It will be interesting if the maturation of OPML leads to new ways of visualizing and communication data.

Tests find DRM shortens player battery life by up to ~25%

Doc Searls points to a posting “…one feature that has a drastic affect [sic] on battery life is the infamous DRM.” Their link to a ZDNet review is broken, but it’s no surprise that asking a poor little battery-operated thing to decrypt sound as well as decompress it is going to be more costly in terms of power. So, DRM supports the energy cartel. No surprise there, eh?

Send the message with your wallet. Buy unencrypted music and rip it for yourself in your choice of formats and your choice of sampling rates for your choice of playback devices: home, car, player, whatever. It’s about choice.

Grazr-browsing OPML

Neat new toy: an OPML browser. Dave Winer linked to Adam Green links to Grazr. Check out the effect:

grazrAPIkey = “ALPHA03”;

VS.NET is like a city in the desert…

Postcard picture
Here’s a remarkably mixed message. What are the advertisers trying to tell me in this postcard I just received? Post your favorite theories in the comments!

  • Visual Studio.NET is a gamble?
  • VS.NET is trying to look like something it’s not?
  • It’s just like the City of Lost Wages! Bet your career!
  • “What happens in DotNet, stays in DotNet” — unbelievably, it actually says this on the back of the card! Amazing.
  • Your theory?

Go, Manchester! (both of them) is an effort to provide free, no-charge wireless to downtown Manchester, New Hampshire. Check out the coverage map – it’s pretty impressive! Switch the URL from DotOrg to DotNet and you find yourself at which aims to do the same thing in Manchester, England.

Flash vulnerability

Computerworld News reports Adobe fixes critical Flash vulnerabilities. “Adobe Systems Inc. [who bought Macromedia last year — Ted] has patched a number of critical vulnerabilities in its Flash media player that could be used by attackers to take over an affected system.”

Get patching! Details at

The Old Microsoft Internet Head Fake?

OSNews reports Gates Says Services are the Future for Computers — and Microsoft. “Company makes plans to move away from prepackaged software and into web-based applications. As the Internet transforms the way people use computers, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a message for the world’s biggest software maker: adapt or die. “We must act quickly and decisively,” Gates wrote in an Oct. 30 memo to Microsoft executives. “The next sea change is upon us.” More at DetNews.”

So, the Microsoft Roadmap bangs a left, taking Microsoft up on two wheels and tossing out Microsoft “partners” who were along for the ride but had invested their futures in rich client-side applications. How many times can Microsoft do that before people catch on? A redundant question, surely. In a recent ProFox mailing list post I wrote:

In the late 80s, I sat in a room back at the Park Plaza
Hotel in Boston while Microsoft announced the rollout of the NT
platform. During the Q&A session, a fellow came up to the microphone
and explained that he was a Microsoft “partner,” had subscribed to
their products and had spent years with a staff of programmers
developing an app not far from release, but targetted at OS/2. What,
he asked, was Microsoft going to do for him? His voice was unsteady,
and it was apparent that he was facing a disasterous failure. There
was an awkward silence when he finished as the crowd fell silent.
There was no noise but an occasional clink of crystal against
silverware. A Microsoftie finally managed to speak up, trying to
deflect the comment into a pitch for their new development tools. The
spell ended, but the impression remains to this day.

I can’t lead another client down that path.

You know, these articles are so tired. A writer has nothing better to do that to trot out the tired history of DOS, Windows, Microsoft discovering the internet a few years too late and making a big deal of the latest announcement, whether it is Live or MSN or SQL Server 2005 or “Information At Your Fingertips” and making it the next Microsoft-bet-the-farm story. There’s so little new information (“news”) in the article: old news: Microsoft revenue growth is coasting to a stop, products are shipping slower and slower, diversification and lack of direction are confused. New news: Microsoft releases a BillG memo from five months ago.

It’s Microsoft PR. Bill wrote a memo in October they’ve decided to release now. As Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, says at the end of the story, “There’s a bit of misdirection going on here.” I think the question is how customers will read this. Will they see “Microsoft is on to a new paradigm — I’ve got to jump onboard to get the early adopter advantage” or will it be “There goes Microsoft, thrashing about again — DotNet has almost gotten stable and they’re off on another wild goose chase.” Time will tell, but I’m hearing more and more from the later camp.

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