Sunday, May 13, 2007

Google police

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
If Google is to regulate what's good and what's bad for us, maybe this would be called censorship.

To address this problem and to protect users from being infected while browsing
the web, we have started an effort to identify all web pages on the Internet that could potentially be malicious. Google already crawls billions of web pages on the Internet. We apply simple heuristics to the crawled pages repository to determine which pages attempt to exploit web browsers. The heuristics reduce the number of URLs we subject to further processing significantly. The pages classified as potentially malicious are used as input to instrumented browser instances running under virtual machines. Our goal is to observe the malware behavior when visiting malicious URLs and discover if malware binaries are being downloaded as a result of visiting a URL. Web sites that have been identified as malicious, using our verification procedure, are labeled as potentially harmful when returned as a search result. Marking pages with a label allows users to avoid exposure to such sites and results in fewer users being infected.

And what about this:

The firewall is dead.

I don't think that this would be true in a hundred years. As long as software (operating systems in particular) have wek spots, there will be a huge market for firewalls.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Writing productivity

It seems that there are "7 ways to Crank Out Articles"

This should't be too bad. While I'm not really interested in cranking out articles, I think that I will try and follow at least some of the rules.

"All writers grapple with procrastination: you know you should be writing
right now, but you find a million other things to do instead."
This applies to me. But I would re-write it as follows:

All writers grapple with procrastination: you know you should be writing right
now, but you find a million things to write about at any one second.

This, for me, means that I would have to follow the last rule first:

"Crank, then revise. Write a shitty first draft, as fast as you can, and then go
back over it. But the key is just to get it out. Craft it lovingly afterwards,
not during. "

Or even the 3rd:

"Brainstorm. If you’re facing a blank screen, it’s often hard to get started. Get
your fingers pumping and your brain moving by making a list — brainstorm some
ideas for the article, or do a bullet-point list with details to be filled out
later, or do an outline. Whatever it is, get your ideas down fast, and things
will start flowing. "

Maybe I'll even improve my writing skills. I'm aware that it leaves much more to be desired. And I think that't the first thing that I wish to improve. Quality comes before quantity for me.

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Do I run cheap?

This post has an interesting view on pointers to a better life (or better pay).

Personally, I like the number 12 the best.

Companies have been calling from India wanting to outsource their work to you.

This would clearly be a sign that I charge too little. Even though I don't agree with the idea that every Indian worker charges a few bucks for a job that he doesn't do well, I agree with the fact that Indian freelancers charge too low.
It's all about how you sell your skills. And Indians seem to have found the holy grail when it comes to selling. ;)

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Forget about it!

I would have to agree with this point of view:

"If whatever we do can be held against us years later, if all our impulsive
comments are preserved, they can easily be combined into a composite picture of
ourselves." ... "Afraid how our words and actions may be
perceived years later and taken out of context, the lack of forgetting may
prompt us to speak less freely and openly."

But, then again, what if we would forget anything older than our lifetime? Wouldn't that mean that we would forget our history? Wouldn't it mean that we would be repeating our history over and over again?

In other words, it threatens to make us all politicians.

Yes, it's a risk. It's a very high risk I wouldn't want to have to take. I would hate to see that, if a politician says something that can be held against him, would be forgotten after a period of time, and he'd be granted a clean slate.

On the other hand, the proposal he has, that any piece of information be given a pre-determined "shelf-live", modifiable by a user. Thus, anything I would say at one time can be forgotten after, say, 1 year. That would be nice. But who would be the one to say: "this information or type of information has a default life-span of x years"? Would it be a commision of some sort? Or would it be an individual? If it's a person, who can guarrantie that his/her actions are correct?

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Star Wars - continued


I'm a great fan of the Star Wars double-trilogy. It would be a great thing for all the fans in the world.


“But they won’t have members of the Skywalker family as characters,” he
said. “They will be other people of that milieu.”

This would be a new thing. I've always thought of the movie as if the title was "The Skywalker Saga" as opposed to "Star Wars".

I can hardly wait to see what happens to Luke, even if the next episodes doesn't actually show the character.


RIP desktop

Here's an interesting (and very true) assumption:

to a user, the interface is the product

I would emphasise this affirmation for each and every project that I've worked on.

I might add the following (if it's not ever been said, which I don't believe):

  • If the user doesn't feel comfortable with the interface, he would not use the application.
  • If the user doesn't find what he's looking for with the help of just a few mouse clicks or keyboard entries, he would not use the application.

The application might do magic with the data provided by the user, but if the user can't manage to enter the information in a way that is both comfortable and easy to do, the application would have no data to do the magic with.

Providing input methods that are "user-centric" is a must nowadays. Why do you think that there's so much hype with AJAX, Flash (and Flex) and Rich Internet Applications? That's why. The users need to feel comfortable. Otherwise, it would be hard to get them to use (or buy) the software.

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Life changing information exchange

Leo Babauta of Lifehack has a very interesting view on how our lives changed since social networking came.
He is, oh so, right on that point.

But then social media came along, just within the last few years, and the
gates broke open.

Then again, when reading only the information that other deem as worthy the time it takes to read it, we are increasing our chanses of missing some information that really matters to us. One can see Digg as the main (or maybe, the sole) source of information for what one needs. This can turn out to be a very dangerous thing.

In order to see "the larger picture", one has to read the news from other sources too. I, for one, don't rely on Digg to serve the news "I need" to read. I have other source too. And (this is a bad thing from my part) I don't always share what seems interesting to me with the masses.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Silverlight on Linux

So, the good folks over at the Mono Project thought that Silverlight is a new technology that would make it to the market. And by "market" I mean that the clients of big software companies would pay for applications that use the technology.

That's a great thing. I'm glad to see that Mono is trying to bring "software to the masses" from places that only "big software companies" are able to bring.

Imagine if you're pitching an open source solution to a project with relatively low budget as opposed to a Microsoft only solution to the same project. Not only that SOHO companies prefer to keep a tight leash on their budget, but big companies are beginning to see the benefits of using as much open source as possible.

Keep up the good work.

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