TechnoMagician's Weblog
(aka Tim Aiello)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.

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Friday, August 30, 2002
Groove Briefcase

There has been a lot of talk recently about using Groove as a type of briefcase.  I have used Groove extensively in this manner until recently when Groove corrupted months of work.  I know a lot of you out there are probably saying, well, don't you have a backup?  Well, I thought having my Groove data distributed (synced) on 2-3 machines was backup enough and no need to separately backup my data.  WRONG.  Groove has not only corrupted data on one computer but also was very good at syncing that corruption to the other boxes.

The excellent Groove technical support group has been working very diligently with me in the last 2 weeks to resolve this issue.  It seems to be a common problem when upgrading to 2.1.

I have been waiting on the outcome to write about this, however I wanted to get the warning out there that if people are using Groove in this manner, you should definitely be doing backups of your data just like anything else.

11:59:14 PM    

Wednesday, August 28, 2002
RIAA Hacked

As Dave puts it "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you":

Chris Chapman reports that the RIAA website was hacked overnight. He has a screen shot. As a computer professional, I can never condone this sort of thing. It's not okay to deface other people's sites, no matter what the cause. Now, that said, of all the sites on the Web, the one I care the least about being hacked is the RIAA site because they are asking for the the legal right to do that to our computers. Remember the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. [Scripting News]
3:34:55 PM    

Canadians should be aware of this.  The discussion draft can be found here.

Will Canada's ISPs become spies?. The Canadian government is considering a proposal that would force Internet providers to rewire their networks for easy surveillance by police and spy agencies. [CNET]
2:50:57 PM    

Tuesday, August 27, 2002


Open Source in Government. Todd Ogasawara has put together a blog on open source software in government.  Todd made a presentation at OSCON on a project he'd done in the State of Hawaii using open source.  [Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog]
3:06:06 PM    

ClickTracks website analysis
ClickTracks uses a very interesting method of showing what users are doing on your website.  I've used WebTrends and Analog extensively but there is just something that ClickTracks seems to be able to convey immediately without reading a pile of website stats from these other programs and still trying to determine what your users are doing.
2:47:19 PM    

Saturday, August 24, 2002
New Architect: Wireless, Defenseless
Lincoln Stein has an article on wireless networks in New Architect: "Wireless, Defenseless"
12:18:15 PM    

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

On CNN right now.  Some sort of aerosol sprayed at Miami airport.  Or at least that is what they are reporting now.  Earlier reports of white powder have been corrected by the fire department to an aerosol spray.
11:39:15 AM    

Monday, August 19, 2002
Segway/IT Hype Again

And the hype starts up again:

Segway Isn't Ginger. Remember all the hype surrounding Dean Kamen's "IT" or Ginger product when it was first (secretly) announced? Then, when the Segway was finally launched people wondered if that was all there was to IT. Now, the latest fun rumor is that the Segway is really a red herring to keep people away from the truth about IT. People are speculating that it really is a hovercraft, or some other device that's a lot more interesting than a random big, overpriced, scooter. [Techdirt]
5:45:22 PM    

Saturday, August 17, 2002

A followup to Ray and Dave regarding  Traceroute not reaching its destination doesn't really mean the site is blocked but rather it might be that ICMP packets are not allowed through which seems to be the case in this situation.  Looking a bit deeper into what the "No web site is configured at this address" might be coming from I traced some packets and it seems this data is coming back directly from the IP associated with  So my guess is that they are blocking the packets directly and not some of the ISP's in the US.  However, tough to prove as I suppose it is possible for the ISP's to make it look as though the packets are coming directly from the end-point but replacing the contents.  I highly doubt they are smart enough to do this and more importantly sounds like it would be illegal as well.

"Listen4Ever: "No web site is configured at this address." - Dave Winer.

"FYI - at this moment, the site looks to be blocked from inside China ( Tracing route to [] over a maximum of 30 hops: 17 92 ms 94 ms 94 ms [] 18 95 ms 94 ms 94 ms [] 19 481 ms 478 ms 478 ms [] 20 481 ms 478 ms 481 ms 21 463 ms 459 ms 463 ms 22 458 ms 463 ms 463 ms [] 23 460 ms 463 ms 459 ms [] 24 reports: Destination net unreachable. Trace complete." - Ray Ozzie

12:32:20 PM    

Friday, August 16, 2002
Woz on Spam

Good point Woz:

Woz is lookin good. We talked about the Internet music clampdown. We hadn't talked about music since Y2K, the heyday of Napster. He said something smart. If the govt wanted to stop spam, they could. He's probably right. Government of the people, by the people and for the people, has perished from the earth. Now the govt is for Hillary Rosen and Jack Valenti. Taxation without representation. [Scripting News]
12:13:08 AM    

Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Cloudmark Get A Clue
Well another update on SpamNet from Cloudmark.  It seems like they have dropped the ball with the latest Beta 6 release.  It is catching much less spam than Beta 5 (I'd say only about 10-20% now vs 70-80%).  Their support forums are full of people posting about this and other problems with Beta 6 and with the fact that they don't ever seem to post responses in the forums.  They've obviously made some major changes but not for the better.  Its a shame really because all they need to do is make a couple of statements and everyone will probably calm down enough to wait for Beta 7 (or whatever is following) for things to get back on track.  But if this is the way they are going to continue to operate then it looks like the cluetrain is leaving them at the last station.
11:03:54 AM    

Monday, August 12, 2002
eBay Fraud

I suspect there is a lot of fraud on eBay.  I attempted to notify eBay of potential fraud and they obviously didn't understand what I was reporting so dismissed it as normal behavior.  What happened was that I lost out on an auction and the winner of the auction contacted me and said they really didn't want the item and if I was interested I could buy it from them.  I said, sure, but at the price of what I would have won the auction at if they didn't bid.  By the way their response was wording it made me believe that this person was actually the original auction seller.  Obviously the seller was bidding on his/her own stuff to up the price.  I emailed eBay with all the proof and they couldn't see it.  Obviously they aren't doing much to discourage this kind of behavior especially when you wave the evidence in their face. 

How Much Fraud Is There On eBay?. Business 2.0 has the story of one eBay scammer who bought and sold on eBay legitimately for many years until launching his grand scam that defrauded people out of nearly $300,000 in fake auctions. They use this case to highlight the fact that eBay's fraud prevention mechanism (mainly their feedback ratings) don't prevent many types of fraud. The article also suggests that eBay isn't being completely forthright about how much fraud goes on on the site. They only report the numbers of cases where eBay has been convinced that a scam actually took place - but not everyone reports thing to eBay (they might not tell anyone, or they may report it to local authorities or the FBI instead). Basically, they say you should be careful before you buy any large ticket items on eBay, which is probably not the PR message eBay would like to be out there. [Techdirt]
5:34:36 PM    

Back to the Future

It does make you think:

Thanks to genehack for the link to The Time Travel Fund. Well worth a read, if not a deposit. Give them $10 now, and in 500 years, they pay to transport you to the future from your deathbed. Think about it. [Scripting News]
1:49:41 PM    

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Interesting insight about Linux on the desktop from a post by Ray Ozzie:

"We eventually gave up: nobody gave a hoot about Linux on the desktop"

I can relate to this in the days of the browser wars.  It was no different.  You could blow your brains out trying to develop web apps that would work just as well in Netscape as IE while blowing your budget for an extremely small market.  Or, as I would like to do, you could ignore Netscape, get to market a lot sooner, have much less headaches and not worry about that 1% or less of the market.  Anyone developing serious applications with serious budgets and timeframes will understand this.

12:21:56 AM    

Thursday, August 08, 2002
Edsgar Dijkstra
"The question of whether computers can think is like the question of whether submarines can swim" - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra: 1930-2002.  His entire collection of written work can be found here.
10:44:21 AM    

US military buildup at Al Udeid Air Base

In just 5 months there seems to be a lot of buildup of US military at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

10:40:57 AM    

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Looks like some people are starting to wake up:

Webmonkey: Web Standards for Hard Times. Paul Boutin. Instead of trying to support multiple versions of the same pages, it's much more cost-effective to piggyback on the millions of dollars Microsoft, Netscape, Opera, and others have spent building standards-compliant browsers and just stick to using standards-compliant code on your site. [Tomalak's Realm]
11:34:21 PM    

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