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

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Kosmo Systems Inc, along with Ashley IT are proud to present their spam detection service called SimpleFilter. It is so simple, there is absolutely no software to install and it works with virtually any email client on any operating system. Checkout

Saturday, September 27, 2003
Linux Mainstream many years away

Although this is an adventure in OSX, it is not unlike installing stuff for Linux when you need to get into the nitty gritty. This is why we are still many many years off in Linux being used mainstream. Nobody in their right mind wants to jump through hoops like this to install anything:

Open Source OS X Hell Again. In a previous essay I recounted my travails in getting the, and some other Open Source stuff, up and running on the OS X box. I did it again last night, and here are some maybe-helpful hints. If you don't know what might be, you won't miss anything by skipping this one... [source: ongoing]

I've gone through a similar procedure many times trying to install something or other on various flavours of Linux. And even worse, most of the time you end up giving up at some point because you just can't force your way through some install or figure out how to get it to install some other way. Its just disgusting.

9:42:40 AM    

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Sophos purchases ActiveState
Sophos purchased ActiveState for $23 million. Not sure if this is just for their anti-spam product or for ActiveState as a whole.
1:44:38 PM    

Thursday, September 18, 2003
VeriSign - The Sign of Death

I don't think VeriSign will be able to Back-Pedal out of this one. I think this issue will eventually bring VeriSign to its death

VeriSign Begins To Back-Pedal. Not a huge surprise based on the volume of the backlash, but VeriSign is now starting to back away from their plan to hijack all mistyped web traffic. It's not a complete turnaround, but they say they'll make some adjustments to make sure the new system won't cause problems for spam filters. [Techdirt]

1:11:53 PM    

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
VeriSign - The Sign of the devil.

In the last year or so I've equated VeriSign with the sign of the devil. They seem to go to any length in an attempt to gain/retain customers. Their latest asinine move is adding a wildcard record to the .com and .net top level domain records. What this means is that when a user enters a URL containing a nonexistent top-level domain (in .com and .net), they are returned an IP that points to VeriSign's SiteFinder service presenting the user with a web page and some search functionality. Here is what they claim in their SiteFinder implementation document:

VeriSign's Site Finder service improves the user web browsing experience when the user has submitted a query for a nonexistent second-level domain name in the .com and .net top-level domains. Before this service was implemented, when a user entered a URL containing a nonexistent (e.g., unregistered) domain name ending in .com or .net his or her web browser returned an error message that contained no useful information. With the rollout of Site Finder, in the same situation users now receive a helpful we page offering links to possible intended destinations and allowing an Internet search.

VeriSign refers users to the Site Finder web site through the use of a wildcard address (A) record entry in the .com and .net zones. As explained more fully below, VeriSign's processing of queries for nonexistent domain names is in full compliance with provisions of the DNS protocol that address wildcards as well as the operational best practices described in the document entitled Domain Name Systems Wildcards in Top-Level Domain Zones ("the Guidelines")

They claim they are in full compliance with provisions of the DNS protocol. I'd agree if they weren't mucking around at the top-level. Anyone can add wildcard records to their own zone/domain that they control. But adding it at the top-level is NOT compliance. It highway robbery.

Its like the good old "to serve you better" line. They are falsely claiming that they are providing this service to serve us web surfers better. What they really are doing is trying to get your eyeballs on their website. Furthermore they are breaking hundreds and probably thousands of programs and services that relied on DNS queries returning a FAILED lookup. A failed lookup is a perfectly legitimate response from a DNS service.

I think we should call on all the backbone ISP's and anyone that has any power to put in a bogus route that shoves (the SiteFinder IP address) off to nowhere. At least in that way, some programs and services will find nothing and perhaps continue operating the way they expected. Also, that would keep eyeballs away from VeriSign. Any other ideas, just post a comment here?

Here is a decent writeup by Jasan Garman posted by Mohammad Haque.

Update: Looks like BIND is going to be patched to combat this. NICE.

9:25:52 AM    

Sunday, September 14, 2003
It's Simple - Filter Your Junk Mail

You may have noticed I've been relatively quiet lately as to what I've been up to. Well, we (Brent Ashley and I) are finally out of stealth mode and have just launched a spam identification service called SimpleFilter.

We have worked hard to make SimpleFilter extremely simple to use. There is a free trial period and since there is no software to install you can have it filtering your email in a few minutes. Works with virtually any email client on any operating system.

Did I mention it's Simple?

9:39:08 PM    

Saturday, September 13, 2003
Hype or Skype?

3-4 years ago we were asking the VoIP providers to create something like this for QuikkTUTOR. They never really got it. A few years after that for another venture we were looking for the same thing but with video as well. There were a few players but they were still heading in the wrong direction. Not sure if they even exist anymore. Today Skype is almost there. They just need to add the video component and we might have something close to what we were looking for way back then.

Skype is moving like wildfire through my family and friends.  Wow.  Easier than e-mail and chat (now that they are garbaged up with features). [John Robb's Weblog]

Although, ignoring the P2P aspect, Yahoo IM has had a decent voice chat for well over a year or two.

7:03:16 PM    

Erosion of end-to-end connectivity

Very true:

TCP 135 and the loss of end-to-end. I've never spent much time tethered to an Exchange Server, other than on an experimental basis, so I'd forgotten -- or never knew -- that Outlook contacts Exchange on TCP port 135. That is, of course, the same port that Blaster has lately been partying on with wild abandon. I'd also heard that some ISPs had begun blocking 135, on the grounds that it's more trouble than it's worth. As this document from Cox High Speed Internet notes: ... [Jon's Radio]
6:49:47 PM    

Prior Art

Hopefully Ray Ozzie will help Microsoft to crush this ridiculous patent through some sort of appeal process.

Prior Art.

The most interesting thing to come out of this whole Eolas disaster could well turn out to be Ray Ozzie's description of how Lotus Notes was demonstrating many of the funamental abilities of today's browsers, including dynamic application embedding remarkably similar to that covered back in the patent, way back in 1993. The patent was filed in 1994. Prior art? We can only hope.

[Simon Willison's Weblog
1:14:49 PM    

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