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To iPhone or Not to iPhone

My current phone contract is up in February, so it's time to start thinking about what I want to get. I have been a Sprint customer for over 9 years now (since they introduced the PCS concept), so my easiest path is to just get a new Sprint phone. I looked around a little and it seems like the best phone they offer for me is probably the MOTORAZR2 V9m. It's the higher end Razr phone and has a bunch of the features I would like to have in my phone (especially the phone as a modem feature, so I can use my laptop on the road).

This will end up costing me like $250 for just the phone and with tax and some other stuff, it will most likely end up being over $300. The biggest reason to do this is to just keep with the service and system that I have used forever. The other big reason in the past was keeping the same number, its been my number forever, so I would hate for it to change.

These days, we have number portability, so I could take my number with me wherever I went. And as for Sprint, its not like they do anything super special for me. Lastly, the $300 for the phone is kind of steep for a regular old phone.

So, the question becomes, do I just get an iPhone? First of all, it would only be $100 more than my current idea of what I want to buy. It has the obvious "cool" factor as its the hot phone out there. It also means that I can carry one less device (no more ipod) when I walk downtown or something. I'm a huge Apple fan, so it would fit pretty well in to my digital lifestyle. And its got a lot of great stuff built in to it and once apps can be put on it, it will be even better.

The cons? Well, I would guess we will be seeing a new iPhone pretty soon (I would love to see one at Macworld because that would make this decision a lot easier). It means switching networks, so if I have issues or can't get service in places, it means figuring out a new system. It means going through the hassle of moving my number. And it means dealing with some of the issues I have heard about on the iPhone.

I dunno. I definitely will have to think about this some more. I do have about 6 weeks, but that will go by real quick.

Real Video iPod?

Apple plans "showtime" for Sept. 12 | News.blog | CNET News.com

Looks like there is a possibility of a real video iPod next week. That would be awesome, as I was thinking about spending some of the birthday cash I get on an iPod. Getting a video one would be even better.Yes, I know the current ones support video, but I want one of the ones we all saw the rumors for over the last few months.

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Firefox 1.0.1 out

Firefox 1.0.1 has been released. What's new from the release nots:

  • Improved stability
  • International Domain Names are now displayed as punycode. (To show International Domain Names in Unicode, set the "network.IDN_show_punycode" preference to false.)
  • Several security fixes.

Go get it and make your Internet life a little more secure.

Reason 8375 to hate Windows

Why oh why do you STOP my installation of patches to tell me nothing is wrong? This is the dumbest popup ever:

Dumb Windows

Reason 8374 to hate Windows

Why oh why should I ever get this error when trying to update my system:

I mean, why should Windows Update have ANY care of what time it is on my system? It should look, see what updates I have, what updates I am missing and install the ones that are missing. So stupid.

Google Price

Google sets its IPO price range | CNET News.com

God damn! $108-$135 per share. Guess I won't be buying 100 shares (or even one).

I was reading the article, Security Holes Sinking IE, in hardcopy last night and had to laugh at some of the comments from Microsoft:

Gary Schare, director of Windows security product management at Microsoft:

"In the end, it's up to the customer to not install any ActiveX control that they come across. [IE] does a good job of warning users,"

If it does such a good job, why do people end up with all this spyware on their machine? I recently saw a laptop with over 900 hits on a spyware/adware removal program. These did not come from software they just installed. Come on now.

Also from Mr. Schare:

"Where you run into problems is with sites accessing controls and using them in ways they weren't designed to be used."

I almost fell off my bed laughing at that one. Well, DUH! That is why when you write code, you put in checks to make sure that the functions ARE being used for what they are supposed to be being used for.

It's funny. In my previous job, I wrote ALOT of code. Mostly web applications with database backends, etc. Well, I never did checks on the data coming in and it caused all sorts of issues. Finally, we got a QA team (this was all internal apps, not something we were selling, so we didn't need a QA team at first). And the QA folks started doing things they weren't supposed to and would put in bugs. I would say, you aren't supposed to do that, so it's not a bug. But really, it is. If you aren't doing checks on the data coming in and how things are being used, you never know what can happen. So, I started putting checks on data. And have ever since. It makes programming much less of a nightmare.

So, why am I saying this? Well, at the time I was doing all that bad programming, I was about a year past my first program. And once I learned my lesson, I stuck to it ever since. Well, don't you think pretty much EVERY programmer at MS has more than a year of coding experience? If so, shouldn't they have figured this out by now?

Gimme

I want want want on of the new Apple iPods. Someone buy me a 40G one for my bday!

Comdex Cancelled

Organizer cancels Comdex 2004

What ever are the hookers going to do that week?

Utility Computing 101

Acquisitions to Boost HP's Utility Computing

(I'll try not to make this sound like too much of a commercial)

I find it amusing that legacy hardware vendors like HP, IBM, Sun continue to think that the utility computing dream is going to be achieved by throwing software at it. Legacy hardware is not designed for utility computing, it's designed to be seperate systems that run individual tasks. Adding a layer of software just adds a layer of complexity which makes things even harder to manage. The whole point of utility computing is to make things easier. Making the computer a resource takes a different design than the machines out there today. The problem is these companies cannot cannibalize their current desktop and server markets by developing new technologies, they need to try and layer their current products in with a new scheme and it just won't work.

The Egenera platform was built specifically for the data center and is perfectly suited for utility computing. It's built in to the product, not something that is just layered on top of existing computers.

OK, I've definitely spent too much time with my marketing folks, so I will stop now. Yes, I work for Egenera.

Some Technologies I need to read up on

MS Code Leak

Microsoft Confirms Source Code Leaked Over Internet

This really bothers me. I would assume a lot of this has been out there for a while, but now that pretty much anyone can get their hands on it, how quickly are new virii, hacks, etc going to come out? I would guess in a couple of weeks after people have had some time to really analyze the code, we are going to see some major hacks coming about. Hopefully enough white hats get a copy of this that they can find the bugs and report them to MS quickly. The only worry there is that the latest "critical" patch from MS was on a bug that was reported to them over 6 months ago.

The only good thing that could come out of this is people taking the time to comb through the source and really get all the problems out of MS Operating Systems, since even with all their programmers they can't seem to do it themselves.

Hmm, another worry here. Was this code "leaked" in an attempt to let MS to start suing Linux users claiming their code is now in Linux? That's an interesting one. Seems as if SCO's lawsuit is quickly going down the tubes and since it was backed by MS (yes, not officially, but giving SCO a million for licensing fees was supporting the case), maybe MS is trying to get in to the fray themselves.

Layerone Speakers

LayerOne gets some speakers.

Looks like some interesting stuff thus far.

Apple's New Stuff

New stuff from Apple today.

First off, the iPod mini. Though rather cool looking and small, this thing is WAY overpriced. It has 4G of storage and is $249. Apple also upgraded the 10G iPod to a 15G iPod and is still $299. Why would ANYONE not want to pay the extra $50 to get an additional 11G of storage? I mean, the cool factor of the mini is definitely there, but the minor (in my opinion) size change just doesn't make it worth the price. If it were $149 it would be something I would consider, but at $249, I'd rather just grab a full iPod at 15G.

Second was GarageBand. This I WANT. From the web page:

GarageBand turns your Mac into an anytime, anywhere recording studio packed with hundreds of instruments and a recording engineer or two for good measure. Itís the easiest way to create, perform and record your own music whether youíre an accomplished player or just wish you were a rock star. And GarageBand is the newest member of the iLife family, so you can add your original music to your slideshows, your DVD menus, burn it to CDs or score your iMovie projects.

This thing looks freaking sweet. This is EXACTLY what I am looking for for Linux. I even posted about it a few weeks ago. I've played a little with some of the music programs for Linux so far without much luck. This looks like a nice and easy application to do what I want. Someone port this!!! ;)

DVD Jon wins again

DVD-Jon wins new legal victory

Can they finally stop bothering this kid now?

It's buying sesason ...

Nope, not a Christmas post at all. Seems like a lot of the companies the company I work for partner with are getting bought or buying each other. Two quick ones:

Red Hat Reports Strong Quarter, Acquires Sistina

EMC to Acquire VMware, Advancing Convergence of Server and Storage Virtualization

Should be an interesting 2004 to say the least.

Two new Sprint PCS services

Sprint has two new services coming out.

Sprint Offers Walkie-Talkie Style Service

Basically, the same thing Nextel and Verizon have now. Known as the beep-beep at work. It would be nice to have this, but it would be even cooler if this was a standard and could work between providers, but I am pretty sure that it will be Sprint to Sprint only.

Real-time TV added to Sprint mobiles

Oh come on! Who needs TV on their phone? The single time I could think of using this would be when watching some sort of breaking news. Something like 9-11 would be about the only time this would be useful. Otherwise, get a damn TiVo.

MS Bounty - Bad Spending?

Microsoft offers bounty on hackers

Wouldn't it be MUCH better if MS spent the money on coders and QA people to write and check code that wouldn't ALLOW such virii to occur rather than just trying to prosecute the people who are writing the virii? Seems to me that bounty hunting never ends if the code is never cleaned up to make sure it can't happen.

E-mail broken?

I've been reading a lot about e-mail being broken. I think people who are claiming this, either don't have the right tools or else are not using them correctly. I have no problems at all with my e-mail. I get a few thousand e-mails a day. Most come from mailing lists, other personal mail, and then random other mails. A combination of procmail and Spam Assassin keep my mail well organized. Just about all my mailing lists are thrown in to folders, all the spam is removed in to a spam folder, and anything else ends up in my Inbox.

I probably get 200-300 spam e-mails a day. Probably 5-10 of those end up in my Inbox. This means that 95% of spam is being correctly identified by Spam Assassin. Between the rules provided by the tool and then adding in the Bayesian filters, it gets just about everything and is constantly learning more and more, so if a rash of a new kind of spam comes out, it quickly learns about it and starts filtering it out. The last ugly Outlook caused virus didn't even affect me. Spam Assassin caught all of them and I never saw one of them.

So, is e-mail dead? Hell no. Would it be nice to have more ways to identify people, definitely. Would it be nice if spam went away? Of course. But, e-mail is a great way to communicate. It also is a great way to start to talk to people. I have sent e-mail to people I hardly know and started conversations with them.

So, in the end, I think people really need to learn the tools that are available to them and start using them better. I think that will make e-mail much more usable. The other thing? People need to stop clicking on links in spam messages. Everyone seems to hate spam, but some people are still clicking or else they would at some point stop sending them or at least slow down.

Joel's Office ...

Joel on Software - Bionic Office

So, Joel built this super cool office. I totally dig the idea of seperate offices for everyone, I like all the wiring, extra ports, way the desks are laid out, etc. The biggest problem I have? Where's the wireless? I mean, if you really want a totally high tech office these days, don't you need wireless? It would be much easier to be able to walk from office to office with my laptop and stay connected. I understand having lots of ports at your desk, but the mobility of wireless would be much nicer. Think about the area with the couch and plasma screen. Woudln't it be nice to sit back, throw in a movie and hack some? I think that is the one thing I can see missing so far. I may think of others though :)

Tech Incompetence

It amazes me with the prevalence of technology in both the workplace and the home these days that people are still very incompetent in the technologies they seem to rely on more and more. I had an issue with some of the folks I work with this morning where they were getting an error trying to download a file from their browser. Basically, the browser instead of just showing the file as text (as it was a .txt file) it tried to parse the XML and threw up an error. They came back and told me they were having issues downloading the file. I checked and my browser nicely showed the file just perfectly as text. Once I saw the error, I sent them mail back to just right click on the link and download the file. Don't people do this all the time? I know I do. Why was this situation any different. For a program that people use every day, I would assume that people know the ins and outs of it. Very confusing to me that people don't know how to use programs that they use very often and basically rely on.

E-mail Clients Review

Tim Bray has an excellent essay entitled On Email in which he reviews the many e-mail clients out there. Good quick overview of the many options available to people. If you must stay with Windows, you probably should look at some of the alternatives available to LookOut .. err .. Outlook.

The one addition to this is Ximian's Evolution. It is a Linux mail client (much like Gnus or Pine which Tim mentions). It started off as a clone of Outlook functionality, but has surpassed that while still being easy for former Outlook users to switch to. Some of the pieces it wins on are some of its filtering abilities (which I don't know too well, since I use procmail on the server side), GPG integration, and it runs on Linux which means you aren't susceptible to all the various Windows viruses out there.

The next version of Evolution (2.0) will really push the envelope of the mail client to a whole new level. Things like APIs, GUI cleanups, code cleanups, etc are going to make it one of the best on the planet. And, since its open source, you can always fix/change things you don't like :)

SoBig or No So Big

Well, that was a lot of hype for nothing. It's 3:11 and there is still an Internet. I think they should rename this is SoBig.2K due to all the hype for nothing.

Outlook Love

From Scott Rosenberg's Links & Comment:

"Outlook is a joke. No sane computer user today should use it. If your company makes you use it, go to your CEO and explain how much time and money his company is losing by using it."

Umm, duh :)

But, at the same time, continuing to use Windows is still pretty insane to me too. I've used Linux on my desktop for about 8 years now and have had no problems at all interacting with any files that anyone from Windows sends me. Also, with things like OpenOffice, I can create my own Powerpoint, Word, Excel docs and they work fine on Windows.

I definitely do not understand people continuing to use Windows at all. With the release of Ximian's Desktop 2, the interface is as easy if not easier to navigate than Windows and also has many other features. The stability of Linux is also WAY above that of Microsoft products, so BSODs go away completely (well, except on the screensaver that shows all the different ways of systems crashing), so you don't have to spend time every day rebooting your system, etc.

I don't know, I would think with everything that has happened in the last week between Sobig and MSBlast, more people would be looking VERY seriously at a switch to Linux right now instead of continuing to deal with inferior products from MS.

Stupid Windows ...

Microsoft criticises third party code for Windows crashes

OK, and this is a good thing how? Let's say there are 2000 non-MS Windows applications out there. Let's say there are 4000 Windows crashes a day (this is a WAG and just for purposes of proving my point). So, MS is saying that of those 4000 crashes, you can blame ONE on each other application and 2000 on Windows. Again, how is this good?

Secondly, how the hell is it possible that an application should be able to crash your WHOLE COMPUTER?!??!?!

Dumb MS.

WiPower ....

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking that the real killer product would be for someone to make a wireless power cord. I started to think about writing a blog post about it and while going through that train of thought (yes, I tend to write all sorts of blog posts in my head, many of which never make it here, because I either forget or else I figure it would just be a dumb post), I had this thought that I actually read somewhere that someone had done something where they were actually able to do such a thing. I kept trying to think about where I heard that. Then I realized what it was. It was the damn machine from Atlas Shrugged. I bet thinking about a possibility of a movie of it had my mind in that place.

I still think it would be awesome, but I guess its something that just isn't there yet.

TV Phone, Why?

TV Phone announced by Samsung. Why do I need a freakin TV on my phone? Why don't we just make a microwave phone, so we can cook with our phones too.

Isn't this what things like TiVo are for? When are you going to need to be in front of a TV so bad that you are going to want to watch it on your mobile? I just don't get that at all. If I knew I wanted to watch something, I would have set TiVo to tape it, if I remembered late, I would just log in to TiVo's web server and add it on via my mobile. I just don't see ANY reason for a TV to be on my phone.

Sprint Voice Calls to Mimic Internet

Sprint is moving all their calls to an IP network. Since Sprint is my carrier for my cell, hopefully soon enough I will be able to get some nasty wireless connections via my phone. Then I will be good and mobile.

Doc on ETCon

Doc started a new blog over at LJ to blog ET Con.

Too bad there is no RSS feed. I would tell him, but he doesn't allow comments or trackbacks to either site. No fun.

Itanium x86 Software emulation ...

Intel plans Itanium course correction

I have to say, working for a hardware manufacturer these days, this somewhat worries me. I think its great that they see the need for 32 bit software to run well, but is software REALLY the place to be fixing this? I mean, sure, Linux and MS will probably be able to put something in, but is that the fix? Shouldn't the fix be fixing the hardware, so ia32 and ia64 both run well? I have been a fan of AMD for a long time and I do think they have done it the right way of extending ia32 to 64 bits rather than a new architecture. This software will fix the advantage they have somewhat, but I still think Intel may be making a bad move here.

WiDrive

Mmmmmm. I want one of these.

Computer Smackdown

Now this is maxing a system out:

CPU0 states: 57.4% user, 42.1% system, 0.0% nice, 0.0% idle
CPU1 states: 88.2% user, 11.2% system, 0.0% nice, 0.0% idle
CPU2 states: 89.0% user, 10.4% system, 0.0% nice, 0.0% idle
CPU3 states: 90.1% user, 9.3% system, 0.0% nice, 0.0% idle

Need a light?

Now this is a computer accessory I could use.

Big and Small

Apple - Hardware - PowerBook G4 - Big and Small

New commercial for new PowerBook versions. Very amusing.

DeCSS Acquittal

SantaOS?

ZDNet |UK| - News - Story - Open source and Sun save Christmas

Interetsing article on different OS manufacturer's pitches to Santa.

Virus Winner!

Is this an award that really should be given out? Do people who write virii strive for this?

Supernova ...

It seems like everyone and their brother is blogging the SuperNova conference out in Palo Alto today and tomorrow. You can find out some of the names here at the group blog. From there you can probably find a list of others who are blogging it as well. Sounds like some interesting talk going on at this point. Its nice to be able to "watch" a conference and "hear" what is going on. The even better part is hearing pieces from many people's perspectives. I saw some of this when Jeremy Zawodny blogged the pieces of PHPCon he went to (which can be found here), but have never seen it on this level. I wonder how promoters will react to this. At a conference like this one where decentralization is the main topic, I would think they will be excited about it. On the other hand, a show where people are attending classes and such, would there be a worry that less and less people would show up because this was being done? If I could attend all sorts of conferences virtually would I ever want to pay to go to one? On the other hand, if I am doing this, isn't it my duty (that may be too strong a word) to return the favor and go to conferences myself and blog them for the masses as well? All very interesting stuff to think about.

Interfacing with users

An interesting article over at Infoworld by Jon Udell about other ways of "displaying" and accessing information sources.

I think the idea of the bird's chirping is really neat. It would be nice to be able to get knowledge about systems rather than looking at logs, watching top, waiting for SNMP traps, etc. As I am someone who has music going all day, I wonder if this could translate some of this in to the music I listen to. Basically have nice quiet calm songs on when things are working well and then have it switch to some other (heavy metal, angry music, etc) as the system gets bad. Could be an interesting little project to build. I could think of having different categories for different types of music and then set limits on when you want the music to change. Maybe this could be my new project, as I have been looking for one for a while.

DOS Block

Just saw a couple of announcements abou ta new version of the Apache DoS Evasive Maneuvers Module coming out. This is definitely something I want to check out. Basically rejects requests when it senses a DOS. This could be a very nice thing to have both on a large scale server as well as a home server (much easier to take out a little DSL link). This and adding in some things to block all the stupid script kiddie IIS attacks are on my list of things to do.

Break Stuff

It seems to me that most people break their computer without much help and don't really need a guide to help them.

OSAF / Mitch Kapor

So, I went over to Mitch Kapor's Weblog this evening as it had been mentioened on Slashdot and piqued my interest since it was talking about building a new Outlook stype PIM. This was especially interesting to me, since I do as much as I can to help out the Ximian guys work on Evolution. I submit bug reports often, get on irc to help out other users, and even do some bug triaging. I was wondering why someone would start another project like this when there are all sorts of others out there.

It seems like the reasoning is thet he doesn't want an Outlook clone, but a whole new idea behind the PIM. Also, he wants to make the product OS independent. Seems like it is going to be interesting, but I don't see why a whole new development is necessary for this.

The biggest thing that I saw was his Jabber backend to do things like contact passing between people and stuff. Very interesting. I don' t think it will scale in the least, but ok. He mentioned it will not require a server, but I don't see this as a good thing. I would much rather have an LDAP DB, IMAP server, etc to keep all my information in, it makes me a lot more portable. It's nice to be able to access anything anywhere :) There is some level on syncing, but if I jump on my mom's computer when I am at home, it is much easier for me to fire up mutt in a telnet session and access IMAP and LDAP than have to figure out how to sync an application on the local machine.

I will probably keep some track of this, not going to sign up for the mailing list just yet, but soon, maybe, to see how things are going.

Oh, and the last thing. He talks about how he wants to be all open source and this that and the other thing, but I don't see any anonymous CVS information up on the OASF page just yet. No open source til they figure out what the want to do? I dunno, just thought that was strange :)

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