Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The worst Microsoft promo videos ever! | Crave - CNET

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Project 10 to the 100

On PubSubHubbub and rssCloud ...

Are you confused about the difference between PubSubHubbub and rssCloud?  You're not alone.

Here's how the confusion came about:

Dave Winer invented rssCloud way back in the day.  It only distributed lite pings, the callback endpoint was the IP address that you subscribed from, and nobody really ever implemented it, so you probably never heard of it.  We sure hadn't.

Fast forward 5 or 6 years.  Brett Slatkin and I want to fix the polling problem and we're annoyed that all companies seem to have an internal pubsub system, but none of them work on the Internet, and XEP-0060 just isn't getting adopted, probably because XMPP weirds people out.  We start sketching out PubSubHubbub.  From day 1 we do all development in the open, on pubsubhubbub.googlecode.com.  Initially we only target Atom for simplicity until we got a prototype working.  We work on PSHB for about a year, during which time we hear about rssCloud and are impressed at the foresight but reject it as not satisfying our design goals.   After a year of working on PSHB, we demo it at the "TechCrunch Real-time Stream Crunch-Up" event.  We add RSS support a few days before the event because it's trivial at that point.  It's unfortunate that both Atom and RSS exist, but that's reality, so we support both.

Right after we present, we get a request to call Dave Winer.  He wants to "do voice", so Brett and I hop on our cellphones and the three of us have a conference call, with Brett and I outside on the street trying to find places to stand with less road noise.  Over the next 15-30 minutes, we slowly walk him through PubSubHubbub, repeatedly, explaining why webhooks and fat pings are important (no thundering herds DoSing publishers!), explain all of our design goals (pushing complexity to the hub, keeping publishing simple, decentralized, using HTTP, etc, etc...)

Dave Winer writes an article praising PubSubHubbub.  Great!

Dave Winer reads the PSHB spec and notices it still says "Atom only, not RSS".  Shit.  We forgot to update the spec after we added RSS support.

Perhaps due to our RSS documentation omission, or perhaps because he realized pubsub was finally in vogue, he's now gone and dusted-off and augmented his old rssCloud protocol that's RSS-centric.

The arguments in favor of rssCloud go something like this:  'we can't have BigCo control the spec.  We should have an independent spec!'  Or, in his words: "Google sux".  To reply to that specifically: This isn't even a Google-initiated project --- it's Brett & my 20% (or 5%?) time project, trying to fix something we find annoying on the web. We've been transparently working on this in the open from day 1.  Yes, we happen to be Google employees.  We have no internal docs or project plan on this.  If Dave wants something different, he's just as welcome on our mailing list as everybody else (many individuals and companies, working together to build consensus....).  Instead, he's heavily promoting the largely-unchanged rssCloud and not wanting feedback. Seems silly, but that's that.

Unlike rssCloud, which Winer says is frozen and a "done deal", the Hubbub protocol isn't frozen.  It's in development so far as we'll make changes and additions that are good and useful, and try hard not to break backwards compatibility (especially on pinging).  We have a few major things yet mostly untackled (including distribution of private content).  The rssCloud mailing list says "This is a mail list not a standards body".  If you'd like to work on a standard, join the PSHB mailing list.

Some of the good articles on the technical differences between the two protocols:
Anyway, I apologize for all the confusion.  I feel like had we only promoted RSS more heavily in the 0.1 draft of the spec, I wouldn't be writing this blog post today.

Hopefully this is the last I'm going to say on this topic.  Back to doing productive things....

[link to original | source: brad's life | published: 13 days ago | shared via feedly]

Moblin 2 arriving via Dell with Ubuntu-Moblin remix netbook

Dell has launched its first Moblin-based product, the Mini 10v netbook. It will ship with Canonical's special Moblin remix of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. It looks promising, but Dell warns that Moblin is still incomplete and is primarily intended for developers.

[link to original | source: Linux/Unix - Digg | published: 3 days ago | shared via feedly]

Easy Peasy is a Lightweight Linux Distro Optimized for Netbooks

Got yourself a netbook, but you're a bit underwhelmed with the OS on it? Looking to squeeze a little more juice out of the low-power processor onboard? Easy Peasy is a Linux distribution designed to make netbooks better.

Click on the above image for a bigger view.

Netbooks are smaller than regular laptops, have lightweight processors—no dual cores, that's for sure!—and smaller screens. Easy Peasy is a distribution of Ubuntu Linux that works within those constraints. By default, it boots into a customized menu with large icons and easy to navigate menus. Those menus definitely have more of a computer-as-appliance feel to it than a normal desktop does. Luckily, if you're not into the extra-large icons and the simplified menu, you can always switch to a regular GNOME-style desktop.

Easy Peasy aims to require little or no additional tweaking or app installation beyond what you first get. Right out of the box, you can browse the web, organize media, watch flash video, and more. Easy Peasy includes Firefox, Pidgin, Skype, Transmission BitTorrent Client, Open Office, Banshee Media Player, Picasa, Cheese Webcam Booth, and the Open Office Suite, among other free and open-source tools.

Easy Peasy can be installed from both a disc or from a USB drive. Both methods of installation have a LiveCD component included so you can take EasyPeasy for a spin before committing to an installation.

Have a netbook OS or set of netbook tweaks to share? Let's hear about them in the comments.

[link to original | source: Lifehacker: Ubuntu | published: 17 days ago | shared via feedly]

Ubuntu 9.10 Will Have Slicker Boot-Up, Software Store

Ubuntu has released the sixth alpha of its Linux distribution, and it firms up two of the five features we want to see in Ubuntu: a faster, graphical boot-up sequence, and an integrated software store.

They're both still in somewhat early shape, but their inclusion in the last Karmic Koala alpha before beta indicates they're here to stay. The new xplash bootup will transition directly from a BIOS boot-up screen—and a newer GRUB chooser, if it's a dual-boot setup—to a graphical loader with a progress indicator, and then straight to the desktop if the user doesn't select a username chooser or password protection. It's not a complete design-forward rethinking of the interface, but it does remove the unsettling experience of watching indecipherable text scroll past as the system boots. Check out a (suspiciously slow-moving) video capture below:

As for the Software Store, it's present in Alpha 6, embedded in the System menu. It has a spare, unfinished look at the moment, but it also seems dead set on making software installation simple, which is a promising direction.

You can check out more screenshots and details of the latest Ubuntu 9.10 alpha release at Softpedia. While we're peeking at the next release of Ubuntu, check out a few of the community-developed themes that could make their way into the default offerings for Ubuntu 9.10.

[link to original | source: Lifehacker: Ubuntu | published: 11 days ago | shared via feedly]

VLC Issues Security Update, Support for 64-bit OS X

Windows/Mac/Linux: VLC—the most popular video player among Lifehacker readers—just released an update to version 1.0.2. The update addresses a serious security issue, adds 64-bit support for OS X, and fixes several bugs. The full changelog mentions a completely reworked interface for OS X (though we're not seeing any major differences anywhere except the preferences), as well as integration with the Windows 7 taskbar (which again doesn't seem all that changed to us). Still, grab it for the security update, and let us know if you notice any significant changes in the comments. [VLC 1.0.2]

[link to original | source: Linux - Lifehacker | published: 20 hours ago | shared via feedly]

100-Petabit Internet Backbone Coming Into View

lostinbrave notes laboratory work that could lead to long-haul network cables capable of exceeding 100 Petabits per second.kilometer. "Alcatel-Lucent said that scientists at Bell Labs have set an optical transmission record that could deliver data about 10 times faster than current undersea cables, resulting in speeds of more than 100 Petabits per second.kilometer. This translates to the equivalent of about 100 million Gigabits per second.kilometer, or sending about 400 DVDs per second over 7,000 kilometers, roughly the distance between Paris and Chicago. ... The transmissions were not just faster, they were accomplished over a network whose repeaters are 20 percent farther apart than commonly maintained in such networks, which could decrease the costs of deploying such a network."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[link to original | source: Slashdot | published: 29 min | shared via feedly]

Bank and Google Settle, Gmail User Still Waiting

gavelWe've been covering the story of a bank's email screw-up and the highly controversial judge's ruling that ordered Google to suspend the Gmail account of the innocent recipient of 1,300 bank customers' personal information.

Apparently Rocky Mountain Bank and Google have now reached an agreement to dismiss the case, reports CNet. However, the Gmail user in question will sadly still not have access restored to the account until the court approves the motion to toss out the case.

We're happy to see this one end somewhat more amicably than things seemed to be shaping up. But with neither Google nor the bank specifying how the issue was resolved, we're left with a nagging worry that Judge Ware's ruling might have set a negative precedent.

After all, the bank was able to use the court to successfully strongarm Google into deactivating an innocent Gmail user's email account through no fault of their own — and that's troubling, regardless of the fact that this case won't ever see the inside of a courtroom.

Many of you expressed similar sentiments in the comments of our previous two posts on this issue — do you think the case ended appropriately? Should there be repercussions for the bank who made the original error? What's your prediction on the fallout from this story: will we see more related lawsuits come flying after the dust settles?

Image courtesy of Thomas Roche

Reviews: Gmail, Google

Tags: bank, gmail, Google, legal, privacy, rocky mountain bank

[link to original | source: Mashable! | published: 10 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Microsoft Says Google Chrome Frame Makes IE Less Secure

Mark writes "The release of Google Chrome Frame, a new open source plugin that injects Chrome's renderer and JavaScript engine into Microsoft's browser, earlier this week had many web developers happily dancing long through the night. Finally, someone had found a way to get Internet Explorer users up to speed on the Web. Microsoft, on the other hand, is warning IE users that it does not recommend installing the plugin. What does the company have against the plugin? It makes Internet Explorer less secure. 'With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. 'Given the security issues with plugins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plugin has doubled the attack area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[link to original | source: Slashdot | published: 11 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Google Frame Benchmarks 9x Faster than IE8

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Early tests with Google's Chrome Frame found IE8 runs 9.6 times faster than usual. The testers ran the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite." The other question is what is the performance hit of using the Frame plug-in instead of running the browser natively.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[link to original | source: Slashdot | published: 9 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Launches New Ad Marketplace; Display Ads Will Never Be the Same

You're probably familiar with Google AdSense and AdWords, Google's flagship advertising products. It's how Google makes its billion of dollars. Highly targeted text ads appear on Google search and third party websites that are part of the AdSense program. Advertisers buy ads based on keywords, with more popular keywords costing more per click than less popular terms.

This has only applied to text ads though, not banner or display ads. But speculation was rampant that Google would apply its unique and lucrative ad model to display ads after its $3.1 Billion DoubleClick acquisition.

Now that speculation has become reality. Google has just launched the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and it is just like AdWords and AdSense, except that it is a marketplace for display ads.

First, here is what Google said in its announcement:

"We've been working hard to put these principles into practice, and today we're excited to announce the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange, a step towards creating a more open display advertising ecosystem for everyone. The Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace that helps large online publishers on one side; and ad networks and agency networks on the other, buy and sell display advertising space.

These publishers and ad networks manage and represent large volumes of ads and ad space from lots of advertisers and websites. By bringing them together in an open marketplace in which prices are set in a real-time auction, the Ad Exchange enables display ads and ad space to be allocated much more efficiently. This improves returns for advertisers and enables publishers to get the most value out of their online content."

Essentially, the small-time advertiser or business can now buy targeted display ads on thousands of DoubleClick ad-serving websites. This could have some major repercussions on the entire web. Some possibilities:

- It could significantly increase revenue for Google, as a highly targeted ad marketplace means people are paying more for the ads they want to serve.

- It increases Google's competition with Yahoo, the current leader in display advertising.

- Highly targeted ad campaigns could effectively reach everywhere. This could be a major boon to marketers.

If you want to learn more, Google has a PDF explaining the Ad Exchange, as well as a video overview:

Reviews: Google

Tags: Ad Exchange, adsense, Adwords, doubleclick, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, Google

[link to original | source: Mashable! | via: feedly]

FCC Chair's Net Neutrality Position Picks Up Support -- Net Neutrality -- InformationWeek

Skype, SIPfoundry announce interoperability - Network World

Internet meltdown threat: Conficker worm refuses to turn

Google brings Chrome's renderer to IE with browser plugin

companion photo for Google brings Chrome's renderer to IE with browser plugin

A number of modern Web features cannot be used pervasively on the Internet because Microsoft's dominant browser, Internet Explorer, often fails to support current and emerging standards. Google has a plan to drag IE into the world of modern browsing by building a plugin that will allow it to use Chrome's HTML renderer and high-performance JavaScript engine.

Microsoft has recently taken promising steps forward by engaging with the standards community and adding much-needed features in Internet Explorer 8. Although this demonstrates a willingness to improve, it doesn't change the fact that Microsoft is still lagging far behind other browser vendors. Perhaps more troubling than the deficiencies of IE8 is the tragic longevity of IE6, which was released in 2001 and is long overdue for retirement. Some companies unfortunately cannot give it up, either, because they depend on proprietary Web software that only supports legacy versions of IE.

Read the rest of this article...

[link to original | source: Ars Technica - Front page content | published: 4 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chime Lets Aussies Update Twitter Via SMS

The lack of SMS integration is a perennial complaint for Australian Twitter users. Chime goes a fair way to solving that problem, letting you update your Twitter status via an Australian phone account. (more…)

[link to original | source: Lifehacker Australia | published: 7 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Web-Based Productivity Suite Zoho Launches Forum Tool Zoho Discussions

Web-based productivity suite Zoho is launching a brand new product today called Zoho Discussions. Zoho lets any business, individual or organization create public or private support forums where employees or customers can share comments around a particular discussion topic. We have a special offer for TechCrunch readers; the first 25 readers (who are paid Zoho users) to email techcrunch@zohodiscussions.com will be able to use the product for free for up to 6 months.

I had the opportunity to test out Zoho Discussions and it's both remarkably easy for anyone to set up and filled with useful features. With the new product you can create a platform for discussion forums, similar to Google Groups. The differentiating factor is that your forums can be customized and branded to adopt the look and feel of your site. Zoho even lets you pick out a domain name that coincides with your site. Plus, Zoho Discussions can be integrated with many of Zoho's other productivity applications.

Similar to any forum, Zoho Discussion lets users create threads based on a particular topic. In terms of features, Zoho has focused in creating plenty of social tools to make the discussions more interactive and engaging. For example, users can vote on comments within a forum, indicating whether they "Like" a particular comment or forum. Aside from posting in the forums, users can interact in real-time through the built-in chat feature. Within the forum, users can create a profile, follow other users, bookmark particular threads and send private messages to administrators and users.

On the administrator side, you can make announcements, make particular threads more "sticky," assign different users as moderators, remove inappropriate content and more. Plus, users and moderators can embed images and most types of files into threads as well. Like all of Zoho's products, Zoho Discussion has a freemium model, with additional features like more storage, number of forums, number of moderators priced at $25 and $75 per month.

Zoho's Evangelist, Raju Vegesna, told me that Zoho Discussions is designed to fulfill two kinds of purposes. The first is to serve as way for businesses to host a discussion forum to communicate with customers. The second purpose of the product is to be an internal platform for discussion within a business, in which case the product will be private.

This product seems to be representative of Zoho's strategy to continue to innovate and iterate by launching new products and add-ons to its existing offerings. It's almost reminiscent of Salesforce.com's strategy. Over the past two years, Zohos has added support for Sharepoint, mobile, Google and Yahoo IDs and group sharing. Perhaps Zoho knows that it will have to fight a battle to keep users from flocking to Google Apps and soon Microsoft's Web-based version of Microsoft 2010. But Zoho's strategy may be sound—the startup has reached 2 million users in just 4 years.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it's time for you to find a new Job2.0

TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San Francisco

[link to original | source: TechCrunch | published: 2 hours ago | shared via feedly]