Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Disruption is now making appealing applications?

Sunday, November 6th, 2005

Here’s a prediction: If Yahoo and Microsoft are constantly watching Google they’re going to have such a narrow view that they’ll get sideswiped by something or someone else charging in from the peripherals..

Via Philipp Lenssen is a Kevin Forde piece about how silly Yahoo is getting about Google. Erecting statues which take swipes at GMail? Jeez. At the same time we have Scoble in chair throwing mood ranting about Google and disruption.

Disruption to me means causing chaos and upset for malicious reasons Disruption is coming into a room and setting off firecrackers. Google wouldn’t do that, they’d come in and give people more comfortable chairs, better lighting and maybe add some soothing mood music so that whatever people did in the room, they could do it better by being more comfortable.

I suppose calling it disruption is good. Disrupting a meeting, disrupting a cosy cartel. The whole idea of freedom fighters and terrorists. All depends who is doing the PR.

GMail disrupted the world of YahooMail and Hotmail? Nah uh. Google didn’t disrupt, they made a better and more appealing product. They made email simple again. They made it less stressful with a clean interface. They respected their customers and used all their abilities to give them something the customers appreciated. Just like they did for search and everything else.

Google didn’t disrupt a market, they showed the consumers in the market a better product. They removed thea status-quo, the old boys club, the monopoly or the duopoly. Look how much market share Hotmail and YahooMail had before GMail and now look at it. They both had years of experience before Google came about but they could care less about making improvements. They saw their customers as burdensome I bet. Now they call Google a disruptor.

Along came Google and the only “new” thing they did was give people mail that was easy to use and hassle free. CSS isn’t new. AJAX isn’t new. Searching isn’t new. How the hell can you class that as disruptive? Disruptive is not the opposite of lazy but that’s what Scoble seems to think. Notice how GMail is improving over time too? Some improvements are under the hood and some are little extra bits. New “fudgies” as we’d say in Cork. Look back at Hotmail and YahooMail. Their improvements seemed to be more spam and a decrease in account size. Oh and let us not forget that they demanded payment to make using their email system easier. So Yahoo 2 years later decides they are now going to give their customers a better mail application. Eh, a bit late. And then they reward themselves with a bitchy statue. Wow, you guys rock at doing nothing more than catching-up.

Google don’t do everything right though. Their blog search is shite. Their RSS reader is also shite but they’re both simple and easy to use and don’t appear to be laden down with crud inherited by all those conferences where clueless marketing people pipe in.

If disrupting the market is making products better and easier to use so that customers don’t stress and can get on with other things, then it doesn’t say much about the existing vendors in the market. Scoble mentioned that Office “disrupted” Borland and Wordperfect and so on. I guess that’s how Borland saw it anyway. Anyone noticed anything spectacularly different or better from Word 97 and Word 2002? I wonder if Google asked some of its people to improve it, what would they do?

Scoble talks about Yahoo and Microsoft getting it on to disrupt Google. But the only people who can disrupt Google are Google. If they become lazy and bloated and Microsoft and Yahoo make something better and streamlined that takes customers, then Google can call “Disruption”. Easier to claim you were disrupted than you were lazy.

But let me end this rant with something nice about Microsoft. One thing from that tripping and falling on your ass press event Microsoft had this week was the new version of MSN Messenger. That could very much kick the shit out of GoogleTalk if what they demo’d (badly) works and instead of stopping to erect a statue they added more innovations and kept on making it better and better and better. Think Microsoft can do that?

Nostalgia Nostalgia Nostalgia

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me. Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down, Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

Knight Rider, a shadowy fight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless in a world of criminals who operate above the law.

This is my boss, Jonathan Hart, a self-made millionaire, he’s quite a guy. This is Mrs H., she’s gorgeous, she’s one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of them, which ain’t easy, ’cause when they met it was MURDER!

Ten years ago a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-team.

One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready. One for all and all for one, helping everybody. One for all and all for one, it’s a pretty story. Sharing everything with fun, that’s the way to be. One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready. One for all and all for one, helping everybody. One for all and all for one, can sound pretty corny. If you’ve got a problem chum, think how it could be.

Oh yeah baby.

Saturday Links – Fair Use

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Standford University on Fair Use. Helpful for the Google case.

Google employee and FireFox developer on improving tabbed browsing. As I said in an earlier post, tabbed browsing rocks.

Another list of open proxies.

Via MetaFilter. Art by sticking a projector on the outside of a subway train. How the hell these guys were not shot in the head for sticking a case on the outside of a subway carriage without permission and running off is amazing. The subway security people should get fired for that.

Lost WindowsXP Administrator Password – How to get it back

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

A friend’s laptop was given to me yesterday. He changed his Administrator password and shortly afterwards forgot what it was. So how does one go about getting the password back? Offline NT password and Registry Editor. Boot from a floppy or cd drive and into a Linux OS thingy which allows you to modify the accounts and passwords on your Windows NT, 2000 and XP.

So I did this and it bitched and complained that it did not do it right. I tried again and again. It seemed to work but when I tried to log into the pc with the reset (blanked) password it failed. It did however allow the amount of retries to enter the password to be unlimited, instead of 3. I tried a few more times, setting the password to blank or to something else. I set it to domino and tried logging in. No dice. I then decided I probably had to get the SAM file (where the passwords are stored) and crack it using LophtCrack, a password cracker that was developed by white hat hackers who started working for AtStake who were acquired by Symantec. That application disappeared after that. Bless BitTorrent for providing it to me.

To get the SAM file I created a boot disk using NtfsFloppySetup.exe, booted in and copied the SAM file onto the floppy. Copied it on to the computer, ran LophtCrack and started it cracking. It told me SAM files from XP are more than likely protected using SYSKEY. Shit. I tried it anyway and it cracked the password in a few minutes. Password was: diablo. Arghhhhh. I went to the laptop and tried this again and it would NOT let me in.

So, rebooted again and loaded the Offline NT password and Registry Editor disk. Changed the password to blank. Rebooted into XP and it logged me right into the system. Thank god.

One thing. After rewriting the password file XP complained on next bootup that the contents of the harddrive had changed and it needed to scan and fix any issues. I allowed it on some reboots and didn’t on others. This time I did not allow it to run diskcheck.

Other tools that may be of use are: Windows Password Renew 1.1 but you have to be logged into the system to reset the password here. I also found this interesting but difficult to use password cracker called Project Rainbow Crack.

UPDATE: Very handy bootCD that does rainbow cracking.

Redirects in place

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

It seems I actually had people subscribed to my old RDF type feed. I’ve put in an redirect now so hopefully those who have missed me on the old feed will see this. Hello captive audience!

Information Underload – I’m not burnt out. Yet.

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Om Malik talked about information overload and linked to a very good piece by Fred the VC about the looming attention crisis. Too many feeds, too many things screaming for attention and not enough quality time given to anything.

I find myself checking my 124 news feeds up to 4 times an hour at times. I generally have 30+ IM conversations during the day, various email conversations and maybe a half dozen sms conversations. But yet clicking bloglines 4 times an hour shows how bored I get. All my tasks for the day were done today and I was staring at a bloglines window with nothing new in it and thinking that with billions of webpages out there I seem to have created my own invisble walled garden. Am I missing out on things because of the aggregator? How should I be going out and discovering things? How did I do things before all of this?

I’m finding the tabbed lifestyle to be quite fun. I think tabs might be good for my productivity. Anything of current interest lives in a tab. For someone who has 100s of different thoughts and ideas per hour, tabs are really handy.

These days when I read something I look at the first few lines, think “that’s interesting” and click on “Open in New Tab” to go back to it later. I generally go through the first wave of new feeds for the day that way. Then I go back through the tabs and read them and consider them. If they are worth re-reading or blogging about (I use blogging as bookmarking a lot) I’ll leave the tab open until I blog or Delicious them. Sometimes more tabs are opened from links in those new tabs. In work I have to kill tabs now and then when my crappy computer complains about firefox using up too much memory. At home tabs have to be closed when I shut down the computer at night.

Yet today I was there getting all bored with no new bloglines content. What did I do before RSS feeds? I read slashdot and Wired and aintitcoolnews and BoingBoing. Except for AICN, all these are in my bloglines now. Even Dilbert is!

The new Windows Live replacement for MSN IM is meant to hold 600 or is it 800 contacts that you can IM or email or VoIP. I have 179 on my MSN list and about 60 between AIM and YahooIM. How many damned windows are going to fill my taskbar with that kind of thing? Still I’ve found in work IM can be as productive as it is disruptive. People prefer to IM and ask something they need a quick answer to instead of ringing. People find rejection easier obviously but also feel bolder requesting things. IM I’d say will become bigger in our lives and since in Ireland and many European countries we all have mobiles and we all text, it won’t be much of a jump.

So with everything being RSSised, we are going to see the likes of Windows Live Chat or whatever it is called getting into the mix too. So more contacts via email, IM and VoIP and with their associated RSS feed too and tabs galore. People are already overloaded, surely many are going to get burnt out with all of this? Should there be a safety level setting for people? I still feel that I currently suffer from information underload but the day is coming when that becomes overload and when it hits I’ll want to flick a switch that says “Chill”.

A blogger’s manifesto – Forbes Fights the Futile Fight

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

It took a special kind of clever to write something as moronic as the Forbes piece. Here’s something. Change the word blogger to “black” or “Irish” or “Jew” or “Catholic” or “Protestant” and tell me it doesn’t read as something that would be classed as incitement of hatred.

The forbes article is a witch hunt, same as the RIAA attacks on individuals that download illegal music. A stupid attempt to somehow stop the tide.

Emotional language is used throughout the piece: Attack threat virulent strain lynch mob hate

There are some quite amazing statements:

“Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo.”

Google and other services operate with government-sanctioned impunity, protected from any liability for anything posted on the blogs they host.

My first reaction was “Jesus Christ, a journalist is arguing against freedom of speech and freedom of the press.” Hello? Irony alarm broken?

The article talks about disease, about toxicity, about a stealh creeping attack about a group of people the vast majority of people do not know about. It is a rally against them and the Government who apparently are standing idly by. It seems to be saying to remove or regulate them for the safety of the nation. Forbes and the Big Lie.

“Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns”

But even the Constitution doesn’t give a citizen the right to unjustly call his neighbor a child molester.

The new Godwin’s – talk about child molestation. Nothing creates instant fear than the idea of child molestation or the fear of wrongly being accused of being a child molestor. This was very much a political rallying cry to appeal to the ignorant and those who do not understand this new form of communication. There’s money to be made and power to be attained on appealing to the ignorant and unaware. Forbes is doing a superb job.

How can you stop bloggers though? They have a built-in policing aspect to them via comments on their blogs or other blogs commenting on them. They really aren’t anonymous and they won’t get as much respect if they are, unless they are whistle blowers. There are cliques and clubs and affiliations but there is a standard out in the ‘sphere where you just can’t get away with bullshit and lies forever unless what you say is such nonsense that nobody listens.

Chris Pirillo came up with the Blogger’s Manifesto but I’ve been more of a fan of the Hacker’s Manifesto. I reckon this should be reworked for Bloggers.

This Google Print thing – Not so sure about that

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

Google is really really championing the cause to scan in all the worlds books so we can find excerpts from them, which will then allow us to do what exactly? Buy them from a reseller that has a deal with Google? Google are unclear about this. They’re also unclear as to whether they’ll give copies of all these digitized books to the vendors themselves so they can use them. What they really seem to be doing though is disregarding the wishes of those who own the rights to books and do what they want. Clever spindoctoring has the publishers looking like bad guys and Google with puppy dog eyes going “But all we wanted to do is help people find any information they wanted and the band publishing guys are stopping us. *pout*.”

I’d be for this more if they scanned them in with the permission of the publishers first, that when a search lands on a result there will be a link to buy the book from the publisher or a an option to get an electronic copy of the book.

Dave Winer has been one of the few geeks speaking out against Google Print but he makes some very good points.

“The world would be a much worse place if the card catalog in a library only contained the books that the publisher had come by and put in,” said Alex Macgillivray, an attorney at Google.

Of course, that makes sense, you nod your head, how true, but then you realize that the analogy doesn’t work. If card catalogs were as good at selling books as Google claims Google Print will be, they’d batch-submit all their publications using the marvel of computer technology (they know how to write scripts in NY too, or in a pinch, they can hire a wizard from California). No one has to “come by” in the age of the Internet. How quaint. And misleading.

That’s the issue. Google is making this opt-out not opt-in. So you have to go to the effort of saying NO or otherwise they’ll scan your content. I guess their attitude is that there are no robots.txt files for books so they can do what they want. Search online is opt-out so they must use the same mentality for everything else. Perhaps the publisher should create a new robots.txt for their web content and exclude all things Google until Google start behaving.

Google are not doing this to be altruistic, they’re doing this to make money, off new content they don’t own and that is NOT in the public domain.

Dave adds more thoughts to the debate.

Why doesn’t Google do a good thing and link to libraries when the search results come back? Though I doubt the publishers would want that either. They’d want people to buy the books. Still, amke it opt-in, plenty of small publishers who’ll take this up and eventually the other publishers might do the same. Or join the Open Content Alliance.

Blockquotes and the lazyweb

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Wouldn’t it be quite handy that if someone on another site linked to your blog post, and had some of it quoted and anyone that follows the link, lands on your site and sees the quote highlighted? Maybe the plugin is out there already? I know WordPress has the Google search keyword referral plugin, but that only looks for keywords in the URI the visitor came from.

I suppose what is needed is a plugin that does a text comparison of the URI the visitor came from and the one on the current webpage. After the first visitor it can tell what was quoted and adjust itself for every new visitor from the linking URI.

IrelandOffline Survey – 66% read blogs , 25% listen to podcasts

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

In the process of writing a press release and tidying up the survey data for the recent IrelandOffline Survey. We surveyed in total just under 1400 people. The survey was filled in online so those doing it would know the web well enough.

Do you read blogs?

  • No – 440 33.92%
  • Yes – 857 66.08%

Have you listened to podcasts?

  • No – 950 74.10%
  • Yes – 332 25.90%

Lots more interesting stuff on the way. Stay tuned for the press releases