Yahoo Finally Starts Making Sense

April 16, 2008 | technology
Yahoo just announced that they’re buying a company that makes a competitor to Google Analytics and releasing it for free. This is the first rational thing I’ve seen coming from Yahoo in quite some time. Although I’m not a big fan of the “buy product, release for free” business strategy, a web traffic analyzer is a perfect loss-leader for Yahoo, because it should boost their ailing ad program. The value of Google Analytics for Google is that it helps me maximize my AdWords revenue. That means...

Ignoring the firewall

April 15, 2008 | technology
The Coding Monkeys have released Port Map, an application to make accessing computers behind firewalls NATs easier. Unlike Copilot, which tries to work around obstinate routers, Port Map focuses on providing an easy and consistent interface for reconfiguring them. It’s hardly perfect for everything—notably, you have to have permissions to reconfigure the router causing you difficulty, making it unsuitable for corporate environments—but I can see it being quite handy if you’re just trying to...

Some Musings on Backups

April 15, 2008 | technology
I upgraded bitquabit to Ubuntu today. I learned a few valuable lessons: Untested backup scripts don’t count. This one I knew, but I didn’t fully process that “untested” really means “untested recently.” In particular, my backup script was backing up a database called wordpress. Unfortunately, I moved all the blogs hosted by bitquabit to a database called wp last fall. Result? The backups, though minutes old, were effectively from last October. I was lucky here: I happened to have a day-old WXR...

Parental Views on Video Games

April 13, 2008 | politics, technology
According to Ars Technica, parents would rather that their kids’ video games feature decapitations than sex. I don’t really have any commentary to add; just read the whole article.

A Poor Man's Time Machine

April 12, 2008 | programming, technology
One of the cool new features of Mac OS X Leopard is Time Machine, a really simple backup solution for Mac OS X that not only transparently backs up your data, but also does so with an amazingly ugly GUI that lets you quickly jump back to the way that your documents were at any given point in the past. Unfortunately, Time Machine doesn’t run on my Linux boxes, so I’m forced to come up with an alternative. The good news is that getting a 90% solution is ridiculously easy. On the back-end, all that...

Cold War II, Part 2

April 11, 2008 | politics, technology
Hacking isn’t limited to pro-Tibetan groups; the Pentagon notes that cyberattacks against US defense infrastructure has greatly increased in the last few years. Given the sad state of computer security and the increased use of consumer components by the military, I strongly suspect that the average American would be petrified to learn how many national secrets we’ve failed to protect. For the time being, at least ignorance truly is bliss.

Patent Hell

April 11, 2008 | politics, technology
I’ve been against software patents for a long time now, but when I read about stories such as satellites being turned into space garbage because the only way to fix the orbit is patented, I’m forced to question the wisdom of patents in general. I love the idea of patents; I’m just dubious that the current implementation actually works. More often than not, I see patents used not to protect a novel invention, but as a legal stick to bludgeon small competitors. That runs completely against the...

Windows Versions of NetNewsWire

April 10, 2008 | technology
Sadly, there’s no such thing as NetNewsWire for Windows, but today I downloaded FeedDemon, which is made by the same company and also offers synchronization with NewsGator, and was extremely pleasantly surprised. If you, like me, have a Mac at home and a PC at work, it’s definitely worth a look.

Nuclear Power, Continued

March 27, 2008 | politics, technology
As I indicated curtly in my previous post, I’m a huge proponent of nuclear power. Though there continues to be substantial political debate whether global warming exists—largely because responding to it would be economically damaging—the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is, and has been for some time, that global warming exists and is man-made. (See the IPCC statement, and a discussion of its significance in Nature—one of the top several scientific journals in the world, and...

To Crash or Not to Crash

March 24, 2008 | technology
I’m not quite sure how I feel about the following dialog I got in Interface Builder 3 when trying to load Copilot Mac Helper’s NIB file: I mean, I guess it’s nice to have a choice, but…is this really the best UI Apple could come up with?