Friday, October 28, 2005
Promoters of the anti-spyware coalition (ASC) say that this is a necessary step. Vendors need to use a common language and to share information about new and expanding threats. If successful, consumers would ultimately benefit with improved anti-spyware products with more transparency and better efficacy.
Detractors say that the coalition will make it easier for spyware programs to game the system. They can technically comply with the coalition rules, while still being basically evil spyware.
In my opinion, the detractors have it wrong. Reading the anti-spyware coalition guidelines, it is clear that if a program complies we are all better off. For example, the ASC guidelines state that programs must follow a vast set of specific guidelines, including:
- Get user consent prior to install
- Provide easy to use uninstall process
- Provide adequate disclosure about product behavior
... and more. If a product is doing all of these things, then it can't be spying. After all, the user installed it, the user knows what it is doing, and the user can easily uninstall it at any time.
Any program that meets all that criteria on my machine is welcome to stay. Link.
First, there's the whole reason for the season question. I sometimes find myself wishing I had not been so distracted by the prospect of candy in elementary school when the teacher was explaining the origins of Halloween. That's where Wikipedia comes in. They have an entry on just about everything, and I find myself starting searches there with increasing frequency.
So, now that I know that a jack-o'-lantern originated in the UK and was a carved turnip before the Americas contributed pumpkins to the tradition, I need ideas for clever carvings. I could do a general search, but I really want a stunning squash, so I'll check flickr for pumpkins people liked enough to photograph and share.
I like my Cartman pumpkin so much, I want to throw a party. I'll need some menu help. What do people eat on Halloween, besides candy? How about Sea Creature Soup with Slime Ailoli? Emeril thinks that and a little Vampire Chicken with "Blood" Braise should provide some nutrients before the sugar rush. That's just one possible menu when I have a browser handy. Epicurious offers a number of ideas.
Alright, I'm hosting this party, so I have to have a cool costume. I was so busy trying to get the menu together I didn't really have time to order a costume online, even though I could still get one via overnight delivery. And I've spent a little too much money on the food, so I want something clever, but inexpensive. I could do an image search for: mummy costume. Those seem a bit more involved than I want to get into this year, so I do some poking around and find some cute notions here. Or, as I did last year, I could do something really clever and low maintenance. Where was that site...? Oh, right: it was a site like the Costume Idea Zone where I learned, hours before going to a party that I could easily become a Waist of Time.
Wow. The 'net has made it so easy to find what I need for Halloween, I have some time to search Evite for a haunted house in my area.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Here's some of the things I do...
- Watch Delicious. Delicious is a free bookmark service that was set up and run by just one guy. It is fairly sparse and not immediately intuitive, but it is still very useful for trend watching. Go to Delicious and you will see things that people just added to their bookmarks. Click on the link that says "popular" and you will see sites that are becoming very popular. Click on the "Most Active" words on the right and you can see popular sites that are being "tagged" with those words. I often go there and click "search" and it shows me sites that people are bookmarking and tagging with the word search. I've found a lot of interesting sites with Delicious. Link.
- Watch Technorati. Technorati is basically a blog search engine and aggregator. For trend watching it is useful to look two places: Tags and Popular. With Tags, you can see words, tags, that are being used in Blogs organized alphabetically and sized according to popularity. Then in Popular, you can see "most-linked-to" news stories, movies and more. Link.
- Read Boing Boing. Boing Boing is a blog that is run by a crew of smart connected Web folk who always seem to know what is going on. Sure, 25% of the posts are of no interest to me (why all the posts about science fiction writing?) but the rest of the posts are timely and fascinating. Link.
- Read Slashdot. OK, yes, it is, as they say, "News for Nerds." And it is in desperate need of a makeover. But Slashdot is perhaps one of the smartest and most passionate communities in existence. There are always timely topics and extensive debate to be considered. Link.
- Read Google News. I realize there are a lot of News sites out there, but somehow Google hit it right. Their news presentation is right on the mark, easy to read and sift through. Link.
- Watch Alexa's Movers. After watching all the sites above, still, a bunch of really "hot" sites escape my notice. Alexa's Movers catch them. For example, today, I saw that JibJab had another film, Big Box Mart, a "jab" at Walmart, that was garnering a ton of traffic. Link. And then there is Rising Concepts new service, Frapper, that lets you create interactive Google maps, plotting where members of your community/group are located. Link. Let's not forget the Million Quarter Web Page, where you can pay a quarter per pixel to show up on the front page for ten years. Link. These three examples are all wildly popular right now, and I would have missed them completely if it weren't for the Alexa Movers. Link.
Monday, October 10, 2005
In case your coffee didn't do the trick, I offer some Monday morning humor to get you going. These are courtesy of one of my favorite sites on the Web, myth-busting snopes.com.
Real companies, unfortunate domain names:
- Pen Island - penisland.com
- Amgen Italia - amgenitalia.com
- Who Represents - whorepresents.com
- Experts Exchange - expertsexchange.com
- Mole Station Nursery - molestationnursery.com
All work-safe, I promise.