- Web platforms and other networking issues, here.
- People are
to figure out how to manipulate Google
attempts to provide you with a way of annotating a map with your own
content, and Google
Maps Hacking is figuring out and documenting how to do these
Maps Standalone is also looking into these issues, and has a more
detailed how to here.
Here is an application that lists houses for
sale and rent. Here's one that implements a form of traceroute.
An O'Reilly article on Google
Map Hacking with some informal Google statements on the issue. A
wiki on Google mapping,
and some samples.
Here's a general
explanation of how this works. As of July 1, 2005 Google has started to publish
their maps API, its still not final, and they expect to make
significant changes to it in the future months. Feeding GPS coordinates to
Google Maps. How
to build a Google Maps based service, this is an interactive bus
route map and is described
here, along with the source code.
cloning (of tissues) starts in the UK
(pcattcp.exe) is another port to Windows of the ttcp UNIX application
(Microsoft uses its own version called NTttcp for a lot of network
performance benchmarking), its useful for doing quick sanity tests on
network performance issues (such as figuring out if your switch and NIC
are agreeing on full versus half duplex), its very easy to set up (no
install appart from copying a couple of files to the machines under
test is needed) and quick to run.
The OQO unit, which is sort of
a large palm top, but with all the power of a full laptop. In June 2004 this
has started to be demoed, here
is a review. Oct'04 brings the release of the OQO, Engadget has
compiled a number of reviews. It gets reviewed
Fusion Fun with Collapsing Bubbles? Another take on it here.
I wonder if this will work with Champagne? Certainly sounds like the
return of "cold fusion", only time will tell.
Gibson Research Corp. has a
security related tools, Patchwork tests Windows NT and 2000 systems for
certain known issues and ShieldsUp is a test of your net visable ports.
discusses the issues of wireless LAN security.
Even the wiretapping
system has security issues.
wireless networking has a free
screen, even in New York
city (and more on New
York's free LANs), including some details on how to hack up an
externally mounted access point using a RubberMaid container as a case. Byte has
on setting up your own wireless freenet. Here is another Byte article,
this time on antennas
for WLANs. Problems with boosting the power of the WAP11
- MSDN Magazine talks about extending the CLR for more support for dynamic languages like IronPython. 
IFranView is a
freeware image viewer, with some manipulation capabilities. Through a set of
plugins it has support for loading RAW format files for a number of
cameras, including the Minolta A1/A2. It is reviewed here,
apparently it now has the ability to create panoramic photos.
Noiseware, from Imagenomic,
looks like a good noise reduction package for high ISO shooting. This
is quite impressive at what it can do with ISO 800 shots from a Minolta
A2 (which are quite noisy). Have a look at this gallery for
some examples that have been processed by it. Also have a look at these
images I processed with it. It gets reviewed
PhotoFiltre is an
processing/manipulation program that is available in a reduced feature
free version and a commercial version. It is reviewed here.
Using fractals to enlarge images, Connected Photographer reviews,
Enlarger Pro and
declares that it does a better job than the much more expensive Genuine Fractals program.
wind turbine design from Quiet Revolution
brother at waldomart? And in casinos
too... and at a personal
- The HTTP1.0
draft discusses basic
authentication, and RFC2617 discusses digest authentication,
with some copies of the actual headers involved. RFC 1738 discusses
the syntax of Uniform Resource Locators (i.e. URLs). This article discusses
Another follow up to the issue
of logout. This article has a very good
discussion of the issues involved in implementing authentication.
Apparently this add-on
for Firefox adds the ability to logout (which is present in
versus Obscurity, a discussion on the use of salt. RFC 1867 talks about
the file upload ability that was added to html forms. RFC 2616 is a more
up to date HTTP specification.
- The International Music Score Library Project has been hit by a copyright cease and desist. The Project Gutenberg site may be hosting some of this material while the IMSLP sorts out the legal issues.  
- The Asus Eee PC 701 gets reviewed by Laptop Mag, discussed here on Engadget. There's at least one 701 in the UK getting passed around the reviewers and its being received favorably. CNet's Rory Reid got his hands on it and quite liked it, a Slashdot discussion of this review revealed that ZDNet was to have reviewed the machine after CNet, but that CNet had messed it up by trying (and failing) to install XP on it. However, Rupert Goodwins the the ZDNet reviewer then fixed the problem by installing the new Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon release on it. Since the standard Ubuntu installed with only minor issues I'm guessing that this little laptop might receive a lot of attention from the Linux community which should be a good thing for it. There is also an unofficial Eee PC forum at www.eeeuser.com along with lots more news and some unofficial specs (like the VGA port supports up to 1600x1280). NewEgg appears to be the first to claim to have stock of these in the USA. Engadget has a round up of the latest post-release reviews. This review from Notebook Review is especially noteworthy has it includes instructions on dissecting your new laptop and also on upgrading the RAM to a maximum of 2GB. 
Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines, address issues affecting
accurate colour reproduction from a photographer's perspective.
Feb'06 thoughts on where
the PalmOS might be headded. Early Mar'06 and some more
information on this. In Dec'06 a delay until the first half of 2007
announced for the new Access Linux Platform.
- Some Linux users are complaining that the ASUS Eee PC violates the GPL by not including the required source code. Of course the GPL just calls for that source code to be made available somehow, so presumably ASUS will at some point make it available on their web site. It looks like ASUS has addressed this issue and is saying it was a mistake. 
- The P2P Foundation is writing about peer to peer issues and work, its rather like an paper newspaper's "editorial page" in that they write about what is happening amongst the independent sites (blogs and such) and try to expond on common threads, themes and changes. My page on Product Hacking got cited once. 
Issues with XP and roaming
The ten best LiveCD distros that focus on security
is a small, bootable Linux system focused on security and rescue
issues, it includes full read/write NTFS support. Recovery Is
Possible (RIP) is another similar project, this one has RAID
Rescue Kit is another.
A Slashdot book review of: Moving
to the Linux Business Desktop, by Marcel Gagne, ISBN: 0131421921,
discusses the various issues that face someone trying to use Linux to
replace a Windows desktop for business desktop use.
from Axis Communications (on ThinkGeek)
issues in distributed development
issues bring down an air traffic control centre
And the Royal Bank of Canada ran into similar
- The Software Freedom Law Center's (SFLC) Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects gets discussed on Slashdot. 
- Discussion of the enter key and how to override its
default functionality (of OK-ing the dialog) as well this
mentions that the tab key order is the same as z-order for a dialog
and has discussion of PreTranslateMessage() which can be used to
implement accelerator keys in a dialog.
- This recipe allows you to create a restricted python function from a string, the intent being to allow an application to be safely scripted by user written functions in a controlled fashion. A cautionary follow-up to this which mentions that the rexec function is known to have security issues and is being removed from Python.  
- On 8-Apr-08 Google started to preview their Google App Engine, discussed here on Slashdot.
Their overall design goals:
- make it easy to use
- make it easy to scale
- free to start (small apps)
What Google will do for you:
- Run the web applications
- provide the full life cycle, logs, status, updating, database...
- provide access to Google's scalable infrastructure, google accounts, big table, Google FS
To do this the application stack they provide has:
- Scalable serving infrastructure
- Python runtime
- Web based administration console
- Datastore (based on big Table)
Their environment does allow you to run a local test server, so you can do your application development on your own private machine.
They provide a basic Django template module.
Seems to follow the Python wsgiref module.
An initial presentation of this is in these videos.
One of the things this does is to get you to build things using Google tools which may result in an implementation that is difficult to move to some other service provider without doing a complete rewrite. Whereas if you were using Amazon's EC2 you are writing for a more standard LAMP style environment so you should be able to take whatever you develop and run it somewhere else. Of course, if you keep this all in mind it might not be a big issue, use the Google tools to develop a prototype and test the waters before investing in a full scale project.
With Google's use of Python as the first application language to be supported by this system it has caused an unprecedented stir in the Python community, see:
- The App Engine takes some heat for not responding to issues fast enough. 
- In App Engine and Pylons Ian Bicking talks about various Python modules that don't work on App Engine and why. He also talks about trying to monkeypatch around some of the issues. 
good profiler (for CPU and Memory issues) for JAVA code, highly
The original developers (VMWare have ben bought by Borland)
- Adobe has submitted their DNG file format as a possible ISO standard. Lets hope they have sorted out any patent issues with it.  
- Windows XP Service Pack 3 has been released and there are reports of it causing problems for some users. More information on these issues can be found here. 
- Slashdot discusses Google Health privacy concerns. There are also a number of links here that discuss past security issues Google has had.  
- A look at the past, present and a guess at the future of web hosting from the perspective of what a startup company needs to spend on infrastructure just to get going. This is worth a read as it does a good job of pointing out that while the cost of the basic infrastructure (servers and software) has dramatically dropped in the last decade (for the entry-level portion of the market) it is still not easy to get the show on the road and while some progress is being made in addressing the scalability issues with things like Amazon's EC2 and Google's AppServer there is still much to be done.
Currently I think a virtual private server (VPS) solution is the best bet for those who need to start small, and while EC2 has some advantages its pricing is currently a lot higher. Going the VPS route has some scalability, some vendors (such as linode.com) offer about a 10:1 scaling ratio in features across their offered services.
Once you have maxed out a typical VPS vendor's offerings you are in the price range of a single dedicated server so the migration path could be continued by switching to a dedicated server or by getting your own hardware and perhaps co-locating it. Doing this could add about a factor of 5 to the scaling curve, so in total, the virtual and dedicated private server approaches should allow you to scale your application about 50 times without having to rework the architecture or selected technology. Once you have grown to encounter those limits you are probably leaving the domain of the startup, so its probably time for a rethink anyway.  
- It is starting to look like we might be able to recreate the woolly mammoth through DNA extracted from remaining tissues. 
- RFID passports have been cloned (discussed here on Slashdot) through a war driving rig. What would he have got if he had just parked in the airport parkade for an hour? He points out that one of the potential issues with the widespread use of RFID tags (for things like drivers licenses and credit cards) is that it would allow the movements of individual people around a city to be easily recorded - just set up these RFID scanners at choke points (office tower front doors, subway station entrances, parkade pedestrian access and car entrances etc.) and you can now track the movements of individual people - and with access to one of the RFID databases (like the driver's license information or a credit card database) one can find out who went where and when. Of course this could be very handy for generating an initial list of possible suspects, so expect banks to have RFID scanners at their doors - and to detain anyone who tries to enter the bank without an RFID tag on them... Another attempt at gathering passport numbers via RFID is discussed here on Slashdot.  
- The new (and expensive) Intel X25-M flash drives have been bench marked with very fast write speeds, but these appear to fall substantially after the drive has been in use for some time. Discussed here on Slashdot. Intel says this is not so. Intel has investigated these claims and found the cause and issued a firmware update that addresses the issue (and also suggests the possibility that these drives are actually even faster internally, but are limiting their speed for marketing reasons). Another round of firmware updates in Oct'09 had some problems. 
- Python Threading is Fundamentally Broken, the GIL gets examined in detail and is found to encounter significant performance issues on multi-core CPUs when threading is used. More followup on this comparing CPython to Stackless. And another round of followup on this. This article (referenced in one of the comments) shows how raising the sys.checkinterval to a value much larger than the default of 100 can greatly improve the situation. However, it still does not allow a multiprocessor machine to solve a problem in half the elapsed time by using two threads at once instead of a single thread. 
- A discussion of the compatibility issues between the Python 2.x and 3.x series that stems from the UNICODE related changes. 
- A new procedure that uses sound waves to cook brain tissue is being tested. This could allow for non-invasive treatment of deep-seated tissues in the brain without tricky (or impossible) invasive techniques. It might even be useful for replacing the use of radiation. 
- Amazon has messed up on the Kindle's management of content a couple of times now, which is annoying some people. Amazon has apologized for how it handled the issue of forcing the return of copies of 1984. 
- Slashdot discusses ways to track stolen gadgets and some of the privacy issues that arise. 
- PySide provides Python bindings for the Qt application and UI framework. This is an alternative to PyQt that Nokia is developing to avoid licensing issues with PyQt. 
- Smartbook AG is attempting to defend the term "smartbook". I guess now that Nokia has talked about making a smartbook they want to get a slice of Nokia's pie. 
- In October'09 the CRTC issued new net neutrality rules. 
- Western Digital is going to start introducing hard drives that are formatted with 4K byte sectors rather than the current 512 byte sectors in 2010. This will apparently allow for improved error correction while slightly increasing storage density. This will potentially cause a performance issue for Windows XP (and older systems) due to these older Windows versions creating the first partition in a way that it is misaligned to the 4K blocks on the drive (sort of an off by one type error). WD has two solutions for this, one is they provide a jumper on the drive that can compensate for the off by one misalignment (but it is only good for drives with a single partition) and the other is a utility that will realign the partitions on the drive. More discussion here on Slashdot. The first of these drives from WD will have "EARS" as part of the model number. An article about the issues with these 4K sector drives causing bad performance under Linux, both the Reiser and EXT3 file systems can have severe slow downs on writing small files if these drives are not installed correctly at the current time. 
- A bio-printer could be used to assemble replacement tissues. 
- Some articles on the Weibull distribution which can be used to model the probability of failure of devices. The significant difference between this and the normal distribution is that the Weibull is a one-sided curve, so all the events happen above a reference point rather than being distributed on either side of the reference point. This makes sense for things like time to failure given that a component cannot fail before it is put into use (well, if you include manufacturing defects and shipping issues it could...).
- Why Sherlock Holmes is still mired in copyright issues after more than 120 years. 
- Kingston has been having some quality issues with their microSD cards. More information on what is going on here. 
- Popular Science has placed their entire 137-year archive of back issues online for free browsing, neato! 
- Thoughts after a couple of weeks. I have owned a Google Nexus One for a couple of weeks now and I thought it would be a good time to record some first impressions. In a word BETA. Yes, in keeping with Google's fine tradition of apparently never finishing anything, this is most certainly a beta product. Now given the intended audience (geeks) of the Nexus One this is not a particularly bad thing, but Android is being billed as a mass-market phone (and appliance) operating system and I am finding the smart phone platform is falling short of what a consumer would need, want or expect.
The hardware is quite good, the device looks and feels nice. The screen is very nice, except in bright sunlight. The digitizer generally works quite well, it certainly feels like the iPhones I have played with. The sound quality is good for both phone and media functions. The battery life is good for this sort of device, I'm getting about two days of use out of it by which time the battery level is at about 30%, but I don't do many calls and maybe log about an hour of web surfing, an hour or two of MP3 playback and about 2.5 hours of GPS use in that time. I leave the WiFi and Bluetooth radios on all the time. The fastest drain is when I use the GPS (using Google's Latitude and the MyTracks route tracker applications). I like the fact the battery is user-swapable and there is a microSD card slot.
The only issues I have with the hardware so far are:
The software, this is the part of the phone that's really beta. I have not had any real problems with the underlying OS, I have not had to reboot the phone to get it to function properly or anything like that. My gripe is with the included applications. One of the things I wanted from this phone was a unification of the functions of my old phone plus my old Palm Tungsten T3 PDA, so that I would be able to replace two devices with one and have more functionality at hand too (like the GPS and browsing on the go). So far the places I find that fail are with the basic PDA functions. Here's how I see it:
- The ringer volume (as is mentioned here along with other issues) is too low
- the back cover is rather hard to remove, they could fix this quite easily by including a ridge or slot to get a grip on, or better yet a small latch.
- I would prefer that the microSD card slot was exposed (i.e. externally accessible on one side) so one could change cards without having to power down the phone, remove the back cover and battery and the reassemble everything. My little Samsung flip phone did this quite well. Perhaps there should be two slots, an internal one that is used as fixed storage and an external one that is intended for user-swapping?
- the dock connector appears to only provide a power connection, any other connection must be either through the USB port (which is limited) or via Bluetooth or WiFi radio. This may be a good thing, but at the moment it limits what other things the unit can be used for. Perhaps someone will make a WiFi player dock for it so that the device can be used to play video to an external monitor or TV.
- For a few cents more why didn't they put an infrared transmitter/receiver on this so that it could also be used as a programmable remote control?
- The GMail client is pretty good, its an effective way of doing email triage on the road (train) and the unification of your email into the Google GMail cloud is very well done. You do something on either the GMail web client (at home or at the office or where ever) or on the phone and it's auto-synchronized in a seamless fashion. For anyone who needs to deal with email while on trips this would be worth it alone.
- The contacts manager is also very good, again it pulls off a nice, seamless two way synchronization All you need to do to make this useful is to import your contacts into the GMail contacts lists. I had to do some work on this one because GMail does not have a direct import from Palm devices, you have to export to a CSV and then upload to GMail, which is ok, except GMail import does not understand a lot of the columns that the Palm export provides so it just tosses a lot of stuff into the "Notes" section.
- The todo (tasks) list is missing. Total fail, GMail has a todo list on the web, but to get at it from your Nexus One you must visit a web page! Todo lists have been standard on PDAs since the beginning, so why is this missing?
- The Note taking function is also missing. It seems obvious that this should have been implemented as something that interfaced with Google Docs on the web, in fact there is a third-party free application called GDocs that attempts to fill this void.
- While the device does have a media player that does a reasonable job of MP3 playback and video playback this is a very basic implementation. It lacks the glitter of what the world has come to expect from the iPhone, so it's just basic marketing that this needs to be improved. Note the video formats this can play appears to be pretty limited, so expect to transcode anything you want to view here. Given there are a lot of inexpensive media players that are based on Linux that do a great job of playing just about anything without using super powerful chips one wonders why this cannot be done on this phone?
The last issue is with accessing the microSD card over the USB cable to load or unload data. As a geek I can understand why they have done what they have done, but surely there must be a better way! Here is what the user sees:
In my view what should happen is that when you plug in the USB cable the phone should immediately do all the mounting, the fact it can detect the connection and then prompt you, tells me that there's no real reason why it could not have just done the mounting right away. The mounting attempt might fail if some phone application current was using the SD card (though I have not seen this happen yet), in which case it should notify you of the problem. Then Windows would have quickly opened the drive and you could get onto the important business of dragging over some more MP3s right away. Once you are done with the drive in Windows, you should just use the Windows eject function as normal. Then the phone would detect the end of the session (as it currently does) and instead of bothering you with some more UNIX voodoo it should just silently umount the drive and return it to the normal phone mode - only if there is a problem should it prompt you for anything. This would make the whole process plug and play, the only voodoo left is on the Windows box when ejecting the drive at the end, and that's now accepted as "normal".
- Upon connecting his Nexus One to a computer via the USB cable he gets a notification that says the USB was connected.
- He then drags open the notifications list and touches the USB notification.
- Then a dialog appears saying: "You have connected your phone to your computer via USB. Select "Mount" if you want to copy files between your computer and your phone's SD card." and it gives you two buttons: "Mount" and "Don't Mount". This simply reeks of geek, and not just any geek, we're talking about 50 year old UNIX geeks with massive beards that wear old hiking boots to work in case they need to climb things in the server room! Mount, don't talk to me about Mount! Steve Jobs must find this hilarious!
- Once you hit "mount" your microSD card becomes accessible from the computer and then you can use it until you use the Window's remove USB devices tool to eject it (in a way equally mysterious, but in this day of USB thumb drives something that most people know how to use).
- Once you do this the Nexus One gives you another notification titled: "Turn off USB storage", tapping this gets you another dialog that reads "Before turning off USB storage, make sure you have unmounted the USB host. Select "Turn Off" to turn off USB storage." and gives you to choices "Turn Off" and "Cancel". Again the mountains appear on the phone.
- 2010 will see the introduction of the first 3TB drives, but there may be some issues with older operating systems (like XP) and motherboard compatibility problems due to LBA mode BIOS issues. 
- Google released their VP8 and WebM video system in May'10 and within days there was discussion of patent issues.  
- Slashdot discusses formatting SD flash cards to get them to function again. It appears that A-Data may be having quality issues, in fact of all the flash cards (SD or CF) and USB flash drives I have owned the only one that I ever had issues with was an 8Gig USB flash drive from A-Data (this would occasionally lock up while being written to). The SD card association has an SD card formatting utility. 
- The skin that HTC applies to Android to make things pretty has some security issues, in the Droid Incredible phone it saves screenshots of the user's browser to internal memory, to make this worse these are not deleted by resetting the phone to factory defaults. 
- There are issues with Apple's Time Capsule backup system. 
- This video by Keith Nicol points out a number of common issues in skate skiing form and suggests some corrective drills. Nordic Skates are an ice blade with a Nordic Ski binding which you can clip onto your ski boot to turn it into a type of speed skate.