Update from Microsoft on security and WinXPA long time ago I subscribed to the Microsoft "executive letter" and today I got email from Bill Gates. Really. I had to look at it twice to confirm that it wasn't spam or some virus (ironically, since it's a security update). Anyway, for a long time I've complained about how Windows ships with too many ports and services enabled by default, rather than with a more paranoid security model that would have things closed by default, rather than open. Apparently the security people at Microsoft are listening, and according to Bill...
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Wonder what people search for online?You should be able to guess when you think about what obsesses our culture, but according to Wordtracker, here's the list of the twenty most common search terms in the last 60 days on the major search engines. (A few I've lightly censored):
What's most interesting to me is that search engines are such popular search terms on search engines. What's that all about, d'ya think?Nos Count Keyword =========================================== 1 265099 sex 2 188506 porn 3 175159 paris hilton 4 135572 p*ssy 5 129597 google 6 128705 ebay 7 110885 yahoo 8 100634 jokes 9 100403 health 10 91614 t*ts 11 89792 b**bs 12 85774 hentai 13 85388 free porn 14 83837 milf 15 75032 paris hilton video 16 74723 nude 17 73954 games 18 67431 yahoo.com 19 66188 dictionary 20 65205 mapquest
What was I thinking??My pal Bob Rankin has resurrected an interview of me he did back in 1995 for the late, lamented Boardwatch magazine (where oh where is Jack Rickard nowadays anyway? I miss ya, Jack!). You can read it at Interview with Dave Taylor - Internet Pioneer and decide how far off my predictions were. Dig that groovy picture too... :-)
As you read through, realize that my "SO" is now my wife, that Mecklerweb is long gone, the landlord of the Redwood City house mentioned is syndicated columnist and NPR commentator Larry Magid. It's fun to read my comment about smart TV that foreshadows TiVO. And the most fun of all is surely talking about BBS systems. Wow, now that suddenly sounds like a long time ago...
Is this any way to set up a hotel Internet connection?I'm in Amarillo, Texas staying at a hotel that advertises that the rooms include "Hi-Speed Internet" (it's on the hotel sign! We've come a long way in the last few years!) and was amazed when I got into the room to find that it's an Ethernet jack (you have to borrow a cable from them. A three-foot cable. I'd pay money for a 10-foot cable right now). But worse, they aren't running DHCP or anything even vaguely logical. Instead they have a 3x4 handout at the front desk detailing how to set a hard IP address, gateway address, etc. But that's not the best part. The best part is that the IP address is: "192.168.1.99-213". Yes, you have to randomly try values until you find that you're not sharing an IP with someone else in the hotel. Very weird. Very... not a nice DHCP-based wireless network.
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Hardware karma back up to my usual levelToday is ending quite a bit differently to how it started! I traded in my broken TiBook for a shiny new 1Ghz G4 Aluminum Powerbook, got my wife's PowerBook back and upgraded it in the process (doubled RAM, swapped in my 60GB hard disk), and just plugged in the new 512MB of RAM that Apple sent me to try and fix the G5 and... it appears to be working! I've been pushing it hard by running memtest which aggressively tests RAM and this is the first time in over a week that my system can run the entire test without a kernel panic.
The new AlBook (presumably that's its nickname, since the Titanium PowerBook was known as the TiBook) is a lovely piece of engineering too, though it's a bit weird to have a laptop where all the ports are on the sides rather than the back. Further, I still don't understand why there aren't covers on these ports, but ... anyway, looks good so far.
So I started the day with my wife's laptop in for service and both my laptop and desktop broken, but ended it with everything up and running. My thanks to the Jason at The Mac Shack (Boulder) for his help!
I think my hardware karma has gone to zeroOh, what a week. First my brand-new dual 1.8Ghz G5 PowerMac started having random kernel panics (Apple has replaced the logic board, and it's still messed up. Now they're sending me new RAM to try), then my wife's ancient Lombard PowerBook suddenly stopped seeing the power adapter. But, to top it off, last night, as if the very fates were laughing at me, my Titanium Powerbook slipped off my desk and hit the floor at just the right angle to snap the hinge.
So I did what any self-respecting Mac guy would do: I went to the local service place (The Mac Shack, in this case) and asked them about fixes for the two laptops...
Never miss another LinuxWorld headlineThanks to my pal Dee-Ann LeBlanc, I have a new and interesting article up at LinuxWorld.com entitled The Worlds of RSS, XML, HTML, and Linux Meet: Add LinuxWorld.com news headlines to your site, instantly!. Check it out -- you'll find it good reading and it's a nice sampler for my book Wicked Cool Shell Scripts which has already gone into its second printing, I'm happy to report!
Finally, I've joined the Cult of PriusYes, after almost five months of waiting (see my earlier entry about ordering a Toyota Prius to get an idea of when I first placed my order), I've finally picked up my brand new 2004 Toyota Prius. And it's way cool and a preview of the next generation of automobile too.
Even more fun, I spent some time surfing the net yesterday and figured out how to save $1200 on the transaction today. Read on to learn how I accomplished this nifty trick...
Hear me speak at one of these venues...I'll be giving a talk on technology, scripting, and the IT industry at SCOUG, the Amarillo, Texas-based Oracle Users Group the evening of the 23rd of March, and then a few weeks later, April 15th, I'll be presenting my thoughts on cross-promoting books at the Waterside conference in Berkeley, California. Then, on the 19th of April I'll be at TechTV's studios in San Francisco for an appearance on The Screensavers. Not exactly sure when it'll air, but look for it on your local TechTV channel.
If you're part of a user's group, a conference organizer, or someone who is interested in having me speak at an event of any sort, please don't hesitate to contact me so we can talk about opportunities and logistics!
Amazon Sales Rank: 25In case you don't think that online venues can affect sales, the slashdot.org review of my book Wicked Cool Shell Scripts has generated sufficient additional traffic and interest that my book now has an Amazon Sales Rank: 25. That's amazing for a computer book - it means that of the millions of different things for sale at Amazon.com (including not only books, but music, DVDs, and more), my book is currently selling briskly enough to be in the top twenty five. As my friend Jake L. would say, "Sweet!"
Just as interestingly, the traffic on Google Adwords shows a remarkable spike too...
The "slashdot effect" hits. Again. :-)I'm pleased to say that my book Wicked Cool Shell Scripts has not only been reviewed today on slashdot, but that it was given a rare and exalted rating of 10 out of 10 there. Many thanks to my savvy and insightful reviewer for this prize!
The down side is that all of those millions of geeks from slashdot are now checking out the web site for the book and, well, it's one heck of a lot of traffic. Like 20-30 site hits per second. Which means that my server is a bit busy right now and not always able to respond promptly to page queries. This is what us geeks call "the slashdot effect", where you get such an increase in Web site traffic out of the blue that your system just gasps and dies. Not good.
Fortunately, my Verio VPS system is hanging in there, just running slowly. Very slowly. But, oh, for what a delightful reason.
If you're an author and you're interested in this topic -- and you should be! -- you might well want to consider joining us at Waterside this year.
AT&T Writer's Workbench reinvented for University of Phoenix?As a facilitator for the University of Phoenix Online, I get to see what they're doing quite early in the process, and as the largest for-profit educational business in the world, it's worth keeping track, because in many ways they're leading the move into online education.
This morning's news is that their Center for Writing Excellence is announcing a new service called WritePoint Review...
Patent issues a barrier to print on demand?Here's a fascinating story from Publisher's Weekly that I hadn't heard about until this morning, but it can definitely have significant ramifications on self-publishing for many, many people:
"Ingram said Thursday it will appeal a ruling this week that essentially made much of POD subservient to an obscure Missouri technology company..."
There's more to this story, obviously...
First review of "Wicked Cool Shell Scripts"I haven't yet found it online, but a copy of a very favorable review of my new book Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, written by Mary Norbury-Glaser of MacinTech, found its way to my mailbox this morning. In her review, she says:
This incredibly fun book (really!), written by Dave Taylor, a veteran UNIX, Solaris and Mac OS X author, is chock full of 101 scripts to customize the UNIX (Bourne) shell...All I can say is "Thanks, Mary!"
Ten Quick Steps to learning lots of stuff...My friend and colleague David Lawrence (whom you might know from his national radio show Online Tonight with David Lawrence) has been building a very nice online ebook store called Ten Quick Steps. I've written up a short primer on working with Mac OS X Panther on the command line, and for only $10, it's a cheap way to get going right now with harnessing the power of the Mac OS X command line. You can check it out at 10 Quick Steps to Learning Mac OS X Unix.
But there are plenty of other ebooks he has online too, many written by other friends of mine, interestingly....
The mysterious ways of YahooMuch to my surprise, I was perusing the referral logs for AnswerSquad.com and found out that we're listed on Yahoo's directory, in the category Technical Guides and Support. But here's the odd thing: we've never submitted a listing to them and I've always thought that Yahoo is a submissions-only directory. So that leads to the obvious question: how did AnswerSquad.com get there?
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