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Friday, December 30, 2005

Ajax Version Of The Periodic Table Of The Elements

I discovered this page from Yahoo's My Web 2.0 BETA
It is developed by Andrew Sutherland and it's an Ajax version of the periodic table of the elements. Once you click on an element the page goes grey and a little table is displayed on top of all the other stuff. The table is pictured on the left side and it has details such as Atomic Weight, Electron Arrangement, Most Common Isotope and Boiling Point. There are also links to Wikipedia and ChemiCool. I think as time goes on that we will see a lot of cool stuff that will be build with Ajax. another example is Protopage

New Intel Logo

Intel said Thursday that it would scrap its 37-year-old logo as part of a major rebranding that will emphasize the chipmaker's shift away from its core PC business into consumer products.

The original Intel logo featuring a lowered "e" will be replaced with one showing an oval swirl surrounding the company's name.

The phrase "Leap ahead" will supplant "Intel inside," which helped bring the company into the public awareness during the PC boom of the 1990s.

Intel said CEO Paul Otellini is set to unveil details of the campaign during next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

PyCon 2006

PyCon 2006 will be held February 24-26, 2006 In Addison, Texas (near Dallas)
Early bird registration until Dec. 31, 2005
Via Internet until Feb. 18, 2006

Some of the talks at Pycon of interest to me are
-Introduction to Pyparsing: An Object-oriented Easy-to-Use Toolkit for Building Recursive Descent Parsers
-Agile Documentation: using tests as documentation
-Desktop Application Programming With PyGTK and Glade
-Scripting .NET with IronPython
-Effective AJAX with TurboGears
-Processing XML with ElementTree
-TurboGears Tutorial
-The State of Dabo
-PyPy architecture session
-IronPython Implementation
-Introduction to Zope Application Development
-Gamma: An Atom Publishing Protocol implementation for Zope 3

Get the complete list here (PyCon2006/Talks)

Podcast With Ruby On Rails Creator Jason Fried

This Week In Tech has a podcast with Jason Fried
Amber and Leo talk with Jason Fried of 37Signals, creators of Basecamp, Backpack, Writeboard, and Ta-da List and, of course, Ruby on Rails.
There's also the Signal vs. Noise Weblog and their book, Defensive Design for the Web.
Download the Podcast here (running time: 40:46) Inside the Net 5: Jason Fried of 37Signals

Earbud Headphones May Cause Hearing Loss

According to an AP report, the earbud headphones that are so popular for ipods and other portable devices may lead to hearing loss. From the article: "We're seeing the kind of hearing loss in younger people that's typically found in aging adults,'' said Dean Garstecki, an audiologist and professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. The big culprits aren't the devices themselves, but the tiny "ear bud'' style headphones that the music players use. "Unfortunately, the earbuds are even more likely to cause hearing loss than the muff-type earphones that were used on Walkman and portable CD players"

SMS Indictments

Reuters reports that South Korean prosecutors have started a program to start sending indictment notices via SMS. The program was started partly because of the high penetration of mobile phones among the South Korean population (75%, according to the article), and also because prosecutors want to save money by cutting back on paper mailings. One potential hitch in the program: You have to apply to the service in order to receive your indictment electronically

Nissan and Microsoft Video Game Car

The Register reports that Microsoft and Nissan have created the first integrated gaming system within a vehicle. Not just in the vehicle, but the vehicle becomes part of the gaming system. From the article: "Conceived by Nissan Design America Inc. (NDA) and equipped with the Xbox 360 next-generation video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Nissan URGE concept car allows drivers (while parked) to play 'Project Gotham Racing 3' using the car's own steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal while viewing the game on a flip-down seven-inch LCD screen," Nissan and Microsoft said in a statement.

Military Exoskeleton Reaches Prototype

The U.S. Military has created the first ever prototype for an exoskeleton to be worn by soldiers capable of making its 100 pound weight and a 70 pound supply package feel like five pounds." From the article: "Bleex 1 consists of a pair of hydraulically powered leg braces, more than 40 electronic sensors, a control computer, and an internal-combustion engine providing power from an attached backpack. The plastic and carbon-fiber braces are affixed rigidly to the soldier through a customized pair of standard Army boots, with more compliant and giving connections at the chest and waist. These looser connections prevent blisters and abrasions.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Trump, 'penis patch' dominate 2005 spam

Ads mentioning real estate tycoon Donald Trump and those hawking "Penis Patch" body enhancements were among the top 10 junk e-mails in 2005, according to America Online.
Noticeably absent? Porn.
"Porn is passe when it comes to spam," Nicholas Graham, an AOL spokesman said.
Sexually suggestive e-mails took another tumble this year after slipping in popularity last year.
More than a half-trillion junk e-mails, known as spam, were blocked by AOL filters, slightly above 2004 levels, the company said. The number of junk e-mails reported by AOL's 26 million members worldwide has declined about 75 percent since 2003.

Blu-Ray Facing Delays Caused by DRM Squabbling

Disney, Warners et al, the companies behind the AACS content management system, apparently can't get their act together to complete the standard they wish to impose on Blu-ray. The result? Pioneer has the first Blu-ray drive for PCs ready for market next month but is openly admitting the DRM issue may force it to delay." From the article: "The inability of the companies behind the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) content management system to complete their work has already caused Toshiba to put launch plans for its HD DVD player on hold. AACS is made up of a number of companies from the electronics and content industries. The group's founders include IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Disney and Warner Bros.

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 & 975X Express Chipset: 65nm

Intel's 3.46 GHz Pentium Extreme Edition 955 dual-core processor launches today, and HotHardware has a full review with benchmarks on Intel's new i975X Express based D975XBX motherboard. This processor is based on Intel's 65nm (or .065 micron) Presler core with 2MB of full speed, on-die L2 cache dedicated to each core, for a whopping 4MB of total L2 cache. As expected, the new Pentium Extreme Edition 955 scores well in encoding, desktop business and a few professional rendering tests but overall it's given a run for its money by AMD's Athlon 64 X2 4800+ dual-core processor, especially in gaming scenarios

Linux's Difficulty with Names

There are a number of things preventing Windows users from moving en masse to Linux. While the naming of applications is probably not a make-or-break issue when considering a new operating system, it is a legitimate consideration. This is the case because many of the names chosen for Linux programs are downright confusing, and the last thing desktop Linux needs right now is to make the transition from Windows or the acquisition of new users any harder than it has to be.

Here are some examples of Windows programs and a Linux equivalent:

Web Browser
Windows: Internet Explorer
Linux: Konqueror, Opera, Epiphany, Galeon, Firefox

Graphics Editing
Windows: Photoshop, Illustrator
Linux: GIMP

Read the whole XYZ computing article

2005 Foot In Mouth Awards

Tech execs say the darndest things. And so do shuffling presidents, and disgraced scientists, and Wikipedia fakers. It's time to relive 2005's biggest spoken gaffes.

"Screw the nano."
-- Motorola CEO Ed Zander

Cell-phone makers hoping to break into the music business got little traction in 2005 in the face of Apple Computer's iPod dynasty. The shortcoming was made all the more glaring for Motorola, when its Rokr iTunes phone debuted alongside Apple's newest entry, the iPod nano. (Motorola later issued a press release saying Zander's statement was a "joke.")

"I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google."
-- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in statements attributed to him in court documents by former Microsoft engineer and recent Google hire Mark Lucovsky

The accusations flew fast and furiously in a high-stakes court battle between Microsoft and Google over alleged employee poaching. Drama aside, the case highlighted a tectonic power shift in the technology industry brought on by post-IPO Google.

Read the whole wired news story

Friday, December 23, 2005

NetBSD v3.0 Released

After six release candidates, the NetBSD project has finally released a gold version of a major mile stone; v3.0. NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit Opteron machines and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research environments, and it is user-supported with complete source. Many applications are easily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection.

Google Creators Named Men Of The Year

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both 32, were picked for the distinction because of the effects their 7-year-old company has had on Internet users in the past 12 months, the global business news outlet said.
Its "soaring stock price" didn't hurt either, the newspaper noted. Google's stock market value has climbed to nearly $130 billion, positioning it close to IBM and outranked by only Intel and Microsoft among its technology industry rivals.

Blender 2.40 Released

Googles Summer of Code has born fruit with the Blender 2.40 release. Thanks to their support and the hard work of the coders they supported Blender has fluid dynamics simulation done by Nils Thuerey, a powerful inverse kinematics system done by Brecht Van Lommel, and much improved boolean tools done by Marc Freixas. Of course Blender has had a huge number of improvements aside from the work supported by Google. The animation system got a complete rewrite by Ton Roosendaal, as well as other major improvements like flive UV unwrapping LSCM, and a Modifier stack system. It also has seen greatly improved ease of use since the last Slashdot announcement addressing all of the complaints raised- things like 3d manipulators, full undo system, etc. There is also a quick start guide for new users, and nice video and written tutorials on new features and a fairly up to date manual."

The Top 10 weirdest case mods

Computers come in many different flavors, but apparently that isn't enough for everybody. Case modding - the modification of a computer chassis - has become a big hobby for thousands of enthusiasts around the world. The one pictured here is a LEGO iMac click here to see all the others

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

DNA of Woolly Mammoth Fully Sequenced

Scientists have decoded the mitochondrial DNA of the Woolly Mammoth. According to the article: 'the Mammoth was most closely related to the Asian elephant rather than the African Elephant. The three groups split from a common ancestor about six million years ago, with Asian elephants and mammoths diverging about half a million years later.' This work is tied into efforts by researchers to use DNA to analyze other extinct species, such as the cave bear, the Haast eagle and the American lion. The novel aspect of this latest work is that it involved stitching together almost 50 fragments of mtDNA in order to obtain the sequence as a whole

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Possible Record Prime Number Found

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a distributed computing project, has probably found a new record prime number. Two verification runs have started; no errors were found in the initial calculation. The number of primes found lately, four in just over two years, is higher than previously expected. This prime is just under 10 million digits, which means that one of the participants in the project makes a good chance to obtain his or her part of the EFF prize of $100,000 for the first prime of over 10 million digits in the coming months. In 2000, one of the Gimps participants collected the $50,000 reward offered.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ajax Amsterdam Wins Again

Ajax beat NAC Breda 2-0, goals by Markus Rosenberg in the 38th minute and Wesley Sneijder in the 79th minute.
Finally it is looking a little better for Ajax, they are currently in 4th place in the Dutch league. Ajax seems to be able to score goals again. Let's hope that they do well against Internazionale in the UEFA Champions League.

Google Maps Hacks

Want to find every pizza place within a 15-mile radius? Where the dog parks are in a new town? The most central meeting place for your class, club or group of friends? The cheapest gas stations on a day-to-day basis? The location of convicted sex offenders in an area to which you may be considering moving? The applications, serendipitous and serious, seem to be infinite, as developers find ever more creative ways to add to and customize the satellite images and underlying API of Google Maps.
Written by Schuyler Erle and Rich Gibson, authors of the popular Mapping Hacks, Google Maps Hacks shares dozens of tricks for combining the capabilities of Google Maps with your own datasets. Such diverse information as apartment listings, crime reporting or flight routes can be integrated with Google's satellite imagery in creative ways, to yield new and useful applications.
The authors begin with a complete introduction to the "standard" features of Google Maps. The adventure continues with 60 useful and interesting mapping projects that demonstrate ways developers have added their own features to the maps. After that's given you ideas of your own, you learn to apply the techniques and tools to add your own data to customize and manipulate Google Maps. Even Google seems to be tacitly blessing what might be seen as unauthorized use, but maybe they just know a good thing when they see one.
With the tricks and techniques you'll learn from Google Maps Hacks, you'll be able to adapt Google's satellite map feature to create interactive maps for personal and commercial applications for businesses ranging from real estate to package delivery to home services, transportation and more. Includes a foreword by Google Maps tech leads, Jens and Lars Rasmussen.

Below are some Beta hacks since the book is not released yet. The release date is January 1st 2006 and you can already preorder it from amazon

Beta Hack 10: Adding a Google Map to Your Web Site (PDF Format)
Beta Hack 19: Map Local Weather Conditions (PDF Format)
Beta Hack 29: Find the Best Gasoline Prices (PDF Format)
Beta Hack 45: Share Pictures with Your Community (PDF Format)
Beta Hack 60: Make Things Happen When the Map Moves (PDF Format)

Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Well it's been a while and I had doubts on 1 question
But I got a perfect score

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Polar Bears Drowning As Globe Warms

The Times Online is reporting on disturbing findings from the arctic. Polar bears appear to be drowning when they attempt long sea crossings as a result of receding summer ice." From the article: "New evidence from field researchers working for the World Wildlife Fund in Yakutia, on the northeast coast of Russia, has also shown the region's first evidence of cannibalism among bears competing for food supplies ... As the ice pack retreats north in the summer between June and October, the bears must travel between ice floes to continue hunting in areas such as the shallow water of the continental shelf off the Alaskan coast -- one of the most food-rich areas in the Arctic. However, last summer the ice cap receded about 200 miles further north than the average of two decades ago, forcing the bears to undertake far longer voyages between floes.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

HP No Longer Exclusively Supporting Blue-Ray

Hewlett-Packard, the second-biggest US computer maker, said on Friday it would abandon its exclusive support for Sony's Blu-Ray next-generation format for digital video discs and move to embrace Toshiba's competing HD-DVD format as well.
The decision is the latest sign of a looming "format war" between the competing standards for a new generation of digital video players that can record high-definition films and video games. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD-compatible devices are expected to hit stores worldwide early next year.

Rico: Javascript For Rich Internet Applications

The goal of Rico is to provide a rich experience for web sites using Ajax technology.
Rico originated as work done in Sabre Airline Solutions to create a suite of rich internet components, behaviors and effects for the web application space
The library is a fully object-oriented JavaScript and extends on the excellent prototype.js effort from the Ruby on Rails folks.

Rico is provide free and open-source (Apache 2.0 License) for either your personal or commercial use.
Sabre Airline Solutions retains the copyright on the Rico code produced at Sabre.

Rico has been tested on IE 5.5, IE 6, Firefox 1.0x/Win, Camino/Mac, Firefox 1.0x/Mac. Currently there is no Safari or Mac IE 5.2 support. Support will be provided in a future release for Safari.

Ajax is the term that describes a set of web development techniques for creating interactive web applications. One of the key ingredients is the JavaScript object XmlHttpRequest. Rico provides a very simple interface for registering Ajax request handlers as well as HTML elements or JavaScript objects as Ajax response objects. Multiple elements and/or objects may be updated as the result of one Ajax request.

Desktop applications have long used drag and drop in their interfaces to simplify user interaction. Rico provides one of the simplest interfaces for enabling your web application to support drag and drop. Just register any HTML element or JavaScript object as a draggable and any other HTML element or JavaScript object as a drop zone and Rico handles the rest.

When actions are no longer occurring just at the page level but within the page itself, more clues are required to clue the user on what has transpired. Cinematic effects such as scaling and smooth sliding transitions can communicate change in richer ways than traditional web applications have explored before. Rico provides several cinematic effects as well as some simple visual style effects in a very simple interface.

Take some raw HTML and sprinkle in some behaviors and what do you get? Well in Rico you can get an Accordion component like those found in Macromedia Flex and Laszlo. Just nest some DIVs and with one line of JavaScript turn your div panels into an accordion. And the latest behavior is the LiveGrid. LiveGrid allows you to connect an Html table up to a stream of Ajax responses. Ajax requests are automatically called during table scrolling. The result is now Html tables can hold an unlimited amount of data scrolled into view on the fly as needed! More behaviors are planned!

Download Rico here or go to the main page

Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications

Defining Ajax
Ajax isn’t a technology. It’s really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:
standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
and JavaScript binding everything together.

Read the whole Adaptive Path article here

Friday, December 16, 2005

What is Ajax

Ajax, which consists of HTML, JavaScript™ technology, DHTML, and DOM, is an outstanding approach that helps you transform clunky Web interfaces into interactive Ajax applications. The author, an Ajax expert, demonstrates how these technologies work together -- from an overview to a detailed look -- to make extremely efficient Web development an easy reality. He also unveils the central concepts of Ajax, including the XMLHttpRequest object.

Five years ago, if you didn't know XML, you were the ugly duckling whom nobody talked to. Eighteen months ago, Ruby came into the limelight and programmers who didn't know what was going on with Ruby weren't welcome at the water cooler. Today, if you want to get into the latest technology rage, Ajax is where it's at. If you are wondering what Ajax is and how it works take a look at the following IBM article

Mastering Ajax, Part 1: Introduction to Ajax

Darwin Awards

What a bunch of idiots, I like number 6 and 2 the most

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked….. And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger. Thechef’s claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies.The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer…$15. If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinderblock and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made ofPlexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbedher purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was ableto give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’sthe lady I stole the purse from.”

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into aBurger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on aSeattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying thatit was the best laugh he’d had in years.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Foundations Of Ajax, Ajax In Action

Here are 2 Ajax books that came out recently. Both are very good and we use them at the place where I work.You can click on the images to go to Amazon to read some reviews about them in case you are interested in learning this new technology.

Ajax In Action
Web users are getting tired of the traditional web experience. They get frustrated losing their scroll position; they get annoyed waiting for refresh; they struggle to reorient themselves on every new page. And the list goes on. With asynchronous JavaScript and XML, known as "Ajax," you can give them a better experience. Once users have experienced an Ajax interface, they hate to go back. Ajax is new way of thinking that can result in a flowing and intuitive interaction with the user. Ajax in Action helps you implement that thinking--it explains how to distribute the application between the client and the server (hint: use a "nested MVC" design) while retaining the integrity of the system. You will learn how to ensure your app is flexible and maintainable, and how good, structured design can help avoid problems like browser incompatibilities. Along the way it helps you unlearn many old coding habits. Above all, it opens your mind to the many advantages gained by placing much of the processing in the browser. If you are a web developer who has prior experience with web technologies, this book is for you.
What's Inside
Ajax principles Why Ajax design patterns matter How to avoid Ajax pitfalls Examples of Ajax in action: type-ahead suggest, live searching using XSL, and many more. Examples using Ajax frameworks: Prototype, Scriptaculous, x and Rico Ajax usability, security, and performance

Get the book here

Foundations of Ajax
Ajax burst onto the Web development scene by offering highly interactive, desktop-like Web applications that can be deployed through any modern Web browser without the need for special plug-ins. Ajax is built on existing Web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, and it is used in conjunction with your favorite server-side language. Foundations of Ajax explains how to combine these technologies effectively to implement Ajax into your new or existing Web applications. Like you, we are developers who are “in the trenches,” tasked with building Web-enabled applications that provide real value to our customers. As the Web continues to grow, the demand for more expressive and engaging interfaces will continue to increase

Get a free chapter here

Get the book and some reviews here

Steam Hybrid Car from BMW

BMW is unveiling its turbosteamer hybrid engine, which uses the excess heat in the exhaust system and reclaims 80% of it by powering a steam engine that assists the gas engine. Overall, this gives a 15% more efficient engine; and significant additional performance (power and torque) with practically no downside. "This project resolves the apparent contradiction between consumption and emission reductions on one hand, and performance and agility on the other," commented Professor Burkhard Göschel. Are steam engines the future of environmental-friendly hybrid vehicles?"

Google Adwords

This article describes an interesting experiment with the Google Adwords service; in an effort to fine-tune the price per word, a mirror site was set up, paying a different price per word. I turns out the second site had to pay more in order to reach a similar click-through rate
From the article:
His old site with the same ads had been running successfully for a year paying at the relatively low rate of $0.10 per word (the AdWords minimum is $0.05 per word) and generating about 15,000 clicks-through per day. But for the new site, he started out paying $1.00 per word for exactly the same words. Based on everything he had read about AdWords (remember nobody actually SPEAKS to Google about these things -- the service is totally automated from Google's end), he expected his ad to move higher in the rankings and, hopefully, to make more sales as a result. And that's exactly what happened, though not to the extent that he would have liked.
Buying AdWords at $1.00 versus $0.10, his ads DID move higher on the page and his revenue was increased, though not by enough to justify going all the way to $1.00 with its associated higher cost basis.
All the while, of course, the essentially identical original web site was churning along, still entirely dependent on AdWords, still carrying identical ads for identical products as the test site, and still generating an average of 15,000 click-throughs per day.
Now it was time to drop the per-word price a bit on the test site to see whether he could increase his profit margins after paying too much at $1.00. So he set the new per-word price at $0.40 -- still four times as much as he was paying per word through his main site.
And his clicks-through dropped from 15,000+ to 1,200 per day

Read the whole article here

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cyber Attacks on US Linked to Chinese Military

Security expert Bruce Schneier is reporting on a continuing effort to penetrate US government and industry computer systems that most likely stems from the Chinese military." From the Terranet article: "The attacks have been traced to the Chinese province of Guangdong, and the techniques used make it appear unlikely to come from any other source than the military, said Alan Paller, the director of the SANS Institute, an education and research organization focusing on cybersecurity."
The US military has code-named the recent hacker effort "Titan Rain" and has made some strides in counter-hacking to identify the attackers, Paller said. This was first reported by Time magazine.
Paller said a series of attacks on British computer networks reported earlier this year may have similar goals, but seems to use different techniques.
In the United States, he said there are some areas of improvement such as the case of the Air Force, which has been insisting on better security from its IT vendors. But he argued that "the fundamental error is that America's security strategy relies on writing reports rather than hardening systems."

Ajax Patterns and Frameworks

Javascript Multipurpose Frameworks Broader-scope frameworks (e.g. Dojo, BackBase).
Javascript Remoting Frameworks Browser-Server Web_Remoting, i.e. XMLHttpRequest wrappers and IFrame wrappers.

Javascript Effects Frameworks Visual Effects.
Javascript Flash Frameworks Javascript-Flash Integration.
Javascript XML Frameworks Dealing with XML, XSLT, Xpath, and possibly Web Remoting. (e.g. GoogleXSLT).
Javascript Specialised Frameworks Frameworks that don't fit any catgory above, e.g. drag-and-drop or widget libraries.

Server-Side and Hybrid Frameworks
Multi-Language Ajax Frameworks
Coldfusion Ajax Frameworks
DotNet Ajax Frameworks
Java Ajax Frameworks
Lotus Notes Ajax Frameworks
Lisp Ajax Frameworks
Perl Ajax Frameworks
PHP Ajax Frameworks
Python Ajax Frameworks
Ruby Ajax Frameworks
XUL Ajax Frameworks

Go to the website for more details

ColdFusion And Ajax

What is CFAjax?
CFAjax is the AJAX implementation for coldfusion. It makes coldfusion method calls on server directly from HTML page using JavaScript and return backs the result to the calling HTML page. CFAjax comes with simple to use JavaScript API and simple coldfusion implementation that marshal’s the response between your CF methods and HTML page. Using CFAjax you can create highly interactive websites with greater performance and usability.
Click here to go to the CFAjax site

Sajax Simple AJAX Toolkit

Sajax is an open source tool to make programming websites using the Ajax framework — also known as XMLHTTPRequest or remote scripting — as easy as possible. Sajax makes it easy to call PHP, Perl or Python functions from your webpages via JavaScript without performing a browser refresh. The toolkit does 99% of the work for you so you have no excuse to not use it.

Version 0.10 is out, featuring ASP/ColdFusion/Io/Lua/Perl/PHP/Python/Ruby backends and some changes to the PHP interface (POST support and the ability to send requests to a different URL).

Go to the Sajax page by clicking here

Firebird Weekly News

For people interested in the Firebird database I have stumbled upon the blog Firebird Weekly News I myself use SQL Server since that is what I have been using for the last 8 years and have to use it for work.

What is Firebird?

Firebird is a relational database offering many ANSI SQL-99 features that runs on Linux, Windows, and a variety of Unix platforms. Firebird offers excellent concurrency, high performance, and powerful language support for stored procedures and triggers. It has been used in production systems, under a variety of names since 1981.

You can download Firebird here

If you are interested in SQL Server you can go to my SQL Server Blog

Chimpanzees Beat out Children in Reasoning Test

The New York Times has a story on how chimpanzees seem to exhibit a better understanding of cause and effect than human children. While training chimps to perform a routine task with redundant steps, the chimps were able to figure out and eliminate the redundant steps, while the human children routinely performed them despite their evident uselessness.
It says something about the way we learn compared to chimps and should be interesting to cognitive scientists and those interested in computational learning theory, at the least.

Ruby on Rails 1.0 Released

Ruby on Rails 1.0 has been released. From the announcement: 'Rails 1.0 is mostly about making all the work we've been doing solid. So it's not packed with new features over 0.14.x, but has spit, polish, and long nights applied to iron out kinks and ensure that it works mostly right, most of the time, for most of the people.

What's in the package?
Rails is a full-stack framework for developing database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Control pattern. From the Ajax in the view, to the request and response in the controller, to the domain model wrapping the database, Rails gives you a pure-Ruby development environment. To go live, all you need to add is a database and a web server.

Who is already on Rails?
Everyone from startups to non-profits to enterprise organizations are using Rails. Rails is all about infrastructure so it's a great fit for practically any type of web application Be it software for collaboration, community, e-commerce, content management, statistics, management, you name it.

What else do I need?
Rails works with a wealth of web servers and databases. For web server, we recommend Apache or lighttpd running either FastCGI or SCGI. For database, you can use MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, or Firebird. Just about any operating system will do, but we recommend a 'nix-based one for deployment.
If you need hosting, TextDrive is the official Ruby on Rails host, offering fantastic plans with a knowledgeable staff. Whether you need shared or dedicated hosting, these guys are experts in Ruby on Rails. For alternatives, see the wiki for a full list of Rails web hosts.

Paramount Sues Ohio Man $100,000

A hapless tech-novice finds himself in a US$100,000 lawsuit with Paramount Pictures for allegedly uploading the movie, Coach Carter, to eDonkey. Paramount had the police seize his four computers, but nothing was found. The tech-novice maintains his innocence, and contends that he is a victim of a drive-by upload. According to the ChannelCincinnati story, the victim 'is either a slick film pirate or an unwitting victim of someone who fits that description

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Blu-Ray Gaining on HD-DVD?

Some interesting information came out at at the latest Blu-ray Disc Association meeting at Twentieth Century Fox Studios. Apparently, 90 percent of the CE industry and seven movie studios now back Blu-ray Disc. And most of the IT industry (except Microsoft) also supports Blu-ray Disc. This has prompted Mr. Parsons, Senior VP of Advanced Products Development for Pioneer Electronics, to say "There's no format war looming because it's not Blu-ray vs. HD DVD. It's simply Blu-ray versus standard definition DVD... Currently, DVD has 50,000 titles presently available, and both formats will co-exist for several years to come with new BD players supporting both formats. BD players make the perfect complement to new HDTVs that are being purchased by consumers." Mr. Parsons then announced that the upcoming CES would be used to launch Blu-ray Disc.

But did they take into account the backlash because of the Sony rootkit?

Yahoo Releases New Version Of Konfabulator

Yahoo! has released a new version of Konfabulator, now rechristened 'Yahoo Widget Engine'. From the article: 'Widgets are useful to portals because they can draw users to their services directly from the desktop, without first having to launch a browser. By providing a more direct route, portals are trying to increase the use of their services, which are tied to online advertising. Yahoo rival search engine Google Inc. also offers widgets

Monday, December 12, 2005

New Rules

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for There's a

reason I haven't talked to some people for 25 years - Because I don't

particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the

football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.

New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless

you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was

found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar.

What did you expect it to contain? Trout?

New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards,

you're gay. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols.

If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.

New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care

about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.

New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle

of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste.

Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored

water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored


New Rule: Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned

pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the

And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the

morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the

asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grandee half-soy,

half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra

dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a

huge asshole.

New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my

card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount,

deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid

who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't

make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it

translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything

spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not

spiritual. You're just high.

New Rule: Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly

sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because

watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting.

What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that.

It's called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule: I don't need a bigger mega M&M. If I'm extra hungry for

M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.

New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy,

old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a

remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the

reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea

wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for

weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab.

Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you

isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule: and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants.

After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had

sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there,

or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your web cam,

dude. I just want to wash my hands.

New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in

months. "27 months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese.

And I didn't really care in the first place.

Friday, December 09, 2005

FIFA World Cup 2006 Soccer Draw

Below are the groups for the 2006 Soccer World Cup In Germany

Germany will host the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the tournament kicking off at the new purpose-built Stadion München on 9 June. Matches are spread over 12 host cities with Hamburg, Hanover, Berlin, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Leipzig, Cologne, Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Munich all playing host to games. The final will take place on 9 July at Berlin’s renovated Olympiastadion.
Here are the groups and their teams

Group A
Germany, Ecuador, Poland, Costa Rica

Group B
England, Paraguay, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago

Group C
Argentina, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, Serbia & Montenegro

Group D
Mexico, Angola, Portugal, Iran

Group E
Italy, Ghana, Czech Republic, USA

Group F
Brazil, Australia, Croatia, Japan

Group G
France, Togo, Switzerland, South Korea

Group H
Spain, Tunisia, Ukraine, Saudia Arabia

My picks for teams advancing are in blue
So there you have it, if you don't agree let me know

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Intel To Develop Hardware Rootkit Detection Chip

Intel is trying to eliminate the human factor when dealing with root-kits detection by developing a new hardware-based technique to discover and notify users when they are downloading unintentionally a root-kit to their computer.
Intel doesn’t expect its project to replace various protection software, but it believes it could enhance them. According to Schluessle, the project would provide a back-up for the anti-virus software, which is usually the first target to be shutdown by malicious code. Intel’s latest initiative was presented during an open house for journalists and analysts in Folsom, California. The project is scheduled to become part of Intel's products around 2008 or 2009.

Podcasting Officially a Word

The BBC is reporting that the New Oxford American Dictionary is adding podcasting to the dictionary. A year ago it was rejected because not enough people were reading it, but, in a ode to the speed of technology's growth, it is being declared the word of the year. Podcasting has been in the Oxford Dictionary of English since last summer. Podcast beat out words such as lifehack and rootkit for inclusion in the dictionaries. I guess no one needs to know what a rootkit is. By next year rootkit will probably be included. I personally think that podcasts are one of the best things that came out of the internet-era. There are about a dozen shows that I listen to weekly and I frankly don’t know what I would do without them

Ajax Amsterdam Made It To The Next Round In The UEFA Champions League

Ajax made it to the next round in the UEFA Champions League. They finished second behind Arsenal. I did not expect them to make it this far because they basically suck this year. They are currently in eighth place in the Dutch league and that is unacceptable. I don’t remember the last time that they were lower than the fifth place. Well hopefully they will play much better after the winter stop and maybe even do some magic in Europe. Well any way I am happy for Ajax and hope that if they play bad in the Dutch league that they will compensate for this by playing good in the Champion League

Why AJAX Sucks (Most of the Time)

Jakob Nielsen wrote an article about why AJAX sucks. I personally don't agree with all of this article. He states that development is hard, well the same thing was the case when XML first came out it was hard and labor intensive. But then again AJAX is not for the Frontpage crowd. There are some good points in the article; people like with everything else will overuse this technology so that they can claim “we use AJAX”. I think one of the best ways to use AJAX is in paging record sets. While a user is looking at a certain sets of records you can already pre-fetch the next page, so that when he clicks next the records will appear instantaneously. Two good examples of applications using AJAX are Gmail and Outlook Web Access.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Google: Ten Golden Rules

These are Google's 'Ten Golde Rules'
Hire by committee
Cater to their every need
Pack them in
Make coordination easy
Eat your own dog food
Encourage creativity.
Strive to reach consensus.
Don't be evil.
Data drive decisions.
Communicate effectively

Go here to read the whole article

Texas Instruments Embedding Linux On DSP

Looks like pretty soon Linux will truly become ubiquitous thanks to Texas Instruments new DaVinci System on a chip DSP. The new consumer electronics chip aimed at capturing the Digital Video market is powered by MontaVista Linux. 'TI understands that there is a larger number of Linux programmers than there are DSP programmers,' Huy Pham, DSP System-on-Chip product marketing manager at TI, told 'What [DaVinci] does in partnership with MontaVista is enables the Linux developer to use the DSP without needing to understand the complexity of programming the DSP.

Sun Microsystems Launches Niagara Servers

Sun Microsystems plans take the "Niagara" plunge Tuesday in New York, launching its new UltraSparc T1-based servers, which are a key part of the company's effort to restore its ailing server fortunes by catering to its core customers.
The Sun Fire T2000 and T1000 use the UltraSparc T1 processor, code-named Niagara, a radical processor design that Sun hopes will turn around the Sparc family's market share losses. The Niagara systems are the second half of a server overhaul that began three months ago when Sun introduced its "Galaxy" line of x86 servers.
The 3.5-inch-thick T2000 is available now with a minimum price of $7,795 and a maximum of $25,995. The T1000, half as thick but lacking the T2000's redundant components, will arrive in the first quarter of 2006 with prices ranging from $2,995 to $10,995.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sony Develops Buckyball Fuel Cell

There is a post over at Digital World Tokyo detailing Sony's latest fuel cell technology, which uses Fullerenes (Buckyballs) to achieve a lot of power in a little space. From the article: "... The technology looks like a significant step in the right direction toward the development of DMFCs powerful enough to supplement or replace lithium batteries for handheld gadgets. Methanol leakage and power output have been the devilish details that have stopped DMFCs becoming widespread, along with regulations that are still being hammered out to allow methanol to be carried aboard passenger aircraft, and a methanol fuel infrastructure, i.e. being able to pick up refills at Japan's ubiquitous konbini (convenience stores) for example."

World's Tallest Building Causing Earthquakes?

A geologist thinks that the increase in the number of earthquakes in Taiwan is due to Taipei 101, the world's tallest building. CNN reports: 'Lin said Taipei 101 weighed 700,000 tons and estimated stress from vertical loading on its foundation at 4.7 bars, of which some would be transferred to the earth's upper crust due to extremely soft sedimentary rocks beneath the Taipei basin. If a fault is about to crack, then a little pressure can trigger an earthquake. It's like the last straw that breaks the camel's back.' Read more about it at The Guardian

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Forbes Fictional 15

Forbes has created a list of 15 wealthy fictional characters with hilarious biographies describing the sources of their riches. Lex Luthor, C. Montgomery Burns and Bruce Wayne figure in the list, among others. J.R. Ewing was dropped from the list this year after 'Ewing Oil filed for bankruptcy in the wake of massive accounting scandal

The list
Santa Claus
Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks
Richie Rich
Lex Luthor
C. Montgomery Burns
Scrooge McDuck
Jed Clampett
Bruce Wayne
Thurston Howell III
Willy Wonka
Arthur Bach
Ebenezer Scrooge
Lara Croft
Cruella De Vil
Lucius Malfoy

Blogger Announce Press Plagiarist Of The Year Award.

The BBC is reporting that certain bloggers, fed up of seeing their work just lifted by the mainstream press, have created The Press Plagiarist Of The Year award. Examples are given of national newspapers simply cutting and pasting entire articles from web sites and passing them off as their own."
By taking the mickey out of bloggers (weblog research is referred to as "Googling investigative reporting") and itself (in the spirit of transparent corruption, nominees can have themselves removed by paying in the form of the fancy wine Chateau Margaux), it's actually a spot of much-needed fun in the often-tiresome war between old and new media.
And if you want to choose between the stolen stories of dead dogs, political gossip and "eyewitness accounts", the nominations are still open. Vote often!

Chuck Norris

I got this in an email and thought it was funny.

There are no disabled people. Only people who have met Chuck Norris.
When Chuck Norris has sex with a man, it is not because he is gay, but because he has run out of women.
Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, “Two seconds till.” After you ask, “Two seconds till what?” he roundhouse kicks you in the face.
Chuck Norris uses ribbed condoms inside out, so he gets the pleasure.
Since 1940, the year Chuck Norris was born, roundhouse kick related deaths have increased 13,000 percent.
There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.
It was once believed that Chuck Norris actually lost a fight to a pirate, but that is a lie, created by Chuck Norris himself to lure more pirates to him.
Chuck Norris once lined up to kick the winning field goal of a high school football game. When the football went flat, he persuaded the referees to let him kick the field goal with a 3 month old child. Chuck roundhoused kicked the baby 60 yards through the uprights and then proceeded to bang every girl in the stadium.
When Chuck Norris’s wife burned the turkey one Thanksgiving, Chuck said, “Don’t worry about it honey,” and went into his backyard. He came back five minutes later with a live turkey, ate it whole, and when he threw it up a few seconds later it was fully cooked and came with cranberry sauce. When his wife asked him how he had done it, he gave her a roundhouse kick to the face and said, “Never question Chuck Norris.”
If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can’t see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death.
Those aren’t credits that roll after Walker Texas Ranger; it is actually a list of people that Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked in the face that day.
If you unscramble the letters in “Chuck Norris” you get “Huck corn, sir.” That is why every fall, Chuck travels to Nebraska and burns the entire state down.
Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.
Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother’s womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.
Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK’s head exploded out of sheer amazement.
Chuck Norris can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and saying “booya”.
Chuck Norris once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling, “Bang!”
Crop circles are Chuck’s way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the fsck down.
In fine print at on the last page of the Guinness Book of World Records it notes that all world records are held by Chuck Norris, and that those listed in the book are simply the closest anyone has ever come to matching him.
There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck allows to live.
Chuck played Russian Roulete with a fully loaded gun and won.
When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a handgun and a bucket.
The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Death Of Macromedia Fireworks and Freehand?

I personally like Fireworks, makes things a little easier for someone who is not a designer compared to photoshop. I doubt that they will keep both. Look what happened to ColdFusion Studio and Kawa after Macromedia took over Allaire back in 2001
Adobe announced late Thursday that it and Macromedia have either received or been notified they will receive all regulatory clearances necessary to complete the acquisition, which will cost Adobe $3.4 billion.
This follows an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, which requested additional information on both companies' Web-authoring, design and vector graphics illustration products.
Adobe also said it would discuss the combined company's fiscal 2006 outlook on Dec. 15.

First Quantum Byte Created

The Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the University of Innsbruck in Austria has created an entanglement of eight quantum particles, yielding a quantum byte or "qubyte", or eight qubits. This is an important step toward the realization of a practical quantum computer, which would use superposed quantum states to perform complex calculations. A detailed writeup of this work is available in English and German. The formal paper was published in the December 1st issue of Nature

Microsoft Readies Online Classifieds Service Fremont

Today Information Week is reporting on a forthcoming service from Microsoft intended to compete with Google Base. Instead of the freewheeling anything-goes nature of Google Base, the Microsoft project code named 'Fremont' will focus solely on classified ads. It will also allow restricting items to various audiences such as social networks or domain names. From the article: "In building Freemont, Wiseman and his five-person crew tried to make it both personal for people who only want to trade among family, friends and colleagues, while also providing the option of a public posting. Classifieds is a growing piece of the booming online advertising market that's expected to reach $13.8 billion by 2007, surpassing advertising spent on magazines, according to JupiterResearch. During that timeframe, spending on display ads and online classifieds together are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent.


My cholesterol was 249 6 weeks ago. The doctor expressed great concern since I am in my mid 30's, not overweight and physically active. He decided to put me on a low dose of lipitor. In addition to that I cut out eggs, cheese and most of the red meat from my diet. I also ate oatmeal with a spoonful of flax seeds every weekday. I did a bloodtest again 2 weeks ago and went to the doctor yesterday. My cholesterol dropped 89 points to 160. This is amazing, I think that it is primarly because of the lipitor but since I eliminated most 'bad' food from my diet it could also have been a compound effect (drugs + bad food elimination). Anyway I am glad my cholesterol is 'normal' now for my age group. I do have to come back in February to do another test, hopefully it will be even lower