Archive for the ‘IT’ Category

Hello, Mr Website. Would you like my password?

April 30, 2007

Over the last few days I’ve been “tagged” a few times from “”.

I hid the names to protect the guilty, though I’m not actually sure why I would want to do such a thing.

Anyway, a Google search revealed some people posting unbelievable things about it. One person even suggested that it required users to give it their email account’s password – and that they do it!

This had to be verified. I set up a Yahoo mail account, and signed up for Tagged. Turns out it didn’t ask you to give your email password. It requires you to give your email account’s password. It actually checks, as you’re doing this, that it is the right password.


People really are idiots.

After this, you get to click through – I kid you not – 10, count ’em, 10, offers, at after which you get to do whatever, I guess.

Meanwhile, having gained access to your email account, it logs and sends emails to spams everyone in your address book. Presumably it will then sell every address it finds to spammers.

The really shocking thing is, some of the people “tagging” me with this work in IT. They seem reasonably intelligent people, even. Yet they’re still giving the password for their primary (yes, their primary) email account to some site they just found on the internet, presumably because it spammed them!

Social engineering will never be solved. How can it be, if even so-called-professionals will surrender their passwords that easily?


MS+search=no results found

February 25, 2007

PrestonLee has a comparison of searching for an email in Outlook and Apple’s mail app.

Windows – up to Vista at least – was also really, really bad. Vista is, at least, supposed to be somewhat less impractical.

So… let’s try their new “Live” search engine.
The first search term that comes to mind: ms+search. Where do you suppose Live search factors in there?

First, maybe? Second?

No. Live search isn’t on the first page of results. Indeed, none of the first page is even talking about Live search. There are a few (8) related searches, though. Let’s check them.

The first one, “Ms Search Engine”, sounds pretty good. No, it’s not there either. Keeps going on about some Flash-based search engine called “Ms. Dewey”*, which apparently disciplines you when you search badly.

What about the second? “Ms Search Win”? A bit obscure, but you never know…
No, nothing.

Indeed, none of these “related searches” will tell me about Live search. I think I’ll stick with Google.

I think I suddenly lost all confidence in the notion of Vista providing a decent desktop search.

*: The search results for “MS Search Engine” referred mostly to “Ms. Dewey”. Wikipedia tells me that this is an experimental user interface for Live search that Microsoft is mostly using viral marketing to tell people about.

And I, for one, welcome our wii new overlords

February 4, 2007

The sword-fighting, tennis-playing Wii-bot (caution: some foul language in the video when the camera operator gets hit by a tennis ball) [you may need to try a few times. it’s been slashdotted, and the server’s not really coping].

This can only lead to trouble.

Trouble, as in televised duels between wii-mote controlled robots. Not so much the destructive kind of trouble (though those sword moves looked rather menacing).

Next gen consoles

January 11, 2007

I’ve been slack lately. But hey, I’m on holidays. Anyway, I got my first next-gen (well, I suppose now it’s current-gen) console just before Christmas, and I figure I may as well record my thoughts on the whole thing for prosperity.

xbox 360. I bought an xbox, the first prev-gen console I bought. And it was also my favourite. MS did a lot of things right with the xbox. The (updated) controller was comfortable enough, the thing was reliable, and there was a decent set of games for it. As far as the “traditional video games console” thing is concerned, the 360 is probably the nearest to tempting me, and a few of the games (particularly Gears of War and Lost Planet) look pretty good. Plus there’s that whole XNA Game Studio Express thing. Still, I haven’t bought one.

I got to play on a 360 at the Microsoft Tech.Ed conference, and again at a LAN party. But… I’ll be honest with you… I was pretty much nonplussed in terms of its power. Sure, the specs are nice, but I don’t care (more on that later).

The PS3, according to, is well behind on sales. Though that probably at least partially due to the supply issues and the fact that it hasn’t been released in many areas yet (like, for example, here). The PS3 really doesn’t interest me. This is probably because I realistically stopped caring about a console’s graphical power around the time of the Nintendo 64. Really, that could throw enough things on screen to satisfy me… further consoles could only interest me by offering innovative, fun games. Guitar Hero doesn’t particularly interest me either. I got a PS2 – mostly to check out the EyeToy – and generally figured it was slow and unreliable compared to the xbox. “Slow and unreliable” compared to a Microsoft product. Go figure.

And as for Blu-Ray, I really couldn’t care less. I have a cheap, 14″ TV. I feel no particular motivation to get a better one. The upper limit on my video viewing experience is not caused by limitations in the DVD format. Logically, any purchase of a BluRay or HD-DVD player is going to be after I bother to get a new, bigger TV (probably at least 3 years…) and after whatever format wins has won and has surpassed DVD.

Leaving the Wii. I bought a Wii about a month ago – a couple days after it came out here actually (surprisingly quickly for me). It’s a lot of fun. There are a few problems with reliability – I’m periodically getting Black Screens of Death when turning it on or changing games. That, and there’s the mess of a variety of controllers – I’m currently up to a wiimote, a nunchuk, a classic controller and two Gamecube controllers. And they could have created a bit of memory that looks like a Gamecube memory card so I didn’t have to go out and buy one (and a second hand one at that) to play Gamecube games. But, overall, a lot of fun. And I haven’t experienced any dramatic strap failure as yet either, despite feeling the need to take full swings in Wii Sports.

And I’m looking forward to what we might see on the Classic Console. All the racing games I ever enjoyed were only on the N64, after all. And I enjoy playing games well after their used-by date.

I should mention that, in the interests of brevity, I left out the words “In my opinion” in every sentence. If you have a 42″ high-definition plasma TV with surround sound and whatever else, a PS3 or xbox 360 will undoubtedly hold more interest for you than it does for me.

Goodbye, net neutrality, we hardly knew ye.

November 22, 2006

Justin Milne, managing group director of Telstra-owned Bigpond (Australia’s largest ISP), has made his feelings clear on net neutrality. If you want to be a web host with high traffic running on our ISP, then you can darn well pay for it.

“I think that’s a ride that’s coming to an end,” he said. “It’s based on free traffic where the guys who are running the highways are going to come after their money as well.”

Telecommunications carriers “have got to keep building out these networks so that other people can shunt their content around and we don’t make any money from it”, Mr Milne said. Oh, you poor things. And they’re the ones who charge more than pretty much every other major Australian ISP, too.

Link: YouTube faces revenue crunch

I knew I had a Gmail account for some reason…

November 21, 2006

… and it was probably because of their tendency to include recipes for serving spam in the spam folder.

If only every advertisement publisher had such a sense of humour, the internet would be a much better place.

Vista and Zune

November 16, 2006

So Microsoft’s new Zune Media Player (which they hope will be an iPod-killer) is incompatible with Windows Vista (Microsoft’s new operating system, in case you’ve been hiding under a particularly uninformed rock). Brilliant, eh?

Gmail advertising

November 13, 2006

Since Gmail came out there has been a lot of controversy over the text-based ads based on your emails (though, granted, most of that has died down now). With all that said and done, I must personally say I find the Gmail ads overwhelming useful. They are, for the most part, well picked, and often provide useful information. I’ve now clicked quite a few of their links, and actually use a number of the things they’ve advertised.

Hail, context sensitive advertising. Welcome, and please bring with you relevant text ads to replace banners, popups and things that flash.

The Great Polish Sea

November 2, 2006

Take a close look at the world, as Microsoft see it.

Particularly, the great Polish sea.

The technical explanation for why Microsoft’s map of the world is missing a country can be found on Raymond Chen’s blog The Old New Thing.


October 24, 2006

In recent days, a website with serious doubts about its profitability, living off massive amounts of venture capital and with major legal concerns has been bought out for an amount in the billions of dollars. Kinda reminds me of something.

(this was about Google’s purchase of Youtube, for archive viewers)