Movable Type 3.14 released
SixApart have just released MT 3.14 which addresses some of the server load issues relating to comment spam.
They appear to have made no progress toward solving the root problem though. Over the weekend I wrote about The Solution to Blog Spam where a number of folks talked about how to actually deal with the problem head on.
Some of the folks in that thread (but certainly not all!) have experience with comment spamming from the spammers end. Although i didn't go much past the testing phase, i cobbled together a relatively sophisticated bot myself for just that purpose. Many issues conspired to stop me from embarking on a blog bothering mission of awesome proportion but the point is, many spammers would be quite happy to talk about ways to solve the problem.
Home of the Social Networking Services Meta List
Judith Meskill has a wonderfully comprehensive list of social networking sites and services over at the threadlink above. If you're looking into this area (and i'd argue that any future looking web dev should be) then it's a great way to scope out the scene.
Knoppix To Split Into 'Light,' 'Maximum' Versions
Slashdot report in the threadlink above the news that Knoppix is to split into lite and maximum branches.
If you're not familiar with knoppix, let me get you up to speed fast: It's a Linux distrobution based on Debian that comes in the shape of a "live cd" - this means that you can burn a copy, pop it in your cd tray and reboot directly into a fully functional linux system - no messing with hard disks etc, it runs straight off the cd and is an excellent way to mess with Linux if your unsure of it.
Currently only one version of the Live CD is produced, on both CD and DVD. It is based on the Debian distribution and contains more than 2,000 executable applications and utilities. But Knoppix developer Klaus Knopper says that users will soon be able to choose between a fully featured version and a slimmed-down version of the CD.
"We will split the mainstream edition of Knoppix into two versions: a 'maximum' DVD edition with a complete Debian installation, and a 'light' edition on CD that contains the most popular desktop and server software only, for older computers or smaller systems that don't have a bootable DVD drive yet," said Knopper.
How can I trust Firefox?
Peter Torr of Microsoft attacks Firefox over, would you beleive, security issues...
In Peters blog post threadlinked above he talks mainly from a point of code signing - meaning that the way you download and install firefox is insecure and is open to maliciious exploits. It's a long post with screenshots, so here's just a small snippet to give you an idea of the tone. Check out the complete post for the real deal.
Not only does this software come from a completely random university server, but I have no way of checking if it is the authentic Firefox install or some maliciously altered copy. (I sure hope those 10 million people who have downloaded Firefox so far haven't all download backdoors into their system...). Since "You should only run software from publishers you trust" and since the publisher cannot be verified, I should click Don't Run (which is, thankfully, the default).
As Slashdot point out, some of this stuff could actually bear looking into...
The largest publishing house in the US, Random House has voiced plans to enter the retail market and sell books directly to the public online.
Barnes and Noble are not happy, and I shouldn't imagine Amazon are either. From the NYT story threadlinked above:
Last week, Peter W. Olson, the chief executive of Random House Inc., the nation's largest publisher, disclosed the company's tentative plans to sell books directly to consumers through its own Web site. On Friday, Stephen Riggio, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble Inc., the country's largest bookseller, said that he was "deeply concerned" by Random House's plans to enter into his business, raising the possibility of a growing rift between the publishing companies.
Could be quite a mess if B&N/Amazon dont bully them out of the idea...
EyeWonder Debuts New Video Ad Format
Clickz have the details of EyeWonders new full video banner format - you can grab the press release pdf here
Four clients have used the format so far in their campaigns -- SBC Communications, CBS Television, Red Bull and Pacific Broadband. The video content fills the entire length and width of most standard IAB banner sizes. Original video can be shot specifically for the ads, as SBC did with its campaign; or TV spots can be repurposed, either using the conventional 4:3 aspect ratio, or edited to fit another banner size, as Red Bull chose to do.
I've been using linux exclusively for 3 or more years now, for web development and all that that entails it rocks - there are many benefits but rather than spend 3 days listing them i wanted to draw your attention to the threadlink above - a cnet story detailing how Wal-Mart have teamed up with Linspire to produce a Sub $500 Laptop.
Now, even if you cant/wont try to install Linux a deal like that, for less than a good night out (ok, a very good one..) has got to be tempting right?
Personally I'd sooner stick my hand in a mincer than use something like linspire, im a die-hard power-using Gentoo enthusiast but, my wife uses RedHat Fedora and i've messed with a few other distros and can tell you that if you can just take a little time to get used to a new system, it's well worth the effort.
Mrs Nick W sneers at Windows users and she wouldnt know a command line from adam :-)
So, anyone planning on taking the plunge? Or have you already?
How Web Site Eyeball Studies Work & What You Can Learn From Them
Fascinating article on how website eyeball studies work including usability tips from the folks who put the studies together.
Say you have 100,000 visitors in a day, and your analytics program tells you that 3% clicked on a specific link. You're still faced with a question: Given that people won't click on something they don’t see, what percentage of those 100,000 visitors even saw that link?
Elvis Presley Themed Advertising to Explode
Heaven help us all, the rights to Elvis Presley's name and image have been sold to SFX Entertainment - Get ready for brand mayhem...
The Elvis estate, along with rights to his the rock legend's name and image, has been sold for $100 million to SFX Entertainment. Lisa Marie Presley agreed last Thursday to sell 85 percent of the estate's assets. Presley will receive $53 million cash, be absolved of $20 million indebt and get shares in the new company expected to be worth $25 million.
More details at the threadlink above and this ABC News Story
Netimperitive report on a new beta search engine specific to the UK - they're making some fairly large claims, not least of which is the following:
Seekport Internet Technologies’ managing director Joachim Kreibich said: “We can remove material from our index within half an hour of receiving a request. For European users this is a key issue, particularly as deletion requests from US search vendors typically have to be routed back through the US and it can take weeks for anything to happen.”
Only search engine to support its technology with local index teams in each country
They will show only 1 in 10 US results as opposed to an average of 1 in 3 for US engines promoting UK specific searches
It's german site (also has a french one .de and .fr) says it's one of Espotting's largest customers
It's in Beta now, so go have a play and tell us what you make of it...
Threadwatch member Anthony has added an RSS feed to his superb DirectoryList.org - you can grab the feed here.
If you want to keep up with the seemingly thousands of new directories that pop up on an almost daily basis then that's one tool you'll most likely enjoy. You can find a discussion of the RSS addition at the seozip post threadlinked above.
Rice University Computer Scientists Find a Flaw in Google's New Desktop Search Program
New York Times reports of a security flaw found in the Google Desktop Search tool which already has a fix.
The glitch, which could permit an attacker to secretly search the contents of a personal computer via the Internet
In a statement over the weekend, the company said that it had been notified of the flaw by the computer researchers in late November and had begun distributing a new version of the desktop search engine that repairs the potential security hole
Will news like this damage Google’s reputation like it has with MS and IE?
Targeting Small Screens
Douglas Bowman's essay threadlinked above is a wonderful primer on the state of mobile browsing and how we, as web developers might be able to accomadate the small screen whilst the medium is in flux.
By in flux i mean that as Bowman points out, the HandHeld CSS type is not supported on most mobile devices and all manner of solutions and suggestions are cropping up on an almost weekly basis as to how to handle mobile content, even down to top level hosted domains that detect mobile devices for you and handle rendering! It just ain't easy...
It's a technical article for those comfy with CSS but everyone interested in mobile should at least have a skim, it'll be interesting even if you're still designing your sites with tables...
Clearly, this mobile browsing thing isn’t another flash in the pan. It’s here to stay and it’s only getting more popular. We need to account for the millions of mobile devices attempting to hit our sites. And we need to be designing and building our sites to work everywhere. This includes devices for people with disabilities as well as mobile and all other forms of utility browsers we haven’t even seen come to market yet.
We don’t want to go back to 1997, where we had to build different versions of our sites for each new browser that entered the market. True, in some cases, sites may need to be customized for the best mobile experience, and this may mean a completely different architecture, let alone HTML structure. But when we have the chance, we want to optimize the design or presentation of content based on what type of device is used to view that content.
Things needs to change. It requires action from both browser makers and the designers and developers creating the leading-edge sites. Those sites set examples for everyone else. Neither side needs to think whether or not to go first, they just need to go.
Scoble: Even I want an iPod.
You gotta admit Apple has done a good job in starting a market, but they've done that before and lost their lead. Personally, I see too many significantly cheaper/better? alternatives to an ipod coming on the market to think Apple can keep itself from being swept into the just-one-of-many category.
Digital Point's Cooperative Ad Network
Aaron Wall of SEOBook.com has a nice write up threadlinked above, of Shawn from DigitalPoint's Coop Ad Network where members post code to their pages that display links to other members of the network's sites.
It's a little more complex than just that of course, here's a snippet from Aarons post:
Coop Ad Network Rating as Currency:
The Coop Ad Network rating is actually becoming a currency...
Where there is Value...
When other people sign up under your account you gain added network credits. Some people are sending out affiliate link embedded emails recommending the coop ad network.
Now, i know the network is working well becuase i read over at dp quite a bit, time permitting, but in an amazing coincidence glengara over at SEW posts a warning (apparently out of the goodness of his heart..) about the network just an hour or so later.
I have to say that such a network would indeed worry me. So the questions are:
Is the COOP Ad Network potentially dangerous with regard to Google/Yahoo! link scheme penalties?
Are all such networks to be avoided?
Is it a great idea that benefits everyone?
Tell us what you think of ad networks in general and specifically the COOP Network...
Calling All Advertisers
Forbes report on Fox's new mobile initiative via Vodafone.
Remember the cool TV series "24"? Of course you do.. Well, they're going to be running a series of mobisodes based on 24 with different actors that will be distributed and streamed initially via Vodafone's new 3G network in January 2005 in the UK. Vodafone customers will just have to sign up to receive them - Free.
This is the type of permission based viral marketing that seems to be fitting well to mobile - you could do this with practically anything by marrying entertainment and information with advertising. Fox get to promo the fourth season of 24, vodafone get to parade their new network, yummy yummy in the consumer tummy eh?
Something fishy with Google library project
In the threadlink above, king of the Google Conspiracy Theory™ Everyman aka Daniel Brandt makes some interesting observations as to how long it would take Google to complete their library project.
Let's run 24-hours a day (three shifts of temp workers at minimum wage!) and assume that the wizards at the Googleplex will never have any down time. How many days is this? 383,969 / 24 = 15,999 days.
How many years is this? 15,999 / 365.25 = 43.8 years. Even their cookie won't last that long!
Followed by NFFC quoting a Times article that raises the issue surrounding copyrights and Googles new project:
There is, of course, a more worrying possibility. By the act of converting printed books to digital form Google will be creating a new copyright.
Works in the public domain will effectively be privatised. Whether or not Google chooses to exercise its rights, it and its library partners will be owners of the newly processed property. So the vast reservoir of material in the out-of-copyright public domain will become “proprietary”, or pay-per-view. If we get access, it will be because we are “allowed”, not because we have the right.
Daniel's points are interesting, but the Times piece's questions about copyright concern me far more that the mathematics and logistics of the task ahead.
John Battelle also had some interesting thoughts on monetization of Google Library and Google Print:
In other words, this could well be a step toward diversifying Google's revenue streams away from advertising and into direct sales and/or subscriptions - ie, the content business. As one source who is familiar with the industry tells me, Google is not doing this only out of the kindness of its heart - there is a lot of money to be made in selling books, in particular books with no copyright.