February 2008 Archives

Humorous Capitulation

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I know that I am late, but I could not hold back on this one. Roughly four years ago, my buddy Keith had become one of the most vociferous Apple fanboys. He attributed this odd behavior to his frustration of stuff simply not working on the Linux platform. Mostly he was tired of reading, hacking and discovering. I was very sad for him, as he began to sound like an old man ;) I publicly called him Judas when he decided to leave the Linux community and become an MVP.

Actually, I have mellowed much since then. I am better now. What is it about the Apple platform that makes people overspend and subject themselves to so much abuse?
Well I do understand the idea of lifestyle products. Steve Jobs has worked very hard closing down the architecture, so that you must love his art or else. FWIW, his art is quite eyecatching, albeit costly. A friend recently mentioned something about the uniqueness of the powercord on Macintosh computers. Actually, I had never given it much thought. I suppose the concept is quite trivial. The device attaches to a wall via a magnet. If someone accidently trips over the cord, it decouples from the cable without dumping your overpriced notebook on the floor.

Simple enough. Why don't you see this "innovation" on PC hardware? Well it's called economies of scale. Apple only deals with a handful of suppliers, while Dell probably has hundreds of suppliers. Apple is a hardware company, while Dell is a logistics company. Both do an excellent job of walking lockstep with the vendors that place their components inside of the case that ultimately becomes a desktop or notebook computer. Basically, Apple owns the entire computing experience, so it _ought_ to just work out of the box. In fact, the Mac is so closed that you even have to buy a set of golden wrenches just work on the hardware. Help me understand, I just spent thousands of dollars on some hardware, and you tell me I can't work on it? Ridiculous.

What annoys me most about people who try running Linux for the first time is that they expect the same experience. They exclaim "Linux isn't ready for the laptop or desktop !" I retort Unix/Linux is user friendly, it is just particular about who its friends are...

Basically, Linux is nothing than a powerful kernel with some excellent GNU tools. Now when you start talking about the plethora of distributions (Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, etc...) then you get tons of software. Hence a workable computing experience. Linux is not a software or hardware company. There are no promises when you download or buy a shrinked wrapped copy of your chosen distro. The only constant is that you will likely learn something new, and most importantly you have the freedom to do as you wish. Some might argue that Linux does not have legal codecs.. In some cases that is true; however, I do not lose much sleep over it.

These problems will be sorted out eventually. Now, Mr. Elder makes some great points about the Apple history and the whole Power Computing (read: eating your young) blunder. I believe the broader issue is economies of scale. If Dell decided to add some of the unique and rather exotic hardware to its platform, the added costs would certainly be passed onto the consumer.

Personally, I look at a computer as a commodity that is critical for learning. Not some luxury item that my people should drool over or wish they could whip my ass and take it from me. That said if you're in the Apple camp, you will continue to get raped with over priced hardware.
But you knew that already :)

links for 2008-02-21

Yet Another Social Network

Last week I received at least four requests to join RRU. These days I resist and have actually scaled back my activity on FBOOK and twitter. I have found that some particularly chatty followers can reak havoc on your wireless bill. Turning off notifications is essential, but that is a subject for another entry.

The idea of wisdom of crowds can be a bit overstated at times, but nonetheless I did visit RRU. First, my decision to peruse the landscape was simply due to my admiration and love for my alma mater. Yes, I am a Rattler. However, I am not certain that the folks that built that site are attempting to garnish the collective might of alumni to help a struggling institution. My eyes tell me that it is simply a place to be virtually seen ;)

Because I fancy myself as a technology dude, let's pontificate on the chosen architecture. Shall we. It seems that they are using the Ning the site framework. Marc Andreessen seems to have made quite a large nest of cash with this project. What surprises me is the Ning API seems to provide a decent toolset. Particulary SSL, REST, Open ID, and hooks which could provide meaningful mashups. At a minimum it would make sense to equip RRU with basic SSL capabilities so that your not asking people to sign-up with clear text passwords. Methinks RRU has set up the NING environment as another walled garden to collect data and be disconnected from your other social networking properties. It is worthwhile to note that Andreessen is a fervent advocate of this "Open Social" movement, and the Ning API explicitly supports hooks into the other dozens of social networks. They are missing from RRU probably due to the folks unfamiliarity of the platform. I would imagine that this will change over time.

Judging from the people that I have peeped on the site, many of them are first generation social network participants. Hence, they have no reference point to compare tools and access. Moreover, the allure is the allegiance to your alma mater and the hope that you can reconnect with people that you have chosen not speak to in probably 10 yrs :)

Don't get it twisted. I luv my school and it would be cool to reconnect with some headz, but I know how to get at them outside of another proxy service. It would be great if they were seeking to use the interest level to re-invigorate the alumni. Actually, I don't know what they are trying to achieve. The about page on RRU is rather sparce.

As and aside: I suppose my undergrad experience was different than most, as I was already grown. So, it was more like a job than playland or self-discovery. All I really wanted to do was graduate and begin to make loot. Heh, high school now that was a different story.

Too many social networks.. I'm full now. I'll play the sidelines on this one..

Intelligent Design (Krusell Case)


Well, I received my new case before the close of 2007. Though I was happy to receive the new case, it does take at least 2-3 weeks for packages to arrive from Sweden. There must be a better way for Krusell to deal with product returns. Perhaps, it would best to create some sort of relationship with UPS, where they could act as a depot/proxy stateside. This would assure faster shipment to the US market.

Although, the case is handsome I could not easily detect any discernible differences in the quality of the mold in the multadapt. I
did not see any sort of fillet or rounding of the areas which were susceptible to stress risers.

Nonetheless, I have not seen any signs of fatigue cracks or wear since I have received it.
On the other hand the slide swivelkit has already failed. I will post pics of that particular failure mode at a later date. Luckily, since I am on my third or fourth Krusell case, I had one additional spare swivel kit, so I was irritated but not extremely angry. One can only hope that the swivel kit has several months of useful life.

I'll keep you posted.

Aggressive Bots


These past couple of weeks I've been bombarded with a very pesky spider which appeared seemed to make requests for every single entry in my blog. The weird aspect of this inquiry was the bot seemed to disregard 'robots.txt', that is it never bothered to read the file before running roughshod through my site. Because the IP addresses were from the same octet block, I realized that I had a chance to defend myself. The user-agent appeared to originate from some Linux/Mozilla combination. Before I decided to ban the IP from my site, I figured that some investigative work would be necessary.

The 208.111.xxx block seemed to be connected to Limelight Networks LLC. Hmm, I thought it odd that Limelight would be interested in crawling my site. Doug Kaye and all of the IT Conversations folks didn't need any of my content, as they have one of the largest CDNs in thenation. So, after performing the ubiquitous GOOG search I discovered that others in the blogosphere were having similar issues with these bots.

Grepping through my access and error logs proves that I have successfully blocked the IP.

[Fri Feb 8 06:20:12 2008] [error] [client] client denied by server configuration: /home/bkaeg/public_html/blog/archives/000632.html[Fri Feb 8 04:01:42 2008] [error] [client] client denied by server configuration: /home/bkaeg/public_html/blog/archives/000522.html
[Fri Feb 8 04:01:43 2008] [error] [client] client denied by server configuration: /home/bkaeg/public_html/favicon.ico
[Fri Feb 8 04:11:20 2008] [error] [client] client denied by server configuration: /home/bkaeg/public_html/blog/archives/000053.html

Because I am of the inquisitive nature, I decided to take it a step further. A simple traceroute and stealth nmap revealed that it was not LimeLight Networks at all. It was actually Kavam, a company out of Tempe, AZ. When I say these bots were aggressive, I am not exaggerating. It was not uncommon to see 3-4 hits from the same bot within an hour.
I discovered the CEO of Kavam was Randy Adams. So, I called Mr. Adams and chatted with him and he confirmed my suspicions and also the story that I had read about from other bloggers.

Apparently, Kavam is working with same venture capitalists that funded LimeLight, LLC. Kavam, is taking snapshots of every website on the Internet. God Bless em. They wish to challenge the GOOG. The brute force method of getting content is admirable but quite annoying. I suppose it would not have been so bad if they would have simply told people of their intent. Perhaps if it had gone of for just a couple of days... This barrage went on for two weeks.
I have been blogging for roughly five years, so there is quite a bit of content to be archived. I wonder why Fooky never took this gestapo approach to collecting metadata? Anyway, I did ask Mr. Adams to be a guest on AG Speaks, hopefully he will chat with me before the company launches its killer application.

G-Men Upended the Pack , Eye Pats


Photo compliments of Blogcritics

Contrary to popular belief the outcome of the game does not rest upon Manning's shoulders.
If the G-Men can dominate time of possession with a potent rushing attack. They will be victorious.

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