Intel Powered Macs leaked via IM?

Looking at this video (CNET), I found an interesting statement by Steve Mullaney of BlueCoat Systems whose company slogan is “we keep good employees from doing bad things on the internet” :

…a very high profile computer company that has a yearly following, a yearly event where they talk about their roadmap and what they are doing and a week before that event, somebody on IM sent some attachments on what that particular CEO was going to talk about at that particular event. And this is a very open company that is very free with ideas and very free with their network and so forth and locked that down because that was impacting their business and they let that secret out.

Sounds to me a lot like Apple. Despite being thought of as “tight lipped” Apple is a rather open company. Just about all their products get leaked a little early, and it typically greats a lot of good buzz that gets people excited and attracts attention. Don’t think Steve Jobs isn’t aware of that.

Microsoft pushing Sender ID?

Ok, just when I was starting to think that Microsoft may be changing their ways and trying to act in good faith after them fixing their website the other day. Microsoft starts talking about pushing their sender ID stuff on us. Sender ID is Microsoft’s alternative to the other spam prevention techniques such as Yahoo’s DomainKeys. One problem with Sender ID is the licensing, which has caused organizations like Apache Foundation (who oversee the SpamAssassin project), to nix support for Sender ID. AOL has also also dropped support, and looked towards SPF.

I agree one one of these standards is needed to help prevent spam. Personally I think DomainKeys is the most promising of them all. It’s licensing looks like it will be adequate, and it has a fair amount of backing. Google’s Gmail has apparantly implemented SPF and DomainKeys at this time. I think it’s time for everyone to start looking at following their lead. These two technologies look to be the best. And by implementing them, your mail is more likely to get past spam filters. Microsoft is right, it’s time to start acting. But not with their own proprietary stuff.

Microsoft Blocking Firefox: Resolved

As an update to the issue I reported the other day, Microsoft has now fixed the problem on their server. They saw the buzz from Firefox supporters and corrected it in under 2 days. I’d like to personally thank Microsoft for the quick resolution. No word on that cryptic error message though.

The gradient on the top of some Microsoft.com pages is still broken (while in other places they replace it with an image). But that doesn’t hamper use of the site. Just appearance.

So thanks to everyone at Microsoft who resolved it, and those around the blogosphere for getting their attention.

Symantec Live Update Fun

Had Norton SystemWorks 2002 for a while, then upgraded AntiVirus to 2004. Worked fine for quite some time. Recently I reformatted my hard drive and reinstalled this duo. Now I’m getting an error that I Subscription Client Update failed LU1812. I’ve got no clue why this is happening. Following Symantec’s instructions to completely uninstall and reinstall didn’t work, nor did updating Live Update or any other step they gave.

Live Update Error

Curious if anyone else out there ran across this, and if anyone resolved this problem.

Microsoft Blocking Firefox

It appears Microsoft is blocking Firefox from a number of it’s webpages. I’ve heard of this before, but now thanks to the new reporter tool, we have hard data to back it up. At the time I’m writing this there are 39 reports in the database. I should note that we have a little over 1000 users in the system at this point, so 39 reports is rather significant.

Most of the reports are about Firefox are that they are being told:

Sorry, we are unable to show you the page you requested. Please try again later.

In IE obviously the links work. Spoofing the user agent to that of Internet Explorer also has success. The area being reported is the downloads section of their site. Yes downloads worked. I tried several and had no problems.

Besides for illegitimately blocking Firefox, Microsoft has mislabeled their error message to encourage the user to “Please try again later?, as if it’s a server issue and will likely be resolved shortly. At least on Windows Update they say right away that it requires Internet Explorer, which is an honest dialog as Firefox does not support ActiveX which is used by AutoUpdate.

The only issue I can see with those pages is that the gradient on the top of the Microsoft site doesn’t render correctly. As I recall (and Asa blogged a while back) the css for it isn’t in the specs, hence unsupported in Gecko, though I haven’t verified that as I’m not a css guru. The same problem appears on the Microsoft homepage, but they don’t block that (presumably because the point of the page is to get people to buy things).

Come on Microsoft. You did move a bit towards standards. Save the browser sniffing for when it’s necessary (such as Windows Update). Let your customers use the browser that they feel comfortable using. Here’s a hint. We’re closing in on 65 million downloads in the next few hours. That’s 65 million people who believe in choice. Isn’t it time to respect computer users choices?

I hope to see Microsoft address and correct this issue.

Update: some report Firefox 1.0.4 working. Safari and OmniWeb seem to be blocked as well with that cryptic error message.

Update 2: It appears to be fixed now! Thanks to Microsoft for addressing it rather quickly (less than 2 full business days).

CNN Relaunch

CNN Relaunched with a slightly tweaked site (nothing to major, some xhtml, and slight code clean up apparently). The big feature is now the video (which was subscription only since 2002) is now free. The downside is that it’s no longer Real Player, but Windows Media. The quality isn’t at all bad. It didn’t detect WMP in Firefox, but it has a button to override detection, so I could still view the video just fine, but not good for Mac and Linux users. I wish they would have stuck with Real Media. At least they are relatively decent at being cross platform, even if their player is extremely bloated. If you want to support all platforms, and use one of the big 3, Real Media is still the best. If Mac and Windows is your target, Apple wins by a longshot (the player is essentially identical on both platforms). Real is a bit lacking on non-windows platforms, but does appear to cover the most with a player.

At least there’s free video now. Finally catching up to MSNBC and FoxNews. MSNBC obviously uses Windows Media, while FoxNews uses Flash, which is slightly lower in quality, but cross platform, and loads relatively quickly.

Update: I reinstalled WindowsMedia for OS X, and it did detect just as it did with Firefox on Windows. But it for some reason never got past my Firewall (unlike the windows version). Both systems are behind the extact same firewall with the exact same settings. So it didn’t work, but it’s progress. Perhaps with the next update it will work, or there’s a work around. I’m open to any comments/suggestions on getting it to work in Firefox and/or Safari on OS X.

Apple’s new Mactel’s and UserAgents

Currently UserAgents for the two most popular Mac browsers are as follows:

Safari

This visitor used Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/412 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/412

Firefox

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.7.8) Gecko/20050511 Firefox/1.0.4

Does anyone out there know if Apple has switched their developer edition Intel Macs to a different UserAgent yet? I presume it’s simply swapping out PPC with i686.

It would be nice if Apple, or someone from the Safari team [collective look toward David Hyatt] would give an official mention. Or will they do like Windows and not say anything?

It would be nice to know early how this is going to be done. It would allow web developers to start updating log analysis software today so it accurately represents those new systems when it ships (and allows developers to see how much of a market there is for Intel based Macs). Not to mention it allows us to make websites that sniff for the processor type and choose what download the user really needs (rather than force a user to download a larger universal binary).

I’ve yet to see any official mention on the Apple website regarding the UserAgent change and proper detection methods for such purposes.