Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Overstock MLK Sale

You can’t make this stuff up. had the brilliant idea of having a “White Sale” and sending out an add on MLK’s Birthday with that title!

This offer applies to the lower 48 states and APO/FPO destinations only. This offer excludes orders from “Auctions.” This promotion cannot be combined with any other offer or coupon. Offer ends January 17, 2006 @ 11:59 PM MST.

They also discriminate against 2 states, and exclude Auctions! Yup, there’s some extra irony for you.

You’d think marketing people would look at a calendar before doing stuff like this, it’s not like it’s an obscure thing that only a handful of people know about. Just ask a banker, or the mail man ;-).

This is about as stupid as celebrating Memorial Day with a sale. Since there’s no better way to salute those who died for your country, then by getting 10% off a new shirt!

This isn’t worth anyone getting their panties in a bunch, but it is rather silly of them.

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GeoLocateFox Update

FYI I’ve updated GeoLocateFox to let it install in 1.5.x installs. Nothing else changed, it’s literally just the install.rdf that changed hence it’s still 0.1.


Milestone Tracking

Does anyone know of a way to get Bugzilla to give output similar to how Trac can report on milestones?

That is a really great way of viewing things. It lets you know where the release stands really easily.

Hardware Networking

High Pings

I’ve been wondering why my ping times have been so high on my laptop, and so low on any other computer I have here. I finally found the culprit.

The Intel 2915 wireless card (part of the whole Centrino package) has a power saving mode with 3 options, High, Medium, and Low (creative eh?). Mine was set to high. Which created pings that varied from 20ms to 400ms. Going to medium brings the average down to 2ms, which I can deal with.

Why this is a separate setting in Access Connections (the utility used on Thinkpads to manage different connection settings) rather than in the Power Manager as part of a profile? I don’t know. Ideally it would switch to high when I unplug, and go medium when I’m plugged in.

Anyway, always good to know why stuff happens. Very good for gaming, VoIP or anything where latency is an issue.

Mozilla Open Source Security

DHS helping to secure open-source software

CNet News is reporting that Homeland Security is sponsoring an effort to secure open source software. According to the article:

In the effort, which the government agency calls the “Vulnerability Discovery and Remediation, Open Source Hardening Project,” Stanford and Coverity will build and maintain a system that does daily scans of code contributed to popular open-source projects. The automated system should be running by March, and the resulting database of bugs will be accessible to developers, they said.

And yes Firefox is listed as one of the projects to be scanned. Thunderbird unfortunately isn’t listed, which personally I think would be a good candidate for this project considering mail clients have been used quite a bit as a point of entry. Since it shares common code with Firefox it still gets some benefit. It says the “resulting database” will be accessible, but I don’t know if that means they will file in bugzilla, or host their own database which developers need to visit and harvest from.

Personally I think this is great. Getting open source projects an audit like this will enhance security online, so end users will benefit. Hopefully things work out well, and they expand to cover more projects over time.

A criticism of the project is that this only funds finding bugs, rather than fixing them. This isn’t likely to be as large of a problem for Firefox as there are paid staff working on the project. Perhaps bounties will be put out by third parties? Who knows. Hopefully in the end, these products become better.


New Header

I put up a new header tonight. Finally retiring the old tiger pattern I had up. This one just struck me. I really have to get around to changing it more often.

It’s based on a photo by the user Zela at stock.xchng.

Google Mozilla

Introducing GeoLocateFox

GeoLocateFoxI got this idea back in mid December, wrote down a few lines of code, and stashed it to the side because I was in the middle of finals. Around new years I came back to the idea and implemented it. This ended up being a submission for Extend Firefox. I’m not sure what others will think of it, but I found it fun. It’s still a little limited, but has some potential.

What does GeoLocateFox do?

The extension makes use of geolocation meta tags provided by some webpages (such as this one). On such pages, the icon GeoLocateFox Icon illuminates to alert you to such content. You can then put your mouse over the icon to get a map of where the website originates. Double Clicking on the icon will bring up a full size map.

Why aren’t there any non-US maps?

For the moment, this only works on coordinates in the United States, as Yahoo Maps has yet to implement other parts of the world (this is hopefully coming soon).

Why not use Google?

Currently this extension only supports Yahoo! Maps. The intent is to support multiple mapping providers including Google, but to date only Yahoo! has a terms of use that allow for non-webapplication use. Google explicity prohibits such use right now. They were contacted by me in mid December about this extension, but to date have not replied with permission to include their service. While it may in theory be ok
to do considering Firefox is a web browser, and we are not doing anything harmful or commercially, I don’t wish to get into any trouble, it’s their API, and I respect that. Perhaps someone from Google Local will contact me about this. I’d love to add in support for it (would be great for international use).

Where can I get it?

For now you can get it here. I need to setup a project page at mozdev at some point. This is a 0.1 release, so there are still bugs.

Blog In The News Politics

The legal right to annoy

According to this article I can legally annoy you via this blog, since I operate under my own name. To cite the new law:

“Whoever…utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet… without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person…who receives the communications…shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

Rather interesting considering many of the countries founding fathers are said to have written under pen names (most famous being the Federalist Papers ironically hosted on the Library of Congress website).

So if you use your name, it’s legal. Brilliant. Brought to you by the same guys who don’t even read the bills they vote for (remember that mess).

Hardware Software

Vista Requirements

According to this article about Windows Vista Requirements:

Other requirements included a SATA or 7200 rpm EIDE hard drive. For Vista on notebooks, Microsoft recommended the Acer Ferrari 3400, the Acer Ferrari 4000, the HP Pavillion zd8230, the IBM Thinkpad T43 and the Toshiba Tecra M4.

emphasis mine

Sweet! If IBM/Lenovo will adjust their BIOS so there’s no more error when using a standard Hitachi or Seagate 7200 RPM drive, this sucker will be ready to go.

Very cool, this is a rather decent system. I like hearing that it’s anticipated to work well with Vista. That means I can keep it around for a while, and still be modern.

In The News Internet

Criminal Refresh of the F5 Degree

This article (another) made me chuckle. How the heck that’s criminal, rather than just juvenile is beyond me.

For those wondering F5 makes a browser reload a webpage. Presumably the intent is to overload the school website. Anyone who knows enough about computers to turn one on would find this quote exceptionally funny.

“It’s a crime and it is important we take this seriously … especially for school officials … it could have done a tremendous amount of damage,” said Canton City Prosecutor Frank Fronchione.

Somebody should have told him the worst realistic case was a crash due to high load (which is fixed by a reboot as any site that’s been slashdotted or diggdotted knows). A hard drive crash isn’t really any more likely under such circumstances since F5 would reload the same page, and done by many users, hence in the disk cache for performance purposes. And even if, a hard drive crash would be worst case, though not truly realistic. Overheating? If that were the case I’d kill a computer a week for high load. Odds are the site would have just slowed and stopped responding for a few minutes.

If that was really as damaging as he wants people to think, sites like Slashdot and Digg would be criminal to operate, as they are both known for crashing sites due to load (and the butt of many jokes as a result).

Sounds like a school trying to take attention off of other problems, by focusing on this. Though it would be comical to try and prove this being able to cause a “tremendous amount of damage” in court. Sounds like something you say in hopes of getting your name in the paper for doing something. I’d bet someone did warn him that the “damage” potential is trivial, if applicable. But newspapers don’t find “trivial damage” to be a buzz word. So if you want a mention in the press, you need to spice things up.

I wonder how many real crimes were committed at that school while the cops were busy arresting the student slashdotter.

Seems like slashdot not only picked up the story, but slashdotted the site! Brilliant. Now we get to see the prosecutor indite slashdot!

Will the stupidity ever end?