Open Source Corporate Email

According to ZDNet a Yankee Group report to be released next month found that of 1,000 IT managers and C-level executives, “23% of the survey respondents indicated they intend to migrate away from Exchange Server.” That’s a rather impressive number. Quite a few of those could go to Zimbra or Hula/NetMail, which could make great companions for Thunderbird, who buy the way is rapidly developing a calendar, which is starting to look pretty good.

It could be interesting to see what happens.

Early Morning Bandwidth

It’s well known cable modems are “shared bandwidth”, meaning if everyone on your neighborhood is downloading Paris Hiltons latest video off the net (ahem… her music video), your connection slows down. Well Comcast’s feature for the past several month allows you to briefly use the excess bandwidth when it’s quiet. So what does it look like at 1:30 AM?


During peak hours it’s really not that much worse. Typically between 7000kbps – 14000kbps. Not to bad. Of course Verizon will eventually roll out 15Mbps sustained with 2Mbps upstream. Comcast just announced “speedburst” for upstream, and it doesn’t really compare to Verizon’s Fiber offering. DOCSIS 3.0 can’t come quick enough.

Take that 56k dialup!

APNG Support On Trunk

In my habit of checking recent checkins to the trunk, I noticed support for APNG has landed [Bug 257197]. Because it’s based on PNG, APNG can use partial transparency, which can help reduce those jagged looking edges. From what I can tell, for older clients that don’t support APNG it should just show the first frame for backwards compatibility.

Awesome. Looks like the relevant KHTML bug is 88352. I don’t know if that would apply to Safari or not. I can’t find any position from Microsoft regarding support for IE. I hope their support for PNG alpha transparency (prior to IE 7) isn’t any indicator.

Regardless of adoption by browser vendors, it’s still a win for Mozilla, since chrome in the browser and extensions will be able to use APNG rather than GIF or JavaScript and PNG for animations. There is already talk of that.

You can find more on Stuart Parmenter’s blog.

Great stuff for anyone who finds animated GIF’s a bit antique.

Spam Havens Follow Up

Ok, so 1 business day after I found a few spammed sites:

  • Apple has removed the page, no comment.
  • Riverside, CA acknowledged and said they are in the process of resolving. I’ll keep an eye out to see how long it takes.
  • AOL has removed the page, no comment.

So there you have it, 3 reports, 2 of which are resolved in 1 business day, 1 other report is still in the works.

I was surprised myself to see the response time.

Edit [3/21/2007]: Riverside, CA has removed the links, and disabled that forum to prevent future problems.

Spam Havens?

I’ve recently seen an increase in spam around here slipping through the filter. In an attempt to keep this site clean, I keep a close eye on comments. Typically checking several times a day, and removing url’s that are pure spam, or just inappropriate. But over the past several days things have been getting stranger.

The typically very clean (Apple Inc.’s .mac Web Hosting service) seems to be a spam haven. The last several days, I’ve been seeing several spams for a “Streammate” site hosted by Apple. This is one of those porn spam sites (which I get a hundred a day). What’s interesting is that it doesn’t seem to get shutdown promptly. Do they not monitor the service? It’s not like it’s even free. This is paid hosting. Most hosting services have some spam sites. It’s virtually impossible to avoid. But they should be removed when found.

Not only is Apple hosting these Spam pages, but so are others including the City of Riverside, California, who links to the Apple hosted spam.

The url’s relevant in this case are below as an image to prevent any Google Juice, as well as unsuspecting clicks. You’ll have to very intentionally type them into your url bar. The contents may not be appropriate for all audiences, who knows what badware lies within. Be warned.

Spam Havens?

I’ve contacted Apple and The City of Riverside. Lets see how quickly this is handled.

Edit: Just realized AOL’s hosting too.

Edit: See the update.

Book Mapping

Matthew Gray over at Google came up with the idea of plotting places referenced in books on a map. It’s really an interesting thing to see. As he notes, you can see westward expansion by filtering by publication date. Not much is said about the books used, but I would assume it’s books out of copyright, and mainly western literature.

I wonder what it would look like from 1900-2000.

Where Are The Ugly People?

Steve Rubel has the goods on the opening of the Second Unofficial Apple Store in Second Life. Freaky how real it looks. A lot of detail is really there. It recreates the Apple Stores from First Life 😉 .

I still question Second Life… Where are the ugly people? Where are the obese that dominate first life? Why do I have to see overweight people in belly shirts walking around in the summer while in Second Life this problem isn’t there? Serious false advertising for real life. No wonder people get addicted.

But I digress… new Apple Store!!! 😀

HD Photo Follow Up

A few days ago I mentioned there are some limitations with HD Photo in it’s current state. The limitations are in the legal sense. Specifically they prohibit open source implementations. This obviously hinders adoption as many large organizations that work with graphics rely on open source software (think where we would be without GD or ImageMacick among many others). Bill Crow responded on my blog that it is royalty free in “all cases”. Great news. He then goes on to say:

That’s why we announced we’re committed to standardization. Once standardized, the goal is that the appropriate standards organization would then own the format and would publish a full specification. This would allow developers to create their own implementations independent of working with our source code in the DPK, with the option of releasing their implementation as open source.

Awesome. This does leave the question: why not release the DPK, specifically the encode/decode and push to get it in every popular graphics package. The blog has a new post that states:

Now we’re taking the next big step. Our goal is to turn the format over to an appropriate standards organization. Ideally, this will include the publishing of an open specification, making possible to implement compatible encoders and decoders that are completely independent of Microsoft’s reference source code. This should fully address any concerns that have been raised about the option for open source implementations.

That sounds promising. I guess time will tell. That leaves the door open for a browser like Firefox to eventually support HD Photo should it catch on. Who knows, perhaps we’ll all look at JPEG the way we look at 3½-inch floppy disks.

Time Sucks

One of the hardest things to program is the Date and Time. This is especially true when your doing it on the web. Why is that? Using a unix timestamp is immensely helpful and resolves many of the complexities, but it does have some issues (besides the Y2K38 bug). Well lets take a look at some of the “typical” things you need to be aware of:

  • Your server is in one timezone, your users are in 23 others.
    Users don’t care what the time is at the site. They want things in their time.
  • Does your server even know your users timezone?
    You could do this with JavaScript, and send it to the server, but that’s a mess. Or send a timestamp to the client, and let JavaScript print it out. But that’s still messy.
  • Timezones aren’t obvious (think Indiana).
    Did you know some even use :30 such as UTC-3:30 for Newfoundland Standard Time.
  • Looking back in time (or forwards) is difficult (how many hours between X and Y accounting for leap years, and DST changes)?
    This is a mess, enough said. And just in case you have a formula, did you account for the conversion between Julian and Gregorian calendars? Don’t forget not everyone switched in 15 October 1582 / 4 October 1582. Going forward remember we’ll eventually have another leap day, since the Gregorian calendar isn’t perfect.
  • Your server observes DST. Does your user? When?
    Get the picture? Remember most states do, except for Hawaii (yea, that’s another Timezone) but Arizona doesn’t either, except for Navajo Nation. Again Indiana!
  • The Politics of Time…
    If you call UTC+2 Israel Standard Time, you upset visitors from Muslim nations like Egypt. Call it Central Africa Time, or Egypt Standard Time and your considered anti-semitic. Same goes for UTC+8, is it Chinese Standard Time or Hong Kong Time? Most avoid this by just listing UTC±N. Unfortunately this confuses people, especially Americans who only refer to timezones as “Eastern” (UTC-5), “Central” (UTC-6), “Mountain” (UTC-7) “Pacific” (UTC-8). Note these American names aren’t so common in all of North/South America.
  • Daylight Savings Time for 2007+
    Then you have a bunch of clowns who voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, creating the Y2K7 bug. The idea was an extra hour of daylight in the evening would reduce electrical use. What they didn’t realize is that it cuts daylight from the morning. My guess would be a follow up bill may fine the sun for failing to provide adequate light, and eventually include economic sanctions. 😛

I thought a while back this could suck. Think about all the time/money that goes into updating and testing systems for these few extra weeks of DST. What a drag.

Swatch Internet Time was an obvious bust, but perhaps we could all just use UTC?