OMG It’s Yellow And Other Crowd Mentality

Reading the iPhone 3G release coverage has been quite fun. From some of the coverage you’d think I’m the last to holdout with a 2 year old LG. Some of it has been pretty amusing.

It took no time at all for people to see the iPhone 3G’s screen is a little different, and in comparison to the original iPhone has a slightly warmer (perceived as yellow) color. This immediately started quite a bit of conversation around the web.

The reality is that the screen is now warmer intentionally, which should look more natural to people. There’s some tests date here. There are slight variations in the data since every LCD screen is different, even if from the same manufacturer. Apple used more than one brand for the original iPhone (see table here), and I’d presume they are doing the same for the 3G. As I recall the LG displays were slightly brighter than the Samsung’s in Thinkpad T4x laptops.

The problem with high profile releases such as the iPhone, major redesigns and relaunches of popular websites, or any large technical release of hardware/software is that people over-analyze, and jump to conclusions without really thinking about what’s going on here. It took about 2 seconds before the first people realized the display change on the iPhone is likely a feature not a defect, but it will take months for people to get over it. People tend to nitpick the hell out of a popular product after the release. Most of it being somewhat irrational. 9/10 people would have never noticed the screen’s change had someone not done a comparison and posted pictures. This lead to “The Sky Is Falling” mentality.

Besides for that, there was the failure of the activation servers which made world headlines. It wasn’t really a shock as most who have observed this stuff know that Apple’s infrastructure tends to be pretty vulnerable to this type of thing (just look at’s initial launch hiccups). If your adoption on the first day, get ready for this stuff. It’s part of the package.

Another amusing thing is how many expected to see faster web browsing when not in a 3G area. If your not in a major metropolitan area, your likely not in 3G land. As a result, you should likely just upgrade the firmware and enjoy your existing phone. 3G will mean nothing to you. If your in a major city, and have 3G, you’ll enjoy the speed.

Watching product launches is always fun. So when is the 3rd Generation iPhone launching?

Google Mozilla

Google Open Sources Browser Sync

Google decided to open source it’s no longer supported browser sync extension. You can find the Google Code project here. The other major extension in this category is Mozilla Weave. I’m not sure what (if any) functionality might be gained by combining efforts, though I’ve seen some suggestions around the web to that effort. Anyone dig into that source code?

Google’s on roll with open source lately.


Bank Of America To Support Firefox

It’s always good to read about sites that are updating to add support for Firefox. It’s about time. I’m sure BOA customers are glad to see their annoyance is finally going to get fixed.


Rumor Starter: Kevin Rose

whoa, I just heard that Apple is working on a █████, that can play █████ over █████, insane!

Kevin Rose is starting Apple rumors again.

I’m betting it’s not an iPhone or Apple TV since he says a as opposed to an.

So who wants to pay Mad Libs? Feel free to leave a comment with your guess.

Google Web Development

Google Releases Protocol Buffers

Google today released Protocol Buffers. Protocol Buffers is their “language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible mechanism for serializing structured data”. In general it’s pretty interesting stuff, and looking over the docs, seems pretty well thought out.

I agree XML is bulky and wasteful for the task. There’s a reason why many web developers prefer JSON rather than actual XML when using xmlHttpRequest: XML parsing can be a real performance killer. JSON in my mind is currently the winner in this department since it’s light weight, simple, and a can be interpreted by pretty much any language on the planet (may need to install a module, gem, extension, or include a class). The downside to JSON is that it doesn’t really allow you to define structure. JSON also is still not binary format, so you have a performance penalty to parse the string. The upside is that JSON is rather easy for humans to read (great for debugging). The NY Times even made a database abstraction layer called DBSlayer that interfaces using JSON.

Serialized PHP has become somewhat popular (Yahoo Developer Network API’s support it), but it’s language specific, though interpreters that can read/write it exist for other languages including Perl, Python and Java. It’s also somewhat complicated for what it provides. At a glance it’s a string of garbage until you break it down.

It looks like Google already has support for Java, Python, and C++. It’s only a matter of time before Perl, PHP, and Ruby get support for Protocol Buffers as well.

I could see Protocol Buffers being pretty useful in combination with Memcached.

It’s great to see Google open sourcing stuff like this.

Google Security

Gmail’s Remote Signout And Logging

Google has recently upped their profile in regards to security and privacy. Last week Google made the subtle change of adding a privacy link to the homepage. This is common on most sites, but avoided by Google because they are very strict about cluttering their homepage. Privacy groups have wanted this for years, so this is a pretty large win.

Today Google announced it’s rolling out the ability to remotely sign out other computers from your Gmail account. You’ll also be able to view the IP address, interface (web, mobile, IMAP, POP3), and time that anyone has logged into your account. This is a groundbreaking change in regards to email security.

Now it’s possible for email users to review the logs and see if and when anyone else has accessed their personal email.

I suspect Yahoo, and Microsoft will be working to copy this feature, perhaps with their own enhancements (invalid password logging maybe?). I can also see Facebook and MySpace rolling out a similar feature in the near future. It’s an easy enough enhancement that provides a lot more comfort and security to the product.

Employers going through employees personal email has been hostile waters for a long time including a recent high profile case. This is certain to agitate that. I suspect there are a few companies who will be updating their policies in the next few weeks to try and protect themselves. There will even be a few who will sue Google claiming libel or that Google’s privacy policy should cover you when you log into someone else’s account provided you have one of your own. This is guaranteed to happen.

It’s a good move by Google. This feature greatly enhances the security of Gmail and puts it in a class well beyond what Yahoo or Hotmail currently provide. This is likely the biggest threat to email other than viruses which they all scan pretty well, and phishing, which they also do a decent job with.


Man Busted for “Octopus Porn”

A few years ago I ran across an amusing story that described Octopus reproduction, years later, that blog post brings up a decent amount of traffic (as well as some bizarre search queries). For those who find the idea of octopus porn amusing, you’ll enjoy this one from The Sun.

He also got busted for Tiger porn. When asked by the judge if he wanted to make a statement regarding the material, he responded “They’re ggggrrrreat!”.


AVG Wastes Bandwidth

AVG really needs to fix their “LinkScanner” product. It essentially scans pages for links and pre-downloads them to check for malware. If that doesn’t sound so bad, then your obviously not paying for bandwidth or trying to keep your server load manageable. Essentially it means more traffic pegging servers and downloading pages, but most of it being a total waste.

This isn’t just bad for webmasters. This excess traffic hogs ISP’s (who now plan to charge by-the-byte) and WiFi. In a country where we are tight on bandwidth, this is really a pretty lousy implementation.

AVG even went so far as to use multiple user agents, all of which seem to spoof IE, making it more difficult to block.

The best way to block the bogus AVG traffic seem to be by looking for the Accept-Encoding HTTP header, which could be done using an Apache rewrite rule if you can’t do so on the firewall or load balancer level.

AVG really needs to reaccess this poorly designed product. It’s unnecessarily taxing the web.

Mozilla Web Development

Killing IE 6

Apple’s MobileMe will not support IE 6. Per an email to subscribers:

To use the new web applications, make sure you have one of these browsers: Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, or Firefox 2 or later.

37signals is now doing the same, and will be dropping IE 6 support.

For most things that I’m in developing, IE 6 still has to much market share to ignore. That said, I can’t wait until the day we can kill IE 6. It’s from a previous generation of web browsers. It’s time for it to go.

Considering IE 7 is a free upgrade, or you could download the awesome Firefox 3, or Safari 3 it’s about time. I suspect we’ll see more and more sites start to do this, and likely in 2009 see some larger mainstream products no longer support IE 6.

It’s great to see the process starting. I can’t even begin to estimate the hours I’ve wasted getting IE 6 to work with something trivial on all other browsers.

The advantage of killing some old browser support is that it’s easier to take advantage of some of the features in more modern browsers that have much more robust features and better CSS support. Not to mention PNG transparency that doesn’t suck.

Modern web browsers like Firefox invest a lot into features to allow for a better web experience. Killing support for old browsers means they can be used. It’s the start of a better web.


World Record

Congrats to everyone involved. It’s now a world record. The magic number is 8,002,530.

Even after the first 24 hours, the downloads keep coming. 3.0 is one hell of a good release.