No Opera For iPhone

I’m not to thrilled to read this:

Mr. von Tetzchner said that Opera’s engineers have developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple won’t let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.

This isn’t news, it’s been known for a while. I’m honestly wondering why Opera invested the development time with this in mind.

Apple’s going to learn the hard way that if it doesn’t drop this clause it’s going to be subject to Android’s wrath. Android is going to take some time to gather steam (I’d guess at least 18 months before it can catch up to the iPhone due to it still being pretty clunky and limited in availability) but when it does it catch up, it could be problematic.

It would be great to see a iPhone version of Fennec, but until Apple wises up, it’s not going to happen.

I predict just like Apple initially had a “no third party applications” policy, this too will change once it becomes obvious that this will end up hurting them in the long run. The question remains: how long will that take?

Political Statement Via Add-on

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a Firefox Add-on used as a way to make a political statement. An Add-on called China Channel will replicate in Firefox what it’s like to be behind the Great Firewall of China. So if you want to see what it’s like not being able to read about Tibet or other content China doesn’t approve of, this is a good chance. It appears to use proxy servers in China to replicate the experience.

Perhaps the next version will let you toggle between China’s Great Firewall and Australia’s Great Firewall’s (currently in development). I should note Iran and Saudi Arabia are also known for extreme censorship on the internet.

PHP Namespacing

The PHP folks have finally announced that PHP will get namespacing in the form of ‘\‘. The universal escape character. They really should have went with the standard ‘::‘ or ‘:::‘. Using ‘\‘ is going to work well.

I was thinking something like this would be more appropriate (background on compatibility here):

......................................__................................................
.............................,-~*`¯lllllll`*~,..........................................
.......................,-~*`lllllllllllllllllllllllllll¯`*-,....................................
..................,-~*llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll*-,..................................
...............,-*llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.\.......................... .......
.............;*`lllllllllllllllllllllllllll,-~*~-,llllllllllllllllllll\................................
..............\lllllllllllllllllllllllllll/.........\;;;;llllllllllll,-`~-,......................... ..
...............\lllllllllllllllllllll,-*...........`~-~-,...(.(¯`*,`,..........................
................\llllllllllll,-~*.....................)_-\..*`*;..)..........................
.................\,-*`¯,*`)............,-~*`~................/.....................
..................|/.../.../~,......-~*,-~*`;................/.\..................
................./.../.../.../..,-,..*~,.`*~*................*...\.................
................|.../.../.../.*`...\...........................)....)¯`~,..................
................|./.../..../.......)......,.)`*~-,............/....|..)...`~-,.............
..............././.../...,*`-,.....`-,...*`....,---......\..../...../..|.........¯```*~-,,,,
...............(..........)`*~-,....`*`.,-~*.,-*......|.../..../.../............\........
................*-,.......`*-,...`~,..``.,,,-*..........|.,*...,*...|..............\........
...................*,.........`-,...)-,..............,-*`...,-*....(`-,............\.......
......................f`-,.........`-,/...*-,___,,-~*....,-*......|...`-,..........\........ 

Google Fighter Jet

Dornier Alpha Jet

The movie Terminator is becoming more of a premonition as time goes on as I’ve suggested before. Google has taken another step closer to becoming Skynet. The company controlled by top Googlers just got it’s first Fighter Jet, a Dornier Alpha Jet.

Before you know it, this April Fools joke article by InfoWorld about Google acquiring the U.S. government will become true.

[Photo: Adrian Pingstone via Wikipedia]

Rackspace Acquisitions

Despite the bad economy, Rackspace is acquiring startup JungleDisk and SliceHost. This is a very interesting step on their behalf.

Buying JungleDisk makes sense since Rackspace wants to get into the cloud storage business. JungleDisk is one of the bigger Amazon S3 products out there. By adding Rackspace support to the product they can quickly attempt to get into that market. If they will succeed depends on their offering’s cost. Their press release suggests $0.15/GB, but that doesn’t say if they will bill based on requests and bandwidth (which is where Amazon S3 gets expensive). Also interesting is this little nugget:

Also later this year, Limelight Networks will team with Rackspace to allow developers to easily distribute content to millions of end users around the world and bring scalable content delivery and application acceleration services to the masses.

This is competing with Amazon’s attempts at starting a CDN later this year. It’s worth noting that these are both pretty primitive CDN’s since they require you to register objects before the CDN hosts them. Modern CDN’s like Limelight and Akamai allow you setup a CNAME so that their CDN essentially acts as a middle layer between your origin servers and your users. This requires no preregistering since the CDN can just check the origin for any asset requested. Caching is configured via configuration files and via standard http headers. I’m not sure how useful these CDN’s will be to most. Registering objects and uploading to another platform is a giant pain as opposed to just setting up a transparent CNAME. The difference is one requires development time, the other doesn’t.

Acquiring Slicehost makes sense since they apparently have technology that will be useful to Rackspace. They are making a bet that startups in need of hosting on virtual machines (which is much more complicated to manage than typical shared hosting) will produce a decent market in the future. With the economic downturn, at least in the short term this may not look like the most useful purchase. In the long run this may pay off handsomely. They have decent competition in that space and it’s quickly growing. Rackspace’s size may help it weather a downturn better than others though.

They closed 5.18 +0.22 (4.44%) today, despite the DOW being -514.45, so I guess I’m not alone in my assessment.

DTV Transition

DTV Transition

February 17, 2009 (125 days from this post) full-power analog TV will be no more. If your still enjoying OTA analog signals, see the above video for how to get a digital TV converter. I found the video pretty amusing.

For most people who use cable or satellite nothing is involved. For those who still use OTA TV, they may need a converter if their TV can’t handle it. For broadcasters it does however have some complexities.

American Airlines To Block Porn

Several weeks after flight attendants asked for American Airlines to block porn on it’s WiFi service, the carrier will now do so.

You can still bring porn on your hard drive or on DVD’s. Assuming you encode SD video using H.264 @ 3000 kbits/sec that’s roughly 1.5GB per hour. If you want to travel light, your iPod or iPhone is a good solution.

For non-pornographic entertainment, there’s a list of flight friendly movies including Alive, and Snakes On A Plane, check out my previous post. You could always just go to YouTube and search for “plane crash“.

Seems like there are a lot of holes here. A person who really wants to look at porn on a plane is going to do it anyway. This will however lower bandwidth costs a little and hopefully keep the service more profitable than Boeing’s Connexions service. That in my opinion, is their real reason for changing.

If American really wanted to stop the porn problem, they would ban personal ban watching media on a personal device during flight, and put cheap terminals on the backs of seats. Then your limited to their hardware and network. Completely isolated.

Norton AntiVirus 2009

I installed Norton AntiVirus 2009. I’ve got a 3 CPU license and installed on two computer thus far. My initial feeling about it is that it’s vastly improved from 2008, and light years ahead of the clusterfuck that was the early 00’s. It’s been vastly better for about 2 years now, 2008 is a significant but still incremental improvement. 2005 was the bottom.

Norton 2009 CPU monitorThe install itself was very quick (yay) which was a positive sign. It seems to be using less processes and less memory than any recent version. A very welcome sight.

Another noteworthy item is that the application itself is faster. The UI loads quickly and feels rather responsive. In previous years there was a several second lag. This is clearly gone. Scanning is also quicker.

Another interesting thing is that LiveUpdate was apparently fixed so that it no longer launches a dozen child processes when it runs. I haven’t looked too closely but I’ve yet to see this behavior when it runs. I think this was the single most annoying thing about 2008.

Symantec even went as far as putting a CPU monitor on the application itself to show how much CPU they are occupying. That itself is a pretty bold move considering their past history of bloat. Clearly this year they are trying to undo that reputation. Their website is updated to discuss performance now.

The big feature is that Symantec now feeds updates every few minutes rather than daily. This is a good move considering the fast pace of security threats these days. The UI even shows the seconds since the last update. It’s great to finally see this.

Norton 2009 Update Frequency

For anyone ever upgrading a Symantec product, here’s a bit of advice. Uninstall the previous version, restart, then run the Norton Removal Tool (NRT) and restart again. This will give you a much cleaner base than just installing and hoping for the best. Then finally install and follow directions. This has proven to be much better than any other method. AntiVirus software hooks just dig so deep into the OS that any other method just seems doomed to fail.

I should also note that it scans all volumes. This could be a bad thing if you have network volumes loaded. Make sure to exclude those if this is a problem.

Amazon

Norton Antivirus 2009
Norton Antivirus 2009 CD 3 User Ret
$20 Rebate (Expires 12/31/09) – should work with purchases from most stores including Amazon, despite being hosted on Fry’s.

Yahoo! Web Analytics

It went somewhat unnoticed, but Yahoo! today announced it’s Yahoo! Web Analytics package which is intended to compete with the wildly popular Google Analytics. I’ve spent quite a few hours in analytics packages over the years ranging from very amateurish to enterprise grade. Google Analytics is a very good product but it does have limitations. The biggest limitation is the lack of real-time reporting. Google Analytics takes a few hours, making it for most people next-day service. This isn’t a big deal for some, but if your in an environment where you need feedback on your content ASAP (a must for media sites), this is a huge deal. Yahoo is promising to deliver “within minutes”:

Get detailed reporting within minutes after an action occurs on your website. Quickly identify dips in key site metrics or monitor the performance of new content. Seeing the impact of website and marketing changes immediately makes it much easier to optimize them. Yahoo! Web Analytics also maintains historical data so you can go back at any time to review old data for new insight, or compare the present to the past without any changes to your page tags.

Interesting. I wonder if this will light a fire under Google’s butt to deliver real-time analytics as well. Urchin wasn’t really designed for real-time data. Google’s obviously done a lot of work with it to build Google Analytics. I wonder if that’s the next step for them.