Google Security Tech (General)

Why people shouldn’t be afraid of Gmail

There has been a ton of buzz lately about Gmail, Google’s free email service. 1000 megabytes of free storage, Google Search Technology, and of course all sorts of Google usability improvements. I’m sure Google has stuff still in the labs to enhance it at some point in the future as well, I could see searching attachments, viewing Word, and Acrobat files as HTML, all in the works.

How will they pay for this quite amazing offer? “relevant text ads”. I think most already know what I’m talking about when I say, this, if not check out which has Google’s text ad service on the homepage.

What is it?

Here’s a really simple summary. Google sells a ton of advertising. And I mean a ton, they sell for their own website, as well as many others. To make sure the ads are effective, they like to “target” the ads. This is similar on other forms of media. For example, on TV, you will find sports and fitness related ads on ESPN, while the Food Network may not necessarily carry the same ads. Why? Because the audience on ESPN is most likely into sports, and fitness. The ads are most effective when people interested in the products. Makes sense right?

Well, Google does the same thing. When it sells ads on a Macintosh Website like, it targets them towards Mac users, hence you see ads like “Expert Macintosh service”, “Macintosh Support”, “Mac Service & Support”. Because those ads will do good on a Mac website, rather than a PC website. These ads are now worth more to the advertiser, who will pay more to Google, who will in turn payout more to Google does the same on it’s own search engine (the right hand side), relevant ads are worth quite a bit, since it’s perfect real estate for advertisers

How do they know what to show?

Google hasn’t disclosed the technology in real detail, but one could assume, their technology assigns keywords to the ad campaign. It then looks at the text of the page that needs an advertisement. If the examines that page for relevant keywords, and places the highest ranking advertisement that fits the page.

So what’s the deal about privacy?

That’s the question of the day. Google’s system is undoubtedly automated. It would be impossible to hire enough employees to screen all data and figure out relevant ads. Your mail is technically handled by many systems that process/analyze it anyway. From virus scans, spam filters, to your mail client just figuring out if it should make certain text bold, underlined, or italics. Or how to process an inline image. Lots of software looks at your mail.

Personally, I don’t see the difference between Google, and Yahoo, Hotmail, or any other mail provider’s technology, except that Google is being smart, and providing a superior service, by selling relevant ads. How is this any more invasive? All Google did was put things together.

Personally, I think some people worry to much about privacy, and not enough about security. Instead of crying because a company put ads on a free service that you choose to use… Why not apply some patches to your buggy Windows computer so a hackers/spammer isn’t using it to flood my email with spam. To me, that’s much more invasive.

Just my $0.02.


In search of

Looking for Free (prefer Open Source) software that can create flowcharts, in particular for use with designing user interfaces.

Also in search of project management software.

Any insight/suggestions welcome.


The big debate

Time to make a little statement regarding Firebird vs. Seamonkey, and End User vs. Developer.

End User vs. Developer

I’ll start with this first.

Moving from a Developer/Development focus to an End user focus is a much better choice. The only mistake made in the past was not doing this since the early Milestones. Now the question you ask is why?

Every product needs an audience. If it doesn’t have an audience. It’s worthless. Mozilla is a solid application. The result of endless hours of coding on behalf of many excellent programmers. Someone should take advantage of this work they did. End Users are the ones who can benefit. End Users can use this beast that was created.

But what about the Developers you may ask? Who says they have to be ignored? Are they working on a moving target? Right now yes. But will it eventually become more stable? Of course. I have no doubt things will become more stable, and innovation will still continue.

The end user should be the focus. The end user should have always been the true focus. That doesn’t mean you can’t pay attention to the developers. And even help them out (documentation!). But the End user should be the ultimate goal. Help the developers help the end users. Help Mozilla help the end user. The end user should be in every sentence. If it isn’t… then what’s the point?

That’s not to say innovation, and “for the love of standards” is out the window. In fact it’s more relevant than ever. But it’s done with the hopes that the end result will be good enough “for the end user”. That amazing new feature that will revolutionize computing… for the end user.

Developers are important. They are what makes the Mozilla community what it is. But without a target audience (end user). What is this community serving? What is it bring to the Internet at large? A ton of code. What’s a ton of code that’s revolutionary, and able to benefit millions. A ton of good stuff.

End users should be Mozilla Foundations target. The Developers should be targeting End Users as well.

Mozilla Foundation should be helping Developers make this their target through better documentation

Firebird vs. Seamonkey

Firebird vs. Seamonkey is also quite a debate. Personally I’m all for Firebird. But here is my personal vision (not this is personal):

When I refer to “component(s)” I am referring to each product (Firebird, Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc.)


Downloads should be available as separate installers for each app, or one “super installer” (capable of installing all with a “download n’ install” method).


GRE should include auto-update functionality. As Mozilla evolves quickly, end users should have it as easy as possible. Ideally it should check each component and see if it’s been updated. Even extensions.


Just because the conjoined twins are separated doesn’t mean they can’t still be siblings. For example if Firebird sees Sunbird installed, it should be able to integrate itself so that you can have outlook like functionality (calendar and mail integration). If not found, it should look as if there is nothing missing.

The app suite has the advantage of integration. But just because the apps are separate doesn’t mean they can’t work together. They just need the ability to work on their own. Because not everyone is at liberty to change email clients (those whose companies use Outlook Exchange). But they still want to be saved from the hells of Internet Explorer.

I’m for integration with separation. Firebird is great. But it would be nice to see all the new Apps be aware of each other, and work together. To make me. the end user. happy.

So I’m for moving forward. There are two types of programs. Ones under development and dead ones. Mozilla is under development. Changing and evolving. Every Lizard needs to go through puberty before it can become a mature adult. Puberty is an awkward stage. But it will pass.

Programming Web Development

Neet little effect and other html related goodness.

This little effect seems pretty cool. I think I’m going to have to try implementing it on the new design soon.

So far all is well with the new design. Tested in the following browsers:

  • IE 5.5 Windows
  • IE 6 Windows
  • IE 5 Mac
  • Netscape 4 Mac
  • Netscape 4 Windows
  • Mozilla 1.x/Derivatives
  • Safari
  • OmniWeb
  • iCab
  • Opera

All browsers render the site properly. Amazing what some valid HTML does.

Over the next few days I will try and consolidate some code a bit, as well as implement the design on the remaining pages.