In The News Tech (General)

Yahoo Goes Green

Yahoo is going carbon neutral. I’m curious how much is offset, and how much is reduction. Yahoo has a fairly large infrastructure. I wonder if they are using alternative power sources, or if they are going to plant a million trees. They do mention:

These projects could include a wind farm in India or a small-scale run of the river hydroelectric project in Brazil. We’re also looking to invest in emerging clean technologies.

Interesting. I wonder if we will see things like carbon neutral VoIP, carbon neutral bandwidth, carbon neutral data centers / colocation / hosting?

Around The Web In The News Internet

Google Zeitgeist 2006

Google Zeitgeist 2006 is out. Along with an explanation on how the data is compiled on the Google Blog:

…we looked for those searches that were very popular in 2006 but were not as popular in 2005 — the explosive queries, the topics that everyone obsessed over….

It always proves to be an interesting bit of year-end data to look at. Yahoo on the other hand keeps things a little more up to date with the Buzz Index, also a very good read. For example the impact of President Ford’s death in searches. Very cool data. Hopefully one day Google will do something similar. I’d love to see how their audiences compare on current events as they happen.

Internet Web Development

Yahoo TV Redesign

I noticed this the other day. The Yahoo! TV redesign is aweful (my personal opinion, maybe some like/love it). And yes, we all know I’m a TV addict. Once upon a time I was a user, but switched because it was to slow and cumbersome. Now once again I may be hunting for something better. Here are some of the problems I feel are pushing me away:

  • Need To Sign In To Get Correct Listings – Before I didn’t need to be signed in, it just saved a cookie with my prefs. This keeps my account more secure (separate sign-in) and still lets me quickly glance at my listings. I noticed for the past month or two even that wasn’t working very well. It seemed to forget my settings. Now I need to login or stay logged in (or get generic listings).
  • URL’s Should Be Forever – If they live short of that, use a redirect. The listings used to be it’s now Breaking bookmarks is taboo on the web. Especially big pages like that which are very bookmarkable.
  • Abuse Of AJAX – It feels as if ajax was used only because it looks cool and trendy. It’s unnecessary. They should load the whole grid at once. Each section of the grid seems to be 8 -10 channels long. And one request for each section. The ajax response isn’t slim either, it’s raw HTML (likely inserted with innerHTML for performance reasons as DOM is typically slower). Now to scroll to channel 63, I need several of these requests. It’s slows things down despite being ajax and technically asynchronous.
  • Hard To Tune Navigation – The time navigation is hard to accurately pinpoint, making the old pulldown list of times in :30 intervals much easier to use. This is driving me nuts. I want 8:30!
  • More Clicking, Less TV Watching – Clicking on a link does this drop down effect. Only then can you get full show info (unless you open in new tab/window). 2 clicks where it used to be only 1.
  • “Info” Page Is Like A Splash Page – That info page is also very slow, unlike the old one which was very lean and fast. Rather than have upcoming episodes of the show listed as well as credits (good for seeing guest stars on The Simpsons), it’s filled with a lot of useless info (show ratings, reviews, link to buy DVD, promo photo’s, news related to the show). To get the good stuff (detailed info on show, credits, upcoming episodes)… yea all separated onto individual pages now. Lots of clicking.

I also hear of browser issues (Safari), but haven’t tested myself so I won’t go into that.

Now this doesn’t make much sense. They presumably went to ajax to make common tasks require less pageloads and increase usability and fluency of the site (click show title for more info), but instead I think it causes users to load more pages to view info they are accustomed to. The side effect on all this is that it’s slower for users who want some info on what’s on. I understand the need to monetize the pages, but at least make it worth clicking on.

Apparently they are working on things, and even addressing feedback and they deserve serious credit for that. It would be wrong to not credit them for this effort.

By the way: I wouldn’t mind turning off the “Record To TiVo” buttons. I don’t own a TiVo. Perhaps ask for the users pref when getting their TV listing info? Maybe that’s just me.

There does seem to be alternatives. and as well as my employer’s site ShowBuzz (see, I do disclose relationships).

Needless to say, as a web developer and a TV addict, this redesign was very interesting from my perspective. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Disclaimer: Obviously, this post is my opinion only and does not in any way reflect the opinions of my employer.

Internet Programming Web Development

Yahoo hosting PHP

Found this rather interesting:

Yahoo's PHP Mirror

It’s been known for a while Yahoo is a PHP user, but it’s interesting to see them giving back. Very cool.

Mozilla Software

Yahoo Widget for Sunbird

Yahoo Widget

Interesting to see Yahoo Widgets support Sunbird right out of the box! Wonder if that will work with Lightning?


Yahoo Dashboard

Ok, this is just asking for a lawsuit. Does the same thing with apparently the same name. Not sure if the article is just inaccurate with the term “Dashboard” or if that was accurate.

The only complexity is that Apple allegedly got the idea for Dashboard by stealing from Konfabulator.

This will be interesting.

Blog Google

Sixth Robert

I’m now the 6th Robert on Yahoo. I haven’t even found myself on Google.

It’s going to take a lot to topple Robert Scoble.

Edit: No longer on the list as of 12/26/2005. Hmm.

Web Development

Yahoo’s TV Guide Updated

Looks like Yahoo redid it’s TV guide, using some CSS. Interestingly looks like it might be a win for microformats. I’d love to know what someone like Tantek Çelik has to say about the new code. I’m no pro, but it looks like an improvement over the old system.

In The News Internet Open Source

Microsoft pushing Sender ID?

Ok, just when I was starting to think that Microsoft may be changing their ways and trying to act in good faith after them fixing their website the other day. Microsoft starts talking about pushing their sender ID stuff on us. Sender ID is Microsoft’s alternative to the other spam prevention techniques such as Yahoo’s DomainKeys. One problem with Sender ID is the licensing, which has caused organizations like Apache Foundation (who oversee the SpamAssassin project), to nix support for Sender ID. AOL has also also dropped support, and looked towards SPF.

I agree one one of these standards is needed to help prevent spam. Personally I think DomainKeys is the most promising of them all. It’s licensing looks like it will be adequate, and it has a fair amount of backing. Google’s Gmail has apparantly implemented SPF and DomainKeys at this time. I think it’s time for everyone to start looking at following their lead. These two technologies look to be the best. And by implementing them, your mail is more likely to get past spam filters. Microsoft is right, it’s time to start acting. But not with their own proprietary stuff.


Switching to Gaim

I’m not exactly a big Instant Messaging fan, but it seems life forces you to use it these days. The majority of use on AIM, some MSN, Yahoo, and sometimes my favorite Skype. All those clients are clutter. So I don’t use Yahoo much, and keep that one closed. I’ve complained several times about how AOL dropped the ball with AIM. It’s client is about as bloated as Real Player. It’s gotten progressively worse after each release, to get a new feature, or security fix, you need to sacrifice more of your computer. I personally don’t like that concept.

I’m now using Gaim full time, and it seems to work rather well for me, minus a few caveats. Anyone who can help me would be requested to leave a comment:

  • Gaim won’t load with cygwin in the PATH, crashing with no clear error. No clue how to fix this without killing cygwin yet.
  • I could really use a S/MIME encryption plugin so that I’m compatible with those using the official AIM client with security enabled (they use SSL and S/MIME I believe). Anyone know of such a plugin?
  • Way to enforce a minimum font size (windows users tend to use rather small font sizes for things like AIM profiles, I’d love to simply +1 a few off the smaller ones).
  • Not that I use it often, but AIM has somewhat unstable file transfer. Some improvements in that area would be welcome.

Overall, I’m rather satisfied. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than AIM is at the moment. Perhaps Triton will shape up at some point. Until then I think Gaim is the best solution.

Note: Yes, I’ve tried Trillian. It’s a good product, but not good enough to pay for. Sorry Trillian fans. It’s rather ugly (haven’t seen a skin yet that doesn’t fix that), it’s UI is just strange, and it’s just not featured enough for the money. Adium is bliss on my Mac.