Internet & Related Stuff

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For Internet and Related Stuff.

I draw folks attention to the comment i've just tagged onto my previous entry about Aerial Impressions.

Almost exactly 12 months ago, we went through the same business. And here we go again. And again folks in NZ are facilitating the 'faux-business' operated out of a 'faux-address' in Wellington.

Some folks are reporting that there's less than 2 weeks of IPv4 left in the world (to allocate to ISPs etc).

i've now got the HE widget in a block on the left side of my website. Read it and weep? (And get your v6 sorted!)

Good ol' Java at it again!

Yessir, this is a great installer for Java's recent update! It even achieves 'smartarse' status.

The left hand panel comes up as you let the Install Wizard do it's thang. "You have successfully installed Java" with a tickbox (ticked by default) that says 'Restart my browser to complete the installation', and a close button.

With several tabs of work-related content open, I don't want to close my browser right now, and figure (like many 'restart required' installers) that i'll simply restart my browser in a few minutes time.

Oh no. Not that simple. Deselecting the tickbox results in the right hand panel popping up. Can anyone explain for me why a full computer restart would be required if I failed to restart my browser when demanded?

At this point I had to laugh; what's the point in providing a deselect tickbox if you're then going to in effect use scaremongering tactics on your users?

I closed down Firefox and then clicked OK. IE was still there (whoopsie) and when that restarted It sent me directly to the 'verify your version of Java' website (instead of opening the tabs i'd had open prior. Interestingly, IE is not my default browser. I clicked 'home' and went on with my life.

In hindsight this probably doesn't seem as bad as it sounds, however, I found the above pretty damn rediculous and actually somewhat rude...

I just want to say that 'dmidecode' is one of the most singularly useful commands i've come across in a while.
Not something you necessarily want every day, but, well, pipe it to less from a terminal and enjoy :-)

One of the many tweets flying around in the last hour or so has been a story about Google Screwing over one of their clients to the tune of Thousands of $$$ because of some obscure contract violations.

From a cold email:

"After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will both be fully refunded to the affected advertisers."

... through to no real explanation as to what 'invalid activity' is ...

... through to a crazy analysis of the legal situation:

"The Adsense contract is a beautiful piece of work. One of my subscribers is a lawyer. She looked at the contract and said “wow – this is a beautiful and incredibly expensive piece of work. These guys employ the best.” Her advice? Don’t bother fighting Google.

The contract is designed so that it is almost impossible not to break the Google rules. If you disclose site data then you are in breach. YouTube discloses just the sort of site data that would have me thrown out – but YouTube is Google which is Adsense."

Seriously. Click through and read it. And think about the impact that this has had on the guy, who had absolutely no idea he was doing anything wrong. Is in fact possible not to do wrong? Does this mean that everyone using AdSense is ultimately operating thanks to the good will of Google? And that Google can screw them over, without warning, and quite happily claim it's within their rights?

The entire situation makes a mockery of Google's 'Do no Evil' stance, and I for one am even more put off. The risk of the "cloud" is the amount of dependency you wind up having on it. There's a very good reason I keep the majority of my stuff, under my own direct control, this includes my income.... but notwithstanding this position, Google needs a rocket for screwing over an innocent, loyal customer.

Example of stupidity: An AdSense customer (someone using AdSense for advertising and thus revenue) is in breach of their contract if folks click on the links provided via AdSense and then don't purchase anything from the advertiser? REALLY? I see a run of DoS against AdSense users coming...

I came across http://vilain.net/blog/2010/12/93-vilain-v-vodafone.html via Twitter yesterday. I've met Sam Vilain, though I don't know him well - but I know him by reputation as a clever guy. That, and this being an issue I have strong interest in, had me keeping my ear to ground for the outcome of events.

In short, Sam was taking Vodafone to the Disputes Tribunal over the cost of international roaming on his Vodafone cellphone.
For anyone who travels frequently, you'll be aware of the facts involved - that roaming is horrendously expensive and that there's no way that the end-user costs associated with roaming data are in any way proportional to the actual operating costs of the service. Indeed there's plenty of media coverage about the insane costs of roaming (despite Vodafone making such a big deal about it's worldwide service).

A simple Google Search reveals headlines like:

So I share in Sam's dissapointment at the ruling but will also be interested in the followup. From my perspective:

- Vodafone have been far too inspecific about the costs of data use in their billing system; if a customer wants by-session information they should be able to have it!! Landline broadband can already do this.
- The rates are expensive; the fact it's cheaper to buy a local sim card than use your own number is actually a bit of a joke when it's usually pretty obvious that at a network level, costs are barely above local data costs. The host networks own local charging rates should sent the benchmark for a roaming guest. This case is serving to give yet more exposure to what many consider is a rort.

Skype is a useful little tool. I'm sure it needs no introduction.
And for those who don't use Internet Explorer, this article probably means little...

I use Firefox as my primary browser on all platforms (Windows, Linux) that I use on a daily basis.
However I do still have Internet Explorer on all my Microsoft systems - it's shipped by default, it's not worth the drama of uninstallation, and it still has its place on the shelf.
For example, at work I use IE for a lot of my internal-use stuff as it's a) Microsoft driven and b) a useful segregation between external and internal content.
(I also have Google Chrome, as a third option, as I seriously avoid using IE to browse anything on the Internet-at-large).

Anycase. Within IE when you install Skype, you by default get the plugin which does clever things like turning phone-numbers (or things it thinks are phone numbers) into clickable links that'll encourage you to use Skype to dial them. Or even (as I discovered today), linking a name that appears on Sharepoint with a name thatappears in Skype, incase you wish to directly instant message the person you're reading about!

Fed up, I googled.
And found This very useful article.

Ultimately the 'right' way to turn off the plugin for me (IE8 on Windows 7) was to navigate to Tools -> Manage Add Ons, Find 'Skype Technologies SA' and select 'Skype Add-on for IE', and disable this. It then disabled a related plugin, 'Skype Add-on for Internet Explorer'.

Restarted IE and bang, back to normal browsing. Thank God for that.

MSN/Windows Live have Changed Stuff; their SSL Cert as supplied in Pidgin (up to and including 2.7.5 which is current) no longer works.

The instructions found at OMGUbuntu.co.uk work well. They also apply to Windows; in my case Windows 7.

Export the SSL cert you can export from https://omega.contacts.msn.com/ to C:\Users\[your user name]\AppData\Roaming\.purple\certificates\x509\tls_peers and replace the old omega.contacts.msn.com file with the new one, then quit and restart pidgin.

I assume that in versions >2.7.5 they'll have updated the SSL Cert. No idea of Ubuntu et al will supply the update via their distribution networks.

qrcode

Yes, this is a little circular. But they're a neat idea for those with 'smart' devices capable of decoding them. :-)

This is worth a look. Rare to see a drop of rationality in this world of polarizing, extremist views... http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2010/10/of-us-who-work-in-corporate-it-world.html

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