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Feds break Apple's code of App Store silence

Oh, Apple Computer. What sorts of antics are you into this month? Since the iPhone was released two years ago, watching Apple keep its obsessive vise grip on the device while trying to promote third party application development has been one solid I-didn't-know-you-could-do-that after another. Battle the recording industry for …
Ted Dziuba, 31 Aug 2009
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When ISPs hijack your rights to NXDOMAIN

Virgin Media's UK customers are about to experience a wonderful new service that intercepts unresolvable DNS requests and redirects the user to a page full of ads and search results. It's becoming a frequent trick that ISPs are pulling on their customers, as non-technical executives who could even put the airline industry to …
Ted Dziuba, 17 Aug 2009
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World whines as AT&T muzzles 4chan, Google

The American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation had a hell of a week. In a spectacular display of the raw power liberated when organizational incompetence is mixed with the moral elasticity that can only be bred in an oaky cask of middle management, the company not only showed the world that it can do whatever it damn well …
Ted Dziuba, 03 Aug 2009
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Twitter docs hack exploits stupidity vuln

Over a month ago, a hacker gained access to Twitter's internal documents and thereby introduced the unprofitable Web 2.0 darling to the blunt end of internet justice. Hacker Croll - the still anonymous Frenchman who has claimed responsibility for the attack - cracked the personal e-mail account of a Twitter administrator. In its …
Ted Dziuba, 20 Jul 2009
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TechCrunch dubs Linux a 'big ol’ bag of drivers'

Google has announced the Google Chrome Operating System, which is the Chrome browser bundled with a Linux kernel and a handful of hardware drivers, targeted at netbooks. Yes, this time it's actually an operating system, but don't cream yourself. Yet again, there is a severe case of the media not knowing what the fuck it's …
Ted Dziuba, 09 Jul 2009
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Google code cloud punts on-demand embarrassment

Last week, users of Google App Engine - Google's application hosting platform - discovered a new feature in the product: downtime. App Engine was offline for roughly six hours, and for much of that time, even the status page which tells users about downtime was unavailable. Now that's a strong way to send a message. As a …
Ted Dziuba, 06 Jul 2009
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Lamson - email app coding without the palm sweat

"Can you integrate this with my e-mail?" It's one of the more dreaded questions in software development. For any programmer who has been around the block a few times, it evokes a long repressed fear of Sendmail m4 macros or Outlook COM objects. When a non-technical managerial type asks this question in a group meeting, and your …
Ted Dziuba, 03 Jul 2009
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Opera Software reinvents complete irrelevance

Last week, in a bold attempt at being relevant again, Opera Software unveiled Opera Unite, which is marketese for "web server inside a web browser." The less obvious news tidbit from the release is that Opera Software is evidently still alive, and it's only when you've been clutching that single digit market share for a decade …
Ted Dziuba, 22 Jun 2009
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Google Squared - the Cuilest search app ever

Google recently released Google Squared, which is the Mountain View Chocolate Factory’s attempt at structured data search. Riding the tails of the Wolfram Alpha launch, Google hopes to convince people that they actually should care about structured search. Alpha showed us that it’s possible to do something interesting, albeit …
Ted Dziuba, 08 Jun 2009
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Google Wave - a developer's eye view

Last week, Google announced Wave, a new communication tool presumptuously described as "e-mail, if it were invented today." Now, it's a coming of age for technology companies to write a collaboration tool, put a good spit-shine demo on it, and call it a revolution. The idea is nothing new. In the 80s, we called it Lotus Notes. …
Ted Dziuba, 03 Jun 2009
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Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

Terrible things are about to happen in Microsoft's web application hosting environment, Windows Azure. Redmond's Slugworth, desperate to keep up with Mountain View's Chocolate Factory, has introduced support for PHP on their web application platform. Microsoft's Windows Azure is a competitor to Google App Engine and is trying to …
Ted Dziuba, 25 May 2009
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Wolfram Alpha - a new kind of Fail

Wolfram Alpha, the not-quite-search-engine from self appointed mathematical genius Stephen Wolfram, launched last Friday, and oh my, has it been a great weekend for software reviewers. I took some time to play around with Wolfram Alpha, and aside from being the best damn Wikipedia search engine since Powerset, the only …
Ted Dziuba, 19 May 2009
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Firefox passive-aggressives adjudicate Nerd Law

Last week, blood was shed in the Firefox community as two popular extensions to the browser - NoScript and Adblock Plus - finally started slugging it out over a conflict that had been underground for quite some time. It came to a head when Adblock Plus developer Wladimir Palant woke up in the morning next to a severed horse's …
Ted Dziuba, 11 May 2009
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Sphinx - text search The Pirate Bay way

In 2001, Andrew Aksyonoff had an itch. He ran a website that indexed song lyrics and allowed users to search them. At the time, none of the open source options for text search worked. Lucene, the standard response at an engineering team meeting when the problem of search comes up, was still a baby. Indexing took too long, and it …
Ted Dziuba, 08 May 2009
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Will Oracle kill MySQL? Who cares?

When Oracle bought Sun last week, the MySQL community collectively curled its lip into a worried sneer. Is Oracle going to kill MySQL? We'll have to wait and see. Oracle's acquisition of MySQL isn't like a lottery ticket. There is no chance that MySQL will get significantly better by leveraging some of Oracle's technology. MySQL …
Ted Dziuba, 27 Apr 2009
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Mathematica man brews 'AI' Google Killer™

Stephen Wolfram - the lovable George Costanza of the mathematics community who developed the invaluable Mathematica suite and wrote the much talked about but quickly forgotten "A New Kind of Science” - is trying his hand at artificial intelligence. His new project, Wolfram Alpha, set to go live in May, combines natural language …
Ted Dziuba, 17 Mar 2009

Eric Schmidt reanimates el cheapo PC zombie

Last week, Eric Schmidt ran his mouth off again at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco. Schmidt commented that one of the new business models in the pipe for internet businesses is giving out free or subsidized computers to users and stacking paper on the ad revenue. He didn't actually say that this is …
Ted Dziuba, 09 Mar 2009
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Life hands Sun steaming sack of...

"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." The chorus of a person who gives just enough of a shit about your problems to console you, but not enough to actually help. Lately, somebody has been consoling Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, but nobody is helping. When Schwartz took over for Scott McNealy in 2006, he inherited the Java ME …
Ted Dziuba, 23 Feb 2009
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Dear Obama: Please consider open-source a waste of your time

Last week, several big names in open source tossed a letter at American President Barack Obama, urging him to mandate that no government IT purchase be made without someone scrutinizing the software license. "Dear President Obama," it read, "please consider open source." The letter contained all the classic elements of an open …
Ted Dziuba, 16 Feb 2009
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Google faces post-Fleetwood Mac comedown

America loves its ballin'. Walk into the shop, ice around your neck, and twist off a hand full of cabbage to buy things - not out of necessity, but out of the joy of buying things. You would think that a publicly-traded company that's rolling in cheddar would be able to exercise some self-restraint, especially a company staffed …
Ted Dziuba, 09 Feb 2009
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Russian rides Phantom to OS immortality

It's nine degrees Fahrenheit in Moscow right now. That's the kind of cold that makes a man concentrate on his work so he can keep from remembering that the tears the wind blows out of his eyes will freeze on the side of his face before they hit the ground. In the middle of this icebox, Dmitry Zavalishin is cooking up a new …
Ted Dziuba, 03 Feb 2009
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Linux to spend eternity in shadow of 'little blue E'

Linux will never make any meaningful headway into the desktop. Nope, never. I could cite market share numbers, growth figures, and total cost of ownership studies, but none of that matters (plus, it's boring). Linux will never, ever defeat Windows because Windows has the little blue E. The blue E on my desktop that I can click …
Ted Dziuba, 26 Jan 2009
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Open-sourcers get with the git

There was a time when the Linux community used BitKeeper as its source code control system, after switching from the open-source CVS. But then Samba developer Andrew Tridgell figured out you could telnet to a BitKeeper server, type "HELP," and get a list of commands. Upon hearing of Tridgell's daring hack, BitMover - the company …
Ted Dziuba, 21 Jan 2009
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Web 2.0rhea hack mistaken for end of universe

Kids these days. Used to be, when you were mad at your parents or your professors, you'd write an email worm in Visual Basic and spread it around via Outlook clients. Hacks like that didn't take a lot of talent, but they had some comic value. As a tech person, it's entertaining to watch someone who's not savvy work a machine …
Ted Dziuba, 12 Jan 2009
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Swoopo - eBay's (more) evil twin

I have never expected much out of a Silicon Valley startup with a name that sounds like a baby word, but Swoopo is a rare exception. It's an online auction site with a dastardly twist. When you bid on products at Swoopo, you don't specify a price. You pay 75 cents for the bid, and that bid increases the price of the item by 15 …
Ted Dziuba, 02 Jan 2009
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Fast and 'free' beats steady and paid on MySQL

MySQL, the lovable little database engine that could - for reasonable values of could - is starting to feel the pain of being an open source project distributed by a large company. With a slower release cycle, community contributions are having a hard time making it into the mainline codebase, and an illicit market for patches …
Ted Dziuba, 27 Dec 2008
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Google disguises capitalism as civil rights

When you move to San Francisco, you have six weeks from the date you sign the lease on your four-thousand-dollar-a-month, two-bedroom apartment to adopt a cause. All San Franciscans need something to keep themselves occupied while their iPhones charge or their lattes are made. A wide variety of causes are available: anti-war, …
Ted Dziuba, 22 Dec 2008
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Larry Wall on the Zen of Perl 6

Laziness, impatience, and hubris: the three qualities that make a programmer, according to Larry Wall, the creator of Perl. Perl earned its fame years ago by being the major language driving web programming, and distinguished itself from the rest of the pack by allowing developers to write full-featured programs using nothing …
Ted Dziuba, 16 Dec 2008
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Native Client d**k-swinging met with fake Googasm

After a tech company has been making money on its own for a while, it will inevitably embark on a web enhancement project involving a browser plug-in that includes some sort of runtime or virtual machine so that the browser can do more that just render html. It's practically a coming-of-age experience in Silicon Valley. Google …
Ted Dziuba, 15 Dec 2008
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Google OS gOS - if at first you don't succeed...

gOS, the brain trust behind the failed $200 Linux-based “gPC” at WalMart, has seen fit to throw the dice one more time, introducing an operating system called Cloud that lets your computer boot into a browser. I, for one, welcome this innovation. I've always been a fan of neutering the most versatile machine in human history, …
Ted Dziuba, 08 Dec 2008
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Amazon parks human genome on cloud

In 1993, meat space bookseller Barnes & Noble started offering Starbucks coffee to augment customers' shopping experience. Not to be outdone, the Internet's largest bookseller has finally answered. Amazon announced yesterday that it will allow free, easy access to hard-to-find datasets like the human genome - and a few other …
Ted Dziuba, 05 Dec 2008
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Down the Digital River, into the heart of download darkness

Before the internet, software distribution was cumbersome. While it was relatively cheap to reproduce computer code once it was written, sending floppy disks and CD-ROMs about created friction. Now, with heavy adoption of high speed connections, you can easily buy software and download it over the tubes. Bytes are bytes, no …
Ted Dziuba, 01 Dec 2008
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Jerry Yang - Slugworth to Google's Willy Wonka

Ever since Wonka's Chocolate Factory in Mountain View started serving queries, it has been a living monument to the failure of Sunnyvale's Slugworth - and just about everything that has gone wrong can be blamed on Jerry Yang. From the days of Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web, Yang has been a constant pain in the ass …
Ted Dziuba, 24 Nov 2008

Linux weaktops poised for death by smartphone

Smartphones have been around for a long time, but only recently did the laptop industry figure out that it could cut into the market funded solely by tech nerds' f*ck-you money with a compound word of its own: netbook. A computer that carries light on the hardware and is designed to run programs provided as network resources is …
Ted Dziuba, 17 Nov 2008
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Michael Dell sells you some s**t you don't need

Michael Dell will never miss an opportunity to sell you some shit you don't need. Attendees of this year's Dreamforce conference saw a first hand demonstration of this, having to sit through about an hour's worth of of Dell's Always-Be-Closing pitch. Trying his hardest to look like Steve Jobs, Dell successfully turned the …
Ted Dziuba, 10 Nov 2008
OpenOffice_logo

OpenOffice 3.0 - the only option for masochistic Linux users

In a brilliant execution of public relations, OpenOffice.org 3.0 was released without enough capacity to handle the demand for downloads. Servers buckled under the traffic, and some of us in the media took the bait: Shit, this thing must be hot. Are people really getting that excited over an open source productivity suite? …
Ted Dziuba, 04 Nov 2008
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What Ray Ozzie didn't tell you about Microsoft Azure

Unveiled earlier this month at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference by Chief Whiteboard Operator Ray Ozzie, the Azure Services Platform confused damn near everyone. But after days of collaboration with the top minds in both industry and academia, El Reg is proud to announce that we have finally figured out what …
Ted Dziuba, 03 Nov 2008
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Yahoo! begs world+dog for free engineering

After announcing last week that it will lay off 1,400 employees, Yahoo! managers have birthed a new strategy that could recoup much of its soon-to-be-lost engineering talent: Get somebody else to do the work for free. Today, the Sunnyvale-based stagnant engineer pond officially released what it's calling Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y! …
Ted Dziuba, 29 Oct 2008
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The iPhone App Store - a classic protection racket

"Listen up, friend. We take care of the community. We all protect each other. You wanna set up shop in this neighborhood, you're gonna need some protection, you know what I'm sayin'? I mean, you got a real nice business here, nice store, nice people. It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it. Fire, robbery, these things …
Ted Dziuba, 27 Oct 2008
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1,400 Yahooligans perish as Yang raids needle cabinet

Yahoo! is firing a bunch of people to cut $400 million from its budget. That sucks for the people who work there, but the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who hustled Yahoo! out of more than $2.5 billion in the last 4 years probably aren't terribly concerned. In the typical American fashion, Yahoo! bought a bunch of shit it …
Ted Dziuba, 22 Oct 2008
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The Jesus Phone NDA - No one cares but you

Earlier this month, Apple lifted the heavy-handed nondisclosure agreement it imposes on developers. This NDA regulated what tips and tricks developers may share with each other (hint: none), which made it a real pain in the ass to publish a book about iPhone programming. Developers got really buttsore over this and did what …
Ted Dziuba, 20 Oct 2008
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Sergey Brin descends from Mount Sinai with Android API

If there's one thing that's never affected by economic downturn, it's the mobile handset market. This phenomenon is most evident at the underground parties and dive bars in San Francisco, where it is a well known yet unspoken tradition that in any given group of hipsters, the one with the cheapest phone must always buy the first …
Ted Dziuba, 06 Oct 2008
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OpenSocial, OpenID, and Google Gears: Three technologies for history's dustbin

Hey, does anybody remember Google's OpenSocial? Come on, it hasn't even been a year since it was announced. OpenSocial was supposed to unify social network application developers behind one common API. Revolutionary, innovative, all that shit. Still nothing? Ah, okay. What about OpenID, the best damned federated authentication …
Ted Dziuba, 22 Sep 2008
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Chrome-fed Googasm bares tech pundit futility

Last week, Google released a web browser called Chrome, and the online tech media had a powerful Googasm. We were long overdue for another climax like this, having been lightly stimulated with half-baked Google web products in the four years since GMail was released. Every time the media fires off its gravy so violently, it …
Ted Dziuba, 08 Sep 2008
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Cloud computing: A catchphrase in puberty

It's been called a lot of things: utility computing, grid computing, distributed computing, and now cloud computing. You can come up with any CTO-friendly name you like, but they all mean the same shit: Renting your quickly depreciating physical assets out because your software company is out of ideas for computer programs. …
Ted Dziuba, 25 Aug 2008

Hadoop: When grownups do open source

Hadoop is a library for writing distributed data processing programs using the MapReduce framework. It's got all the makings of a blogosphere hit: cluster computing, large datasets, parallelism, algorithms published by Google, and open source. Every four days or so, a nerd will discover Hadoop, write a “Basic MapReduce Tutorial …
Ted Dziuba, 11 Aug 2008

Sun may or may not be about to obliterate Oracle and Microsoft

I don’t know about you, but every time I have to program with threads and shared resources, I want to remove my face incrementally with a salad fork. Locks, mutexes, the synchronized keyword; all of these things can strike fear into the heart of a green developer. Most seasoned developers just fall into a rut of depression when …
Ted Dziuba, 28 Jul 2008
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Google releases serialization scheme

Protocol buffer: it’s the object serialization scheme the pretentious little shit on your development team has been talking at you about during lunch hours for the past couple of days. You’ve been feigning interest with a steady stream of “oh-yeahs” and “that-sounds-cools”, so you don’t really know what it is. Well today is your …
Ted Dziuba, 14 Jul 2008