Friday, April 22, 2005

Critical Update for Real Player

Real Networks has just released patches for a critical security flaw within Real Player. This flaw could allow someone to run malicious software on computers with unpatched software. Most major versions of Real ONE and Real Player are affected. You can check to see if you need this update by:
  • Opening the software
  • Click on Tools | Check for Update
[from eWeek]

Google's My Search History

Google has introduced a service in which you can view and manage your Google search history. A login is required, so you can bring up your search history from any computer. Called My Search History, this service is in beta. In addition to seeing a listing of the searches you've done, you can see them in other ways:
  • using a calendar
  • full-text searching
  • related searches over time
You can delete searches in the history, or pause the service so that some searches are not reflected in the history. [from Wired]

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Symantec and Spyware

Symantec is incorporating spyware into its Internet security offerings. They have released a free beta version of Norton Internet Security 2005 Antispyware Version. This download will be available until June 1st and is available only to Windows 2000 and XP users. The full version should be available in May for approximately $80. [from eWeek]

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Adobe To Buy Macromedia

Adobe (pdf) is purchasing Macromedia (web software heavy into multimedia, e.g., Flash and Shockwave). According to Wired News, one of the things Adobe hopes to do is to create audio and video documents and images compatible with handheld devices. [from CNET, Wired News]

Updated Browsers

A number of browsers now have updates available:

Friday, April 15, 2005


Would you like to see what you web site would look like if it was attacked by Martians, dinosaurs, worms or mold? Netdisaster will "do unto" any website you choose. Prepare to waste some time here. [from]

Google is Faster with Firefox

. . . if you click through to the first result. Apparently, when you use Google as your search engine and Firefox as your browser, Google automatically downloads the top search result when it downloads the initial citation list. If you click on the first result, you see it immediately.

Free Web Hosting for Small Businesses

Yahoo is providing a free web site (5 pages) for small businesses that list their business in Yahoo! Local. There is no charge for the listing under Yahoo! Local. I couldn't find a definition of "small business," but if you know of any that need a web presence, this might do it for them.

Indictments for Companies Working with E-Rate

A federal grand jury has indicted six companies and five individuals on charges of defrauding the E-Rate program . . .
The activities described in this indictment occurred in school districts in California, Arkansas, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Companies names include Howe Electric, Sema4, Digital Connect Communications, Expedition Networks, ADJ Consultants and Video Network Communications. If any of these companies are familiar to you via E-Rate, you might want to check your paperwork.

Beware: Microsoft Security Updates

A CNET article reminds us that Microsoft does not send email messages to you with links to update your software. If you followed the link in the current spate of email messages, you would have downloaded a Trojan Horse. Remember -- check for Microsoft updates via their web site:
  • Windows --
  • Office --

Study of MARC 21 Fields

This may not sound very exciting, but this project, funded by IMLS and performed by the UNT Texas Center for Digital Knowledge, will have huge ramifications. Basically, Dr. Shawne D. Miksa and Dr. William E. Moen will investigate catalogers' use of MARC 21. David Bigwood has an excellent overview of this project on Catalogablog. Although this will be extremely helpful to catalogers, it will also be valuable to those of us working with digital libraries and their metadata. This project could help us identify core elements that could be used (directly or via mapping) within digital libraries. If you are interested in following this more closely, you can find information on the project's web site -- MARC Content Designation Utilization: Inquiry and Analysis.

.jobs and .travel

More domains are coming. Although the ICANN Board must approve them, it looks like you will be seeing both .jobs and .travel in the next couple of years. I haven't been able to find the specifics on either of them yet, but my guess is that they will focus on job-hunting/resume and travel sites, respectively. [from beSpecific]

Flash Cookies

Most of us are aware of the textual cookies that can reside on your computer. You can easily delete these all of the cookies, or just those from websites you don't want. Now, however, there is the possibility of cookies created using Macromedia's Flash. Most of us have downloaded the Flash player, but I don't think many of us are aware of the tracking that is possible. You can change this behavior on a site-by-site bases:
  • Right click on a Flash application (e.g., movie).
  • Choose Settings.
  • Click on Local Storage (the file folder). You can set how much information from this server can be stored on your computer. You could set it at zero and also choose "Never Ask Again." This stops any application from this particular server from saving any information to your computer.
This method comes from a Web4Lib post by George Porter. If anyone knows of a way to set this globally, I'd be interested.

Microsoft's New Tablet PC

I think I'd really like to work with some type of tablet PC. One that I can actually (off the top of my head) take notes on, will allow me to enter information into my calendar, into my documents, let me cut and paste from the Internet, develop presentations, use wireless, read comfortably, etc. -- and all that is easy to carry around and isn't fragile. Not asking for much, is it? ;-) Microsoft Watch says that a new type of tablet/e-book is being developed at Microsoft. Some clues have been dropped here and there, but nothing substantial as yet. In an interview, Bill Gates discussed providing a tablet device for text books -- possibly honing in on the education market. I'm looking forward to what will come of this.

Comparison of Online Music Services

I've been looking for this for a while. ExtremeTech has compared nine services, looking at:
  • Whether it is a download or subscription service.
  • Pricing.
  • Whether it requires a player application.
  • Number of claimed songs.
  • File format.
  • Bit rate.
  • DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology.
  • Whether it works with Firefox or Linux.
  • Options for burning CDs.
  • Support for portable players.
  • Whether family plans are available.
  • DMA (Digital Media Adapter) support.
Services compared:

iPod Pilot Project at Duke

At Duke University, every freshmen this year received an iPod. This was a pilot project to determine if and/or how this device could support the curriculum. As you might assume, not all classes found it useful. Those involving theatre arts, economics, music, and language arts found valuable applications for the iPod. Even science classes, such as engineering, found ways to use it. The administration has decided to continue providing iPods, but only for students attending specific classes. The University will be piloting and reviewing other technologies, particularly mobile, wireless devices. A news release is available from the University. [from CNET]

Thursday, April 07, 2005

FBI Demonstrates WEP Cracking in 3 Minutes

Interesting article on how a team of FBI agents cracked a 128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy -- a security protocol for wireless LANs) key in less than 3 minutes. If you're technical, they explain exactly how it was done. If you're not, they give some advice at the end of the article:
  • Segregate that part of your network.
  • Change the default settings on your access point.
  • Use WPA with a strong key.
  • Update firmware.
  • Turn off the wireless LAN when it's not in use.
[from beSpecific]


Search using Yagoohoogle, and you will see a split screen -- results from Google on the left and results from Yahoo on the right. It's fun and interesting to see the differences in the listings. FYI: Don't use quotations for phrase searching -- it won't work. [from beSpacific]

Searching for Creative Commons Material

Yahoo has instituted a Creative Commons Search -- in beta, of course. The Creative Commons license allows an author or creator to identify exactly how their work(s) can be used. In some cases, the work is available for any use. However, you can limit the license in many ways, e.g., available for use if attribution is made and if used for non-commercial purposes. In Yahoo's search engine, you can limit the search to either:
  • content that can be used for commercial purposes.
  • content you can modify, adapt, or build upon.
Creative Commons has its own search engine available, but when I do the same search in both CC and Yahoo, I see more results from Yahoo. I couldn't find information explaining exactly how Yahoo is identifying CC materials in their searching. CC has its own logo, so it could be searching for that. However, some sites that are found don't have that logo -- at least I couldn't find it. Regardless I will use this search engine to find materials I can use for courses. Just for my own peace of mind, though, I will look for the CC license; if it is not there, I probably won't use it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Platform Independent Real-Time Speech Technology

From Opera's press release:
Opera Software's R&D department today announced the discovery of a new technology dubbed "Opera SoundWave" - a platform-independent speech solution for short- and medium-range interpersonal communication.
Excellent read -- particularly for April 1st! There's even a preview available. ;-)