Sunday, December 31, 2006

Technorati DOES support blogger labels

I stand corrected, technorati indeed does support the (new/beta) blogger labels as technorati tags.
Don't know how that slipped me, I thought I double checked... or then again maybe they just introduced this feature recently.

eBay to support RSS

eBay now supports RSS feeds for searches;
well at least I just discovered them, might be that they support them quite a while, but I just haven't noticed.
Anyway this is a cool feature.
I'd just love to see an RSS feed on my watch list as well.

Friday, December 29, 2006

StarOffice 8 Update 5

StarOffice 8 Update 5 for Windows is out and my StarOffice installation was kind enough to inform me about this.

This is because, finally the folks at finally implemented a update notification feature.

So if anyone is interested in the update, it's here.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Flock supports new blogger

Flock 0.7.9 is out and it supports the new blogger (formerly known as blogger beta) APIs and interfaces.


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Mozilla drag and drop

Just found out here at Dictionaries for Mozilla Thunderbird that you can drag a URL/link from Firefox into the extension dialog of Thunderbird.

All I can say is: wow.

(well I guess Apple Mac users would have done this anyway; we PC users loose the sense for whats intuitive, we're kind of out-educated by windows.)

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Fighting Spam

One of my mail providers with quite some heavy Spam problems recently implemented a new anti-spam technique, which actually reduced my daily Spam from about 100 to 5-10 e-mails a day. The ISP side Spam filters conveniently caught 99% of them, with not too many false positives (“false positives” are regular e-mails that erroneously are treated a spam), so the 100 really did not bother me that much. Now the 5-10 are really fine. For various reasons I wont disclose the feature they implemented, but it seems to work well so far.

Which leads me to the still unsolved problem of Spam; Spam or UBE (“unsolicited bulk email”) could only evolve because there is no cost associated with sending or transporting email. Spammers therefore can send out as many messages as they want, with the most dubious messages, because if even only 1 in ten thousand users clicks on their link or offer, it would still be worth it.

So the more general model here is, that the spammer has a means of transporting a trigger message to his supposed audience that leads at least a tiny fraction of the audience to do something that causes the spammer to receive money; e.g. place an order with him, usually for sex related drugs or fake luxury stuff, or it might be even ad sponsored web pages.

According to this, spam works if the gain (financially for the spammer) from one user performing this action times the success rate (i.e. the fraction of users who fall for this of all the messages sent) is higher then the cost of delivering the spam messages. As long as email is free, this will obviously always work. Even if we make it significantly hard for spammers to break our spam filters, with huge numbers it pays.

As a formula:

cost-per-message*messages + setup-cost + cost-of-counter-fighting-antispam
< gain-per-click * success-rate*messages

Some parties therefore suggested to collect a very tiny amount of money, say 1cent, for each email. Regular users like you and me wouldn't really notice, because with even 100 e-mail a day its only 1€or 1$. Spammers would notice, because at several thousand to million messages it would make them pay more than the receive.

I have my doubts regarding this model:

  1. Morally: 1 cent per message seems little to us Europe or US, but is a significant barrier to everyone else, e.g. Africa; we don't want to truncate them from the net.

  2. A problem of collection: who should collect the fee ? the ISP cant and won't, because that would be event based billing, which most of the smaller ISP simple aren't setup to do.

  3. even if the ISPs were to charge for it, there would emerge at least one ISP who would break the system for a very small email flat rate, and it would pay again for spammers

  4. if the receiving party collects, then from whom ?

  5. the spam model is only about the relative price of the message to the gain (see above), Spam SMS (“short messaging service” on the mobile) shows that it works with high cost delivery (and SMS is probably the most expensive today) if only the gain is high enough; with SMS spam it is usually a call to a toll-number (1-900 in the US, 0190 in Germany, 09xx in Austria)

So as neat as charging for e-mail messages seems, because it would attack the very model of spamming, I doubt that it can work at all (or should work at all given the cost for the 3rd world).

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Palm R.I.P. II

I knew the fellow eBayers wouldn't let me down; as planned
here, my replacement Palm T|X (used) should arrive in the next couple of days.

Thanks to ebay (and paypal) for making transactions superfast.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Blogger beta finally out of beta

So the "new blogger" or "blogger beta" finally went out of beta.
Get the new features here in the tour.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

blogger vs technorati

Now that the (beta/new) blogger supports tags -or labels as they call them - there is the problem, that it does not pass them on to technorati, or technorati does not read them.
Since I don't want to double-tag I only use one of the tagging systems.
Currently I stick with blogger for testing - and because its a lot easier.

Anyone remember the floppy disk?

Today I was confronted with almost the whole history of portable disk media:

I had to install some piece of SW from a DVD onto an old Laptop running Windows ME (please, don't ask me why, I had to... OK)
So the laptop only had a CD drive, not a DVD drive. And no Ethernet or Wifi, either (of course, you will say).
Then using my regular PC I copied the data to my external USB drive, connected the laptop via USB to the drive... and voila, it complained that it was missing the USB mass storage drivers.
That sent me looking for a 3.5" floppy disk for about 1/2 hour. I didn't have any...
So I wasted a CD to transfer just the USB drivers, installed them, and the USB worked fine.

So, from
  • Floppy (Ok, I couldn't, but I would've if only I had one)
  • via CD
  • and DVD
  • to USB drive.
Not bad, eh.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Java IS everywhere...

I just installed my DVB-T set-top box because the Austrian broadcasting system is switching from analog to digital. Since I don't have cable ('cause the cable company refuses to install cable in my area) and just don't want to have a satelite dish, I'm still on the terrestrial system.
Now I have to switch to digital... So I just bought the box... and guess, after switching it on, when the device first initializes, it shows a Java powered logo.

Sooooo cool.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Google finally working on/with Blogger

So, finally: years (ahem) after Google took over Blogger they are integrating it their ecosystem.
At least as viewed from a more or less outside perspective.
As you see from the URL (... I'm hosting my blog(s) on blogger and will be using the new features gradually.
Some of those new features are:
  • post to blogger from google docs/spreadsheets...
  • labels (i.e. tags, just not linked to technorati, unfortunately)

Stay tuned.

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Palm R.I.P.

Last week I opened my Palm T|X and I thought there was a leave on the screen.
If only...
It took just a couple of seconds (or probably less) to realize, that the display was actually broken (internally somewhere) and the weird leaf-like pattern must be some liquid of the LCD display (or whatever).

So I wondered whether I should really bother buying a new T|X especially since this one is only about 1 year old... And it's still priced at 250-270 EURO.

Now since my Nokia 6233 can do IMAP over SSL for e-mail and actually also do some decent web-surfing... Both over UMTS/3G...
Then again, the palm is still a much better device for surfing (and sudoku, mind you) and of course I need

I guess I will nevertheless get myself a replacement T|X, there should be some good offers on eBay..

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Calacanis' Podcast device

Jason Calacanis sketches a new postcast-only device he wants to build together with Dave Winer and Peter Rojas; which is obviously DRM free ("obviously" because it's Dave Winer and its about podcasting - so there), and able to fully support Wifi.

At one point, when they talk about how Wifi could be used to download music from your PC (or the net) as well as exchange podcasts between devices, Dave says that obviously RSS would be used for that.

At first I just thought: how typical for him - everything has to be RSS. But then I thought a bit more about it - and yes, he's right: RSS (as well as Atom, in my point of view) would do the job. And quite well, too.

Listen to it on CalacanisCast Beta 7: Dave Winer and Peter Rojas discuss the RWC Podcast player - The Jason Calacanis Weblog

PS: I myself am still using my iPod nano to listen to podcasts - and I still like it - no matter what everyone else says.

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