Don’t Be Evil. That is Google’s corporate slogan. It’s a great slogan for a great corporation. At least it was. Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if Google is forgetting their mantra. And finally, in the last couple of days, I got hit with a one-two punch that made me decide it was time to start using another search engine.
There have been some technical changes here at Matt’s Mindless Musings, inspired partly by boredom and partly by the never-ending war on spam. Unlike previous changes which added more cumbersome restrictions in an attempt to keep spammers at bay, some of the latest changes might actually make the site more friendly to casual visitors.
The war on spam threatens to be as endless and futile as the war on terror. A recent CNN/Reuters report claims that 9 out of 10 email messages are spam. I’ve recently been forced to fortify my own defenses, both on this site and on my email server, so I guess it’s a good time for a combination of ranting and geekspeak about the issue.
This picture shows the view from my office window, as seen by my crappy cellphone camera. Despite the picture’s (lack of) quality, you can see a pile of brush and sawdust which was a tree yesterday. Some readers may suspect me of being a closet tree-hugger and think I’m going to rant about the senseless slaughter of a tree in the prime of its life. Co-workers, who are well aware that my appreciation of nature leans more towards fauna than flora, asked me how much I bribed the chainsaw man to make the tree disappear.
A recent Computerworld article reports on the Explorer Destroyer campaign to get Internet Explorer users to switch to Firefox. It provides script code that webmasters can add to their sites to determine which browser is being used, and provide gentle or blunt suggestions to Explorer users, or even prevent them from accessing the site. As a website owner with a deep pathological loathing for all things Microsoft, I’ll be all over this, right? Wrong. Been there, done that, got over it.
You may have noticed that things look a little different here. We have a new and improved, or at least new, look. To take care of a few little bugs, I upgraded to the newest release of the Geeklog software that drives this site. I was too lazy to make all the changes necessary to make my old theme continue to work with the new release, so I switched to the default “Professional” theme supplied with the software. I might make a few minor adjustments in the near future, but unless there’s a major backlash from faithful readers (see the poll), this is probably our new look.
The latest security flaw in Windows has stirred up some controversy among security experts about whether an unofficial patch should be installed to prevent exploitation. One self-proclaimed expert said, apparently with a straight face, “It’s certainly not a good recommendation, in our opinion, to all of a sudden start recommending code of this nature. At the very least, it has not undergone the quality scrutiny and testing that Microsoft’s patch will have.” If Microsoft had half a clue about quality scrutiny and testing, they wouldn’t be shipping crappy code that turned their customers’ computers into hacker playgrounds in the first place.
As I was eyeballing my website stats this morning (yeah, I know, I need a life, but hunting was cancelled), I noticed that a computer at halliburton.com had logged enough hits here to show up on the report. I know there are a few references to Halliburton here (mostly uncomplimentary), but not that many. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what had attracted their attention, and what other rants they had wandered into after reading all I had to say about their corporation.
There are some interesting news reports about a new anti-theft gadget for mobile electronic devices (laptops, phones, etc.) Interesting concept, but even if it works, I see a problem with it.
I spent some time last weekend playing with another techno-toy. Like the iPod, I’ve had the latest toy for a while, but had to get some accessories before I could use it enough to say much about it. Unlike the iPod, it’s not exactly pocket size.