Category Archives: short

Because We Can Do a Thing Does Not Mean We Must Do a Thing

This brilliant observation made me think of how I feel whenever a client requests a “like” button for their HR page (or any page on a corporate web site, really).

Pictures of People Scanning QR-codes

Post title note: thanks to Kurtwood Smith for delivering the original quote.

 

Be the Google

Would you like 500mb of web hosting, plus Python, plus Django, plus a lot of Google database and application goodies? Would you like it for free? Then, my friend, what you need is Google App Engine. No mention yet of what the pricing is like after you hit your 5 million hits per month. But trust me, if you’re at 5 million hits per month, you don’t care.

Sorry Amazon S3, but you can basically suck it.

Update: um, yeah, it’s wait-listed. Though if you have Google Apps, you’re probably in.

G-Archiver and the Risks of Random Downloading

This is a pretty amazing story about a free utility with a malicious back-end twist.

This is so bad that I assumed it was a hoax. However, I downloaded the program, installed it (on a virtual machine), decompiled it, and verified that it is, in fact, “phoning home” with your gmail user name and password. Yikes.

The manufacturer’s page has been updated to indicate that this “was in no way intentional,” but does it really matter?

This Meme Needs a Name

All of a sudden (though probably not–I’m just catching on) there’s a rash of services that crunch plain text or data keys and return parsed, formatted, drilled-down usable data. For example…

Tripit will digest all your travel confirmations and produce a rich itinerary.

Google SMS will take a zip code, flight number, etc., from your cell phone, and return a rich data node.

Opencalais is a platform for doing stuff like this.

So what do we call it?

Mailinator: Free, Instant, Completely Unsecure Email

What if you’re downloading a product demo, need a unique address to get the key, and never want to hear from that company again? Good luck! Actually, you don’t need good luck, just mailinator.

Send to any address at mailinator.com (or one of several other domains) and then go to the site and check your email. But make it a long, complex address, because there’s no password. In fact, anyone can check “your” email if they know the email address (including the person/company who sends email to you).

If you completely understand the limitations, this is a wonderful service.

Scientists to The World: Two Billion Must Die

Like a bunch of real-life Rip Van Winkles, the scientific community has awoken from a 20-year slumber and come to the conclusion that the world has two billion more humans than it can possibly support. And while a phrase like “the scientific community” is often a euphemism for “some guy at a liberal arts college in Oregon” in this case we’re actually talking about “388 scientists reviewed by roughly 1,000 of their peers.” As far as scientists go, I think that’s pretty much all of them.

Speaking of which, have you seen Al Gore’s new business card?

I told you so