Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

February 20, 2008  12:35 PM

Overheard: Caller ID spoof

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
telephone.jpg He spoofed the HR director’s work phone number, then the number of that guy’s boss, before moving up to a vice president, and finally, the CEO. Says he had no choice. He also says “this thing that I did is bad and should be outlawed.”

Paul McNamara, Confessions of a Caller-ID spoofer

I worked in the converged voice space, so the mechanics of caller ID were not unfamiliar to me or to the crew of geeks that I call friends. The light went on over beers – I was complaining about the former employer’s call-dodging to some engineer friends and the suggestion of using a local vendor’s lab to spoof Caller ID came up. Another engineer at the table said, “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just Google ‘spoof Caller ID service.'” I got 32,000 hits. Spoofcard came up first.

So, I gave them $20 for an hour of Caller ID misrepresentation. Although I hate that it seems to be legal for them to offer this service, I love their implementation. Speaking as an engineer and a salesman, they really built a sweet platform.

February 19, 2008  1:36 PM

Overheard: Using technology to control children

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
shami-chakrabarti.jpg Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that caused blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender, rather than to our kids. The ‘Mosquito’ has no place in a country that values its children and seeks to instill them with dignity and respect.

Shami Chakrabarti, as quoted in Buzz Off, Kid, You Bother Me

February 18, 2008  6:07 PM

Quiz: Name that logo!

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
apache_sm.gif Whose logo is it?
debian_sm.gif Whose logo is it?
drupal_sm.gif Whose logo is it?


Whose logo is it?
openoffice_sm1.gif Whose logo is it?
opensourceinitiative_sm1.gif Whose logo is it?


Whose logo is it?
python_sm1.gif Whose logo is it?
wordpress_sm1.gif Whose logo is it?
mozilla_sm1.gif Whose logo is it?
perl_sm.gif Whose logo is it?
moodle.gif Whose logo is it?
gnu-head-tiny.jpg Whose logo is it?
java_sm.gif Whose logo is it?

February 18, 2008  2:25 PM

Overheard: Google says you’ll find web-based malware in 1% of all search results

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
niels_provos.jpg It has been over a year and a half since we started to identify web pages that infect vulnerable hosts via drive-by downloads, i.e. web pages that attempt to exploit their visitors by installing and running malware automatically. During that time we have investigated billions of URLs and found more than three million unique URLs on over 180,000 web sites automatically installing malware.

Niels Provos, Google Anti-Malware Team

In the past few months, more than 1% of all search results contained at least one result that we believe to point to malicious content and the trend seems to be increasing.

Ordinary web pages are contributors to web exploitation. Therefore, even if someone was to avoid adult web pages, she would still be exposed to risk.

February 18, 2008  1:39 PM

Overheard: The beekeeper model and open source software

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
jamesdixon.jpg The customers don’t want to deal with the bees. A single bee or even a swarm of bees cannot directly meet the needs of any of the Bee Keeper’s customers. It is the work of the Bee Keeper that turns the efforts of the bees into products that the customers desire. The honey in the jar is the same honey that was in the hive, but the customers will only pay for it in the jar. Likewise the commercial customers don’t want to deal with open source. They want ‘whole product’.

James Dixon, The Beekeeper Model

James Dixon compares the open source community to bees and a company like Red Hat as the bee keeper. Great analogy.

The beekeeper creates an environment that is attractive for bees: accommodation and a natural, food-rich habitat. The bees do what they do naturally and make honeycombs. The beekeeper sells the honey and bees-wax to his customers and uses the money to grow his bee farm.

February 18, 2008  1:13 PM

Overheard: Using nestable hashmaps instead of ORM

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
moon.jpg I have never been over the moon with ORM. It solves the need to write SQL in your code, and to iterate through database results sets to form data structures, but it never really addressed the mismatch between true Objects and Data in my opinion.

Paul, Is ORM a Dead End?

So why not forget about objects and data encapsulation and use exposed mutable data types instead? Well functional languages have been using this approach for years, an hashmap (Dictionary) with name/value pairs is a mutable data type. You can represent any data type you like by nesting hashmaps. Accepting that all data will be exposed, and that data types are likely to change is a much better fit for database applications where users want to store, navigate and query data.

February 15, 2008  4:40 PM

Overheard: Speedcabling, the sport of champions

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
clarkboyd.jpg The first “speedcabling” competition took place in an art gallery in Los Angeles and was won by LA-based web developer Matthew Howell.

Clark Boyd, Close to the wire – the joys of speedcabling

Speedcabling is a competitive sport created by Steven Schkolne, in which contestants race to unravel a bundle of tangled Ethernet cables. Steven has graciously permitted me to reprint his speedcabling glossary so we can all speak about this highly-competitive sport in an intelligent manner.

You can find the rules for hosting your own competition on the official Speedcabling Web site. If you do have a competition, let me know and I’ll promote it!

bundle – one or more cables that are knotted according to official regulations

cable – to separate a bundle of loosely knotted rope or wire

hunt – speedcabling technique in which the course of a single cable through a bundle is traced

set- the collection of cables used in a speedcabling competition

spot – the locale, typically a laundromat, where cables can be uniformly tangled in a dryer

thrash- speedcabling technique in which a knot is loosened via shaking and rapid fingerwork

February 15, 2008  1:02 PM

Overheard: The multiple implementations of Python

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
rtylerbalance.jpg First a little background to help explain some of the terms, etc. “Python” is a language, similar to how “Java” is a language; unlike Java wherein the language is also relatively synonymous with the actual implementation of that language, Python has multiple implementations. If you’ve run python(1) from the command line, you’re most likely running the CPython implementation of the Python language, in effect, Python implemented in C. Other implementations of Python exist, like Jython (implemented on top of the Java virtual machine), PyPy (Python implemented in Python), and IronPython (Python implemented on top of the .NET CLR).

R. Tyler Ballance, Comparing IronPython and CPython

February 12, 2008  5:48 PM

Quiz: What the heck are they talking about?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

DIRECTIONS: These are real statements from real people discussing real technology in the blogosphere. I’ve removed one word from each quote. Can you still figure out what they’re talking about? Click on the link to see if you’re right!

1. Microsoft has warned corporate administrators that it will push a new version of __________ their way February 12th, and it has posted guidelines on how to ward off the automatic update.
What are they talking about?

2. In China, the ___________ movement is having a harder time gaining traction because of widespread software piracy.
What are they talking about?

3. Amazon __________ services continue to grow. The bandwidth utilized by these services in Q4 2007 was greater than all of Amazon.com’s global websites combined.
What are they talking about?

4. American companies can send their __________ abroad legally because Congress hasn’t ratified the Basel Convention. The results are clearly visible on the streets of Guiyu, China.
What are they talking about?

5. __________ is a major switch if you’re a hardware company. (No pun intended.) It means charging for a subscription to a service, rather than for big iron.
What are they talking about?

6. For a company like HP, which makes the bulk of its revenue from selling __________, the move to Web-based applications and the slackening demand for heavyweight computers doesn’t seem like a reason to celebrate.
What are they talking about?

7. I’m close to being convinced that Oracle wanted to buy __________ to kill the product, but knew it couldn’t pull off the stunt itself. So it sent in a stooge (Sun Microsystems) to do the job.
What are they talking about?

8. But when I think about what killed most of the startups in the e-commerce business back in the 90s, it was bad __________.
What are they talking about?

9. Where should the PMO exist and report to? Since most companies have a lot of projects located in the ______________ area, this becomes a natural place to locate the PMO.
What are they talking about?

10. A US Department of Homeland Security bug-fixing scheme has uncovered an average of one security glitch per 1,000 lines of code in 180 widely-used _______________ software projects.
What are they talking about?

February 12, 2008  10:04 AM

Overheard: Domain kiting is dead

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
icann-flags.gif Domain kiting is now dead. There is no longer any way to register and drop a domain without incurring a fee. Tasting operations now have a higher cost to operate, but they have not been stopped.Google And ICANN Did Not Kill Domain Tasting; Domain Kiting and NSI Front Running DOA

Domain tasting operations register bulk batches of domain names and keep the domain name that they believe will make them a return and delete the rest. Often times the taster will use a search company to place ads on the domain for that 5 day period in order to assess whether a domain name is worth keeping. Currently if the domain is deleted within the 5 day window there is no fee involved. This led to the abusive practice known as domain kiting. The kiter would register a bulk list of domains and keep them for the 5 day period and then delete and re-register the domain for another 5 day period, never paying for the domain or a fee. The practice does tie up large sums of money, as the registry requires registrars to prepay for registering domains.

According to an ICANN report, 94% of all .com registrations in January 2007 were deleted.

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