Recently, Comcast has added a "Domain Helper" to its DNS servers. Now, instead of implementing the DNS protocol as specified in the RFC, Comcast will redirect your query to a Comcast-branded Yahoo! search page, using the text of your DNS query as search input to Yahoo. Never mind that this breaks the Internet ... there are ads to be served!
This service is reminiscent of Verisign's SiteFinder service from ~2003, about which much hubbub is preserved in the MemeStreams archive. (See below.)
Comcast customers can opt out of Domain Helper:
When a non-existent web address is typed into a browser, a built-in error message is displayed. The Comcast's Domain Helper service is designed to help guide you to a useful search page that has a list of recommended sites that come close to matching the original web address that did not exist.
If you are a residential or commercial cable modem subscriber, and you wish to opt-out of the Comcast Domain Helper service, please complete the form below.
At the end of this process they inform you that it may take two days for the opt-out procedure to be completed. Meanwhile, enjoy the broken DNS!
From the archive, a small selection on SiteFinder:
VeriSign has dropped all its lawsuits against internet overseeing organization ICANN, agreed to hand over ownership of the root zone, and in return been awarded control of all dotcoms until 2012.
The Omniture server sets a cookie so that people can be watched over time to see what typos they are making.
The dispute over who controls key portions of the Internet's address system erupted into open conflict today when VeriSign Inc., the world's largest addressing company, sued the Internet's most visible regulatory body, charging that it has been unfairly prevented from developing new services for Internet users.
We all rely on them [DNS servers], and their management should be done in a way appropriate for their status.
Omniture is now tracking hits to every nonexistent .com/.net domain thanks to Verisign.
When you use a system often, you tend to fall into set usage patterns. Sometimes, you do not start the habit of doing things in the best possible way. Sometimes, you even pick up bad practices that lead to clutter and clumsiness. One of the best ways to correct such inadequacies is to conscientiously pick up good habits that counteract them. This article suggests 10 UNIX command-line habits worth picking up -- good habits that help you break many common usage foibles and make you more productive at the command line in the process. Each habit is described in more detail following the list of good habits.
There is a contradiction in the very phrase "software company." The two words are pulling in opposite directions. Any good programmer in a large organization is going to be at odds with it, because organizations are designed to prevent what programmers strive for.
Very true, particularly the last part of the essay.
When he was hired by the DIA, he told me recently, his mind boggled at the futuristic, secret spy technology he would get to play with ... If the everyday Internet was so awesome, just imagine how much better the spy tools would be.
But when he got to his cubicle, his high-tech dreams collapsed. "The reality," he later wrote ruefully, "was a colossal letdown."
To succeed we must demand far less near-term intelligence product from the Signals Intelligence community, give it control of its resources and allow it to plan for a disruptive future, a future that is presaged by videos that show an Afghan warlord exhorting his terrorist followers not to use satellite phones for fear of American capture.
Hezbollah guerrillas were able to hack into Israeli radio communications during last month's battles in south Lebanon, an intelligence breakthrough that helped them thwart Israeli tank assaults, according to Hezbollah and Lebanese officials.
The democratization of cruise missile technology, part II
12:54 pm EDT, Aug 29, 2006
The barriers to entry have dropped sufficiently so that, as long as anyone has the will to fight, they'll be able to continue fighting. I think that's the strategic picture that's most pertinent to our time."
What if the Iranians could launch swarms of hundreds of missiles simultaneously? All bets might be off. In such a scenario, the Iranians could conceivably devastate an American naval force. Do the Iranians possess enough missiles to do that? The truth is that we don't know. In the longer term, the trend seems clear.
This is the second half of an article recently discussed here.
The Lebanon War and the democratization of missile technology
2:42 pm EDT, Aug 16, 2006
Hezbollah's campaign is a clear sign of how the democratization of missile technology -- cruise missile technology, in particular -- is reshaping global realities.
"We are trying to wage war as if it still mattered that our forces are comprised of ‘the few and the large' -- a few large heavy divisions, a few large aircraft carrier battle groups -- when in fact war is migrating into the hands of the many and the small -- little distributed units. We live in an era when technology has expanded the destructive power of a small group and the individual beyond our imaginations."
Culture of Fear: Dealing with cultural panic attacks
3:50 pm EST, Feb 22, 2006
I haven't read this yet, but it seemed interesting.
Earlier this week, the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, held a remarkably interesting conference titled "Panic Attack: The New Precautionary Culture, the Politics of Fear, and the Risks to Innovation." It was interesting not only because I was a participant, but because it looked at how many Western countries are losing their cultural nerve, as evidenced by the increasing cultural acceptance of the so-called precautionary principle.
The strongest versions of the precautionary principle demand that innovators prove that their inventions will never cause harm before they are allowed to deploy or sell them. In other words, if an action might cause harm, then inaction is preferable. The problem is that all new activities, especially those involving scientific research and technological innovation, always carry some risks. Attempting to avoid all risk is a recipe for technological and economic stagnation.