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Current Topic: Technology

Comcast Domain Helper Opt-Out
Topic: Technology 7:33 am EDT, Aug  7, 2009

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.

Comcast Domain Helper Opt-Out

Evil Mad Science Shop
Topic: Technology 11:22 am EDT, Aug  1, 2009

LEDs, dev boards, and LED displays for electronics projects.

Evil Mad Science Shop

Main Page - Archiveteam
Topic: Technology 10:27 am EST, Jan 19, 2009

This website is intended to be an offloading point and information depot for a number of archiving projects, all related to saving websites or data that is in danger of being lost. Besides serving as a hub for team-based pulling down and mirroring of data, this site will provide advice on managing your own data and rescuing it from the brink of destruction.

Main Page - Archiveteam

The Power to Fight Eviction
Topic: Technology 10:09 am EST, Jan 19, 2009

Jason Scott's Protection From Online Eviction? and his follow up post make the argument that services like AOL, MySpace, flickr, or Skype should be treated like landlords.

The power landlords have over tenants is overwhelming, unless restricted by law. The argument: if they want to shut down a service, essentially evicting users, they should be required to give notice and keep things running for a year.

This would allow people to safely migrate their digital objects like photos and videos and blog posts, renew relationships with people in their contacts and agree on where to move, file change of address notices for their businesses, and otherwise minimize the logistical, economic, political, emotional, and familial havoc forcible ejection can create.

The Power to Fight Eviction

The Innovation Problem
Topic: Technology 4:08 pm EST, Dec 28, 2008

A series of Paul Graham's articles has led me to something I'm calling the Innovation Problem. Essentially it started when I read his article After Credentials. I enjoyed it article, but found this part is odd:

Do they let energetic young people get paid market rate for the work they do? The young are the test, because when people aren't rewarded according to performance, they're invariably rewarded according to seniority instead.
If people who are young but smart and driven can make more by starting their own companies than by working for existing ones, the existing companies are forced to pay more to keep them.

This statement about motives seemed out of sync with his essay Great Hackers:

Great programmers are sometimes said to be indifferent to money. This isn't quite true. It is true that all they really care about is doing interesting work. But if you make enough money, you get to work on whatever you want, and for that reason hackers are attracted by the idea of making really large amounts of money. But as long as they still have to show up for work every day, they care more about what they do there than how much they get paid for it.

Perhaps this is because Graham is talking about a general case of person in the first essary and a subset of people (Specifically great programmers) in the second.

Now, I don't consider myself a super hacker and nor would I ever compare myself to someone like RTM or others Graham has mentioned. Quite the contrary I've gone out of my way to deny unwarranted comparisons. I do however consider myself a hacker and I understand exactly what Graham means in his 2nd essay.

I think that performance metrics are one half of a two sided coin, depending on what drives you are a person: pay or project.

Let me explain. I work for a Fortune 15 technology corporation. They pay me very, very, very well. However in return I'm subjected to (with a fair bit of good things) unbelievably stupid bullshit. They don't seem to realize that I couldn't give 2 shits about their money otherwise I'd have alot less bullshit in my life.

Jay Chaudhry met with me twice in the spring of 2008 and asked me to join his new start up Zscalar. I turned him down for a couple reasons, the biggest being he kept appealing to the wrong side of me. He kept talking dollars, he never talked projects. How are you doing "in the cloud" security. Are you buying or building? ... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]

The Innovation Problem

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection
Topic: Technology 11:24 am EST, Jan 27, 2007

This document looks purely at the cost of the technical portions of Vista's content protection [Note B]. The political issues (under the heading of DRM) have been examined in exhaustive detail elsewhere and won't be commented on further, unless it's relevant to the cost analysis. However, one important point that must be kept in mind when reading this document is that in order to work, Vista's content protection must be able to violate the laws of physics, something that's unlikely to happen no matter how much the content industry wishes that it were possible [Note C].

Nicely put together article that avoids preaching most of the dogma around DRM.

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

Jason Scott Goatses MySpace
Topic: Technology 11:12 am EST, Jan  7, 2007

Like looking to see if a rifle is loaded by peering down the barrel, your screen can turn from a breathtaking visage of insight into a Gatling Gun of mind-scarring infinity-pain within the literal blink of an eye.


This is a very entertaining and well written adventure.

Consider, then, what was going on here. Myspace, a site which is being used by people who don't know how to host or design, ends up with a gaping ass provided by a design firm which can't understand the nature of hotlinking (or of spelling), who have written to someone who can host, design and spell but are doing so with a demand that this person take action.

And this, my friends, is ass.

I love the analogy Jason makes in the post about pilots, passengers, and users of the Internet. I'd argue that running a site like this is a little like being an air traffic controller, making sure things don't collide mid-air. Taste and security collide with things on a regular basis over at MySpace.

Read more about the incident at Jason's blog.

Jason Scott Goatses MySpace

Top 100 Network Security Tools
Topic: Technology 10:18 am EDT, Jun 24, 2006

I (Fyodor) asked users from the nmap-hackers mailing list to share their favorite tools, and 3,243 people responded. This allowed me to expand the list to 100 tools, and even subdivide them into categories. Anyone in the security field would be well advised to go over the list and investigate tools they are unfamiliar with. I discovered several powerful new tools this way.

Top 100 Network Security Tools

Ctrl Alt Del
Topic: Technology 7:20 am EDT, May 22, 2006

My thoughts exactly on the new Mac ads.

Ctrl Alt Del

Razorback is Down
Topic: Technology 10:47 am EST, Feb 28, 2006

Joint raids by police in Belgium and Switzerland have shut down a popular file-sharing server. The Razorback2 server was part of the Edonkey file-sharing network and was used by a third of the system's users. The server held an index of 170 million pirated files, said the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
In the raids, the server's Swiss owner was arrested and the Razorback2 machines were seized from a Brussels-based hosting firm.
It is unclear what effect the shutting down of the Razorback2 server will have on overall file-sharing figures. Studies of the different file-sharing networks show that the numbers of people using Edonkey is on the increase. It has become the dominant network in South Korea, Italy, Germany and Spain. However notes posted on discussion groups by Edonkey users following the raid show that the number of people on the Edonkey network was back to normal a few hours after the server was shut down.
The following raids and shutdowns made many file-sharers simply move to other networks such as BitTorrent or have turned to older systems such as Usenet.
Source: BBC News

Razorback is Down

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