Thursday, July 10, 2008

I arrived in Colorado this afternoon, plugged in my iPhone, backed it up, installed iTunes 7.7 and grabbed the iPhone v2.0 software from Apple's servers (it's out there, although iTunes is not yet advertising it here). I found the Apps listings in iTunes and decided it was about time to upgrade. So, I hooked up the iPhone and promptly fell asleep on the couch while it did it's thing upgrading.


I woke up to the sound of "bliiihdeep!" from the phone and a little "thunk" as it slid on the countertop from where I had it propped up against my Macbook Air (strategically placed so a vibration would make it move, hence alerting me to activity during the lengthy upgrade process). I went to the phone, restored the backup from iTunes, and BAM! There I was, iPhone 2.0 software ready to go.

Once I jumped onto the wireless network at the house, I launched the app store and started looking at programs. The first one I tried was Twitterific. It's pretty okay, but all else being equal I wish I still had Twinkle on there as an app. I'm sure it will be available soon enough.

I installed Google's search app (very cool), the Paypal app (kinda cool, very spartan), and the Weatherbug ap (because those guys rock and their screenshot actually looked interesting - and it's a great little app). Last, I found the Pandora app.

Now, I have written about Pandora here before, long long ago. It's just as amazing a service today as it was then. Simply put, you start pff by providing an artist or two or three that you like and Pandora starts playing music of a similar nature that it "thinks" you'll like. You can vote individual songs/pieces up or down and it refines its recommendations. And Pandora's app on the iPhone let me log into my Pandora account instantly, within seconds, and literally ten seconds later it was streaming my music channels to me over the air.

Incredibly usable, simple, effective. Pure usability bliss.

I showed it to my mom. She instantly lit up and said, I quote: "Wow!" The thing about Pandora is I can explain it to anyone in about 20 seconds and they always "get it." They've done something - perhaps everything - right.

That made me think. My mom just found out she will have to be spending some substantial time in the hospital soon. When I showed her the Pandora application, after she showed her sense of amazement, she got pained look on her face and asked me if I would show her how to transfer files to her (crappy) MP3 player. The device is next to unusable. Even I have a hard time getting it to work. There's nothing good about it. So, tomorrow when I am out picking up a new iPhone 3G, I'm going to grab an iPod touch for my mom. And then ship my old iPhone to my friend Chris (whose shipping address I need in order to do that BTW, hint-hint).

My wish list for more apps? I was pretty disappointed to not find a blog authoring application, something similar to Windows Live Writer but trimmed down and made for the iPhone. Maybe I just need to learn how to program this stuff, but that's a scary thought. Someone better than me must be working on a blogging app. There's a good one available in the app store for TextPad, but that doesn't really help me since I don't use that platform for my blog.

So, iPhone software v2.0 has convinced me to but an iPod Touch for my mom. Once again, the ball's been hit out of the park.



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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:19:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft has released Hyper-V for Windows Server 2008, which is the company's hypervisor virtualization platform. With it, you get multi-OS, highly-configurable and performant virtualized hardware capabilities on the Windows platform.

Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, the next-generation hypervisor-based server virtualization technology, allows you to make the best use of your server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as separate virtual machines (VMs) running on a single physical machine. With Hyper-V, you can also efficiently run multiple different operating systems—Windows, Linux, and others—in parallel, on a single server, and fully leverage the power of x64 computing.

For additional information, you might want to check out a RunAs Radio episode that Richard Campbell and I published back in April, when we spoke with Anil Desai on the topic of Hyper-V. Anil compared Hyper-V to ESX Server from VMWare and discussed the Microsoft offering in some detail.



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Tech
Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:15:59 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, July 09, 2008

In the past we've seen many computer-focused terms become words of the year and find placement in the dictionary, and this year is no different. Remember last year when "truthiness" (a Stephen Colbert-ism) made it in, along with "google?"

So, here it is, Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to their Web site:

w00t (interjection)
expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay"
w00t! I won the contest!

Other words that made up their top-ten-votes list for the year include: facebook, 
conundrum, 
quixotic, 
blamestorm, 
sardoodle, dom
apathetic, 
Pecksniffian
, hypocrite, and 
charlatan.



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Random Stuff
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:30:40 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You have firewalls and anti-malware system, video surveillance and monitoring systems for network traffic to and from the Internet. But look at eWeek's semi-smart list of the top ten infosec risks workers pose to your business today, and you may need to rethink your plans.

I call this a "semi-smart" list because it's practical and real-world, and doesn't assume the "standards" out there cover all the bases. But, at the same time it doesn't offer much in the way of solutions, which always frustrates me (and it misses some key points, especially related to intentional worker behavior, as opposed to neglect, and how it can substantially enhance the potential associated with these risks).

Point is, each of the items pointed out is very much worth considering and reviewing in your business security program. Just don't forget to look at them in the big-picture perspective of the business.

And now for the list:

  • USB Flash Drives
  • Laptops
  • P2P
  • Web Mail
  • Wi-Fi
  • Smart Phones
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Social Networks
  • Unauthorized Software Updates
  • Virtual Worlds

Pretty much every modern technical productivity enhancer. Before anyone starts screaming the alarmist song, think about not only how these things can be used for good, but also about how they could be used to to Very Bad Things.

How many of those technologies are specifically and can be proven effectively covered under your infosec policies? How many have you tested in the real world to see what your compliance profile really looks like? Could you meaningfully test for these threats, even if they were on your plan?

You can check out the eWeek article here.



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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 10:09:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Google Talk is now available on the iPhone in the Safari browser. At the Google Mobile blog, the details are laid out. If you use Google Apps for your domain and have the Talk app activated there, word is you can access it, too using this URL syntax:

http://hostedtalkgadget.google.com/a/yourdomain/talkgadget/m

"We've just released in the US a new version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch browsers. In addition to sending your friends Gmail messages from your iPhone, you can now chat with them while you're on the move, too! In your iPhone browser, just go to www.google.com/talk, sign in and start chatting. That's it. Google Talk runs entirely in the browser so there's no need to download or install anything."

Announcement: Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Talk for the iPhone


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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 8:49:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Tired of relying on well-funded commercial software companies testing their software on you while you come to truly rely on it, with little to no control?

Well, the world is (potentially) changing.

If you're - for example - a Twitter user, you might be interested in checking out Identi.ca, a brand-new open-source platform for microblogging. Press release below.

I can be found at http://identi.ca/greghughes - Check it out.

Control Yourself, Inc. launches Identi.ca, the Open Microblogging Service (July 2nd, 2008)

Montreal, Quebec-based Control Yourself, Inc. today launched Identi.ca, the open microblogging service. Users can post short messages about themselves to Identi.ca, which are then broadcast to friends in their social network using instant messages (IM), RSS feeds, and the Web.

Identi.ca is similar to existing microblogging sites such as Twitter, Jaiku, or Pownce. Unlike those services, Identi.ca’s underlying software is available under an Open Source license. Identi.ca is also the first service to support OpenMicroBlogging, a standard for exchanging short messages between microblogging sites. Identi.ca also makes public user data available under a Creative Commons license in standard formats.

“Too many existing social networks keep users locked in to their services,” says Evan Prodromou, president of Control Yourself. “With an Open Source code base, and support for standard data exchange formats, we are giving users back the autonomy to control their own social Web presence.”

Response from initial testers has been enthusiastic, both for the software’s design and functionality, as well as the site’s openness. “It makes me feel alive again to see the resurgence of free/open on the web,” said Jon Phillips, Community Manager with Creative Commons in San Francisco, CA.

Control Yourself will grow the service exponentially throughout 2008, adding features such cell phone text messaging (SMS) and multilingual support in its next software release.

Link to the original press release: Control Yourself



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Blogging | Tech
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 1:11:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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