Saturday, 26 March 2005

Eva_androidWow, researchers like David Hansen at UT-Dallas are doing some robotics work that's both amazing and freakin' creepy. The image on the right is not of a human, it is an interactive, expressive android. It's name is Eva and it's - well - go see for yourself in this Quicktime video:

Video: Eva talks [Quicktime .mov]

Hmmm, I am not so sure I like the idea of fake people acting like real people. It's fascinating and interesting, but it also looks like one of those things in science that has the potential to eventually get out of control.

Or maybe I'm just crazy. Crazy like a pirate.

[vie Engadget and University of Texas-Dallas]



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Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 26 March 2005 08:52:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 25 March 2005

Many in America complain about how much their school systems stink. Yeah, well - it turns out that over in Melbourne, Australia they've got one up on all us Yanks:

     Dookie

Great name, and such a great opportunity for toilet humor.



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Humor | Random Stuff
Friday, 25 March 2005 20:00:23 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 24 March 2005

WindowsrocksF-Secure has a real knack for creative sarcasm on it's security weblog, and today is no exception in their headline linking to an interesting report. Apparently, a study has been published showing the relative number of vulnerabilities, comparing Windows 2003 Server to a Linux distribution in several configurations.

Update: In a won't-really-build-confidence-with-the-common-folk move, apparently the researchers did not reveal at the RSA conference that this study was funded (but according to the researchers, not influenced by) Microsoft. They reveal this fact in the published study itself, but did not tell the audience at the conference when they presented the results. Read more here.

Get the PDF file of the study here. For a document describing the methodology in detail and for more information (including an email address to provide comments), go here.

F-Secure used the headline, "It's Official - Linux Sucks?" No doubt others will comment that the reality of the situation is that Windows is better for stupid people (meaning people who don't harden their machines). Flames will go forth, but you can't deny the report.

The end result of the study is that Windows Server 2003 was more secure than the Linux distributions tested.

Uh, heh... That should make a few people stand up and scream.

Using out-of-the-box, standard/recommended OS installs, the researchers found that the Windows 2003 server was more secure, with less vulnerabilities counted and a lower average for days of risk, when compared to the Linux distributions tested (Red Hat Enterprise Linux in default and "minimal" recommended configurations):

"In this report, we have studied both quantitative and qualitative data that affects the vulnerability and thus operational security risk of different web server platforms. In order to produce a meaningful comparison of platforms, systems were tested in their default configurations and then looked at in minimal server role configurations. When the default configuration did not provide for a functional web server, systems were configured according to manufacturer’s directions."

For a quick Readers' Digest style overview of the result of the study, get the free PDF of the report and flip down to page 35 and look at the charts on that page. I won't post all the images and tables here, that's what the report is for.

In reality, this is a complex study that is worth reading. The methodologies applied appear to be good ones, and the results are pretty compelling. The real world is never as simple as s lab environment, but if nothing else, this certainly shows how far Windows Server has come over the years (or else it shows how poor Linux distributions have become, or maybe some of both).



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IT Security | Tech
Thursday, 24 March 2005 17:36:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Forgive the headline please, Robert. It's all in good humor. 

In a completely understandable and laudable move, Robert Scoble has announced he's decided to give up publishing to his linkblog, in order to have more time for more important things in life. You know, important things like family and friends. Good for him!

All things in moderation - That's a lesson I know I've had to learn from time to time. The truth of the matter is that sometimes the best way to manage over 1000 weblogs a day is - well - to not manage over 1000 weblogs a day. Or at least to manage them less. I know I just cut my own RSS subscriptions back drastically last weekend, so I am back down around 300 feeds now from something like 700 before the surgery. It took a drastic slash across my RSS reader, but it needed to be done.

Of course, the demise of Robert's link blog is also a bit of a bummer in a way, since for many it's been a regular source of great links and information - or even more often for me, links to links to links...

Multi-layer clickthroughs from Robert's linkblog have always been valuable to me. More often than not I will read something he posts on the linkblog, and that will entice me to click through to the linked author, and from there I will uncover more interesting things and links to other interesting people.

But it's completely understandable that when you find you're spending anywhere from 8% to 33% of your day linking to and for others (sleep time included), a selection of robots just might do an effective enough job of what up til now has been a very human endeavor. Maybe. Those services show me what I am looking for based on what I put into them. The difference with the "human aggregator," so to speak, is that I am often pointed to things I would never have looked for. Of course, there are also other services existing and coming that will help people see what others are reading and how popular items are, in order to find things of interest. I hope those don't work out to be the electronic version of the high-school popularity contest, but we'll see.

So, when Robert points to a few popular search and aggregation services as alternatives to his link blog, I can't help but think of the perfect tongue-in-cheek name for them as a collective replacement for Robert's link blog...

"Robot Scoble"

(Yeah, you have to read it carefully. Spelling counts.)

Says Robert:

"I've been looking at my link blog, and the requests lately about it, and I've decided just to stop doing it.

"Why? Well, there are so many other ways for you to find cool new blogs now. Pubsub. Bloglines. Technorati. Feedster. NewsGator (Greg Reinacker reminded me again that NewsGator has a really cool set of online services including a search engine)."

Robert's right, but again it's worth pointing out that the human factor is part of what makes his linkblog so valuable - I think many people liked it because they appreciate the "Scoble Filter" - you don't get that with automation. Well, not quite yet anyhow.

At the same time, it had to be painful to maintain, with well over a hundred entries some days, and since Robert says he may still post a little bit there from time to time, hopefully we will still get a few Robert Scoble Human Filter links now and then.

Hey, there's always his regular weblog. In fact, chances are his Scobleizer weblog will just become a better place for information - kind of a quality over quantity thing.

By the way, in the linkblog department - Jeremy Zawodny's linkblog is another I subscribe to and enjoy, but it is quite different than Robert's.



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Blogging
Thursday, 24 March 2005 14:44:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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In the random fun, complete waste of time department (you know you want to, come one, go ahead, click already):

Eggblog

Click click click.

Your entertainment options?

(via Scoble)



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Humor | Random Stuff
Thursday, 24 March 2005 07:16:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 23 March 2005

Skype v1.2 has been released. Check out the changes here, read the press release here, and download it here.

What's skype? It's software that runs on your computer and can let you talk in high quality audio to other skype users or to people with plain-ol' telephone lines. From their web site:

What we’ve got is a simple bit of software we want to give you. It’ll let you make free calls to your friends all over the world. And we don’t want any money for it. It’s free.

You could think of us as the big, free Internet telephony company. We prefer to think of ourselves as a big group hug, even a present. Yes… that’s it… we’re a present… but without the ribbon.



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Tech
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 22:06:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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