Friday, 24 February 2006

Recently a couple coworkers at Corillian turned me on to TextPayMe, which is a cool service you can use to send money to others (and even to a few online merchants). Click the banner below to check it out and sign up for free - They'll even deposit five bucks in your TextPayMe account when you sign up. For real. You don't even have to provide a credit card or bank account info unless you want to transfer funds into the TextPayMe account, so there's no risk. It costs you nothing.

And, if 35 people sign up via this link, I'll get a XBOX 360. You can do the same thing. nice eh?


TextPayMe services are used to send payments to (and receive payments from) people you know, using text messaging on your mobile phones or wireless PDAs (I'm using it on my Blackberry phone). Let's say you go to a restaurant with three friends. Instead of asking the waiter to split the bill, or even worse trying to find the right amount of cash to put in the pool and pay your part, one person pays the bill, and the other three send their part to the person who paid using TextPayMe. They send it to your cell phone number, nice and easy. And for the people sending the money, the security system (which is a two-factor secure system - nice) calls their cell as soon as they text the payment. They answer the phone and are prompted by the peppy IVR voice on the other end to enter a PIN (which you provide at the time you sign up). Only then is money sent.

So - a cool service to try, nothing to lose, and five bucks to gain! Click here to go to the TextPayMe site and sign up to give it a try!

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IT Security | Mobile | Tech
Friday, 24 February 2006 14:33:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Magellan Road Mate 760Last week, while heading home from Seattle, we stopped briefly on the way out of town to pick up something at a mall. While there we saw a Brookstone store (I'm such a sucker for those places) and were pulled in by the magnetic gadgetness. Only Sharper Image compares in terms of pure gadget tractor beam power.

Anyhow, a minute or so after I entered the store, over walked an employee, nice guy. First words out of his mouth? Anything in the store you can touch on the floor - all floor models - 50% off (except massage chairs and tempurpedic mattresses, those were discounted 30%). Woah! So, I started looking around. It was almost too good to be true. And I just got my tax refund. Heh.

There were all sorts of cool things, and my mom and friend Mary Beth - they were there with me - picked up a few some stuff they liked. Me? Time to look for some electronics, baby. I was shocked to walk around a floor stand and find a Magellan Roadmate 760 GPS display - one of those displays where the device is security-sealed in a hard clear plastic frame, but it's a real, working model, you know? I call the sales guy over. Sure enough, half price, he says. He looks in the back to see if the box, papers and parts were anywhere to be found - and again, sure enough, he found everything. Score!

So, I bought it - essentially brand new for $450. Talk about luck. This is a GPS system that typically retails for around $750 to $900 in stores, sometimes more. It definitely pays to shop around. Froogle searching for new units shows you can get it for as low as around $700 if you look hard enough. Costco members can buy it online as of the time of this posting for $750 (after a $150-off coupon). I've been traveling a lot lately, and my job will have me traveling more and more in the future, so with all the unfamiliar cities and rental cars, having a GPS unit that does everything will be very useful.

Note: The RoadMate 760 has been around for something like a year now, and it's a terrific unit. The RoadMate 800 is pretty much the same device, only with a battery built into it, different color case, some button changes and whatnot - so you can use it without external power. And it costs a bit more.

It talks to you and gives turn by turn directions with street names (via a text-to-speech feature), has a bright touch screen display, and tons of cool features like auto dimming of the display at nights, auto color changing of the display at night, automatically increasing volume as you drive faster to account for road noise, and more. the pre-installed maps cover all of the US and Canada, and maps for Europe are pre-installed (you buy an unlock code to license those).

Having used mine a couple times, and with plenty of time to play with it (I'm a passenger when it comes to cars right now), I can say that the money was well-spent. The first time I plugged it in, it fired right up and found the GPS satellites. I created a route by entering the name "Olive Garden" into the locator as we were driving down the highway, and then instructing it to display destination results to me with the closest match shown first in the list. I selected the restaurant I wanted, and it displayed the address and phone number of the business (phone numbers - nice feature!), then I just clicked to create the driving route.

Almost immediately (this thing calculates routes very quickly), it started speaking the driving instructions and showed the route on the screen. As you drive, the map scrolls and updates, with your location in the center of the screen. I set the unit to display heading-up orientation, so that the top of the map is the direction of travel (you can also set it so that the top of the map is always north, but I didn't find that to be very intuitive). It warns you when you're two miles from a turn, then again at a half-mile, and one more time as you approach the turn. When you reach a waypoint in your route, it plays a sound (you can choose the sound, like a chime or beep, etc.) to let you know you've made it each step along the way. If you go off route it will immediately recalculate a new route and tell you where to turn, or if needed it will tell you to "make a legal U-turn" to get you back on track.

I'm a lucky guy to have found it at the price I did, but I can honestly say that after having used it for a day or two I would buy one anyhow at the available market prices. It makes driving and finding things remarkably easy and the routes it found were spot on. It will meet a real need with all my business and personal travel.


  • Map Software: Ready to use detailed, seamless North American map (48 contiguous United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and all of Canada) loaded on internal 20GB HDD. Pre-loaded European maps may be unlocked for an additional fee - for more information see:
  • User Interface: Touch Screen or dynamic keypad input
  • Display: High Resolution TFT LCD full color touch-screen display automatically adjusts to lighting changes
  • Display Size (H/W) 2.25" x 3.0"
  • Route Calculator: Choose from four different route methods: Shortest Time, Shortest Distance, Least Use of Freeways, Most use of Freeways
  • Turn-by-Turn Navigation: TrueView 3D screen shows upcoming turn while voice prompt politely gives turn-by-turn guidance in any of 11 languages (French, UK and US English, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish)
  • Route Recalculation: Automatically and quickly calculates new route when car deviates from the established route
  • Multi-Destination Routing: Create and save multi-destination trips. Use route optimization to determine the quickest way between stops or choose your own order.
  • Track Progress on Map: Dynamically tracks progress on the onscreen map - the map scrolls as you drive
  • Choose heading-up or north-is-up map orientation
  • QuickSpell Technology: Simplifies data entry by pre-determining letters from the available database when spelling street and city names
  • Address Book: Holds 200 addresses per user — up to 600 total
  • Points-of-Interest: Almost 7 million points of interest
  • Portable: True plug-n-play in any region - just a 12-volt lighter plug
  • Mapping Data: Provided by NAVTEQ
  • Dimensions: 3.25" H x 6.5" W x 2" D
  • Weight: 13 oz.
  • Mounting hardware: Supplied with suction cup and fully-articulable snake arm, quick release mount
  • Device antenna folds up, can be removed to attach external antenna if desired

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Friday, 24 February 2006 10:24:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Verisign's iDefense Labs has a program running that will pay you up to $10,000 if you submit a security vulnerability to them during this quarter that ends up being ranked as critical by Microsoft:

For the current quarter, iDefense Labs will pay $10,000 for each vulnerability submission that results in the publication of a Microsoft Security Bulletin with a severity rating of critical. In order to qualify, the submission must be sent during the current quarter and be received by midnight EST on March 31, 2006.

Well, there you go - if you gots the skillz, go gets some cash.

And by the way - the iDefense Labs site is a great resource for IT and security types to keep any eye on. They provide content on the site as well as webcasts with well-done content.

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 21 February 2006 09:03:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Everyone knows about - and almost everyone uses - Google's great search engine. And while it's great at searching for most content, it can't do everything.

The massive, battleship-class search engines have left certain gaps in their wake, gaps that are just waiting to be filled by niche applications. One great example of such a gap is a search engine specifically for developers. I mean, have you ever tried to use Google to search for actual programming source code?

What would life/work be like with a search tool that would enable developers to search for code or for developer-centric content? It would be easy and fast, and would search all the logical places - like SourceForge and other open source repositories, developer web sites, blogs, standards bodies, documentation repositories, etc. Even better, what if it allowed you to tag and write notes about specific code, and if you could save information related to specific code for others to use, or if you could just send them a link to your annotations?

That would be wicked cool, huh?

Enter Krugle - the search engine for developers. Your wish is their command. Well, starting sometime in March it will be, anyhow. That's when they'll likely launch.

So what's this all about? The Krugle web site explains it like this:

Krugle’s role

While the development world has changed, the tools that developers use haven’t kept up. Developers spend from 20-25 percent of their time looking for code and code related information – a frustrating situation for programmers, and an expensive problem for companies.

Current search engines are okay for finding web pages, but they don't crawl or find source code, whether in open repositories or within source code control systems (SCCS). They also don't leverage the inherent structure of code to support the types of searches programmers need.

Krugle vision

Krugle answers the need for a single place to find relevant code and critical technical information. By making it easy for anyone to find, elevate and communicate, Krugle fills a critical gap in todays technology rich environment.

Krugle's summary headlines effectively tell the high-level story: Krugle enables you to 1) quickly find and review source code 2) find code related technical information and 3) save, annotate and share your search results with others... all from within a single, easy-to-use, web application.

From Wired News:

The new service joins other source-code search engines like Koders and Codefetch, but Krugle intends to differentiate itself by allowing developers to annotate code and documentation, create bookmarks and save collections of search results in a tabbed workspace. Saved workspaces have unique URLs, so developers can send an entire collection of annotated code to a co-worker just by e-mailing a link.

In the future, the company plans to offer an enterprise edition of the software for use inside companies, to enable large teams of developers to better share code. That should be very interesting - something I'd love to get my hands on, for sure.

Check out all the details and some screenshots here, and sign up to find out when it's available by providing your email address here.

(via tech.memeorandum)

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Geek Out | Tech
Tuesday, 21 February 2006 01:25:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 20 February 2006

Microsoft has posted information regarding which apps will be included in each of the Office 2007 product suites, as well as pricing for the packages and individual apps/servers.

In Word .doc format:

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Office 2003 | SharePoint | Tech
Monday, 20 February 2006 08:42:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 19 February 2006

If you have not yet checked out, I'd suggest you give it a try. It allows you to submit your blog, answer a few category ranking questions, and then see which other blogs are most like yours.

Alternatively, you can browse their listing for other blogs that have been "coded," look for your favorite blogs, and see other blogs that are similar.

The idea is that the blogs listed might be ones you'd like to read. Certainly there are other uses, as well.

I coded my blog the other day, and below are the closest-matched weblogs (as of the date this post is published) relative to the weblog. Per the folks at, an 80% or better match is considered a very high score. Many of these blogs I already read or have read before, and some are new and unknown to me. I'll definitely have something to look around at for a while now.

Blog Name/URL
(click each for blogcode results)
Scobleizer (
79.22 %
TechCrunch (
78.21 %
Agylen (
77.96 %
Kevin Harder (
76.72 %
Ben Metcalfe Blog (
76.71 %
EvilSpudBoy (
76.43 %
Licence to Roam (
76.25 %
Newest Industry, The (
76.18 % -- The well of information
75.95 %
75.93 %
A Venture Forth (
75.89 %
Solution Watch (
75.81 % (
75.64 %
Life On The Wicked Stage: Act 2
75.43 %
PHOSITA ::: an IP law blog!
75.36 %
07Designs (
75.12 %
Sunday Bytes (
74.68 %
The Daily ACK (
74.34 % (
74.29 %
adverblog (
74.28 %
74.26 %
integrating developer process
74.24 %
View from the Isle
74.09 %
disambiguity (
73.72 %
Brandopia (
73.71 %
Creative Tech Writer, The
73.65 %
Church Tech Matters (
73.62 %
Larry Borsato (
73.56 % (
73.49 % (
73.49 %
LaughingMeme (
73.40 %
Superaff: The Affiliate Marketing Blog
73.34 %
rexblog (
73.30 %
Keith`s Inklings (
73.29 %
Seven Degrees (
73.27 % - Journal
73.04 %
Vinny Carpenter`s blog
73.00 %
A View Inside My Head
72.96 %
michael parekh on IT (
72.79 %
Ninefish Tales (
72.54 %

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Blogging | Tech
Sunday, 19 February 2006 15:03:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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