HTML5 and your future

Browser plugins are a security risk. There are arguments, of course, but I say, why take a risk that need not be taken? If business development has taught me one thing, it is that success is not about taking risks, it’s about mitigating them better than everyone else.

This HTML5 demo shows just how powerful HTML5 is. Click anywhere on the video while it is playing and prepare to have your mind blown. This kind of thing is difficult in Flash, and yet the author has achieved this effect using only his standard IDE that was never designed to support this type of special effect.

If I were Adobe, I’d be working very, very hard at a transitional toolkit that maps the Flash ActionScript DOM and scripting language to a JavaScript/HTML5 combo, all wrapped up in a slick, Flash-like IDE. Today we have Safari, Firefox, and Chrome browsers that support enough HTML5 to do cool stuff like this. By lagging behind, Microsoft only risks more defection from their browser platform, and Adobe could pull a major upset by rolling tools that incorporate open standards. It was tear down the wall between Flash developers and standards advocates, opening the door for a whole lot of innovation built on top of tools that Adobe controls.

Remember that anti-XSS feature we put in IE8?

Yeah, well, it looks like it’s actually the source of XSS attacks now.

Sorry. We suck at this.

Sincerely,
Microsoft

Jet engine + ash cloud = big mess

Popular Science has a nice write-up on the effects of volcanic ash on jet engines. The scariest thing I read in the article is the fact that pilots often can’t tell that they’re about to fly through an ash cloud. Couple that with the fact that the ash can actually melt inside the engine and collect on the components and you’ve got a regular old Twilight Zone episode on your hands.

Cheeky octopus steals camera

What do you do when an octopus mistakes your camera for a blue crab? You chase him down and get your camera back, obviously.

Larry Dignan is dead wrong: Apple and AMD

Is it really fair to even pick on ZDNet these days. Adrian Kingsley is about the last writer they have on staff that I can even read without wanting to fall out of my seat. Take this little gem from an Apple speculation piece:

Add it up and AMD could provide the graphics capability Apple is looking for. As AppleInsider noted, AMD traditionally trails Intel on raw performance. However, Ghz is a secondary issue for Apple buyers. An Apple purchase is about design, quality, OS X and ease of use. AMD can get by on the Ghz equation with a mere close enough to Intel if the graphics stars line up. Sean Portnoy asks whether folks would buy an Apple with AMD inside. I’d argue that the processor is a secondary consideration (at best) for buying an Apple.

Gee thanks, Larry. Give me a second to grab my box of crayons so I can scribble down a reply to your sweeping generalization about Apple users. I mean, the desire to own a computer that is easy to use is obviously mutually exclusive from the desire for a computer that is fast and powerful, right?

Oh, wait…

When run against PC laptops, the MacBook Pro line (running Windows under Boot Camp) has, on several occasions, been the fastest Windows laptop in its class. There goes that argument.

Apple doesn’t refresh their line up as frequently as many PC manufacturers do their consumer lines, so between refreshes, consumer-oriented PCs run away with faster processors. However, when you move up the line to a business-class machine like Dell’s Latitude or Lenovo’s ThinkPad, there are a lot of similarities. These companies test these configurations more thoroughly, so they don’t change as often. This results in a more stable configuration, but they also cost more. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

As an Apple buyer, I’m all about performance. I’d be unhappy if Apple moved to Intel while AMD offered an inferior product, and today, that’s the case.

I’d be willing to bet that the reasons Apple was talking to AMD were twofold:

1) AMD has graphics switching technology similar to what Apple just implemented on their own, so it may have been that AMD’s Optimus technology was up for consideration, but was ultimately ruled out.

2) It is in Apple’s interest to keep Intel on their toes. You never sit down at the table with one vendor and one vendor only. That’s a great way to hand margins over to your supplier.

Return to form

Time Magazine has an excellent gallery of vintage computers from the book titled “Core Memory”. What’s striking about the photos is just how much “design” is there. I’ve always admired Apple for their dedication to making a computer that not only works well, but is pleasing to look at. A lot of hardcore geeks scoff at this notion, treating design as a superfluous luxury not worth paying for. I feel pity for the person that does not see any value in beauty. I absorb everything I see and hear, so I choose to surround myself with positivity and beauty. The benefits are worth a few extra dollars to me.

Be Direct. No Really, Be Direct.

http://pleasemaketheiphoneweatherapplicationlocationaware.com/

What more need be said?

Security? We Don’t Need No Stinking Security!

As someone who builds web applications, stories like this scare the hell out of me. Apache.org suffered an attack affecting several services spread across different infrastructure, all stemming from a single XSS attack. To a sysadmin, the prospect that this could happen to them results in pure terror. At least for this sysadmin.

The guys at Apache are smart. They’re real smart. They’re so smart that if they are “sysadmins”, I should be considered some sort of pre-schooler who happens to know how to shell in to a server and copy/paste some lines of text. Just the fact that they can put together such a detailed account of how the attackers got in shows just how smart they are. I’ve been in charge of systems that were hacked before, and it is extremely difficult to put together a detailed post-mortem like this.

So, the message for today is, watch your back, triple-check your security, and pray to whoever it is you pray to.

Tatooine or Sub-Saharan African, You Decide

I love stories that catch you off guard. Tucked away in a sub-saharan corner of Africa, this young man finds a way to build robots. Now that is inspiring stuff.

I’m king of NYC!

Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve received a couple of strange emails and phone calls that I didn’t understand until a few months back when I finally replied to one of the messages and got some clarity. Apparently, a fellow named Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn. His website address is http://bradlander.com, which is of course very similar to mine.

So today, I received a cryptic message on my answering machine from guy named John E. (last name omitted to protect the innocent) claiming to be an old friend. Problem was, I had no idea who the hell John E. was. Thankfully, I made the connection between this call, John E’s Syracuse area code, and the emails and calls from the past.

Fortunately, Mr. Lander seems like a really stand up guy (this cannot be a coincidence /cough cough/). I sure hope he wins so I can travel to NYC and throw my name around when trying to get a reservation at a good restaurant.