Geneone 0.4.6 Upgrade

I just upgraded the version of Geneone here to version 0.4.6 – the latest build.

Theres some visible changes such as the improved community portal, change e-mail address and FOAF profile import. I have also added support for the hAtom microformat. Since I haven’t found any software which supports hAtom yet, I’m not 100% sure it’s valid but if anyone comes across a hAtom parser, let me know. 

Administrators can now edit users profiles and users can be stopped from editing their profile through a permission. Table naming has also been cleaned up (for example we used to have gene_objectrevisions and gene_object_taxonomy. I have also updated the PEAR.php file and added the Incutio XML-RPC library

Objects can now have additional properties and settings. Pinging of web services such as Technorati has been implemented through a property. Blog objects are eventually going to have a configuration page where properties such as services to ping will be configured. The object system allows there to be more than one blog, each of which will have different settings.

CosmoPOD

CosmoPOD gives you a free, online desktop. You get 1GB of storage and a KDE desktop with applications such as browsers, instant messengers, an office suite and more. Surprisingly, it’s not that slow. Sure, if you type something into OpenOffice it may take an extra second for it to appear. I didn’t find this much slower than when I was connecting to another computer on my network using VNC.

To sign up, all you need to do is to provide a username and a password. You can then download the program which allows you to connect to your desktop. There also used to be a Java client so you could use it at school or work to evade filters.

My CosmoPOD

I don’t really trust third parties with my instant messaging passwords so thats out of the question for me. I also can’t see any way of transferring files from your CosmoPOD area to your local hard drive which would be really useful.  

Beginners Guide to Quantum Entanglement

This article explains quantum entanglement using some analogies from real life and non-scientific diagrams. It starts off by looking at some of basic physics such as waves, atom structure and electrons. It then looks at photons and how they can be split and become entangled.

There are also some examples of uses for quantum entanglement such as quantum computing. 

Via Digg

  • Also came across an article on the 11 year quest to produce coloured bubbles

The mystery of the zero byte image

This is kinda a sequel to the mystery of the missing HTML challenge but very different. I believe this will only work on Windows XP on a NTFS filesystem.

Follow the steps to recreate:

  1. Open up the command prompt. You can do this by going to Start -> Run. Type in "cmd".
  2. First thing to do is simply to create a text file using Notepad. In the command prompt, type "notepad test.txt". Notepad will ask you whether you wish to create test.txt. Click yes. Type in "3.141592" and save the file.
  3. If you look at the file in Windows Explorer or command prompt, you will see that it is 8 bytes.
  4. Now we need an image. Save the Google logo to your hard drive in the same folder as test.txt. Call it test.gif. Windows Explorer and the command prompt should report the test.gif file being 8,558 bytes large.
  5. Now we need to embed the image into the text file we created. Type in "type test.gif > test.txt:rw".
  6. Delete test.gif since it is now embedded in the text file.
  7. Using Windows Explorer or the Command Prompt, ensure that test.txt is still 8 bytes.
  8. An image couldn’t have possibly been embedded in the file you may ask. Don’t believe it? Type in "mspaint test.txt:rw". Microsoft Paint should now open up with the logo you embedded into test.txt.

So where have the 8,558 bytes disappeared? How can we store a 8,558 byte image in a 8 byte text file? How has the 8,558 byte image effectively become zero bytes?

Let me know if you’ve worked it out but please refrain from posting the solution for several days so others can try and work it out. 

Keyloggers

Slashdot had an article today on keystroke loggers.

According to rumours I’ve heard our school is currently in the process of purchasing keystroke logging programs to install on the computers. I have a real problem with this. Sure, the school has a duty and responsibility to ensure that people are not misusing the technology. However at the same time, they can’t infringe privacy too much. I believe logging keystrokes is taking it too far and crosses the line. Keystroke logging should not be necessary to ensure computers are not misused.

Anyone with proper access will have access to the passwords of other people’s user accounts, e-mail accounts and accounts at websites such as Google. Even if the school can be trusted with this information, it can easily fall into the wrong hands. I hope this is not true and if it was, at least we should be aware of it beforehand.

MozzIE

I just came across MozzIE today at the new look Sourceforge.

"MozzIE is a plug-in for Microsoft Internet Explorer that allows the display of XHTML + XForms using the Mozilla Gecko 1.8 Rendering Engine."

See the screenshots here and here (same page in Firefox). The idea is that Gecko supports a lot more web standards and to be honest renders much pages a lot better. (I wonder if MozzIE renders SVG.) The main thing is that MozzIE can add support for web standards such as MathML, XHTML, SVG and XForms. I wonder if it’s possible to replace the rendering engine in Internet Explorer altogether – give users an interface they are accustomed to but also improved web page rendering.

It’s still in the alpha stage and seems very much to be a concept but this project could turn into something great 🙂 

Google's statistics on your site

Sitepoint had a blog entry today on Google Sitemap’s Site Statistics feature. You don’t need to publish a Sitemap in order to use the feature – you just need a Google account (Gmail, Adsense, API) and access to the server so you can confirm that it’s your site. Once you’ve confirmed you own the site, Google will tell you the top searches through which users find your site. I already have this information through AWStats and the top 5 searches recorded by AWStats and Google seem to be the same. Whilst AWStats uses referrer information, I believe Google does some magic with gifs to record which search results you click on.

The page will also tell you the most popular queries to Google which your site turns up for. This is something AWStats won’t give you. The crawl statistics page shows some distribution information for pages Googlebot has crawled. Page analysis will show you statistics such as how many HTTP errors and what MIME types the files Google found on your site are. Google also points you towards methods of finding some statistics using Google itself such as the site: operator, link: operator, etc.

You can find in depth information here

It’s nice that Google are beginning to open up some of this information to webmasters. I would have liked to have been able to see more than just the top 5 search results and to have seen some more "useful" information. I’m a little surprised that this is integrated with Sitemaps rather than Analytics/Adwords. They are slightly different things but both provide information to webmasters on their site. 

Neowin gaffe: Firefox 1.5

As I signed onto MSN Messenger, a Neowin alert popped up. "Firefox 1.5 Available". I clicked on the link, and there was Neowin claiming to be the first to break the news that Firefox 1.5 was released. The story also made it onto the front page of Digg.

For some reason, the story seemed more focused on how amazing Neowin was rather than Firefox 1.5 being released. 

On November 9th 2004, Neowin was one of the first to announce the official release of Mozilla Firefox 1.0. We get word from resident Firefox aficionado supernova_00, that Firefox 1.5 is slated to be released sometime today.

Talk about jumping the gun. The story title implied that Firefox 1.5 could now be downloaded. The story was "pinned" to the top of Neowin and the poster seemed 100% sure that the information was correct despite the feedback from members. When the post was made, Firefox 1.5 had not even been released and wasn’t even due to be released that day. Many users mentioned this but several posts were deleted.  

The story was updated several times, and the following message was added:

Unless Mozilla decides to fix a new ‘show stopping bug’ (highly unlikely) those exact builds will become Firefox 1.5. Expect the release notes and assorted announcement pages to be up later today.

Several points. Neowin has quite a diverse group of readers. Many of these users will have jumped on this and promoted a nightly build to family and friends who believe they have the final version 1.5. What if a security vulnerability is found?

As the news spread through the blogosphere and IRC networks, mconnor from Mozilla wrote:

"I hate to rain on this parade, but today is certainly not the projected final release date. I’m not sure where supernova_00 is basing his information on, but we are currently planning on shipping an RC3 later this week, and we have not set a final ship date at this time. There are a number of fixes that have landed post-RC2 and need more extensive testing before we certify and ship final.

When we are ready to ship 1.5 final it will be communicated clearly to all parties in advance of the actual release date."

The story has now disappeared. In the future, is Neowin going to be better known for being one of the first sites breaking the news of Firefox 1.0 or better known for incorrectly breaking the release of Firefox 1.5?