Category: Browsing

Browsing the web

Second Life woos corporations – too little, too late?

Just recently in the news, Linden Labs (the creators of Second Life) and IBM have announced that they will allow corporations to run isolated portions of the Second Life universe on their own administrated servers to cater their business needs.

I used to work at a company that was exploring the business uses of Second Life. Sad to say the subject has been so dead over here in Europe that this all seems a lot like something that should have been ready during the hype 2 years ago.

Not to mention, this whole setup sounds all to familiar to the way in which ActiveWorlds works; and a lot of good it did that.
For years, Linden Labs has argued that its sole hosting of the Second Life universe was a unique selling point, something that made it more secure, more reliable than its competitors.

Sorry Linden Labs, you really have lost me.
I’m ready to jump aboard the OpenSim, Croquet and Multiverse projects!

See: NY Times Article “Second Life: Tamed for Corporate Consumption”.

How to Block IE 7 from Auto-Installing

Supporting many legacy web applications and systems can be a pain if you are suddenly forced to install a complete new browser platform.

As of October 2006, Microsoft is pushing the installation of Internet Explorer version 7 as a critical update. This means that it will push through most people’s Windows Update settings.

Although the user still has to accept the installation of IE7 per se, it’s still annoying to have the setup popup on your screen when you are not really interested in it.

How to prevent the update package from being installed

Its a simple matter of creating and setting a single registry key:

HLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Setup/7.0 then add the DWORD value [DoNotAllowIE70] and set it to "1" (true).

Thanks to Amit Agarwal‘s great article on Blocking IE7.

Too many connections on Linksys router

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been having major issues with my broadband router.

My Linksys WRT54G router with the excellent DD-WRT opensource firmware just kept on crashing and stifling my internet connections.

After perusing the various newgroups, I found the answer. It turns out that many routers tend to go haywire when the MTU is not set correctly. It turns out that the auto setting just doesn’t work correctly.
I then followed Linksys’ advice on finding the right MTU setting an entered this into the router.

I no longer have 400 of 500 connections on my router anymore!

Toyota – the Human Touch

Came across this hilarious and ultimately effective commercial by Toyota: it expresses the brand’s attention to the customers needs by giving all the gadgets and features of their cars a "personal" touch.

It’s just fantastic to watch!

Soapbox – Microsoft’s attempt to rival YouTube

Microsoft has just launched Soapbox.

This is a new beta they are using as a testbed for an Atlas-powered alternative to the plethora of video sharing sites on the web.
In normal speak: Microsoft wants a piece of the YouTube/Google/Yahoo video pie ;).

MSN Soapbox

On the homepage, you see nothing but a loading screen until youactually log in with your Microsoft Passport account. Then, you aretreated to another rendition of a nerd in an MSN butterfly suit (an MSNbeta wouldn’t be complete without it!).

The service is open to a select group of users (invite only), although you are encouraged to request access too. Luckily the boys at CNet have a had a quick browse through the working version of the site.

One word of caution: when signing up for the beta you are very strongly advised to read the legalese. The most significant thing that caught my eye: entire chapters devoted to payed placement of content and how the billing works. I”l be interested to see if this approach can help build the content library!

I always enjoy taking a website apart and seeing how i can have at the assets. Sadly, I’m new to Atlas and AJAXin general, and I gave up after skimming through the 6 or sojavascripts and 4 flash movies full of ActionScript. Maybe that will beone to return to in the future.


MacSaber – Take the Force with you…

Just came across this geeky but oh so call app for the new Apple laptops:

MacSaber in action ;P

When you run the aptly named programme "MacSaber", you can use the laptop as a light saber as if you were a Jedi Knight; the software taps into the inbuilt motion sensors in the devices to simulate a light saber with light and sound effects.

Check it out!

Forget the NSA, Flash is spying on you!

Secret Cookie Stash in Adobe Flash Plug-In

I recently tidied up my "Documents and Settings" folder and came across some unusual files (*.sol).

It turns out that these are cookies placed by Flash movies which have run through the plug-in in a browser or through the stand alone player. This only happens in the newest version (v8) of the plug-in.

The nasty thing about these cookies is that I never realised that they were there!

Being an over-conscious web user, I occasionally check my browser cookies and delete the cookies I deem not welcome on my computer (cookies used for advertising, web-tracking, etc). But now it seems that Flash unobtrusively places cookies outside of the browser without letting you know!

Read on to see how you can take control of the situation.

Clean up

So how do you get rid of those nasty cookie crumbs?

You have a couple of options:

  1. Delete every *.sol file you find under your %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%Application DataMacromediaFlash Player folder (Windows only).
  2. Set up the Flash plug-in to globally deny the storing of cookies on your PC: [Link to Global Shared Object settings]
  3. Set up the Flash plug-in to specifically deny the storing of cookies by a particular site: [Link to Site-Specific Shared Object settings]
  4. Use the Flash Player settings manager to delete all cookies and shared objects from all the sites you have visited: [Link to Site-Specific Shared Object settings]

Normally I don’t mind too much: but with all those Flash banner ads on websites these days, I can’t help but wonder if some ad agency is tracking my surfing behaviour without my consent.

Seeing as I have no control over what happens to this data, and that it may contain material that could cause problems for me in the future (yes, I’m sometimes naughty on the interwebs); I’d rather block out these cookies than be harassed later on!

On a Tangent -> Wikipedia Adventure

Whilst listening to a comedy radio station (LaughTraxx on Radio@Netscape) i caught the name Betty Ford.

I was curious how her name was linked to the infamous Betty Ford Center, the alcohol and drug rehabilition centre.I wanted to know what the link between the centre and the first lady was, so I used Wikipedia to do some research.

Having read the article about Betty Ford, I found out that she struggled with a dependancy on both alcohol and pain killers.

Then the hyperlink adventure began:

As a non-americain and 79-baby, i knew very little about Mr Ford, President Gerald Ford, Jr. Naturally I looked him up and discovered that he was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but had his name changed after his mother remarried. That in itself was curious. But I read on…

It turned out that President Ford escaped two assasination attempts: one by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, the other by Sara Jane Moore. The latter was a lost soul by account of the wikipedia-entry. She was a nursing school student, an army recruit and an accountant but had five husbands and four children before she got revolutionary. In her forties, she attempted the assasination in an effort to prove her worth to her radical friends. Groan..

The former assasin was a different case altogether and all the more exiting to read about. It turned out that she was connected to the famous psychopath criminal Charles Manson. Lynette suffered a terrible childhood that would ruin her life. Finding herself destitute and living on the streets, she was a perfect prey for Manson. The Wikipedia article suprised me in its depth, chronicling Fromme’s career in the penal system. I was most suprised to read that she would be released soon: september 5th 2005! I hope she’s complete rehabilitated.

Then came the anti-hero Charles Manson. That was a real adventure in history; the crazy idea of an imminent race war that was so imminent that he and his followers had to tempt fate by framing the Black Panthers for their indiscriminate murders of white Beverly Hills elitists. The Manson article intimately described Manson’s horrid childhood; i see a pattern here ;).

Amoungst other things, his single, alcoholic prostitute mother no longer wanted him and sent him to a boarding school. He soon escaped and went back to his mother, but his mother rejected him, forcing him on the street.

The even more detailed description of his penal career, even including excerpts of the prison reports written about him. He was quite a character: always looking for attention, abusing the trust of others and eventually raping at razor point and even pimping his fellow inmates! Downright gone.

Nonetheless Manson was let out on probation and managed to do "good" outside too. He married twice, his first child Charles M. Manson, Jr. (d. 1993; suicide at age 38) was born to Manson’s first wife (married at 17!), who left him for a truck driver after Manson got himself in jail again.

The rollercoaster continued with tangents into Scientology, The Beatles and even the good Ol’ Beach Boys!

Just amazing stuff to read.

Wikipedia is truely a treasure trove of information.
I love it!