Showing posts from September, 2010

Security Lessons Learned From The Diaspora Launch

Security Lessons Learned From The Diaspora Launch: MicroISV on a Shoestring The team is manifestly out of their depth with regards to web application security, and it is almost certainly impossible for them to gather the required expertise and still hit their timetable for public release in a month. You might believe in the powers of OSS to gather experts (or at least folks who have shipped a Rails app, like myself) to Diaspora’s banner and ferret out all the issues. You might also believe in magic code-fixing fairies. Personally, I’d be praying for the fairies because if Diaspora is dependent on the OSS community their users are screwed. There are, almost certainly, exploits as severe as the above ones left in the app, and there almost certainly will be zero-day attacks by hackers who would like to make the headline news. “Facebook Competitor Diaspora Launches; All Users Data Compromised Immediately” makes for a smashing headline in the New York Times, wouldn’t you say? Nice post. Alt

The Biz School Chronicles :: On Enonomies of Scale and Invention vs Innovation

Today, a friend shared an interesting article. Titled " The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart ", its essence was the story how Jim Wier, CEO of the lawn-equipment company Simplicity stopped selling Snapper branded lawn mowers via Wal-Mart. "In 2002, Jim Wier's company, Simplicity, was buying Snapper, a complementary company with a 50-year heritage of making high-quality residential and commercial lawn equipment. Wier had studied his new acquisition enough to conclude that continuing to sell Snapper mowers through Wal-Mart stores was, as he put it, "incompatible with our strategy. And I felt I owed them a visit to tell them why we weren't going to continue to sell to them." Selling Snapper lawn mowers at Wal-Mart wasn't just incompatible with Snapper's future--Wier thought it was hazardous to Snapper's health. Snapper is known in the outdoor-equipment business not for huge volume but for quality, reliability, durability. A well-maintained Snapper

Creating Shazam in Java

   +  "Shazam is an application which you can use to analyse/match music. When you install it on your phone, and hold the microphone to some music for about 20 to 30 seconds, it will tell you which song it is. When I first used it it gave me a magical feeling. “How did it do that!?”. And even today, after using it a lot, it still has a bit of magical feel to it. Wouldn’t it be great if we can program something of our own that gives that same feeling? That was my goal for the past weekend." Read the complete post here A nice experiment. The author got into trouble for patent infringement. But that's expected I guess :)

Re-targeting Technology - "The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web"

The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web - Advertising Age - DigitalNext "I surfed over to my favorite apparel website, Zappos, now a part of Amazon. After a few clicks, Zappos' recommendation engine went to work and started offering me the selections that people who looked at the same shorts I did ultimately bought -- a cool idea and a feature that has been useful to me in the past. Then, I abandoned the search and did something else. That's when the weirdness started. In the five days since, those recommendations have been appearing just about everywhere I've been on the web, including MSNBC, Salon, and The Guardian. The ad scrolls through my Zappos recommendations: Hurley, Converse by John Varvatos, Quicksilver, Rip Curl, Volcom. Whatever. At this point I've started to actually think I never really have to go back to Zappos to buy the shorts -- no need, they're following me." That story might sound creepy at first. But I find the technology both fas

What Big Brands Are Spending on Google

What Big Brands Are Spending on Google - Advertising Age - Digital "The data obtained by Ad Age includes huge brands such as GM, Walt Disney, Eastman Kodak and BMW, which appear to have spent less than $500,000 in June. Tech rival Apple spent just under $1 million on search during the month, as did chip maker Intel. Among Google's biggest spenders are businesses that depend on search traffic, including those that resell AdWords or simply buy Google traffic to resell to their own advertisers, including Hungry Machine, which does business under the name Living Social, which spent $2.4 million in June, and, which spent $1.2 million. As a snapshot, it's also remarkable that Google's biggest advertisers, big monthly spenders like AT&T, Apollo Group and Amazon, individually accounted for less than 1% of Google's U.S. revenue in June. The top 10 advertisers in the document collectively accounted for just 5% of Google's U.S. revenue during the month

An Oscar Winning Software?

Pixar's RenderMan® | Showcase "The challenge of shading food for Ratatouille was to work with a stylized look that fits into our world, yet is still readable and recognizable as something appealing to eat. We, as humans, have a built-in sensory system to know what looks edible to our eyes and stomach. Finding that acceptable (and tasty) appearence was the main focus. To achieve this, we used subtle illumination techniques that became a general approach for a variety of objects. Here we will study a brief technical overview, followed by descriptions of different concepts, techniques and systems to achieve the look." I've been reading iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business for a while now.  Well, with work, studies and other stuff, it's hard to finish reading a book in a single sitting these days, hence the "for-a-while". I'm almost at the end of Part Two of the book and kept coming across a software called RenderMan. Rend

Empowered Employees, Self-service IT and the Future Enterprise

IT in the Age of the Empowered Employee - Ted Schadler - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review "Incremental innovation and process improvements have always come from those closest to the problem. It's the basis of kaizen, a system where employees continually improve manufacturing processes. It's also a founding principle of Six Sigma tap employees' relentless, incremental quality improvements. The same is true in the way employees are harnessing consumer technologies social, mobile, video, and cloud. They're improving how they do their jobs and solving your customer and business problems. And it's not just a few employees; it's a critical mass of employees. In a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. information workers, we found that 37% are using do-it-yourself technologies without IT's permission. LinkedIn, Google Docs,, Facebook, iPads, YouTube, Dropbox, Flipboard the list is long and growing. Many of these scenarios are do-it-yourself p

How (and what) reddit gained from digg revolt #5

Here's that analysis we promised of what happened yesterday traffic-wise (tldr: everything went better than expected). via We had some interesting traffic yesterday. Usually that would mean it's time for a technobabbly post-mortem about which part of our infrastructure failed and caused the site to go down for three hours. However, something strange happened this time: the site didn't go down (knock on wood). So I guess we're going to have to set aside tradition and instead make a, um.. "postpartem" blog post about how things bent but did not break. TL;DR: Money from reddit gold users went to defence against a massive attack of Digg users. And not only reddit managed to overcome the attack, it also converted them to the better religion! Plus, they have reandomly put games in their advertisement boxes, which makes users turn AdBlock off for reddit. As those who follow me on Twitter know, I created an account at reddit too, joining the flood of d