Tag Archives: Internet

Contact Details via hCard

Rowan’s blog reminded me that I had been meaning to update my contact details on this blog in the hCard standard. In case you have no idea what hCards or microformats are, then read these two articles for more info: Wikipedia, Microformats. And in case those articles are too technical, then all you really need to know is that the hCard format makes it easier for computers to understand your contact details.

Here’s the code I used for mine (you can see it in the sidebar) – just modify with your details as necessary.

<div id="hcard-Stuart-Maxwell" class="vcard">
    <a class="url fn" href="http://stuart.amanzi.co.nz">Stuart Maxwell</a><br />
    <a class="email" href="mailto:stuart@amanzi.co.nz">stuart@amanzi.co.nz</a><br />
    <span class="tel">021766940</span>
    <div class="adr">
        <div class="post-office-box">PO Box 5858</div>
        <span class="locality">Lambton Quay</span>,
        <span class="region">Wellington</span>,
        <span class="postal-code">6145</span>
        <span class="country-name">New Zealand</span>
    </div>
    <a class="url" href="xmpp:stuart@amanzi.co.nz">Jabber</a>,
    <a class="url" href="http://twitter.com/stuartm">Twitter</a>,
    <a class="url" href="http://flickr.com/photos/amanzi">Flickr</a>,
    <a class="url" href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/smaxwell">LinkedIn</a>,
    <a class="url" href="http://www.facebook.com/people/Stuart_Maxwell/652219672">Facebook</a>
</div>

If the text above looks like gobbledygook to you, then try this online hCard creator instead. You can see how it’s made up and then add more details to it if you like.

Update – updated the PO Box details based on Andy’s comment below – thanks!

Stalker alert

You too can stalk all of your contacts’ online movements through a new service called Spokeo. I found out about this on Guy Kawasaki’s blog and he explains how it works:

Spokeo finds information about your friends—long-lost or not—and then tracks their online activities as they make updates. These friends don’t have to “invite” you, approve your friend “request,” or be a member of Spokeo. Spokeo is able to, for example, monitor their Facebook notes and shares, YouTube videos, Amazon wishlists, Flickr and PhotoBucket photos, Pandora favorites, MySpace updates, Twitter tweets, personal websites, and blogs.

You have to try it for yourself to find out how freaky this is. You log in to the site by providing you Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail login details and Spokeo scans your address book, and displays all the online activity from your contacts. This is the list of services that Spokeo can monitor:

  • Amazon
  • Bebo
  • Blogger
  • Buzznet
  • dailymotion
  • deviantART
  • Digg
  • Facebook Notes & Shares
  • Flickr
  • Fotolog
  • Friendster
  • Hi5
  • imeem
  • Last.fm
  • LinkedIn
  • LiveJournal
  • MySpace
  • Netlog
  • Pandora
  • PhotoBucket
  • Picasa
  • PictureTrail
  • Slide
  • Stumbleupon
  • Twitter
  • Veoh
  • Vox
  • WebShots
  • Windows Live Spaces
  • Xanga
  • Yahoo! Videos
  • Yelp
  • YouTube

So even contacts who you may have just emailed once or twice, appear in your list and you can see everything they have been up to online. Including products they have reviewed or commented on through Amazon, playlists created on Pandora, Bebo posts, Flickr photos.

It’s really bizarre and feels a bit seedy – almost like you’re spying on your contacts without their knowledge. Of course, everything you do online is in the public domain so there’s nothing dodgy going on (I don’t think…)

UPDATE: There are two interesting pages on the Spokeo blog which discuss privacy issues and you should read them both: Your Privacy, and, My Content Privacy.

iPod Touch on the way

While I was in England I visited the Apple Store in Bluewater and had the pleasure of playing with an iPod Touch for the first time. It’s just as good in person as it looks in the demos on the web and I’ve ordered one from the NZ Apple Store as they are cheaper over here than the UK.

I wasn’t planning on hacking/unlocking it as I really only want it for wireless internet access (the photos and videos are nice too), but this article shows just how easy it is now: http://www.tuaw.com/2007/10/29/instant-jailbreak-for-iphone-and-ipod-touch/

Losing faith, Steampunk and Elephants

Just a few interesting links from this morning’s news reading…

From Boing Boing:

LA Times religious reporter loses faith

My favorite news magazine, The Week, reprinted this fascinating personal account written the LA Times’ former religious correspondent.

Nine years ago, William Lobdell was assigned to cover religion for the LA Times. He was a born-again Christian when he got the gig. In 2001 he started studying to convert to his wife’s religion, Catholicism. That was when the trouble began for Lobdell.

Another from Boing Boing:

Boing Boing reader’s steampunk cloque

Bill sez, “I built this steampunk clock after seeing other steampunk items on BoingBoing and just got inspired to make my own. This one is built on an empty vintage clock case from around 1910, and the parts came from local radio repair shops, a bicycle repair shop, Home Depot, and various car wreck sites that I pass on my daily walk. There’s also a part (see if you can spot it) from an old Model T car. Besides the funky steampunk look, the best thing about this is that it tells the actual time, a good thing, since I’m an obsessive punctuality freak.”

From Mark Pilgrim:

Elephants

Why? Because the internet needs a page with 648 elephants. You may not have realized that, but now that I say it, you’re thinking, “Of course! Where are my elephants?” I got your elephants right here.

Update: fixed link.

More broadband speed for free

[tags]telstra clear,geekzone,broadband,internet[/tags]

From the Geekzone forums, I found out about TelstraClear’s speed increases on their cable network – FOR FREE! (Official press release here: More broadband speed for free)

More broadband speed for free

TelstraClear has doubled the speed of two of its most popular InHome broadband plans. 
The free speed increase raises downstream speeds on the 5 GB plan from up to 2 Mbps to up to 4 Mbps, and the 20 GB plan from up to 4 Mbps to up to 10 Mbps.  The plans are available to homes on TelstraClear’s InHome network in Wellington, Kapiti and Christchurch.
TelstraClear Head of Consumer Steve Jackson says customers on the 5 GB and 20 GB plans will be automatically upgraded to the new speeds.
“This is great for our customers and they don’t need to do anything. They’ll notice everything gets a lot faster – for free.  On our 5 GB plan alone, more than 12,000 customers will reap the benefits of an increase in speed. Who wouldn’t want at least twice the speed for no increase in price?”
Mr Jackson says the company was noticing a change in customer behaviour, with customers wanting to optimise their broadband experience for things such as streaming video.
“We’re staying ahead of the game, offering customers plans to suit their needs.  An increase in speed makes surfing the Internet, downloading music and videos and playing online games easier than ever before.”
“Customers on our 5 GB and 20 GB plans will be able to download their favourite television programme such as Shortland Street from sites like TVNZ ondemand in half the time.”
The 20 GB plan is now in line with the company’s top-of-the-range LightSpeed plans by offering downstream speeds of up to 10 Mbps.
Existing customers will receive the new speeds by 1 August 2007.
TelstraClear’s InHome six broadband plans include:
HighSpeed 1G – 1G of monthly traffic  – 2Mbps downstream / 2 Mbps upstream *
HighSpeed 5G – 5G of monthly traffic –  4 Mbps downstream / 2 Mbps upstream *
HighSpeed 10G – 10G of monthly traffic – 4 Mbps downstream / 2 Mbps upstream  $49.95 per month
LightSpeed 20G – 20G of monthly traffic  – 10 Mbps downstream / 2 Mbps upstream $69.95 per month
LightSpeed 40G – 40G of monthly traffic – 10 Mbps downstream / 2 Mbps upstream $99.95 per month
LightSpeed 80G – 80G of monthly traffic  – 10 Mbps downstream/2 Mbps upstream $139.95 per month
* TelstraClear HighSpeed Internet is only available as part of a package including a phone line on the HighSpeed 1G ($62.90 per month including phone) and 5G ($72.90 per month including phone) plans. 

Windows XP Service Pack 3

As far as I’m aware, Microsoft have been keeping very quiet about Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Paul Thurrott even theorised that Microsoft may never release a SP3 for XP.

So it was interesting to read two posts on the TechNet Blogs site, mentioning the “forthcoming XP Service Pack 3.” This is the first official mention of it in a while, so perhaps we may see a beta of it sooner rather than later.

[tags]windows,windows xp,service pack 3,sp3,paul thurrott,msdn,technet,blogs,news[/tags]

Posts are here:

I’m a Skype Pro user

[tags]skype,voip,phones,internet,telephony[/tags]

I’ve been meaning to sign up with the Skype-in service for a while now. Skype-in is a landline phone number that transfers to my Skype account when called. The cool thing about a Skype-in number is that you can get it in one of 18 countries around the world. This is useful for me as I can tell my family and friends in the UK to call me on a London phone number, and this will get connected to Skype on my computer.

The only problem with this is that if your computer isn’t turned on at the time then you wouldn’t receive the call. The solution to this has been to also purchase the voicemail service from Skype. But now Skype have also introduced call-forwarding, so that if you don’t answer your Skype call, or your computer is turned off, you can nominate another phone number that the call should transfer to. As with most call-forwarding services, you pay the costs to the forwarded number, but as the Skype rates are so low anyway, this is minimal.

Skype Pro…

The encouragement for finally signing up to the Skype-in service came from the fact that Skype have now released a new service called Skype Pro. This service gives you free national calls to landlines from Skype, free voicemail service, call transfers, and a €30 discount on the Skype-in number. This brings down the cost of Skype-in from €50 (NZD$87) to €20 (NZD$35) for 12 months. So it’s a great deal and it opens up the Skype service to give you all sorts of options for managing your calls.

Confused?

If that all sounds confusing, here’s how it all adds up:

  • My Mum can call me on my own London number.
  • If I’m logged in to Skype, I can choose to answer the call on the computer or transfer it to the home phone.
  • If the computer is turned off, the call automatically transfers to my home number.
  • And if we don’t answer the home phone, the call diverts to our answer machine.

How much does it cost?

  • The Skype Pro account is $3 per month and this gives you free national calls, and free voicemail.
  • The Skype-in phone number is €20 for 12 months after the Skype Pro discount.
  • Transferring a Skype call to my home phone is 3c per minute.

Problems!

One of the problems that I’m worried about is if our London number starts getting called by telemarketers in the middle of our night. The alternative then would be to not use the call forwarding feature, but to just send the call straight to voice mail. I would still be able to transfer the calls to our home number from Skype if I was logged in, but if Skype wasn’t running then I wouldn’t know about the missed call until I logged back into Skype.

Ideally, I would want to only transfer to the home number during certain times, but that functionality doesn’t exist in Skype yet. I think I’ll see how it works out for now – it all gets a bit confusing!

Side note:

Miramar Mike is also trialing the new Skype Pro package. He’s opted for a local (Wellington) Skype-in number and is even considering ditching his Telstra home number and going pure-Skype! Follow his experiment here.

Google to the rescue

A cool story about how blogging and Google brought a present to our daughter, Elliot…

Over the last few days, we have received lots of presents from friends and family for the arrival of Elliot, who sends her thanks by the way. But one present from Karen and Jason had the wrong address on it, didn’t have a return address, and was sent just to Elliot Maxwell.

So what would you do if you received a package addressed to someone else with no return address? Well, our neighbour down the road (who doesn’t know us) opened the card and present to find more clues about who the gift belonged to. The card inside didn’t mention any other names apart from Elliot Maxwell, but it was obvious that the present for a newborn baby.

Google to the rescue, and despite the fact that Elliot was not even 10 days old at the time, the first record for a search for Elliot Maxwell was indeed our daughter as featured on our DebandStu blog! And as we keep our contact email addresses on the site, we received an email that day to find out that the parcel was delivered to the house just down the road from us.

So thanks, Russell, for your ingenuity!

[tags]google,internet,search,blogs,blogosphere[/tags]

Reduced attack surface area

Jeff Jones (Strategy Director in the Microsoft Security Technology Unit) has written a post about Server Core and how its reduced footprint increases security dramatically. The key here is “reduced attack surface area” as all of the most insecure areas of a server have been removed, such as IIS, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, etc…

However, pulling all these components out of a server have also reduced its functionality, which is why only the following roles are available: (taken from the excellent Server Core Step By Step Guide)

  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Services
  • Print Server
  • Streaming Media Services

I’m a big fan of this approach and I can’t wait for Server Core to be improved so that the GUI is completely removed. Server Core GUI also hope that the modulisation of the components is improved so that the Web Server role becomes available as a Server Core option. It would seem to me that one of the best scenarios to implement a server with a “reduced attack surface area” would be on a public-facing web server.