Firefox 1.5 is released

Today the Mozilla Corporation decreed Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 3 be the final release and released it to the public with some nice enhancements to the browser and some significant upgrades to the Gecko HTML layout engine.

Initial thoughts:

  • Reordering tabs is very, very slick.
  • The new update mechanism is outstanding.
  • – the site of the recently introduced Mozilla Corporation, the business arm of the Mozilla Foundation – just sounds so strange to me.
  • It seems a bit snappier, which is always good.

So now we’re on the road to Firefox 2.0. That should be quite interesting. Congrats to the Firefox team for a high-quality 1.5 release. For commentary and reaction to Firefox 1.5’s release, see MozillaZine, Ben Goodger (Firefox’s lead developer), Ars Technica, and Slashdot, among other places on the Internet(s).


Very Expensive 18-Year-Old Technology

EGA Monitor on eBay

$135 – and likely up – for a freaking monitor manufactured in 1987? WOW!



This weekend, among other things, I discovered my 386 – my first PC – is still in perfect working condition. Here it is in the Windows 3.11 Program Manager:

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 on my 386


Texas, EFF sues Sony-BMG over rootkit

Texas and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed suit against Sony BMG over their “rootkit” digital rights management scheme, which installs files that directly alter the operation of the Windows operating system surreptitiously on users’ machines when they insert particular Sony audio CDs, in order to prevent people from removing the digital rights management protection enclosed on said discs. The result is a system that is wide open to attack.

Bravo – I hope more state AGs decide to file suit, as schemes like this must be taken seriously and put to a stop. It’s refreshing to see that people in power realize that what is ours is ours, and while protecting intellectual property is generally important, it’s also important not to infringe on a user’s right to run his computer as he sees fit.


Disassembling Sony’s DRM

I saw this on Slashdot this morning: For those interested in the anatomy of Sony’s DRM rootkit, check out Matti Nikki’s site. It’s got a great deal of information about the rootkit, including quite a few surprises that could mean serious problems for Sony and First4Internet. If you want to follow a blog of the disassembly, watch Sebastian Porst’s blog as he discusses the implications of possible LGPL violations all over the map in this software.

Stay tuned – it’s not over!


Kudos to Microsoft

From Neowin:

Microsoft is cleaning up Sony’s DRM mess amid fears that the rootkit could be used for malware purposes. The rootkit, a component of the controversial DRM scheme used by Sony BMG Music Entertainment, was discovered in October by Windows analyst Mark Russinovich who published his findings in his blog at Microsoft has taken the move of updating its Windows AntiSpyware application to add a detection and removal signature for the rootkit features used in the XCP digital rights management technology.

According to Jason Garms, group product manager in Microsoft’s Anti-Malware Technology Team, the rootkit removal signature will be pushed out at Windows users through the anti-spyware application’s weekly signature update process.

Detection and removal of the XCP rootkit will also appear in Windows Defender, the next version of Windows AntiSpyware when that makeover ships.
Microsoft plans to include this signature in the December monthly update to the Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Good for Microsoft for doing this. This rootkit stuff is nothing short of criminal, though since we have the best government money can buy in the States, I seriously doubt we’ll see any charges come of this.

Infrastructure Technology

Assault of the Blubster packets

I’m getting about three packets a second from port 41170 on my router, which after about six hours is unable to keep up and crashes. Yes, my router crashes every six hours. This angers me greatly.

Tonight took the cake though – I couldn’t play Battlefield properly. That pissed me off more than anything. I’ve got to find a way to stop this traffic from even coming in. Who wants to help me sabotage a Blubster installation? :p

As Per Whatever Technology compromised?

It appears’s been compromised; a link about making a million on your 401(k) links to a porn site. Hmmm…

UPDATE: The more I think about it, the more I think it was just an error on their part. The link goes to http://edpreview, which appears to be an internal MSN server. Of course, when Firefox gets a hold of it, it does a Google “I’m Feeling Lucky” search on it. When you do an “I’m Feeling Lucky” on the word “edpreview” you reach a site called Exotic Dimensions. I’ll say no more.


As Per Whatever Technology

PDA Blogging

I’m on the Cistern right now, blogging from an iPAQ PDA. I’m putting it through its paces and so far it isn’t bad. The mini keyboard that I have attached to it does not lend itself to typing with any sort of reasonable speed, that’s for sure.

Other than that, this post is largely useless. I did manage to crash my MPx220 today doing a Bluetooth file transfer. Lame.

Later folks…


HP bundling NETSCAPE on New PCs?!?

Saw it on Slashdot: is reporting that HP / Compaq will begin to install all PCs sold in the US and Canada with Netscape. Users will be prompted with the option to set either Netscape or IE as the default browser.” From the article: “The agreement, which the companies are set to announce Monday, is the first browser distribution deal with a major PC maker since the end of the browser wars in the 1990s, according to Netscape, a division of Time Warner’s America Online subsidiary.

I think Firefox would have been a far superior choice here; I don’t know, it’s something about Firefox having a far superior interface to Netscape’s pandemonium (and that’s being nice). It doesn’t help that Netscape 8 doesn’t have near the number of extensions and themes available for it as Firefox has. And did I mention that horrifying interface?

I give HP credit for providing its customers with an easily-accessed alternative. It’s a commendable action that more PC manufacturers need to look into doing. However, the alternative here is so confusing and unruly, people will just use IE anyway.