Archive for June, 2004

Star Wars + Office Space trailer Jun 26 2004

This is an excellently produced mix of Office Space the movie (one of my favorites, for sure) and Star Wars. So in the fist scene, Yoda is the old person with the walker beating the freeway rush-hour traffic. Very nice.

Star Wars/Office Space mashup

Office Space Wars is one of the funniest amateur video projects I’ve ever seen: it’s a remake of Office Space, set in the Star Wars Universe, with Vader as the bad boss, Jar Jar as the stapler guy, and R2D2 as the bad printer.

Production for Use Jun 24 2004

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

On the web, graphic design, site architecture, and usability should be understood as component parts of a single thing – I call it web design, you may call it user experience or who knows what.

Nice article from the Zeldman about how basically all good design is rooted in use.

WordPress meetup in SF Jun 24 2004

I may actually be able to go to this, which would be awesome.

Free online distributed secure backup and recovery using webmail services Jun 24 2004

This article describes a conceptual implementation of a free, secure, multiply redundant method of backing up an unlimited number of files using the increased disk space allowances offered by webmail providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail.

In the past, email providers gave you enough room to store a good amount of plain email correspondance. Yahoo and Hotmail, the two leaders in free webmail, offered between 2 and 10 MB of disk space storage for free. Up until very recently, even if you were paying for a premium account your disk space was still limited to 25 MB using Yahoo. Today, competition is heating up for the free webmail providers, with Gmail offering 1 GB of online disk space, Yahoo now offering 250 MB per account, and Hotmail soon to follow. So what else can we do with all that offered disk space (other than send emails to one another)?

Free, secure, distributed backups
Signing up for a new account with Hotmail or Yahoo is relatively easy. It takes a couple of minutes to get set up. This article proposes a system whereby free, secure, distributed backups of your files can be easily created for a potentially unlimited amount of disk space.

The method proposed is as follows:

Back up your data

  1. Client application on workstation assesses files to be saved – operates like a normal backup program and can be your entire hard drive if you want.
  2. Backup program consults available online free webmail space, initiates account creation process if not enough space is available.
  3. Backup program then creates compressed, encrypted chunks in par format, saved to the maximum attachment size allowed by free email provider.
  4. Backup chunks are then sent to email accounts for storage

Restore your data

  1. Backup restore program determines which files you want to restore, looks up which files it needs to download from webmail to restore correct files
  2. Program downloads chunks from webmail, then reconstructs data and decrypts and decompresses data, saving it wherever you want it to.
  3. Your data is restored

Why this could / should be a web-based application
Part of the basic reason why you want to back up your data to a secure off-site location is in event of catostrophic failure. Your computer dies. Your hard-drive dies. Your house burns down. In these cases it may not be feasible that you even have the backup restore application available, or your encryption keys available to decrypt your data. In this case, using a 3rd party web-based application to do the back up and recovery makes sense. In a distributed, community-based model, multiple servers could be run, just as key servers are run, that would ensure secure and timely access to your data backup and recovery process.

Backup server architecture
The main function the backup server provides is maintaining an index of your available backups and the abilty to encrypt and decrypt your data. This might suggest a small, downloadable executable, probably written in Java for portability. You enter your username and password into the small backup/restore applet and it communicates with the server to establish a key pair for the encryption. You would have the option of saving your private key locally, to a USB key device for example. The server might also store both public and private key pairs encrypted with your password for the purpose of remote web-based file access.

This system relies on having access to a high-speed Internet connection in order to function efficiently. The desirable use of bandwidth would be between the workstation and the webmail providers. So the Java applet would connect to the webmail provider and download each required attachment for the backup restore, or would send an email using the webmail interface to each account to store the backup.

This vs. other backup systems
The main difference between this proposed approach and other currently available backup systems is the use of the free webmail and storage providers to provide distributed and, most importantly, free online backup storage space.

Please add your thoughts or comments below regarding this concept. Has it been done already? Is it worth it? What would you change or do differently, and why?


BlogStreet link Jun 23 2004

Get Firefox Jun 23 2004

Firefox is an awesome browser. Get it. Use it. Love it.

Get Firefox

OK/Cancel Jun 23 2004

OK/Cancel logo

About OK/Cancel

About OK/Cancel

OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces – whether they be your car’s dashboard or the web page you just visited.

Most people can relate to things in the world which don’t work like they should — and you needn’t be a usability specialist, interaction designer, industrial designer or any sort of designer to appreciate that frustration. However, if you ARE any of those aforementioned people or have had the pleasure and pain of working with one or more of this rare breed, this strip is for you.

phplist : What is PHPlist Jun 23 2004

tincan ltd : phplist : What is PHPlist

phplist : What is PHPlist

Create an Audience – Capture an Audience – Maintain an Audience

PHPlist is a web application that implements a personalised mailing list manager or customer relationship management (CRM) system. It is written in PHP and uses an SQL database for storing the information.

PHPlist is designed to assist you to stay in touch with your audience, without flooding them with information they don’t want. PHPlist is an essential tool for anyone who is serious about creating, capturing and maintaining an offline audience, and will help you increase traffic to your website.

And the most amazing thing of all: IT’S FREE.

Note to self: try this out, see how it compares to Dada mailing list manager software.

Cory Doctorow’s Microsoft Research DRM talk Jun 18 2004

Microsoft Research DRM talk

Cory Doctorow

June 17, 2004

This talk was originally given to Microsoft’s Research Group
and other interested parties from within the company at their
Redmond offices on June 17, 2004.

This text is dedicated to the public domain, using a Creative
Commons public domain dedication:

> Copyright-Only Dedication (based on United States law)
> The person or persons who have associated their work with this
> document (the “Dedicator”) hereby dedicate the entire copyright
> in the work of authorship identified below (the “Work”) to the
> public domain.
> Dedicator makes this dedication for the benefit of the public at
> large and to the detriment of Dedicator’s heirs and successors.
> Dedicator intends this dedication to be an overt act of
> relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights
> under copyright law, whether vested or contingent, in the Work.
> Dedicator understands that such relinquishment of all rights
> includes the relinquishment of all rights to enforce (by lawsuit
> or otherwise) those copyrights in the Work.
> Dedicator recognizes that, once placed in the public domain, the
> Work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used,
> modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any
> purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including
> by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived.

Greetings fellow pirates! Arrrrr!

I’m here today to talk to you about copyright, technology and
DRM, I work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation on copyright
stuff (mostly), and I live in London. I’m not a lawyer — I’m a
kind of mouthpiece/activist type, though occasionally they shave
me and stuff me into my Bar Mitzvah suit and send me to a
standards body or the UN to stir up trouble. I spend about three
weeks a month on the road doing completely weird stuff like going
to Microsoft to talk about DRM.

I lead a double life: I’m also a science fiction writer. That
means I’ve got a dog in this fight, because I’ve been dreaming of
making my living from writing since I was 12 years old.
Admittedly, my IP-based biz isn’t as big as yours, but I
guarantee you that it’s every bit as important to me as yours is
to you.

Here’s what I’m here to convince you of:

1. That DRM systems don’t work

2. That DRM systems are bad for society

3. That DRM systems are bad for business

4. That DRM systems are bad for artists

5. That DRM is a bad business-move for MSFT

It’s a big brief, this talk. Microsoft has sunk a lot of capital
into DRM systems, and spent a lot of time sending folks like
Martha and Brian and Peter around to various smoke-filled rooms
to make sure that Microsoft DRM finds a hospitable home in the
future world. Companies like Microsoft steer like old Buicks, and
this issue has a lot of forward momentum that will be hard to
soak up without driving the engine block back into the driver’s
compartment. At best I think that Microsoft might convert some of
that momentum on DRM into angular momentum, and in so doing, save
all our asses.

Let’s dive into it.

Read the rest of Cory’s outstanding presentation to Microsoft about why they should embrace a DRM-less future.

i330 Skins! Graffiti and Phone Skins for Samsung SPH-i330 SmartPhones! Jun 16 2004

i330 Skins! Graffiti and Phone Skins for Samsung SPH-i330 SmartPhones!

Samsung i330

Welcome to i330 Headquarters!

Your source for Skins, Applications and Hacks for the Samsung i330 SmartPhone

Samsung released an excellent PDA/Phone, the SPH-i330. However, their standard release was missing a few features I wanted. I could either wait for a later release, or just fix these minor shortcommings myself. Well, as I’m a Palm developer, and assembly coder, I figured it was time to do a little poking. Looking through my phone’s code, I saw Samsung had made it possible with this new phone to override the phone’s themes, and with a little more work, access the phone’s internal functions. I’ve now fixed the parts of the phone I didn’t like, and since not everyone is an assembly coder, or wants to learn any more about their Palm other than how to use it, I made this site. You can upload your own themes, or download the work of others from here. You do not need to be a programmer to use anything on this site, or build your own themes. You can upload your themes in JPEG (.jpg) format, and the site will translate them into ‘Palm language’ to load onto your phone.

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