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I’m not sure I trust Canonical…

I received this email from Canonical (the company that supports Ubuntu) yesterday (I’ve neutered the anchor on the link)

From: landscape-team@canonical.com
Subject: You have been invited to the Landscape account canonica
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 12:07:48 +0000 (GMT)

You’ve been invited to the following Landscape account:

Canonical – candidates (canonica).

Please click the following URL to accept the invitation:

https://landscape.canonical.com/accept-invitation/GvEf6S0tBkpWD0YOcH8NQsKAe2Yh5H

Then a few hours later I received this email (I’ve removed hard breaks so that it reads a little easier as a blockquote)

From: Jamshed Kakar <landscape-manager@canonical.com>
Subject: Apology for mistaken ‘Canonical Landscape Invitation’ email
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 20:03:23 +0000 (GMT)

Hi,

A few hours ago one of our systems accidentally sent you an invitation for a trial account in Landscape.  The invitation was sent to you by mistake as a result of incorrect data in our contact database.

We’re working hard to ensure that this sort of thing won’t happen again.  Please accept our sincere apologies for this accident.

Regards,
Jamshed Kakar
Landscape Project Manager

The only conclusion that I can draw is that information I used to apply for a job with Canonical a month ago or so was mishandled and made available for (mis)use by others in the company.  Given that this has happened (clearly my information has been mishandled) it raises a concern as to how much Canoncial can be trusted handling any potentially sensitive or personal information…

Consider credit card numbers provided to them for support; contact information for sales or employment… the list goes on.

My advice — don’t trust any company with personal information that can obviously not be trusted to properly handle and safe guard that information.

I have requested that Canonical immediately remove any and all of my personal information from all of their databases (I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable being employed by or doing business with such a company), maybe you should do the same.

Originally posted 2010-03-24 01:30:17.

Spring Forward – Fall Back

Today Daylight Savings Time ends in every state of the US except Hawaii — that’s the only US state (in it’s entirety) that does not observe Daylight Savings Time; the time zone, HAST (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time; UTC-10) — of course the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) were on HADT until just a bit ago…

If you’re thinking I’m wrong because you believe Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time you’d be partially correct… but since the Navajo Nation does observe Daylight Savings Time, and it’s located within the boundaries of the state of Arizona, the state in it’s entirety wouldn’t meet the condition of my assertion.

Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa also do not observe Daylight Savings Time, but they aren’t states (they’re possessions) so they also fail to me the conditions of my assertion.

And fortunately for everyone the wacky system Indiana used for a very long time vanished in 2005 when the entire state began observing Daylight Saving Time.

Generally Benjamin Franklin is credited with the idea of Daylight Savings Time… but his plan technically called for the shifting of working hours, not the changing of the clocks — the actual concept of changing the clocks is generally attributed to William Willett (England) in 1907 — but the plan wasn’t adopted until World War I.

While the US observed daylight savings time during World War I, the law was quickly repealed after the end of the war (1919); it was re-established during World War II, used year round in 1973-1974 (Energy Crisis), and finally fixed by law in 1987 to insure consistency among states, then expanded in duration in 2005 (it’s not mandatory that a state observe Daylight Savings Time, only the start / end dates are set by Federal law if a state so chooses to observe Daylight Savings Time).

Personally, I think Daylight Savings Time, and Time Zones are an albatross that we simply do not need any longer; you’d have though with the redefining of measurements by the Metric System we’d have addressed the bizarre way in which humans measure the passage of time, and reference it by the calendar.

Originally posted 2010-11-07 02:00:06.

JustHost.com POP / IMAP / SMTP Settings

POP:
host: mail.<yourdomain>
host: <yourhost>.justhost.com
port: 110
port: 995, SSL

IMAP:
host: mail.<yourdomain>
host:<yourhost> .justhost.com
port: 143
port: 993, SSL

SMTP:
host: mail.<yourdomain> (requires authentication)
host: <yourhost>.justhost.com
port: 25
port: 2626
port: 465, SSL

WEB MAIL:
url: https://<yourdomain>:2096
url: https://<yourhost>.justhost.com:2096


NOTES:

  • SSL: you will need to accept the self signed certificate; some mail readers do not allow you to retain self signed certificates, so you will need to do that each and every time a connection (or initial connection) is made.
  • SMTP: requires authentication; also you ISP may block port 25 (which is why port 2626 is also supported).
  • <yourhost> would be something like cl111 so for example cl111.justhost.com
  • <yourdomain> would be something like mydomain.com so for example mail.mydomain.com

Originally posted 2010-03-05 02:00:49.

Grip of Death

The proverbial feces has hit the proverbial fan in iPhone 4 “antenna-gate”…

Personally I think it’s sad the way Apple CEO Steve Jobs treats his customer’s (and the world) with so little respect.

Jobs is now telling the world that all phones suffer from the same problems that plague the iPhone 4, and he’s showing numbers to prove it.  Now, Job’s hasn’t commissioned a large study performed by an independent testing firm; he’s not using numbers published by each phone’s manufacturer; he’s not basing his claims on customer complaints; he’s not performing tests of large statistically sound sample sets of handsets… he’s just (as usual) running off at the mouth and trying to tell his customers what they should be thinking and what they should be buying.

Well, I certainly don’t see any appreciable difference in my signal strength dependent on how I hold my HTC smart phone… in fact, I didn’t see any problem with the previous two HTC handsets I had either — so maybe Mr Jobs needs to consider the possibility that designing a phone based on aesthetics rather than performance might be the root of his problem; and that maybe some of his customers want more than just a fashion accessory or a “me-to” statement.  It’s funny that I really couldn’t find any Apple marketing material that was centric on signal performance of the iPhone 4 — of course, since Apple still only offers the iPhone on AT&T it might just be an assumption that anyone who buys an iPhone really doesn’t consider reception or network performance to be a real concern (remember, AT&T’s network has been plagued with over subscription, and their solution was to stop offering unlimited data plans).

The other absolutely ridiculous thing about Job’s is he can’t seem to get his story consistent.  I mean, is it a hardware design flaw correctable by a rubber phone bumper (which will increase the size of the iPhone), is it a software glitch that your programs will resolve (by what — removing the call to “if (grip-of-death) then drop-call” — or just changing the signal display so it’s less of a indication of reality than it is now), or is it just something that any and all smart phone users have to live with (why aren’t there lots of complaints from owners of other models, brands — and why didn’t previous iPhones suffer from this problem).

The really interesting thing is that “antenna-gate” has grown from a bit of grumbling by tech-savvy users online, to getting the notice of online tech magazines, to crossing over into mainline media, to now causing a stir by at least one elected official.

HTC, Samsung, and Research In Motion (RIM) have all categorically stated that the problems that the iPhone 4 are displaying are not an endemic problem with other smart phones in the market place.  And Consumer Reports stated that it couldn’t recommend consumers purchase the iPhone 4 (but their reports did indicate that a rubber bumper, or even a piece of tape placed over the “gap” between antenna sections would greatly resolve the issues).

And while Job’s might be trying to put any spin he can on this to make other smart phone vendors look bad — in the UK, Samsung is providing disgruntled iPhone 4 users with free Galaxy S Android based handsets (all they need to is post their displeasure with the iPhone, contact Samsung, and the next day they’ll have a Galaxy S handset).

My personal belief on this is that Apple is running scared.

They know that they’ve shipped over three million handsets that have a manufacturing defect; and that they realize that forcing individuals to accept a material different product than they purchased is going to end up backfiring.  I mean, let’s face it — iPhone 4 users purchases an iPhone 4, not an iPhone 4 with a rubber bumper around it (changing the size and aesthetics).

Apple’s based in Cupertino California — California is one of the states with a lemon law which clearly states that if the manufacturer is unable to fix the problem in three tries, they have to provide a full refund for the item.  And materially changing the size and appearance is probably not something they can choose to do… so I’m really surprised that the legal beagles aren’t initiating litigation against Apple for recovery of actual, consequential, and punitive damages.

But this isn’t a concern to me — since I’d never purchase a phone without a keyboard; so I’ll never have an iPhone — and I don’t think anyone who’s serious about a communications device would ever purchase one either.


Senator Schumer’s letter to Steve Jobs (at Apple):

July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple’s innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner. According to Consumer Reports’ review, released Monday on its Web site, the iPhone 4’s signal-strength problem is a hardwire glitch triggered by gripping the device in a particular manner. This finding, according to Consumer Reports, “call[s] into question” Apple’s recent claim that the problem is “largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software.” Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of this hardware design flaw.

Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports’ explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly 2 million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased. The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device. To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge. The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called “death grip” malfunction–such as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for it–seem to be insufficient. These proposed solutions would unfairly place the burden on consumers for resolving a problem they were not aware of when they purchased their phones.

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.

I look forward to Apple’s swift action on this matter, and once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

Originally posted 2010-07-31 02:00:45.

Windows 7

It’s here…

Today is the official release of Microsoft® Windows 7.

Originally posted 2009-10-22 01:00:12.

My Alma Mater(s)

The post secondary schools I’ve attended are:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida
  • Stanford University (online)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (online)
  • City College of San Francisco
  • Pensacola State College
  • University of West Florida

I consider GaTech to be my Alma Mater… but I’m not an active alumni of any of the schools.

Hulu

The bidding war is over, and now we know who will buy Hulu…

NO ONE.

Disney and News Corp (major investors in Hulu) decided to take Hulu off the block just after Dish Networks had shored up their bid.

To me, it seems uncertain that Hulu can really make it on their own; but it’s equally uncertain where Google or Amazon will acquire additional content to grow their streaming options.

I guess we’ll see what happens next.

Hulu Equity Owners Announce Decision To Terminate The Hulu Sale Process

Originally posted 2011-10-14 03:00:28.

Dreamlinux – because dreams can come true

I’ll have to echo what I said in my previous posts about not looking for a Mac clone, but rather an environment that was usable by ordinary people.

Dreamlinux has potential.

There are a number of visual elements about the interface that I don’t like, and don’t think they’re additive; but the bottom line is Dreamlinux works, it’s very stable, and it has virtually every component installed ready to use right out of the “box”.

Dreamlinux has a long way to go before I would give it a resounding vote of confidence — it’s still very much Linux, and Linux and all it’s geek appeal 0ozes out at every seam…

Geeks just don’t design software or systems to be usable — they haven’t learned that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

But like I said, Dreamlinux has potential, and it certainly warrants a thorough examination and review.

Dreamlinux

Originally posted 2010-01-07 01:00:51.

PDF Creation

PDF (Portable Document Format) was developed by Adobe Systems in 1994 but as of July 1, 2008 it’s an open standard (ISO 32000-1:2008) and there are a host of tools, many free, that allow you to create, view, and work with PDFs.

If you need to create PDFs on your Windows machine from various applications consider Bullzip.  It installs a printer (uses GhostScript lite — it will install it for you if you don’t already have GhostScript) that allows you to “print” to PDF.  It’s totally free, and totally worth it.

For more advanced PDF manipulation, you can learn how to use GhostScript or try out the PDF Took Kit (Pdftk) form AccessPDF.

You’re probably better off to do an internet search on GhostScript, but here’s where you can find links to information and downloads.

Originally posted 2008-11-25 12:00:47.

Earth’s Biggest Selection

That’s, of course, Amazon.com‘s catch phrase…

I’m always quick to say what I think about a company or service; and I’m sure you’ve noticed that the vast majority of times that not very flattering.

I am, however, just as quick to praise as to criticize… the problem being is that there just aren’t that many instances where I find praise is warranted; and there seems to be an almost unending list of things to criticize.

Amazon.com impresses me as a company that tries very hard to “do the right thing”; and a company that empowers it’s customer service representatives to resolve issues in a timely and equitable manner.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Amazon.com isn’t without fault — but unlike many companies they seem to be working to move forward and make improvements rather than simply ensnare their customers and force the to put up with their short comings.

Generally speaking, Amazon.com’s prices are fair, their shipping costs are reasonable (free on many orders if you’re willing to wait for the order processing delay), their polices are clear (and concise), and their customer service people are helpful (and efficient).

The biggest thing I can criticize Amazon.com for is that they have the right to impose a life-time limit on their “A-Z Guarantee” — and while I think that it makes sense to have limits; it doesn’t make sense to me that a person who orders once a year from Amazon.com should be subject to the same potential limits as a person that orders once a day — or a person that has only placed three orders in their life has full protection, but a person who has placed three hundred has far less protection (as a percentage of orders).

The other thing I wish Amazon.com would improve on is consistency of product listings (like putting the manufacturer’s link and warranty information in the same location on each page).

Is that enough to make me shy away from doing business with Amazon.com???  ABSOLUTELY NOT…

In all the time I’ve done business with Amazon.com only once have I needed to use the A-Z Guarantee, and it was with an Amazon Marketplace Merchant (which isn’t the same as Amazon.com — and I certainly do not give Amazon Marketplace Merchants the same endorsement as Amazon.com).

The only other “negatives” about Amazon.com is that they do not price match; which also includes researching incorrect pricing (for instance, if a manufacturer changes the suggested retail price, and likely distribution cost Amazon.com has no mechanism to update that if the manufacturer doesn’t constantly provide updates).

Additionally, Amazon.com has made great strides to reduce packing waste for products they sell; and while I can’t say they can claim to be “green”, they are moving in the right direction.

If you’ve never tried Amazon.com — check them out and compare their products and prices the next time you’re going to place an order — from technology to toasters, shaving to shovels… you might be surprised at how big their selection is and how low their prices can be!

Originally posted 2010-05-23 02:00:07.