It's always good to see Doc Searls, and I'm glad I had the chance to hang out with him at the recent ISPCON Fall 2006 conference. He's been a friend of Tucows since he first met us as ISPCON years ago, and he's been up to Toronto for a number of visits since then, the most recent one being last year's Christmas holiday party. In fact, it was a blogger get-together that he had during his visit in early 2003 that led to my getting a job here.
Doc's long time friendship with Tucows and Elliot is probably why their ISPCON opening keynote, Internet Service: The Fifth Utility? was more like a listening in on a casual conversation than attending a panel discussion. In their hour-long chat, Doc and Elliot talked about the internet not as a bonus service offered by telcos, but as a utility on par with things like roads, water, waste treatment and electricity. I attended this keynote and made a recording of their chat, which you can hear by downloading the podcast below.
We'd like to express our thanks to Jon Price, Denise Miller and the rest of the people behind ISPCON Fall 2006 for putting on a great conference, and to Doc for driving up to San Jose to take part in the keynote.
The Internet: The Fifth Utility
|File||Tucows Podcasts - Internet Service -- The Fifth Utility.mp3|
|Length||57 minutes, 54 seconds|
|File size||28.9 MB|
If you've been checking out Global Nerdy, a tech blog I share with my buddy George, I've gotten my hands on a copy of Release Candidate 1 of Microsoft's next version of Windows, Windows Vista. So far, I've made two attempts to install it, both without success.
Here's the short version: yes, I finally got it installed. As with software from Microsoft, the third time's the charm. My trick was the tried-and-true fix that all IT workers know: turn the damned machine off and on again. This trick is so useful that it's been immortalized on t-shirts and in at least one television show, The IT Crowd:
For more, go check out the full story.
There were just 18,000 Web sites when Netcraft, based in Bath, England, began keeping track in August of 1995. It took until May of 2004 to reach the 50 million milestone; then only 30 more months to hit 100 million, late in the month of October 2006.
This calls for a graph! Here's one from Netcraft, which shows both hostnames and "active" sites, from August 1995 to the present day:
That's a lot of pictures of kittens and porn.
Netcraft lists these previous milestones:
- April 1997: 1 million sites
- February 2000: 10 million sites
- September 2000: 20 million sites
- July 2001: 30 million sites
- April 2003: 40 million sites
- May 2004: 50 million sites
- March 2005: 60 million sites
- August 2005: 70 million sites
- April 2006: 80 million sites
- August 2006: 90 million sites
This all means that there’s more and more noise online and it’s only getting “worse.” I’ve been talking about that in the limited context of local. But the general cacophony of new and me-too sites and services only means that brands and habitual behavior become more powerful; people will fall back on what they like, know and trust rather than try new things.
The idea that “our competition is only a click away” only really means something if you’re a no-name site. It’s very different if you’re Google or Yahoo (or even MySpace now).
People talk about “the Internet” in the same way they discuss “the small business market.” There is no “small business market,” there are only 10 or 14 or 17 or 20 million small businesses, with some shared characteristics. Similarly, “the Internet” is not a monolith, but 100 million websites.
Thus those would would “aggregate the tail” (whether eyeballs, publishers/site or marketers) are thus increasingly important to the online ecosystem.
Over at Global Nerdy, I've posted my second attempt at installing Windows Vista onto my Wintel desktop machine at work.
The short version: still no luck.
I do most of my work on a 1.33 gig PowerBook G4, but I'm not going to say no to a company-issued computer with decent specs. Hence the other computer on my desk, a 3.0 gig P4 IBM ThinkCentre with half a gig of RAM, one of the standard issue machines here at Tucows. I use it mostly as a machine for testing sites and web applications in Windows, and occasionally, I'll do a tiny bit of Windows development on it. There aren't any important files on the machine, which made it a suitable subject for today's scary Hallowe'en experiment: installing Windows Vista RC1 (that's Release Candidate 1).
I got a copy of Windows Vista RC1 last night at a gathering held by Microsoft here in Toronto, where they invited a number of Toronto tech bloggers to see Vista in action and hear presentations on deployment and security. I took notes and will post them here later.
Earlier today, I attempted to install Windows Vista on my work machine and my notes from that experience appear in Global Nerdy, a tech blog I write with my friend George Scriban. The experience wasn't as smooth as I'd hoped.
If you're feeling particularly bold, you can venture over to the Internet Explorer page and download the final release version of Internet Explorer 7, which became available to the general public yesterday afternoon.
Although the Windows machine I have at work is a pretty nice one (developers are assigned machines with the same specs), it's largely relegated to Windows compatibility testing and a teensy bit of .NET development. Since I don't store any crucial files on that machine, I thought it would be the perfect guinea pig on which to test IE7. Over the next few days, I'll report my experiences, complete with screenshots.
Here's a screenshot of IE7 showing the Tucows Blog main page:
- Use descriptive headlines.
- Write in "inverted-pyramid" style (get to the point at the beginning, elaborate in later paragraphs)
- The first link is the one people click on, so make it the main link of your article.
- Reintroduce core ideas in longer posts.
- Use lists, images, tables and anything else that will make your artiles easier to scan.
- Use simple language if you're writing for a global audience.
- Credit your sources.
- Mark updates and changes.
- Spellcheck your posts and re-read them for clarity.
- Note that all these rules have exceptions; know when they apply!
Picture created with the Tombstone Generator.
c|net's article, Taking Passwords to the Grave, looks at an interesting problem: what happens if your loved ones can't recover your data after you're dead because they don't have your passwords?
Their recommendation: include important login information in your estate planning documents. Of course, this means that you'll need to write those up if you don't already have them.
According to this Reuters story, phishing -- the use of email to pose as someone's bank or other trusted institution in order to trick people into divulging their passwords or other sensitive information -- is on the rise, with the first six months of 2006 seeing 81% more unique phishing messages than the last six months of 2005. A researcher quoted in the article states that organized crime has become very interested in phishing.
A lot of people don't make use of the RSS feeds offered by blogs and news sites. It's a bit of a hard concept for a non-technical person to grasp, and I'd been giving some thought to sitting down and writing the definitive explanatory article. It looks as though I've been beaten to the punch by a blogger named Stephanie in her blog, Back in Skinny Jeans:
The diagram above comes from her article, titled How to Explain RSS the Oprah Way. I'm going to show it around and see if it helps people "get" RSS.
I remember the first time I'd heard of an intersection between the internet and personal reportage. It was back in my days at Queen's University, during a computer networking class, when professor Donald Jardine told us about how much of the news about the Tienanmen Square massacre came via email from students in China.
This sort of "citizen journalism" is alive and well today, with blogs joining the citizen journalist's toolkit. Here are some articles about people in Thailand who've been posting blog entries about the recent military coup:
- Global Voices' "Thailand" category (updated often!)
- Blogs give alternative view of political changes in Thailand (INQ7 News, Philippines)
- Blogging the Thailand Coup (King5 News, Seattle)