Microsoft AntiSpyware

James LaLonde, who used left Microsoft to work for Network Associates as the head of their operations in Asia, used to joke that his business was safe so long as Redmond stayed out of the anti-virus business. With all the  hubaloo over securtiy and spam, Microsoft announced plans to address it in the recent Windows XP Service Pack update and the Internet explorer browser this Summer.

Now we see two new standalone downloads that specifically address spyware and "malicious code" which is the boldest sign that Microsoft getting into the anti-virus market.

Malicious Software Removal Tool (sounds like a dentist’s instrument)

AntiSpyware (click on thumbnail for screenshot)

SiteDigger 2.0

Foundstone, a subsidiary of McAffe publishes software called SiteDigger. The publishers describes it’s purpose:

SiteDigger 2.0 searches Google’s cache to look for vulnerabilities, errors, configuration issues, proprietary information, and interesting security nuggets on web sites.

The package is free for the download and all you need is a Google API key to run it. Obviously, if you’re responsible for any web site, the first thing you’re going to do is download this thing and run it against your site. The first thing you’re going to do if you’re trying to break into a site is download this tool and run it against a site you want to hit. I’m not sure which side the makers of this software fall, especially after seeing that they describe exploits as "nuggets," a word usually associated with gold and something traded in by prospectors for currency.

The release and publicity of such a tool brings up an interesting ethical conundrum. If the software gets into the wrong hands, it could actually assist someone in breaking into a site. If it’s used by those responsible for security, it could help secure a site by pointing out holes that may have been overlooked.

Either way, it’s a nice way to drum up some consulting business.

A9 Yellow Pages, teaching an old dog new tricks

I would be remiss if I didn’t pile on to the hubub about Amazon’s new Yellow Pages search over on the A9 site. John Battelle’s got the scoop on how it was put together.

In short, Manber and co. (urged on by Jeff Bezos, who Manber says was "very involved") strapped GPS-enabled digital video camera-cum-terabyte server rigs to the top of a bunch of SUVs, then drove them around the commercial areas of major US metropolitan areas, recording what then became composite still pictures of entire cities, one address at a time. A9 took more than 20 million images of 14 million+ businesses across ten cities (more are coming soon), then created a local search application they call Block View.

Of course I see other benefits as well for my friends and family overseas. Wondering what Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley looks like these days? Take a stroll starting at Amoeba Records and click on the image to scroll either up towards the University or down towards Ashby. Notice Amazon still need to get photos of the other side of the street so you can’t see Moe’s yet but the listing tells you it’s still there.

Then there the new game in finding unsuspecting people caught in internet eternity in front of questionable enterprises. How would you like to be known as the guy on the cellphone in front of Peepworld?

Technorati Tag Bookmarklet

Only a day out and someone’s already created a bookmarklet to make it easier to add tags to your posts.

Technorati Tags: , ,

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Technorati Tags

Our friends at Technorati have launched a service that pulls together a view of the blogosphere through the lens of user-defined tags. The growth of user tags in services such as Flickr and Del.icio.us have broken through the dilemma of the Semantic Web which was struggling for a standard taxonomy to help define it.

The debate over a "folksonomy" vs. a structured taxonomy is ongoing but this new development, coupled with the blogger megaphone effect may push things over the tipping point in favor of the 80/20 efficiency of user-generated tags. Google came to become the resource of choice much to the chagrin of professional librarians that knew that no one really scanned past the first few pages of results. The search engine relevance ranking convenience eventually won out over the professional researcher’s judgement – lament the loss but people are lazy and will always go for the quick and easy solution, even heard journalists talk about Google as their research tool of choice leaving one to worry about what they miss.

Clay Shirky comments:

Any comparison of the advantages of folksonomies vs. other, more
rigorous forms of categorization that doesn’t consider the cost to
create, maintain, use and enforce the added rigor will miss the actual
factors affecting the spread of folksonomies. Where the internet is
concerned, betting against ease of use, conceptual simplicity, and
maximal user participation, has always been a bad idea.

But in the ever increasing amounts of data that are being thrown at us, user-generated tags and a way to harvest them is a necessary evil. Sure it’s going to miss sometimes, tags will be mis-applied, misspelled, and mis-interpreted, but in order to get things tagged at all, you need to harness the power of the many. You can’t ask people to consult some taxonomy guide nor can you ask them to label their docs using a form that gets in the way of the data (does anyone ever fill out the "properties" of their Microsoft Word files?)

Play around with it. Try some tags. Click here to see Technorati’s harvest for the tag macworld

In the meantime, I’ll do my bit and will load up this post as related to:



 

Run, Robot, Run

Honda made a robot that can run.

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Julia on IM

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everwas.com

As I was listening to the radio the other day and the Talking Head’s song Once in a Lifetime came on and the phrase “same as it ever was” hit me as highly relevant. Part of being middle-aged (I’m now 38) is that things take on a vague familiarity. We moved back to San Francisco and the places I visit are at once new and at the same time recognizable from when I lived here before. I look at life through the eyes of my children and I see the things that they see, I feel their joy (and frustrations). I can imagine what my parents felt when they were raising a family and trying to pass on wisdom to their children.

I begin to appreciate the rhythm and circle of life. Same – as – it- ever – was. Indeed.

I registered the domain so you can also reach clankennedy via everwas.com which is easier to remember and gives a little context to my running narrative here; one more person’s commentary on the at once mundane but beautiful cycle of life.

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Cool Email Alias

I normally just delete the junk email that lands in my box but this one caught my eye just because of it’s name.

Flippant H. Sassafras

The middle initial really makes it.

A further search for Ms. Sassafras on Google led me to this page which really raised an eybrow. I mean, it’s a page of gibberish (as far as I can tell) with the title of “Indelible Iceland Summand Purdue” WHAT THE HECK? It’s registered at yale.edu so I navigated up the URL and can’t seem to find a root.

Google and the other web crawlers must be having fun with this person’s site! If anyone can tell me what this is about – please tell me!

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NYC

Went into NYC yesterday to check out the Search Engine Strategies show at the Hilton. The show was a little over the top, kind of like the ad sales posse of Madison Ave. had discovered a new channel and wanted to show how hip they were. Tried in vain to find someone who could tell me the nuts and bolts of how paid search ad networks really worked but all I got was big blinking mascara eyes, “uh, that’s beyond my realm.” You betcha. I did learn a new term though – “organic listings” – that is the term given to the lists of results that come back from a search on a search engine and are opposed to the “paid listings” which are essentially paid advertisements. For a humorous look at how paid advertisements are clogging our search engine experience, have a look at the results for a search on cars on Yahoo! It’s a whole page of ads except for a listing for cars.com peeking out at the very bottom of my 1024 x 768 screen. The web is becoming more and more like the Yellow Pages.

Just outside of Penn Station – saw this huge poster of Muhammad Ali with this great quote. Seems fitting for a someone coming up out of the station from the suburbs.

Impossible Is Nothing