A rantbox

The tidbits of week 38

University and work really have me in a strong grip, so here are some tidbits I gathered last week.

Our national technology proud - Philips - has a new slogan: "Sense and simplicity". Their previous one, "Let's make things better" lasted ten years, and now they where in for something new. They have a huge record of inventing cool products, but then failing to market them well, so they end up nowhere. And besides that, they figured quite rightly they should give their products some usability love. So here's their new campaign. I surely hope they will make their products even more cool, usable and simple [but hopefully not in the dumbed that microsoft calls easy-to-use].

BTW, they beat me in the run for a slogan about usability; I was about to come up with something quite similar for aquariusoft and aquamorph. Ah well, there are lots of variations still possible ;)

On another tech front: good news for PalmOS users [me!]; Skype for Palm OS Expected Next Month. Now I happen to have a wifi enabled PalmOS device, so that's a free telephone in about a month :) Now if only the Vrije Universiteit [my university] would allow pda's with only wep support to access their wifi spots, all would be quite cool.

Talking about security: Jeremy from Ensight notes about a list of high-risk file extensions that are blocked by their mailservers. I've mixed feelings about this. First, if you use competent and safe e-mail clients that don't allow users to launch an attachment right from an e-mail [or threat an .exe of .pif as audio attachment and just launching it when reading the mail for that matter], you force the users to first save the attachments to disk. If they use a competent and up-to-date virus scanner [assuming you are running a windows version and assuming the user behaves a bit right by letting the thing update], this will intercept virusses for you. If you are letting your server drop e-mail or examine the contents, you of course bypass the [l]users and have the screening in your own hands. However, you can create weird situations where attachments are blocked for some stupid reason, like the 4th comment of the post notes, or even create a DoS on your own server, when for example a .zip bomb or another specially crafted file is encountered and your server comes to a grinding halt.

The Man from Scandinavia makes an excellent point about enjoying real things more. People tend to savour the virtual, illusional things too much and should spend more time just enjoying being with their near ones, doing enjoyable things like just relaxing while watching the sun go down, or taking a hot bath. I think I will take this thought by hearth and spend less time behind a workstation. I'll grab my girlfriend instead ;)

Besides his good point about life, the man from the north has some pieces about online advertisement that appeal to me: the future of online advertisement about when banners are the most efficient [this view about banners even appeals to me; don't disturb my quest for the information I'm on at the moment with ads, but put some at the end of it. Maybe I will even be interested]. He continues his story with his view on annoying advertisement behaviour like annoying banners, popups and popunders. Advertisement, if it wants to be successfull, should not annoy the visitors away from a site. When you make some tasteful banners [in my world, tasteful banners don't annoy me by acting like hyperactive cartoons], and blend them into the design of your site while letting them stay there for some time, people will be much more interested. I've been interested in a banner for time to time, only to discover that when visiting the page again [after some seconds or minutes], it was replaced by a random other ad. Exit my interest in it. He points to GameSpot for some good examples of inobtrusive banners, be it they are created with Macromedia Flash.

On the Free software front, I thought you might wanna know that Linux can give kids an edge (NewsForge). I can only agree with their observation that if you let youngster taste the power, freedom and flexibility of the *nix platform, they will have something to compare their windows gamestation with. I guess that GNU/Linux userbase will take a real flight then.

Oh, the joys of linux; I'm going to take my trusty AMD Duron 750MHz workstation apart now, install that 120GiB drive that's lying here for some time now and reinstall Debian sid [with the installer on my aquamorph livecd] on it. Yay, first all GNU/Linux workstation for me :)