Holiday Gift Cards

OK it’s the end of the year when all good friends need to use up previous gift cards before they expire. Huh! What a joke. What a scam. Your friends pay good money to buy you a nice gift, say $100, from somewhere that they think you’ll enjoy the merchandise. You take your time to think carefully about how or when to spend it. Finally you have it. But alas, the fine print on the reverse of the card says it’s only good for one year. Last Christmas to this Christmas. Oops! Minus one gift from last year. The merchant…

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Silverlight vs. Flash Battle to Heat Up Next Year

It’s been a while since I last blogged about . So long, I had to search for the post in my blog dashboard (it’s no longer on the first page of results for the tag “Microsoft”). But the news media is covering it again, this time as part of New Year’s stuff (predictions for 2008, duh). PC World’s article from a couple hours ago suggests, using mostly quotes and its tagline, that the battle between Adobe and Microsoft will get hotter next year, as Silverlight battles Flash, Flex, and AIR for supremacy in the rich Internet application (RIA) arena. Microsoft’s…

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Gmail Social Network Feature?

Uh-oh. As if the recent wasn’t enough (still unresolved, by the way), some speculation from Google Operating System suggests that Google will be adding an activity feature to Gmail, similar to Facebook’s news feed. Now, at least Google doesn’t have something like Beacon (yet), but it’s still annoying that they keep doing these things. I really hope they don’t add this feature, because I’m still waiting for them to add an “Off” switch to the Google Reader sharing function. Really, who needs updates from friends in Gmail? As I mentioned before, we have perfectly good services like FriendFeed to keep…

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Google Reader Just Doesn’t "Get It"

The latest post to the Official Google Reader Blog concerns the share-with-your-“friends”-automatically feature and the uproar it’s caused among the users. I myself have no real reason to care, since (sadly) nobody I know uses Google Reader, but I agree wholeheartedly that Google’s launch of the “feature” was, in its own way, worse than Facebook’s Beacon program. The fact that Google’s system assumes that anyone you talk to in Google Talk is a friend is the first part of the brokenness. Add to that the fact that you can’t turn it off and have just the feed, with nothing automatic.…

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Whole Foods Makes Amazing Decision

Well, it wasn’t the whole chain, just one store, but it really makes one wonder what the world would be like if all companies (hey, just start with the airlines) had the same attitude. West Hartford, CT: A Whole Foods Market store’s computers go down during a systems upgrade. Rather than make customers wait until they’re fixed, everyone going through the checkout lines gets their groceries for free. An estimated $4,000 worth of merchandise was given away before the glitch was repaired. You can read more of the story at Courant.com (though it does have a small, completely-unrelated section at…

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Opera Files Antitrust Suit Against Microsoft

OK, I swear I won’t take anything else verbatim from my source article other than the title. Kudos to James Niccolai for coming up with such a hot headline! That said, I’ll get down to business. Opera Software, the Norwegian maker of the alternative Opera browser, has filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft in the European Union. The suit accuses Microsoft of stifling competition by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and not following accepted industry standards within that browser. As my friend i80and pointed out earlier today, something similar happened with Netscape about five years ago. Microsoft ended up paying…

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Why FireFox is Blocked: The Misguided Campaign to Stop AdBlock

Image via WikipediaYesterday I the Why FireFox [sic] is Blocked campaign in my post revisiting Explorer Destroyer. I said it was a subject for another post. This is that other post. I will deconstruct some of the reasoning behind the campaign, and will point out why it is flawed. First, some background. The blocking campaign was most likely started from this long thread on AdsenseChat.com, where Danny Carlton and others presented various methods for catching AdBlock usage and redirecting them to a “Stop Thief!” page. Several rational-minded users tried to talk some sense into the Firefox-blocking fanatics, to no avail.…

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Litigation: Something We Do Far Too Much

So, Steve Bass’ latest column in PC World brings to my attention a recent lawsuit concerning nothing of any consequence at all. Apparently, Seagate just settled a class-action suit concerning the definition of storage units. It’s a long-standing issue — I myself have dealt with it on Wikipedia — but to have a lawsuit over it seems ridiculous. In today’s world, though, we are constantly barraged by a series of increasingly trivial lawsuits, addressing things from software shrinkwrapping (yes, that was an environmental suit against major software manufacturers) to lawnmower-powered hedge trimming (real suit; guy won, too, as I recall)…

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Revisited: Explorer Destroyer Opinion

A long time has passed since I wrote “” — over a year and a half — and I realize I have a slightly different opinion on the site now than I did then. While I still think it’s ridiculous to block IE, I somewhat agree with the site’s sentiment, if not its methodology. Going so far as to block Internet Explorer completely is probably a little extreme. The first option, a simple note, is probably better. Even better would be for the site owner to simply work the message into their content. I have done so with a couple…

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Why I Hate Typosquatting and “Parking” Pages

I haven’t complained enough about typosquatting here. It’s really a despicable practice, and I always hate ending up on a site that is doing it. What is typosquatting, you ask? It’s when some person or company buys a domain that is a misspelling of another company’s or person’s with the intent to capture mistyped traffic to that other site. For example, if you type www.google.cm instead of www.google.com, you could end up on a typosquatting site (in this case owned by the government of Cameroon, at least as of this past summer). Often, such sites will serve up ads, and…

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