To tag or not to tag
Oct 31st, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I’m try­ing out the “tags” fea­ture of Word­Press as an exper­i­ment.

Texting via Gmail not ready for prime time
Oct 31st, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Almost new in Labs: SMS Text Mes­sag­ing for chat.

Oh snap. Last night, we start­ed rolling out a new fea­ture to Gmail Labs that lets you send SMS text mes­sages right from Gmail. It com­bines the best parts of IM and tex­ting: you chat from your com­put­er and reach your friends no mat­ter where they are. Your friends who are away from their com­put­ers get your mes­sages as texts and can peck out replies on their lit­tle key­boards. It was pret­ty cool for a few min­utes last night when we were sit­ting around tex­ting each oth­er.

Then we found a glitch. When you’d try to turn it on, it wouldn’t ful­ly enable. We thought about keep­ing it out there — bugs and all — but the expe­ri­ence wasn’t that great. So, in the spir­it of Labs, we’ve pulled SMS chat back to fix it, and we’ll get it back out to you as soon as it’s ready — prob­a­bly with­in 2 weeks, so stay tuned. [Offi­cial Gmail Blog]

I guess that answers the ques­tion of whether it works bet­ter than AIM.

PGP Whole Disk Encryption review
Oct 31st, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Secur­ing Your Disks with PGP Whole Disk Encryp­tion [Tid­BITS: Mac News for the Rest of Us]

A gen­er­al­ly good review of the new PGP disk encryp­tion soft­ware, but I do see a cou­ple of prob­lems. First, the author only hints at how it works with Time Machine, which is an area of inter­est to me. In the­o­ry it should be fine (although obvi­ous­ly you’d need to encrypt Time Machine’s back­up vol­ume too), but when it comes to soft­ware com­pat­i­bil­i­ty the­o­ry and prac­tice often diverge.

Sec­ond, the author says that it’s a “lim­i­ta­tion” that PGP Whole Disk Encryp­tion only secures your data when the com­put­er is off, and not just while it’s asleep. I con­sid­er that a nec­es­sary func­tion, not a lim­i­ta­tion. Because it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble to recov­er sen­si­tive data (such as the passphrase for the hard dri­ve) from a “sleep­ing” computer’s mem­o­ry, claim­ing to encrypt when a com­put­er is put to sleep would only be pro­vid­ing a false sense of secu­ri­ty.

I’m inter­est­ed in this prod­uct for my own use, but giv­en PGP, Inc.‘s rather spot­ty record to date (they’ve man­aged to ren­der their main PGP prod­uct unus­able in the name of usabil­i­ty improve­ments), I’m wait­ing for a while to be sure that there aren’t any hid­den prob­lems.

Orange Road redesign
Oct 31st, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I final­ly got around to updat­ing the design of my web­site, some­thing which was long over­due. The old design dat­ed back to the days when CSS was new and very poor­ly sup­port­ed by web browsers, so it used lots of lit­tle tables scat­tered around for page orga­ni­za­tion.

There is one more aspect of the redesign that’s not yet in place. Sup­port for font down­load­ing is start­ing to appear, with Safari sup­port­ing it now and Fire­fox 3.1 to gain the abil­i­ty, so I’m look­ing into using some­thing oth­er than one of the stan­dard (ugly) web fonts.

Finished the redesign!
Oct 31st, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Fin­ished the redesign!

Texting via Gmail
Oct 30th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

OMG! Gmail Adds SMS Chat. Gmail added mobile SMS mes­sag­ing to its embed­ded chat Thurs­day evening. When turned on, the fea­ture allows you to text your con­tacts from your desk­top to their mobile phones and back, pro­vid­ed they can afford the texts under their mobile provider’s plan. SMS is yet anoth­er exten­si­ble fea­ture Gmail has added through its Labs sec­tion in the last cou­ple weeks. [Wired News]

This is already pos­si­ble via AIM, but replies from a phone to AIM are some­what unre­li­able. Hope­ful­ly the Gmail ver­sion will work bet­ter.

City of Heroes on Mac
Oct 30th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

City of Heroes super­hero MMO comes to Mac. NCsoft is open­ing one of its mas­sive­ly mul­ti­play­er online (MMO) game fran­chis­es, City of Heroes, to the Mac. The com­pa­ny has used TransGaming’s Cider engine, which enables the subscription-based game to oper­ate on Intel-based Macs. Beta test­ing is expect­ed to get under­way this week.… [The Mac­in­tosh News Net­work]

I’ve been play­ing this game on the PC since about a month after it came out. It still has the ubiq­ui­tous class-and-level sys­tem, but between the wide vari­ety of pow­er com­bi­na­tions and the excel­lent cos­tume cre­ator (which is almost worth the price all by itself) the prob­lem of cook­ie cut­ter char­ac­ters com­mon to such sys­tems is not present.

The curtains have gone missing…
Oct 29th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

The cur­tains have gone miss­ing at Room 5.

Wi-Fi for iPhones, but not iPod Touches
Oct 29th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Free AT&T Wi-Fi for iPhones.

Includes Starbucks stores. Instructions seem like a bit of a pain in the ass, but otherwise they’d have to give free access to everyone who knows how to spoof a user-agent string. The horror.

[Daring Fireball]

The instructions involve entering an AT&T phone number, which rules out those of us who have an iPod Touch but don't have (or want) an iPhone.

I’m finally updating my web si…
Oct 29th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I’m final­ly updat­ing my web site design, after leav­ing it untouched for years.

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