Tim Yang’s Weblog


Yahoo sitemaps is out

Filed under: Search Engines — Tim Yang @ 5:58 pm

Yahoo Sitemaps is out. You can point Yahoo to a text file (no XML support yet) containing a list of your site’s urls. You can’t upload the file to them. Yahoo was playing around with this a few months ago, but now it’s public. [via SeoWeblog]

Feed-mail - Email in RSS feeds

Filed under: Email, RSS — Tim Yang @ 5:43 pm

Feed-mail.com is an interesting, if quite unusable concept. It’s email sent via RSS feeds. You subscribe to your Feed-mail feed and you get emails that are sent to that feed. Less spam, more secure. But the sender has to login to his Feed-mail account in order to send a message. And there’s no SMTP service either so you’re locked into Feed-mail’s interface. And one thing that irked me was that my password was inscribed into the feed’s url in plain. Major security risk. And I reckon Feed-mail also has the same security problem as receiving Gmail via Bloglines or any public RSS aggregator — you have to ensure that your feed has privacy settings. Feed-mail is still in beta so things might improve on usability.

Rumor: Microsoft, AIM and Yahoo to cut out all multi-IM clients

Filed under: Instant Messaging — Tim Yang @ 2:47 pm

Over at drunkenblog.com, there is a post that posits the days of Trillian and other multi-IM clients will be over soon. There’s a rumour that Google is planning a multi-IM client so Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have ganged up to introduce new non-backward compatible IM clients for each of their services that shuts out all others. This will probably appear for Windows only and will allow Mac multi-IM clients to still function.

40-60% of Blogspot content is spam

Filed under: Blogging, Spam — Tim Yang @ 1:45 pm

I knew it was bad, but this is an indication of just how bad. Philipp Lenssen did a random survey using Blogspot’s random blog url generator and he catalogued 50 blogs hosted on blogspot. 30 of them were spam blogs. If you are a student fishing for ideas on a paper, I think this is really worth an academic paper with a larger sample.

Preventing inline images from comment posters

Filed under: Online — Tim Yang @ 1:37 pm

Chris Josephes writes in Oreillynet about an interesting method for finding out if an image that one of your visitors is hotlinking is instead sending a substituted image. Hotlinking is often a danger in forums and blog comments where there is no preset control over what is posted.

Chris says:

If any site user makes a posting that inlines images from a third party server, the editing software should retrieve the image twice using the HTTP HEAD method. For the first retrieval, don’t pass a Referer header. For the second retrieval, set a Referer header that would reference the full URL of the page that would eventually load the image. For both requests, the HTTP server headers Content-Length and ETag should return identical values. If they don’t, that means the web server is sending out different files. Make sure the comment poster is aware of this, and give them the opportunity to correct the problem.

This would be really nice if someone used this method in a plugin for blog CMSes.


How to catch a mobile phone thief

Filed under: Hackers, Mobiles — Tim Yang @ 8:10 pm

This is an interesting post on a forum about how someone had his mobile phone stolen and the funny series of events that led to the capture of the thief. The thief had used the camera on the phone to take pictures of himself, his girlfriend and a amateur sex video. Unfortunately for the thief, the owner had set up an automatic posting routine on the phone. Whenever a photo was sent from the phone, it saved a copy on his Sprint website. So he got an update of all the thief’s activities.


Auto-post to del.icio.us from Wordpress - A bad idea

Filed under: Wordpress — Tim Yang @ 6:07 pm

As soon as I emailed Ozh about a plugin that automatically sends your new posts to del.icio.us, than I find someone has just released one. As soon as I finished reading the description, I suddenly realised what a bad idea this is. Del.icio.us will be flooded with posts from Wordpress blogs — blog spam from this plugin’s users.

Microformats aren’t relevant

Filed under: Online — Tim Yang @ 5:43 pm

Microformats are sets of XHTML standards to present various bits of metadata on websites. They’re usually used for presenting trivial sets of metadata (hence the ‘micro’ monicker). Microformats include the XFN (XHTML Friends Network) and the rel=tag attribute for links.

The microformats.org site says that microformats are “Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.” While I applaud the effort to make a standard to help developers, I’m not sure microformats is terribly relevant. I’d have to argue that humans don’t see the difference between one way of marking up and another, even if they are standardised. So it doesn’t make a difference to the population. You don’t have to look further than the XFN format for evidence of irrelevancy. It was proposed two years ago by Matt Mullenwegg and has yet to become anything more than an interesting idea. Microformats are certainly not “widely adopted”. But having said that, there is one popular microformat — Technorati’s rel=tag attribute. Unfortunately, the only one who seems to be using it is … yup, Technorati.


Newsgator releases their API for developers

Filed under: RSS — Tim Yang @ 5:56 pm

Newsgator has just released their API. Developers will have access to the following types of services:

  • Complete subscription management capabilities
  • Subscription synchronization between all products using the API, including NewsGator Online, NewsGator Outlook edition, FeedDemon, and others
  • Post-level status synchronization (read/unread/deleted status)
  • Bandwidth optimization by downloading only new content
  • Community and individual ratings of feed content

Now I can understand the usefulness of releasing the API for middleware like Feedburner’s API, but I don’t understand the benefit for developers or end users of releasing the API for a client application. The only party I see benefiting from this directly is Newsgator itself.


Hacker Underground Erupts in Virtual Turf Wars

Filed under: Hackers — Tim Yang @ 6:36 pm

An interesting analysis from Newsfactor regarding the changing hacker culture that produced Zotob and other recent worms. It says there is a kind of competitiveness among hackers that’s driving each of them to be more conservative in their experimentation. They’re starting to draw less and less attention while at the same time starting to see the more strategic side of hacking.

In today’s murky world of digital viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, the idea is to stay quiet and use hijacked computers to flood the Internet with spam, spread destructive viruses, or disgorge e-mail to choke corporate systems. Not only can networks of these compromised computers be leased or sold, experts say, they are becoming more valuable as the number of vulnerable computers slowly shrinks. The viruses of yesteryear, “where something would get on your system and blow away your boot sector just doesn’t happen that much anymore.”

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