Faster Broadband, but not here…Boo Hoo…

The Government has announced $1.5Bn worth of investment to provide fibre optic cables (dark fibre) as the basis for the new broadband infrastructure.

Unfortunately, Kerikeri is not in the 25 largest centres that the money is being spent on. Hopefully the rich and famous who live or holiday locally will generate some reason to increase our chances of getting a slice.

Here are the places deemed large enough:

The 25 centres, in order of population, are: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, Napier and Hastings, Dunedin, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Fielding, New Plymouth and Hawera, Kapiti and Levin, Nelson, Rotorua, Whangarei, Invercargill, Wanganui, Gisborne, Cambridge and Te Awamutu, Blenheim, Timaru, Taupo, Masterton, Whakatane, Ashburton, Tokoroa, and Oamaru.

Come on people bring the cable up here!

More info here

Not April Fools, But Conficker Day?

With April 1 hard coded into the Conficker virus, expect some headaches shortly. We will either hear the gnashing of teeth and wails of “Not Me!” or a whimper as the virus is reactivated.

Here in NZ, there were some high profile casualties, Ministry of Health, Polytechnics, Newspapers sites

Whether lessons have been learnt, we will have to see.

Symantec’s protection steps against Conficker / Downadup.C / Kido

F-Secure’s removal tool and instructions for downadup variants

They say between 9 and 15 million PC’s are affected, how many after 1 April?

Upgrade to Googles Search Algorithm today

An upgrade to the algorithm used by Google to rank website relevance to a users query is being rolled out today

Google is today rolling out a key upgrade to the algorithm powering its search engine which is based on “Australian-made” technology originally developed by a PhD student at the University of New South Wales.

The student was Ori Allon and the search engine process he developed at the university’s Kensington campus in 2005 was called Orion.
– SMH

From the Official Google Blog, one of the key changes is an addition to the results

Starting today, we’re deploying a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search, and one of its first applications lets us offer you even more useful related searches (the terms found at the bottom, and sometimes at the top, of the search results page).

This is more for suggesting people what may be related to the search query.

Secondly and possibly more important is the increase in the snippet length. This is the text returned in the results to show the relevance of the result to your query.

Up till now the length has been limited to 156 characters.

It now looks like this snippet length has been increased, possibly to double the old 156 characters.

It says it is to deliver better results from long search queries, as before the old snippet was not necessarily long enough.

How this will affect SEO is unknown at this stage, the description meta tag may now be treated differently.

I’ll post a follow up once more is known.

Hacker “Akill” contracted to Telstraclear

Owen Thor Walker, a 19 year old, who was wanted by the FBI for his part in leading the group the A-Team has been employed by Telstraclear for nearly a year to provide information for seminars.

Telstraclear made an interesting comment when they said:

He said it was not the equivalent of hiring a bank robber to advise on bank security.

Of course it is, however, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Hackers have been used for years to test and break into systems, giving large networks the kind of testing they would not necessarily find elsewhere.

These legitimate hackers can be a very good resource for corporates, it takes some strong leadership to bring in someone whose past is a little questionable and let them loose on the security side of things.

There have been many security breaches in New Zealand, we even have our own Hackers Conference : Kiwicon where there were sessions on such subjects as

  • Walking Through Walls Ninja Style – The Art of Non-Destructive Entry
  • Black SEO Exposed
  • Tracking NZ Based Malware Distributors
  • Mobile Phone Network Security

Security is a serious business and corporates like Telstraclear must be able to use the resourses available to it to make it’s products and services as secure as possible.

But do we trust them?

Talk Like William Shatner Day

Bugger I missed it, yesterday was Talk Like William Shatner Day

Here is a great video of an impersonator giving lessons.

Very Funny.

So….I’ll have to….remember………it next…..year.

I’m Declaring 3/22 “International Talk Like William Shatner Day”!

Why can’t Microsoft get it right? IE8 is out and already I have found problems

While these are not software problems (mainly because my attempts to downloaded were thwarted) these show a serious lack of foresight on the behalf of the behemoth.

Problem 1 – If you run Firefox, you can download it

I went to the download site, chose my country and operating system and waited for the download window to show. Well I am still waiting. If I click the link they tell me to if the download doesn’t work, it takes me back to the start again.

Now, if I was trying to increase my market share, I would allow people using my competitors browsers to download it.

Problem 2 – If you are in New Zealand, don’t expect Microsoft to tell you about it

Clicking on my country link on the download page I get taken to this that announces how much Microsoft have heard you and are now “introducing” Internet Explorer 7

So why isn’t the page updated?

Microsoft are not really interested are they?

I will have to install it so I can test my clients sites in it and do browser checks when building sites, but this is just terrible customer service and PR from Microsoft.

Let me know your thoughts on it, is it any better than IE7 (Which is pretty terrible)

Google’s Friend Connect API

Here is a video from WebProNews about the new Google Friend Connect API

With this, it allows you to integrate many social style interactions (Comments, votes etc) into your site. Google have created some Open Source plugins for WordPress, Drupal and PHPBB.

I will look at adding the WordPress plugin here and see how well it works.

You can find the plugins here : http://code.google.com/apis/friendconnect/plugins.html

If you know of any other plugins that have been developed, leave a comment on where it can be found.

You have a new Friend on Facebook – The Courts

In an interesting use of the internet, a NZ court has allowed the serving of court papers via a Facebook profile.

It follows a similar Australian ruling

You can read more about it here

But this shows how the internet can be used as a great communication medium.

So be careful when you accept that next “Friend Request”

Google hit the target with DoubleClick’s DART

When Google bought DoubleClick last year, there were plenty of concerns from privacy advocates about what this would mean.

Well this new initiative seems to be the logical conclusion.

Google is now using DoubleClick cookies to track users browsing habits and serve up ads relating to that browsing history.

From a web developers point of view, I have just received notification from Google of the changes and have been given a date of the 9th of April to get my clients websites amended to cater for this change.

Now programs change and policies change, but to require these kind of changes in a short period of time is very poor.

Also, the opt out system means that it goes against all of the best practice methods relating to direct marketing.

In addition there is not option for publishers to opt out, only for the visitors of sites to opt out.

Google is treading very closely to the “Do no evil” motto as they are doing pretty much everything wrong here.

I can’t understand why they would be so heavy handed in favour of Doubleclick/revenue/controversy

It seems like they are forcing it through in such a small amount of time so as to minimise the criticism they will get.

It will be interesting to see what the fallout from this will be.

How much value to bloggers add to the Web?

Blogging is rife, every one is doing it, I advise my clients to do it, you should do it (if you are, well done)

But the majority of us bloggers do not have any formal training. some blogs I read are written very badly, but the content saves them.

So what value to do blogs and bloggers add to the whole web thing?

Well, heaps in my opinion.

It is that non trained point of view that actually adds some grit and personableness (is that a word) to online news.

Whether it be personal diaries, commentary or humour, the style and tone of lots of blogs really work. To me the best blogs are those where the author responds to the comments placed by readers, giving the blog a real voice.

It is also a great way for news to be propagated extremely quickly and effectively.

By using existing information and content, people can add opinions or extra information to the item to increase it’s visibility and round out the conversation.

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