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Referer System

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:35 PM

Yesterday was one of those days. I spent most of the day answering phones (I think I was in phone central) so inbetween, rather than start some important project I'd keep getting interrupted on, I decided to write a JavaScript referer system like I has said I would do over on Michael's site. After I started I noticed someone posted a URL to an existing replacement script, but I was undeterred — instead of stopping I just added more functionality to my script. :-)

For the moment I'm setting it up so that you can use it just by inserting a little JavaScript (like the old system). I'm also contemplating releasing the backendcode under the GPL for anyone who might want to install the entire system on their own server (as opposed to using JavaScript), but I'll worry about that later on.

I'll post more information about it soon for anyone interested.

RavPower Mini External SSD Pro Hard Drive

It is Better than a Thumb Drive

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:32 PM

I take a look at RavPower’s tiny, portable SSD:

When the pandemic hit last year, it threw me into a world where I was doing vastly more video editing than I did previously. Anyone who has spent time splicing and dicing video files knows those files can fill up storage devices really quickly and they are a pain to transfer between computers. Enter the new class of tiny, pocketable, external SSDs like the RavPower Mini External SSD Pro.

Rant: Social Contracts and the Web

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:46 AM
If you use this tool, be aware of a sensitive issue. Although you may feel that your enjoyment of some Web sites is marred by the presence of ads, these ads represent a revenue stream for the Web site. If you block ads, there are those who would assert you are not holding up your end of a “social contract” between yourself and the Web site that you are browsing.
—Chris Lynch, NewsForge

I saw this on Slashdot today. Here is someone that gets the web advertising situation perfectly. While many people are oblivious to it, much as they are other ethical situations, there is an unspoken “social contract” to viewing web sites. If you view my site and it has ads on it, it does not require a serious ethical consideration to understand that a barter situation is going on under the honor system, and the honorable thing to do is to download the ads.

As I have said before, in most cases, the person viewing a site has unmetered access and the person providing the site does not. Therefore, when you download an ad, it costs you time, but when you view my site, it costs me money. And it still costs me money when you do not view my ads. If we were dealing with any situation other than web site viewing, I really doubt someone would feel it was ethical to not uphold their part of the bargain despite the fact that they were materially costing the other party. And TiVo analogies do not hold water: NBC is not materially impacted in any way when I watch a show like Revelations. While it still may be right to view the ads, they do not have to amplify their signal more because I am tuning in; therefore, the web developer's situation is much more like that of a shopkeeper selling goods than the television network broadcasting a show.

I continue to insist that the moral thing to do if you do not like the ads on a site is to quit viewing that site. It is simple and ethical. If I don't like how much the grocery store charges for an apple, I do not steal the apple, I go somewhere else to buy apples. Likewise, web surfers should examine the cost of a given site and then choose whether to “shop” there or elsewhere, not give themselves a five finger discount because it is easier than “driving to the other store.” Remember: if everyone did that…

A frequent argument is that the web was fine without commercialized sites. Perhaps it was. Those who feel that way should simply refuse to use commercialized sites rather than trying to force commercialized sites to become non-commercial by raiding and pillaging them. Nothing is stopping users from ignoring the boom of sites that have appeared thanks to advertising revenue.

And that, my friends, ends my rant of the night.

Quick Thoughts about the VZW iPhone

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:45 AM

Quest Mode

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:03 AM

While you still can, you should visit Google Maps and try the “Quest” mode. It shows to how great an extent the company is willing to go to for a good April Fools Joke.

Procrastinator's Gift Guide

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:30 AM

Still Christmas shopping and getting nervous? In the second OFB YouTube channel video, I look at four items still able to arrive before Christmas that make thoughtful and fun gifts for just about anyone.

Privacy Policy

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:37 AM

Steve Jobs on user control of application privacy at D8:

People want to know what is going on upfront plain and simple. Ask them what they want to do, make them tell you to stop asking…


Predictions for Tomorrow

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:11 AM

Update: I have a longer story about AT&T and the iPhone HD up at OFB.

With Apple's big WWDC keynote tomorrow, I'll go ahead and throw out some predictions as usual. I think it is virtually assured we will hear of the next generation iPhone tomorrow, and I'm putting my money on “iPhone HD” for the name.

I am all but assured by those in the know that it will not be available for Verizon tomorrow, just AT&T. On the other hand, I believe that AT&T is moving up eligibility for its users — even for some or all who bought the iPhone 3GS last year — to upgrade to the new iPhone because a Verizon launch is coming relatively soon. I believe a Verizon launch early this autumn is likely and Ma Bell wants to get people tied into a long term commitment before rumors around Big Red's upcoming iPhone begin to appear too genuine.

What does extending customers out two years do for AT&T? It buys the teleco time to finish its LTE buildout. While LTE is the designated 4G upgrade from AT&T's present GSM/UTMS network, and not Verizon's CDMA2000 one, Verizon is still way ahead on launching LTE as it joins most of the rest of the world in following 3GPP.

While AT&T's 3G network has more life remaining in it, with its various HSPA upgrades still available, LTE will win if only by a marketing fiat. Don't misunderstand me — LTE is better than AT&T's HSPA network over the long term, but AT&T is right from a technical standpoint not to rush into LTE; not only are devices still not ready for it, but the capabilities for advances in its current network have not been exhausted yet. Put another way: the maximum abilities of HSPA exceed the minimum abilities of 4G technologies like LTE and WiMax. The current iPhone 3GS, with its HSDPA 7.2 support, can offer real world performance that is better than the reported speeds of Sprint's HTC Evo 4G, for example. But, consumer perception is that 4G is automatically better than 3G. Hence, AT&T needs to get as many enthusiasts locked in as possible while it awaits its own LTE network to light up about a year behind Verizon's.

I also think we'll see something else announced, especially since Jobs has promised not to disappoint people who have already seen his crown jewel thanks to the sleazy antics of Gizmodo. The next generation, cloud friendly Apple TV seems like a reasonable choice and could open the door to a prediction I made earlier this year. Such a relaunch might also make sense amidst a larger revision of MobileMe as a partially free service that is more tightly woven into Apple's iPhone OS devices much as Google's services are with Android phones. I think a reworking of MobileMe is almost mandatory if Apple is at all serious about cloud computing, given that for all of MobileMe's advantages, free services from Google, and competitively priced services from companies like Dropbox, best MobileMe in numerous areas.

Updated Mac Pros and Mac minis would also make sense, but I doubt they will get stage time. I think the main Mac mention of note, other than the requisite sales figures, will be some acknowledgement of Mac OS X 10.7, presented as something that is shaping up in exciting ways, but that will not be previewed until some future time. The key goal here will be to assure people that Apple has not forgotten about the Mac.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:45 AM

Just so y'all know, if you happen to be a Windows user (unlike me), Zondervan is being very nice and offering $25 worth of free modules for its Pradis Bible software. No purchase seems to be necessary, so you can pick up a couple of resources to use without actually spending a dime.

You can read all about it here.

Power Efficient Web Browsers

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:16 AM

Microsoft ran browser benchmarks with a very interesting idea: testing the impact on battery life:

Browsers play a significant and important role in overall power consumption. The more efficiently a browser uses power the longer the battery will last in a mobile device, the lower the electricity costs, and the smaller the environment impact.

No doubt the fact that IE does so well is unsurprising given that Microsoft ran the tests, but the post is still worth taking note of for its insights into the other major browsers and for introducing the concept itself, which seems like a reasonable test in an increasingly mobile computing world.

You are viewing page 11 of 34.