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Hostingplex Launches Clustered Web Hosting Service

Thu, 1st May 2008, 05:10

TORONTO -- April 30, 2008 -- Hostingplex, a leading provider in web hosting services announced today that it has launched its clustered hosting service.

The proprietary cluster technology is unique as it makes use of the well-known control panel by cPanel. The company claims customers will still be able to enjoy the benefits of a cPanel web host, while taking advantage of a robust & scalable clustered web hosting infrastructure.

"We're really excited about our clustered web hosting service," says Kevin Moonlight, Senior Systems Administrator with Hostingplex. "We've invested a great deal of time and money into this superior infrastructure and now our customers will be able to benefit from that" adds Kevin.

The clustered hosting service starts from $7.50 per month and is available immediately to new & existing customers.

About Hostingplex:

Hostingplex, an Inverdigm company founded in 2000, is a world-wide leading web hosting solutions provider, helping small businesses create and maintain their online presence. With fully-featured, attractively priced hosting plans, backed with our unconditional 30-day money back guarantee and strive towards providing industry leading customer satisfaction, Hostingplex has become a trusted name for small businesses. For more information, please visit http://www.hostingplex.com

Security is Everything

Wed, 30th April 2008, 13:19

Speaking ahead of the 15th anniversary of the day the web's code was put into the public domain, the web's inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, stated, “ the world wide web is "still in its infancy". (End quote)

Cyberthreats, cybercrime, cyberterrorists, cyberattacks. How about data mining, data theft, data monitoring. Add malware, rootkit, keylogger, spam. Seven out of eight dictionaries I checked still describe Trojan: A native or inhabitant of ancient Troy.

Many dictionaries fail to included this terminology in the rank and file of common words. Commentators struggle to coin the phrase that will adequately describes the newest threat. The reality of the world we live in.

Experts at McAfee warned a little over a week ago that malware creators were hacking into pro-Tibet Web sites and infecting them with malware that could then be injected into site visitors' PCs.

A tech paper headlines stated that threat against Internet Explorer fell last month. But the body of the text stated that Mozilla Firefox was drawing fire and that the threats to this browser, substantially increased.

While the following list of suggestions is not by any means intended to be the beginning and end of Internet security, it may raise your awareness of some places to start.( I focus on the free ones)

Firewall

To keep the sensitive data from your hard drives from roaming on the web, its essential.

For Windows XP, the Windows Firewall is not good enough. ARA recommend using Comodo Firewall Pro Free instead. First introduced as a part of Service Pack 2, XP's firewall is not capable of blocking outbound connections. This is the number one reason for using a software firewall, as a router (also known as a hardware firewall) takes care of inbound connections perfectly.

For Windows Vista, Microsoft addressed this problem; spyware and viruses that "phoned home" with stolen information would be caught by Vista's firewall. If you have Windows Vista, there is no need for Comodo or any third-party firewall. Regardless of whether you're on XP or Vista, a router is essential. We would even go as far as saying that a hardware firewall is more important than having a software firewall enabled—regardless of which OS you're running.

Anti-virus

The must of security application. If you insist on not shelling out a dime: Antivir, Avast, or AVG.

The choice between the three comes down to user preference: download and install them one by one (never, under any circumstances, have more than one anti-virus program installed on your computer) .

 

Anti-spyware and Anti-adware

Thanks to Microsoft's acquisition of GIANT Company Software in December 2004, the software maker now has an anti-spyware offering available for Windows XP, and comes included with Windows Vista.

Windows Defender, while a very solid application, may be better than Spybot but it is still not quite there yet. Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free is the freeware application ARA recommend, but they do not suggest disabling Windows Defender; use them together.

Encryption

Despite the Supreme Court ruling that border guards can copy your hard drive, they never ruled you had to make it easy for them. Password-protection is a possibility, but passwords can be cracked too easily in this day and age. Give a 13-year-old the right program, and weep as he breaks into your p0rn stash and locks you out of it. For all your privacy needs, encryption is the way to go. TrueCrypt is an application that offers on-the-fly encryption with minimal user intervention. It is the best that is out there right now, and it's entirely free. Furthermore, TrueCrypt is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Linux

Snort is an open-source intrusion prevent and detection system that performs real-time traffic analysis and can block attacks from a number of different vectors. Snort is often used in conjunction with the Basic Analysis and Security Engine (BASE), which provides a web-based visual interface for viewing Snort logs and notifications.

Wireshark is a popular packet-sniffing and protocol analysis tool that uses PCAP to intercept data that is being transmitted over a network. Users can filter the data with regular expressions or other parameters and view the data in a simple color-coded grid.

AppArmor is an open-source framework for Linux that reduces the potential for exploitation by instituting the principle of least privilege. It is much easier to configure than SELinux and is also less resource-intensive. It is tightly integrated in openSUSE and is being adopted by Ubuntu and other popular distributions.

Nmap is an open-source port scanner and network analysis tool that is lightweight and easy to use. It is particularly useful for security auditing and detecting running services on a network. A relatively new graphical front-end called Zenmap includes a command wizard that will help novice users put together nmap commands.

Netcat, which is described by its developers as the TCIP/IP Swiss Army knife, is a powerful tool for reading and writing network data. Netcat is extremely versatile and can be used for a wide variety of things including port scans, file transfers, and for interacting with remote network services from the command line. There is also an improved, more modern version called socat

 

So you've done your homework and built your great wall against China. What if you still become a victim. I got the answer for that also. The Internet Crime Complaint Center

File your complaint here so the FBI can interrogate the cybercriminal with all them newly approved interrogation methods that Justice Scalia says “are not torture because, they are not punishing the person”

That is, if they can find the person :>)

HostJury Web 2.0 Style

Tue, 29th April 2008, 14:55

Some of you may have noticed the small changes taking place at Hostjury.

Stories that are more of a general interest as opposed to strictly the hosting news. Although simplicity does have its advantages, with the maturing and evolution of the web, (appropriately named web 2.0), it necessitates adapting to this changing landscape.

The premise of Hostjury.com, as a site driven by “real” client reviews, continues to be our primary goal. Departing from this philosophy would dilute our commitment to those that have utilized this site.

 

Some of the Hosts listed in the database have generated a large number of reviews. Some for the exceptional services they provide their clients as hosts, while others for their unprecedented and exceptional ability, to alienate the clients they once enticed with promises of unmatchable uptime and 24/7 live support.

 

Still waters may run deep

Still, a large number of hosting companies anonymously deliver the services their clientèle expect. While not totally wowing their hosted clients, they have not annoyed their clients to the point of seeking out a refuge to vent their frustrations because they can not reach customer support, and their site is down again. So they haven't generated massive reviews. Many of these same companies, are quietly involving themselves in green initiatives, charitable activities, or upgraded services as the technological landscape shifts.

 

Research made easier

Companies are swallowed up by larger hosts, or merged to strengthen already sound business models. New companies appear, while some, thankfully fade away. So we will begin announcing companies as they are added to our data base. Users will still be able to add a reviews for companies we've missed. Just follow the cues under “Add your own review”  Suggest a change by emailing us feedback@hostjury.com

 

Some of the coming changes will allow you to view updated news, or special offering including discount coupons being offered by various companies along with their customer reviews. Many of the changes you'll see in the coming weeks at Hostjury, will make researching and identifying a prospective host for your site a less daunting experience. Hostjury will always continue to be driven by “real” customer reviews, so enjoy the changes

Web hosting and the economy

Tue, 29th April 2008, 13:52

The economy and looming recession have been the talk of the town for the past few months in the media. With the fears of a more thorough, long-lasting recession building up after the onset of the housing bubble, millions of foreclosures, foreign wars (Yes, I'm a libdrool puppet) and the collapse of a number of large companies -- what's in it for the web hosting industry and consumers?

Well, recent articles in the Canoe (CNN and others have had similar reports) suggest that the technology sector has largely in part been immune to the cutbacks seen in many other industries. Immune, entirely? Of course not, as even us IT folk still have to consume the more expensive goods, gas and depend on the increasingly volatile market as a whole but IT seems to have cemented itself in as a necessity rather than a luxury. As the population of the internet continues to skyrocket, more companies will take their sales online to reduce the effects of the local economy on their companies & products.

For example, an online retailer may not see the full-fledged effects of the recession if their products are being sold to other countries where the mortgage fiascos have not had as large of an impact. Millions of other examples can be cooked up, but some still see the recession as a good thing. Myself included, admittedly. The recession is offering the market some correction -- in essence, we're being reprimanded for expanding too quickly beyond our means and market itself. Overspending and living off credit will have a fast, deafening impact on every industry no matter the offering. (Except toilet paper, toilet paper is as safe an industry as potatoes.)

So, what's all this mean for web hosting?

The impact of the economy as a whole will leave aspects of the industry in ruin. While there won't be any widespred distress just yet, a number of companies with lower profit margins will be hit the hardest as the economy fluctuates. The rising gas, food and necessity prices will drive up their costs to the point where their operations will no longer be profitable or even feasible.

The results will be clear: In 2008 we'll see more acquisitions, mergers and companies disappearing overnight. It's safe to say that if you haven't kept backups up until this point you should start ensuring you have frequent backups just in case the company you're utilizing chooses to go next. As we've seen in the past, mergers and acquisitions may not necessarily end up all that pretty. Ipowerweb & Endurance International are a prime example.

Only time will tell the full effects, God willing, Hostjury will be here too :)

Unveiling Microsoft's Live Mesh

Fri, 25th April 2008, 10:54

Microsoft's Live Mesh service, a new service, that will synch all of a user's devices and applications to produce a seamless framework, was unveiled at Web 2.0.

Microsoft has said the service will use open standards and be rolled out to Windows machines, Macs and mobiles. (the fact that Live Mesh is not available on Mac at launch was not missed by many)

The idea is to connect PCs and devices "using the web as a hub," wrote Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, in a draft of a memo slated to be distributed to Microsoft employees. "We aspire to bring together Windows, Windows Live, and Windows Mobile by creating seamless experiences that span these offerings," Ozzie wrote.The initial version of Live Mesh will work only with PCs running Windows XP and Vista, but Microsoft says it plans to add support later for mobile devices and Apple Macintosh computers.


In the initial version, extra features will include the ability to use one Windows PC to access and control another that they've made part of the same mesh. People will also be able to connect their meshes to other users' meshes, for sharing files and collaborating on documents.

Microsoft is also setting up Live Mesh to let outside developers write programs to work with the system. For example, the maker of a digital picture frame might write a program that uses Live Mesh to automatically receive and display photos from a camera over the Internet.

The core service from Microsoft is "a small slice, a small sliver of what the platform can do," said Amit Mital, the general manager of the Live Mesh team. "What the platform is about is providing access to all this capability" for use by other software and hardware developers.

This Isn't New 

This isn't new. One existing company in the online storage and sharing market is Palo Alto-based Box.net.

Box.net, the web’s first online file system, launched in 2005, announced earlier this year its OpenBox platform. The open platform connects data from Box.net with other applications and services across the web. OpenBox permits companies and developers to integrate applications and services on the Box.net website. They have expressed confidence in their ability to withstand the new challenge from Microsoft.

"Their competency is in desktop software and they clearly have the ability to push people to these products," Aaron Levie, CEO said. "However, the great thing about the Web is it's an open environment where the best product generally wins, and the products that have the right networks around users are able to maintain that kind of traction."

Linux KDE platform in all Brazil's Public Schools

Fri, 25th April 2008, 02:15

ProInfo and Linux Educacional - KDE in Public Schools in Brazil


Brazil's Ministry of Education (MEC). have just unveiled that KDE on Linux is to   become the software platform in the primary school education system in Brazil.  By the end of this year, 29,000 labs serving 32,000,000 students,
will be fully deployed and in active use.

There are plans to increase this to 53,000 labs serving 52,000,000 students by the end of next year (2009). What is interesting about this project is that it not only provides infrastructure (computers and net connectivity), but also open content to students in public schools.

The software installed on these systems is "Linux Educacional 2.0", a very clean Debian-based distribution, with KDE 3.5, KDE-Edu, KDE-Games.  The use of KDE4 in future implementation is just starting to be explored.
 
You can have a look at the clean desktop here:
Linux Educacional
 
Notice the addition of a quick navigation bar on top: this was the result of study conducted by the project's researchers, and gives quick access to content and activities.
 
The whole system performs extremely well and it was available at the forum in multiterminal stations. This new versions incorporates lots of improvements gathered from the feedback provided by previous version, which is already deployed to thousands of labs in the country.
 
 



The open content and the Linux Educational distribution can be found at http://webeduc.mec.gov.br/ in Portuguese only.
 
 
special thanks to piacentini
http://piacentini.livejournal.com/7871.html

Outsourcing Debt Collection: Lessons to Learn

Thu, 24th April 2008, 16:16

With the economy in a free fall, India's call centers are receiving calls from more than frustrated consumers in America. While down and out Americans are increasingly defaulting on their payments, the businesses responsible to collect these debts are relying on outsourced Indian call centers to do their bidding. But they are not the first industry to venture into these waters.

Americans have grown accustomed to receiving calls from India for insurance claims and credit card sales. But debt collection represents a growing business for outsourcing companies, especially as the American economy slows and its consumers struggle to pay for their purchases. Automated dialing and Internet technology capable of contacting tens of thousands of Americans every hour has put confidential information like Social Security numbers, addresses and credit history at operators’ fingertips.

Debt collectors in India often cost about one-quarter the price of their American counterparts, and are often better at the job, debt collection company executives say. So far just a tiny fraction, maybe 5 percent, of American debt collection is done outside the country, industry executives estimate. There may be new business is in the pipeline. Just over 4.5 percent of all bank credit card accounts were delinquent in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the Federal Reserve, up from 3.5 percent two years before. Businesses in the United States put $141 billion in delinquent consumer debt up for collection in 2005, according to a Price Waterhouse Coopers survey commissioned by an industry group, and debt collection agencies collected $51 billion that year. They kept nearly a quarter of that in profits.

In recent times, outsourcing as a publicly debated topic seems to revive every four year. Like elections.
While it appearance in the public arena may be cyclical,  for consumers, it is a source of discontent that usually appears every time the need to call for support arises.

Lessons Learned

A  study by Gartner indicates that outsourcing customer service options can cost a company more. Up to 30% more than keeping the staff in house. Research director Alexa Bona pointed out that “the outsourced service is often more efficient, but then outsourcers need to make a profit too.”  The report went on to give a bad outlook on outsourcing, indicating that 80% of companies that outsource to save money will fall short of goals. Additionally, 60% of those that outsource parts of their business that interact with customers will actually lose clients. However, the report did indicate that, if done successfully, companies can save 25 to 30% by outsourcing.

Dell Computers, once outsourced its call center to foreigners, and  have now relinquished them back to local control.
AT&T insists it made the decision to repatriate the jobs after successfully bargaining "competitive" wages with the CWA. But customer pressure to improve service may also have been a factor. Users of AT&T's home DSL service frequently pillory the company on online bulletin boards and blogs.
A poster on DSL reports.com complains that AT&T's "India tech support doesn't know anything." AT&T's spokesman declined to identify the vendor currently handling the company's offshore DSL support.
On Hostjury.com , there are numerous reviews, many of them quite humorous detailing the interaction between customers and service representatives. But a number of companies profiled on Hostjury have  related similar experiences.  
Brent Oxley CEO of HostGator was  asked “If you were to have started HostGator today, would you have done anything differently?  
"There was a very short period of time, years ago when it was just me and I couldn't afford 24/7 support personnel. I worked myself every second I was awake, but in order to cover shifts while I slept I chose to try outsourcing. This was by far one of the costliest mistakes I’ve ever made. The amount of money lost from customers leaving and damaged reputation far exceeded any amount of money saved. If I could go back in time and do it all over I would have found some way to come up with money to pay for in house support." he said


Many of these firms moving towards foreign outsourced services need to pay heed to the lessons learned by the IT industry. Customers of these firms must also be vocal about the need to keep these service local. Or they too, may be expressing their discontent with customer service, if they find themselves in the unfortunate place requiring it


Simply for reading pleasure

For your enjoyment, I have included some satirical views I've encountered, of the teaching methods utilized in call centers, as well as humorous exchanges from call center reps.

Workers were told that understanding Sylvester Stallone's lines was the final frontier in mastering American diction. Others were asked to watch Titanic and Ally McBeal, so they could mimic an acceptable American accent.
But no amount of training prepared them for what was to come.
More than 30,000 employees at Indian call centers, among whom Radhika becomes Ruth and Satish becomes Steve, are told to adopt American names and say they are calling from a U.S. city in order to put their American customers at ease.
Their training includes a smattering of U.S. history and geography, along with speech therapy so that they will sound "American." Some call centers are adorned with American flags to give a cultural feel to the place.
Along the way, these employees are exposed to a way of life that can come into direct conflict with their conservative values and, sometimes, their sanity.
Partho Banerjee, a 24-year-old employee at a call center in Mumbai for TransWorks, a computer outsourcing company, blushes when he recalls a sales pitch that he made to a 45-year-old American woman.
"She asked me to marry her," he said.
On another occasion, Partho let his accent slip and had to confess after being pointedly questioned that he was, in fact, an Indian sitting next to a telephone in Mumbai.
"The man told me, 'You guys blew up the WTC,'" he said. "I tried to explain India had nothing to do with it, but he just banged the phone down."
Another employee at a call center named Maulik Bhansali, 22, spoke to a man who kissed him over the phone many times before apologizing, "Sorry, if you are not gay. Is there anybody else in your company who is?"
Mandakini Pradhan, 21, once dialed an American home in an attempt to sell a caller ID system. The man told her, "Aren't you the girl who lives next door? Can you see me? I am naked."
One young call center employee  almost lost his job after telling a customer during a call that was monitored by his supervisor, "You will be intimated soon."  The American client who took the issue to the top brass, told us that a word like “intimate' was unacceptable as it meant something on the lines of intimacy.  Since Indians speak English the way Britishers do, we use a few expressions that common Americans normally don't.”
Indians are not always the victims of these quaint clashes of culture. Americans, too, suffer from a communication gap.
Veer Sagar, CEO of Selectronic, a medical transcription company, says that in his line of work his employees need not speak to Americans but merely listen to voice files of doctors' dictations and type out what they have heard.
Despite creating "an American ambience" by feeding his workers Coke and pizzas on weekends and making them watch two Hollywood movies every week, many in his firm cannot fully comprehend what Americans say.
Veer remembers a doctor who had said, "the patient's salary is twenty grand." The Indian transcript was typed, "The patient's salary is twenty. Very grand."
Another worker wrote that the patient was "a base reporter" when the doctor meant "ace reporter." Similarly, a doctor's analysis, "He is fond of marijuana," became, "He is fond of Mary Yuvane."
And "the incident occurred while at Macy's Thanksgiving parade," became "the incident occurred while Macy was giving thanks to the parade."

Open Source Community and forum software

Thu, 24th April 2008, 15:08

It isn't often that I take the time to give kudos to the software I use, despite being as militant as I am for open source. For the past few years I have been attempting to use as much open source as possible without giving into proprietary stuff. For the most part, open source wins.

There's several pieces of community software that I have built sites on these days. Most of which I've used to build other communities and sites. There's a few that I'm going to be detailing today including phpBB, Vanilla, punBB and SMF (SimpleMachines). Each piece of software has it's benefits and drawbacks, hopefully you'll find this post remotely useful.

Starting with the one I'd consider the underdog...

PunBB

PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board. Its primary goals are to be faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML-compliant pages.

Success.
And they succeed at their mission. PunBB is very lightweight right out of the starting gate & for a basic community. The PunBB site features a great set of addons, plugins and frequent software and security updates. One aspect that I especially liked was a feature on their site named 'SpinkBB' which allows you to easily create a custom color scheme with minimal effort.

The underlying drawbacks I found about PunBB though was that it was almost too minimal. Many basic features seemed to be lacking but if the forum wasn't for my business site, I would have continued to use it for personal use. PunBB does a great job at what it intends to do: lightweight ass-kicking. :)

PunBB Official Site
Official PunBB Forums

The next forum up is one of my favorites despite my inability to use it, at all.

Vanilla

Vanilla is an open-source, standards-compliant, multi-lingual, fully extensible discussion forum for the web. Anyone who has web-space that meets the requirements  can download and use Vanilla for free!

Vanilla is one of those forums that you simply want to use. It's minimalistic, absolutely stunning and basic enough that anyone can wield it. There's a massive range of extensions and an absolutely gorgeous site for fetching them. The man behind Vanilla is Canadian as well, maybe that's why I have some odd inextinguishable desire to have Vanilla's babies.

However that's where the love stops. Actually, that's right where the abuse started. Vanilla is great if you wish to continue using it in it's vanilla form or with any of the 'released' themes. Customizability, though?

Vanilla drawbacks

Vanilla has a stunning plugin system, a diverse range of themes developed for it but it's theming and template system is absolutely horrendous. I have used many, many forum systems prior and had no problems making minor tweaks, fiddling and all-in-all surviving in the code (despite having zero coding ability). Vanilla on the other hand, despite reading the documentation and spending a few days digging around on the official forum left me dazed and confused.

It may be far too advanced for me or things are just in general obfuscated. I couldn't get even the smallest changes implemented without an outright desire to drive myself off the nearest cliff. Since I'm in Toronto the trek to the nearest cliff would be several hours. Nonetheless, I was willing and ready to make the trip.

Vanilla is one of those systems you want to love but know you'll end up in ruins as an alcoholic after attempting to wield it for long. A ten in my book.. for the masochist.

Get Vanilla
Official Vanilla Forums

Onwards!

phpBB

Millions of people use phpBB on a daily basis, making it the most widely used opensource bulletin board system in the world. Whether you want to stay in touch with a small group of friends or are looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website, phpBB has the features you need built in.

phpBB is hard to deny in the open source community. It's one of those forums that have been around and is older than rocks, it's frequently updated and there's a gigantic plethora of addons, plugins and themes available for it solely due to it's age. It's great, usable and the latest version really does have a lot to offer as a forum.

One of my own problems I have with phpBB though is my security concerns. As a piece of software it's been around for such a long time that with all of it's past, I simply can't trust it to build a community on. With the past phpBB team's delays and insane amounts of exploits being released for it... ah. But it's hard denying such beauty -- the latest version of it had an insane amount of effort put into it and is one of the most usable pieces of forum software out there today.

Even if you don't consider using it on a long-term basis I would recommend at least giving it a try.
phpBB Official Site
phpBB Community

SimpleMachines

SMF can trace its roots all the way back to a perl powered message board, YaBB. After awhile, there became a demand for a php coded version of YaBB. So that is where YaBBSE comes into play. While YaBBSE was getting bigger and bigger, there were certain aspects of it that just needed improvement and reworking. The decision was made that it was best to separate from YaBBSE because it was a lot different from YaBB and it was best to start from scratch. At this point, SMF started being developed. On September 29th, 2003, the first beta of SMF was released to charter members, SMF 1.0 Beta 1. While this was a huge milestone for SMF, only charter members had access to use it. But on March 10, 2004, SMF made its public debut with the first public SMF release available to everyone.

Last but certainly not least, SimpleMachines. SimpleMachines or SMF for short (Simple Machines Forum) is my favorite of all of the available software out there today. It's a great mix of usability and features, all the while still offering easy customization and addons.

While I admit I do find it a bit bulky and the 'default' template leaves a lot to be desired, I love it. Best of all? The community behind the system. Recently I had the opportunity to spend about 48 hours on their forum while a few of their team members made great efforts helping me move data from one old version of another forum (IPB) to SMF.

The process was not easy by any means and as it was one of my first times really digging into simplemachines from a technical standpoint, quite frankly it went horribly. Nonetheless their team was behind me 100% and even offered to help dig in on their own and spend their own time getting it up and running: To me, that tells me they're both confident with their software and care about the community enough to help get new folks using it.

Kudos SimpleMachines.
Official SimpleMachines Site
Official SimpleMachines Community

Building communities isn't the easiest thing to do but with free, open source software out there like the ones detailed above it certainly takes a lot of weight off our shoulders.

McCain's "Remove GasTaxes" Leadership or Folie

Wed, 23rd April 2008, 10:16

With oil set to break through the $120 mark and pump prices forecast to hit $4 bucks or more a gallon, Presidential candidate John McCain has called for all levels of government to remove their tax on gas. While this may bring a hoot from a couple of die hard Rush Limbaugh fans, the reality is that any relief would be short lived. While increased pump price do inflate tax coffers, revenue for government expenditures needs to be maintained with other areas of the economy teetering on disaster.

Most of us have a sense, that any tax relief would quickly be absorbed by the oil companies willing to swell their bludgeoning profit margins anyway. Other issues that John McCain should consider, are that while government takes a healthy share of the pump price, foreign governments in control of the oil, are taking approximately half of this pump price. While outside the scope of this article, many of these “friendly” governments utilize these windfalls to finance terrorism and suicide attacks. With such windfall profits, the need and cost of bolstering our militaries, may become even more blatantly apparent with time.

The Underlying Issue

While short term solutions may be debated, the underlying issue which has been facing western civilization for decades is the need to use less oil. In a growing global economy, even with more evolved extraction techniques, there simply will not be enough oil to meet the demands. Also, as we begin to struggle with the increased cost associated with the environmental impact of our lifestyles, there should be a realistic expectations of additional price increases.

Solutions

As a society, we need to shift our focus to changes we can adopt. Many of the pie in the sky solutions proposed after the 70's oil crisis, are no longer visions for the future. While a gas powered BMW automobile today has more on board computers than the first moon shot, computers and technological advances have allowed an American company, Tesla Motors to develop and produce electric vehicles that have 0 to 60 mph acceleration of 3.9 seconds, combined with an EPA rating of 135 MPG. Other advances such as utilizing lightweight carbon fiber instead of steel and plastic would revolutionize the automobile.

Technologies collectively known as concentrating photovoltaics are starting to enjoy their day in the sun, thanks to advances in solar cells, which absorb light and convert it into electricity, and the mirror- or lens-based concentrator systems that focus light on them. The technology could soon make solar power as cheap as electricity from the grid. Similar advances are being made in wind power, and utilizing hydrogen fuel cells.

An estimated 1.35 billion gallons of gasoline could be conserved annually if every U.S. worker with the ability to telecommute did so 1.6 days per week, according to a report released by the American Electronics Association,  "Fewer commuters on the roads means reduced fuel consumption, traffic congestion and air pollution," said Christopher Hansen, president of the association, the nation's largest high-tech trade group.

Embracing these solutions will revolutionize and revitalize our economy. 

Lots of oil 

Others would suggest that we should continue to develop underutilized sources of  domestic oil such as the Florida Gulf Coast, Alaska, or the Alberta Tar Sands. Alberta does have tremendous amounts of oil available. But at what cost. The deep mining and extraction of crude oil from the tar sands in Alberta has already generated a series of ecological threats:

• greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production are three times those of conventional oil and gas production [currently tar sands production emits 27 megatonnes annum and is expected to rise to 108-
126 megatonnes per annum by 2015]. Thus, the tar sands are now poised to become Canada’s largest single emitter of greenhouse gas, compounding this country’s contribution to global warming;

•water depletion and pollution: where an average of 2 to 4.5 [and as high as 7] barrels of water are used to produce one barrel of oil, thereby seriously lowering the water levels of the Athabasca River, the Mackenzie Valley watershed and other related water sources in the region. And, toxic water spewing from tar sands production has infected fish and wildlife.

• boreal forest destruction through the stripping away of the Athabasca forest lands through oil mining operations, thereby digging a huge hole in the northern lungs of the planet that could, if completed, it would encompass a land mass the size of the state of Florida. Yet, the boreal forests have a key role to play in the sequestration of carbon dioxide emissions from greenhouse gases;

• tailings ponds, vast holding tanks the size of lakes, some as large as 15 square kilometers, containing hydrocarbons and other chemical by products from tar sands production.

But is John McCain  proposing relief that we can feel today. The pain at the pump will only escalate with continue dependence on oil from any source. Twenty five percent of all the oil produced has been consumed in the last ten years. As we sip from our water bottles, we need to consider that the bottle came from oil, and the water may have been used in the tar sands project. We can not eliminate oil from our diet overnight, nor can we depend on profit driven companies to lead the way. We the consumers need to lead. Until we do, we should expect to pay an ever increasing costs for our addiction.

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Google earnings Pale Compared to Another Earnings Report

Mon, 21st April 2008, 13:57

The BBC is reporting that Internet search engine Google has seen quarterly profits soar by 69%, beating expectations, boosted by strong advertising revenue. Net income climbed to $1bn (£499m) in the first three months of 2007, up from $592m on a year earlier.

While this is impressive earnings by any standard, it pales in comparison to another earnings report released last week by a Congressional research and investigation agency.

Cybercrime in its various forms-- computer crime, identity theft and phishing -- costs the U.S. economy some US$117.5 billion a year, reported the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

"These projected losses are based on direct and indirect costs that may include actual money stolen, estimated cost of intellectual property stolen, and recovery cost of repairing or replacing damaged networks and equipment," says the report, released through the offices of Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee on Homeland Security, and James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), chairman of the subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology.

The goal of many сybercriminals is to infect thousands of computers and turn them into a network of devices that have been compromised by worms or viruses, known as a "bot-net." Bot-nets are a very powerful tool for crime, crucial to executing distributed denial of service attacks, spam and phishing scams, which makes them the growing weapon of choice for fraud and extortion.

While many articles are available, detailing various ways to lessen the risk of becoming a victim, the most powerful tool, Encryption, is not even in the toolbox. (at least legally speaking)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now filed a lawsuit challenging the the current Arms Export Control Law, which limits our ability to utilize this tool, on First Amendment grounds.

EFF, which has various lawsuits filed, including a class-action lawsuit against AT&T [Hepting v. AT&T] which accused the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

Shari Steele, Director of Legal Services at EFF states:


Quoting: “The United States Government requires network providers to keep their systems easily exploited. Encryption would enable companies to thwart unwanted intrusion by disguising the content of messages, making the messages virtually unreadable to anyone who does not possess the decryption key. Computer intruders would not be able to steal passwords or credit card information because they would not be able to read the data.

Furthermore, encryption helps authenticate users by making it difficult to forge information used to identify messages. But network security poses an interesting threat to U.S. law enforcement. If the system is secure, how can the National Security Agency intercept the messages of evil terrorists?

Rather than "ramp up" their own law enforcement techniques, the NSA and others have made a requirement that the networks "dumb down" to their level. Such antiquated Cold War thinking has resulted in the State Department refusing to remove encryption from the U.S. Munitions List, -- where it currently sits right alongside flamethrowers and B-1 bombers -- severely restricting its legal use on international networks like the Internet.” end quote

We all know how quickly these cases proceed. We should all continue to sleep with the doors and windows unlocked, and one eye open. Meanwhile its reassuring to know, by utilizing pseudonyms and other online identities, which provides an anonymity that is attractive to criminals, sources have estimated that only 5% of cybercriminals are ever caught or convicted.

I think I'll stick to my original thought. It may be better to phish five days and work two.

See also:

http://www.terroritory.com/2008/04/06/centers-tap-into-personal-databases/

http://www.terroritory.com/2008/02/12/senate-passes-bush-approved-fisa-update/

http://hostjury.com/blog/view/130/i-say-we-work-two-days-and-phish-five

I say we work two days and Phish five

Fri, 18th April 2008, 21:23

 

Web payment firm Paypal has said it will block "unsafe browsers" from using its service as part of wider anti-phishing efforts.

Phishing attacks trick users into handing over sensitive data which can then be used by the criminal community

Customers will first be warned that a browser is unsafe but could then be blocked if they continue using it. There are a significant set of users who use very old and vulnerable browsers such as early versions of Internet Explorer, many released more than 10 years ago. They lacks many of the security and safety features needed to protect users from phishing and other online attacks.

Legitimate sites

Paypal says it supports the use of Extended Validation SSL Certificates. Browsers which highlight the address bar in green when users are on a site that has been deemed legitimate.

The latest version of Internet Explorer support EV SSL certificates, while Firefox 2 supports it with an add-on, but Apple's Safari browser for Mac and PCs does not.

By displaying the green glow and company name, these newer browsers make it much easier for users to determine whether or not they're on the site that they thought they were visiting."

Paypal has published a white paper on managing phishing, written by the firm's chief information security officer Michael Barrett and Dan Levy, director of risk management.

Paypal has described the battle against phishing as a "fast-moving chess match with the criminal community".

This past week, thousands of high-ranking executives across the country have been receiving e-mail messages that appear to be official subpoenas from the United States District Court in San Diego. Each message includes the executive’s name, company and phone number, and commands the recipient to appear before a grand jury in a civil case.

A link embedded in the message purports to offer a copy of the entire subpoena. But a recipient who tries to view the document, unwittingly downloads and installs software that secretly records keystrokes and sends the data to a remote computer over the Internet. This lets the criminals capture passwords, and other personal, or corporate information.

This kind of tactic, aimed at specific individuals, is referred to by security experts as whaling. The term which is a play on phishing, has also been referred to as spear phishing.


CIRA Hits One Million dot-ca Internet Addresses

Wed, 16th April 2008, 03:43

With million dot-ca internet addresses registry now ranks seventeenth.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, today announced that Canadian Internet users have registered one million dot-ca Internet domain names. The registry states that as one of the most wired nations, Canadians continue to use the Internet for personal and business reasons in ever increasing numbers. It adds that reaching the one million dot-ca domain name milestone demonstrates Canada's strong Internet presence and the popularity of Canadian websites.

The registry described that the dot-ca domain name was established in 1987 by a group of volunteers at the University of British Columbia and transferred to CIRA in 2000. Further it states that in 1988 the first dot-ca domain name, upei.ca, was registered by the University of Prince Edward Island. Since then dot-ca domain name usage has grown at over 20% per year. This growth is remarkable considering that dot-ca domains are reserved exclusively for Canadians. "Dot-ca represents Canada on the Internet. A dot-ca domain name, website, or email address means you can be confident that you are dealing with a Canadian or Canadian business online," says Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA.

In addition it also declared that Dot-ca now ranks as the seventeenth largest Internet domain name registry when compared to generic domain names like dot-com and country specific domain names like dot-uk. "The registration of over one million dot-ca domains is a testament to the great work being done by CIRA. On behalf of the entire ICANN community, congratulations," said Dr. Paul Twomey, President and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the global organization that governs Internet domain names.

iWeb Unveils New Domain and new Corporate Identity Alongside New Website

Tue, 8th April 2008, 00:24

MONTRÉAL, Canada - March 19, 2008 - iWeb Group Inc. (TSX-V: IWB) (“iWeb”), a worldwide internet hosting infrastructure provider, unveiled its brand new corporate identity along with a new website now available at iweb.com. The deployment of the website under the much coveted domain name iweb.com is an important element for the consolidation of the company’s brand.

“This new site is an important step in the process of affirming iWeb’s identity and in the differenciation of the company in front of the competition”, explains Martin Leclair, Chief Operation Officer at iWeb. “Our ultimate goal is to transform and facilitate the use of our hosting infrastructures and the server or shared hosting management by giving more control to our users, by speeding the services delivery, and by offering unique, user-friendly and attractive online tools”, he adds.

The new website is the first visible effort in a series of improvements which will be unveiled in the coming months and which will include new products, but also an all new ordering process , and a recasting of the Customer Hub, iWeb’s control panel used by customers to manage every aspect of their hosting plan. This new image of the company is the next step in the consolidation of iWeb’s position alongside the leaders of the evolving web hosting industry, and also to make room for a renewed and improved services offer.

“For many months, every department joined forces to produce a new user-friendly website, from design and accessibility, to the great variety of offered services”, explains Hugo Dénommée, VP Development and Automation. “We are very proud of what has been accomplished and of the results are now public”, he says.

For each of the four sections, major products additions have been made. In the dedicated servers and colocation sections, a new range of Mac servers, private dedicated server racks, cages in colocation and anti-ddos are now available. Our range of dedicated servers, load-balancing, clusters, and managed hosting services remain vital components of our offering. In the shared hosting section, all offers have been completely improved, a website builder has been added, and an offer for Google Adwords credit have been added.

We invite you to visit iweb.com to discover our new website.

About iWeb Group Inc.
Founded in 1996, iWeb offers a full line of advanced IP hosting services either through shared hosting, dedicated servers or colocation in its own data centers featuring 52,000 square foot of floor space and the latest technological equipments. iWeb provides services in English, French and Spanish to clients in more than 140 countries. For more information, please visit www.sedar.com or the Company’s website at http://iWeb8.com.

Tidbits from the World Wide Web

Sun, 6th April 2008, 21:55

The World Wide Web, started in 1990 when Internet founder Tim Berner-Lee created the first-ever website and web server The first website “nxoc01.cern.ch”, as well as the the first web page “http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html”, came on line

 


This site shut down a long time ago. The early part of the Internet saw growth among universities and government agencies and in 1993 there were only 623 sites. In fact, there was no need for “BackRub” at that time, as local searches would suffice. Confused by the terminology “ BackRub”.

You might better recognize the name of the search engine, started by two Stanford students in 1996, after its name change, to “Google”


But since its humble beginning, the web has now grown from a mere 623 sites in 1993 to more than 162 million websites today. If they add blogs to this list, the numbers are astronomical. Now you can find almost anything and everything on the Web, from shopping to social networking, to banking, to news, and much more.


http://www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com/: named after a Welsh Village, claims to be the world’s longest domain name. The shortest is a open to a little more debate.


Google has purchased the shortest possible domain name to make it easier for Chinese users to find Google: g.cn. Interestingly, "g.com," along with most other single-letter and single-digit domain names are reserved by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. The IANA is the master arbiter of domain names and addresses on the Internet. There are a few one-letter domain names out there, though: Z.com is owned by Nissan, Q.com by Qwest, and X.com is owned by PayPal. There was a proposal floated a few years ago to auction off the one-letter domain names, but nothing has come of it.


Imagine life without the Web now?

 

Steadfast Networks upgrades service

Sat, 5th April 2008, 18:52

April 4, 2008 - Data center and dedicated server hosting provider, Steadfast Networks, has entered into a new partnership with LiteSpeed Technologies, so that shared, reseller, and dedicated hosting customers will experience faster load times and increased speed in web applications.

Karl Zimmerman, CEO of Steadfast Networks noted, ''LiteSpeed's web server technology provides a great incentive for our hosting customers by improving website load times and allowing them to do more with less hardware. Few data centers and dedicated hosting companies are willing to keep up with the latest technology to help their customers get the most out of their hosting services.''

Steadfast added the new web server technology at no additional cost to shared hosting customers. Dedicated server and colocation customers will be charged a fee, but at reduced pricing. The technology will increase web server speed to nearly nine times faster than traditional hosting services running Apache. Customers using PHP based websites will experience faster page load times by as much as fifty percent compared to using Apache.

Mr. Zimmerman noted, ''By using LiteSpeed's web server, Steadfast customers will immediately see an increase in performance across all their website applications from standard websites to the most resource intensive web applications. Other added benefits of using LiteSpeed Web Server include zero down time graceful restart, support for thousands of concurrent connections, and improved security measures.''

The LiteSpeed Web Server technology recovers from service failure instantly, providing longer server and website uptime. Customers still receive the same features as the Apache web server including .htaccess support. In addition, Steadfast Networks is the only H-Sphere shared hosting company to utilize LiteSpeed technology.

George Wang, President of LiteSpeed Technologies noted, ''We are very pleased to have Steadfast Networks on board as our partner. Steadfast's technical expertise, knowledge of the web hosting market, and their existing customer base, make Steadfast a great fit for our partner program.''

Established in 1998, Chicago based hosting company Steadfast Networks, delivers servers through reliable dedicated server hosting, colocation server hosting, virtual private servers, shared web hosting, and dedicated game server hosting. Steadfast's award-winning services and dedicated support staff help customers from all over the world 24/7/365. Customers can choose basic hosting or a customized, fully managed dedicated server hosting solution.

To learn more about Steadfast Networks, visit: http://www.steadfast.net.

Ipowerweb: Are they improving?

Fri, 4th April 2008, 14:33

It has been several months since we've last heard much news about ipower. During the past few months it seems their company has been losing an average of 5,000 domains per week with no end in sight. Recently however things seem to have become unexpectedly quiet from the remaining clients.

Are things improving at ipowerweb?

With over 340,000+ domains having been lost since their purchase by Endurance International Group last year -- a total of 50% of their overall domains -- could things be slowly turning around for the company?

While they're now rated as one of the lowest ten providers on our hosting review list the bloodletting seems to have stopped. What are your thoughts, have you used them previously & how were your experiences?

Related ipowerweb posts

Add an ipowerweb review
ipowerweb / ipower clients enduring massive problems for clients
ipowerweb transition

Iron Mountain Hosting named in trademark infringement lawsuit

Thu, 27th March 2008, 06:54

Things are heating up in the solar powered web hosting industry. On March 24th, Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) has filed suit against InterMountain Mortgage, d/b/a Iron Mountain Hosting, for trademark infringement. The case (PDF of filing attached below) cites that InterMountain Mortgage is infringing on a trademark that Iron Mountain has held since the early 1950s.

The suit claims that by utilizing the trademarks Iron Mountain Hosting is potentially causing irreparable damage to the plaintiff, Iron Mountain Incorporated. (I can certainly understand, my head's spinning just trying to write about it!) In previous similar cases of trademark infringement we've investigated, the defendant rarely (In this case, Iron Mountain Incorporated) prevails against the plaintiff.

Similar cases recently such as eFastservers vs. Fastservers have resulted in large penalties & legal fees.

In the attached PDF, web hosting forums such as webhostingtalk.com are referenced as having included both discussion regarding Iron Mountain & Iron Mountain Hosting in the same topics. Confusion galore!

We've attached the pdf below for your perusal. We're curious to see how this case goes, if Iron Mountain Hosting loses they'll be required by law to pay for Iron Mountain Incorporated's legal fees: Now that's a bill no amount of energy savings is going to recoup! Days ahead might not be all that sunny.

Iron Mountain Incorporated has also noted that they're entitled to injunctive relief which means after an initial hearing, they could shut down imountain effective almost immediately. I wish both parties the best of luck with their battle ahead.

Attachment: Iron Mountain vs. Iron Mountain

Hostjury is seeking writers!

Wed, 26th March 2008, 00:29

It's that time of year again where well, it seems all of our writers get busy & disappear. Whether they were abducted by probing aliens or providers a tad annoyed at some of our articles (Scratch that, all of our articles) -- we're unsure, but at any rate we need some new blood!

We're interested in finding some new high quality writers to sign onboard. Our current writers receive anywhere from $30-60 per article depending on the quality of the content. We are after neutral content that helps our visitors on their quest to find high quality providers, build their sites & stay amused.

If you're interested in writing about the web hosting industry, it's future & past we'd love to hear from you. Please forward any questions, concerns & information to feedback@hostjury.com

If you're interested in writing for us we'd love to receive some previously written articles, links to your blogs, etc. via e-mail. We'll get in touch with the right candidates who apply.

More Cuba than Cuba

Thu, 6th March 2008, 17:50

The New York Times Tuesday had a disappointing and frightening story titled, "A Wave of the Watch List and Speech Disappears". The article tells the story of  Steve Marshall, an English travel agent who made the mistake of using a US firm to register his domains. Mr. Marshall lives in Spain and sells trips to Cuba through his websites. In October, 80 of his domain names stopped working. eNom

Enom Inc., his registrar, had disabled them after finding out his sites were on a Treasury Department blacklist. They did this without notifying him, and will not release the domains to him.  From the article:

Peter L. Fitzgerald, a law professor at Stetson University in Florida who has studied the blacklist — which the Treasury calls a list of “specially designated nationals” — said its operation was quite mysterious. “There really is no explanation or standard,” he said, “for why someone gets on the list.”

Susan Crawford, a visiting law professor at Yale and a leading authority on Internet law, said the fact that many large domain name registrars are based in the United States gives the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, control “over a great deal of speech — none of which may be actually hosted in the U.S., about the U.S. or conflicting with any U.S. rights.”

OFAC apparently has the power to order that this speech disappear,” Professor Crawford said.

To recap: A British National who operates through a Spanish travel agency selling trips to Cuba to Europeans gets blacklisted by the US Treasury Department, and since his domain names are registered through a US company, they are obligated to freeze his assets, specifically the domain names. This was done to Mr. Marshall with no court proceedings. Welcome to the land of the free, the home of the brave. Isn't this type of thing the rationale for the Cuba embargo? Apparently it is okay for the US to act this way, yet we have a different standard for the rest of the world.

A Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights report on the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) list (pdf) is disturbing to read. It reports that over 6,000 names are on the list, and that even sharing a first or middle name with someone on the list can lead to consumer transactions either being delayed or denied. The report tells the story of a man, Tom Kubbany, whose middle name, "Hassan"  was an alias for Saddam Hussein's son. This man was born in Michigan, had never been to Iraq and was thirty years older than Hussein's son. Nevertheless, his credit report had an alert attached to it and this caused his mortgage broker to stop returning his calls. The report goes on to say that even though there are many false positives, there is no procedure to permanently distinguish yourself from the person on the list. You get to go through the procedure of clearing your name for each and every transaction. That is if you are fortunate enough to be given the reason for your treatment. Some transactions are ended simply because the lender does not want to bother with determining if the person is actually on the list or not. There is no redress mechanism in place for mistakenly flagged individuals. No one in the United States is allowed to do business with anyone on the list. Period. In 2003 the Treasury Department expanded the reach of the laws, so even if you didn't "willfully" violate the law, you were still subject to civil penalties. If you sell a pack of gum to someone on the list, you are liable. The law is sweeping in scope and there are no limits in place on the screening. 

The Register has covered this as well. Their well written and clever (it is the Register, after all) piece mentions that Canadian Climate Scientist Pierre Boileau of Montreal is on the OFAC list, under the Cuba heading, with no explanation. Maybe climate science = terrorism to the Bush Administration. Also mentioned it the practice of outsourcing compliance, where private companies manage their own version OFAC database and sell it to banks and institutions to help them minimize risk. As The Register says: "It is, for all intents and purposes, the outsourcing of the blacklist, to companies accountable to no one." These are Orwellian times.

The lesson in all of this? You take a risk if you register your domain with a US firm. Sadly, this will only continue the push business away from the United States. I hope people will wake up and demand some clarity and common sense in US law. The US legal system is a cancerous monster that continues to grow unabated.Write your congressman or senator. Write your potential or current registrar, telling them of your concerns. We need to work together to stop this insanity.  The US government reminds me of a line from a Jane's Addiction song, "You know the man you hate? You look more like him everyday!" Using repression to fight repression. We need a change.

Braces Girl Tries to Bite Dreamhost!

Tue, 4th March 2008, 21:20

One of the strangest news stories I have seen in a while came to me today courtesy of pagesix.com. With the headline "Braces Girl Sues"; the story says actress Marisa Guterman (Braces Girl from "The 40 Year-Old Virgin) is suing web host Dreamhost for invasion of privacy. From the article:

In court documents obtained by PageSix.com, the actress alleges that DreamHost registered her name as a domain without her approval, using the site to direct browsers to Web pages about orthodontics and dentistry.

First off, Dreamhost doesn't own the site, they are its registrar. Under this logic, any domain registrar is opened to be sued since they handled the registration. The invasion of privacy, on the surface, looks silly. How exactly is her privacy invaded? From Legal Definitions, a definition of privacy law in the US:

Invasion of privacy is the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded. It encompasses workplace monitoring, Internet privacy, data collection, and other means of disseminating private information.

Celebrities are not protected in most situations, since they have voluntarily placed themselves already within the public eye, and their activities are considered newsworthy. However, an otherwise non-public individual has a right to privacy from: a) intrusion on one's solitude or into one's private affairs; b) public disclosure of embarrassing private information; c) publicity which puts him/her in a false light to the public; d) appropriation of one's name or picture for personal or commercial advantage.

I guess an argument can be made that Marisa Guterman is not a celebrity. I hadn't heard of her before today, although I'm one of about 17 people in the western world that hasn't seen  "The 40 Year-Old Virgin". It looks like the argument will be based on "appropriation of one's name". This is just stupid. First, as stated above, Dreamhost does not own the site. A simple whois, that takes twenty seconds, shows that the domain is a Private Registration. Second, the legal argument for invasion of privacy is flimsy. IANAL, but still.

I'm sorry to see Dreamhost's resources wasted on a frivolous lawsuit. There are other ways to handle this. If Ms. Guterman feels she has been wronged, she could have gone to ICANN and gone through the Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) which is set up to handle situations like this. She could have also gone to the trouble to register her domain herself, instead of finding out it has been registered this late in the game. As far as the allegations the page in question directs browsers to pages about dentistry and orthodontics, that isn't the case as of this writing. It is a poorly designed fan page without any ads.

Frivolous lawsuits are... frivolous. It is a waste of time and money for everyone involved, particularly in this case. This is the a perfect example of the term "lolsuit", a lawsuit so ridiculous and idiotic it will make you laugh out loud, apparently. Good luck to Dreamhost in this. The stupidity must stop.

 

What do you think? Leave a comment, please. 


Daily News Roundup 03-4-08

Tue, 4th March 2008, 18:50

News from around the web this morning:

1and1 Registers 10 Millionth Domain   

1and1 announced today that they have registered their 10 millionth domain. The press release mentions that they have doubled their domain registrations in the past three years. They are more of a powerhouse than I knew. The number of domains registered in the U.S. by 1and1 increased 46% last year. The .us domain saw a 35% increase. 

They also released the results of a study of 1,025 U.S. cosumers and the results are interesting. From the release:

Almost 1 in 4 (22 percent) believed they could build a good website in less than 3 hours, with the average consumer believing they could successfully complete the task in less than 3 days.

Confusingly, the release later repeats the above statement but says 3 hours instead of 3 days. This is good news for web hosts, this confidence will hopefully translate into sales. 

Rackspace Rebrands and Gets a New Logo

Rackspace has rebranded themselves, from Rackspace Managed Hosting by dropping the Managed Hosting part to Rackspace, to reflect their "People-centric culture".  The announcement also mention their new logo, incorporating "FANATIGUY" (all caps is theirs, not mine) into the logo to highlight their "Fanatical Support".  If you were thinking about signing up with Rackspace but put off by the "Managed Hosting" in their name, now is the time to move. That plus now having FANATIGUY as part of the logo should only help Rackspace transition into the future. I love marketing! Kidding aside, this announcement highlights their transition from hosting services to consumable services through the web. They are moving from being a hosting provider to offering hosted IT services. I'm glad to see outstanding customer service being used as a selling point. Customer service is what separates the good from the great in hosting. 

30% of Wordpress Blogs are Splogs

Wordpress' Matt Mullenweg addressed the Future of Web Apps conference and announced that Wordpress had deleted 800,000 spam blogs (splogs), e-consultancy reports. What are splogs? From the article:

Spam blogs are automated blogs that simply lift the extract from an RSS feed and re-publish with a link, using the stolen content to climb up the search rankings and often cash in with AdSense ads.

Spammers are despicable, and it is worrying to read that statistic. The article also quotes Technorati's boss, Dave Sifry, who recently stated 99% of the pings and updates Technorati recieves are from splogs. Astounding. 

Are you a fan of FANATIGUY? Has your site been affected by a splogger? What do you think of 1and1's study? Leave a comment! Thank you. 

Daily News Roundup 03-3-08

Mon, 3rd March 2008, 16:51

News from around the web this morning:

OpenDNS Announcement   

OpenDNS announced today that it handles more that 5 billion DNS queries a day, with zero downtime. Launched 18 months ago, OpenDNS is the world's largest and fastest growing DNS service. Their site Phishtank.com lists over a quarter million phishing sites. Its new Domain Tagging service, launched last week, is billed as a "People-Powered Security System" has categorized more than 100,000 domains and is trying to be "the best- the most accurate, comprehensive and fastest-moving" Web content filtering system available. From the announcement:

"We're thrilled to be offering a rock-solid, reliable DNS and Web content filtering service to millions of people around the world," said OpenDNS CEO David Ulevitch. "Our primary objective is and has always been to make the Internet better for our users and we'll continue to regularly deliver service enhancements with that goal in mind."

OpenDNS provides and outstanding, and free, service. I've used them happily. The numbers are impressive.

Microsoft Speculation

Nick Carr got rampant speculation started about Microsoft's rumoured massive data-center rollout plan. Commenting on the plan, his post states:

The first phase of the buildout, said the source, will include the construction of about two dozen data centers around the world, each covering about 500,000 square feet or more. The timing of the construction is unclear.

Speculation abounds about what the effect of a massive buildup is for. If the Yahoo! merger goes through and they combine hosting operations the industry could be facing what some have termed a "mega-provider". Microsoft isn't known for playing nice, so it will be interesting to see the implications of this if it goes through.

Hosting 2.0

WebHostingTalk has an interesting article titled "Hosting 2.0: Are You Ready for the Next Level?", asking if your hosting services are up to the task of hosting the Web 2.0 movement. The article looks at the increased storage and bandwidth demands Web 2.0 demands and calls for standards in RSS technology. The concept of "extreme trust", using Wikipedia as an example, is looked at with a warning about black hat hackers eventually turning it to their advantage. The author also takes a look at what clients will need and demand from a host. Overall a very interesting read.

Do you use OpenDNS? What do you think of the Microsoft speculation, will they enter and compete in web hosting? Is your host ready for Web 2.0? Leave a comment! Thank you.

 

Daily News Roundup 02-29-08

Fri, 29th February 2008, 19:16

News from around the net this leap day:

Google Quietly Enters Web Hosting

Google announced Google Sites yesterday, from the announcement:

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today introduced Google Sites™, an application that makes creating a team web site as easy as editing a document. With Google Sites, people can quickly gather a variety of information in one place – including videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and text – and easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their entire organization, or the world.

At first glance it looks to be a swipe at Microsoft's SharePoint, offering a hosted variation of what SharePoint does locally. SharePoint's first conference is next week, so the timing of the announcement is significant.

You can purchase a domain or use an existing domain for Google Sites. In effect, but not really publicized, Google will be your web host. From the Information Week article:

Google Sites is available through the Team (free), Standard (free), Premier ($50/user/year), and Education Edition (free) of Google Apps. The service includes 10 GB of storage. Google Apps Premier users receive an additional 500 MB per user account in the domain. That's in addition to the 6.4 GB and 25 GB of e-mail storage offered to Google Apps Standard and Premier Edition users respectively.

Risha Chandra, product manager for Google Apps, said that storage allocations would rise over time, as they do with Gmail.

Those sound a lot like web hosting terms. I could find no information on bandwidth. There are some catches. You cannot use custom CSS style sheets, you have to stick with the provided templates. Javascript is limited and IFRAMEs aren't allowed.

Google Sites is based on the wiki technology of JotSpot, whom Google purchased in October 2006.

Hostway Announces “Early Adopter” Deal

Hostway announced at 10% lifetime savings and free setup for customers who purchase dedicated hosting with Microsoft Windows Server 2008. The press release is here. There are a flurry of announcements regarding the release of Server 2008, Hostway is clever to capitalize on it. I wonder if Microsoft is funding the promotion. Will you be looking to use Server 2008? Leave a comment!

Web Host Lux Scientiae Incorporated Launches LuxSci Platform

Lux Scientiae Inc. has announced the launch of their LuxSci Platform, used on their servers, allowing their clients to run the hosting software on their own servers. They will provide free consulting to determine the hardware requirements, the number of servers, type of servers, and the operating system necessary for running the LuxSci Platform software. Training is included as well. After installation, the expectation is that the clients provide their own technical support. Higher level support will be available for an additional fee.

 

 

Psychometric testing in the workplace at Netfirms

Thu, 28th February 2008, 19:22

Canadian Business Online has an article about psychometric testing of employees. It mentions that the webhost Netfirms makes use of psychometric testing for its employees. The best known psychometric test is the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, which tells you which of sixteen personality types you are. From the article:


Thomas Savundra says psychometric assessments have been instrumental in helping his Toronto-based Web-hosting firm hire salespeople whose personalities are aligned with the company's culture. "We wanted people who are outgoing and consultative, but not aggressive," says the CEO of Netfirms Inc. The challenge is gaging during the interview process just how aggressive a recruit will be with potential customers. In fact, Netfirms replaced half its salespeople during its first year in business due to their poor fit with the job.

Savundra asks candidates to complete an online assessment offered by Toronto-based Self Management Resources Corp., which measures specific personality traits, including aggressiveness, confidence and co-operation. Since incorporating the test into its hiring practice two years ago, Netfirms has cut sales-department turnover to less than 6%. What's more, the process forced Savundra's hiring team to develop and communicate a more cogent picture of its ideal candidate.

Although psychometric assessment has worked well as a hiring tool for his inbound call centre, for which there is a large volume of hires in the same role, Savundra says they have been less useful in hiring for positions that may be filled by only one person. "We never developed the critical mass of hires anywhere else to form a picture of an ideal candidate," he says. "It works best when you've got something to measure new people against."

I think it is a positive use of these tests to filter out aggressiveness in your salespeople. It speaks well of Netfirms that they do this and surprises me (pleasantly) that they aren't looking for aggression.


If you are interesting in finding out your Myers-Briggs Type, you can take the test for free here. I did, and found out I was an INTJ (Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging) which seems to fit. Other INTJs are the fictional characters Gandalf, Dr. Gregory House, Hannibal Lector (how fictional characters take the test is beyond me); real-life people Dan Akroyd, Jane Austen, Phil Donahue, Steven Hawking and others. It is a good test to take if you wish to flatter yourself, it doesn't point out any negatives to who you are. I like that.


The article mentions the lower cost of the tests (around $500 per employee) has increased their usage. Typically you are given both cognitive ability tests (problem solving and intellectual ability) and personality tests (to predict how you will interact and behave). From a potential employee standpoint I'm not crazy about the idea of a test determining who I am, particularly if the results aren't shared with me. From a hiring employer's standpoint, I can see the benefit of this. I've hired great candidates only to find out after a few weeks that they have very negative personality traits. You can change someone's behavior but you cannot change who they are. Any help in getting a handle on who a person is before you bring them is a great tool to use.


What do you think? If you take the free test, leave a comment telling us if you think your personality type is correct. Thank you.

 

Daily News Roundup 2-28-08

Thu, 28th February 2008, 17:52

News roundup from around the web this morning:


Earthquake Proof Hosting!

We've seen many buzzwords used in the hosting industry. Green, 99.9% Uptime, Unlimited and so forth. Today we have a new one: Earthquake Proof! UK-based host Smartbunker has a press release, available here, stating they have demonstrated to be earthquake proof. They were less than 30 miles from the UK's largest earthquake in 25 years, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale. There is an interesting tidbit in the release:

 

The facility was designed and constructed to be shock resistant to counter the effects of a nuclear blast.

 

Can you say that about your webhost? Kidding aside, Smartbunker is definitely interesting. They also claim to have “Military Grade Physical Security”. I'm not sure what that means, but I am intimidated by it! Your data will be safe from nuclear attack and protected by a pseudo-military.

 

They also look to be a true “green” webhost. Their “Business & Environment” page says they are a zero-carbon host, getting their energy from wind turbines. They use bio-diesel backup generators and use the latest generation IBM blade servers. I'll drop in my obligatory “better than carbon credits” statement here. I hadn't heard of Smartbunker, they are definitely interesting.



Unlimited!

Speaking of Unlimited, Lunarpages announced unlimited add-on domains for their customers. There used to be a limit of 10 add-on domains for the basic and business plans. Now customers are free to have as many as 100 million domains. Why? According to the press release, “because they love you”.

 

Cirrus Tech Upgrades Linux VPS

Toronto based webhost Cirrus Tech announced they have upgraded their Linux VPS services. They now offer Debian 4 on VPS. They have upgraded from Fedora Core 5 to Fedora Core 7, and from CentOS 4 to CentOS 5. Have you used Cirrus Tech? Be the first to write a review.



Web Server Security

Enterprise Networking Planet has an in-depth article titled “Learn Best Practices for Web Server Security”. It is a useful read. The article is targeted more toward the server side of things, but it is worthwhile to check out. If you have made directories “world-writable” during installation and didn't change them back, this is essential reading for you. The issues covered may not affect you directly, but it is a well-written security article.

Do you have anything to say about any of this? Leave a comment! Thank you.