News Flush


  • Netcabo is, once again, having a number of network issues. Whatever the cause, the effect is vastly reduced throughput and latency worthy of a 1990's GPRS connection. Fortunately, I brought a WRT54G3G-EU home again for testing over the weekend - it's just sad when mobile tech (which is still theoretically slower than fixed line broadband, but not by any relevant amount) works better than "Portugal's best ISP in 2004". And it sure makes you wonder about the criteria for that award...
  • For the pie-in-the sky "everything is going to be Wi-Fi and WiMax" dreamers, I heartily recommend reading a very pointed document (PDF warning) about the WiMax hype. Even coming from Qualcomm (i.e., not exactly the most neutral source on the matter) and being mostly US-centric, it pretty much nails it. And Glenn Fleishman agrees.
  • From wireless tech to wireless hardware: I recommend reading Colin Charles' piece on the issues regarding AirPort connectivity on the new iBooks.
  • Portuguese banks are going for two-factor authentication (as if the utterly ridiculous and useless JavaScript login keypads weren't dumb enough). Instead of challenge-response tokens, they ought to read Schneier's blog (apparently US regulators are making the same dumb choices).
  • Looks like Quake 4 is out (warning: over-the-top Flash trash), and that id has made Linux binaries available. Despite not being an active player any more, I'll wait and see if Raven and id can get their act together on a Mac port - judging from Michael's post there isn't much substance to it, but blowing up things used to do wonders for my mood...
  • Xscreensaver was just updated. No native Mac OS X version, but it works with some limitations. Come on, Jamie, go native!
  • There are several rumors of Mac minis being widely available in retail stores here in Portugal right now. Heck, two of my colleagues even managed to actually buy theirs (which is a marked improvement from six months ago), but they had to ask the retailer if the right model was in stock. So much for product placement in shelves...
  • Via del.icio.us, a free XML-RPC Cocoa client. Wish I had one a year ago, would have made it easier to test a few things...

A Flock? Sure, Of Pundits

Finally, a note regarding Flock and all the buzz around it.

It's nothing special. It is also not "revolutionary" by any means - however you try to dress it up and spin hype around it, it's just a XUL front-end to popular web services.

It's nice, somewhat polished and all, but blows up spectacularly on the Mac and I have trouble with its close ties to del.icio.us and Flickr - what if I want to use other stuff in the future? and what's with the Yahoo search defaults? Come on, everyone uses Google. Stop the lobbying, guys.

The blog editor seems usable for the general population, but it's useless for me - I use Quicksilver's shelf in much the same way as the Flock one, and my Wiki doesn't care about remote publishing interfaces.

So it's pretty, but not that great after a while. If they open up their code and let people integrate other bookmarking and photo services, I might take an active interest - until then, I'd rate their chances of being the "coolest browser ever" at about, well... zero.

OmniWeb is much cooler, and it's been around for a while. And even if you're not a Mac user, anyone can kit out Firefox to do a lot of the same (although not as nicely integrated).

They can hype it all they want, but I won't take another look until it reaches 1.0 or I happen to be terminally bored - or, most likely, both.