Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

upgrade or die

Wow. From a News.com article:

As of Oct. 15, users of Microsoft's free Web-based MSN Messenger and its Windows XP-based Windows Messenger will need to upgrade their software to a newer version or be shut out of the service, the software giant said Wednesday. MSN Messenger users will need to upgrade to version 5.0 of higher; Windows Messengers customers will need to upgrade to version 4.7.2009 or higher; and consumers with MSN Messenger for Mac OS X will have to use version 3.5 or higher. The last MSN Messenger to be released was version 6.

According to Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall, "Security issues that could be posed (on older versions) require us to force an upgrade." He declined to detail the security issue, saying disclosure would "put customers at undue risk."

Meanwhile, Oct. 15 also will mark the deadline for Trillian support for MSN Messenger. Trillian is software that integrates multiple IM clients into a common interface. While it doesn't enable IM services to communicate directly with one another, it lets people view all of their buddy lists from various services under one window.

Now, ain't that a nice thing to do. It doesn't matter that people don't want to "upgrade" every two seconds. It doesn't matter that people are sick and tired of "security patches". Except now it's not just "upgrades" for "security reasons". It's upgrade now or it stops working. The new version will be more secure, right? Just like the new versions of Outlook and Windows were supposed to be more secure? Good, good, I see. Let me just get this abacus here for my computational needs, just in case, you know...

They have to pull this kind of stunt right in the middle of two of their most widespread security crises ever? Oh, right, of course, "security". I'm sure that wiping out Trillian connectivity in the process had nothing to do with that. Everyone will understand "security" these days. Sure. Sounds a lot like a "PATRIOT upgrade", if you know what I mean.

Oh, right, and I'm sure that this "upgrade" has nothing whatsoever to do with this, right? Of course not.

I am, quite simply, astonished that they are not more sensitive to their customers, to increasing interoperability, and to letting users choose which product they like best, dammit!

Yes, I'm still receiving one email a minute. Yes, I'm still incredibly pissed off at Microsoft.

The deadline approaches.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 20, 2003 at 11:20 PM

location and services

(Now to change the topic from all that email-related whining...) Jamie has an excellent entry comparing the differences between JXTA and Jabber. Choice quote:

The key thing JXTA can do which Jabber can't, is Discovery (Jabber browsing and any other Jabber discovery specs aren't really up to the task as far as I can see). But then Jabber has presence information, permanent user addresses and the facilities to handle 1 user, multiple devices, all of which would have to be built on top of JXTA.
Okay, since this is what my research is on ;-) I wanted to add my 2c about this topic. What Jamie refers to as Discovery is more generally considered to be part of Resource Location and Discovery which is a huge area that covers everything from DNS to LDAP to other seemingly unrelated stuff like Mobile IP (consider that a MobileIP node has a home address, and essentially systems that want to connect to the mobile node have to use that home address as a sort of mini-dynamically updated location server to find the node). Discovery implies finding resources that match certain characteristics, which might then require an additional step to locate them. Typical case of discovery is finding a printer in your immediate vicinity. One you've found the name, a location service of some sort will be used to connect to it.

Now, in that sense, Jabber does not have discovery, unless you count some kind of centralized directory of Jabber users as a source for discovering Jabber IDs, but it does provide location. JXTA, on the other hand, due to its nature allows discovery of services.

But, I think that was Jamie was referring to as "JXTA has discovery" (since he was talking about it in the context of ad hoc networks) was actually the potential of JXTA to perform self-organizing location (it can do discovery too, but that's another matter--and, Jamie, corrections welcome if I got it wrong :)). Consider that an ad hoc network might not be connected to the Internet. Then there's no fixed infrastructure available (to, say, talk to a Jabber server) and Jabber clients in an ad hoc environment won't be able to find each other. JXTA on the other hand works perfectly well. JXTA is "blowing up" the location service that Jabber provides on servers, making it work in self-organizing fashion.

Then there's the problem of routing. Once you've located the client you want to talk to, you want to connect to it to communicate, request tasks, etc. With Jabber, this happens over TCP/IP, which is simple and well understood. JXTA adds another layer on top of TCP/IP. This additional layer may or may not be written using a direct TCP/IP channel: the routing could be happening across the JXTA network itself. And that is a problem in some situations.

It's only a terminology mismatch between what's in my head and what Jamie was saying though, as his conclusions hit the mark: JXTA is good for location/discovery, particularly in ad hoc environments. But if you're on the Internet, or if you have access to fixed infrastructure, a centralized system like Jabber is probably the way to go. And, in all cases, it's uncommon that anyone will want to do routing over anything but the logical transport, such as TCP/IP or, in the case of wireless ad hoc, maybe DSR or AODV.

Plus: unrelated-- Jamie mentions a Slashdot discussion on the relevance of PhDs, and how they might affect job opportunities. Surprinsingly enough, the discussion is actually relatively civil (for /. that is). The idea that a PhD hurts your employment opportunities sounds just plain silly to me. Ethernet created a multibillion dollar industry, and quite literally changed our lives. For more recent developments, consider that REST was also the product of a PhD thesis.

There are people who fall on a PhD since they have no idea of what else to do, and that's lame. Any kind of multi-year commitment to something like that should imply that it's something that you really want to do, rather than doing it because it gives you status or because society saysut areas that interested me, and, if I could, create something new that could at so, or whatever (I feel the same way about any third-level education, btw). As for me, I got into it because I really wanted to do it, I wanted to create something new and learn about the "really bleeding edge" in the process. As far as I'm concerned, the same thing can be achieved in other ways. It's just a matter of which way seems right at a particular moment. (Very new-wavey kind of idea, I know. Heh).

Categories: soft.dev
Posted by diego on August 20, 2003 at 7:57 PM

I'm mad as hell... and I'll take it for one more day

Kevin Werbach is right. This last day could very well be the day email died. I am still getting one email per minute. I am even more pissed off at Microsoft. And even though I am seriously looking at how to do whitelisting/challenge-response in cc, I know that's only half of the solution since emails still clog my server inbox, and at 110 MB per day it's nothing to be sneered at.

If this keeps up I will ditch email. I'll give it one day, starting now. In the meantime I am looking at the latest version of Red Hat Linux. I still use Win XP as my OS, and I have to use it for development and such, but this is just abuse, even if I haven't been harrassed as others have been. The great Microsoft exodus should begin momentarily.

Update: From the comments, I guess that what I said wasn't clear (reading it over I admit it was a bit muddled :-)). The email I'm receiving has nothing whatsoever to do with me running Windows. I am being spammed with viruses from people that are infected. I am not contributing to the spread in any way. My email is received in a Linux box that I use for hosting. Essentially what Nex6 was saying in the comments. The only way I would have to stop these things from showing up in my mailbox is to put a virus filter at the SMTP level that would bounce to the sender when attempting to send the virus, but I don't have the software, I don't have the time to look for it, and I don't have the time to install it. Furthermore, I don't want to have to go through all this crap because of ActiveX and the shoddy security model of Windows. So.

Point number one is that if this keeps up by tomorrow I will disable my email account. Maybe switch to a new name. That will get the email bounced with no work on my part. I have specifically been thinking how I would simply stop using email at all. I am sure that it can be done. I just need to think of the cases that I want to cover, and how...

And then, point number two is to start ditching MS stuff whenever I kind, my own tiny bit of protesting. Like Scott says:

Outlook is a joke. No sane computer user today should use it. If your company makes you use it, go to your CEO and explain how much time and money his company is losing by using it. I use Eudora; there are several other good non-Microsoft products depending on what platform you're on.
Yes. Yes. Definitely. And clevercactus is one. But any client will do. The madness has to stop. Mass exodus now!

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 20, 2003 at 12:54 PM

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