23 December 2009

Microsoft Loses Patent Ruling

A Canadian software company based in Toronto sued Microsoft in 2007 due to a patented XML editing tool included in Microsoft Word 2007.

After a legal battle between Microsoft and i4i Incorporated, a federal appeals court ruled against Microsoft, ordering the company to pay $290 million for patent violation and requires them to stop selling Microsoft Word as of January 11, 2010. Copies of MS Word sold before January 11 are not affected by the injunction and the 2010 version has been released for testing and will be finalized in 2010 so there shouldn’t be any issues for users of MS Word. Word 2010 will not contain the code in question and Microsoft is already working to remove the code.

i4i Inc. sued Microsoft claiming to own the technology behind the XML editing tool. A Texas jury ruled that Microsoft had willfully infringed the patent on the software technology and the US Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Microsoft states that it may appeal further to the Suprem...

17 December 2009

Where on Earth is your data?

As most of us know, the Internet isn’t based in a single country, it’s global. Major web companies such as Yahoo and Google have servers based around the globe. In order to maintain their services and to provide a fair amount of reliability, they store information across multiple servers.

Any online information, once publicized to any degree is out of the control of its owner- contact information can be managed by any number of sites, for example. With regards to physical location, many users of online services don’t have a perception of what happens to the information they upload. The Cloud seems magical to end users but there are real, physical locations and hardware that keep it running.

Most services keep information stored geographically as close to users as possible- Google’s GMail went down a while back due to an issue with that and Yahoo once offered to move my data to Australia (Opera Mobile uses a proxy service most likely based there). I personally stor...

10 December 2009

Facebook's New Privacy Controls

Facebook has rolled out a new set of privacy controls to its users as an attempt to simplify the controls so that more people can more effectively protect their information.

The change has created a significant amount of negative hype across the Internet as users complain that the new controls are less effective and actually encourage users to publicize more of their profile. These complaints are due to confusion from the controls Facebook provides to migrate user settings to the new controls. Facebook is not clear in explaining that the transition tool is NOT the actual privacy panel- it allows users to select Facebook’s recommendations for settings or to keep their old settings.

The new privacy panel is as powerful as the old one, though it is laid out more simply. It can be accessed the same way as the old panel; by hovering over the “Settings” menu on the blue bar at the top of the page and clicking on “Privacy”. All of the settings from the old panel can stil...

05 December 2009

Facebook Privacy Update

Facebook will be making some changes to the way its users control who can see their information within the next few weeks, which include changes to the privacy pages and networks.

…as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we’ve concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy.

The first plans for Facebook’s new privacy system is to remove regional networks.  As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg notes, networks worked well for privacy before the site had millions of users; in the beginning the user base was mainly students, so each school had its own network.  From then, networks have expanded to engulf entire regions in some cases.  The vastness of these networks makes them unusable from the standpoint of using networks to control privacy.

In addition to the removal of regional networks, a new set of privacy controls will be introduced which, ac...

30 November 2009
17 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: MyOpenID

MyOpenID was the first OpenID provider I used. It’s a very simple site, intended for pure authorization purposes rather than social networking. That’s not a bad thing though, as it makes it very simple to use for its purpose. The features are simple but well-implemented;\

  • Multiple Identities. As with most others, MyOpenID allows for multiple IDs. It’s fairly simple, you fill out an information form with the information you’d like on each “Persona” and choose which one you’d like to use when signing up for a site.
  • Non-login landing page. This makes it harder to hack an OpenID- essentially, when you visit the site you need to click a link to visit the login page, which helps security a bit.

There’s really no other major features to describe about the site, it is that simple. I liked the site because it’s fast and does what it needs to. I had a certain trust for it, though ...

10 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Your Internet ID (YIID)

Admittedly I haven’t been using YIID for too long so I can only give a general overview of the main features. YIID strikes me as your standard modern OpenID provider.

  • Integration of other IDs. YIID allows you to make an account with a different OpenID or Hotmail or Facebook account, which makes a lot of sense.
  • Contacts. YIID provides a contact list that you can add contacts to. In addition, you can import contacts from a few other sites or upload a contacts file (vCard) from your computer.
  • Multiple Identities. As with most providers, YIID allows you to set up separate IDs and choose the one you’d like to use when you sign up for a site.
  • Twitter Integration. Not all providers currently support this and possibly never will, but YIID allows not only logging in via twitter, but also tweeting from the YIID site, which makes some sense given the next point;
02 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Verisign Personal Identity Portal

Most avid Internet users have heard of Verisign or at least seen their logo on secure sites. Verisign provides security certificates to web sites that it reviews and certifies as being secure and is highly reputable and recognised for doing it

A bit more recently, Verisign introduced the Verisign Personal Identity Portal, providing secure file storage and sign-in. The features:

  • Encrypted file storage. Of all the OpenID providers I tried, Verisign’s is the only one that provides secure file storage. There’s not much to say about it, online file storage is online file storage for the most part.
  • No Multiple Identities. This is a feature of most OpenID providers. Put simply, it allows you to set up separate ‘identities’ to share with sites with different degrees or or different types of information. Verisign does NOT provide this feature directly, but allows you to select w...
26 October 2009

Facebook Memorials

As the use of social networking grows for both personal and professional use, how to deal with the profile(s) of a deceased person has been slowly making its way into the thoughts of the maintainers of Facebook, among other sites.

Given the idea of social networking, which is partly to show off relations, disabling or deleting profiles of the deceased defeats the purpose while also highlighting the loss (for any friends and family on the site as well). With the apparent death of a Facebook employee, dealing with this issue has been brought directly into the hands of his friends. Announced today is the new “Memorial Profiles” for the deceased. Directly from the Facebook blog;

We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it’s important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized. For instance, just last week, w...

22 October 2009

Reviews of OpenID: is my current OpenID provider and I plan to stick with it as it is extremely full featured and under active development. The only downside to it is really that it has so many features that it takes a while to learn all of them, but they are easily accessable and easy to navigate. Here’s the features;\

  • A personal URL. Yes, you heard it, you get your own designated URL for free, This in itself is very nice because it gives it a more personal feel and a more professional look, if that’s what you’re going for. They have a deal with a web hosting company- therefore you can also find some web hosting features here as well.
  • Your own website. isn’t so much a website as a personal content hub. You get a full web page all to yourself that you can theme to your liking, though currently you can only do colors and background images- layout is coming soon (there is no coding, it...

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