Disable MovableType’s Send Entry Script

The file ‘mt-send-entry.cgi’ in a default MovableType installation can be used to relay spam. If you’re not using the script to allow your users to “Send this Entry by Email”, you can safely remove the file from your MT install or change the permissions so that the script cannot execute.

However, if you need the functionality Ben Trott has posted a fix, but IMHO, you’d be safer pushing this function client-side using a mailto with some JavaScript

Jacques Distler has some more insight and there’s an active discussion on the MovableType Support Forums

Home-Brew PVRs on Linux

Joe Stump over on the O’Reilly DevCenter puts together a well-rounded overview of The State of Home-Brew Personal Video Recorders on Linux (Think: Open Source TiVo). The article also includes a good threaded discussion as well. Well worth a read.

Incidentally, I’ve decided to investigate putting together my own PVR. I was inspired mainly by a recent InfoWorld article on the savings you can expect by build your own systems.

I’ve set my budget to be about $400 and so far I’m leaning toward using MythTV and ideally the KnoppMyth Bootable CD MythTV Install to make things easy, which is based on the amazing Knoppix Live CD Debian Distro.

I’ve even started a Wiki Space to collect my notes and research. I’ll probably document my progress there as well.

Posted in PVR

Stolen Domain Names

It’s appalling to hear that VeriSign (aka Network Solutions | Internic) is STILL letting people steal domain names!

“…it appears that it is still possible to steal domains with the minimum of effort. We have been contacted by the owner of the valuable domain DVDmovies.com who was amazed, only last month, to find that his domain had been moved and registered with another company, without his knowledge.”

“That the registrar at fault was no less than VeriSign – owner of all .com and .net domains – makes it worse. The fact that the company was also recently chastised by the US Appeals Court and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation to the owner of Sex.com for wrongly transferring his domain makes it all the more incredible.”

Over the years I had the misfortune of having two separate domain names stolen due, IMHO, to the ineptness of VeriSign.

One domain I was never able to get back, mainly because I (and the company I worked for at the time), just gave up trying to work with VeriSign.

The other domain was transferred to another owner via a forged email. I was actually alerted to the theft-in-progress before the domain was transferred because the thief’s initial forgery attempts bounced back to me.

In fact, I contacted VeriSign (at the time Network Solutions) and told them there was a theft of my domain in progress. They assured me that they would put a hold on the domain.

The next day… Poof! My domain was gone! VeriSign approved the transfer anyway.

It then took me weeks to finally wrestle the domain back after hours of being on hold, numerous emails, letters and evil faxes back-and-fourth with VeriSign detailing the clear, plain-as-day, evidence that they even confirmed of the forged transfer.

Ugh! I could not believe how easy it was for a thief to steal a domain, it’s sad to hear that it’s still an open issue.

Presentation Layer of Search

Raul Valdes-Perez, president of Vivisimo is quoted in
an article at New Scientist about improvements to the user experience of search interfaces. In particular he is talking about Google News, MSN’s newly announced Newsbot and Vivisimo as yet to be released spontaneous clustering approach.

“[Raul Valdes-Perez] says that the engineering of search and rank algorithms “has gone about as far as it can go”. Now the way to improve the user experience is to work on the next layer of algorithms that determine the presentation of the “search and rank” results.”

“Vivisimo is working on a different approach to the presentation of news search results. Its test news site, which has not yet been revealed to the public, spontaneously clusters links to news articles according to subject.”

In reference to my post yesterday, I don’t completely agree with his statement about the extent of ranking algorithms. In that I believe there is unexploited popularity metadata that should be used as an additional input to existing ranking algorithms. To a small extent this is similar to Amazon’s recommendations, which seems to be one the directions MSN has chosen for its news site.

“This algorithm analyses the other choices of people who have already bought the first book. A news site would instead group articles according to the reading patterns of previous users.”

Although, Vivisimo is certainly on to something in regard to focusing more on the presentation layer of search. Yet, they are not alone in that regard either with existing products such as Antarctica’s Visual Net and new comers like BA-Insight forging through the muck.

Web of Human Knowledge

Ross Mayfield links to a fascinating article on
Boxes and Arrows by Alex Wright about Paul Otlet: The forgotten forefather of information architecture.

“In 1934, years before Vannevar Bush dreamed of the memex, decades before Ted Nelson coined the term “hypertext,” Paul Otlet envisioned a new kind of scholar’s workstation: a moving desk shaped like a wheel, powered by a network of hinged spokes beneath a series of moving surfaces. The machine would let users search, read and write their way through a vast mechanical database stored on millions of 3×5 index cards.”

“This new research environment would do more than just let users retrieve documents; it would also let them annotate the relationships between one another, “the connections each [document] has with all other [documents], forming from them what might be called the Universal Book.”

There’s much-much more… The article is lengthy (compared to most blog posts), but well worth the time.

Popularity Metrics

In Tim Bray’s latest essay on search he points out what I feel is an often overlooked aspect of Google’s PageRank when it is applied to enterprise search:

“[PageRank] Won’t Work for You If you’re writing or deploying a search engine for your Intranet or product catalogue or portal, Google’s PageRank trick probably won’t work, because most Intranet and catalogue and portal pages don’t point at each other. The Web is unique in that it has millions of authors independently making decisions about what’s important; aggregating those decisions is what makes PageRank so powerful.”

“The Real Lesson of Google PageRank works on the basis of guessing that whatÂ’s popular is whatÂ’s important, which turns out to be a good guess. The technique relies on the WebÂ’s linkage network, and while non-Web deployments canÂ’t use that, we shouldnÂ’t give up on the notion of using a popularity metric.”(via Ongoing)

Indeed, and lowering the barriers to collaboration via corporate blogs and wikis will provide a rich corpus of popularity metrics.

In addition, I believe there is untapped potential in mining the ongoing dialogs found in email, IM and messages boards for relevancy references. I’m not saying however, that you use the dialogs themselves in search results; I’m simply suggesting that digital conversational data can be used to determine the popularity and thus importance of an object within a corporation.

Although I’m sure privacy advocates will fault with this notion.

Disposable Email Addresses

I order to protect myself from a potential deluge of spam from suspicious service offerings, I wanted to use a disposable email address.

Of course Google turned up a gem, which I had heard of before, but never used called Spamgourmet

Their service is simple, but clever and best of all free! Basically, after you register a valid email address, you can then create a temporary email address, with a limited message forward limit, at any time.

John pointed me to another service called Spamex with a different approach and more features, but it’ll cost $9.95/year (albeit, not much!)

Sleep Is Now An Option

Well, in light of the fact that within a few months, sleep will likely become a scarce commodity for me and Catherine. So, I think perhaps I should investigate the “Sleep Is Now An Option” drug.

Provigil … was a drug originally developed to treat narcolepsy, the inability to stay awake. Now Cephalon, the maker of Provigil, has received a letter of approval from the FDA extending the approved uses of the drug to treatment of jet-lag and swing-shift syndrome.
In reality the drug is set to replace the caffeine in No-Doze as the all-nighter anti-sleep aid of choice. In fact, it’s much better than No-Doze – with Provigil, you can literally stay awake for days, alert and with a remarkable lack of side effects. “(via SciScoop)

Further info on Wallop

Mary Jo Foley of Microsoft Watch interviews Microsoft social computing group researcher Lili Cheng, which reveals some more insight (including screen shots) into MSFT’s social-networking software code-named “Wallop“:

“We’ve been really interested in blogs, wikis, authoring and syndication around RSS, and social networking software in general,” Cheng tells Microsoft Watch. “We were imagining how these things could combine. And Wallop is our first experiment in this space.”

“A lot of these ideas (RSS, wikis) are more novel and intriguing,” she says. “They are about aggregating sites and getting more information out. It matches the way people communicate.”

I’d love to be a part of the beta. However, perhaps Lili’s work will inspire the OneNote Product team to take my advice and integrate OneNote as a Wiki (err, Wallop) front-end.