The botnets are coming to a Windows PC near you

The November 20, 2006 article "Spam surge linked to hackers" from eWeeks is a must read. Unfortunately, I can't find the actual online version of the article in print.

The article discusses the increasing complexity hackers are using botnets running on tens of thousands of hijacked Windows computers to spread spam. The article focuses on the research by SecureWorks regarding the malware trojan called Troj/SpamThru. Some scary unique features have been identified with this trojan including:

Creating E-government the right way

Computerworld and the National Policy Research Council (NPRC) recently completed a study ranking the Websites of state, county, and local governments on usability and other criteria. In the study, Michigan's site earned top marks.

According to the article, the "the e-government report card is based on an extensive examination of 11,227 official government Web sites." Sites were judged on 25 criteria, including "whether people could use them to pay taxes, bid for contracts, find government jobs and complain to local officials about concerns such as potholes." Also included in the article was a report card summarizing other top e-government performers among city, state, and local sites.

What separated the winners from the losers?

Getting eAccelerator 0.9.5 to run correctly

Over the weekend, I upgraded the server that hosts CMS Report with the latest stable releases of MySQL and eAccelerator. The upgrade from MySQL 4.1 to 5.0 was easy compared to the upgrade I made a year ago from MySQL 3.23 to 4.1. This time around I also have use of CPanel which meant I could make the database upgrade with at least one eye closed. My journey with upgrading from eAccelerator 0.9.4 to 0.9.5 however took a lot longer.

I've been using eAccelerator 0.9.4 since it was released early in 2006. I've gotten into some trouble in the past by those smarter than me when I tried to explain exactly what eAccelerator does and does not do. To play it safe this time around, I'll give you the summary of what eAccelerator does straight from

SitePoint: I Have Never Met a Boxed CMS I Like

Wyatt Barnett in his Sitepoint article, "I've Never Met a Boxed CMS I Like" makes some very valid points about content management systems straight out of the box. Take note that he isn't just talking about commercial products but also open source systems. His first complaint about "boxed" CMS:

The first issue is that the very nature of a CMS is not easily boxable, without creating an application that tries to do everything for everyone and fails at doing most things particularly well. The tasks required for content management are generic, but every organization has a far different focus when it comes to how that content should be managed and how it thinks about that content. I have lost days of meetings trying to help subject matter experts understand that an article, according to this system, is really a page. Trying to make a generic application to handle this for all comers is a very, very tricky prospect.

Sadly, his post doesn't really offer a solution. I assume building your own CMS is the only alternative to the boxed version. But I have to ask, who really has the time? I think there are some obvious reasons you see so many capable software developers are using open source software such as Wordpress, TYPO3, e107, Alfresco, and Drupal for their Web presence.

Perhaps IE7 is an improvement

I know giving Microsoft a hard time is everyone's best pastime sport, but perhaps IE7 is an improvement over IE6. While there have been some complaints about IE7 "breaking" sites...the uproar is a lot quieter than I expected. I had anticipated a little bit more from the general public. Also, it is also nice to note that IE7 isn't included in many of the "critical"updates that the rest of the IE suite are.

From the IEBlog:

No claim to JPEG

Website owners rejoice! Forgent Networks has dropped their claim on owning the patent rights for JPEG. While this hasn't been a huge concern for most Web designers it's still one less worrisome thought to worry about! Groklaw was the first site that I came across this story:

Here you go, straight from the Public Patent Foundation's press release: Forgent Networks has stopped asserting its patent against JPEG, has dropped all its pending cases that were asserting the patent, and says that it won't file any other infringement claims based on the patent. Read more...