Steve was offline last night. He finally got through to a Comcast status page to discover an outage that lasted seven hours:
Almost as bad as NStar electric.
The Boston Online Comcast Sucks page - which still gets comments 18 months after it was first posted.
Meanwhile, Peter discovered the problem was not busted Comcast Internets, but broken DNS servers. He got around that by setting up his OS X Macs to act as DNS servers. And provides instructions:
The BIND name server is built into Mac OS X. It's simply a matter of activating it in your system's configuration files, starting the server, and then telling your Mac to use itself as the name server.
Note: This method requires the use of the Terminal application. Be brave - it's not as hard as it looks!
Ed. note: We're a Windows household here, but, well, we also use a broadband provider that doesn't force users to set up DNS servers for seven hours, either (no, it's not Verizon).
Halley says gender spammers - men who try to shout down women on their own blogs - don't scare her:
... It is a perfect barometer of how woman are succeeding. It's a perfect measure of how women are becoming more and more vocal and some men are very threatened by it. Their response -- to threaten women in return -- speaks volumes about how they feel terrified by women thinking, writing, talking, expressing opinions. They show us on a regular basis that we are POWERFUL and they are scared. ...
Cynthia is completely sick of Clocky, that MIT alarm clock on wheels that forces you to find it to shut if off: Do people think it's clever just because it came out of MIT?
... How clever is that stupid name? And what the hell is wrong with you if you need that much help getting up? Something more serious than can be cured by a furry rolling clock, that's for sure.
Photo: MIT Media Lab.
Mike Walsh reports he's looking into venues for a one-day conference on blogging, likely on May 21. Possible "tracks" for sessions include:
Blogs in Action - case studies of activist blogs
Demo track for cool new tools and software
Andy Ihnatko posted his first podcast today:
This particular voice came from a lugubrious elderly New Englander, in a commercial for some sort of clever device that prevents dead leaves from clogging up the gutters on your roof.
More Boston-based podcasts (if any are missing, please click on the "Add site" link there and add 'em in).
When I was quoted in a certain newspaper recently about blog "aggregation," I was referring to the concept of putting together a network of blogs with similar focuses (foci?) to sell ads. Sooz is actually trying it, with a New England Arts and Entertainment Network at Blogads. The idea is that advertisers will buy ads on the network because collectively, the blogs have enough traffic to make it worthwhile.
The Globe has a story today about a real nice site where you can snitch on "rats," i.e., people you think are working as informants. The Globe doesn't identify the site, however:
The Globe is not naming the website because it is impossible to verify whether all the people listed there are informants, and because publicizing access to their identities could jeopardize their safety.
But the Globe does name the guy who set it up, so it took me all of 10 seconds to find the site on Google. Via Dan, who reports it took him maybe 30 seconds to do the same thing.
Lisa tries out the free Wi-Fi at a Panera Bread - and promptly discovers that its SonicWall content filtering software blocks access to her Weblog as "adult content."
WBZ-AM is now streaming on the 'Net. The sound is a bit tinny and you have to register first (helpful hint: They don't do any sort of address verification, so by all means sign up as ) but hey, it IS AM, and besides, there's never a pledge week on 'BZ (anybody else hear Bob Oakes on 'BUR yesterday pleading for pre-pledge pledges so you don't have to find another station to listen to during Pledge Week?). Oh, and instead of commercials (well, there is one initial ad for Monster), you get their station promos, some of which are pretty good, in an awful sort of way, like the one for their weather reports that starts:
What's pasty white and cold?
Hat tip to Melissa.
Philip deconstructs the alleged uber-hacking that let a bunch of anxious Harvard B-School applicants peek at the status of their applications:
... All the smart young Americans have gone to law, business, and medical school. Companies don't like to hire old people (> 30 years) to write computer programs because it saddens them to see old folks doing something so degrading. Thus ApplyYourself hired whoever was rejected by professional schools to write up some Visual Basic scripts to process HBS and other B-school applications. ... In the 1960s the term "hacking" meant smart people developing useful and innovative computer software. In the 1990s the term meant smart evil people developing and running programs to break into computer systems and gain shell access to those systems. Thanks to Harvard Business school the term now means "people of average IQ poking around curiously by editing URLs on public servers and seeing what comes back in the form of directory listings, etc."
... ApplyYourself's system doesn't appear to meet even minimal standards for securing the sensitive information with which it is being entrusted. ...
Ned works a table at Brookline ScienceFest, showing off a photo exploration game he wrote and showing kids how to fold business cards into cubes:
... Kids really seemed to like Nat's World. I had shown it last year at the ScienceFest, and some kids came up because they remembered it from last year. If people seemed reluctant to move around in the virtual world, I could ask what neighborhood they lived in, and navigate them there (if it happened to be one of the few I had put into the game). A few people found themselves in the game, just because they happened to be on the street when I was taking pictures! ...