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Comment advice on starting a web community? (Score 1) 161

My Master's paper for my academic specialty is a proposal for a computer system that would allow a common activity in this field to happen on a sort of centralized website. I think my idea is fairly detailed and good, but a lot of the people and institutions in my field aren't very computer-savvy. I don't think I am a good enough programmer to build the entire thing myself -- it doesn't have to ultimately be Wikipedia-size, but if successful, it would have several tens of thousands of users, and things like security would be important.

How would you recommend I proceed? Get some (bad) working code and early adopters and iterate? Try to organize a team of planners and programmers? Try to get funding first? Any tips?

Comment Re:Definitely interesting.... (Score 1) 220

But if you are vulnerable to automated attacks, then you most certainly are also vulnerable to directed attacks, no? The attacker can just use a known (or new) attack against WordPress once they see that that is what you are running:

"Aha! From the Meta Tags I can tell they're running WordPress. Looks like it's version X. I'll do a POST to site/wp-admin/tiny-mce/lang/en-us/takefile.php of a PHP script. If they didn't apply the patch that was released yesterday I should be able to upload my PHP script which will allow me write access or at least read access..." If you were not up-to-date in your install (or if you haven't audited any plugins you used), then the entire hack might takes just a few minutes, and could be done by someone with only rudimentary skills.


Comment Re:Definitely interesting.... (Score 4, Insightful) 220

A non-custom CMS like WordPress is very often the target of massive automated attacks: a new bug is discovered in WP and a tool is written to seek out vulnerable installations and exploit that bug. If you have the skill or $$ to pour over the code, you can probably find your own bugs before they become publicly known.

On the other hand, if your site is specifically targeted, then your custom CMS is as vulnerable or more than the WordPresses out there. You might have a bit of security through obscurity (in a standard WP install, the attacker might know file names and locations, variable names, classes, etc.) but this will probably do you little good if you weren't able to harden the code.

Lesson: you are screwed if a rich, powerful, or smart attacker singles you out. A standard CMS can land you in hot water if you don't have a knowledgeable person administering it (and who has that?).

Comment Re:Realistic analysis of he daa (Score 1) 299

Your analysis seems messed-up to me. I assume you are referring to this chart Chrome's rate of growth might have slowed a bit, but it still grew by what looks like 10%. IE has had negative growth pretty consistently. Safari's growth rate seems to be much lower than Chrome's. Since your understanding of the data seems so far off the mark, I doubt your conclusions are accurate.


Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life 486

scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."

Submission + - Breakthroughs in HTML Audio & JavaScript (

jamienk writes: Imagine if you could grab and manipulate audio with JavaScript just like you can images with canvas... Firefox experimental builds let you do just that: crazy audio visualizations, a graphic equalizer, even text-to-speech, all in JavaScript! Work in progress, you need a special build of Firefox (videos available), being worked on via W3C. Weren't people just saying that Firefox doesn't innovate?

Justice Not As Blind As Previously Thought 256

NotSoHeavyD3 writes "I doubt this is much of a surprise but apparently Cornell University did a study that seems to show you're more likely to get convicted if you're ugly. From the article: 'According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences — an average of 22 months longer in prison.'"

Comment Re:Fundamentally different things, though (Score 3, Interesting) 224

The conceptions of what we "do" with music and film have been limited by the sales and "IP" models. Remixing, adding/replacing tracks, mashups, even sampling, all come about as a consequence of ignoring the "consumption" model as you describe it. So does all "traditional" or "folk" music. There are places that film and music can go that we can't easily think of today. Try to come up with your own examples of what can be done. If you can't think of anything or if your ideas don't seem all that revolutionary or important, maybe you're not an artist.


Bing Loses More Money As Microsoft Chases Google 317

angry tapir writes "Microsoft posted strong results for the third quarter of its 2010 fiscal year, largely thanks to sales of Windows 7. But the company continues to suffer heavy losses in its Online Services Division [warning: obnoxious interstitial] as it tries to match Google in the online search and advertising market. ... The division's quarterly loss grew by 73 percent to $713 million, compared to a loss of $411 million during the same period last year."

Submission + - CSS "flexible box model" holy grail of layout? (

jamienk writes: I don't know how I missed this, but a new method of layout has worked it's way into the CSS3 spec — it allows web developers to stack, columnize, and otherwise control our HTML boxes. You can easily make same-height columns, you can reverse or precisely control the order of elements, you can flex the boxes however you like. Looks complicated, but very very cool. It seems like they still have to work out a few edge cases. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari only so far. IE sucks.

The State of Ruby VMs — Ruby Renaissance 89

igrigorik writes "In the short span of just a couple of years, the Ruby VM space has evolved to more than just a handful of choices: MRI, JRuby, IronRuby, MacRuby, Rubinius, MagLev, REE and BlueRuby. Four of these VMs will hit 1.0 status in the upcoming year and will open up entirely new possibilities for the language — Mac apps via MacRuby, Ruby in the browser via Silverlight, object persistence via Smalltalk VM, and so forth. This article takes a detailed look at the past year, the progress of each project, and where the community is heading. It's an exciting time to be a Rubyist."

Comment iPhone Games (Score 1) 268

My 3 year old son urges me to download games on the iPhone. I get all the free ones listed for each category and listed under "most popular." He and I agree that 99% of the games we see are some of the worst crap you can imagine. There are a few types:

* Stuff that requires a lot of downloading, rendering, entering passwords, connecting to various multiplayer networks, answering their questions, etc. It takes 5 minutes before the game starts, but by then, we've both lost patience.

* The games are obnoxiously crippled -- they offer only teases, or they constantly try to trick you into clicking to their ordering system, or their ads, or they suddenly stop in the middle of play. You feel interrupted, short-changed, and ripped off.

* The games themselves strike us as weirdly unimaginative. The graphics are retreds of crap I've been seeing since the 80s, or else they look like the standard manga stuff. They often have cliched, muzak-style "soundtracks" and have the game equivalents of a laugh-track: clapping, "awww"-ing, etc.

In sum: these games suck. How they can represent some sort of billion-dollar-industry is so baffling that I suspect a hyped bubble; I can't imagine masses of people paying for this junk. It's more fun to kill time by flipping a coin. It feels like there are no original artists in the game-making work, just "industry" hacks. Maybe one day game-making will somehow be more democratic like website creation and some will try to innovate.

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