Lots of interesting stuff the past week (July 7-13 2008):
- Yahoo continues their open strategy with the launch of Search BOSS (Build your Own Search Service). This is a different offering than SearchMonkey, which just allowed you to enhance the presentation of the search results. The new service has quite liberal terms. It allows you to re-order the search results and mix in other results as you see fit. These are desired options I wrote about in my first post on this blog. The terms also have a no-attribution requirement, which expressively requires you not to mention Yahoo in your search offering. Still you are not allowed to use the search index data in any way you might want to. You must provide a search service, with a search box, and only query the index in response to a search performed by a real user of your service. Also, considering the current uncertainty of the future of Yahoo, building a business on top of BOSS seems a bit risky.
- From the security department, there was much talk about a potential, yet unexploited flaw in the Domain Name System, DNS, the "address book" of the internet, which translates human friendly URLs to IP addresses. Dan Kaminsky, who discovered the flaw, secretly informed the major vendors without talking to the security community, which has spawned some speculation about the significance of the discovery. The details of the vulnerability will not be publicly disclosed until August 7. Though, it is likely related to insufficient randomness provided by the 16 bit session ID of DNS. In that respect, the vulnerability is rooted in the same problem domain as the OpenSLL flaw I wrote about in May.
- Two news from the virtual world(s): Google launches a customizable and embeddable virtual world called Lively. Second Life, the hitherto largest virtual world, reported on the first successful teleportation of an avatar between two (experimental) virtual worlds. They also recorded a video of the event.
- Ars Technica writes about recent speculations about a new non-Windows operating system in development at Microsoft, code name Midori. To be released some 9 years from now, probably beyond Windows 8.
- The new URL shortening service bit.ly, has a host of innovative features, including an API, as reported by Marshall Kirkpatrick. Dave Winer is one of the brains behind the service.
- Soon we might be able to program Flash using C, meaning a speed boost that is useful in gaming applications, for example.
- Moopz, a FriendFeed conversation aggregator reviewed by Sarah Perez. Among the features are item threading, noise reduction and automatic summary and tag generation. Only items containing a link are considered, thus reducing the noise. First impression is that it's a useful service. (Btw. I'm jobol on FriendFeed.)
- Josh Catone is back to blogging. Now at SitePoint, a resource site for web developers and designers, where he is running the News & Trends blog. Glad to have him back.
- Finally, a bonus video on the math theme featuring fractals, found via Brad Feld.