Microsoft Offers $44.6B for Yahoo

Wow. From the Associated Press:

Microsoft Corp. has pounced on slumping Internet icon Yahoo Inc. with an unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.’s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets.

That’s nuts. I don’t use Yahoo, but I’m already seeing it infiltrated by little rainbowy butterflies spreading craplets.

Via Daring Fireball.

Update: The more I think about this, the bigger it is. I was just thinking about Yahoo search mostly. What’s going to happen with Flickr if this goes through? YUI? I can’t imagine Microsoft not screwing these things up. I’m not trying to bash Microsoft, they just don’t have a very good track record. Hotmail anyone? Gruber has some more articulate thoughts (as usual).

Enough With the Security FUD

One of my biggest complaints with the security industry in general, is that they seem to thrive on FUD. I find it to be particularily frustrating, because there actually is a lot of really important information there. Unfortunately, to find it you usually have to dig through layers of junk.

It pisses me off that someone like me, who is generally knowledgeable about such things although by no means an expert, can find frequently articles that are either completely wrong or very misleading. While this is merely annoying for me, the reality is that most people just lack the knowledge about computers and security to understand that oftentimes the information they are getting is just crap.

I was particularly annoyed by a recent article in ZDNet. Basically a Windows XP machine was set up on an unsecured wireless network and a security expert demonstrated a hack that downloaded some information from the compromised computers My Documents folder. It took about 11 minutes.

Getting onto the unsecured wireless network, pinging possible IP addresses of other computers on the network, finding Andy’s unpatched computer, scanning open ports for vulnerabilities, using the attack tool to build an exploit, and using the malware to get into the XP command shell took six minutes.

Frightening, yes. Surprising, no. The important part of the article is the fact that the compromised computer was running with SP1 and no protection whatsoever:

[They] connected a machine running Windows XP with Service Pack 1 to an unsecured wireless network. The machine was running no antivirus, firewall, or anti-spyware software…

This article isn’t really news at all. It simply demonstrates that if you put a default Windows XP SP1 install on a network, it is likely to get hacked (and fast). In fact, the “unsecured wireless network” part of this article is completely irrelevant. Granted, it may make hacking easier, but the fact remains; a default install of Windows XP SP1 will get hacked.

So, yes everybody, if you do not have SP2 on your Windows XP install, get it now. If you don’t have it because you pirated Windows, buy a fraking copy, or at least start using some free linux os (like Ubuntu).

I suppose there is no harm in reiterating the point that everybody, regardless of operating systems, should be upgrading their service packs. I do however take issue with the sensationalist tone of the article. Using FUD to increase page views or sell software doesn’t help anyone. This article could have just as easily been written about hacks for XP SP2 or Vista with patches installed. The hack probably would have taken a lot longer and had a lot of things line up perfectly, but that’s not to say it can’t be done. At least that type of article might have been newsworthy or even helpful. Even John Dvorak knows this article is crap.

Web Design Survey Results Released

The results of the web design survey conducted by A List Apart in April have finally been released. A staggering 33,000 people responded to the survey and the final report tops out at 81 pages.

Overall the report is quite interesting. It seems to confirm a lot of suspicions about the industry as a whole. The industry is in fact male-dominated; only 16% of the respondents said they were female. Almost everybody in the industry has a blog, but not necessarily any prominence for it. There are a lot of self-employed people, with varying salaries and levels of job satisfaction/unsatisfaction.

I’m quite impressed by the results of the report. There are some interesting questions posed by the data and also clear areas where a more focused approach is needed. Obviously, the method of data collection (voluntary web survey) has some serious drawbacks, but I think the data does lead to some broad conclusions of the industry and is a good starting point for more research.

On a side note, the design of the report looks positively snappy! The graphs and charts all look great, as does the type. I’d love to know how all those graphs were made so pretty.

Update: Eric Meyer has written in-depth about the process of collecting the data and creating the report. Definitely read this post after taking a look at the report. I’ve also experienced those Excel pains Meyer speaks of as well. Short answer for how the charts were created: Excel (for mac)NumbersPDFInDesign. Yikes.

New Photoshop Logo

I’ve been trying to refrain from commenting on the new Adobe Photoshop logo because it seems that everybody else already has:

The first three things that came to my mind when I saw the new logo were:

  1. Ew
  2. Microsoft
  3. This is a joke right?

Nothing very groundbreaking there. I haven’t read of a single person liking it, and many have also pointed out how similar it looks Microsoft designs. While I thought Microsoft in the back of my head, I didn’t actually bother to go look at any Microsoft stuff to compare. That is…until Armin Vit linked to one for comparison.

Photoshop and Silverlight Logos Comparison

Yikes. I decided to go back to the Photoshop website for some further comparison. As it turns out, there’s some very lovely1 Microsoft-esque marketing videos. The thing that really caught my eye was the whole silhouetted people concept. It reminded me of something…oh wait! I know! People_Ready!

Adobe People Ready

I just don’t get what Adobe is trying to achieve here (other than cheapening their brand)2. It seems like just a couple of months ago that Adobe went through that whole CS3 re-branding thing. While I don’t think that it was 100% successful, at least it did unify the suite in a unique way. Those little color bricks have grown on me, although I still have an awfully hard time telling which one is which. The only one I can remember is that Dreamweaver is green, but then again…Dreamweaver has always been green. Anyway, enough said on my part. Read Armin Vit’s article for a more articulate analysis.’

  1. Insert sarcasm here.
  2. One could at least hope for a drastic price cut to follow. 🙂

Office 2008 Will Follow Some Mac Standards

Honestly, this is probably one of the first really good things that I’ve heard about Office 2008 for Macs. The MacBU team has just announced on Mac Mojo that the Office update will now come in a package file and use Apple’s Installer.

I am happy to announce that Office 2008 for Mac will use the Apple-recommended Apple Installer technology for Office 2008 installation. This means that the data that Office installs will ship on the disc in .pkg format, installs will work well with Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) and will be Applescript-able. Once installed, the user has the freedom to move the Office folder to a different location on the system and Office will run from there. I hope that this will make Office for Mac configuration/deployment easier for IT admins.

You can read more about installers and Apple’s recommendations for them on Apple Developer Connection . Being able to easily deploy Office through ARD is great news for IT people.

My favorite piece of news though is about fonts (emphasis added):

In addition to the change to the Apple Installer, we’ve provided IT admins greater ability to customize their deployment with optional font installations.

The current practice for Office on Macs is to automatically copy a gazillion Microsoft True Type fonts into a user’s font directory the first time they open an Office application. This behavior is truly obnoxious, especially if you already have a ton of fonts that you are trying to manage. It’s also wrong. If those fonts are actually needed for everybody for that application, they should really be put into /Library/Fonts/ at the time of the installation.

I don’t have a lot of good things to say about Microsoft these days, but I am at least happy that their Mac team is taking steps to create a better “Mac Application.”

Via Daring Fireball.