our charities

List of our charities for my reference, e.g. taxes and for next year. (note for your reference, we only give $25 – $200+ for each of these organizations which really isn't enough.)

Saturday's Bike Ride…

I'm in week 5 or 6 (it's been a tad busy at work) of Ironman 3.0. I started at 7am and went over into Orinda via Claremont ave again to do the 3 Bears route a few times. It was pretty challenging got done around 11:30am. The views are just great.

I got some new equipment for this ride. A Fizik Arione bike seat, which I'm in the process of breaking in, is a nice bike seat because it's longer than usual. It also has these little break points that's supposed to help to make it more comfortable.

I also got some new shoes, Sidi Genius 5.5s. They have a carbon sole and they felt pretty good. You want bike shoes that are pretty stiff, especially if you're a big guy, because it makes each pedal stroke more efficient – no wasted energy.

I'm still not in the shape I want to be in for the bike or for Ironman in general. I need to stretch more, lose some more weight, and really be smart about what I eat. Anyway…

Dept of Homeland Security says use a different web browser

US CERT, part of the Department of Homeland Security continues to recommend that users of Internet Explorer "use a different web browser". The folks there can't say it but we all know what they want to say and that's use Firefox.

Here's the vuln note: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/680526

Here's the text:

Use a different web browser

There are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies involving the IE domain/zone security model, local file system (Local Machine Zone) trust, the Dynamic HTML (DHTML) document object model (in particular, proprietary DHTML features), the HTML Help system, MIME type determination, the graphical user interface (GUI), and ActiveX. These technologies are implemented in operating system libraries that are used by IE and many other programs to provide web browser functionality. IE is integrated into Windows to such an extent that vulnerabilities in IE frequently provide an attacker significant access to the operating system.

It is possible to reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different web browser, especially when viewing untrusted HTML documents (e.g., web sites, HTML email messages). Such a decision may, however, reduce the functionality of sites that require IE-specific features such as proprietary DHTML, VBScript, and ActiveX. Note that using a different web browser will not remove IE from a Windows system, and other programs may invoke IE, the WebBrowser ActiveX control (WebOC), or the HTML rendering engine (MSHTML).

Someone at Microsoft had said that they didn't gain anything when Firefox has vulnerabilities, and they go into their standard line that security is an industry problem which it is. The fact is though, they do gain, they should be checking their own code when someone finds a vulnerability in ours because chances are, they may have the same problem (I know of several cases when that was the case). But I don't know if those guys think that way.

The tricked out Firefox PC


Here's the background for this (though the important part is that three of these things are being awarded for the Extend Firefox contest that's out TODAY!.)

For a prize we thought, let's get a really, really awesome computer. David Hyatt, one of the early Firefox inventors, has one of these Alienware thingies. We wanted a computer that was fast and powerful and also very unique, and so we came up with the Alienware Aurora 7500 Firefox Edition PC which is going to be customized with Firefox decals and airbrushed with real flames — in other words, we're going to pimp your PC. How cool is that?!?

A few more details:

There's only three of these bad boys. Three. And we can't wait to award them to the winners of the Extend Firefox Contest. These entries better be damn good.

An old school friend of mine "Poots", up in Oakland is taking care of the airbrushing. I'll post pictures up on this site as we go through the design and custom paint job on these bad boys, and a shout out to the Alienware folks who are so awesome to work with.

Alienware Aurora 7500 Firefox Edition PC specs

Here are the specs:

Aurora™ 7500 (Alienware Aurora 7500 Firefox Edition PC)
Processor: AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4800+ w/HyperTransport
OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP Pro SP 2 and/or Ubuntu Linux
Case: Alienware® Full-Tower Case – Space Black w/ custom Firefox graphics and airbrushed flames
Case Upgrades: Alienware® Acoustic Dampening

Motherboard: Alienware® nForce™4 SLI™ Chipset Motherboard PCI Express
Graphics Processor: NVIDIA® GeForce™ 7800 GTX KO ACS PCI-E 256MB DDR3
Memory: 2GB Ultra Low Latency DDR PC-3200 SDRAM at 333MHz – 4 x 512MB
System Drive: 250GB Serial ATA 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
Primary CD ROM/DVD ROM: 16x Dual Layer DVD±R/W Drive
Sound Card: 7.1 Surround Sound with S/PDIF and Coaxial Digital Outputs
Floppy Drive: 3.5" 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive – Black
Network Connection: Integrated High Performance Gigabit Ethernet
Monitor: Alienware® 20.1" 16ms LCD Display – Silver/Black

Warranty: 3-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support w/Onsite Service Bundle w/ AlienAutopsy and Respawn
Power Supply: Alienware® Approved 650 Watt ATX 2.0 Power Supply with Active PFC
Keyboard: Microsoft® Multimedia Keyboard – Space Black
Mouse: Microsoft® IntelliMouse Explorer 4.0 – USB – Saucer Silver
Alienware Exclusive Offers: Gamespot Complete – Free 90-day Trial
Alienware Exclusive Offers: 10% off your next EB Games online purchase
Cable Management: Alienware® Cable Management System
Free Alienware Mousepad: Free Alienware® Mousepad
Desktop Enhancements: Exclusive AlienGUIse Theme Manager
AlienInspection: AlienInspection – Exclusive Integration and Inspection
AlienWiring: AlienWiring – Exclusive Internal Wire Management

Testing Firefox – WSJ article

For my archives:

Tapping Employees' Tech Lust
WSJ – Michael Totty
Oct. 24, 2005

*Testing Firefox*

Fidelity Investments' Center for Applied Technology, which develops and
tests new technologies for the Boston-based mutual-fund giant,
encourages employees to try out new innovations — within limits.

Recently the center began testing the open-source Firefox browser, an
alternative to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer. Charlie Brenner,
a Fidelity senior vice president in charge of the center, says the idea
came from engineers in his department who were using it at home and
liked Firefox's advanced features, such as the ability to open new
browser windows in tabs rather than in a whole separate browser, and its
promise of being more secure from hacker attacks than Explorer.

The center has recruited several hundred volunteers from around the
company to try Firefox on their computers, mainly to see whether the
browser's security controls are "industrial strength," says Mr. Brenner.
He expects Firefox ultimately will be permitted for use on its computers
in addition to Explorer.

Mr. Brenner cautions that while the center encourages employees to be
unrestrained in their ideas, they're not permitted to try out new
technologies on their own. "Too much freedom is chaos," he says. "We
can't just let a hundred flowers bloom."