Google has just released a web traffic analysis service called Google Analytics based on the well regarded Urchin service they acquired ~ 6 months back.
It’s free to anyone with an active AdWords account and integrates AdWords stats with the web analytics. It’s also free for up to 5M page views a month to any publisher. I’ve installed it on Geekfun to check it out.
I suspect that it offers much more power than I’m going to use on Geekfun, but it would be interesting to see how this improves on the Statcounter stats currently on the “Harvey Danger”:http://harveydanger.com site. Also, I think the webhost we are using at work bundles an Urchin license, which I’ll probably use on a web app we’ll be releasing soon.
via “Eric Peterson”:http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/peterson, who goes into greater depth.
Last week I “wrote about how software Sony/BMG installs on their customers PC to prevent copying”:http://www.geekfun.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=674 of, say, the CD you just bought onto your iPod. The software uses questionable techniques to hide itself which could be exploited by writers of viruses and other Malware.
Or rather, it IS being exploited by writers of Malware. This week brought the “first report of a trojan that takes advantage of the Sony installed backdoor”:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/10/sony_drm_trojan/.
Mark Russinovich has an update on “Sony’s lame response to the whole situation”:http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/11/sony-you-dont-reeeeaaaally-want-to_09.html
The recent release of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes reminds me that I’ve always meant to post about how much I hate all those stickers you see of Calvin on the windows and bumpers of people’s cars.
You know the ones, the ones where he is taking a leak on the logo of some automobile or product, or the ones where he is knealing before the cross.
I’ve never read every single edition of the comic strip, but I’ve read enough to know that both depictions are so far out of character. Calvin could be a devilish brat and a punk, but it was about being a little boy, not about being a shallow, selfish materialistic adult aping childishness to get what they want (a la Paris Hilton and her wannabees). And Calvin was far too questioning to ever be the unquestioning supplicant depicted in Calvin & the cross stickers.
It’s ironic that these wildly uncharacteristic images of Calvin have become his legacy because Bill Waterston, his creator, was very deliberate about not licensing any Calvin and Hobbes products. Unfortunately, that seems to have meant that there was no self-interested party with a legal war chest to go after trademark infringers.
thanks to “Slate for the tipoff”:http://www.slate.com/id/2129373/?nav=tap3 on the new collection.
Microsoft just “acquired Foldershare”:http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/051103/sfth034.html?.v=35, which provides a service that helps you keep folders in sync between multiple machines on a LAN and across the Internet. I’ve used “Foldershare”:http://foldershare.com to share files with my brother, but my main use has been to keep files on my laptop automatically backed up onto my desktop machine. I’ve been pretty “happy with it”:http://www.geekfun.com/2004/10/14/a-new-twist-p2p-filesharing/ since I wrote about it a year ago, but I’m not really happy with this latest development.
For one thing, the “Mac client has disappeared”:http://gigaom.com/2005/11/03/microsoft-buys-foldershare-will-mac-client-be-roadkill/ from their website with some question as to its return. For another thing, this acquisition is part of Microsoft’s recently anounced “Live” services push, so I’m sure that the utility and value of foldershare as a simple and easy to use private file sharing and synchronization tool will be subsumed into Microsoft’s larger services strategy. Likely outcomes of this transformation:
* Product becomes Windows only
* Service becomes bundled with other offerings I’m not interested in and the price goes up at the same time.
* Security suffers because being a Microsoft offering instantly makes it a more desirable target.
* Client becomes more bloated to support other service offerings from Microsoft. It isn’t hard to imagine that they’d try and migrate Foldershare’s client base over to Groove, which they acquired earlier in the year.
* Google Desktop search support disappears. I won’t mind this one. Foldershare lets you aggregate google desktop search queries over multiple systems, something that has always bothered me a bit.
Not that any of this is unexpected. Small companies get bought by bigger companies. Often those acquisitions are part of a larger strategy and so the product focus shifts or dissolves into a larger offering. Sometimes, those products are simply milked for all they are worth by putting most of the ongoing investment into sales and marketing, and letting the core technology whither.
Update: Well, it looks like I’m wrong on a few key points. The whole service has been made free, and the Mac client is back.
Mark Russinovich has posted an article about the software Sony BMG and others record lables use to keep people from doing horrible things like listening the the CDs they buy on their iPods. The software “Sony uses automatically installs itself without the users knowledge or consent and cloaks its existence in a manner similar to the rootkits used by creators of viruses and other malware”:http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html.
What’s worse, its so poorly written that it can be easily exploited to hide other software.
So, to break it down: Pay for a CD from Sony and they’ll thank you for your purchase by preventing you from playing it on your iPod AND exposing your computer to viruses, spyware, worms, trojans and any other malicious software you can think of. Neat!