Last week I finished implementing a basic version of the SCORM standard in a LMS the company I work for is building. The implementation involved, in a general way, putting together support for the standard’s RTE in the LMS. It was an interesting experience, and I learned a lot from it — both about the standard and the related technologies. In the next few days I will post some thoughts about the process here. As this subject is probably not very interesting for most of you, feel free to ignore those entries if you wish.
July 29th, 2003 § Comments Off § permalink
Last Friday I came home from work and my wife told me our phone was not working properly: we could make calls but not receive them. After some investigations, we found out that our phone number had mysteriously changed. As we hadn’t asked for such change, I called our phone operator to understand what had happened. They informed me that some woman called Marina had solicited the change. The problem is that I don’t know any Marinas.
After many phone calls to understand better what was going on, I also found out that (1) asking for any phone service is as easy as knowing the first three number of the personal ID of the line’s owner, (2) I couldn’t not recover my former number (it had already been transferred to another person), and (3) I will have to pay for the change. I can’t even prevent further changes to my phone number unless I personally go up to one of their offices to officially request that only the actual owner of the line be allowed to make service requests.
Now, it’s plain absurd that any John Doe with knowledge of your personal ID can make changes to your phone line. What if your documents are stolen, which is exactly what happened to me a few months ago? I don’t think that was what happened, since somebody wanting to cause me problems could simply have asked for something bigger, like a cancellation of the service.
I’m not sure of what I’m going to do know. I’m planning to notify some customer defense organizations and generally cause some problems for the phone company if I can. It’s simply unacceptable that a company operating across the whole country has such insecure service procedures. Anyway, anything I can do to prevent further “incidents” like that and help people to avoid them is worth trying.
The concept is very simple: if you need a disposable e-mail address right now, just send a message to any random address @mailinator.com. The address is created instantly and remains accessible for a few hours. Very nice for sites that require an e-mail address (often to just to sell it later). Obviously, as the site states, you shouldn’t use the service for messages with sensitive data.
July 24th, 2003 § Comments Off § permalink
As I have no graphic skills, I’ve contributed to the CSS Zen Garden project by translating the page to (Brazilian) Portuguese. Portuguese speakers are invited to take a look at the site, and report any spelling or grammar errors.
Netscape is gone. AOL has cut all the former Netscape team and it’s dismantling the division. Hardly unexpected news, but sad anyway. Netscape is the browser that defined what Internet was to me.
In other news, however, a new foundation has been created to manage the Mozilla Project, and AOL has pledged 2 million dollars to it over the next two years. Other companies are planning to donate as well. Mitch Kapor, of OSAF, has been appointed as the new organization’s chairman, and he has also donated 300 thousand dollars to it.
I certainly hope this new foundation can keep both Mozilla and innovation alive in the next years even if some people are pessimistic about those developments. Without the limitations implied by AOL’s hold on it, Mozilla may even grow to be a better browser than it’s today and gain a competitive lead in the market. Of course, the opposite can happen as well. As an article in the WaSP site pointed, people can come to believe that IE is synonymous with web standards if the foundation’s goals are not met. It’s up to the community to help it to accomplish those goals.
In short, Netscape is definitely dead. Long live Mozilla!
Google with thumbnails: an interesting feature at ICQ’s Google Search. I’m not sure whether this is a new or planned Google feature or just an ICQ customization.
July 8th, 2003 § Comments Off § permalink
July 4th, 2003 § Comments Off § permalink
The Wizardry Compiled is the second installment in The Wiz Biz series, by Rick Cook. The series, for those who never heard of it, tells the story of Wiz Zumwalt, a Silicon Valley programmer that is unwillingly summoned to another world to help in a war waged between two powerful magical factions: the Council of the North and the Dark League. Arriving at this magical world, Wiz finds that he has no magic of his own and that people are trying to kill him because they believe otherwise. Pressured, he turns to the only thing he really knows, programming, and creates a whole new kind of magic. The result is a funny and good-humored book, rich in references to the programming world, and able to stand on its own in the fantasy genre. If you are a programmer, you will certainly enjoin the book premises.