30 Nov

NYTimes.com – Public Opinion on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Together, these trends reveal an important shift in attitudes on the service of gay men and lesbians in the military. When the policy was established, none of the three positions had majority support among Americans. Forty-four percent supported open service, 37 opposed any service, and 19 percent supported allowing gay men and lesbians to serve only if they did not reveal their sexual orientation. Today, one position has emerged as the clear preference of the majority of Americans. Seventy-five percent of Americans support open service, 17 oppose any service, and only 8 percent support the compromise position of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

via NYTimes.com – Public Opinion on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. In addition:

Allowing gay troops to serve openly in the US military would carry only a low risk to fighting ability, a Pentagon study has found.

via BBC News – Pentagon study ‘backs allowing gays to serve openly. So the public supports allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve and now the military says there’s really nothing wrong with it.

30 Nov

BBC News – EU launches antitrust probe into alleged Google abuses

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Google after other search engines complained that the firm had abused its dominant position.

The EC will examine whether the world’s largest search engine penalised competing services in its results.

The probe follows complaints by firms including price comparison site Foundem and legal search engine ejustice.fr.

Google denies the allegations but said it would work with the Commission to "address any concerns".

Earlier this year the attorney general of Texas launched a similar investigation following complaints from firms including Foundem.

via BBC News – EU launches antitrust probe into alleged Google abuses. Not too shocked that Google is accused of abusing it’s power, that being said I actually would be shocked to see Google found guilty.

30 Nov

NYTimes.com – Color-Coded Terror Alerts to Be Dropped by Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to get rid of the color-coded terrorism alert system. Known officially as the Homeland Security Advisory System, the five-color scheme was introduced by the Bush administration in March 2002.

Red, the highest level, meant “severe risk of terrorist attacks.” The lowest level, green, meant “low risk of terrorist attacks.” Between those were blue (guarded risk), yellow (significant) and orange (high).

The nation has generally lived in the yellow and orange range. The threat level has never been green, or even blue.

In an interview on “The Daily Show” last year, the homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, said the department was “revisiting the whole issue of color codes and schemes as to whether, you know, these things really communicate anything to the American people any more.”

The answer, apparently, is no.

The color-coded threat levels were doomed to fail because “they don’t tell people what they can do — they just make people afraid,” said Bruce Schneier, an author on security issues. He said the system was “a relic of our panic after 9/11” that “never served any security purpose.”

via NYTimes.com – Color-Coded Terror Alerts to Be Dropped by Homeland Security. It only took the Department of Homeland Security 8 years to realize what a stupid and useless metric this was. Mainly because it never went down to where it should generally remain (blue and green).

29 Nov

David Walsh Blog – WebSocket and Socket.IO

My favorite web technology is quickly becoming the WebSocket API. WebSocket provides a welcomed alternative to the AJAX technologies we’ve been making use of over the past few years. This new API provides a method to push messages from client to server efficiently and with a simple syntax. Let’s take a look at the HTML5 WebSocket API: it’s use on the client side, server side, and an outstanding wrapper API called Socket.IO.

via David Walsh Blog – WebSocket and Socket.IO. Really great instructional and demo of a neat technology.

29 Nov

SQL injection with raw MD5 hashes – cvk | nc -l -p 80

One challenge at yesterday’s CTF was a seemingly-impossible SQL injection worth 300 points. The point of the challenge was to submit a password to a PHP script that would be hashed with MD5 before being used in a query. At first glance, the challenge looked impossible.

via SQL injection with raw MD5 hashes – cvk | nc -l -p 80. Seemingly impossible to build a password that would after being MD5 hashed return a SQL injection, but nope it is possible even within a reasonable time frame.

21 Nov

Bookselling This Week – The Challenges of Free Speech

Why in the world would anyone defend a book like The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct?

A number of people asked me this during the recent controversy over Amazon.com’s decision to sell the book. (The book is no longer available from Amazon.) When I was quoted in an AP story saying the book appeared to be neither obscene nor child pornography and was therefore protected by the First Amendment, several outraged people wrote to me and members of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression board to complain. How could we defend a book that hurts children?

Of course, it was never a question of defending the book. I was attempting to explain that people have the right to purchase any constitutionally protected work.

via Bookselling This Week – The Challenges of Free Speech. A way to common confusion is thinking that defending free speech means defending the actual speech material itself. Defending those things that are the most controversial is the essence of free speech.

16 Nov

A List Apart – CSS Positioning 101

If you’re a front end developer or a designer who likes to code, CSS-based layouts are at the very core of your work. In what might be a refresher for some, or even an “a-ha!” for others, let’s look at the CSS position property to see how we can use it to create standards-compliant, table-free CSS layouts.

via A List Apart – CSS Positioning 101. Position is easily in that class of properties that I use a lot without really knowing what’s going on.

16 Nov

52 Weeks of UX – Kill Your Darlings

Arthur Quiller-Couch, a British journalist, critic, and novelist once said,“Murder your darlings.” While this quote was aimed at aspiring writers, I believe that it is equally relevant to designers.

Essentially, the elements of your design that you really love cause you to have what I call “design blindness.” You loose the ability to be objective about your work. You loose the ability to critique honestly and without bias. This often means they may not be quite as “perfect” as you think they are.

via 52 Weeks of UX – Kill Your Darlings. Seen the results of not getting over personal attachment to a design it’s not healthy for the design.

16 Nov

Codrops – Hover Slide Effect with jQuery

Today we will create a neat effect with some images using jQuery. The main idea is to have an image area with several images that slide out when we hover over them, revealing other images. The sliding effect will be random, i.e. the images will slide to the top or bottom, left or right, fading out or not. When we click on any area, all areas will slide their images out.

The idea is based on the beautiful Flash based animation on the Yumaki website.

So, let’s start.

via Codrops – Hover Slide Effect with jQuery. This is a really neat effect, not sure when I’ll have a site that has that many images to rotate through but useful tool in case.