Facebook apps in the Boston area

Xconomy recently published a couple of good articles on Facebook apps in the Boston area.

The first article is a directory of Facebook apps from Boston area startups.

The second article is about various startups in the Boston area who are building Facebook apps.

Malware and virtual machines

Interesting article on the Economist about malware and virtual machines.

The article mention using virtualization to ‘jail’ your browser to prevent malware from installing itself on your computer.

But I don’t think virtualization is the only answer, a phishing scam goes right past that.

iPhone price drop

Like a number of other people, I was not happy about the iPhone price drop, well not so much the drop that the size of the drop, which seemed like too much too quickly. However I was very happy with the way Apple eventually handled it with the $100 voucher.

What I can’t understand though is why someone would file a class action lawsuit over it.

If the report is correct, this suit seems to be without merit and I certainly don’t feel part of that class action. I hope it gets thrown out of court.

Yahoo messenger mobile

I have a Yahoo messenger account and decided that I would sign up for their service to forward instant messages to my iPhone when I am off line.

I set this up for my AOL instant messenger account a couple of months ago and it was pretty simple, enter your phone number, get a confirmation code, enter the confirmation code back into the web page, and voila as they say in the ol’ country (France if you must know), you are done.

Yahoo on the other hand requires me to specify my carrier and my cell phone type in addition to my number. Well with an iPhone the carrier is ATT but ATT is not on the list. Wait, I can select “Not listed”, which I do for both the carrier and the phone, and come upon a confirmation page with nothing on it. Well nothing, nothing I can click to go to the next page. Fine, I go back, note there are two options for Cingular as a carrier, I select one, and it turns out to be the wrong one for my cell phone number. So I go back, select the other Cingular carrier and select “Not listed” for my cell phone and boom, again the confirmation page with nothing on it. Once more I go back, select a random mobile phone maker. Finally success, I can pick a cell phone type, including “No listed”. Finally I can get the system to send me my confirmation code, which I plug back into the web page. I am finally done.

I wish someone would keep the carrier list up to date (Cingular did buy ATT last year, and the name change was complete a few months ago), and would put the iPhone on the list of mobile phone (iPhone being the most hyped mobile phone out there). I would not hurt to test the system either, confirmation pages with nothing on it are not “a good thing.”

This is doubly shameful since Yahoo does have a page pushing their mobile interface, with a special ad pushing Yahoo on the iPhone.

Valuations

I could not pass up jumping on the bandwagon and pointing to Kara Swisher’s article on Facebook’s alleged valuation of $15 billion (by way of GigaOM).

I have to give Kudos to Kara Swisher for mentioning PointCast, in my mind the first who held out for higher and higher valuations.

For my part, I just went to look at the market caps of various companies for comparison, here are some interesting ones:

Sun Microsystems $19.77B
Apple $152.87B
Google $177.14B
Amazon $38.50B
EBay $53.18B

Compressing text

Elias Torres has a very interesting post about an investigation into compressing content stored in MySQL.

At Feedster, feed post content is compressed and stored in MySQL. When I was there, we were using MySQL 4.1.x which did not support compression natively, so we had to roll our own.

What we did was to use zlib to compress and store the compressed content if it was smaller than the original content. This is significant because some content compressed to a size larger than the original content. So when we extracted the content, we has to check the first two bytes and decompress the content if we found “\a120\a156″ at the start of the file. We stored all our content in utf-8, and “\a120\a156″ is not valid utf-8, so we were knew that we would not decompress content by mistake.

The decompression was done by whatever client accessed the data (an API in our case), and we generally found that this was not onerous to do.

Useful tips for MySQL newbies

Some useful tips for MySQL newbies.

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