Articles Posted in Tech

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My latest post on Justia’s Legal Marketing & Technology Blog just went live and it is all about Structured Data and the Semantic Web.  I talk and write quite a bit about the Semantic Web and decided it was high time I write a primer on just what it is and why it is important.  Be sure to check it out over on Justia’s blog.

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I did a wrap up of how the Google Assistant compares with its competitors at Apple, Microsoft and Amazon for Justia’s Legal Marketing & Technology Blog.  My brief overview discusses what each of the Digital Personal Assistants brought to the table, and how Google has taken what they see as the best aspect of each and added their own flair.

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Many people have long lamented that unlike Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and many other services, Google+ does not let you use an API to post.  There is an API for posting to Google+ Pages, but Google is restricting this feature to approved services.  Apparently WordPress.com is one of those services, and in the latest 2.7 version of the Jetpack plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs released yesterday, they are extending that service to your own self hosted WordPress blog.

It is interesting to note that the blog post on Jetpack’s blog indicates that this feature works both for Pages and individual profiles as well, which the Google+ Platform API documentation specifically says you cannot do.

This helps save time and energy when posting blog posts, and also helps if you schedule your blog posts for later.  With this feature you can now schedule your blog posts to post at a specified time and rest easy knowing that it will be shared to Google+ at the same time.  This is also a great feature for multi-author blogs.  You can add multiple Google+ Profiles and Pages to the feature and have your posts post both to your individual profile as an author and to a shared page for the blog as a whole.

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After my blog was hacked a few months ago, I’ve been understandably more security conscious on my blog.  One of the things I’ve done is install a few security plugins (most notably Wordfence Security).  Wordfence is an absolutely fantastic security plugin, it monitors the files in your site to make sure that they don’t change unexpectedly, and more importantly it monitors login attempts (and other page requests on your site) for potentially harmful login attempts.

Over the past few weeks a global brute force attack has been targeting wordpress installations.  I first found out about it because Wordfence started notifying me that there were more failed login attempts than usual.

Protect yourself and your blog with the following crucial steps:

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It is hard to believe that it was just 1 year and 1 week ago, Google uploaded to its YouTube channel, a teaser video for a project they had been working out of from their top-secret “moonshot” [x] Labs called Project Glass.

The project was ambitious, an augmented reality layer over your very life, answering questions before you even asked, and all around simplifying your life.

2 Months later at Google I/O 2012, Google staged a “demonstration” involving a blimp, skydivers, BMX Trick bikers and more to show off the device as what seemed like little more than a network connected GoPro camera.  They then asked Developers who are interested in getting an early look at the technology if they would be willing to fork over $1,500 for the chance to be one of the first non-Google employees with this whole new class of Technology.

I and 2,000 other attendees happily stood in a long line to put down our commitment to try it out.  Then, months of agonizing waiting began.  Waiting for a future that was so close we could taste it.

Continue reading →

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If you attempted to visit my blog on Friday using either Firefox or Chrome, you most likely received a warning that the site was compromised and dangerous.  While I’m still not sure how they got through, I can tell you that my blog was compromised.  Code was injected into the site in every place where javascript was being output that attempted to install malware on the computers of people who visited nick.pro.

No it was not because I was lazy and didn’t keep my blog up to date because I did.  The blog was already running the most up to date version of wordpress available.  The compromise most likely came through a vulnerability in one of the plugins or in the theme I was using.

My first inclination would be to pretend that such an embarrassing lapse of security never happened, but I thought that perhaps the tale of how I’ve brought things back up might help others who find their websites hacked as well.

Continue reading →

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The next version of Android is officially Jelly BeansGoogle I/O is almost here, and the Google Developers have created a nifty widget for enabling the live stream of the video on your blog, as well as embedding my own Google+ stream as a Live Blog of sorts, so head on after the break for my live blog where I will post about the stream while it happens.

In preparation for I/O, on the Google Developers Plus page, the Development team has now officially confirmed the name of the next version of Android will be “Jelly Beans.”  The confirmation comes with a new statue on the Googleplex Lawn. Continue reading →

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UPDATE 2012-06-18: My Justia colleague, Dan Vu Quoc, has let me know that the 3rd party shareware Screen Resolution utility for Mac SwitchResX is capable of pushing the Macbook Pro with Retina Display’s resolution up to the full 2880 by 1600 resolution even when not plugged in to an external monitor.  I have tried this out myself, and can confirm it is true!

I’ve used a 28″ monitor plugged into a 17″ Macbook Pro for a long time now, and it’s great to have all that screen real estate when coding for putting my editor window side by side with a browser window for testing, or a terminal window for running server side commands.  I would get so used to having such a high resolution display that when I would unplug to go into a meeting (or take a flight) going down to the 1920 x 1200 resolution that the 17″ Macbook supported (max) was hard for me, there just wasn’t enough screen real estate to get work done effectively.  Add to that just how heavy the 17″ Macbook Pro was and the fact that I am so fat that I can’t actually use the laptop on my lap on the plane, and it was just darn near unusable.

Because of this, I was understandably excited at the announcement of the new Macbook Pro with Retina Display which according to the tech specs supports an astounding 2880 by 1800 resolution, higher resolution than even the 2560 x 1440 resolution of the 28″ Display I use at work.

Unfortunately, as many others have pointed out, you can’t actually set your Macbook Pro to the full 2880 x 1800 resolution.  The screen does support 2880 x 1800 resolution, but Apple’s “Retina Display” technique is to use the extra pixels to make things sharper, not to display more on the screen. Continue reading →

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Since the very beginning, when met with an Atom or RSS feed, Google Chrome responds by rendering the XML as unformatted xml (unless your feed happens to have an XSL stylesheet like feedburner adds).  One of the earliest bugs reported to Google is that this should not be, that it would instead be more friendly to invite the user to subscribe to the feed in a feed reader (like Firefox does) or render the feed yourself (like Safari does).

In the recently released stable Chrome 19, one of the new features is that instead of displaying the XML as unformatted xml, it fires off a view web intent instead.  This may be a good first step towards making feeds friendlier to use.  Instead of seeing a page the average reader doesn’t understand, they could be shown their own apps that they’ve installed. Continue reading →

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Remember when GMail first came out?  1GB of email was unheard of, especially in a free service at the time.  One of Google’s big selling points was “you’ll never need to delete another message.”  It was right there on the home page.  If you compare the home pages from 2004 and today for Gmail you’ll note they still refer to it as being “Lots of space” but they no longer say you’ll never need to delete another message.  The message about never deleting email disappeared sometime between March, 2009 and December 2009.

Why did the message go away?  Because the users proved that 1GB (then 2GB, then 4GB, then 7GB) simply wasn’t enough to store EVERY email.  To combat this, back in 2007, Google released a means of purchasing more storage space at a rate of 6GB for $20/year, this storage would be shared amongst your Google Docs, GMail, and Picasa accounts.  Over time these prices got even better.  Yesterday you could buy 20GB of storage for $5 a year.

Today however, with the Google Drive release, the prices have changed from being yearly, to being monthly, while yesterday you could get 20GB for $5 a year, today the cheapest plan is 25GB for $2.49 a month (which comes out to $29.88/year).  This is a very significant increase, but it’s not what I find the most annoying:  GMail storage space is now completely separate than Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and Picasa storage.  The 25GB you are purchasing is only for Google Drive and Picasa, not for GMail.