Feed Readers – Web Apps Or Desktops Apps? Which Is Better?

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Internet, Technology

The debate still continues. Do you prefer using web based applications or software installed directly on your computer? In past articles we’ve covered word processors and Twitter clients. In this article I will be discussing the debate as it pertains to free feed readers.
If you like to keep up with online content via feeds, you’re probably familiar with what a feed reader is. However, if you need more information about what feeds are all about, check out this article explaining a bit more about feeds and readers: What is a feed reader?
There are two kinds of free feed readers out there. There are feed readers you log on and access online (web application) and there are the feed readers that you download and install directly on your computer (desktop application). Let’s take a look at the differences and discuss some of the pluses and minuses of each.
The Web-Based Feed Reader
Many people prefer the web-based variety of feed reader. Most of the time it is because they can log on and access their feeds from any computer connected to the Internet. These free reader programs (of which there are many) are hosted on remote servers so much of the resource load is carried by the remote servers.
There are several popular web-based feed readers. My personal favorite is Netvibes mostly because I enjoy the interface. However, one of the most popular web-based feed readers is Google Reader which is very versatile offering many features.
Minuses? Feeds aren’t actually downloaded for offline viewing like a desktop reader. You may also have to deal with a slower load time. Also, you need a browser window open whenever you want to keep an eye on your feeds which uses memory.
Still, many still choose the web-based feed reader over the desktop feed reader.
The Desktop Feed Reader
Many people also prefer a desktop feed reader. They make this choice for many reasons, including more features and not having to have a browser open. These people also like having articles available to read offline when the Internet is not available.
There are a few favorites that people seem to like such as FeedDemon and BlogBridge.
Minuses? While on other computers, your feeds won’t be accessible with the same interface. Also, your own computer’s resources will be used to load your feeds, etc. This may not be that big of a deal for everyone, but it may be for some. Also, not everyone can or wants to have another program installed.
Conclusion?
Personal conclusion, if you choose to acknowledge it, is that it depends on each persons preferences and situation. For instance, if you jump computers a lot, a web based feed reader may be a good choice for you. If you are always on one computer and you don’t mind installing another program, then a desktop reader may be a good choice.
You also need to look at how much access you have to the Internet. If you are always on, a web based reader will work fine for you. If access is spotty, or you travel a lot and there’s not always Internet available, a desktop reader may be more suitable.

Rupert Murdoch Confirms Plans for Wall Street Journal iPad Application

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, Applications, Internet, iPad

The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) on comments from Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of parent company News Corp., who noted that the newspaper will be present on the iPad and that Apple has provided the company with access to one of the tablet devices. The newspaper’s iPad device is apparently kept under very tight security overseen by Apple itself.
Mr. Murdoch said the Journal planned to be on Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer. “In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” he said in response to a question. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.” Mr. Murdoch said he believed in a year or so there will be a half dozen or more devices on which consumers will be able to receive newspapers and other media.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently traveled to meet with executives at The Wall Street Journal and other publications in order to sell them on the promise of the iPad. Jobs’ visit to the Journal also reportedly included arguments against the use of Flash on Apple’s mobile devices, making the case to newspaper executives that they should embrace alternative technologies.

Hulu for iPad Likely to Be a Paid Subscription Service

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Internet, iPad, Technology

Last week, a report that video site Hulu might be making its way to the iPad generated a significant amount of interest, with many users excited about the prospect of free access to television content on Apple’s forthcoming tablet device. MediaMemo reports, however, that iPad access to Hulu is more likely to come as part of a paid subscription package than as free access like the computer-based version of the site.
Hulu and its owners — three of the big broadcast TV networks — want to bring some version of the Web video service to Apple’s device.
But the most likely scenario is one where access to Hulu on the iPad comes as part of a subscription package, multiple people familiar with the company tell me.

Hulu has in the past noted that it is looking for a way to introduce paid content to its offerings, and today’s report indicates that company executives may be thinking that the best way to achieve that goal while preserving the free experience for computer-based users is to charge for mobile-based content such as that which would appear on the iPad.
And while you could argue that the iPad isn’t necessarily a mobile device, since 3G Internet access is an optional feature, Hulu and its owners are likely to classify it as one. Like many other content owners, the video service sees the device as an opportunity to charge for something it has been giving away for free on the Web.
Aside from the previously-documented hurdle Hulu faces with its current video player being Flash-based and Apple’s mobile devices not supporting the standard, the company would also need to secure mobile rights from content providers before being able to offer such a service to the iPad and other mobile platforms.
Consequently, the report concludes that Hulu for the iPad is unlikely to launch alongside the device itself next month, but users can probably expect in some form, likely paid, in the future.

If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Internet, Security, Social Networking, Technology, Web Development
Friday, January 22, 2010
provided by: New York Times

Back at the dawn of the Web, the most popular account password was “12345.”
Despite all the reports of Internet security breaches over the years, including the recent attacks on Google’s e-mail service, many people have reacted to the break-ins with a shrug.
According to a new analysis, one out of five Web users still decides to leave the digital equivalent of a key under the doormat: they choose a simple, easily guessed password like “abc123,” “iloveyou” or even “password” to protect their data.
“I guess it’s just a genetic flaw in humans,” said Amichai Shulman, the chief technology officer at Imperva, which makes software for blocking hackers. “We’ve been following the same patterns since the 1990s.”
Mr. Shulman and his company examined a list of 32 million passwords that an unknown hacker stole last month from RockYou, a company that makes software for users of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The list was briefly posted on the Web, and hackers and security researchers downloaded it. (RockYou, which had already been widely criticized for lax privacy practices, has advised its customers to change their passwords, as the hacker gained information about their e-mail accounts as well.)
The trove provided an unusually detailed window into computer users’ password habits. Typically, only government agencies like the F.B.I. or the National Security Agency have had access to such a large password list.
“This was the mother lode,” said Matt Weir, a doctoral candidate in the e-crimes and investigation technology lab at Florida State University, where researchers are also examining the data.
Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used “123456″ as a password. The second-most-popular password was “12345.” Others in the top 20 included “qwerty,” “abc123″ and “princess.”
More disturbing, said Mr. Shulman, was that about 20 percent of people on the RockYou list picked from the same, relatively small pool of 5,000 passwords.
That suggests that hackers could easily break into many accounts just by trying the most common passwords. Because of the prevalence of fast computers and speedy networks, hackers can fire off thousands of password guesses per minute.
“We tend to think of password guessing as a very time-consuming attack in which I take each account and try a large number of name-and-password combinations,” Mr. Shulman said. “The reality is that you can be very effective by choosing a small number of common passwords.”
Some Web sites try to thwart the attackers by freezing an account for a certain period of time if too many incorrect passwords are typed. But experts say that the hackers simply learn to trick the system, by making guesses at an acceptable rate, for instance.
To improve security, some Web sites are forcing users to mix letters, numbers and even symbols in their passwords. Others, like Twitter, prevent people from picking common passwords.
Still, researchers say, social networking and entertainment Web sites often try to make life simpler for their users and are reluctant to put too many controls in place.
Even commercial sites like eBay must weigh the consequences of freezing accounts, since a hacker could, say, try to win an auction by freezing the accounts of other bidders.
Overusing simple passwords is not a new phenomenon. A similar survey examined computer passwords used in the mid-1990s and found that the most popular ones at that time were “12345,” “abc123″ and “password.”
Why do so many people continue to choose easy-to-guess passwords, despite so many warnings about the risks?
Security experts suggest that we are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of things we have to remember in this digital age.
“Nowadays, we have to keep probably 10 times as many passwords in our head as we did 10 years ago,” said Jeff Moss, who founded a popular hacking conference and is now on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. “Voice mail passwords, A.T.M. PINs and Internet passwords — it’s so hard to keep track of.”
In the idealized world championed by security specialists, people would have different passwords for every Web site they visit and store them in their head or, if absolutely necessary, on a piece of paper.
But bowing to the reality of our overcrowded brains, the experts suggest that everyone choose at least two different passwords — a complex one for Web sites were security is vital, such as banks and e-mail, and a simpler one for places where the stakes are lower, such as social networking and entertainment sites.
Mr. Moss relies on passwords at least 12 characters long, figuring that those make him a more difficult target than the millions of people who choose five- and six-character passwords.
“It’s like the joke where the hikers run into a bear in the forest, and the hiker that survives is the one who outruns his buddy,” Mr. Moss said. “You just want to run that bit faster.”

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