FryUp:Twits Trash Twitter

Oracle-MySQL combo questioned, Intel goes mobile, Microsoft's Zune moves

We are Apple?

Warning: yet another old embarrassing old commercial below.


Up the Twitter

There must be some genetic or cognitive deficiency in certain individuals that causes them to be irritating and dishonest peddlers of rubbish. What it is, I don’t know, but said people are now rolling into Twitter in droves and spoiling the service for normal users.

Worms, phishing attempts, mass-following bots, moronic Mafia games, automatic responses from hacked accounts... Twitter is starting to stink and annoy rather than amuse and be useful. It’s not quite there yet, but today’s barrage of bots had your very own FryUp correspondent seriously considering deleting his account.

The unexpected fix was to use Protected Updates which stopped the follow bots dead but may have inconvenienced real people – apologies for that, the shield will be taken down soon.

If Twitter intends to remain popular and justify its billion dollar valuation, it needs to work harder on filtering out the abusers. Otherwise, everyone will go to Facebo... oh wait, that’s just as bad.

- New Twitter worm strikes

- Facebook turns out light on Beacon adware

Computerworld/PC World NZ/Reseller News crew Twitter accounts – feel free to follow, and we’ll return the favour:

Databases dash deal

Taking a gamble on regulators being lame ducks can backfire, as Larry Ellison of Oracle is finding out currently. He’s been quoted as saying Sun Microsystems, as acquired by Oracle for US$7 billion, is shedding value at the rate of US$100 million a month – because EU regulators aren’t happy about Ellison’s company owning both Oracle and MySQL databases.

This is a tricky situation for Oracle, because much of the value behind buying Sun lies in MySQL. The company behind the Swedish open source database was itself bought by Sun in 2008, before both ended up being pushed towards the Oracle fold this year.

MySQL has millions of installations around the world, and is a database that everyone who sets up web apps will come across at some point. Oracle’s history goes back to the seventies, and its database management system is something of an enterprise standard.

Together they cover a fat chunk of the database market, and the EU regulators don’t like that being in the hands of a single company.

Ideally, Ellison would like to keep both but this could prove to be difficult, especially since there’s dissent within the MySQL camp at Sun. MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius thinks the current 5.1 release is buggy and bad, and has left to form the Open Database Alliance in protest.

So far, Ellison’s showing no signs of caving and Oracle’s competition is showing no mercy, going after Sun’s customers while the acquisition’s on hold.

- Oracle: Sun losing US$100 million a month

- Ellison: We won’t spin off MySQL

Intel sheds Silverlight on Linux

The chip giant’s US-side tech fest is on again, with hardware galore like 22nm SRAM parts, USB 3.0, Light Peak 10Gbit/s optical interconnects for mobiles and of course, the usual slew of new go-faster processors. The big push is towards mobile devices, laptops, netbooks and handhelds, and using even less power than before, both of which was to be expected.

This is enough to warm the cockles of geeks’ hearts, but what Intel’s doing on the software side is worth mentioning too. Google and Adobe can consider themselves jilted by Intel in favour of Microsoft and the Linux community. Bizarre as it sounds Microsoft’s given Intel the code for Silverlight, its Adobe Flash competitor, to port to Moblin, a Linux-based open source OS.

Actually, it’s probably not so much bizarre, but healthy competition for Adobe and Google, and that’s a good thing – if it comes off. The Moblin Mob includes big boys like Dell, Foxconn and Acer, which looks impressive on paper but it remains to be seen if the handful of Moblin devices currently expands into a proper product range.

- Intel Connects PCs to Devices Using Light

- Microsoft and Intel port Silverlight to Linux

No Fune

Speaking of Microsoft mobile devices, it’s fair to say Redmond has a problem there. Windows Mobile is losing market and mindshare to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android and the situation is getting desperate. The new Zune is probably not bad, but it doesn’t seem to be able to take on the iPhone. Keeping the Zune out of most worldwide markets may have something to do with that.

Microsoft seems to have problems rising to the mobile challenge in other words, but whispers started spreading about Project Pink that would whack the iPhone off the board. That’s what Microsoft has to do, no exceptions, to stay in the mobile game so it comes out with the Turtle and Pure, two very ordinary looking devices.

Actually, that can’t be right. Microsoft knows it has to do better than the iPhone, and not come out with a pair of dull phones. The Turtle and Pure are surely planted at Gizmodo by evil competitors to discredit Microsoft. Or, by Microsoft itself, looking to lull Apple et al into a false sense of security. That must be it. Because if it isn’t...

The Courier prototype tablet looks cool though –this is what Microsoft should aim for in every device:
Handwriting recognition FTW.


- The Pink Phone pictures Microsoft doesn’t want you to see yet


Our telco watchdog works diligently, but in mysterious ways. This week, it reported that NZ broadband is getting better, based on measuring mostly DSL lines by the looks of it.

Looking at the plans listed, it doesn't appear that Epitiro, which did the work for the Commission, tested any LLU connections from Orcon and Vodafone, which means the thing is mainly a probe of how Telecom's DSL and TelstraClear cable works.

That turning off interleaving boosts speed "significantly" is curious too. Interleaving is a way to ensure integrity of data transmission over DSL that involves queuing up packets instead of sending them on as they come in, and hope that they arrive at the end point as intended. It's useful on longer and marginal connections, as it makes them more stable, but it does add latency, something like 40 to 50ms as per Telecom's settings.

Wannabe Low Ping Bastard Gamers insist on interleaving being turned off for that reason, as it helps them play against overseas opponents (we're a long way from everywhere, and the physical distance adds delay already). Increased latency is something that modern TCP/IP stacks can compensate for automagically though, and it shouldn't usually affect speeds, so this is a new one for me and the network techies I've talked to. Worth some further investigation then.

As for using caching of international content as a way to "improve"

broadband performance, that is just misguided. The internet is a two-way street; we receive data and we send data. Sure, getting your data locally rather than from overseas makes it go faster, but how does caching help you send stuff? Besides, not all data can be cached. So, better to have improved overseas capacity instead.

Today, another missive arrived from the Commission that's again a little hard to fathom. Apparently, the regulation of Telecom's fixed-line services has been so effective that there is now competition in that area. Which is good, right? So good in fact that the Commission now proposes to remove the regulation in this area because... there is now competition. Perhaps we're missing something here, but since when did a new nationwide fixed-line telecommunications network spring up? You know, the one that provides an alternative to Telecom's PSTN?

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