Special Edition of Developer Update--Using Technology for Evil--September 15, 2006

This issue of Developer Update is sponsored by

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~~~~ In This Issue ~~~~

Using Technology for Evil

eLibrary Short Takes - Article Talks About How to Break Down the Great Divide - White Paper Discusses End-to-End Rights Management

Tech Talk - For 'um Developers - Letters to the Editor

Info to Go

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Using Technology for Evil by Scott Swigart, [email protected]

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (aka AJAX) promises to make Web sites interactive in ways that simply weren't feasible in the past. And with various AJAX frameworks, such as the Atlas framework from Microsoft, AJAX programming is getting easier and the developer is largely freed from browser nuances. Some examples of AJAX functionality include input fields that auto- complete and dialog boxes. Hmmm. Dialog boxes. A claim to fame for the early Firefox browser was pop-up blocking. Today, if I actually want a pop-up to appear, I have to convince the MSN Search Toolbar, Yahoo! Toolbar, or Google Toolbar that I really know what I'm doing. (Some Web sites don't function properly without pop-ups.) Despite the rings of defense that keep me safe from pop-ups, none of these blockers seem to give a hoot about AJAX and floating panels. As a result, AJAX is the perfect technology to resurrect the pop-up ad. Unfortunately, you're already starting to see it. Another "great" use for AJAX would seem to be capturing site statistics. It's one thing to know page counts; it's another to have script on the page inform the server of the amount of time the user kept the page open, how far the user scrolled through the page contents, and a list of anything moused- over. AJAX enables every page to contain a statistics surveillance camera. Besides pop-up blocking, another technology that seems destined to fail is CAPTCHA. If you've ever been asked by your computer to decipher a distorted string of characters, you've encountered a CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". The purpose of CAPTCHAs is to prevent computer-powered spam attacks on forums, wikis, blog comments, and any other place where people are allowed to post arbitrary content. To tell computers apart from humans, CAPTCHA programs ask you to solve a test. But, telling computers and humans apart may expose the weakness of this scheme. Last week, I discussed the various Amazon Web services, including an intriguing one called Mechanical Turk. Mechanical Turk effectively reverses the roll of computers and humans. Typically, people use computers to get work done, but Mechanical Turk lets computers use people, almost like turning people into a function call. A technology like this might be an ideal tool for spammers who want to crack CAPTCHAs on a large scale. However, spam works because there's virtually no cost involved in sending it. Raising the cost of sending spam, even a tiny amount, shatters the business model. Still, if running a World of Warcraft Gold Farming (http://www.world-of-warcraft- gold.com) business works, something tells me there's got to be money in breaking CAPTCHAs.

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~~~~ eLibrary Short Takes ~~~~

Article Talks About How to Break Down the Great Divide A long history of Chinese walls has separated traditional development teams (who some regard as cowboys who just throw together software without any fore- or after-thought) from the DBA community members (who some regard as inflexible 9 to 5-ers who implement and maintain those systems). The walls between these two camps often hinder development and therefore decrease the quality of the final software. To read how these teams might reach a common ground, check out Matt Nunn's article "Database Development Teams: The Great Divide" in the September issue of SQL Server Magazine. To read this article, which will be open to the public until September 22, go to http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/92843/sql_server_92843.html

White Paper Discusses End-to-End Rights Management Extend Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) to support enterprise requirements for information protection, including proprietary business data. Download the free whitepaper today! http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/whitepapers/liquidmachines/rightsmgmt/?code=0913featwp

~~~~ Tech Talk ~~~~

For 'um Developers Forum participant dba123 can't get his custom .ascx page to work with FuseTalk global forums. FuseTalk's support staff hasn't been helpful. If you can help, go to http://forums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/messageview.aspx?catid=51&threadid=48780&enterthread=y

Letters to the Editor What's on your mind? Let us know at [email protected]

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