Particle Debris (week ending 2/27) Adobe Snooze, News Muse, Safari Blues

Last Friday, this item didn't make the cut. David Alison posted a list of his favorite ten free Mac utilities. He's built a handsome page with icons and descriptions of that he likes about each. Chances are, you'll find one there that needs a home on your Mac.

If you're a UNIX nut case like me, you'll find an interesting presentation that Apple's Jordan Hubbard gave at a recent Usenix conference. Mr. Hubbard is currently the Director of the UNIX Technology Group at Apple and is a BSD guru. It was published back in 2008, but I just found the public posting this week. Grab the PDF file while you can and be prepared to ignore his comment about Snow Leopard shipping in Q1, 2009. Or maybe he knows something we don't?

Google's motto, back in its early days was something like, "Do no evil." However, large wealthy companies, just like large wealthy countries, just can't help themselves. I saw an article on Wednesday about how Google tried to silence critics. This is for those of you still living in Fantasy Land and eating at the Disney cafe.

On Wednesday, I saw our own news about how Adobe published a security update to Flash 10. I installed version, but what to my wondering eyes should appear but 10.0.r22 in the Get Info and Safari 4 (beta) Installed Plug-ins listing. I verified several ways. It's a plain old Adobe screw up. And what's with that numbering scheme? And why must I have the big Adobe apps loaded to get Flash update notices? With so many critical security flaws, there should be a stand alone Flash updater.

By the way, if you want to know which version is installed without looking at Get Info for the Plug-in, Adobe has an on-line test page.

Also on Wednesday I saw an amusing story about an AT&T customer who ran up up a US$28,000 phone bill in an unexpected way. It's not what you think. One would surmise that AT&T's computers would look at the average bill per month and trigger a stop service when the customer gets to 3X average. Even American Express does a better job of protecting me. It's time for AT&T to learn how to use computers to protect their customers instead of gouge them. (This fellow got the bill reversed.)

How do you distinguish "illegitimate news" from "legitimate news"? The California appellate court doesn't think one can do that. With the demise of so many newspapers, citizen journalists are going to be taking up the slack and keeping a eye on local politicians. (At least I hope.) Accordingly, all journalists need the same protections. This article at The Daily Online Examiner has food for thought.

Oh Boy. Not only is there trouble in River City, but there's trouble in Windowsville too. At CRN's Channel Web Test Center, the Windows 7 migration testing was "described graciously as 'ugly'." There are oodles of scarry quotes in this Fortune article.

Netflix just can't contain themselves. While Microsoft makes one mistake after another and Apple just sits around doing nothing with Apple TV, Netflix keeps on dreaming up new ways to vex the competition and move smartly forward. Seeing the success of their streaming option, which is currently free for regular mail customers, Netflix may be ready to monetize that streaming technology as well as appeal to new customers by offering a streaming only service. Once they put a value on that, they can legitimately raise rates for mail customers and either cash in or reduce their physical inventory. It's going to cost us more in the long run, but I can't fault Netflix for being savvy.

Even though the Japanese aren't fond of the iPhone because it doesn't have a camcorder mode, there are still a lot of cool apps that can help get the most out of the still camera. On Thursday, iLounge published an extensive overview with lots of demo photos.

Finally, for those who have been experimenting with the beta of Safari 4, it's didn't take long for users to dig into the hidden preferences and make a list. If messing with beta software doesn't give you that special thrill, you can try messing around with these settings. Moving the Tab bar back where it blongs might be the most useful of the settings for those with the Tab blues.

Question: Why do we "surf" with Safari? Shouldn't it have been named "Haleiwa"? Yeah, yeah, I know...