24 Apr 2008, 1:56 a.m.

The End of Mowser is Not the End of the Mobile Web

In the last few days there has been a certain amount of rather sensationalistic and poorly informed commentary floating around on tech sites and blogs, predicting the immediate death of the mobile web. For example, this piece on CNET, and The Register's dramatically titled A Requiem for the Mobile Web.

And what is the basis for this doom-and-gloom mongering? Well, it turns out that a poorly-marketed twelve-month-old startup, named Mowser, which has never been able to attract VC, and seemingly staked its future entirely on its ability to attract VC, has called it a day.

That's it.

Posted by Simon Read more »
22 Apr 2008, 1:36 p.m.

Why is mail.police.gov.bd Attempting to Hack Me?

I keep a distracted eye on failed logins to the mighty Pointbeing.net datacentre, courtesy of logwatch [1]. Here's the list of attempts from yesterday:

Authentication Failures:
root (mail.police.gov.bd): 452 Time(s)
unknown (mail.police.gov.bd): 403 Time(s)
root ( 17 Time(s)
adm (mail.police.gov.bd): 6 Time(s)
lp (mail.police.gov.bd): 4 Time(s)
mysql (mail.police.gov.bd): 4 Time(s)
root (securityscan.xtraordinary.net.uk): 4 Time(s)
unknown (securityscan.xtraordinary.net.uk): 4 Time(s)
apache (mail.police.gov.bd): 3 Time(s)
ftp (mail.police.gov.bd): 3 Time(s)
bin (mail.police.gov.bd): 2 Time(s)
bin (securityscan.xtraordinary.net.uk): 2 Time(s)
daemon (mail.police.gov.bd): 2 Time(s)
games (mail.police.gov.bd): 2 Time(s)
gopher (mail.police.gov.bd): 2 Time(s)
ftpsecure (mail.police.gov.bd): 1 Time(s)

Now, securityscan.xtraordinary.net.uk is a monitoring service provided by my hosting company, Xtraordinary Hosting, who I strongly recommend. I don't know who or what is, but a quick visit to DNSstuff suggests that it's probably a run of the mill hacking attempt orignating from China.

Of particular interest to me are the many hundreds of attempts originating from mail.police.gov.bd. That appears to be the Bangladeshi police's own webmail server, running an alpha of SquirrelMail. The pattern of the login attempts corresponds strongly with that of a compromised server.

Has anyone else seen this in their logs? Is there any point in emailing the Bangladeshi police to let them know?

[1] Seriously guys, who runs their website on port 81?

Posted by Simon Read more »
5 Apr 2008, 10:02 p.m.

An Introduction to Fire Eagle

A definite highlight of Over the Air 2008 was London-based Yahoo Steve Marshall's introduction to Fire Eagle. For those not in the loop (which, to be fair, is most people: Fire Eagle is currently only open to a limited number of invited developers) Fire Eagle is Yahoo!'s brand new API for location-based services.

Posted by Simon Read more »
3 Apr 2008, 11:30 a.m.

Hint to Employers

Here's a handy hint to the employers and facilities managers out there, which shouldn't really need stating:

Do not expect your developers to be happy and productive in an office heated to 28° or 29°: they won't be.

A corollary to this rule is:

Don't rent offices from Regus.

Luckily, we're moving in a few weeks' time.

Posted by Simon Read more »