Category Archives: Miscellaneous

My own Time-Zone

I just got my own time-zone, look at the photo below:

guya_net_timezone1

My time zone is GMT-1 when most of my co-workers are GMT+2. Actually this started as some kind of a joke on my expense but I like it a lot, it clears things up to others. Don’t ask if I’ve arrived yet just look at the clocks, it’s not even morning in my region :D

Seeing a website being hacked in real time

You always hear about these stuff, a website has been hacked and its landing page has been changed by the hacker. But, what are the chances you’ll get to see that, as it happens, on a large website.
It was 48 hours ago. I went to checkout weeworld.com, a cool avatars creators which recently released a nice new feature for theire avatars called weeRooms.

To my surprise this is the page that was loaded:

Weeworld hacked 1

After rechecking that I got the URL right, I opened the website in IE as well and got the valid weeworld website. This likely happened, and I’m only guessing here, cause their load-balancer served me with a different weeworld server, one that hasn’t been hacked yet. When I refreshed a minute later, this server gave me the hacker page as well. It gave the feeling that this is a hack in progress and the hacker is going through all of their servers and changing the landing pages (index.aspx).

IT try to fight back:

Weeworld hacked 2

Server is down:

Weeworld hacked 3

Website is down:

Weeworld hacked 4
It took another few minutes and the website was completely down (probably by weeworld IT). It took a few more hours and the weeworld website was up and running again. Congrats to the IT for getting a hold of this hack and fixing it in a short time which probably felt like eternity.

I guess it’s satisfactory for the hacker to hack a relatively large website like weeworld. But, what with these 1990’s styled hacker landing pages?! Don’t they want to update it to something more contemporary? Something more Web2.0’ish with gradients and reflections and a little bit of Ajax, or better yet write it all in Flex. A guy who can baffle the minds of full security crews can’t come out with an appropriate web page? The same way developers became design / usability aware interactive developers, I think we should have also usability aware hackers.

The hacker landing page also included two prank scripts that i don’t think even work since windows 98.

This VB script is supposed to open your CD drive. VS script?! What is the computability of VB script?!

[vb]Set oWMP = CreateObject(“WMPlayer.OCX.7″ )
Set colCDROMs = oWMP.cdromCollection

if colCDROMs.Count >= 1 then
For i = 0 to colCDROMs.Count – 1
colCDROMs.Item(i).Eject
Next ‘ cdrom
End If[/vb]

This Javascript is suppose to shake your browser:

[js]function shake(shakes, vibration) {
for (i = shakes; i > 0; i–) {
self.moveBy(i, vibration);
self.moveBy(-i, -vibration);
}
}

shake(‘100′,’100′)[/js]

Both scripts look like they were created by some program.

I’m glad that weeworld.com is up and running again and probably in a more secure way, check them out they have some cool stuff.

Apparently iskorpitx is a famous Turkish hacker who’s been doing this for a long time, he even got a promo video in youtube. Is that a Web2.0 hacker or what?!

Hostlynx 2.0 – Serious Flex app

There is a claim that there isn’t enough serious Flex applications out there. I’ve recently had the honor to preview an impressive one, and also to conduct a short interview with Dima Gutzeit the Project Manager of this app, named Mailvision Hostlynx 2.0.
This is another one for you to showoff when arguing for the right technology for your next application, currently there are only some information and screenshots, but, I’ll let you know when a full demo is publicly available.

Hostlynx 2.0 - Screenshot2 small

Hostlynx 2.0 - Screenshot1 small

Q: What is Hostlynx 2.0?

A: Hostlynx 2 is the next generation of MailVision Class 5 SoftSwitch for VOIP telephony (SIP protocol). The product allows a system provider to setup a telephony network and offer advanced telephony services to its subscribers (IPCentrex). System management of the solution is based on Flex+Webservices.

Q: Who is the audience of this application?

A: Service providers and corporates who wishes to enter the fast evolving VOIP market.

Q: Why do you think Flash is the right technology for this project?

A: During the research for the project we have considered several technologies, including various AJAX toolkits, JSF and etc. The following convinced us to go with Flash/Flex: Flash player is installed on 98% of desktop computers so in majority of cases it will not require any client side installations. We wanted to deliver the best user experience we could and flash allowed us to do that.

Q: Generally, how is this app structured, client, backend, architecture etc’?

A: Our application uses webservices to communicate between client and server, where Flex application is used as a webservices client and JAXWS on the server side. When we started working with Flex (2.0) its webservices implementation was very weak and basic, so we had to create many workarounds on the server side to compensate. Flex 2.0.1 Hotfix 2 changed that, since we were part of the beta program for Hotfix2 and Adobe staff were kind enough to listen to our requests and enhance the webservices implementation.

Q: Have you used Cairngorm?

A: Yes, we do. Our application uses MVC, and this is done by using Cairngorm (2.0). ServiceLocator is responsible for all the webservices related stuff – sending requests and etc.

Q: How many people worked on the project?

A: Project development involved 2-3 developers and one designer. Project duration was around one year.

Q: Did any of the developers had previous experience with Flash or Flex?

A: That was one the “negative” factors when we decided on technology, since none of our developers had any previous experience not with Flash nor ActionScript. The learning curve was not a short one, since all the developers were from Java/JSP world.

Q: Will there be an online demo of the app?

A: We are on Beta 2 release, and a full featured demo will be available as soon as the application is stable enough.

Q: Do you have plans for creating similar apps?

A: I believe that the majority of future web/desktop projects of Mailvision will use Flex/AIR.

Q: What do you think is the future of the Flash platform and RIA in general?

A: Flex rocks :-).

My blog is Iphone compatible

See a bunch of crowded geeks these days?! There is a good chance that Apple’s Iphone is involved. And the first thing that geeks with blogs do is to check theirs on it. I’m proud to announce that my blog is almost completely compatible with the Iphone. But, seriously, while the web experience with the Iphone is the best I’ve seen from such a small device, I don’t understand how can apple call it a not “watered down” version of the Internet without Flash support and not a full Javascript support. There is a fairly good JS support on this scaled, proclaimed to be full, Safari, but, not like what we already used to get from latest generation of browsers. Hopefully these issues will be fixed with the first update.

Screenshots:

Iphone 1

Iphone 2

So Microsoft is interested in Flash ?!

No, not another conspiracy theory about Microsoft, and not another rant about Silverlight, just my latest, somewhat delirious, job search. Few months back I’ve sent my resume to only one HR company. In my resume I’ve clearly stated Flash as my top skill, and oddly enough my first call was from Microsoft. It’s not exactly Redmond but Microsoft Israel also has it’s standards, I guess. I surprisedly asked the person on the other side. – Microsoft is interested in Flash ?! – You’ll be surprised… he replayed. Microsoft, as expected looks like a very nice place to work in, with extremely nice people, there were also some open XBox and joystick boxes that were probably being plugged somewhere. Though there were many motivations, I had to move on, since this was my first offer I had to check some others.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of offers I got, but really got surprised when I’ve asked for a salary which wasn’t that modest at all and got offered more then I’ve asked for. After that I’ve continued to raise the numbers with every job interview and was still getting the flattering OK. It reached to the point when I was uncomfortable to name a figure and felt the need to deeply apologize before doing so.

Another interesting aspect is that even if the company currently isn’t using Flash at all, they seem interested in this “new” cool technology that no “serious” developer seem to know much about. It goes something like “we’re also interested in doing some stuff in flash” or “do you know, what is it called, Flex… ?” and then I start babbling about Flex 2 and Flash 9. Just give me a chance and I wont stop :D.

Obviously it seems like the most interesting places to work in are these risky startups. You can sometimes get to these by using something like jobs@companyname.com. At the young companies there is probably no HR department and this email address is routed to the CTO or even the founders. See an interesting startup on techcrunch in your area? just send ‘em your resume to the jobs address.

At the end it become too stressful to handle, with too many good options and my ex-employer pushing all of my sentimental buttons in order for me to stay. I’m glad I’ve made the right decision and signed up with JAJAH, an exciting Austrian-Israeli-American VOIP 2.0 / Web 2.0 startup. While my original role is an AJAX developer, we’re already looking at ways we can leverage the Flash technology to our needs.

You may call this Bubble 2.0 and you’ll be somewhat right, but theres a big difference this time it is much more realistic. For once, we now have a deadpool.

Uglying your photos with style

You might call it Pimp if you want it to sound cooler, but all in all pikipimp.com will help you make fun of people by uglying their images. Check out how I’ve uglified this beautiful model. You won’t see too many masterpieces coming from there, maybe also because it isn’t meant for creating works of art. The “Pimping” is easily done and is accessible for everyone. You simply upload your photo and immediately you can start to drag elements like beards and glasses on it.

I think, that not so long ago, maybe a year ago, it was unlikely that such a website will emerge. Before the Javascript-goldenage no one would have dare to use such a complex Javascript which now looks very natural to use. Also the hype around such a site wouldn’t be as massive, these days it is mentioned in many of the leading Web 2.0 / technical blogs like Techcrunch and Go2Web2.

While it was neatly done with javascript, and I’ve read the author mentioned Ruby, some apps are just ment to be flashed. For example, rotating the elements is done by the server and suffer from a long unintuitive delay, Flash could easily handle these rotations on the client. Also, the stacking of the elements is done by setting the HTML div’s position to absolute, that’s the only way z-index can be applied in HTML, on the other hand, your image is embeded along with the relative site structure, so, if you resize your page your creation get scrambled. There are many more improvements that Flash could have handled, I won’t have to tell you everything, when every stupid innovation is worth millions of dollars and can be called a Start-Up these days ;) lol.

Get piki-pimping…

PikiPimp Interface

pikipimp_glasses

Every element has it’s own controls

pikipimp_controls

Original photo

pikipimp_model_small

Pimped (uglified) photo

pikipimp_pimped

Tired of Ricki Lake?

Mr Paul Neave is not the next trash-TV host, he is a “serial Flash fettler and interactive designer”, or at least thats what he calls himself. He is a Flash experimentalist who creates fun and usefull Flash experiences. Few years back it was some high quality open source flash games, an improved version can be found here, sadly the source is not availble anymore. Then came the flash planetarium a cool and accurate way to examine the stars from within the browser. Last year it was flashearth which need no introduction.
And now, his latest experiment is neave.tv a cool replacement for your television. Based on video services like youtube and google video, the improvment is that you can lean back and enjoy the show in full sceen and without the need for you to do anything. Which mean you can be a couch potato again, only this time the shows are in much higher quality :D
check it out, neave.tv