July 30, 2003

On to ZoneAlarm Pro

My 30-day eval period for Tiny Personal Firewall V5.0 beta has expired. Now, who ever heard of a company applying the 30 days to a beta? -- you'd think they'd want people to continue to test. Anyway, I'm now running a 30-day eval of ZoneAlarm Pro V4.0.123.012. I don't care much for the UI but I never have -- too flashy for me. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. Right now, Tiny is my fave, even with the bugs/problems. Note that I haven't had any functional problems, just issues with the UI ... I can deal with that.

Posted by tony at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

What port is what?

Got this from the Windows XP mailing list maintained by Sunbelt Software (great mailing list, BTW -- there are lots more here). If you've got a port that's open or being listened to on your system, chances are you can find it at one of these sites.


Posted by tony at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2003

Performer-class earphones

Shure In-Ear Earphones reviewed here.

Seen those things stuck in performers ears at concerts? Those are "monitoring devices" that, apparently, block out a lot of sound except what's coming through the earphone (they claim 10-20dB attenuation). ExtremeTech explains about 'em and reviews 2 of Shure's. Go to Shure and look for E1C and the E2C.

Posted by tony at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

Woody de-hypes the Windows password debacle

Woody Leonhard does it again. In this issue of Woody's Windows Watch, he discusses the truth behind the story circulating last week about cracking Windows passwords in less than 15 seconds. Well worth reading!

He also discusses Windows Product Activation -- seems that someone has gone through every byte sent to Microsoft during the activation process and has been able to account for all but a couple of bytes.

Posted by tony at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2003

MSDN site lists VB weblogs

This is all over the ASP.NET weblogs. MSDN has put up this page that lists some VB weblogs. Here's Duncan Mackenzie's post about it ... he's apparently the author/owner and maintainer of the page.

Posted by tony at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Free downloadable book -- Thinking in C++

Read about it in this particular ASP.NET weblog. Bruce Eckel's "Thinking in C++" is available as a download or you can buy it from Amazon.com. The author of the weblog entry swears by the book. I'll have to download it and give it a look-see. I'm an old C programmer and was just getting in to C++ when I went over to the dark side (read: joined management). Fortunately, the "good" side kept drawing me back and I ended up trying to help both sides understand each other ... but that's another story.

Posted by tony at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

Trustic : creating blocklists

Slashdot has a pointer to this article on O'ReillyNet by Dru Nelson who talks about Trustic -- a service by Mark Fletcher, creator of Bloglines.com. The deal is, Trustic creates blacklists based on feedback from its registered members.

Anyway, this mention is part of a larger discussion about "Defending Your Site Against SPAM" -- Part 1 and Part 2. Part 2 discusses implementing protection with qmail and how to incorporate Trustic into your configuration. Very interesting stuff!

Posted by tony at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

Amazon.com RSS feeds, explained

Gary Burd's weblog explains how to construct your own RSS feed of an amazon.com query. It's really not hard, either -- it's all in the URL. Sorry, but I can't remember where I found this link (I like to credit my sources when I can). It was probably one of the Lockergnome newsletters ... errr ... RSS feeds. Now, that I'm using bloglines.com and RSS, I rarely read newsletters anymore -- no reason to!

And, from this entry in Dan Gillmor's eJournal there's this link to a page on Amazon.com discussing their syndicated content. It also gives a couple of good links to more information on RSS and readers.

Posted by tony at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

MSDN RSS feeds info

Published by Microsoft. See this list of their feeds.

Posted by tony at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

Advanced Networking Pack for Windows XP released

You can download it here (a 1,247KB download) and read more about it in MSKB article 817778. Briefly, it includes IPV6 support, including a firewall, and support for the peer-to-peer networking components (peer-to-peer networking name resolution, peer-to-peer networking graphing, peer-to-peer networking grouping and the peer-to-peer networking identity manager). If you're interested, read the MSKB article.

Posted by tony at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

Mailami.com : test account

I've set my test mailami.com account up to block everyone so if you want to see what kind of bounce message you get, send it email. I tried it and the bounce message is just as they say and the go one step further: they request that the sender remove this address from their lists. Will that help? -- probably not but it can't hurt, either.

Posted by tony at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2003

New SPAM blocking service : mailami.com

Betanews.com reports on it here. No Bayesian filters, no blacklist/whilelist server, no training the service, (right now) it's just a simple list of block and allow rules that YOU add. Still, if someone on your block list tries to send email, it never leaves their server -- they're informed that they've been blocked (or something like that ... I'll have to test it and see). If that's the case, I kinda like that approach. Rule maintenance could be a pain, though. It's a new service and there are quite a few rough edges (I've sent them 4 comments in the first 5 minutes of my having an account). Try sending me email : ts-test -- at -- mailami --dot-- com.

Service is free for individuals even though it appears that you have to pay something after a 7 day evaluation period.

Posted by tony at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2003

Xenarc CP-1000 in-dash car-puter

I kid you not, Xenarc makes a computer that fits in your dashboard. 266MHz Pentium with 128M RAM, 15G disk, USB, PCMCIA slots and more. Although, if you look at the bottom of the page it says

"This product has been temporarily discontinued. We are currently working on a version with faster processor speed, possibly Pentium 3 based platform so that it would support Windows XP. Please check back with us in a couple of months for more information. Mean while, please take a look at our new Pentium 3 based MP-SC1 12V DC Carputer."

Posted by tony at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Internet Safety for the non-geek

GetNetWise.org discusses how to keep you, your computer, your kids, your identity safe, omitting the jargon and the hype/crap and is backed/supported by the likes of AOL, Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast, Earthlink and a host of others. To some that may sound like damning evidence but the stuff I've seen there is generally worthwhile.

Posted by tony at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

Agile Development

MSDN TV has a good media file of a discussion among team leaders of agile (lighweight) development methods. It's called "Agile Development in the Enterprise". I've seen this discussed in the ASP.NET Weblogs and it's pretty intriguing. I'll provide more details as I get them.

Posted by tony at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

The World Blogger

Don't know if this is an exclusive or not but you see that little map of the world up there next to the blogmatrix and blogrss logos? Well, blogmatrix hasn't announced it yet but they're getting ready to do so and I was just given a link to the page. Pretty cool! All the sites that provide location information to them is/will be mapped.

Posted by tony at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

My RSS feed should give full text now

The BlogMatrix.com folks have figured out how to give the users of the free Blogger service (not Blogger Pro) a full-text RSS feed. And it's free, too! So, that little up there will now give you a full-text RSS feed of this weblog complete with the correct title for each entry.

I've got Moveable Type V2.64 installed but the Blogger service is very easy and convenient to use. Coupled with the speed of the free hosting service provided by BlogSpot, it's a nearly unbeatable combination in my opinion. No, Blogger isn't as fancy as the MT system, nor is it as flexible and I've gotta find services that will provide an RSS feed and a comment capability but these are (hopefully) one-time investments in time on my part.

Posted by tony at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

PCWorld.com : RSS FAQ for End Users

A barely passable article (here) for the uninitiated. It's, like 4 paragraphs and glosses over the majority of the details, concentrating on the "news" aspect. Still, if you know nothing about RSS, it's a start. It directs you to the information areas from the largest providers (Yahoo's and Google's) and makes no mention of my favorite reader, bloglines.com

Posted by tony at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2003

"Legal" music sharing

Seen Cringely's article on legal music sharing (here)? Doubt it would stand hold up in court but it'd be fun. Got a few million you're not using?

Posted by tony at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

oNew TweakUI PowerToy V2.10.00.00

This has been written about in a number of places but the best write-up I've seen is in Woody's WINDOWS Watch #6.10 where he discusses system requirements, the new features in V2.10.00.00 and what features've been removed.

Posted by tony at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

OpenOffice 1.1 RC is available

Forgot to put this in here, what, almost two weeks ago when it came up but here's a link to the download page. They fixed a problem in the spreadsheet which prevented it from correctly displaying frozen window splits.

Posted by tony at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2003

Another security site

Rootsecure.net is another security site with good information about holes, exposures and tricks. RSS feed, too.

Posted by tony at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Mailinator - any email address for anyone

Another kinda interesting concept: send email to anything@mailinator.com and the mail will be waiting there for you to pick up. The mail only stays around for a couple of hours and there's no password or anything. Truly "disposable" email addresses.

Posted by tony at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

Worthless Words?

The Worthless Word for today is peirastically

in the way of attempt or experiment, tentatively
[Gr. peirastikos, tentative]

Posted by tony at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Last few hours with this PowerBook

The guy that loaned it to me needs it back so I've gotta let it go. Sure has been nice, though: 15" screen (beeyootiful!), 768M RAM, 667MHz PowerPC G4, OS X 10.2.6, AirPort, Office X. And I was just starting to learn the inner secrets of the underlying Un*x implementation, too. Oh well, maybe someday I'll have one I can call my own.

Posted by tony at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

myRSS.com - build your own RSS feed

Came across this site while browsing bloglines.com top feeds. Looks like you can have it create an RSS feed from a site that doesn't already provide one. It's been in operation since sometime last year and it's still in beta but it looks good to me. So far I haven't created an RSS feed. Maybe one of you would be interested?

Posted by tony at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

WinSCP is up to V3.1

and has been moved to SourceForge. Find more information about it, including download links, here.

Posted by tony at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

TheScreenSavers: WinXP partitioning recommendations

From the July 22 show:

"Leo and Patrick recommend the following partitions.

200MB to 2GB partition for your swap file. This should be your first partition.
C: drive. This is for Windows XP and your applications. Make it 20GB to 40GB.
Partition to hold all your temporary directories. 10GB.
Partition the rest to hold your documents and other personal data."

I'd never considered creating a partition just for TEMP. Hmmmm ... dunno if it'd optimize any head access but it'd sure reduce fragmentation on the other drives. Ditto for a dedicated swap partition.

Posted by tony at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

kbAlertz: Add 802.1x Group Policy Support to XP


Says it was added in SP1 but I can't find it anywhere in gpedit.msc.

Posted by tony at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2003

Buymusic.com launched

Supposedly buymusic.com has more tunes that Apple's store and single cuts are only 79 cents.

(Why is it the EBCDIC character set used on IBM mainframes has a cent-sign but the 7-bit ASCII character set we all use on out machines still doesn't?).

Posted by tony at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 self-paced training

See http://members.microsoft.com/partner/training/updateWS03skills.aspx. This is for Partners only. If you have a current subscription to the Microsoft Action Pack, you're a partner and can sign up. After October 24, 2003 the course will cost $199.

Posted by tony at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

Bloki.com weblog import

Was contacted by someone at bloki.com asking for an export of my weblog here on blogger (along with instructions as to how to effect the export) so they could verify their import processes. Can't wait!

Posted by tony at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

OS X SystemStarter

sudo SystemStarter stop SSH
sudo SystemStarter start SSH
sudo SystemStarter start 'Web Server'
sudo SystemStarter restart Cron

Posted by tony at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

MSKB 821968 IE File Download Dialog Box Display More Info


"The File Download dialog box in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 Service Pack 1 and later has been updated. When you download a file, the File Download dialog box displays additional information about the file."

Posted by tony at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2003

Bloki.com updates

I've had an account at bloki.com for a little while. They provide free web pages and weblogs with a pretty full-featured editor. The service is nice, but it really hasn't been anything to get excited about.

Well, recently they added RSS feeds to each weblog and just within the last day or so each account also has been given the ability to create free forums. And, on top of it all, it looks like they're going to add weblog import so you'll be able to pick up your weblog from another account and transfer it to your bloki.com account.

So, free web pages, free weblog, free RSS feed, free forums ... hmmmm ...

No, I'm not affiliated with bloki.com other than having one of their free accounts.

Posted by tony at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

Blog import/export

There's a really well documented procedure at http://neologasm.org/b2mt/ for exporting a blogger.com weblog and importing it into Movable Type. This is nothing more than the directions you can get from MT but with screen shots for each step.

Posted by tony at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

.NET Framework 1.1 -- what goes where?

MSKB 820892 lists what's installed with .NET Framework V1.1.

Posted by tony at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)


SynchronEX is an interesting looking tool. Can do N-way syncs of files and folders between a laptop, a server and a desktop (for instance) at the click of a (mouse) button.

Posted by tony at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Firewall update

Still not too crazy about it (Kerio V4 beta 5) and this morning, after the laptop going into and out of hibernation about 8 times over the past few days, the Kerio firewall driver failed ... think it ran out of memory. Unfortunately, I was right in the middle of something pretty important so I didn't record anything, just rebooted and took off again. One other problem I had yesterday, it seemed to freeze me out of the network twice after coming back from hibernation. I just disabled and reenabled the firewall and everything got back to normal. It's a beta -- things aren't supposed to work 100% yet.

Aside from those little hiccups, I'm still not comfortable with the interaction mechanism. The color scheme of the pop-ups or something makes me wanna hurry up and permit or deny access as opposed to thoughtfully selecting the right options for the more-or-less permanent rules. And the "simple" rules are recorded in a different place from the "advanced" rules and the two don't mix -- you can't take a simple rule and make it in to an advanced one. I'm gonna stick with it a while longer, though.

Next up is the new Zone Alarm Pro V4. A friend works at ZoneLabs and he's recommending it highly (hi, Alex!) and he's not the kind of guy that would steer me wrong.

Posted by tony at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

Tried WebWasher -- I'll stick with AdSubtract PRO

There's nothing wrong with it, just that I prefer the interaction methods of AdSubtract PRO. Course, WebWasher Classic is free and AdSubtract PRO costs money but I don't think that necessarily has anything to do with it -- the WebWasher folks have plenty of other products that cost money so they probably know how to do a UI fairly cheaply. One thing I do wish, though: that updates for AdSubtract PRO were forthcoming. It seems almost like they've stopped developing it and maintaining the ad database. That said, there's nothing wrong with it. Oh, sure, one thing I'd change: I'd like to be able to request that AdSubtract PRO ask me if I want to allow a pop-up window to appear instead of just always silently killing it -- that's what CookieCop 2 from ZDNet does.

Posted by tony at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

PCWorld has RSS feeds

Check out http://www.pcworld.com/resource/rss/0,00.asp. News as well as top downloads.

Posted by tony at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2003

Fred Langa's 10 Ways to Make XP Run Better

I've been running XP for, what, almost 2 years now and, while I've considered some of his suggestions before, seeing them in print finally motivated me to make some of those changes on my laptop. See his article in Information Week.

Posted by tony at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

Epson C82 : $30 after rebates at Best Buy

See this link at TechBargains -- look for the Epson C82 item. There are 2 rebates: a $50 and a $20. In-store price is $99.99. Printer has both USB and Parallel interfaces. Note this is not a Photo Stylus.

Posted by tony at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2003

RSS feed for additions to the Microsoft Knowledge Base

kbalertz.com has been around for a while, emailing the newest additions to the Knowledge Base to subscribers to the free service. Well, now it's got RSS feeds, too. Go to this page and select the technology you're interested in (don't click on the Hot link, click on the name of the search). You'll see the orange XML logo next to the title of the technology. Grab that link into your favorite RSS reader and you're off. For instance, the RSS feed for "All Microsoft Search Topics" is here.

Posted by tony at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

Firewall face-off: Tiny V5 vs Kerio V4

Both are in beta. I've been running Tiny Personal Firewall V5.0 beta for the past few weeks and like it a lot -- it appeals to my geeky side cause I get to configure rules and roles and filters and application capabilities and stuff like that. For example, you can define a set of authorizations as a "group" and you can assign an application to one of the groups, giving that application all of those authorizations. You can move apps between groups, thereby modifying the authorizations of all of those apps in exactly the same way. Authorizations come in several different flavors: IP addresses, port definitions, file/directory access (read, write, create and delete) and registry key access (like file/directory access).

Kerio V4 beta 5, on the other hand, is a lot simpler. There are applications. You can authorize apps to start, start others and modify (don't really know what this is yet ... the help is less than helpful) and access the network in various ways (by port and/or IP or by network group). There is also an intrusion detection module with high- medium- and low-priority intrusions (why? dunno ... yet).

Of course, both can display the active connections. Kerio groups the display by application (with no way to undo the grouping) whereas Tiny has no grouping, just a list ... which you're supposed to be able to sort.

Right now I'm WAAAYYY in favor of Tiny but I just switched. Gotta give Kerio time to grow on me.

Posted by tony at 04:23 PM | Comments (1)

badblue.com : free ASP-capable web server

Who knew that Windows XP Home doesn't come with a web server? -- Windows 98 does. But it doesn't so you can use this free piece of software along with another, free, 3rd party product: ActiveHTML to run an ASP-capable web server. BadBlue makes it easy to share files (with and without passwords) plus it supports searching and will automatically display images as a photo album. All that and it can do PHP and Perl. And did I say this was all FREE? With these features you may want to run it instead of PWS or IIS.

YMMV, proceed with caution because I haven't actually experimented with this software.

Posted by tony at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

And your last name means ...

Find out at this site. No, my last name isn't listed.

Posted by tony at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

GoogleAlert.com -- persistent searches

That's what we used to call it at one of my previous companies. You have to register and then you can type in your search phrase(s) and Google will search and send you email with the new hits. It was a good idea 4 years ago when we did it and it looks like it's still a good idea.

Posted by tony at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2003

Meerkat : O'Reilly's web-based RSS reader

Came across O'Reilly's Meerkat today although it's apparently been in operation for quite a few months. What is it? Here's what O'Reilly says about it:

"While maintaining the original association of a story with a channel, Meerkat's focus is on chronological order -- the latest stories float to the top, regardless of their source. "

It's an interesting site that my writing skills can't really do justrice. It has to be experienced to really be understood but I'll do my best to describe it. There are "profiles" that restrict the stories that are displayed on the main page. Along with or instead of that you can select categories or specific channels to be displayed. And, of course, you can search the stories. If you register with the O'Reilly Network you can create your own profile.

Posted by tony at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2003

What is RSS and why do (you think) I need it?!?

If you get your online news from more than 2 sources and more frequently than once a week, read on! -- RSS readers can simplify your life.

In a nutshell, RSS is an XML-based standard for publishing information in smallish chunks a lot like stories or news articles (go to this article on about.com -- it's got a good explanation of RSS). Typically, the article will be the same as the original article and will have live hyperlinks to the original story in case you feel you're missing something. In practice, a lot of sites will "publish" an RSS feed that is IDENTICAL to what's on (some of) their pages. For instance, CNet.com publishes their Tech News through this 20-story RSS feed. You can get news stories from that site via your RSS reader and not have to go to CNet's News.com site (here is CNet.com's list of RSS feeds). Computerworld and InfoWorld have RSS feeds, too, (here and here, respectively) as do a lot of other places. Now, imagine that you can get all of this information in ONE place (your RSS reader) as opposed to going to each of those sites. See how it can save time and effort?

How do you find RSS feeds? There are two main sites that publish lists of news-related RSS feeds: NewsIsFree.com and Syndic8.com. Besides that, just about every weblog has an RSS feed and you can find list upon list of those at places like weblogs.com. And if you don't wanna download and install an RSS reader you can use bloglines.com -- it's an online service that provides RSS reading capabilities via your browser.

Posted by tony at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

About.com reviews RSS readers/aggregators

See http://email.about.com/cs/rssfeedreaders/. It's got an introduction to RSS and why you might like it as well as a review of 10 of the most popular readers.

Personally, I use the bloglines.com online service. For a local client, I'm undecided between FeedDemon (still in beta but it will ultimately be a commercial product) and WildGrape's NewsDesk (free).

Posted by tony at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2003

SF Bay Fry's ads are online

Actually, it turns out that just about every ad in the San Jose Mercury News is online at http://newpaperads.mercurynews.com. You can browse by category ("Electronics & Appliance Stores") or by advertiser. You can even set up an email alert so you'll be notified when an ad shows up that matches your search criteria. Typically the ad will be displayed in a smaller format which can be zoomed. Today's Fry's ad, for instance is here. There have been 19 Fry's ads in the Murky News in the past 7 days!

Posted by tony at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

Tech bargains

www.techbargains.com lists deals and rebates on technical merchandise, from both online vendors as well as brick-and-mortar stores.

eCost sells online and has a list of bargains that will expire soon. Sometimes there are good deals (SMC EZ Connect 802.11b Wireless PC Card for $17 due to expire in 38 hours) and sometimes not so hot.

Posted by tony at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2003

This week's free eBooks for Microsoft Reader are available ...

... at http://www.microsoft.com/reader/promotions/free_shop.asp. The books are

"I Am Madame X" by Gioia Diliberto
"Open Innovation" by Henry Williams Chesbrough
"Joy luck Club" by Amy Tan

Posted by tony at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

I didn't realize ...

... but the default MTU size on Windows XP systems will often reduce the throughput of PPPoE connections. You need to check out your provider's MTU size and adjust accordingly (thanks to Scot's Newsletter for this). In it he makes reference to SpeedGuide.net, a site I haven't been to in a long time, spending instead, a lot of my time on the DSLReports site. But the SpeedGuide.net site has got a lot of good information on it that DSLReports only has in its forums like its Windows 2000/XP Registry Tweaks as well as downloads like the TCP Optimizer which will optimize your settings for your provider.

Some of the stuff is wildly out of date (a review of Tiny Software Personal Firewall V1.0 from 2000?) but the downloads and the tweaks and the news are worthwhile. Just wish they had an RSS feed.

BTW, check out the current issue of Scot's Newslettercause he's got a review of VoIP residential provider Vonage.

Posted by tony at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)


There's a nice collection of online tools at http://www.dnsstuff.com that can give information based on IP address or domain name including DNS server response time, traceroute, reverse DNS lookup, CIDR/netmask lookup and ping. Thanks to 07/10/2003 Lockergnome Windows Daily for this site.

Posted by tony at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2003

These are TOO funny

I think I heard of these two before but Dan Gillmor's weblog entry brought them to mind again. Give it a shot.

In case you have something against going to Gillmor's journal, go to Google and search for "French military victories". Click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button instead of the "Google Search" button.

The other one is to search for "weapons of mass destruction" and hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.

Posted by tony at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

RSS feeds at Microsoft

Found this posting in the Scobleizer weblog listing RSS feeds from and about Microsoft. This link at Microsoft lists all the MSDN-related RSS feeds. He's also got this link to a feed that lists the newest additions to the Microsoft download site. And don't forget the Microsoft Watch.

Posted by tony at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

Faxes via the Internet

Kevin Savetz has compiled and maintains a list of commercial and free faxing services that that you can use via email or the web (yes, eFax is one of them). His list includes international sites as well as U.S. domestic.

A couple of note here:

eFax (free and commercial)

Fax1 ($1 credit when you sign up, no monthly fee, $0.12/page to the U.S.)

MaxEmail (commercial but it only costs $14.85/year for the basic service)

Posted by tony at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2003

Kelly's Korner -- good XP tweak/info site.

Kelly's Korner XP, that is. All sorts of good and interesting tidbits, tweaks, how-tos and ... Some require a "donation" (I dunno, if it's required, I don't consider it a donation but what do I know?)

Posted by tony at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

This blog's got an RSS feed now ...

... so you can add this blog to your RSS reader if you like. See the little icon over there in the archives area that says blogrss (all in lowercase)? -- that's the link for the RSS feed. Copy the URL associated with it in to your RSS reader. The feed is courtesy of BlogMatrix. It's supposed to be updated about every hour so you'll always be up-to-date; :D

Posted by tony at 07:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2003

Tiny Personal Firewall V5's a winner!

I've been using TPF5 Beta for a while now and, even though it's a beta and has some rough edges on its UI and it dramatically underdocumented, I've gotta say I like it! I think I may actually shell out some $$ for a firewall here in the near future.

OK, the question is, why? The application sandbox is pretty dang comprehensive, allowing me to group apps and give permission to the group as opposed to the apps. Separate permissions apply to registry keys and files as well as the standard networking protocols. I can set permissions to allow but monitor which means it logs the event in its own log and I can set the permissions to always ask me whether I want to allow it or not.

The connections view leaves a lot to be desired but it's usable. It doesn't look like I can shut down a connection I don't like -- a feature that I'd really like to have available.

And, of course, there are bugs. For instance, since I can't find a way to bypass the prompt asking for permission to let IE create HOSTS.TMP in system32\drivers\etc even though I've explicitly added a rule to that effect.

The UI is supposedly very customizable butI don't care a lot about that (yet). Basic feature set and usability is what I like.

Posted by tony at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

McDonald's SF Bay Area WiFi locations are available TODAY

See McDWireless. There are locations in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and San Jose as well as a bunch of others. Cost is $4.95 for 2 hours but you'll probably get time for buying a combo meal. Here's a link to a NewsAlert story.

Posted by tony at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the year

Nominated for "Quote of the Year" is the statement made by (retired)
Texas Congressman Dick Armey when asked, "If you had been in President
Clinton's place would you have resigned?"

Armey's reply: "If I had been in the President's place, I would not have
gotten the chance to resign. I would have been lying in a pool of my own
blood, looking up and listening to my wife ask, 'How do you reload this
son of a bitch'?"

Posted by tony at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

Microsoft's free eBooks are up

Microsoft has a new version of their Reader software available for download (for desktops and laptops, a 3.58MB download if you don't already have it installed, a 1.74MB download if you do -- see the site for Tablet and Pocket PC versions).

Reader is Microsoft's free product to allow you to read eBooks -- electronically distributed versions of regular old books ... books that you'd buy at a bookstore. You can buy eBooks at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, eBooks.com (of course) and a number of other online shops. eBooks are "locked" which means you can't just loan a copy of an eBook to a friend like you can a paperback but, still, if you don't mind reading on your PC, it's a good way to pick up books and not worry about them getting lost or dog-eared. The new Harry Potter book isn't available but Stephen King's "Dreamcatcher" is, for $6.99.

To help motivate people to download and use Reader, Microsoft's offering 3 free eBooks each week from now through November of this year. I heard about this last week but couldn't find anything about the books on their site until this week. Now they're on the site and available for download (see this link to the Free eBooks page for a synopsis as well as the download links). You'll need to have the Reader software installed for the download to work. This week's titles:

"Candy and Me" by Hillary Liftin
"Last to Die" by James Grippando
"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson

Posted by tony at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2003

BlogStreet and Blogmatrix have good tools for bloggers

Both will supposedly generate RSS feeds for sites that don't have the capability (like Blogger).

Posted by tony at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

CompUSA has Belkin wireless on sale

In-store only and you need to print out this ad and take it with you. 802.11b router for $30, 802.11b PC card for $30 when purchased with the router, 802.11b USB adapter for $30 when purchased with the router. Then, separate from that router deal, they have an 802.11g PC card for $50, and an 802.11g router for $80.

Posted by tony at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2003

Bloki : online creation of free web pages

Boy, this service sounds like it's a real nothing but, after signing up and playing around just a little, this looks like it's gonna be a pretty neat-o keen thing. So, here's the deal: when you sign up you get to create web pages at http://yourname.bloki.com. The account includes a weblog at http://yourname.bloki.com/blog which includes an RSS feed. Take the tour or sign up and play with it.

Oh, yeah, you can allow other named users edit access to your website, too, so you've got something like a Wiki in it, too. More when I've played with it a bit more.

Posted by tony at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Detect key loggers

It's a privacy concern. Heck, it's paranoia but remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Anyway, here's a TechTV article on it.

Posted by tony at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

Unhiding OS X files

Apparently they're kept in /.hidden. I'll have to check this out!

Posted by tony at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

Javascript to resize your browser

Saw this in one of the Mac OS X mailing lists. The discussion centers around Safari but it work just as well with anything that supports JS. I'd seen this before at Bookmarklets but forgot about it until I saw it on the list. See the Bookmarklets site for a description of bookmarklets, what they are, how to use them and so on.

This will move the window to the upper left corner of the screen and resize it to 800x600 (note that 800x600 may not be the size of the actual display area of the window):


This will move and resize it so it's an 800 pixels wide window that runs the entire height of the display:


self.resize or window.moveTo can be used instead to put the work into the hands of the user.

Posted by tony at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2003

Equivalents / replacements / analogs of Windows software in Linux

Not a bad list here and it looks like it's been updated recently ... well, about 3 months ago, but, still, it's a pretty long list and includes browsers, word processors and HTML editors.

Posted by tony at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

Reserved domain names

Yesterday's Lockergnome Webmaster's Weeky points out that www.example.com, www.example.org and www.example.net are all domains reserved for use in documentation. There are a couple of top-level domains (TLDs) reserved, too. See RFC 2606.

Posted by tony at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Web2POP lets you check web-based email accounts with your POP3 client

Web2POP costs about $20 and supports just a whole bunch of webmail accounts including Hotmail, Yahoo, Netscape.net, MSN, AOL, OneBox and Excite. it acts as a POP3 proxy -- you point your email client at Web2POP (localhost,, using the standarde, but modifiable, POP3 port of 110) and during the login process Web2POP will log in to your webmail account, retrieve your email and pass it back to your POP3 client. It won't send mail but there's gotta be an SMTP proxy for that, too, doesn't there? :)

Posted by tony at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2003

Real-time weblog updates

Pirillo's amazing! He's so on top of things it almost makes me sick. He writes about a real-time weblog monitoring service called BlogChatter. The weblog maintainer's gotta send the updates to BlogChatter (called a "ping" in weblog-land) but, still, it's too cool!

Posted by tony at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

Unlimited T-Mobile Hotspots : $20/mo, McDonald's free WiFi in San Jose

Just got a card in the mail from T-Mobile. Since I'm a customer I can get unlimited T-Mobile Hotspot access at all hotspots (most Starbucks, Borders, etc.) for $20/month on a month-to-month basis. That's about 50% off their normal rate. See http://www.t-mobile.com/getmorehotspot.

McDonald's is supposed to be launching their "get an hour for a meal" WiFi access here in San Jose soon. Mercury News said they'd be announcing something next week. See "McDonald's serves wireless".

Posted by tony at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Bloglines again

Played with Bloglines and found a couple of problems, the first of which was a real concern to me. You can import OPML channel listings so you can easily bring your existing subscriptions to it. I tried importing an OPML file created by FeedDemon and it failed with a server error. Fired off a comment to their support and got an answer back within an hour that included an update to their server code! Now, that's what I call service! Course, like I said, they just launched it and, having done stuff like this before myself, I imagine they're probably shepherding it along, keeping a very close eye on things.

Also sent off a couple of suggestions.

* When subscribing to new channels, there's a subscribe radio control on the page which is redundant with the subscribe button. I understand the desire to have a confirmation so how about a "subscribe" and a "cancel" button?

* (You have to experience this to really understand it, I think.) It's difficult to move subscriptions from one folder to another, especially if you have a number of subs you want to move. How about making it a two-step process? Have check boxes next to each subscription and allow the user to select multiple subs. Then, click on a "move" button and select the target folder (only one selection allowed, here). Could do the same with delete and even create (select the folder in which you want the new folder or subscription to go in to).

And here's an excerpt from their response:

Date: Fri, 04 Jul 2003 09:24:12 -0700
From: Customer Support
Subject: Re: [#128] Web Form: [Suggestions]


Thanks for the suggestions. Both are great ideas. We're definitely looking
for ways to improve the manage screen and I like your multiple move idea.

Thanks for using Bloglines.

Posted by tony at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

Bloglines : Read RSS news without an RSS reader

I just signed up for Bloglines -- a free web-based service that will monitor the RSS feeds you specify and allow you to read them via the web. That means no more downloading/running/evaluating RSS readers. It's a brand new service, just recently launched so the UI is still a bit ... uhh ... utilitarian but I'm gonna give it a try. I'll let you know what I think. I'm gonna be hard pressed to give up FeedDemon.

Posted by tony at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2003

Office 2003 Beta Technical Refresh

See this article in the WinInformant. The article link is to his "Short Takes for the week of June 30" -- look for Office 2003.

Posted by tony at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

About.com's sites are now weblogs

This is a very interesting development. You can subscribe to the RSS feed of the sites. See this weblog about it. Saw it in an article in today's Lockergnome Bits and Bytes.

Posted by tony at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

BottomFeeder -- tried it, didn't like it

I downloaded BottomFeeder, another RSS feed reader, and gave it a try. It's in Smalltalk (from a company I used to work for, Cincom Systems in Cincinnati, OH ("WKRP in Cincinnati"). It installed fine but the startup directory was set incorrectly in the shortcut that the app installed. Once I corrected that it started up. The UI seems like it came out of Windows 3.1. It IS a multi-platform tool so that's a real plus but it was just a little more difficult to navigate than FeedDemon and it doesn't support OPML. Guess I'll stick with FeedDemon.

Posted by tony at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Tune Indexing Service performance

Today's Lockergnome Tech Specialist has a good article on tuning Indexing Service performance. I didn't realize it was tunable! The article's supposed to be at http://www.lockergnome.com/issues/techspecialist/20030702.html but it's not. Maybe tomorrow? Anyway, since I can't give you a working link I'm gonna quote the article here:

XP Indexing Service Tuning

I see a common recommendation to disable the Indexing Service to improve system performance
of Windows 2000/XP workstations, and I can't say that I'm a big fan of this practice as a
general rule unless you know for certain that you have no use for the function. True, the
service can sometimes chew up a healthy bit of system resources, but you can control the
impact to some degree, while avoiding the total shutdown of the service.

Right-click My Computer and select Manage, which will bring you to the Computer Management
console. Drill down to Services and Applications, and then right-click Indexing Service,
highlight All Tasks, and click Tune Performance. The default service usage setting is Used
Often, which is typically not the case for workstations. My recommendation to select
Customize, which will take you to a dialog with two sliders. Shove them both to the left,
which will tell the service to delay catalog updates a bit and to utilize fewer system
resources when the updates are initiated.

Another important step is to set the appropriate directories that should be indexed. I see
little purpose in having the system sift through core operating system files and program
binaries because there will rarely be valid documents stored in such places that you'll want
to search against. Instead, remove the root directory from the default list and confine the
entries to your main document directories and any other folders that you might want to search
on a relatively frequent basis. The result of the changes may or may not have any noticeable
effect on your particular system, and in my estimation, Windows 2000 is harder on system
performance than the indexing processes in Windows XP, so I'll leave any decision to make
changes in your capable fingers.

Posted by tony at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

Exchange 2003 RTM

Saw this in today's Lockergnome Tech Specialist. Don't know how I missed the June 30th press release. Features list is here.

Posted by tony at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

New version of Microsoft Reader eBook software

Saw this in today's Lockergnome Bits and Bytes. The original story is from Jupiter Research and says that Microsoft's going to release 3 new eBooks per week for 20 weeks in conjunction with the update. The page for the reader on the Microsoft site is here.

Posted by tony at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2003


I'm trying the new Tiny Personal Firewall V5.0 beta. So far, pretty slick!

I've been running the free version of Sygate on my laptop for a few months now and it does a good job but it seems to take forever to come off hibernate so I thought I'd give Tiny a try. Now, I used and liked Tiny back before Kerio split off from them and am using Kerio V2.1.4 on my desktop (yeah, the link says 2.1.5 is out but I haven't had problems so I haven't updated). I tried Kerio's V3 beta on the laptop and was pretty happy with that but had two kinds of rules: simple and advanced and it kinda confused me which is why I went to Sygate. Technology changes and Sygate hasn't been updated for a while (I'm sure there's something in the works) so I thought I'd try Tiny again.

It looks like you're actually configuring a firewall -- not something I'd recommend for the novice user! You can define a set of protocols, ports and direction and then refer to that in the rules. It's got IDS, file protection, application protection and verification and a pretty decent activity and connections display. This beta expires sometime this monrh. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by tony at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)