Sunday, March 09, 2008

2, 4, 6, (IE)8!...I should sleep but links await!

When I got back from my Austin trip, I found exactly 555 RSS feed posts awaiting my attention.

Some of these I had seen.

I keep one set of RSS feeds on my work machine and a separate set at home.

One of these days I'm going to figure out the time/benefit cost ratio of loading all the work feeds into my home feed set. But I tend to keep much more technical feeds on my work system than I do at home. Anyway...

I have chores to do around the house, last bits of work-work to work on before I report in to my dungeon-grade cubicle, the laundry is calling (wash me!), the DST time-change sucks (although my new cell-phone finally auto-upgraded the time) and I REALLY need a nap.

So what to do?

Pass on a share of technical links that caught my fancy, of course!

Time Changes

If you have a Vista or XP system, and have been faithfully applying your updates/patches, you should automatically be covered on the whole time-change thing.  If however you are using Windows 2000 or Windows 98, you may be in a world of hurt. Sure, you could just manually update the time, but there is a free utility to use: Unofficial Windows 2000 Daylight Saving Time Patch

Works great. Turns out someone clever in our Novell support team used in in a pushed script to update the remaining Win2K boxes we have last year.

Worked like a charm.

Sysinternals ShellRunas

ShellRunas - (freeware) - New utility from Microsoft Sysinternals team.  This handy tool can integrate in your right-click shell context menu.

The command-line Runas utility is handy for launching programs under different accounts, but it’s not convenient if you’re a heavy Explorer user. ShellRunas provides functionality similar to that of Runas to launch programs as a different user via a convenient shell context-menu entry.

ShellRunas works on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.

Do you need this utility? Probably not unless you are a geek, system administrator, or just like running on a more "limited rights" account in Vista/XP and need to quickly elevate to real/true "Administrator" privileges to perform some actions or run some programs.  Anyway, if so, you are now covered.

See also:


I'm always keeping an eye out for new and improved Drive Imaging and Cloning Solutions.  I'm currently a big-fan of ImageX but will adopt if something fast, logical and dependable comes along.

So when I saw mention of FOG :: A Ghost-like Computer Cloning Solution I made a note.

That's all for now, just a note.  It uses PXE boot environments (supported on many newer systemboard/BIOS) coupled with a remote server.  It has a really nice dashboard from what I can tell.  Haven't had any time to play with it but might be worth taking a closer look.  My other favorite tool, Clonezilla, also supports PXE and remote server based image casting.

Internet Explorer 8 (beta?)

I'm no shy fan of Firefox.  I think it is the greatest browser out there and Firefox 3 will be even faster and better. I've enjoyed using the new "seed" version of Safari, and will drop into Opera from time to time. But I only use IE7 for just a handful of web-banking sites that don't play well in Firefox as well as getting my Windows Updates.

So although I really have little enthusiasm for testing, playing with, or benchmarking the new IE 8 beta, I will pass on these links for the interested.

Download details: IE App Compat VHD - (free) - Chicken to install IE 8 on your primary system? Well you should be.  It doesn't seem that radically different from IE 7 but beware.  Consider using Virtual PC 2007 and one of the free "pre-activated" builds of XP or Vista that have IE 8 pre-loaded. Works great. Just make sure you have the system hardware and RAM to handle running virtual systems. I'd recommend setting your virtual XP/Vista system to operate with 512 MB RAM for the image.  That means you should have at least 1-2 GB RAM on your "real" system first.

Depending on the file(s) downloaded, you will get (for free) a VPC hard disk image containing a pre-activated Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, and IE6, IE7 or IE8.  The VPC image will expire on July 3, 2008.  More than enough time to play until the next image is released.

Internet Explorer 8 First Impressions - Ryan at CybertNet news has some screen shots and impressions.

New and exciting features - IE8 Developer's site. Contains a quick rundown on the major changes (features) in IE8. (Yawn.)

IEBlog -  blog posts after blog post of self-serving (in a good way) details on IE8 from the IE development team blog.  Probably some great gems of details and nuggets in there. Probably.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta Is Out - Perspectives from rabid Google fan. Although, it is beta so problems are to be expected.

TechBlog: Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is out. Feeling lucky? - Take Dwight's advice "From the only-for-the-very-brave-or-the-very-stupid department:" Sums it up nicely to me.

Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit - Still feeling brave (or foolhardy) and just want to slap it on your "real" system? Get the official download installation files here.

Internet Explorer Developer Center - All things and more for IE8 technicals.

Internet Explorer 8 blocks access to Windows Update - Download Squad - Oops!  Yeah, that would be a non-starter, although you can use the "Emulate IE7" mode to work around it.

Java and Adobe Updates Released

Java update fixes security vulnerabilities - heise Security UK. Go get the latest Java update links available from the linked post or go to Do I have Java?

Adobe Reader 8.1.2 update - multiple languages - fixes several security vulnerabilities and provides enhanced stability.

To make sure you have all your security patches, sweep you system with the free online scanner from Secunia: The Secunia Software Inspector.  Takes just a few minutes and does a great scan for software on your system that needs to be updated for security reasons. Highly recommended.

Bits and Pieces

TeraCopy 2.0 beta 3 - a great file-copy helper.  New beta version released.

Using Keepass to Secure Your Online Accounts - MakeUseOf.  I think Keypass is the single most useful tool I have at work and home in keeping our accounts secure. I am able to create high-security passwords and manage them all via an encrypted (and portable) database file. MakeUseOf does a great job reviewing all the greatest features.  Couple it with locking your secure data into a TrueCrypt file and you are well ahead of most users in dealing with file and password security management.

Cover Flow for Firefox Bookmarks - Not sure I really need an iTunes like cover-flow add-on for Firefox bookmarks, but if you think it would be cool or helpful, there you go.  I guess I have found some bookmarks that were "live" but had been "cybersquatted" by someone else after the original domain expired. Might give you a quick head's up to these cases.

 Word Wise: Bullet Sh*t - good tips for the proper use of bullets in web-posts. I'm always going back on forth on style formatting for these things.

TreeDBNotes Free - (freeware) - Free notes manager and database.  I'm personally a fan and user of SEO Note (freeware) myself and use it to help document and manage loose notes, telephone conversations, and meeting notes.  FreewareGenius has some good reviews on both tool:

OpenKomodo - (freeware) - Great web-developer editor has now gone to an open source version for your enjoyment. Spotted via .:Computer Defense:. - Komodo Edit Now Open Source.  Supports an SQLite Manager plug in as well.

SQLite Manager :: Thunderbird Add-ons - Who knew that you could get a Thunderbird Add-on to assist with SQLite databases as well?  See this related GSD post: Two More "Lite" SQLite viewers - All good, light, and free for some "portable" versions.

JoeJoe's Rename Master - Free and wonderful tool just got updated. Use this powerful file-renaming utility to help batch-rename your photos or files in one fell-swoop.

Free On-Line File Storage

I signed up for a long time ago so I could have a place to publicly share a download file or two.  So far I have only posted one. The free plan is limited to 10MB file sizes (quite large enough for me) and 1 GB total storage.

Windows Live SkyDrive (free) offers 5GB of storage space for free.  MakeUseOf blog has a quick walkthough of the process: Get 5 GB of free Storage with Windows SkyDrive

Need More?

ADrive (free) offers up to 50 GB of on-line storage space. Wow.  For more details, see CyberNet News post: 50GB of Free Online Storage with ADrive.

In Security News

Gone in 47.11 Seconds - Back room tech blogger Julie shares how she did a security audit and grabbed over 617 full user account names and passwords from Active Directory in just 10 minutes. Of those, three were Domain Admin level accounts. Ouch!  Good reason to use "STRONG" passwords.

The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) : March 2008 Advance Notification - Yep, Microsoft patches are coming this Tuesday. Get the head's up on what to expect.

Some interesting reading for a snowy Saturday - ISC-SANS Handler's Diary post.  Some quick links and tips on security subjects. Harlan Carvey gets a nice hat-tip in there.

Coding Horror: A Question of Programming Ethics - I spotted this post over in the TechBlog daily links for the day.

Story is that dude Dustin Brooks was looking for a gMail backup solution and considered using a shareware product called G-Archiver. He ended up not using it (for good reason) but as it was in .NET Dustin looked under the hood, found that the program captured and sent the user's gMail login id and password to some other dude's gMail account. Not only that, but other dude's own gMail login credentials were included in the code so clever Dustin was able to actually log into the account and found over 1700 gMail account credentials captured. Dude did the "responsible" thing and deleted the emails, flushed them, then "accidentally" locked dude out of the account. Oh yeah, I think he reported it to Google. (Kinda killed the forensic evidence capture here, even if done in the spirit of the "greater good".) For a bit more see: Tech-Ex: Password Stealing Shareware a Wake-Up Call?

Pretty scary stuff. Be careful out there kiddos of any application that needs your passwords to help you manage a third-party passworded application or site.

That alone made an interesting enough story. But I was curious.  He used a product called .NET Refractor to peer into the .NET code.

I'm NOT a programmer but do like toying with looking into some PXE files and other things to see what can be seen, especially if it is malware.  So I wondered what I could find useful.

Turns out a lot.

Relector for .NET - (freeware) - Application (and add-ons) available directly from Lutz Roeder's webpage.

Want some tips on getting started with it? Start with these posts:

Decompiling .NET Assemblies -

Using Reflector to search through code and resolve .NET issues - If broken it is, fix it you should blog.

A look under the hood, using Reflector to explore Microsoft.SharePoint.dll - Joseph Fluckiger's blog

Reflector Resources - Jason Haley's blog

The Ultimate Reflector Setup - Jelle Druyts blog

Time for some <nap> Claus </nap> activity now!


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