Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wide-Open Linkfest

Just got back from a mid-day shopping run. 

That’s the Breaks

Somehow I managed to break the clip off my Blackberry 8830 holster.  The clip is kinda “cheap” so a standard glue-fix wouldn’t work.  The break happened right at a stress point.  I may still try to over-fix it by pinning in in place with some well-placed drill holes and a few super-tiny nail-shanks However, I don’t think it will be worth the effort as the plastic is very thin and even if I was able to drill pinning holes aligned perfectly in the top/bottom halves, the remaining plastic on the sides would be micro thin.

In the meantime I picked up a Blackberry Curve holster. It is a tad-bit smaller than the 8830 holster, but the device does fit securely in it with not too much pressure. And the top-flap does close.  So for now I’m covered.

Somehow I’m disappointed.  I bet John Wayne never broke one of his holsters….

GameTime on a Budget

We (Alvis and I) stopped by the local GameStop store to see if we could find any used bargain PS2 titles.

As proof that a good review on the Web translates into marketing power, I was sufficiently intrigued by Wired’s GeekDad recent post You Let Your Kids Play What? Shadow of the Colossus PS2 game that I picked up a copy for about $10.  I also grabbed Disney Golf for family multiplayer fun sessions.  Alvis—in a surprising mood—selected both ATV Offroad Fury and Hard Hitter Tennis.  Finally, not wanting to leave Lavie out of the gaming, we grabbed Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection.

Walkout price for the five titles was about $60.  Not bad considering that would be the price of two new PS2 game disks.

I’ll try putting in some game reviews for kicks after we have gotten some play-time in.


Truecrypt Updates to v6, Hides Your Subversive Plots Even Better! - Download Squad – Yep. The most fantastic (and free) tool to manage and secure data on your HDD or USB memory device just got better.  Miscellaneous fixes are rolled up in this version.  TrueCrypt really rocks…including the ability to actually use TrueCrypt to encrypt an entire partition or drive on the fly. A fantastic solution for laptop users.

I also discovered two great posts that take slightly different techniques for automating use off a USB stick.  Check them out as well:

heise Online releases the heise SSL Guardian – Heise Security provides yet another tool for web-citizens to use to inspect the overall security of SLL keys.  Supports IE and Outlook Express. Not compatible for Firefox or Opera…oh bother.  Download Heise SSL Guardian from heise Security UK, freeware.

Secunia Personal Software Inspector RC3 – Works great and adds in a few more bug-fixes.  You have to uninstall older versions first, though rest assured your configuration settings will be retained after uninstall/reinstall. For an overview on why all Windows users MUST have this on their system check out this post of mine; Secunia Personal Software Inspector RC-1: Wowzers!

NOTEPAD++ – freeware – just got a version bump to 5.0. Mostly behind the scenes fixes but still, certainly one of the best “advanced” notepad/code-editors there is today.  While not the only one I keep handy, it is the one I use the most. For a short-list of alternatives, see my Notepad Replacements post.

Track Gmail Activity And Remotely Sign Out – CyberNet News – Google has now added a security feature that allows you to quickly see if someone else has been accessing your Gmail account, or maybe you left yourself logged in by mistake over at your brother’s pad.  It’s not easy to spot on the your main Gmail inbox page. Look at the bottom right below the storage-report line and you will see the IP address of where you are logged in at and when that was.  If you click the “Details” link, you will get a list of recent session activity with date/time/IP’s.  You can also “sign out of other sessions” to kill those remote Gmail logins you (hopefully) forgot about.  For more details see this Gmail Blog post: Remote sign out and info to help you protect your Gmail account.

Sunbelt Personal Firewall - (free/$) – This newly released version brings some under-the-hood performance gains, packet filtering, hardening against leak-attacks, and most importantly, is now fully Vista compatible.  I used Sunbelt Personal Firewall for a long time on my XP systems before making the jump to Comodo Firewall Pro.   See Sunbelt Blog’s post New version of Sunbelt Personal Firewall posted for more details as well as CyberNet News’s post Sunbelt Personal Firewall for Vista for their perspective.  Certainly still recommended as a good firewall alternative to Vista’s default firewall.  For other free Vista firewalls see this older post of mine: Free Vista Firewalls: And then there were five.

Windows Incident Response: Deleted Keys in the Registry – Harlan does a very awesome post that should be a must-read for any Windows technician.  Turns out that, like Access, when you delete a registry key, you don’t visually see it any longer, but tracks still remain which can, in theory and practice, be recovered.  I wondered to Harlan if a registry defragger would kill the ability to recover the key and it seems that in initial tests, that is indeed the case.  This is really cool stuff.

Foxmarks Introduces Sync Profiles – While I am awaiting my Firefox 3.0 bookmark syncing solution of Mozilla Weave 0.2 there is a large fan following of the add-on known as Foxmarks. It is quite polished and looks to be up to the task for those who can’t wait or (like me) are currently copying an exported bookmarks JSON file between systems manually. For more see Foxmarks Introduces Sync Profiles over at CyberNet News.

Partition Find and Mount – freeware – looks to be a very handy solution for damaged (but not nuked) hard-drives and partitioning issues.  One of our network analysts was playing with an ImageX image for a desktop system and following my in-house guide. Worked like a charm. Almost.  Only the system couldn’t boot.  Turns out that while he followed the steps perfectly, the drive had been securely wiped, so even though he was able to use Win PE 2.0 disk to format the drive, there were no active partitions set so the files copied but it couldn’t be booted.  A quick round of DiskPart commands from the Win PE 2.0 disk and all was well.   While Find and Mount won’t repair the problem partition, it will allow you to snag data off it once mounted.  Almost good enough. This is a must-keep toolbox item for sysadmins.  Go ahead and also snag Parted MagicUltimate Boot CD, and GParted.  I understand BootIt Next Generation ($) is also a standout tool.

Java Version 6 Update 7 – Just released this week.  Get the latest version of Java on your system pronto.  While you are at it, be sure to delete the older version via Add/Remove programs.  If you really want to be on the cutting edge of Java, and are a Firefox 3.0/Opera 9.5, then try out the Java Platform, Standard Edition 6u10 Binary Snapshot Releases – Build 27.  These are bleeding edge Java versions with some extra features that those browsers can take full advantage of.  I’ve been running both versions (Version 6 builds and the Version 6u10 builds) at the same time on my XP Pro, XP Home, and Vista Home Premium systems with no ill-effects.

ColorfulTabs :: Firefox Add-ons – just got this one installed and lovin’ it.  It colorifies your tabs in Firefox.  Pretty and a bit easier to pick out when that tab-bar is crowded with opened tabs.  Firefox 3.0.x compatible.

Now….off for some PS2’in game fun bonding with daughter-unit!


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