Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother’s Day Yummers! Linkfest


Image attribution under CC to Anita Chu at Dessert First blog

One of the best southern grocery-store treats in our family was Mother’s Circus Cookies.

A bag of these would last only long enough in the time taken to transit the space between bag and bowl.  Most were intercepted before making it.

Give me a cup of coffee and cream, Lavie and Alvis on each side and a good movie and we are in heaven.

Thus it was with deep sadness when we learned last year that Mother’s Cookies went out of business and the Circus Animals left town for good.

Some post-apocalypse survivalists no doubt purchased many supplies and kept them cached away safely.  Other intrepid fans labored long hours in kitchen labs to concoct their own frosted Island of Dr. Moreau animal creations: Dessert First: Goodbye, Mother’s Cookies with more apparent success than Dr. Moreau had.

Fortunately for the masses like us, news comes that Kellogg’s has revived the brand and recipe from the bankruptcy vaults and stores across the South will again be filled this summer with these wonderful confectionary indulgences.


These links aren’t quite as tasty as the cookies mentioned above, but they won’t leave colored sprinkles on the corner of your lips and fingers to give your secret passions away!

  • Autoruns v9.5 - (freeware) – Sysinternals tool got a major add-in element this week: video codex reporting. “This update to Autoruns…adds display of audio and video codecs, which are gaining popularity as an extension mechanism used by malware to gain automatic execution. I’ve tried it and it does indeed bring this element to advanced system administrators.  However, I believe that Nir Sofer’s freeware InstalledCodec utility covers a few more bases/codecs.  For a fast-look Autoruns is still it, but for a trusted second opinion, you have to go with Nir’s tool. 

  • IE Testing VPC Images Updated – Free VHD file images from Microsoft roll up XP Pro with SP3 for IE testers.  I don’t test IE rendering in them but find they provide excellent reusable base XP/Vista virtual desktops for software testing and proving.  The XP ones (3) are time-bombed for an August 2009 kill date.  While the Vista Business images (2) expire after 120 days.

  • Virtual Varia : WIM2VHD Release Candidate now available! – (freeware) – If you work with WIM files and VHD files, you’ve got to check out this updated Windows(R) Image to Virtual Hard Disk (WIM2VHD) Converter. It (when coupled with the freshly available Windows 7 RC WAIK) allows you to perform some tricky conversions of a WIM file into a VHD supported format.  Neat! 

  • Upcoming Action Center Changes for Security Vendor Software - Windows Security Blog. Post details some changes in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with how security vendors software will be allowed to interact with the Security Center interface.

  • Viewing Folder Sizes in Explorer – Ask the Performance Team blog – Microsoft again rolls out the explanations (reasonable as they are) on why folder sizes are not reported automatically in the open in Windows Explorer.  Yes, it is a performance thing…  
  • Q&A: Windows 7 File Extension Hiding - F-Secure Weblog – Security software provider takes a look at file-extension handling under Windows 7 and finds that it (still) comes up lacking.

  • Switching my Windows 7 Boot Disk from D to C with BCDBoot rather than BCDEdit - Scott Hanselman’s Computer Zen blog – Scott gets himself out of a jam when he upgrades a multi-volume system to Windows 7 RC.  He gets out of it, but it is a good lesson on paying attention during the install/upgrade process when you have more than one partition/disk/volume.

  • Windows® AIK for Windows ® 7 RC – Microsoft Download Center.  Get it while it’s hot for your PE 3.0 boot disk building!

  • OutlookStatView - (freeware) – Nir is on a roll! For all you Outlook junkies out there, this tool can gather a lot of great statistics on your email habits. 

  • A Very Brief History of Foxit Reader and JavaScript – Didier Stevens blog – Didier does an excellent job of succinctly explaining the differences in JavaScript handling between Adobe Reader options and those in Foxit Reader.   

  • XBox Forensics – Science Daily – Reports in on a forensics tool being developed by David Collins at our own home-town Sam Houston State University.  His tool will allow mounting of an FATX drive image for investigation.  The tool is still under development but it looks promising.  With the rise of console gaming platforms to be used not just for gaming, but also for Internet surfing, communication, and home-media management, these specially-purposed computers can end up being a possible source of additional evidence for investigations. David states that “…future work on XFT will involve making the toolkit into a fully functional forensic operating system (OS). This OS will be packaged as both a bootable operating system from a hard disk and a "live" bootable compact disk. "This implementation will be open source, verbosely commented and designed from the ground up as a forensic OS," says Collins, "This will remove any and all proprietary operating system dependencies, making the forensic process as transparent as possible."  

  • Forensically sound Windows bootable environment – Help Net Security News – Notice that ForensicSoft has just released a new version of their SAFE (System Acquisition Forensics Environment). Although based on Windows PE, the software engineers have been hard at working guaranteeing that this LiveCD system booter doesn’t touch the local drives at all during the response investigation.  It is a $ product, but looks like a well-implemented tool for those who need something like this.

    Yummers! indeed.

    --Claus V.

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