Sunday, February 24, 2013

Threats, Updates, and iOS App struggles

Quick post to clear out last week’s inbound material.

Threats (and fixes/updates)


DEFT 8 Roadmap and features - DEFT Linux - Computer Forensics live cd - Coming mid April 2013

Update XORSearch V1.8.0: Shifting - Didier Stevens

USB Image Tool 1.60 - Alex’s Coding Playground - There are more than one way to image a USB drive, but this tool by Alexander Beug is IMHO one of the very, very best for ease of use and reliability. I would be lost without it. Alex has worked hard on this update and it brings auto-admin elevate request at launch, now supports non-removable USB devices such as hard-drives or card-readers, and it has a “reset” feature to overwrite the bootsector of the selected device with zeros to allow Windows to reformat the device to the original size (something USB Image tool can’t do). See the changelog for more details.  As an alternative, also consider the free OSForensics tool ImageUSB.

iOS App trials, tribulations, and tips

An iOS Byline Issue - worked around

I’ve been gushing for some time about how I think Phantom Fish’s Byline app for iOS is super great. It is really fast pulling feeds and the interface is easy to navigate. It has really helped me stay in-touch with tech goings on during the day as I can now check all my RSS feeds on my personal iPhone. Before I was having to wait to the end of the day when I got home to check my personal feeds for news updates.

So last week I ran into my first problem with it.

I normally have it set to show 2,000 items; this allows me to go back and search for past feed articles after the fact. Additionally, I manage “Caching” with “Wi-Fi” only, images “on”.  That’s pretty much it. There aren’t a lot of settings but they are enough.

So the problem was that mid-week, after the updating of the feeds occurred, the caching followed, but kept getting stuck showing “1 of 200”.  It wouldn’t ever stop or move on.

It looks like a bad feed article was causing the caching to stop.

I sent an email to the Byline help team but still haven’t seen a response.  It was super frustrating and I found a few others on the net who also had encountered the problem.

So what to do?

Eventually I figured out a workaround to allow the feeds to continue to drop and cache again without getting “frozen” so-to-speak.

I went back into the settings and changed my All Items option to “Show 200 items”.

What this let me do is to get past the stuck item by not caching it.

I’m not sure which one it is, but right now it is somewhere between the 200 and 500th feed item. If I set at “200” I’m fine. If I set at 500 (the next highest increment) it locks when it hits the bad feed.

Considering that on any given week-day, my feed count pull results in about 350 new article feeds, I project that by the end of next week I will have way-more new feeds and the bad one will have been shoved off the bottom of the stack.

It isn’t a "pretty” fix but it works and restores a level of functionality with caching of feeds in Byline in the meantime.

Recommendations to the Phantom Fish coders for the next Byline update:

  1. Code for an auto-skip of a feed if it doesn’t cache within a set/variable number of seconds; letting the user set the timeout period would be even better.
  2. Allow greater granularity of number of items to show. The stock choices of 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 2000 items may make sense, but I’d like to set my own custom number of feeds…especially if the first recommendation cannot be implemented.

That’s pretty much my only requests for an otherwise stellar application.

A Gmail App Badge notification issue - cleared

My second issue this week was when I was surprised to have my iOS Gmail App badge still showing “1” unread item, despite no unread messages showing in any of my accounts.


This really frustrated me.

Eventually I found others who have experienced this same issue and the workaround solution to clear it. Apparently it is not an unknown issue and has been present for some time.

How to reset/clear ios badge - Google Groups

Bruno O. Barros (llustreBOB) provided the “solution” to clearing it midway down in the thread:

The only solution working here is the one where I move the rogue message back to inbox, mark it as unread and then mark it as read again.

Sure enough. Since I remembered the last message I managed, in my iOS Gmail app, I moved the message back to the inbox, marked it “unread”, marked it “read” and then archived it again.

The notification message “1” cleared off my Gmail badge.

Dave Churchill --just a bit up in that same thread -- shows how to replicate the issue/fix if you want to play with it (though I don’t know why you would if the solution works).

I can reproduce this by doing this:

  1. Gmail app on iPhone has no badge.
  2. Send email to self on laptop
  3. Wait for Gmail on iPhone to receive email and show badge
  4. Read and archive the email on the laptop
  5. Open Gmail app to note there are no messages in inbox, refreshing still shows no messages, checking list of labels shows no unread messages.
  6. Press Home button to exit Gmail, badge remains at 1.
  7. Open Gmail again on iPhone.  Navigate to All Mail, open the message (which is correctly displayed as already read).  Badge still shows 1.
  8. Mark message as unread exit, badge still shows 1.
  9. Read message, exit, badge still shows 1.
  10. Move message to inbox.  Badge now cleared.


Are you an iOS user feeling a bit jealous of those sexy Samsung phone-bump-transfer features?

I spotted this new (to me) app last week. I haven’t pulled the trigger on installing as I don’t really have a need for it just yet but it does seem like a cool and handy feature. So I’m keeping it on my “watch list”. Anyone have any experience or feedback with it yet?


--Claus Valca


Anonymous said...


have you tried using Reeder for RSS reading? It's the tool I've been using to read my Google Reader threads.

Claus said...

@ Anonymous - I did take a look early in my iPhone adoption at Reeder for iOS (iPhone).

However I the interface and way the feed articles were displayed didn't feel comfortable to me for some reason.

It was a $$ app so I didn't feel like taking a chance and regretting it. It would have been nice to try a free/ad-supported version first.

The cleaner (to me) interface of Byline appealed to me more and the way I also power-read my RSS feeds in Omea Reader on my desktop system.

Since the time of this post, the offending feed article did eventually get pushed off the bottom of my feed stack so I am rolling again with a full 2000 feed articles cached.

Thank you very much for your kind suggestion. I will keep it in mind if I have additional issues with Byline.


--Claus V.

robm said...

I've used bump on my iphone. It works, but as a practical matter I don't find myself using it that often. I'm usually at meetings with people who have a mix of phones so its easier to just make notes by hand or even (I know) swap business cards.