Category Archives: online

Everyone has problems…right?

I have this problem. The thing is I am a collector. I’m one of those people that would rather save everything than throw away anything.

Mind you this sometimes goes in spurts. For awhile I will get pretty good about throwing things away but then all is lost and I resort back into the same old habits.

The thing I find most discouraging about throwing things away it there is always a period that they may be useful for. For example if I upgrade the RAM in my computer and replace the current stick with a larger stick, the old stick may serve a purpose in another machine sometime down the road. The same mentality applies to just about anything. Do you ever save a piece of paper with a note on someones phone number or appointment date only to find it three years later?

That’s were I go wrong. I have no problem deciding whether something is worth keeping or not, I just have a problem of never having the time to go back and re-evaluate it three, six, or even one year down the road.

The same goes for computer files. Especially computer files. As hard drives keep growing and growing, I just keep saving and saving. I have literally saved the C++ assignments from the first year of college. These were some of the first files I ever created. I still have them. Now it’s more for nostalgia, but you get the point.

Anyway enough rambling.

On to the point.

I had one… I think?

Oh yeah.

Organization. I collect bookmarks on the Internet like most people, but I save a lot. I mean a ton. That’s why I thought del.icio.us was the answer to my prayers but it just wasn’t user friendly and it is un-godly slooowwww. I thought it would help when Yahoo! bought them, but apparently they paid enough to buy them, but not enough to afford new servers.

I used to just put them in my bookmarks, but in the average week I will use 3-4 differnet computers and then I never have any of them synced together.

The common thread I have is that I use FireFox almost exclusively. And that is where the FoxMarks extension comes in. This is the answer to my prayers. I have no problem keeping all my bookmarks in sync on all my computers now and I don’t have to do a thing to keep them synced.

The only problem is I went from having only a handful of my most visited sites in my bookmarks to hundreds, cross that, thousands.

I have 18 folders in the base of my favorites to try to organize the chaos but at least they are there. Probably never to be visited again, but they are there and I take comfort in that.

Thanks again FoxMarks for adding to my vice.

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RIAA Backs Down After Receiving Letter from Defendant’s Lawyer

I’m glad to see someone finally beat these guys.

I really wonder why artists need record labels anymore? With all the online music stores, you think they would get smart and skip the middle man…

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Great Article on Securing SSH

Not like SSH wasn’t pretty secure before, due to encryption, but every step towards security helps.

I took note to his advice on moving SSH to a non-standard port:

Security though obscurity you scoff? Perhaps. But it’s easy, causes no inconvenience, and might just reduce the number of attacks. That sounds like a winner to me.

I have also noticed that moving SSH to a non-standard port decreasing the amount of hacking activity against SSH by almost 100%.

Also it adds another benefit: the ability to expose SSH on multiple machines that may be natted on a network and sharing a single external IP such as on a cable or dsl modem. Just give each machine you want to expose a different non-standard port to run SSH on. I would recommend a VPN over exposing SSH to the Internet, but in some cases it may be necessary as some remote locations may not allow VPN traffic leaving their networks…

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How to Create an Internet Kiosk in 10 Easy Steps

If you own a business and would like to provide an “Internet Cafe” to your customers but do not want to worry about them trashing your computer or snooping around your network, there are some things you can do to create a more secure environment. This secure internet browsing mode is commonly referred to as an Internet Kiosk.

Disclaimer: This article is designed to cover most angles but does not claim to be conclusive in securing Windows (if there is such a thing!) What we will essentially do is create an automatically updating machine that grants the user access only to Internet Explorer by changing the shell value for that user and
by applying local Group Policy to restrict the user.

Steps to Create Your Own Internet Kiosk:

  1. Install Windows XP (Pro is recommended, but not required. This how-to is based on Pro edition) on a NTFS formatted hard drive.
  2. Install all updates via windowsupdate.microsoft.com and set automatic updates to install automatically in the future on a daily basis
  3. Install your anti virus software of choice and set it to auto update
  4. Install Flash, Macromedia, and acrobat reader if you so choose
  5. create a new user account with admin privileges, set the password to never expire and to not be able to be changed by the user
  6. log in with that user and make the following registry change:
    • click Start -> Run and type regedit and click OK
    • Once the Registry Editor opens, click File and Export… to create a backup of the registry (in case something goes wrong). Place this in the C:\Windows folder.
    • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current
      Version\Winlogon
    • Create a new string value called shell (Edit -> New -> String Value)
    • in the Data portion of this new string value type: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE
  7. Close the Registry Editor and logout of Windows
  8. Log back in with your original admin account
  9. Reduce the privileges of the new user account you created earlier to user
  10. Click Start -> Run -> Type “mmc” without the quotes. On the File menu click “Add/Remove Snap-in“. Click Add.
    Under Available Stand-alone Snap-ins, click Group Policy, and then click Add. This will open the Group Policy editor where you can limit user rights to your heart’s content. I would recommend dis-allowing control panel access, Active Desktop options, Task Manager from Ctrl-Alt-Del, and other obvious settings to ensure that your users can only
    do what you say.

There you have it, 10 easy steps to create your own secure Internet
Kiosk. When your newly created restricted user logs in, they will only get an Internet Explorer window. No start menu or desktop options.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the security of your newly installed Internet Kiosk, please share them with our readers.

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Zoho, the Next Big Thing

zvo.gif

I’ve been watching Zoho for a few months now after I found out about their Creator product which allows you to create online applications in minutes.

About a week ago they announced their Virtual Office suite which packages email, links, tasks, documents, calendar, and group collaboration and document sharing into one suite. It works with your existing email account and it worked fine with my Gmail account, my work’s exchange server (via IMAP) and my own Linux mail server.

It is available as a hosted or on-premise version and can be installed on either Linux or Windows as the backend server.

I have tested both platforms and it installed easily on Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux without any problems.

The document storage is awesome and I was able to upload a 45 MB file across the internet without any problems. (broadband connection both ways)

It defaults to port 8080 on your server for serving the application as an interactive webpage (AJAX complete of course). The port can be configured/changed at your will.

I have not seen this kind of integration in any product to date, and the pricing is outstanding (free for up to 10 users and very reasonable after that).

I have been using Zoho Virtual Office now for about 4 days and I think it will pass the 10 day software test that gets something into my daily habit for good. It has really helped organize my day-to-day activities and I can’t see how I lived without it before.

Thanks Zoho for another great product!


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HorsePigCow on Marketing

Tara Hunt lists the Top 10 things Pinko Marketers [regret having] to repeat to some clients:

  1. Viral? You may want to take something for that.
  2. You want to target teenage girls on MySpace? Have you ever been a teenage girl on MySpace?
  3. What do you mean you want to design a social tagging application that my mother could use? My mother socially tags?
  4. Of course you should be concerned about appealing to the mainstream…they care so much about what you are doing.
  5. No, I can’t promise we’ll get you 100,000 users by your VC meeting next week
  6. You want to own all of the data/be the next Google/set the standards/etc., too? What a coincidence!
  7. Yes, that IS considered SPAM.
  8. How about before we start talking about what you ‘could’ be we talk about where you need to be today.
  9. Naw…you are right….Mac users don’t matter…
  10. Yes, you should definitely be targeting the MySpace market – they haven’t had enough attention yet.

Link here

I think this holds true to most clients… It’s amazing some of the things I have been asked over the years.