Archive for the 'General Nerd Interest' Category

E-TextEditor V1.0 Released

E-TextEditor, the Windows text-editor inspired by and based upon the bundles for TextMate has come out of beta.

If you haven’t tried it you should give it a whirl. It is definitely the closest us, aesthetically challenged, yesterday’s news Windows users are going to get to the lofty heights of TextMate.

UPDATE: I notice the Powershell tag is pulling a fair few people into this post from Technorati but only a small proportion of visitors are actually clicking through and checking ‘E’ out. If you are searching for a Powershell editor dear reader give it a look. I think this could be the Powershell editor that people have been waiting for. Whilst there isn’t, to my knowledge at least, a Powershell bundle, there will certainly be a demand for one as this editor takes off. As the bundles are coming currently from the Mac world there obviously has been nobody interested in writing Powershell stuff on the Mac. With ‘E’ this will change and the ‘bundle’ set up is very extensible/flexible. Give it a whirl…

Beware of GMail not enforcing an SSL connection…

I’ve just been reading this: TG Daily – Point and click Gmail hacking at Black Hat (thanks for passing that on Al)

Basically, if you aren’t logging into GMail using SSL then someone can grab your cookie and replay it. Well, that is pretty obvious if you are familiar with how all that kind of thing works and of course, I only log into GMail using SSL in fact, Google enforces this. Oh… actually, now I look it doesn’t enforce it at all…

If you enter the url it automatically redirects you to and all is well. But if you log in and then close your browser, re-open it and enter it again it takes you straight to presumably passing the unencrypted cookie along the way.

Opening up your e-mail is not good, especially when you consider the alarming wealth of sites that still send password reminders as plain text which are all sitting in your mail archive along with those that send your full credit card number when you get an order confirmation.

GMail works perfectly well if you add the all important little ‘s’ into any of its URLs so why don’t they just enforce it and save us the bother?

‘Be’ Internet – Very Nice Indeed

I have been on the case of changing my ISP for a little while now. I have had a Pipex Business package for a few years, latterly at 2mb and haven’t had any problems to speak of. My only issue is that 2mb is the fastest service they provide to business customers and I’m seeing at least 8mb all over for the same price or less that I have been paying (£26).

So, I had a look around and spotted ‘Be’ which offers downloads of up to 24mb and uploads of 1.5mb (you can get up to 3mb up I think but I didn’t go for that)… I asked around and found that David Smalley had taken the plunge and he seemed happy enough. I signed up…

Well, today it finally arrived. All went smoothly and I only lost my connection for a couple of hours.

Be download speed

Nuff said…

Dell Support – is this a joke?

I just got off the phone from a call to Dell Support. Here is my problem… As I have mentioned on a couple of occasions here I installed Vista on my M90 laptop pretty much as soon as it was released on MSDN. Installing this early left me with a few driver issues but undeterred I soldiered on. Slowly but surely the drivers started to appear on the Dell site and I installed them with varying degrees of success. The sound driver still gives worse performance than the XP one I tried and a few other issues….

I was just setting up another new Dell laptop when I noticed that the Notebook System Software utility was running (on Vista) and was periodically checking for updates from Dell having scanned the system to determine the hardware. That sounds about the cut of my jib thought I and off I scurried to install it on my M90. Having run the installer 3 times I still haven’t got it working, hence the call to Dell support.

After the usual switchboard tennis I got through to the person I needed to speak to.  I explained that I had upgraded my operating system and that the Notebook System Software (NSS) wasn’t working. “I don’t think we are going to be able to help you” he told me. Why, because they don’t know if that application will work on my machine with Vista. “So”, I argued, “why does it appear in the Vista 32-Bit Drivers and Downloads list and state in the release notes that it applies to the Precision M90”. “Err…”, he replied, “that is only with the operating system that we supplied the machine with.” After a bit of pointless to-ing and fro-ing I capitulated and hung up.

During the call he also suggested that I ‘try the Internet, you know blogs or newsgroups’. Obviously, I had already done this but his suggestion to try ‘blogs’ was a good one, hence the post 🙂

So, the moral of this story is, once you upgrade your operating system you are screwed as far as any Dell drivers or system software is concerned. You are on your own…

The Hazards of Being a Nerd

I finally got around to doing a short talk at the February GeekUp meeting in which I covered some of the Health & Safety aspects of working at a computer. I didn’t know a great  deal about this prior to researching the talk and was quite shocked to find how prevalent things like RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) are amongst computer workers with some sources suggesting as many as 1 in 4 people having some symptoms.

I was equally surprised following the talk at how many people in the group had some symptoms, pretty much everyone I spoke to in fact.

So, be warned…

The slides are available here in pptx, ppt or pdf.

Thanks to those who attended and thanks to Andrew and Code ComputerLove for arranging/supplying the venue.

Yahoo – you gotta love ’em

Having heard about the release of Yahoo Pipes I was keen to have a look at what it was all about as it certainly sounded the business. Unfortunately by the time I got around to paying them a visit earlier this afternoon the site was down.

I just thought I’d have another look and the url is currently displaying this:

Yahoo Pipes Clogged

You’ve gotta love ’em…

Free Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam and Redundancy for Small Business Email

Sorry about the mildly sensational title but I haven’t posted for a while and my traffic is going down the pan so I thought I’d spice it up a bit. That isn’t to say I’m not going to tell you how mind…

Just to get the acknowledgements out of the way I didn’t think of this all by myself but had it suggested to me by Steve at Convex IT. I thought it was a good idea so here’s what you do.

Lots of small businesses run MS Exchange or more likely MS Small Business Server at the end of an ADSL web connection. This is fraught with problems not least of which are managing anti-virus and spam and coping with the inevitable loss of connectivity. I looked around a while back for some sort of back-up mail server service but didn’t find much around.

What you need to do is:

Voila… you now have Google filtering your spam, checking your mail for viruses and holding on to your mail if your Internet connection goes tits up.

Your mail might not arrive quite so quickly as it did and this also isn’t going to be the best for large numbers of users but for small companies I think it is a good idea.

There will be those, you know who you are, who will question why there is a need to run a server at all instead of just using Google corporate mail. I think there are probably lots of reasons, having all company e-mail stored locally, shared folder, calendar sharing (I know Google has a calendar but I’m still not sure it is up to Exchange’s features quite yet.)

Secret Skype Emoticons

I stumbled upon some instructions for getting secret Skype emoticons today. To unleash them on your unsuspecting contact list type one of the following, or for that matter all of the following if you are feeling a bit excitable.

(mooning) (kate) (finger) (bandit) (toivo) (headbang) (smoking) (rock) (drunk) (flag:GB)

Most of them are more or less self explanatory so I won’t bother. And to give credit where it is due I found them here.

Happy emoticoning 🙂

Microsoft goes open-source…

Well, sort of. Windows CE 6.0, MS’s device OS was launched today and along with it comes 100% of the source code under their own shared source license. Now tell me you were expecting that…

Internet Explorer 7 Vulnerability

IE 7 was released today and within seconds there was a vulnerability released by Secunia. There are two sides to this…

First, heads are going to roll at Microsoft I would have thought because of all of the ‘we waited forever to get all of this out of the door to make sure it was secure’ hype we have had from them for a while. The last thing they need prior to the release of Vista, which incidentally does not suffer the vulnerability with IE7, is what will undoubtedly become a high profile vulnerability on the day IE7 shipped.

The other side, which makes me sick in some ways… I would bet my left teste that Secunia knew about this vulnerability during the beta and yet, rather than disclose it to Microsoft, as technically they should if they were using the beta, they waited until minutes after the release was announced to tell the world. What does Secunia stand to gain in undermining Microsoft’s security reputation, like it needed undermining in the first place.

I don’t know… You tell me.

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