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August 2003

New RSS Feeds 
- Read APLawrence.com through RSS or by email: available full and partial RSS feeds listed here.
Blaster creator caught 
- Most of this crap comes from criminals today, but we still need to slap the little snot nosed jerks.
RSS Syndication Feeds and Why Do I Care? 
- Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake. For a long time, I failed to recognize the advantages of RSS news feeds; I just didn't get it. My journey to enlightenment actually came from a decision to publish a feed for my own site, but it wasn't until after I had that done that I realized how powerful this whole concept is.
Security begins at home, but Microsoft is an obstacle 
- It's not just home users who neglect Microsoft patches; businesses are lax about it to
Barbarians at the Gates 
- Microsoft, not content with having damn near ruined email, now wants to move into Usenet News.
So who really is this dumb? 
- Apparently some spammers get paid by advertisers - they aren't shipping blue pills from their basement at all.
More shoes hit the floor (SCO Lawsuit) 
- RedHat enters the fray to sue SCO. That's an odd shoe indeed. Certainly RedHat may be concerned about the FUD this suit has generated, but is this going to help?
On-Line Ads Important? 
- Stopping on line advertising to see if it works is about as smart as stopping breathing to see if you need oxygen.
Data Recovery from Formatted Disks 
- I've been following a thread concerning a medical office donating used computers to a school. Of course they would reformat the drives, but is that good enough when sensitive patient data was stored there?
SCO Lawsuit  by Bruce Garlock
- This is an interesting article, where a company claims to have written a program that will take out the offending SCO code in Linux, once the code is released.
- It took me years to add RSS feeds to this site and honestly I still wonder if they have any value.
SCO Lawsuit compared to Stacker 
- SCO Lawsuit is not comparable to Stacker's lawsuit against Microsoft. Stacker felt Microsoft stole from them directly; SCO is claiming patent infringement.
License to use? 
- Buying used equipment doesn't necessarily give you rights to the software that operates it. Check before your bargain turns out to be worthless.
GCC considers dropping SCO support 
- Punishing users for the sins of a corporation is definitely not cool. I'm glad GCC reconsidered (not that it matters long term).
Just an email address 
- If it's just an email address, what's wrong with MY email address?
VPN's thwart security? 
- VPN's are a great way to connect your own remote offices, but you should think twice before connecting your network to someone else in this way. If you have to do this, you need PC firewall software on each PC that connects. Configuring that to allow whatever you need from the other network while protecting you from any danger there can be quite tricky, so you may want to seek more expert advice.
More on MSBLAST Worm  by Bruce Garlock
- The MSBLAST virus shows how many corporate and home PC's are still vulnerable to attack. The very fact that those ports are open on the internet is another worry.
Forced to set up Passport account  by Bruce Garlock
- In order to license Windows 2000 properly (and install it), I had to create a MS passport account. I didn't see any other way to license it, so if anyone has ideas on how to license Win2k or 2003, please let me know, because I have to install 2k in another couple weeks on our Ink dispensing computer, and do not want to use that passport account again.
SCO's pregnant cow 
- Quite incredibly, they are arguing that copyright law makes the GPL invalid!. I do feel like I'm reading Lewis Carroll. Are these guys serious? Or is it just an un-birthday?
Windows Server Digital Signing 
- Windows Server Digital Signing can preven Unix SMB browsing (Samba, Facetwin, Visionfs)
Sun's Mad Hatter 
- Sun's Mad Hatter is not going to be the rousing success they say it will be. It's just not going to happen, folks.
Word documents security 
- Be careful when attaching Word documents to email - you may be sending more than you know.
Silent Majority 
- No way in the world is SCO likely to collect any money from Linux users. That's just not going to happen, period.
Spread the word - $36.00 Office 
- Microsoft doesn't want to lose to Linux, so to get the bid, they cut the price of XP bundled with Office to - are you ready - $36.00
Black Markets 
- If this really is a threat to Linux and Open Source in general, I have to wonder if the whole thing will go underground. My grandparents probably flouted Prohibition as so many others did, and while Linux might not be quite so popular as beer and wine, it might already be too popular to suppress. If Linux became illegal, would there be pirate web sites serving patches? Would there be servers hidden away in closets, masquerading as legal OSes?
How do the pages save? 
- Old Mozilla Firebird had some decent ideas early on. I've long ago switched to Chrome.
Nigerian/SCO Scam 
- Funny spoof on SCO requesting money for licenses from Linux users. Well done.
What's a Wiki? 
- What's a Wiki and what the heck does it mean? It means "quick", apparently.
- Early on, I made a boundary mistake: that's when you are running through looking for some condition that indicates a new file should start, so you use that to close off the old file first. At some point, you run out of input, and you need to do your close-off routine there, too. I didn't forget that, but I screwed up in my nesting and got it outside of the wrong loop.
Microsoft Updates 
- Is it better to wait and see if updates cause more problems or let them be installed automatically?
My Details, Thank You, Wicked screensaver 
- My Details, Thank You, Wicked screensaver - It isn't just you: EVERYBODY is getting these things this week.
Licensed Operating Systems 
- Will the day come when you'll need a license to connect a computer to the Internet? It could happen and ,if it does, it will be done in the name of security.
Are they REALLY this dumb? (SCO Lawsuit) 
- I'm sorry for being so mistrustful of this, but it's so hard to believe that SCO would be this dumb. On the other hand, SCO management has been blundering about for years, screwing up opportunity after opportunity, alienating their best customers, and otherwise demonstrating real stupidity. Why should this be different?
The Internet is in a bad mood this week 
- Big virus problems can affect more than the people who get infected. Sometimes the whole Internet gets slowed down.
Virus auto-responders 
- This Ars Technica article asks if virus responders should be shut off. That's the feature of most virus scanners that shoots a warning back to the person who sent the message, telling them that they have a virus. The problem nowadays is that most virus emails are spoofed: the mail didn't really come from the person that appears to have sent it. So all the automatic response does is flood the mailbox of an innocent person with complaints.
DOS attack on SCO 
- Open Source advocates shouldn't engage in illegal tactics just because someone else is being a jerk.
Nix to Microsoft in China 
- I guess the Chinese people can live without Windows XP (or at least without legal versions).
Pornography original source of SoBig 
- It is truly amazing how much disruption just one piece of malware can cause. This 'SoBig' virus is still echoing.
SCO responds (SCO Lawsuit) 
- Can SCO possibly be this dumb? Really? It simply defies belief that they could be this clueless.
Apple to use Bash in Panther 
- Somebody at Apple finally woke up and smelled reality: bash is THE shell and everything else is foolish.
One Hundred Thousand Visitors 
- One hundred thousand visitors isn't all that many, but I'm happy to be there.
Tablet PC 
- Here's an idea that never flew: tablet PC's. Probably internet speeds just were not ready for that.
CD's not lasting 20 months? 
- CD's may not las as long as expected.. but will it matter as most of us switch to the cloud?
Microsoft comments on security 
- Microsoft likes to pretend that open source is more vulnerable to security flaws. In reality, it's not.
Idiotic Patent Law affects web 
- Not that I care about Flash and Active X in web pages - I've always thought that was dumb anyway. Nor do I care that Microsoft has to fork over a ridiculous amount of money to people who don't deserve it. But the present situation with patents and copyrights is becoming downright dangerous.
CCIA says don't use Microsoft 
- sent an open letter to the Dept. of Homeland Security usrging them not to use Microsoft software
Microsoft Invincible? 
- No one can challenge a multi-billion-dollar war chest?
Microsoft deletes 35 weeks of email 
- Cringely has a report about Stupid Microsoft Tricks: Why the Richest Company on Earth Feels it Needs to Cheat that just has to make you shake your head in amazement. The short of it is that Microsoft is once again accused of trying to steal technology it didn't want to buy, and has either destroyed or tried to hide evidence that might prove that.
Eola says it won't license to Microsoft 
- Is it really so bad that someone could manage to patent a toilet seat? I think that just might be true..
Windows RPC flaw  by Michael Desrosiers
- An attack tool, also known as an autorooter, is being used to compromise Windows servers
Internet Access is not a right 
- Someone on a newsgroup reminded me that access to the internet certainly is not a "right", and that's absolutely correct. Our government can decide that it is necessary to restrict access at any time, and can enforce that however they feel is necessary.
They'll miss you when you are gone 
- An underpaid, undervalued I.T. person wonders how to make his employers understand how valuable he really is. I've seen this a number of times in my career, and it's usually someone who started out as a very young person and has grown with the company. Because of the fairly recent history of desktop computer use in corporations, this person often was there at the beginning or near to it: they may have put the very first computers into place.
Camino Browser 
- Cocoa based (which means it was specifically developed for Mac OS X, and doesn't run on earlier Mac's).
Mozilla Firebird 
- This is a review of an ancient browser product and is only left here because it eventually became Firefox.
NetNewswire - Mac OS X RSS Reader 
- Netnewswire is a Mac OS X only RSS reader. It's a standalone; it shows you the feeds, their contents, and any comments, but launches to your default browser when you actually choose to look at something.
NewsMonster News Reader 
- My initial reaction was not at all favorable, but that did change. As usual, most of my problems with NewsMonster were entirely due to my innate lack of patience
Watch those domain names 
- Piggybacking on someone else's domain may work for sending mail, but can suddenly break, too.
Vacation Manager 
- The usual way to implement a vacation autoresponder is to use the 'vacation' program with procmail (or .qmail files if using qmail). I've never liked that.
Protecting corporate email by using multiple anti-virus scanners  by Dirk Hart
- Anti-virus scanning is a critical part of protecting the corporate LAN
Do as I say! (and not as I do)  by Dirk Hart
- It started out with just a single PC. I swear I didn't know what a mess I was helping to create.
IPU's vs. Fresh Installs 
- In-Place OS Upgrades can ruin your day. I'm not talking about complete failures that trash your system: obviously you made backups and can start over in that case. No, what I'm talking about is upgrades that appear to be succesful, but have introduced subtle (or not so subtle) problems that can be devilishly hard to resolve.
Linux|Unix and the Unix Philosophy 
- The fact that it couldn't engage me does not mean that it wouldn't be just the thing for someone new to our world. If you don't grok why the Unix/Linux way really is better than the Microsoft way, reading this might open your mind. It might also be a good gift for someone just beginning to learn Linux.
PC Hardware in a Nutshell (3rd Edition) 
- Hardware has never been my strong point, but after more than 20 years of doing this stuff day after day, I have become fairly proficient. I remember when I first opened a PC to upgrade memory. This was back when memory chips had legs on them and came in tubes. Replacing these things was not easy because the little legs were so easy to bend and even break. The chips weren't cheap, and my palms were drenched in nervous sweat. It all worked though, and over the years I've become much more sanguine about hardware in general. There's nothing I'm really afraid to tackle, though there are things I'd just rather not do, either because the procedures are tricky or just more difficult than I'd like. I don't like replacing motherboards, and I don't like replacing almost anything on those very small desktop units where you have to take out floppy drives and cd's just to get at memory. I CAN do those things, but I try hard not to.
Tracking down a cgi bug 
- Recently I noticed some unusual errors in my web logs. Tracking this down was difficult.
Understanding Alexa 
- Alexa started out as a project to archive the Internet; to keep a history of the then nascent World Wide Web as it developed. While that certainly was an interesting concept, it probably never would have paid the bills.
'arpwatch' for security and administration  by Bruce Garlock
- 'arpwatch' for security and administration. arpwatch' is also a useful administration tool. We recently purchased 7 HP print servers for some printers, and new offices. Since they initially get their IP address from a DHCP server, arpwatch emails me when I put a print server on the network.
Troubleshooting network connections with arp  by Dirk Hart
- I noted that the hostnames had come from /etc/hosts and saw that the IP addresses matched the names shown. MAC address ranges are assigned by the IEEE to electronics manufacturers to ensure that MAC addresses are globally unique. The Intelliserver claimed to be from a manufacturer identified by 00:06:25 and that there was another device on the LAN from the same manufacturer. I thought this was unlikely and used a PC to browse to http://standards.ieee.org/regauth/oui/index.shtml where I typed in 000625 and out popped Linksys Corporation.
Some common Unix network ports on my server and what they mean  by Dirk Hart
- One of the rules of thumb for system security is to turn off the ports you don't need. It had never really concerned me, as my Unix box is behind a router and the router doesn't forward any ports except for a couple I have specifically allowed.
Pricing the Hidden Costs of Unix, Linux, and Windows  by Joe McKendrick
- Total cost of ownership for Unix, Linux, and Windows: Analyst firms have been releasing total cost of ownership calculations for leading operating systems, with Linux and Windows neck-in-neck for the low end, and Unix numbers somewhere up in the stratosphere. The question is, will standard TCO measurements still be relevant as we move into an impending era of utility, on-demand, and grid computing?
Simple RSS Feed Generator 
- So, you have a web site, and you want to generate an RSS feed. In my case, I have the entire process of adding anything to my site scripted (see The AutoMagic Web Site), and of course generating new RSS documents is just part of that. But you may not have reached that state yet, so here's a little Perl script that will help you along.
Cool Tools: Network View - a network node discovery tool  by Dirk Hart
- Identifying addresses and open ports on a network, network node discovery tool. I'm not the only one who maintains this company's network. The operations guy is pretty capable and doesn't mind setting up PCs - he enjoys it. Well, between me and him we had lost track of PC, printers, WAPs, routers, more routers and such like that. We needed a network discovery tool and we found a great one by Michael Welschenbach at http://www.networkview.com/.