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November 2002

How secure do you want to be? 
- You probably get a good deal of email, letters and phone calls warning you about computer security. The general idea is the same: your systems are threatened, we can stop the threat. The cost of the remedy is seldom mentioned up front. but there are lots of buzz words to make up for any lack of specifics. "Intrusion detection", "secure firewall", "hackers", "Security assessment" and more.
Microsoft Antitrust Settlement 
- Right at the start, I'll say that I am disappointed in the ruling. I'm not entirely on the side of those who see Microsoft as evil incarnate, but I do think that their corporate behavior is dangerous and needs reining in. There's just too much power there, and not enough morality.
3.2v4.2 System Recovery 
- Using a Linux system to recover data from a badly crashed SCO Unix 3.2v4.2 machine. As a common cause for that is simply a missing or damaged inittab, I thought we might be able to fix it by booting from floppies and doing a manual repair. Unfortunately, there were no emergency boot floppies.
Mac OS X (second edition) - The Missing Manual 
- I love that Apple has gone in this direction. It's wonderful, because it opens up whole new worlds for Unix folk. It also helps the Linux software market and vice versa: if you write software for one, a port to the other should certainly be a lot easier than a port to Windows.
Leo Laporte's Technology Almanacs 
- Leo Laporte has pulled off the rather amazing feat of writing books enjoyable by just about any level of computer user.
Converting Print Files to HTML Invoices 
- Sometimes general purpose programs don't quite do what you need them to do. Such was the case for a small sales organization who uses Great Plains accounting software. They needed more flexibility for invoicing than what the software gave them.
Converting Print Files to HTML Invoices (Sample)  
Converting Print Files to HTML Invoices 
- Example of HTML Invoice generated from Perl script. The basic transformation is done by a Perl script running on a Windows server.
Simple FAQ Creator 
- This is a pair of programs to create and maintain a simple FAQ web page. The administrative inteface lets you add questions and answers, modify existing entries, and control the sort order. The simplest way to explain it is to show you the screens:
Software Mirroring on RedHat 8.0 
- I installed RedHat 8.0 on a spare machine here to see how the software raid works. I have always used hardware raid in the past, but various internet articles and posts convinced me that Linux software raid wasn't a Bad Thing. I do think I still prefer hardware raid, though. BTW, always remember that raid is no substitute for regular and reliable backup!
AIX Secure Image Installation Procedures  by Michael Desrosiers
- NOTE: Screenshots are from an ASCII installation of AIX 5.1 using Windows HyperTerminal.
Understanding IPTABLES 
- Packet filtering is something I've always hard a hard time getting my head around. Not the basics; that's easy enough. It's just the incredible level of detail, the difficulty of keeping it all in your head at once.
Why run your own mail server? 
- Indeed, why would you run your own mail server? Obviously it must cost more, at least for small companies with just a handful of mail accounts.. You have to buy hardware, and probably mail server software itself, and you have to maintain it, and feed it electricity. It seems like a dumb idea, right? Nope. It's actually a very good idea, and here (at last) are some of the reasons why.
Linux|Unix Logical Volume Manager (LVM) on Software RAID 
- Logical Volume Manager is now included with most Linux distributions. The RedHat 8.0 installer even allows you to create LVM volumes during initial install. LVM offers capabilities previously only found in expensive products like Veritas.