Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I have a request for makers of Tablet PC hardware - one that I think would be totally feasible, and would greatly simplify my Tablet PC ownership.

The one thing about using a Tablet PC that regularly haunts me, as an adult male approaching midlife crisis age (and with all the associate baggage in areas like memory, concentration, etc), is the fact that the pen/stylus I love to use with the Tablet is really, really, reaaaaally easy to misplace. It's a problem.

Cuz ya know, there's nothing quite like having a fancy-dancy convertible notebook Tablet PC without a pen. Heh.

Just ask the IT guys at my company who loses the most styluses (styluses? stylii? hmmm). They'll just roll their eyes, laugh and point at me.

So, here is my idea, recorded here for posterity: Build in a proximity device that I can turn on that will make the pen chirp or something if it's more than, say, about 15 feet away from it's home (the Tablet PC, that is) for some extended period of time.

Heck, it might even be worth enabling the pen to speak out loud and say something like, "That dork Greg Hughes at 503-629-xxxx left me sitting here all alone. Please call him and tell him to come pick me up, and that he needs to go put a quarter in the jar."

Or something like that. I'd settle for just the chirping alarm.

Any other bright ideas?



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Random Stuff | Tablet PC | Tech
Wednesday, August 17, 2005 4:59:13 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, August 16, 2005

InsecureIssue3If you're responsible for (or just into) computer security - at a fairly involved level - check out (IN)SECURE Magazine, a PDF distribution, at http://www.insecuremag.com/.

Issue 3 is out. It's 67 pages. Serious stuff. Lots of great, practical, useful stuff.

Check it out.

In the August issue:

  • Security vulnerabilities, exploits and patches
  • PDA attacks: palm sized devices - PC sized threats
  • Adding service signatures to Nmap
  • CSO and CISO - perception vs. reality in the security kingdom
  • Unified threat management: IT security's silver bullet?
  • The reality of SQL injection
  • 12 months of progress for the Microsoft Security Response Centre
  • Interview with Michal Zalewski, security researcher
  • OpenSSH for Macintosh
  • Method for forensic validation of backup tapes

(via Scoble)



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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 7:58:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, August 15, 2005

His weblog may not be an official Microsoft site - it's his own site, a place to publish his own opinions - but the fact is, Robert Scoble's a Microsoft blogger, albeit "unofficial."

And one Microsoft site - Microsoft for Business and Organizations - has published an article called "Agent of Transformation," where Robert is interviewed about corporate blogging.

61422_scoble_top

Good read. It's also linked from Microsoft's Executive Circle. Interesting, really - Robert's an insider, of course, but he speaks his mind from time to time - He's been known to express opinions critical of Microsoft's products and positions if that's where he stands. So, it's also interesting to see Microsoft publishing interviews with Robert to talk about how corporate blogging benefits business.

"So there are times when we are having an online conversation out in public, which is fascinating and scary. It's like living naked. Sometimes it's not all that pleasant. We both believe very strongly in transparency and believe that it makes you make better decisions overall."

He also talks about being a smart business blogger. It's worth a look for anyone interested in the blogging world, and for anyone who blogs about - or for - work. Read the interview here.

And... Coming up in September, Scoble's gonna be webcasting:

Robert Scoble on Blogging - September 21, 11:30 AM Pacific Time. Catch this webcast with Microsoft's most well-known blogger, Robert Scoble, and learn how to build your own blog presence, brand, and traffic.



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Blogging
Monday, August 15, 2005 5:02:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, August 13, 2005

We interrupt this IT/tech blog for the following random cult video interlude....

Flashbacks of Deliverance run through your mind. Be afraid.

This, my friends, has to be the greatest video ever on the Intarweb. I am so glad someone sent this:

Whatever you do, DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK!

Ok, just kidding. Click it. No, really. Enjoy. Know a better one? Leave a comment.

Update: Apparently this video is a party promotion for a local (Portland, Oregon) media firm, Borders Perrin Norrander, Inc. Cool. Also, a lower bandwidth version is here: http://www.bpninc.com/evideo/video_mac_lo.mov



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Humor | Random Stuff
Saturday, August 13, 2005 3:26:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Bil Simser has taken the lead in creating a place for the community to create and share SharePoint templates. This is terrific - one of the more difficult things about getting people using SharePoint has always been the lack of templates and general resources available to get people started building the custom apps people dream of (but can't necessarily create themselves).

Link: The SharePoint Template Project on SourceForge

Now that we have the place to do this, all we need are participants. Microsoft recently released a set of 30 great site templates, and there are a few others out there as well, but this has the potential to be much bigger.

Bil's own words describe the SharePoint Template Project perfectly:

Not having custom solutions has been one of the larger gaps in SharePoint but demonstrates that you can accomplish a lot with just a little configuration and some creative thought. On numerous occasions I find myself in the newsgroups seeing people asking if they can build a Help Desk with SharePoint, or an Expense Tracking System, or a Call Board. The answer is of course yes. Always has been and always will. The problem however is that you don't get a lot of business solutions delivered without some work. Enter the SharePoint Template Project.

I created a new project site on SourceForge (yes, I'm not a big fan of GotDotNet and we haven't created my utopia of SharePointForge just yet) to accomodate this. The project provides an outlet for the SharePoint community to contribute and share list and site templates for the products under the Microsoft SharePoint technology banner (SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services).

These templates come in the form of binary .stp files or plain text xml schema files (along with any additional files like images, etc.). Users create the templates either using SharePoint itself (saving them in .stp format) or with whatever xml/text editor they prefer. The templates are uploaded to a SharePoint server and used as a boilerplate by SharePoint during site creation.

Templates in this project will be created by the community and packaged in a common installer format (MSI) so that end-users need only download the MSI and run it on their SharePoint server. A template MSI will be provided for contributors to the project which includes the template installer, full or custom selections for installation (users will be able to choose what templates they want to install), graphical preview for each template (if the developer includes them) and option to create sample sites based on the templates chosen.



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SharePoint | Tech
Saturday, August 13, 2005 1:55:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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WirelesspclockLast year, I picked up a couple Wireless PC Lock devices, to see if they'd work in a business environment to control workstation security. What I found was that I'd purchased what seemed to be some cool hardware, packaged with really crappy software. In fact, the software was so bad, it made the hardware pretty much useless. Useless doesn't help in the security world, so I was disappointed overall.

Then about a week later, I discovered that Bryan Batchelder, another security type, had also picked one up, reverse engineered how it works, and written his own software for it. Bryan's software was a vast improvement - measurable in orders of magnitude - over the software that shipped with the hardware.

Then Scott Hanselman, a coworker and friend of mine, found the device and software and decided to contact Bryan and work with him to use take it to the next level, using the new .NET Framework v2.0, to control and take advantage of the hardware.

And today, a new article was published that Scott wrote for hobbiest programmers, as an installment in his excellent "Some Assembly Required" series on Microsoft's MSDN Coding4Fun site. The article is entitled, "Is that you? Writing Better Software for Cool USB Hardware." In this edition, Scott explains how the new software, built from Bryan's base, is made and how it can be extended by anyone who wants to (since it's an open source program published on SourceForge).

UsbwirelesssecuritytrayI've installed the new software myself (after downloading and installing the .NET v2.0 Beta 2 framework) and have it running, and I can tell you this: The new software really shows how cool the hardware is, as opposed to the original software, which made the hardware look sloppy and bad.

The hardware consists of a USB stick (it looks much like a USB storage device) and a small round button you can hang on your keychain (or wherever). With the new software, a tiny green icon appears in the Windows status notification area (the tray) and flashes to show you it's getting a heartbeat from the key fob button. If you turn the button transmitter off (it lasts for-freakin-ever on one battery, mine's almost a year old and it's still going strong), the software on the compute notices and does whatever it's configured to do. The image below gives you an idea of the things it can do out of the box, and it's plug-in-able, so if you want something else, you can go build it.

Hmmm, gotta go see if I can learn enough to be able to write a plugin now. 

     Usbwirelesssecurity



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Geek Out | IT Security | Tech
Saturday, August 13, 2005 9:40:11 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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