Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Well, be praised... My new projector is here - The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 projector, along with a fresh-off-the-press copy of 300 in HD-DVD, a home theater HD-DVD calibration disc, The Matrix Ultimate Collection in HD-DVD (sense a theme yet? heh...) and a VGA cable for my Xbox 360 (which the the one that will let the HD-DVD player get output in true 1080p format - we will see how that goes).


Gonna be a fun evening at home. I'll post a review with details once I get my hands dirty. This projector is replacing my old Infocus X1, so I am upgrading from a 800x600 native image to a full 1080p (1920x1080) image and a much newer set of technologies behind it. Should be pretty amazing.

More to come. Time to go geek out for a while.

Quick Update: A-MA-ZING. Like as in wow. Watching the movie "300" in full 1080P at 130 or so inches projected size (I'll have to measure to be sure) is visually amazing. It doesn't even look like a video projection - you can clearly see the film grain and the screen door effect is non-existent. More later, I can't stop looking right now. And after a quick try, Xbox 360 games and HD TV both look amazing, too.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007 1:43:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)

Microsoft's Windows Live Folders (Beta) is (another) service that allows you to upload your files to a secure, remote, backed-up, high-availability server system so you can access them from anywhere on the Internet with a web browser and your Windows Live ID account information. It's a pretty basic service, but it's clean and functional and that counts. You only get 500MB of storage (did I just say "only??"), so it's not (yet) a place to back up your entire hard drive or even a large number of pictures or other binary files, and there is a 50MB per-file limit. The service is currently in a limited release while it's in beta, but you can sign up and get in at some point.

You can store files in one of three ways:

  • So only you can access them (personal files and folders)
  • So only those you specify can access them (shared files and folders)
  • So anyone can access them (public files and folders)

Below are a few screenshots. When you first log in and see your new account, you have 500MB of free space available. The graphical representation of the system functionality is nice and clean and very easy to understand. Anyone could use this stuff, it's plenty intuitive:

   Live Folders - 500MB

Once you choose how you want to store your files (in this case I chose Personal folders), you're presented with the opportunity to create or choose folders to store them in:

   Live Folders - Choose a folder

Then you can choose, as expected, which files you want to upload using a standard Browse dialog (below). It would be nice to have a tool I could run to choose a whole directory, or multiple files in a single dialog, or even that I could just drag-and-drop onto. Maybe someone else will write one (or already has for all I know).

   Live Folders - Choose Files to Upload

Once you upload your file, the details page for the document (file) can be seen and reviewed. Options exist to rename, delete, etc:

   Live Folders - File Details

All in all it's a good start. I am hopeful that larger storage and bulk upload tools will become available. If that happens, this will be a viable contender in the online storage market. But hey, it's beta and it's free, so it's hard to complain. :)

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007 1:32:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)

Want to quickly track your package being shipped by UPS, just type the word "track" followed by your tracking number into the Google search box and click. Google will help you find the info. In fact it look like you can just type the number in and Google figures it out for you.


Cool stuff. I don't have a FedEx or DHL package to track right now - but they say those work, too. Looks like Google automatically recognizes tracking numbers from UPS, USPS, and FedEx. But if you have a DHL tracking number, you can precede it with "dhl" on your search string. For example, something like "dhl 1234567890123" should work.

Or try's visual online tracking tool to map out your tracking information. Not sure what real value that adds, but hey it's really cool if you're watching your Amazon or Woot shipment with great anticipation. :)


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Random Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, August 01, 2007 9:21:24 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)

Recent security issues revealed by a group of security researchers, which will be showcased this week at the Blackhat conference in Las Vegas, are apparently dealt with via an update to the iPhone software released last night by Apple. You can read the change-log here.

Time to load up iTunes, all you iPhone users, and get your security fixes.

Also, looks like the Engadget guys seem to think Safari runs better in general and Boy Genius Report has a few non-security-related fixes/changes they have found.

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Wednesday, August 01, 2007 7:36:17 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
 Monday, July 30, 2007

PirateFish For the record, just wanted to let you know: Rory Blyth is a no good fish pirate. Here. Go look for yourself. Get to know Rory if you are not already acquainted.

He's crazy, sure. But he's coolio foolio.

Werd. FRACKIN' werd even yo.

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Random Stuff
Monday, July 30, 2007 9:12:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)

Ouch, this news is a few days old but I am just catching up on security reading and ran across this one. The guys have found some real issues with the iPhone's security and have been able to exploit it. The New York Times and others have covered this recently. Seems much of the iPhone application library runs as admin/root. The overall design of the iPhone seems to rely in large part on preventing apps from running, rather than creating a robust security environment. But leverage browser vulnerabilities or similar issues on a hacked wireless network or Internet web site and it can get very interesting very quickly.

From the executive summary in the findings document:

To demonstrate these security weaknesses, we created an exploit for the Safari browser on the iPhone. We used an unmodified iPhone to surf to a malicious HTML document that we created. When this page was viewed, the payload of the exploit forced the iPhone to make an outbound connection to a server we controlled. The compromised iPhone then sent personal data including SMS text messages, contact information, call history, and voice mail information over this connection. All of this data was collected automatically and surreptitiously. After examination of the file system, it is clear that other personal data such as passwords, emails, and browsing history could be obtained from the device. We only retrieved some of the personal data but could just as easily have retrieved any information off the device.

Additionally, we wrote a second exploit that performs physical actions on the phone. When we viewed a second HTML page in our iPhone, it ran the second exploit payload which forced it to make a system sound and vibrate the phone for a second. Alternatively, by using other API functions we discovered, the exploit could have dialed phone numbers, sent text messages, or recorded audio (as a bugging device) and transmitted it over the network for later collection by a malicious party.

This is the sort of thing I was afraid of when I wrote about the potential for iPhone security and use in the enterprise. Security vulnerabilities are not just about the Windows platform, after all. Here's a mobile platform, effectively in v1, and it has flaws that can be readily exploited. Hopefully Apple will be able to get some patches ready and out before the these evaluators release the details the evening of August 2nd at the Black Hat conference, which is where the researchers - who have already provided Apple with the full details so they can create and distribute a fix - will be presenting their discoveries.

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IT Security | Mobile | Tech
Monday, July 30, 2007 2:00:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)