Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Verisign's iDefense Labs has a program running that will pay you up to $10,000 if you submit a security vulnerability to them during this quarter that ends up being ranked as critical by Microsoft:

For the current quarter, iDefense Labs will pay $10,000 for each vulnerability submission that results in the publication of a Microsoft Security Bulletin with a severity rating of critical. In order to qualify, the submission must be sent during the current quarter and be received by midnight EST on March 31, 2006.

Well, there you go - if you gots the skillz, go gets some cash.

And by the way - the iDefense Labs site is a great resource for IT and security types to keep any eye on. They provide content on the site as well as webcasts with well-done content.

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 21 February 2006 09:03:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Everyone knows about - and almost everyone uses - Google's great search engine. And while it's great at searching for most content, it can't do everything.

The massive, battleship-class search engines have left certain gaps in their wake, gaps that are just waiting to be filled by niche applications. One great example of such a gap is a search engine specifically for developers. I mean, have you ever tried to use Google to search for actual programming source code?

What would life/work be like with a search tool that would enable developers to search for code or for developer-centric content? It would be easy and fast, and would search all the logical places - like SourceForge and other open source repositories, developer web sites, blogs, standards bodies, documentation repositories, etc. Even better, what if it allowed you to tag and write notes about specific code, and if you could save information related to specific code for others to use, or if you could just send them a link to your annotations?

That would be wicked cool, huh?

Enter Krugle - the search engine for developers. Your wish is their command. Well, starting sometime in March it will be, anyhow. That's when they'll likely launch.

So what's this all about? The Krugle web site explains it like this:

Krugle’s role

While the development world has changed, the tools that developers use haven’t kept up. Developers spend from 20-25 percent of their time looking for code and code related information – a frustrating situation for programmers, and an expensive problem for companies.

Current search engines are okay for finding web pages, but they don't crawl or find source code, whether in open repositories or within source code control systems (SCCS). They also don't leverage the inherent structure of code to support the types of searches programmers need.

Krugle vision

Krugle answers the need for a single place to find relevant code and critical technical information. By making it easy for anyone to find, elevate and communicate, Krugle fills a critical gap in todays technology rich environment.

Krugle's summary headlines effectively tell the high-level story: Krugle enables you to 1) quickly find and review source code 2) find code related technical information and 3) save, annotate and share your search results with others... all from within a single, easy-to-use, web application.

From Wired News:

The new service joins other source-code search engines like Koders and Codefetch, but Krugle intends to differentiate itself by allowing developers to annotate code and documentation, create bookmarks and save collections of search results in a tabbed workspace. Saved workspaces have unique URLs, so developers can send an entire collection of annotated code to a co-worker just by e-mailing a link.

In the future, the company plans to offer an enterprise edition of the software for use inside companies, to enable large teams of developers to better share code. That should be very interesting - something I'd love to get my hands on, for sure.

Check out all the details and some screenshots here, and sign up to find out when it's available by providing your email address here.

(via tech.memeorandum)

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Geek Out | Tech
Tuesday, 21 February 2006 01:25:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 20 February 2006

Microsoft has posted information regarding which apps will be included in each of the Office 2007 product suites, as well as pricing for the packages and individual apps/servers.

In Word .doc format:

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Office 2003 | SharePoint | Tech
Monday, 20 February 2006 08:42:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 19 February 2006

If you have not yet checked out BlogCode.com, I'd suggest you give it a try. It allows you to submit your blog, answer a few category ranking questions, and then see which other blogs are most like yours.

Alternatively, you can browse their listing for other blogs that have been "coded," look for your favorite blogs, and see other blogs that are similar.

The idea is that the blogs listed might be ones you'd like to read. Certainly there are other uses, as well.

I coded my blog the other day, and below are the closest-matched weblogs (as of the date this post is published) relative to the greghughes.net weblog. Per the folks at BlogCode.com, an 80% or better match is considered a very high score. Many of these blogs I already read or have read before, and some are new and unknown to me. I'll definitely have something to look around at for a while now.

Blog Name/URL
(click each for blogcode results)
Scobleizer (http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/)
79.22 %
TechCrunch (http://www.techcrunch.com)
78.21 %
Agylen (http://agylen.com/)
77.96 %
Kevin Harder (http://kevinharder.com/blogs/kevin)
76.72 %
Ben Metcalfe Blog (http://benmetcalfe.com/blog/)
76.71 %
EvilSpudBoy (http://www.evilspudboy.net/)
76.43 %
Licence to Roam (http://blog.bibrik.com)
76.25 %
Newest Industry, The (http://newestindustry.org)
76.18 %
NeoThermic.com -- The well of information
75.95 %
75.93 %
A Venture Forth (http://aventureforth.com)
75.89 %
Solution Watch (http://www.solutionwatch.com)
75.81 %
blogging.wurk.net (http://blogging.wurk.net)
75.64 %
Life On The Wicked Stage: Act 2
75.43 %
PHOSITA ::: an IP law blog!
75.36 %
07Designs (http://www.07designs.com/)
75.12 %
Sunday Bytes (http://sundaybytes.com)
74.68 %
The Daily ACK (http://www.babilim.co.uk/blog/)
74.34 %
inluminent.com (http://inluminent.com)
74.29 %
adverblog (http://www.adverblog.com)
74.28 %
74.26 %
integrating developer process
74.24 %
View from the Isle
74.09 %
disambiguity (http://www.disambiguity.com)
73.72 %
Brandopia (http://brandopia.blogspot.com)
73.71 %
Creative Tech Writer, The
73.65 %
Church Tech Matters (http://churchtechmatters.com)
73.62 %
Larry Borsato (http://www.larryborsato.com)
73.56 %
Linickx.com (http://www.linickx.com/blog)
73.49 %
brilliantdays.com (http://brilliantdays.com)
73.49 %
LaughingMeme (http://laughingmeme.org)
73.40 %
Superaff: The Affiliate Marketing Blog
73.34 %
rexblog (http://www.rexblog.com)
73.30 %
Keith`s Inklings (http://talideon.com/weblog/)
73.29 %
Seven Degrees (http://sevendegrees.blogspot.com/)
73.27 %
StartupBoy.com - Journal
73.04 %
Vinny Carpenter`s blog
73.00 %
A View Inside My Head
72.96 %
michael parekh on IT (http://mp.blogs.com)
72.79 %
Ninefish Tales (http://www.ninefish.com/blog)
72.54 %

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Blogging | Tech
Sunday, 19 February 2006 15:03:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Windows Defender LogoOn Friday Microsoft released a the latest version of their anti-malware product, which is now called Windows® Defender (Beta 2). This software replaces the product formally known as Microsoft Antispyware. There's both 32- and 64-bit versions available to download.

I've installed it and it runs just fine, but I get an error when it tries to update itself with the latest detection signatures. I'll try a reboot and see what happens a little later on. Hopefully that will help.

The new UI is nicely done, and I like the fact that you don't have to be an administrator to run Defender.

Defender information 
on Microsoft.com:

Windows Defender home

Product information
•  Beta overview
•  FAQ
•  System requirements
•  Release notes
Support and training
•  Getting started
•  Beyond basics
Resources for software vendors
Microsoft's focus on spyware

From the Windows Defender download site:

Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a free program that helps you stay productive by protecting your computer against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software.

This release includes enhanced features that reflect ongoing input from customers, as well as Microsoft’s growing understanding of the spyware landscape.

Specific features of Windows Defender Beta 2 include:

  • A redesigned and simplified user interface – Incorporating feedback from our customers, the Windows Defender UI has been redesigned to make common tasks easier to accomplish with a warning system that adapts alert levels according to the severity of a threat so that it is less intrusive overall, but still ensures the user does not miss the most urgent alerts.
  • Improved detection and removal – Based on a new engine, Windows Defender is able to detect and remove more threats posed by spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Real Time Protection has also been enhanced to better monitor key points in the operating system for changes.
  • Protection for all users – Windows Defender can be run by all users on a computer with or without administrative privileges. This ensures that all users on a computer are protected by Windows Defender.
  • Support for 64-bit platforms, accessibility and localization - Windows Defender Beta 2 also adds support for accessibility and 64-bit platforms. Microsoft also plans to release German and Japanese localized versions of Windows Defender Beta 2 soon after the availability of the English versions. Use WindowsDefenderX64.msi for 64-bit platforms.

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Sunday, 19 February 2006 13:46:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 17 February 2006

(This is not a techie post, but since there are many people out there asking how I am doing after surgery, I'll write about it here. It will also help me remember how things went and what happened when)

It's two days after my surgery, and I'm heading home this evening from the hospital, which I am looking forward to. This hospital is great (truly), but somehow the idea of having a fire in the fireplace and being in familiar surroundings is more appealing.

My body hurts, pretty bad. Like I got hit by a truck. but it's not the old pain, which is great. I can walk a short while (well, it's a lot like walking, but it's labored at best), and the physical therapist had me walk up and down a flight of training stairs. Who would have known it could be so much work? This is a lot like learning to walk all over again.

I was able to take a quick shower today (they do some fancy stuff with the incision when they close you up, and showering is actually a good thing to do once you're up to standing for that long). Thank goodness! The hot water helped relax some of my tense muscles.

Yesterday was hell. Starting with X-rays (which came out just fine), standing up was very painful - I had terrible muscle spasms in my lower back and legs, along with pain and nausea. Nothing like feeling nauseas and (forgive the graphical discussion) having to puke, which of course hurts like hell since your abdominal muscles contract hard each time. I'm glad that phase seems to be over with.

Kineflex-1More than a few people have asked me what exactly they did to my back during this surgery. I've decided its not a big secret or anything, and that in fact it's really very interesting. First they removed the inter-vertebral disc in the lowest part of my lower back, at the L5/S1 space. Discs in your back are the softer tissues between the bony vertebrae that act as shock absorbers and allow your back to move in all directions. think of them as like a little pillow filled with squishy stuff (well, sort of). Mine was herniated (torn and pooching out into the space where the nerves run) and degenerated (loss of water and height, thinner than it used to be). In other words, pretty much all ragged and shot. The medical term for the thinning and drying out of the disc is "Degenerative Disc Disease." You body won't correct it on it's own - the physical damage is done and it usually just gets worse over time.

Once they removed the bad disc, they put in an artificial disc replacement implant - a spinal prosthesis, you could say. It's called a Kineflex lumbar artificial disc, and you can see a quick video of what it looks like and how it works here. The Kineflex device is a newer design, and I received it through a study program that is comparing the Kineflex disc to the Charite disc as part of a FDA clinical trial in the United States (email or call me if you want some details - contact info is in the right-side menu bar). I did a lot of research - on fusion options, artificial disc options, do-nothing options, individual surgeons, etc - before I decided to go this route. Artificial discs are - in the right patients - an alternative to fusion of the two bones. The ADR devices don't act like a shock absorber (neither does fusion, for that matter), but they do retain close to natural motion in the joint. As you might imagine, it's a fairly expensive procedure, and at least for now insurance companies in the United States are rarely paying for the procedure because it's too new for them (the first model to get FDA approval was the Charite and that was in the fall of 2004), and they instead prefer the fusion route. That's the way health care works.

And for those people looking here for technical posts - well, sorry. They'll be back soon enough.

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Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories
Friday, 17 February 2006 13:59:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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