Saturday, April 22, 2006

Go hack yourself

Here's a short discussion of a few tools to use in checking the security of your own network. Any responsible admin will do this almost constantly for a while after each and every network change.

Even if you don't have responsibility for anything more than your home LAN, this is a good set of tools to learn how to use in checking just how secure you are.


Is Dell About to Kill Off the Axim?

The link is to an open letter to Dell from an Axim fan/support site.

It looks as though HP will kill off the iPaq, leaving that segment to devices which also contain a phone. Other PDAs, such as Sony's, are hard to get and premium priced, to boot. Palm shows some vague signs of resurgence. This market is going to go through some changes. The question is how and what will change.

I like a PDA and have no desire for email and phone capabilities, meaning I'm at the low end of functionality and most likely to be left in the lurch. And of course this happens just as my wife and I re-enter the market, intending on buying a new machine.

I'm not talking about the new Ultra Mobile PC's like the MS "Origami" initiative. Just a PDA with some storage and a few basic functions. They're going to get harder to find, by all indications.


HP fires real bullet at Storageworks array

I'm really leaning on The Inquirer, this morning. Sorry about that.

HP really did shoot a machine, video-taped it and put the video up on the net!
I have no adequate comment for that. Check it out for yourself.


Phenomenal PC power in an iddy-biddy living-space

It's a mini-review of the Shuttle XPC P 2500G SFF PC. The "SFF" stands for "small form factor" and it is that. Shuttle has evidently done their homework on cooling and the machine is not exactly quiet. Still, it would be less noisy than the machine I am working on now, which is in a much larger case, has significantly less power and is missing some features in a comparison.

I've been wondering why SFF machines haven't taken off since the current iMac and the Mac Mini pointed the way. This one carries a premium price, but there is nothing to prevent someone making SFF boxes in every price class, with the possible exception of the very cheapest. (SFF machines take more labor time to build because the workers have to move more slowly and carefully in the smaller case confines.) Perhaps now we'll start to see more of this sort of machine.


Apple book comes with Windows pre-loaded

And, of course; the second I posted this, my pal John rings me up and tells me he's gotten the same deal out of our local CompUSA, with the unauthorized aid of one of the sales staff, on condition he buy all the fixings from their store.

Somehow; I wasn't quite ready for this one and choked on my coffee.


Test Pilot Scott Crossfield Killed in Crash

Join me in honoring one of the greats. Happy landings Scott Crossfield.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Secunia Finds "Critical" Hole in Mac OS X

Secunia has found what it considers a critical hole in Mac OS X 10.4.6. (Though it may apply to other versions, as yet tests have not been performed to confirm this.)

Clicking on the link above will take you to Secunia's site, where you can find a general overview of Mac security and a further link to this advisory. The vulnerability in question is serious enough to allow a DoS attack or complete compromise of the machine.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Linux vendors to rally behind desktop standard

First was the Linux Standards Base, which made users of and developers for Linux servers and clusters able to depend on common interfaces and (to some extent) file locations.

Now, vendors are coming together to create similar standards for desktops and desktop applications. Oddly enough; the problems for desktop Linux were not a lack of standards, but too many and conflicts between them.

It is a step forward in gaining acceptance for Linux on the desktop. Just how much effect this move will have depends on too many variables to predict. Unless those concerned really blow this chance it will be to the good. The question is only how much.


Where Vista Fails

In fairness, this is part 5 of a review and I haven't read the first 4 parts yet. I will as soon as I find them, and I urge you to do the same.

As you read this mind-numbingly scathing piece, please remember that the author is a genuine Windows fan and supporter. I truly believe that he is writing this piece in the hopes that Microsoft will listen and fix some of the most aggregious things before release. So as harsh as it is, read it as constructive criticism from somone who dearly wants to see Windows Vista be a rousing success.

NeXT's OpenStep OS up and running on a MacBook Pro

In the back to the future theme, today....
I wonder if many of the readers of this blog ever had a NeXT - Wikipedia computer? Let us know in the comments, please.
Thanks to Parallels Workstation virtualization software, OpenStep 4.2 is up and running on a MacBook Pro at blazing speed and with a high resolution, true-color display. A definite "back to the roots" moment.


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Opera 9 Beta Released

If you're feeling just a bit adventurous and your computer is well backed up, you might want to give the next version of Opera a test drive.

The link above is to the changlog at There's an awful lot to look at there.

The thing I like most is the content manager, which appears to be the most "family friendly" I have yet seen.

Remember; Opera is now free. No ads, no charges for a "higher" version. This is a wonderful alternative to FireFox and IE and well worth checking out.


From DOS to XP on one desktop

Link to pics of 9! yes 9 different Operating Systems from Microsoft via Virtual PC. Its pretty kewl. I thought many who read this blog would appreciate this :)

Courtesy of Fred Langa at, an excellent newsletter. There is a free newsletter and a $12 subscribe option (a portion of which is used to support children in 3rd world countries), which I do.

From DOS to XP on one desktop

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dell unveils 'fastest' consumer laptop

Apple got to release the first machines containing Intel's "Core Duo" processors. This Dell is the second one out. It's a VERY impressive machine. If a quick perusal of the specifications for the XPS M1710 does not set your mouth to watering, go to the Emergency Room, now.


Critical Windows Security Patch Butts Heads With HP Software

I know there are many using HP products among us. If you've been having problems since Patch Tuesday, read this. This may be the reason.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sony Laptop Supposed to Be Carbon Fiber - Is Plastic

It seems Sony's SZ160 series laptops are not what they're advertised to be, at least some of the time. And it looks as if they're working hard to turn this into another public relations disaster. Buyers expecting carbon fiber cases are getting plastic. And support is making a mess of it, eerily similar to Gail's experience with Electronic Arts.

The link will take you to a story at The Inquirer which will give you the gist of it all. Plus, there are links to more information.

(Try as I might; I couldn't figure out some way to work in the idea of setting Gail loose on the Sony support folks. I tried, though. Oh, how I tried.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 04-16-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 04-16-06. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Why Windows is less secure than Linux

Richard Stiennon makes this point graphically in this blog entry.

His point is that Windows makes so many more system calls than Linux does while accomplishing exactly the same operation that it cannot be adequatly secured. The article is not definitive and does not try to be. It is food for thought, though.