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Access United

DC united have launched Access United, a multimedia offering with behind-the-scenes goodies.  It’s a window media video, so if you’re not using Windows, expect to jump through some hoops to get it to play, if you can at all.

 

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Debian Desktop Destruction and Recovery

Luckily the install is very painless and mostly automated (easier than the last windows install I did). Despite all the critiques of linux installs (and yes, it did cross my mind that a new Mac would be nice), I find myself hunting for drivers and driver CDs (especially for motherboard subsystems) than I have to compared to Windows.

That said, I have to do the following to get the PC back into a useful state – install nvidia binary drivers, setup twinview for the dual monitors, setup apache2 virtual hosts for my local development sites, install mysqll4.1, install php5, install subversion. The most painful one will be recompiling the kernel to include mppe support so I can vpn into the network at Forum One and be productive on Wednesday.

Not sure what it says about me, or my comfort with linux nowadays compared to 3 years ago, but none of the above sound all that challenging. I think its mostly because apt is such a handy packaging system, debian developers do a good job maintaing packages, so that something like subversion is just an apt-get install subversion away.

Update: at 3am, I started installing at 11:30pm, I had a working system with all of the above. MMPE support is now in them main linux kernel tree so no more patching and kernel recompiles for me!

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Firefox 1.5 released last week.

I know I’m a bit late to the game, but some of you may not know that Mozilla Firefox 1.5, was released last week. If you are still using Internet Explorer on your Windows machine, you should install and start using Firefox because its more secure, faster, and extendable. This Introduction to Firefox is a great starter’s guide for making the switch form IE.

If your a web developer or designer, you should be interested in what’s new in the browser. Simon Willison has an overview of new CSS tags, and other feature, that Firefox supports.

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Microsoft worm headlines

I report, you decide.  Now, in my book, bringing down the US Custom’s office isn’t a sign that your security strategy is “working”.  According to Forrester, the fact that this wasn’t as bad as the last windows worm shows “Shows That Microsoft’s Security Strategy Is Working“.  But Windows remains the battleground for worm writers, and if their Worm war cripples computers at US firms, at least they’re not crippling more of them.  That’s some progress.

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IE7: Don’t belive the Hype and FUD

It seems Microsoft is trying to stem the tide of users ditching the security hazard that is Internet Explorer for Mozilla Firefox. They just announced that Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta Due This Summer. Why wait until this summer for a preview version of their next browser when you can get Firefox today? Not to mention that If You are Not Running XP It Will Only Cost You $100 and may only be available for the latest Windows version – sorry win2k users!.

Firefox 1.0 is better right now than IE 7 will be when it comes out. Don’t wait. Get Firefox now. 25 Million Downloads can’t be wrong.

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Pointers: running your own mail server

There are a bunch of reasons why you might decide that running your own mail server is something you want to do. You have a lot of free time and enjoy spending a lot of time at the command line reading howto guides and installation manuals. Hopefully, you know you are running a mail server and don’t have a Windows machine that’s been turned into a spam zombie.

Ok, so that may not sound like good reasons. There are some real benefits, you can give yourself unlimited email aliases, give your friends and family easier-to-remember addresses, and set up mailing lists to keep in touch with people.

If you’ve got a linux server, Postfix is one of the more popular mail transports. One of the things about mail server jargon is that there are a number of lego blocks that go into the mail chain. I won’t attempt to write a complete guide to setting up your server, instead I’ll point you at some useful links that I found helpful, and to boot not horrendously diffult to install.

  • Postfix takes care of receiving incoming mail and routing it to a local destination. I found the Postfix Anti-UCE Cheat Sheet useful for making sure I had configured the server correctly to make sure it is being used for good and not evil.
  • Amavisd-new is a perl script for plugging in virus scanners and spam blocks into the delivery chain. I use Clam Anti-virus, a Free virus scanner, and Spamassassin, to protect users from unwanted or dangerous mail messages.
  • Once you’re system is running, you might find that you’re looking at the mail log to make sure nothing is out of sorts. Download pflogsumm and schedule it to send you a report on how many messages are being delivered/sent/blocked and other useful metrics.
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Technology

WindowsXP: 20 minutes of safety

From: SANS – Internet Storm Center – Cooperative Cyber Threat Monitor And Alert System – Current Infosec News and Analysis, a report that finds that an unpatched Windows XP box has on average 20 minutes before being infected by a port-scanning worm. They have an in-depth pdf showing how to connect a brand new Windows XP box to a Network which details all the steps you need to go through to secure the out-of-the-box network settings before you connect to Windows Update. No mention that I could see about how being behind a dsl/cable modem sharing router affected survival time.

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How to draw a monkey

Follow along and see how to draw a monkey in four steps. I drew this happy little guy using Pixia, an awesome and free drawing program for Windows. All the anime aside, its got a powerful pen/brush, bezier/spline curves, and layer system. Note, you\’ll have to click through to the full story to see the final result.

First, sketch out your monkey. Give him big ears on the side of his head, not on top like a dog or cat.

Second, black in the major lines. Trace each one using a spline or bezier curves and then stroke a line using the current brush and color.

Step 3, using a flood fill tool to color in his head, ears, and mouth.

Step 4, finally add some highlights and shadows to give him a 3-D effect.