It’s DR time!!!

With the hurricane season at it’s peak, I’ve decided to include a section focused on DR.  I hope to add links to sites detailing weather and EOC information for the United States.  If anyone elsewhere would like to contribute, please email me at <mike at itadmins dot org>. I’d also like to add sections convering power systems and other details.

Stay Tuned for More Info!

Wake up call for Mozilla

Today, Google relased Chrome Beta, an open source web browser based on Firefox and Webkit.  I am currently writing this post from Chrome.  The biggest benefit I see to Google’s method of writing this program is the intense resource management.  If one tab locks up, the others are fine.  From a technical perspective, this is the best idea since tabbed browsing itself.  Here is a link to the download: http://www.google.com/chrome

Take that, Comcast

Score one for the consumer.  The head of the FCC has recently announced that they are proceeding with charges against Comcast for traffic shaping, or selectively slowing down and blocking specific protocols on their internet service.

I haven’t been a very big advocate of bitorrent, but this will also prevent ISPs from messing with services such as Skype, Vonage, and other VoIP traffic (a big deal to me).

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5huAOgy6g1S5wW-7ft0FRuIypdzLQD91RD0RO0

The way I see it, everyone should be entitled to the connection speed that they sign up for, regardless of what they want to send over the line, within the guidlines of the law, of course.

This is a long shot, but I’m hoping they find proof of blocking competing services, something that has been brought up in the past:  http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/02/139241 .

At that point, they will face an SEC investigation which will make the FCC one look like a bad dream.

Primative Usability Tests

As a contribution to the community, I am performing a crude usability test.  For years, bookstores have been selling thousands of self-help teach yourself office application books.  My curiosity focused on a book that my wife recently finished.  I have in front of me an Excel 2003 book and over the next few months, I will follow the lessons in OpenOffice.org Calc and take notes on the differences and intricacies of teaching myself to use a spreadsheet with a book published for a specific application.  I’d like to leave a brief disclosure: I was originally taught on Lotus 1-2-3 and know my way around a spreadsheet very well.  i will try to remain objective by sticking to the book and noting any variance of functionallity thoroughly.  There are one hundred lessons and I will try to perform 10 lessons per post.  Stay tuned for more info…

Linux Data Link Library for The Ironman Watch

Ahhh… the good old days. I had ones of these DataLink watches when I started flying on my first tech job. It saved a ton of time and helped me reschedule several flights, including one where I was north of the border without my luggage. Forget about cellphones, pdas, and wireless internet connections. All I needed was a pay phone and my watch. Sadly, the battery’s dead now. Maybe as project, I will try to get this working again… without the headaches of Windows 95!

http://datalink.fries.net/

SSL in Firefox 3

To my dismay today, I ran into a problem with Firefox 3 Beta 5 on Hardy Heron.  Apparently, Mozilla has decided to put the screws to people who sign their own certificates or use certs not issued by their own domain by creating a four step process to bypass the error message.  Here is an explanation: http://wiki.mozilla.org/Security:SSLErrorPages

I was attempting to access an APC UPS inside my company’s network (translated If I am subjected to a man-in-the-middle attack, it is no one’s problem but mine and my department’s.)  APC signed the cetrificate and I was accessing it by IP address inside my network.

So, explain this one to me Mozilla… Is APC supposed to drop their encryption on their UPS systems or do they just have to pay their employees to rewrite the code so I can go out and buy a certificate for this device?  Do I have to register this with my internal dns so it’s easy to remember the way back to it and the students where I work can memorize it’s name?

Perhaps this needs to be removed out of the final version of Firefox 3 and you can write an extension that makes everything break!

Making Thunderbird Open Hyperlinks in Firefox on Ubuntu

This one was driving me nuts and I finally found a solution. For several weeks, Thunderbird has not been opening links I click on them. I found a solution here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=502651

  1. Open Thunderbird version 2.0.0.14
  2. Go to the Edit menu
  3. Click on Preferences
  4. Click the Advanced tab
  5. Click the Config Editor button.
  6. An about:config window will open up.
  7. In the Filter box, enter network.protocol-handler.app.http
  8. If the editor is unable to locate it, create a new string and input network.protocol-handler.app.http.
  9. Enter firefox for the string value.
  10. Close out and restart Thunderbird.

Hyperlinks should now be available in your email!

Zotero, a research extension for Firefox

I stumbled upon an amazing research tool toady while I was searching for a download management Firefox extension today.  Zotero is more than just a download tool.  It is a literary reasearch tool which allows you to track web citations, bookmarks, and the like from within the browser.  I would traditionally create a Bookmark folder and dump links into it until I fealt I had enough to write a post.  However, with Zotero, all my notes, bookmarks, and files from the web are stored inside a project file that my browser stores.  I cannot comment enough on the professionalism that went into this extension.    Unlike the usual extensions that do little tricks for you (downloading YouTube videos for example) this one is an actual productivity tool.  I hope this is a sign that more professionals are seriously moving to open source software development.

Zotero can be found at http://www.zotero.org/