Archive for January, 2004

Digital audio “primer” from ExtremeTech

January 31, 2004

They call this a “primer” and it will tell you the basics but it also serves as a really useful repository of things like audio formats, lossy vs lossless compression and so on.


CyberSecurity Alerts from Homeland Security

January 28, 2004

For what it’s worth.
The Department of Homeland Security announced today that they have created a “Cyber Alert System” to deliver “timely and actionable information to better secure their systems” (their words). The press release is available here. They talk about providing “products” which are really just emails: bi-weekly tips for the non-techie, bi-weekly bulletins and summaries for the techie, and Alerts (in two forms, one for the non-techie and one for the techie). You can sign up for these at
I know, I subscribe to the CERT mailings and to the Secunia alerts.
Upate 19:47: Turns out that the Homeland’s updates are done in concert with CERT. Got an email from CERT shortly after I published this entry explaining this.

Mars photos from JPL

January 28, 2004

WPA update — System Restore the the rescue again!

January 26, 2004

I had the good fortune of upgrading my wireless setup to the D-Link DI-624 wireless router and their DWL-G650 PC card a little while back. Everything’s been running quite well. The connection at home’s been running at the rated 108Mbps (yeah, I know, that’s not a real data rate) and I’ve connected to some public 802.11b access points (one at MoonBeans Coffee and a couple of McDonald’s installations) as well as some friends’ houses so this weekend I decided to apply the WPA update from Microsoft to see how it works.
What a disaster! I searched Google and couldn’t turn up any magic bullets and wrestled with it for over 24 hours, including just uninstalling the update and nothing would restore the stability I’d had earlier. The only oddity I’d seen before the WPA update was an inability to connect to anything outside my PC after a resume from hibernation if I left ehe card in when I powered back up. Not a big deal, really — I’d just pop the card out and reinsert it and everything would be fine. After the update I’d periodically lose connectivity and be unable to restore it (I’d get associated with the AP but wouldn’t get an IP address). Only recourse was to reboot. And this continued after I’d uninstalled the update.
Fortunately, I’d created a System Restore point before installing the update (just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you). I restored and now everything’s back to normal. Hope it stays that way.
Now, wouldn’t you think the WPA update would’ve created a System Restore point itself? Moral of the story: never assume Windows will do something that you can do for yourself.

Good satellite maps

January 19, 2004

Jeff Poskanzer’s site has the ACME Mapper — good satellite mapping facilities. Lots of other goodies at the home site, too.

H.323 vulnerabilities — !?!

January 19, 2004

This was released on Jan. 14 — sorry I’m so late. CERT has issued this advisory discussing vulnerabilities in H.323 implementations. H.323 is a standard multimedia telephony protocol which most have probably experienced with Microsoft’s NetMeeting. It says exploitation of the vulnerabilities could result in arbitrary code execution, denial of service or reboots.

Wi-Fi links

January 17, 2004

BAWUG – SF Bay Area
JiWire – General Wi-Fi resource
PracticallyNetworked – Networking, wired and wireless
WiFi NetNews – Weblog format. Part of JiWire.
WiFiFreeSpot – directory of wireless access points — access is free although sometimes it requires a purchase of food or something like that. (added 1/18/2004)

Miranda can connect to Yahoo again

January 16, 2004

Like every other 3rd party IM app, Miranda was unable to connect with Yahoo once they made their switch-over to the new server ( and authentication mechanism about a week ago. Trillian, GAIM, Easy Message and others all managed to fix their code but the Miranda commuinity is pretty loose-knit and the Yahoo protocol isn’t “owned” by anyone in the core team so it took a little while for someone to grab the latest libyahoo2 and incorporate it into the Yahoo plug-in. Anyway, I’ve downloaded it (pointer to the download location is in this Yahoo plug-in thread in the Miranda forum.

Bad business

January 13, 2004

RipOffReport (aka is a pretty good site that lists “bad” companies and the rip-offs they perpetrate on their consumers. It looks a bit sensationalistic and I’m tempted to not trust them because of that. I dunno, decide for yourself.

Yahoo! Messenger authentication changes

January 12, 2004

Yahoo‘s changed something in their Messenger authentication again and it’s knocked my favorite multi-IM client, Miranda, out. Trillian‘s got it working as does GAIM and a new one that I found today — Easy Message Express (can’t remember how I found this one, sorry).
I find Miranda meets my needs better than the others but until they can get get the lastest libyahoo2 incorporated I guess I’ll stick with Trillian.