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Archive for January, 2008

Mozy: Lifesaver Backup

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Two days ago, due to the extraneous magnetic field that has lately surrounded me, my Macbook’s internal hard drive died on me. No warning or anything, just plain dead. After reading a bit, seems I am not alone on this issue. Just be warned that if your Macbook’s internal hard drive is Seagate and its firmware is 7.0.1, you better start making sure your backups are up-to-date.

After the crash, I knew I had lost important documents since the last backup I had made was in October of 2007 :S….or so I thought. Luckily I had installed and configured Mozy a while back to automatically backup all my documents. After referring some people, my backup space was of about 3.5 GB, which was enough to store my data.

After selecting a restore, all my documents were placed back under my possession in virtually no time. If you want to give Mozy a try, use the link below to sign-up, it will give you (and me) additional space. And always always always remember to backup, because it, indeed happens when you least expect it.

The magic link:

How to Send Signed Messages from OS X (10.5)

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Have you seen those funky digitally signed e-mail messages? I decided to venture forth and find out how to send digitally signed e-mail from my personal account, for which I use OS X’s built in Mail application called Mail (3.0 at the time of this writing).

I googled a bit, and found these instructions. They are a bit outdated, so I decided to kill some time and publish what you need to do to digitally sign your e-mail. If you want to understand the whole logic of digitally signing e-mail, please do read the first section on that article, it really puts things into perspective.

Why sign e-mail, you ask? I think Kermadek’s explanation could not be any clearer:

“…Do you send postcards? Probably. They’re great to convey best wishes for the New Year, to send a “get well”
note to your neighbor who is in the hospital, or a “hello” note to coworkers from your holiday place.

However, you would never send confidential information on a postcard, would you? Certainly not since the postal workers and every single person who handles the card can read its contents while it travels through the post system.

Well, I have news for you! When you send email to someone, most of the time you’re not sending them a letter, carefully enclosed in an envelope. You’re basically sending them the electronic version of postcards that can be read — or worse, altered — by anyone during their transit over the network…”

Alright, let’s get rolling.

Before configuring anything in your e-mail client or OS, you need to obtain a certificate. Thawte is a service that offers free e-mail certificates, so you need to get one. Please note that these instructions were done with Safari 3.0.4

  1. Access Secure Your E-mail:

    Personal E-mail Certificates - secure e-mail communications
  2. Read the terms and conditions and click Next

  3. Fill out the required values and click Next

  4. Enter the e-mail address for the account you would like to digitally sign e-mail

  5. Click Next on the next screen

  6. On the next screen, enter a secure password

  7. On the next screen, you must specify 5 questions to be used in case you forget your password and your identity needs to be restored. Don’t be shy on creating your own questions, try and aim for stuff that only you would know about

  8. The next screen will show you your options, click on Next

  9. An e-mail will be sent to verify your e-mail address. Check your mail, it will instruct you on pasting Probe and Ping values on a specific URL, do so to verify your identity.

  10. Once you submit it, you will see a message stating that your account was successfully created. Click Next.

  11. On the page that follows, click on the Certificates Link

  12. Click on Request a New Certificate

  13. Click on the Request button below the X.509 Format Certificates

  14. A pop-up window will show up, leave the default value and click on Request

  15. On the next screen, leave the default value and click Next

  16. On the screen that follows, select the e-mail address you wish to use for the certificate and click Next

  17. Click the accept button

  18. On the next screen, make sure that 2048 (High Grade) is selected and click Next

  19. Click Finish

  20. You will be presented with a new screen that tells you the certificate was requested. Click on the link shown below to access the certificate manager:

  21. You should see your certificate and its status should be pending. Wait a minute and then refresh the page. Keep refreshing on one-minute intervals until the status has changed to issued.

  22. Once it has been issued, click on the Navigator link:

  23. On the next page, you should see a Fetch red button, click on it

  24. Your Keychain Access application will open automatically and install the certificate for you…gotta love OS X.

  25. If you have open, close it and re-open it

  26. Now, write a new message with the account you specified, you should see the digitally signed icon on the message itself:

Enjoy!!! :)

What is my LDAP Server?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Today while trying to configure the “new ultra cool and amazing Intel native does not take 20 secs to launch” Entourage application from Microsoft Office 2008, I saw an option to configure LDAP. Immediately I had two questions – what the hell is LDAP and which is my LDAP server? 

Ok, first question, what is LDAP? LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, you can read it all about it in Wikipedia, but for me, it sufficed to know that LDAP is the mechanism that is used in Exchange to resolve the names of user accounts in your domain. This is (I think) automatically configured in Outlook when an account is setup. When you check the “Check Names” button in Exchange, you are contacting your LDAP server and retrieving this information.

Secondly, How do you fond out what your LDAP server is? Based on this forum I found, you need to type the following at the command prompt to find your LDAP server:

echo %logonserver%

I entered my logonserver as my LDAP account, and now everything works great:

Windows 2003/Windows XP Wireless Drivers for the Slimline s3020n

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I really don’t know why they make it so hard and hide the drivers that work on their systems on the HP’s site. They made it so that if you want to download non-vista drivers for their relatively new machines, you will have to dig and dig and dig until you find a driver that “may” work.

Anywhow, here is the verified download link for the wireless card for the Slimline s3020n:

Mounting ISOs on Windows

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

One of the things I really like about OS X is the fact that you can double click an ISO or DMG file and it will mount as an additional volume on the desktop. In order for Windows to do this, you need to install 3rd party software.

I found a nice *free* tool called Virtual Clone Drive, made by the people from Slisoft. This one will allow you to mount a variety of disk images and installation does not require a restart, which is great.

If you would like to mount images on Windows XP/2003 for x64, you will need a different tool. I like Daemon Tools, that has a 32-bit and 64-bit version. Be warned that the free version installs ads, which last time I checked was optional during installation.

New Office 2K3 SP3 breaks old file compatibility

Monday, January 7th, 2008

I just read on ComputerWorld that the new Office SP3 patch will break compatibility with old Office formats. The move was made to avoid security risks that the old formats had. Among the old formats are powerpoint documents and word documents created with Microsoft Office for Mac. This means that as of now, if you use the only Microsoft product on the Mac for creating word and powerpoint files, there might be a chance that your document will be unreadable by someone who is using Office 2K3 SP3.

Fortunately, there is a way of enabling all the “insecure” file formats back; but this requires some registry hacking. While I have not read any of the fixes or new features included in SP3, the sole fact that it renders Microsoft old file formats incompatible is the only reason I need not to upgrade.