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2005 : A few of my favorite things #

/misc | Dec 29, 2005

Batch convert TIFF files into a single PDF via iPhoto #

Olivier Drolet explains how easy it is to concatenate and convert a group of image files into a single PDF via iPhoto:
  1. Load pictures into iPhoto
  2. Select your photos
  3. Do "Print"
  4. Do "Save as PDF"

Can anyone tell me how to convert multiple TIF files into multiple PDF files under OS X?

UPDATE 1: Paul Thompson has kindly answered.
UPDATE 2: See also: Concatenate (cat) TIFF files in OS X

/mac | Dec 18, 2005

Deleting apps locked by Windows File Protection #

Wes Miller describes how to banish Movie Maker (or other unwanted apps protected by Windows File Protection) from your XP system via Sysinternal's Handle.

/windows | Dec 16, 2005

Trusted Computing explained #

This animation by Benjamin Stephan and Lutz Vogel makes Trusted Computing/TPM crystal clear (hint: it ain't pretty). The low bandwidth summary, courtesy of RMS:
"Treacherous computing" is a more appropriate name, because the plan is designed to make sure your computer will systematically disobey you. In fact, it is designed to stop your computer from functioning as a general-purpose computer. Every operation may require explicit permission.

/misc | Dec 14, 2005

Spotlight replacement / supplement #

EasyFind 3.8.1 [308k] Index-free file search for OS X.

/mac | Dec 13, 2005

Daily report of OS X S.M.A.R.T. and RAID status via email #

I use SendEmail to receive the results of an OS X S.M.A.R.T. and RAID check (scheduled to run daily via cron):

Why SendEmail rather than Sendmail or Postfix?

/mac | Dec 12, 2005

SendEmail - Command line based SMTP email agent #

SendEmail is a lightweight, completly command line based, SMTP email agent. If you have the need to send email from a command prompt this tool is perfect. It was designed to be used in bash scripts, Perl programs, and web sites, but it is also quite useful in many other contexts. SendEmail is written in Perl and is unique in that it requires NO SPECIAL MODULES. It has a straight forward interface, making it very easy to use. Windows binary available (Windows users should also check out Blat).

/nix | Dec 12, 2005

Open source spyware, trojan, and virus protection #

Winpooch 0.5.9 is an open source anti-spyware and anti-trojan watchdog for Windows. Integrated with ClamWin, it can also provide live virus protection. (via Tom Nichols)

/windows | Dec 07, 2005

Reviewing reviews #

Consumer Search is a neat site that reviews product reviews from a wide variety of sources. Take online backup services, for example. There is a quick glance of top rated solutions, an up-to-date full summary, and a detailed breakdown of all reviews.

/misc | Dec 06, 2005

Barracuda HTTPS tunnel #

Wilfred (author of the phenomenal BarracudaDrive covered in yesterday's post) kindly informs us of a new beta: Barracuda HTTPS tunnel. It allows you to encrypt arbitrary TCP connections inside SSL such as telnet, FTP, VNC, etc, by having the HTTPS tunnel provide the encryption. The HTTPS tunnel can also be used, for example, to tunnel traffic out from behind a restrictive firewall/proxy that only allows outgoing HTTPS web connections.

/misc | Dec 03, 2005

BarracudaDrive (Thanks, Wilfred!) #

Green Award BarracudaDrive V1.5.2 [196k] + Multi-user secure HTTPS file manager which eliminates the need for FTP access. Securely upload, download, and manage your files on your home computer from anywhere in the world. BarracudaDrive also bypasses firewalls and proxies since the communication protocol is HTTPS. The communication is protected by using SSL so no one can eavesdrop on your file transfer. Linux and OS X versions also available.  Screenshot

For example, if you have a high speed internet connection at home, you can use the BarracudaDrive web file manager to securely copy files to and from your home computer from any remote computer that has internet access. Remotely operating the BarracudaDrive web file manager is easier if you have a static IP address, or you use a service such as No-IP. BarracudaDrive comes with an integrated 1024-bits SSL certificate.

You download and install the executable in any directory on your hard drive. To uninstall, simply delete the executable and the two XML files created by the executable... Unlike most PC applications, BarracudaDrive does not mess up your hard drive. BarracudaDrive is one file; you select where to install it, unzip the zip file or run the self extracting zip file.

/misc | Dec 02, 2005

Freeware drive imaging & cloning app #

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable freeware program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives under Windows XP.

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Restore images to drives without having to reboot. You can also run DriveImage XML from a BartPE boot CD-ROM. (via Shell Extension City)

/windows | Dec 01, 2005

Do this now. #

If you are a Windows XP user, run, don't walk, to Mozy.com (covered earlier this month) and signup for a free account. This is the coolest and easiest online backup service I have ever seen, or could ever even imagine. I sincerely hope these guys offer an option to pay for upgraded service (more storage, restores, etc). Can I purchase stock now before Google buys them out?

/misc | Nov 30, 2005

MS-Word 5.5 for DOS free from Microsoft #

Ritilan has the scoop.

/windows | Nov 28, 2005

launchd scheduling woes (and cron to the rescue!) #

One of the Unix features touted in Tiger is launchd, which is supposed to replace cron (among many other things).

However, I simply could not get scheduling to work after several hours, even though StartCalendarInterval was reportedly fixed in 10.4.2 (I'm running 10.4.3). Here are some of the resources I used:

Webpages and documentation:

Plist editors:

The ultimate solution? Going back to cron (via the insanely helpful CronniX). Cron and CronniX accomplished in 3 minutes what launchd could not do in 3 hours.

P.S. Until today, I never imagined I'd find myself praying for the Windows Task Scheduler ;-)

/mac | Nov 27, 2005

UNOFFICIAL Windows98 Second Edition Service Pack 2.0.2 #

This looks like an interesting project... lots of activity in the forum. As always: "You are 100% responsible for your own actions. Using this site, visiting a link, downloading a program, in short, living, is done entirely at your own risk (and joy)."

/windows | Nov 26, 2005

A better history tool for Safari #

Thucydides 1.2 [192k] {S} Presents your Safari history file as a sortable, searchable table.

/mac | Nov 26, 2005

S.M.A.R.T. monitor for OS X #

SMARTReporter 2.0.1 [342k] {S} Warns of potential ATA or SATA drive failure by periodically polling the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive. Notification can be made by email, a warning dialog, or launching an application.

/mac | Nov 25, 2005

OS X's filesystem hierarchy #

If you're wondering how OS X's filesystem is laid out, here is a nice overview.

/mac | Nov 24, 2005

OS X Disk Images (ISO, DMG, etc) #

/mac | Nov 24, 2005

Diagnosing and Resolving Mac OS X Boot Problems #

OS X prohibitory sign
If you've ever been confronted with a grey screen and what looks like a "stop" sign (AKA "prohibitory" sign - see photo above) upon starting OS X, here are some hints:

/mac | Nov 24, 2005

Windows 2000 with just 32MB RAM #

David Farquhar (author of the best Windows book ever) links to an excellent article by Daniel Iversen entitled Making Windows 2000 run (rather well) on only 32MB RAM.

/windows | Nov 22, 2005

Recover Windows user passwords #

Cracking Syskey and the SAM on Windows XP, 2000 and NT 4 using Open Source Tools. Flash video of the entire process included.

/windows | Nov 22, 2005

Encrypted File System (EFS) recovery #

Detailed instructions on how to import EFS keys from an old offline profile into a new system in order to gain authorized access to previously inaccessible encrypted data.

/windows | Nov 22, 2005

AcmeDiag v0.1 (Beta) #

AcmeDiag is a simple utility to access physical memory under NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. View, edit, save memory and I/O mapped registers.

/windows | Nov 21, 2005

Two more interesting LiveCDs #

  1. Edubuntu - Designed for school environments, and should be equaly suitable for kids to use at home.
  2. SLAMPPLiveCD - Turn your personal computer into an instant home server which provides common services like: HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, POP, IMAP, SMTP, SSH, DHCP, Squid, etc.

/nix | Nov 20, 2005

Unix terminal in JavaScript #

JS/UIX is an UN*X-like OS for standard web-browsers, written entirely in JavaScript (no plug-ins used). It comprises a virtual machine, shell, virtual file-system, process-management, and brings its own terminal with screen- and keyboard-mapping. (via digg)

/nix | Nov 18, 2005

What's on my Treo 600 #

Roundup of software and hardware picks for the Treo 600 from TinyApps.Org.

/palm | Nov 18, 2005

Free online backup service #

Mozy is a free online backup service. Love their clean design and HTML code. Hate the Windows XP and NTFS requirement. Love their service and humor:

What You Get (We're still in beta - but this is about how things will end up..)

What We Get

Here's the catch - aside from the good karma we get for offering a great free service, every once in a while we get to send you email advertisements for products and services that we think are useful. (We'll never give your email address to an advertiser - any emails will come straight through us.)

Alternatives to Mozy

/misc | Nov 18, 2005

Amazon customer service rocks #

Say what you will about Amazon, their customer service is awesome. This week I ordered books A, B, and C, but they accidentally sent A, B, B. I contacted them via online form and within an hour had a reply: they would overnight C for free and of course cover the return shipping for the extra copy of B. Since there was a slight hassle generating the return shipping label, they said just ship it, report the cost, and they would reimburse my account. Now that is service. Even better: Amazon is now offering refunds for evil Sony CDs.

/misc | Nov 18, 2005

Palm reset methods #

There are more reset methods for Palm devices than you may be aware of: Soft, System/Warm, Hard, In-Cradle, Power Down, Battery Disconnect, Zero Out. Treo 600 users only who need to recalibrate their battery may want to try the Battery Disconnect method (it does not involve opening your Treo, but will wipe everything - be sure to backup first).

/palm | Nov 18, 2005

Trimming the fat from OS X universal binaries #

Now that more and more Mac apps are being provided as universal binaries (which include code for both PowerPC and Intel based architectures), you may want to strip unneeded bloat. More examples.

/mac | Nov 18, 2005

Disabling Internet Explorer #

Admins who are tired of users infecting machines with spyware will enjoy reading Get Serious About Securing IE. About.com has a great overview of techniques as well, for both home users and admins.

/windows | Nov 17, 2005

iTattle - System info app #

iTattle 2.1 [381k] Loads of system info from RAM and hard drive usage to detailed network status.  Screenshot

/mac | Nov 17, 2005

When hard drives die #

Data Recovery Myths examines hard drive recovery methods reported on the Internet, like: "Hitting", "Freezing", "Replacing logic board", etc. However, if you'd like to keep your job/client, DriveSavers may be your best choice.

/misc | Nov 17, 2005

Access webmail via POP3 #

FreePOPs is an easily extensible program, which allows access to the most varied resources through the POP3 protocol. Mainly, it can be used to download mail from webmail services, but it could also be used as an aggregator for RSS feeds and much more. This way it is possible to get all your messages in your favorite email client. Supported platforms include Windows, Linux, OS X, and BeOS (yay!).

/misc | Nov 17, 2005

Don't forget Windows shell scripting! #

In response to yesterday's post on sed, Armin Hanisch kindly wrote in to remind us that Windows shell scripts can be handy as well. He included the following shell script version of uniq, which he reports to work under NT4 and higher:

@echo off
if !%1 == ! goto noparm
if not exist %1 goto notfound

setlocal
set line=@@@@@
for /F "usebackq tokens=*" %%f in (`sort %1`) do call :procline "%%f"
endlocal
goto :eof

:procline
if !%line% == !%~1 goto :eof
set line=%~1
echo %~1
goto :eof

:noparm
echo Usage: %~f0 [datei]
echo No file specified, terminating.
goto :eof

:notfound
echo File %1 not found.
goto :eof

/windows | Nov 14, 2005

sed examples #

Handy one-liners for sed, compiled by Eric Pement, has a number of useful gems, like:
# double space a file which already has blank lines in it. Output file
# should contain no more than one blank line between lines of text.
sed '/^$/d;G'

# number each line of file, but only print numbers if line is not blank
sed '/./=' filename | sed '/./N; s/\n/ /'

# align all text flush right on a 79-column width
sed -e :a -e 's/^.\{1,78\}$/ &/;ta'  # set at 78 plus 1 space

# delete duplicate, consecutive lines from a file (emulates "uniq").
# First line in a set of duplicate lines is kept, rest are deleted.
sed '$!N; /^\(.*\)\n\1$/!P; D'

/nix | Nov 13, 2005

SMTP server solution #

If you're travelling and need access to an outgoing mail server, AuthSMTP is very cool: inexpensive, instant activation, great documentation, virus scanning, huge attachment sizes, and more.

/misc | Nov 12, 2005

Worldwide wireless access #

FON is working to establish a Unified WiFi Network that will let members of the community to share not just bandwidth but also experiences and values. Those willing to share their bandwidth (Linuses) get free roaming on the FON network. Those wanting to milk their Internet access (Bills) are paid half of the revenues generated through their APs, but won't enjoy free roaming.

/misc | Nov 11, 2005

Stand alone CD/DVD Burner #

SilentNight Micro CD Burner is a stand-alone CD/DVD burner that does not require installation (though it does create new registry keys). Features include:

/windows | Nov 05, 2005

Sysinternals & Registry Junk #

Sysinternals crafts some of the best freeware for Windows on the planet. Mark & Bryce seem to know Windows better than Microsoft itself.

So it has always puzzled me why their tiny applications (Process Explorer, TCPView, Diskmon, TDImon, etc), while not requiring installation, store settings in the Registry. These entries will remain even after deleting the applications, unless users manually search for and remove them.

It is all the more puzzling as they are clearly aware of this issue: Registry Junk: A Windows Fact of Life.

Sysinternals and all Windows developers: please, if you are listening, be so kind as to consider:

/windows | Nov 04, 2005

PSU Tester (20/24 pin ATX, SATA, P4, Xeon, PCI-E, Floppy, 4 pin) #

The FrozenCPU ATX 2.0 Power Supply Tester tests: Reviews with screenshots: 1 | 2

/misc | Nov 03, 2005

Export Outlook 2003 Contacts as vCards #

Microsoft does not offer an "Export as vCard" function in Outlook 2003 (simply dragging and dropping contacts into a Desktop folder results in .msg files), but as Joxer explains, there is a workaround:
  1. Select all contacts in Outlook
  2. Actions > Forward vCard
  3. Select all of the attached vcf files in the resulting email message and drag to a folder on your Desktop, or simply send the email to yourself.
That's it - the vcf files are ready for dragging and dropping into Palm Desktop, OS X's Address Book, etc.

/windows | Nov 02, 2005

FastFind - Windows Freeware #

FastFind v1.14 [219k] {S}+ Generates a file index which can be searched in seconds. Does not seem to index double byte file names. (via Mike Mills)

/windows | Nov 02, 2005

Copying CDs and DVDs in OS X without 3rd party tools #

It is not immediately obvious how to duplicate CDs and DVDs in OS X, but this guide will help with any version from 10.0 (Cheetah) and up. For those still using 10.3 or earlier, note that the CD/DVD burning function is greatly improved in Tiger.

/mac | Nov 01, 2005

Make your own OpenBSD bootable install CD or Live CD #

With today's release of OpenBSD 3.8, some folks might be looking for ISO images to download and burn. As none are provided, here are instructions for making your own bootable install CD. Once you've got OpenBSD up and running, you can also create Live CDs to share the joy.

UPDATE: Here's an older (written for OpenBSD 3.2) walkthrough for creating a Live CD.

/nix | Nov 01, 2005

Palm and Outlook Categories #

While switching a Treo 600 from syncing with Palm Desktop to Outlook (which was as easy as running the installer again and choosing Outlook instead of Palm Desktop), categories went missing. The following pages helped resolve the problem:

/palm | Oct 30, 2005

Missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM #

Confronted with the rather unpleasant sounding "Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM", Google turned up the following KB article: How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting. Two potential problems: So instead, the following was attempted, which miraculously worked (YMMV):
  1. Boot system via BartPE
  2. BACKUP DATA!!!
  3. Move c:\windows\system32\config\system, software, sam, security, and default to temporary directory
  4. Copy (not cut) and paste those same 5 files back to their original location
  5. Reboot computer
Back to the Desktop, a system restore to several days prior was performed for good measure. Everything working beautifully.

UPDATE 1: Stephen kindly wrote in with the following advice:

There are 2 reasons that come to mind why what you did worked.
  1. The files were crosslinked, in which case a chkdsk /f is in order.
  2. There are bad sectors on the hdd, in which case a replacement drive is in order.
I don't see how simply moving and recopying the files would repair them otherwise. There is another utility called Registry Restore Wizard to copy the registry from the system restore using BartPE.
UPDATE 2: Jeff Harrison offers another explanation as to why this might have worked:
The reason for the error message above is HEAVY fragmentation of those registry files and this is also why copying the files from A to B and back to A helps in this case. It's not really a "mystery", Windows just reacts somewhat picky when booting. The error was already known on Windows 2000 by the way. A good thing to do is to regularly defrag those files when necessary, an easy way to do so is by running the PageDefrag utility from Sysinternals.

/windows | Oct 29, 2005

Editing and removing email headers #

/windows | Oct 29, 2005

Cracking Compressed (zipped) Folders password protection in Windows XP #

Microsoft claims that "The password for a password-protected compressed file is not recoverable. If you lose the password, you will be unable to access that file." Someone needs to let them know about PicoZip Recovery Tool, which cracked a 6 character password in about 30 minutes.

/windows | Oct 29, 2005

Screen Recorders #

John Bokma (who posted a great tutorial on creating an XP Pro VM for VMware Player) kindly hosts the last freeware version of Bulent's Screen Recorder. Don't forget CamStudio and DemoStudio, which have several potential advantages: open source, screen and audio recording, save results as either AVI or SWF (Flash).

/windows | Oct 29, 2005

ZIP password recovery tools #

/windows | Oct 29, 2005

BIG BOX MART #

Those clever but puzzling fellas over at JibJab have a swell new animation.

/misc | Oct 28, 2005

Software for network and systems admin #

adminfoo.net has a great guide to freeware, shareware, and web-based tools of special interest to admins.

/windows | Oct 27, 2005

Ping over TCP #

Eli Fulkerson kindly informs us about several of his projects, including tcping.exe which is similar to ping, but uses TCP instead of ICMP.

/windows | Oct 27, 2005

XVI32 - Powerful freeware hex editor #

Green Award XVI32 2.51 [493k] + Full-featured hex editor. Runs under Windows 95 and higher.  Screenshot

/windows | Oct 25, 2005

Freeware SSH clients for Palm OS #

/palm | Oct 24, 2005

TiddlyWiki #

TiddlyWiki is an open source WikiWikiWeb built by Jeremy Ruston. It's written in HTML, CSS and JavaScript to run on any modern browser without needing any server side logic. One of the neatest features of TiddlyWiki is that it is entirely self-contained in a single HTML file - even including graphics like the GradientMacro and Sparklines. The file contains the actual hypertext document, and the JavaScript, CascadingStyleSheets and HTML necessary to both view and edit it. This means that it is trivial to host a TiddlyWiki on a website, or to distribute one by email. And anyone with a reasonably recent web browser will be able to read and edit it. (via Rick Lively)

/misc | Oct 24, 2005

Brother Sun, Sister Moon #

An inspiring film about St. Francis of Assisi. IMDB | screenplay | Amazon | Two songs from the movie:
If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends. Heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free, take your time, go slowly.
Do few things, but do them well: simple joys are holy.
Day by day, stone by stone, build your secret slowly.
Day by day, you'll grow too; you'll know heaven's glory!
Brother sun, sister moon, I seldom see you, seldom hear your tune
Preoccupied with selfish misery
Brother wind and sister air, open my eyes to visions pure and fair
That I may see the glory around me
I am God's creature, of you I am part
I feel His love awakening my heart
Brother sun, and sister moon, I now do see you, I can hear your tune
So much in love with all that I survey
I am God's creature, of Him I am part
I feel His love awakening my heart
Brother sun and sister moon, I now do see you, I can hear your tune
So much in love with all that I survey

/misc | Oct 23, 2005

Upload ringtones, games, & wallpapers to Nextel phones for free #

Detailed instructions (with screenshots and required files) on using webjal to load ringtones, games, and wallpapers into Nextel, Iden, Boost, Telus Mike, and SouthernLINK phones for free.

/misc | Oct 23, 2005

ZETA 1.1 Live CD for Free #

OSNews informs us that YellowTAB has released a free live CD of their BeOS-derived operating system.

/misc | Oct 22, 2005

My InternetPC - On Demand Personal Computing Service #

My InternetPC offers access to Microsoft Windows desktop and business applications from any computer using a web browser. (via TUAW)

/misc | Oct 22, 2005

Blosxom explained line by line #

Frank Hecker has generously provided an annotated version of Rael Dornfest's blosxom.cgi. A must-read for Blosxom users who want to understand what's going on under the hood.

/blosxom | Oct 22, 2005

Blocking Unwanted Parasites with a Hosts File #

Block ads, banners, 3rd party Cookies, 3rd party page counters, web bugs, and hijackers with a customized HOSTS file.

/windows | Oct 22, 2005

System Virginity Verifier #

System Virginity Verifier is a CLI tool that checks Windows System components for possible alteration by malware.

/windows | Oct 21, 2005

Ping-O-Matic #

Ping-O-Matic allows you to ping the following services quickly and easily: Weblogs.com, Blo.gs, Technorati, Feed Burner, Syndic8, NewsGator, Feedster, My Yahoo!, PubSub.com, Blogdigger, BlogRolling, BlogStreet, Moreover, Weblogalot, Icerocket, News Is Free, Topic Exchange, Audio.Weblogs, RubHub, GeoURL, A2B GeoLocation, BlogShares.

/blosxom | Oct 20, 2005

First Blosxom Post #

Converting from Blogger to Blosxom over the next few days... please be patient while things get straightened out.

/blosxom | Oct 19, 2005


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