WaKan - A great boon for Japanese and Chinese language students #

"WaKan is a versatile tool for students of Japanese or Chinese. It features a character dictionary, a word dictionary, a text editor, a vocabulary management utility, many printing options (character flashcards, vocabulary lists, text including furigana), and a text translation tool."

If you are typing a new Japanese document, furigana and translations appear automatically; when pasting, select text and press Ctrl+T to add them.

/windows | Dec 30, 2008

Descriptive book titles that obviate the need to read the book #

See also Fiction books featuring a stoic protagonist.

/misc | Dec 28, 2008

Epictetus, business coach #

On leaving the "workforce"
Men shut up tame lions in a cage, and bring them up, and feed them, and some take them around with them. And yet who will call such a lion free? Is it not true that the more softly the lion lives the more slavishly he lives? And what lion, were he to get sense and reason, would care to be one of these lions? Why, yes, and the birds yonder, when they are caught and brought up in cages, what do they suffer in their efforts to escape? And some of them starve to death rather than endure such a life, while even such as live, barely do so, and suffer and pine away, and if ever they find any opening, make their escape. Such is their desire for physical freedom, and a life of independence and freedom from restraint. And what is wrong with you here in your cage? "What a question! My nature is to fly where I please, to live in the open air, to sing when I please. You rob me of all this, and then ask, 'What is wrong with you?'"
On advertising
Does a philosopher invite people to a lecture? Is it not rather the case that, as the sun draws its own sustenance to itself, so he also draws to himself those to whom he is to do good?
On how to proceed
First, decide who you would be. Then, do what you must do.
From Epictetus' Discourses Book IV, Chapter 1; Book III, Chapter 23; and Book III, Chapter 23, respectively. The first two quotes are from Oldfather's translation, and the third is from an unknown source. All four books can be found on Amazon (I-II, III-IV) and Internet Archive (I-II, III-IV).

/misc | Dec 27, 2008

Run cmd.exe as Local System in Safe Mode #

When running Windows XP in Normal Mode, you can easily run cmd.exe as the LocalSystem Account (LSA) via:
at 14:02 /interactive cmd.exe
However, in Safe Mode, it returns:
This service cannot be started in Safe Mode
Microsoft points out that:
"The Task Scheduler service cannot be used while the computer is running in safe mode."
Creating a custom service with this neat hack from Adi Oltean also returns
This service cannot be started in Safe Mode
However, combining the hack with these instructions from Don Jones to add a service to the "safe" list did the trick. Here are the combined steps (which assume you are booted into Safe Mode):
  1. Add a key to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal named lscmd or what have you. If you are in Safe Mode with Networking, add the key to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\.
  2. C:\>sc create lscmd binpath= "cmd /K start" type= own type= interact
  3. C:\>sc start lscmd
  4. A new cmd.exe window will open with LocalSystem privileges. When you are finished, close the window, delete the registry key you made, and delete the service: sc delete lscmd .

In retrospect, it may very well have been possible simply to add Task Scheduler to the list of safe services, but I wanted to share both of these hacks.

UPDATE: Run any app under the NT Authority\Local System account with ETS (Elevate To System).

/windows | Dec 14, 2008

CO2Stats - Making websites green #

"CO2Stats makes your site carbon neutral and shows visitors you're environmentally friendly.... [The service] automatically meters your website's total energy consumption, helps to make it more energy efficient, and then purchases audited renewable energy from wind and solar farms to neutralize its carbon footprint - all for a flat, affordable monthly fee."

I plugged TinyApps.Org into their calculator (which sadly returned the wrong plan based on our number of monthly page views - about 300,000) and within a few hours, Alex (one of the co-founders) had taken the trouble of looking me up and sending a very nice message. Over the course of several emails, I became convinced that these guys are destined for success based on their integrity, kindness, speed, and (perhaps not least of all) phenomenal flattery skills. They have already signed some big names like IBM, Harvard, and Segway, and I trust the service will continue to grow apace.

UPDATE: Treehugger has covered some green web hosting options as well.

/misc | Dec 02, 2008

Free CD/DVD and hard drive recycling #

Back Thru The Future offers free CD/DVD and hard drive recycling. You may wish to destroy optical discs with something like Sanyo's "The Claw" ($5.99 on Geeks.com at the moment) and securely erase hard drives with DBAN before sending your media to:
Back Thru The Future
150 Main Street
Ogdensburg, NJ 07439
Be sure to write "CD" on the outside of your shipping package.

/misc | Dec 01, 2008

Added: GrandPerspective #

GrandPerspective [408k] {S} Disk usage visualizer  📺

/mac | Nov 29, 2008

Lossless video editing for OS X and Windows #

MPEG Streamclip 1.9.2 for Mac [1305k]
MPEG Streamclip 1.9.2 for Windows [542k]
Detailed review

/mac | Nov 27, 2008

Tiny freeware apps crafted in C, C++ and assembler #

Lucersoft has crafted a number of tiny freeware apps, including: (Thanks to Davyd for sending this in.)

/windows | Nov 26, 2008

md5 GUI for OS X #

File Compare 1.1 [56k] GUI front-end for md5.  📺

/mac | Nov 25, 2008

Muichibutsu #

"Wabi invites humility. The self is negated by being absorbed in something else, as expressed by the Buddhist notion of muichibutsu, the emptiness of non-being. Because it literally means '[not having] a single thing', muichibutsu in Rikyu's time referred to wabi people who did not possess nor covet one single utensil. Muichibutsu people were thought to be free from any attachments and passion for possession, free of economic wealth and political ambitions and want of office. Rodrigues was well aware of this aspect of wabi and he spared no ink to describe it in his reports on tea:
'The purpose of the gathering is not lengthy talk but the peaceful contemplation of the things of nature; everything employed in the pastime is rustic, rough, and unrefined, just as nature made it....there is no artistry or elegance, but only natural neglect and old age.'"
From Rediscovering Rikyu: And the Beginnings of the Japanese Tea Ceremony by Herbert Plutschow

/misc | Nov 23, 2008

Virtual pen for OS X #

Highlight 1.4 [224k] Markup your screen with a virtual highlighter. Especially useful for presentations.  📺

/mac | Nov 09, 2008

Delete autocomplete entries in Palm OS #

If you have mistyped a city, state, country, company, or title in Palm OS and find the misspelled autocomplete entry annoying, there is a fix (thank God): simply delete AddressCitiesDB, AddressStatesDB, AddressCountriesDB, AddressCompaniesDB, or AddressTitlesDB with a file manager like Filez. (Many thanks to Steve T for his forum post.)

/palm | Oct 30, 2008

Extract content from Safari webarchives #

WebArchive Folderizer 1.2.5 [20k] Drop-launch utility to extract the content from Safari webarchives.  📺

/mac | Oct 29, 2008

Imaging a corrupt hard drive, updated for OS X #

Imaging a corrupt hard drive in the Documents section has been updated to include Mac OS X instructions. Please write with any additions or corrections.

/mac | Oct 26, 2008

Scanner and Camera Wizard no longer creates folder automatically #

Windows XP's Scanner and Camera Wizard normally creates a new folder with the same name you enter for the group of pictures. Sometimes that behavior mysteriously stops working, and the photos are simply dumped loosely into the My Pictures folder. Thankfully, Darryl figured out how to fix this:
  1. Run the Scanner and Camera Wizard, and enter a name for the group of pictures as usual.
  2. Click the drop down menu in the second box (labeled "Choose a place to save this group of pictures") and select the path to the new folder which will mysteriously appear.
  3. Complete the import process as normal.
  4. That's it! The default behavior is restored permanently.

/windows | Oct 16, 2008

Packet Peeper - Packet Sniffing for Mac OS X #

Packet Peeper 17.8.2008 [1077k] {S} Packet sniffer with support for TCP stream reassembly, privilege separation, simultaneous capture sessions, filters, and more.  📺

/mac | Oct 11, 2008

Gitso - Single Click Remote Support for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows #

Insanely. Awesome. At last, an open source, cross-platform, one-click remote support solution! Thanks to Aaron, Derek, and Nick over at Viva La Open Source!, you no longer need to follow lengthy instructions, pay exorbitant fees for customization, or be locked in to just one platform. Gitso is a wrapper for reverse VNC. By building from source (following a few simple steps), you can specify predefined servers so that your customer/friend/family member need only click "Start":

The only snag came when I tried to give support from OS X, but it was easily resolved thanks to these instructions from Tom Lazar:
  1. Download and unpack libjpeg sources
  2. In Terminal:

/misc | Oct 11, 2008

Making the Lite-On XJ-HD166S (or any LiteOn drive) Region Free in One Click #

It's a snap to disable Regional Playback Control (RPC) on your Lite-On DVD drive and create a region-free player thanks to these guys. Use at your own risk (and joy).

/windows | Oct 08, 2008

Slow typing Dell Inspiron 1520 #

If your Dell has a pronounced delay when typing, try disabling PCMService.exe and/or ATI HotKey poller via Autoruns, msconfig, etc. Worked wonders for a friend. (Thanks to Robbo71 and Acmerocket.)

/windows | Oct 05, 2008

Free stand-alone antimalware app from Kaspersky #

Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (direct download here) is a free stand-alone antimalware app similar to Trend Micro's SysClean. Neither one is very well advertised or documented. New users may find removing the Kaspersky tool unintuitive:
  1. Click "Settings" just below the list of scan locations:
  2. Uncheck "Enable Self-Defense"
  3. Click OK
  4. Click X to close program window
  5. Click Yes to uninstall (a reboot is required to complete removal)

/windows | Oct 04, 2008

Sync Windows Mobile Devices with Thunderbird via BirdieSync #

If you must suffer with a Windows Mobile device, at least get it syncing with Thunderbird/Sunbird via BirdieSync. James Broder (sports timing maven) breaks it down for us.

/windows | Sep 22, 2008

If you want to truly understand the current financial "crisis"... #

/misc | Sep 21, 2008

Hidden files are visible after clean install of OS X Leopard #

Facing the same issue described in hidden files now not hidden?? immediately after an Erase and Install of Leopard, I tried: in vain.

Apple tech support suggested Invisible files become visible (involving the use of Pacifist to extract hidden_MacOS9 and SetHidden from the DVD's OSInstall.pkg) to no avail. We decided it must be the install DVD, and they kindly sent another. In the meantime, I tried installing from another Leopard DVD and sure enough, the issue was resolved. So if the above suggestions don't work for you either, try another DVD, or call Apple for a replacement.

/mac | Aug 31, 2008

Recording video via iSight #

Vidnik 0.13.0 [1240k] {S} Record video via iSight and optionally upload to YouTube.  📺

/mac | Aug 28, 2008

Ilium Software / eWallet: Best Support on the Planet #

Lee Stutesman at Ilium Software went WAY above the call of duty today (via toll-free support, no less!) in helping fix our Palm HotSync issue with an ancient version of eWallet. These guys set the standard for shareware support. If Rackspace has "fanatical" support (a fair assessment, BTW), I would call Ilium's "completely and totally berserk" (in a good way - think "spider monkey on crack all over your tech problem" - there is no way that it is going to go unresolved). Thanks to Lee, I have become a lifetime cheerleader for Ilium.

/windows | Aug 25, 2008

"Logon to Windows" Shut Down button grayed out #

Quick registry hack to enable Shut Down button on the login screen:
  1. Head over to: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
  2. Change the shutdownwithoutlogon key value to 1
This may work with any Windows version since 2000 - tested under SBS 2003.

/windows | Aug 24, 2008

NetworkMiner #

NetworkMiner is a passive network sniffer/packet capturing tool for Windows. It can detect OSes, hostnames, open ports, and sessions, as well as extract files, without putting any traffic on the network. Additional functions include parsing PCAP files for offline forensic analysis, saving streaming media files (FLV, MP3, etc), and more. Lean, clean, and open source. Review (PDF)

/windows | Aug 23, 2008

ddrescue binary for Mac OS X #

John Gilmore's comparison of dd, dd_rescue, dd_rhelp, and ddrescue reinforces the view that ddrescue is the clear winner for data recovery. John went to the trouble of providing an OS X binary of ddrescue 1.1 so that others might avoid having to sign up for ADC membership, download the 1GB+ Xcode package, and compile from source. Since 1.1 is now almost three years old, I've compiled the latest version (1.8) under Leopard in hopes it might be of some small use to someone (and I do mean small - it's just 32k): download | screenshot. Use at your own risk (and joy).

  1. Just found a great thread on using ddrescue under OS X.
  2. Our guide to imaging a corrupt hard drive now includes OS X instructions for ddrescue.
  3. Latest stable binary as of October 2016, compiled under El Capitan: ddrescue_1.21.7z

/mac | Aug 22, 2008

Automatically click OK (or any button) with ClickOff #

While running SysClean on a heavily infected system, the following message kept popping up:
Damage Cleanup Engine (DCE)
Each time, the virus scan would not continue until OK was pressed. After several dozen times, this became rather annoying. Thankfully, the small and lightweight ClickOff made short work of this otherwise unpleasant task.

/windows | Aug 21, 2008

PDF to TXT for OS X #

pdftotext 3.01 [556k] Converts PDF to TXT. Hosted version is installer-free.  📺 💾 🌎

/mac | Aug 10, 2008

Logging Print Jobs in Windows #

I use a Brother MPrint MW140BT in the field (though not in conditions quite so harsh as these), and wanted a simple way to track the total number of print jobs sent to it. I found the following line in the Event Viewer / System log:
Document 2, Intuit owned by Administrator was printed on Brother MW-140BT via port USB001. Size in bytes: 0; pages printed: 1
but it didn't help much until I came across SysInternals' PsLogList, which is able to count the number of occurrences (in this case starting from the date I changed the paper cartridge) like so:
psloglist -a 01/31/08 | find "printed on Brother MW-140BT" /c
Another possibility (which I haven't looked into) is Karen's open source Print Logger.

/windows | Aug 09, 2008

Christ On Disk update #

Denver kindly informs us that his excellent Christ On Disk project (mentioned four years ago) has a new homepage. Check out the development story, which details his journey to get all 4.5MB of Bible text into a 1.29MB stand-alone application that does not require installation, write to the registry, or create/modify files outside of its own directory.

/windows | Jul 31, 2008

Windows XP hanging after login #

Upon logging in to Windows XP, the Volume icon would appear in the system tray (yes, I like calling it "the system tray" - so does Microsoft - OK, well, not always) and then nothing else would happen for about two or three minutes. During this time, the System Properties and Network Connections windows would not open. Finally, the wireless and wired network icons would appear with a flurry of disk activity. This unhappy state of affairs was solved (after several frustrating hours) by simply disabling the Workstation service.

/windows | Jul 13, 2008

fseventer - FileMon for OS X #

fseventer 2.6.2 [450k] Monitors filesystem changes - think "FileMon for OS X".


Update: "10.10 Yosemite is classified as unsupported till further notice. Last usable os is osx 10.9 Mavericks (Oct 2013)"

FSMonitor offers a modern, shareware replacement for OS X 10.11+:


A number of built-in Terminal options also exist:

See also Sysinternals surrogates for macOS.

/mac | Jul 12, 2008

Dear Apple: Please Consider These Proposed Changes to the Airport Firewall #

  1. Stealth Mode
  2. Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI)
  3. Dynamic DNS (DDNS) support

/mac | Jul 05, 2008

Who is watching the watchmen? We are. #

Several millennia ago, Juvenal asked Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? ("Who will guard the guardians?"). It might please him to know that, increasingly, the answer is "everyone":
  1. Update on 2011.02.04: This Julian Assange quote from The Guardian (and found on reddit) bears repeating: "We support a cause that is no more radical a proposition than that the citizenry has a right to scrutinise the state. The state has asserted its authority by surveilling, monitoring and regimenting all of us, all the while hiding behind cloaks of security and opaqueness."
  2. Update on 2013.07.01: Check out OpenWatch for Android & iOS

/misc | Jun 24, 2008

Convert Outlook Express DBX files to MBOX or EML #

Ulrich Krebs' free and open source DbxConv can convert Outlook Express DBX files to both MBOX and EML formats.  💾


/windows | Jun 06, 2008

Cleaning Microsoft Word HTML #

Microsoft's Office 2000 HTML Filter 2.0 combined with TidyGUI has performed well for me in the past when converting MSWord-generated HTML. Sadly, the former does not work with Office 2003, so I tried half a dozen or so alternatives (including the latest version of Tidy) to no avail. At long last I stumbled upon CleanWordHtml, a 3k .NET console app that (along with TidyGUI and a little batch replace) did a wonderful job of cleaning up the mess.

/windows | May 24, 2008

Relocating default directories with symbolic links (symlinks) #

While helping a friend setup his new 1TB RAID array, we discovered that iMovie '08 does not provide any apparent mechanism to change its default save directory (~/Movies). So we decided on the same technique I had previously used to move the Music, Pictures, and Movies folders out of a FileVault-encrypted home directory: symlinks. Wikipedia describes them best: "Symbolic links operate transparently: programs which read or write to files named by a symbolic link will behave as if operating directly on the target file." The following process worked great for our purposes, but please be aware that the slightest mistake or misunderstanding can cause irreparable data loss.
  1. Create Movies directory on RAID
    $ mkdir /Volumes/RAID/Movies
  2. Move existing files and folders from ~/Movies to Movies on RAID
    $ mv ~/Movies/* /Volumes/RAID/Movies/
  3. Delete the now empty ~/Movies folder so we can create the symbolic link
    $ rmdir ~/Movies
  4. Create symbolic link named ~/Movies which points to the new location on RAID
    $ ln -s /Volumes/RAID/Movies ~/Movies


/mac | May 23, 2008

Identifying suspicious executable files #

Last year, the folks at Panda found that "79% of new malware is using some type of packing technique". Here are two apps to help you identify such suspicious executables: UPDATE: James kindly informs us of findssv, an app his professor built to "statically analyze an executable file for its administrative content, its layout and various security vulnerabilities". Further details can be found in this research paper (PDF) or this PowerPoint slideshow. For those who prefer plain text, here's the gist (quoted from the PPT):

/windows | May 11, 2008

ThreatExpert - Like your own automated malware testing sandbox #

Yet another post on the aforementioned Offensive Computing has turned up an excellent resource: ThreatExpert (developed by PC Tools). You upload a threat, their system apparently runs and monitors the threat in a sandbox, and then spits out a report listing file system, memory, and registry modifications - very cool!

UPDATE 1: A similar submission service is available from Sunbelt: CWSandbox.
UPDATE 2: CastleCops has a list of these sandboxing scan services here.

/windows | May 11, 2008

A few anti-malware links #

After reading Reverse Engineering Malware, I wanted to find a white hat malware sample site. Google turned up this post on Bugtraq from a few years ago announcing just such a site called Offensive Computing. It is still going strong, with almost 285,000 malware samples available. As an added bonus, a quick trip to the forums revealed OSAM, an autorun manager with a number of unique features for combatting malware (including rootkits). A portable version is available here; you may need the DLLs at the bottom of the page as well.

UPDATE: Just stumbled on this Offensive Computing presentation from DEFCON 15: Malware Secrets. A bit more digging has revealed a list of their videos.

/windows | May 11, 2008

Batch downloading and naming videos from YouTube #

Rafal (author of Duplicate Files Searcher) has crafted another cross-platform Java app: YouTube Downloader+. Simply paste one or more YouTube URLs into the text box and YTD+ will not only download the FLV(s), but also name the file(s) appropriately (unlike many tools which label YouTube downloads as "get_video" with no extension).   📺

/misc | May 03, 2008

Bmail - Like Blat on a Diet #

🌱 bmail [17k] + Lean command line SMTP mail sender  📺  (via Sun Kim)

/windows | Apr 30, 2008

SliTaz - Like Knoppix on a serious diet #

SliTaz 1.0 - Small (24.8MB) Linux-based Live CD / Live USB device that runs completely in memory. Features include web server (LightTPD), Mozilla Firefox, GParted, SSH client/server, hard drive installer, and much more.

/nix | Apr 15, 2008

The Simple Life #

/misc | Apr 13, 2008

Undelete for ext3 #

Carlo Wood has crafted an undelete for ext3. It was built in response to an accidental rm -rf, and recovered all desired data. At the moment, you can email him for the source code (released under the GPL) as well as take part in the discussion.

/nix | Mar 13, 2008

OpenVPN Server and Client for OS X #

I could not find any guide on the Net that simply described how to connect two Macs running Leopard via OpenVPN, so I decided to create one: Simple OpenVPN Server and Client Setup for OS X 10.5 Leopard.

/mac | Mar 02, 2008

Knoppix and dd_rhelp to the rescue! #

Yet another item added to the burgeoning ;-) Docs section: Imaging a corrupt hard drive

/nix | Feb 24, 2008

Mount VMWare virtual disks and dd images under Windows #

Virtual Disk Driver (VDK) 3.2 [100k] {S}+ Mount VMWare virtual disks and raw sector images (made with tools like ddrescue) under 32-bit versions of Windows NT/2000/XP/2003.

UPDATE: Jacopo Lazzari kindly informs us of his GUI for VDK as well as another one which he likes even more. Jacopo adds:

By default, VDK mounts RAW images with a Nx64x32 geometry, which can lead to incorrect data retrieving. To mount a RAW image with the correct Nx255x63 used under all NT based systems, you need to use the .pln descriptor file, see these:

/windows | Feb 23, 2008

Four Mac Apps: #

/mac | Feb 22, 2008

G4 owners - get your Leopard awn! #

Newly added to the Docs section: Install and Optimize Leopard on Unsupported Macs.

/mac | Feb 17, 2008

Freeware alternative to Faronics' Deep Freeze #

Looking for a "reboot to restore" app similar to Deep Freeze? Check out the freeware Returnil Virtual System Personal Edition. It is extremely easy to setup and use, and the installer weighs in just under 2MB! Review

UPDATE: See Another Deep Freeze freeware alternative

/windows | Feb 10, 2008

Cross-platform, open source GUI for SQLite databases #

SQLite Database Browser "is a freeware, public domain, open source visual tool used to create, design and edit database files compatible with SQLite. It is meant to be used for users and developers that want to create databases, edit and search data using a familiar spreadsheet-like interface, without the need to learn complicated SQL commands." Binaries available for Linux, Windows, and OS X. (Found on the highly recommended Grand Stream Dreams blog.)

/misc | Feb 10, 2008

Automatically Map Network Drives #

Newly added to the Docs section: Automatically Map Network Drives on Domain Login for All Users, Certain Users, or Certain Groups

/windows | Jan 21, 2008

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