Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How I'd Hack Your Weak Password

This is a very interesting article from Lifehacker about how to crack people's passwords, including a top 10 list of the basis for your current password. There are a bunch of tips on how to secure your password and a nice diagram that shows based on password length the amount of processing time to generate every possible combination of passwords for only lowercase letters versus all characters. You can see the dramatic increase in time that it would take a hacker to crack your password combination when you use all or a combination of characters including upper case letters, numbers and special characters.

Here's the article.

If you want to check how strong your current password is, go here to Microsoft's Online Safety Password Checker to find out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Most Important Outlook Rules for Processing Email

I found this posting on Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen blog. I generally don't get enough work email to need all of the outlook processing rules but I did add the Invites and CC filters. The only problem I have with filtering emails is if they don't appear in my regular inbox I'm not likely to see them on my iPhone. But I guess that's the point of only filtering out the unimportant emails.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Apple Bootcamp 3.1 update doesn’t work in Windows 7

Recently I've been searching for a new wireless mouse that I can use with my Macbook Air (MBA). I'm one of those people who prefer using a mouse with my laptop because it's faster than the touch pad and a little easier when clicking. I have a Bluetooth Microsoft Notebook mouse but it uses the only USB port on the MBA so I started using Apple's new wireless Magic Mouse.

For a Bluetooth device the Magic Mouse is pretty easy to setup, just pair it and go. For a mouse it's not ergonomically friendly; you can tell Apple went for aesthetic design over ergonomic design. Right out of the box it offers right and left click in a Windows environment, unfortunately it doesn't offer touch capabilities out of the box. This is what lead me to my next problem.

I noticed Apple had a new Bootcamp update version 3.1 which offers additional Windows 7 support and drivers for the new wireless Magic Mouse. Naturally I instructed the Apple update to download this 380MB file and install it. It downloaded and pretended to install on my MBA, even asking me to reboot, but the update wasn't applied when I checked bootcamp after the reboot. I preceded to try it again and the update wouldn't install.

I decided to go to Apple's website and download the bootcamp update manually. Note: I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate on a 32bit processor. I downloaded the 380MB file, ran it and as I watched the Windows processes through Task Manager, the installer launched, processed for a few seconds and then suddenly disappeared. Whenever I repeat nothing happens, nothing is installed. Apple's support page states the update is for Windows XP and Visa SP2, so I tried running the installer in compatibility mode to no avail.

The Apple Genius's at my local Apple Store couldn't help and were surprised that Apple wasn't offering the bootcamp update in a .dmg downloadable format so that it could be applied from the Mac side. At this point I'm not sure how to update my Windows 7 machine with Bootcamp 3.1 until Apple releases a .dmg downloadable file or adds support for applying it in Windows 7.

In the meantime I guess I'll just have to go about my business using this Magic Mouse without all it's capabilities. Despite all of Apple's success with well "designed" aka "pretty" devices, they still can't seem to get compatibility right.

Update on Sunday, April 4, 2010:

It turns out when I originally setup my Macbook Air with Windows 7 Ultimate Bootcamp 3.0 somehow managed to not install correctly. I found out when I tried to uninstall Bootcamp and it gave me an error message. Any attempts to reinstall it also failed. In the end I had to delete my Bootcamped Windows 7 partition and start all over again. Once I started with a new Windows 7 installation I upgraded to Bootcamp 3.1 without any problems.

Now I have the "full capabilities" of the magic mouse but I'm still not impressed. The scrolling feature is nice on web pages but too often I accidentally scroll when I'm in Windows which causes my icons / view to change. It's quite annoying. Plus as I said before it's not a very good ergonomic mouse.

New SearchNrecovery Scuba Site

My scuba site was recently relaunched in a new blog format that I think will allow people to locate information faster and make it much easier for updating. The old site, which was hosted by Microsoft's Office Live service but used the domain, is still up at

Now I just need to find a new place to put the Scuba Pro...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Add GPS like Location to Windows 7

One of the new features added to Windows 7 is it's Sensors and Location Platform that allows Windows and your applications to know exactly where they are so they can provide more local and relevant information. Microsoft uses the example "[a]mbient light sensors, for example, can allow your computer to automatically adjust your screen's brightness based on the current lighting conditions." Users can add "sensors" to Windows to give it these capabilities.

When I came across this Lifehacker article covering a free sensor called Geosense I had to download and install it. So I did, then I enabled it in Control Panel > Location and Other Sensors and that was it. I set my weather gadget to find my location automatically and it did.

At first I installed it on my work computer. It didn't work - most likely because of our network infrastructure, in which case it said I was in Beverly Hills, Ca - ha! But it works great on my laptop and now I don't have to worry about changing my location as I travel.

After everything was configured I changed who can access the sensor so that only my specific user account could. Call me paranoid, but I like to know who's tracking me and when.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Old media slowly adopting to new media

This article from on Condé Nast's "research and development" efforts to design some of its magazines (including GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Glamour) to fit the iPad format is the latest sign that old media is slowly starting to adapt to new media. Personally I welcome the efforts since I have a subscription to GQ magazine and I hate reading the paper version.

Perhaps old media has just been waiting for the “right medium” to adapt to. Or it perhaps they are just lazy. Condé Nast's previous efforts, like a GQ iPhone app where you can purchase individual magazines, missed the mark. People want more access to more information, even if that information is premium like the articles and recommendations in GQ.

I used to think the Wall Street Journal was moving in the right direction when they released a great iPhone app that gave access to the strip of most important articles until they started requiring current online subscribers (already billing at $155/a year) to pay an additional $20/year for mobile content access.
Hopefully old media will truly offer platform agnostic content and stop abusing their current subscribers! Article