Month: September 2005

USB2 to IDE converter cable

This USB2 to IDE cable converter looks like a great idea for disaster recovery/portable backup. This saves having to purchase disk caddys or boxes for drives – the one that I purchased was for laptop drives at about $40 retail (I paid $20 2nd hand only to find that the 2.5″ disk is slightly to big to fit in the case). The other advantage is that you can also attach items such as dvd drives etc.
Thanks to Kevin Devin for the link

Ubuntu 5.10 is worse!

(in my opinion) than the 5.04 release that was out a while back. At least 5.04 would boot on my machine but 5.10 doesn’t. It gets as far as detecting hot plug devices and then the machine hangs. Various messages are displayed in the other consoles (ctrl-f2 to f4 i think) but nothing obvious as to what is going on. I thought I would try 5.10 on the desktop as the 5.04 would not let me use ndiswrapper for the Hawking Technology wifi usb card that I have (which incidentally uses the zydas 1211 driver). I think that if I risked putting ubuntu onto the hard disk rather then running from the livecd then I might stand a chance of getting it to work, but ideally I want a combination of livecd & usb wifi adapter which means I can use this at other wifi enabled pc’s.

Microsoft Max

I think that Microsoft Max stands for Maximum Hassle, Maximum uselessness and Maximum Waste of time. I downloaded the small stub installer yesterday and then when you install it, it insists on downloading a winfx graphics pack and some other files that it needed. This took about 40 minutes on my fast connection so I dread to think what it would be like on dialup. I find stub installers very annoying as it means you can’t burn the application setup program to cd ready for reinstallation at a later date/another machine – instead you have to spend ages downloading. Then after it had installed it insisted I signed up for an account/linked my max account to my passport account. Thats all very well and good, but the email that is meant to get sent to my passport account never arrives. I then realised that this was probably due to the fact that I have to have my hotmail junk filter to exclusive due to the amount of spam I get even on the enhanced option. A solution to this is to add [email protected] to your contacts in hotmail before you attempt to activate/log into Max.
Once signed into an account it doesn’t seem possible to sign out from that account and re-sign in with a different account as you only get prompted for your password address and not your email address. Actually after renaming store.xml and settings.xml in %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Codename Max you can sign in as someone else, but this doesn’t do you any good as Max is a peer to peer application so you both need to be running it at the same time.
Oh and did they forget to mention the fact “If your ISP does not support IPv6, you will not be able to access websites after you install Max. ” (from the readme that doesn’t get displayed when you install the software). They also have a blog of help posts but these do not appear on the main page unless you select one of the categories.

Google Blog Search

It’s taken them long enough, but google now have a dedicated blog search which seems to be pretty uptodate. It didn’t take them long to index the content of Absoblogginlutely at all. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before this gets added to the main google site (shame this isn’t an option for it to be added with their personalisation features) and also to see if they add other features similar to feedster. If they keep it like it is at present then they will do well – Feedster seems to be bogged down with all the features they keep adding but (in my experience) are very slow to fix problems with claiming feeds etc.
Thanks to John Hesch for the headsup

New Job!

Well you heard it here first – as of Monday morning I will be employed again as I was offered a job yesterday after attending a lunch interview. It certainly is a great feeling and also comes on the same day that I accepted an offer on the house back in England so hopefully we can start to settle down for good.
I will be working for a consulting company in Dublin, Ohio covering the Columbus area and I am *really* looking forward to it. This should also mean that I get back to my usual technical blogging which some readers will enjoy and others won’t.

Microsoft OneCare

Onecare has now been on my pc for about half a day and has not detected any problems. It seems to be working ok although as I’ve just rebooted my pc this morning I got a message saying that there were some unexpected errors and that the report was not sent to Microsoft at the time but it would like to send the information now. The one thing I didn’t like about the installation is that you have to uninstall any antivirus software you already have installed and you are also told to uninstall any firewall that is currently installed. Some people could take this literally and try to work out how to uninstall the XPsp2 firewall that is built in, although they are referring to personal firewalls such as zonealarm.
As the software installation is web based, I’m not impressed with the requirements that antivirus and firewalls need to be disabled beforehand as this could potentially lead to people getting infected whilst they install the software and are unprotected. It would make more sense to download the software onto the pc, disconnect it from the internet and then remove the firewall/av software, reboot and install. However with some pc’s automatically connecting to the internet via modem I’m not sure how MS can guarantee that people don’t reconnect on bootup (bearing in mind that this software is aimed at the non-pc literate user.)
I was also able to download the test virus onto my pc before the antivirus component kicked in and complained that I was trying to download a virus. After I said yes to quarantine the file, I ended up with a file called{random characters here} in the directory. I repeated the experiment and I’m not sure why I’ve ended up with these files but curiously they are different sizes (and a lot bigger than the source file). This has been logged with Microsoft because as far as I am concerned I should not be able to download the file onto my pc and I should also not be left with these weird files on the pc at the same time.
I’ve also noticed that thunderbird seems to be running a lot slower at the moment too but I’m not sure if this has anything to do with OneCare or not – it’s likely to be the culprit but I’m not 100% sure at the moment. The online help file with the software is not very helpful – entering “Thunderbird” into the knowledge base came back with articles such as How do I find the correct disc for restoring my files, What do I do if I don’t have a disc burner for Backup, What happens if I skip a disc while restoring files, How do I allow or block a program through the Firewall?, How do I upgrade or renew my Windows OneCare subscription?, Troubleshooting problems with updating Windows OneCare – most of which have nothing (or little) to do with thunderbird.
I’ve yet to try the backup routine although the annoying thing is that the window says that there are files waiting to be backed up but when you click on the backup now it then starts to scan for files to backup. This seems to be a bit pointless as surely the whole point of a background process is to have this information already. I can almost guarantee that there are always going to be files that need to be backed up as files are constantly changing on any pc that is used.

Google Desktop and Microsoft Spyware Updates

It looks like the Google Desktop software has been updated recently as now the index status does not show how much of the index has been completed (or it has finally indexed the computer). The status on this computer is normally stuck at about 20% complete but this information no longer appears on the status page. However the cpu usage of the desktop search does seem to be often pegged around the 50% mark so something is still not quite right there.
The Antispyware software also seems to have been updated as the nightly scan that ran last night picked up Ultravnc as potential spyware even though it has been installed on the pc for about 2 months and I had previously flagged it as ignore.