Saturday, August 30, 2003

What Should Google Do
A PDF e-book, edited by Seth Godin.
Thanks to Ensight for pointing this one out.

The "Google" branded bricks-and-mortar drop-in centre in tourist-heavy metropolitan areas is a particularly good idea (page 22).

One can easily imagine this scenario:

"Hey , we've flow into Berlin for this conference - where do we get a great Chinese meal around here?"

"I know , let's go to the Google centre on the K'Dam, have a coffee, and find out. They can also point out points of interest for us, and book us some tickets for the Berlin Philharmonic tommorow night."

Kerneltrap have a feature on how on to upgrade to the 2.6 kernel

The intended audience is for Linux users who are already comfortable with compiling the 2.4 kernel. If you've never compiled a kernel before the Linux Kernel How To is a good introduction.

Interesting Wired article on the Time Travel spammer.

"The anonymous e-mail offered $5,000 to any vendor capable of promptly delivering a collection of far-fetched gadgets for conducting time travel.
Hill, a computer programmer living in Iowa, said he normally deletes a couple of dozen junk e-mails every day with hardly a glance. But this time, he hit the reply button instead.

"It was just so weird, I had to respond. I sent him a message saying I could get him what he wanted," Hill said. "

Thursday, August 28, 2003

UK IT experts fear for jobs
"British IT consultants, hit hard by technology spending cutbacks over the past three years, are concerned that a probable deal at the upcoming World Trade Organisation meeting in Cancun could lead to further job losses.

The European Union has offered to welcome foreign providers of computer services, "including highly skilled, self-employed, com- puter experts".

Power Outage Brings London Trains to A Halt
And so soon after the U.S. blackouts.... spooky.

TrustCommerce interviewed on their usage of KDE

"It's simple: KDE makes the UNIX desktop usable for non-IT workers. If it wasn't for KDE, we'd have to pay a lot of money for proprietary hardware (Apple) or software (Microsoft). More importantly, the machines are more stable and easier for our sysadmin to maintain. That's a big savings in cost - not having to hire another sysadmin as our employee count continues to grow. "

Linux vs. Windows: Choice vs. Usability
Quote:"One of the major roadblocks for Unix was the lack of one single standardized platform for applications. Linux seems to be following along the same line, although on a different parallel. To compete head-to-head with Microsoft, Linux advocates should standardize the platform."

I tend to disagee with the author's premise. In my view, standardisation would kill off innovation.

Secondly, Linux users are generally extremely passionate about their preferred Window managers. I just love KDE 3.1 , but others swear by Gnome or Enlightenment. The cool thing is , is that Linux gives everyone that choice. Removing that choice removes the flexibility of Linux - which is the primary reason I switched in the first place.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Hackers take SCO site offline

"A denial-of-service attack hit the Web site of SCO, which is fighting a controversial legal battle concerning Unix copyrights

Last weekend, a denial-of-service attack took down the Web site of The SCO Group, which is caught in an increasingly acrimonious row with the open-source community over the company's legal campaign against Linux. "

Software patent protest to block Web sites

Several hundred Web sites are to remove their front pages in protest against a European software patents directive, due for a final vote next week.

More than 600 Web sites are to take part in an online protest against a proposed European law on software patents, timed to coincide with a real-life protest in Brussels on Wednesday.

Writing in The Guardian in June, Arlene McCarthy, the British Labour MEP who is guiding the software patents proposal through Parliament, argued that the legislation would "provide legal certainty for European software inventors" and protect the investments of small European software companies.

"It is time some of the 'computer rights campaigners' got real," she wrote. "Patents for software inventions will not go away. It is infinitely better for the EU to harmonise laws across the EU with a view to limiting patentability, than to continue with the mess of national courts and European Patent Office (EPO) systems, and the drift towards US patent models."

Emailing a file via cron
Very handy discussion on emailing an attachment from a cron job here at devshed. I tried this out , using the Mime::Lite perl module, and it works flawlessly.

SpamAssassin - cannot write to User_prefs error

You may come across a lot of errors in /var/log/maillog to do with spamd not having enough rights to
the users "user_prefs" file:

"Aug 27 07:01:35 SERVERNAME spamd[8739]: Cannot write to /home/USERNAME/.spamassassin/user_prefs:"

There are 4 options to rectify this problem (which i found on a Debian mailling list)

* Remove -u nobody from spamd. The daemon will run as root. Children
will setuid() themselves to the appropriate userid when processing

* Make sure ~/.spamassassin is world-readable and has all the necessary
config files. If you are using bayes, you may need to make the
database files world-writable.

* Make ~/.spamassassin world-writable, and let spamd create whatever
files it needs.

* Create a special sa user and group, run spamd with "-u sa", set
~/.spamassassin's group ownership to sa, and add group read/write
access to it. Let spamd create whatever files it needs.

Yahoo RSS

Yahoo launch their RSS newsfeed service.

Jeremy Zawodny is also covering this

Saturday, August 23, 2003

SoBig virus traced to Canada
SlashDot is also covering this one.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Office Space
Wav files and pictures... <....shudder...>

Kde Look is worth a visit , if you want to customise your KDE install.
The iconsets that are available are well worth installing. These can radically change the look and feel of your desktop.

I personally give this site a +10 score as it's one hell of a resource for twiddling with your KDE. You can waste an entire afternoon just doing this, as I've found myself unfortunately doing. [ "oh crap - it's already 5pm .. and i've been customising since 11AM ! "]

Thursday, August 21, 2003

SoBig Virus - the worst is yet to come
Windoze gets infected , and the rest of us catch a cold. Thanks "Billy Gates"....

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Mandrake 9.1 Documentation
PDF & HTML, English, French, Spanish, Deutsch, Italian.

Mandrake Documenation Project
Interesting stuff on how they used XML Docbook,jade etc to produce the PDF manuals.

Microsoft Urges Users Not to Use Windows on the Internet

New Windows vunerability -- from MIDI files!!!

Microsoft Direct X Vunerability bulletin

"An attacker could seek to exploit this vulnerability by creating a specially crafted MIDI file designed to exploit this vulnerability and then host it on a Web site or on a network share, or send it by using an HTML-based e-mail.

A successful attack could also cause an attacker's code to run on the user's computer in the security context of the user. "

Oh dear - more whacked out "trustworthy" computing from Microsoft.

Monday, August 18, 2003

New Blaster Worm Installs Patches
The first case of a "good" virus?

DCOM Exploit With Universal Targets
Source code variant of the MS-BLASTER worm, without the viral self-replication bit.

Knowledge of the service pack of the target system is not required in the above exploit. It targets Win2k and XP systems.

Just download the source code, and compile using gcc:

(assuming you've saved as dcom.c)

su root
gcc dcom.c

KDE - Contributing to WhatsThis Tutorial

You don't have to be a QT coder to contribute to the development of KDE. Here's a link that gives a good overview on contributing to those "Whats This" tooltips that pop up when one hovers over an application icon.