Saturday, July 31, 2004

Uptime central

There used to be a project going to measure box uptimes, but I think the project is dead now. It's a shame really, as I think we'd have been at the top or at least somewhere in the top of the table with the uptime we've clocked up on one of our systems.

There's a few systems which I've got that have high uptimes, in the 200-300 days area, simply because there has not been the need to reboot them and they have been nice and stable.

As Ben points out, we have one system, a Linux box that has been up since it was last rebooted, back in October 2001. It just goes to show how stable an OS Linux can be.

Post ID: 459, posted by jase at 10:50 AM
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Friday, July 30, 2004

DEFCON 12

Today is the start of DEFCON 12 in Las Vegas. I've been saying I will go every year since 1998 and have still not got around to it due to other trips away and such. Next year I'm going to try and make it, the problem is that there are a lot of things on my schedule that I want to do most years and some collide so decisions have to be made.

I'm off to Godskitchen Global Gathering tomorrow, so that is something I would have missed, but would not have minded since I would have been in Las Vegas instead.

DEFCON 13 is already down on the list next year, just need to wait for the date to be confirmed!

Post ID: 458, posted by jase at 02:33 PM
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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bash 3.0

Bash 3.0 has been released and is now available on various mirrors as well as the master ftp site, of course. A few of the changes and improvements include as described in the announcement:

* Features to support the bash debugger have been implemented, and there
is a new `extdebug' option to turn the non-default options on.

* HISTCONTROL is now a colon-separated list of options and has been
extended with a new `erasedups' option that will result in only one
copy of a command being kept in the history list.

* Brace expansion has been extended with a new {x..y} form, producing
sequences of digits or characters.

* Timestamps are now kept with history entries, with an option to save
and restore them from the history file; there is a new HISTTIMEFORMAT
variable describing how to display the timestamps when listing history
entries.

* The `[[' command can now perform extended regular expression (egrep-like)
matching, with matched subexpressions placed in the BASH_REMATCH array
variable.

* A new `pipefail' option causes a pipeline to return a failure status if
any command in it fails.

* The `jobs', `kill', and `wait' builtins now accept job control notation
in their arguments even if job control is not enabled.

As well as a host of other changes, additions and improvements.

Post ID: 457, posted by jase at 09:11 PM
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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

NatWest bank customer service quality is debatable

I've been a personal customer of NatWest for a few years and since I don't realy use the account that much, I've had no problems with them. Now I also hold a business account at NatWest and have recently being trying to sort out various things, such as business cards on the account.

Not only was I told a number of times that I'd receive calls back regarding my queries and applications, I was also being given conflicting information each time I called. I had to keep calling back, because I never got a call from anyone even though I was promised someone would be in touch. Some of the customer services staff I encountered were very polite and professional.

I'd be inclined to think the same of the business managers who actually manage the accounts of business customers. In some cases I found them very understanding and dedication to helping me with my requests. Today I called NatWest and was connected to another business manager, who didn't really understand my concerns relating to the problems I had been having gaining the information I needed and processing of my requests. In fact, she was very rude. It's a good job I don't recall her name because I would name and shame her otherwise.

Amongst other things, she was debating what personal account I had with the bank because obviously their records were incorrect - like that is my fault? No and they could only go on what they had on record!

Now, since I was requesting business cards for the account they would need to see some kind of history, since there was not much on the business account because it had not been open long enough. That being no problem, but I stated I had already given the details of my personal account previously a few days earlier. They were not listed. I was also informed that my personal account was not valid because it had not been used in the last six months after providing the same details again.

I used the scenario: Say I have an account with 1,000 in credit. I have not made any payments or withdrawn any money in the last six months. As far as NatWest are concerned, this is not good enough for history purposes? I was informed this scenario as well as mine, would not fit the required criteria simply because the account has not been in use. They fail to take into consideration that my account has never been in any trouble, I have a switch card and cheque book (which they don't even think I have got) and regardless of balance, because the account has been idle it is not good enough.

What a load of rubbish. Pathetic in fact, combined with the fact I had to keep pointing out I don't have a Solo or Electron card on my personal account, since they are for chilren, yet as it stands this is all you are prepared to give me on a business account?

Does NatWest not consider customers with a personal account of a few years at least, with no problems ever, to be worthy enough of a card which is of any use to a business? It seems not. I have to make payments from the account online, Solo or Electron are not much use as most places do not accept them, I'm having to make payments from one of my personal accounts and then move money from the business account back over to my personal account because of this.

I would have to produce some history from another account first which is no problem, since I have a good credit rating and can get qiute a lot on accounts of mine held wth other banks with no problems at all.

It's fair enough taking precautions, but as an existing customer of 2-3 years, I am really not happy about the way this has been handled. I'm mostly annoyed at how the lady on the phone was talking to me, as if I had done something wrong. When I asked to speak to someone else about this she stated there was not anyone else I could speak to - that was it as far as she was concerned.

Now, most companies are prepared to compromise when the customer is not happy, she was not interested. I was quite direct about the fact I was not happy with her being of no use at all and that as a business account holder, I am also not happy that I cannot get the things I need to be able to use the account for business purposes - a Solo / Electron card on a business account is laughable.

I stated that if for any reason, when I send through account history from other accounts, there should be no problems at all but if there are, I will be forced to move the account to a bank that can actually provide me with a business class account with the services a business expects. I can understand this criteria has to be met with new customers of the bank, but since I have had an account which has been in no trouble, but could have been - that shows I know how to manage my accounts and I am not a new customer so the lower level of trust evident with new customers will not be there. Just because the account has not been in use is no excuse, like I said - the fact you would say the same regardless of the amount of credit in the account proves it.

All she had to say was if you want to move the account, that is your choice.

Very professional, not even understanding of my situation, which was fully explained. Not even prepared to get someone I could speak to. I think this is worthy of an official complaint, as I'm sure I am not the only one who has encountered being told their personal account is not worthy of being used, simple because it has not been in use, fair enough - but not when there is credit in the account and it has not had any problems.

I am aware of how the debit and credit card systems currently work in the UK and the reasons for not giving out cards but I have a Switch card already with Natwest, what is the problem? All my other personal accounts have visa debit & credit cards too. I've never come over issues like this before and if they give me any trouble when I send through history, I'll have no problems in swapping the account over to a real bank, such as Barclays or Cahoot as I've always been given what is required on my personal accounts, far more than I need & I'm sure they would be prepared to offer what is required for my business needs.

So, I'll have to sort out online banking and move money around that way. That is, if I can even get access to my account! Generally credit cards will only allow transactions to go through when you have credit, the debit system will allow transactions to go through regardless, since the debit guarantee states the company taking payment will always get their money, which is why there are the issues with obtaining cards when you are a new customer.

There are reasons for beig declined on a debit card when a transation is taking place but it is not due to your account being checked to see if funds are available - this does not happen - most people think it does. Usually it is because of busy periods, so trying again would work. The only other reason would be due to the card being stolen and blacklisted with all of the banks and merchant card service providers.

Since most credit cards will not allow more than your limit due to balance checks (usually), there would be no issue with giving us a card? Wrong, they won't do that either - so we can't even get a low limit covered by the in credit amount that is already in the business account! The balance check is what differs from debit cards which do not check before allowing a transaction, as I stated above.

The moral of this story is:

Some banks don't care that you are a business and have requirements to be able to do business. Natwest, doesn't care if you leave either - so I would suggest avoiding them for your business banking needs at all costs in the first place. I'll be sending history and if I have any further problems I will close the account and make an official complaint - and I'm not normally one for complaining but this is just a joke so maybe I will make a complaint anyway.

Post ID: 456, posted by jase at 10:00 PM
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

MSN Newsbot

Along with the recent release of a new search engine from Microsoft, it seems that now available is a beta of something else planned, called MSN Newsbot. Although beta, like the search engine Newsbot is a new service and still under development, but public testing has started. It seems that some of the major companies are starting to branch out and offer more in the way of services, even when going up against the competition that in some cases holds most of the market share - in the case of the search engine for example, Google.

In the world of business competition is good, but as we are seeing with Gmail, people will swap service if it offers something new and something that will benefit them individually otherwise they will stick with the current provider of the service in question.

In the case of searching, will people move away from using Google? Even if the new alternatives are better, it'll still be hard work to steal users. In some cases, there are no reasons to move, unless the service is rubbish - the new features are not considered by some users.

It is just a case of the big companies all wanting a slice of the market share as for example, a lot of money can be made from paid advertising.

Post ID: 455, posted by jase at 12:59 AM
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Monday, July 26, 2004

MyDoom.M

So the latest on the block is MyDoom.M and it seems that this worm is very fast to spread. I've already received a few messages to my work account. Now as we run Solaris, there is no real effect apart from extra load on the mail servers. Some of the aliases that are global that the worm has been sending itself to, have been gathered from infected machines that do run MS OS's, such as laptops so the worm is able to spread itself out to these addresses from the inside of the SWAN (Sun Wide Area Network) when they are connected internally or via VPN.

Even when you have a network with virtually no infected systems connected, all it takes is one machine to still cause issues. Most global aliases have no need to except external mail so that cuts it down, but when you have infected systems that connect, issues still arise, in this case mostly just increased mail activity but for other networks, worm such as this will have much more of an effect as probably all machines just about, are Windows based. The from field of the email received is spoofed and when infected a backdoor is installed which is known as Backdoor.Zincite.A, on port 1034/tcp.

The following registry keys are created:

* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Daemon
* HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Daemon

And it copies itself to the system as:

* %Windir%\java.exe
* %Windir%\services.exe


The following values are added to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

"Services" = "%Windir%\services.exe"
"JavaVM" = "%Windir%\java.exe"

So the worm is loaded when Windows boots. It is being reported that this is classed as quite severe due to the rate at which it appears to be spreading. For a full analysis go here. You would be advised to update your AV software.

Post ID: 454, posted by jase at 12:38 PM
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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Was it worth it?

Have you ever decided to stay up all night to work on something and then come to the conclusion afterwards that you did not get very far and may as well of gone to sleep and continued the next day or when you have time?

I did this last night and after feeling quite tired all day I decided it was something I could of avoided. Of course, there are times when a deadline may call and in this situation, it would be advised to continue working through the night.

The rest of the time, especially when the task is not that important come back to it later and get your shut eye. You'll feel a lot better for doing so.

Post ID: 453, posted by jase at 12:43 AM
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Saturday, July 24, 2004

MySQL Maestro

I've just stumbled upon MySQL Maestro which is a Windows based application for MySQL management. I've only had a quick play with it, but it allows for remote user and database administration with a nice interface and plenty of options.

Compared to command line it makes certain tasks a lot easier to perform, for example looking up data in a certain field in a table as you don't have to remember the SQL commands to perform the task. Although you could allow users to use this application to access their databases, phpMyAdmin would be better suited for this as to allow a user to use MySQL Maestro you would have to either allow external connections to the MySQL server or allow interactive shell access.

For administration, you can allow the MySQL connection to be tunnelled over SSH so you would not have to open MySQL up to the outside as the connection to the MySQL server is made locally once an SSH connection has been established.

I think MySQL Maestro is a handy tool that will be of great use to people that would like to do easy MySQL administration from a Windows application. There are a number of other tools available as well which offer varied functionality. Used in combination with command line and web based applications such as phpMyAdmin MySQL Maestro is another good tool to help administrators complete MySQL related tasks.

Post ID: 452, posted by jase at 09:29 PM
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Friday, July 23, 2004

Time spent blogging

I'd have to say, regarding Jeremy's post about time spent blogging that I spend more time blogging posts than the linkblog, which I would think is quite obvious anyway since adding links is rather quick and automated using the methods I have used, rather than having another actual MT blog for it.

The same goes for when I moblog, it is rather easy and automated. I need to setup my Nokia 6600 to be able to use it to moblog as I've not figured out how to get the required fields yet, such as message subject, main message and then attachment which are obviously needed to allow for correctly displaying the post online.

The other thing I need to sort out is actual blog posting via my mobile either via email to blog or text only MMS to blog. I've just not got round to doing it, but will do soon as it will be handy when doing updates from Ibiza!

Post ID: 451, posted by jase at 11:03 PM
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Thursday, July 22, 2004

To contract in I.T or not?

I'm considering trying out some contract based work as there are various benefits over taking a permanent position. Of course there are down sides as well, but I think for me personally it might be something good to try. From a financial point of view you can take in all the rewards as the rates are generally a lot better, but of course you have to consider the insecurity of contracting.

There is also the fact of having to setup a limited company too, unless you go with an outfit that can take the work out of getting up and running in the world of contracting. I'm setting up a limited company soon, but I may choose to use a company to handle it all for me.

So, if anyone out there does I.T contracting already or has before, have you got any tips or would suggest approaching the arena in a specific way?

Post ID: 450, posted by jase at 07:51 PM
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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Unwanted commercial calls

With having the do not call list in the states you would think people are more protected, but in some cases they are not. For us people in the UK, we have even less to stop it. Recently, there have been a number calls from companies saying we are entitled to a discount on a product and various other types of calls.

These calls are really due to details being given out by certain companies and then of course they spread. I've just put ACR (Anonymous Caller Rejection) on the main phone line because on Monday alone there were two calls which I answered that were commercial and unwanted.

At least now we'll be protected but should we really have to pay for a service to stop calls that should not really be coming through anyway? There should be a law to prevent it!

Post ID: 449, posted by jase at 07:32 PM
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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Music tastes in the I.T world

The Register has an article on music tastes of people in the I.T industry and various different job roles. I personally just listen to electronic music most of the time - be it Trance, House, Techno, Drum & Bass or something else. I sometimes listen to other music but not that often.

Interesting findings, if you're interested in finding things like this out.

Post ID: 448, posted by jase at 11:43 PM
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Monday, July 19, 2004

Duts.1520

Word on the street is that Ratter, a member of the 29A virus development group has released a proof of concept virus, designed for the PocketPC. It was only recently that 29A released code which targets mobile phone running the Symbian OS.

There is no destructive payload and the user is asked if the virus is allowed to spread, which is partly due to this being POC code. Of course, there may now be a stream of future virii destined for Symbian devices and also PocketPC systems.

It just goes to show, it is only a matter of time before someone decides to do something and completes the task. Read an analysis of Duts, here.

Post ID: 447, posted by jase at 04:39 AM
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Sunday, July 18, 2004

The all new iPod

The all new iPod has been released, Newsweek has a sneak preview.

Not only are the new models cheaper that previous models, there are also a number of enhancements such as an extended battery life, click wheel that was introduced on the iPod Mini as well as other improvements.

I've still not got around to getting a portable music player yet, but soon enough I shall. I'm really going to have to get someone to ship one over to me from the USA to take advantage of the cheaper prices as over here in the UK, we always pay over the odds!

Post ID: 446, posted by jase at 07:02 PM
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Saturday, July 17, 2004

OpenNTPd

The OpenBSD team have created an implementation of the Network Time Protocol, OpenNTPd.

I don't use NTP at all, but for people that do this is another alternative. Of course it will stand up to the quality of development that we always see from the OpenBSD team. If you use NTP, go check it out. It can act as a server and client.

Post ID: 445, posted by jase at 10:13 PM
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Friday, July 16, 2004

Gmail forums, tools and more!

There is a lot of user discussion taking place regarding Gmail - maybe because Google is behind it or maybe because of the way it is being launched or the new functionality it offers. I'd be inclined to think it is a combination of all of those factors. I've not seen this relating to any other web based email service, but already we have the Gmail Forums and various other sites dedicated to Gmail.

There are also various tools being developed allowing you to easily migrate your existing mail over to Gmail from other web based email providers, with a tool specifically for Hotmail and also for email applications such as Outlook, Thunderbird and more.

Also exists is a PHP script which will allow you to upload files to your Gmail account easily and download them again if you wish. In fact there are a list of tools currently available, check them out here. It is early days yet, so more handy tools will be sure to appear.

Post ID: 444, posted by jase at 07:22 PM
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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Atak mass mailing worm

On the ever updating list of new mass mailing worms, we now have a new contender, known as Atak.

It seems that it copies itself to the system as as %System%\hint.exe and creates a mutex named "SloperMtx" to ensure that only one instance of the worm is executed. On Windows NT/2000/XP, the worm adds the value:

"load"="%System%\hint.exe" to the registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

& on Windows 95/98/Me, the worm adds the following line to the [windows] section of Win.ini file:

load=%System%\hint.exe

It sends itself out to addresses that it obtains by running a search on the infected system, with various names as the from address and also various subjects, the attachment is a .zip file that includes a copy of the worm.

Again, it requires user intervention to become infected but the amount of people that still get infected by opening these attachements and then opening the files inside is qiute high - user stupidity is to blame or maybe it is a combination of that and ignorance.

Update your AV software or better still have it auto-update since these updates are released on a daily basis. For a full analysis of the worm go here & here. The worm has said to contain stealth code to try and make analysis more difficult but this has not had much of an effect with regards to debugging and reverse engineering.

Post ID: 443, posted by jase at 11:01 PM
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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Air conditioning

With the two systems constantly running in my room combined with the warmer weather and small size of the room it is getting quite warm in there now. Having some air conditioning would be good but so would having a bigger room.

That is one reason why having your own place is better - you normally have as much room as you want, if not more than enough. I can't see myself moving out of home just yet though as I have other things which require my attention and money. Moving out will be costly and something which I can put on hold for a few more years I hope. I'd rather get a house in the first instance over anything else so I will probably wait until I can come up with a decent plan to aquire one.

Post ID: 442, posted by jase at 07:00 PM
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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Improving TLD DNS

The improvements that Verisign will be making to allow for more regular updates to the root dns servers will allow for domain updates to be populated out over the Internet a lot quicker. Since there are only two updates per day at the moment the thought of it only taking a few minutes would be great.

There also appears to be other changes, including more information displayed in the whois database. It's all good, but you just have to remember Sitefinder and it all goes sour.

Post ID: 441, posted by jase at 11:05 PM
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Monday, July 12, 2004

XP Service Pack 2

Microsoft has delayed SP again but only until August it seems. I'd be inclined to think it has something to do with recently discovered issues with IE and wanting to include patches as part of the update as well as other things.

The new version of the Windows Update site is online, but is still in testing but seems okay to use. From what I can see so far, it gices you more information about the updates available and also tells you information such as if your system is setup to download and install updates automatically.

My Windows 2000 Server box really needs to be re-installed. I'll probably put Windows Server 2003 or XP on it afterwards so that is a task for me to complete at some point.

Post ID: 440, posted by jase at 11:59 PM
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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Browsing the Internet

I was just reading this post by Jeremy Zawodny regarding aimless Internet browsing. I'd have to agree, I don't spent as much time browsing at the moment as I simply don't have the free time. The sites I visit are ones I visit quite often, mostly on a daily basis such as news sites, web based email and some others.

Combined with the lack of time to browse, there is also the repetitive factor. I tend to get bored of most things which are repetitive after a while and browsing is sometimes meeting the criteria for this category.

Often in times such as these, it is a wise idea to have a break and then come back after a while, much like when you go for a coffee or tea break at work or even over a longer period - like abstaining from doing something for a longer period of time. Doing this can usually add the buzz back which you have missed due to the amount of exposure to the said activity, be it browsing or something else. In addition, there are some things which we simply cannot do without. For most of us, Internet access is one of them.

Post ID: 439, posted by jase at 11:33 PM
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Saturday, July 10, 2004

How annoying.

I've been searching for some records and have been filling up my cart over at Juno and just lost the entire contents of it, which is something that has happened to me a number of times in the past. I like Juno as the prices are good, but the shopping cart system is not that good. You have to watch that all of the items you have added to your cart do not get wiped out. It really needs some kind of facility to save your cart and other things you have come to expect from shopping cart systems these days. The system in use by Hard To Find Records is a lot better.

Over at Juno I tend to paste the contents of the cart into a file so in case it all gets lost, I can just enter the products again easily. I use Juno and HTFR initially and then if I can't find the record in stock on either of those, I check out Gemm, which is also pretty good & comes in handy when trying to find copies of older tunes.

Post ID: 438, posted by jase at 10:05 PM
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Friday, July 9, 2004

I just had a thought

A dangerous thing, is me thinking.

Anyway, I thought what if currency did not exist and everyone worked for free, but you could have whatever you want? Business and society would not work very well would they? Even so, it's a nice thought because you could have whatever you wanted - but then again so could everyone else.

We should all appreciate currency.

Post ID: 437, posted by jase at 10:15 PM
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Thursday, July 8, 2004

Happy 1st birthday

To my blog that is! I only just noticed, but it has been just over a year since I started writing this. Another example of how quickly time goes. I'll not prepare a toast as that would not work very well over the Internet.

However, I shall say let it be another exciting year of my life and maybe this blog as well. It seems to be healthy so far anyway.

Presents could come in the form of donations - only joking - I suppose if anyone did want to donate, then you could. Maybe I should create an Amazon wish list which might appeal more than sending digital cash. Let me know if you are interested! Feel free to send e-cards as well.

Post ID: 436, posted by jase at 11:16 PM
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Has anyone got...

Any hours in the day they can lend me? I know we could always do with more but I could really do with some more! In fact, I just need to streamline a few things so that less time is spent / wasted - for example travel time to and from work.

Also, it would be really nice if I did not have to spend 7.5 hours a day in an office, but instead spend the time doing things that I really want to be doing on a regular basis. When you sit down and think about it, the only way in which this can effectively be accomplished is by working for yourself, running your own company.

A future projection of mine would be to be doing just this so that I have more leisure time, earning more and also have some personal satisfaction related to the business. You can obtain some satisfaction from being a number in a massive company but I really think it goes down a lot better when you know it is your company or something that you are a major player in.

We all have our hopes and desires but the key is turning them into reality. This is an ongoing mission and one I hope to complete successfully.

Post ID: 435, posted by jase at 02:56 PM
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Tuesday, July 6, 2004

I'm still wondering why...

These spammers even bother. Like, I delete all spam comments that slip through the net, fairly quickly - so there is not much point. On another spam related note, Thunderbird seems to be doing a good job at filtering.

What I'll probably end up doing is redirecting mail which currently sits on various boxes all towards a single account, which I then check via POP3 or either forward to Gmail or Yahoo, which will allow for good spam filtering. Thunderbird provides a good level but it is not available from anywhere, which is an advantage that webmail has.

Post ID: 434, posted by jase at 02:15 PM
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Monday, July 5, 2004

Beagle.Y & Beagle.Z

Another two variants have been released, Beagle.Y & Beagle.Z. One of these worms includes the source code which will probably allow for a number of new variants to be released at an even higher rate than we have previously seen. One thing though, what will happen to the naming scheme now we have made it to the end of the alphabet?

An interesting thing to note is that both of these worms can cause versions of W32.Netsky from running, which is obviously part of the game various programmers of these worms are playing.

Post ID: 433, posted by jase at 09:02 PM
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Sunday, July 4, 2004

Gmail, first impressions...

From what I have seen available in Gmail so far, I'm quite impressed. The keyboard shortcuts are a really good idea for a start. I've not forwarded any mail over to it yet and don't know how well the spam filtering works, but I'm sure I'll find out when I start using the address.

The main thing really will be the extra space, as I'm sure most people will agree but the other things the service offers and the layout are all important factors. I think the layout is good and it seems quick to load up emails as well.

I'll post up about invites when I get some and I'm sure I'll have more comments when I use the service more. I've already got a few suggestions to make as features that I would like to see, such as aliases.

I wonder why you cannot at present have an account with 5 or less characters that make up the alias. That is something which should be changed.

Post ID: 432, posted by jase at 11:38 PM
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Saturday, July 3, 2004

Gmail account - I've got one now!

After one failed attempt from Kev at sending me an invite (due to a server error) I now have an account, thanks to an invite from Wayne.

Thanks to you both! Hopefully Google will look at the errors Kev got so that more invites are not wasted, as the system gave an error but did not send out the invite - it still took it off the available invite credits though which happened to be Kev's last one at present.

Now, it's time to have a play.

One thing I would like to see on web based services is the option of creating a number of aliases. As previously stated, once I get some invites they will be dished out via these pages!

Post ID: 431, posted by jase at 11:20 PM
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Friday, July 2, 2004

iPod & iTrip

I'm going to get round to getting an iPod, probably the 40GB one. Also using the addon iTrip I would be easily able to transmit to a radio in the close vicinity. The distance is limited, but after reading this document, it seems quite easy to extend the distance to which you can transmit over - quite easily.

I suppose you could take things further and use some other kind of transmitter which you can buy from Maplins, and apply more power to the output using an amplifier, like the kind you would use on CB / HAM radio.

Using that method, you would really be able to tramsmit over a longer distance but my just following the instructions on the Engadget article, you can extend it slightly.

Now, I just need to get the iPod - Import from the USA, save on the duty and overpricing in the UK! You can also now integrate your iPod in your BWM car.

Although, the Archos devices are pretty good only quite expensive at the moment. With 80GB models available, that's a lot more capacity to store movies and music - the best thing being able to watch movies on the move!

So there is an investment at some point I think.

Post ID: 430, posted by jase at 11:08 PM
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Thursday, July 1, 2004

Sony NW-HD1 / HMP-A1 / VGF-AP1

Sony have just let loose details of this new hard disk based player. It comes with a 20GB disk and enough memory you should never see any skipping whilst playing music.

It is quite small too, clocking in at 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.4cm and looks quite smart. Just another contender for the ever popular iPod range. There are also a host of other players which you can choose from but the iPod still has the majority market share.

I'm still to get a disk based MP3 player, but I'll get round to it soon, as well as that nice new laptop and PDA. Maybe I should have a word with Santa?

There is also the Sony Vaio VGF-AP1 MP3 player, which was recently launched & the new video player HMP-A1 - They all look nice and all have enough space, but will they prove to be popular? Obviously the cost is an important component of the equation.

The other thing to remember is that the MP3 players will only play music encoded with the Sony ATRAC 3 format. I'm sure converters will be available and it will not be much of an issue, but this may put a number of people off buying these products.

Post ID: 429, posted by jase at 11:30 PM
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