I sent you WHAT???

A friend of mine has had one of those embarrassing little gotchas… he used a “public” computer and either didn’t log off from his yahoo account or the machine just remembered ALL the passwords it ever has had typed into it.

Either way, an email was sent from his account and even though the content of the message was obviously way way way out of character, the recipient chose to believe it. (Which is probably the justification for me writing a book on human psychology rather than a blog post).

Now I will probably need to do this in a couple of parts (it’s a big topic). So lets start with “friendly” browsers.

As a rule of thumb if you “borrow” a PC to just quickly check your email and the only browser offer is IE run away be very careful… my favourite warning sign is to start typing in the http://www.google.com address. If the AUTOCOMPLETE kicks in then there is a good chance that the remember passwords option is on.

The AutoComplete and remember password features are intended to save you time and typing by remembering text you’ve recently entered and automatically filling it in again if the browser thinks it recognizes what you’re typing. If you’ve been to different areas of the same site, the browser may also present you with a list of addresses to choose from.

AutoComplete can also remember user names and passwords and information used in Web forms. If you’d prefer not to use the feature — or want to erase any stored passwords or form information — you can adjust your browser settings.

So where to look to turn it off.
In IE, go to Tools > Internet Options. Click on the Content tab and then on the AutoComplete button.

In the AutoComplete settings box, you can see what information the browser will remember and this is also where you clear out stored passwords and form data.

For the 59% of you reading this using IE go and have a look now… we’ll wait.

All done? Good. I would write down that path so that you can go there at the end of your session and flush out where you have been.

It wont stop determined people but it will help stop drive by “alleged jokers”.

Also have a look at a previous post on “Delete your history in windows

Next we will have a look how to tell where the email came from (as opposed to what the FROM line says).

Your homework is to head over to Spam Links – reading email headers page and have a browse.

The resources on that page will help you to understand what the different parts of an email header mean, and how that can help you to trace an emails path.

Keep in mind “just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong”.

The Canary Project

I was walking along the street yesterday and looking at some of the gardens and couldn’t help but notice that the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom and there are a lot of daffodils around. Very pretty BUT very scary folks. It’s the middle of August in Melbourne we are supposed to be freezing our buts off and fighting the wind and the rain NOT wondering which T shirt to wear because the weather is going to be so warm.

Need a bit more of a hint? Edward Morris and Susannah Sayler became interested in gathering visual evidence of global warming after reading a series of articles on the subject by Elizabeth Kolbert. This interest became a passion after seeing the massive retreat of the Pasterze Glacier in Austria.

So they started The Canary Project. The idea is to photograph landscapes around the world that are exhibiting dramatic transformation due to global warming and to use these photographs to persuade as many people as possible that global warming is already underway and of immediate concern.

The Eizabeth Kolbert articles from the New Yorker can be found here and Grist magazine has a really good article here

I know I am preaching to the converted but this is starting to get scary.

GMail Bits II

It seems that Gmail is nearing the end of it’s long journey out of BETA testing according to Mitchell Bingemann at PC World

Seethe article at PC World – News – Gmail parties in Australia without invitation

Australian and New Zealand residents are the first in the world to be able sign up for Gmail without having to scrounge for invites from existing users.

As of today, users can sign-up to Google’s Web-based e-mail program by simply registering on the site www.gmail.com

“As we prepare to broaden availability, we have decided to launch these efforts in Australia and New Zealand first,” said a Google Australia spokesperson.

So if you want to pick up an email account which currently offers over 2.7GB of free space, built-in Google search technology and spam protection. Head over to Gmail.com and apply.

Oh if you are wondering what to do with 2.7G of storage how about a backup of your WordPress blog?

Have a look at davebgimp.com » Blog Archive » Daily backups for WordPress with Gmail

Daily WordPress backups using Gmail

1. First off, get a Gmail account. Why Gmail? Because it’s free, wicked handy and has the highest free storage rate out there that I know of. Since the point of this is to back up your blog in case your site should crash and die, you don’t want to be using any email address associated with your domain as that could also fail with the rest of your site. It’s not too hard to get a Gmail account. Find someone that has one and ask for an invite. I have something like 50 invites, so email me if you need one. I created one called davebgimp.backup for this purpose.

and so on.

Amazing what you can do isn’t it?

Performancing for Firefox.

Last year when I started writing this blog on a daily basis, I wrote a post on JustBlogIt, a tool I have used up until a month ago. For various reasons I replaced it after reading about Performancing.

Which is what this is now being written with. Performancing for Firefox is a WYSIWYG blogging extension (bit a simple click turns on the source code view (my preferred view). So lets start at the beginning, download and install it (a couple of clicks), enter your blog URL, your user name and your password. That’s it, like WordPress it’s a doddle to install. Now that it’s installed, just hit F8 or click the little pencil icon at the bottom right of your browser window to bring up the blog editor.

The editor fills up the bottom half of the browser window (you can shrink it down if you need), this allows you to keep using the web, best of all it knows about tabs. You can pull a link into the edit window It’s easy to drag and drop inks and images into the editor, and as icing on the cake it has a notes function, you can create notes that are stored locally and can be searched. (Hmm do I need to keep Google Notes now? We’ll see)

Downsides? A couple but nothing I would call a deal breaker. I keep a lot of drafts running in WordPress and I have had to figure a workaround to get to them and the images thing doesn’t work the way I would like, I still have to figure a workaround for that.  Oh the spell checker. That’s a tricky little problem that one. It’s a tad flaky at the moment.

This has rapidly become one of my favourite tools for the blogs.

By the way, Performancing, also have a new web service called Performancing Metrics that provides “professional grade blog statistics” for bloggers.

Amongst it’s other tricks Performancing Metrics can handle multiple blogs and will aggregate data from all of your blogs, generates RSS feeds so you keep an eye on your stats easily (that’s clever that one), and shows AdSense data and search engine traffic. It’s currently in a free, open beta period; no word on whether the service will still be free once it’s out of beta.

BBC Reith Lectures 2006 – In the Beginning was Sound

In the Beginning was Sound (well it is called the Big Bang)

St John said, “In the beginning was the word”, while Goethe claimed that, “In the beginning was the deed”.

But Daniel Barenboim contends that In the beginning was sound. This year the BBC Radio – Reith Lectures were given by Daniel Barenboim

Shall we do a quick check of the man’s cred?

He gave his first concert at the age of seven, and by eleven he’d been declared a phenomenon by the legendary conductor Wilhelm Fürtwangler. His life has been and continues to be saturated with music. A virtuoso at the piano, he later became one of the most respected conductors of his generation, currently he’s Music Director of both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin State Opera.

In the lectures he’ll be drawing on his experience to demonstrate that music, as he puts it, “is a way to make sense of the world – our politics, our history, our future, and our very essence”.

There have been many definitions of music which to my mind have only described a subjective reaction to it. The only really precise one to me is the one by Ferruccio Busoni, the great Italian pianist and composer, who said that music is sonorous air. It says everything and it says nothing. Of course, appropriate moment to quote Neitszche, who said that life without music would be a mistake.

And now we come to the first question – why? Why is music so important? Why is music something more than something very agreeable or exciting to listen to? Something that, through its sheer power, and eloquence, gives us formidable weapons to forget our existence and the chores of daily life. My contention is that this is of course possible, and is practised by millions of people who like to come home after a long day at the office, put their feet up, if possible have the luxury of somebody giving them a drink while they do that, and put on the record and forget all the problems of the day. But my contention is that music has another weapon that it delivers to us, if we want to take it, and that is one through which we can learn a lot about ourselves, about our society, about the human being, about politics, about society, about anything that you choose to do.

So Ithink it’s safe to say he might have a clue about what he is talking about.

I discovered the Reith Lectures last year and found them to be fascinating, last year was about tech and this year about music. Going well isn’t it. They are in MP3’s that you can listen to or transcripts that you can read.

Check them out.

Sahana

Following the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia on Boxing Day in 2004, the open source community of Sri Lanka got together to develop a disaster management system in three weeks, spearheaded by the Lanka Software Foundation, a FOSS R&D non-profit organization in Sri Lanka, with contributions from about 80 volunteer developers.

Sahana is the resulting application, a secure Web portal that provides applications for coordination and collaboration in the aftermath of disasters. Applications include finding missing people, connecting organizations, reporting on the distribution of aid and services, matching donations to requests, tracking temporary shelters, and, overall, providing transparency and visibility to groups working in a disaster. Key features include GIS, biometrics, PDA support, and availability in the form of a live CD. It’s been used during Pakistan earthquake and in the Philippines mud slides, Sahana was used to manage and track organizations, people, and camps.

It has been featured recently as SourceForge.net: Project of the Month for June 2006

It is aimed at Disaster administrators, government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO), disaster victims and is actually used only during disasters or while preparing for one.

Free and open source is all about voluntary work, and in a disaster there are lot of IT experts wanting to assist, so to my mind it makes sense that a disaster management system should be free and open source.