Password Exporter

Oh Dear… More Firefox zealotry.

Following up on I sent you WHAT!!, today lets look at the reverse, How do you move your passwords, to a different PC.

The answer (assuming you are using Firefox… and of course you all are) is a Firefox extension called Password Exporter. This nifty little extension allows you to export and import your saved passwords and rejected sites between computers.

You can find your passwords in Firefox under Tools -> Options -> Privacy tab -> Passwords tab -> View Saved Passwords button -> Import/Export Passwords tab

The extension allows you to create either an XML or CSV text file of your password information and if you are paranoid ( remember “trust no-one”) you can encrypt it. If you are like me and are moving from computer to computer it is incredibly handy. The Password Exporter is also great for anyone who’s using Thunderbird, too. The Password Exporter extension is a free download, works everywhere Firefox does. And as a bonus you can save the exported file using Kee Pass.

So What is KeePass?
OK how many passwords do you have? There’s a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your other email account, the Gmail account, your home-page’s ftp password, online passwords for just about every second website you visit, etc. etc. etc. It’s a mind bogglingly large list. And because you are using different passwords for each account (because if you use the same password everywhere and someone gets this password you are going to have a major problem).

KeePass is a free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key-disk. So you only have to remember one single master password or insert the key-disk to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using serious encryption I taleked about this last year

Welcome to the 21st century, it turns out George Orwell may have been an optimist.


Every year in the States there is a four day conference held in the States called TED ( technology – entertainment – design). It’s Go to this link and it will explain the rationale behind TED far far better than I can. But the really cool thing is that they are posting 15 minute plus selected presentations so we can enjoy what the presenters have to say without paying the $4500.

Here is the hype…

Each year, TED hosts some of the world’s most fascinating people: Trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses. The talks they deliver have had had such a great impact, we thought they deserved a wider audience. So now – with our sponsor BMW and production partner WNYC/New York Public Radio we’re sharing some of the most remarkable TED talks with the world at large. Each week, we’ll release a new talk, in audio and video, to download or watch online. For best effect, plan to listen to at least three, start to finish. They have a cumulative effect…

So find an hour and here are my pick for three TEDTalks (audio, video)

Lets start with the talk by Jeff Han. I saw him demonstrate his touch sensitive screen concept on Beyond Tomorrow a month or so back. It just wiped me out the second I saw it, it was so intuitive, in 3 seconds you could see how it worked. I want it. By the way Jeff is an incredibly passionate communicator,

Jeff Han is a research scientist for NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the inventor of an “interface-free” touch-driven computer screen. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 09:32)
Download Video

Nicholas Negroponte is a amazing character, you tend to get dragged on board his vision or you run away. He doesn’t leave a lot of people in the middle ground.

Nicholas Negroponte is former Director of the MIT Media Lab, and founder of the non-profit, One Laptop Per Child. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 18:21)

Watch Online
Download Audio

Download Video

Number three would have to be Amy Smith, the work she is doing in under developed countries starting with building a better charcoal and working up from there, is astounding.

MIT engineer Amy Smith designs ingenious low-cost devices to tackle tough problems in developing countries. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 15:48)

Watch Online
Download Video

There is a talk buy Jimmy Wales about Wikipedia, some astounding musical prodigies and a bunch of other stuff. This is inspirational stuff.

Not to be missed.

Got 15 minutes and Windows XP? Time for a Tune-Up

There are about a million of these “go faster” things on the net, dont believe me? Type windows xp tuneup into Google and it will find over 2 million pages.

So how do you find a good one? Tricky.

First get your expectations in order.
If you have an old “4 cylinder 2 door with a lift up back” PC no amount of tweaking and clean-up is going to get it to perform like one of those fancy “briight red V12 Ferrari” PCs. In all honesty it isn’t going to run as well as it did when you first got it.

Why? Well the never-ending flood of Microsoft patches , virus checking updates, firewalls, antispyware updates, and a system tray that takes up half the bottom of your screen would be good culprits. All these things add up over time. And NO you cant just delete them all. Your PC would have a life expectancy measured in milliseconds once you connected it to the net.

But all that being said. It is still worth doing.

Here is the blurb from a post at Tweak3D…

A fine-tuned Windows XP PC can run quite fast even it’s seriously lacking in the memory and CPU department. Before you chuck out your PC to buy a new one, try stripping some of the rust that’s built-up over the years; the results may surprise you.

It’s probably your operating system that’s slow, not the PC. It’s software, not hardware – you know, invisible 1s and 0s held in an electric field representing your data. Your computer is still fast, but there’s a ton of stuff slowing it down. There’s more 1s where there should be 0s and your PC is killing itself fighting an impossible battle to burn off this fat.

We’ve seen Pentium II machines with 128 MB RAM run XP faster than Pentium IVs with 4x the clock speed and 4x the RAM – so what gives? This article will help you figure out why your PC is running slow and outline exact steps to fix it quickly, before throwing in the towel with a format, restore, or new PC purchase. – Windows XP 15 Minute Tune-Up

I remember reading an article that said most people would rather buy a new PC and start again from scratch than do all this stuff. Some people dont have that option.

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 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.


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 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.