Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Manually launch product activation in beta 1

You can manually invoke the Windows Product Activation wizard by running the "licenseui" command.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Resume from standby not so snappy in Vista Beta 1

It takes disappointingly long to resume from standby. (512mb Athlon XP 2600+ on an Asus A7N8X nforce2 mobo w/Ti4600 video.

(Sadly that card is not on the supported list for the nVidia Vista Beta 1 beta drivers v75.03.)

"You have version 6.0"

My first Longhorn crash

Open letter to Microsoft and Macrovision re: MSI's and other installation packages

Hello Microsoft and Macrovision -- especially you OneClick, WindowsInstaller, and InstallShield people out there. I'm the guy who makes the calls on both of your products at one of your corporate customers.

I want a tool I can run on an existing package which I attest works perfectly on XP SP2 (or better yet, W2k SP4). The tool will tell me whether or not this package will install correctly on Longhorn. Better, it will tell me whether the application will function as intended. Better still it will tell me what configuration changes need to be made, whether to the client or the OS config. (Would it be too much to ask that these changes can be automatically implmented, outputting a new package that includes them all? Oh, and if you're going to automate it, you'll use, and allow an optional export of, an XML manifest with a published schema, right?) Thanks!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kottke nails it

Again, the lazyweb comes to the rescue and saves me from having to write this post myself. Thanks Senor Kottke!

Before we get going, here are some alternate titles for this post, just to give you an idea of what I'm trying to get at before I actually, you know, get at it:

* You're probably wondering why Yahoo bought Konfabulator
* An update on Google Browser, GooOS and Google Desktop
* A platform that everyone can stand on and why Apple, Microsoft, and, yes, even Google will have to change their ways to be a part of it
* The next killer app: desktop Web servers
* Does the Mozilla Foundation have the vision to make Firefox the most important piece of software of this decade?
* Web 3.0
* Finally, the end of Microsoft's operating system dominance

Now that your hyperbole meter has pegged a few times, hopefully the rest of this will seem tame in comparison. (And apologies for the length...I got rolling and, oops, 2500 words. But many of them are small so...)

I know that I am loving having my stuff live "in the cloud". Getting the cloud available offline would be huge.

However there's much, much, much to be done before the cloud can be accessed reasonably from a hand-sized device.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Vista beta 1 install on VMware 5: Vista setup won't format the drive

When you try to install Vista B1 on a fresh VMware machine, Vista setup cannot successfully format the drive. This is a special case of an issue documetned in teh release notes, that Vista setup cannot install to what MS calls a "RAW" partition. Of course "RAW" is not some special filesystem analagous to FAT or NTFS, but simply an unpartitioned, unformatted volume.

In the VMware forums, "Wolfschadoe" provides this workaround, which worked for me, too:

This fix works reliably for me:
1. Initial Vista install boot, at drive selection, delete the partition and recreate it. Still can't format at this point.
2. Reset the VM.
3. Now VM tries to boot from Network, bypassing CD and HDD boot. Press ESC for a boot menu. [Note from Doofusdan: Wolfschadoe had an extra, unnecessary reset in this step - I removed it here.]
4. Select CD drive to boot from menu.
5. At drive selection in Vista startup, select the proper partition and hit next. (it should be available).
6. Setup continues normally. Enjoy.

Better Living Through Software - Book Review: Saving the Appearances

"I hadn't heard of Owen Barfield before last month. Based on an interesting quote and a recommendation that he has a 'unique epistemology', I picked up a copy of 'Saving the Appearances', and just finished reading it.

It turns out the book isn't really an epistomology, but rather a treatise on the author's opinions about the evolution of consciousness, and his thesis that the scientific revolution has left modern man with some largely unrecognized gaps in consciousness with relation to his environment.

This ended up being one of the best books I've read in a really long time. It deeply intertwines three of my favorite themes: Korzybski's map/territory distinction, Ghazali's reason versus faith debate, and Knowledge Representation. Barfield is incredibly erudite; pulling material from scores of sources and building some surprising and wickedly sharp arguments. Even when you find cracks in his arguments, you find that the intellectual ride is enjoyable."

There's more, worth a read if you're still interested. This one goes on my wishlist....

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Waterboys: Fisherman's Blues

Why has it taken me this long to realize that Karl Wallinger was in The Waterboys? Why has it taken me this long to listen to a full Waterboys album? Why didn't I know that the name of Karl Wallinger's new band = the name of the third song on this fantastic album from his previous band?

The Waterboys: Fisherman's Blues:
1. Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys
2. When Will We Be Married? - The Waterboys
3. World Party - The Waterboys
4. Sweet Thing - The Waterboys
5. And A Bang On The Ear - The Waterboys
6. We Will Not Be Lovers - The Waterboys
7. The Stolen Child - The Waterboys
8. Strange Boat - The Waterboys
9. Jimmy Hickey's Waltz - The Waterboys
10. Has Anybody Here Seen Hank? - The Waterboys
11. When Ye Go Away - The Waterboys
12. Dunford's Fancy - The Waterboys"

Oasis - Meaning of Soul

Oasis - Meaning of Soul: "This song from their new album is very Oasisish, if you like that sort of thing. (I do when I'm in the right mood.)"

Umm, the blogging functionality from Rhapsody does not seem to be working quite right for me now. Use the frickin' search function. No, actually, don't - that song is not worth the extra effort.

--Mike--: Windows Apocalypse Now - Version 0.01 (Verbose!)

So, here it is in Mid-2005, we've got a continous stream of system patches, and a continous stream of virus definitions, most of our spam is gone, and we're behind a continously updated firewall.
However, I'm not happy. In fact, I'm starting to get very worried. The chinks in the armor are showing up.

Yup. Me too, Mike.

I've been thinking a lot about automated testing, inspired by agile programming's test-first development methods and continuous testing a la junit or ant.

--Mike--: Windows Apocalypse Now - Version 0.01 (Verbose!)

--Mike--: Windows Apocalypse Now - Version 0.01 (Verbose!): "So, here it is in Mid-2005, we've got a continous stream of system patches, and a continous stream of virus definitions, most of our spam is gone, and we're behind a continously updated firewall."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Catan Online is online!

Catan Online - Official Home Page:
"August 11, 2005: Catan Online is... ONLINE!
It's official: at noon today, Pacific time, MSN Games launched the finished version of Catan Online. It's time to play!"

Oh, dearie me. This could be trouble for Danny boy.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Metasploit Framework

One of the infosec guys at work mentioned the Metasploit Framework as we were discussing the exploit code circulating for MS05-039 and MS05-043. Yikes, that's scary! I'd seen earlier generations of tools like this, but this really is a huge advance in power & ease of use. It's gotten a hell of a lot easier to hack Windows than it used to be...

If you're feeling in the mood from some security surfing, these were a few interesting related sites & articles to read.

Good editorial about metasploit.

Pop computing piece but decent "1 page to read".
Includes this quote from one of the authors of metasploit:

MetaSploit is as easy as "point, click, root," Spoonm said during the presentation. It may not be as simple as the presenters suggest, but MetaSploit does enable people to use and customize the tool as they see fit. Spoonm said that the tool has been downloaded roughly 20,000 times.

The Metasploit presentation from blackhat 2005 (pdf):

Walkthrough of the most basic features (slightly dated).

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Zeb's counting thing

Mel reports: Zeb is counting to himself in another room. After a while, he joins me and says, "I don't know if you noticed, but I'm counting a lot today."
I said, "oh, yeah? Why is that?"
He replies, "I'm counting a lot because I'm trying to get better. I'm
practicing counting because I want to learn."