Archive for November, 2005

Saturday Links – Fair Use

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Standford University on Fair Use. Helpful for the Google case.

Google employee and FireFox developer on improving tabbed browsing. As I said in an earlier post, tabbed browsing rocks.

Another list of open proxies.

Via MetaFilter. Art by sticking a projector on the outside of a subway train. How the hell these guys were not shot in the head for sticking a case on the outside of a subway carriage without permission and running off is amazing. The subway security people should get fired for that.

Lost WindowsXP Administrator Password – How to get it back

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

A friend’s laptop was given to me yesterday. He changed his Administrator password and shortly afterwards forgot what it was. So how does one go about getting the password back? Offline NT password and Registry Editor. Boot from a floppy or cd drive and into a Linux OS thingy which allows you to modify the accounts and passwords on your Windows NT, 2000 and XP.

So I did this and it bitched and complained that it did not do it right. I tried again and again. It seemed to work but when I tried to log into the pc with the reset (blanked) password it failed. It did however allow the amount of retries to enter the password to be unlimited, instead of 3. I tried a few more times, setting the password to blank or to something else. I set it to domino and tried logging in. No dice. I then decided I probably had to get the SAM file (where the passwords are stored) and crack it using LophtCrack, a password cracker that was developed by white hat hackers who started working for AtStake who were acquired by Symantec. That application disappeared after that. Bless BitTorrent for providing it to me.

To get the SAM file I created a boot disk using NtfsFloppySetup.exe, booted in and copied the SAM file onto the floppy. Copied it on to the computer, ran LophtCrack and started it cracking. It told me SAM files from XP are more than likely protected using SYSKEY. Shit. I tried it anyway and it cracked the password in a few minutes. Password was: diablo. Arghhhhh. I went to the laptop and tried this again and it would NOT let me in.

So, rebooted again and loaded the Offline NT password and Registry Editor disk. Changed the password to blank. Rebooted into XP and it logged me right into the system. Thank god.

One thing. After rewriting the password file XP complained on next bootup that the contents of the harddrive had changed and it needed to scan and fix any issues. I allowed it on some reboots and didn’t on others. This time I did not allow it to run diskcheck.

Other tools that may be of use are: Windows Password Renew 1.1 but you have to be logged into the system to reset the password here. I also found this interesting but difficult to use password cracker called Project Rainbow Crack.

UPDATE: Very handy bootCD that does rainbow cracking.

Redirects in place

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

It seems I actually had people subscribed to my old RDF type feed. I’ve put in an redirect now so hopefully those who have missed me on the old feed will see this. Hello captive audience!

Google: Paying for installing Firefox, Yahoo stealing their lunches?

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Google now has a program where you can earn money for those you turn onto AdSense or Firefox. Course this version of Firefox has the Google Toolbar installed. Wonder will this please Microsoft?

Speaking of all things Goog Evelyn Rodriguez corrects Scoble on how Google works. She even provides notes on their product development from a speech by a Goog staffer. Scoble is getting a bit excited about this disruption crap lately. He’s like a cheerleader on a sugar high forgetting which team she is supporting.

Actually, one last Google bit. Yahoo employees getting free Google lunches? I’d love it if this was true.

non-Google employees are making a game out of getting onto the Google campus, without an escort, and eating a free lunch … my understanding is that many or all of these people are Yahoo employees.

Omidyars pledge $100 million for microfinance. Microfinance is a clever way of giving aid to developing countries without making it a handout and encouraging sustainable growth. The teach a man to fish mantra.

Information Underload – I’m not burnt out. Yet.

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Om Malik talked about information overload and linked to a very good piece by Fred the VC about the looming attention crisis. Too many feeds, too many things screaming for attention and not enough quality time given to anything.

I find myself checking my 124 news feeds up to 4 times an hour at times. I generally have 30+ IM conversations during the day, various email conversations and maybe a half dozen sms conversations. But yet clicking bloglines 4 times an hour shows how bored I get. All my tasks for the day were done today and I was staring at a bloglines window with nothing new in it and thinking that with billions of webpages out there I seem to have created my own invisble walled garden. Am I missing out on things because of the aggregator? How should I be going out and discovering things? How did I do things before all of this?

I’m finding the tabbed lifestyle to be quite fun. I think tabs might be good for my productivity. Anything of current interest lives in a tab. For someone who has 100s of different thoughts and ideas per hour, tabs are really handy.

These days when I read something I look at the first few lines, think “that’s interesting” and click on “Open in New Tab” to go back to it later. I generally go through the first wave of new feeds for the day that way. Then I go back through the tabs and read them and consider them. If they are worth re-reading or blogging about (I use blogging as bookmarking a lot) I’ll leave the tab open until I blog or Delicious them. Sometimes more tabs are opened from links in those new tabs. In work I have to kill tabs now and then when my crappy computer complains about firefox using up too much memory. At home tabs have to be closed when I shut down the computer at night.

Yet today I was there getting all bored with no new bloglines content. What did I do before RSS feeds? I read slashdot and Wired and aintitcoolnews and BoingBoing. Except for AICN, all these are in my bloglines now. Even Dilbert is!

The new Windows Live replacement for MSN IM is meant to hold 600 or is it 800 contacts that you can IM or email or VoIP. I have 179 on my MSN list and about 60 between AIM and YahooIM. How many damned windows are going to fill my taskbar with that kind of thing? Still I’ve found in work IM can be as productive as it is disruptive. People prefer to IM and ask something they need a quick answer to instead of ringing. People find rejection easier obviously but also feel bolder requesting things. IM I’d say will become bigger in our lives and since in Ireland and many European countries we all have mobiles and we all text, it won’t be much of a jump.

So with everything being RSSised, we are going to see the likes of Windows Live Chat or whatever it is called getting into the mix too. So more contacts via email, IM and VoIP and with their associated RSS feed too and tabs galore. People are already overloaded, surely many are going to get burnt out with all of this? Should there be a safety level setting for people? I still feel that I currently suffer from information underload but the day is coming when that becomes overload and when it hits I’ll want to flick a switch that says “Chill”.

Blog Awards Update

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

I’ve updated the Irish Blog Awards website with a few new posts. We need a logo designer, a web dev person, a sponsor and suggestions for the categories. Any additional suggestions about anything else, let me know.

A blogger’s manifesto – Forbes Fights the Futile Fight

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

It took a special kind of clever to write something as moronic as the Forbes piece. Here’s something. Change the word blogger to “black” or “Irish” or “Jew” or “Catholic” or “Protestant” and tell me it doesn’t read as something that would be classed as incitement of hatred.

The forbes article is a witch hunt, same as the RIAA attacks on individuals that download illegal music. A stupid attempt to somehow stop the tide.

Emotional language is used throughout the piece: Attack threat virulent strain lynch mob hate

There are some quite amazing statements:

“Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo.”

Google and other services operate with government-sanctioned impunity, protected from any liability for anything posted on the blogs they host.

My first reaction was “Jesus Christ, a journalist is arguing against freedom of speech and freedom of the press.” Hello? Irony alarm broken?

The article talks about disease, about toxicity, about a stealh creeping attack about a group of people the vast majority of people do not know about. It is a rally against them and the Government who apparently are standing idly by. It seems to be saying to remove or regulate them for the safety of the nation. Forbes and the Big Lie.

“Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns”

But even the Constitution doesn’t give a citizen the right to unjustly call his neighbor a child molester.

The new Godwin’s – talk about child molestation. Nothing creates instant fear than the idea of child molestation or the fear of wrongly being accused of being a child molestor. This was very much a political rallying cry to appeal to the ignorant and those who do not understand this new form of communication. There’s money to be made and power to be attained on appealing to the ignorant and unaware. Forbes is doing a superb job.

How can you stop bloggers though? They have a built-in policing aspect to them via comments on their blogs or other blogs commenting on them. They really aren’t anonymous and they won’t get as much respect if they are, unless they are whistle blowers. There are cliques and clubs and affiliations but there is a standard out in the ‘sphere where you just can’t get away with bullshit and lies forever unless what you say is such nonsense that nobody listens.

Chris Pirillo came up with the Blogger’s Manifesto but I’ve been more of a fan of the Hacker’s Manifesto. I reckon this should be reworked for Bloggers.

This Google Print thing – Not so sure about that

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

Google is really really championing the cause to scan in all the worlds books so we can find excerpts from them, which will then allow us to do what exactly? Buy them from a reseller that has a deal with Google? Google are unclear about this. They’re also unclear as to whether they’ll give copies of all these digitized books to the vendors themselves so they can use them. What they really seem to be doing though is disregarding the wishes of those who own the rights to books and do what they want. Clever spindoctoring has the publishers looking like bad guys and Google with puppy dog eyes going “But all we wanted to do is help people find any information they wanted and the band publishing guys are stopping us. *pout*.”

I’d be for this more if they scanned them in with the permission of the publishers first, that when a search lands on a result there will be a link to buy the book from the publisher or a an option to get an electronic copy of the book.

Dave Winer has been one of the few geeks speaking out against Google Print but he makes some very good points.

“The world would be a much worse place if the card catalog in a library only contained the books that the publisher had come by and put in,” said Alex Macgillivray, an attorney at Google.

Of course, that makes sense, you nod your head, how true, but then you realize that the analogy doesn’t work. If card catalogs were as good at selling books as Google claims Google Print will be, they’d batch-submit all their publications using the marvel of computer technology (they know how to write scripts in NY too, or in a pinch, they can hire a wizard from California). No one has to “come by” in the age of the Internet. How quaint. And misleading.

That’s the issue. Google is making this opt-out not opt-in. So you have to go to the effort of saying NO or otherwise they’ll scan your content. I guess their attitude is that there are no robots.txt files for books so they can do what they want. Search online is opt-out so they must use the same mentality for everything else. Perhaps the publisher should create a new robots.txt for their web content and exclude all things Google until Google start behaving.

Google are not doing this to be altruistic, they’re doing this to make money, off new content they don’t own and that is NOT in the public domain.

Dave adds more thoughts to the debate.

Why doesn’t Google do a good thing and link to libraries when the search results come back? Though I doubt the publishers would want that either. They’d want people to buy the books. Still, amke it opt-in, plenty of small publishers who’ll take this up and eventually the other publishers might do the same. Or join the Open Content Alliance.

Mogwai Temple Bar Music Centre January 7th 2006

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

2 tickets purchased.